Australasia's home for timber news and information

Meeting the challenges of the future

The final day of the four-day Australian Forest Growers’ national conference Forestry for a Better Future: climate, commerce and communities in Albury continued to discuss the challenges and opportunities for the forestry industry.

Senior lecturer at Melbourne University, Rowan Reid, who runs the Australian Master TreeGrower Program, gave the Murray Goodman Memorial Address.Speaking on ‘Sustaining growers’ enthusiasm for small-scale forestry’, Reid challenged Government, farmers and industry to shift the focus of Australia’s future timber industry away from industrial plantations and public native forest to the farming families that manage more than 70% of Austalia’s rural landscape.

Professor Roger Sands, former CSIRO researcher and head of New Zealand’s School of Forestry, in his closing keynote address, spoke of the relationships between forest and agriculture, highlighting that the two were inextricably linked.

“Sustainable forestry management is totally dependent on sustainable agricultural management and sustainable agricultural management is not possible without looking after the forests,” he said.

“Farmers re-introducing trees into the agricultural landscape is just one way of creating symbiotic rather than competitive relationships between agriculture and forestry, as well as providing a carbon-friendly fuel and construction material demonstrably superior to its competitors.”

Other speakers on the final day of the conference included:

· Mick Keogh, Executive Director, Australian Farm Institute, on the implications for agriculture of the emissions trading scheme

· Hugh Stewart, Charles Sturt University, on role of planted forests in rural landscapes

· Tim Ogden from the Department of Climate Change on the Commonwealth Emissions Trading Scheme

· Nick Roberts, CEO of Forests NSW, on the role of Australian forestry in global wood supply

· Chairman of the Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification schemes Michael Clark who will give a global perspective on forest certification