WHILE THE FUTURE IS FAMILIAR TERRAIN
FOR FOREST MANAGERS, WHO HAVE ALREADY EARMARKED THE MILLIONS
OF SEEDLINGS PUSHING UP FROM THE GROUND TODAY AS TOMORROW’S HOMES
AND POWER POLES, A MILESTONE CELEBRATION PROVIDES AN IMPORTANT REMINDER
TO LOOK BEYOND TIMBER YIELD PROJECTIONS AND CONSIDER
THE FUTURE OF THE INDUSTRY AS A WHOLE.
The importance of forests and timber has been a constant as community expectations,
markets and technology have changed and evolved over the past century. As Forestry
Corporation moves into its next chapter, timber is holding its own and even increasing in
importance in the emerging carbon economy. As those in the industry testify, the importance
of sustainably sourced timber and well managed forests shows no signs of waning.
Looking back over the photos from the past century, it would be easy to presume there
has been a seismic shift in almost every element of forest management, from the
tools used to fell and transport trees to the end products created from forest timbers.
However, since the 1916 Forestry Act was enacted one thing that has remained constant
is our understanding that forest management must balance the preservation of flora
and fauna with timber production. The fact that the same forests set aside for timber
production back then are continuing to thrive and produce timber today is a testament
to the sound forest management that has developed over the past century. Just like the
forests it relies on, the forest products industry is diverse, ranging from big multinational
companies to small family businesses, from milling operations that are a small part of
large communities to towns that are built on the timber trade. The industry has also
proven itself to be dynamic, resilient and adaptable. Any industry that forecasts its
production 100 years into the future, and puts measures in place to ensure that supply
down the track, is setting itself up for a long and prosperous future and I believe that’s
what the forest products industry will enjoy.
James M. Millar AM, Chairman Forestry Corporation of NSW
The management of NSW’s forest estate and associated industry by the Forestry
Corporation and its predecessors has always had a strong eye on the future.
Of course, the future is very difficult to predict but there are a number of trends that
are evident now and likely to be increasingly important in the future.
Trend 1: There will be increased demands, often conflicting, placed on Australia’s
natural resources in response to a growing and more urbanised population for
ecosystem services such as catchment, recreation and biodiversity conservation, as
well as increased demand for wood fibre.
Trend 2: The Australian community will continue to seek assurance that its natural
resources are well managed for current and future generations.
Trend 3: There will be growing consumer preference for products that are renewable,
recyclable and demonstrated to be sustainable.
Trend 4: There will be innovative technologies that capture greater value out of
woodfibre for use in construction for structural and aesthetic purposes, also as a
feedstock for production of bio-chemicals, composite materials and bio-energy.
Collectively, these trends point to a long and sustainable future for NSW’s forest
and wood products sector.
Ric Sinclair, Forest and Wood Products Australia Managing Director