Since European settlement in Australia 200 years ago, more than half of that forest cover has disappeared. Over the last decade, Australia emerged with the world’s second highest rate of forest loss. (Source: U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization). For 30 years, forest wars have raged in Australia between industry and environmentalists over how this country’s remaining forests should be managed.
The conversion of natural forests to plantations in the 1970s became the spark that ignited forestry conflict. Ever since, there has been an arm wrestle between an industry seeking to hold on to access to native forests and environmentalists wanting industry out of those remaining native forest areas. At times, the conflict has been violent and demonstrative, often reaching a crescendo at election times.
After a generation of deadlock, there was a clear need for a credible, proven and effective mechanism to promote dialogue between warring stakeholders and promote responsible forest management. There was a clear need for the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).
FSC is a powerful, ground-breaking, global organisation that is internationally regarded as a gold standard for conservation of our world’s forests. FSC advocates for and drives responsible forest management for long term social, economic and environmental benefits.
It is the only certification organisation endorsed by leading environmental groups such as Greenpeace, Australian Conservation Foundation and WWF and is widely considered the “holy grail” because of its high standards, unique, multi-stakeholder engagement, global credibility and local relevance.
FSC Australia has played a key role over the last five years in resolving national forestry debates, particularly in Tasmania, and has affected responsible management of over 610 000 hectares of Australian forest that are now certified to stringent FSC Standards.
FSC has empowered the Australian community to protect forests in a number of tangible ways. Consumers can buy products such as tissues, paper, timber and furniture with the FSC logo, with confidence that the products come from responsibly managed forests. Businesses can buy FSC certified products, or become FSC certified. Anyone who cares about the future of Australian forests can join FSC as a member and have a voice in important, future decisions.
For further information about how you can be a part of the FSC solution, go to www.fscaustralia.org