Royal stands tall on sustainable forest management
Prince of Wales’ passion for forests and the natural world is well known
The strong connection between royalty and forestry was evidenced when the Prince of Wales participated in a forestry roundtable meeting hosted by the Institute of Foresters Australia in Queensland’s Mossman Gorge.
“It was a once in a lifetime meeting and I believe a meeting of minds about the challenges we face in managing forests not only in Australia but around the world,” said Rob de Fégely, Vice-President of the Institute of Foresters of Australia.
Roundtable attendees included Senator Anne Ruston (Assistant Minister for Agriculture), Queensland Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner, and James Treadwell (President of the NZ Institute of Forestry).
The Roundtable started with a welcome to country and smoking ceremony undertaken by Kuku Yalanji elder Mr Roy Gibson.
His Royal Highness then took a guided walk on the Baral Marrjanga elevated boardwalk in the rainforest with Brett Stallbaum (Cape York manager for Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service) along with Rob de Fégely and Geraint Richards (Head Forester for the Duchy of Cornwall).
The Prince has a wellknown passion for forests and the natural world. In recent years, he has provided support to the professional forestry institutes in Australia and New Zealand and prior to that in Canada and United Kingdom.
Forest researchers have the International Union of Forest Research Organisation (IUFRO) to unite them but practising forest managers currently have no international forum. The Institutes are in the process of establishing an International Network of Professional Forestry Associations and the Institute of Foresters of Australia is the initial secretariat.
The industry is also struggling to recruit young foresters to manage our forests for conservation and production. It has lots of specialists but recognises a need for the broad practical skills of foresters to ensure all the values of forests are protected.
Managing forests without foresters would be like a health system without GPs, Mr de Fégely said.
To assist this process His Royal Highness has supported two awards for young foresters, The Prince of Wales Sustainable Forestry Award and The Prince of Wales Leadership Award. The latter being an exchange opportunity to work in forest management in another country.
The two recent recipients of the Prince of Wales
Sustainable Forestry Awards, Mr Jesse Mahoney (from Australia) and Mr Alfred Duval (from New Zealand), were present at the roundtable. Both expressed their thanks to His Royal Highness stating how much the award and recognition meant to them.
Senator Ruston described the roundtable as “a great opportunity to highlight the sustainable practices of Australia’s forest sector”.
“It was an honour to join His Royal Highness to discuss the integral role of Australia’s native forests and plantations in providing a renewable source of timber, and the role trees can play in dealing with international issues, such as climate change,” Minister Ruston said.
“The roundtable meeting was an important opportunity to renew Australia’s commitment to a high-tech, carbon positive, renewable forestry future.
“The Prince of Wales has been a passionate advocate of sustainable forest management and how it can help solve economic, social and environmental issues facing the world.
“Australia stands resolute to meet these growing challenges.
“It was incredibly generous of His Royal Highness to join us to discuss Australia’s place at the forefront of global sustainable forestry practises.
“Not only does the Australian domestic timber industry support many of our regional communities, it has the potential to provide opportunities for expansion of both indigenous and farm forestry.”
Minister Ruston said the Coalition Government was committed to delivering a new forestry future for Australia underpinned by an integrated and sustainable landscape approach to the management of all our forest resources.
“We discussed New Zealand’s place in world forestry and the goal of planting 1billion trees over 10 years,” Mr Treadwell said.
“His Royal Highness has EHHQ SURPRWLQJ WKH EHQH¿WV of forests for decades and most people are only just ZDNLQJ XS WR WKH EHQH¿WV forests bring to all people in terms of clean water, recreation, carbon sequestration, biodiversity and general wellbeing,” said Mr Treadwell.
“I was very pleased Alfred, one of our future foresters, was invited to attend. Alfred is only 24 and at the beginning of his forestry career; this was a great honour for him, but also highlighted the importance of future sustainability to His Royal Highness.”
Mr Duval said the visit was inspiring and had strengthened his resolve to promote IRUHVWV DQG DOO WKH EHQH¿WV they bring to all people. He understands, as the inaugural winner of the Prince of Wales Sustainability Cup, that he has a responsibility to deliver a new forestry future for New Zealand, which is underpinned by sustainable practices and an integrated approach to land use.
“The roundtable meeting was an important opportunity to renew Australia’s commitment to a high-tech, carbon positive, renewable forestry future”
Kuku Yalanji elder Roy Gibson and the Prince of Wales.
Rob de Fegely (Co-Chair Forest Industry Advisory Council, Vice-President of the Institute of Foresters of Australia, Chairman of Sustainable Timber Tasmania, Director Margules Groome Consulting, His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Anne Ruston.