Crit­i­cal part of the tim­ber econ­omy

Australian Forests and Timber - - CERTIFICATION -

GARY FEATHER­STON is a forester trained at Creswick and Mel­bourne Univer­sity. He worked as a public sec­tor forester for 29 years man­ag­ing and car­ing for the forests of Gipp­s­land in Vic­to­ria. Dur­ing this time he was sur­prised by the en­trenched op­po­si­tion to the use of na­tive forests for pro­duc­tive use. “I was amazed that two groups with many shared val­ues were al­ways in op­po­si­tion. Both groups love and value forests as places to visit, or work and for their in­trin­sic value. Both recog­nise the ben­e­fits of tim­ber as a build­ing prod­uct and for its nat­u­ral qual­i­ties. I see for­est cer­ti­fi­ca­tion as a way to recog­nise th­ese val­ues and get the groups to­gether to find so­lu­tions to the com­mon prob­lems,” says Gary.

The two for­est cer­ti­fi­ca­tion schemes op­er­at­ing in Aus­tralia pro­vide a com­pet­i­tive frame­work that of­fers choice be­tween the strengths and weak­nesses of both schemes. “My aim of es­tab­lish­ing the group schemes was to en­sure that more cer­ti­fied tim­ber can be gen­er­ated and more cer­ti­fied tim­ber can get to mar­ket. Small grow­ers and pro­duc­ers are a crit­i­cal part of the tim­ber econ­omy but strug­gle to keep up with reg­u­la­tory and com­pli­ance sys­tems of cer­ti­fi­ca­tion. Group schemes pro­vide ac­cess to the ben­e­fits with the costs shared,” he said.

Aus­tralian forestry is some of the best in the world but gets very lit­tle recog­ni­tion as such. Gary’s work life has been try­ing to ad­dress this is­sue via his con­sul­tancy work, roles with the In­sti­tute of Foresters Aus­tralia and more re­cently through his sup­port of cer­ti­fi­ca­tion.

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