As Australia contemplates committing to net zero emissions by 2050, decision makers should heed the advice of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that says sustainably managing our native forests for timber, delivers the best climate change mitigation results, the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) said today.
“The scientific evidence in Australia and internationally is settled: sustainably managing our forests for timber production, as practiced in Australia, is one of the best ways we can tackle climate change,” Chief Executive Officer of AFPA Ross Hampton said.
The IPCC says:
A sustainable forest management strategy aimed at maintaining or increasing forest carbon stocks, while producing an annual sustained yield of timber, fibre or energy from the forest, will generate the largest sustained mitigation benefit.” – IPCC 4th Assessment
Mr Hampton said the IPCC’s advice is supported by research in Australia. A landmark study in 2012 found that locking up Australia’s multi-use public forests would lead to a worse carbon sequestration outcome than if we continued to manage them sustainably for wood products. The study found:
The data shows total [greenhouse gas] GHG emissions abatement and carbon storage from a multiple use production forest exceed the carbon storage benefit of a conservation forest… Action to reduce logging in Australian forests, with the objective of increased carbon storage, could have perverse global GHG outcomes. – Fabiano Ximenes et al
“Anti-forestry activist groups often ignore this scientific evidence to claim that we should lock up the small percentage of multiple-use public forests to tackle climate change. This view is driven by ideology, not science,” Mr Hampton said.
“In recent years we have seen misguided ideology has led to disastrous policy decisions in Victoria and Western Australia to shut down the native timber industry on the false premise that it will lead to better climate change outcomes and fanciful tourism jobs.
“As Australia moves towards more ambitious emissions reduction goals, it is time to listen to the science and recognise that our sustainable forest industries are part of the solution, not the problem.
“And, in the process, our sector supplies essential timber and paper products and supports tens of thousands of regional jobs,” Mr Hampton concluded.