Minister Murray Watt highlights the important climate role Australia’s forests and forest sector will play in the bio-circular economy during APFC address

Federal Minister for Forestry, Hon Murray Watt has talked up the key role Australia’s sustainable forestry management including regrowth native forests and plantations will play addressing climate change, while also marking the importance of sustainable forestry for green construction and the emerging bio-circular economy – during a speech to the Asia-Pacific Forestry Commission (APFC) Marketplace, co-hosted by the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) in Sydney this week.

“AFPA partnered with the Australian Government to co-host a Marketplace event which provided delegates from across the Asia-Pacific region an opportunity to network and engage with Australia’s industry representatives at the 30th APFC Session – fittingly themed Sustainable Forests for a Sustainable Future. AFPA thanks Minister Watt for his involvement at the Marketplace and continued strong support for Australia’s sustainable forestry and forest products sector,” Acting AFPA Chief Executive Officer, Natasa Sikman said today.

During his address, the Minister remarked on the sequestration power of our sustainably managed forests:

Australia has a total of 134 million hectares of forests, including 1.72 million hectares of commercial plantations.  Our plantations provide 87 percent of the logs harvested here in Australia. Our native forests continue to play an important role in meeting our nation’s timber needs, as well as supporting our carbon sequestration aims.

Australia’s National Greenhouse Gas Inventory reported that overall production of native forests contributed a net carbon sink of 39 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2020, with sequestration from regrowth exceeding emissions from harvesting.

“We thank Minister Watt for recognising this important science, backed up by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC),” Natasa Sikman said.

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.

Minister Watt also recognised the enormous potential of sustainable forestry for green construction and the emerging bio-circular economy as reasons behind Australia’s leading involvement in the Forests and Climate Leaders Partnership.

“Australia’s sustainably managed native and plantation forestry and the products that Australians love to use every day are an important part of the solution for Australia to meet its net-zero climate goals. We are already seeing the positive impact of transitioning to a low carbon circular bioeconomy, from mass timber buildings reducing emissions by up to 40 per cent, to displacing harmful plastics are playing in Australia’s society. But to have a greater impact, collectively governments and industry need to do more, and this was a key point made by conference delegates.

“AFPA on behalf of our Sector and the wonderful people who work across the entire supply chain we thank Minister Watt for his support at this week’s APFC and continued support for Australia’s forest products sector,” Natasa Sikman concluded.

The Minister’s full statement can be found here.

ABOVE: Attendees at the Marketplace event.

ABOVE L to R: Adam Fennessey PSM – Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Hon Joel Fitzgibbon – Chair of the Australian Forest Products Association, Hon Murray Watt – Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Mr Zhimin Wu – FAO Forestry Director, Natasa Sikman – Acting AFPA CEO.


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