Australia’s State of the Forests Report 2008 was launched by the Hon Tony Burke MP, and Commonwealth Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry on May 21, 2008. According to a media release from Forestry Tasmania:
“The Report is based on data from the public and private sectors and provides the most comprehensive review of the state of our forests ever undertaken,” said Dr Hans Drielsma, Forestry Tasmania’s Executive General Manager.
“There are many positive signs amongst the Report’s finding. For example, Australia’s forests sequester more greenhouse gases from the atmosphere than they emit and therefore help to offset Australia’s contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions.
“The Report shows that managed native forests offset about 5.5%, and plantations about 3.5% of total national greenhouse gas emissions in 2005. Additional storage in wood products offset a further 1% of emissions. This complements the preliminary research done by FT that shows State forests are sequestering carbon over the long term.
“According to the document, since the 2003 Report, the area of Australia’s native forest in formal nature conservation reserves has increased by about 1.5 million hectares to 23 million hectares, from 13% to 16%.
“There are a total of 8.5 million hectares of forest certified as being sustainably managed under the premium (and not-for-profit) Australian Forestry Standard, and about 600,000 hectares certified under the FSC system. Combined, this is an increase of approximately 2.5 million hectares over the previous year.
“The State of the Forests Report shows that over 30 million hectares of public forests (20% of the total forest area) is managed primarily for protection, including of soil and water values; most is in nature conservation reserves.
The Report also confirms the fact that the net loss of woody vegetation (mostly forest) estimated by the Australian Greenhouse Office was 260,000 hectares (0.25%) per year between 2000 and 2004, due mainly to clearing for agriculture and urban development, and not forest practices.
“The report uses the internationally-established Montreal Process framework for criteria and indicators of sustainable forest management and was done by the national-level Montreal Process Implementation Group for Australia (MIG).”
The 2008 report was prepared by the MIG, comprised of representatives from the Australian, state and territory governments. Production of the report was co-ordinated by the Bureau of Rural Sciences on behalf of the MIG.
In addition to the main report, a package of supporting materials will also be launched, comprising a stand-alone executive summary and a series of fact sheets on topical forest issues such as carbon, certification, conservation, employment, fire, sustainable yield, forest type and extent, and water.
You can download the report here: http://adl.brs.gov.au/forestsaustralia/publications/sofr2008.html