Gippsland Tour: Victorians visit Working State Forest

Responsible Wood's tour coincided with the Victorian Native Forest Ban

Thu 25 May 23


Responsible Wood’s Victorian field tour of Victoria’s Gippsland forests and timber manufacturing in Heyfields provided a platform to showcase sustainable forest management and the importance of responsible supply chains.

A group of architects, builders, designers, manufacturers, and wholesalers experienced firsthand the efforts and benefits of responsibly managing the state’s forests.

Attendees visited forests which will be banned from January 2024

Participants were made aware of the Victorian Government’s decision to end native forest harvesting during the trip, and their feedback highlighted the need for more field trips to showcase sustainable and responsible sourcing.

According to attendees, field trips play an important role in understanding first-hand the importance of sustainable forest management in the full supply chain for timber products.

The tour visited the State Forest in Gippsland, Victoria. VicForests is the forest manager responsible for the forest, and under the Responsible Wood certification scheme, it can be used for PEFC and/or Responsible Wood claims on forest products.
Response to the Victorian Native Forest Ban

“This recognition of the value of the state’s sustainable forest management and responsible supply chains flew in the face of the Victorian government’s decision to close the native forests industry,” said tour leader Matt de Jongh, Sustainability Manager at Responsible Wood.

Daniel Wright, Director of Australian Sustainable Hardwoods, emphasised the significance of sustainable forest management and responsible supply chains in light of the state government decision.

“This decision was unexpected and incomprehensible,” Mr Wright said.

“Our engineered wood products, manufactured through sustainable practices, play a vital role in the construction industry.

“We should be producing timber and managing forest values locally where we can continue to control them to generate positive environmental and community benefits.”

Simon Dorries, CEO of Responsible Wood, expressed disappointment in the Victorian government’s decision.

“The field tour provided a clear demonstration to the attendees of just how tragically wrong the decision is,” he said.

“Responsible Wood certified sustainable native forest management brings numerous benefits to communities, including employment, economic development, and environmental protection.”

“It is disheartening to see such a backward decision that fails to comprehend the significance of responsible forest management.”

Under the new laws, VicForests-managed forests will likely be transitioned into National Park under the management of the Victorian Energy, Environment and Climate Change.
Attendees were impressed with the dedication to science-based forest management

During the field tour, attendees immersed themselves in the world of sustainable forest management, observing the planning and execution of harvesting operations conducted by VicForests.

“They were able to witness the utilisation of advanced technologies in monitoring and to protect biodiversity values and learn about the implementation of best practice, science-based forest management,” Matt de Jongh said.

“The success of the field tour was evident in the overwhelmingly positive feedback from participants,” he said.

“They were deeply impressed by the dedication and commitment of VicForests in ensuring the long-term health, sustainability, and productivity of the state’s forests.”

Following the Gippsland field tour, attendees visited the Australian Sustainable Hardwoods (ASH) Heyfields manufacturing facility. The connection with ASH is an important one – with forest certification tracing products from the forest to the end-consumer.

As Australia’s leading hardwood manufacturer, ASH is recognised for its innovative, sustainable, and high-quality products. In recent years, ASH has become a leader in the circular economy, responsibly sourcing its materials from regrowth forests certified by Responsible Wood.

Attendees viewed ASH’s 5-axis CNC machine, which can shape all types and shapes of wood. The CNC machine is the world’s largest Hundegger K2i CNC machine, a massive, robotic timber profiling unit.

ASH’s reputation for embracing new technologies, utilising automation, and leveraging economies of scale was on full display. The company’s innovative manufacturing capabilities facilitate the transformation of timber products into feedstock for various manufacturing lines.

ASH uses a gantry to test the structural elements of all timbers.

These include mouldings, reprocessing, engineered flooring, finger jointing, laminating, and mass-timber, further bolstering ASH’s standing as a forward-thinking industry leader.


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