Happy National Forestry Day, 2023

Tue 22 Aug 23


Today marks Australia’s ‘National Forestry Day.

And Natasa Silkman, acting CEO of the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA), urges Australians to “think about all of the products you love to use, which are based in forestry, renewable and displace high emission-based products and harmful plastics.”

National Forestry Day is an initiative driven by industry and communities connected to forests. It is a sector which, according to AFPA, supports 180,000 direct and indirect jobs and $24 billion to the national economy.

Ms Silkman said forestry is critical in fighting climate, supporting the national economy and creating the essential and sustainable products Australians love and use. 

“Think about all of the products you love to use, which are based in forestry, renewable and displaced high emission-based products and harmful plastics.”

That includes Australia’s pallet pool which quite literally makes the country go round.

“The timber house frame inside the walls of your home, the cardboard boxes your latest delivery arrived in, the hardwood dining table in your living area and, of course, the toilet paper in your bathroom!”

“Without Australia’s sustainable and renewable forest products sector, we wouldn’t have these locally-made products.”

It’s a view supported by Dr Michelle Freeman, President of Forestry Australia.

Yesterday Wood Central reported that the ALP was divided over the topic of native foresty with a survey commissioned by the Australia Insitute alleging the majority of the Labor voters support closing native foresty.

Dr Michelle Freeman claims political decisions have put the future of forests under the microscope.

Last week, Dr Freeman wrote an opinion article supporting the continuation of native forestry.

Dr Michelle Freeman, President of Forestry Australia, delivered her PhD in partnership with CSIRO Darwin, looking at northern Australia’s savanna fire and tree dynamics as part of the Tiwi Carbon Study. She has worked in timber harvesting operations, planning and regulation in Victoria and is currently a Senior Planner at Forestry Corporation on the south coast of New South Wales.

And according to Dr Freeman, decisions around stewardship and forest management will determine future health and resilience.

“People who work in forestry are concerned about what will happen if we don’t use and manage our forests appropriately,” Dr Freeman said.

Dr Freeman believes that forestry provides the tools needed to manage forests sustainably.

“As the sixth most forested country in the world, Australia’s forest scientists know we have a moral and ethical responsibility, not just to our forests, but to the world’s forests.”

Australia is often characterised as a ‘sunburnt’ country, but according to the most recent State of the Forests Report in 2018, Australia by forest area is the sixth most forested country on earth. (Photo Credit: Australian Department of Agriculture and Fisheries)

Dr Freeman said that forestry is a science and craft that puts people at the centre of creating, managing, conserving, using and caring for forests. 

“It is both a science and a craft to measure and balance competing demands in our forests, and it is an immense challenge.”

“Forestry does something that many other scientific fields forget to do – it puts people in the centre.” 

In Brisbane, Queensland Government officials and timber industry representatives met to discuss using high-value forest products, like mass timber, as part of Brisbane’s commitment to a “climate positive” Olympic Games.

The ‘Timber 2032 Forum’ is being hosted at the University of Queensland by Timber Queensland and the Australian Research Council Advance Timber Hub.

According to Clarissa Brandt, Timber Queensland’s Strategic Relations and Communications Manager, “National Forestry Day is the ideal time to highlight how the natural warmth and beauty of wood can enhance the overall atmosphere of the venues and athlete villages, creating a memorable experience for athletes and spectators alike whilst delivering an infrastructure and natural capital asset legacy for Queensland.”

Ms Brandt said Brisbane 2032 is a chance for the industry to shine with athletes.

“Our beautiful hardwood and softwood timbers are the gold medal solution to lowering emissions and reducing embodied carbon in construction.”

Ms Brandt said the Queensland Government’s Brisbane 2032 Legacy Plan defines how to drive economic, social and environmental outcomes that ensure lasting benefits before, during and after the Games.

Natasa Silkman with Clarissa Brandt, Timber Queensland Strategic Relations and Communication Manager on the Olympic podium in Brisbane. (Photo Credit: Supplied by Timber Queensland)

“Planting production trees ticks all the boxes for delivering a climate-positive legacy, Ms Brandt said.

“A Legacy Plantation would deliver carbon sequestration to offset Olympic infrastructure construction, it would grow regional jobs now and into the future, and it would help provide a solution to our growing timber production shortfall.”

“To put this in perspective – by 2035, Queensland will face a timber production shortfall for house frames equivalent to the size of Cairns because we don’t have the trees growing in the ground right now to meet that demand.”

“The shortfall gap will only get worse if action is not taken.”

According to Ms Brandt, now is the perfect opportunity for decision-makers to reflect on the important role of timber and wood in every day life and how it can be utilised in the Olympics.

The sentiment is supported by Ms Silkman, who is in Brisbane for the Timber 2032 Forum.

“Today, wherever you are, please think about the important role of timber and wood in your lives,” she said.   

From the Wood Central publisher to our readers, Happy National Forestry Day 2023!


  • Wood Central

    Wood Central is Australia’s first and only dedicated platform covering wood-based media across all digital platforms. Our vision is to develop an integrated platform for media, events, education, and products that connect, inform, and inspire the people and organisations who work in and promote forestry, timber, and fibre.


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