Sustainability manager at Responsible Wood Matt de Jongh has completed a Forestry Australia field trip to the 70,000-ha Wombat state forest at Daylesford, 50 km west of Melbourne.
The trip on November 19 was hosted by DJAARA, the Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation and included presentations on the philosophy and practice of the Galk-galk Dhelkunya (Forest Gardening) Strategy.
The strategy aims to heal Forest Country through the application of traditional knowledge in partnership with other agencies and organisations.
The field trip began and ended in Daylesford and included visits to different areas, including those impacted by the 2021 windstorms.
“This was an incredible day at Country,” Dja Dja Wurrung CEO Rodney Carter said.
DJAARA facilitated a Forests Australia visit with representatives from VicForests and Wombat Care.
“We have the greatest respect for you all and we understand that you love the forests,” Mr Carter told field day participants.
“But Djaara wants to lead and introduce our Galk Galk Dhelkunya (Forest Gardening Strategy) to heal Country and ourselves,” he said.
“We can’t do this alone; we need doers, friends and allies. And together from this moment forward we will ensure there can be a better future for all of us at Country. Djaara have an obligation to Country to do this. We have too, before it’s too late and our next generations could judge us harshly, but we will not let them down, they are our future.”
Matt de Jongh said it was a great experience to be involved in the field day.
“And it was a was a great to hear from Dja Dja Wurrung about Traditional Owner care for country and the importance of caring for Country in a responsible and sustainable way so it is there for generations to come.
“It is well known that for about 60,000 years Traditional Owners have actively and adaptively managed Australia’s forests, which have evolved to and adapted to active forest management,” Mr de Jongh said.
In December last year, Responsible Wood published the latest version of the AS/NZS 4708 standard for Sustainable Forest Management requirements. [Visit www.responsiblewood.org.au to download the new standard].
Published for the first time as a trans-Tasman standard, the new standard provides common benchmarks for sustainably-managed Australian and New Zealand forests.
The Australia-New Zealand standard (AS / NZS 4708), along with the Australian standard for chain of custody for forest products (AS/NZS 4707) are key components of the Responsible Wood certification scheme.