WWF Australia has today released a document which undercuts years of sensible, science based advocacy by one of the world’s most respected Environmental Organisations and which will have international ramifications.
The WWF Australia report, Towards Two Billion Trees, contains a recommendation that native forestry in Australia cease.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) Ross Hampton said, “This is a huge surprise and quite bizarre. WWF has had a strong position against land clearing for years however the most senior people in the organisation are fully aware that native forestry in Australia involves harvesting a very small area of trees per year and every tree is replaced through regeneration and regrowing practices. This happens by law.
“Due to the use of those sustainable management practices, every native forestry tree we use in Australia is certified sustainable under the world’s largest forest certification called PEFC (trading as Responsible Wood in our country).
“This report also has many scratching their heads as WWF partners with other nations to assist them ensure their native forestry is also globally certified and, indeed, was so sure of the positive environmental credentials of native forestry that the WWF has recently built its new headquarters in Surrey using native forest timbers from an operating forest!
“I will be writing to the head of WWF Australia asking for this report to be revised. Failing that I will be writing to WWF globally explaining that the Australian office is out of step with WWF in other countries including partnerships they are undertaking with the UN FAO.”
Mr Hampton said that this Report was especially disappointing as AFPA has previously worked constructively with WWF on upholding Australia’s robust anti-illegal logging laws, as both organisations recognise that up to 10% of the world’s timber currently being shipped around the world comes from sources which are illegal and a great deal more comes from deforestation.
“The bizarre thing about the WWF report today is that closing native forestry in Australia would not mean that Australians would stop using appearance grade hardwood for our floors, window frames, stair-treads, tables and so on,” Mr Hampton said.
“It would simply mean that timber will be imported, and often from places which are not run on sustainable forestry principles like we do here. Normally the WWF takes a far more considered global view and recognises that this is a poor environmental outcome – especially for developing nations. I hope a review of this poorly thought through recommendation will occur quickly.”
Information on WWF-UK’s new headquarters’: https://assets.wwf.org.uk/custom/stories/lpc/#materials-67315