Thursday 20 October 2022

Leading, adapting and reimagining the future of forestry

Forestry Australia Symposium Day One

Reimagining collaboration among experts from differing fields will be key to Australia’s forests being able to continue to benefit society for generations to come.

That’s been one of the key take-outs from day one of Forestry Australia’s National Symposium, which is taking place in Albury and online today, tomorrow and Saturday.

The highlights of the first day included lively discussion about reimagining the future of forestry in Australia through a global filter, and how we think about agricultural landscapes in a forestry context.

Director of Research Capability at the Indigenous Knowledge Institute, University of Melbourne’s A/Prof Michael-Shawn Fletcher presented a captivating session on embracing Traditional Knowledge and leading change to collaborate with Traditional Owners as forest managers.

Themes from A/Prof Fletcher’s presentation carried through strongly to the next panel session about reimagining forestry’s strategic collaborations and partnerships, before a third panel discussion focusing on agroforestry’s role on Australian farms and the many benefits it can bring concluded the session.

Forestry Australia President Bob Gordon said partnerships and collaborations across a wide range of areas of expertise were vital to ensuring the future value of forests.

“Forests deliver many social, cultural, financial and environmental benefits, but their continued ability to provide these benefits depends on effective management and conservation,” Mr Gordon said.

“Such a wide range of benefits needs a wide range of expertise to manage them. It’s vital that experts from varying fields collaborate to deliver what’s needed to look after our forests so society can continue to enjoy them for generations to come.

Mr Gordon also emphasised the need to engage and work closely with Traditional Owners to better manage land tenures across Australia.

“Forestry Australia is committed to empowering and working with Traditional Owners and pursuing two-way capacity building to actively and adaptively manage Country across all land tenures,” Mr Gordon said.

“Australian forests have been influenced for tens of thousands of years by aboriginal lore, care and management, however the arrival of Europeans disrupted traditional practices and low impact mosaic burning regimes, which has led to significant challenges across landscapes, particularly in relation to fire management.

Mr Gordon said day two of the symposium promised more great sessions for delegates, both in-person and online.

“Tomorrow we are looking forward to discussing the politics and policy to expand the forestry estate before breaking into concurrent sessions focussed on Climate Change Adaption; Fire; Water; Recovery & Resilience.

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David Abbott
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