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If trees could cheer

20 March 2014

Friday March 21 is a special day, the United Nations International Day of Forests.

"Each minute of that day, New Zealand's 1.8 million hectares of sustainable forest estate will grow enough timber to build two standard NZ homes and will contribute nearly $10,000 to the country's export earnings.

"At the same time as doing this, our forests will have sequestered carbon, prevented soil erosion, enhanced biodiversity, supplied renewable energy and provided thousands of jobs," says Forest Owners Association chief executive David Rhodes.

"No other New Zealand industry makes such a large dual contribution to the economy and the environment. Indeed, it is because of this that we are seeing a much greater interest by the major political parties in policies that will help unlock the potential of our industry."

The Forest Owners Association belongs to the International Council of Forest and Paper Associations (ICFPA) which is working internationally to raise awareness of the importance of all types of forests. Together, ICFPA members represent nearly 90 per cent of global paper production and 60 per cent of global wood production.

ICFPA members support sustainable forest management around the world and are committed to using forest management and manufacturing practices that meet environmental, social, and economic objectives.

"For centuries, forests have enabled humans to make products to improve their lives and meet their needs. Forests are renewable. Even in today's rapidly changing world, forestry is part of the solution to meeting global needs for food, fuel, paper, wood, medicines and other necessary products that improve quality of life," says ICFPA President Donna Harman.

Mr Rhodes says the FOA, along with other ICFPA members, is committed to fighting illegal logging and the international trade in illegally harvested wood around the world.

"The FOA and Ministry for Primary Industries are working on protocols that will assure international customers that NZ forest products come from legally logged forests."

The ICFPA's 4th Sustainability Progress Report (2013) highlights the globa industry's progress on a number of key sustainability indicators including the growing area of certified responsibly managed forests, reduction in greenhouse gas emission intensity, the growing use of biofuels and a high paper recycling rate.

"These global trends very much mirror what is happening here in New Zealand. We clearly have much to celebrate, at the same time as we commit ourselves to doing better, especially with workplace safety," Mr Rhodes says.

For more information, please ring Glen Mackie, Tel 04 474 4769 or 027 445 0116