Forests are crucial to life on Earth. Not only are they home to much of the planet's biodiversity, but they also provide essential shelter, livelihoods, water, food, and fuel security for people. Around the world today, roughly 1.6 billion people’s livelihoods depend on forests and 750 million people live in forests. Humans heavily depend on forests to also provide many of the everyday products that we use, including toilet paper, books, food packaging, furniture, timber for construction and even car tyres and clothing. FSC’s forest management certification standards help to ensure that certified forests are being responsibly managed, contributing to the prosperity and well-being of the world’s forests for future generations. This International Day of Forests, FSC ANZ celebrates the great work of Australia’s first ever FSC forest management certificate holder, HVP Plantations, in implementing our forest management standards down under.
HVP's plantation estate stretches across areas of southern Victoria, extending from the spectacular Gippsland ranges in the east, to the border of South Australia in the west. HVP first achieved FSC-certification in 2004 and have diligently maintained their certification to FSC Australia's rigorous standard for responsible forest management ever since. Currently, HVP has a grand total of 238,487 ha of forest under FSC certification. A significant portion of the forest (48k ha) is preserved to maintain and enhance its natural land values for the sake of conservation.
HVP states that “Forest growers have a crucial role to play as the world comes to terms with a changing climate and strives to reduce carbon emissions. Our forest plantations provide wood products that are natural, recyclable, and renewable, making them a vital substitute for more carbon-intensive materials in an increasingly waste-conscious society. We are a fully sustainable business, which means what we harvest, we re-plant.” To further accelerate the green transition, HVP Plantations will expand their nursery located in Gelliondale in Gippsland this year. From the nursery they will be able to dispatch 10.4 million plants for use within their estate across Victoria.
One of the many ways HVP Plantations demonstrate their commitment to responsible forest management and environmental stewardship is through their efforts to support koala conservation in Victoria. Koalas are dependent on eucalyptus tree forests for habitat and food and are currently considered vulnerable to extinction in Queensland, New South Wales, and Australian Capital Territory. Habitat loss from land clearing, deforestation, urbanisation, and in recent years, the effects of climate change is one of the greatest threats to koalas.
On their work to support Victoria's koala population, the organisation notes that “HVP has a long history supporting koala conservation in Victoria. Starting in the late 1990’s, HVP supported refinement of scientific knowledge regarding koala habitat. This led to the development of internal GIS data layers to assist development of plantation management operation plans. Continued focus on koala conservation led to the development of best management procedures and operating standards for plantation forests. These were peer reviewed by Victorian koala ecology experts. These procedures help guide staff and contractors to maintain a high standard of koala protection through all aspects of management.”
HVP has complimented the direct conservation actions for koalas within the estate by developing, supporting, and assisting several landscape level koala habitat conservation projects. These include PhD research into the genetic structure and diversity of South Gippsland koalas, population census of koalas in South Gippsland, and several large-scale habitat linkage strategies for the broad South Gippsland regional area. Their current focus is a PhD study with Deakin University to investigate plantation operations disturbance effects to koala health and well-being within the harvest coupe. You can learn more about HVP Plantations and their Koala conservation work here.
The great work of FSC certified organisations like HVP Plantations sets the bar for forest stewardship in Australia. This International Day of Forests, the theme set by the United Nations is the sustainable production and consumption of forest products, to protect this easily renewable resource with responsible forestry practices. By choosing to purchase forest products that bare the FSC label, you’re supporting forest stewards like HVP Plantations, who diligently uphold FSC’s rigorous standards for responsible forest management.