The Chief Executive Officer of Forestry Stewardship Council® Australia New Zealand (FSC® ANZ) has described Forico as ‘demonstrating exemplary leadership for the forestry industry in Australia’ after the company became the first forest manager in Australia to achieve FSC® Ecosystem Services certification.
The FSC® Ecosystem Services Procedure enables organisations already certified to the globally recognised FSC® Forest Management Standard to demonstrate the positive outcomes of their forest management activities on one or more ecosystem services.
Forico successfully demonstrated positive outcomes in the category of Biodiversity Conservation, specifically the conservation of natural forest characteristics, and conservation of species diversity.
The certification is an important third-party endorsement of Forico’s approach in protecting the biodiversity values across its managed estate. This is a key element of reporting in the company’s award-winning Natural Capital Report, of which the third will be published in early 2023.
‘Having our ecosystem services certified within the FSC framework highlights our commitment to sustainable forest management,’ said Simon Cook, Forico’s Sustainability Manager. ‘It allows us to verify our outcomes based on credible and robust monitoring and assessment, and to then communicate confidently on how we are making a measurable difference in fighting biodiversity loss and ultimately climate change.’
Forico manages some 88,000 hectares of productive plantation forest alongside 77,000 hectares of natural forest vegetation, including 6,800 hectares threatened forest communities. The estate’s natural forest is managed for conservation and biodiversity, while the company’s plantation operations are managed for wood fibre production.
Through surveys conducted across the estate as a whole, Forico has determined the presence of thirty-eight threatened flora species such as the Crowded-Leek orchid, and twenty-five threatened fauna species including thriving populations of healthy Tasmanian devils, quolls and wedge-tailed eagles.
Highland Poa grassland, a listed threatened vegetation community in Tasmania, is proactively managed by the company through ecological burning, as it was by Aboriginal people. The Ptunarra Brown Butterfly, also a listed threatened species, occurs only in Tasmania and favours native tussock grassland habitat, specifically the highland Poa sites. Maintaining and enhancing the natural grassland ecosystem is a high priority for Forico to ensure the rare butterfly populations continue to thrive.
In the coming years Forico plans to incorporate additional ecosystem services elements to the certification, specifically Carbon Sequestration and Storage.
Melanie Robertson, Chief Executive Officer of FSC® ANZ, congratulated the company on becoming Australia’s first certified forest manager to successfully implement FSC®’s Ecosystem Services Procedure. ‘Forico’s forest stewardship and commitment to achieving positive environmental and social outcomes demonstrate exemplary leadership for the forestry industry in Australia. We are proud to have Forico in our FSC community and believe this important milestone will inspire momentum in the ecosystem services space.’
Main image of the Ptunarra-Brown Butterfly by Simon de Salis. Image below of Forico's Sustainability Manager Simon Cook (L) and UTAS Lecturer in Wildlife Ecology Dr Rodrigo Hamede (R) by E. Safarik