Clean cities … clean wood.


THE forest industry – and its place in sustainable living – took a pivotal role at the 10th Making Cities Liveable Conference in Brisbane recently where the AFS exhibit explained certification systems, chain of custody programs and forest management practices to delegates.

Visitors to the stand represented a wide cross-section of government, academic and industry professionals who attended the two-day event to discuss sustainability, natural resource management, climate change, urban design and biosecurity.

Environmentally, a sustainable city is one that can keep going because it uses resources economically, avoids waste, recycles where possible and adopts policies that bear fruit in the long term. 

“Forestry is the oldest and best example of sustainable planning,” Australian Forestry Standard CEO Simon Dorries said.

“I think what PEFC and AFS are contributing to sustainable living is really cool,” said Ann Chiang, a Masters student in environmental management at the University of Queensland, one of a group of students to visit the stand.

She said information on the stand had ‘opened her eyes’ to the value of certification and the custody chain link between forests and timber products, adding that with other students she would be a willing volunteer to spread the AFS message.

Mr Dorries said AFS was in discussion with university schools of environmental management and regional development about how lectures might expand the knowledge and value of forest certification among students.

More than 190 delegates, representing architecture, resource management, town planning, urban renewal (green buildings) and sustainable communities, attended the conference at the Hotel Grand Chancellor where the program included 12 featured speakers, 60 expert presentations including concurrent sessions and  case studies, and study tours and poster presentations.

Opening speaker Dr Laurie Buys, professor, school design, and theme leader of Queensland University of Technology’s institute for future environment and sustainable communities, says the world's population is growing, ageing and urbanising. 

“Global demand for energy, water and resources is rising while finite natural resources are declining,” she says.

“Communities expect that public and private infrastructure – from energy and ICT networks to transport systems and buildings – will be integrated, sustainable and tailored to community needs.

“New ways of designing, building and managing infrastructure are emerging in the transition from the industrial to the digital age,” Dr. Buys says.

She says the grand challenge for the world is creating infrastructure that enriches communities while being sustainable, resilient and responsive to climate change, and developing technology and systems that improve the planning, design and operation of infrastructure.

‘Clean’ and sustainable cities will help realise this goal.

“And clean cities need clean wood,” Simon Dorries said. 

“Australia has the goods in wood to help achieve this transition – third party certification, chain-of-custody programs – and legality.

“Watch this space.”

Jim Bowden, representing the Australian Forestry Standard (right) welcomes University of Queensland Masters students Melissa Ward (urban and regional development) and Ann Chiang (environmental management) with Frank Ondrus of Householders Options to Protect the Environment (HOPE), an Australian community-based non-profit environment organisation promoting sustainability at the householder level.