South Africa’s Forestry Sector Explained
The United Nations International Day of Forests on 21 March 2017 is marked by Forestry South Africa with the launch of an information and illustration-rich website, ‘Forestry Explained’. The International Day of Forests is about celebrating all forests, indigenous and commercial.
Commercial forests are often forgotten despite the fact that they touch our lives in a myriad of ways. “From roof trusses and benches, to paper, packaging and tissue and the cellulose used in food and medicine, fibre from commercially grown trees plays an integral part in everyday life,” says Forestry South Africa executive director Michael Peter. “If we were to remove wood and paper-based products from our daily routines, we would soon appreciate the important function they perform.”
He adds that there is also more to forestry than planting and harvesting trees. “Thorough research, planning and management goes into keeping trees, and the land on which they grow, healthy and productive. The sector also provides jobs and supports communities.” Add to this the diverse animal and plant species that call forestry-owned land home, and you have an environmetally conscious sector that delivers an array of renewable, carbon neutral and versatile end-products.
At a local and personal level, forestry touches people – through the products they use every day without even knowing it – and communities, through education and skills development. Forestry also has a positive influence on climate change mitigation, provides a sustainable alternative to the deforestation of natural forests and is a renewable source of energy and construction materials.
One-stop guide to forestry
The new portal www.forestryexplained.co.za offers itself as ‘a beginner’s guide to forestry in South Africa’ and caters for users of all ages. It covers the basics of forestry and forest products, and everything from water-use to recreation, pest control, ownership and end-uses.
This one-stop resource offers in-depth but easy-to-read content supported by well-illustrated infographics and additional links for those who want to explore the industry further. It is ideal for learners and teachers.
Sustainably managed commercial forests should be celebrated for the benefits they bring to our daily life. To do this we need to understand them and the complex ecosystems that they are. Forestry Explained does this. It’s well worth a visit.
The Forestry Explained website supplements Forestry South Africa’s long-standing online directory platform.