The recent news that Planet Ark has joined the Australian Forestry Standard (AFS) and received $700K from the timber industry to promote the ‘Make it Wood’ campaign has been widely condemned by other conservation groups. Perhaps ironically, these other conservation groups are involved in developing Forest Stewardship Council standards for Australia.
I don’t have too many issues with the AFS as standards go although, as indicated in brief comments on the review of the AFS and aiming for greater local relevance, would like to see catchments added to assessments of biodiversity, ‘may’ use inserted into fire and disturbance regimes and the standard use of soil landscapes to ‘identify soil and water values’.
Whether or not they take on the proposed additions depends largely on other whether other stakeholders object to them and experience suggests economic and social forces tend to win the day.
However, the koala issue requires a balance between economic, social and environmental inputs and as indicated in a letter to the Bega District News, currently environmental issues aren’t given equal consideration. Basing national standards on credible environmental science that this available at a local scale would help provide a bit of the balance koalas need.