Environment

Working towards reducing our environmental footprint

The forestry landscape is a patchwork network of planted areas (approximately 70%) and natural ecosystems, both of which are sustainably managed to ensure commercially grown timber and forest products are produced in an environmentally sustainable, socially responsible, manner.

South Africa’s commitment to Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) is illustrated by high proportion of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified plantations. FSC certification is an international forestry standard that ensures planted areas are managed in such a way that reduces their environmental footprint and social impact, conserving the natural ecosystems on forestry land by managing them in such a way as to promote biodiversity and protect them for future generations.

FSA’s Environmental Management Committee (EMC) helps FSA members strike the balance between increasing productivity and reducing their environmental and social footprint, by reviewing and developing SA forestry standards, producing best practice procedures and keeping current with the complex and expanding network of environmental laws that are relevant to the Forestry Industry. Members of the EMC also have active roles on numerous forestry related working groups, steering and advisory committees, including the Afforestation Technical Task Team and DWS’s Stream Flow Reduction Activity (SFRA) License Assessment Advisory Committee (LAACS).

Key objectives

The work of the EMC can be broken down into four broad focus areas:

    1. Certification standards: supporting the development of national standards, such as FSC’s National Standards and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) endorsed South Africa Forestry Assurance Scheme (SAFAS), both of which are tailored to South Africa’s unique environmental conditions and social setting.
    2. Environmental laws: contributing to the development of environmental laws relevant to the Industry, including the Alien and Invasive Species Regulations, Biodiversity Act, Conservation of Agricultural Resources Act, Environmental Impact Regulations, National Greenhouse Gases Reporting Requirements, Protected Areas Act and Water Act.
    3. FSA Environmental Guidelines for plantation forestry in South Africa: provide the industry with an interpretation of all applicable environmental laws and the best management practices for applying these.
    4. Timber Industry Pesticide Working Group: promoting responsible and effective use of pesticides, though the provision of technical support, industry collaboration, compliance and guidelines.