Forests are often called the “green lung of the earth” because they store CO2 and produce oxygen. The forests of Australia contains an important ecological value, since, in addition to fulfilling an important role in the release of oxygen, they conserve and enrich the soil, provide well-being and balance in the biosphere, and preserve the habitat of species, plants, and animals. Australia has approximately 147 million hectares of purely native forest; these represent about 19% that is used in the land.
The greatest threat to forests and the diversity they contain is their transformation to other land uses. The growing pressure of human populations and their aspirations for a better standard of living, without due concern for the sustainability of the resources, which are the basis of such developments, increase the concern in this regard. Although changes in land use are inevitable in the future, such changes must be programmed to help achieve complementary objectives. This can be done by including concerns about conservation as an important component of spatial planning and management strategies.
Forest conservation strategy
Protected areas are a notable part of conservation strategies. However, protected areas are insufficient to ensure by themselves the conservation of trees and other forest species. Ordered production forests play a key role in programs that aim to prevent the loss of genetic resources and intraspecific variation in socio-economically important species. Also, the enforcement of forest laws and the public disclosure of offenders would greatly help to reduce annual forest loss.
Furthermore, afforestation could also be carried out. This is the procedure by which more trees are planted within a designated territory. it could involve transplanting or the complete introduction of new species. This process alleviates the effects of deforestation, restores balance to the ecosystem and other damages that resulted in several forms of environmental pollution.
The incorporation of conservation problems in all these fields of action represents the only lasting solution to the challenge of conservation. The sustainable management of production and protection forests, the careful planning of the establishment of forest plantations and the logical management of forests.
Keys to success
The key to success will depend on the development of programs that harmonise the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and forest genetic resources within a mosaic of land-use options and that, at the same time, including an important element of management active genetics. The sustainability of the actions over time will be based on genuine efforts to meet the needs and aspirations of all stakeholders and will require close and continuous collaboration, dialogue and participation of stakeholders in the planning and execution of the corresponding programs. This would include the Government and National, academic and research institutions, private owners, industry and national non-governmental organisations.