Forest research to play key role

Thursday, 18 May, 2006

A Climate Change report has been developed by the Australian Business Roundtable group established to investigate the economic and social impacts of climate change to Australia, and to make a number of recommendations to Government.

The report has strong implications for forest research activities.

Ensis Environment general manager, Dr Tim Payne, says the Roundtable group has taken the climate change issue seriously.

"The development of a carbon economy, as recommended in the report, would contribute to greater investment in forestry as the demand for carbon credits increase," says Payn.

"Ensis has been undertaking research in this area for some time and recognises the important role that forestry has to play, not just in terms of carbon credits, but also in regard to mitigating environmental risks such as water shortages and flooding.

"Ensis has been heavily involved in modelling forest carbon sinks in Australia and New Zealand. We are working with major industry partners and Government organisations to help mitigate adverse climate change impacts on our industry "“ an industry which will be increasingly important in a new carbon economy and changing environment."

Payn says it is important to note that climate change is expected to adversely affect forestry, along with other agricultural pursuits, as events such as drought or fire can be disastrous in terms of loss of investment.

"Changing climate patterns will also increase biosecurity risks, as it is likely to lead to greater risk of impact from new and existing pests and diseases, which will pose an increased threat to forest health." Payn said.

Part of Ensis' work includes modelling likely scenarios for future risk management in regards to forest health and protection from fire, pest and disease.

Ensis is a partnership between CSIRO in Australia and Scion in New Zealand.

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