New Zealand Future Foresters part of the launch of Global Network for Forestry Young Professionals

14 July 2022

Future Foresters New Zealand is supporting a global effort to unite forestry young professionals to promote, grow, and raise awareness of the importance and opportunities of the forest sector. 

The recent World Forestry Congress in Seoul, Republic of Korea called for a halt of deforestation and forest degradation and promote sustainable forest management.  

A statement issued as the Conference called for “meaningful reforms in the area of sustainable forest management, and building a green, healthy and resilient future with forests, which can only be successful with the full engagement of all stakeholders, particularly the Youth.”  

 An executive member of Future Foresters New Zealand, Alfred Duval, says this was the first World Forestry Congress with a substantial youth focus and youth led sessions. 

“The Conference recognised forests are long-term solutions to an array of the world’s problems and therefore engagement of young professionals is essential in setting forest objectives because these will be the sectors future leaders.” 

 Alfred Duval says themes of the Congress not only centred around youth, but also efforts to reverse deforestation, promoting sustainable forest management and raising awareness of the opportunities and benefits that all forests create worldwide. 

 “In New Zealand, we are not experiencing the issues of deforestation the way the forest industry youth of some countries are, since our plantation forests have been established to prevent harvesting of native forests and are highly productive. "

 “Future Foresters were asked to showcase to the conference the success of our young forester’s initiative so that others from around the world could witness the benefits of uniting and promoting youth for careers in forests.” 

 “All young forest professional at the conference agreed for the need to protect and enhance the natural environment while providing the most sustainable resource the world has to offer, even though we all experience forests differently, we are all on the same page.” 

 Alfred Duval says forestry is one of the longest term environmental and business activities there is.   

 “We are making both production and environmentally enhancing decisions now which won’t be realised for decades to come. That gives me huge passion for forestry in New Zealand, and around the world.”   

 "Future Foresters was a key part of the launch of the Global Network for Forestry Young Professionals (ForYP) at the World Forestry Congress.” 

 “Communications technology makes it easy to interact with forestry colleagues in different parts of the world, and we’ll be on a learning curve to appreciate the priorities, methods of working and issues in other parts of the forest world”. 

 Alfred Duval says the likely priorities for Future Foresters involvement with ForYP is to showcase the far-reaching career opportunities regardless of an individual’s background. 

 “We want to showcase to young Māori, young women and men, from all backgrounds, that a future in the forest industry is one that is diverse, rewarding, and sustainable where you can find your own passion and niche.” 

 The CEO of the New Zealand Forest Owners Association, David Rhodes, who also attended the ForYP launch says it’s vital to give voice and encouragement to the next generation of the industry.   

“They are in tune with the issues of tomorrow and for our policies and positions to be robust we must include their voices.  This network will help achieve that”  

The Chairperson and Founder of ForYP, Elaine Springgay, of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation says “Youth bring energy, innovation and are change makers. Yet, youth feel excluded from the forest sector.” 

“They would like more employment opportunities, mentorship and career development. At the same time, we need to ensure that we are not fostering generational division: the “young” versus the ‘old’.” 

“Each generation brings value to the proverbial table. In order to build a green, healthy and resilient future with forests, the different generations need to recognize the strengths of the others, and empower and support each other.”