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Forest research and climate change

6 April, 2006

Forest research will play key role in preparing for climate change

The Australian Business Roundtable on Climate Change report released today has strong implications for forest research activities.

A report, released today has been developed by a special Roundtable group established to investigate the economic and social impacts of climate change to Australia, and to make a number of recommendations to Government.

Ensis Environment general manager, Dr Tim Payn, says the Roundtable Group has taken the climate change issue seriously by taking the initiative to drive policy change around the subject in Australia.

"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 Dr 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 regards 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."

Dr 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 catastrophic 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."

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

Dr Payn says it is pleasing to see that the Roundtable group has acknowledged the need to advance scientific knowledge of climate change.

"As the climate change issue becomes increasingly emotive, it will be important to make decisions that are based on sound research and knowledge. Ensis looks forward to playing a key role going forward."

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

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