Forest landscape – Courtesy Forestry South Africa

November newsletter – Introducing: Forestry in South Africa

As the year draws to a close, a question has been doing the rounds on social media – “what has 2020 taught you?

Along with the obvious quips relating to the importance of hand sanitizer and how to repurpose a trainer-sock into a mask, there have been a few notable responses that appear to resonate with individuals across the globe. Gratitude is the most obvious, with COVID-19 restrictions opening people’s eyes to the pre-COVID freedoms we too often take for granted – the ability to go outside or meet friends at will. Being grateful for the small, everyday moments, we often overlook has been one of the few indirect and unexpected positives to be taken from this otherwise disastrous global catastrophe.

As FSA, we have tried to look for the silver-lining moments, sharing the times when despite all the challenges COVID-19 has thrown our way, we as an industry have grown. Showcasing the moments where humanity has triumphed over the COVID adversity, and our members have been able to reach out and help those that COVID-19 has left most vulnerable.

The ‘Introducing: Forestry in South Africa’ video was devised as a pre-COVID promotional tool to raise public awareness about forestry and the myriad of benefits, products and opportunities it provides. The video was to be launched at the 2020 FSA AGM, usually held in May but due to COVID-19, it was conducted digitally earlier this month (19 November).

While the video couldn’t be launched or used as it was initially conceived to be, it is no less pertinent. The economic, social and environmental value of the Sector portrayed in the video illustrates why the Forestry Sector deserved its status as an essential service and why globally, commercial forestry has been identified as having a key role in the so-called ‘green recovery’.

It also offers an opportunity for those in the Sector to take a moment and reflect, as even with essential service status, 2020 has been an incredibly hard year and yet as an industry, that we have once more shown great resilience, adaptability and strength.

The video promotes, what most in the industry already know – that Forestry is an incredible Sector to be part of. What makes Forestry so great? Perhaps, it is the combination of the three P’s – Product, People and Potential, or maybe it is the social, environmental and economic benefits forestry yields. It may not even matter, as long as whatever it is, it keeps driving the individuals, organisations, companies, groups and co-operatives to face the challenges head-on, celebrate the small wins and adapt and evolve to thrive, not merely survive, in this ever-changing world.

Product: Our industry produces a sustainable, versatile, renewable product that promotes green values and is found in almost every aspect of our day-to-day life, as well as in the sketchbooks and imaginations of those looking to develop game-changing solutions to future challenges. It is simply amazing what wood can do.

People: Behind every great industry is an array of brilliant minds, hard-working hands and dedicated individuals who are passionate about moving the Sector forward at a blistering pace and forestry is no different. Ask 100 people what they like most about Forestry and I guarantee the majority will say, the people I work with – that is something our industry should be very proud of.

Potential: Forestry is full of potential. The research and development potential that produces products with the potential to shape greener communities and address global challenges. The potential to help our country out of the post-COVID-19 economic crisis or the potential to foster relationships through CSI initiatives that will positively impact the lives of individuals, groups and communities. The recreational potential of the forestry landscape that promotes healthy outdoor pursuits that improve physical and mental health. Forestry’s potential is extensive – making our industry one of endless possibility.

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