UNSW, Faculty of Law, Sydney
Climate change has already negatively impacted on forest ecosystems, species, genetic diversity, and ecological interactions. Sustainable Development Goal 15 (SDG15) recognizes that forests have important economic, environmental, social and cultural values while acknowledging that each country should seek the appropriate balance of these values, reflecting its own goals, needs and circumstances. Central to achievement of SDG15 is the concept of sustainable forest management (SFM) and its interrelationship with adaptation of forests to climate change. Adaptation is understood as the adjustment of forest to climate change impacts in ways which moderate harm or exploit beneficial opportunities. Adaptation measures for ensuring resilience of forests to climate change align with practices supported by the concept of SFM. Achieving SDG15 thus requires legal and policy frameworks for SFM and for those frameworks to include climate change adaptation measures for forests. Almost a decade before the SDGs, Australia introduced 20-year Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs) between State and Commonwealth governments describing responsibilities regarding forest management which aim to balance the competing goals of protection of native forests and ecologically sustainable wood production in native forests and plantations. As of 2019, these RFAs have been subject to reviews, many of which have proven controversial in the context of global climate change. This paper examines whether and in what manner these domestic measures are building resilience of forests to climate change. The results provide a context for discussing and understanding future directions for SFM in the context of climate change and provide lessons for other nations pursuing SDG15.
Caterina is a Scientia PhD Scholar at the Faculty of Law, UNSW. Her research specialises in Climate Change and International Protection of Biodiversity. Her PhD thesis focuses on legal and policy frameworks for sustainable forest management and climate change adaptation of large scale forests. She holds a Master’s degree in International Development Cooperation and Project Design from Sapienza University of Rome, and a Master’s degree in Law from University of Bologna. Caterina has completed her Italian Legal Training in the areas of administrative, corporate and private law. Caterina has published articles in both national and international journals. She has previously conducted research for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and for the European Biomass Industry Association. She recently presented a paper at IUCN Colloquium, outlining her research findings to date. Caterina is currently assisting with ‘Tropical primary forests and climate change’, which is a large-scale collaborative project.