Understanding the Australian Standard for Sustainable Forest Management in Flooring

31 May 2023

Understanding the Australian Standard for Sustainable Forest Management is key to achieving a harmonious relationship with the demand for flooring, as well as the need to preserve our precious forests.

Read more to learn what the Australian standard for sustainable forest management is, why it is important, and the challenges and benefits that go along with it.

What is meant by sustainable management of forests?

The sustainable management of forests provides an ethical approach to preserving our forests while satisfying the increasing worldwide demand for forest products, particularly timber flooring products.

Sustainable forestry aims to maintain and manage forests in a way that safeguards natural resources for current and future generations. This involves protecting the habitats of forest flora and fauna, upholding the rights of forestry workers and local communities, and minimising the environmental, social, and economic effects of deforestation.

That’s why understanding the Australian Standard for Sustainable Forest Management is key to achieving a harmonious relationship with the demand for flooring as well as the need to preserve our forests.

What is The Australian Standard for Sustainable Forest Management?

The Australian Standard for Sustainable Forest Management defines sustainable forest management against a set of nine criteria:

  1. Systematic Management. Forest management shall be undertaken in a systematic manner appropriate to the nature and scale of the enterprise and provide for continual improvement.

  2. Stakeholder Engagement. Forest management shall demonstrate proactive stakeholder engagement.

  3. Biodiversity. Forest management shall maintain or enhance biodiversity.

  4. Forest Productive Capacity. Forest management shall maintain the productive capacity of forests and land.

  5. Forest Ecosystem Health. Forest management shall maintain forest ecosystem health and vitality.

  6. Soil and Water Resources. Forest management shall protect soil and water resources.

  7. Forest Carbon. Forest management shall maintain or enhance forests’ contribution to the carbon cycle.

  8. Cultural Values. Forest management shall protect and maintain, for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, their natural, cultural, social, recreational, religious and spiritual heritage values.

  9. Social and Economic Benefits. Forest management shall maintain and enhance long-term social and economic benefits.

Why is it important?

The Australian Standard for Sustainable Forest Management (AS4708) provides forest managers with a standard on ensuring any forest products are sourced and used sustainably. Basically, making sure they are doing their part for the planet as well as their business.

Key elements of sustainable forest management

Sustainable Forestry: A Change in Mindset

Sustainable forestry reflects a change of mindset –from the traditional methods of logging and clearing to a focused practice of growing trees as a crop. In this way, forestry is essentially long-term agriculture, but with a few added dimensions.

Benefits of Sustainable Timber Production

Sustainable timber production provides many environmental and climate advantages:

  1. One of the biggest advantage of sustainable timber production is that it is recyclable. After its useful life, timber can be repurposed or recycled, reducing waste and contributing to a circular economy. This approach helps to conserve resources and reduce the carbon footprint associated with the disposal of wood waste.

  2. Timber products also provide carbon storage compared to traditional building materials like brick, cement or even steel. Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as they grow, and this carbon remains stored in the wood products created from them. By using timber products in construction and manufacturing, we are helping mitigate climate change.

  3. Another advantage is that timber is a renewable resource. Unlike non-renewable resources such as fossil fuels, trees can be replenished through replanting and responsible forest management practices. By utilising sustainable timber production, we can ensure a continuous supply of wood products without depleting our forests.

Ensuring that we are continuing on with sustainable timber practices means that we are able to continue providing beautiful aesthetic wood flooring. At Havwoods, all of our products are responsibly sourced and we also offer a large range of sustainable products that are third party certified such as our PurePlank collection which are FSC® certified (C009500).

Hawoods responsibly sourced PurePlank HW2130 Allevard timber flooring, featured in The Crescent, Mosman Village

Challenges and Solutions for Sustainable Forestry

Meeting demand for construction through sustainable timber production is an effective way of mitigating the industry’s environmental and climate impacts. Timber is renewable and recyclable, and the process used to produce it can yield useful by-products. While a forest is growing, its trees remove CO2 from the atmosphere and store it in the form of wood. Carbon is also stored in timber products long after they are harvested.

In fact, around two-thirds of Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions are stored in timber products, such as furniture, house frames and flooring.

By comparison, traditional building materials, such as cement and steel, contribute much higher levels of CO2 to the atmosphere over their entire lifecycle.


The benefits of having the Australian Standard for Sustainable Forestry Management in place are astounding. We can create beautifully aesthetic homes and commercial spaces while still taking care of our resources. The benefits of working with sustainable forestry is that there will be plenty of resources in the future so we can limit the damage and waste we produce whilst caring for the planet.

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All Havwoods timber is sourced from sustainably managed forests that also adhere to local and Australian illegal logging legislation. We also carry a large collection of third-party certified products which you can explore here.

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