A French delegation of forestry professionals recently visited the eastern states and Western Australia on a study tour.
The study tour was prompted by challenges in the French forest industry that included several consecutive summers of intense heat, low rainfall, and extensive, unprecedented forest fires during the last northern summer.
The delegation of 35 French delegates; comprising forestry experts, independent foresters, forest managers and owners, local government representatives, administrators, and researchers; aimed to seek a greater understanding of forest management including fire management and learn how to adapt forest management in a drying climate.
There are over 1 million hectares of Maritime pine plantations in southern France, which is 70% privately owned or managed, that are experiencing large fires due to changes in seasonal conditions.
The French foresters were keen to learn from their Australian counterparts about fire prevention and management, policy, emergency response, and how to manage plantation and native forests in the future factoring in a warming climate, biodiversity, and carbon sequestration.
The FPC was invited to share its experiences and learnings interactively with the delegates.
Greg Hodgson, FPC Manager Fire Protection, hosted the delegates on a field trip for a practical session including fire protection systems and processes, fire mitigation methods and effectiveness, site establishment techniques, fire agencies relationships, plantation insurance considerations, land managers and partnerships, and harvesting and utilisation systems.
John Tredinnick, FPC Director New Business and Innovation, presented at the study tour conference on the FPC softwood estate and investment program and fire management.
The study tour presents opportunities for future collaborative learning for both countries with the similarities in respective forest industry’s risk profiles and management approaches.
It was organised by the Groupama Fôret Assurances (GFA), a division of the French insurance group Groupama that specialises in damage from fire, storm, frost, snow, and civil liability which covers more than 400,000 hectares of forests in France.