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The Forest Practices Authority


Tasmania's forests have long been seen as lands of opportunity for adventurous and skilled people. Their ventures into the forests have left behind heritage sites and artefacts that are called archaeological sites. These places can tell the stories of the people who made them, what they were doing in the forests and even the dates that they were active in the bush.

The first to visit Tasmania's forest were the indigenous tribes, the Tasmanian Aborigines.  They hunted the forest animals, harvested the plant foods and sought raw materials such as ochre and fine grained stone sources to make their tools. Evidence of these activities can be found in caves and rock shelters as well as open sites in preferred locations. These sites are held in high regard by the Tasmanian Aboriginal community.

copyright FPA
Sandstone rock shelter used by Aboriginal Tasmanians for short term shelter.
copyright FPA
Double drum winder used to pull timber from the forest to the tramway or sawmill.

With the settlement of Tasmania by the British, the forests have seen attempts to extract some riches from this harsh environment. Timber getters set up small mills to saw the timber required to build the towns and cities and brought the timber in from the bush on wooden tramways to the markets. The remains of hundreds of these sawmills can still be seen in the forest to this day.

The mining boom dating from the 1870s has left numerous sites in the forests, such as: the mine itself; the processing areas; transportation infrastructure and mining settlements, including towns; and individual miner's cottages. There is estimated to be around 1000 km of water races winding their way along in the forest. These races were constructed to bring water to the mines to separate the gold and tin from the earth and to run steam engines.

All significant archaeological sites are protected under the Forest Practices Code. The FPA employs heritage experts, as well as providing training to Forest Practices Officers, to ensure that these sites are protected.


Cultural values, including the scenic and visual landscape values of the forest and rural landscapes, are addressed as part of the Tasmanian forest practices system. Forestry occurs throughout most areas of Tasmania and, along with agriculture, contributes to the visual character of the primary production regions of Tasmania.

Tasmania's scenery has long been recognised as a major asset for the state and is much admired by the local community as well as visitors from other states and around the world. Indeed, the scenic quality and diversity of the state is a feature of importance to us all. However, this scenery, especially our rural and native forest areas, is in a constant state of change. Change has occurred in the past as a result of aboriginal fires, clearing for grazing, rural production and settlement, wildfires and timber getting. These have brought the diversity of landscape so familiar and attractive to us all.

Today, native and plantation forestry is responsible for part of the ongoing scenic change seen in the landscape. Sometimes forestry is barely noticeable, at other times it is visible but well integrated within the scenery and, less frequently, it may appear as a prominent change in the local scenery.

In recognition of the potential scenic effects of forestry on the landscape, operations are designed and managed to limit or avoid disturbance and to be as far as possible visually integrated within the scenery. Planning aims to achieve a balance between forestry operations, including harvesting, and the protection of the scenic quality and the character of the landscape. Forest practices planning takes account of: the viewing popularity (such as lookouts, scenic vistas and settlements); the prominence and visibility of operations to people; and the visual character and diversity of the landscape at the local scale. These aspects provide forest planners with a guide to analysis of the acceptable level of visual change for individual areas of the landscape.

copyright FPA

The Wilmot Road Lookout provides this scenic panorama to Lake Barrington, Mount Roland and the surrounding rural landscape. The FPA’s Senior Landscape Planner provided advice on a plantation proposed for the paddock next to the lookout and identified the critical importance of the view for the public. A setback of at least 200m downhill was proposed to avoid blocking the view as the trees grow higher. However, acknowledgement of the viewing importance of the lookout led to the forestry company not proceeding with the plantation and this site and locating another suitable site nearby. 

Content last modified September 22, 2011, 1:04 pm