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Communities (project 4.3)

Why have a Communities project?

Australia's forest industries have undergone rapid change, as have the perceptions held about forestry by different groups. It is essential to understand the social and economic implications of ongoing change within the forest industry, as well as the impact of changes in rural and regional areas on the forest industry.


Increasingly, many stakeholders at local, regional and national level want to be involved in and informed about forestry planning and management. Effective community engagement can be challenging, and the CRC for Forestry undertook research to better understand the best types of engagement, methods and approaches to community engagement for different stakeholders.

The CRC invested in research into the social dimensions of Australia's forest industries to ensure socially and environmentally sustainable forest and plantation management.

The four sub-projects of the Communities project examined:

Outputs of the Communities project were:

  • Information enabling development of strategies to maximise the positive and minimise the negative impacts of commercial forestry
  • Improved understanding of changes in community attitudes to forestry over time
  • Practical community engagement strategies enabling effective dialogue between all stakeholders with an interest in the forest industry
  • Practical tools to assist informed dialogue between stakeholders.

Timeframe and research locations:

The Communities project undertook time series research from 2006 to 2012. Research was focused in four regions:

  • Tasmania
  • south-west Western Australia
  • the Green Triangle region of south-west Victoria and south-east South Australia
  • the upper Clarence catchment in northern New South Wales

Communities project study regions

Research activity of the Communities project was co-ordinated by Jacki Schirmer, and research was conducted at:


Dr Jacki Schirmer
Project Leader

Latest releases

INTERIM REPORT - Socioeconomic impacts of forest industry change: a baseline study of the Tasmanian forest industry


Findings of a study examining the socio-economic impacts of the downturn in the Tasmanian forest industry on industry businesses and workers are presented, as well as identification of which communities have experienced the most change in the forest industry. In addition, the vulnerability to future change of those dependent on the industry is examined, with recommendations provided regarding the design of assistance mechanisms.


Download the media release here.


Handbook for operational community engagement within Australian plantation forest management.


With community engagement (CE) now a major component of modern forest management, the Community Engagement handbook provides a comprehensive yet realistic overview of the underlying principles and concepts of CE, as well as practical guidance about how to undertake engagement, and real-world examples from forest industries.

The handbook can be downloaded here

Other Releases:

Structural adjustment assistance in the Australian forest industry: a review of recent experience and recommendations for best practice design of future structural adjustment packages

This report provides a comprehensive guide to the design and implementation of Structural Adjustment Packages (SAPs) in the Australian native forest industry. The report can be downloaded here.

Tasmania’s Forest Industry 2010: Trends in forest industry employment and turnover 2006 to 2010

This report presents results of research on the extent and impact of the recent downturn in the forest industry in Tasmania between 2006 and 2010. The report is available as a full-length technical report  (500 kB) or a summary report (4 MB).

News updates

Latest research

'Socioeconomic impacts of forest industry change'  — Tasmania

The ‘Socioeconomic impacts of forest industry change’ study gathered the information required to analyse the social and economic impacts of the downturn on forest industry businesses, workers and families affected by these changes. The study was undertaken from February to June 2011.

Download the report here.


Seminars on carbon sequestration

Two seminars by Dr Lyndall Bull and Dr Jacki Schirmer presented the results of recent Communities research examining landholder views about planting trees for carbon sequestration. To download the seminar presentation, click here.

Communities reports

To view and download all available reports and presentations produced by the Communities project

Click Here

To view and download all available media releases

Click Here