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Sustainable Forest Management

Stewards of the Forest

Forestry Tasmania holds a very special position in the Tasmanian community. The people, through its Parliament, have entrusted the care of its State forests to Forestry Tasmania.

It is a big responsibility that we accept with great pride. On behalf of the Tasmanian people, we seek to maximise the environmental, social and economic benefits from the forest assets that we manage. Most importantly, we seek to hand on to the next generation of Tasmanians a forest asset in even better health and value than the forest this generation inherited.

Graham Sargison
“Only half the forest managed by Forestry Tasmania is available for sustainable timber production. A network of formal and informal reserves on State forest protects values such as flora, fauna, soil, water and cultural heritage"
Graham Sargison - More »..

Global Responsibility

Forestry Tasmania also accepts that it has global responsibilities. Users of wood products like building timbers and paper not only want to minimise environmental harm, they want to contribute to an improvement in the world’s environmental health.

For these reasons, responsible consumers do not want to use timber from forests that are illegally harvested or managed unsustainably. They look to places like Tasmania, where forests are legally harvested according to strict laws and are certified by reputable international agencies.

Forestry Tasmania meets these criteria. When you buy wood harvested by Forestry Tasmania, you know the money you spend is being used to not only maintain but also to improve the forests.

Forestry Tasmania manages 1.5 million hectares of land. Only half is available for wood production – the rest is set aside for conservation and recreation. Most of the profits from timber harvesting are used to look after the whole forest.

Regenerating Native Forests

There’s nothing quite as natural as harvesting and re-generating native forests. Using techniques that mimic nature, Forestry Tasmania harvests and regenerates about one percent of State forest each year, without using any chemicals – no herbicides, no pesticides and no wildlife poison.

John Hickey
“One of the key outcomes of the Tasmanian Community Forest Agreement was the commitment by the State and Federal Governments to reduce clearfelling in old growth forests to 20 per cent of the old growth harvest by 2010."
John Hickey
- More »

Importantly, we no longer allow for the conversion of state native forests to plantation.

Typically, seeds from the trees are collected during harvesting, the debris is burned to provide a natural seed bed and the seeds are re-sown to create a vibrant young forest. It will grow for up to 90 years, storing carbon, providing habitat for wildlife and protecting biodiversity until the cycle of harvesting and regeneration begins again.

In the years ahead, plantations will meet the bulk of the world’s timber needs, but the eco-premium products, we believe, will come from organically grown and sustainably managed native forests.

Internationally Certified

Forestry Tasmania’s sustainable forest management performance is supported by an integrated management system that meets three certification standards, namely the Australian Forestry Standard (AFS) (AS4708); the International Standards Organisation standard for environmental management systems (ISO14001) and the Australian Standard for the management of Occupational Health and Safety (AS4801). Biannually Forestry Tasmania is independently audited against these standards.

The Australian Forestry Standard is formally recognised by Standards Australia and has also received mutual recognition from the Program for Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes (PEFC). PEFC is a global umbrella organisation for the assessment of and mutual recognition of national forest certification schemes and is the world's largest certification scheme.

Third-party certification against the Australian Forestry Standard provides a clear and unambiguous statement that wood production is being managed in accordance with a set of clearly defined environmental, economic, social and cultural performance requirements that supports the sustainable management of forests.

Forestry Tasmania’s performance in sustainable forest management is publicly reported in the Annual Sustainable Forest Management report.

Forest Practices Plans

Harvesting forests is a complex business. Before contractors set foot on a forestry coupe, highly qualified professionals have spent weeks, months and in some cases even years researching the area and preparing plans to comply with strict government regulations.

vanessa thompson
“As a forester I know that sustainable management of our forests demands long-term planning."
Vanessa Thompson - More »

In Tasmania, a Forest Practices Plan must be lodged with the Forest Practices Authority before any logging operation can start, and completing the plan requires a thorough understanding of the environmental and cultural values that might exist in the area.

FT’s Forest Practices Officers (FPO) often survey the planned coupe from the air before undertaking a detailed on ground assessment to determine the natural and cultural values of the area.

Once identified, the FPO must prepare a detailed plan to minimise impacts on those values. A plan typically might include reserves to provide habitat for wildlife, to protect water quality in streams, to protect threatened species including wedge tailed eagles and a range of special measures (prescriptions) to manage the unique characteristics of the site.

Heavy fines can be imposed by the Forest Practices Authority for any breach of the plans.
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