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The Forest Practices Authority

The forest practices system

Tasmania's forests are appreciated for their environmental, social and economic values. Half of Tasmania is forested and most of this is native forest (46% of Tasmania); almost half of Tasmania's native forest is reserved (47%) (DAFF 2011, Australia's Forests at a Glance). Outside these reserves, the forest practices system regulates operations in native forest, plantations and threatened non-forest vegetation communities. The forest practices system applies to both public and private tenure in Tasmania.

The forest practices system was set up by the Tasmanian Parliament through the Forest Practices Act 1985. The system recognises the many values that forests have and it is designed to ensure that reasonable protection for the natural and cultural values of the forest is provided when forest practices are carried out.


What are forest practices?

Forest practices, defined by the Forest Practices Act 1985, are:

  • harvesting and regenerating native forest
  • harvesting and/or establishing plantations
  • clearing forests for other purposes, including agriculture
  • clearing and converting threatened native vegetation communities
  • constructing roads and quarries for the above purposes 
  • harvesting treeferns.
copyright FPA
A Forest Practices Officer identifying a roadside area of native forest which will be reserved from plantation development in order to act as a scenic buffer.

How does the forest practices system work? (the short version)

The forest practices system has evolved over more than 25 years to become a complex system with many inter-related elements.

The system is based on a co-regulatory approach, combining self-management by the industry and independent monitoring and enforcement by the FPA. Forest Practices Officers are trained and authorised by the FPA and employed within the industry to plan, supervise and monitor forest practices. FPA staff provide advice on regulatory and technical matters, including requirements for the protection of natural and cultural values. The FPA also monitors forest practices to ensure that standards are being met. Corrective action is taken where required, which can include completion of remedial works, fines or prosecution.

The FPA has a statutory responsibility to report annually to parliament on the forest practices system and the operations and performance of the FPA.

The forest practices system aims to foster co-operation amongst all stakeholders, including the government, landowners, the forest industry and the broader community. There is an emphasis on planning, training, education and continuing improvement.

(For more detailed information, see Elements of the forest practices system and the resources linked to on Information for landowners)

The objective of the forest practices system

The objective of the Tasmanian forest practices system, as set down in Schedule 7 of the Forest Practices Act 1985, is to achieve sustainable management of public and private forests with due care for the environment in a way that is as far as possible self-funding. This is achieved through:

  • an emphasis on self-regulation
  • planning before forest operations
  • delegated and decentralised approvals for forest practices plans and other forest practices matters
  • a Forest Practices Code which provides practical standards for forest management, timber harvesting and other forest operations
  • an emphasis on consultation and education
  • an emphasis on research, review and continuing improvement
  • the conservation of threatened native vegetation communities
  • provision for the rehabilitation of land in cases where the Forest Practices Code is contravened
  • an independent appeal process
  • through the declaration of private timber reserves, a means by which private land holders are able to ensure the security of their forest resources.
copyright FPA
Training plays an important role in the forest practices system. The FPA employs specialists who provide training to Forest Practices Officers and forest managers, such as this day on identifying and managing hollows to protect biodiversity values.

Content last modified August 14, 2013, 5:13 pm