National Strategy for Ecologically Sustainable Development

Prepared by the Ecologically Sustainable Development Steering Committee
Endorsed by the Council of Australian Governments
December, 1992
ISBN 0 644 27253 8

Forest Resource Use and Management
Part 2 Sectoral Issues - Chapter 3


To ensure Australia continues to refine and improve mechanisms for the ecologically sustainable management and use of its forests, by bringing together the commercial and non-commercial values of forests in such a way as to improve the material and non-material welfare of all Australians, and to ensure all forest values can be utilised on a sustainable basis.

Strategic Approach

One important way in which governments will pursue this will be by implementing the National Forests Policy Statement with its focus on achieving the best mix of conservation and commercial uses of native and plantation forests, in an integrated planning and management framework. Key approaches to forest management will include: setting a sustainable management framework for the use of native forests in order to achieve social and environmental objectives; recognising that commercial uses of forests which are based on ecologically sustainable practices are legitimate activities; and seeking complementary management of forests for all uses through integrated, strategic planning and operational management.

Objective 3.1

  • to manage and utilise Australia's forest estate for all forest values on an ecologically sustainable basis

Governments will:

  • maintain a permanent native forest estate based on the current area of native forest which covers all land tenures and manage it in an ecologically sustainable manner
  • promote complementary management in State and Territory reserves and sympathetic management by private forest owners
  • encouraging ecologically sustainable management of private native forests by:
    • encouraging the application of Codes of Practice covering wood production and other uses;
    • providing incentives, information and technical advice;
    • promoting sustainable forest management through Landcare groups; and
    • ensuring future land development is in line with soundly-based regional conservation and development strategies
  • work through the IGAE to develop a land use decision-making process which reduces fragmentation and duplication between all levels of government
  • improve interaction between forest management agencies by adopting an approach which takes all forest values into account, in order to achieve agreed and durable land-use allocations

Objective 3.2

  • to maintain ecological processes within the forests, maintain biodiversity, and optimise benefits to the community from all uses, within ecological constraints

Governments will:

  • determine agreed criteria for a comprehensive and representative reservation system
  • protect old growth forest in a representative reserve system as the primary means of protection, supported by complementary management outside reserves
  • protect all forest wilderness areas in reserves
  • develop a dedicated and secure nature conservation reserve system, containing comprehensive, replicated, adequate and representative areas of all major native forest ecosystems and other listed values
  • address biological threats to forests; introduce strict guidelines for the use of agricultural and veterinary chemicals; and provide adequate quarantine measures and monitor and control feral animals and exotic pests
  • foster community understanding of, and support for, ecologically sustainable forest management in Australia, and provide opportunities for effective public participation in decision making
  • produce 'state of the forests' reviews every five years for public information

Objective 3.3

  • to enhance the quality of life for successive generations of Australians by protecting and enhancing all of the values available from Australia's forests, and development of an ecologically sustainable and internationally competitive forest products industry

Governments will:

  • increase Australia's plantation resource so as to provide a commercial wood resource for industry
  • lift export controls on private and public plantation woodchips, subject to satisfactory codes of practice, and facilitate domestic value adding industries
  • adopt national environmental guidelines for new bleached eucalypt kraft pulp mills
  • promote forest industry development initiatives and continue skills up-grading, workplace reform and occupational health and safety programs
  • further develop pricing and allocation arrangements for public forests which:
  • are market based;
  • at least cover the full cost of efficient management (including regeneration) attributable to wood production;
  • include a fair return on capital;
  • provide adequate return to the community from wood production operations in public forests;
  • are well defined and fully transferable when this does not result in the creation of excessive market power; and
  • are flexible and involve competitive bidding arrangements
  • establish a Forest and Wood Products Research and Development Corporation; undertake additional research into conservation and environmental aspects of forests, and plantations research; and continue support for the national pulp mill research program