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Sustainable forest management on track in Tasmania.

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Joint Media Release


The Hon Wilson Tuckey MP

Federal Minister for Forestry and Conservation


The Hon Lennon MHA

Tasmanian Deputy Premier and

Minister for Infrastructure, Energy and Resource


Sustainable Forest Management on Track in Tasmania


The Fede ral minister for Forestry and Conservation, Wilson Tuckey, and the Tasmanian Deputy Premier, Paul Lennon today announced that the Commonwealth and Tasmanian Governments will promote the sustainability of Tasmanian wood and wood products in domestic and international markets.


The governments have released a “Statement of Sustainable Forest Management” which explains to buyers of Tasmanian wood how Tasmania’s forests are managed.  The Statement restates both governments’ commitment to the goals of the 1992 National Forest Policy Statement and the objectives of the 1997 Tasmanian Regional Forest Agreement (RFA).


Speaking from Hobart during his three day visit to Tasmania, Mr Tuckey said that the Statement was a logical extension of both governments’ support for sustainable forest management: “The Tasmanian RFA recognises that forests in regions covered by RFAs are sustainably managed, and the Commonwealth is proud to stand by this commitment.”


Mr Lennon said that “the Statement provides an assurance to customers in both Australia and overseas that the wood has been harvested from a region where forest environmental values are well protected both in reserves and through appropriate management practices in production forests”.  Both Ministers agreed that it was a welcome development for the Tasmanian timber industry which is an important part of the State’s economy.


The Statement advises that RFAs are only completed after a thorough investigation of the wide range of environmental, heritage, social and economic values present in the forests of the region.  These assessments include consideration of biodiversity; wilderness; old-growth; national estate; the sustainability of forest management practices; social values and dependencies; economic values of forest resources; and industry development options.



Further inquiries:

Mr Tuckey's office,  Graeme Hallett,  0419 688 440

Mr Lennon’s office,  Tracey Annear,  03 6233 6752

Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry - Australia

Peter Yuile,  02 6272 5931

URL  http://www.a







Australia's approach to achieving ecologically sustainable forest management is outlined in the National Forest Policy Statement.  This poli cy has been agreed by the National Government and all State and Territory Governments and has been actively implemented since it was agreed in 1992.


A key mechanism for achieving the goals of the National Forest Policy Statement has been through Regional Forest Agreements between the National and State Governments.  These Agreements determine forest allocation to different uses and forest management practices over a period of 20 years.  The objectives of a regional forest agreement are to:


* develop and implement ecologically sustainable forest management and use;

* establish a comprehensive, adequate and representative forest reserve system;

* facilitate development of an internationally competitive wood and wood products industry; and

* promote the conse rvation and management of privately owned forests.


Regional Forest Agreements are only completed after a process of extensive public consultation and a thorough investigation of the wide range of environmental, heritage, social and economic values present in the forests of the region.  The assessments include consideration of:


* biodiversity, including endangered species;

* wilderness;

* old-growth;

* national estate;

* the sustainability of forest management practices;

* social values and dependencies;

* economic values of forest resources; and

* industry development options.


A Regional Forest Agreement has now been concluded for Tasmania.  This Agreement has achieved the following outcomes:


* mechanisms to ensure the maintenance of the forest estate in the region;

* a forest conservation reserve system that meets the national criteria for a comprehensive, adequate and representative forest reserve system, including:

39% of all native forests in Tasmania, 

68% of old-growth forests, and 

95% of wilderness areas,

* a pr otection strategy for forest conservation values on private land;

* protection strategies for threatened forest species and communities;

* forest management systems that provide for ecologically sustainable forest management and continuous improvement;

* s ustainable levels of timber production;

* measures to enhance growth in employment through industry development; and

* monitoring to assess progress of the agreement against agreed milestones and internationally agreed sustainability indicators that cover:

biological diversity,

productive capacity,

ecosystem health and vitality,

soil and water resources,

global carbon cycles,

socio-economic benefits, and

the legal, institutional and economic framework.


The comprehensive regional assessment, which was a pre -requisite for the Regional Forest Agreement for Tasmania was carried out using the best available data and science.  The resulting level of reservation of forests greatly exceeds any identifiable international benchmarks or criteria (such as the 10% target suggested by the IUCN and WWF).  Tasmanian forest products are also produced in a way that ensures economic and social opportunities are maximised through efficient, competitive and sustainable forest industries.


In a separate process, plantation codes of practice have also been assessed to ensure they protect environmental and heritage values.  These assessments have been undertaken independently by Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).  Through this process, which has been completed in Tasmania, it has been found that the codes of practice for the establishment, management and harvesting of all plantations in the region satisfactorily protect environment and heritage values.


Tasmania has made a commitment to put in place ISO 14001 compatible environmental management systems and processes for production forests.  In addition, utilising a standard derived from the National Forest Policy Statement and the Regional Forest Agreement, and internationally agreed sustainability indicators, this will form a practical basis for certifying that products are from sustainably managed forests.


It is the intention of both the Tasmanian and Commonwealth Governments to further progress the development of certified forest management along these lines.


Australia's processes for assessing and clarifying that forests are sustainably managed are equivalent to, or better than, any other assurance available for forest products.  On this basis, timber and other forest products from Ta smania are being produced from forests which have in place processes and procedures to ensure environmental protection and sustainability that are equal to the best practices in the world.


The Hon Wilson Tuckey

Minister for Forestry and Conservation




Senator the Hon Robert Hill,

Minister for the Environment and Heritage


on behalf of the Commonwealth of Australia



The Hon Paul Lennon MHA,

Deputy Premier and Minister for Infrastructure, Energy and Resources




The Hon David Llewellyn MHA,

Minister for Primary Industries, Water and the Environment


on Behalf of the State of Tasmania