The need for a comprehensive reassessment of the Regional Forest Agreements in Australia

David B. Lindenmayer, David Blair, Lachlan McBurney, Sam C. Banks

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs) are State-Federal agreements underpinning the management of the majority of Australia's commercially productive native forests. Introduced between 1997 and 2001, they were designed to deliver certainty to forest industries while, simultaneously, guaranteeing environmental protection, including the conservation of biodiversity. Using examples, we argue that RFAs in some jurisdictions have failed to do either. We strongly recommend a comprehensive reassessment of RFAs. This is needed to: (1) take into account significant new knowledge on forest ecology and management that has been gathered in the past 20 years, including updated prognoses for some critically endangered species; (2) better evaluate the full range of wood and non-wood products and services provided by forests; (3) accommodate new methods of forest inventory and more environmentally sensitive silvicultural systems; and (4) better account for the impacts of natural disturbances, such as fires, on the area available for logging, sustained yield, and forest ecosystem integrity per se. Without a substantial overhaul of the RFAs, there is a significant risk of undervaluing the full range of native forest values, exacerbating species declines, and permanently damaging forest ecosystems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)266-270
Number of pages5
JournalPacific Conservation Biology
Volume21
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 11 Dec 2015
Externally publishedYes

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