Forest management

Forest Products is a business unit of the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries. The unit is responsible for activities related to the supply of native forest timber and other forest products from State forests and a range of other tenures under the Forestry Act 1959 (Qld). This page summarises our forest management plan.

Forest Products is also responsible for activities related to the supply of quarry material under the Forestry Act. Read more about state-owned quarry material.

Policy commitments

Our forest management policy statement details our commitment to systematic management that delivers on environmental, social and economic objectives.

Our goals and objectives

For the supply of native forest timber and other forest products our business goal is to administer the allocation and sale of these products on a commercial basis while maintaining environmental and other values.

Our role and obligations

We administer the sale of state-owned forest products, including seeds and foliage, and quarry material under the Forestry Act, as well as managing access for beekeeping.

These activities can occur on State forests, timber reserves, leasehold lands, reserves, public roads and certain freehold lands where the State has retained ownership of the forest products or quarry material.

These activities are subject to legislation that protects environmental and cultural heritage values, recognises native title rights and requires a safe and healthy work environment.

The role of QPWS and other parties

Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, within the Department of Environment and Science, is responsible for the day-to-day and overall management of State forests, including any non-commercial activities. A master plan for Queensland’s parks and forests to 2025 outlines its objectives for management including:

  • working with stakeholders to ensure a sustainable, risk based approach to resource use
  • management of fire and invasive species
  • cultural management
  • provision of recreational opportunities
  • maintenance of essential infrastructure.

Permittees also play an important role, being the parties that remove forest products or quarry materials, or use apiary sites, subject to conditions detailed in legislation, relevant codes and sales permits.

State government departments with responsibility for other key aspects of native forest management in Queensland are detailed under the responsibilities of government.

Forest certification

Our forest management system is independently certified to the Australian standard® for sustainable forest management (AS 4708) under the Responsible Wood Certification Scheme, which requires us to:

  • undertake our management in a systematic manner;
  • proactively engage with our stakeholders;
  • ensure the maintenance of biodiversity, forest health, soil, water, cultural heritage and other values;

Certification applies to the forests within the defined forest area, and requires our management systems to undergo regular independent audits.

Our certification provides assurances that Queensland’s forests are conserved and managed responsibly to ensure they deliver social, environmental and economic benefits now and in the future.

Certification also enables our timber processing customers to maintain chain-of-custody certification. This allows them to label and promote the environmental integrity of their timber products.

Forest values

We are committed to protecting biodiversity, forest health, soil, water, cultural heritage and other values; and we do this by:

Forest resources

Our native forest resources occur mainly in 2 broad forest types:

  • eucalypt forest and woodland along the Queensland coast and in southern mid-west and northern Queensland
  • cypress open forest and woodlands located west of the Great Dividing Range in the southern areas of the State.

Most of Queensland’s state-owned forests are comparatively low productivity and generally slow growing; but with around 3 million hectares in the defined forest area, contain substantial forest resources.

Growth rates and timber volumes in the wetter hardwood forests closer to the coast are usually higher due to the species present, rainfall, soil and generally more favourable conditions. Growth rates and volumes tend to be lower in the drier western forests, with this again dependent on rainfall and other factors.

Forest operations and silviculture

State-owned timber resources are sold to timber processors as standing trees under sales permits.

Find out more about the quantities of state-owned native timber removals.

Timber harvesting is done using selective harvesting, which targets only trees of suitable commercial species and merchantable grade. A certain number of large trees must also be retained as habitat, and gaps in the forest created during harvesting allow for natural regeneration.

We develop a detailed operational plan for each harvesting area prior to operations commencing. This plan identifies the key features of the area to be harvested, values to be protected, and management systems to be applied.

Our management may involve marking exclusion zones to protect environmental values and the trees to be harvested. We monitor compliance with the relevant code of practice and the operational plan throughout harvesting operations.

Forest operations must comply with the Forest Harvesting Code of Practice 2007 to maintain safety.

Stakeholders

The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries seeks to proactively engage with stakeholders regarding the activities we authorise by:

  • contacting stakeholders that are directly affected by activities to obtain their views in the development of our operational plans;
  • inviting you to contact us to make submissions about the activities we authorise, provide us with feedback or to make a complaint.

Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, through A master plan for Queensland’s parks and forests to 2025, commits to encouraging community involvement in the management of its estate.

Monitoring and review

In addition to continual monitoring of our customers’ compliance with their contractual and legal obligations; operations are also subject to regular audits by the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service.

Our forest management system is subject to regular independent audits to maintain our certification, and as part of the Queensland Public Sector we may also be subject to audits by the Queensland Audit Office.

Where any of these processes identify non-conformance issues, we systematically develop changes to procedures and systems, and monitor their implementation until the matter is resolved.