Forest Products is a business unit of the Queensland 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 provisions of the Forestry Act 1959.
The forest management plan, which includes the documents identified in this summary, outlines how we deliver on the commitments of our forest management policy statement.
We are also committed to implementing relevant actions in the Queensland Forest and Timber Industry Plan, which outlines practical strategies to grow an efficient, resilient and profitable forest sector.
Our goals and objectives
Our business goal is to administer the allocation and sale of state-owned native forest log timber, quarry material and other forest products on a commercial and environmentally responsible basis.
We achieve this by:
- maximising the financial returns from forest products and minimising waste;
- managing authorised activities to minimise any impacts on environmental and heritage values in accordance with our accreditation, government policy and legislation;
- providing responsive, effective and efficient administration of our activities; and
- maintaining a skilled, motivated and professional workforce that operate in a safe and healthy workplace.
Our role and obligations
We administer the sale of state owned forest products and quarry material under the Forestry Act 1959, as well as managing access for bee keeping and stock grazing. Under the Forestry Act, forest products not only include timber and other wood products, but also honey, seeds and flowers. 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 materials.
The activities are subject to legislation that:
- protects the environment, such as the State’s Nature Conservation Act 1992, the Environmental Protection Act 1994 and the Commonwealth’s Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999;
- protects cultural heritage, such as the State’s Queensland Heritage Act 1992, Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2003 and the Torres Strait Islander Cultural Heritage Act 2003
- recognises native title rights under the Native Title (Queensland) Act 1993; and
- provides a safe and healthy work environment under the State’s Work Health and Safety Act 2011.
More information on who we are and what we do can be found at: https://www.daf.qld.gov.au/forestry/about-state-native-forestry-and-quarry-material-management
Our forest management system is independently certified to the Australian Standard for Sustainable Forest Management AS 4708:2013, which requires us to:
- undertake our management in a systematic manner;
- proactively engage with our stakeholders;
- ensure the maintenance of biodiversity and forest health;
- protect soil and water values during the activities we authorise; and
- protect cultural heritage and a range of other values.
Certification applies to the forests within the defined forest area, and requires our management systems to undergo regular independent audits.
Certification 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.
We are committed to protecting biodiversity, soil and water resources, and cultural values; and we do this by:
- identifying the values that either exist or are likely to be found on each operational area;
- requiring our customers to implement a range of measures to protect those values during operations. These measures are detailed in either the QPWS Code of practice for native forest timber production on the QPWS forest estate 2014 or Managing a native forest practice – A self-assessable vegetation clearing code;
- requiring our sandalwood customers to not only comply with the relevant forestry code of practice, but also the Department of the Environment and Heritage Protection’s Protected plants code of practice; and
- where appropriate applying further specific measures to protect identified values that may otherwise be adversely impacted by the activities we authorise.
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 4.5M hectares in the defined forest area, they carry a large volume of log material.
Growth rates and volumes of log material in the wetter hardwood forests closer to the coast are usually higher due to the species present in the forests, rainfall, soil and more favourable conditions. Growth rates and volumes tend to be lower in the drier western forests, with this again dependent on rainfall and other
Forest operations and silviculture
State-owned timber resources are sold to timber processors as standing trees under sales permits. These permits are issued based on the known availability of log timber, market and social factors, and to support a stable and viable timber industry.
Our annual Pocket Facts publication provides details of our sales of forest products.
Timber harvesting is done using selective harvesting, which targets only trees of suitable commercial species and merchantable grade from our forests and leaves s viable canopy intact. 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 sale 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 sale area management involves marking exclusion zones to protect environmental values prior to harvesting, and monitoring compliance with the relevant code of practice and the operational plan in the field. We may also mark the trees to be harvested.
Forest operations must comply with the Forest Harvesting Code of Practice to maintain safety.
We seek to proactively engage with stakeholders 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.
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.
A summary of our latest forest management certification audit can be found here. 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.
Other departments with forest manager roles and responsibilities
Other State government departments are responsible for other key aspects of native forest management in Queensland and these are detailed at Responsibilities of government.
A key agency is the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS), which is responsible for custodial, regulatory and non-commercial activities on State forests. The QPWS Parks and Forests Master Plan outlines QPWS 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; and
- maintenance of essential infrastructure.