Pacific Conservation Biology Pacific Conservation Biology Society
A journal dedicated to conservation and wildlife management in the Pacific region.
RESEARCH ARTICLE

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

David B. Lindenmayer A B , David Blair A , Lachlan McBurney A and Sam C. Banks A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Fenner School of Environment and Society, The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia.

B Corresponding author. Email: david.lindenmayer@anu.edu.au

Pacific Conservation Biology 21(4) 266-270 https://doi.org/10.1071/PC15042
Submitted: 16 November 2015  Accepted: 22 November 2015   Published: 11 December 2015

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.

Additional keywords: endangered ecosystems, endangered species, forest biodiversity conservation, forest management, forest policy.


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