Forest Industries of Tasmania

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Sustainable Forest Management

Harvesting Methods

There are many different methods used to harvest forests based on forest type.  In Tasmania, these can be classed into two broad categories; partial harvesting and clearfell harvesting.  The majority of forest in Tasmania is partially harvested.

Wet eucalypt forest

Wet eucalypt forests are characterised by tall even-aged eucalypt trees up to 90 metres high, usually with a dense woody understorey and are generally mossy at ground level. Trees that reach 85 metres and more are protected under Forestry Tasmania's Tall Trees policy.  Economic yields of timber usually exceed 500 tonnes per hectare.

The preferred logging system is clearfelling followed by a regeneration burn because:

  1. the combination of the two provides the best seed bed for regeneration of eucalypts, mimicking natural wildfire outcomes;
  2. it allows comparatively safe working conditions; and
  3. high fuel loads on the ground can be burned safely to reduce the risk of subsequent wildfire damage.

Alternatives to clearfelling in these stands are under active investigation in order to reduce impacts on environmental and social values.  For more information visit Warra.

In 2007/2008, 5,030ha of native forest estate was certified to be clearfelled and regrown.  This is just 0.16 per cent of Tasmania's existing native forest estate.  Clearfelling accounts for about 26 per cent of all harvesting operations.

Dry eucalypt forest

These forests are characterised by multi-aged trees up to 50 metres high, usually with a short scrubby or grassy understorey. They occur in areas of lower rainfall. Economic yields of timber are about 200 tonnes per hectare.

The preferred logging system is selective logging usually followed by a low intensity fuel reduction burn because:

  1. adequate disturbance is provided by harvesting to ensure regeneration;
  2. younger trees in the forest that have the potential to grow into sawlogs can be maintained;
  3. shorter trees with a wider spacing allow safe extraction; and
  4. lower fuel loadings after harvesting allow low intensity fires that do not kill the trees that are retained.

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