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Legislation

Forest Practices Act

Tasmania enacted the Forest Practices Act in 1985 to provide a comprehensive system to plan and control forestry operations. It created the Forest Practices Code to ensure forest operations on both public and private land follow strict environmental guidelines.

The Code is regularly reviewed and updated, using the results of research, field experience and public comment. The third edition of the Forest Practices Code came into effect in January 2001.

Forest Practices Officers can issue notices requiring corrective action when they detect non-compliance with the Code. Serious instances of non-compliance can lead to prosecutions.

Planning forest operations

All forestry operations in Tasmania may only proceed after a Forest Practices Plan has been prepared, approved and authorised. These plans must be prepared and authorised by Forest Practices Officers (FPOs) who are responsible for planning, monitoring and certifying that Forest Practices Plans are prepared and implemented in accordance with the Forest Practices Code.

Planning of operations takes into account regional requirements as well as coupe-specific issues. Regional issues include:

  • water quality and flow;
  • flora and fauna;
  • protection of endangered species;
  • geomorphology;
  • cultural heritage;
  • soils; and,
  • visual landscape.

Detailed coupe planning takes these issues into account in great detail and considers how the operation will be conducted. Key operational details such as landing locations, areas requiring special treatment or buffers, the harvesting method and snigging pattern are specified.

Regional planning ensures there is a range of forest ages and sufficient areas of habitat across an entire forest estate.

Conduct of forest operations

Every forest operation must have a Forest Practices Plan and this must be complied with according to the provisions of the Forest Practices Code.  The 2000 edition of the Code is a 120-page document that provides practical guidelines and standards for the protection of environmental values during forest operations. Some examples are:

  • Harvesting and reforestation techniques such as clearfelling, seed tree, shelter wood, plantation or thinning.
  • Defining snig track and landing locations, and ways to minimise ground disturbance.
  • Understanding and applying wet weather provisions.  These define when harvesting operations must stop during wet conditions.
  • Treatment of streamside reserves, machine exclusion zones and habitat retention zones.
  • Requirements for drainage of snig tracks and landings upon completion of harvesting.
  • Parking and servicing of forest equipment to avoid spillage or leaks entering a watercourse.  Any spills have to be contained and clean up procedures promptly implemented.

Training of forest workers on the environmental standards is conducted regularly to ensure good understanding of the Forest Practices Code at operational levels.

Forest operations are visited regularly by Forest Practices Officers who monitor the forestry activities to ensure compliance.

Forest Practices Officers have power to issue notices that require a person to take corrective action with respect to any non-compliance.  Serious instances of non-compliance can lead to prosecutions and fines.

Visit The Forest Practices Authority website

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