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Tasmanian Community Forestry Agreement - Alternatives to Clearfelling in Oldgrowth Forests

The former Prime Minister, the Hon John Howard, and the former Premier of Tasmania, the Hon Paul Lennon, jointly announced the TCFA on 13 May 2005.

The Final Report TCFA Research into Alternatives to Clearfelling in Old Growth Forests marks the successful completion of the research programme on Alternatives to Clearfelling in Old Growth Forests, which was funded under the Tasmanian Community Forest Agreement (TCFA). The $2M programme commenced in 2006 to identify, commission and report on research into alternatives to clearfelling old growth forests on public land in Tasmania.

The funding provided by the programme has enabled substantial progress on researching the forest management issues involved in clearfelling of old growth forests and alternative harvesting approaches in order to assist forest managers reduce the extent of clearfelling in old growth forests.

In Tasmania's tall old growth forests, the main silvicultural alternative to clearfelling has been the development of variable retention (VR) silviculture. The research programme has provided assurance that the VR technique can be safely and effectively implemented in old growth forests and is supported by soundly-based science, validated by peer-reviewed papers and summarised in a major report titled A New Silviculture for Tasmania's Public Forests (PDF)

The variable retention technique aligns well with international best practice and Forestry Tasmania believes it now has a capacity, within operational, economic and safety constraints, to undertake around 1000 ha of variable retention on State forest annually.

The current priority is to use this capacity to meet the TCFA target to achieve non-clearfell silviculture in a minimum of 80 per cent of the annual old growth harvest area on public land. In the longer term there may be more ecologically beneficial ways of allocating that capacity across the commercial native forest estate to retain old growth elements where they deliver most biodiversity benefit, rather than focussing overly on defined old growth forest.

The Final Report of the Technical Support Group has been endorsed by the joint Australian and Tasmanian Government Implementation Committee that undertook the governance of the programme.

The review has been informed by a Science Panel of internationally recognised experts in forest and conservation science

Reports and papers arising from the research program are listed below as pdf files. More reports will be added as they become available.

The following link (www.oldforests.com.au) provides access to the presentations delivered at the "Old Forests, New Management" Conference held in February 2008 in Hobart, and the program for this Conference. The International Union of Forestry Research Organisations (IUFRO) has also published a summary of the Conference deliberations and outcomes.