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Mrs Melanie (Lain) Dare

profile_dare_thumbMrs Melanie (Lain) Dare
PhD student

Topic: community engagement processes in forestry

University of Tasmania


People are becoming increasingly aware and cautious of forestry activities as operations such as plantation establishment come closer to their back doors.

The recent push for expanded plantation establishment across Australia and increasing awareness of the greater environment in which we all live has resulted in greater public need, and desire, for input into forest management and policy decision-making.

This social research study looks at current and past techniques used for community engagement within the Australian forestry industry. It will also include a critical comparison with engagement techniques used in other Australian resource-based industries and the international forestry sector. Case studies will be conducted in the intensive forestry regions of southern Western Australia and Tasmania and will include both public and private sector forest companies.

This project will look at what has or hasn't worked in the past and aims to provide guidance for methods that can be used successfully in the future. A clear understanding of the diversity of community groups, their expectations and the best ways to promote effective engagement for the future will enable both the public and the forest industry to communicate effectively and transparently; a win-win for everybody.

Growing up in Tasmania has provided me with a solid background in the strong and diverse forestry environment that surrounds us. Although my family moved around considerably during my youth, I spend my formative years in the Huon Valley where my step father dabbled in fine furniture craftmanship and specialty timber milling. Through his interactions with the forest industry I became interested in commercial forest management and left home to study forestry at the Australian National University. After four years in Canberra I came away with an honours degree in forestry, and a husband, and after a short period in Victoria returned home to Tasmania and its big trees.

Working in the private forestry industry for the past eight years has enabled me to gain a broad operational understanding of commercial forest management and where it sits with regards to current community relations. This experience, coupled with the increasing family pressures associated with raising three children (and a husband), has led to my new adventure with the CRC for Forestry and this research, which I believe is important for ongoing, and essential, commercial forest management.


Technical Report 181 - Dare et al (2008)
A best practice community engagement guide for managers and field staff in the plantation sector. This brief guide was followed by a detailed guide in 2011. Dare L, Schirmer J, Vanclay F (2008) A brief guide to effective community engagement in the Australian plantation sector. Technical Report 181. 12 pp. [pdf 260.0 kb]