The first set of guidelines to assist a fledgling industry to grow in the right direction has been launched by Territory Natural Resource Management (TNRM) and the Forest Industry Association NT (FIANT).
The “Sustainable Forestry Practices – Guidelines for the Northern Territory” was created to address a need for a set of workable guidelines appropriate to plantation forestry operations in the NT.
The collaborative effort between TNRM and FIANT, in close consultation with industry, will assist local forestry operators to deal with the unique extremes of the NT, including high rainfall and cyclones.
TNRM project officer Stephen Reynolds said that forestry in the NT was a developing industry, with the potential for expansion in the coming decades and TNRM had been approached to fill an information gap.
“While a Forestry Code has been available for the industry, local foresters were looking interstate for information and guidance,” he said. “These are the first set of guidelines developed that are specific to the NT. They also provide a step by step guide to assist plantation forestry practitioners navigate legislation and conditions specific to the NT.”
Current plantation projects in the NT include Acacia mangium wood chip for pulp, African Mahogany (Khaya senegalensis) timber for furniture and other uses, and Indian Sandalwood (Santalum album) for oil and pharmaceuticals, and limited use of native forests.
FIANT President Frank Miller said the resource had been a three year collaborative effort and would provide a significant reference for the local industry.
“The guidelines will be a vital resource to allow the industry to grow by providing foresters or those interested in the industry to gain an understanding of the requirements necessary to undertake plantation forestry operations sustainably,” he said.
Mr Miller said that the NT already boasts good sustainable forestry operations and this would formalise current best practice within the industry.
“Forestry by its very virtue is a renewable industry,” he said. “Good forestry ensures that impacts on soil (erosion) and biodiversity are minimised.”
He said there was also great potential for those in other land use activities to reduce their carbon footprint through forestry.
“The guidelines will also provide those assessing the potential of forestry business in the NT with a formalised summary of conditions relevant to the local industry,” Mr Miller said.
Plantation Management Partners resource forester Hanna Lillicrap who works with the Tiwi Plantations Corporation on Melville Island said high rainfall and cyclones were just some of the issues specific to the forestry industry in the NT that set it apart from operations elsewhere in Australia.
“These guidelines are tailored specifically to our NT environment, and will benefit a range of people from small-scale forestry, to those in mine rehabilitation, or those like us who are 15 years in and already harvesting,” she said.
“They will assist those within the forestry industry to navigate the unique and extreme conditions of the Territory environment including the wet season deluge and tropical cyclones that often dictate our management strategies.”
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This project was delivered by Territory Natural Resource Management through funding from the National Landcare Program: Smart Farms Small Grants.