The extent of private forests:
Tasmania’s forests cover about 50% of the total area of the State, with private forests making up about 33% of the forest area – the highest proportion of any state in Australia. In total Tasmania’s private forests cover more than 1.1 million hectares, approximately 16% of the state’s landmass.
Over 850,000 hectares of forest on private land is native forest.
There are over 250,000 hectares of privately owned or managed plantations in Tasmania. Tasmania has 16% of Australia’s plantation forest cover yet only 1% of its landmass.
A significant portion of Tasmania’s private forests are protected, either through voluntary conservation covenants or because they are in riparian areas or contain rare, threatened or vulnerable species and communities.
In addition, Tasmania has a Permanent Native Forest Estate Policy, which prohibits broad scale clearing and conversion of native forest, other than in limited prescribed circumstances.
The importance of private forests:
Forests on private land provide a range of benefits, from supplying wood products (sawlogs, veneer logs, wood fibre and fuel wood), assisting farm productivity (reduced wind, animal shelter, protection of soil and water), providing habitat for native species, and improving aesthetics.
Private forestry is a significant contributor to Tasmania’s economy and a large employer.
- Private forests contributed 72% of Tasmania’s forest production by wood volume in 2019-20.
- Plantations accounted for 93% of the total Tasmanian private forest harvest in 2019-20.
As private forests grow they remove carbon from the atmosphere and when harvested they provide a renewable resource associated with low carbon emissions. For example, emissions are reduced in construction when wood is used in place of metals, concrete or plastics.