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Plantations and sustainable rural communities

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ANU Forestry, University Western Australia, January 2003 - Jacki Schirmer, Mathew Tonts

Tree plantations are often hailed as providing a wide range of economic, social and environmental benefits to rural regions.

Yet in many of the regions where plantations have been established, members of rural communities and environmental groups have expressed various concerns about the effects of large-scale tree plantings. If plantations are bringing so many benefits to these regions, why is there social concern and sometimes active dispute over their establishment?

This paper examines the nature of these concerns and disputes by reviewing some of the literature on social implications of plantations, and by drawing on four case studies from the south-west of Western Australia. During the past decade this region has experienced a rapid increase in plantation forestry.

While some see the industry as a positive development, there are also widespread concerns about the negative effects of this change in land use.

View the paper