Landscape-scale forest planning and security of supply are key demands of the Victorian forestry industry for the next generation of the 20-year regional forest agreements (RFAs). By Philip Hopkins for Timberbiz
All five Victorian RFAs, which are to be finalised by March 2020, must rectify the key outcomes that were not delivered by the original RFAs, according to the Victorian Association of Forest Industries.
In VAFI’s RFA submission, the chief executive, Tim Johnston, said certainty of resource supply should be based on 10-20-year supply contracts.
There should be no change to the volume, quality and the forest area resulting from changes to formal or informal reserve zones, he said.
Mr Johnston said landscape-scale forest planning and management should use a population approach to forest species protection based on ecological information from all public forests.
Within this context, action should also focus on industry’s role in forest management that has multiple outcomes.
A viable supply of timber must be guaranteed from public forests, he said, while an extensive campaign should inform the public about forest management.
Mr Johnston said a comprehensive resource assessment in all forests should include data on unused areas. This should also look at ways to boost supply through forest management practices such as thinning to reduce fire risk, he said.
Mr Johnston said a single regulatory system for obligations and compliance should ensure that:
*All mechanism for creating forest conservation reserves are placed within the RFA framework, and
*Demonstrated compliance with landscape-scale planning and zoning obligations will provide certainty to management and harvesting operations.