Applying for a plantation authorisation

The establishment of forest plantations and reafforestation on essentially cleared land can provide a sustainable timber resource and a diversified source of income for landholders.

Plantations and reafforestation can deliver a range of environmental benefits including acting as carbon ‘sinks’ to offset greenhouse gas emissions. This also creates an additional basis for investment and trade in carbon credits.

Replanting trees on cleared land can restore some of the natural balance of landscapes, and where native species are established, can contribute to biodiversity outcomes. Tree plantings can also provide land management benefits such as windbreaks, reduce salinity and provide a timber source for on-farm infrastructure.

The Plantations and Reafforestation Act 1999 (PR Act) provides a streamlined approval process for plantations whilst providing certainty for harvest on timber plantations.

The Plantations and Reafforestation Act and Plantations and Reafforestation (Code) Regulation 2001 (the Code) have environmental standards that prevent soil erosion and land degradation and protect biodiversity and cultural values. An object of the Act is to facilitate plantations development on essentially cleared land.

The Code sets clear guidelines for plantation establishment and management. The Code details requirements for:

  • the level of permissible clearing;
  • protection of rivers and other drainage features;
  • protection of cultural sites;
  • roading and harvesting operations; and
  • fire prevention/safety provisions

The Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) Forestry Policy, Research and Development, through the Plantations Regulation Unit (PR Unit) is the consent authority for plantations under the Act.

Authorisation of a plantation provides the landholder with the right to harvest the timber they have carefully grown. To find out more about seeking a planation authorisation, please read the guidelines for plantation applicants.

Plantations produce hardwood and softwood to meet the growing demand for timber and provide environmental and biodiversity benefits across NSW, including land care and carbon sequestration farming projects.

An administrative fee is normally charged to cover the cost of managing a plantation application, in line with the NSW Government’s cost recovery policy.

The 2019/20 bushfires severely impacted the NSW plantation sector with an estimated 110,000 hectares of radiata pine and eucalypt plantation lost or damaged. The NSW Government has recognised that further support is needed for the plantation sector to assist with bushfire recovery and to aid investment in order to meet future timber production needs and provide environmental and biodiversity certainty across NSW.

For more information on plantations, including the authorisation process, please contact your nearest Plantation Assessment Officer.