Compliance of Forestry Corporation’s (FCNSW) plantation operations in NSW State Forests is regulated and monitored by NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI).
DPI received a complaint on 9 April 2023 regarding plantation operations at Conglomerate State Forest. Conglomerate State Forest has an authorised plantation within its boundary. Plantation operations for replanting of previously harvested plantations are in progress and subject to the Plantations and Reafforestation Act 1999 (the Act).
DPI has undertaken a compliance inspection of the plantation areas subject to the complaint. Compartments 18 and 22 were inspected and alleged breaches of the Act were not substantiated.
As the regulator of the Act, the complaint of alleged machinery operations on adjoining land is outside DPI’s jurisdiction.
FCNSW, the plantation owner, has been cooperating with DPI in this matter.
All authorised plantation operations are required to be undertaken in accordance with the environmental standards of the Plantations and Reafforestation (Code) Regulation 2001. This includes provisions for the protection of soil and water quality.
DPI continues to actively monitor compliance of authorised NSW plantations.
The Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Plantations Regulation Unit recently undertook an inspection at Wild Cattle Creek State Forest, in response to allegations of native forest conversion to plantation.
The inspection involved investigation of whether the areas harvested were within the authorised plantation area and monitoring of compliance with an additional condition applicable to this particular authorisation, requiring trees with a 90cm or greater diameter at breast height (DBH) to be retained. No trees greater than 90cm DBH were found to be harvested and all areas harvested were within the authorised plantation area.
Existing plantations established prior to commencement of the Plantations and Reafforestation Act 1999 (the Act) are required to be authorised for replanting following harvest. Some older native species plantations can look similar to native forest and areas within national parks. DPI only authorises an existing plantation where there is evidence that the area meets the definition of a plantation under the Act.
DPI uses a range of evidence in assessing applications for authorisation of an area as existing plantation. This can include historical aerial photos/ imagery, field notes and plans held by the owner/manager, and information held by other government agencies. Officers also undertake a field assessment of the plantation. If there is not sufficient evidence, the application is refused.
The inspection found that the harvest of native trees within the plantation authorisation area at Wild Cattle Creek State Forest is lawful.