The sustainable management of timber harvesting in Western Australia is governed by a strict and comprehensive legislative framework. It is vital to the success of the industry to adhere to these regulations in order for the forests to be managed to the highest standard.
The Forest Management Plan (FMP) is the piece of legislation that governs the management of state forests in WA. The FMP provides the sustainable management framework for a 10 year period before being re-evaluated. It states:
‘The basis for the approach to forest management in the plan stems from the principles of ecologically sustainable forest management. That is, the economic and social values derived from the use of the natural areas covered by the plan, should be provided through a management system that is based on consideration of its impacts on biodiversity and is precautionary in nature.’
The FMP governs all land vested by the Conservation Commission, and compliance with the FMP is enforced by the Department of Parks and Wildlife and the Conservation Commission of Western Australia. The Forest Products Commission is responsible for managing the commercial operations in WA forests in a sustainable manner.
The current FMP (2014-2023) covers approximately 2.25 million hectares of native forest primarily in the South-West of WA. The native forest covered by the FMP is broadly categorised into two categories: land that is available for timber harvesting (approx 850000 hectares) and land that is protected through various national parks and other types of reserves (1.4 million hectares).
The FMP enforces maximum volumes of product that can be harvested from the forest and sustainably regenerated.