Australia's forests

  • Australia has a total of 134 million hectares of forests comprising:
    • 132 million hectares of native forests
    • 1.95 million hectares of commercial plantations and,
    • 0.47 million hectares of other forest.
  • These forests cover 17 per cent of Australia’s land area
  • Australia has 3% of the world's forest area and the 7th largest reported forest area of any country worldwide.
    Department of Agriculture, 2018

About the forestry profession

Australia's forests are managed by forestry professionals and forest scientists know as foresters.

Forest Management is a very dynamic profession that involves the practical application of scientific, economic and social principles to establish and manage ecosystems dominated by trees.  Forestry professionals and forest scientists manage natural forests and woodlands like National Parks and State Forests, tree plantations that produce the fibre Australia needs, and the many combinations of trees and agricultural activities known as agroforestry or farm forestry.

Forestry professionals include:

- professional foresters
- natural resource managers and administrators
- environmental managers
- forest biologists
- rangeland ecologists
- conservationist biologists and park managers
- forest and wood engineers
- forestry business administrators
- forest researchers
- forest economists and
- rural-enabling practitioners

Forest management is concerned with the ecosystem as a whole, integrating all components of a particular ecosystem to achieve the objectives set by the forest or land owner. Forest management problems often require a multi-disciplinary approach, so foresters frequently work with other professionals in the natural and social sciences and in business. Forestry focuses on the long-term sustainability of forested ecosystems, usually with time horizons from decades to centuries. These timeframes pose both strategic and operational challenges and means that planning on a variety over a range of time horizons underpins forest management. Forestry education and training therefore involves the integration of many disciplines to manage forest ecosystems sustainably. Forestry programs typically include learning across the natural and social sciences, and in business principles; and the development of practically-oriented skills to apply them across a wide spectrum of forested ecosystems.

With increasing urbanisation and associated pressure on fragmented ecosystems, strategies and principles traditionally used in management of native forests are increasingly applied to urban forests and woodlands.

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