Why we need forestry professionals
Australia has 147 million hectares of native forests. Some 103
million hectares of closed and open forest is either privately owned or
leasehold while the balance is multiple use forest (9.4 million
hectares), conservation reserves (23 million hectares) or other
categories of public ownership (12 million hectares) (ABARES 2012).
In addition, there are about 2 million hectares of plantations,
mostly introduced softwoods. The bulk of the plantations in the past
have been owned by State Governments, but there is an increasing trend
towards private ownership of plantations and also toward share farming
systems of plantation establishment on farmland.
What do forestry professionals do?
These forests and
plantations require protection from and the management of the effect of
wildfires and other damaging agents such as insects and diseases. They
also require planning and management to provide a wide range of goods
and services for the community, such as pure water, recreation, timber
products, nature conservation, honey, wildflowers and so on. Planning
and management increasingly involve community participation at various
stages of these processes, so foresters need to be able to communicate
effectively with a wide range of people and groups in the community.
It is the task of trained foresters to protect and manage these
forests and plantations for the community or for private companies or
investors. In recent years foresters have also been increasingly
involved in assisting farmers reverse land degradation by establishment
of plantations on farmland, or by using agroforestry techniques to
reduce soil erosion or land and stream salinity.
In this way, forestry
is contributing to the development of more sustainable agricultural land
Australia imports about one-third of its forest products - $3.5
billion worth (ABARE 2012). Much of this could be grown in Australia so
there is great scope for increased forestation of farms with commercial
All forests must be actively managed if they are to provide the
services required by the owners and if they are to be sustainable in the
Foresters are employed by State national park agencies and
forest services, government departments, as well as by private companies
who own extensive plantations. Some foresters also work independently