– Conservation of water, plants and animals
Underpinning all work in forestry is a focus on the conservation of water catchment values, maintaining biodiversity across the landscape and ensuring rare and endangered plants and animals are protected. This requires good monitoring programs and strong collaboration with other agencies and universities.
Silviculture is the practice of establishing and sustainably managing forests. This includes thinning, pruning and weed control, as well as production of seed for new forests, and the establishment and management of tree nurseries.
Successful silviculture relies on knowledge of tree growth and growth rates under different conditions. Foresters record and monitor growing stock in forests to forecast future growth, estimate community demand for forest products and identify the best strategies for management. The latter involves advanced modelling techniques and computer-based decision tools.
– Fire management and prevention
Foresters plan and implement strategies for fire prevention, detection and suppression. Within fire management, foresters also consider the protection of fauna habitat, regeneration of new forests, the needs of communities and the protection of cultural heritage and other important assets.
– Carbon and natural capital accounting
Foresters work to appropriately value natural capital (parts of the living world that benefit people) and the ecosystem and other services it provides. Forest accounting looks at the value of ecosystems not only for tangible commercial forest products, such as timber or honey, but also carbon sequestration, clean water and biodiversity.
– Farm forestry
Farm forestry can involve working with farmers to reverse land degradation, such as that caused by soil erosion and salinity, by restoring native forest corridors and establishing plantations.
Foresters work closely with the agricultural sector to assist with private management of plantations and systems of plantation establishment on farmland.
– Timber Harvesting
Foresters organise and control timber harvesting for sawn timber for house construction, furniture manufacture, floors and decking, plywood, particleboard, poles, posts, fuel wood, and paper pulp.
Timber harvest planning takes into consideration requirements for environmental protection (including protection of threatened species), soil and water conservation, managing fire risks, and provisions for regeneration of the forest. Foresters also take into account market requirements and economics.
Harvesting involves a significant amount of forest engineering skill to locate and construct roads, bridges and other necessary infrastructure.
Foresters can be involved in all stages of harvesting, from pre-planning, supervising operations, regulating, processing, utilisation and marketing of forest products.
All forest management is supported by scientific research. Extensive, wide-ranging studies are undertaken by forest management agencies, CSIRO, cooperative research centres and universities. Often research activities are associated with extension work, taking the results to government agencies, private forest companies or the agricultural community.