Sustainable forest management

Western Australia is home to many beautiful forests and timber species that provide economic, social and environmental benefits.

Sustainable forest management takes into account all of the different ways people use forests and ensures they are managed for the long term.

Our State forests provide many benefits, including:

  • animal and habitat protection;
  • recreation;
  • protection of steams and water supply;
  • cultural and historical values; and
  • jobs and forest products.

Effective sustainable forest management finds the balance between managing the health and productivity of our forests while still enjoying the benefits they provide, such as the timber and timber products we use every day.  

Forest Products Commission (FPC) forest managers are well trained to understand how to maximise the timber we can get from harvesting operations and use science to ensure forest features are maintained and future regeneration is possible, ensuring the forest remains healthy and productive for years to come.

Who manages our forests?

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Conservation and Parks Commission

The Conservation Commission is an independent authority that oversees the administration of Western Australia’s national parks, conservation parks, nature reserves, State forests and timber reserves.

Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions

The Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions has the lead responsibility for protecting and conserving the State’s environment on behalf of the people of Western Australia. This responsibility includes monitoring activities which may disturb the environment, including timber harvesting.

Forest Products Commission

The FPC is responsible for the sustainable management and development of Western Australia’s timber industry using plantation, sandalwood and native forest products on land owned or leased by the State.

Policy and practice

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All of FPC’s operations are grounded in ecologically sustainable forest management. It is one of the key guiding principles in the Forest Management Plan 2014 – 2023 and the Forest Products Act 2000.

Our forest management policy is integrated in all of our operations. The FPC works with other agencies to provide the resources required to fulfil the policy commitments.

Our policy objectives include:

  • Maintain a forest management system that is externally certified to IS0 14001 and the Australian Standard for Sustainable Forest Management (AS4708).
  • Maintain planning, implementation, monitoring and audit systems, supported by regular reviews and an effective reporting system.
  • Set objectives and targets to ensure a continuous improvement approach to both management performance and managing environmental, economic, social and cultural impacts and outcomes including the prevention of pollution.
  • Operate in accordance with relevant Commonwealth and State Government legislation, as well as applicable codes, standards and other requirements that apply to the FPC’s operations.
  • Ensure there are no planted genetically modified trees within forests managed by the FPC.
  • Sustain the contribution to the global carbon cycle.
  • Clearly define forest management responsibilities.
  • Train staff and contractors in good forest management practices.
  • Liaise with internal and external stakeholders on forest management issues and performance.
  • Provide resources appropriate to the nature, scale and impact of the forest activities.

The Plantations Code provides goals and guidelines to public and private plantation managers so that they are economically competitive and sustainable, and are consistent with other resource management objectives.

Independent certification

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The FPC is certified to the:

These standards and systems ensure the FPC manage the forests to the highest possible standard and allow customers buying WA timbers to be sure they have come from independently certified forests.

These certifications are received after undergoing a rigorous auditing process of the FPC's management systems. In order to maintain certification the FPC must also demonstrate continually improvement of our forest management systems.

Scope of the Environmental Management System

The FPC's Environmental Management System scope includes the processes involved in the planning and management of harvesting operations, post-harvest re-establishment activities and the transport and sale (nationally and internationally) of forest products associated with plantations, native forests and sandalwood. The scope also covers the development and maintenance of associated infrastructure. The scope is further described in the Sustainable Forest Management Framework - Native Forest and Plantations.

Summary management plan

The FPC has developed a Sustainable Forest Management Framework - Native Forest and Plantations to meet the requirements of the Sustainable Forest Management (AS4708:2013). This provides an overview of our forest management in the areas that are certified under SFM or otherwise referred to as our defined forest area. Defined forest area maps are available on the links below.

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Page reviewed 16 November 2021