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Farm Forestry

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This document is part of a series of four guidance reports that cover topics related to small-scale farm forestry, private native forestry, and Indigenous managed forest lands. Learn more about the other reports and documents via this link.

To meet Australia’s, and the world’s, increasing demand for wood fibre requires a policy approach that maximises the role of small-scale, privately owned forests in fibre supply. There are barriers to participation of private landholders and Indigenous groups in commercial forestry. One of the most significant obstacles is limited knowledge about how plantations and native forests can be managed as a legitimate and profitable land use that contributes meaningfully to Australia’s future wood fibre needs.

Forest & Wood Products Australia (FWPA), with funding from the Australian Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF), engaged Greenwood Strategy Solutions Pty Ltd to undertake a comprehensive project to collect, collate, analyse and make available the large volume of historic trials and publications related to the topic and to prepare detailed Guidance Materials that will help break down these knowledge barriers.

This report provides a comprehensive overview of the business of small-scale private forestry in Australia. It aims to provide guidance to landowners, advisers, regulators, non-government organisations, and timber processors and manufacturers interested in developing private forestry as an enterprise.

The report is structured to address various aspects of farm forestry, including the benefits of trees in agriculture, sustainability, plantation management practices, and the integration of forestry into farming enterprises.

It covers:

  • the importance of maximizing the role of small-scale, privately owned forests in wood fiber supply to meet the increasing demand for wood fiber in Australia and globally
  • barriers to participation of private landholders and Indigenous groups in commercial forestry
  • how to break down knowledge barriers that may prevent some landowners from seriously considering forestry as a viable on-farm enterprise
  • the definition of farm forestry and its significance in the context of Australian agriculture
  • an overview of the benefits of trees in agriculture and defines farm forestry, emphasizing its potential to contribute meaningfully to Australia’s future wood fiber needs.

The report also delves into the sustainability aspects of farm forestry, discussing Australia’s sustainable forest management framework and the measurement of sustainability. It addresses the Montreal Process criteria and indicators, the circular economy, triple bottom line accounting, natural capital accounting, and sustainability at the farm scale. Additionally, the report explores the role of forests in climate change, including carbon sequestration by forests, carbon markets, and the eligibility criteria for participating in carbon markets.

Another important aspect covered in the report is plantation management practices, including silviculture, species selection, and plantation establishment and management. It provides insights into the types of silvicultural regimes and strategies, as well as an overview of silvicultural concepts and operations. The report also addresses the selection of plantation species, including considerations for the best species to plant, plantation species in Australia, and the distinction between softwood and hardwood species.

Furthermore, the report emphasises the integration of forestry into farming enterprises, discussing the reasons, methods, and locations for integrating forestry into farming systems. It also provides guidance on farm forestry and farm planning, highlighting the importance of considering forestry as part of a farming enterprise and the need for detailed site-specific guidance.


Pat Groenhout, Jill Roscoe & Tuesday Phelan, Greenwood Strategy Solutions Pty Ltd. Braden Jenkin, Sylva Systems Pty Ltd. Mark Annandale & Chloe Annandale, Landroc Pty Ltd. Tom Schraenkler, TWS Project Partners.

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