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Environment Protection Authority

Environmental Issues

Native forestry

Trial of the Coastal Integrated Forestry Operations Approval in the Lower North East Region

As part of the remake of the coastal Integrated Forestry Operations Approvals (IFOAs), the Government conducted a limited trial from July to September 2015. The trial required a temporary amendment to the IFOA for the Lower North East region to enable forest operations under different prescriptions to those currently required. As the trial is complete, the prescriptions that were required for the purpose of the trial are no longer authorised.

The Trial of the Coastal IFOA was restricted to five harvest areas (compartments) on the mid-north coast of NSW (in the Lower North East IFOA region). It tested the following elements which are being considered for inclusion in the draft Coastal IFOA:

  1. A range of new multi-scale threatened species settings that have been designed to manage the potential impacts of timber harvesting on threatened species and habitats over time and across the landscape. These settings include new and improved threatened species provisions, such as enhanced tree retention and landscape habitat protection, which will be implemented for every harvesting operation whether or not threatened species records are present.
  2. New stream classification and protection measures that will be applied to all streams that have been accurately identified through new LiDAR technologies.
  3. Establishing two thresholds for harvesting intensity within the existing regrowth zone.

The trial was not intended to be a scientific study, but rather an opportunity to implement a range of options to help clarify and finalise negotiations around the threatened species licence requirements at the landscape, stand and site scales.

The trial was implemented by the Forestry Corporation of NSW (FCNSW) under the close supervision of the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) and the Department of Primary Industries – Fisheries NSW. The EPA oversaw the trial to ensure appropriate controls were in place to minimise any potential environmental impacts. The IFOA remake trial method (PDF 1.8MB) sets the scope of the specific threatened species options and settings that were applied as part of the trial.

The information obtained from the trial is being used to further refine the proposed prescriptions and inform the finalisation of a draft Coastal IFOA. This includes ensuring that the prescriptions deliver against the objectives of the remake and Government commitments to no erosion of environmental values while maintaining access to existing levels of wood supply.

The report on the findings of the trial will be made publicly available with the release of the draft Coastal IFOA. Stakeholders will have the opportunity to provide feedback on the draft Coastal IFOA and the trial.

This trial was not related to the FCNSW's proposed trial of timber harvesting on steep slopes. The Trial of the Coastal IFOA did not permit timber harvesting operations in any area that exceeds 25 degrees slope or is currently excluded due to steep slope requirements. The steep slopes trial remains in a conceptual stage and has not been approved by the government.

Trial implementation

The trial was conducted in five operational areas in the Lower North East IFOA region. Each harvesting site had three treatments applied:

  1. The original IFOA requirements (status quo)
  2. Option A - the more flexible protection approach
  3. Option B - the most conservative protection approach.

The table below contains both the original IFOA and trial-only Harvest Plan and Harvest Plan Operational Map for each trial site.

Trial of the Coastal IFOA - Trial Locations
Queens Lake State Forest 1. Harvest Plan - original IFOA requirements (PDF 3.5MB)
2. Harvest Plan - Trial IFOA requirements (PDF 7.7MB)
3. Harvest Plan Operational Map - original IFOA requirements (PDF 625KB)
4. Harvest Plan Operational Map - Trial IFOA requirements (PDF 705KB)
Lansdowne State Forest 1. Harvest Plan - original IFOA requirements (PDF 4MB)
2. Harvest Plan - Trial IFOA requirements (PDF 7.8MB)
3. Harvest Plan Operational Map - original IFOA requirements (PDF 915KB)
4. Harvest Plan Operational Map - Trial IFOA requirements (PDF 880KB)
Kiwarrik State Forest 1. Harvest Plan - original IFOA requirements (PDF 10.2)
2. Harvest Plan - Trial IFOA requirements (PDF 8.3MB)
3. Harvest Plan Operational Map - original IFOA requirements (PDF 1.7MB)
4. Harvest Plan Operational Map - Trial IFOA requirements (PDF 1.2MB)
Ingalba State Forest 1. Harvest Plan - original IFOA requirements (PDF 223KB)
2. Harvest Plan - Trial IFOA requirements (PDF 8.1MB)
3. Harvest Plan Operational Map - original IFOA requirements (PDF 1.6MB)
4. Harvest Plan Operational Map - Trial IFOA requirements (PDF 1.6MB)
Styx River State Forest 1. Harvest Plan - original IFOA requirements (PDF 11.9MB)
2. Harvest Plan - Trial IFOA requirements (PDF 231KB)
3. Harvest Plan Operational Maps - original IFOA requirements (PDF 1.5MB)
4. Harvest Plan Operational Map - Trial IFOA requirements (PDF 1.2MB)

The frequently asked questions webpage provides more information.

Page last updated: 13 July 2016