Plantations & Farm Forestry

Plantations and farm forestry can potentially meet all of Western Australia's timber needs, while delivering multiple social, economic and environmental benefits. Expanding the plantation estate onto previously cleared land and developing the farm forestry1 sector will ensure the availability of sustainably and locally produced timber while improving water quality, capturing and storing carbon and protecting soils. When strategically and appropriately integrated into agricultural systems, farm forestry can enhance farm productivity and sustainability and offer income diversity for farmers.

Aims

The Greens (WA) want:

  • healthy, prosperous and sustainable farming communities that integrate farm forestry and good soil and water catchment management into their systems
  • a plan to develop a sustainable and economically viable plantation and farm forestry based timber industry to enable the transition of timber production from native forests to plantations and farm forestry (see also The Greens (WA) Forests & Woodlands policy)
  • forest owners to be paid for agreed public good outcomes, recognising the potential of reforestation of rural lands to improve catchment conditions and natural ecosystem health
  • the location of plantations and farm forests and the species deployed being informed by sound information and advice on land suitability, regional climatic trends and regional infrastructure and industry development plans
  • support for the development of firm long-term regional industry development plans, to provide investment confidence to plantation and farm forest owners, and to wood processors and manufacturers
  • support for value-adding to timber products
  • provision for a market in carbon credits based on plantations and farm forests, recognising the role that plantations and farm forests can have in sequestering atmospheric carbon and helping to mitigate climate change (see also The Greens (WA) Climate Change policy)
  • owners of plantations and farm forests to have secure rights to harvest and market their products, and to subsequently replant or regenerate their properties
  • the plantation estate to be expanded onto previously cleared land, rather than land occupied by ecologically functional native forests
  • improved care and ecologically sustainable management of privately owned native forests and woodlands

Measures

The Greens (WA) will initiate and support legislation and actions that:

  • assign the functions of the Forest Products Commission to the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development
  • review existing plans and develop and fund a comprehensive plantation and farm forestry plan to support a vibrant timber industry (see also The Greens (WA) Planning policy)
  • support the establishment of timber processing and manufacturing businesses to improve utilisation of plantation and farm forestry resources
  • promote the opportunities for farm forestry to contribute to land rehabilitation and salinity mitigation, better use of natural resources, and the reinstatement of biodiversity corridors (see also The Greens (WA) Agriculture policy)
  • encourage plantation owners and farm foresters to consider a range of tree and understorey species that:
    • suit local environmental and site conditions;
    • can tolerate increasing impacts of climate change;
    • yield products that meet market specifications; and
    • contribute to enhancing regional biodiversity (see also The Greens (WA) Biodiversity policy)
  • develop a comprehensive State Planning Policy or WA Planning Commission Manual or Guideline to guide the development of plantations and farm forestry
  • develop financial assistance strategies for plantations and farm forestry to optimise both timber production and landcare outcomes
  • for carbon offset projects involving tree planting, ensure regular independent monitoring  of carbon sequestration2 and hold the purchaser of offsets liable for any shortfall of actual sequestation against initially projected sequestration
  • fund research, development and extension services to support plantations and farm forestry in viable parts of the state
  • expand the planting of mallee, sandalwood  and other indigenous species in the Wheatbelt
  • research and promote Western Australian native tree species suited to specialty high value timber production in plantations
  • only allow importation of timber that is both FSC certified3 and not old growth native timber for processing and/or re-sale in Western Australia
  • promote highest value adding for timber produced in Western Australia
  • support the development of processing facilities and markets for the broad range of forest products that can be grown in Western Australia
  • create a stable planning and regulatory environment for the sector, including secure harvest rights
  • develop appropriate strategies to work with the fine woodcraft industry to meet their needs (see also The Greens (WA) Arts and Culture policy)
  • develop appropriate strategies to efficiently and responsibly utilise farm forestry residues and sawmill waste for products such as ethanol and other bio-energy products, bio-char, and oils
  • end all logging of native forests and woodlands in Western Australia with all forest products to be sourced from plantations and farm forests (see also The Greens (WA) Forests & Woodlands policy)

(See also the Australian Greens Natural Resources policy)

Glossary

  1. Farm forestry is the incorporation of commercial tree growing into farming systems. It can take many forms, including timber belts, alleys and widespread tree plantings. Farm forestry can provide farmers with an alternative source of income. It can improve agricultural production by providing shelter for stock and crops and can provide substantial environmental benefits such as salinity control.
  2. carbon sequestration - the long-term storage of carbon in plants, soils, geological formations and the ocean.
  3. FSC certification – The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an international not for-profit, multi-stakeholder organisation established in 1993 to promote responsible management of the world’s forests. Its main tools for achieving this are standard setting, independent certification and labelling of forest products. This offers customers around the world the ability to choose products from socially and environmentally responsible forestry.

Plantations & Farm Forestry policy ratified by The Greens (WA) in 2020

The Greens (WA) spokesperson for plantations and farm forestry is Diane Evers MLC