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State forests delivering higher net social benefits

5 December 2022
The state body for the forest and timber industry in Queensland has welcomed a landmark study into the long-term benefits from state forests in South and Central Queensland as compared to if they were managed as national parks[1]. Timber Queensland Chief Executive Officer Mick Stephens said “The study conducted by Indufor and Natural Capital Economics is a best practice approach to comparing management outcomes in state forests and national parks using cost-benefit analysis.”

“By taking into account the broad range of goods and services provided from state forests in the region, it was found that they deliver higher net social benefits over the range of discount rates and time periods evaluated. The median net benefit from state forest management was equal to an extra AU$1.2 billion in social benefits over the next 100 years, or 30 per cent higher than if they were national park.”

“The result is significant and demonstrates the enormous value from the multiple-use management of state forests. These forests deliver a broad range of social outcomes, including the provision of biodiversity, recreation, timber production and lower emissions through the carbon captured in forests and in harvested wood products,” Mr Stephens said.

“Selective harvesting of timber is also undertaken in accordance with the Queensland Parks and Wildlife code of forest practice, which provides state revenue to help offset management costs and pay for fire prevention, recreation assets and biodiversity protection.”

“Public forest decision making in Australia is often cast in a narrow land use paradigm that the only way to look after native forest and biodiversity is to lock it up in formal reserves. This is an outdated approach which fails to recognise the benefits from actively managing forests for multiple outcomes and ecosystem services, which this study shows,” said Mr Stephens.

“The study also identified the importance of engagement with First Nation peoples on the management of public native forests and recognition of indigenous cultural values.” The cost-benefit study was commissioned by the South & Central Queensland Regional Forestry Hub with funding from the Australian Government, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.

The report can be found here.

1 The study adopted an ecosystems approach, by incorporating regulating services such as biodiversity conservation and carbon sequestration, provisioning services such as timber and honey production and cultural services such as recreation and tourism.

Source: Timber Queensland

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