There are three primary elements to Tasmania's approach to achieving ecologically sustainable forest management:
- the Forest Practices Code to ensure the achievement of sustainable forestry operations
- the development of a comprehensive, adequate and representative forest reserve system to securely protect nature conservation values
- the maintenance of a permanent native forest estate to ensure that we maintain the resource base for all its various production, conservation and amenity values.
The Policy for Maintaining a Permanent Native Forest Estate specifically addresses the third of these elements by ensuring that Tasmania maintains a permanent forest estate that comprises areas of native forest managed on a sustainable basis both within formal reserves and within multiple-use forests across public and private land.
In February 2007 a revised Policy was issued to meet the requirements of Clause 45 of the May 2005 Tasmanian Community Forest Agreement.Clause 45 requires that the Policy describe the agreed approach to the phasing out of broad scale clearing and conversion of native forest, which is that:
- 95% of the 1996 Comprehensive Regional Assessments (CRA) native forest area is to be maintained on a statewide basis.
- Broadscale clearing and conversion of native forest be phased out on public land by 2010.
- Broadscale clearing and conversion of native forest on private land be phased out over a period of ten years from 13 May 2005.
- Assessment criteria for regulating forest clearing and conversion to ensure protection of regional biodiversity and water quality values and to meet salinity objectives.
Broadscale clearing and conversion of native forest on public land has ceased.
The Forest Practices Authority has advised that the area of native forest retained on a statewide basis is approaching the 95 percent level.
In December a revised policy was approved and released by the Minister for Energy and Resources that provides a limit to the area of native forest that can be cleared and converted on any property until 2015, when all broadscale clearing will end.
In September 2011 the Policy was further revised to clarify terminology and implementation mechanisms.
The Policy is implemented by the Forest Practices Authority through the Authority's consideration of applications for approval of Forest Practices Plans under the Forest Practices Act 1985.