Financial incentives for landowners = improved forest productivity + future demand met?


Researchers behind a new report focusing on improving the productivity of Australia’s private native forests have called for financial incentives to be made available to landholders. Such payments would enable the engagement of forestry professionals to carry out the necessary silvicultural treatments for boosted yield and profit.

With the need for privately grown hardwood likely to increase over the next decade, the report contains evidence of the productivity of private native forests in southern Queensland and northern New South Wales. One key finding was that, on average, trees on silviculturally treated plots enjoyed growth rates approximately four times faster than those in non-treated plots.


Mapping found there are approximately 1.9 million hectares of commercially harvestable private native forest in southern Queensland, and 525,600 hectares in the upper north east region of New South Wales. Data from 203 permanent monitoring plots was analysed to measure the impacts of forest management practices that are vital to the supply of domestic hardwood.

The research suggested variable quality in forest management practices has negatively impacted the overall productive condition of this resource. Irrespective, the majority of private native forest sites surveyed were still considered to have untapped potential that could be released by effective forest management practices.

Researchers recommend making government-funded financial incentives available to landholders, to promote widespread adoption of beneficial silvicultural treatments.

As an example, annuity payments of $30 per hectare, per year, based on the treatment of 100,000 hectares of private native forest, have the potential to increase the annual sustained yield by 91,480 cubic metres. This would not only boost the domestic supply of hardwood, but also have a positive impact on regional employment. Additionally, the treatments themselves would likely lead to improved ecological conditions and biodiversity, and opportunities for carbon sequestration.

The team hopes to continue working with and educating landowners about the positive impacts of such practices on their businesses, the broader economy and the environment. Fact sheets, property case studies and a decision support tool will assist in future communication and education activities.

The research project was supported by FWPA, in collaboration with the Queensland Government Departments of Agriculture and Fisheries, Environment and Science (Queensland Herbarium), the University of Queensland School of Agriculture and Food Sciences, Private Forestry Service Queensland, and the NSW Department of Primary Industries.

The final report can be found here.