Demographic change and the implications for commercial forestry: Lessons from south-east Australia

Hugh Stewart, Digby Race, Allan Curtis

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Plantation forestry policy in Australia is driven by a strategy with a notional target of trebling plantations from one million hectares to three million hectares between 1997'2020. Development of new plantations is focused on agricultural land in the high rainfall regions of Australia ' the most densely populated part of the country, with rural landscapes undergoing profound change in demographics, em-ployment, land tenure and management, and evidence of the decoupling of land prices and agricultural returns from the land as new settlers enter the rural property market. Results of plantation expansion were compared in two case study regions ' the Murray Valley and the Green Triangle ' in south east Australia known to be undergoing differential rates of socio-economic change. In the Murray Valley region, a multifunctional landscape in that socio-economic change was bringing about more diversity and complexity in the way that rural landscapes were operated and used, plantation forestry had experienced difficulty in meeting expansion targets because of the high price of land driven primarily by buyers from Melbourne, and the generally low social acceptability of forestry. Further, the management of existing plantations was becoming more complex as a consequence of new neighbours with different values to long-term farmers. In contrast, in the Green Triangle, which was comprised of agricultural production and transitional landscapes, plantation expansion was occurring at a rate broadly expected by the forestry industry. Key strategies to increase the social acceptability of forestry in multifunctional landscapes, including integrated forestry development, are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDemographic change in Australia's rural landscapes
Subtitle of host publicationImplications for society and the environment
EditorsGary W Luck, Digby Race, Rosemary Black
Place of PublicationDordrecht
PublisherCSIRO Publishing
Number of pages25
ISBN (Print)9789048196524
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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    Stewart, H., Race, D., & Curtis, A. (2011). Demographic change and the implications for commercial forestry: Lessons from south-east Australia. In G. W. Luck, D. Race, & R. Black (Eds.), Demographic change in Australia's rural landscapes: Implications for society and the environment (1 ed., Vol. 12, pp. 207-231). CSIRO Publishing.