The spheres of politics and forestry have always been closely connected and this was
especially evident towards the end of the 20th century, when environmental campaigners
began to lobby governments to conserve more of the forest estate, and increased pressure on
the Forestry Commission to change its harvesting approach and techniques. The State and
Commonwealth governments worked with the conservation movement, communities and
industry, and together they developed plans to ensure that adequate areas of forested land
were maintained in reserves and appropriate forested land was available for ongoing timber
production. This process led to the first Regional Forest Agreements being signed in 1999.
These agreements saw a dramatic increase in the amount of land set aside for conservation
as national parks and the enacting of rigorous legislation to balance native forest harvesting
with environmental conservation and the protection of Aboriginal cultural heritage.
While early forays into plantations of both introduced and native species began at
the time the Forestry Commission was established, and increased during the post-war
construction boom, these plantations took time to grow. As these plantations matured,
industries and towns grew up around them and it was evident that their success was an
essential element in ensuring long-term timber supply. Today, Forestry Corporation staff
are specialists in the management of plantation and native forests and implement forest
management techniques based on the latest scientific data and quality control.
And our forests are flourishing. Our relationship with our forests has evolved over the
last century. Where once a forest was a source of jobs and timber, today we also recognise
a forest as a place of recreation and relaxation, of natural beauty and biodiversity, and of
cultural significance. Forests are a natural asset to be cherished and a legacy to safeguard
for future generations. It is a century since the Forestry Commission was first appointed to
manage NSW’s forests, and there were thousands of years of expert management by the
original custodians of these forests before that. This book is both an exercise in reflection
and a restatement of our commitment to preserve our forests’ future for the next 100 years
And as we do, the Forestry Corporation remains true to the guiding principles of our
forebears – to ‘serve the needs of both present and future generations’.
1 Forest Wealth, produced for the Forestry Commission of NSW in 1926 by Sovereign Films.