Remake of the Coastal Integrated Forestry Operations Approvals - Consultation Closed, New Rules commenced (see below)

Image of State Forest in NSW

The NSW Government is updating the rules for native timber harvesting in NSW’s coastal forests. These rules, called the Integrated Forestry Operations Approvals (IFOA) set the rules for how forestry operations can be carried out on State forests and Crown timber lands in NSW.

IFOAs effectively set out rules to protect native plants, animals, important habitat and ecosystems, soils and water in native forestry operations on public land. They also set requirements to achieve ecologically sustainable forest management in NSW.

Over 3 million people visit NSW’s coastal forests each year for a range of activities. Native forests provide valuable habitat for threatened plants and animals. They are also an important resource for materials in everyday life like hardwood timber for high-end construction, furniture, fences and floors.


New Coastal Integrated Forestry Operations (IFOA) commences

New rules governing native forestry operations on public land in coastal NSW have been finalised, securing the forestry sector and delivering improved protections for the environment.

The new Coastal IFOA commenced on 16 November 2018. Over 3,000 submissions from industry, environmentalists and the community were received during the consultation process and a Consultation Summary is available on the EPA website: www.epa.nsw.gov.au

More information about the new Coastal IFOA, including a fact sheet and the full Coastal IFOA is also available on the EPA website.


The Draft Coastal IFOA

The Draft Coastal IFOA is made up of two separate documents: Draft Coastal IFOA Conditions and Draft Coastal IFOA Protocols.

Once approved, this single Coastal IFOA will replace the four existing IFOAs for coastal NSW Together the new IFOA will provide clarity, transparency and enforceability as well as better balancing environmental outcomes and timber production. It will also reduce compliance and implementation costs, making it easier for industry to comply and for the EPA to regulate activities.

Download a copy of the draft Coastal IFOA


How can I have my say

The Draft Coastal IFOA was open for public consultation from 15 May 2018 to 13 July 2018. Comments on the draft have now closed.

The NSW Government received approximately 3000 submissions. The Government will now take time to consider these public comments as it works to finalise the new Coastal IFOA.

Each submission will be treated as a confidential document unless the author requested it to be made public.

The NSW Government is updating the rules for native timber harvesting in NSW’s coastal forests. These rules, called the Integrated Forestry Operations Approvals (IFOA) set the rules for how forestry operations can be carried out on State forests and Crown timber lands in NSW.

IFOAs effectively set out rules to protect native plants, animals, important habitat and ecosystems, soils and water in native forestry operations on public land. They also set requirements to achieve ecologically sustainable forest management in NSW.

Over 3 million people visit NSW’s coastal forests each year for a range of activities. Native forests provide valuable habitat for threatened plants and animals. They are also an important resource for materials in everyday life like hardwood timber for high-end construction, furniture, fences and floors.


New Coastal Integrated Forestry Operations (IFOA) commences

New rules governing native forestry operations on public land in coastal NSW have been finalised, securing the forestry sector and delivering improved protections for the environment.

The new Coastal IFOA commenced on 16 November 2018. Over 3,000 submissions from industry, environmentalists and the community were received during the consultation process and a Consultation Summary is available on the EPA website: www.epa.nsw.gov.au

More information about the new Coastal IFOA, including a fact sheet and the full Coastal IFOA is also available on the EPA website.


The Draft Coastal IFOA

The Draft Coastal IFOA is made up of two separate documents: Draft Coastal IFOA Conditions and Draft Coastal IFOA Protocols.

Once approved, this single Coastal IFOA will replace the four existing IFOAs for coastal NSW Together the new IFOA will provide clarity, transparency and enforceability as well as better balancing environmental outcomes and timber production. It will also reduce compliance and implementation costs, making it easier for industry to comply and for the EPA to regulate activities.

Download a copy of the draft Coastal IFOA


How can I have my say

The Draft Coastal IFOA was open for public consultation from 15 May 2018 to 13 July 2018. Comments on the draft have now closed.

The NSW Government received approximately 3000 submissions. The Government will now take time to consider these public comments as it works to finalise the new Coastal IFOA.

Each submission will be treated as a confidential document unless the author requested it to be made public.

  • New Coastal Integrated Forestry Operations (IFOA) commences

    11 months ago

    New rules governing native forestry operations on public land in coastal NSW have been finalised, securing the forestry sector and delivering improved protections for the environment.

    The new Coastal IFOA commenced on 16 November 2018. Over 3,000 submissions from industry, environmentalists and the community were received during the consultation process and a Consultation Summary is available here.

    More information about the new Coastal IFOA, including a fact sheet and the full Coastal IFOA, is available here


    New rules governing native forestry operations on public land in coastal NSW have been finalised, securing the forestry sector and delivering improved protections for the environment.

    The new Coastal IFOA commenced on 16 November 2018. Over 3,000 submissions from industry, environmentalists and the community were received during the consultation process and a Consultation Summary is available here.

    More information about the new Coastal IFOA, including a fact sheet and the full Coastal IFOA, is available here


  • Environment and Industry stakeholders invited to draft Coastal IFOA briefing sessions

    by Emily B, over 1 year ago
    CLOSED: Consultation on the Draft Coastal IFOA has concluded.

    There have been news reports that NSW Government were not holding public consultation sessions on the draft Coastal Integrated Forestry Operations Approval (IFOA) – this is not the case.

    The NSW government invited environment and industry stakeholders to a series of regional information briefings to help them understand the draft Coastal IFOA and make a submission. Information briefings for industry and environment groups were held on 25 May in Sydney, 29 May in Grafton, 30 May in Port Macquarie, 4 June in Lismore, 7 June in Batemans Bay and Narooma and 8 June in Eden.

    However, this website is the...

    There have been news reports that NSW Government were not holding public consultation sessions on the draft Coastal Integrated Forestry Operations Approval (IFOA) – this is not the case.

    The NSW government invited environment and industry stakeholders to a series of regional information briefings to help them understand the draft Coastal IFOA and make a submission. Information briefings for industry and environment groups were held on 25 May in Sydney, 29 May in Grafton, 30 May in Port Macquarie, 4 June in Lismore, 7 June in Batemans Bay and Narooma and 8 June in Eden.

    However, this website is the primary portal for information on the draft Coastal IFOA. The presentation provided to stakeholders at these information sessions has been narrated and uploaded to this website. If the public have any questions on the draft Coastal IFOA, or would like to discuss the settings, they can make an inquiry at ifoa.remake@epa.nsw.gov.au.

    The Coastal IFOA is a draft. The Coastal IFOA will include revisions before being granted by the Minister for the Environment and the Minister for Lands and Forests – these revisions will be informed by the public feedback. As such, members of the public that are interested in the new rules in the draft Coastal IFOA are encouraged to provide feedback via the ‘make a submission’ tab on this page.

  • Old-growth forests will continue to be protected from native forest harvesting.

    by Emily B, over 1 year ago
    CLOSED: Consultation on the Draft Coastal IFOA has concluded.

    There are reports that the proposed draft Coastal IFOA could see old growth forests open to logging in a bid to sustain the timber industry.

    Neither the draft coastal IFOA, nor the old growth reassessment exercise that will be undertaken by the Natural Resources Commission (NRC), will allow any forestry operations in actual areas of old-growth forests.

    The NRC commenced a proof of concept project in 2017 at the request of the Premier. This work was to determine if modern mapping methods would more precisely identify and map old growth forest on the north coast. This project was supplementary to...

    There are reports that the proposed draft Coastal IFOA could see old growth forests open to logging in a bid to sustain the timber industry.

    Neither the draft coastal IFOA, nor the old growth reassessment exercise that will be undertaken by the Natural Resources Commission (NRC), will allow any forestry operations in actual areas of old-growth forests.

    The NRC commenced a proof of concept project in 2017 at the request of the Premier. This work was to determine if modern mapping methods would more precisely identify and map old growth forest on the north coast. This project was supplementary to previous advice provided by the NRC in 2016, which concluded there would be an estimated shortfall of wood supply arising from the proposed koala protections and new mapping of threatened ecological communities in the draft Coastal IFOA on the north coast.

    The NRC outlined their findings regarding mapping of old growth in their 2018 report . They identified that there were significant inaccuracies in the existing old growth forest mapping, including both in extent and location. This means that some high conservation old growth forests were not mapped, and that some areas were incorrectly mapped as they did not meet the JANIS definition of old growth forests. This being “Ecologically mature forest where the effects of disturbances are now negligible”.

    The NSW Government has requested the NRC to commence an old growth reassessment exercise to assess and improve the accuracy of existing mapping of High Conservation Value Old Growth forests. The NRC will work with the Office of Environment and Heritage to develop an environmental assessment framework and using best available technology, to independently reassess targeted sites on the north coast.

    Only areas identified to be incorrectly mapped as old-growth forest and that hold no other special conservation values, would be considered for rezoning to permit timber harvesting. This will only occur if a wood supply shortfall from implementing the Coastal IFOA has been independently verified.

    The details of this process are yet to be developed. Separate to the Coastal IFOA consultation process, the NRC will consult the public in the design of the reassessment framework over the next 12-months.

    For more information on the proposed reassessment of old growth forest and the reasoning behind it please visit the NRC website http://www.nrc.nsw.gov.au/ifoa.


  • What are the conditions reducing buffers for streams, and if so, in what context are these changes proposed?

    by Emily B, over 1 year ago
    CLOSED: Consultation on the Draft Coastal IFOA has concluded.

    The current mapping of streams is outdated and the rules for protecting them are inconsistent, resulting in some streams not being afforded any protection.

    Under the draft Coastal IFOA, LiDAR technology has allowed for more accurate mapping of streams. This mapping has picked up a larger amount of headwater streams than that used in the current IFOAs, impacting on how streams should be classified in the draft Coastal IFOA.

    In developing the draft Coastal IFOA, the NSW Government and Forest Corporation NSW looked at other jurisdictions and designed a stream classification system based on catchment area. This means that as...

    The current mapping of streams is outdated and the rules for protecting them are inconsistent, resulting in some streams not being afforded any protection.

    Under the draft Coastal IFOA, LiDAR technology has allowed for more accurate mapping of streams. This mapping has picked up a larger amount of headwater streams than that used in the current IFOAs, impacting on how streams should be classified in the draft Coastal IFOA.

    In developing the draft Coastal IFOA, the NSW Government and Forest Corporation NSW looked at other jurisdictions and designed a stream classification system based on catchment area. This means that as the catchment gets bigger, the stream exclusion zones get bigger.

    Area thresholds were examined to provide an equivalent area protection outcome and to match the old stream order, both in total and at the stream order level. This approach gives the best equivalent outcome for larger streams. The draft Coastal IFOA conditions maintain the current 20, 30 and 50-metre-wide buffer widths for these larger streams.

    Currently, unmapped features and headwater streams receive a mixture of no exclusion zone or a 10-metre-wide exclusion zone. With the improvement of mapping of these headwater streams, the draft Coastal IFOA proposes a minimum of a 5 metre stream exclusion zone on each side of them all. In areas where there is threatened fish habitat, more intensive harvesting practices applied, and in the Eden sub-Region, these streams will have increased 10-metre-wide stream protections.

    Additionally, it is proposed that all stream protections will be applied from the edge of the bank using the ‘bankfull concept’ meaning exclusion zone widths are applied each side of the stream bank edge not the centre line.

    Overall the proposed Coastal IFOA provisions ensure a minimum level of protection to all streams, more accurate mapping to simplify implementation and consistent protection to the larger features.

    More information about stream protections is available in the Landscape Factsheet and the Coastal IFOA Briefing Session Narrated Presentation (slides 31-34).


  • How was the Natural Resource Commission involved in the remake process?

    by Emily B, over 1 year ago
    CLOSED: Consultation on the Draft Coastal IFOA has concluded.

    It was important that the draft Coastal IFOA was based on the best available scientific and independent expert advice which considered both the technical aspects of forestry practices and environmental impacts. The NRC is the government’s independent expert advisory body on natural resources matters – and is experienced in providing the NSW Government advice on forest management matters.

    In 2016 and again in 2018, the NRC was asked to provide independent advice on a suite of proposed Coastal IFOA settings and additional measures to assist the NSW Government in meeting its commitments of maintaining both wood supply and environmental values.

    ...

    It was important that the draft Coastal IFOA was based on the best available scientific and independent expert advice which considered both the technical aspects of forestry practices and environmental impacts. The NRC is the government’s independent expert advisory body on natural resources matters – and is experienced in providing the NSW Government advice on forest management matters.

    In 2016 and again in 2018, the NRC was asked to provide independent advice on a suite of proposed Coastal IFOA settings and additional measures to assist the NSW Government in meeting its commitments of maintaining both wood supply and environmental values.

    The NRC has provided two reports to the NSW Government, which can be downloaded from the NRC’s website at www.nrc.nsw.gov.au/ifoa(External link).

    The NSW Government Response to the Natural Resources Commission Reports can be found on the ‘Have Your Say’ website in the document library.

    The NSW Government has accepted the NRC’s recommended IFOA settings set out in their 2016 report and these have been included in the draft Coastal IFOA, along with a range of other environment protection, forest management and monitoring requirements.

    The NSW Government has also accepted the NRCs recommendation to commence a process for improving the accuracy of old growth forest maps in select State forest sites on the NSW North Coast. This work will address potential impacts of the draft Coastal IFOA on wood supply, whilst maintaining robust environmental protections for areas with special conservation value. The NRC will oversee this process, and will consult further with the public on this proposal in 2019.


  • What timber supply volume did the Natural Resources Commission use in its analysis to determine whether the twin commitments could be met?

    by Emily B, over 1 year ago
    CLOSED: Consultation on the Draft Coastal IFOA has concluded.

    The Natural Resource Commission was asked to determine whether proposed settings for the coastal IFOA remake would, or would not, deliver on the Government’s commitment of no net change to wood supply, and no erosion of environmental values. The Commission determined that settings would have a negative localised impact on wood supply.

    The Commission used the figure of ~180,000 m3/pa (avg. harvest volumes over 100years) in its analysis based on wood supply volume from only the north coast native forest estate. As the IFOA settings do not apply to plantations, the Commission did not consider impacts on wood supply volumes...

    The Natural Resource Commission was asked to determine whether proposed settings for the coastal IFOA remake would, or would not, deliver on the Government’s commitment of no net change to wood supply, and no erosion of environmental values. The Commission determined that settings would have a negative localised impact on wood supply.

    The Commission used the figure of ~180,000 m3/pa (avg. harvest volumes over 100years) in its analysis based on wood supply volume from only the north coast native forest estate. As the IFOA settings do not apply to plantations, the Commission did not consider impacts on wood supply volumes from plantations.

    This article was prepared by the Natural Resource Commission, The Department of Primary Industries and Forest Corporation NSW.

  • What is the NSW Governments current total wood supply commitment in North East NSW, and what is included in this calculation?

    by Emily B, over 1 year ago
    CLOSED: Consultation on the Draft Coastal IFOA has concluded.

    The NSW Government updated its model for long-term sustainability of timber supply on the North East NSW (both Upper and Lower North East Regions) between 2012 and 2016 and summary of this work is available here(External link).

    The North East Long-term Wood Supply Model(External link) (see p48, NRC Report 2016) combines all High Quality Logs including; large sawlogs (those with a centre diameter under bark > 40 cm), small sawlogs (cdub <40cm) , veneer logs, poles, girders and piles. This model includes hardwood timber volumes available from both the plantation and native forest areas. The modelled high quality volume...

    The NSW Government updated its model for long-term sustainability of timber supply on the North East NSW (both Upper and Lower North East Regions) between 2012 and 2016 and summary of this work is available here(External link).

    The North East Long-term Wood Supply Model(External link) (see p48, NRC Report 2016) combines all High Quality Logs including; large sawlogs (those with a centre diameter under bark > 40 cm), small sawlogs (cdub <40cm) , veneer logs, poles, girders and piles. This model includes hardwood timber volumes available from both the plantation and native forest areas. The modelled high quality volume averages around 237,000m3 per annum. The model shows the proportion of high quality timber available from plantations increases over time, reaching as high as 25% of the total high quality volume in some later periods.

    The first increase in supply from plantations occurs as a result of volumes becoming available from the plantations established with funding provided under the RFA beginning to mature and reach commercial size from around 2025. The second increase is modelled to occur around 2050 from plantings where older flooded gum plantations, originally established in the 1960s and 1970s are being harvested and replanted with high value commercial species such as blackbutt.

    The increase in the proportion of timber sourced from plantations leads to a projected increase in proportions of smaller sized sawlogs in later periods of the model. Over the next 20 years the model predicts 30% of the high quality logs are small whilst the average is around 45% over the full hundred years and reaching close to 50% in some periods.

    This model informs wood supply allocation agreements made by the Forestry Corporation with timber processors. Timber is supplied under a range of commercial contracts, called Wood Supply Agreements with individual timber customers. Current commitments for high quality timber under wood supply agreements for the North East are shown in Table 1.

    Table 1. Wood Supply Allocations from State Forests in North East NSW – 2018.

    High Quality Product Allocation

    Base Wood Supply Agreement Allocation

    (m3/annum)

    Large Sawlogs (>40 cm)

    127,145

    Small Sawlogs (<40 cm)

    46,096

    Poles

    31,600

    Veneer

    11,202

    Girders

    4,150

    Piles

    260

    Total

    220,423

    Other volumes sold under a range of supply agreements

    High Quality Log Volume sold under parcel sales – note these are included in the sustained yield model

    ~10,000

    Annual Salvage log, pulpwood and residue sales

    ~average 300,000

    These agreements typically include clauses around indicative area of supply, species mix, annual variation to deal with annual supply fluctuations associated with weather and other logistical issues. This means annual supply can vary but the base allocation represents the long-term average yields that can be provided under those agreements.

    Lower Quality Log Agreements

    Whilst sustainability modelling is based around high quality log product volumes, there are also significant volumes of lower grade sawlogs, pulpwood and residue products sold each year that arise during harvesting operations primarily conducted to produce high quality products. Low quality logs are sold to customers under a range of supply agreements with different lengths and levels of requirements for supply. The total annual volume sold tends to be more variable than high quality products but typically represents 50-60% of annual log sales.

    This article was prepared by the Natural Resource Commission, The Department of Primary Industries and Forest Corporation NSW.
  • There are many forestry reforms occurring, what should I consider first?

    by Jesslyn Ireland, over 1 year ago
    CLOSED: Consultation on the Draft Coastal IFOA has concluded.

    The draft Coastal IFOA is the only forestry reform that is currently open for public consideration. This is an important reform that will inform how native forestry operations are carried out in State forestry for the next 20 years. Submissions on the draft Coastal IFOA close on 13 July 2018.

    Whilst the NSW Government has announced that there will be work undertaken by the Natural Resources Commission (NRC) on reassessing old growth forest in State forests on the NSW north coast – this work is yet to commence. Further public consultation opportunities will occur on...

    The draft Coastal IFOA is the only forestry reform that is currently open for public consideration. This is an important reform that will inform how native forestry operations are carried out in State forestry for the next 20 years. Submissions on the draft Coastal IFOA close on 13 July 2018.

    Whilst the NSW Government has announced that there will be work undertaken by the Natural Resources Commission (NRC) on reassessing old growth forest in State forests on the NSW north coast – this work is yet to commence. Further public consultation opportunities will occur on this reassessment work over the next 12-months.

    Public consultation on the review and extension of the NSW Regional Forest Agreements is complete. The public’s views on the RFAs are currently being considered by both the Australian and NSW governments.


  • Where will intensive harvesting be carried out and how many hectares are available?

    by Jesslyn Ireland, over 1 year ago
    CLOSED: Consultation on the Draft Coastal IFOA has concluded.

    Under the draft Coastal IFOA, intensive harvesting will be restricted to Blackbutt dominated forests between Grafton and Taree in Northern NSW. Forestry Corporation of NSW have identified a zone of about 140,000 hectares (the intensive harvesting zone) where further assessments will be undertaken to identify and map area where intensive harvesting may occur. It is estimated that about 50,000 hectares of forest will be mapped and available for intensive harvesting.

    The draft Coastal IFOA proposes additional limits on the application of intensive harvesting to distribute its impacts over time and across the landscape. This includes annual...

    Under the draft Coastal IFOA, intensive harvesting will be restricted to Blackbutt dominated forests between Grafton and Taree in Northern NSW. Forestry Corporation of NSW have identified a zone of about 140,000 hectares (the intensive harvesting zone) where further assessments will be undertaken to identify and map area where intensive harvesting may occur. It is estimated that about 50,000 hectares of forest will be mapped and available for intensive harvesting.

    The draft Coastal IFOA proposes additional limits on the application of intensive harvesting to distribute its impacts over time and across the landscape. This includes annual limits of no more than 2,200 hectares of forests, and/or a maximum of 5% of each management zone (and area of around 50,000 hectares), may be intensively harvested in any financial year. Rules around the size of individual intensively harvested areas and cumulative impacts are also specified.

    For more information on intensive harvesting, see the Timber factsheet.


  • Can I get an extension to make a submission?

    by Jesslyn Ireland, over 1 year ago
    CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

    The NSW Government has extended the consultation period from 29 June to 5.00pm Friday 13 July 2018.

    This extension is in recognition that this is a once-in-a-generation reform, and that the NSW Government want to ensure it hears all the community’s views on the draft Coastal IFOA. No further extension to the consultation period will be available.


    The NSW Government has extended the consultation period from 29 June to 5.00pm Friday 13 July 2018.

    This extension is in recognition that this is a once-in-a-generation reform, and that the NSW Government want to ensure it hears all the community’s views on the draft Coastal IFOA. No further extension to the consultation period will be available.