The Long-term Timber Supply Strategy for the Upper North East and Lower North East regions recognises the need to achieve environmental, social and economic objectives. It provides a basis for the timber industry to develop with a more secure wood supply. The cornerstone of the strategy is secure contractual arrangements for 20 years. Timber supplies from public native forests will increasingly be supplemented by plantation-sourced timber and from purchased Private Land.
Under the strategy, timber supplies will be maintained at 1999 contracted levels for 20 years. Subsequent contracts will be based on the long-term Sustainable Yield. Investment will reflect industry’s response to the stable operating environment and the changing resource profile including an increasing proportion of sawlogs of smaller diameter.
NSW Government commitments provide for the supply of High Quality Large Sawlogs and Large Veneer Logs through Wood Supply Agreements. Supply commitments specified in these Wood Supply Agreements will be subject to a review by 1 December 2006 (see Part B).
This Agreement recognises that current native forest resources and current plantation resources are a major part of the long term timber resource. It is estimated that the 100 year supply levels after 2018 will average approximately 70,000 m3 per annum in the Upper North East Region and 113,500 m3 per annum in the Lower North East Region of High Quality Large Sawlogs and Large Veneer Logs from existing native forests and Plantations on State forests and other land owned by SFNSW, assuming harvesting under existing terms and conditions.
Both Governments aim to provide additional sawlog and other wood products that will become available through purchase by SFNSW of private native forest property and through Plantations established on purchased land or as joint ventures. These measures are currently predicted to bring the average annual available High Quality Large Sawlog and Large Veneer Log yield from State forests beyond the 20 years of this Agreement to within approximately 15 per cent of the 20 year contracted levels for Upper North East Region and Lower North East Region.
NSW is also committed to the supply of Forest Products such as firewood, fencing materials, seed, beekeeping products, cut wildflowers, commercial bush tucker and tea tree oil under relevant statutory controls.
Part A Timber Supply Commitments (Public Land)
The NSW Government has entered into 20 year Wood Supply Agreements, which commenced January 1999, that commit to the supply of 129,000 m3 per annum for 20 years in the Upper North East Region (of which 20,000 m3 will be sourced from the Lower North East Region) and 140,000 m3 per annum for 20 years in the Lower North East Region (net of the supply to Upper North East Region) of High Quality Large Sawlogs and Large Veneer Logs. These volumes are subject to review as set out in Part B of this attachment.
Additional volumes of 2,846 m3 of High Quality Large Sawlogs to mills in the Upper North East Region and 5,911m3 to mills in the Lower North East Region are to be supplied under a transitional "top-up" arrangement in 2000, to assist industry adjustments.
The 20 year Wood Supply Agreements provide industry with the certainty to invest and plan for long term operations. Wood Supply Agreements contain specific commitments for the supply of High Quality Large Sawlogs and Large Veneer Logs and may result in compensation in the event of failure to supply. The Wood Supply Agreements are specifically referred to in the NSW Government's Upper North East Region Forest Agreement and Lower North East Region Forest Agreement. The Forestry and National Parks Estate Act (1998) sets the framework for the development of the Forest Agreements and constrains the circumstances under which the Forest Agreements can be altered.
Contracted commitments and other arrangements associated with Wood Supply Agreements allow for the carrying forward of volumes under-cut or over-cut in any one year.
High Quality Small Sawlogs will be supplied at levels greater than 1999 contracted volumes. In addition NSW will use their best endeavours to provide a greater proportion of the High Quality Small Sawlogs resource through Wood Supply Agreements to enhance security for processors.
Arrangements for pulp grade timber include an amount of approximately 30,000 tonnes in the Upper North East Region per annum and approximately 152,000 tonnes in the Lower North East Region per annum, being a quantity which reflects current supply levels at the date of this Agreement. In addition, existing supply arrangements for other Forest Products (including poles, piles, girders, High Quality Small Sawlogs, low quality timber and small veneer logs) from forest operations will be honoured.
It should be noted that, the quantities referred to in the above paragraph (paragraph 12) simply reflect supply arrangements existing at the date of this Agreement. Other quantities of Forest Products will be supplied as a result of the management and harvesting of forests to meet the volumes specified in the Wood Supply Agreements for High Quality Large Sawlogs and Large Veneer Logs (paragraph 7). This will not result in a net increase in the High Quality Large Sawlog or Large Veneer Log volumes specified in paragraph 7. Some of the Industry Initiatives referred to in Attachment 11 may create important markets for some of these materials.
NSW will use their best endeavours to provide increased resource security for processors using logs not currently covered by Wood Supply Agreements by the first five year review.
Part B FRAMES and Wood Supply Reviews
NSW, through SFNSW, agrees to complete the following by 1 December 2006:
Commission and publish an independent review of the enhanced systems and process, models, information base, and assumptions which contribute to the FRAMES system;
Using the results of the above FRAMES enhancement and review, NSW will review the timber resource and the annual volume which may be harvested from 2007 – 2018 consistent with the overall Sustainable Wood Supply Strategy to achieve a long-term Sustainable Yield and to optimise sustainable use objectives consistent with this Agreement.
The two reviews above will be based on the Sustainable Wood Supply Strategy, the area available for harvesting in the Upper North East Region Forest Agreement 1999 and Lower North East Region Forest Agreement 1999 as defined through net harvestable area exclusions and the Integrated Forestry Operations Approvals (1999). The reviews will also consider the contribution to the Sustainable Wood Supply Strategy of any additions to the land available for harvesting resulting from the purchase of Private Land and development of new public hardwood Plantations (see Part C).
Informed by the review, NSW will consider additional supplementation of High Quality Large Sawlogs and Large Veneer Logs and have regard to the long-term Sustainable Yield after 2018.
Any changes in the contracted volumes specified in clause 79 resulting from the review process outlined in Clause 81 will be incorporated into this Agreement through clause 8 and will be advised to holders of Wood Supply Agreements prior to 1 December 2006. These volumes will then be available to industry until the end of 2018.
Part C Hardwood Sawlog Supply Supplementation Strategy
The Parties agree that the following long-term hardwood sawlog supply supplementation strategy will be implemented to allow the supply of more timber and raise the long term Sustainable Yield of hardwood sawlogs from public forests in northern New South Wales;
Subject to availability of suitable land, New South Wales will spend the allocated $18 million between 1999 and 2004 to purchase Private Land and/or timber rights to provide approximately 180,000 m3 of High Quality Large Sawlogs and Large Veneer Logs for the Upper North East and Lower North East regions within the term of this Agreement.
Subject to the availability of suitable land, New South Wales will spend the allocated $30 million by 2004 to establish at least 10,000 ha of hardwood Plantations across both the Upper and Lower North East Regions to supplement supplies of High Quality Large Sawlogs and Large Veneer Logs from public forests. This initiative is expected to produce approximately 125,000m3 per annum for 10 years commencing in approximately 40 years time.
The following supplementation activities will also contribute to the Sustainable Wood Supply Strategy volumes and the long term Sustainable Yield:
Adoption of a North Coast Thinnings program (Attachment 11) to increase the recovery of timber suitable for solid wood uses and increasing the economic viability of Forestry Operations; and
Carbon sequestration initiatives to enhance plantation development and subsequent timber availability.
Part D Private Forest Resource Initiatives
The Parties recognise that industry development based on private forest resources including Plantations will be facilitated by the following measures:
The State will improve administrative arrangements and cooperation and coordination by State agencies (refer to Attachment 8) to facilitate the timber industry utilising private forest resources. Education programs will be developed to deal with ecologically sustainable management issues and clearly relate these to management requirements for conservation and to the codes of forest practice governing activities in both public and private forests.
As a means of encouraging private forestry development, consistent with clause 46, the State will develop a regulatory framework that enables a more efficient and integrated approval process to allow for effective private forestry development. Codes of Practice for private Plantations and private native forests will be in place within five years in accordance with clauses 57 and 58. The State will also provide advice regarding marketing and pricing.
NSW will ensure that under the Native Vegetation Conservation Act (1997) and consistent with clause 56 of this Agreement, regional vegetation management plans covering Private Lands form a basis for strategic regional planning of private native forestry. With appropriate public involvement, and consistent with the Native Vegetation Conservation Act (1997) the Regional Vegetation Management Committees will pursue planning policies that provide for appropriate long term, secure, management provisions for private native forests. The management plans should provide for harvesting for commercial wood production to be an “as of right” use where appropriate and subject to relevant Codes and Ecologically Sustainable Forest Management consideration.
NSW will ensure that an integrated Code of Practice is developed for plantation activities across all tenures, under the Plantations and Reafforestation Act (1999). The need for local government planning consent for plantation establishment and reafforestation projects has been replaced through the new legislation by a stand alone authorisation process administered by the NSW Department for Land and Water Conservation (DLWC). Applications to establish a plantation that comply with the Code of Practice will be given approval by DLWC within 14 days. Existing Plantations can also continue to obtain certainty for the purposes of harvesting as per the Timber Plantations (Harvest Guarantee) Act (1995), and similar provisions included in the Plantations and Reafforestation Act (1999).
Parties agree that a private forest inventory of northern NSW to determine the basis of yield of wood products from Private Land is required. Parties will use their best endeavours to promote an inventory of private forests, with the agreement of forest owner groups, with the objective of having an inventory in place within five years.
Implement across the Upper North East and Lower North East regions, site specific silvicultural regimes of light to medium Australian Group Selection and light, medium and heavy Single Tree Selection and thinning.
Reflect in the FRAMES models the above site-specific silvicultural regimes (refer paragraph 24, point 6).
Review the FRAMES systems and wood supply by 1 December 2006 to predict timber yields from 2007 – 2018 consistent with Part B of this Attachment.
Report the annual production of all timber products.
Undertake additional inventory plot measurement consistent with FRAMES principles to improve the accuracy of volume estimates at the Regional Level, funded at $500,000 per year for the first five years of this Agreement.
Monitor FRAMES performance through comparison of actual versus predicted volumes each 12 months for 20 years.
NSW will commission independent audits of the progress of the Sustainable Wood Supply Strategy to be completed and published in time for the second and third five-yearly reviews.
New South Wales will consult with the Commonwealth in the establishment of an ongoing FRAMES development program for the Upper North East and Lower North East regions. It is expected that this program will be implemented by 1 December 2006 and will include the following elements:
Improved inventory base and modifier models. Regular monitoring of predicted versus actual annual product yields and component measures as described in Section 3.5 of the New South Wales Upper North East Forest Agreement and the Lower North East Forest Agreement;
Increased number and coverage of permanent growth plots to cover an appropriate range of sites, strata and silvicultural systems;
Continued permanent growth plot measurement to update growth, mortality and recruitment models and development of new models to reflect changing silviculture (including thinning);
Development and implementation of a Native Forest Management Information System (MIS) that addresses silvicultural and harvesting planning and progressively improves estimates of net harvestable area, management history, silvicultural requirements of stands and operational feasibility. The system should also inform monitoring and reporting against Sustainability Indicators consistent with clause 49 of this Agreement;
Testing of simulation models against independent data sets and undertake sensitivity analysis to help inform error limits of Sustainable Yield;
Refine the FRAMES simulator and scheduler so that it selects and reports a range of silvicultural prescriptions and yield tables within strata, that reflect operational practices;
Better reporting within FRAMES of area harvested, residual stand characteristics and modelled silviculture and harvesting regimes;