A list of frequently asked questions to assist you.

Plantation planning

I have a forest, what can I do with it?

That depends on your objectives, time and resources, and the forest type. You may find it useful to browse the Tree Alliance Knowledge Hub topic pages to learn about the possibilities for your forest – including how to manage and harvest trees, and the market opportunities available to you.

For personalised advice, it’s best to talk over your options with a forester. We encourage you to call our free helpline 1300 661 009.

Planting in winter on cool, overcast and wind-free days whilst the plants are dormant is the best time to plant trees – typically between June and September.

It’s important to order your tree seedlings well in advance to ensure adequate stock is available when required. A list of reputable nurseries is available in PFT’s Directory of Tasmanian Forestry Services.

A simple management plan is recommended to ensure an accurate schedule that includes ordering seedlings, site clearing, preparation, weed control, game control, fencing and fertilising.

Find more information on plantation planning and timeframes

Harvesting trees involves harvest inspections, contractors, legal considerations, clean-up and often reforestation. Harvesting technologies for small-scale operations are making their way to Tasmania, but are not yet widespread.

Very few Tasmanian farmers undertake their own logging and processing operations. Most engage a forester who can provide services across the harvesting and sales process, and connect you with contractors who can help undertake operations.

Find more information on harvesting and selling wood

A Forest Practices Plan (FPP) is a legal requirement under the Forest Practices Act 1985. It contains prescriptions and maps detailing how planned forest practices will be conducted, to ensure reasonable protection of the natural and cultural values of the forest.

If you are a landowner planning to carry out forest operations on your land, you are required to have an FPP. That includes for: harvesting and regenerating native forest, harvesting and/or establishing plantations, clearing forests for other purposes, clearing and conversion of threatened native vegetation, constructing road and quarries for the above purposes, and harvesting tree ferns.

FPPs must be prepared in accordance with the Forest Practices Code and must be certified by a Forest Practices Officer before works starts.

Find more information about the legal aspects of planting trees

A Private Timber Reserve (PTR) is an area of land set aside for forestry purposes. It is registered on the title and belongs to the title holder of the property. A PTR is land or forest used to establish forests, grow forests and to harvest forests in accordance with the Forests Practices Code. It may be an area of native forest, plantation or land intended to be planted in the near future and must be at least 5ha (12 acres) in area.

On land declared a PTR, local government approval is not required when undertaking forestry operations. A FPP would normally still be required for forestry operations on a PTR.

Find more information about PTRs

A Private Timber Reserve (PTR) belongs to the title owner of the property and the decision to revoke depends solely on the title holder.

Once harvested, you may be committed by your Forest Practices Plan (FPP) to convert your plantation area to pasture or another land use, and the removal of your PTR may be appropriate. If you are committed to continuing to use your land for forestry, do not revoke your PTR.

If you are uncertain of the land use after harvest, retain your PTR and contact Private Forests Tasmania for impartial advice related to your situation.

Financial matters

What are my trees worth?

The amount paid to a grower by a purchaser is known as stumpage – also called ‘royalty’. Stumpage excludes the costs for planning, harvesting and transporting the forest products to a processing plant. Stumpage is also be influenced by:

  • Species
  • Quality and grade
  • Volume
  • Size of trees
  • Location of, and access to, trees (on-farm)
  • Distance from market (transportation)

Find more information about harvesting and selling wood or visit our timber market tracker page to gain a picture of what your trees could be worth.

The most common way for timber to be sold in Tasmania is for forest owners to negotiate with potential buyers, either directly, through a wood broker or forest management company/forester, to achieve the best deal or most suitable arrangement for their circumstances. In the later stages of the negotiation, this can involve a period of sole negotiation with a preferred buyer.

Potential wood buyer/s will inspect your forest and provide you a written and itemised offer for each log grade, an estimate of tonnes and assessment of any roading requirements and forest practices issues. The most important figure to look at is the stumpage, which is the amount the buyer will pay you after harvest.

Selling timber can be complex. It is useful to talk over the options with a forester, who can provide guidance and practical support to plan and undertake your harvest.

Find more information about harvesting and selling wood

The primary market for farm forestry products in Tasmania is wood, with several commercial species that suit the Tasmanian climate and market infrastructure. Wood can originate from tree plantations established within farming landscapes, or from native regrowth forests, where silvicultural treatments can produce commercial timber while supporting forest health.

Trees can also open opportunities for farmers to access the carbon market, either by selling carbon credits or by neutralising farm emissions – and therefore farm products – to appeal to carbon-conscious buyers.

Biofuel is another emerging market for Tasmanian farmers, whereby forestry residues and other organic matter are sold and converted to bioenergy. Bioenergy is a clean energy alternative in the generation of electricity, heating and transport fuels, with the potential to replace fossil fuels in almost every market.

Learn more about economic benefits and markets of trees

Plantation trees are valuable and only increase in value as they grow. Plantation insurance can provide protection against fire damage, lightning, explosion and windstorms and cover can also include clean-up and re-establishment costs.

Plantation insurance is available, but it is your personal decision whether you choose to insure or not.

Find more information about insurance or search for a specialist provider on the Directory of Tasmanian Forestry Services

The Private Forest Service Levy was introduced into the Private Forests Act in 2001–02 so that private forest owners seeking advice and assistance could contribute to an organisation set-up to assist their needs.

PFT receives hundreds of inquiries each year for assistance relating to a range of matters including verbal advice, field inspections, forest practices concerns, plantation management, establishment and research and development. PFT also represents private forest owners on boards and committees for state and national forest policies, including regular discussions and input to the Minister and other state and federal politicians.

It is a legal requirement to pay the service levy, which is currently set at $15 per hectare of land harvested based on the forest practices plan. The levy is payable by the owner of the land as stated on the certificate of titles.

Levy fees can be disputed but must be put in writing and addressed to the Chief Executive Officer of Private Forests Tasmania, PO Box 180, KINGS MEADOWS TAS 7249.

Find more information on the service levy

The benefits

Can trees really benefit my livestock and crops?

Yes! Well-managed shelterbelts can increase your agricultural productivity in many ways.

Trees provide protection from heat, rain and high wind speeds, to improve the microclimate of paddocks and reduce stress on animals and crops. Studies on sites across Tasmania have demonstrated increased productivity and reduced need for irrigation on areas protected by shelterbelt plantings.

Trees also reduce the risk of soil erosion, salinity and nutrient loss, and support nutrient cycling for healthy soil.

By providing biodiversity and habitat across your farm landscape, trees and vegetation can also attract beneficial wildlife that supports the healthy functioning of your farm ecosystem.

PFT has conducted extensive research trials into the benefits of trees on farms, with demonstrable results showing the increased productivity values of trees.

Find more information about the on-farm benefits of trees [LB1] and case studies [LB2] from Tasmanian demonstration sites.

Trees can help to balance on-farm greenhouse gas emissions by removing carbon from the atmosphere and storing it in its trunk, branches, bark, roots and leaves.

Many farms choose to undertake carbon auditing and accounting to quantify their emissions reductions from tree planting projects, to access the carbon market either via carbon credits or carbon insetting.

Trees can also support environmental sustainability by offering a renewable alternative to materials such as metal, concrete and plastic. They can even provide a renewable alternative to fossil fuels in energy production, in the form of biofuel – which is produced from forestry residue.

Learn more about the carbon benefits of trees

The world needs to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to limit the impact of global warming and avoid the harshest effects of climate change. In Tasmania, agriculture accounts for more than one quarter of greenhouse emissions, putting farmers in a unique position to foster change.

Planting trees is a highly effective way of removing carbon from the atmosphere and storing it away: it’s thought that Australian forests store 22 billion tonnes of carbon.

Not only is carbon neutrality good for the environment, its an increasing expectation of markets and governments. By 2030, it’s highly likely that Tasmanian farming businesses will be required to be carbon neutral.

Balancing emissions also supports market access for farm products, in a world increasingly focused on emissions reductions. For example, a dairy farmer who plants trees on a portion of their land and demonstrates reduced emissions will be at the head of the queue in supplying to supermarkets who are required to meet carbon targets within their supply chains.

Biodiversity is a key indicator of the environmental health and sustainability of a farm. Similar to emissions reductions, it is widely considered that biodiversity values will be the next subject of government and market targets.

Healthy and varied vegetation supports the ecological functions that underpin farm productivity. Trees, shrubs, plants, herbs and grasses provide vital habitat for beneficial insects, birds and animals, which in turn deliver essential ecosystem services for your farm such as pollination and pest control. Biodiversity is also a natural capital asset that contributes to the amenity and value of your property.

Find more information about the on-farm benefits of trees, including biodiversity and habitat.

Support and contractors

Who can help me establish and manage my plantation? Who will do the work?

Forest managers can manage your forests on your behalf, including planting, silviculture, harvesting and marketing of wood. Some managers do all the roles, while others do components.

Silvicultural contractors can assist you with preparing your site, planting your seedlings, pruning, thinning, vermin and weed control for timber production.

PFT’s Directory of Tasmanian Forestry Services contains an extensive list of contractors who can help.

Forest Practices Officer (FPOs) are trained and appointed by the Forest Practices Authority. They have specialist knowledge to support farmers to plan their activities, and visit properties to help landholders understand the forest practices system, plan operations and prepare a Forest Practices Plan.

As a legal requirement, Forest Practices Plans must be certified by an FPO before any forestry practice starts.

Find more information about the legal aspects of planting trees

At times, the way in which forests are managed can impact neighbouring properties. Sharing concerns and exchanging of information between landholders and forest managers promotes positive relationships and co-operation.

The Tasmanian Forest Manager’s Good Neighbour Protocol was launched in 2019 to ensure neighbours of forest growers will be treated with dignity and respect.

Find more information on the Good Neighbour Protocol

Neighbours may contact PFT on 1300 661 009 or admin@pft.tas.gov.au. Alternatively, contact the Tasmanian Forests and Forest Products Network on 0419 302 777 or therese@tffpn.com.au.

Still have a question?

Get in touch with the Private Forests Tasmania team.

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