Protect our public native forests
Native State Forests in Queensland are more than just trees; they represent a vast and irreplaceable ecological treasure. These forests provide a critical habitat for threatened and endangered species and act as significant carbon stores, making their protection crucial for Queensland and Australia's environmental credibility.
By transitioning these State Forests to conservation reserves, the protected areas estate in Queensland could increase by up to 20%. This expansion would make a significant contribution towards Australia's national protected area target of 30% by 2030, as agreed upon at the 2022 Convention on Biological Diversity.
Queensland has the largest area of native forest of any state or territory in Australia, yet currently, only around 8.3% of the state's landmass is protected, far lower than other states. Doubling the footprint of protected areas in the state, as committed to by the Queensland Labor Government, would help meet this national target and ensure the survival of the state's most biodiverse regions.
Transitioning these forests to protected areas would not only benefit nature but also regional communities. National parks generate billions in annual revenue from tourism, providing employment opportunities for locals in hospitality and nature-based tourism.
Furthermore, logging in these State Forests is having disastrous effects on wildlife, particularly arboreal marsupials like the Greater Glider, whose conservation status was elevated to endangered in 2022.
Plantation forestry is the future of Queensland's timber industry. Plantations already provide most timber produced in the state and employ two thirds of the nearly 10,000 timber industry employees.
The time for leadership is now; we must end native forest logging and ensure a just transition to plantation-only timber supply. These State Forests are much more valuable as national parks or conservation reserves than as a source of timber. By protecting these forests, we can ensure a prosperous future for nature and regional communities.
Native Forests Facts
- Queensland has the largest area of native forest of any state or territory in Australia, at 51.6 million hectares. That's 39% of the nation’s native forests.
- The largest area of Rainforest is found here: two million hectares and 55% of Australia’s total. No wonder our rainforests were the subject of one of the most celebrated and successful forest conservation campaigns, which led to the creation of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area!
- Queensland has the second largest area of publicly owned native forest managed for timber and ‘multiple uses’, at 2.9m hectares. The extent of logging in these State Forests is second only to Victoria at 3.1m hectares.
Driml, S., Brown, R., Moreno Silva, C. (2020) 'Estimating The Value Of National Parks To The Queensland Economy'. Discussion Papers Series 636, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.
Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (2021) Annual Report 2021-2022. Queensland Government www.daf.qld.gov.au
Eyre, T.J. (2006) Regional habitat selection of large gliding possums at forest stand and landscape scales in southern Queensland, Australia I. Greater glider (Petauroides volans). Forest Ecology and Management 235, 270-282.
Timber Queensland Queensland forests facts and figures www.timberqueensland.com.au/growing/facts.aspx Accessed March 2023
State of Queensland (2016) Queensland Forest and Timber Industry: An Overview:4. Published online: www.publications.qld.gov.au