Forests and forestry in Tasmania

Tasmania’s temperate climate is ideal for the forests that cover almost half the island – an area of 3.3 million hectares.

Approximately 40 percent of Tasmania is protected in World Heritage wilderness areas, in national parks or in other reserves.

Forestry Tasmania, a Tasmanian-government body, manages 1.4 million hectares of State forests and 178,000 hectares of forest reserves. Only about 50 percent of State forest may ever be harvested and less than one percent is logged in any one year.

For each tree that is cut down, three are planted.

There are 18,000 hectares of hardwood plantations and 49,000 hectares of softwood plantations on Tasmanian State forests. The wood is used for solid products and some is chipped to provide fibres for paper production.

The forest industry provides more than 20 percent of Tasmania’s manufacturing employment and more than 25 percent of manufacturing wages. It contributes one billion dollars a year to Tasmania’s economy.

Leven Canyon
The Leven Canyon in north-west Tasmania.
© Central Coast Council and Richard Eastwood

Perhaps at least as important as that, is the fact that the forests act as carbon sinks, absorbing carbon emissions from the atmosphere and, for those who live on the island, they are quite simply good for the soul. They make living in Tasmania a most pleasant experience.

Massive Stringy Bark tree
Massive Stringy Bark tree in a Tasmanian forest.
© Tourism Tasmania and Joe Shemesh

World Heritage areas in Tasmania

Covering 20% of Tasmania, the huge and internationally-significant Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area contains Tasmania’s four largest national parks, as well as other national parks and conservation areas.

The region was first accepted for listing as a World Heritage area in 1982, acknowledging that it was one of the last great, temperate wilderness areas left in the world.

An area nominated for World Heritage status must satisfy at least one of ten criteria. The Western Tasmania World Heritage Area satisfied a record seven categories.

See related news item (11 January 2007).