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Department of State Growth

Special species timbers

Special species timber harvesting

Tasmanian specialty timbers are prized for their aesthetic and structural value. These timbers make an important contribution to the Tasmanian economy and brand – buyers are seeking out unique Tasmanian products, which are beautifully crafted by our local boat builders, furniture makers and other craftspeople. The sector supports small businesses and jobs right across the State. The harvesting and utilisation of special species timbers has a long history in Tasmania, and is an important part of the state’s cultural heritage.

Tasmanian Special Species Management Plan 2017

The first Tasmanian Special Species Management Plan (the Plan) was released by the Tasmanian Government on 18 October 2017. The Plan was prepared in accordance with the requirements of the Forestry (Rebuilding the Forest Industry) Act 2014, and is designed to provide a management framework for the long-term and sustainable harvesting of Tasmanian special species timbers. The Plan was open for public comment in 2017 and a total of 4,255 submissions were received.

The Plan can be accessed here (PDF) (Word).

A fact sheet has been developed to provide information about special species, the Plan, and how it operates. The fact sheet can be accessed here (PDF) (Word).

Harvesting on Future Potential Production Forest Land

The Plan is an important element of the sustainable management of Future Potential Production Forest land. The Forestry (Rebuilding the Forest Industry) Act 2014 requires that the Crown Lands Minister may only approve an application for special species harvesting on Future Potential Production Forest land where:

  1. the special species timber that is the subject of the application … cannot be supplied, at the time of the making of the application, from the permanent timber production zone land; and
  2. the special species timber harvesting will be consistent with the Special Species Management Plan.

A flowchart detailing Special Species timber harvesting on Future Potential Production Forest land is available here (PDF).

Potential applicants seeking to harvest on Future Potential Production Forest land should contact the Crown Land Services Manager on 6233 6413.

Rainforest Silviculture Guidelines

Special species are commonly found in blackwood forest, mixed forest (wet eucalypt forest with a rainforest understorey), and rainforest. As part of the development and implementation of the Plan, the existing silvicultural technical bulletin for the harvesting of rainforests was updated. The updated Rainforest Silviculture Guidelines provide guidance on the selection and application of appropriate silvicultural practices in rainforests in Tasmania. The Guidelines are a practical document for use in forest practices planning and to inform forest managers on appropriate silviculture techniques. Forest practices including special species timber harvesting are regulated through the Forest Practices System under the Forest Practices Act 1985 and in accordance with the Forest Practices Regulations 2017.

The Rainforest Silviculture Guidelines are not prescriptive, but have been developed to encourage low-volume, high-value sawlog production on a tread widely, tread lightly basis.

The Guidelines can be accessed here (PDF).

Special species timbers spatial layers

A series of state-wide spatial layers has been developed to support the use of the Plan and Rainforest Silviculture Guidelines (see flow chart ). The spatial layers are a predictive tool for broad-scale planning, and can be used to identify areas that may contain special species timbers, based on existing spatial vegetation data.

The spatial layers form the first step in planning for special species harvesting. Once potential areas have been identified from the spatial layers, landowner permission must be gained before accessing these areas. Detailed site-based assessments of forest type and suitability for harvest should be carried out before any specialty timber harvesting is planned. Users of these spatial layers should be aware that not all areas indicated in the spatial layers will a) contain special species timber, b) be on land tenure available for timber harvesting, and c) be of a forest type suitable for sustainable harvesting of special timbers.

A background document explaining the development and interpretation of these layers is available here (PDF). The layers have been added to The LIST, which contains other spatial layers useful in special species timber harvest planning (e.g. road networks, land tenure, reserve category, etc).

Submerged timbers reports

Over the past five years, there have been rapid developments in the commercial salvage harvest of logs from underwater storages in Tasmania.

The University of Tasmania recently produced a report on their recent research examining the extent and material characteristics of the submerged timber resource in Tasmania.

The report can be accessed here (PDF).

For enquiries regarding the Tasmanian Special Species resources on this page contact;