Forests in your pocket - all you need to know

1 April 2004
DAFF04/7D


The key facts and figures about Australian forests are at your fingertips in the pocket-sized publication Australia’s forests at a glance,was released at the Natural Resource Management Expo in Canberra.

Australia’s forests at a glance,developed by the Bureau of Rural Sciences (BRS) and the National Forest Inventory (NFI), pulls together the latest statistics on forests and forest-based industries,” said Dr Peter O’Brien, BRS Executive Director.

“Now, more than ever, it is important to have a consistent national picture of the extent, condition and use of Australian forests. With this information, Australians are well placed to make their own judgements about whether forest resources are being managed sustainably and whether forest values are being appropriately protected.

Australia’s forests at a glance gives an overview of all values of forests — environmental values and biodiversity, recreational uses and information on the Australian forestry industry. Industry information includes locations of plantations and mills, its contribution to the economy, export dollars, major markets and significant features. 

“This is an excellent tool, in an easy-to-read format, for everyone with an interest in forests — from industry, to environmentalists, from policy makers to teachers,” he said.

Interesting facts from Australia’s forests at a glance include:

  • Australia has 162 million hectare of forests — which is 21 per cent of Australia;
  • About 1.6 million hectares (or 1 per cent of total forest area) are plantation forest;
  • The area of forest protected in nature conservation reserves has increased by 22 per cent since the last assessment in 1998;
  • 13 per cent of Australia’s forested land is under Indigenous ownership;
  • More than 78,400 people are directly employed in the forest sector;
  • Annual turnover in the forest sector is about $15 billion;
  • 78 per cent of native forest area in Australia is comprised of eucalypts; and
  • from 1990 to 2000, carbon uptake in forests increased by 9 per cent, harvest emissions increased by 18 per cent and land clearing emissions decreased by 63 per cent.

“BRS keeps highly detailed information on Australian forests to assist in the development of policy advice and management decisions,” Dr O'Brien said.

The NFI is based in BRS and has been instrumental in providing a better information base for policy development and for informing the Australian public on the status of Australian forests. It is a collaborative partnership between Australian and State government agencies and presents Australian forest data to the United Nations and other international organisations.

Media contact:

BRS Kylie Paulsen DAFF Media +61 2 6272 3232