Australia’s forests and forestry glossary


The non-biological components of the environment (e.g. climate).

Above-ground living biomass

All living biomass above the soil, including stump, stem, bark, branches and foliage, and attached material such as dead branches.

See Below-ground living biomass, Biomass.


Australia’s largest genus of flowering plants, commonly referred to as wattles.

Acacia forest

As a national native forest type used by the National Forest Inventory, forest dominated by trees of the genus Acacia.

See Acacia, Native forest type.


Increasing levels of acidity that can damage soil and vegetation.

Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR)

A remote-sensing technology carried on two polar-orbiting satellites each with a multi-spectral scanning radiometer providing imaging information of the Earth’s entire surface at a resolution of 1.1 kilometre. AVHRR data provide information on vegetation cover and vegetation change (e.g. after fire).


Establishment of forest on land not previously forested. The Kyoto Protocol and various carbon emission reduction initiatives use specific definitions of afforestation.

See Deforestation, Reforestation.

Age class

A group of trees of a similar age, such as a cohort of native forest trees regenerating after a disturbance event, or a set of plantations established in a given time-period.

Aggregated retention

A native forest silvicultural system in which clumps or clusters of trees (aggregates) are retained when forest stands are harvested for wood. A form of variable retention.

See Harvesting, Silvicultural system, Variable retention.


1. Establishment or management of trees or forest stands (either plantation or native forest) on private agricultural land, generally for commercial benefit including wood production but also for farm management, environmental or aesthetic reasons.

2. A land-use system that integrates trees with agricultural crops or animals in the same land management unit.

Also known as farm forestry.

See Environmental planting, Other forest, Plantation.


A genus of trees closely related to the genus Casuarina, both of which are commonly referred to as she-oaks.

See Casuarina forest.

Allowable cut

The average quantity of wood, usually prescribed in a legislative instrument or an approved management plan, permitted to be harvested from a forest management planning unit or region, annually or periodically, under management for sustained yield.

See Sustainable yield, Sustained yield.


A flowering plant, in which the seeds are enclosed within an ovary. Angiosperms are traditionally divided into two classes, monocotyledons and dicotyledons.

See Dicotyledons (dicots), Monocotyledons (monocots).

Apical dominance

Growth habit of a shoot whereby growth and development of lateral buds are suppressed.

See Multi-leaders (of trees).


A collection of living trees established at a single site, at least partly for observation and scientific study. Plural: arboreta.


Logs produced (arising) as a result of the harvest of logs of other species or of other grades, but that do not meet the size or quality specifications for those other species or grades.


Burning strategic locations in the expected path of an approaching bushfire under controlled conditions, to reduce the fuel load available to that bushfire.

See Fuel-reduction burn, Planned fire.

Basal area

A measure of stand density that sums the cross-sectional area of trees at breast height (1.3 metres above ground) in a given area of forest.

Below-ground living biomass

All biomass of live roots in the soil.

See Above-ground living biomass, Biomass.


The variety of all life forms, plants, animals and microorganisms, their genes, and the ecosystems they inhabit.

See Ecosystem diversity, Genetic diversity, Species diversity.


A form of energy derived from biomass, when biomass is used to generate electricity or heat or to produce fuels.

See Biofuel, Biomass.


An energy source made from organisms and their products (biomass) such as wood and plant matter, algae, or animal fats.

See Bioenergy.


Relating to the study of the geographic distribution of living things.

Biological diversity


1. Material of biological origin (plant or animal).

2. Living and dead organic material located above-ground and below-ground, for example trees, grasses, litter, roots and soil organic matter, often determined for the purposes of carbon accounting.

See Above-ground living biomass, Below-ground living biomass.


A large, regional ecological unit, usually defined by some dominant vegetation pattern.


A large, geographically distinct area that has a common climate, geology, landform, and vegetation and animal communities.



The biological components of the environment (e.g. plants, animals and other organisms).


Referring to biota.

See Biota.

Bole log

Log taken from a tree trunk between the ground and the crown break (the height of the first major branch).

See Crown (tree).

Bole volume

Volume of a bole log.

Boreal forest

Forests found in the colder regions of the northern hemisphere, north of regions in which temperate forests grow, and dominated by coniferous trees such as pine, spruce and larch.

See Subtropical forest, Temperate forest, Tropical forest.

Broadscale clearing

Clearing of large tracts of native vegetation.

See Deforestation, Forest clearing, Land clearing.


A strip or area of land where disturbance is not permitted or is minimised, and which serves to mitigate impacts on adjacent land or water. Buffer areas can be found around protected areas, along roads or along water-courses.

See Disturbance, Filter strip, Protected area.


Fire started naturally (such as by lightning), accidentally, or deliberately (such as by arson), but not in accordance with planned fire management prescriptions. Also called unplanned fire or wildfire.


A general term in Australia for natural vegetation, covering any kind of habitat from open, shrubby country with scattered trees, to tall, closed forests.


A genus of gymnosperm trees. Most species of Callitris occur in Australia, and are commonly referred to as cypress pines.

See Gymnosperm.

Callitris forest

As a national native forest type used by the National Forest Inventory, forest dominated by trees of the genus Callitris.

See Callitris, Native forest type


A layer of tissue in woody vascular plants that produces xylem and phloem, and is responsible for secondary growth of stems and roots.

See Phloem, Vascular plant, Xylem.


Uppermost layer of a forest comprising tree crowns, branches and leaves, together with vines, ferns and other plants living in the tree crowns.

See Crown (tree), Overstorey.

Canopy cover

See Crown cover

CAR reserve system

Comprehensive, adequate and representative reserve system: a forest reserve system that includes the full range of vegetation communities (‘comprehensive’), with a level of reservation sufficiently large to maintain species diversity as well as community interaction and evolution (‘adequate’), and conserving the diversity (including genetic diversity) within each vegetation community (‘representative’). The CAR reserve system comprises dedicated formal reserves, informal reserves, and areas where forest values are protected by management prescriptions, as well as areas protected on private land.

See Formal reserve, Informal reserve, Management by prescription, National Reserve System, Protected area, Vegetation community.

Carbon accounting

Determination of the amount of carbon stored in an ecosystem and changes in this amount.

Carbon credit

A tradable certificate, permit or legal instrument, deriving from a verified reduction of one unit (one tonne) of carbon dioxide emissions (or equivalent), and tradable to offset one unit (one tonne) of carbon dioxide emissions (or equivalent).

Carbon dioxide equivalent

Unit for amount of greenhouse gas, as the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) that has the same radiative effect in the atmosphere. Abbreviated as CO2-equivalent or CO2-e.

See Greenhouse gas.

Carbon sequestration

Removal of carbon from the atmosphere and its storage in vegetation, soils or elsewhere.

Carbon sink

A carbon reservoir or pool that has the capacity to accumulate carbon.

Carbon source

A carbon reservoir or pool that has the capacity to release carbon.

Carbon stock

Quantity of carbon in a carbon reservoir or pool. For example, the quantity of carbon stored in forests and wood products.