Appendix 2: Recommended methods for assessing social and economic impacts of forestry, from review of Regional Forest Agreements

​This Appendix summarises the recommendations of Brooks et al. (2001) on recommended methods for assessing social and economic impacts using readily available data. They recommend that each Comprehensive Regional Assessment region should be statistically profiled to the collection district and urban centre locality scales, with collection of the data summarised in the table below, and analysis of trends in the data. They then recommend that the analysis should focus on (p 134):

Identification of features which tend to indicate a community's increasing vulnerability to change, or a decreasing viability and adaptability. Features that would indicate a decrease in a community’s capacity would include; an increase in the age of the population, unemployment, dependence on government pensions or allowances, or dependency ratio's; and decreasing levels of education and median household incomes.

The methodology focuses on identifying community vulnerability to change which can assist in predicting likely impacts of change, rather than on assessing direct impacts of particular changes in the forest industry.

Recommended indicators (Brooks et al. 2001: 131-4)


Data Type


Local Economic Viability 

Industry by employment

Employment by industry 

Employment and Labour Force

Rate of unemployment*

Unemployment by Urban Centre Locality

Age structure of Work Force

% Population by age category by industry

Educational skill level of community

Education qualification attained (left school 16yrs, vocational and tertiary)

Level of Indigenous employment

Number of indigenous employees by industry

Socio-demographic structure of communities


Level of household income

Median household income- UCL

Population distribution

Total population and dependency ratios

Age structure

Median age


% population English speaking

Presence of dependent children

Proportion of children 0-14 + dependant youth (15-24) currently in full time education

Years of residence in area

More than five years in location

Community infrastructure

Retail and trade service

Business register

Community vitality


Housing ownership

% home ownership

Income distribution

Median income by age group

Dependence on social* security

Adults over 25 years of age dependent on government pension of allowance

* All data types used ABS data sources, except Rate of Employment (ABS and Department of Employment, Workplace Relations and Small Business), and Dependence on Social Security (CentreLink, & Department of Family and Community Services)

Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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