Appendix 3: What impacts have been measured in the past?

​Recent social and economic studies examining the Australian forestry sector were reviewed to identify what types of social and economic impacts have been studied, and the methods used to identify impacts. Table A3.1 summarises the findings of the review. The studies reviewed are listed in the references section.

Table A3.1: Types of impacts measured in previous studies

Sociodemographic impacts

What does it measure

Data sources/methods used in previous studies

Change in sociodemographic characteristics: population; education; labour force; house-hold composition; employment; income; and introduction of new social class.

  • Is the forest industry located in areas with particular/ unique sociodemographic characteristics? eg Brooks et al. (2001):
    • If yes, are unique characteristics a result of forestry industry activities?
    • How does unique characteristics influence the forest industry; and
    • How does change in the forest industry influence socio-demographic characteristics of the community.
  • Analysis of secondary statistics – however, statistics need interpretation;
  • Qualitative interpretation of statistics e.g. through local focus groups; and
  • Household survey.

Socio-demographic impacts during initial construction of infrastructure.

  • Impact of infrastructure on population, employment, housing, income;
  • Impact on community relations, sense of place, social dynamics; and
  • Local community response to influx of construction workers/ families.
  • ABS data on employment, migration etc; and
  • Interview/survey with community members and forest industry.

Community involvement

  • Change in community participation as people arrive/leave the community; and
  • How this is related to change in the forest industry
  • Survey of club membership eg Rural Fire Service, sport/service clubs.

People moving into/out of the community.

  • How do changes in forestry affect emigration/immigration of residents into and out of the region;
  • Changed trends in people selling/buying eg properties sold;
  • Where are people moving from/to? and
  • What are the impacts of changed population?
  • Survey of people buying/selling/ leasing;
  • ABS statistics on population change; and
  • Data identifying how different people experience change – focus groups, survey.

Characteristics of the forest industry

What does it measure

Data sources/methods used in previous studies

Forest industry profile:.

  • Area managed for different purposes;
  • Volume harvested;
  • Volume and value of products produced;
  • Location;
  • Employment/economic indicators (listed below); and
  • How the industry is changing over time- required to interpret any associated social changes.

Secondary data:

  • ABS data: total turnover and volumes;
  • National Forest/ Plantation Inventory: area established/ harvested; and
  • ABARE Forest and Wood Products Statistics.

Primary data:

  • Surveys of forest industry.

Trends in broader industry profile (future).

  • Impact of area expansion on: output from harvesting and processing; type and number of jobs; and projected establishment rates.


  • Survey: future plans of forestry businesses;
  • Recent past trends and establishment rates;
  • Applications to increase plantation area;
  • Property sales to plantation companies; and
  • Location of new processing infrastructure.

Employment impacts

What does it measure

Data sources/methods used in previous studies

Direct employment: number of forestry-based jobs; as a percentage of total jobs in region.

  • Changes in employment in the industry; and
  • Dependence on the forest industry (percentage of total workforce).
  • ABS (CPH); and
  • Industry surveys.

Characteristics of employees: flexibility eg willingness to move; characteristics of work eg full/part time; number of dependents; partner’s employment and employee age, gender, education.

  • Job satisfaction (voluntary turnover);
  • Reliance/attachment (flexibility);
  • How many people are affected by a change in the industry (dependents);
  • Permanency/type/quality of jobs;
  • Median age compared to average; and
  • Employee vulnerability/ dependency ie dependency of households on the forest industry; flexibility.
  • ABS; and
  • Industry surveys: employees and employers.

Location of employment eg regional/rural.

  • Location of impacts.
  • ABS data: address of residence/employment; and
  • Surveys: employee/employer.

Employment during construction: by type

(influx/outflux of temporary workers).

  • Number of jobs; and
  • Usual residence of employees /residence five years ago, compared to total population/long term employees.
  • Analysis of past construction jobs; and
  • ABS data (total population/ comparison to long term trends).

Economic impact: indirect employment

-Indirect and induced (flow-on effects).

  • Number and location of jobs across a wide region; and
  • The broader economic impact/ dependency on the industry.
  • Surveys/interviews; and
  • Quantitative: indirect expenditure.

Economic impacts

What does it measure

Data sources/methods used in previous studies

Direct economic impacts

  • Value;
  • Volume of timber production; and
  • Costs ie transport, processing, employment.
  • Economic survey: industry-based businesses; and
  • ABS data.

Indirect and induced economic impacts (flow on effects)


  • Value of regional development associated with secondary forest industry businesses post initial processing;
  • Sawmills: total log throughput; recovery: mill door prices/ production; input costs/costs of operation;
  • Value adding, market outlook;
  • Supplier: current purchases/location; and
  • Number/size of businesses per activity, local dependence, employees.
  • Survey of businesses (contractors/processors);
  • Input output analysis- analysis of financial flows; and
  • Analysis of multipliers.

Regional revenue/ gross regional product impact

  • Change over time;
  • Economic impact at a regional scale;
  • Regional dependence on the industry ie proportion of total revenue;
  • Use of revenue in the region ie indirect impact; and
  • Future availability.
  • Councils: survey/data;
  • Survey of plantations owners: future availability;
  • Survey of suppliers;
  • ABS data; and
  • Australian Tax Office data.


Government revenue

  • Change (objective);
  • Income received by government from taxes, spending etc; and
  • Revenue for the total timber industry.
  • Industry spending/ tax data;
  • Australian Tax Office data;
  • ABS data; and
  • Input-output models.

Land/house prices:

  • Land value;
  • House prices; and
  • Cost to lease.
  • Change (objective); and
  • Impact of local plantations on land value; willingness to pay; and desire to move to/from the area.
  • Databases of land sales;
  • Real estate agents; and
  • Newspapers.

Income - personal.

  • Change (objective); and
  • Value of industry to individuals.
  • General trends of average income by region; and
  • Survey of employees- average by category.

Cost benefit and opportunity cost analysis: comparison of employment/ investment generated by alternative uses of the same resource.

  • Relative impact (objective- although choice of variables is subjective); and
  • The relative value of different opportunities for land use.
  • Economic survey; and
  • Tax information.

Economic viability of the local area.

  • Impact (objective); and
  • Opening/closure of local businesses/ franchises eg public pools, pubs, major supermarkets, petrol stations.
  • Survey;
  • Local council; and
  • Comparison to other rural towns with similar population.

Economic impact of lost opportunity for other forest uses ie tourism/recreation.

  • Impact (predominantly objective);
  • Revenue (past, present, future trends); and
  • Predicted lost revenue.
  • Survey of local businesses.

Perceptions, attitudes, values

What does it measure

Data sources/methods used in previous studies

The effect of visual/nomenclature factors on perceptions.

  • Impact (subjective); and
  • Opinion about whether change in forest tenure (name) is positive/negative.
  • Primary – visual assessment techniques (comparison of name and image). Could be done irregularly and provide useful data for several years.

Perceptions felt by different groups.

  • Impact (subjective);
  • Differences perceptions of different groups/how they perceive each other; and
  • Identification of values and vision for the community and comparison to businesses/ new residences.
  • Semi-structured interviews (explanatory);
  • Quantitative questionnaire eg attitude scale/response to hypothetical situations;
  • Behaviour eg visits to forested land;
  • Public forums and media analysis; and
  • Comparison of views of different groups.

Public perception of how the forest industry changes/ influences community identity.

  • Impact (subjective);
  • How community identity changes if the forest industry changes; and
  • Strength of local ties and attachment to place.
  • Qualitative interview- long-term residents;
  • Quantitative (agreement/disagreement with hypothetical statements);
  • Repertory grid analysis; and
  • Early histories of the area.

Social relations and norms of trust (social capital).

  • Impact (subjective); and
  • Changing relationships within the community.
  • Interviews; and
  • Qualitative survey eg response to a range of community-focussed questions.

Perceived loss of power due to changed local forest industry.

  • Impact (subjective); and
  • Changed power relations within the community.
  • Survey/interview.

Community knowledge of different forest industry types.

  • Impact of greater or lesser knowledge about forests/the forest industry on perceptions of forestry.
  • Quantitative survey: assess community’s knowledge ie response to questions on alternative forest industry activities; and
  • Comparison to perceptions of the industry.

Response to public perception: Methods/ effectiveness of industry/ government communica​tion.

  • Impact (subjective);
  • Extent to which industry/government communicates with the public; and
  • Public concern and participation in the local area.
  • Survey of industry/government/ community representatives- comparison;
  • Interviews/workshops: What do the public think that industry could do better? and
  • Quantitative interview.
Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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