A Glossary of Forest Policy Terms

​Biological diversity (biodiversity)

  • the variety of all forms of life - plants, animals and micro-organisms, the genes which constitute them and the ecosystems they inhabit.
Code of forest practice
  • a set of operational prescriptions on harvesting procedures and performance standards. Codes of practice are used to reduce, control and mitigate the impact of activities on the forest environment.

Comprehensive, Adequate and Representative Reserve System (CAR) 

  • a reserve system to conserve all native forest types as well as the plants and animals that depend on them. Comprehensive - the full range of forest communities recognised by an agreed national scientific classification at appropriate hierarchical levels; adequate - the maintenance of the ecological viability and integrity of populations, species and communities; representative - those sample areas of the forest that are selected for inclusion in reserves which should reasonably reflect the biological diversity of the communities.
Comprehensive Regional Assessment (CRA)
  • a joint assessment of all forest values by the Commonwealth and State - environmental, heritage, economic and social - leading to the establishment of a comprehensive, adequate and representative reserve system, agreements on forest management, and the signing of a regional forest agreement (RFA).
  • an area of forest with established boundaries which has been set aside for commercial forestry activities.

Deferred Forest Areas (DFAs) 

  • current wood production tenures that may need to be set aside from logging to allow their possible inclusion in a comprehensive, adequate and representative reserve system.

Ecologically sustainable development 

  • the Ecologically Sustainable Development Working Group on Forest Use specified three requirements for sustainable forest use: maintaining the ecological processes within forests (the formation of soil, energy flows, and the carbon, nutrients and water cycles); maintaining the biological diversity of forests; and optimising the benefits to the community from all uses of forests within these ecological constraints.

Endangered species and communities 

  • a species which is in danger of extinction and whose survival is unlikely if the causal factors continue. Included are species whose numbers have been reduced to a critical level or whose habitats have been so drastically reduced that the species are deemed to be in danger of extinction.

Export woodchip licence 

  • a licence issued annually by the Commonwealth Government authorising the export of an established amount of unprocessed forest products.

Farm forestry (agroforestry) 

  • a system in which both agricultural and forest products are produced concurrently from the same area of land by cropping or grazing below an open canopy.


  • an area incorporating all living and non-living components that is dominated by trees usually with a single stem and a mature or potentially mature stand height exceeding five metres. The existing or projected foliage cover of overstorey strata should be equal to or greater than 30 per cent.

Forest estate 

  • all forests growing on public or private lands.


  • the natural home of a plant or animal.


  • timber from broad-leaved, flowering trees, irrespective of physical hardness. Includes eucalypts, wattles and most rainforest species.

Interim Forest Areas 

  • a term relating specifically to areas in Tasmania in which logging will be excluded and from which a comprehensive, adequate and representative reserve will be drawn, leaving an area available for potential commercial operations in the future. Equivalent to DFAs in other States.

Interim Resource Areas (IRAs) 

  • areas in which commercial logging operations, including harvesting and associated roading activities, are permitted during the period of a DFA agreement.


  • a joint Commonwealth-State sub-committee responsible for preparing reports on the implementation of the NFPS for the information of the relevant Ministerial councils (the Australian and New Zealand Evironment Conservation Council and the Ministerial Council on Forestry, Fisheries and Aquaculture).

National estate 

  • those places that have been listed by the Australian Heritage Commission for their aesthetic, historic, scientific or social significance or other special value. National estate places may be significant for the natural or cultural environment of Australia. They are identified for their importance to future generations as well as to the present community.

Native forest 

  • any locally indigenous forest community containing the full complement of native species and habitats normally associated with that community, or having the potential to develop these characteristics.

National Forest Inventory 

  • a joint Commonwealth-State program responsible for collating comprehensive information about the location and diversity of Australia's forest estate.

National Forest Policy Advisory Forum (NFPAF) 

  • a national advisory body with balanced representation from stakeholder groups to provide advice on specific forest product industry and conservation issues.

National Forest Policy Statement (NFPS) 

  • a joint Commonwealth, State and Territory Government response which outlines agreed objectives and policies for Australia's public and private forests.

National Wilderness Inventory 

  • identifies areas of quality wilderness across Australia. Provides wilderness resource information to assist wilderness conservation and management planning in all States and Territories where the program has been conducted on a cooperative basis with the Australian Heritage Commission.

Old growth 

  • ecologically mature forest that has been subject to negligible levels of disturbance such as logging, roading and clearing. The definition focuses on forest in which the upper stratum or overstorey is in the late mature or overmature growth phase.


  • intensively managed stands of either native or exotic trees species, created by the regular placement of seedlings or seed.

Pulp logs 

  • logs that are processed for the purposes of producing wood based panels, pulp and paper products.


  • a closed forest in areas of high precipitation with a large diversity of species forming a deep, densely interlacing canopy in which vines and ferns are often present.

Regional Forest Agreement (RFA) 

  • an agreement about the long-term management and use of forests in a particular region between the Commonwealth and a State Government. Its purpose is to reduce uncertainty, duplication and fragmentation in government decision-making by producing a durable agreement on the management and use of forests.

Regrowth forest 

  • native forest containing a substantial proportion of trees that are in the younger growth phase and are actively growing in height and diameter. Regrowth forests may contain scattered individuals or small occurrences of ecologically mature, or old growth, trees.


  • areas such as National Parks and nature reserves which are subject to an established degree of protection from disturbance.


  • logs for processing into sawn timber, veneer, poles and sleepers.

Sawmill residue 

  • material left following the processing of logs into sawn timber.


  • timber of coniferous trees, irrespective of physical hardness. Includes pines and cypresses.

Sustainable yield 

  • the sustainable yield of a forest is the maximum level of commercial timber which can be maintained in perpetuity under a given management regime.

Value adding 

  • an economic term which describes how a raw product is processed into a product which is of more value than the material in its raw state. In the forest and wood industry context, examples of this include the kiln-drying of sawn timber, and the manufacturing of wood veneers.

Vulnerable species 

  • species which may soon move into the "endangered" category if causal factors affecting their numbers continue. Included are species of which all, or most, populations are decreasing because of over-exploitation, extensive destruction of habitat; species which are seriously depleted; under threat from severe adverse factors throughout their range; and species with low or localised populations and dependent upon a limited habitat which would be vulnerable to further threats.


  • land that, together with its plant and animal communities, is in a state that has not been substantially modified by, and is remote from, the influences of European settlement or is capable of being restored to such a state; is of sufficient size to make its maintenance in such a state feasible; and is capable of providing opportunities for solitude and self-reliant recreation.


  • forest product created by processing timber and residues. Most commonly used in wood panels, pulp and paper making.

Wood pulp 

  • processed wood fibre used for the manufacture of paper and paper products.

World heritage 

  • areas deemed to have universal value for humankind under an international convention to which Australia is a signatory.

Note: The definitions in this glossary are general definitions only. More specific definitions are contained in various Commonwealth policy documents. 

Source: Resource Assessment Commission; National Forest Policy Statement (1992); Regional Forest Agreements: the Commonwealth position (1995); National Wilderness Inventory Handbook (1995); Ecologically Sustainable Development Working Groups Final Report - Forest Use (1991)

Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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