Native forestry regulatory framework

The EPA is responsible for regulating native forestry operations on private and public (Crown) land in NSW. The EPA regulates Crown forestry operations’ compliance with Integrated Forestry Operations Approvals (IFOAs) and private forestry operations’ compliance with the Private Native Forestry Code of Practice. The Department of Primary Industries is responsible for regulating plantations on public and private land under the Plantations and Reafforestation (Code) Regulation 2001.

Page under review

On 25 August 2017, new legislative arrangements commenced for private native forestry. It should be noted that some references on the EPA's website and any publications may now be outdated. These documents will be progressively updated by the EPA to ensure current legislative arrangements are reflected. More detail about changes can be found here.

Diagram showing forestry regulatory framework

The National Forestry Policy Statement guides the management of Australia's forests. The Statement, signed by the NSW Government in December 1992, laid the foundations for the regional forest agreements (RFAs).

RFAs are 20-year bilateral agreements between the Australian and state governments which identify areas required for establishing a comprehensive, adequate and representative reserve system. RFAs also deal with Australian Government legislation and obligations, including exempting native forestry activities in RFA regions from the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

NSW forest agreements provide a framework for long-term decisions on forest use and management. They contain provisions for promoting

  • ecologically sustainable forest management
  • sustainable timber supply
  • community consultation
  • Aboriginal involvement in forest management (including native title rights)

The Forestry Act 2012 provides for integrated forestry operations approvals (IFOAs) which integrate the regulatory regimes for environmental planning and assessment, protection of the environment and threatened species conservation.

IFOAs incorporate licence conditions that protect soil, water, and threatened species and their habitats. They also play a key role in the day-to-day planning and activities of the Forestry Corporation of NSW (FCNSW).

Private Native Forestry (PNF) in NSW is regulated under Part 5C of the Forestry Act 2012. Under the Act, PNF operations can only be undertaken with an approved private native forestry plan (PNF plan) and must be in accordance with the PNF Code of Practice.

Regulatory reform

The NSW Government is developing new legislation to modernise native forestry regulation and ensure the long-term ecological sustainability of native forestry. Find out more

The  NSW State Specific Guidelines have been developed to help timber importers and domestic wood processors operating in NSW meet due diligence requirements under the Illegal Logging Prohibition Act 2012 and the Illegal Logging Prohibition Regulation 2012. The Guidelines provide examples of records and forestry approvals that businesses can seek as part of their due diligence, including information for businesses who source their product from interstate. A Quick Reference Guide is also available.

For information on the illegal logging laws visit the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources. The website contains additional resources including Guidelines for businesses operating in other Australian states.

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