LLS has been providing extension and approval services for private native forestry since April 30 this year following the government’s decision to separate these functions from compliance and enforcement of forest approvals, which is retained by the NSW Environment Protection Authority.
This sees LLS now able to provide landholders with a one-stop shop of service provision, offering a wider range of vegetation management options.
The private native forestry team is staffed by six specialist officers. These are in addition to the 60 on-ground officers already providing vegetation advice under the Land Management Code.
What sets your organisation apart from others in the sector?
We’re a part of the Sustainable Land Management Unit of Local Land Services, so we provide a range of services from over the phone advice and assistance, though to site visits to assist with planning harvesting operations and forest management.
There is no cost for our services and we provide impartial advice to both landholders and industry alike – we see our role being to support both.
Our role is very different to most other advisory services, as the product we focus on takes far longer to produce than other agricultural products.
Timely and well-informed forest management can accelerate production but this also comes at a cost.
Conversely, delayed management or failing to consider setting up the stand for future harvests also comes at cost, which is not always realised, so we try and work with our customers to explain the options and provide them with advice that best suits their needs.
How do you see agriculture as an industry faring in the next 10 to 20 years? Why?
Positively. The next crop of primary producers and land managers are well educated and backed by the experience and resilience of those before them.
We often find that our newer customers have already undertaken extensive research before they make contact with us and are then looking to firm up the options which realise the best initial return and support their business in the long term.
What major issues are facing farmers today?
The range of skills required to run a farm is ever expanding. For example, forest management is a whole new skill set for many of our customers, who are typically very good at livestock or crop production but as forest management often only occurs once or twice in each generation it’s often hard to retain and/or build these skills.
How can these issues be tackled or overcome?
In addition to the services we provide, there are a growing number of forestry consultants and harvesting contractors, along with the broader timber industry, and all of them have a wealth of knowledge in forest management.
Seeking out the advice and experience that best suits your business and your forest, will not only build these skills but often results in good long-term partnerships that often span generations.
What can government bodies do to attract investment in remote, rural and regional areas?
Our key role is to support the businesses and communities that are already in these areas by giving them options and improving the resilience of their businesses.
From a forest management perspective, options which improve timber production and ensures long-term, sustainable yield will help to ensure industry investment.
Can your organisation help solve these issues?
We’re currently seeing an increase in applications for consent to undertake timber harvesting as landholders look for alternative income streams – both due to drought and strong timber markets.
As part of the consent process, we aim to provide the advice our customers need to ensure they are achieving sustainable operations, which will assist ongoing industry investment.
Any other suggestions or success stories you wish to share?
Timber remains a highly sought after commodity with a range of end uses.
With appropriate management, private native forestry offers a long term income source for landholders.
The timber industry is often keen to access smaller volumes, not just from forest harvesting operations but other land management activities as well.
With private native forestry now part of the range of options offered by Local Land Services, there are even more options and support available to landholders with native vegetation on their properties.
Our key role is to support businesses by giving them options and improving their resilience. From a forest management perspective, options which improve timber production and ensures long-term, sustainable yield will help to ensure industry investment.