Management of the Commercial Pine Plantation Estate
Forest-based recreation is highly valued but must fit within constraints of timber production. To assist recreation user groups a forestry operations schedule is coming soon to this website. Our new interactive map will help you plan your activities in the ACT's pine forests.
In the forestry management team of ACT Parks and Conservation we are committed to continuous improvement and we have just introduced a new management plan (2.37MB) | Word version (4.93MB) to help achieve this. Please send comments and feedback at any time to Harvesting.Forests@act.gov.au.
Pine forests are hazardous working sites with timber harvesting carried out Monday to Friday year round by specialist contractors using modern tree harvesting and hauling equipment. The products cut from the forest include sawlogs and pulpwood with all timber going to regional sawmills and processing plants including the Auswest sawmill here in Fyshwick. Harvesting is carried out in accordance with the nationally endorsed ACT Code of Forest Practice (3.17MB) to ensure the highest standards of environmental, water quality and heritage protection are met.
The pine forests are extensively used and managed for recreational activities including walking, jogging, horse riding, cycling, camping, picnicking, fishing, musical events and car rallies. Visitor usage in the plantation estate is now equal to the number of visitors to the ACT National Parks reserve system due to their close proximity to Canberra, the substantial high quality road and trail infrastructure, and the investment made in forest management.
Visit the Public Land Use page for more details on holding events on ACT public land.
ACT Forests was established in 1915 to manage a multiple use forest, supporting the local timber industry, recreational opportunities and water protection in the Lower Cotter Catchment. Most of the forest area planted was on degraded pasture land that was cleared for agriculture and taken over by noxious weeds and rabbits. Prior to 2003, ACT Forests managed 26,000 ha of land, including about 16,000 ha of pine plantation. The remaining 10,000 ha consisted of areas of native vegetation including nature reserves, special purpose reserves, other conservation areas, watercourses, road reserves, travelling stock reserves and general utility areas.
In January 2003 approximately 10,500 ha of the pine plantation estate was destroyed during the Canberra bushfires, leaving only the Kowen Plantation in the east of the Territory undamaged. Following the fires the burnt plantations were cleared and some areas replanted with pine trees, particularly where the soil stabilisation and water quality protection was a priority. The previous plantation boundaries were re-defined in some areas, which resulted in conversion from plantation to native vegetation, particularly in steep areas with increased environmental buffers.
The Forest Capital e-book
Forest Capital, is a great introduction into the colourful world of ACT forestry. Ten interviews with people who helped shape the industry have been transcribed and edited into a book by historian Brendan O'Keefe.
The interviews were originally collected in 1994 as part of an oral history project initiated by former Director of ACT Forests, Graham McKenzie-Smith. However the original interviews were thought to be lost after disastrous bushfires in 2003, that destroyed more than 60% of the Territory’s plantation timber and Stromlo office, which held nearly all of the ACT Forest historical records.
In 2017, transcripts of the ten interviews were unexpectedly recovered and Forest Capital was born.