The State Government will test the market for alternative uses for the state’s bushfire-ravaged Mid North Forests.
Recreational, heritage and tourism options will be considered as part of a comprehensive examination of the future management of the forests.
In January last year, the Bangor bushfire burnt 1,776 hectares of commercial plantations at Wirrabarra, which followed the loss of 427 hectares of commercial plantations in the Bundaleer fire of 2013.
The examination will also consider the viability of ForestrySA’s future management of the Mid North forests. The community and stakeholders will be consulted about future management options.
Forests Minister Leon Bignell said business as usual for the forests was not an option, given the extent of damage caused by the bushfires.
“A complete replanting of the forests would cost almost $7 million, as well as the on-going management costs,” he said.
“However, we know from the community forum I hosted in Jamestown last October that locals maintain a strong interest in the future of the forests.
“This strategy gives Mid North communities a great opportunity to consider forestry and non-forestry options which deliver sustainable benefits for the state.”
Minister Bignell said Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA) was leading the strategy, and will spend this year talking to the community and forestry industry about the future of the Mid North forests.
“Good decision-making needs good information, so PIRSA will gather information that identifies and assesses alternative uses for the Mid North forests,” he said.
“PIRSA will also look at the capacity of the land to support future forestry activity, as well as alternative uses such as agriculture. Fire management will also be an important part of the process.”
The State Government replanted 60 hectares of the Bundaleer forest last year.
Further information about the plan, entitled Mid North Forests – Future Strategy, is available at: www.pir.sa.gov.au/forestry