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Land-use change conflict arising from plantation forestry expansion: Views across Australian fencelines

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An annual trade deficit in Australia for forest products of approximately 2 billion (Aus), predominantly in paper, pulp products and sawn timber, makes sound argument for continued support of plantation forestry expansion. Existing government policy promoting afforestation through fiscal tax-based incentives for Managed Investment Scheme (MIS) retail forestry however, has raised many questions regarding the need for performance targets and accountability criteria in response to the collapse of several private plantation companies during the global financial crisis of 2009 and 2010 that had been responsible for managing a large sector of the national estate. This paper reports on the first stage of a social research case study for a sub-tropical rural community in north-eastern NSW, Australia that had been undergoing rapid land use-change to plantation forestry prior to the global financial crisis. Socio-political, economic and environmental concerns of stakeholders are identified through social research methods to provide insights for a follow-up study using participatory modelling. Community concerns raised also help inform debate on the need to reform existing federal retail forestry policy to improve triple-bottom line sustainability.
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Keywords: Semi-structured interviews; narrative; policy reform; stakeholder analysis; sustainable afforestation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: School of Environmental Science and Management, Southern Cross University, PO Box 157, Lismore, NSW 2480, Australia.

Publication date: 01 September 2010

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