Active and adaptive management of cypress forests in the Brigalow and Nandewar State Conservation Areas

Final report (September 2014, 7.4 MB)

Final report

The Natural Resources Commission (the Commission) submitted a final report to the NSW Government detailing recommendations and findings to improve the management of cypress forests in Brigalow and Nandewar State Conservation Areas.

In summary, the Commission found that while small patches of dense vegetation provide habitat for native flora and fauna within a landscape mosaic, large areas of dense vegetation are likely to have negative impacts on a range of ecological values, including biodiversity. The Commission recommended that Government actively manage large stands of increasingly dense vegetation where it has potential to impact ecological values in the Brigalow and Nandewar State Conservation Areas.

Further, the Commission advised that the Brigalow and Nandewar State Conservation Areas be adaptively managed under new management plans, and that Government identify and apply alternative funding, cost sharing and cost recovery models for active and adaptive management in these areas.

The final report was provided to the Premier, Deputy Premier, the Minister for the Environment, the Minister for Primary Industries, and the Minister for Natural Resources, Lands and Water on 19 September 2014.

The final report was informed by 175 public submissions in response to the draft report, regional meetings with stakeholders and 36 initial submissions in response to the Terms of Reference. The NRC also refined the spatial analysis underpinning the recommendations and collected additional evidence to inform the final advice.

Final report (September 2014, 7.4 MB)
Media release (December 2014)
Fact sheet (November 2014)

If you experience difficulty downloading this report, please contact the Commission at nrc@nrc.nsw.gov.au or (02) 8227 4300.

Previous reports

The Commission released a draft report in June 2014, outlining draft findings and recommendations to improve the management of cypress forests in Brigalow and Nandewar State Conservation Areas.

Profiles and maps of the State Conservation Areas support the Commission's draft findings and recommendations.

Draft report (June 2014)
Media release (June 2014)

Public submissions

In the interests of transparency and openness, submissions to the review have been made available, unless requested by the author to be kept confidential. For submissions made by individuals, personal contact details, other than names, have been removed. Any potentially defamatory of offensive content has been removed or not posted. Claims for access to confidential information will be determined in accordance with the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act).

The following submissions are made available in accordance with our privacy policy.

Submissions on draft report

Submissions on the draft report closed on 10 August 2014. The Commission received 175 submissions of which four requested to remain confidential. The Commission considered all submissions in preparing its final report.

List of submissions
Note: File sizes bigger than 5 MB shown in brackets.

About the assessment

Through a Terms of Reference, the NSW Government requested that the Commission assess the active and adaptive management of cypress forests in Brigalow and Nandewar State Conservation Areas (Zone 3 of the Brigalow and Nandewar Community Conservation Area). The management objectives for State Conservation Areas (Zone 3) are conservation, recreation and mineral extraction.

Under the Terms of Reference, the Commission is to:

  • assess the potential environmental and socio-economic impacts and benefits of undertaking adaptive and active management processes in Brigalow and Nandewar State Conservation Areas, consistent with the objects of the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 and specifically the principles of ecological sustainable development
  • identify approaches, methods and suggested next steps as options to develop an active and adaptive management program for cypress forests to maintain and enhance environmental values in Brigalow and Nandewar State Conservation Areas.

Background information

The NSW Government established the Brigalow and Nandewar Community Conservation Area in 2005, following regional forest assessments of the Brigalow Belt South and Nandewar bioregions undertaken by the NSW Resource and Conservation Assessment Council (RACAC). The assessments involved extensive community consultation, and were underpinned by technical assessments of the region's ecology, wood resources, geology, minerals exploration potential, socio-economic and Aboriginal and cultural heritage values.

Within the Brigalow and Nandewar Community Conservation Area, there are four zones:

  • Zone 1 is reserved as national park under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 (NPWA)
  • Zone 2 is reserved as Aboriginal area under the NPWA
  • Zone 3 is reserved as state conservation area under the NPWA
  • Zone 4 is dedicated as State forest for the purposes of the Forestry Act 2012.

The development of the Brigalow and Nandewar Community Conservation Area led the former Forests NSW to create a single wood supply area for cypress timber. The Western Region Supply Area included forests within the Brigalow and Nandewar Community Conservation Area, as well as 197 other cypress state forests throughout south-western NSW.

In 2010, the NSW Government asked the NRC to assess 197 cypress state forests in south-western NSW that lie outside of the Brigalow and Nandewar regions and make recommendations on their sustainable management. The NRC's advice was to inform a NSW forest agreement for these state forests under the Forestry and National Parks Act 1998.

The NRC found that in south-western NSW, cypress forests across all tenures should be actively managed to support a variety of environmental, social, cultural and economic values. As such, the NRC recommended that all cypress forest managers on public land, including those managing cypress forests as reserves, should actively manage all cypress forests. Active management may include silviculture, livestock grazing, ecological thinning and fire management.

Related work

  South-western cypress state forests assessment