Maintaining forest ecosystem health and vitality

What is the extent and condition and health of NSW forests, and what are the predicted trajectories?

There is about 20.5 million hectares of forest cover in NSW. Effectively monitoring the condition and health of such a large area presents an enormous challenge. NSW's forests are some of the most diverse in Australia, ranging from sub-alpine woodlands to semi-arid forests, sub-tropical rainforests, and floodplain woodlands to forested woodlands.

Project FE1: Baselines, drivers and trends for forest extent, condition and health

Spatial Vision and the NSW Department of Primary Industries (Forest Science Unit) will lead a consortium including RMIT University, University of New England, PF Olsen, University of NSW, NSW Forestry Corporation and the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment to deliver baselines, drivers and trends for forest health across tenures.


Project FE2: Supporting post-fire ecological resilience and recovery planning in NSW forests

The NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment will deliver the tools and methods to rapidly assess the immediate effects of wildfires across tenures and identify where mitigation and recovery actions need to be implemented. Project collaborators include the NSW Rural Fire Service, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service and the Bushfire Management Research Hub at University of Wollongong. Dr. Rebecca Gibson, NSW Energy, Environment and Science will lead the team.


Project FE4: Mobile terrestrial laser scanning (Hovermap) of NSW native forests

In 2021, mobile terrestrial LiDAR data and ground based measurements were collected across 15 native forest plots in coastal NSW as part of a small pilot program. This remotely sensed LiDAR data provides detailed information about forest structure that can give insight into forest condition and function.

The pilot has generated a valuable source of information that could be used to conduct further research and development of forest measurement metrics, particularly to explore the use of artificial intelligence to automate extraction of additional forest variables.

This data has now been made publicly available through the TERN data discovery portal. The Commission encourages the scientific community to take a look at this data.

A short video demonstrates the captured LiDAR data.


The report, methods and project data can be found on the TERN data discovery portal.