Reporting and adaptive management

The NSW Forest Monitoring Steering Committee, independently chaired by the Commission, will review the Coastal IFOA and the monitoring program annually.

The annual reviews will consider the results of the monitoring program and identify key insights and implications based on the findings of the monitoring data. This will guide the recommendations made to the NSW Government, the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) and the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) on how the Coastal IFOA could better meet its objectives and outcomes.

The Steering Committee will also engage stakeholders on progress and results at annual forums.

Adaptive management

The Coastal IFOA monitoring plans require thresholds for indicators against which the performance of approval conditions and protocols can be assessed against desired outcomes. Where thresholds are crossed, conditions and protocols will be reviewed, and recommendations made on how they can be improved. Remedial actions may also be implemented as part of the process.

The program will develop a decision-support framework to support the program’s adaptive management strategy. As part of the decision-support framework, the process to establish performance benchmarks, analyse the monitoring results and the adaptive management activities that are triggered to adapt the Coastal IFOA to better meet its desired outcomes will be described. The decision-support framework will be used as part of annual reviews to drive continual improvement of the monitoring program and the Coastal IFOA.

Annual coastal IFOA health checks

IFOA Annual health check

Under the Coastal IFOA, the Steering Committee must undertake an annual ‘health check’ and provide a report to the EPA and DPI (see Coastal IFOA, Protocol 38). The annual health check is designed to consider the results of the monitoring program and identify key insights and implications based on the monitoring data. This process will guide recommendations on how the Coastal IFOA could better meet its objectives and outcomes.

Annual species management plan reviews

Process to review species management plans

Annual reviews of Species Management Plans (SMPs) will be overseen by the Commission with the Forestry Corporation of NSW (FCNSW) and the EPA. FNCSW must establish SMPs for the Coastal IFOA for specific flora and fauna and include annual reporting provisions (see Condition 84 and Protocol 21). The EPA approves amendments to the SMPs.

Working with the EPA and FCNSW, the Commission team has developed an approach for the annual reviews.

The first annual review meeting was held in early December 2020, with the EPA, FCNSW, DPI and Professor Phillip Gibbons from the Steering Committee. The Steering Committee will consider draft findings from the first meeting and report outcomes of the meeting.

Annual forum - Coastal IFOA monitoring program

Webinar - Video
Webinar 2 - Questions and answers

The coastal IFOA requires the program to engage stakeholders and community annually to share emerging results from monitoring activities. The Commission hosted its second annual forum in November 2020 via webinar with a panel of members from the NSW Forest Monitoring Steering Committee. The Commission updated the community on the coastal IFOA monitoring program. The program now has detailed monitoring plans in place for forest health, biodiversity, water quality and wood supply. A research and evaluation program is also in place.


The Commission, on behalf of the Steering Committee, produces annual progress reports and provides advice on any recommended changes to the Coastal IFOA based on the results of the program. The program reports at least annually to the NSW Government, EPA and DPI.

Reports are made publicly available online to meet Coastal IFOA requirements. Monitoring data and findings are also made publicly available.

We have released the second annual progress report for this program, outlining program achievements and progress for 2021/22. Key achievements and insights include establishing environmental and wood supply baselines for state forests as required under the Coastal IFOA. These baselines will support evaluating the effectiveness of the Coastal IFOA to achieve its objective and outcomes.

The program has delivered significant new research from the University of Wollongong on the impacts of the 2019-20 wildfires and continues to deliver important research with partners including the University of Tasmania, the Australian National University, Jacobs and Canines for Wildlife.

Fourteen reports and datasets relevant to the IFOA are now available on open data portals. This includes making mobile terrestrial LiDAR data collected on north coast state forests accessible for further development of forest metrics within the broader research community. The program has commenced capturing LiDAR and high-resolution imagery across 250,000 hectares of state forests to inform analysis on forest structure, connectivity, and regeneration.

We have also delivered an independent research report on koala response to harvesting on north coast forests, available here.