Independent research on north coast koalas

The NSW Government has released the NSW Koala Strategy. The strategy commits $45 million over the next three years to conserve habitat, reduce threats and build new knowledge.

As part of the strategy, the Commission will lead new independent research on how koalas respond to native forest regeneration harvesting (also known as intensive harvesting) in North Coast state forests.

The Commission will appoint one or more suitably experienced researchers, research groups or organisations to undertake and deliver research.

The Commission will oversee the identification and selection of the research project(s), ongoing implementation and reporting and the sharing and application of new knowledge to inform management.

The Commission will receive funding from the NSW Government over three years to deliver this research.

Read more about the NSW Koala Strategy on the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage website.

Request for research proposals

The request for proposals is currently open for research investigating koala response to regeneration harvesting in North Coast state forests in NSW.

You can access the request for proposals document and submission form below.

Proposals must be lodged to the Commission (

The request for proposals closes at 9 am AEST 12 November 2018.

More information on preparing research proposals

While preparing research proposals, some members of the public have sought more information from the Commission. This information has been compiled in the form of questions and responses, and is available below for the benefit of other members of the public. This register will be updated from time to time

Delivering research findings

The Commission intends to deliver the findings of scientifically robust research to provide an independent evidence base to inform future decision making on forest management practices.

The Commission has established an expert panel comprising koala and forestry experts to advise on research selection and ongoing implementation. The expert panel members include:

  • Professor Patrick Baker, University of Melbourne, ARC Future Fellow, Professor of Silviculture and Forest Ecology, Department of Forest and Ecosystem Science
  • Dr Desley Whisson, Deakin University, Senior Lecturer in Wildlife and Conservation, Faculty of Science, Engineering and the Built Environment
  • Dr Alistair Melzer, Central Queensland University, Adjunct Research Fellow, Koala Research CQ, School of Medical and Applied Sciences

A research plan outlining the selected research projects and their proposed implementation will be made publicly available. The Commission will provide annual public reports on the project.

Current research

The Department of Primary Industries’ Forest Science Unit, in collaboration with the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital and the Forestry Corporation of NSW, are currently undertaking a telemetry study to describe use of the post-harvest landscape by koalas.

As this research may contribute in part to understanding koala response to regeneration harvesting, the Commission will oversee this research alongside the research commissioned through this process.

More information on current research, including publications, can be found on the Department of Primary Industries webpage.


The Commission is aiming to have a research plan in place by December 2018, with research commencing in 2019.

The NSW Government is also developing a broader research plan to support other priority koala research. This plan will be informed by a research symposium led by the Office of Environment and Heritage. The Commission will work with the Office of Environment and Heritage to explore opportunities to collaborate through this process.

Stay informed

The Commission will be updating this webpage as the project is implemented. If you would like to receive updates regarding this work, you can sign up to our mailing list.

Koalas and the new Coastal IFOA

The NSW Government is currently finalising a draft Coastal Integrated Forestry Operations Approval (IFOA) after public consultation. The draft IFOA sets out rules for native timber harvesting in NSW’s coastal forests, including for regeneration harvesting and koala protections.

The Commission’s koala research will be used to understand the effectiveness of these conditions and support evidence-based improvement of the Coastal IFOA over time.

Read the draft Coastal IFOA and find out more about regeneration harvesting and koala protections on the Have Your Say webpage.