How was the plan developed?

Under Clause 8A of the NSW Regional Forest Agreements, NSW has agreed to develop and maintain a coordinated Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting Plan (the RFA MER Plan), including research priorities. This plan will support outcome reporting for the NSW Forest Management Framework and RFAs across all tenures.

Both the NSW Government and the Australian Government are committed to outcomes reporting for Regional Forest Agreements and jointly developed the scope of this plan.

The RFA MER Plan was developed under oversight by the NSW Forest Monitoring Steering Committee. This Committee is independently chaired by the NSW Natural Resources Commission. The Steering Committee tasked a cross-agency Technical Working Group to develop the plan. It included:

  • Department of Primary Industries
  • Department of Planning, Industry and Environment – Energy, Environment & Science Group
  • Department of Planning, Industry and Environment – National Parks & Wildlife Service
  • Local Land Services
  • Forestry Corporation of NSW
  • NSW Environment Protection Agency
  • Natural Resources Commission

The RFA MER Plan:

  • outlines how current and proposed funded activities address priority information required for Regional Forest Agreements
  • outlines other activities that will contribute information
  • describes next steps
  • describes roles and responsibilities including reporting.

Evaluation questions focus information needs

  • The NSW Forest Monitoring and Improvement Program has established state-wide evaluation questions to prioritise information that decision makers and community demand.
  • The central question for the Forest Monitoring and Improvement Program is the extent to which the NSW Forest Management Framework, including Regional Forest Agreements is delivering ecologically sustainable management outcomes for current and future generations.
  • The Program will evaluate questions that cover the ecological, social, cultural and economic outcomes sought under the NSW Forest Management Framework, including Regional Forest Agreements. The Program will evolve over time and respond to new information needs of decision makers.
  • The Coastal Integrated Forestry Operations Approved Monitoring Program also establishes questions to focus monitoring and evaluation of forestry operations in coastal state forests.

Work to date

  • Early work of the Forest Monitoring and Improvement Program has focused on sourcing existing data and establishing baselines that will become the foundation for a robust monitoring program. Field monitoring will support modelling inputs and verify management performance.
  • The program will use forest monitoring and research to answer priority evaluation questions related to forest management in NSW across tenures.
  • The program will use a wide range of existing data and expertise both inside and outside of the NSW Government. Research organisations and community organisations are expected to be partners in projects. For example, the FMIP Citizen Science Strategy has been established to harness the power of the citizen science community to inform ecologically sustainable forest management.