Health and vitality

Forest ecosystem health and vitality underpins the supply of ecological, social and economic values of forests. Monitoring forest health and vitality includes assessing ecological condition, species composition, forest structure and the presence of introduced diseases, exotic plants and animals.

Priority RFA information

Monitor the status and trends of forests and forest health, including by reporting on the conservation status of forests and providing an explanation for any decline in health or loss of forest area.

Sustainability Indicators

Inform measures and report on performance in relation to the following Sustainability Indicators:

Criterion 3: Maintenance of ecosystem health and vitality

  • 3.1a Scale and impact of agents and processes affecting forest health and vitality
  • 3.1b Area of forest burnt by planned and unplanned fire

Focus areas

  • Analyse historical data and information to examine drivers and impacts, including wildfire, drought and climate change on current and predicted forest extent, conditions and health
  • Simulate and forecast future scenarios and outcomes
  • Monitor key metrics to test and track thresholds, benchmarks and forecasted outcomes
  • Analyse the actual, or likely effectiveness or impact of adaptation and management regimes to promote forest resilience under forecasted scenarios.

Evaluation questions for all RFA regions

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

Monitoring activities

  1. Baselines, drivers and trends of forest extent, condition and health
    NSW Forest Monitoring and Improvement Program
    Spatial Vision, NSW DPI Forest Science Unit, RMIT, University of New England, PF Olsen, University of NSW, Forestry Corporation and the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment
    Timing: 24 June 2020 to 30 June 2021
    More details here

  2. Long-term monitoring forest with remote sensing and forest plots cross tenure
    NSW Forest Monitoring and Improvement Program
    Timing: Pilot mid 2021; roll out RFA regions by end 2022
    More details here

  3. Monitoring forest structure and health on state forests
    Coastal IFOA Monitoring and Improvement Program
    More details here

  4. State-wide Landcover and Tree Survey (SLATS)
    Department of Planning, Industry and Environment – Environment, Energy and Science - Science, Economics and Insights Division – Remote Sensing and Landscape Science branch
    Activity: Maps the location and extent of woody vegetation loss across NSW on an annual basis
    Timing: 2006 - ongoing
    More details here

  5. Fire Extent and Severity Mapping (FESM)
    NSW Rural Fire Service, DPIE Remote Sensing & Regulatory Mapping team
    More details here

  6. DPI Forest Health annual disease and pest surveys


  1. Eucalyptus dieback research program
    Funded by the Environmental Trust
    Independently overseen by the NSW Natural Resources Commission
    Timing: 2020 to 2024
    More details here

  2. Supporting post-fire ecological resilience and recovery planning in NSW forests
    NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, NSW Rural Fire Service and University of Wollongong
    Timing: 15 November 2019 to 15 November 2021

  3. Restoration of eucalypt forests with poor canopy health using frequent mild prescribed burning
    NSW Environmental Trust, NSW Department of Primary Industries, Forestry Corporation of NSW, NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment

  4. Implications of changing fire intensity and regimes on coastal IFOA objectives and outcomes
    Coastal IFOA Monitoring and Improvement Program

See research priorities.


Co-ordinated state-wide monitoring projects

Data sharing portals established and operating including SEED (The Central Resource for Sharing and Enabling Environmental Data in NSW) Department of Planning, Industry & Environment – Environment, Energy and Science - Science, Economics and Insights Division – Economics, Data Analytics and Insights branch
Activity: Contains publicly accessible land, air and water data from NSW Government agencies, including species sightings, vegetation change, vegetation mapping, Ramsar wetlands
Timing: 2016 – 2027/28
More details here

Collaboration between agencies on shared program

Reports detailing results of programs

Data is available in the following repositories