Socio-economic values and benefits

The socio-economic and cultural values and benefits of forests are many – generated by activities such as recreation, tourism and heritage, timber production, apiary and grazing, as well as from ecosystem services such as production of clean air and water, biodiversity banking and carbon storage.

Priority RFA information

Reporting on the socioeconomic environment associated with the forest estate, including:

  • the socioeconomic status of state, regional and local communities in relation to forest-based industries
  • the socioeconomic value of the ecological services that forests provide.

Sustainability Indicators

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

Criterion 6: Maintenance and enhancement of long-term multiple socio-economic benefits to meet the needs of societies

6.1 Production and consumption

  • 6.1a Value and volume of wood and wood products
  • 6.1b Values, quantities and use of non-wood forest products
  • 6.1c Value of forest-based services

6.2 Investment in the forest sector

  • 6.2a Investment and expenditure in forest management
  • 6.2b Investment in research, development, extension and use of new and improved technologies

6.3 Recreation and tourism

  • 6.3a Area of forest available for public recreation/tourism and the use and type of facilities and activities on offer

6.4 Cultural, social and spiritual needs and values

  • 6.4b Registered places of non-Indigenous cultural value in forests that are formally managed to protect those values

6.5 Employment and community needs

  • 6.5a Direct and indirect employment in the forest sector

Criterion 7: Legal, institutional and economic framework for forest conservation and sustainable management

  • 7.1c Extent to which the economic framework supports the conservation and sustainable management of forests

Focus areas

  • Analyse the contribution of forests to people’s health and well-being
  • Analyse the contribution of forest-based industries to local, regional and state social and economic well-being
  • Identify emerging industries and markets that deliver socio-economic benefits to forested areas
  • Simulate and forecast socio-economic outcomes under future scenarios.

Evaluation questions for all RFA regions

  1. To what extent are forests delivering sustainable social, cultural and economic benefits for people, and what are predicted trajectories?

Monitoring activities

  1. Estimating forest-dependent jobs cross tenure
    NSW Forest Monitoring and Improvement Program
    Synergies Economic Consulting
    Timing: 26 June 2020 to 31 December 2020
    More details here

  2. Australian Forest and Wood Product Statistics
    Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES)
    More details here

  3. Employed persons by Industry group of main job (ANZSIC), Sex, State and Territory 6291.0.55.003 – EQ06
    Australian Bureau of Statistics
    More details here

  4. Forestry Corporation of NSW monitors sale of non-wood products from state forests including apiculture, broombush, charcoal, fencing material, firewood, fossicking, gravel/sand/rock. More details here


See research priorities.

Recent published research relevant to monitoring and evaluation of socio-economic values and benefits in the RFA regions includes:

  1. Binks, B., Schirmer, J. & Kancans, R. (2014) Regional socio-economic profiling of the forestry industry— Recommendations report, ABARES report to client prepared for Forest and Wood Products Australia, Canberra, November, CC BY 3.0.
  2. Mylek, M. R., & Schirmer, J. (2015) Beyond physical health and safety: supporting the wellbeing of workers employed in the forest industry. Forestry, 88(4), 391-406.
  3. Schirmer, J., Gibbs, D., Mylek, M.R., Magnusson, A., Morison, J. (2018b) Socio-economic impacts of the forest industry: South West Slopes and Central Tablelands regions, NSW. April 2018. Report for FWPA. University of Canberra, ACT.
  4. Schirmer, J., Mylek, M. and Clayton, H. (2019) NSW forest monitoring project: Stakeholder and public views about forest monitoring September 2019. Report prepared for NSW Department of Primary Industries. University of Canberra, Canberra. URL:
  5. Schirmer, J., Mylek, M.R., Magnusson, A. (2020) Forest industry workforce – socio-economic wellbeing and community contributions. January 2020. Report for FWPA. University of Canberra, ACT.


Understanding of forest usage and values; Cultural Recreation, products, employment.