Forestry Corporation of NSW recognises the need to balance the environmental effects of clearing State forest with the fire protection and fencing needs of forest neighbours.
Subject to meeting Threatened Species and other Legislative requirements, neighbours will be permitted to clear trees and inflammable material from boundary fencelines for a variable width up to a maximum of 5.0 metres inside the State forest boundary in order to minimise the risk of damage to the fenceline from falling timber and wildfire.
The approved width will be the minimum consistent with the needs of the neighbour and taking into account the environmental sensitivity and economic value of the forest. Clearing width of timber cover will be restricted to a maximum of one blade width (3.0 metres) where the area contains merchantable timber or is zoned Forest Management Zone (FMZ) 2 or 3A. A lesser width will apply where it is practical to place the access track on the neighbour’s side of the fence.
Permits to clear fencelines will be authorised following the consideration of a range of factors by FCNSW. The review will include a database search for cultural heritage sites, threatened flora and fauna species, threatened ecological communities and FMZ’s. Debris cleared from the fenceline is to be pushed into the adjoining freehold for subsequent disposal by the landholder where possible.
Neighbours can be given an authority to salvage posts free of charge from timber cleared from the fenceline providing it is not included in an area zoned FMZ 2 or 3A. The posts can only be cut from trees which have been cleared with a tractor, ie: trees are not to be felled prior to clearing.
The neighbour is to certify that the tractor to be used for the clearing is fitted with a ROPS (rollover protection), FOPS (falling object protection) canopy, OPG (operator protection guards) and that the operator is competent. The FOPS and OPG certification will not be required where the clearing is limited to regrowth less than 3.0 metres tall.
Neighbours issued with a letter of authority to cut fence posts free of royalty from either the fenceline being cleared, or from an adjacent compartment that has current harvesting operations, are to certify that the person cutting the posts has the appropriate chainsaw competency.
Posts are not to be cut from log dumps being used by a logging crew unless the logging contractor has given his approval and the post operator has been properly safety inducted by the logging crew.
Assistance For Fencing After Fires
State forests share boundaries with neighbours including other public land managers and private property. The boundaries of State forest in NSW is over 22,000 km. State forests are vested in the Crown and the Crown is not liable to contribute anything toward the erection and maintenance of boundary fences. Forestry Corporation does not require its forests to be fenced and so boundary fences erected by neighbours, lessees and permittees have been done so at their discretion and for their benefit.
Forestry Corporation does from time to time receive representations from neighbours seeking assistance with fencing costs. We assess these on a case by case basis and in extreme cases do at times offer assistance by providing materials for the neighbour to use when we can facilitate this, often from nearby timber harvesting operations. Forestry Corporation has supplied some timber from a nearby operation to neighbours around Dorrigo recently to assist with fire-affected fencing.
Given the scale of fire affected areas on the north coast at this stage, Forestry Corporation is unable to offer broadscale assistance to neighbours in this regard. Neighbours, lessees and permittees whose boundary fences have been impacted by fire should direct requests for assistance to any applicable disaster recovery relief programs and insurers.
Application for a permit to clear a State forest fenceline
For additional information and return of application:
Senior Land Administrator
Forestry Corporation of NSW
PO Box 168
WAUCHOPE NSW 2446
Phone: 02 6585 3774