The Kalang River is surrounded by a number of State forests as well as National Parks, privately managed forests that are harvested for timber, homes and farms. The State forests in this catchment are regrowth forests, which means they have been harvested in the past and have regenerated. Many of the forests in this catchment were burnt during severe wildfires in 1968 and have regenerated into the thriving forests we see today. Forestry Corporation has been continuously harvesting timber from regrowth forests throughout the Kalang River catchment for decades and we carefully manage these operations so that the forests and the river continue to thrive.
Our plan of operations map indicates which forests, and which compartments within those forests, we expect to harvest in the coming year. This is an indicative plan and may vary depending on a range of factors, including weather, logistics and markets.
Before a single tree is touched, Planning Foresters will spend 12 to 18 months in each compartment completing a range of environmental assessments, carrying out ecological and Aboriginal cultural heritage surveys, reviewing timber volumes, assessing roads and consulting with neighbours to develop a detailed harvest for each operation. These harvest plans are developed in line with the strict native forestry regulations and ensure there are appropriate measures in place to protect the unique environmental features of each location, including flora, fauna, soil and water. Each of these plans is published on our website before work commences.
Protecting the health of the Kalang River is a priority for us throughout all of our operations in the catchment and it is at the forefront of all our planning work and operations.
We use sophisticated LiDAR imagery and data to map the terrain under the forest canopy, so we know exactly where creeks, streams and watercourses are and exactly how steep the slopes are. In this catchment, we only work on the ridgelines and leave around half of every harvest area untouched. The harvesting machinery operators use GPS systems in the forest to ensure that the plan is strictly implemented and that harvesting avoids any areas that we require to be protected.
Forestry Corporation has been harvesting timber from regrowth forests in the Bellingen and Kalang Valleys for many decades. Our staff are part of the local community and are passionate about protecting waterways. We have spent more than four decades completing hydrology research and water quality monitoring, which has consistently shown that water from streams in forests is among the highest quality in the landscape. The video below on water quality monitoring highlights how this has been done elsewhere in the state.
Forests are dynamic and diverse and are home to a vast varity of flora and fauna. Different plant and animal species thrive in different environments and conditions. We are passionate about the forest environment and before we harvest a single tree, professional ecologists survey the wildlife, birdlife and vegetation in the area to identify threatened species and ensure the forest retains the conditions and habitat they need to thrive.
In the Kalang River catchment, State forests form just one part of a broader landscape that contains forested land that is set aside for conservation, land that is actively managed and private property. We are continuously working in this catchment, returning to each compartment every 20 years or so to carefully harvest a small number of trees as each new crop matures.
In the Kalang River catchment, we only work on the ridgelines in regrowth forest that has been harvested for timber previously. Careful planning and management ensures these forests will continue to produce a sustainable supply of timber well into the future. We use a very low-intensity harvesting method called light single tree selection, which means a small number of individual trees are selected and harvested and the majority of trees are left untouched. The harvesting machinery operators use GPS systems in the forest to ensure that harvesting avoids any areas that we require to be protected.
Log dumps are small clearings where logs are temporarily stored before they are picked up by trucks and transported to timber mills for processing. We establish temporary log dumps in each operation that we then restore and regenerate to native forest when the operation is complete.We try to minimise the number of log dumps in any operation and in the Kalang River catchment log dumps are up very high in the catchment alongside the roads that travel along the ridgelines.
Auditing and regulation
We take a great deal of pride in the work that we do and we spend a lot of time planning and reviewing our operations. There are incredibly strict regulations governing timber harvesting in NSW and all of our harvesting crews use GPS so operators know with a high degree of accuracy which areas are protected and we can also track where crews have been to ensure the harvest plan has been complied with.
This process is completely transparent – we publish all our plans on our website, we are audited by the Environment Protection Authority and we are independently certified to the internationally-recognised Australian Standard for Sustainable Forest Management.
Supplying local industry
State forests supply of sustainable wood and wood products to meet the community's timber needs. Timber is a renewable resource that is in high demand, and NSW State forests are independently certified to the Australian Standard for Sustainable Forest Management, providing an assurance that timber from NSW State forests is produced sustainably.
NSW has the largest number of hardwood sawmills in Australia and the timber and wood products industries directly employ more than 500 men and women in the Coffs Harbour, Nambucca and Bellingen areas alone according to ABARES. The timber from the State forests in the Kalang River catchment is supplied to several sawmills in the Bellingen Valley, Nambucca and Grafton who will process it into a range of timber products that may include power poles, timber flooring and decking, pallets, fencing, roof battens and plywood.
The full range of timber products from power poles to timber pallets for transporting goods provide an important source of local work and revenue to businesses in the Bellingen area. Forestry Corporation staff and contractors also live and work locally in regional centres across the NSW north coast.
There are work sites established in State forests during timber harvesting operations. It is dangerous to be near operating machinery, so areas will be closed while operations take place. Information about closures will be updated on the closures and notices section of this website. For your own safety please pay attention to all signs and instructions from staff in the forest and don’t enter restricted areas.