Softwood plantation estate

Queensland's softwood plantation estate includes large areas of State plantation forest that are administered under the Forestry Act 1959.

HQPlantations Pty Ltd manages Queensland's State plantation forests under a 99-year plantation licence. HQPlantations owns the plantation forests but the State still owns the underlying land and the associated native forest.

State plantation forests are public land. The public is generally allowed to access State plantation forests but a permit may be required depending on the activity and where it is performed.

Working with HQPlantations

The State plantation forest estate is identified on the HQPlantations website.

A total of around 300,000 hectares of State plantation forest is used to produce commercial plantation timber, which is made up of approximately:

  • 200,000 hectares of timber plantations
  • 100,000 hectares of surrounding native forests known as buffer areas.

HQPlantations is responsible for fire management and the control of pest plants and animals in these buffer areas.

The Queensland Government ensures that high standards of environmental care are applied to State plantation forest through agreements with HQPlantations.

This includes important management responsibilities such as:

  • Sustainable forestry – HQPlantations must maintain accreditation under an internationally recognised sustainable forest management system. Current certification systems are the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC-C107541) forest management standard and Responsible Wood.
  • Fire management – HQPlantations works with government agencies, including the Queensland Fire Department and the Rural Fire Service, to manage fires in plantation forests on state land. This includes
    • planning for wildfire responses
    • fuel reduction burning to minimise the risk of wildfire
    • monitoring developments in fire management.
  • Road maintenance – We work with HQPlantations to determine responsibility for roads and tracks depending on whether they're used for recreation, commercial or fire-management purposes.
  • Conservation – Around 3,400ha of plantation forests on State land will be selectively harvested, rehabilitated and transferred to State forests for conservation after the plantations in each area are harvested.

We also work with HQPlantations to ensure public access to State plantation forest for recreational and other commercial purposes continues.

Activities permitted in State plantation forests

In addition to commercial timber production, plantation forests on state land have other commercial and recreational uses.

The community is generally free to access State plantation forests, but a permit may be required depending on the activity and location. Permits allow HQPlantations to keep track of visitors and ensure harvesting activities are carried out safely.

Contact HQPlantations to find out if you need a permit for activities in plantation forests on state land. Common activities requiring a permit include:

  • 4WD activities
  • organised group activities (e.g. public meetings, sporting events)
  • stock grazing
  • beekeeping
  • establishing infrastructure (e.g. telecommunications, pipelines, roads).

The Department of Environment, Science and Innovation (Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service) also issues permits for particular activities in plantation forests on state land. This includes the activities listed above as well as:

  • camping
  • scientific, research or educational activities
  • other commercial activities
  • any activity located in both plantation forests or on other state land (e.g. state native forests, national parks).

It's important for users of plantation forests to stay safe for the benefit of all visitors and commercial users.

Keeping safe in State plantation forests

We work with HQPlantations Pty Ltd to make State plantation forests as safe as possible for all visitors and users, and to maintain their environmental values. Safety risks can be created by illegal activities such as:

  • driving unregistered vehicles
  • using 4WDs and trail bikes off-road in a way that damages the land and interferes with safety practices, including fire management
  • dumping rubbish
  • camping without a permit
  • participating in group activities without a permit
  • lighting fires.

When you visit State plantation forests, make sure you follow all signs and directions from state officers (e.g. forest rangers) or HQPlantations officers.

You can help us keep plantation forests on state land safe by: