Plantation forests on state land

Queensland's public land includes large areas of State forest that are administered under the Forestry Act 1959. Around 300,000 hectares of State forest is used to produce commercial plantation timber.

Plantation forests on Queensland's state land are managed, grown and harvested by HQPlantations Pty Ltd, who was granted a 99-year plantation licence in 2010. HQPlantations owns the plantation forests and timber on the areas covered by the licence, although the land underlying these plantations and the associated native forest is still State forest and public land.

The public is allowed to access the land on which these plantations grow, but a permit may be required depending on the activity and where it is performed.

Working with HQPlantations

The plantation licence issued to HQPlantations covers around 300,000 hectares, 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 locations of HQPlantations' plantation forests on state land can be identified using the defined forest area maps.

The State ensures that high standards of environmental care continue to apply to these plantation forests on state land through agreements with HQPlantations on important management responsibilities, including:

  • 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.
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  • Fire management. HQPlantations works with government agencies - including the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services 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. The State works 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 from plantation forests on state land to State forests for conservation after the plantations in each area are harvested.

We also work with HQPlantations to ensure public access for recreational and other commercial purposes is still granted to plantation forests on state land.

Recreational and commercial uses of plantation forests

In addition to commercial timber production, plantation forests on state land have other commercial and recreational uses. Members of the public are generally free to access plantation forests on state land, 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.

Please 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 and Science (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 is important for users of plantation forests to stay safe for the benefit of all visitors and commercial users.

Keeping plantation forests on state land safe

The State works with HQPlantations Pty Ltd to make plantation forests on state land as safe as possible for all visitors and users, and to maintain their environmental values. These areas can be endangered 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 plantation forests on state land, 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: