VicForests' operations comply with the legislative framework that governs sustainable timber harvesting in Victoria.
This framework determines where we harvest, the size of the area harvested and how we manage any potential effects of our operations on specific values.
All areas go through a rigorous planning and approval process prior to harvest.
Creating Operational Harvesting Plans
Following the planning stage, all relevant information regarding each area proposed for harvesting is collated and entered into a ‘coupe level plan'. These plans include:
- A detailed map of the coupe area (area to be harvested) which outlines all of the required management prescriptions and areas that are to be excluded from harvesting
- The location of access roads and operating areas to be constructed and the potential environmental impact of any activity is minimised
- All proposed management actions including the information gathered from the planning process via computer and field assessments
Translating the Plans into Actions
Coupe level plans are provided to our operational staff once approved. VicForests' staff then manage the contractors who undertake harvesting operations in the field.
The contracting crew is given a copy of the coupe plan and are required to ensure that their harvesting operations comply with all prescriptions. Operational staff perform regular audits to check that all prescriptions contained within the plan are being followed.
Auditing Our Coupe Plans
All of our activities undergo rigorous internal and external auditing to ensure compliance with the Code of Practice for Timber Production, Forest Management Plans, Action Statements and our management system requirements. This includes:
- Ensuring compliance with Australian Forestry Standard (AFS), which is recognised globally by the world's largest forest certification scheme, the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC)
- Compliance checks and audits by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning on both our systems and operations
- Internal auditing and monitoring across all systems to ensure continual improvement of our processes
- Audits by Melbourne Water, where operations are within catchments managed under their authority