Tropical rainforest logging in north Queensland: Was it sustainable?

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Vanclay, JK 1993, 'Tropical rainforest logging in north Queensland: Was it sustainable?', Annals of Forestry, vol. 1, pp. 54-60.


Timber harvesting from the tropical rainforests of north Queensland ceased following their inscription on the World Heritage List in 1988. The cessation of logging was due to a political ban, not due to exhaustion of the resources. There is no evidence to suggest that logging could not be sustained. Rather, there are growing evidences to suggest that the polycyclic selection system could have sustained timber harvests indefinitely, although yields would have been comparatively low (0.4 m3/ha/yr). Strengths of this system were secure tenure, independent professional management, minimal damage to residual trees and minimal soil erosion. Weaknesses included low financial returns, inadequate procedures for identifying areas for preservation, and insufficient community involvement. Implications for the tropical timber producers are discussed.

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