ANDREW WARNERThe Gallaugher Bequest Churchill Fellowship to examine private forestry extension services, particularly relating to wood production and conservation values, to be implemented by private growers in Tasmania - USA
At the time of the Fellowship, I was an extension forester working for the State government in Tasmania, providing advice and guidance to private landowners on the best way to sustainably manage their trees for wood and nonwood products, soil and water conservation and for native flora and fauna management. Privately-owned forest land in Tasmania comprised some 40% of the forests and provided essential livelihoods to many families living in rural areas.
After nearly 35 years working in private forestry, I retired in 2007 and am now involved in part-time project work in Southeast Asia, particularly in Thailand. I have had good contact with the Faculty of Forestry at Kasetsart University in Bangkok, over the past decade and this has helped to identify some opportunities for ongoing applied research of several models for delivering farm forestry to advisors and growers, as well as facilitating data analysis for research and commercial plantations.
Private forests in South Eastern USA have benefited over the past 20 years from a range of State and federal extension programs, that can provide valuable lessons in and innovative methods for successful and sustainable private forest land management in Tasmania and more generally in Australia.
The Gallaugher Bequest Churchill Fellowship enabled me to spend 6 weeks from May to July, 2001 in 5 South Eastern states in the USA – Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee. -where there is an extensive and well developed network of farm forestry extension agents and landowners.
From late May until early July, I visited specialists in the development, delivery and implementation of sustainable private forest management advice covering the full range of land uses including wood production, conservation and water quality.
The heritage of private forest ownership in this part of continental North America is substantial and unique, with nearly 70% owned by non industrial private landowners. These lands are mostly small tracts managed for a variety of purposes.
Where possible, I visited landowners and inspected examples of the programs, outcomes and highlights and problems that were identified through the extensive discussions.
FELLOWSHIP CONCLUSIONS & OUTCOMES
Through sharing their experiences and seeing the results on ground, I was able to interact with a wide range of people who like me are involved in developing, delivering and implementing sustainable private forest management advice covering the full range of land uses including wood production, conservation and water quality
The major conclusion from the study tour was that there are many benefits to be gained from the experiences and activities inspected and discussed in the South Eastern USA. There are no quick fix solutions, but there is widespread agreement on the importance of developing a culture of private forest management that is based on sustainable management plans and sound technical advice.
Information and contacts obtained via the Fellowship were used to improve, refine and expand farm forestry extension services in Tasmania specifically and where applicable more broadly within Australia.