1. Introduction

​​In April 2008, the Forest Industries Branch of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) engaged the Fenner School of Environment and Society to identify a set of indicators to describe and quantify the social and economic impact of forestry in Australia over time.

The indicators developed need to:

  • Be cost effective, to enable regular monitoring;
  • Be valid – measure what they are intended to measure;
  • Be replicable over time – requiring a consistent, replicable and cost effective methodology;
  • Be applicable across both native forest and plantation sectors;
  • Be applicable at local, regional and national scale where possible; and
  • Provide information on the most relevant social and economic impacts.

A key priority was to identify indicators that can be readily and cost effectively measured over time using available sources of data, as well as identify where further information is needed, but not as easily accessible.

The recommended indicators enable consistent monitoring of some key social and economic aspects of forestry in Australia using cost effective approaches, but can only provide a limited picture of the wide variety of social and economic impacts related to forestry. The indicators should be accompanied by in-depth studies which help to broaden and deepen understanding of social and economic impacts of forestry, and which can provide information that improves interpretation of the recommended indicators.

This report provides:

  • A summary of the indicators recommended, and of other work required to better understand social and economic impacts of forestry in Australia;
  • A brief discussion of key considerations when assessing social and economic impacts;
  • A detailed description of the methods recommended for measuring each indicator; and
  • A discussion of other work that could be usefully undertaken to better understand social and economic impacts of forestry in Australia.

The recommended indicators were identified based on a comprehensive review of literature on (a) social and economic information needs for Australian forestry, and (b) indicators used in previous studies; and on testing of proposed indicators in two case study regions. The results of the two case studies are presented in separate reports.

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