Sumac Sustainable Harvesting Forest Trial

Research into regeneration systems for rainforest commenced in north-western Tasmania in 1976 with fourteen rainforest harvesting and regeneration trials being  established over the following decade.   Subsequent monitoring of these sites has shown that dense myrtle regeneration occurs after harvesting on fertile sites if the seedbed is exposed and trees are retained for seed and shelter.

One such trial established in north-western Tasmania, was the Sumac forest harvest trials.  Commenced in 1976, this trial was conducted to establish the best silviculture method for regenerating Myrtle dominated forest post harvesting to ensure an ongoing supply of special timbers. Harvesting techniques trialled included;

  • selective harvesting
  • strip felling
  • shelterwood
  • clearfell with cull retention,
  • clearfell.

Regeneration techniques trialled included;

  • ground scarification
  • post-harvest burning
  • for the selective harvest areas no treatment beyond natural canopy openings from felled trees and minor soil disturbance from harvesting equipment.

The trial site was successfully regenerated and monitored over decades with the resultant research informing Forestry Technical Bulletin 9 – Rainforest Silviculture.

Below is a video of the Sumac trial area taken in 2017, some 40 years post harvest with some photographs of the original harvesting trials in the footage to show how successful the trials have been.


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