Plantations and sustainable rural communities

Jacki Schirmer, Matthew Tonts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Tree plantations are often hailed as providing a wide range of economic, social and environmental benefits to rural regions. Yet in many of the regions where plantations have been established, members of rural communities and environmental groups have expressed various concerns about the effects of large-scale tree plantings. If plantations are bringing so many benefits to these regions, why is there social concern and sometimes active dispute over their establishment? This paper examines the nature of these concerns and disputes by reviewing some of the literature on social implications of plantations, and by drawing on four case studies from the south-west of Western Australia. During the past decade this region has experienced a rapid increase in plantation forestry. While some see the industry as a positive development, there are also widespread concerns about the negative effects of this change in land use. The paper also investigates recent measures adopted by plantation companies, local governments and State and federal government agencies to address and resolve concerns. It reveals that a number of these strategies provide opportunities to channel social concerns over plantations into productive processes that allow differing views to be expressed and acted upon.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-74
Number of pages9
JournalAustralian Forestry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2003
Externally publishedYes


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