Forest and land management in north-east Queensland 1859-1960

Frawley, Kevin J. (1983). Forest and land management in north-east Queensland 1859-1960 PhD Thesis, Department of Geography, The Australian National University.

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Author Frawley, Kevin J.
Thesis Title Forest and land management in north-east Queensland 1859-1960
School, Centre or Institute Department of Geography
Institution The Australian National University
Publication date 1983-01
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Open Access Status File (Publisher version)
Total pages 390
Language eng
Abstract/Summary Forest and land management in north-east Queensland is examined from Queensland separation in 1859 to the commencement of the first comprehensive forestry legislation in 1960. This is followed by a brief postscript of the period after 1960. The research is structured around the identification of those environmental and societal images which have influenced forest and land management policies and actions, and the resultant conversion of the rainforest landscape. Special emphasis is given to the development of forest policy for north Queensland. Rainforest management in north Queensland is considered in the context of land policy generally. Until 1960, agrarianism dominated Queensland images of rural development, resulting in closer settlement policies that ignored forest values. Attitudes towards rainforest were predominantly utilitarian and antagonistic, though there was a contrasting romantic image. While eventually, farming was successfully established, the effects of closer settlement policies on the northern landscape were also the transfer of timbered lands to private ownership, massive forest destruction, and clearing of poorly productive lands. The development of forest policy in north Queensland is discussed within the state and national context. As professional forestry became established in Queensland, in line with similar developments throughout Australia, the northern rainforest lands became the scene of bitter conflict between the forestry profession and land settlement interests. The early ‘inexhaustible’ image of the Queensland forests was progressively modified. By 1900, there was some realization that the vast forests could be quickly depleted. This was demonstrated by the rapid commercial extinction of red cedar. In south-east Queensland, management for sustained yield was eventually abandoned for the native softwoods. In recent times, maintenance of sustained yield has also become doubtful for the northern rainforest. Three phases are evident in concern for forest conservation in Queensland. Wasteful cutting provoked the first criticism. By the 1880s, the established industry looked for management that would guarantee future supplies. From the 1890s, moves for forest conservation came into conflict with continuing land alienation, resulting from the closer settlement imperative. Since the 1960s, production forestry has been opposed by conservation interests who argue that the remaining rainforest should be preserved for other values. In north Queensland, the result of a century of clearing has been to reduce the rainforest to the residual lands of the Great Divide.
Keyword Forest and land management Queensland
Forest history Queensland
Rainforest management Queensland
Queensland land policy
EHF Swain
Maalan Group Settlement, Queensland

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