An independent Scientific Advisory Panel was appointed by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) to provide science-based advice to inform the modernisation of Victorian Regional Forest Agreements.
The Panel was comprised of experts from a range of scientific backgrounds and had briefings on a wide range of forest issues. Members contributed their own specialist knowledge to discussions and debate around the complexities of forest management.
Scientific Advice to Support Regional Forest Agreement Negotiations
The Panel produced a report of “Scientific Advice to Support Regional Forest Agreement Negotiations" which includes advice and recommendations on:
- Improvement of the management of Matters of National Environmental Significance in the RFA system
- Refinement and better management of the Comprehensive, Adequate and Representative reserve system
- Implications of climate change for the full suite of forest values and potential improvements to the RFAs to ensure appropriate management
- Active management of forests to support a range of outcomes
- A strategic approach to the development of new plantations
- Development and implementation of a more adaptive forest management system.
While the panel agreed on many points, advice provided by some members of the panel was not agreed by all. Understanding and capturing dissenting views was important as it helped build understanding of the complexities of forest management and assisted with identification of priorities for future research and investment. Dissenting views are acknowledged and presented with the report.
Advice from the Scientific Advisory Panel has helped to inform modernised Regional Forest Agreements and the improvements to Victoria’s forest management system.
Reports of Advice and Meeting Communiques
Summaries of key points of discussion at Scientific Advisory Panel meetings, and the final Reports of Advice, have been made available by the Panel Chair:
Reports of Advice
6th May 2019
24th May 2019
24th-25th June 2019
Frequently Asked Questions
The role of the Scientific Advisory Panel was to provide independent science-based advice to inform modernised Victorian Regional Forest Agreements and forest management in Victoria.
The Scientific Advisory Panel was comprised of the following scientific experts:
- Dr Sandra Brizga (Chairperson)
- Dr John Raison (Deputy Chairperson)
- Professor David Lindenmayer
- Dr Lyndall Bull (since resigned from panel due to other commitments)
- Associate Professor Lauren Bennett
- Dr David Cheal
To ensure the independence of the Panel, DELWP engaged the Royal Society of Victoria to run a public expression of interest process, assess applications and recommend a short-list of candidates. The selection panel comprised the following RSV members: Dr Tom Beer, Dr Bill Birch AM, Prof Roslyn Gleadow, Dr Bram Mason and Prof David Walker.
The Scientific Advisory Panel was comprised of experts from a range of scientific backgrounds. While the panel agreed on many points, advice provided by some members of the panel was not agreed by all panel members. Understanding and capturing dissenting views was important as it helped to build understanding of the complexities of forest management and assisted with identification of priorities for future research and investment. Dissenting views were acknowledged and presented with the report of “Scientific Advice to Support Regional Forest Agreement Negotiations”.
Expiry of the original RFAs on 31 March 2020 has been a catalyst to review and improve Victoria’s forest management system. Advice from the Scientific Advisory Panel has also helped to inform improvements to Victoria’s forest management system.
Scientific Advisory Panel Members
To ensure the independence of the Panel, DELWP engaged the Royal Society of Victoria (RSV) to run a public expression of interest process and convene a panel of RSV members to assess applications and recommend a short-list of candidates. The selection panel comprised the following RSV members: Dr Tom Beer, Dr Bill Birch AM, Prof Roslyn Gleadow, Dr Bram Mason and Prof David Walker.
The Scientific Advisory Panel comprises the following scientific experts
BA (Hons), Master of Environmental Law, Master of Applied Finance, PhD (Geomorphology).
Director and Principal Consultant, Brizga Environmental.
Dr Brizga has extensive experience in environmental and natural resource management. She has been an independent consultant in river, catchment and coastal management since 1995, and is also a sessional member of Planning Panels Victoria. She previously pursued a career in academia, as well as, publishing a book on river management. Current and previous board and committee memberships include:
- Trust for Nature
- Australian World Heritage Advisory Committee
- Fraser Island World Heritage Area Scientific Advisory Committee
- Central Coastal Board
- Fisheries Co-management Council’s Inland Fishery Committee
- Game Management Authority
- Port Phillip and Westernport Catchment Management Authority
- Victorian Catchment Management Council.
She is a Fellow of the Peter Cullen Trust, an Honorary Life Member of the River Basin Management Society and has been Vice-President of the Australian and New Zealand Geomorphology Group.
B. Rural Science (Hons), PhD.
Former Chief Research Scientist, CSIRO.
Dr Raison is a distinguished science leader with a depth of experience in the management of Australian native forests and plantations. He brings notable expertise in Forest and Landscape Ecology, as well as, experience in Environmental Economics.
Dr Raison is a forest ecologist with expertise in organic matter dynamics, nutrient cycling and forest growth. He has contributed scientific expertise to several national and international forest policy issues, in particular methods for assessment of sustainable forest management, forest bioenergy, and the development of methods for greenhouse gas accounting in the land-based sectors.
In recent years, he has contributed to a range of policy and practices, including revision of codes of forest practice, the development of sustainability indicators, reporting on the state of Australia’s forests, and input to expert advisory groups as part of the development of Regional Forest Agreements in all Australian States.
AO FAA BSc, DipEd, PhD (Ecological Science), DSc ARC Laureate Fellow.
Fenner School of Environment and Society, Australian National University Professor.
Professor Lindenmayer is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Sciences. He has notable skills in Adaptive Management, Climate Change and Ecosystem Services.
Professor Lindenmayer is a landscape ecologist and conservation biologist specialising in:
- forest ecology and management
- habitat fragmentation
- applied wildlife and conservation management
- landscape ecology and natural resource management
- the ecology and conservation of arboreal marsupials
- integrated wildlife management and timber production
- the effectiveness of wildlife corridors and areas of retained vegetation for the conservation of forest dependent fauna
- endangered species conservation and management
- population viability analysis (PVA) and extinction risk assessment
- fire effects on vertebrates
- the effectiveness of landscape restoration for biodiversity
- woodland conservation and restoration.
BSc, BForSc (Hons), PhD (Forest Product Development).
Principal, Lynea Advisory.
Dr Lyndall Bull brings notable expertise in Environmental Economics and has extensive global experience in the forest sector. More specifically her focus has been on strategic management, innovation and product development, market analysis and research management.
Lyndall has served on a range of Boards including the Cooperative Research Centre for Forestry and as Chair of the South Australian Forest Industry Development Board. She currently serves on:
- Board of Sustainable Timber Tasmania
- Forestry Corporation of New South Wales
- Management Committee of Foresters without Borders.
Lyndall is the Principal of Lynea Advisory, where she provides advice to a range of clients in the forest sector.
BForSc (Hons), PhD (Botany).
Principal Research Fellow, School of Ecosystem & Forest Sciences, The University of Melbourne.
Associate Professor Bennett holds notable scientific expertise in forest and landscape ecology and ecosystem sciences with a focus on ecosystem processes (carbon and nutrient cycling), forest carbon assessment, soil science, ecophysiology, tree demography, and fire ecology.
Her research has traversed a diversity of ecosystems including coastal woodlands, eucalypt plantations, semi-arid grasslands, environmental plantings, remnant woodlands, and forests. In each of these ecosystems, she has developed and applied innovative techniques to interpret key ecosystem attributes and processes, and to elucidate effects of both managed and natural disturbances.
The breadth of this work has provided her with a strong basis to foster interdisciplinary research collaborations, and to develop cross-disciplinary teaching material including coordination of a Masters subject in ecological restoration.
MRSV BSc (Hons), MSc, PhD.
Honorary Research Fellow, Centre for Environmental Management, Federation University.
Dr Cheal is an accomplished ecologist with extensive experience in Biodiversity Conservation, Forest and Landscape Ecology and Ecosystem Services.
His principal field of professional expertise is in botany, including landscape ecology and autecology, plus botanical taxonomy, pedology and fire and weed ecology. He also has expertise in faunal ecology (principally mammals) and in the translation of scientific expertise to practical land management.
Page last updated: 01/04/20