A specific area of State forest identified for the purposes of a timber harvesting operation in a timber release plan or, on private land a single area of forest or plantation of variable size, shape and orientation from which timber is harvested in one operation.

Forest management zones

The Forest Management Zoning Scheme (FMZS) is a long-term planning tool that spatially represents all of the known values that are managed in Victoria’s State forests. The FMZS seeks to achieve a balance between a range of value inputs including the timber harvesting rules stated within the Planning Standards appendix to the Management Standards and Procedures. The FMZS identifies three management zones within State forest: the Special Protection Zone (SPZ); the Special Management Zone (SMZ); and the General Management Zone (GMZ).

General Management Zone

The General Management Zone (GMZ) is managed for a range of uses, but timber production has a high priority. Secondary aims include protection of landscape values, provision of recreation and educational opportunities, fire protection and conservation to complement adjacent zones.

The GMZ also contains areas unsuitable for sawlog production due to steep slopes or low productivity. While activities such as fuel-reduction burning, harvesting of minor forest products (such as firewood, poles and honey), and recreation are permitted, these activities tend to be limited to small areas. Consequently, parts of the GMZ remain relatively undisturbed and contribute substantially to conservation, particularly the drier forest types and their associated fauna.


The science and practice of managing harvesting, forest establishment, composition, and growth, to achieve specified objectives.

Spatial data

The data or information that identifies the geographic location of features and boundaries on Earth, such as natural or constructed features, oceans, and more. Spatial data is usually stored as coordinates and topology and is data that can be mapped.

Special Management Zone

The Special Management Zone (SMZ) is managed to conserve specific features, while catering for timber production under certain conditions. Management arrangements for areas in the SMZ are determined on a case-by-case basis according to the values present. Each area has a plan prepared which details if and under what conditions, timber harvesting may occur.

This management zone includes areas for conservation of fauna species, point localities (special management sites) of significant features (historic sites and isolated populations of key threatened plant species) and areas where modified timber harvesting techniques will be used to minimise the visual impact of harvesting and risks to catchment values.

Special Protection Zone

The Special Protection Zone (SPZ) is managed for conservation. Timber harvesting is excluded and other activities (such as fuel reduction burning and grazing) are only permitted where they are compatible with maintenance of values of the zone. The SPZ complements the existing conservation reserves and portions form a network designed to link key elements of the overall reserve system.

State forest

State forest comprises publicly owned land which is managed for the conservation of flora and fauna; for the protection of water catchments and water quality; for the provision of timber and other forest products on a sustainable basis; for the protection of landscape, archaeological, historical and other cultural values; and to provide recreational and educational opportunities.

Timber harvesting operation

Refers to any of the following kinds of activities carried out by any person or body for the purposes of sale or processing and sale —

(a) felling or cutting of trees or parts of trees;

(b) taking or removing timber;

(c) delivering timber to a buyer or transporting timber to a place for collection by a buyer or sale to a buyer;

(d) any works, including road works, site preparation, planting and regeneration, ancillary to any of the activities referred to in paragraphs (a) to (c)—

but does not include—

(e) the collection or production of firewood for domestic use.


Victorian Resources Online, Public Land (2019). Available here

Forests and Reserves, Code of Practice for Timber Production (2014). Available here.

Page last updated: 28/04/21