The Experimental Landscape is 33 x 32 km landscape dominated by lowland wet eucalypt forest that captures a gradient of disturbance intensity resulting from past wildfires and post-European land-use.
The SFEFL was established by FT in 2009 as a place to do landscape-level research. This is the scale that society views how our land-use should play out. It is also the scale that contemporary ecological science is most interested in. The SFEFL is a 1120 square km landscape typifying land-use in much of the settled parts of the State: heavily modified agricultural and urban landscapes near the coast abut production forests which become progressively less intensively managed towards the permanent reserve network that is concentrated in the interior uplands.
Experiments to date done in the SFEFL:
- Maintaining mature forest biodiversity in a production forest landscape (FT, UTas, FWPA).
- Key finding: Populations of mature forest-affiliated species of birds and plants in mature forest and in younger regenerating forest differ in their sensitivity to disturbance in the landscape surrounding the forest patches: Populations in retained mature forest are similar regardless of the intensity of disturbance in the landscape surround the forest; populations in younger regenerating forest decline with increasing intensity of management in the landscape surrounding the regenerating forest. The amount of mature forest retained in the surrounding landscape could explain much of this effect in the regenerating forest. This provided an empirical basis for setting a target minimum level of long-term retention used in Forestry Tasmania’s Landscape Context Planning System
- Social acceptability of forest management options: landscape visualisation and evaluation (University of Melbourne).
- Key finding: that wider community prefer larger protected areas balanced by intensification of forest management outside protected areas. This preference is almost the opposite to that of ecologists, who advocated a lower intensity of management spread more widely through the landscape.