While the JANIS criteria may be inadequate, the FRG procedure has led to an increase in conservation reserves in all areas. [129] The question of whether these additions meet the definitions of the JANIS criteria is under discussion. The Tasmanian FRG has been strongly criticized by the Wilderness Society, the Tasmanian Conservation Trust and the World Wide Fund for Nature for failing to meet the commitment to a comprehensive, appropriate and representative forest reserve. [130] The definition of “old growth” has been interpreted in a restrictive manner, which has reduced the area reserved in absolute terms under the 60% rule, and underestimated the number of forest species found in Tasmania, which undermines the representative nature of protected areas. [131] [165] Native forest Network, Media Release, `National Environment Groups Condemn Federal Plans for an `Australian Forestry Standard`, 8 May 2000. Despite strong evidence to the contrary, conservationists are being presented in an “environment-for-employment” competition as the cause of the problems faced by Australian woodworkers. [12] Conflicts within the Community, between levels of government and between forest and conservation authorities within the government have intensified since the 1970s, when it became clear that traditional methods of resource management have failed forests. [13] The process of the regional forest agreement was initiated in the early 1990s by the federal government to defuse the political sensitivity of forest management decisions. It created a mechanism that allowed the federal government and the federal states to agree on the long-term management and exploitation of forests in order to ensure safe access to industry while protecting ecological and cultural values. [14] This is the largest intergovernmental natural resource planning process in Australia[15] and, as such, is a useful case study for natural resource managers in Australia and elsewhere. It is still too early to fully assess whether the FRG process is pushing the Australian forest industry into more sustainable practices.

Given our generous access to the imported forest products market, the impact of an immediate shift to full internalization of environmental costs would effectively destroy the industry. However, in order for Australia to meet its international conservation commitments and maximize the full economic benefits of forest resources, further rapid progress is needed. The FRGas require each forest management agency to put in place a management system that provides for continuous improvement and to report on progress.