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JIS News

The Forestry Department, is now in the final stages of moving from a department of the Ministry of Agriculture, to being an Executive Agency.
In an interview with JIS News, Conservator of Forests, Marilyn Headley, said that while the Forestry Department, as an Executive Agency, would generate some income for services offered in areas such as dissemination of research data and maps, selling seedlings and recreational services, it would be more service centred, rather than revenue centred.
“As an Executive Agency, we will change how we do business. We will work more with targets and take new approaches to planning. It is a three-pronged approach focussed on modernising of our corporate, technical and enforcement services,” she explained.
The Department will have more autonomy in its field activities as an Executive Agency. It will manage the forests in two zones, the Cockpit Country in the west and the Blue Mountains in the east. These areas will be overseen by clusters, looking at management, research, biodiversity, enforcement and client services. Previously, a single forester did everything in the field, including enforcement. Now enforcement will be carried out by a specially designated legal section.
“The Technical Services Division, will gather information and undertake research to inform forest planning, and planners are to be brought on board,” she explained, adding that findings would also inform client services and awareness programmes.
“Awareness is integral to compliance, so the new Forestry Executive Agency, will be focussing heavily on awareness and public education,” Miss Headley noted.
She pointed out that the next 12 months would be the transition year for the Forestry Department, at the end of which it would achieve Executive Agency status. At the end of the process, she said there would be an increase in its staff complement.