THE FUTURE of the state's northern forests has been boosted - with a group recently created to promote the industry.
Mid North community members formed the Northern Forest Community Initiative Working Group to investigate land use options.
A Forestry SA review recommended closing the region's remaining pine plantations mid-2014 after fire destroyed 400 hectares of forestry plantations at Bundaleer in January 2013, and 1600ha at Wirrabara was lost in the Bangor fires last year.
NFCIWG chair Greg Boston, Jamestown, said the focus was on keeping the forest a part of the community, both economically and socially.
He said the primary focus was on replanting - to sustain the town's largest employer Morgan Sawmill.
He said a closure would have far-reaching impacts for the whole community. The group had studied the two forests as a 'blank canvas' and came up with ideas such as replanting trees in viable sections, developing tourism and recreational ideas, and environmental options.
"Our group is quite concerned about the potential sell-off of land," he said.
"It would be devastating for the sawmill and the region.
"It would deprive the community of a historically significant place and also reduce regional activities that had been present for many, many years."
Forestry Minister Leon Bignell said the region's future needed a new approach.
He had hoped the community would take up the challenge, following a public meeting held in Jamestown in October.
"The government doesn't have all the answers regarding the future of the region and I welcome the establishment of a group which will help formulate options for forest land," he said.
"It can't be all about forestry, the region needs a diversified economy not one that is largely dependent on one primary industry but instead supported by a multitude of industries and businesses."