Determining ‘Forest Types’ to minimize damage

The Forestry Corporation have released their first harvesting plan for the southern region, at least that I’ve seen, that refers to minimizing damage ‘to stands where Allocasuarina dominate the canopy, sub-canopy or understorey’

Although the requirement only became operative in March of this year the plan was approved in November 2007 and Ian Barnes, who approved the plan, retired some time ago.

An ABCSE report on resident’s concerns about potential negative impacts on water supplies quotes the Forestry Corporation’s Planning Manager for the Southern Region, Kevin Petty, saying ‘the project will not affect rivers and streams’.

As it turns out the ‘project’ is estimated to supply only 8.5 m³ per hectare, the lowest volume I can recall, clearly uneconomical and another sign of how desperate the FC is. According to the harvesting plan the ‘remnant overstorey is in very poor timber condition’ across the compartments and ‘Casuarina’ occurs in the understorey of the areas proposed for logging.

The issue with the Allocasuarina prescription is that no methods are specified to determine what forest type is in any given location so the FC can ignore/rort it for the purposes of logging and burning. However and while the purpose in the exclosure area is to manage Allocasuraina stands without fire, the methods to confirm their existence should have a solid basis and be generally accepted.

A solid basis starts with a definition of forest as in the ‘Australian Carbon Budget -2013‘ indicating:

Forests lands are defined as lands with a minimum tree cover of 20% and trees with a minimum height of 2 m.These criteria are consistent with the reporting requirements of the UNFCCC Marrakech Accords, Montreal Process, and the Food and Agriculture Organization.”

The important part is to account for all woody species above 2m in height while noting that the FC’s methods – basal area sweeps – don’t and the modified methods for the RGB-SAT exclude trees less 150 mm diameter at breast height (DBH). So the chart below provides the data from 30 live trees greater the 2 m in height, in what should be ‘tall dry eucalypt forest’ and arranged in DBH classes (mm) from a plot 14m in diameter within the exclosure.

Noncomm

In this case all bar one of the non-commercial species are Allocasuarina, so I guess it’s the first confirmed area of Allocasuarina forest, where damage is to be minimized.

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