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Upper Catchment Issues Vol 1 No 3 Supplement

Author: Tasmanian Community Resource Auditors Incorporated

Community Based Audit
Technical Note
Coupes CC159B CC160D, Weld Hill

By Kim Eastman, Dorset Waterwatch

Context

This audit was conducted by Dorset Waterwatch representative Kim Eastman at the request of local community members concerned over the treatment of watercourses during two clearfell operations in an area of state forest at Weld Hill, Northeast Tasmania, referred to in this audit as coupe CC159B and coupe CC160D. This was an area under scrutiny by the community due to its rainforest values, abundance of watercourses and proximity to recognised large diameter (fat) trees.

The information gathering process consisted of an on site visit conducted June 10, 2002 and a Forest Practices Plan (FPP) briefing with Forestry Tasmania officer Chris Dare at the Eco Forest Centre, Forestry Tasmania's Scottsdale offices on August 9, 2002.

Biophysical Characteristics

Both coupes are located to the south of Weld Hill in an area characterised by high rainfall (1500mm+) with a mixture of Eucalyptus, rainforest and understorey species on soils derived from granite-diorite. An abundance of waterways emanate from gullies throughout this region, in fact both coupes had numerous streams rising within the coupe boundaries.

Site Audit
Coupe CC159B

Coupe CC160D

Forest Practice Plan Briefing

The FPP briefing was held in response to a request by Dorset Waterwatch to view the plan following receipt of a letter responding to our concerns from Bass District Forest Manager, Steve Manson.

During the briefing information on why the trees were felled and streamside vegetation burnt in coupe CC159B was freely offered by Chris Dare. He explained that location of the cable logger on a slope above the coupe necessitated that the cable lines, which extended almost directly across the stream gullies, be cleared of trees for safety reasons. He declined to speculate why the planner had failed to recognise the impact this would have on the vegetation within the stream gullies or why the trees were not recovered for processing.

With regards to the burning of the streamside vegetation, he explained that a high intensity burn carried out by helicopter drop across the coupe would draw the fire through the streamside vegetation to the centre of the coupe. He explained that there may have been alternative methods of fire management available, ie green windrowing, but was unaware if other options had been considered for this site.

Three points were raised after viewing the plan for both coupes.

Conclusions

Report prepared for Forest Practices Board (see appendix 1)