TT published the specifications of the review on Saturday:
• Frank Nicklason: What is HIgh Conservation Value Forest?
Dear (Mercury) Editor
It is fair enough for Forestry Tasmania spokesman Ken Jeffreys to question whether or not publically owned forests are high conservation value or otherwise. (Mercury 16/5)
Traditionally that judgement is made principally in relation to the presence of outstanding biodiversity. Should this be the only criterion?
Amongst the outstanding problems and challenges of our time are global climate change and peak oil and the implications are clear. We need to be very concerned about greenhouse gas emissions, food and water security, and fire risk.
The current forestry practice of clearfelling and burning of mixed wet native forests has clearcut negative effects in these areas. The denuding of forested slopes in the upper catchment of the Tamar River, for example
has resulted in massive loss of soil from coupe floors, and the evident and expensive problem of siltation in the lower reaches of the river.
Eucalyptus regrowth leads to reduced water yield in that catchment because rapidly growing young trees are thirsty.
Regrowth forests are dryer than the biodiverse native forests they replace and it is logical to think that they would be more fire prone.
According to Forestry Tasmania’s own scientific research, burning of residual biomass after clearfelling of tall, wet, mixed native forest released around 700 tonnes of carbon dioxide per hectare into the atmosphere.
The impacts on water, soil, fire risk, and carbon should be factored into assessments of conservation value.
Broadacre clearfelling of native forests is inherently wasteful and destructive and should be abandoned.