The Commonwealth's Scientific Advisory Group (SAG) was formed to advise the Government on the development of the Commonwealth's position paper on Criteria for National Forest Conservation Reserve (July 1995).
The Group was re-established to advise on issues arising from the application of the Commonwealth's reserve criteria during the DFA process. Four references to the SAG involved Western Australia, one considered the appropriateness of the forest type classification used in Western Australia, another looked at old growth reservation levels in southern jarrah and the two others examined biodiversity and old growth aspects of administrative reserves for the purpose of their accreditation in the Deferred Forest Assessment.
The Western Australian Government established a Scientific Panel to review the issue of the contribution of the larger riparian and road reserves to a CAR reserve system. Details of their findings on this issue are found in Sec 6.2.3.
4.8. Mechanisms for Protection of Conservation Values
4.8.1 Reserve Classification and IUCN Management Categories
For the purposes of the DFA, areas were considered to be reserved if they occurred within land for which one of the primary management objectives is biodiversity conservation and which is not currently available for timber harvesting.
The following lists the current Western Australian tenures which fell in either of two categories:
1) Secure reserves, which includes National Parks, Conservation Parks, Nature Reserves, 5g Reserves and Miscellaneous Reserves; or
2) Informal reserves, which have a lesser level of protection, but which nevertheless are recognised formally, either in legislation, or through the administrative powers of the managing authority. It has been agreed that these areas are protected from timber harvesting during the life of the Deferred Forest Assessment. DFA accredited informal reserves are calculated from the total informal reserves minus deductions for those not accredited by the Commonwealth Scientific Advisory Group.
Details of the purposes of the land tenures is given in Appendix 1
The management regimes for dedicated reserves in Western Australia described above may be equated to protected area management categories defined by the IUCN Commission for National Parks and Protected Areas (1994).
The IUCN management categories relevant to the tenure and purpose of forest lands in Western Australia are Categories I, II, IV and VI defined as:
The area of 'formal reserves' quantified in the tables which follow in subsequent sections of this report include only IUCN Categories I and II.
Informal reserves (also known as administrative reserves or non statutory reserves) also form part of the nature conservation reserve system in Western Australia.
Planning for timber harvest in the south-west forest region involves the coordination of pre-harvest activities which have lead times in some cases of up to five years before harvest commences. These activities include:
coupe concept plans
rare flora surveys
The sequencing and integration of these activities is a complex planning task. Many factors influence where timber is harvested in any given year, these include: strategic fire protection buffers, permanent exclusion zones, temporary exclusion zones, protection of national estate values, visual resource management zones and silvicultural objectives for each forest stand.
The maps accompanying this report show areas available for timber harvest. Much of these areas are not available either in the short-term or the long-term because of these constraints.
A Code of Logging Practice and a Manual of Logging Specifications are applied to all timber harvesting operations in Western Australia's native forests. The Code and the Manual form part of a hierarchy of compliance mechanisms applicable to timber harvesting operations controlled by CALM.
The Forest Management Regulations (1993) contain provisions for registration of timber workers, identification of tree fellers and identification of log timber. Penalties apply to felling of trees outside approved coupes, unauthorised removal of log timber, failure to complete log delivery notes and many other regulations pertaining to timber harvesting.
Individual log supply contracts are negotiated between CALM and logging contractors. The Code and the Manual form an integral part of all log supply contracts and all forest produce licences. Breaches of the Code or the Manual are breaches of the contract or the licence. The Code also applies to operations on any private property where CALM is responsible for management of the timber harvesting operations.
CALM has established a Management Audit Unit which will check compliance with the Code and the Manual and other prescriptions and administrative procedures. Management monitoring procedures and performance indicators are also being developed
4.9 Key Issues Arising from Public Consultation
The comments received over the consultation period could be broadly grouped into two classes of submitters - those that considered any further reduction in industry access to forests unwarranted and those that considered the environmental assessments inadequate.
Submissions from conservation groups and conservation oriented individuals covered a wide range of concerns. Issues raised included the coarseness of the forest type analysis, exclusion of minor forest types, accreditation of informal reserves, confusion between gross and net assessments, incomplete wilderness assessment, less optimal selection of deferred areas and need to modify benchmarks to account for the rarity of karri old growth and refine the definition of old growth. Many issues have been addressed in this report: for example, the analyses and description of methods have been clarified, other forest types addressed and some analysis of the level of foreclosure reservation options. One of the key scientific issues, the forest type classification, was referred to the Commonwealth Scientific Group and the recommendations adopted. Many issues raised were more appropriate for consideration during the development of the Regional Forest Agreement. These issues include the consideration of the old growth definition, further review of informal reserves classification of forest types.
Submissions from industry and community organisations were concerned primarily that social and economic considerations be given due weight in the assessment period and that the consequences of reducing access to resource be properly considered in decisions on environmental protection.
Several submissions were received from groups and individuals associated with uses of forest land other than wood production. These submissions were noted and the need for early involvement of the full range of stakeholders during the CRA/RFA process is accepted. Comprehensive analyses of non-wood values and activities of forest areas will be undertaken as part of the CRA/RFA process.