In the Upper North East region, the CAR Reserve System on Public Land primarily comprises areas established for conservation purposes (eg National Parks and Nature Reserves) and areas reserved for conservation in State forest.
CAR RESERVE SYSTEM COMPONENTS AND PROTECTION MECHANISMS.
The CAR Reserve System on Public Land has the following three components:
Dedicated Reserves. This comprises reserves established through legislation for conservation purposes such as National Parks, Nature Reserves and Flora Reserves (Special Protection Zone).
Informal Reserves. This comprises those parts of the Special Management Zone under the Forest Management Zoning system that are greater than 40ha, and wider than 200m wide, or are directly adjacent to Dedicated Reserves. It also includes those areas dedicated as Crown Reserves under the provisions of the Crown Lands Act 1989 (NSW) and State Recreation Areas which are managed by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service. Plans of Management for Crown Reserves will be prepared by 1 January 2005 as outlined in the New South Wales Upper North East Region Forest Agreement.
Values protected by Prescription. These comprise those elements of habitat protected by Regional Prescriptions as detailed in the Integrated Forestry Operations Approval covering the Upper North East region and areas within the Harvesting Exclusions and Special Prescription Zone under the Forest Management Zoning system that, due to the size or shape, do not meet the Informal Reserve category outlined above. The Integrated Forestry Operations Approval complements the Dedicated and Informal Reserve network and includes additional levels of protection for rare non-commercial forest types, Old Growth forest, rainforest and threatened species in all areas that have been identified to be primarily managed for sustainable production.
NSW will finalise boundaries of the CAR Reserves to enable its implementation within 6 months of signing this Agreement. Finalisation will include identifying suitable management boundaries. Wherever possible, these will follow easily identifiable features such as cadastre and roads and natural or ecological boundaries. Finalisation will also consider field verification of values being protected and appropriate boundaries mapped to protect the identified values.
The Dedicated Reserve component of the CAR Reserve System covers 506,200ha, the Informal Reserve component 93,800ha and the prescriptive component 118,300ha. Together the Dedicated Reserve and Informal Reserve components of the CAR Reserve System cover an area of approximately 600,000ha (about 46.1% of the Public Land in the region or 15.4% percent of the entire region).
New South Wales will, by 30 June 2000, produce a Regional ESFM Plan for the Upper North East region that includes Forest Management Zoning within State forests as described in the document Forest Management Zoning in State Forests, (SFNSW 1999). Of particular significance for the conservation of Forest Ecosystems and Old Growth forest are the:
Special Protection Zone (FMZ 1). These areas are dedicated and managed to maximise the protection of natural and cultural values. Timber harvesting, removal of Forest Products and materials, grazing by domestic stock, gravel/hard rock quarrying and mineral and petroleum exploration are not generally permitted within this zone.
Special Management Zone (FMZ 2). These areas are established following public comment and are gazetted and managed for the protection of natural and cultural conservation values where it is not possible or practicable to include them in the Special Protection Zone. Activities not permitted in this zone are similar to the Special Protection Zone except that mineral and petroleum exploration are permitted. Any mining proposal following from exploration will require standard environmental impact assessment and development approval processes.
Harvesting Exclusions Zone (FMZ 3A).These are areas where harvesting is excluded but other management and production activities preclude zoning as Special Protection Zone or Special Management Zone. These may be:
i) Dedicated leasehold where lease conditions permit activities such as grazing and timber supply for lease fencing etc, and in some cases residency, or
ii) Areas identified as important by the Department of Mineral Resources where there are current or imminent petroleum and mineral exploration and/ or mining activities, or
iii) Other areas which are excluded from harvesting (eg. Net Harvestable Area (NHA) exclusions) but size, boundaries or management practicabilities preclude designation as FMZ 1 or FMZ 2.
Special Prescription Zone (FMZ 3B). These areas are established for the protection and management of identified conservation values, whilst also allowing other management and production activities. These activities (which in some cases includes timber, Forest Product and materials extraction) are minimised in their design and implementation to maintain or enhance the values that the area is zoned to protect. A case by case assessment of these areas will be undertaken to determine which forestry activities can occur. The decision is dependent on the specific values involved.
New South Wales agrees to establish all Dedicated Reserve and Informal Reserve components of the CAR Reserve System within six months of signing this Agreement.