Re­port awaited on land slip is­sue

New Zealand Logger - - Forest Grower’s Research 2018 -

A RE­PORT DE­TAIL­ING STRATE­GIES TO DEAL with fu­ture flood-re­lated land slip is­sues, like June’s To­laga Bay in­ci­dent, is ex­pected to be fi­nalised by the end of the year.

An Ero­sion-prone Land Work­shop or­gan­ised af­ter that event, which saw hun­dreds of thou­sands of tonnes of slash and tree de­bris washed into rivers and over farms and roads.

Rus­sell Dale, CEO of For­est Grow­ers Re­search, told the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s 2018 con­fer­ence in Tau­ranga last month that a draft re­port sum­maris­ing key ac­tions had al­ready been re­leased pend­ing the full re­port that is due soon.

He says ex­perts pre­dict these se­vere rain events will hap­pen again and prob­a­bly with more fre­quency and sever­ity, so forestry needs to take ac­tion now.

Mr Dale says the Na­tional En­vi­ron­men­tal Stan­dards reg­u­la­tions that only came into ef­fect ear­lier this year will re­sult in change and im­prove­ments, given time.

How­ever, there is much the in­dus­try can do to mit­i­gate the sit­u­a­tion now, in­clud­ing the need to en­sure that slash is left in a se­cure place where it can­not get into wa­ter­ways, as well as build­ing slash bar­ri­ers. Where pos­si­ble it would be de­sir­able for some residues to be re­moved from the for­est al­to­gether to be used as fuel or in other ways.

PF Olsen’s En­vi­ron­men­tal Man­ager, Kit Richards, told the con­fer­ence foresters can no longer la­bel these in­ci­dents ‘acts of God’ and there is a need to step up and take own­er­ship, be­cause com­mu­ni­ties are be­com­ing openly hos­tile to­wards forestry.

“We are at the point of se­vere rep­u­ta­tional risk,” he says, adding that the in­dus­try must get bet­ter at recog­nis­ing and un­der­stand­ing the un­der­ly­ing prob­lems and how to ad­dress them.

Mr Richards says that as much as 20% of steep land cur­rent planted in trees may not be suit­able for this pur­pose and own­ers will need to look at re­tir­ing it.


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