Nationally Agreed Criteria for the Establishment of a




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Nationally Agreed Criteria
for the Establishment of a


Comprehensive, Adequate
and Representative Reserve System for Forests
in Australia


A Report by the
Joint ANZECC / MCFFA
National Forest Policy Statement
Implementation Sub committee



Enquiries regarding ANZECC should be directed to

The Secretary
Australian and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council
C/- Environment Australia
GPO Box 787
Canberra ACT 2601

Enquiries regarding MCFFA should be directed to

The Secretary
Ministerial Council on Forestry, Fisheries and Aquaculture
C/- Department of Primary Industries and Energy
GPO Box 858
Canberra ACT 2601

© Commonwealth of Australia 1997

ISBN: 0 642 26670 0

Information presented in this document may be copied provided that full acknowledgment is made.


FOREWORD


For over two decades in Australia the competing demands of conservation and industry on our forests have been an area of debate and controversy. The National Forest Policy Statement (NFPS), agreed by the Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments, provides the framework for a long term solution to this issue.

The NFPS sets out the process for undertaking joint Commonwealth and State/Territory Comprehensive Regional Assessments (CRAs) of natural and cultural, and economic and social values of Australia's forests as the basis for negotiation of Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs). RFAs are to be developed between the States/Territories and the Commonwealth and they will encompass the establishment and management of a forest reserve system which is comprehensive, adequate and representative (CAR), the ecologically sustainable management of forests outside the reserve system, and the development of an efficient, internationally competitive timber industry.

The detailed information required to negotiate each RFA will be drawn together through a CRA of the full range of forest values of a region. The CRAs are intended to provide a synthesis of the relevant information upon which the development of different land allocation, forest management and industry and community development scenarios, or options, can be developed.

Following the options development phase, a draft RFA report will be released for public comment. This consultation phase will be critical as it will allow detailed discussion with stakeholders on appropriate options. The Commonwealth and relevant State/Territory Government will then negotiate final RFAs.

In accordance with the NFPS, the Governments have agreed to the development of National Forest Reserve Criteria. These Criteria are to form an essential part of the RFA process as they will be used to guide the establishment of the CAR reserve system within the RFA process.

This paper, which defines National Forest Reserve Criteria, is therefore an important contribution to implementation of the NFPS. The Criteria are applicable to all forests, and associated woodlands, within each region for which an RFA is to be developed.

These criteria were endorsed by the Australian and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council (ANZECC) at its meeting on 29 November1996, and by the Ministerial Council on Forestry, Fisheries and Aquaculture (MCFFA) out of session during late 1996/early 1997.

CONTENTS

Page

1. INTRODUCTION 1

2. THE FOREST CONSERVATION FRAMEWORK 2

2.1 The CAR Reserve System and Conservation Management 2

2.2 A Regional Approach to Conservation 2

3. CAR PRINCIPLES 4

3.1 Comprehensiveness 4

3.2 Adequacy 4

3.3 Representativeness 5

4. COMPONENTS OF THE CAR SYSTEM 6

4.1 Public Land 6

4.1.1 Dedicated Reserves 6

4.1.2 Informal Reserves 6

4.1.3 Values Protected by Prescription 6

4.2 Private land 7

5. APPLYING THE CAR RESERVE CRITERIA 8

5.1 Underlying Principle 8

5.2 Flexibility 8

5.3 Urgency and Practicability 8

5.4 Economic and Social Considerations 9

6. CRITERIA FOR THE CAR RESERVE SYSTEM FOR FORESTS 10

6.1 Biodiversity Criteria 10

6.1.1 Discussion 10

6.1.2 Criteria 11

6.2 Old-Growth Forest Criteria 12

6.2.1 Discussion 12

6.2.2 Criteria 14

6.3 Wilderness Criteria 14

6.3.1 Criteria 15

7. RESERVE DESIGN AND MANAGEMENT 16

8. REFERENCES 17

9. APPENDIX 19

10. GLOSSARY 20

1. INTRODUCTION


The National Forest Policy Statement (NFPS) (Commonwealth of Australia 1992) is an agreement by the Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments on broad goals for the management of Australia's forests. The goals embrace the concept of ecologically sustainable development, and the aim is to manage Australia's native forests to conserve biological diversity, heritage, and cultural values, and at the same time develop a dynamic, internationally-competitive forest products industry based on native forests managed on a sustainable basis.

Major elements of the NFPS include a commitment to the development of a comprehensive, adequate and representative (CAR) reserve system, and implementation of strategies to protect old-growth forests and wilderness as part of the reserve system.

This paper sets out nationally-agreed criteria for a conservation reserve system for forests. It has been drawn from a discussion paper by Woinarski & Norton (1993) "Towards a National System of Forest Reserves", the JANIS Technical Working Group draft Report (1995) "Broad Criteria for the Establishment of a Comprehensive, Adequate and Representative Forest Reserve System in Australia", the Commonwealth position paper (1995) "National Forest Conservation Reserves Commonwealth Proposed Criteria" and extensive public submissions on both of the later reports. In addition, there has been considerable discussion between the JANIS TWG and the Commonwealth Scientific Advisory Group as well as further deliberations by JANIS.

Although many forest ecosystems are already represented in conservation reserves across Australia, these criteria will provide an objective basis for evaluating and subsequently ensuring conservation of biological diversity and other values within the reserve system.


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