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Warm Temperate Rainforest In Western Yurammie

(For more detailed information on the Warm Temperate Rainforest in the Yurammie SPZ, CLICK HERE)

1. The west to south-west facing slopes of YSPZ are dissected by a high density of gullies with warm temperate rainforest, each separated by only 50m to 250m. The frequency and development (age and size) of rainforest within YSPZ is highly unique at a landscape scale particularly given the west to south west aspect. A similar density of rainforest on equivalent aspect and topography cannot be observed elsewhere in the Eden RFA region.

2. They support the southern-most occurrences of the rainforest tree Doryphora sassafras.

3. The very large size (600mm to 700 mm dbh) of single stemmed (not coppiced) Acmena smithii provide strong evidence that these rainforests have not been engulfed by severe forest fires in the life of the dominant canopy trees (upwards of several hundred years).

4. Inappropriate fire regimes are the single most significant threat to rainforest persistence.

5. Proposed harvesting operations pose a very significant threat to these rainforests due to inevitable increases in forest fire risk which is magnified owing to future potential climate change scenarios (drier & hotter).

6. Post-timber harvest re-growth forest has greater rates of evapotranspiration compared to older forest stands, particularly in summer. High rates of evapotranspiration lead to more rapid sub-surface soil moisture drying and reductions in fuel moisture content, both highly correlated with fire proneness.

7. Landscape scale management will be required to protect these rainforests from severe and/or frequent fires. Proposed timber harvesting operations pose an unacceptable threat to managing the landscape in a way which is sympathetic to the persistence of these rainforests.

8. The YSPZ is likely to play a significant role in landscape-scale persistence of fauna that utilize rainforest in the Eden RFA region. Owing to the high density of closed warm temperate rainforest, productivity of the soils and diverse mosaic of vegetation types the importance of this area is potentially greater than predicted based on area alone and in addition is likely to an important fire refugia.

9. The Assessment of Forest Management Practices for the Eden RFA (1997) states that “extensive mid- to high-elevation wet sclerophyll forests and moist gullies and rainforest in low elevation forests are likely to provide the most important fire refuges” and that existing buffer zones (20-40m) are “less than adequate to protect fauna which depend on rainforest margins as a refuge after wildfire. Wildfire is an important hazard in the Eden region and the distribution of rainforest is likely to be a good indication of the distribution and location of important wildfire refuge areas. For this reason it is recommended that the undisturbed buffer zone around rainforests in the Eden region be expanded to a minimum 100 m, particularly where rainforest patches are small (<10 ha).

10. Ecologically sustainable forest management aims to maintain species, communities, ecosystems and ecosystem processes at local and regional landscape-scales. Based on available scientific evidence, current harvesting proposals for YSPZ could have significant negative impacts on regionally significant rainforest stands contravening ecologically sustainable forest management.