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New guidelines to help farm foresters protect land

Friday, 1 November 2013 3:00 p.m.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council has prepared new guidelines for forestry in the Bay of Plenty to help foresters avoid erosion and sediment problems as they carry out their operations.

The new guidelines are designed for forest planners and harvesters, smaller forestry contractors, small woodlot operators and farm foresters. 

The Regional Council’s original guidelines were developed in 2000. The new version covers some new technologies and practices to protect soil and waterways. The guidelines are on the Regional Council’s website, and available from Council in hard copy, which has a heavy-duty cover for use out in the field.

Regional Council Pollution Prevention Manager Nick Zaman said the old guidelines did not include enough options for dealing with forests established on steep hill country in the 1980s, particularly in the eastern Bay of Plenty. 

“Steep hill country and heavy rain can create big problems downstream if trees and soil are washed away. Good design and careful management can minimise these problems, and the guidelines help explain both,” he said.

“These forests are currently being harvested as first rotation forests, and that means major infrastructure, roads and landings. Last year extreme rainfall events caused significant problems on steeper erosion-prone coastal forestry, requiring some modification to forestry practices there.”

“Larger companies already have their own comprehensive Environmental Management Systems in place.  The value of the guidelines is that the best practices of these large companies will also be used by all those involved in forestry in the Bay of Plenty,” Mr Zaman said. 

The forest industry and other regional councils all helped develop the new guidelines to make them relevant and easy to use by everyone involved in forestry. They have reference material on erosion and sediment control and outline how forestry infrastructure can be designed and built to minimise erosion and sedimentation.   

“Our guidelines provide useful information to help foresters in their day-to-day operations and when they are applying for resource consents. They give clear guidance on how the Regional Council expects forests to be sustainably managed in the Bay of Plenty, and brings us up to date with best management practices of this industry,” Mr Zaman said.

Regional Council staff will also be trained in the methods.

Half the productive land in the Bay of Plenty is in plantation forest, so it is a very important to have good management practices for this land use, Mr Zaman said.  

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