SYLH Report - May to August 2016

Since our last report in May 2016 the main areas of activity have been as follows:

1. Finalising the assessment of coupes in the 2015 - 2017 3 year plan.

One of the 2 coupes remaining to be considered, WR003B , was settled with an enlargement of the retained leatherwood area and a statement in the Forest Practises Plan that in the remaining area of high leatherwood content (5 Ha), FT would re-sow leatherwood seedlings after a cool burn. The affected beekeeper has agreed that the result in leatherwood loss is minimal and a coupe inspection appears to confirm this. The benefit of the re-sowing exercise has to be tested and this will be some years into the future.
The other coupe being considered was LU003A. The mapping showed the possibility of leatherwood loss and this could not be confirmed without a ground inspection. A recent inspection has shown that the harvesting of the coupe will result in only a little leatherwood loss.

2. Guidelines for Beekeeping in State Forest

The final draft of new Guidelines for Beekeeping in State Forest has, as requested by FT been completed. This has been submitted to the TBA and approved and has now been lodged with FT for their input/approval/comment. The current Guidelines are used by FT Planners to plan the wood harvesting procedure where leatherwood is present within the coupe boundaries.
These are intended to replace the present Guidelines drawn and used by FT which allow little or no beekeeper involvement, and are not mandatory. This has been the culmination of more than 12 months work.

3. Amendment to the Forest Practices Code

The first draft to an amendment to the Forest Practices Code has been drawn and completed. This is intended to make the protection of leatherwood a mandatory requirement enshrined in law. It has been distributed to the TBA Executive for discussion. Eventually this will be submitted to the Forest Practises Authority for their consideration. This is still some way from completion after some 12 months work.
I am indebted to Julian Wolfhagen and Des Wilmot for their support and input into this. It was their work on a similar application in 1980, unfortunately rejected by the Commission, which has inspired this Association to tackle this again and make another application.

4. Three year plans

After being advised by FT that due to staffing and cost issues the 3 year plans would not be available in broad sheet form as previously, or if produced, to be charged to the Industry at a substantial cost, we stated our objection to this. FT maintained that they supplied all that we would require by assessing the coupes one by one on FT`s website and using the interactive tools to assess them.
After attending a briefing and training session at FT to understand the FT website provision for interactive coupe provisions and further discussions showing that without the spread sheets this would make any interaction with FT and locating what coupes were affected by wood harvesting almost impossible, FT have now agreed to again produce the spreadsheet maps at the standard cost. We have always paid for FT`s maps.
Part of our argument was that to deny a forest stakeholder (the beekeepers), access to information critical to the industry, and only known to FT, would be in breach of their obligation to manage the forest for all those who use the same, as required by FSC. FSC is the assessment body that will decide if and when FT can be granted FSC accreditation. for their operation. If spreadsheet maps had not been available then the location of coupes and evaluation of the same would have been largely impossible. The website maps contain only coupe boundaries and numbers with no site numbers ,site positions or leatherwood intensity overlays.
While the leatherwood intensity overlays are far from accurate they have always given us a starting point, as occurred with LU003A referred to above. We expect to have the 3 year plan spreadsheet available for inspection shortly.

5. Pollination promotion booklet

Members of our Executive have been researching material to use in updating/rewriting an industry pollination promotion booklet for distribution to agriculturalists, horticulturalists and seed growers. The current version is now 10+ years old. This a substantial undertaking. It was originally produced to help convince these industries of the need to publicly support the beekeepers in their campaign to protect the leatherwood resource in State forest. By doing this they would have been helping to ensure that there would continue to be a viable pollination industry. This public support is something that has not happened.

Finally our AGM will be held on Monday the 26th September2016 and formal notices of this will be sent out early in September. I believe that this Association continues to have important watchdog, negotiating and advisory roles for the industry, and examples of this are outlined in this report. Without the work of our executive and the support of our members this work could not be carried out.

Bob Davey (President).

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