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David Lindenmayer Long-term Forest Science, Fires, Human disturbance & a vision for management.

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Presentation on theme: "David Lindenmayer Long-term Forest Science, Fires, Human disturbance & a vision for management."— Presentation transcript:

1 David Lindenmayer Long-term Forest Science, Fires, Human disturbance & a vision for management

2 This talk ANU Background The wet forests of Victoria The current state of these forests Restoring these forests A new vision for forest management

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4  Specialise in large-scale, l0ng-term ecological research and monitoring thru ANU  37 other staff, students etc – funded thru grants, book royalties etc  37 books, 920 scientific articles, 53 “live” (current) projects

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6 The wet forests of Central Victoria ( ha)

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8 The Central Highlands of Victoria

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12  Most of Melbourne’s water (4.5m people – largest city by 2020)

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14  Up to 1700 tonnes of carbon biomass per ha  (Keith et al., 2009; PNAS; Keith et al., 2014; Ecosphere) WORLD’S MOST CARBON DENSE FORESTS

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16 Leadbeater’s Possum Endangered species Faunal emblem of Victoria Only occurs in these forests

17  Natural disturbance regime – rare, high-severity, stand- replacing (or partial replacing fire)

18 2009 “Black Saturday” wildfires  173 lives lost  > properties damaged  ha of ha of ash forest burned  Worst fires in Australia wrt human fatalities and infrastructure impact……..

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23 Human use = Logging provides (372 direct) jobs

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28 Greater than 31 years of science: (since 1983…….) Greater than 31 years of science: (since 1983…….) 7 books (+5/8) 187 peer-reviewed scientific papers (+7) >1, 800,000 scientific measurements since

29 The current state of the forest IUCN Red Listed Ecosystem – Critically Endangered (Burns et al [Austral Ecology]

30 The forest has been massively altered in the last years 1.16% Mountain Ash (1887 ha of ha) 0.37% Alpine Ash Remaining Old Growth forest (was 30-60% historically) 72,000 ha Mountain Ash burned in 2009

31 Spatial cover by history and disturbance

32 Marys ville Heales ville

33 ANU monitoring plots

34 2009 fire

35 2009 fire and ANU plots

36 TRP plus Logging history (total)

37 2009 fire

38 2009 plus 1983 fire

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40 How has this happened?

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42 Modern (extensive & intensive) clearfelling

43 BIODIVERSITY

44 The current reserve system is inadequate (Todd et al. 2014) Leadbeater’s Possum is on an extinction trajectory

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46 Overall decline Old growth cover has declined by 95-97% of “background” cover levels (1/30 th -1/60 th ) Large old trees = 90% decline in total abundance by 2035

47 Mis-match between tree loss and animal needs

48 FIRE (New work by Taylor et al [2014] (in Conservation Letters)

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50 Logging elevates fire severity (Taylor et al. 2014)

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52 Repeated fire – fire burns young forest and keeps it young with subsequent re-burning (A fire in a young forest is different to a fire in an old forest)

53 Cumulative logging + fire effects across landscapes

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55 LANDSCAPE TRAP (Forest is trapped as a young forest because of recurrent widespread fire – and never matures)

56 CARBON

57 The world’s most carbon dense forests

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59 decomposition Total biomass carbon in forest ecosystem 100% Merchantable biomass removed off-site 40% Waste or slash remaining 60% CWD remaining on-site 30% ~50 yrs slash burning Sawlogs 11% Pulp 29% waste Sawn timber 4% 30-90yrs Paper products 20% 1-3yrs Landfill decomposition combustion CO 2 Proportions of carbon from Mountain Ash forest going to pulp and sawlog products and remaining on coupe (Keith et al., 2013) Fate of carbon in harvested forest

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61 Logging and carbon stocks Reduction from ~800 to 300 tonnes/ha [Keith et al., 2014 – Ecosphere] 100,000 ha of Mountain Ash for carbon 24,500,000 tonne saving in carbon emissions – 1/3 rd of Yallourn Power Station annually Equivalent of 750,000 – 1,000,000 ha of replanted woodland

62 Forest restoration and management strategies

63 Essential to “re-build” and restore the Mountain Ash forest estate For biodiversity For fire management For carbon storage For water supply For economic benefits via tourism

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65 Prevent Extinction of endangered species

66 To regrow old trees and old growth

67 To limit future fire risk

68 Plantations = alternative feedstock More than 2X sufficient plantations to provide feedstock for paper production Plantation is actually preferred feedstock Has positive carbon abatement potential

69 WATER

70 Water values of old ash forest Old growth yields more water Water value >> pulp (via desal pricing) Water for 4.5M people

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73 TOURISM

74 Major benefits for local and regional economies

75 How many people? 4+ million residents in Melbourne 14 million domestic visitors per year in million international visitors in 2009

76 Tahune Airwalk, Geeveston Tarkine Forest Adventures Hollybank, Underwood Eagles Eyrie, Maydena National Park eco tourism in Tasmania

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78 Milford Track, New Zealand

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83 Think about the infrastructure Walking tracks (serious and semi-serious) Ziplines Aerial walkways Facilities for grey nomads, backpackers, high- end tourism

84 Thank you


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