Managing forested catchments- threats and opportunities

The Western Australian Division of the Institute of Foresters ran a successful half-day workshop on Friday 30 September 2016 on the theme of Managing forested catchments - threats and opportunities.
Catchments for domestic water supply and irrigation use cover a million hectares of jarrah forest between Mundaring and Collie in the south-west of Western Australia. Catchments integrate a range of land uses - water supply, biodiversity, ecosystem health, bauxite mining, recreation and silviculture; and require protection from bushfire, disease, pollution and reduced stream-flows.
The workshop was attended by 80 representatives from a wide cross section of interests. These included current and former Members of Parliament, Ministerial staff, those with interests in conservation and ecosystem health, staff from a range of Government departments, representatives of industry, of academia, biologists and foresters.
Key themes addressed during the workshop included:
  • changes in ecosystem health due to declining rainfall
  • silviculture to enhance ecosystem health and stream-flow
  • the need to protect catchments from bushfire
  • rehabilitation of forest following bauxite mining, and the implications of mining for water yield
  • the role of lower-slopes and stream-zones in protecting biodiversity
  • potential market based opportunities to increase water yield through active management of catchments
Written papers and presentation notes can be downloaded below. Many thanks to the presenters for making these publicly available.
The workshop concluded with a wide ranging discussion that offered useful directions for future action. There was support to engage a broad range of interested people by establishing an advocacy group to develop proposals and lobby Government to implement active catchment management programs. Profitable, self-funding mechanisms would greatly reduce the current costs to Treasury of desalination and bushfire suppression.
Many of the Issues addressed during this workshop are relevant to the management of forested catchments throughout Australia.