Following up on John Powell’s article (HERE) on the proposed logging coupe at Golden Valley designated BA388D, I took a trip there to look at what was on the ground.
The following photos will help to make the discussion easier to undertake.
The coupe is on a small knoll, lots of floating sandstone, very sandy soil.
The land has had all pulpwood removed in the early 1990’s by Andy Padgett. This was a trial of pulpwood removal and leaving potential sawlogs to grow.
The trial appears to have worked although the altitude (800m +) and the sandy soil don’t support lush growth.
From the comments in John Powell’s article the proposal is to use “Overstory Removal” and leave the young trees to grow on.
The young E.Delegatensis on site are between 3 and 5 metres high, fairly spindly as one would expect on an extremely well drained site with poor soil.
The problems that I see with an Overstory removal treatment here is that there are only a small proportion (around 30% ) of the trees that appear large enough to be used for sawlog. To log all the large trees and leave only saplilngs will be wasting 30 to 50 years of growth in the potential sawlogs that are there.
A truly selective logging approach here would do far less damage. The sawlogs should be cut down and winched to the track that is being constructed to minimise damage. At this altitude the forest will take a very long time to recover and as the quality of the smaller trees is so good it would be foolish to waste them by pulping them.
The other issues I have are.
-Logging above the sandstone is very risky as far as landslip potential goes. The land drops off into the Liffey river on one side and into Jackeys Marsh on the other side. Water will penetrate the bare earth where the machines have churned it up and hit the impermeable layer of sandstone underneath. It appears lower down where the sandstone and mudstone meet and landslips occur. We had large naturally occuring landslips on the Great Western Tiers last year from large rain events.
- Valuable logs have been left on the ground where the access track has been pushed in. These logs now will have sand and dirt in the bark and will only be useful for firewood as they have not been barked. ( a waste of resources)
-The young saplings that have regenerated since the thinning in the 1990’s will be damaged by the process of logging all the tall trees in an overstory removal operation and as such 30 years of regrowth will be wasted.
To my way of looking at it this operation is shortsighted, especially as there is no market for pulpwood at the moment or in the foreseeable future.
I will leave the rest for others to comment. You can make up your own mind from seeing the photos.