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Harmonisation of methods for the assessment and reporting of forest health in Australia — a starting point

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Stone, C., Wardlaw, T., Floyd, R., Carnegie, A., Wylie, F. R. and de Little, D. (2003) Harmonisation of methods for the assessment and reporting of forest health in Australia — a starting point. Australian Forestry, 66 (4). pp. 233-246. ISSN 0004-9158

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Article Link: https://doi.org/10.1080/00049158.2003.10674918


The harmonisation of a sub-set of forest health attributes suitable for aggregating, through scales ranging from individual trees to the operational forest management unit and up to the national level, has been achieved in countries such as the USA and Canada. In Australia, however, data collected on forest health is currently obtained on an ad hoc basis with only a small proportion of the national forest estate actually having been assessed. National guidelines are required for the objective assessment of a set of indices relating to forest health before Australia is in a position to report adequately on forest ecosystem health and vitality as recommended by the (Australian) Montreal Process Implementation Group. Obtaining these indices must be an affordable process that fulfills forest health reporting requirements for a range of national, state and regional reporting commitments such as the State of the Forests Reports and for the Regional Forest Agreements review process. In addition, it is envisaged that the indices will contribute to the verification process for the forest health and vitality criterion described in the Australian Forestry Standard for certification of sustainable forest management practices.

Tree crown condition is proposed as a key attribute of forest health and it is amenable to rapid standardised assessment. Four measures are proposed which have the potential to provide consistent core data on tree crown condition. Adoption of these indices will depend on the assessments being cost effective and consistent, and the results being meaningful for a range of applications. To facilitate this process an illustrated field manual has been published, providing guidance for standardised assessment methods. Initially the scope of the manual is limited, focusing on the assessment of eucalypt tree crown damage. If it proves successful, the number of indicators relating to forest health monitoring could be increased.

Item Type:Article
Business groups:Biosecurity Queensland
Subjects:Forestry > Forestry management
Forestry > Administration. Policy
Live Archive:29 Jan 2024 01:03
Last Modified:30 Jan 2024 02:17

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