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Forests actually enhance waterways

THE LATEST scientific report on the health of south-east Queensland’s waterways and catchments provides much support for plantation forest management in the region, according to Forestry Plantations Queensland’s Beerburrum Forest manager Stan Ward.
‘Report Card 2008’, issued by the SEQ Healthy Waterways Partnership, found that freshwater streams in the Pumicestone catchment were “in very good condition” with improvements on 2007 results for most study indicators.
Only one other catchment, the mid-Brisbane catchment below Wivenhoe Dam, secured this rating, the highest for the catchments studied.
There are more than 21,000 hectares of plantation forests in the Pumicestone catchment area that generate more than $9 million in annual timber sales.
Ward said Forestry Plantations Queensland was committed to ensuring its forest management had minimal impact on water quality.
“We maintain water quality monitoring sites throughout the State, including 30 sites in and around Beerburrum’s plantations, and work in partnership with universities and other scientific organisations to monitor groundwater on a continuing basis,” he said.
“A four-year study that concluded in the early 2000s found that plantation forests actually enhanced water quality at some sites, the water flowing from the forests being cleaner than the water flowing into them.
“It’s great to see a further independent assessment confirming these earlier findings,” Ward said.