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WA thinning program may increase water and resilience

An experimental thinning program at Yarragil forest block in Western Australia is investigating the potential of silviculture to increase water availability and the resilience of forests to a drying climate. Source: Timberbiz

Forest Products Commission Director Operations Gavin Butcher said that Yarragil 4L was intensively thinned in 1983.

“Since that first thinning the forest has grown significantly and the catchment can now sustain another thinning,” Mr. Butcher said.

“This new thinning operation will follow a similar program, and the goal is to see if reducing forest density decreases the amount of water consumption and makes more water available to reduce water stress.”

This additional water could then be used for recharging groundwater and runoff into streams. An additional benefit to the thinning operation is the utilisation of the non-sawlog material, allowing for cost effective silvicultural management.

“The thinning produced a range of material including sawlogs, firewood, char and residue,” Mr. Butcher said. “Yarragil 4L will be set up as a long-term example of good forest management for climate and an important demonstration site for the future.”