SYLH Report to the TBA - Dec 2015


November and December have been active with administration matters following on from the AGM, involving membership follow up, receiving and recording renewals, balancing and banking the membership fees and advertising the Association`s activities to the Southern Branch membership.

Our outreach activities have included assisting with the operation of the Beekeeping display at the Royal Hobart Show and following up the plans for wood harvesting coupes which are under dispute with Forestry Tasmania. One of these coupes (WR003B), has now been withdrawn from the current planning and is being reconsidered for harvesting by the Aggregated Retention method of harvesting.

It was previously a clearfell and burn coupe. When the new coupe plan is published we will consider this with the relevant beekeepers and keep you informed. It is hoped that this change of harvesting regime will result in the retention of substantially more leatherwood than was previously the case.

We have completed our examination of Forestry Tasmania`s 3 year Wood  Harvesting Plans and listed all those coupes which potentially affect relevant beekeepers. We have informed all those beekeepers of the details of the Plans.

As a result, some beekeepers have inspected the Plans with the writer and some relevant coupes have now also been inspected. We remain available to assist in interpreting the Plans with other beekeepers.

We are pressing for a follow up of the agreement reached with Forestry Tasmania to have their Management Plan amended to remove all the inaccuracies contained in the Plan relating to the claimed unutilised leatherwood resource. The amended wording has been agreed but the  Plan remains unchanged to date. This is a public record and should not be left in a public document any longer.

As previously advised, Forestry Tasmania agree that the statements are not accurate and should be removed.

Most importantly, we have now completed a survey of senior beekeepers and have prepared a summary of what these beekeepers believe should be part of a description of leatherwood for use in the proposed amendments to the Wood  Harvesting Guidelines and the Forest Practises Code which we prepared late last year after more than a year`s work.

We now have a more concise and focused industry opinion based on the senior beekeepers` input. There were 5 submissions in all. We are now pressing for the TBA executive to deal with this in a way which will result in a single Industry agreed definition of leatherwood for use by Forestry Tasmania Planners when carrying out preliminary ground inspections for coupe planning. Forestry Tasmania have been asking for this definition so as to understand what our industry requires and amend their planner training procedures.We stand ready to assist with the negotiation/coordination of an industry consensus on this if necessary.

Finally, for the first time in living memory the 3 year Plans show that Forestry Tasmania have begun to follow the current Wood Harvesting Guidelines which provide for the setting aside of informal reserves in areas of State Forest seen to be important to beekeepers.

In the current Plans there are two such areas, one in the Florentine Block and one in the Tyenna Block. While this new approach is welcome we will continue to monitor these areas into the future to be sure that the new reservation status is ongoing.Thank you to all our supporters in the past 6 months and we wish you all a successful and peaceful season in 2016.

Bob Davey  (President).