SYLH - 2 month report to March 2008


The Christmas period saw us substantially in recess, except for receiving reports of coupes being assessed or otherwise prepared for harvesting. Of the three coupes in the Wedge ( Lake Gordon area ), previously reported as being currently harvested, two containing scattered Leatherwood have been clearfelled. This is in spite of a request from the Southern Beekeepers that the coupe boundaries and harvesting method be reviewed to help retain the Leatherwood.

The third coupe WE039F, containing valuable Leatherwood resource in a valley towards the end of Clearhill Road, has yet to be harvested. Forestry Tasmania has offered an onsite inspection to audit the Leatherwood content, and with the beekeeper involved, John Duncombe, discuss how the Leatherwood can be preserved. This is notwithstanding the resource being scattered throughout the coupe.

The coupe is estimated to support at least 25 hives and perhaps more. An inspection by John and Duncombe and Bob Davey with a Forestry Tasmania representative/planner, is expected to occur early in March. This concession by Forestry Tasmania is pleasing given the previous advice given to John Duncombe and Bob Davey by the planner that the Veneer Wood content was required too urgently to permit the retention of Leatherwood. Another coupe recently inspected by Paul Wigger and Bob Davey, into which a new road is being constructed, is TN044B.

There is Leatherwood all around the base of a hill which makes up most of the coupe. We will inspect the Forest Harvesting Plan early in March to establish Forestry Tasmania`s intentions as regards the Leatherwood content. Every opportunity will then be taken to negotiate the best outcome from a beekeeping resource perspective. We will report further on the result of the above discussions with Forestry Tasmania, at the end of March.

We continue to be heavily reliant on the advice of beekeepers and other forest users in monitoring when copes are being prepared for harvesting. This is critical where a coupe is scheduled for imminent clearfell harvesting by cable method. Unfortunately the protocol said to be in place where a coupe is found to contain Leatherwood, continues to operate properly only where there is either not an urgent timber resource requirement or where the Leatherwood is in a conveniently concentrated formation and is easily retained without seriously compromising the timber requirement. This makes the ongoing physical coupe by coupe auditing, the only sure way of maximising the retention of the leatherwood resource.

Thanks to all our members and other supporters for continued help and advice and more importantly, information about what is occurring in the State Forest.

BOB DAVEY ( President ).