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Should detailed terrain stability or erosion susceptibility mapping be mandatory in erodible steep lands?

Authors: Michael Marden, Les Basher, Chris Phillips, Robin Black
Publication: New Zealand Journal of Forestry, Volume N.Z.J.For. 2014, Issue N.Z.J.For. 59(4) 2015, pp 32-42, Jan 2015
Publisher: New Zealand Institute of Forestry

Abstract: In 2012 an opinion piece in this journal on plantation forest harvesting and landscape response advocated a need to better manage the risk of high intensity, low frequency storms during the most vulnerable post-harvest period. With the expectation that there will be more storm damaging events associated with exotic forests we question: - Whether sufficient resources are being directed towards identifying on-site and off-site values at risk, with a view to better management of adverse environmental effects of forest practices - Whether more detailed mapping of terrain stability or erosion susceptibility, together with a risk analysis approach, would enable better preventative management at operational level rather than relying on corrective action as at present - And, if so, could the Erosion Susceptibility Classification (ESC) developed for the National Environmental Standard (NES) for plantation forestry be used to decide if a reconnaissance-level or detailed-level of terrain stability mapping is required. In posing these questions we provide a brief review of the international experience in assessing storm damage, re-introduce the concept of terrain stability mapping, promote the potential role of new technology in identifying site-specific areas susceptible to storm damage, and conclude with some recommendations.