Forestry South Africa (FSA) has released the third version of its popular Environmental Management Guidelines for Commercial Forestry Plantations in South Africa.

Unlike previous versions, this one is in electronic format and can be found on the FSA website

The objective is to provide updated guidelines on the management of plantation forestry in order to minimise the impacts of operations on the physical environment.

The guidelines are designed to reduce negative impacts through the application of the law, and best management practices that should result in:
• Minimised impacts on stream flow through the removal of alien and invasive species from wetland buffer zones and adjoining rivers;
• Reduced impacts on biodiversity through the retention or establishment of natural vegetation corridors between timber compartments; and
• Reduced impacts on soil from harvested compartments and roads.

It also covers conservation measures in unplanted areas, the use of fire to maintain biodiversity as well as the legal requirements for firebreaks. Other topics include integrated pest management, best silvicultural and harvesting methods, road construction and management, non-timber products and the management of staff housing.

The legal requirements pertaining to all activities are included along with a brief discussion of forest and forest product certification.

*First published in SA Forestry magazine, Aug 2017

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