Rainforest Sites of Significance (RSOS)
RSOS Technical Reports not completed
Requirements to write up RSOS technical reports have never been completed. These are requirement of both the East Gippsland Forest Management Plan and East Gippsland Regional Forest Agreement. These technical reports would outline specific management requirements for RSOS sites, including determinations of appropriate buffers.
Background Rainforest Technical Report controversy
The Burgman and Ferguson (1995) review of rainforest protection measures made formal recommendations regarding the protection of Sites of significance for rainforest,:
"Continue the delineation, description and rating
of proposed Sites of Significance for rainforest by the Flora section, ensuring
full documentation of values and reasoning so that the process is transparent,
thereby facilitating its use in forest planning and making it available for
(Burgman and Ferguson, 1995: p.55)
"Publish all maps of core areas and details of
their rainforest values, together with rationalisations of protection prescriptions,
in Forest Management Area plans where they may be subject to public scrutiny."
(Burgman and Ferguson, 1995: p.65)
These recommendations were accepted and incorporated into various rainforest policy and planning documents, specifically:
a) The East Gippsland Forest Management Plan (Section 3.2) states that::
"Reports will be published that document Sites
of Significance for Rainforest, core areas within these sites and the process
used for deciding the management of each site."
(CNR, 1995: p.19)
b) Clause 64 of the flawed East Gippsland Regional Forest Agreement (1997: p.13) asserts that:
"an NRE Technical Report to be published by the end of 1997 will fully explain the system. The report will include a description of sites of Significance for rainforest and their levels of significance and how these are managed."
c) Attachment 1 of the East Gippsland Regional Forest Agreement (Commonwealth of Australia, 1997) also claims that:
"All rainforest in Victoria, including a surrounding
excluded from timber harvesting. This is achieved through a
hierarchical rainforest protection reserve system. An NRE Technical
Report to be published by the end of 1997 will fully explain the
system. The report will include a description of Sites of
Significance for Rainforest and their levels of significance
(National, State and Regional) and how these are managed. The report will also detail how core zones, which contain the major rainforest stands, have been identified within each site of significance and how they contributed to the design of the SPZ in the Forest Management Plan."
The Commonwealth and Victorian Governments contradict each other on the completion of these technical reports
The official RFA website claims the Victorian government published its rainforest research in December 1998. (Victorian Regional Forest Agreements Annual Report for 2002, Table 1. Milestone Implementation - East Gippsland (p.6))
The East Gippsland Forest Management Plan Annual Implementation Report for
2002-2003 contradicts the Commonwealth position, stating that no RSOS reports
have been published to date and that:
"liaison with Flora and Flora and funding [are] required".
The Victorian DSE continue to maintain they have met their RFA obligations despite their own Forest Management Plan Annual Implementation Report stating the contrary.