Mitigation and best practice options

Here are some simple steps to minimise the effects of forestry activities on water quality and mahinga kai.

Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an international non-profit organisation founded in 1993 to support environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial, and economically viable management of the world's forests. FSC has introduced an international labelling scheme for forest products, which provides a credible guarantee that the product comes from a well-managed forest. All forest products carrying the FSC logo have been independently certified as coming from forests that meet the internationally recognized FSC Principles and Criteria of Forest Stewardship. In this way FSC provides an incentive in the market place for good forest stewardship.

The following are suggested management standards and guidelines to ensure environmental impacts in relation to water quality and health of mahinga kai are mitigated.

Riparian vegetation

Riparian vegetation of at least 5 m width must remain undisturbed from machinery or chemical spray, and no earthworks, tracking, or ground disturbance can occur in this area. Riparian vegetation adds to the successful maintenance of water quality and mahinga kai populations and controls stream temperature and sedimentation.

Within the riparian area there should be no planting of crop trees, spraying (fertiliser and chemical), and burning. Larger streams/rivers need a larger riparian area because of the canopy gap created by the stream and a buffer width of 5 to 20 m is recommended on either side of streams where catchment area exceeds 50 ha. In forestry, native vegetation often re-establishes itself in riparian buffers.

Chemical contaminants

Take all reasonable steps to reduce the likelihood of spray drift over protected vegetation. The use of low fish toxicity herbicides is preferred adjacent to streams.

Sedimentation

Roads, tracks, and landings have been identified as prime sources of sediments which enter streams as a result of either erosion or mass-wasting processes. These should be carefully sited so as to minimise possible sedimentation problems. Avoid discharging runoff directly into waterways or onto a spill. Install sediment traps, especially each side of stream crossings or bridges.

Earthworks and maintaining access

Use bridges or culverts wherever possible to reduce the use of open ford crossings. Ensure culverts provide adequate passage for fish, i.e., ensure there are no drop-offs on the downstream side. Protect the ends of culverts from erosion using rock, concrete, or wood. Minimise disturbance to the stream bed and to stream banks.

Soil preparation

Avoid hot burns to prevent nutrients and organic matter being lost from the soil. Also avoid burning on land with high erosion potential.