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Mapping suitability of habitat for the giant freshwater crayfish, Astacopsis gouldi: background document to GIS mapping layer: Scientific Report 4

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Davies, PE and Munks, SA and Cook, LSJ and Von Minden, P and Wilson, D (2007) Mapping suitability of habitat for the giant freshwater crayfish, Astacopsis gouldi: background document to GIS mapping layer: Scientific Report 4. Technical Report. Freshwater Systems and Forest Practices Authority, Hobart.

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Abstract

The Tasmanian Forest Practices Act 1993 requires that threatened species listed in both the
Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and the
Tasmanian Threatened Species Protection Act 1995 are taken into account in the preparation of
Forest Practices Plans (FPPs) both on Crown land and on private land. Section D3.3 of the Forest
Practices Code (2000) states that threatened species will be managed in accordance with procedures
agreed between the Forest Practices Authority and DPIW. The agreed procedures include the
development and implementation of endorsed management prescriptions through consultation
among landowners, Forest Practices Officers and relevant specialists.
The current management actions applied in FPPs for the protection of the giant freshwater crayfish
(Astacopsis gouldi) habitat have been developed over the last six years by specialists within the
Forest Practices Authority in collaboration with the Threatened Species Section, DPIW and other
species experts (Forest Practices Board 2002). They are based on current knowledge and expert
opinion and are endorsed by the Tasmanian Threatened Species Scientific Advisory Committee as
required under section 96(c) of the RFA. They comply with the recommendations in the draft A.
gouldi Recovery Plan current in 2000. They aim to minimise the impact of forestry operations on
habitat for A. gouldi. In general they state that planning of operations carried out in catchments
where A. gouldi occurs should aim to ensure maintenance of stream water quality and other aspects
of habitat quality such as shading, snags, food input and free movement of individuals up and down
stream. The details of the recommended actions (e.g., stream buffers) vary depending on the
occurrence of A. gouldi or its habitat, size of the watercourse and type of operation.
Management prescriptions for forest dependent threatened species, including those for A. gouldi,
are reviewed and updated regularly by specialists within the Forest Practices Board, in collaboration
with the Threatened Species Unit, DPIW, as new information becomes available. Further
development of effective management prescriptions for A. gouldi, however, has been hindered by a
lack of information on the characteristics of habitat important for juvenile A. gouldi (as identified in
the 2000 draft Recovery Plan). A research project completed in 2004 addressed this knowledge gap
and defined habitat for juvenile A. gouldi (<40 mm carapace length) in mid-catchment and
headwater streams (Class 2–4 streams) (Davies and Cook 2004; Davies et al. 2005).
The overall aim of this current project was to take the results of Davies et al. 2005 and couple them
with information on the characteristics of habitat important to adult A. gouldi (Growns 1995;
Horwitz 1990, 1991, 1994; Hamr 1990: Davies and Cook 2004, Davies et al. 2005; Walsh and Nash
2002; Walsh 2003; Webb 2001) to develop a ‘habitat suitability’ map for Astacopsis gouldi. The
purpose of developing this mapping resource is to trigger the application of protective provisions of
the Code, especially for Class 4 streams, in order to either protect habitat quality, or to facilitate its
recovery/restoration when degraded by other existing or historical landuses. It can be used to
identify locations with high existing and/or potential habitat suitability, independent of current
conditions that may result from existing or historical landuse. Mapping for the current status of A.
gouldi instream habitat condition (i.e. under current as distinct from natural conditions) is a separate
task, and will be pursued for other applications. This current project also involved preliminary validation of the mapping layer (Davies et al.
unpublished data). The validation work is ongoing and may result in modifications to mapping rules
if the need arises.

Item Type: Report (Technical Report)
Keywords: forestry, forest code, act, Tasmania, streams, freshwater crayfish, habitat, Astacopsis gouldi, A.gouldi
Publisher: Freshwater Systems and Forest Practices Authority
Date Deposited: 13 Feb 2008 23:55
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2014 03:29
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