Water quality and quantity

Healthy forest ecosystems protect the physical, chemical and biological quality of water flowing from forests. Natural disturbances such as wildfire and human activities such as vegetation removal and ground disturbance can change the quality, amount and rate that water flows from forests in the short- and long-term.

Priority RFA information

Monitoring the status and trends of forest soil function and water quality and quantity.

Sustainability Indicators

Inform measures and reporting on performance in relation to the following Sustainability Indicators:

Criterion 4: Conservation and maintenance of soil and water resources

  • 4.1a Area of forest land managed primarily for protective functions
  • 4.1b Management of the risk of soil erosion in forests
  • 4.1c Management of the risks to soil physical properties in forests

Focus areas

  • Analysing historical data to examine drivers and impacts, including wildfire and drought on current and predicted water availability and quality in forest catchments
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of forest management practices and standards to maintain water quality and aquatic biodiversity
  • Simulating and forecasting water quality and quantity under future scenarios
  • Monitoring key metrics to test and track thresholds, benchmarks and forecasted outcomes.

Evaluation questions for all RFA regions

  1. Are forest water catchments healthy and what is the predicted trajectory for water availability and quality?

Monitoring activities

  1. Baselines, drivers and trends for forest water catchments
    NSW Forest Monitoring and Improvement Program
    The University of Melbourne
    Timing: April 2021
    More details here

  2. Evaluating forest road network to protect forest waterways
    NSW Forest Monitoring and Improvement Program
    Alluvium and the NSW Soil Conservation Service
    More details here

  3. Monitoring waterway and wetland health on state forests
    Coastal IFOA Monitoring and Improvement Program
    More details here

  4. Macro-benthic Monitoring Program – Wilson River Catchment
    Forestry Corporation of NSW


See research priorities.


Co-ordinated state-wide monitoring projects.

Data sharing portals established and operating.

Collaboration between agencies on shared program.

Reports detailing results of programs.