Queensland, Australia's second largest state, has 4 million hectares of publicly owned state forest, managed for multiple use. The government and the community expect state forest management to protect biodiversity, landscapes, cultural heritage values and water quality. State forests are also available for a wide range of commercial and non-commercial uses including timber harvesting, honey production, eco-tourism,grazing, mining, quarrying, education, scientific research, military training and recreation.

A proportion of this estate is located throughout Queensland's coastal zone, in close proximity to the major population centres. In the coastal mountains in particular, the juxtaposition of high conservation values, commercial timber, recreation and eco-tourism demands precipitates conflict over forest use and presents a challenge for multiple use planning systems.

Beginning in 1986, state forest planning utilised a system called Management Priority Area Zoning (MPAZ). This was a manual system which partitioned forestry land into primary priority use zones with a variety of secondary uses permitted. Decisions were made by professional foresters without public input. Although many of the concepts in MPAZ are still valid,such an autocratic approach is no longer acceptable.

In 1998, development began on a new forest planning system known as MUMPS (Multiple Use Management Planning System). It is broadly based on MPAZ, but incorporates GIS and decision-support technology coupled with the capacity for structured community participation. MUMPS is designed to operate on a scale of 50 000 to 100 000 ha, with the planning area subdivided into 100 to 150 planning units. At its analytical core, MUMPS is a phased process for forming a steering committee: collation of site-specific data, assessment and evaluation of a number of forest uses, procedures for gauging and incorporating community and stakeholder values and a process for examining management and compatibility as well as the preparation of a draft and final plan.

To ensure its effectiveness, MUMPS is being developed in an iterative manner with field trials based on MUMPS modules and concepts, while the whole system is being integrated and refined.

The Koombooloomba Ecotourism Project is one of these MUMPS trials. The site of the trial is a tropical, mountainous region in northern Queensland, partly in the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. It includes an hydro-electric dam within publicly owned native forest and encompasses a number of key values including the world heritage rainforest, conservation,hydro-power generation, indigenous culture, timber,eco-tourism and recreation. In this case, MUMPS took over a stalled, unstructured planning process. The MUMPS process reinvigorated the earlier planning project, broadened the assessed values and resulted in a management plan.

The case study demonstrates how forest managers, the community (including traditional Aboriginal land-owners),commercial tourism, recreationists and the hydro-electricity industry can cooperate in the sustainable management of a listed World Heritage mountain forest area. Issues associated with the methodology, community involvement and management implications are discussed and analysed.

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