The forest industry in South Africa is highly regulated when it comes to water use because timber plantations do have an impact on water availability and on river and wetland ecosystems through the reduction of water or stream flow.

Since the amended National Forest Act of 1972, wetland and river conservation has become an integral part of managing timber plantations. The National Water Act of 1998 has taken this one step further, requiring plantation owners have valid water use licences and to pay water usage levies to cover the soil water uptake by timber plantations and the loss of rainwater through evapotranspiration.

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