Improving productivity in Australia’s private native forests

Friday 31 Jan 2020

New evidence-based information has demonstrated the financial viability of private native forests in southern Queensland and northern New South Wales, as well as the potential improvements in yield and profit associated with effective forest management practices.

Researchers found silviculturally treated plots have trees with average growth rates approximately four times higher than those in non-treated plots. The researchers are exploring methods of educating landowners about the positive impacts of such practices on their businesses, the broader economy and the environment.

Data from 203 permanent monitoring plots was analysed to determine the impacts of forest management in the two regions, which are vital to the supply of domestic hardwood. Mapping carried out during the project found there are approximately 1.9 million hectares of commercially harvestable private native forest in southern Queensland, and 525,600 hectares in the upper north east region of New South Wales.

The need for privately grown hardwood is likely to increase over the next decade. Despite the significant size of this resource, the research suggested variable quality in forest management practices has negatively impacted on its overall productive condition, with many of the sites found to contain a high proportion of un-merchantable trees.

The good news is the majority of private, native forest sites surveyed were considered to have untapped potential (e.g. appropriate commercial species) that could be released with effective forest management practices. The full report will be made available in January.

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Source: FWPA

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