Australia records one of its “best conditions” in forestry history

Australia’s forestry sector is enjoying some of the best conditions in its history, according to a report released today by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES).

The report, Australian forest and wood products statistics: March and June quarters 2016, showed the industry is enjoying its third consecutive year of growth, with volume and value of logs harvested estimated to have reached record levels in 2015–16.

ABARES acting Executive Director, Peter Gooday, said the successive years of growth have coincided with record levels of residential construction activity in Australia, and export demand bolstered by low shipping costs and a weak Australian dollar.

“ABARES estimates that the volume of logs harvested increased by around 8 percent in 2015–16, to above 29 million cubic metres for the first time,” Mr Gooday said.

“With prices for both hardwood and softwood logs also estimated to have increased, the value of logs harvested in Australia is approaching $2.3 billion.

“Total dwelling commencements in 2015–16 were the highest on record, up by 5.1 percent to almost 230,000 units. This is the fourth year in a row that residential construction activity has increased, forming the basis for strong domestic demand for wood products.

“Exports of wood products are also stronger than ever, exceeding $3 billion for the first time.

“Growth in exports was driven by large increases in woodchips and roundwood logs to China. The value of forestry exports to China are now worth over $1.3 billion, and accounted for 43 per cent of Australia’s wood product exports in 2015–16.

“However, this report also highlights that activity levels in forestry remain contingent on key markets, in particular housing and international trade. Developments in these sectors will continue to determine the direction of investment and output in Australia’s forestry sector.”