Log availability revised down: ABARES

Future log availability from Australia’s commercial plantations is expected to fall, according to Australia’s plantation log supply 2015 – 2059, released by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES).

Acting Executive Director of ABARES, Peter Gooday, said the reason for the decline is due to the fall in yield from hardwood plantations, as plantations of low commerciality are not replanted and some lease agreements with landholders are not renewed.

However the volume of plantation logs harvested from Australia’s plantation estate has consistently grown over the past decade and now account for 85 percent of all logs harvested in Australia.

“The total potential log availability from Australia’s commercial plantation estate is forecast to increase to an annual average of 29.7 million cubic metres in the 2015 to 2019 period,” Mr Gooday said.

“This increase will be followed by a decline to an annual average of 27.0 million cubic metres per year for the 2020 to 2024 period.”

The availability of softwood saw logs is forecast to remain steady at around 11.9 million cubic metres per year for the next 15 to 20 years, followed by an increase up to around 13 million cubic metres per year from 2030 to 2045.

Compared with the 2012 log supply report, Mr Gooday said that the average forecast of total plantation log availability is 10 percent lower in this report, with the average forecast of hardwood log availability 21 percent lower and softwood log availability 2 percent lower.

The total area of commercial plantation estate may also decrease by around 80 000 to 100 000 hectares over the next 10 to 15 years, he added.