The importance of Queensland’s private native forests to Australia’s future timber supply

Left: Overstocked spotted gum regrowth, poor crown development and productivity, and very little ground cover. Right: The same forest, four years after thinning good ground cover reduced erosion and markedly increased productivity. Photo credit:Timberbiz

Private native forests of southern Queensland in Australia are extensive and critical to the future supply of timber to the processing sector.

However, majority of the private resource does not managed regrowth resulting in a poor productive and environmental condition. It is estimated that with management, the forests could produce 10 times the quantity of timber currently grown in Queensland.

To raise landholder capacity and to understand the best practices in forest management, Private Forestry Service Queensland (PFSQ) will be undertaking a three-year programme. This will include updating the currently available extension material and producing a series of simple ‘how to’ online video clips on various aspects of forest management – from understanding the native forest practice self-assessable code to forest assessment, forest thinning, product specifications, regeneration and fire management.

The key to success is to make this information widely available, and easily accessible, understood and implemented.

The objectives of the extension program are to:

  • Build landholder and industry understanding about private native forestry opportunities through the provision of relevant, contemporary and targeted information.
  • Engage landholders through a range of extension activities to build their capacity to turn understanding into on-ground practice change.
  • Engage with timber industry players and other relevant individuals and organisations to build their knowledge and support for optimum on-ground private native forestry practices.
  • Deliver improvements in private native forest management practices that enhance forest productivity and land management and environmental outcomes, and are complementary to other land uses.

The programme will build on the results of an extensive series of landholder surveys, including landholders who have participated in past extension activities, to ensure it delivers educational material, workshop formats and in-field activities that are specifically tailored to participant needs.

A series of workshops and field days will be rolled out across southern Queensland.

Funding support and one-on-one assistance will also be available for landholders who have completed a four-day in-field and best practice forest management workshop.

One of the key outcomes of this support will be a network of broad acre demonstration sites, showing how landholders have undertaken best practice forest management ‘on the ground’.

The programme will include a series of workshops involving individual mills’, forest contractors and their regular growers, with a view to forming local area networks that can work towards improved forest production – ensuring the mills have the sustainably managed resource they need to thrive, and forest growers have a viable local processor who continues to purchase their timber.

One such Native Forest Management Field Day will be held on 8 October, with presenters Bill Schulke and Sean Ryan discussing about the impacts of thinning on forest health, productivity, economic returns and grazing.

Source: Timberbiz