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Timber Production Opportunities from Private Native Forests in Southern Queensland

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Francis, B., Venn, T. and Lewis, T. (2024) Timber Production Opportunities from Private Native Forests in Southern Queensland. Small-scale Forestry, 23 . pp. 1-24. ISSN 1873-7854

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Article Link: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11842-023-09550-2

Abstract

Historically, Queensland’s private native forests have supplied between 40 and 70% of the hardwood resource to the state’s primary processors. Hardwood timber production from state-owned native forests and plantations in Queensland has decreased substantially in recent decades, increasing the hardwood timber industry’s reliance on private native forests. However, timber production opportunities from these forests are poorly understood. This study assessed the future wood supply capacity from private native forests in southern Queensland assuming alternative levels of landowner interest in management for timber production and willingness to invest in silvicultural treatment. Commercial and harvestable private native forests in southern Queensland were classified into six forest types and their spatial distributions were assessed. Potential growth rates for each forest type were estimated based on available literature and expert opinion, and their ability to supply logs to industry with and without silvicultural treatments was projected. Commercial and harvestable private native forests were found to cover an area of approximately 1.9 M ha in southern Queensland, of which spotted gum (693,000 ha) and ironbark (641,500 ha) forest types are most common. The private native forest estate is distributed over 17,665 landholdings (LotPlans), with 17% of these accounting for 66% of the commercial and harvestable resource. Most private native forests have not been actively managed for timber production and are in poor condition. Nevertheless, they presently have the potential to supply between about 150,000 and 250,000 m3 of logs to industry per annum. Silvicultural treatments were found to have the potential to increase the mean annual increment of these forests by a factor of between two and four, indicating substantial opportunities to increase harvestable log volumes in the medium and long-term. Private native forests in southern Queensland could potentially more than compensate for the supply gap left by the declining area of state-owned native forests that are available for timber harvesting. Actual forest management performed and log volumes supplied to market will depend on the forest management decisions of thousands of individual landholders, which are influenced by their heterogeneous management objectives, the policy environment, perceptions of sovereign risk, timber markets and the long payback periods in forestry. An accommodating forest policy environment and landholder willingness to invest in forest management could maintain and potentially increase private hardwood log supply to industry, which would support farm income diversification and regional employment opportunities.

Item Type:Article
Corporate Creators:Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Queensland
Business groups:Horticulture and Forestry Science
Keywords:Non-industrial private forest Forest policy Mean annual increment Silviculture Log yield
Subjects:Forestry > Research. Experimentation
Forestry > Forestry management
Forestry > Conservation and protection
Forestry > Exploitation and utilization
Agriculture > By region or country > Australia > Queensland
Live Archive:24 Nov 2023 02:39
Last Modified:17 May 2024 05:23

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