Australian Bureau of Statistics
1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2006
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 20/01/2006
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The combined resource of standing planted forests in Australia was 1.7 million ha planted to December 2004 (table 15.2). Softwood plantations, which are dominated by the exotic species Pinus radiata, represented 58% (1,001,000 ha). Hardwood plantations, which are almost all native eucalyptus species, mainly Tasmanian blue gum (Eucalyptus globulus) represented 42% (716,000 ha). The proportion of the estate accounted for by hardwood plantations has increased significantly over the last decade (up from 15% in 1994 and 29% in 1999, to 42% in 2004 (graph 15.3).
A diverse range of ownership arrangements exists in the Australian plantation industry, including a variety of joint venture and annuity schemes between public and private parties. Private ownership of trees in plantation forests has increased from 46% in 1999, when it was equal to public ownership, to 58% in 2004. Private ownership of land under plantation forests has increased from 42% to 53% over the same period.
Farm forestry generally refers to the incorporation of commercial tree growing into farming systems. This may take the form of smaller-scaled plantations on farms, timber belts, wind breaks, alleys and wide-spaced plantings, and may also include management of native forest for commercial returns on farms.
Farm forestry is increasingly becoming adopted as part of farm management planning and integrated into existing land uses, not only to supply wood but also to provide a range of benefits such as environmental protection and increased agricultural production.
To date, plantation farm forestry has mostly occurred in higher rainfall regions (greater than 600 millimetres per year) where good growth rates can be achieved and there is an existing timber processing industry. Many farmers have also entered into farm forestry by leasing their land or forming joint venture agreements with large-scale forest management companies.
The area of plantations owned outright by individuals having total estates less than 1,000 ha (i.e. the small-grower sector) was just on 67,000 ha in 2000, or nearly 5% of Australia’s total plantation estate. In addition, 20% of the larger industrial plantations form an overlap with farm forestry participation through leasehold and joint venture arrangements with farmers.
The management of private native forests is an important component of farm forestry, with 24% of Australia’s total native forest area in private ownership and a further 46% on privately managed leasehold land.
WOOD AND PAPER PRODUCTS
Australia's wood and paper products industries are important components of Australia's primary and secondary industry sectors. They are particularly important in providing economic development and employment in many regions of rural Australia. The industries include hardwood and softwood sawmilling, plywood and panels manufacturing, woodchip production and export, and the pulp and paper industries.
In 2003-04 total roundwood removed from forests declined by 4% to 25.7 million cubic metres. The removal of broadleaved wood (primarily from native forests) fell 6% in 2003-04 to 11.0 million cubic metres, while 2% less coniferous wood (mainly from plantations) was removed (ABARE 2005b).
The value of exports of forest products in 2003-04 totalled $2.1b, of which 39% were woodchips and 35% paper and paperboard products. The value of imports of forest products in 2003-04 was $3.9b, of which 52% were paper and paperboard products and 13% sawnwood. This indicates a trade deficit in forest products of $1.8b in 2003-04. Australia produced 86% of its sawn timber needs in 2003-04, of which native forests provide 23%, with 77% coming from softwood plantations. Imported sawn timber is mostly Radiata pine from New Zealand and Douglas fir (also known as Oregon) from North America.
The hardwood and softwood sawmilling industries comprise mills of various sizes which process wood into sawn timber and other products such as veneers, mouldings and floorings. The hardwood mills are generally small scale and scattered. The softwood mills are generally larger and more highly integrated with other wood processing facilities. Australia's production of sawn timber in 2003-04 increased by 8% to 4,037,000 cubic metres (table 15.4).
Other value-added timber products include plywood, wood-based panels and reconstituted wood products. Australian wood-based panels include particleboard, medium density fibreboard, and hardboard made from softwood or hardwood pulp logs, sawmill residues or thinnings.
Pulp and paper mills use roundwood thinnings, low quality logs, harvesting residues and sawmill waste, recycled paper and paperboard to produce a broad range of pulp and paper products. Over the past five years there has been a substantial increase in the volume of wood for paper and paperboard sourced from eucalypt plantations as they have come into production. This production has more than doubled from 443,000 cubic metres in 1998-99 to 1,173,000 cubic metres in 2003-04.
Some 41% of the paper and paper products consumed domestically in 2003-04 were imported, with 70% of printing and writing paper coming from overseas. The majority of paper products produced domestically were packaging and industrial paper (62%) along with newsprint, printing and writing papers, and tissue paper. Recycled paper now contributes 54% of the fibre used in the production of all paper and paperboard.
Woodchips are mainly used in the production of Australia's paper and paper products. The woodchip export industry uses sawmill residues and timber which is unsuitable for sawmilling and not required by the pulp, paper and reconstituted wood products industries. Before the advent of the woodchip export industry, much of this material was left in the forest after logging. Considerable quantities of sawmill waste material, which would otherwise be burnt, are also chipped for local pulpwood-using industries and for export. Up until 1990-91 at least 95% of woodchips exported from Australia had been eucalypt, but since then greater quantities of softwood woodchips have become available from pine plantations.
This page last updated 24 January 2007
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