Did you know there most hardwood plantation product that is grown and processed in Western Australia is exported for further manufacturing into paper and other fibre based products?
There are a number of forms of hardwood plantations grown in WA. Eucalypt pulpwood plantations are the predominant form, from virtually a zero base in the mid 1980’s to a multi-million dollar industry that today is matured and sustainable. Blue Gum (Eucalyptus globulus) is species of choice – grown mainly on southwest and south coastal regional area formerly cleared farmland. After harvesting at about 10-13 years growth, trees are either field chipped then transported, or transported as logs, then chipped at one of the major chip/export facilities at Bunbury or Albany. The chips are shipped to pulp and paper making sites in countries such as Japan or Korea. Alternative or supplementary future markets locally or abroad may be developed for eucalypt chips used in energy production.
Other forms of hardwood plantation management for different products and purposes are found in WA.
A range of Australian native species in timber woodlots, or agroforests are grown to produce logs suitable for sawmilling, or for poles or firewood. Sometimes the planting and management aim for owners is a balance between landscape or farm amenity, carbon storage and for timber.
In goldfields and wheatbelt areas in the state, native sandalwood is grown for oil and aromatic products, and even for nuts that may be processed into an edible form. In the Kimberley, Indian Sandalwood – an introduced species – is being cultivated at an industrial scale for its oil qualities.
Other non-eucalypt subtropical hardwood species such as African Mahogany are also being grown as plantation forestry.
All of these sectors make a substantial contribution to investment, employment and economic output always providing benefits people in forest and regional communities.