As the premier timber suppliers in Brisbane, we feel it is important to bring consumers information that is relevant to the products they see on our shelves and use to renovate and improve their homes. We have been using the information provided to us by the Forest Industry Advisory Council (FIAC) to help consumers better understand what goes into providing timber for their projects.
For this article, we would like to tell you about Australia’s timber plantations. Timber plantations produce more than 80% of the Australian timber that goes to market. Pine and other softwoods, which are grown mostly for sawlogs, account for slightly more than half of that timber. The rest is hardwoods, of which most are eucalyptus. Most of the hardwoods are grown for the pulp and paper industries on short rotation.
While hardwoods make up nearly half of the plantations, softwoods dominate the market. During 2012-2013, nearly 14 million cubic metres of softwood logs were harvested from plantations, while only 5.5 million cubic metres of hardwood were harvested. The total combined gross value of this timber was approximately $1.16 billion.
Since 1990, the softwood plantation area has been consistent, while hardwood has risen sharply, especially between 1996-2009. However, plantation area has levelled off since 2008, with the total staying consistent at roughly 2 million hectares of plantation area, almost equally distributed between hardwood and softwood.
In 1997, the timber industry produced a document called ‘Plantations for Australia: the 2020 Vision,” in which it predicted 3 million hectares of plantation area by 2020. That is not going to happen now.
For the future, the FIAC predicts that softwood plantations will plateau at a production level of 18 million cubic litres, while hardwood plantations will plateau at around 15 million cubic litres as early as 2030. However, hardwood production could be affected by the current “short rotation” products and over-harvesting, causing hardwood plantations to shrink.
We hope you enjoyed this. If you have any questions or would like to place an order for timber, call Narangba Timbers today: (07) 3888 1293.