Plantation forestry management
How plantation forests are managed
Plantations are managed as a farmed crop and harvested on shorter rotations to provide a financial return to investors. As a result, this wood does not develop the same size, strength and visual properties as timber from our native forests.
The timber produced from Victorian plantations is generally used in the manufacture of paper products, chipboard and structural timbers where strength of the timber is not a vital property.
Plantations owners are facing their own range of biodiversity challenges and plantation companies are implementing guidelines to help them deal with animals that move into plantation areas.
Why can’t we just rely on timber from plantations?
Moving to a plantation-only timber industry in Victoria has been suggested as a way to transition out of native forest harvesting.
A ‘plantation-only’ strategy ignores the fact that different timbers have different properties and not all timber can be used for the same purposes. Also, it does not acknowledge that the vast majority of plantations in Victoria are in the west of the State, while timber from native forests is currently processed around 500kms away in Victoria’s east.
Almost all the 115 000 hectares of hardwood plantations planted in Victoria between 2000 and 2006 will be harvested on short rotations primarily to produce woodchips. These plantations are unlikely to yield high quality sawlog timber even if left to grow for longer periods due to the species of tree planted and the way in which these plantations are managed.