VicForests has awarded about $850,000 in grants through its Gippsland Farm Forestry Program to 16 landholders across Gippsland to assist in planning, establishing and managing a total of 274.3 hectares of new farm forests.
The Gippsland-based program seeks to support the integration of timber trees within the context of a whole farm plan, ensuring these trees play a vital role in improving the broad range of economic, environmental, social, and cultural values within and around the farming landscape.
The grants program, which began in 2021 and is focused on increasing the supply of plantation timber, has now awarded 26 grants to fund 361 hectares of new farm forests.
Applications were received from a range of farms within Bass Coast, Baw Baw, South Gippsland, Wellington and East Gippsland local government areas. Building on the 86.7 hectares of new farm forestry areas funded through grants released last year, these plantings will be established by or on behalf of the landholders and grow within either woodlots, shelterbelts, or wide-placed plantings.
VicForests Senior Farm Forestry Officer Trevor Nicklen said hardwood timber is becoming increasingly valuable as supply has reduced.
“VicForests’ is encouraging and helping guide the uptake of farm forestry, including supporting the growth of learning networks and service providers, to help grow the industry,” Mr Nicklen said.
The timber from the trees established under the grants remain entirely the property of the landholders. Applicants are encouraged to consider growing timber trees for income diversification and as part of a whole farm plan, optimising the benefits of the timber trees for carbon sequestration, shelter, shade, biodiversity and general farm amenity.
There are great examples around Victoria where this has been done successfully and four agroforestry case studies recently featured in a Gippsland Forestry Hub publication. Click on the following link to find these: https://gippslandforestryhub.com.au/key-activities/
The grants are funded by the Victorian Government, which is incentivising tree planting at the farm scale through to much larger commercial plantations.
Further grant opportunities are expected to become available later this year.