Australian Bureau of Statistics
1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2003
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/01/2003
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The combined resource of standing planted forests in Australia was 1.6 million ha planted to December 2001 (table 17.2). Of this total, industrial plantations comprised approximately 1.5 million ha, with the remainder covered by a range of joint ownership arrangements. Softwood plantations, which are dominated by the exotic species Pinus radiata, represented 62% (980,000 ha). Hardwood plantations, which are almost all native eucalyptus species, mainly the Eucalyptus globulus variety, represented 37% (588,000 ha). The proportion of the estate accounted for by hardwood plantations is continuing to increase, up from 15% in 1994 and 29% in 1999.
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. Of the standing plantation estate as at December 2001, 44% was on public land and 56% was on private land. While the area of plantations in public ownership has lessened over time, the proportion in private ownership has increased. Just over half of the resource planted since 1990 involved private ownership of land and trees, while only a quarter of the resource planted during this period involved public ownership.
Farm forestry generally refers to the incorporation of commercial tree growing into farming systems. This may take the form of smaller scale 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 mm) 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. Fostering farm forestry uptake, and revegetation in general, in lower rainfall regions, will become an increasing priority in government programs designed to improve land management and ameliorate environmental degradation, especially salinity and water quality.
The baseline area for 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 (Bureau of Rural Sciences 2001b). In contrast to the wider plantation estate, which mainly comprised softwoods, the farm forest resource comprised over 60% hardwoods.
The management of private native forests is recognised as an important component of farm forestry, as 23% of Australia’s total native forest area is in private ownership and a further 45% is on privately managed leasehold land.
This page last updated 23 January 2006
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