The North East Region is fortunate to have a favourable climate for
establishing and growing trees. Much of the region experiences high rainfall,
has productive soil and a long growing season. Tree growth rates are relatively
high compared with other regions and there are a broad range of landscapes to
support a diverse range of native and exotic species.
When properly sited plantations can produce an abundance of
high-quality sawlog, poles, and veneer as well as fencing timber and
firewood. Planted forests that produce timber can also protect and restore
soils and water catchments, enhance biodiversity, and capture and store carbon.
Growing planted forests for timber and environmental benefits is a
long-term venture that warrants careful planning. There are many
issues to consider, not least of which is the market for
timber. Fortunately, the region has a well-established timber processing
industry which services a growing national demand for wood. There are over
forty processing facilities within the region which means that land where trees
can be grown is often located close by.
Planted forests require a substantial up-front investment, including
tree stock, site preparation and planting, and then there are ongoing
maintenance costs like weed control, pruning, and thinning. Returns from
timber products are often not realised for at least 20 years or more, and
long-term discount factors applied to future returns can make the initial
investment unattractive. Despite these challenges the financial rewards of
well-located plantation can be great.
To help guide future investment in planted forests the Hub has
undertaken a broad scale assessment of the suitability of the cleared land
within the region. The model which it has developed considers a range of
different planted forest types. If you'd like to know more about how this was done, access the report here.
The tabulated results of the modelling are available for viewing at a
Local Government Area level using the tool below. You can also download a KMZ
file that allows you to view the location of suitable land on Google
Local Government Area