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Strong growth in forest plantations.



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Last updated: 30 April 2007

Strong growth in forest plantations

The area of Australia’s timber plantations increased by 4.5% in 2006, according to new figures from the Bureau of Rural Sciences (BRS).

Releasing the annual National Plantation Inventory update at the Timber Communities Conference in Perth, the Australian Minister for Forestry and Conservation, Senator Eric Abetz said the report shows plantations now cover more than 1.8 million hectares.

“This is positive news for the timber industry and for the community at large” Senator Abetz said.

“Forest plantations are environmentally friendly by sequestering carbon, and an increase in plantation resource means less reliance on native forests and imported timber, which often comes from dubious sources.

“Plantations currently produce about two-thirds of the logs harvested in Australia each year to make timber and paper products, providing resources for sustainable regional development, more jobs and export income and reduced dependence on imports.”

“More than one million hectares of the plantations are pines and other softwoods, with eucalypts and other hardwoods covering around 800,000 hectares.”

The 2007 inventory shows that the total area of Australia’s plantations increased by more than 78,000 hectares in 2006, with managed investment schemes accounting for 86 per cent of the growth.

Investors who bought woodlots in managed schemes in 2006 now own 26 per cent of all Australia’s timber plantations, up from 23 per cent in 2005.

“This data shows why MIS are a critical vehicle in driving plantation growth in Australia,” Senator Abetz said.

The National Plantation Inventory has been collecting data and reporting on Australia’s plantations since 1993, providing an annual snapshot of plantation areas in each state and territory. Comprehensive map-based reports are published every five years.

Copies of the National Plantation Inventory Update and associated reports and data can be downloaded from www.brs.gov.au/plantations, or by contacting BRS on 1800 020 157, email nfi.info@brs.gov.au.

For more information: Kylie Paulsen, BRS Communications Manager, 0438 630 491.

Further inquiries:

Senator Abetz’s office: Brad Stansfield 0419 884 666