Plantations estate stable

Australia’s total plantation estate remained stable in 2012–13, with a total of 2 012 500 hectares reported by plantation managers compared with 2 012 600 hectares in 2011–12. 

In 2012–13 the total area of softwood plantations was 1 023 800 hectares; the total area of hardwood plantations was 976 400 hectares; and around 12 300 hectares was classified as other categories that included mixed hardwood and softwood species and plantations where species type was not reported. 

About 2200 hectares of new plantation areas were reported to be established in 2012–13. This is the smallest area of new plantations established since the mid‐1990s. The increase was offset by removal of existing plantation areas of around 2300 hectares that growers either deemed commercially unviable or did not replant at the end of their lease agreement. 

Removals of some plantation areas from active production are expected to continue over the next five years as some lease agreements reach completion and commercially unviable plantations are not replanted. 

Between 2000–01 and 2012–13 the new plantation establishment rate declined in all states and territories except the Northern Territory. 

From 2011–12 to 2012–13 the plantation estate has increased or remained unchanged in every National Plantation Inventory (NPI) region except Western Australia and Central Gippsland. The plantation area declined by around 0.55 per cent in Western Australia and by 1.05 per cent in Central Gippsland. The largest increase from 2011–12 to 2012–13 of 4.16 per cent was in the Northern Territory. 

The hardwood plantation estate is dominated by blue gum (54.6 per cent) and shining gum (24.2 per cent). Both species are primarily managed for pulplog production. 

The softwood plantation estate is dominated by radiata pine (75.4 per cent) and southern pines (14.8 per cent). Both species are primarily managed for sawlog production. 

In 2012–13 plantations produced 82.7 per cent of the total wood supply from Australian forests. 

Click here to access the Australian plantation statistics 2014 update.