Australia has a vast forest estate of almost 125 million hectares, making it the world’s 7th most forested nation. However, despite an abundance of forest resources, only around 7.5 million hectares of multiple-use public native forests and nearly 2 million hectares of plantations are available for wood production.
The plantation estate, split almost evenly between softwood and hardwood, provides over 87% of total wood production, or 33.1 million cubic meters in 2016-17. Of the multiple-use public native forest resource, less than 100,000 ha or around 0.06% of the resource available for wood production, is harvested annually.
The management and harvesting of plantation and native forest logs generates an annual gross value of production of $2.6 billion in 216-17 and provides around 70,000 jobs, mainly in rural and regional areas.
Australia’s forests represent a unique resource in the Asia Pacific region. The highest standards of sustainable forest management are maintained, with the management of plantations and native forests proven to be sustainable through accreditation by either or both of the major international Certification schemes (Responsible Wood/PEFC and Forest Stewardship Council).
The AFPA Growers Chamber covers all of the major plantation owners and Government Business Enterprises managing native forests, as well as leading plantation management services companies and environmental services (carbon plantations). Combined, the Growers Chamber members own and/or manage over 80% of the plantation resource, and a similar proportion of the multiple-use public forests.