The rapid expansion of eucalypt plantations in Australia, now in excess of 50,000 hectares of new plantations annually, is mainly on private land, with areas ranging in size from farm windbreaks and small wood lots to broad-scale plantings. Due to the fragmented nature of plantings, the wide range of planting sites and the proliferation of plantation management companies, there is an emerging need for collaborative research to maintain and improve plantation productivity through nutrient management. With the addition of nitrogen and phosphorus at establishment, the ten-year productivity of Eucalyptus globulus can be increased by between 30% and 100%, depending on site characteristics.
Shortage of logs – Continuing pressure from the conversation movement to reduce the amount of forest resource available to the forest products industry. A limitation on the amount of sustainable land available for plantation in the future.
Southern Africa has a history of establishing eucalypt plantations predominantly for pulp and paper but also for sawn timber production. The climate in Southern Africa favours the growth of sub tropical eucalypt species such as Eucalyputus grandis which appreciate the warm climate and summer rainfall achieved in the wetter areas of South Africa and Zimbabwe. Both private and government forestry organisation have had a focus on genetically improving eucalypt plantations, both for volume growth and wood properties, and also for drought tolerance and disease resistance.
To the field forester, the mantra “Sustainable Forest Management” has become an interminable international chanting of conferences, papers, reports, web-sites, books, seminars, symposiums, summits, programmes, study units, fellowship etc. etc. etc. So much is being written and discussed about policy, planning, alternative systems and approaches that it merges into an incomprehensible blur.
Last year, in NSW forest products industries, there were 8,107 weeks lost due to work related accidents at a gross incurred cost of $17.5 million. This statistic only reflects accidents incurring 5 days or more lost time. In addition, the recognised ratio of indirect to direct costs varies between 1:3 and 1:7. Collectively the cost of workplace injures throughout Australia is astronomical.
Fungal stain is wood is caused by the presence of fungi growing on the surface or within the wood. The presence of stain in timber can severely reduce the appearance value of timber and can result in loss of revenue for sawmills processing timber with the stain problem. One sawmill in Victoria lost $5 million in the downgrade of timber due to the stain problem during a one year period. Methods of control of fungal stain in timber include management under water sprinkles, use of chemical preservatives, and biological control.
Initiatives And Programs Used To Teach And Promote Timber At The University Level – A North American Study Tour
Sections of the Australian Timber Industry have at last realised that the industry’s future success is inextricably linked to the commitment it makes now to education, and in this regard, a number of specific educational policies and programs are currently being set in place. To assist in this process, this Gottstein Fellowship was sought to visit the United States and Canada to investigate and document the initatives and programs used in these countries to teach and promote timber at the university level.
One of the main activities occurring in the Australian forest industry over the next few years will be the reform of its entire training system. This will reflect both the move to sustainable forest management and the need to have a more effective and efficient training system in place. This reform will include the implementation of Competency Based Training, and will be very similar to the reforms of the British forestry training system that have occurred over recent years.
Organisations that truly believe that “People are our greatest asset” are prepared to invest resources, time, money and energy, to ensure that they get the very best out od that human resources. Part of that strategy has to include identifying, not only the gaps that exits now in skills, but must identify the training needs for the future and be prepared to devise strategies for their implementation. It takes a committed management and committed leaders, to makes this happens.
According to Suezone Chow, chairman of British Columbia Council, the forest industries in Canada are going through a transition period. Transition means “opportunity”. Decreasing availability of old growth forest has resulted a greater proportion of lower quality juvenile wood. This coupled with an increasing number of tree species to be utilised have contributed to the changes in global timber supply. The variability in timber supply is occurring at a time when codes and standards are becoming more international as well as more rigorous, and are based on design and performance criteria. Thus, the predictability and uniformity of materials is becoming more important in the development, design and marketing of new products.