NSW planting efforts doubling in size this year

In Issue60 by FIEA

Key points:

  • 6.5 million trees will be planted around Tumut and Tumbarumba by the end of August
  • Planting efforts have doubled to help the timber industry recover from the Black Summer bushfires
  • One third of the area’s total plantation was lost in the fires

More than 100 crew members are out in cold, wet and sometimes snowy conditions, to plant more than 6.5 million trees by hand between May and late August. Silviculture supervisor for Forestry Corporation Anna Faulder said the program had doubled in size.

“The last few years and the next few years will be massive programs because of our fire recovery,” Ms Faulder said. “We usually plant less than three million trees a year, so this is a big increase.”

In the Tumut Tumbarumba area, NSW Forestry Corporation owns 90,000 hectares of plantation. During the 2019-20 Black Summer bushfires, about a third of the plantations were lost in the fire.

Forestry Corporation’s Snowy regional manager Dean Anderson said it was like nothing he had seen before. “It was devastating beyond compare to any other fires I’ve been associated with,” Mr Anderson said. “I was part of the first group that was sent to the USA in 2000 to help over there, and what we saw here just left that for dead.

“After the fires, we had a lot of success salvaging the trees, so the stuff that was older than 18 was a size we could still mill. We were expecting the market to die due to COVID but with the building stimulus and people wanting to renovate, the market stayed hot. We would normally be able to move 1.5 million tonnes but during the salvage program we got up to 3 million tonnes.”

This is the third year of fire recovery planting, with the phase to continue until 2026. The doubling of planting has also led to production increases at local nurseries that supply the seedlings.

Sue-Ellen Roberts and husband Tom grow radiata pine seedlings in Batlow, New South Wales. Mrs Roberts said they had doubled production to keep up with the replanting efforts.

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Source: ABC, Photo: FCNSW

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