Original Articles

Solid-wood production from temperate eucalypt plantations: a Tasmanian case study


Since 1988, there has been a major focus in Tasmania on research for the management of temperate eucalypt plantations for solid wood. This coincided with the formal transfer of large areas of native forest that had previously been part of the production forest estate into reserves, a decision that triggered the establishment of eucalypt plantations for solid wood. This review summarises research on several key areas: silvicultural requirements for solid-wood production; wood properties of plantation-grown eucalypts and the influence of silviculture and genetics on these properties; factors influencing stem defect and decay; balancing silvicultural requirements with maintenance of tree vigour; and issues concerning wood processing and products. We conclude that there are still operational challenges to be confronted in the production of solid wood from plantations. If these can be overcome in the medium term, temperate plantation eucalypts have the potential to provide wood products that meet the requirements for appearance-grade material and that can compete in the same markets as wood from native forests. The bigger challenge at the national level will be to provide the log volumes of suitable material to meet the anticipated demand 25 to 30 years from now.

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