Tender care… winter pine seedlings program under way in South Australia. 
Photo: OneFortyOne

A RE-ESTABLISHMENT program will see ForestrySA plant 360,000 pine seedlings this winter as part of an ongoing commitment to the sustainable management of the plantation resource.

As the manager of more than 10,700 ha of commercial pine forest in the Mount Lofty Ranges, ForestrySA is committed to the sustainable production of timber – the ultimate renewable resource. All radiata plantation trees grown in agency’s commercial estate are replanted following harvest.

An annual seedling planting program replenishes harvested crops, supporting sustainable timber production well into the future. This year, more than 250 ha of recently harvested pine plantation will be planted by late July across 10 sites within the Kuitpo, Mount Crawford and Second Valley Forest Reserves. Local tree-planting crews will once again be contracted to complete the re-establishment program, employing a mix of permanent and seasonal workers. Each crew member will hand-plant an average of 1000 pine seedlings a day, enduring cold and wet conditions and at times steep terrain to get the job done.

Manager, commercial operations, Peter Merry, who oversees the annual planting program, said thorough planning, coordination and strong working relationships with contractors were pivotal in ensuring young seedlings were planted to encourage tree survival and early growth, and site-specific attributes such as natural features and stakeholder interests were protected.

This planning process is vital due to the long-term nature of forestry, with trees not expected to reach optimal maturity and harvest of the plantation crop until 34 years of age.

“The seedlings we put in the ground in 2020 represent a three decade-long investment in our business,” Mr Merry said.

Salvage of trees affected by the Cudlee Creek bushfire is well under way, with replanting of these areas due to take place in winter 2021.

ForestrySA’s forest management system is certified to the internationally recognised by the Australian Sustainable Forest Management standard  (AS4708) administered by Responsible Wood.

The commercial pine forest estate produces high quality timber, the ultimate renewable resource and a valuable alternative to unsustainable materials.

ForestrySA plantation forests also provide habitat for native flora and fauna and are home to water catchments. They are also popular for a range of safe and healthy nature-based recreational opportunities such as camping, bushwalking, horse-riding, mountain biking and community events.