I recently visited a property in North East Tasmania after the owner asked me to come and assess his blackwoods.
What I saw was 8 ha of some of the best private native blackwood forest I’ve ever seen.
The owner had only recently bought the property and was wondering what to do with the blackwoods.
Although the forest is unmanaged it has obviously been logged in the past and even now contains some first class blackwood sawlogs ready to be harvested, with plenty of good quality young trees coming on.
The forest clearly has tremendous blackwood growing potential, with opportunity to increase the commercial productivity 10-20 fold with some active management.
And what’s more the owner seems genuinely keen.
If we had 50 properties like this we could double the total blackwood production in Tasmania.
The problem is we have Government and industry policy that does not support and encourage profitable private blackwood growers.
Recent Island Specialty Timbers log tender results have shown good quality plain-grain blackwood logs achieving (mill-door equivalent) prices up to $900 per cubic metre for individual logs.
What would the market pay for 10 truckloads of such logs?
Would the industry and the market support and encourage landowners to do this?
Certainly the Tasmanian Government has absolutely NO intention of supporting and encouraging landowners to grow commercial blackwood.
One possible scenario could have this north east landowner harvesting 200 cubic metres of premium blackwood sawlog every five years in 30 years time, with no major investment and a small amount of annual labour input.
At $900 per cubic metre that equates to $180,000 every five years from those 8 ha of blackwood forest.
So far this landowners enquiries into the market have not been encouraging.
It is truly amazing how hard log merchants and sawmillers work to discourage tree growers and hence destroy their own future. It has been this way for generations!
If the forest industry is to have a future it requires a complete cultural change – nay a revolution!
I’m looking forward to helping this landowner achieve a positive outcome for his native blackwood forest.
If anyone wants to help support this landowner please contact me.
PS. In the 2017 Private Forests Tasmania “Tasmania Primary Wood Processor Directory” there are 15 processors listed as buying blackwood logs from private growers. Are any of these processors interested in supporting this NE blackwood grower? Or are they all just thinking about themselves and tomorrow?
As I’ve said before selling timber is easy! Getting people to grow timber is way more difficult. Who’s for the challenge???