Now here is a timber price list to get the heart racing.
Australian Red Cedar (Toona ciliata) was once the premium appearance grade timber species in Australia. From the first days of European invasion to about the time of the First World War (140 years), this timber was chased from every pocket of rainforest up and down the east coast of Australia.
Many books have been written about this species and its history/exploitation. One fine example is:
John Vader (1987) Red Cedar: The Tree of Australia’s History. Reed Books, Sydney, NSW.
Much research and many attempts have been made to try and domesticate the species for growing in plantation. But the dreaded Cedar Tip Moth is a powerful and persistent enemy.
Australian Red Cedar is now commercially extinct, but limited quantities are sometimes available from salvaged trees.
It is a curious price list in that prices per cubic metre remain unchanged at between $8,000 and $10,000 per cubic metre for thicknesses up to 50mm.
Even for a rare and much sought-after timber these prices are not that extraordinary.
This flat pricing structure is typical of salvage timber where the price does not reflect the cost of growing the trees. Salvage timber is just a case of whatever comes along, big or small, long or short. There is no incentive/reward to the grower to replant.
But once you get into the large sizes, prices up to $17,100 per cubic metre definitely get the heart racing.
No wonder so much effort has been made trying to grow this tree commercially.
After the First World War the supplies of Australian Red cedar dropped dramatically and Tasmanian blackwood became Australia’s premier appearance grade timber species. It too is now on the verge of becoming commercially extinct due to overcutting of the public blackwood resource and decades of poor forest policy.
At these prices I’m surprised there is not more interest from investors and landowners in growing premium timber.
Isn’t this a business/investment opportunity going begging?
Will prices for Tasmanian blackwood soon resemble these prices for Australian Red Cedar?
For more information on blackwood and other timber price lists see: