Plantation lifecycle

Employee inspecting a young Southern Pine plantation forest
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A continuous cycle of growth

Sustainable plantation forest management is a continuous cycle of growth. Use the interactive lifecycle below to learn more about each stage in the process from from producing the best seeds to the versatile end products used by every day Australians every day.

  • Tree breeding

    With over 100 years of genetic research and tree breeding, we are industry leaders in our field.

    Our goal is to help our future forests be the best they can be. We generate improvements in plantation productivity through a tree breeding cycle that looks to create fast growing forests with strong, straight timber that is resistant to pests and disease, and tolerant of our changing climate.

    Our breeding happens in our forests and not in a lab. Our scientists combine the latest genetic research and technologies with a century of understanding how our forests grow and how to best use our land base.

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  • Seed collection and nursery

    Our 60 hectares of seed orchards, located strategically across our Queensland estate are home to the most outstanding trees from our tree breeding program. Every year our seed orchards produce millions of high quality Southern Pine and Araucaria seed for our annual nursery sowings.

    Our Toolara Nursery supplies seedlings for our annual Southern Pine and Araucaria planting programs and sows around 10 million seedlings every year.

    The best seed is used to produce strong seedlings to give our forests the best start to life.

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  • Site preparation

    Site preparation is the process of preparing the land for the next generation of forest, one of the most important steps in the lifecycle of a plantation forest.

    Our foresters aim to protect and enhance important environmental features of our land including watercourses, native vegetation and wildlife habitat. We work with our contractor partners to plan and apply site preparation techniques like cultivation and weed control to ensure healthy and productive plantations with minimal ongoing interventions.

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  • Planting

    For every tree harvested at least one tree is replanted in its place. Planting may occur at any time of the year following good rainfall, although the period from November to May is favoured.

    Only strong seedlings with robust root systems are dispatched from our nursery to our plantations.

    We plant up to 10 million seedlings per year. Each seedling is hand-planted by our team of planting specialists, to give them the best start possible. 

    And the next forest begins…

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  • Weed control and nutrition

    After seedlings have been planted, our foresters’ focus is turned towards maintaining a healthy forest that is free from weeds, pest and disease.

    Weeds, pests and disease in our forests can negatively impact on the productivity of our plantations, neighbouring properties, wildlife habitats and the health of our high conservation value native forests.

    We also work collaboratively with local and state government to target invasive pests of concern that occur in and around our forests and seek opportunities to work with private landowners on mutually beneficial pest and disease programs.

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  • Growing and maintenance

    We grow, nurture and protect our trees for up to 50 years in each cycle.

    Our forests are always busy and our work does not stop after planting. We routinely monitor the health of our plantations and surrounding native forests looking for signs of disease or weed incursion, erosion and to check the water quality in our creeks and streams.

    Our roading team also has a role to play throughout the plantation lifecycle, constructing and maintaining thousands of kilometres of roads and hundreds of bridges and crossings for industry, firefighting and public use.

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  • Fire protection

    Our teams work continuously to protect our forests from the risk of wildfire including prescribed burning and maintaining our firelines and firebreaks. We are proactive and prepared.

    During fire season we use advanced weather forecasting and operate an extensive fire tower and camera network to monitor our plantations for signs of fire. We are always ready.

    Our staff and contract partners are highly trained accredited firefighting crews. We operate a large fleet of firefighting vehicles, and have heavy machinery and even helicopters on standby so we can respond quickly and fully to a fire threat. We have a great deal of expertise in fighting forest fires.

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  • Harvesting

    Harvesting strong, straight trees from healthy plantation forests is the result of generations of hard working foresters who have grown and protected our forests.

    We harvest our Southern Pine plantations at around 28 years and Araucaria between 40 and 50 years. We can sustainably harvest in excess of 2 million m3 of timber per year while maintaining a continuous cycle of growth.

    Our foresters carefully plan to minimise the environmental and social impacts of our harvest operations, in order to leave each site in the same or better condition for future generations.

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  • Haulage

    We partner with haulage contractors who align with and are committed to our strong safety vision that ‘every day, everyone returns home safe’. Together we are responsible for safely transporting timber from our plantation forests to mills for processing.

    Most of our customers’ mills are located in or very close to our forests, reducing haul distances, impacts to road users and minimising our carbon footprint. Each year our haulage partners make more than 50,000 trips to these mills.

    Our haulage partners invest heavily in state-of-the-art machinery with sophisticated safety management systems to ensure the safety of drivers, communities and other road users.

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  • Processing

    After our timber arrives at the mill, it is processed into wood products. 

    Primary processing occurs when logs are processed into products like sawn timber and plywood. These primary products are then sold directly for use in industries such as construction, or they are sold for further processing into secondary products. 

    Secondary processing occurs when primary wood products are processed again to create other products such as cabinets, furniture, paper and packaging.

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  • Products

    Every Australian uses products derived from wood every day.

    Our customers process our sustainably grown and responsibly harvested timber into a variety of products for use in home construction, business and a virtually endless list of possible applications. 

    The future of timber products is exciting as we begin to realise engineering and architectural possibilities from wood grown in sustainable and renewable forests that captures and stores carbon from our atmosphere for decades after it leaves the forest.

    As we care more about living sustainably, the role of renewable materials like wood has never been more important.

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A cyclical process

It's the continuous cycle of growth that makes plantation forest management so sustainable. We never harvest more than we can grow, planting up to 10 million seedlings while only harvesting 2-3% of our plantations each year ensures that we're in a perpetual cycle of growth while meeting customer demand to turn our timber into the wood products you love. That's why wood has gained its reputation as the ultimate renewable.