Plantation timber production is the cultivation and long-term management of trees on marginal agricultural land. Plantations are generally even-aged, planted and managed in rows, consist of a single species (sometimes two or three) and cover a large enough area to provide a suitable return on investment. Many different timber and non-timber products can be grown in a plantation. The type of product that you decide to grow and the characteristics of your site will determine the species, management and rotation of your plantation. As such, it is important to research timber markets and to have an in-depth understanding of your property and climate before you establish your plantation.
Farm Forestry is an integrated form of plantation timber production. Forestry on farms is most often only a secondary production enterprise alongside grazing, horticulture or some form of off-farm income. This is where farm forestry distinguishes itself from broad-scale plantation timber production. Forestry on farms needs to be relatively low-maintenance, provide a productive land-use for marginal country, have the potential to supplement farm income, benefit the overall environmental stability of the property and fit in with the primary production enterprise or with the lifestyle objectives of the farm. Simply, farm forestry is a design process, whereby your plantation forest is integrated with the surrounding social and physical landscape so as to solve all of your land management constraints with one system.
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Trees perform multiple functions in the natural landscape. They are a dynamic and resilient land cover. The benefits of forest cover are experienced across the entire catchment with improved water quality, landscape stability, forest connectivity, and the social benefits of increasing the productive potential of marginal rural lands. Similarly, your reafforestation can be designed to perform multiple functions on your property.
Some of the many functions of a farm forest include:
- the stabilisation of soil erosion processes
- shade and shelter for livestock
- timber production
- increased capital value of lands
- soil protection and production
- aesthetic improvements – the appearance of trees in the landscape, landscaping, screening
- water table and salinity reduction
- a long-term, low management-input land use
- conservation outcomes such as native biodiversity and wildlife corridors
- long-term economic and environmental security
A farm forestry planting may place an emphasis on a single outcome such as timber production or wind protection or it may seek to balance a range of benefits in a multipurpose planting. Finding the right balance of productivity, environmental and aesthetic outcomes can easily be achieved with a simple process of property planning. The planning stage is a chance for you to turn all of your goals and lifestyle objectives into a practical operational plan. It means assessing your resources (natural, human and fiscal), identifying your limitations and your potentials and then planning your land management so as to turn competing values and constraints into complementary processes and outcomes.
Single-tree site preparation:
The advantages of excavator-based single-tree site preparation processes are:
- No continuous sub soil and soil disturbance, eliminating erosion risk.
- Minimizes exposure of erodible sub soils and retains natural soil profiles whilst achieving appropriate cultivation requirements.
- Manoeuvrability around surface rock, existing vegetation, regeneration and active erosion zones.
- Minimal surface disturbance on cross-land traverses.
- Utilization across all revegetation styles including site preparations under and around retained vegetation.
- Excavator can be utilized for the sensitive construction of fire management infrastructure, access infrastructure, erosion mitigation and pre-site prep weed management in a one pass operation.
- The single-site sub surface winged ripper technique produces site preparation best suited to dry, low nutrient, poorly structured, highly erodible soil profiles, giving young plants the best chance of survival and development under difficult conditions.