Category: Plantations

Plantation Establishment, Assessments and Valuations

PFSQ has a team of experienced foresters who can deal with all forestry issues.  Assessments and valuations for Government resumed property, Taxation forestry issues and general financial advice regarding the value of standing timber and the projected growth data, is available.

Please contact us if you have any queries regarding these matters.

We currently have a number of large corporate clients who use our expertise in calculating carbon sequestration, carbon vegetation credits and auditing of plantations for the coming carbon trading economy. We utilize the only Government accredited Carbon Toolbox to interpret your data for the carbon future.

With the arrival of Gary Clarke, our new Operations Manager, PFSQ now has the capability, expertise and expanded field crew to advise, design, implement and establish plantations within the PFSQ region and beyond.  Gary has a list of extremely successful plantations which he has been established and currently maintains under the PFSQ banner.  Many landholders now understand the relationship of preserving their forest areas, revegetation of their degraded land and the many benefits, both commercial and environmental that this impacts upon.

We can devise a management plan for your property and we can either do the work for you or support you in doing the processes yourself.

Release of publication – plantations and water use from the Bureau of Rural Sciences

The new edition of the summary publication on plantations and water use was released yesterday. The major changes from the previous edition include the use of plantation area data to 2005 to show the proportions of plantations in catchments, a wider range of catchments, restricting the land use proportions to areas where average annual rainfall exceeds 600 mm and descriptions of research by CSIRO and BRS into the Murrumbidgee and Upper Murray catchments.

You can down-load it from:

Rainforest Manual Published – from Magazine 7 – Spring 2005

Growing Rainforest Timber Trees

The book is the result of a research project funded by the Joint Venture Agroforestry Program, which is managed by RIRDC and jointly funded by Land & Water Australia, Forestry and Wood Products R&D Corporation, and Murray-Darling Basin Commission. The book is a practical guide for growing rainforest timber trees, and although the title says north Queensland, it is relevant to other regions of wet tropical and subtropical Australia. A pdf of the front pages is on the RIRDC web site (look under Agroforestry and Farm Forestry, publication No 03/010). The book would be useful for field days and courses.

The book’s full citation is: Bristow, M; Annandale, M. and Bragg, A. (2005) Growing rainforest timber trees: a farm forestry manual for north Queensland. Publication No 03/010, RIRDC, Canberra.

RIRDC have also recently published a book about red cedar and tip moth, and have another book in the publication pipeline on reforestation in tropical and subtropical Australia (looking back on ten years experience). These can be viewed on the web site. JVAP and RIRDC publications since 1997/98 can also be viewed or downloaded from here.

Available from RIRDC at  or order by phone 02-6272 4817 or fax 02-6272 5877. The price is $30 (including postage). (RIRDC gives a 20% discount for purchases of more than 10 copies, a 20% discount for booksellers or educational institutions, and a 50% discount for students supplying ID).

Noosa Landcare’s Farm Forestry Program

Case Study 1. – Erosion mitigation at North Deep Creek

by:   Gary Clarke and Kaara Shaw

Since September 2002 the Noosa Landcare Farm Forestry Program has maintained and increased its services to the community and to individual landholders by undertaking consultancy contracting and total property management services.

Total property management has meant that the program has taken on a wide range of services integrating field operations to gain long term sustainable benefits for the landholders and the environment. Continue…

Success Stories

Success Stories

Following on from our last success story “Not just a walk in the park” which highlighted the lessons learnt and success achieved by Mr and Mrs Dittrich, this edition we are provided another real life example of the trial and tribulations of private forestry.

The following article was kindly written and provided by Mr and Mrs Whitlam. Barung Point is the home of George and Christine Whitlam, a couple who retired from a busy life of development banking in Asia to take it easy, or so they thought.

The property, half of an old dairy farm, is located near Maleny, in the hinterland of the Sunshine Coast. Covering some 100 acres, it encompasses a variety of landforms on the edge of the escarpment overlooking Lake Baroon. Some say that retirement should entail synchronicity. Given the planning, stress and discipline of working life, the thought of waking up each morning to 100 acres of calm green solitude whetted their appetites, and provided the mental crock of gold at the end of the rainbow that kept them going after purchasing the property in 1987 until retirement ten years later.

Small hiccups along the way might, however, have foreshadowed events to come. First, a major drought was followed by intense rain, and large slip scars on the eastern slope greeted their arrival for a holiday. Instead of sipping chardonnay on the verandah they found themselves in lengthy meetings with forestry contractor, Robert Tap.

The meetings resulted in the planting of mixed rainforest species on their eastern slopes. Suddenly their paradise became part lunar landscape, covered with tree seedlings in newspaper-roll weedmats. A few years later, retirement beckoned and a Master Tree Growers’ course set its parameters. The course made it clear that trees were not just for slips: they were an important overall part of rehabilitating/developing the property.

Wherever they looked the potential for trees appeared. There was opportunity for trees to provide windbreak, trees to maintain privacy, trees to stabilize slopes and slow runoff. As the bank balance shrank trees also were used to provide, if not an immediate income, then at least capital appreciation of the property. Already the prospect of languid mornings over coffee and the newspapers was diminishing. It was clear that productive effort to develop and maintain one’s relationship with one’s trees started very early in the morning if anything was to be achieved, particularly during the summer months.

Trees had to be planted, weeds had to be controlled, and pruning had to be initiated. What the Whitlam’s did not fully understand was that rainforestry was more art than science. Paucity of technical and financial data meant that neither the technical nor financial viability of rainforest plantations could be assured. The best trees, of course, are those that produce the most wood of the highest value, in the shortest possible period, at the lowest cost. The problem is to know which ones they are, let alone how to grow and sell them.

A pragmatic-incremental-diversified approach is, therefore, being followed. So far the results have shown some promise. With well over 10,000 trees planted, the old dairy farm has been reshaped to look a little bit like a well-treed country estate. Much has been learnt in the process. Some of it is obvious (e.g. that it is easier to maintain trees on flat land than on steep slopes) and some is less obvious (that canopy closure can be as bad for diameter growth as poor maintenance).

Overall, best results have resulted from combining mechanical mounding with mulching/fertilizing, and weed control. Of course, more deep red soils and a more regular rainfall would also have helped. Small trials of shade-compatible cover crops (pinto peanut and villomix) are growing well.

The major problem for the Whitlams as they grow older is that their ambition to expand exceeds their capacity to produce appearance grade timber. It is increasingly obvious that planting fewer trees each year and perhaps bringing forward silvicultural operations will help reduce escalating costs of thinning and pruning. Some thought, therefore, is being given to planting trees (at one meter apart) in same-species groups of three with the mid-tree of each group at final-crop spacing of seven meters . Early thinning by year four (of two out of each three-tree group) should result in a density far more consistent with the physical constraints of the site and result in faster diameter growth of fewer more evenly spaced trees.


Final-space group planting should also encourage a more energetic hands-on approach to individual tree management, at the heart of getting better returns; and enhance landscape values. Another lesson has been the importance of clearly defining a business strategy and letting that drive planting decisions.

With smallholdings of many different rainforest species it may be difficult sell thinnings for a profit, given the dis-economies of small size. It is one thing to envisage selling clearfall sawlogs into a market for appearance timber products, but it might be another to achieve it for small lots of thinnings from staggered plantings. Focussing on a particular market niche may help, however, instead of just growing mixed species, it may be prudent to diversify into craftwood for which there will be a readier market at a higher price, even for thinnings. Red cedar (toona ciliata) and black walnut (juglans nigra) are but two well-known craftwoods with traditional appeal, selling at premium prices. In the past, growing red cedar as a monoculture crop wasn’t commercially viable, due to the debilitating effect of the tip moth (hypsipyla robusta), which destroys the commercial value of the tree. However, the Whitlams have found that by accelerating height growth through two-metre-high tree guards, valuable butt logs can be grown. (Apparently, tree guards foster growth by increasing carbon dioxide concentrations and decreasing transpiration.)

On protected sites at Barung Point, black walnut also seems to grow well, and even better, Andean walnut (juglans neoptropica) as far as growth rates are concerned. Being older foresters, the Whitlams have given considerable thought to forest landscape design.


As they are unlikely to be here when most of the trees are harvested, trees are planted consistent with landscape features to optimize the present capital value of the property. If for some reason the property has to be sold then there should be some reward for the years of hard work. There is little worse for property values than the artificial shapes of woodlots conflicting with rounded landforms and the natural irregularity of vegetation. The role of paths in structuring landscape design and linking forest spaces also cannot be underestimated. Barung Point provides an interesting example of what can be achieved through small-scale forestry on a less than optimum site of exposed ridges and steep slopes.


Apart from providing a rainforest environment in which to live and create potential for future income, there are important landcare outcomes of wider benefit to the community. Trees are now, for example, stabilizing slopes and reducing erosion that was silting/polluting Lake Baroon, a major source of water for coastal communities.

PFSQ Forest Consultancy Services

Apart from our workshops our staff can offer professional assistance on a fee for service basis. If you need a forest management plan developed, a harvest managed, or professional advice the PFSQ team can assist. If you would like to take advantage of our consultancy services you can contact us during business hours or send us an email and we will be happy to assist.

Small Growers Guide to Nursery Establishment

The PFSQ Small Growers Guide to Nursery Establishment has been written to give advice on the establishment of an inexpensive and low maintenance small-scale nursery.

It is aimed at the small-scale farm forester who wishes to progressively establish a commercial hardwood plantation (eg: 500 to 4000 trees at a time). The photographs displayed in this fact sheet show one design option, however, the basic principles can be applied to a number of nursery layouts. Continue…

Basic Principals of Productive Native Forest Management – PFSQ Native Forest Management Guides

The fundamental rule of productive native forest management is to always leave forest areas in a condition that allows them to regenerate and maintain, or in some cases, improve their productivity after harvesting, thinning or even burning.
The first stage of sustainable native forest management is achieved by optimising individual tree growing space – providing trees with enough space to grow. Tree stocking levels i.e. trees/stems per hectare, is dependent upon tree species (type), their diameter (size) and the quality of the site (soil type and depth, rainfall, etc). As a general rule, as trees get larger, more space is required for them to increase in diameter, plus maintain tree health and growth vigour. Continue…