Plantation and log supply

Australian plantation statistics

The Australian plantation statistics report series supports strategic forest industry planning and decision-making by presenting information on total plantation area, new planting and ownership. It is prepared under the auspices of the National Plantation Inventory.

ABARES has prepared this report under the auspices of the National Plantation Inventory (NPI). The NPI has surveyed public and private plantation growers and managers to collect data on plantations established primarily for wood production in Australia since 1993.

In this report plantation areas are presented by NPI regions for softwood and hardwood plantation types, species, jurisdiction, based on data collected from private growers and grower representatives and public state and territory agencies.

Australian plantation statistics 2019 update

Published: 3 May 2019

  • In 2017–18 Australia’s total commercial plantation area was 1,942,700 hectares, a decrease of 12,400 hectares (0.6 per cent) from 2016‒17. These plantations are located within the 15 NPI regions that also contain the vast majority of regional processing facilities (regional hubs).
  • Victoria continued to have the largest total area of commercial plantations of Australia’s states and territories (420,600 hectares) in 2017–18, followed by New South Wales (393,200 hectares) and Western Australia (361,700 hectares).
  • A total of 3,150 hectares of new plantations were established in 2017–18, comprising 1,700 hectares of softwood plantations and 1,450 hectares of hardwood plantations. Around 51 per cent of the new plantations established in 2017–18 were privately owned and 49 per cent were publicly owned.
  • Around 15,550 hectares of Australia’s plantation estate was converted to another land use in 2017–18, comprising 13,950 hectares of hardwood plantations (90 per cent) and 1,600 hectares of softwood plantations (10 per cent). The majority of converted plantations were in Western Australia (59 per cent) and South Australia (25 per cent).

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Australian plantation statistics 2019 update PDF231.6 MB

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Australian plantation statistics 2016

Published: 17 August 2016

Overview

Australian plantation statistics is published every five years based on spatial data. It supports strategic forest industry planning and decision-making by presenting information on total plantation area, new planting and ownership. The spatial updates complement two other NPI information products published by ABARES: the annual tabular plantations update and the five-yearly comprehensive log supply forecast report.

In this report, plantation areas are presented for softwood and hardwood plantation types, species by NPI regions, and by state and territory.

Key Issues

  • Australia's total commercial plantation area declined by 26 260 hectares from 2013-14, to 1 973 400 hectares in 2014-15. The total softwood plantation area increased by around 11 200 hectares to 1 035 400 hectares and the hardwood plantation area declined by 34 800 hectares to 928 300 hectares in 2014-15. Although the decline has been attributed to a one-year change, the decline has happened over the past five years and is captured in this five-yearly spatial update. The changes are the result of plantation managers revising their area figures, unproductive plantation land being returned to agriculture or to the lessors on the expiration of hardwood plantation lease arrangements.
  • The total plantation area decreased in all states and territories except New South Wales and the Northern Territory, for which it increased by 0.8 per cent and 6.5 per cent, respectively, mainly because of improved mapping of plantations. The area of new plantations established in 2014-15 was around 600 hectares, with most planted in the Northern Territory and Queensland. Around 500 hectares of new hardwood plantations and around 100 hectares of softwood plantations were established in 2014-15.
  • In 2014-15 Institutional investors owned 50 per cent of the total commercial plantation area. Governments owned 21 per cent, as did Farm forestry and other private growers. The proportion of plantations owned by managed investment schemes (MIS) continued to decline and was around 5 per cent in 2014-15. This was a result of plantations that were previously managed by MIS being sold to institutional and private investors.

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Australian plantation statistics 2016 PDF5223.6 MB

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Previous reports

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Australian plantation statistics 2018 update PDF213.5 MB

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Australia's plantation log supply

The Australia's plantation log supply report series presents forecasts of sawlog and pulplog volumes available from softwood and hardwood plantations. Comprehensive plantation log availability forecast reports are published every five years and Australia's plantation log supply 2015-2059 is the fifth log supply report.

Australia's plantation log supply 2015-2059

Published: 15 December 2016

Overview

Australia's plantation log supply 2015-2059 report presents forecasts of sawlog and pulplog volumes available from softwood and hardwood plantations. Changes in log availability have important implications for Australia's rural economies; the size, type and geographical location of wood and paper product manufacturing industries; the national supply of wood products; Australia's trade balance; and Australia's export income.

This report has been prepared by ABARES under the auspices of the National Plantation Inventory--a program that has collected data and reported on plantations established primarily for wood production in Australia since 1993. Comprehensive plantation log availability forecast reports are published every five years and Australia's plantation log supply 2015-2059 is the fifth log supply report.

In this report, forecasts are presented for softwood and hardwood sawlog and pulplog volumes by National Plantation Inventory region, based on the combination of forecasts supplied by plantation owners and managers through a survey and ABARES modelled forecasts. For the modelled forecasts, ABARES did not account for any future changes in social, economic or environmental parameters.

Key Points

  • The potential log availability from Australia's commercial plantation estate is forecast to increase to an annual average of 29.7 million cubic metres in the 2015-19 period, followed by a decline to an annual average of 27.0 million cubic metres a year for the 2020-24 period. The 2015 to 2059 average total plantation log availability forecast is 10 per cent lower in this report, compared with the 2012 log supply report; the average hardwood log availability forecast is 21 per cent lower and the average softwood log availability forecast is 2 per cent lower.
  • The majority of the decline in total log availability is because the expected yield from hardwood plantations is forecast to decline as plantations of low commerciality are not replanted and some lease agreements with landholders are not renewed.
  • ABARES estimates that the total commercial plantation estate may decrease by around 80 000 to 100 000 hectares over the next 10 to 15 years as new plantation establishment will not be sufficient to offset removals of low commerciality plantations unless there are new drivers to expand or maintain the current plantation estate.

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Australia's plantation log supply 2015-2059 PDF633.9 MB

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Previous reports

DocumentPagesFile size
Australia’s plantation log supply 2010-2054 PDF605.2 MB
Australia’s plantation log supply 2005-2049 PDF522.8 MB

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Last reviewed:
17 May 2019