Forest industry bounces back, but challenges remain

23 June 2015

Australia’s forestry sector showed signs of improvement in 2013–14, although wood product consumption and plantation investment remain weak, according to a report released today by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES).

The report, Australian forest and wood products statistics: September and December quarters 2014, highlighted mixed results for the forestry sector in 2013–14, with increases in logs harvested, wood product output, and trade in wood products contrasting with continued decline in domestic consumption of many wood products and stagnant investment in plantations.

ABARES Executive Director, Karen Schneider, said the latest data suggested that Australia’s forestry sector may be recovering, after a difficult period which saw the industry contract under adverse conditions such as low levels of residential construction, weak global demand for wood products and a high Australian dollar.

“The volume of logs harvested increased 12 per cent, to above 25 million cubic metres in 2013–14, with growth across the board, including in native forests,” Ms Schneider said.

“Overall, the value of logs harvested in 2013–14 reached almost $1.8 billion, the highest gross value of log production since 2010–11.”

However, despite growth in wood product manufacturing, increased housing activity and growth in both imports and exports of wood products in 2013–14, other forestry sector indicators remained weak.

“Parts of Australia’s forestry sector are still facing challenging conditions with consumption of some wood products such as wood-based panels and hardwood sawnwood continuing to decline in 2013–14, and a contraction in the area of plantations over the year.

“The latest statistics highlight both the resilience of Australia’s forestry sector in recent years, as well as the challenges that the sector will continue to face into the future, as it seeks to increase investment and expand markets for wood products.”

For a copy of the report visit ABARES Publications.

Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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