Blue gum expansion & mechanised planting planned

16 February 2024

Australia’s dwindling timber reserves could be exhausted in less than a decade, but industry experts are hoping a new native nursery in Western Australia could help ease the pressure. In the coastal city of Albany, 450 kilometres south of Perth, Form Forests and Environment director Darryl Outhwaite grows native Australian plants for carbon capture and revegetation projects right across the state.

The bulk of his trees, however, are destined for blue gum plantations that dot the south-west landscape and feed paper pulp mills. Following the Cook government’s native logging ban, the Albany tree farmer is expanding the nursery from two to three million seedlings a year to keep up with demand, and purchased a mechanised planting machine — the first of its kind in Australia.

Mr Outhwaite said the planter had already been earmarked to plant trees in plantations that produce timber for WA’s housing construction industry. “The planting machine will be doing 50 per cent of its work in the softwood pine estate this winter,” he said.

“The government put AU$350 million into expanding its state pine estate and the planting machine will be a very important tool in getting that project done.”

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Source: ABC Great Southern