Our approach to Forestry Operations
Plantations are purpose grown for saw-log production. A range of high quality sustainable timber products is to be produced from these forests. SFP’s is constantly reviewing their methods of plantation management endeavouring to improve on their ways to produce the most sustainable quality timber. The current process has been outlined below.
Seed to final harvest
- Planning- procuring appropriate land and through site analysis mapping areas of suitability for timber, cattle and environmental restoration.
- Selection of Trees and Collection of Seed.
- species are selected on the basis of mixed durable structural timbers that are predominately locally native hardwood timber.
- seed is collected from a diverse selection local trees (maintaining genetic diversity) with desirable traits for timber production.
- Mapping of Timber Planting Areas and selecting suitable species mix
- areas are determined by site specific climate, soil and topographical analysis. Species mix is then selected to best suit theses areas.
- Grow seedlings
- This is currently commissioned to various local nurseries
- Site Preparation for Timber Trees-cultivation and weed control
- prepare for planting at a stocking rate of 833 stems/ha, planted in spot cultivated rows across the contour (up and down).
- Plant & fertilise seedlings
- Post plant maintenance, weed control, replanting, monitoring.
- Introduction of Cattle
- 3 yrs or 2.5m height post planting (when seedlings are established). Cattle are then monitored and moved through different areas for land management
- Maintenance and Monitoring
- Pruning, at age 5, removal of branches to produce valuable clear wood.
- Thinning, removal of poor performing trees to reduce competition & improve growth rates of retained stems. First thin at age 5 is non commercial & left in plantation. Second thin at age 10 produces high proportion of low value products firewood & woodchip & low proportion of high value products small poles & fencing material. Third thin at age 20 produces high proportion of high value products large poles & small sawlog & low proportion of low value products firewood & woodchip.
- Mulching of Thinnings and Prunings, reduces the fire fuel load and adds to soil heath. *Ground Cover Establishment of shade tolerant grasses under trees.
- Final Harvest 30 years
- Establish next generation of timber plantation
- Ongoing process
SFP grows a range of timber species, many of these species are not grown on a large scale elsewhere in the plantation forestry industry. Seed for most of these species is not commercially available. SFP has to source the seed for these species itself from select wild trees in the local area.
The trees grown from wild collected seed display a wide genetic variation. A too high proportion of the resulting timber stands have issues with poor form, slow growth, low pest and disease resistance and heavy branching. Tree breeding to produce improved seed to reduce the level of these defects can result in a significant increase in productivity.
The tree improvement program involves conducting progeny trials of different provenances (families) of each species, grown across a range of sites. The growth of each family is monitored and the best performing families are identified. The best performing families are grown together in seed orchards to produce improved seed with a broad genetic base. Increases in productivity of up to 60% can be achieved by reducing defect and producing straighter trees with less branching, faster growth and better pest & disease resistance.
The improved seed produced will be used in-house & available for sale to other timber plantation growers. The higher productivity and greater certainty of success for plantations will benefit SFP and the industry as a whole.