Re­grow­ing Vic­to­ria’s State forests

Australian Forests and Timber - - In The News -

EV­ERY YEAR hun­dreds of mil­lions of eu­ca­lyp­tus seeds are spread across Vic­to­ria’s State forests. The seeds are used to re­grow ar­eas that have been har­vested to sup­ply wood to Vic­to­ria’s tim­ber in­dus­try.

Lach­lan Spencer, VicForests Gen­eral Man­ager Stake­hold­ers and Plan­ning, said that he­li­copters aeri­ally spread seeds over larger ar­eas and smaller ar­eas were sown by hand.

“We sow the seeds us­ing GPS tech­nol­ogy as it gives us a higher chance of suc­cess­fully re­grow­ing the for­est.

“In ar­eas smaller than five hectares it is more ac­cu­rate to sow the seeds by hand,” he said.

When an area has been har­vested it un­der­goes a re­gen­er­a­tion burn be­fore be­ing re-sown. This gives the seeds the best pos­si­ble chance to grow.

“The burns mimic the process of na­ture and cre­ate a nat­u­ral ash bed to ger­mi­nate the seeds,” Mr Spencer said.

“Some species, such as the Alpine Ash, are sown just be­fore or in the snow as they re­quire nat­u­ral win­ter con­di­tions in or­der to ger­mi­nate,” he said.

VicForests holds Vic­to­ria’s largest store of eu­ca­lyp­tus seeds. These seeds not only re-grow har­vested ar­eas but are also used to re-grow other ar­eas which have been af­fected by bush­fires.

“Be­fore an area is har­vested, our plan­ners sur­vey the area and col­lect seeds from na­tive trees so when that area is seeded it will have the best chance of re­turn­ing to its nat­u­ral state,” Mr Spencer said.

VicForests has 17 tonnes of seed in stor­age and just one kilo­gram of seed con­tains 250 000 po­ten­tial trees.

VicForests has spread ap­prox­i­mately 377 mil­lion seeds across 2 273 hectares this year.

“The way we grow trees repli­cates that which hap­pens in na­ture,” Mr Spencer said.

“It is a sur­vival of the fittest process whereby nat­u­ral se­lec­tion oc­curs and of the 200,000 seeds sown per hectare only 10 000 seedlings might ger­mi­nate.

“In an­other 50 to 60 years there will be around 300 trees per hectare left as part of the grow­ing for­est,” he said.

VicForests con­ducts a re­gen­er­a­tion sur­vey to test the suc­cess of the re­growth 18 months af­ter seed­ing. If it is suc­cess­ful it’s handed back to the Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­ment, Land Wa­ter and Plan­ning (DELWP).

DELWP will man­age that area of for­est un­til it ma­tures over 50 to 60 years and will even­tu­ally hand it back to VicForests to be­gin the process again.

Re­gen­er­a­tion is a vi­tal com­po­nent of VicForests op­er­a­tions that sus­tains forests for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions and meets the de­mand for lo­cally sourced tim­ber prod­ucts.

“VicForests is Aus­tralia’s largest sup­plier of na­tive for­est hard­wood tim­ber and it is im­por­tant to the in­dus­try that we re­grow all ar­eas in or­der to con­tinue to pro­duce the same qual­ity prod­ucts,” he said.

Much of the tim­ber from VicForests’ op­er­a­tions is used in prod­ucts such as high qual­ity fur­ni­ture, floor­ing and other build­ing ma­te­ri­als.

One kilo­gram of seed con­tains 250 000 po­ten­tial trees.

Repli­cat­ing what hap­pens in na­ture

Sow seeds us­ing GPS tech­nol­ogy

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