Enhancing the value of multiple use plantations: a case study from southeast Queensland, Australia
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In the 1990s, an expansion of small-scale (farm) forestry in medium to low rainfall areas was considered to be an important part of increasing the national forest estate but it remains a very minor source of timber, largely confined to the higher rainfall areas. In most areas, returns from timber are much less than for alternative land uses, even with low discount rates. If however, there are additional returns from plantation grazing and carbon sequestration and there are other potential management gains, multiple use plantations may be more attractive. The goal of this study is to estimate the net present values of multiple use spotted gum plantations in a medium rainfall area of southeast Queensland. For the case study, production, carbon sequestration and emissions data were supplemented by formal and informal interviews with landholders, sawmill staff and government extension personnel. Forest inventory, biomass and soil sampling, and stakeholder interviews were used as sources of primary data. The costs and benefits data were converted into monetary terms and discounted to produce net present values. Evaluations in this study identify the optimal rotation age of plantations to be 33-34 years. This is the case if including carbon and stock values, and using either farm- or factory-gate timber prices. The net present value increases significantly however if farmers harvest the trees themselves. In addition, at harvesting age, it was found that carbon and stock had the potential to account for 19.2 and 11.4 % respectively of the total returns from spotted gum plantations. Policy initiatives to support the farm forestry sub-sector should include pricing greenhouse gas emissions and developing and strengthening farmers co-operatives and marketing institutions to enhance farmers' bargaining power.
Copyright 2012 Springer Netherlands. This is an electronic version of an article published in Agroforestry Systems, November 2012, Volume 86, Issue 3, pp 451-462. Agroforestry Systems is available online at: http://link.springer.com// with the open URL of your article.
Natural Resource Management