Forestry an untapped alternative for farmers

Forestry Trial Site for the Reef Catchments Forestry Field DayLandholders in the Mackay-Whitsunday region are being encouraged to find out more about how to make forestry work in their favour.

A Forestry Field Day was hosted this month by Reef Catchments to help demonstrate how cultivating trees could create an extra stream of income.

“The focus is on how to make use of marginal land that is not currently earning anything for the grower,” said Reef Catchments Regional Landcare Facilitator, Jake Betros.

Mr Betros said forestry was potentially an untapped market for local landholders.

“Reef Catchments is working with farmers to explore the possibility of using marginal land for production purposes, to increase returns and deliver environmental benefits like increased land cover and stability.

“Done correctly, this is a real area of opportunity for landholders in the Mackay-Whitsunday area.”

He said the site showcased at the Forestry Field Day was a trial designed to support early forestry findings – if successful, practices can be adopted by other landholders in the area.

“The trial is a mixed species trial implemented along the O’Connell River. Reef Catchments is working with the landholder to grow trees in a previously dormant area, with the ultimate aim of selling to the timber market.”

This is the first time the trial site, which has been operating for 1.5 years, has been opened to the public.

“Cane and grazing are obviously the main areas of agriculture in our region, but there is no reason landholders can’t broaden their horizons,” Mr Betros said.

“We would encourage anyone with an interest in forestry to contact us to obtain a copy of the ABCD Framework and new Forestry Sustainability Guide as a starting point.”

The Forestry Field Day also included a special presentation by Ray Greaves on silviculture in the Central Queensland Coast region.

“Ray is local to the Mackay Region and has been involved in the forestry industry for almost 20 years, including as a ranger with the state government,” Mr Betros said.

A mobile sawmill was on display, with participants invited to view soil samples and trial results to date.

To find out more, or to obtain a free copy of the Forestry ABCD Framework and Sustainability Guide, contact Reef Catchments.

The Forestry Field Day is a Reef Catchments initiative, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme. 





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