Winter planting underway in Bombala State forests

Pine seedlings are being planted in 1,300 hectares of State-owned plantations in the southern Monaro, centred around Bombala. The program commenced in June and is part of Forestry Corporation of NSW’s annual winter planting program, which is wrapping up in the coming weeks.

Forestry Corporation of NSW’s Silviculture and Fire Co-Ordinator Jason Vincent said around 20 contract staff had been brought on board for planting season, which will continue across the region until mid-August.

“Each winter, Forestry Corporation re-establishes around 8,000 hectares of pine plantations across NSW to restock plantations that have been harvested for timber,” Mr Vincent said.

“This year we will be planting 1.4 million radiata pine seedlings in the southern Monaro over an area roughly equivalent to 2,200 football fields.

“The seedlings were predominately grown in Forestry Corporation’s production nursery at Tumut and will be planted mainly in our Coolangubra and Bondi State Forests, with a smaller amount planted into the Towamba State Forest.

“We plant in winter when pine seedlings are dormant, which makes them hardier and more resilient to the stress of being planted to give it the best chance of survival. Each seedling is planted by hand and an experienced planter can plant around 2,000 seedlings in one day.

“The ground in each plantation has been carefully prepared, cultivated and treated with herbicide for weed control to give the seedlings the best start possible, but like any crop the seedlings are still susceptible to frost and weather damage so we’ll need to keep an eye on them to monitor how they are growing. If the seedlings survive the next 12 months, they are likely to make it to harvest.

“According to the Department of Industry, 22 per cent of jobs in the Bombala Shire are directly dependent on the softwood plantation industry and our annual work to re-establish these plantations ensures we continue to have a high quality plantation resource in the local area for generations to come.

“Forestry Corporation has around 200,000 hectares of pine plantations in NSW and produces enough timber to construct a quarter of the homes built in Australia each year. The seedlings we plant today will grow into the trees that are going to build the new houses, home extensions and backyard fences 35 years from now so this is one of the most important times in our plantation cycle.”

Media contact: Elizabeth Fowler 9407 4265/ 0408 779 903