Regional pine tree harvest to be cut back

Thursday December 09, 2021

A reduction in pine trees harvesting across the region has been signalled by OneFortyOne with doubts expressed about the availability of logs beyond 2023 for smaller industry processors.

OneFortyOne operations general manager Mick Theobald said the company managed the forest sustainably and looks to resource needs now and into the future.

“Therefore, to maintain our average clear fall age above 32 years, we will be reducing the number of trees that we harvest in the short to medium term,” Mr Theobald said.

“We have discussed our future log resource with impacted customers and all our existing contracts will be fulfilled.

“Moving forward we will provide our customers with an annual update on log availability and have encouraged all medium-large diameter sawlog customers to actively explore alternative sources of supply with the three other large forest growers who are active in the region.”

The log supply issue was recently raised in the House of Assembly by Independent Mount Gambier MP Troy Bell and he directed a series of questions to Forests Minister David Basham.

“Is the Minister aware that OneFortyOne have written to local processors indicating that log supply will not be honoured past 2023 due to log shortages, putting millions of dollars of investment and jobs at risk?” asked Mr Bell.

In reply, Minister Basham said the matter had been brought to his attention in recent days in particular.

“It’s certainly something that was foreshadowed,” Minister Basham said.

“It is my understanding that, when the previous government sold the forests, it was foreshadowed there was a risk to those smaller mills that bought timber from the previous ForestrySA assets, they were going to be vulnerable coming forward when their contracts came to an end.

“It seems to be heading that way and I am more than happy to sit down with those mills and have those conversations with them and see what we can do, whether there is any opportunity to sit down with OneFortyOne and see whether there is an opportunity to have a conversation about opportunities going forward.

“Unfortunately, the State Government no longer controls those assets.

“We do not have that control.

“That control was sold off by the previous government.

“We do not have those opportunities that we would have in the past to make those timbers available to the mill under that process.”