Australian plantation forests will grow under greater pressure due to climate change

Michael Bataglia from the Australian Forestry Cooperative Research Centre believes that warmer dryer conditions will mean that there needs to be more awareness of water managment.

“Decreased rainfall associated with increased tempratures may make those forests grow under droughtier conditions,” explained Mr Bataglia.

However, Mr Bataglia pointed out, Australia is very fortunate in that the two species that are generally used in plantation forests (Blue Gum and Pinus Radiatus) are able to survive in some of the most diverse environments of any plant. That said, we are already seeing changes in conditions of those trees in for instance some parts of Western Australia where things are very dry, Mr Bataglia pointed out.

The success of our plantation timber industry, Mr Bataglia suggested, depends on an understanding of the relationship between productivity and risk which may mean a change in practices.

“Things like reducing the rate at which trees depleat stored soil water so that the water is maximised over the rotation or looking at different species to plant” said Mr Bataglia.

The most important step the industry needs to take in the near future, Mr Bataglia suggested, is the development of research technology ajnd practices that will give early warning signs of any damages to our plantation timber industry.

In this report: Michael Bataglia, Australian Forestry Cooperative research centre.