FROM the lookout at Mount Beerburrum the view is majestic. This is a special place where forests dominate the landscape…
Managing forests in changing landscapes was on display as HQPlantations took Responsible Wood’s Jason Ross on a tour of their 22,000 ha Southern Pine plantation in Beerburrum.
With more than 340,000 ha of forest under management from south east Queensland to the Atherton Tablelands, HQPlantations is the largest plantation grower in Queensland. On the tour, Michelle McAndrew, Barry Darko and Stephanie Hunt discussed the importance of practicing sustainable forest management to protect environmental values for future generations – the principle underpinning HQPlantations’ annual Forest Stewardship Plan.
This plan highlights HQPlantations contributions to managing landscapes, soil, water, biodiversity, cultural heritage, pollution, waste management and carbon sequestration. It also outlines the company’s commitment to AS 4708 – Sustainable Forest Management, a key component of the Responsible Wood Certification Scheme (RWCS). Beerburrum Operations Manager Barry Darko explained that renewable Southern Pine plantation management revolves around a 26 to 28 year rotation lifecycle of harvesting, replanting, forest maintenance and fire protection ongoing throughout the estate to ensure long term sustainability is maintained.
“Careful planning and monitoring is undertaken throughout the process and activities are undertaken within strict guidelines to ensure environmental and cultural values are protected,” said Michelle McAndrew, Stewardship Systems Manager.
Most HQPlantations Southern Pine plantations along the coast are transitioning to a hybrid of Caribbean and Slash pine, historically the two dominant exotic species grown in the state. The F2 hybrid was developed in Queensland as part of an ongoing tree improvement program focused on improved growth, wood qualities and wind firmness.
Native Araucaria, which grows in 45-50 year rotation cycles, is also grown in HQPlantations inland region, comprising 44,000 ha of the total estate.
HQPlantations supports a large softwood industry – supplying sawlog for the production of framing, flooring, mouldings, beams, plywood, medium density fibreboard and landscaping for businesses throughout Queensland and northern NSW. When local mills are at capacity or harvested logs fall outside their specifications, surplus sawlog is exported.
Managing a sustainable plantation is about more than just growing and harvesting trees. With the Beerburrum plantation surrounded by encroaching urban sprawl, Community Engagement Coordinator Stephanie Hunt described some of the challenges faced by HQPlantations when it comes to managing the impacts of public access on privately managed plantations in State Forests.
“More than four million people live within day-tripping range of our Beerburrum plantation, which is becoming increasingly popular for recreation and presents considerable challenges for our team.
“Also, due to rapidly growing towns and cities like Caboolture, Beerwah and Caloundra on the boundaries of this plantation, illegal dumping is a significant issue. We are broadening our surveillance network and continue to work with the State Government’s Litter and Illegal Dumping Unit to manage this problem and ensure the aesthetic values of the forest are maintained.”
HQPlantations is one of 28 forests certified under AS 4808 – Sustainable Forest Management in Australia. for AS 4707 – Chain of Custody for Forest Product claims, supporting the Responsible Wood logo on timber and paper based products throughout Australia.
Look for the Responsible Wood stamp of approval when you purchase your next timber or paper based product.