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Forico builds Eucalypt plantation to move beyond woodchips

The company that has inherited the bulk of Gunns timber plantations in Tasmania has signalled its intention to invest in more high-value wood products, beyond woodchips. Source: The ABC.

Forico is a forest management company that owns 100,000 hectares of mostly eucalypt plantations.

Forico chief executive officer Bryan Hayes says they are in the process of identifying the suitable plantations of Eucalyptus globulus and E. nitens for solid and engineered wood products, but it’s a direction that will take between three to five years to implement.

“We have been charged with the task by our board and investors, of looking at solid wood and engineered wood opportunities,” he said.

“We’ve already started that journey.

“Forico has started identifying the best of their plantations for thinning and pruning, to build a raw material base.

“Such that in three to five years time we are able to look at a sustainable volume of resource to support some other solid wood type processing.”

Hayes says any further investment is predicated on the market for engineered wood growing.

“At the moment I don’t think the Australian building and construction industry is quite ready for the volume of engineered wood products that might become available,” he said.

“We have a saying in the industry, that the forward scouts are usually the ones that get the arrows in their back.

“If you go too quickly you could become unstuck very quickly.

“What we are seeing is European engineered wood products coming into Australia, they’re the pioneers, they’re starting to open the market up and to change the thinking of the architects, the engineers and the builders.

“So it’s going to take a little bit of time.

“In the meantime we can establish the trees.”