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Growing forest research in South Australia & Tasmania

Forest industries in Tasmania and South Australia are set to benefit from inaugural research projects funded through the $8 million National Institute for Forest Products Innovation. NIFPI’s Launceston centre will fund projects ranging from improving remotely acquired forestry data to increasing the durability of Tasmanian hardwoods and developing next generation engineered structural timber. The value of the first round of approved projects is $5.5 million. Source: Philip Hopkins for Timberbiz

Projects funded through NIFPI’s centre in Mount Gambier include innovation in forest management, worker safety, advanced remote sensing, forest water use and the application of advanced technologies. SA’s first round projects are worth $3.3 million.

The Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Senator Richard Colbeck, announcing the grants, said global demand for timber products was expected to quadruple by 2050.

“The projects will provide economic returns to Tasmania’s forest industries and the local economy, while lessons learned will help lead the way across Australia,” he said.

Similarly, “the research done in Mt Gambier will have national implications – it can be applied to other plantation regions”, he said.

Launceston and Mt Gambier have one joint project: finding solutions for the optimal use of remotely acquired, high resolution data.

Launceston projects include:

  • Private Forestry Tasmania – optimising machinery configurations for profitable harvesting operations of small-scale plantations.
  • Sustainable Timber Tasmania – sensing technology and digital tools to support decision-making in hardwood timber drying.
  • Britton Timbers – increasing the durability and other material characteristics of Tasmanian hardwoods.
  • Neville Smith – developing a new generation of Tasmanian appearance hardwood products for in-state design and manufacturing.
  • CLTP Panels – developing laminated structural elements from fibre-managed plantation hardwood.

At Mt Gambier, the University of South Australia will look after three research projects:

  • Future proofing of SA Blue Gum Plantations through improved detection of koalas in early planning and forestry operations.
  • Wearable sensors for improving occupational health and safety of workers in forestry; a pilot prototype for harvesting and processing operations.
  • Optimising management of plantation, water and environmental assets.
  • The Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Tim Whetstone, said forestry was truly a sunrise industry in SA.

“I am proud to see Mount Gambier leading the way in building knowledge of Australia’s plantation forests,” he said.

The Member for Barker, Tony Pasin, said the south-east of SA had a long history in plantation forestry dating back to the establishment of some of Australia’s first forest plantation trials in the 1870s. “This local knowledge is invaluable,” he said.

The establishment of NIFPI with its Launceston and Mt Gambier centres was a 2016 Liberal Government promise.

The Australian Government is providing $4million, the Tasmanian and SA governments $2 million each, with funding also by industry.

Find out more about the NIFPI recipients and the round one projects at