Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) reported for 2015-16 a record volume and value of logs harvested.
According to the Australian forest and wood products statistics: September and December quarters 2016 report, log harvest exceeded 30 million m3 for the first time in 2015–16, valued at over AUD 2.3 billion. The growth was mainly driven by higher harvest of hardwood plantation pulplogs and a new record harvest of softwood plantation logs, reaching 16.3 million m3 in 2015–16.
The higher log harvest was backed up by production increases across most of Australia’s wood processing industries:
- hardwood sawnwood output increased for the first time since 2012–13
- wood-based panels increased by over 7% in 2015–16
- paper and paperboard production was also strong over the year, with growth in output of all paper categories except for newsprint, which fell to its lowest level since 1981–82
The export demand continued its strong performance with higher roundwood and woodchip exports contributing to an overall rise of 7.8% compared to the first six months of 2015–16.
At the same time, in contrast to these positive trends, ABARES estimated softwood sawnwood production and consumption have slightly declined in 2015–16, driven by a modest decline in the number of detached dwellings commenced during the year.
Import values in the first half of 2016–17 declined by 6.4% compared to the first six months of 2015–16, suggesting a potential softening of domestic demand for some products.
Peter Gooday, acting Executive Director of ABARES,commented:
“This growth has been underpinned by continued strong export demand for our products, especially hardwood and softwood woodchips and roundwood logs. Consumption of wood products was also higher across most categories in 2015–16, with hardwood sawnwood consumption up 37% over the year, wood-based panels up 5.3 per cent and aggregate paper consumption up 1.8%.”