The agriculture and economics bureau that crunches numbers and writes reports on Australian industries (ABARE) says that exports of woodchips rose in the last financial year. However they don’t differentiate between native forests and plantation woodchips.
They didn’t say that more than 1.5 million tonnes, of the nearly 9 million tonnes of hardwood woodchip exported, was from plantations. Next year it’s predicted to be closer to 2.5 million tonnes.
Gunns’ share of that market fell from 4.7 to 4.3 million tonnes (still a mountain of chopped up trees!), indicating that as plantation supply expands, native forest woodchips will be the first to be dropped.
This won’t necessarily mean the price of all woodchips will fall due to the coming ’wall of wood’ from maturing plantation gums – more likely we are going to see that woodchips from some sources – like native forests – cannot be sold at ANY price. Slowly, slowly…