Looking forward

A plantation with a helicopter flying very low to the ground

Current and emerging trends

It’s an exciting time to be in the forestry industry. 

We are adopting new technologies to develop products from a renewable resource, while ensuring future generations can enjoy the benefits of our forests.  

A changing resource base and global market competition will continue to provide challenges, but there will also be new opportunities through innovation.

In the sandalwood and native forest sectors, we will work with industry and regional communities to develop new products that are based on lower-grade wood. This will be achieved with technologies that allow cost effective manufacturing of high-value products and increased utilisation of our forests. 

The branding and marketing strategies we are working on with industry will highlight and add value to the unique properties of our timbers.

In the softwood sector, the industry will continue to benefit from changes in construction techniques and preferences for timber as a carbon friendly building product. 

The ongoing development of engineered wood products, and the use of timber in pre-fabricated flooring, walls and roof systems, will provide new markets for plantation timbers.

A recent trial using drone technology shows the sky is now the limit when it comes to improving our harvest planning processes.

Felling trees within a pine plantations

Globally, a broad range of new products and uses for wood fibre are being investigated. These include bio-energy, bio-based chemicals, and cellulosic fibres.

Of these new markets, the demand for renewable energy is expected to provide new markets for forest thinning and parts of the tree that are not suitable for high-value products. However, there are still a number of factors that affect the commercial viability of using wood for renewable energy, including collection and transport logistics, and the market price for energy.

Climate change is expected to continue to affect Western Australia. This will impact on the areas where we establish new plantations and influence stocking levels and management regimes. 

The increased risk of bushfires in regional Western Australia will also continue to be a key risk. We will continue our commitment to work with the industry and other government departments to protect forest assets from fire. 

Policies that recognise the value of carbon in plantation forests and in harvested wood products will support the future expansion of new plantations.