Management Plans

Background

Principle seven (7) of the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) Forest Certification requires a summary of Management Plan information be made available to stakeholders.

The Management Plan is a critical component of plantation establishment. The Management Plan details the required silvicultural and management operations and the timing of these operations with prescriptive information to be implemented during the plantations rotational life. It is used by Local Authorities during the assessment of planning applications, by external stakeholders seeking information on company management practices and by BFP for all specific plantation management operations.

The Management Plan also contains generic information for each property. This is generally associated with fire management, harvest and haulage.

The Management plan is reviewed at regular intervals throughout the rotation to ensure textual information complements latest technologies, changes in spatial data, site advice updates associated with Aboriginal sites, Declared Rare Flora and Fauna, heritage listings and fire related contact listings.

Spatially captured management information such as BFP's Geographical Information System database is held and maintained by the company. BFP , via the parent company, prepares all plantation establishment, maintenance, stratification, native vegetation and second rotation plans.

Plantation Resources Being Managed

In 1993 the State Government of Western Australia signed a State Agreement with BFP's predecessor, supporting the company with its vision of expanding its overseas afforestation project while also achieving a management ideology of being environmentally friendly.

This has culminated in 2009 with BFP managing approximately 14,892 hectares of Eucalyptus globulus plantation estate under lease agreements with landholders across 150 properties. The plantations are generally within a 200 kilometre travel distance from the Bunbury Port.

Why bluegum?

Eucalyptus globulus or Tasmanian bluegum as it is commonly known, has excellent wood fibre characteristics for the manufacture of high quality white paper and is exported to Japanese markets in woodchip form.

The species grows naturally in Tasmania, the Bass Strait Islands and the south eastern corner of the Australian mainland and is the major plantation-grown eucalypt in the temperate zone. This fast growing eucalypt is well suited to the South West corner of WA given the annual rainfall and soil types. Apart from the fibre quality aspect, bluegum offers landholders a 10 year rotation deep rooted perennial crop that can be established in timber belt form or block form to compliment existing farming practices


STATEMENT OF OBJECTIVES

BFP has broad management objectives for facets of it plantation management.

These are summarized within the following objective statements.

Plantation Establishment

To secure suitable land and establish plantations of desirable form, with minimal impact on the environment, within an economic haul distance of the processing and export facility at the Port of Bunbury.

Plantation Maintenance

To maintain plantations, with a level of economic control, to achieve a healthy, pest free, vigorous plantations that will return a profit to the grower at harvest and to regenerate harvested plantations primarily using primarily coppice as the second rotation.

Plantation Management

To manage approximately 15,000 hectares of plantation estate secured under Profit a Prendre agreement with landowners for two rotations (2 x 10 year rotational crops) fulfilling legal obligations with respect to annuity or cropshare payments and those pertaining to the Grantee described in the Deed.

DESCRIPTION OF AREA TO BE MANAGED, OWNERSHIP AND PREVIOUS LAND USE

BFP manages 14,892 hectares of plantation area over approximately 150 privately owned properties across 15 different South West and Great Southern Local Authorities in the South West of Western Australia. All plantations are secured under Deed of Grant of Profit a Prendre (lease) agreement with landowners which is registered against the properties Certificate of Title. BFP does not own land. Plantations are established on pastured rural lands which are dispersed across different rainfall isohyets and soil types within a 200 kilometre radius, by road, from the processing facility at the Port of Bunbury.

BFP has rights over the plantation area only. Rights over native vegetation within or adjoining the plantation areas are by mutual agreement with landowners. With respect to native vegetation management, individual management Plans are prepared in order to protect diversity of native vegetation areas. BFP ethos in plantation management and harvesting is not to impose on native vegetation and native fauna habitat.

DESCRIPTION OF PHYSICAL ASPECTS

Each Management Plan details physical aspects of the area to be managed. This information is resourced from independent technical papers or studies, actual in field soils assessments done during site assessments, internal GIS information and where available Government map sheets of specific attributes.

A description summary is provided for each property for the following:

Background (Property file and Operations Plan)

  • Property owner, and Land District and Location;
  • Sensitive sites (aboriginal and heritage sites);
  • Remnant vegetation;
  • Clearing and fertiliser history; Infrastructure (house, shed etc);
  • Services (water, power, communications)
  • Other nearby plantations;
  • Access.

Site Assessment

  • Initial interpretation (aerial photo's);
  • Salinity survey;
  • Soil survey;
  • Landform.

Miscellaneous

  • Specific amelioration requirements;
  • Planting areas and mound direction.

DESCRIPTION OF SILVICULTURAL SYSTEM

  • The general plantation silvicultural regime is detailed in the Manual of Specifications for Plantation Eucalyptus in W.A.

The manual gives descriptions on differing silviculture techniques adopted for standard site preparation and rotational management. This is briefly outlined in the following:

  1. Comprehensive site evaluation to ensure site suitability. Identification of suitable areas.
  2. Site preparation incorporating deep ripping, mounding, weed control, pest control.
  3. Throughout the whole rotation annual fire management planning and the constant summer maintenance of fire protection and suppression resources.
  4. Planned tree stocking of 1000 stems/ha (above 1000 mm rainfall), 1,000 s/h (800-1000 mm rainfall) and 800 s/ha (below 800 mm rainfall).
  5. Planting and fertilising within 6 weeks of planting.
  6. To age 3 pest occurrence monitoring and vigilance.
  7. Age 3 fertiliser application (pending results of foliar analysis).
  8. Age 4 inventory (results influence future silviculture and management).
  9. Age 5 fertiliser application.
  10. Annual monitoring of condition, health, pests and diseases.
  11. Age 8.5 inventory (results incorporated into harvesting planning process).
  12. Nominal clearfelling at age 10.
  13. Second rotation considered through either coppice or replanting (follow above initial rotation schedule).
  14. Coppice crop thinned by age 2.
  15. Similar management as above schedule items 3, 6-12.

The detail of each individual plantation is contained within the specific plantation Management Plan.

FIRE MANAGEMENT

Within the Management Plan is detail relating to the landowner, neighbour information local fire brigade personnel and contact details and fire emergency numbers. The plan also describes fire control methods based on size and intensity of the fire. The map attached to the Management Plan indicates where water can be safely drawn from, safe access routes and information relating to neighbours with respect to house and shed structures.

PLANTATION STRATIFICATION AND GROWTH MODELLING

Plantation resource is assessed at predetermined intervals to justify the harvest rotation and to that yields will be sustainable in successive rotations. Inventory of BFP plantation estate is carried out by an independent government agency. Permanent and temporary growth plot information is used to model plantation growth using two tear, modelling programs. Properties are stratified at age 4.5 years and again at age 8 years.

HARVEST

BFP has a strategic plan, backed by growth modelling, for the harvest of its plantation estate in a sustainable manner. Harvesting of BFP plantation estate will occur nominally on a 10 year clear fall rotation. An annually updated two year harvest schedule is prepared in advance of planned harvest. Plantation harvest generally follows consecutive planting years as they reach rotational age.

Information on harvesting dates is captured for the second rotation to track wood flow information for the second rotation.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGIES

BFP recognizes the need to stay abreast of its direct competitors with the latest technologies and information in all aspects of plantation management, harvest and processing. To achieve this BFP is an active member of industry groups such as Forest Industries Federation of Western Australia (FIFWA), Industry Pest Management Group (IPMG), Forest and Wood Products Australia (FWPA) and Australian Research Council (ARC).

ENVIRONMENTAL SAFEGUARDS

The Management Plan quantifies aspects, specific to the plantation and its surrounds, which have the potential to harm the environment. BFP is governed by law and therefore follows relevant Australian Standards, Codes, Acts and Regulations relevant to the activity to restrict any adverse environmental affect.

WORK PLACE SAFETY

BFP is governed by State work place Occupational Health and Safety Acts for all of it employees or contractors. Employees undertake formal training where the need exists to ensure familiarity with the task at hand. Contractors must demonstrate formal training on aspects of plantation management by way of registered certificates, license or accreditations before they can be employed.

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