Maturing eucalyptus forests of Southland Plantation on New Zealand's South Island set to deliver region's top timber export with 250,000 tonnes/year of woodchips

LOS ANGELES , October 7, 2011 () – The maturation of eucalyptus forests in New Zealand, planted by the Southland Plantation Forest Company of New Zealand Ltd. (SPFL), has helped double the region's eucalyptus woodchip exports over the past two years, and points to eucalyptus soon becoming the region's top forest products export, The Southland Times reported Oct. 7.

The volume of woodchip exports rose to more than 200,000 tonnes a year from 100,000 tonnes two years ago, said Mark O'Connor, CEO of South Port New Zealand Ltd. in Bluff.

Japan's Oji Paper Co. Ltd., Itochu Corp., Fuji Xerox Co. Ltd. and Fuji Xerox Office Supply set up the Invercargill, Southland, New Zealand plantation company in 1992 and planted the trees on more than 12,000 hectares (29,650 acres) for export purposes, according to the article carried by Stuff.

Graeme Manley, export manager of Japanese-owned Southwood NZ Ltd., based in the South Island town of Motueka, said the plantations could maintain a sustainable annual harvest of 250,000 tonnes for woodchips, reported The Southland Times.

Southland Plantation designated Southwood Export Ltd. (SWEL) to manage its 40 individual forests located within Southland and Otago, according to the company website. Established in 1981, SWEL has been managing plantation forests since 1987. It is a chip mill owner/operator, plantation forest owner and forest manager based out of Awarua, which works alongside SPFLs' general manager in Melbourne and Invercargill representative to manage SPFL's forests, the website states.

Southwood chips the wood before exporting it to Japan for use in manufacturing high-quality paper. Manley said the trees had now matured enough to ensure a sustainable harvest of 250,000 tonnes of woodchip for the foreseeable future, The Southland Times reported.

The plantations are the only commercial eucalyptus stands in the South Island, according to Manley. While softwood radiata pine remains the most common timber crop in the region, eucalyptus chips are set to become a bigger export, he added.

The primary source of this article is The Southland Times, Invercargill, New Zealand, on Oct. 7, 2011.

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