Master of Environmental Science (Hons.)
Faculty of Science
Sugawara, Aya, Land capability assessment for farm forestry in the Illawarra and Shoalhaven regions, Master of Environmental Science (Hons.) thesis, Faculty of Science, University of Wollongong, 2002. http://ro.uow.edu.au/theses/2566
Currently, fanners have environmental and economic problems because of their non-environmentally sustainable businesses. Farm forestry is one of the potential alternatives that can improve both the environment and economy. In spite of these benefits, farm forestry has not been adopted in the Illawarra and Shoalhaven regions. One of the reasons for this is because of a lack of knowledge and research on farm forestry. This study aimed to assess the potential for commercial tree plantation in farmland in the Illawarra and Shoalhaven regions with local native species to these regions. This was evaluated by (1) the area of land available and its capability for plantations; (2) potential local native species for commercial plantations; and (3) matching of the available lands, the plantation species and site characteristics (including climate, geology and topography). As for the matching, a case study was conducted in Kiama LGA. There are a significant number of lands that are available for farm forestry. Most of these lands have mild climate and productive soils, which would support optimal tree plantations. Some areas in the regions that have high rainfalls and volcanic soils have a high potential for rainforest plantations as well. It is concluded that Eucalyptus species would be the most suitable local native species for commercial plantations because of their relatively fast growth rates and wide range of timber uses, from posts and poles from thinning, to fiamiture and cabinet timber from mature trees. Currently, the market for local native rainforest timber is small due to the limited supply of timber and small consumer demand. However, the fact that some furniture and cabinet workers look for rainforest timber from other regions shows that there is a potential to create a bigger market by increasing the supply of rainforest timbers through expanding the plantations. Matching of available lands, land capability and potentially commercial local native species was conducted with GIS, as a case study, for Kiama LGA. There are significant areas of potential sites for local native eucalypts and rainforest plantations on cleared, private land in the LGA. The GIS study still needs to be developed to obtain more reliable and accurate results of the study. It is concluded that there is a high potential for the establishment of farm forestry, using local native species in the Illawarra and Shoalhaven.