Plantation potential by Queensland Region

Queensland's regions have different site and soil conditions, land use history and industry infrastructure. Most plantation development occurs in the eastern areas of the state, and different regional strategies may be required for successful plantation development.

The information below shows you which species are grown or tested in research trials in different parts of Queensland. The regions are defined by the Bureau of Meteorology's forecast areas (pictured below).

Map showing regional diversity of Queensland timber plantations 

North Tropical Coast, and Herbert and Lower Burdekin (4 and 5)

Environment

This region has a tropical climate with an annual rainfall of 900-1,400mm. Rainfall is seasonal, occurring mainly between November and April.

Tropical and hybrid cyclones can bring destructive winds to coastal areas of Queensland between Mossman and Maryborough during the cyclone season from December to March. This region experienced 7 cyclones between 1999 and 2011. Red mahogany plantings were severely damaged across the North Tropical Coast and Tablelands region by Cyclone Yasi in 2011. Spotted gums and Gympie messmate generally incurred less wind damage.

Good to medium quality soils are available for plantation development in the region, particularly in the eastern coastal ranges. West of the ranges, the better soils are mainly restricted to the western slopes or as sedimentary deposits in river catchments, and fertile cracking clays are present inland.

Markets

Timber-processing infrastructure is well established following a long history of commercial, native forest harvesting. The decline of traditional primary industries such as dairying, pastoral and agricultural crops has made some good-quality, potential plantation land available at costs considerably lower than in adjacent coastal areas.

Tree products and performance

The best performing tree species in this region are red mahogany, spotted gum and rose gum.


Products
MAI*
Potential impacts on productivity

Red mahogany

Eucalyptus pellita

wood
30 (coastal)
  • cyclones
  • drought
  • stem borers
  • gum tree scale; free-living psyllids

Spotted gum

Corymbia species and hybrids#

wood

pulp

carbon

7 (subcoastal)
  • Quambalaria Shoot Blight (QSB). Susceptibility varies with provenance and Corymbia hybrids have higher resistance

Rose gum hybrids

E. grandis x E. camaldulensis

pulp
5 (subcoastal)
  • cyclones
  • drought
  • stem borers
  • kirramyces leaf diseases

*About MAI: The estimated mean annual volume increment (m3/ha/yr) from trials for up to 10 years of early growth. It represents an average for several provenances and site conditions1. Not all species and provenances were tested at all sites.

Conditions recorded in the region for the trial period:

  • rainfall was 108% (coast) and 87% (Tablelands) of the long-term average
  • temperature was 0.6°C higher than the long-term average
  • cyclone damage occurred in March 2010.

#About spotted gum: Corymbia citriodora subsp. citriodora (CCC), C. citriodora subsp. variegata (CCV), Corymbia hybrids. Better families and clones of the Corymbia hybrid grow significantly faster than CCV or CCC on favourable sites.

Pests and diseases

The following diseases and insect pests may have an impact on tree growth and form or wood quality in this region:

  • Myrtle rust (eucalypt rust) can cause heavy defoliation (loss of leaves) in plants of the Myrtaceae family. It was detected in Queensland in 2010 and is a potential risk to plantations in this area.
  • Quambalaria shoot blight affects expanding leaves and shoots and causes stem dieback in spotted gum. It has an impact on tree growth and form.
  • Kirramyces leaf diseases can cause severe defoliation in young trees. This has been a significant problem in plantations of E. grandis hybrids that were established with imported germplasm.
  • Giant wood moth and longicorn beetles are stem borers that can affect wood quality and have been found in plantations of susceptible species, including E. grandis (and hybrids). E. pellita is susceptible to longicorns, particularly away from the coast. Longicorn borers are also sometimes responsible for ringbarking and have affected establishment rates in some young plantations
  • Outbreaks of swarming leaf beetles and swarming scarabs have caused damage to some plantations, especially along the wet tropics coastal strip

Gum tree scale and free-living psyllids have affected growth in E. pellita plantations in recent years.

Central Coast and Whitsundays (6)

Environment

This region has a tropical climate with an average annual rainfall of 900-1,400mm. Rainfall is seasonal, mainly occurring between November and April, although this can vary and 'wet' and 'dry' years are relatively common. A number of drought periods have occurred over the past 25 years.

Cyclones can bring destructive winds to coastal areas of Queensland between Mossman and Maryborough during the cyclone season from December to March. Red mahogany plantings were severely damaged across tropical Queensland by Cyclone Ului in 2010. Spotted gum and Gympie messmate incurred less wind damage.

There are several soil types potentially suitable for plantation development in the Central Coast and Whitsundays region. The granite-derived soils are characteristically well-drained, often deep and relatively fertile. They offer some of the best sites with potential for forestry development. Ferrosols (Krasnozems) and Kandosols in the steeper parts of the region also have potential.

Markets

This region has strong markets for a range of hardwood and softwood products. There are limited options for growers to sell logs to sawmills for processing in the region.

Mackay has a major industrial port and well-developed facilities with the capacity to export solid-wood and pulpwood products.

Tree products and performance

In this region, the best performing species are rose gum, Gympie messmate, Dunn's white gum and spotted gum.


Products
MAI*
Potential impacts on productivity

Rose gum

Eucalyptus grandis

pulp

carbon

11(12)
  • cyclones
  • drought
  • stem borers
  • kirramyces leaf diseases

Gympie messmate

E. cloeziana

wood

pulp

carbon

10(12)
  • cyclones
  • drought in the establishment phase

Dunn's white gum

E. dunnii

pulp

carbon

10(15)
  • cyclones
  • drought
  • stem borer

Spotted gum

Corymbia species and hybrids#

wood

pulp

carbon

10(16)
  • cyclones
  • Quambalaria shoot blight (QSB). Susceptibility varies between provenances. Corymbia hybrids have higher resistance

*About MAI: The estimated mean annual volume increment (m3/ha/yr) from species trials for up to 10 years of early growth. It represents an average for several provenances and site conditions. A value in brackets is the MAI achieved by the best provenances on favourable sites1. Not all species and provenances were tested at all sites.

Conditions recorded in the region for the trial period:

  • rainfall was 88% of the long-term average
  • temperature was 0.4°C higher than the long-term average
  • cyclone damage occurred in March 2010.

#About spotted gum: Corymbia citriodora subsp. citriodora (CCC), C. citriodora subsp. variegata (CCV), Corymbia hybrids. Better families and clones of the Corymbia hybrid grow significantly faster than CCV or CCC on favourable sites.

Pests and diseases

The following diseases and insect pests may have an impact on tree growth and form or wood quality in this region:

  • Myrtle rust (eucalypt rust) can cause heavy defoliation (loss of leaves) in plants of the Myrtaceae family. It was detected in Queensland in 2010 and is a potential risk to plantations in this area.
  • Quambalaria shoot blight affects expanding leaves and shoots and causes stem dieback in spotted gum. It has an impact on tree growth and form.
  • Kirramyces leaf diseases can cause severe defoliation in young trees. This has been a significant problem in plantations of E. grandis hybrids that were established with imported germplasm.
  • Giant wood moth and longicorn beetles are stem borers that can affect wood quality and have been found in plantations of susceptible species, including E. dunnii, E. grandis (and hybrids) and E. longirostrata. Longicorn borers are also sometimes responsible for ringbarking and have affected establishment rates in some young plantation
  • Outbreaks of leaf beetles, Christmas beetles, swarming scarabs, leafblister sawfly and erinose mite have caused defoliation in some of the region’s young plantations in recent years.

Capricornia

Environment

The Capricornia region has a subtropical climate with an average annual rainfall of 900-1,400mm. Rainfall is seasonal, mainly occurring between November and April, although this can vary and 'wet' and 'dry' years are relatively common. A number of drought periods have occurred over the past 25 years.

Cyclones can bring destructive winds to coastal areas of Queensland between Mossman and Maryborough during the cyclone season from December to March.

There are some medium to good quality soils available for plantation development in the Capricornia region.

Markets

Hardwood timber-processing infrastructure is well established in the central and southern parts of this region, following a long history of commercial native forest harvesting.

Tree products and performance

In this region, the best performing species are spotted gum, grey gum and western white gum.


Products
MAI*
Potential impacts of productivity

Spotted gum

Corymbia species and hybrids#

wood

pulp

carbon

9(10)
  • Quambalaria shoot blight (QSB). Susceptibility varies between provenances; Corymbia hybrids have higher resistance

Grey gum

Eucalyptus longirostrata

wood

pulp

carbon

9
  • prolonged drought
  • stem borers

Western white gum

E. argophloia

wood9
  • plate galler leaf miner (infrequent)

*About MAI: The estimated mean annual volume increment (m3/ha/yr) from species trials for up to 10 years of early growth. It represents an average for several provenances and site conditions. A value in brackets is the MAI achieved by the best provenances on favourable sites1. Not all species and provenances were tested at all sites.

Conditions recorded in the region for the trial period:

  • rainfall was 77% of the long-term average
  • temperature was 0.4°C higher than the long-term average.

#About spotted gum: Corymbia citriodora subsp. citriodora (CCC), C. citriodora subsp. variegata (CCV), Corymbia hybrids. Better families and clones of the Corymbia hybrid grow significantly faster than CCV or CCC on favourable sites.

Pests and diseases

The following diseases and insect pests may have an impact on tree growth and form or wood quality in this region:

  • Myrtle rust (eucalypt rust) can cause heavy defoliation (loss of leaves) in plants of the Myrtaceae family. It was detected in Queensland in 2010 and is a potential risk to plantations in this area.
  • Quambalaria shoot blight affects expanding leaves and shoots and causes stem dieback in spotted gum. It has an impact on tree growth and form.
  • Giant wood moth and longicorn beetles can affect wood quality and have been found in plantations of susceptible species, including E. dunnii, E. grandis (and hybrids) and E. longirostrata. Longicorn borers are also sometimes responsible for ringbarking and have affected establishment rates in some young plantations.
  • Outbreaks of leaf beetles, Christmas beetles, swarming scarabs and erinose mite have caused defoliation in some of the region’s young plantations in recent years.

Darling Downs and Granite Belt

Environment

The Darling Downs and Granite Belt region has a subtropical climate with an average annual rainfall of 600-800mm. Rainfall is seasonal, mainly occurring between November and April, and the region has experienced significant periods of drought in the recent past. Frosts are common, particularly in elevated areas.

Ex-agricultural soils are suitable for plantation establishment in this region. They include large areas of Vertosols (e.g. black earths and grey clays) and to a lesser extent Dermosols (e.g. non-cracking black, grey, brown and red clays). Poorer soil types such as Chromosols and Sodosols (e.g. highly weathered duplex soils) are found in pastoral areas.

Markets

Timber-processing infrastructure is well established and distributed throughout the region due to a history of commercial forest harvesting. Trends in the market for timber products include an increased demand for sawn softwood, paper products and engineered wood products, the increased use of hardwood timbers for high-value products and an increase in plantation-sourced softwoods for house framing and construction.

Tree products and performance

In this region, the best performing tree species are Dunn's white gum, maiden's gum, grey gum and rose gum.


Products
MAI*
Potential impacts of productivity

Dunn's white gum

Eucalyptus dunnii

pulp

carbon

4(8)
  • prolonged drought
  • stem borers

Maiden gum

E. globulus subsp. maidenii

pulp

carbon

4(6)
  • prolonged drought
  • stem borers

Grey gum

Eucalyptus longirostrata

pulp

carbon

4
  • prolonged drought
  • stem borers

Rose gum

E. grandis

pulp

carbon

3(5)
  • prolonged drought
  • stem borers
  • kirramyces leaf diseases

*About MAI: The estimated mean annual volume increment (m3/ha/yr) from species trials for up to 10 years of early growth. It represents an average for several provenances and site conditions. A value in brackets is the MAI achieved by the best provenances on favourable sites1. Not all species and provenances were tested at all sites.

Conditions recorded in the region during the trial period:

  • rainfall was 87% of the long-term average
  • temperature was 0.7°C higher than the long-term average.

Pests and diseases

The following diseases and insect pests may have an impact on tree growth and form or wood quality in this region:

  • Myrtle rust (eucalypt rust) can cause heavy defoliation (loss of leaves) in plants of the Myrtaceae family. It was detected in Queensland in 2010 and is a potential risk to plantations in this area.
  • Giant wood moth and longicorn beetles are stem borers that can affect wood quality and have been found in plantations of susceptible species, including E. dunnii, E. grandis (and hybrids), E. longirostrata, E. globulus subsp. maidenii, E. saligna. Longicorn borers are also sometimes responsible for ringbarking and have affected establishment rates in some young plantations.

Kirramyces leaf diseases can cause severe defoliation in young trees. This has been a significant problem in plantations of E. grandis hybrids that were established with imported germplasm

Wide Bay and Burnett

Environment

The Wide Bay and Burnett region has a subtropical climate with an average annual rainfall of 750-1,200mm. The region includes the Wide Bay (more coastal) area, which has an average annual rainfall of 1,000-1,200mm, and South Burnett (inland), which has an average annual rainfall of 750-800mm. Rainfall is seasonal, generally occurring between November and April, and the region has experienced significant periods of drought in the recent past. Frosts are common, particularly in elevated areas.

Cyclones can bring destructive winds to coastal areas of Queensland between Mossman and Maryborough during the cyclone season from December to March.

Good ex-agricultural soils are available, including ferrosols, kandosols and vertosols. Poorer soil types such as highly weathered duplex soils are found in pastoral areas.

Markets

Timber-processing infrastructure is well established in the region. Declining industries such as dairy and cropping have made good quality land available.

Tree products and performance

In this region, the best performing species are grey gum, exotic pine, spotted gum, Dunn's white gum, rose gum and Gympie messmate on coastal sites, and western white, grey and spotted gums on inland sites.

Coastal sites

Products
MAI*
Potential impacts of productivity

Grey gum

Eucalyptus longirostrata

wood

pulp


11(19)
  • prolonged drought
  • stem borers

Exotic pine

Pinus caribaea var. hondurensis

wood

pulp

10(16)
  • prolonged drought

Spotted gum

Corymbia species and hybrids#

wood

pulp

carbon

8(16)
  • Quambalaria shoot blight (QSB). Susceptibility varies between provenances and Corymbia hybrids have higher resistance

Dunn's white gum

E. dunnii

pulp

carbon

8(16)
  • prolonged drought
  • high temperatures
  • stem borers

Rose gum

Eucalyptus grandis

pulp

carbon

7(12)
  • drought
  • stem borers
  • kirramyces leaf diseases

Gympie messmate

E. cloeziana

wood

pulp

7(10)
  • prolonged drought in the establishment phase
  • high temperatures
Inland sites

 

Products
MAI*
Potential impacts of productivity

Western white gum

E. argophloia

wood

pulp

carbon

4(6)
  • high rainfall can have a negative impact

Grey gum

E. longirostrata

wood

pulp

4(5)
  • prolonged drought
  • stem borers
  • heavy clay soils

Spotted gum

Corymbia species and hybrids#

wood

pulp

carbon

4(6)
  • Quambalaria shoot blight (QSB). Susceptibility varies between provenances; Corymbia hybrids have higher resistance
  • frost

*About MAI: The estimated mean annual volume increment (m3/ha/yr) from species trials for up to 10 years of early growth. It represents an average for several provenances and site conditions. A value in brackets is the MAI achieved by the best provenances on favourable sites1. Not all species and provenances were tested at all sites.

Conditions recorded in the region for the trial period:

  • Coastal
    • rainfall was 84% of the long-term average
    • temperature was 0.6°C higher than the long-term average.
  • Inland
    • rainfall was 86% of the long-term average
    • temperature was 0.7°C higher than the long-term average.

#About spotted gum: Corymbia citriodora subsp. citriodora (CCC), C. citriodora subsp. variegata (CCV), Corymbia hybrids. Better families and clones of the Corymbia hybrid grow significantly faster than CCV or CCC on favourable sites.

Pests and diseases

The following diseases and insect pests may have an impact on tree growth and form or wood quality in this region:

  • Myrtle rust (eucalypt rust) can cause heavy defoliation (loss of leaves) in plants in the Myrtaceae family. It was detected in Queensland in 2010 and is a potential risk to plantations in this area.
  • Quambalaria shoot blight affects expanding leaves and shoots and causes stem dieback in spotted gum. It has an impact on tree growth and form. Susceptibility is variable between species and provenances and Corymbia hybrids have higher resistance.
  • Giant wood moth and longicorn beetles can affect wood quality and have been found in plantations of susceptible species, including E. dunnii, E. grandis (and hybrids) and E. longirostrata. Longicorn borers are also sometimes responsible for ringbarking and have affected establishment rates in some young plantations.
  • Outbreaks of leaf beetles, Christmas beetles, swarming scarabs, leafblister sawflies and erinose mite have caused defoliation in some of the region’s young plantations in recent years. The winter bronzing bug has also affected spotted gum plantations in this region.

Southeast Coast

Environment

The Southeast Coast region has a subtropical climate with an average annual rainfall of 800mm. Rainfall is seasonal, mainly occurring between October and March, although it can vary and the region has experienced significant periods of drought in the recent past.

Quality ex-agricultural soils and areas of pastoral soils available for plantation development are limited.

Markets

Timber production from plantations and native forest is a significant industry in the region and timber-processing infrastructure is well established and distributed throughout the region.

Tree products and performance

In this region, the best performing species are grey gum, Dunn's white gum, red ironbark and spotted gum.


Products
MAI*
Potential impacts of productivity

Dunn's white gum

Eucalyptus dunnii

pulp

carbon

5(12)
  • prolonged drought
  • stem borers

Grey gum

E. longirostrata

pulp

carbon

5(9)
  • prolonged drought
  • stem borers

Spotted gum

Corymbia species and hybrids#

wood

pulp

carbon

4(10)
  • Quambalaria shoot blight (QSB). Susceptibility varies between provenances; Corymbia hybrids have higher resistance

*About MAI: The estimated mean annual volume increment (m3/ha/yr) from species trials for up to 10 years of early growth. It represents an average for several provenances and site conditions. A value in brackets is the MAI achieved by the best provenances on favourable sites1. Not all species and provenances were tested at all sites.

Conditions recorded in the region for the trial period:

  • rainfall was 87% of the long-term average
  • temperature was 1.5°C higher than the long-term average.

#About spotted gum: Corymbia citriodora subsp. citriodora (CCC), C. citriodora subsp. variegata (CCV), Corymbia hybrids. Better families and clones of the Corymbia hybrid grow significantly faster than CCV or CCC on favourable sites.

Pests and diseases

The following diseases and insect pests may have an impact on tree growth and form or wood quality in this region:

  • Myrtle rust (eucalypt rust) can cause heavy defoliation (loss of leaves) in plants in the Myrtaceae family. It was detected in Queensland in 2010 and is a potential risk to plantations in this area.
  • Quambalaria shoot blight affects expanding leaves and shoots and causes stem dieback in spotted gum. It has an impact on tree growth and form.
  • Giant wood moth and longicorn beetles are stem borers that can affect wood quality and have been found in plantations of susceptible species, including E. dunnii, E. grandis (and hybrids), E. longirostrata, E. globulus subsp. maidenii, E. saligna. Longicorn borers are also sometimes responsible for ringbarking and have affected establishment rates in some young plantations.
  • Outbreaks of leaf beetles, Christmas beetles, swarming scarabs and erinose mite have caused defoliation in some of the region’s young plantations in recent years. The winter bronzing bug has also affected spotted gum plantations in this region.

There is currently no information about commercial forestry in the remaining regions:

  • Peninsula (1)
  • Gulf Country (2)
  • Northern Goldfields (3)
  • Central Highlands Coalfields (8)
  • Central West (9)
  • Northwest (10)
  • Channel Country (11)
  • Maranoa and Warrego (12).

1Productivity of plantation forest tree species in north-eastern Australia: A report from the Forest Adaptation and Sequestration Alliance

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