FWPA RD&E Investment Plans

The FWPA Investment Plans were developed in consultation with Australia’s commercial forest growers to inform collaborative investment in RD&E activities and identify priority topics as the key targets for investment.

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Investment plans

The vision of the Grower Research Advisory Committee (GRAC) is to “double the value of Australia’s commercial forests by 2040, by fostering an innovation culture in our enterprises, applying world’s best practices, collaborating and investing into research and development as appropriate”.

In support of this, FWPA commissioned a suite of investment plans that provided technical reviews and business cases to guide industry investment in RD&E for the Australian plantation sector from 2019 to 2023, with an outlook to 2028 and beyond to 2040.

Impact of fire investment plan

Research, development and extension priorities to minimise the impacts of fire on Australia’s commercial forest estate, 2020. In Australia, where forest fires are ubiquitous, sustainably minimizing the value loss through forest fire management, in hardwood and softwood commercial forests, is essential. This strategic investment plan, to minimising these losses, has been developed cognizant of the increasing forest fire risk particularly with increases in extreme fire weather resulting from Climate Change and the need to maintain the social licence to operate, particularly near urban environments.

Native Forest Silviculture Investment Plan

FWPA’s Native Forest Silviculture investment plan (published in 2020), was reviewed in 2022 to provide native forest management-sector-led recommendations to the GRAC to consider when making investment decisions and to record collaborative RD&E projects that have commenced since the 2020 investment plan was published. The 2022 review covered:

  1. Review status of investment or completion of proposed RD&E projects
  2. Provide native forest management-sector opinion on the prioritisation of existing RDE projects
  3. Provide native forest management-sector opinion on the prioritisation of newly proposed Research Project Topics.

Forest Operations & Supply Chain Investment Plan

FWPA’s Operations and Supply Chain Investment Plan, published in 2020, identified opportunities for progressing the GRAC Vision through investments in RD&E that reduce operational costs and increase product volume and value recovery for the industry. This 2022 review provided forest-sector-led recommendations to the GRAC to consider when making investment decisions.

Damage Agents Investment Plan

Damage Agents investment plan (DAIP) to support investments in RD&E that reduce the risks of losses from forest damage agents. Consideration of RD&E into three groups of damage agent categories:

  1. long established (native pests, long-established exotic pests, and climate)
  2. newly established exotic pests (within the past 1-2 decades)
  3. exotic pests (not present in Australia).

The Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA), Forest Wood Products Australia (FWPA) and Plant Health Australia (PHA) collaborated to undertake the 2022 review, updated version available here.

Soil Microbiome investment plan

Beneficial soil microbiome-tree interactions in nursery and forest settings (Oct 2021). The soil microbiome and its complex interactions with forest trees, from seedlings to established standing trees, can have significant beneficial impacts on enhancing growth and stress tolerance. There is substantial interest from forest managers and researchers in research, development, and extension (RD&E) to improve industry’s understanding of, and ability to manage, beneficial soil microbiome-tree interactions in nursery and forest settings.

Resource Modelling & Remote Sensing investment plan

Research, development and extension priorities to achieve value gains through forest resource modelling and remote sensing. This investment plan addresses resource modelling and remote sensing areas of research development and extension for hardwood and softwood plantations at the request of Forest and Wood Products Australia (FWPA).

Resource modelling and remote sensing are specific tools utilised by forest managers to assist in the management of forest estates to achieve a range of objectives. Remote sensing technology captures data via a range of platforms and sensors for use by forest managers. With technology development (including data management), the role of remote sensing is evolving. Resource modelling seeks to take data and apply analytical tools to generate projected outcomes (e.g. wood and product flows, forest values). This version of the investment plan, adapted by FWPA in December 2020.

Plantation Silviculture investment plan

Research, development and extension priorities to achieve value gains through Plantation Silviculture, 2020. Silvicultural risk management is a major consideration to business sustainability in relation to ongoing access to methods of weed control; which is such an important factor in ensuring moisture availability, especially in the establishment phase of broadscale crops such as forest plantations.

Plantation Nutrition investment plan

This 2020 investment plan addresses the nutrient management RD&E required for hardwood and softwood plantations with the objective of optimising the value of timber from Australia’s plantation resource. The maintenance or increase in wood yield (yield) of Australian forest plantations depends on effective nutritional management. As soils, climate, genotypes and management options change, the knowledge base for decisions about soil and residue management, fertilizer use, and weed control, for instance, needs checking and improvement to quantify the potential and realised gains in yield. The potential for finer resolution site-specific silviculture also offers opportunities to better match nutritional management to soil and climate variability.

Tree breeding & genetic improvement investment plan

Research, development and extension priorities for sustainable value gains through Tree Breeding & Genetic Improvement, 2020.

Since the first Eucalyptus sp., Pinus radiata and Southern Pine plantations were established in Australia, plantation tree breeders have constantly focused on selecting material that demonstrates superior performance to previous generations. As a result, the yields and quality generated from plantations and individual logs have continued to increase between generations, resulting in increased returns for millers, supply chain participants and investors. View the appendices 'Tree Breeding & Genetic Improvement Research Development & Extension Investment Plan 2019–2024' here.

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