Production of softwood timber in NSW will need to dramatically increase to meet the rapidly growing demand for timber and address the state's housing supply crisis.
According to new data from the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) the number of trees grown in NSW has remained stagnant over the last 20 years.
Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) NSW chief executive officer, James Jooste, says the inactive growth in new timber plantations has already increased the country's dependence on imported timber.
"In real terms, we are seeing a decline in domestic softwood timber production as supply remains the same while demand is expected to nearly double by 2050," he said.
"In order to meet future housing demand, we will need to increase the national plantation estate by half a million hectares by 2050.
Mr Jooste said AFPA NSW will host a Carbon and Forestry Workshop in Oberon for landholders on October 23 to learn more about commercial opportunities in plantation forestry and carbon projects.
"According to ABARES, only 1100 hectares of new softwood plantations were established in Australia in the 2021-22 financial year. That is 17,000 hectares short of what we need to be planting annually to be able to meet the national demand for new housing.
"NSW remains the largest producer of softwood timber in the country but has not seen an increase in plantations in 20 years, despite having the highest demand for new houses in Australia.
"Timber is used in 90 per cent of housing frames for new dwellings in NSW, making it one of the most important components of our housing construction industry.
"The good news is that we can increase our softwood plantation estate, but we have to start now," he said.
Mr Jooste said private plantations will become an increasingly important source of timber supply for the housing and forest products industry.
"AFPA NSW is working with landholders and industry organisations to increase timber production on private land," he said.
"There are significant opportunities for farmers and private landholders to invest in timber as a sustainable, long-term investment, diversify their income and participate emerging carbon markets," he said.
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