Plantation forestry

ForestryAustralian Forest Products Association represent the biosecurity interests of the plantation timber industry. They are members of Plant Health Australia and signatories to the Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed. Their responsibilities include:

  • biosecurity planning and implementation at the national and farm levels
  • liaising with federal and state governments on trade issues
  • funding and supporting biosecurity initiatives
  • participating in national committees and response efforts in an emergency.

Industry overview

The forest, wood and paper products sector is Australia’s sixth largest manufacturing industry.

Australia is the seventh most forested country in the world, with 132 million hectares of native forest on public and private land and two million hectares of plantation forestry. Of this native forest, only 78,000 hectares is harvested for timber production annually (less than 0.06 per cent of Australia’s total native forests). All native forest harvested is sustainably regrown, with the regrowth quickly becoming an abundant food source and habitat for native species.

Of the 36.6 million hectares of native forest both available and suitable for commercial wood production, 7.5 million hectares is multiple-use public forests. The remainder is in leasehold and private forests. Multiple-use native forests are managed by state government departments or agencies in New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, Western Australia and Tasmania and are defined as crown land managed for a range of values including wood harvesting, water supply, conservation, recreation and environmental protection.

Plantation species are split evenly between softwood and hardwood plantations. Softwood plantations are predominately long rotation (from 28 to 40 years) and produce logs for a range of products including structural timber for housing, appearance grade sawn timber, wood-based panels, engineered wood products, paper and paperboard. Most softwood grown in Australia is Pinus radiata, which is the dominant species in South Australia, Western Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania. P. elliottii and P. caribaea are also grown in Queensland and northern New South Wales, and P. pinaster is grown in Western Australia. There is also a notable area (around 50,000 hectares) of native hoop pine (Araucaria cunninghamii) in the south-east of Queensland and northern New South Wales.

Hardwood plantations include short rotation eucalypt species (eight to 12 years) grown for woodchips to be made into tissue, paper and paperboard products, and around 10 per cent are long rotation species, producing logs for a range of products including appearance grade sawn timber and structural timber for housing. Dominant species planted include Eucalyptus globulus, E. nitens and E. regnans. There are also some plantings of Acacia mangium, African mahogany, grown in the Northern Territory. In 2015–16, there were 32,000 hectares of sandalwood plantations in the Northern Territory, Queensland and Western Australia. This estate comprised approximately 17,900 hectares (56%) of Santalum spicatum and 14,100 hectares (44%) of Indian sandalwood (S. album).

National Forest Biosecurity Surveillance Strategy

The National Forest Biosecurity Surveillance Strategy is designed to complement and address aspects of the National Plant Biosecurity Strategy, the National Plant Biosecurity Surveillance Strategy and the National Plant Biosecurity Diagnostic Strategy for the forest biosecurity sector.

A series of goals and actions with defined outcomes are described to enable stakeholders to successfully establish a National Forest Pest Surveillance Program over five years.

Funding for the development of this strategy comes from the Australian Government’s Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper, the government’s plan for stronger farmers and a stronger economy.

Download the strategy

National Forest Biosecurity Surveillance Strategy Implementation Plan

To achieve the objectives, goals and outcomes outlined in the above strategy, the NFBSS Implementation Plan suggests ten major actions with a total of 30 associated tasks, undertaken over five years, for consideration by forest stakeholders and governments.

Implementation of the NFBSS will support the sustainability of Australia’s forests and provide information on pest status that underpins market access for forest derived products.

Download the implementation plan

Framework for National Biosecurity Surveillance of Exotic Forest Pests

This Framework recognises the need to effectively gather together and engage the multitude of stakeholders in the forest sector to drive fair investment in forest biosecurity.

The recommendations outline a system wherein the forest sector would, where appropriate, provide funding, in-kind operational support or forest-specific expertise to assist or undertake the activities along Australia’s biosecurity continuum.

Download the framework

Forestry IBPPlantation Forest Biosecurity Plan

Biosecurity planning provides a mechanism for the plantation timber industry, government and other relevant stakeholders to assess current biosecurity practices and future biosecurity needs. Planning identifies procedures that can be put in place to reduce the chance of pests reaching our borders or minimise the impact if a pest incursion occurs.

The Plantation Forest Biosecurity Plan outlines key threats to the industry, risk mitigation plans, identification and categorisation of exotic pests and contingency plans. For a copy, please contact PHA on (02) 6215 7700 or email


Biosecurity Manual for the Plantation Timber Industry

The Biosecurity Manual for Plantation Timber Industry contains information to help producers and plantation managers to implement biosecurity. Manuals usually contain an overview of biosecurity, fact sheets to identify the high priority pests of a crop, tips on crop management, and how to manage people, vehicles and equipment to minimise biosecurity risks.

Manuals also contain a biosecurity self-assessment list, and templates to record pest surveillance records and visitors. More information about on-farm biosecurity for both plant and livestock producers is available from the Farm Biosecurity website.

Exotic pests (not in Australia)

The following is a list of high priority exotic pests of plantation forests. These pests were identified during the development of the Plantation Forest Biosecurity Plan in consultation with industry, government and scientists. They have been assessed as high priority pests based on their potential to enter, establish, and spread in Australia (eg environmental factors, host range, vectors) and the cost to industry of control measures.

PHA has a range of fact sheets, contingency plans and diagnostic protocols relevant to these pests. Pest risk review documents are also available for some pests. Please contact PHA on 02 6215 7700 or email for more information.

Endorsed National Diagnostic Protocols are available from the National Plant Biosecurity Diagnostic Network webpage.

Common name Scientific name EPPRD Category Fact sheet Contingency plan Diagnostic protocol
Asian subterranean termite Coptotermes gestroi
Dano foliar del Pino Phytophthora pinifolia FS
Formosan subterranean termite Coptotermes formosanus
Myrtle rust (exotic strains) Exotic variants of Austropuccinia psidii (taxonomic synonym = Puccinia psidii) CP
Spongy moths Lymantria dispar and Lymantria mathura FS FS FS CP DP
Longhorn beetles Monochamus spp. including M. alternatus, M. galloprovinicialis, M. titillator, M. scutellatus FS
Pine pitch canker Fusarium circinatum FS
Pine shoot beetle Tomicus piniperda
Pinewood nematode Bursaphelenchus xylophilus FS
Red needle cast Phytophthora pluvialis FS
Red turpentine beetle Dendroctonus valens FS DP
Sudden oak death Phytophthora ramorum 1 FS FS FS CP DP

Other pests

The following is a list of documents for other exotic and endemic pests of plantation forests. Please note that this is not a complete list of pests: rather it includes pests for which documents exist in the Pest Information Document Database.

Some of the documents presented here are not tailored to plantation forests and are included for information only.

Common name Scientific name EPPRD Category Fact sheet Contingency plan Diagnostic protocol
Black twig borer Xylosandrus compactus FS FS
Citrus longicorn beetle Anoplophora chinensis FS CP
Omnivorous leaf roller Platynota stultana FS
Orange tortrix Argyrotaenia citrana syn A. franciscana FS
Shoot borers Hypsipyla spp FS
Ten-lined June beetle Polyphylla decemlineata FS
Giant pine scale Marchalina hellenica FS
Chrysoporthe canker Chrysoporthe austroafricana, Chrysoporthe cubensis FS
Mountain pine beetle Dendroctonus ponderosae FS
Western gall rust Endocronartium harknessii FS
Burning moth Hylesia nigricans
Spruce bark beetle Ips typographus FS
White spotted tussock moth Orgyia thyellina FS
Teratosphaeria stem canker Teratosphaeria gauchensis, Teratosphaeria zuluensis FS
Giant wood wasp Urocerus gigas FS
Nun moth Lymantria monacha FS