Precision forestry for pulpwood re-establishment silviculture
AbstractThe Southern African pulp and paper industry has a strong export focus and operates in an open global market. In a global context, wood is a commodity product and an ongoing strategy of reduction in the unit cost of timber delivered to mill gate and understanding wood properties to add value in the mill, is important to low cost “fit for purpose” fibre and to enhancing our competitive advantage. In addition, the plantation area is largely constrained to that which is currently planted. This means that precision forestry for pulpwood production must impact in two key aspects. 1) Sustaining and increasing fibre supply from a fixed production area 2) Understanding and improving the properties of the furnish to achieve uniformity and add value through the supply chain.
Forest management units for pulpwood are relatively large compared to other crops. The required degree of refinement to meet product specifications and the accuracy at which input variables can be determined prescribe the resolution of individual components for precision management purposes. Decision criteria for managing six elements of good silviculture are presented as well as factors which explain important variation in wood properties. The land type concept provides a site classification system that maps the spatial distribution of these parameters at a scale that fits the precision required for forest management that is extensive rather than intensive.
Key Words: Precision forestry, silviculture, re-establishment, pulpwood, land-types
Southern African Forestry Journal No.203 2005: 33-40