‘Risk Management (Climate Change) for Plantation Establishment in the Murray Region Forestry Hub (MRFH)’


The purpose of this report is to document the potential future impacts of climate change on the optimal areas for re-establishment of softwood plantations in the Murray Region Forestry Hub area, following the devastating bushfires of 2019/2010. In particular, the study examines the areas most suitable for establishment of new plantations under various climate scenarios.

Ensuring that plantations are established in the most appropriate areas requires the identification of (and mitigation against) numerous risk factors that need to be considered when determining the optimal location and management of plantations in the future.

Apart from climate change, the other risk factors that were originally identified for further studies included:
• Product Demand Developments and Changes
• Land Capability Assessments
• Land Availability
• The Influence of Factors Affecting Plantation Viability
• Productivity Impacts
• Carbon Opportunities and Influences

Ultimately, these risk factors are all inter-linked, however, examining them separately would help ensure the key issues and potential solutions are adequately reviewed and prioritised. The decision as to which of the projects might be progressed and when, will be determined by the MRFH Steering Committee.

This report looks specifically at how climate change may influence the location, scale, composition, and management of existing and future plantations in this region. The background information for this report was compiled by Spatial Vision and has also been reviewed by grower representatives from the MRFH.

Key Outcomes:

• Even under the more extreme climate-change scenarios, the MRFH area will still have large, climatically suitable areas that will support the growing of Pinus radiata in large scale plantations.

• It is apparent that a changing climate will add another overlay to the suite of considerations when either re-establishing existing plantation sites or establishing new sites. It will also present some operational challenges and require flexibility and adaptation when considering silvicultural and protection measures for the plantation estate.

• This work has identified some other questions and issues that are worth considering for the future.
– How could the data and information developed by this report best be utilised by the industry?
– Should the industry adopt a state or national approach to this issue or is it best considered at a more local level?
– What further data analysis would be helpful?
– How might data be used in more formal, risk management assessments?
– Is there a role for the Hubs to undertake similar assessments at a joint level?

This report was commissioned by the Murray Region Forestry Hub with funding from the Australian Government, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.

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