All the species in our plantation are commercial, with no non-commercial or 'pioneer' species.
At the present we are using a mix of 4-6 species in timber plantings out of a total of 10.
The species list for any particular plantation depends on location, soil type and rainfall. At a spacing of 3m x 3m, the planting density approximates 1000 per ha. The 10 species in our plantations are:
|1. Silver quandong
|2. White cedar
|3. Silky oak
|4. Silver ash
|5. Queensland maple
|6. Yellow ash
|7. White beech
|8. Crows ash
|9. Red Cedar
The cornerstone species of any 'Forest Farming' planting is silver quandong ( Elaeocarpus grandis ) This species is dominant in natural rainforests and has a primary role in height promotion of the other species in our designed cabinet timber plantations. It consistently displays the fastest growth rates of the native cabinet timber species and it has a superb growth form in nature. The timber has a combination of strength, durability and versatility, and has always been highly prized with a ready market.
This species now represents about 60% of the trees in our forest farming plantings.
Silver quandong has a number of interesting features in its growth and development. In 1994 an observation was made in our early research crops that quandong growth rates slowed down at 8 years with the locking in of crowns. Further observations of old growth forests proved the interesting fact that quandong in their natural environment had a huge spread of crown above the canopy of other species.
Therefore our conclusion at the time was that in order to achieve full maturity of quandong it was necessary to do a thinning at 8 years in order to allow the crowns to spread above the canopy of the other species. We also found that buttressing coincided with the full spread of the crown, and was a guide to full maturity of the trees of this species in timber plantations.