Tuesday, September 21, 2021
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Timber plantation returns to agriculture

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An Australian timber plantation is to abandon forestry and convert the land to traditional agriculture.

Kangaroo Island Plantation Timbers has been trying to win approval to build a dock for the past five years to move its produce.

However, after its plans were again knocked back by the South Australian government, it announced its intention to go a different way.

The company, which owns the bulk of the trees on Kangaroo Island, told shareholders it would seek to capitalise on the remaining woodland, particularly the softwoods, while converting to farmland.

The news has been welcomed on the island, which is well suited to growing due to its high rainfall.

The move means that some 18,696 hectares of what is currently woodland will be cleared in favour of traditional farming land.

Company chairman Paul McKenzie said: “By undertaking this lower-risk and well-trodden strategy, we will turn our land into an institutional-grade, conventional agricultural estate.

“The company’s vast, high-rainfall land-

holding is unique and is expected to command a premium valuation in due course.”

The business has suffered misfortune in recent years, with some 90 per cent of its trees on the island damaged or destroyed in the bushfires of 2019-20.

South Australia’s Attorney-General Vicki Chapman said the main reasons for rejecting the company’s proposals to build a dock were to protect both the island’s tourism and environment.

Kangaroo Island mayor Michael Pengilly not only welcomed the conversion to conventional farming, but is to urge his fellow councillors to introduce a ban on further forestry projects.

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