Eucalyptus Trees - Tree Plantation Timber
Fast growing Eucalyptus trees are planted in tree plantations in Asia, Australia, Europe and the United States for fuel wood, poles, timber, lumber, biomass, essential oil and are an excellent source of nectar for honeybees. Native to Australia, Eucalyptus trees are grown both by small farmers for profit and subsistence and by large conglomerates for industrial wood supply. Certain species of eucalyptus yield valuable essential oils, whilst some also provide an excellent source of nectar for honeybees. An estimated 50 million hectares of eucalyptus have been planted worldwide.
Eucalyptus tree plantations are valuable for timber, oil and biomass. Growing Eucalyptus trees for profit can earn $10,000 per acre.
Eucalyptus trees have many favorable characteristics including high growth rates, wide adaptability to soils and climate, seed availability and ease of managing due to the coppicing ability of many species. Importantly for many areas of the world were there is a looming timber supply crisis, eucalyptus can often produce utilizable wood products generally faster than any other species averaging 6 to 10 feet of vertical growth per year. Eucalyptus can yield real rates of return of over 15% in more tropical areas of the world. This is good news for the grower who can earn returns on investment sooner than from other tree species.
Profit From Growing Eucalyptus Trees
Profit from growing Eucalyptus trees. In general, revenues and earnings for any forestry investments are dependent on the steady growing of biomass. Beside the quantity - of course - also the quality is important, for achieving decent returns. For example there are different prices for timber / lumber / biomass on the international markets depending on the quality of the raw material. Fast growing eucalyptus trees are ideal for managed plots since its pace of growth is more predictable and stable, in comparison to other wood species like Teak, Oak or Robinie trees. Furthermore the natural growth pace is far superior in ideal climates and after just after a few short years the trees are ready to be harvested and sold.
Eucalyptus Tree Plantations
Eucalyptus tree plantations are valuable for timber, oil and biomass. Eucalyptus plantations where started in Australia in the 1980’s to service the Eucalyptus oil industry. Due to its success, other countries such as Indonesia, China and surprisingly the United States have initiated Eucalyptus growing programs.
Starting A Eucalyptus Tree Plantation
A Eucalyptus timber plantation requires high-density planting (about 1,000 trees per acre). High density planting forces rapid terminal top growth and natural branch pruning in the field. Assuming the plantation was started with 12-inch eucalyptus seedlings, a first thinning of every second tree should commence in year 5 or 6 when Eucalyptus saplings are 10 feet or more in height. A second and final thinning should be preformed in year 15.
A Eucalyptus oil plantation requires broad, developed tree canopies so plantings are spaced farther apart than high-density timber planting. A planting pattern that provides about 20 feet between tree seedlings should suffice. That’s about 200 trees per acre.
A Eucalyptus biomass plantation requires the same high-density planting pattern as the Eucalyptus timber plantation. To maximize biomass volume, no thing is required during the life of the plantation. Harvesting should occur year 10. Because Eucalyptus regenerates from cut stumps, harvesting and re-harvesting occurs in 8 year cycles.
A cut Eucalyptus tree will grow new Eucalyptus trees from the stump. Good Eucalyptus stump regeneration depends on the tree having a good supply of buds beneath the bark.
Eucalyptus Tree Facts
- Eucalyptus trees are the world’s most widely planted hardwood species
- The Eucalyptus tree is prized globally for excellence in paper and energy production
- Eucalyptus trees grow faster than most hardwood species
- Eucalyptus trees will grow on upland landscapes, reducing pressure on environmentally sensitive areas
- Eucalyptus trees grows commercially with similar inputs to Pine
- Eucalyptus trees produce feedstock for fiber and energy in short rotations
The Future Of Eucalyptus Trees
The future of Eucalyptus trees looks bright due to growing interest in these fast growing trees for commercial tree plantations worldwide. Eucalyptus is also adaptable to many tropical and sub tropical climates, which makes Eucalyptus an ideal tree choice. Eucalyptus also has a broad range of uses from lumber, to pulp and essential oils.
The United States
In the United States, the Federal government has stated “the biomass production and carbon sequestration capacities of Eucalyptus trees match the Department of Energy’s and the nation’s interests in alternative energy production and global carbon cycling”. Eucalyptus is also at the center of the United States’ entire bioenergy strategy – as the United States works towards the “30×30” goal for a 30 percent replacement of United States' petroleum consumption with biofuels by 2030 with short rotation woody biomass crops accounting for an estimated 377 million dry tons of the required 1.37 billion dry tons biomass requirement, according to the “Billion Ton Report” published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Energy in April 2005.
Eucalyptus offers several advantages compared to other forest species, including native trees. Thanks to Brazil's favorable climate Eucalyptus can be harvested in only seven years for pulp making - when it reaches 35 meters in height. The productivity is twice that of the planted conifers, as well as most of the country's native trees, and as such is an important competitive factor for Brazil grown Eucalyptus. Because of this high productivity, the amount of land necessary for Eucalyptus plantations is significantly reduced.
One of the economically most important Iberian species is Eucalyptus (approx. 1,200,000 ha), introduced in Europe more than 200 years ago. It has become the main raw material supply of several pulp industries (especially in Portugal and Spain), providing benefits at the industrial, agriculture and social levels.
For the last thirty years, Eucalyptus plantations have experienced an important development in the subtropical and tropical zones. Successful genetic improvement amplified by vegetative propagation and more recently by promising biotechnology, has added to the natural qualities of the tree: fast growing, excellent fiber, and relatively high wood density. This has favored Eucalyptus as one of the best tree species for ligniculture or pulpwood. The high productivity and short rotation, along with the uniformity of clonal plantations and improvement of wood quality, attracted private investments, especially from the pulp industry that continues to invest in R&D to reduce the agronomic, pathological and ecological risks of this crop. Eucalyptus has also started to attract financial groups who have joined multinational pulp and paper companies in the investment of its plantation development particularly in Australia.
Deforestation has been particularly severe in Asia and the Pacific. As a result the rate of forest plantation establishment has increased sharply in the past decade and species of Eucalyptus have been among the most important components of many plantation programs
Invest In A Eucalyptus Tree Plantation
Seedlings costs range between $25 and $100 per thousand and should preferably be cloned hybrids. A Eucalyptus plantation located in close proximity to a timber mill, oil processor or biomass facility will lower transportation costs and increase profit. Long-term land leases will reduce capital costs. A buy contract will help raise capital.
Total capital expenditure including fertilization, land costs, irrigation, seedlings, site preparation, weed mitigation and labor average between $1,000 and $3,000 per acre. Total revenue before expenses may average between $5,000 and $10,000 per acre depending on market conditions, wood quality, wood use and location.