Forestry joins Kangaroo Island industries

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Plantation forestry is set to be part of Kangaroo Island's future, with the $60m-a-year industry to become the third pillar of the island's economy, complementing tourism and agriculture.

There are 13 timber growers on KI. The largest is Kangaroo Island Plantation Timbers Ltd (KIPT), with 14,000 hectares planted to pinus radiata (pine) and eucalyptus globulus (blue gum).

The other 12 growers have either pine or bluegum. KIPT is working with these growers to help them to monetise their asset by inviting them to be part of KIPT's harvest, haulage and export plans.

It's exciting to see how far we have come.

KIPT Director of Community Engagement SHAUNA BLACK

KIPT owns all of its trees and land and in recent years has focused its efforts on how to activate this sustainable and valuable industry on KI.

The major challenge has been to find an efficient way to export 500,000 tonnes of logs and woodchips each year with the least impact and maximum benefit to KI.

The proposal for the new KI Seaport is now in the State Government's Major Projects assessment process.

It must meet many criteria, including a stipulation from the State Government that any new facility be capable of being used by other cargoes in the future. This directive has informed the company's choice of site and design of the jetty.

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Meanwhile, the company has continued to maintain and improve its assets while it waits to start harvesting. The company's staff is repairing and building fences, maintaining firebreaks, controlling feral animals, maintaining KIPT's own fire-fighting unit, cleaning up the Timber Creek timber mill site and managing our residential rental properties.

KIPT also has over 7000 hectares of remnant native vegetation on its plantations. It has made these areas available for research, for example, by Land for Wildlife and for surveys of birds and rare flora.

It has joined the KI Conservation Landholders Association and is a member of Agriculture KI.

Director of Community Engagement at KIPT, Shauna Black, said "it's exciting to see how far we have come".

"When I joined the Board of KIPT in 2015 it was in the hope that I could play some part in realising the benefits from the plantations for the KI community," she said.

KIPT is a truly local company. It was KI's first listed company with all of its assets on the island. More than 95 per cent of KIPT's shares are Australian owned.

Find out more about KIPT and the KI Seaport at Smith Bay at www.kipt.com.au.