THE value of trade in wood products is at an all-time high according to the recently released ABARES Australia State of the Forests Report for 2018 (SOFR 2018).

ABARES acting executive director Peter Gooday said, “Australia’s trade in wood products experienced strong growth, with imports and exports combined exceeding $8bn for the first time in 2015-16.”

The five-yearly report covers a range of the social, economic and environmental values associated with all areas of Australian forests from public and private forests to forests managed for conservation or production.

According to SOFR 2018, “Australia continues to be a net importer of wood and wood products,” and for good reason as it is home to 3% of the world’s forest, ranking seventh in the world for largest national forest.

The report also included that the country’s 134m hectares of forest has increased 4m hectares in the past five years.

Mr Gooday said understanding Australian forests is vital to managing and ensuring sustainability. “That’s why this report is so important — it provides information that Australia’s policy-makers and planners need if they are to plan continued growth into the future.”

SOFR 2018 stated that wood product industries were valued at a total of $23.7bn in 2015-16, contributing (through sales and service income minus cost) 0.52% to Australia’s gross domestic product, which all means well for the shipping industry.