Key effectiveness indicators

1. Quantity of native forest hardwood log timber harvested compared to the FMP sustainable levels and targets

The Forest Management Plan (FMP) is developed by the Conservation and Parks Commission and sets the limits for the average annual allowable cut for the South West’s native forest over a 10-year period. This is to ensure the levels of harvest can be sustained over an extended period, whilst considering a range of factors such as changing climate conditions. The FMP allowable cut limits are reviewed by an independent expert panel.

The harvested volume may vary between years depending on the customer demand for log products, and the volumes harvested in previous years. The FPC monitors harvest levels to ensure volumes removed stay within cumulative allowable limits over the 10-year
period of the FMP from 2014 to 2023.

For the purpose of reporting, the target for this KPI is calculated based on ten per cent of the cumulative ten year total allowable cut being available in year one and thereafter a ten per cent increase per year to 100 per cent in the last year of the FMP.

This KPI is measured in calendar years rather than financial year to be consistent with the FMP and timber harvested is reported in cubic metres (rather than tonnes) to enable comparison with the FMP
annual allowable cut.

First and second-grade jarrah and karri sawlogs

Target: Native forest harvest level does not exceed the level prescribed in the FMP (2014-2023).

* Refer to FMP (2014-2023) Table 4, which specifies lower limits for average annual allowable cut of first and second grade jarrah and karri sawlogs. These have been used as the basis for cumulative limits.

Please note that information reported here will differ from the cumulative totals published in the mid-term and end-of-term FMP performance reports. This is due to adjustments to reflect log products accepted by customers and off-cuts retained in the forest. The figures are also rounded to nearest 1,000m3. Note that the 2016 and 2017 calendar year figure for karri sawlog has been retrospectively adjusted since 2018-2019 reporting to reconcile the karri LVL considered first and second grade sawlog.

Other bole volume for jarrah, karri and marri

Target: Other bole volume harvest does not exceed the level prescribed in the FMP

Other bole volume is log product that does not meet first or second grade sawlog standards as recognised under the FMP.

 

* Refer to FMP (2014-2023) Table 5, which specifies lower limits for average annual allowable cut of other bole volume for jarrah, karri and marri. This has been used as the basis for cumulative limits.

2. Harvest of sandalwood does not exceed licence limits

Harvest of sandalwood does not exceed licence limits

Target: Sandalwood harvest does not exceed licence limits

During 2019-2020 the FPC was granted a one-year licence for the supply of 2,250 tonnes of WA wild sandalwood (Santalum spicatum). For 2019-2020 the FPC’s harvesting was less than the licenced amount. The quantity includes all parts of the tree except leaves, bark and
small branches.

This KPI is reported by financial year. The graph below represents the quantities of green and dead wood harvested over the last four years, with levels not exceeding the quantities available to FPC.

3. Effectiveness of forest regeneration

Regeneration of the forest is critical to sustainability. It is essential for maintaining productive capacity and maintenance of biological diversity.

Regeneration is carried out in accordance with relevant guidelines. Regeneration success is monitored, and remedial action taken as necessary. Remedial action may include infill planting, re-seeding (sandalwood) and/or protection of regeneration from browsing animals (e.g. rabbits). Karri and jarrah regeneration is monitored as part of meeting FMP requirements. Sandalwood regeneration is carried out as part of the FPC’s Operation Woylie seeding program.

Karri 

Target: 95 per cent of the area regenerated requires no remedial action

Regeneration is conducted to ensure species composition (biological diversity) and forest productivity is maintained. Karri dominant forest is re-established through the planting of nursery raised seedlings. Regeneration surveys are completed on every hectare of karri forest at around six months following planting. The FPC’s target is that at least 95 per cent of areas regenerated require no remedial action. The level of stocking (stems per hectare) required is set out in the DBCA’s Silvicultural Guidelines for Karri 2014.

Data for this KPI is reconciled on a calendar year basis. Over the last four calendar years, no karri planted areas have required remedial treatment.

Jarrah

Target: 90 per cent of the areas cutover for regeneration are completed within 30 months

Jarrah forest consists of a mosaic of different forest structures. The silvicultural objective for each area of forest varies depending on its structure and a range of other factors such as forest condition in the surrounding landscape. Regeneration may require follow up treatment post-harvest where the harvesting operation has not achieved the desired silvicultural outcome. For example, it may be necessary to remove competition by specific trees which are restricting light, nutrients and water to allow successful regeneration

Following jarrah harvesting, prescribed burning is carried out by DBCA, which is essential for reducing fuel loads (from harvest residue) and releasing nutrients back into the soil. Natural regeneration is stimulated from the prescribed burn and associated nutrient release, which supports the growth of ground coppice and seedlings.

Areas cutover (for regeneration release) need to be prescribed burnt within 30 months.

The 2019 cumulative result reflects the limited opportunities available during 2019 (weather related) to undertake prescribed burning to achieve the desired result. Weather conditions must be safe and conducive to the prescribed burning outcomes desired.

* The cumulative result uses data from areas cutover for regeneration release from January 2014.

Sandalwood

Target: Average 50,000 seedlings established annually

Areas targeted for Western Australian wild sandalwood regeneration are based on a number of criteria including fire risk, and grazing pressure. Each year, following harvest, the FPC plants sandalwood seeds. This commences around September and continues through to April. Seedling survival is monitored the first summer after seeding to calculate number of seedlings per kilometre successfully established.

Establishment success will vary from year to year due to rainfall and other factors. Therefore, this KPI is assessed over a cumulative average, with a target of 50,000 seedlings established annually.

In 2018-2019 and 2019-20, the FPC expanded its seeding program significantly and sowed over 20 tonnes of sandalwood seed in each year.

Seedling establishment is currently below the target of 50,000 seedlings established annually. Both 2017 and 2018 winters received very low rainfall across seeding operation areas. Further, the Spring of 2019 received no rainfall in any of the establishment areas surveyed. However, additional seeds may germinate in subsequent years as seeds remain viable for several years in the soil.

 

4. The achievement of thinning schedules

Thinning is important for forest health and productivity. By removing some of the standing trees, it reduces the competition for water, nutrients and light. It also helps protect catchments from a drying climate. As such, it is required under the FMP for forest health
and ensuring future sustained yield.

In the 2018-2019 financial year the FPC commenced non-commercial thinning within sandalwood plantations. Thinning is carried out to ensure an appropriate sandalwood stocking rate for the rainfall and/or to maintain an appropriate host-to-sandalwood ratio.

Karri

Target: Meet Forest Management Plan thinning schedules 

The FMP prescribes the target for first thinning of the karri forest. As the FMP schedule is based on a calendar year, this KPI is reported on a calendar year basis. Achievement of thinning targets is limited by FMP quantities and current market demand.

Softwood plantations

Target: 95 per cent of softwood plantations are thinned within guidelines

To promote optimal growth of softwood plantations, stands are typically thinned twice during rotations. Through this KPI the FPC monitors if plantations are thinned within guidelines, which provides a two-year recommended timeframe whereby thinning is considered beneficial. At some sites, thinning is done prior to the recommended scheduled period, as thinning can be beneficial at an earlier age in some select higher productivity sites. In these cases, if thinning is done earlier, it is considered ahead of schedule and within guidelines. A 95 per cent target allows for shortfalls due to market conditions not being favourable for commercial softwood thinning. The thinning program requires commercial markets for the products.

In 2019-2020 financial year 74 per cent of softwood plantations were compliant with thinning schedules.

Note that 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 results have been retrospectively amended since 2018-2019 reporting to reflect corrected analysis.

Sandalwood plantations

Target: Plantations stocking is assessed and, if required, thinned by 14 years of age.

The 2018-2019 financial year was the first year that the FPC commenced the systematic thinning program of sandalwood plantations. A four year thinning program was set to commence from 2018-2019 financial year, with the first financial year target set at 200 hectares. The thinning program is based on a comprehensive assessment of the sandalwood plantation estate in 2015. In 2018-2019 the FPC completed its annual scheduled thinning program through a non-commercial thinning operation.

The FPC was not able to secure a commercial contract for plantation sandalwood thinning in 2019-2020, and as such no sandalwood thinning was completed in the last financial year. The FPC will continue to reassess the thinning program and will prioritise thinning within
those sites of higher priority (i.e. areas that will benefit the most from an adjustment to host-to-sandalwood ratio).

 

5. All operations commence with required approvals

Target: 100 per cent of pre-operation planning approvals completed and approved prior to commencement

Prior to undertaking disturbance operations, the FPC ensures that approval has been obtained from internal and external parties. Approval is in the form of a signed and authorised planning document, which may also need to be renewed if an operation continues beyond the initial authorisation period. Approval to commence operations involves careful planning to ensure a range of forest values are protected and/or accommodated. Values include environmental, economic, social and heritage values. For areas regulated by the DBCA, the FPC must obtain approval from the Parks and Wildlife Service of the DBCA.

Meeting this KPI is important for demonstrating ecologically sustainable management of the forest. One hundred per cent of pre-operations planning approvals have been obtained for the last four financial years.

6. Independent certification maintained

Target: The FPC maintains appropriate certification

The FPC maintains certification to internationally recognised management standards. This provides independent verification that the FPC is managing their operations in accordance with standard requirements.

During 2019-2020 the FPC was externally audited against the International Standard ISO 14001:2015 (for an Environmental Management System) and the Australian Standard for Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) AS 4708:2013. The FPC’s primary forest certification, SFM, is internationally recognised by the Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). The SFM certification includes native forest and softwood plantations but excludes the FPC’s sandalwood business and some other operations.

7. Management of native forest fuel loads adjacent to priority pine plantations

Target: There is an annual increase in the percentage of native forest fuel loads adjacent to the FPC’s priority pine plantations being under six years of age, in pursuit of a target of 60%

This Key Effectiveness Indicator was adopted as an annual report KPI for the 2019-2020 reporting year. The FPC has defined priority pine plantations according to age and size. Larger plantations and those containing critical age classes can then be prioritised in terms of managing adjoining native forest fuel loads to reduce the threat of wildfire. The target is for 60% or more of native forest fuel loads adjoining priority pine plantations six years or less since last burnt.

The FPC continues to work closely with DBCA fire managers to prioritise fuel reduction in areas posing the greatest risk to the FPC’s softwood estate.

Three years of comparative data is shown. Results for each financial year are collated following the Autumn burn period. As at June 2020 there were 26 priority plantations and results have improved since the previous year.

 

8. Softwood plantations planted in the previous winter meet minimum stocking levels

Target: 95 per cent of the total softwood plantations planted in the previous winter are compliant with minimum stocking levels

This KPI was added as an annual report KPI for the 2019-2020 reporting year. Optimum stocking levels can be achieved through well planned, effective site preparation and weed control, use of high-quality seedlings and good planting techniques. Survival of seedlings is essential to maintain stocking to ensure good form and wood production.

During Autumn each year areas that were planted in the previous winter are assessed for seedling survival. Infill planting may be necessary at the beginning of the next planting season if seedling survival is insufficient.

Results including one year of comparative data is shown in the graph below. Note that the results are for survival of seedlings planted in the previous calendar year (winter period), which has been assessed in the following Autumn. For softwood plantations established in 2019 the 87% survival result was mainly due to weed competition in some areas.

 

9. First and second rotation softwood planting targets are achieved

Target: First and second rotation softwood planting targets are achieved

The replanting of harvested pine plantations (as a second rotation – 2R), and the establishment of new plantations (first rotation – 1R) are critical to the achievement of the Softwood Industry Strategy for Western Australia. This will facilitate a viable and sustainable softwood industry by providing a softwood resource into the future.

As the winter planting season crosses over into two financial years, this KPI is measured on a calendar year basis. The 2019 results were under target as the FPC did not have sufficient new land available to meet the softwood plantation expansion target.

 

10. Native forest resource processed locally (excluding any trials or research undertaken)

Target: 100 per cent of native forest resource is processed locally – excluding any trials or research undertaken

In order to support Western Australia’s forest industry, the FPC seeks to ensure all native forest resource is processed within Western Australia. As such, all native forest contracts of sale include clauses requiring domestic processing. The FPC may allow timber to be processed outside of Western Australia if there is a perceived benefit to the Western Australian industry. For example, the FPC may allow trial timber processing elsewhere with the view to enhancing Western Australia’s timber processing capacity.

* Not including any export undertaken in breach of contracts

 

11. Log deliveries meet customer orders

Target: Overall deliveries compared with customer orders has a variance of no greater than 10 per cent

This KPI was introduced for2019-2020 financial year reporting. No comparative information is available for 2018-2019. The intent of this KPI is to monitor how well the FPC is fulfilling customer orders. Over the year the total of customer orders is compared with the total customer deliveries. If the FPC deliveries have a variance of no greater than 10% above or below the customers total orders, the KPI has been achieved.

Customers have the flexibility under their contracts to adjust their orders within limits.

* Note that results have been rounded to the nearest one per cent.

 

12. Sandalwood sales orders

Target: 100 per cent of Sandalwood sales orders are met

This KPI was introduced for 2019-2020 financial year reporting to monitor if all domestic and international sandalwood sales orders are met.

During 2019-2020, 98 percent of all sandalwood sales orders were met. The two percent shortfall was due to a fire at the sandalwood processing factory on 30 May 2019. As a result, powder processing was not occurring for a number of months. This resulted in delays to all international sandalwood sales and two international sales were cancelled by the FPC.

 

13. Green sandalwood roots as a percentage of green sandalwood harvested

Target: Total green volume includes a minimum of 25 per cent roots

Recovery of sandalwood root material, which contains a high oil content increases the value of the overall product and reduces the number of trees harvested. Therefore, it is important for the sustainability of the industry to maximise root recovery. Improvements in harvesting have enabled better root recovery in recent times. The target of 20 percent in 2016-2017 was raised to 25 percent from 2017-2018 financial year to capture improvement aspirations.

The FPC has not reached this target as it has requested contractors to reduce the amount of roots being collected. It was found that there was a link between the amount of roots collected and a decrease in oil quality. This relationship is being investigated further.