FDT produces map of woodlots and plantations in the Southern Highlands that distinguishes the two dominant species, pine and eucalyptus.
For the first time, FDT has produced a map of woodlots and plantations in the Southern Highlands that distinguishes the two dominant species, pine and eucalyptus. This information is critical in understanding the true extent of tree planting, particularly useful both for investors and wood processors who are interested to secure raw material supply and link to smallholders.
While the extent of public plantations and industrial-scale public and private plantations has been well documented, the area covered by smaller scale private forestry in the Southern Highlands has been subject to great uncertainty for many years. These recent developments have enabled an estimated 233,500 to 257,600 ha of pine and eucalyptus (72% pine).
FDT’s Rashid Mgeni, who coordinated the analysis, commented on the importance of small to medium-scale private growers, “Two-thirds (68%) of this area is planted by an estimated 60,000 private tree growers, whose contribution towards commercial forestry continues to grow markedly.” The remainder of the planting is attributed to industrial-scale plantations under public or private ownership.
The information will be used as part of a wider market study being undertaken by FDT that is calculating updated supply-demand scenarios for different wood value chains across the landscape.
Since 2015, FDT has been piloting various remote sensing techniques to map woodlots in collaboration with recognised experts based in South Africa and UK. The map provided here shows the results of one of the approaches using freely-available LandSat8 satellite imagery, holding potential to become a cost-effective way to map woodlots and plantations on an ongoing basis. NFC and GRL are thanked for providing compartment data to help calibrate the model.