Timber Markets and Utilisation

NZDFI's selected durable eucalypt species are all categorised as Class 1 or Class 2 durable species (Australian Durability Standard). They are hard and strong as well as durable, and these properties make the timbers ideally suited for the target markets we have identified.

A market-focused project: opportunities for durable hardwood

Product  Market opportunity Current market value
Sawn timber

Domestic substitution of CCA treated sawn timber for outdoor use – estimated annual domestic consumption of sawn timber exceeds 400,000m3 per annum (ERMA 2003 and MPI 2019)

$280-320 million  per annum based on retail value of $700-800 per m3
Posts and poles Domestic substitution of CCA treated agricultural/horticultural posts - demand estimated at 300,000m3 annually (van Bruchem 2020). $210-240 million  per annum based on retail value of $700-800 per m3.
Engineered wood Utilisation as a component of high value and high strength hardwood laminated veneer lumber (LVL) and cross-laminated timber (CLT) International value of high strength veneer is $400 - 500 per m3 (JNL)
Hardwood imports Substitution of high value hardwood imports – over 72,000m3 lumber, 1,500m3 sleepers and 5,000 m3 posts/poles (MPI 2019). $112.5 million in 2019 with average value of $1500 per m3.
Export markets Significant lumber and log export potential to replace Australian and tropical hardwoods with certified timber. Annual export value of 100,000m3 of lumber is $150 million.


Sawn eucalypt timber suitable for joinery.

Poles produced from logs using a spindle-less lathe. Veneer sheets have been made by peeling the exterior wood.

E. bosistoana veneer - a potential component of LVL.

Wood quality research at the University of Canterbury

Research at the University of Canterbury School of Forestry is focusing on better understanding and describing the wood properties of our selected durable eucalypt species. We are focusing especially on the quality and quantity of heartwood produced at different ages, and on different sites.

Our wood quality research feeds directly back into the NZDFI breeding programme. The breeding programme is all about making  genetic gains in important tree characteristics, and a key driver is to breed trees with wood properties that are in demand in high value markets.

We report regularly on this research in our Project Updates, and also in reports produced for the Specialty Wood Products Research Partnership (SWP).

Splitting samples to test for growth strain in the lab.

PhD student Ebenezer Iyiola taking cores from E. globoidea.

PhD student Daniel Boczniewicz analyses heartwood in 29-year old E. globoidea

Matching growing regimes with markets

NZDFI's aim is for the establishment of regional hardwood industries. Our focus is on growing trees which can be processed in regional centres to meet local and regional market demands.

The two products we are initially focusing on are:

  1. Ground-durable posts and poles, and other markets for durable timbers grown on shorter rotations
  2. Engineered wood products such as laminated veneer lumber (LVL) and cross-laminated timber (CLT).

Our growing regimes are designed to grow trees suited for processing into these products. Our vision is for regional wood supply catchments where growers will supply a central processing plant. Examples of these future processing operations include:

  • a combined veneer peeling/post and pole plant taking smaller logs grown on shorter rotations
  • a sawmill with associated remanufacturing operations taking larger sawlogs.

Growers in regional wood supply catchments can select their growing regimes in anticipation of likely future markets. We anticipate that there will be export demand for logs that are surplus to regional markets.

NZDFI also aims to support growers who are keen to grow and mill their own durable eucalypt timber for on-farm use. We are involved in an initiative to encourage development and up-skilling in the mobile sawmilling sector.