Forestry SA says nothing could have prevented 130 hectares of pine forest from blowing over in a gale-force storm near Jamestown in South Australia’s mid-north.
The forest manager, Gary Pearson, says a combination of 137 kilometres per hour winds, wet soil and the timing of thinning caused the trees to fall at the Bundaleer Forest on September 4.
He says the 20,000 tonnes of timber that toppled is more than the Jamestown mill normally processes in a year, so some of the timber is being sold to mills in the Adelaide Hills.
Mr Pearson says the higher freight cost means profit from the timber will be down by about $300,000.
“It’s quite a challenge for the harvesters to move through there and actually salvage those trees,” he said.
“If you can think of pick-up sticks as a game, that’s pretty much what it looks like, so it’s pretty daunting for the chaps to move through there and do that. So there’s an additional cost associated with that.”
But the Forestry Union regional secretary, Brad Coates, says the public should have been told about the incident at the time.
“Perhaps they didn’t release it because of the political sensibility around the forward-selling issue at the moment,” he said.
“An event like that may have an impact on potential buyers that the government is looking to sell the rotations through.”