Sandalwood thinning has started in FPC plantations near Beverley and Quairading, due to approximately 2000 hectares of the FPC estate being over-stocked.
Manager of Technical Support Jon Brand said that sandalwood trees are a root hemi-parasite and are dependent on host trees for certain nutrients and water.
“It is important to have enough host trees to support the sandalwood through to a commercial age of about 25 years. At this age, the trees should have produced a reasonable amount of heartwood and the oil within the heartwood will be of a good standard,” Mr. Brand said.
Sandalwood trees require about two to three host trees to get them through to commercial size.
If there are insufficient hosts, then the sandalwood plantations can collapse.
At present the FPC is selectively thinning sandalwood within its plantations to achieve the right balance between host and parasite.’ Mr. Brand said
During this financial year around 200 hectares of sandalwood is planned to be thinned followed by 600 hectares per year over the next three years.