MANAGED investment schemes (MIS) copped a lashing this week as the fallout settled on timber plantations in the South East of SA and western districts of Victoria after the demise of Timbercorp.
But Green Triangle regional plantations committee executive officer John Kellas believes the fundamentals of hardwood plantation forestry remain strong.
He says the set of economic pressures that have scuppered the $600 million company should not detract from the prospect of the industry continuing as a sustainable entity in the region.
"Someone will buy the management and harvesting rights for the trees, for which Timbercorp Forestry is responsible," Dr Kellas says.
"It's a great asset, but the big question is what value will be placed on it.
"Tree growth has not been what had been expected, partly because of drought.
"Individual forest or investment companies will have to assess the standing value and work out gross value, harvest and transport costs.
"However, my understanding is that serious offers, probably from Japanese trading houses, will be made."
While some farmers are unhappy about the projections made by the company in its MIS prospectus - citing actual returns far less than projected - most players are expressing confidence in the long-term viability of the industry.
Dr Kellas says the possibility of companies buying the forest assets purely as carbon sinks are unlikely.
"At this time, it's a bit ambivalent. No-one knows what the price of carbon will be and it's not something likely to be resolved in the short term," he says.
Dr Kellas says the MIS structure is complex and will be "a challenge" for the administrator.
The complex ownership structures, company management practices and exporting problems - especially in Japan where there was a backlog of woodchips - do not bode well for property values in the medium term.
"They've paid up to $7500 a hectare in this region so that's the very top end.
"They bought a lot of land at $1000-$2000/ha 10 years ago," Dr Kellas says.
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