Imagine planting by hand more than 5.5 million trees. That’s exactly what the team at OneFortyOne have just done with the replanting season finishing last week across its Green Triangle forests. For one man, OFO’s Terry Higgins, this season marked an important milestone as it was the second time he has replanted trees on this land. The first time was following the devastating 1983 Ash Wednesday fire.
“Like most people who were part of our industry and community in the 1980s, my colleagues and I will never forget Ash Wednesday. 35 years later, we’re proud to still have people working for OFO who fought the fires, supervised the log salvage operations, or worked in the local mills in the fire’s aftermath”, said Terry.
The impact on the Green Triangle forests was significant with 18,094ha of the State’s pine forests destroyed in the fire. Putting that in perspective, OFO’s forests today span approximately 93,000ha (81,000ha of pine trees) meaning 22% of OFO’s forest was replanted out of its usual cycle during the 1980s.
“I think sometimes people forget the impact Ash Wednesday had on this region’s harvesting programs. The trees we replanted in 1983 started reaching their optimal age over the past few years, we harvested them, and now we are replanting the forests again. Forestry is the same as any other farming crop. Each year we have a cycle of harvest, sow, nurture and regrow.” said Terry.
Terry himself joined the industry in 1971, following in his father’s footsteps working in the Penola Forest. Throughout his 40-year career in these forests he has undertaken nearly every task, at nearly every location, and is now responsible for managing OFO’s replanting program. This year he estimates his planting crews walked a total of 13,372 kms replanting the trees in the ground.
Terry’s reason for working in the forestry industry is simple, “What’s not to love about working in this industry? We are sustainable, replanting everything we harvest. We grow people’s future homes, and we do it in some of the best forests in the world”.