Zimbabwe Eastern Highlands’s excellent soils and climate result in highly favorable growing conditions for forestry plantations. Border Timbers employs internationally recognized forest practices resulting in some of the highest quality sustainably managed plantations in Africa.
Of the approximately 28000 hectares of plantable area, 83% is intended for pine saw log production (Pinus patula, P. elliotii and P. taeda). New and improved pinus species are also being introduced including fast-growing P. tecunumanii and P. maximinoii. The balance of the plantable area is primarily managed for Eucalyptus grandis and E. cloeziana on both a saw log and pole rotations. E. cloeziana is highly desirable for marine applications as it is resistant to wood boring marine animals.
Border Timbers Limited produces its seedlings for planting in its nurseries using improved seed obtained from the Zimbabwe Forestry Commission Research Centre. Silvicultural operations focus on the establishment and maintenance of both pine and eucalyptus stands. In establishing the plantations, matching the species to the site is crucial to maximize yield and quality. To achieve incremental volume the plantations are thinned at 7, 11 & 16 years. The trees are also pruned to maximize the yield of clear, knot-free timber. The trees are pruned to a height of 1.5m, 3m, 5m and 7m at specified ages. Weed species and intensity levels determine the method of weed control. Either manual, mechanical or chemical weed control methods may be used depending on the site conditions.
Border Timbers regards fires, pests and diseases as the major threat to the company’s plantations. The company constantly reviews its fire protection plans to minimize potential fire damage losses.Baboon damage to plantations has been on the increase over the last 10 years. This has resulted in high tree mortality and significantly reduced yield per hectare. Several control methods to reduce the damage are currently under trial at both company and industry level in Zimbabwe. Borders Timbers continues to participate in baboon control research with other Southern African countries.
Border Timber’s uses motor-manual harvesting methods with the objective of completely mechanizing harvest operations in the future. Most of Border’s harvesting is now done by energetic and entrepreneurial Zimbabwean contractors who are leading the drive to bring the harvesting function to a world class standard. The harvesting operations aim to optimize productivity while minimizing impacts to the environment.