Tree farms are an unavoidable part of the Australian landscape.
In Australia, it is estimated that around 70 per cent of our forests are owned by private farms.
These farms, known as ‘forest plantations’, are the most common way of growing a wide range of crops including nuts, fruits and vegetables.
But these plantations have their drawbacks.
They tend to be far from open fields, often with poor management and limited access to water, which means they can be susceptible to pests and diseases.
This means that the plantations can quickly be degraded by pests and disease, making it hard to harvest the crops the trees produce.
One of the major problems is that they are often far from natural or semi-natural habitat, meaning that there is no natural habitat to provide shade and a warm place to grow.
This is an unmitigated nightmare.
And while many of the plants are very attractive and offer a lot of fruit and nut-rich food, they also contain toxic chemicals that have been linked to cancer, diabetes and respiratory issues.
One in five of the trees in the Australian north and central belt is a species known as a ‘treespotted’ or ‘tobacco-growing’ tree.
These trees can be as tall as 20 metres, grow to more than 10 metres in diameter and produce a toxic plant toxin called dendronal alcohol.
They also produce the toxin nicotine.
This chemical has been linked with a range of diseases and even death.
And despite these problems, the Australian Government is trying to make changes to the landscape to make them more attractive.
These include expanding and developing some of the more remote and isolated areas of the country, and improving the infrastructure to facilitate the planting of new trees.
But for many of these trees, there is still a long way to go to be considered as a suitable timber product.
Here are some of Australia’s worst tree farms, from least to most environmentally damaging.
Mantle Island, New South Wales