At TFS, our priority is the health and wellbeing of our staff and trees, as well as the environment and the communities where we work.
Where possible, we always look to find efficient, environmentally-sensitive ways of managing the plantations. When herbicides or insecticides are required, we manage this carefully according the international framework ISO 14001 (Environment), ensuring we monitor and minimise our impact.
For example to minimise our use of herbicides, we use groundcover which acts as a pot host for the sandalwood, and also supresses the weeds naturally. We also slash and mulch to help control weeds.
When our trees are small we supplement these methods with an extremely dilute mix of herbicide and water. For example Basta - a safe herbicide that only affects the sprayed stem and foliage area – is used at 0.1ml/1m2 in water (it is likely the 4,000 litres referenced is this dilute water and herbicide mixture). When used, this is carefully applied only to affected areas (spot application) using methods to avoid drift. Most importantly, we do not use residual herbicide and we never use chemicals at levels which will run off or leach in the soil.
To nurture and protect the health of our trees, we’re also committed to an integrated pest management (IPM) approach. Similar to promoting healthy gut bacteria in humans, we encourage populations of beneficial insects in the sandalwood plantations which help control undesirable pests. Occasionally APMVA approved insecticides are used at recommended label rates and are generally targeted to one species (eg only caterpillars).
To protect our team, we provide our staff with training and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) when using chemicals, or coming into contact with caterpillars and hairy leaves which can create skin irritation and eczema-like symptoms. This forms part of our AS/NZ 4801 Health and Safety framework – an important part of our company culture and ethos.
We also work to manage natural resources carefully using drip irrigation systems, and have won multiple awards for our water recycling systems.
For more information about TFS visit their website http://www.tfsltd.com.au