NEW bluegums are set to be planted in western Victoria despite thousands of hectares of plantations being bulldozed before harvest.
As bulldozers rip out failed managed investment scheme plantations in central-west Victoria, more trees are set to be planted into prime grazing country just a few hundred kilometres west.
The Weekly Times understands Macquarie Bank bought several properties in the Green Triangle last year for its MIS forestry project.
And former grazing properties near Branxholme, Nareen and Cavendish have now been ripped and mounded, in preparation for new bluegum plantations.
Macquarie Bank would not confirm the land purchases or that they were to be planted to trees and did not respond to The Weekly Times' repeated requests for an interview.
Despite the continuing plantings, a leading property agent said he would expect to see many of the former Great Southern and Timbercorp estates in the Green Triangle returned to farmland post-harvest.
Charles Stewart director Andrew Dufty said depending on the relevant economics and commodity prices, harvested bluegum properties may be planted to pine trees, returned to bluegums or reverted to farmland.
The Coleraine agent said properties in the northern Green Triangle with lighter soils would most likely not go into another bluegum rotation after harvest.
"It all also depends on what happens with the carbon markets policy," Mr Dufty said.
"Some could go into forestry for carbon sinks."
Mr Dufty said he had not yet received any inquiry for land suitable for carbon sinks, before adding: "But I think we may see it in future."
Meanwhile lawyers have warned ratings agencies who gave glowing recommendations to Timbercorp and Great Southern projects may yet wind up in court.
Blake Dawson Lawyers partner Con Tzerefos said law firms launching lawsuits over other aspects of the MIS debacle simply may not have had time to sue agencies.
"Maybe they just haven't gotten to ratings agencies yet," Mr Tzerefos said. "We haven't seen any claims yet, but that's not to say we won't; I think it's quite possible."