Friday Offcuts – 20 May 2016

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The growth and growing interest in regional wood councils in New Zealand continues this evening. Tonight the two long-established groupings, the Southern Wood Council and Eastland Wood Council hold their 2016 forestry industry awards programmes.

Collectively close to 1000 forestry contractors, their crews, supporters and family members along with those involved in training, growing, processing and transporting wood, those who support the industry through the provision of products and services along with senior Government officials will be attending. Increasingly, the annual awards evenings have become “the event for forestry workers in each region to meet together” every year.

It’s also the industry’s chance to recognise those who have achieved formal training qualifications over the year, to celebrate through a series of major industry awards the top performers from each region and to profile the real and significant contribution that forestry and those working within the industry are making to the economic and social well-being of each forestry region. Congratulations to all those who have achieved National Training Certificates in forestry or wood processing over the last 12 months and good luck to those finalists who have made the short lists for the array of other major industry awards on offer.

Congratulations also to two University of Canterbury forestry and forest engineering students who have been awarded two major scholarships this year (story below) and a senior lecturer at the School of Forestry who has also been awarded a 2016 Early Career Scientist Award from the International Society of Arboriculture.

As part of the New Zealand pre-budget announcement this week, Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce announced NZ$15 million of additional funding over four years for two schemes. They aim to speed up the commercialization of new technologies developed by scientists and entrepreneurs around New Zealand. In addition to supporting innovative scientists turning the results of their cutting-edge research into commercially viable products it’s also pleasing to see that NZ business spending on R&D grew by more than 15 per cent last year to NZ$1.44 billion.

Finally, as we and the wood products industry gear up for the Wood Innovations 2016 series that starts in New Zealand next week (and Australia the week after, 31 May-1 June), the world’s largest manufacturer of composite wood decking products, US-based Trex has just announced a 9 percent increase in sales last year and a record first quarter in terms of sales and gross profit. In addition, as part of their sales campaign as they enter their busiest sales period, they’ve launched a new campaign, “Why would anyone build with wood anymore?” Check out the video in this week’s story.

Last, but not least, for your kids and all of those readers who are young in heart, you can take a sneak preview this week of the Forestry Simulation game on Xbox expected to be released next year. Enjoy this week’s read.

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NZ$15m to commercialise new Kiwi hi-tech

Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce this week announced NZ$15 million of additional funding over four years for two schemes that speed up the commercialisation of new clever technologies developed by scientists and entrepreneurs around New Zealand.

“Encouraging the development of new export-oriented high-tech businesses is a key part of the innovation stream of the Government’s Business Growth Agenda,” Mr Joyce says.

“We are seeing hundreds of very savvy hi-tech companies from New Zealand now competing and succeeding on the world stage. These programmes are all about filling the pipeline with the next generation of quality kiwi start-ups.”

Funding for the Pre-Seed Accelerator Fund will increase by NZ$12 million over four years, taking the Government’s total investment through the scheme to NZ$8.3 million per year.

In addition, funding for the development of new Accelerator programmes will be extended following the scheme’s initial three-year pilot, with new investment of NZ$3 million over the next four years. Both initiatives will form part of Government’s investment in the Business Growth Agenda in Budget 2016.

The Pre-Seed Accelerator Fund supports innovative scientists to turn the results of their cutting-edge research into commercially viable products and businesses. A recent evaluation estimated that Pre-Seed projects have so far generated NZ$188.2 million in revenue, have resulted in many new companies being formed, and have the potential to generate export revenues of up to NZ$3 billion.

“Last month Statistics New Zealand released their 2015 Business Operations Survey, showing that business spending on R&D grew by more than 15 per cent in one year, from NZ$1.25 billion in 2014, to NZ$1.44 billion last year.

“Also last month, the Angel Association reported that angel investors had invested a record NZ$61.2 million into 94 New Zealand start-ups in 2015 – a 9 per cent increase on the previous record set in 2014.”

More information on the Pre-Seed Accelerator Fund is available here. More information about the Accelerator programme is available here. Source: Scoop

University of Canterbury forestry students gain major awards

Two University of Canterbury forestry students have recently picked up top honours with two major scholarships being awarded. This year’s Forest Industry Engineering Association (FIEA) Scholarship has been awarded to Luke Holmes (photo; top image), a third year Bachelor of Forest Engineering (Hons) student, studying at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch. The Scholarship is the fifth awarded to students as part of a five-year scholarship programme set up by FIEA in 2012.

“In addition to having excellent grades, Luke comes from a farming background which has fostered his interest in wood harvesting operations” says FIEA Director Brent Apthorp. During the summer of 2015/16 Luke was employed by Nigel Bryant Logging in Nelson and was involved in many aspects of the company’s eight crew operation over his 12-week summer employment. Nigel has operations running across the Murchison, Marlborough and Tasman regions including running a number of tethered harvesting machines.

New innovations and developments around steep slope harvesting, particularly the role forest engineering has in the development of these new systems, is a key interest of Luke’s. He’s keen to be involved in further research and development of felling and extraction systems on graduation. Whilst working over the summer Luke also gained national qualifications in forest requirements, chainsaw operations and maintenance and in addition to his University studies, he has operated his own small firewood business to supplement his University fees.

“FIEA is delighted to again be involved in this year’s scholarship. A total of $12,500 has now been used to sponsor outstanding School of Forestry and Forest Engineering students. It complements the range of technology events being designed and run for forestry and wood products companies in this country” says Brent Apthorp.

The Southern Wood Council Forest Products Scholarship this year has been awarded to a first year student, Rhys Black (photo; lower image), who is starting his second year in the B Forestry Science course. Rhys has a strong connection to the lower South Island with his father working at a Lumsden sawmill and before him, his great grandfather was involved in logging operations around the Riverton area.

Like Luke, Rhys has come from an agricultural background and was employed in the forestry industry over summer working with Otautau Contracting and Rayonier in Southland in jobs as varied as vegetation control, pruning, pre-commercial thinning and historic site management.

The annual scholarship awarded by the Southern Wood Council (SWC) is one of the most prestigious and valuable awarded to forestry students in New Zealand. In any one year, the SWC commits up to $13,500 for three SWC scholarships.

“The Annual Scholarship is an opportunity for forestry and wood products companies in the lower South Island to put back something into the industry and to support outstanding students studying towards either the Forestry Science or Forest Engineering courses at the School of Forestry” says SWC Chairman, Grant Dodson.

“The SWC is delighted to award this year’s scholarship to Rhys and the industry is keen to continue to support all of the current scholarship recipients, both in their study – and in their future employment” says Mr Dodson.

The University Scholarship is offered each year by the SWC in addition to running a major training and awards programme run for the industry in the lower South Island which is being run in Dunedin on 20 May this year.

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Canada and Australia establish national sawn timber certification

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Australia's Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR) have established a national certification program that ensures untreated Canadian sawn wood can continue to be exported to Australia. The establishment of the Canadian Untreated Sawn Wood Certification Program is an important achievement for Canada as over $40 million worth of untreated sawn wood is exported to Australia annually.

The Canadian Untreated Sawn Wood Certification Program replaces the Canadian Accredited Timber Scheme (CATS), a voluntary pre-shipment inspection program that facilitated the entry of untreated Canadian sawn wood into Australia. Both Canada and Australia recognized the potential for the CATS program to be developed into an official export certification program to mitigate pest risk and ensure continued market access.

Registration in the Canadian Untreated Sawn Wood Certification Program is mandatory and ensures that exports are compliant with Australia's phytosanitary import requirements. The scientific research that supports this initiative was led by the CFIA, in collaboration with Natural Resources Canada's Canadian Forest Service, and supported by the Canadian Lumber Standards Accreditation Board (CLSAB) and Canada Wood. The program will be delivered by accredited agencies under the oversight of CLSAB, a recognized CFIA verification body. The accredited agencies will be responsible for evaluating and auditing Canadian mills registered under the program to maintain ongoing compliance.

Source: Canadian Food Inspection Agency

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Timber truck payload management

A project was recently carried out to investigate the impact of four different weighing methods on over/ under loading of forestry trucks operating in Forestry Corporation of New South Wales under two types of roads; gazetted (approved for higher legal gross vehicle weight limits) and non-gazetted (standard public road gross vehicle weight limits).

For all the technologies tested, it was found that there was a substantial under-loading issue ranging from 5.3 to 6.4 tonnes per load on gazetted roads, while the same technology achieved a much better outcome on non-gazetted roads with a range of 1.4 tonnes under-loaded to 0.1 tonnes over-loaded on average.

There was clearly a large under-loading issue on the gazetted routes. As the same operators with the same technology achieved a much more reasonable outcome on the standard access routes, these results suggest that the GVML available was technically not achievable on the gazetted routes (i.e. not enough volume available to add the weight) or the operators were not aware of or not inclined to load the extra GVML available (i.e. not certain what routes were gazetted or not).

As the under load was so consistently close to the extra GVML allowed, the lack of awareness or inclination seems the most likely reasons of under load. The results point also to a more significant role for policy and methods than the technology used for in-forest weighing in achieving effective payload management in forestry haulage.

Full details from the paper can be accessed here. The results of this research will also be presented as part of the upcoming two-yearly technology update, Wood Flow Logistics 2016 that is being run in both New Zealand and Australia in September. Further details can be found on the event website,

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New Zealand urged to join timber revolution

New Zealand is falling behind the rest of the world in using timber for buildings because of a slowness to embrace proven materials and technologies that can deliver the sustainable and creative buildings that were once part of an authentic New Zealand architectural experience.

The professions that influence our urban landscapes and commercial or apartment buildings need to become more astute in the application of new engineered timber. This is the key message of the 2016 Changing Perceptions of Engineered Timber for Construction Conference, hosted by Rotorua Lakes Council and Grow Rotorua.

Pip Cheshire, immediate past president New Zealand Institute of Architects says the industry needs to catch up with the latest trends in wood products.

”It is well past time that all of us in the industry had an equal understanding of and facility with new methods of wood construction in larger buildings, and of the strengths and opportunities offered by the new engineered wood products.”

The Conference reflects the Wood First policy of Rotorua Lakes Council – the only council in New Zealand to actively promote timber construction - despite this policy being common overseas.

Rotorua Lakes Council Mayor Steve Chadwick, who last year was awarded the inaugural “Wood First” award for her leadership role in making the district the first in New Zealand to implement a wood first policy, said there had been so much timber innovation over recent years and yet the visibility of timber in our urban environment is losing ground.

“At Rotorua Lakes we have taken the view that we can ill afford to watch while the major industries that are associated with forestry and processing are undermined simply because there is insufficient knowledge and too much conservatism in the marketplace. Both prevent timber innovation from gaining even a reasonable foothold in the construction sector.”

The wood industry contributes an estimated nine percent of Rotorua’s GDP and is the largest direct employer in the area. 40 percent of all wood harvested nationally comes from within a 100km radius of the city.

The purpose behind Wood First is to provide an incentive for architects and engineers to gain the knowledge, exposure and professional development they need to actually consider designing and engineering with a modern timber vision instead of a traditional concrete and steel mindset.

“When the expectation of timber design and engineering is disclosed, from the outset then it sets a value on the more specialised expertise required. Ideally this will serve as a catalyst for the uptake of engineered timber in commercial settings,” added Francis Pauwels, Chief Executive, Grow Rotorua.

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Trex takes aim at competition from wood

Trex Co. Inc. sales climbed 9 percent to US$131.6 million, giving the deck maker an “exceptionally strong” start to the year and momentum that it plans to maintain, in part, with an advertising campaign that asks consumers: Why would anyone build with wood anymore?

The Winchester, Va.-based company, which extrudes its decks from a mix of reclaimed wood scraps and some 1.5 billion of recycled polyethylene bags a year, had a record first quarter in terms of sales and gross profit, which came in at US$57.6 million. Net profit was US$23.4 million. As it enters its peak selling season, Trex is going after the wood decking and railing market that accounts for 84 percent, or 2 billion linear feet, of the product sold.

Further details around markets, growth of wood plastic composites and opportunities for traditional wood processing companies will form part of next week’s Wood Innovations 2016 technology series being run in Rotorua, New Zealand (and the following week in Melbourne). Late registrations for this two-yearly series can still be made on the event website,

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Environmental groups oppose RFA renewals

More than 30 environmental groups have signed a statement demanding that agreements allowing the logging of Australian native forests not be renewed. Australia’s 10 regional forestry agreements (RFAs) were signed between 1997 and 2001, each running for 20 years, with the first two expiring in 2017.

The agreements between state and federal governments mean proposals to log in designated native forests aren’t required to be approved through the usual federal process, under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC).

The agreements were trumpeted as establishing the “conservation and sustainable management of Australia’s native forests” with the aim of providing “certainty for forest-based industries, forest-dependent communities and conservation”.

But a 50-page report produced last week by the National Parks Association of NSW concluded the agreements failed in all their aims, with the logging of native forests they facilitated resulting in an increase in threatened species.

The report’s lead author, ecologist Oisin Sweeney, examined scientific papers as well as the logging industry’s own data, and found the RFAs cost the states huge sums, didn’t decrease disputes over logging and worsened the environmental outcomes.

Source: The Guardian

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UC Forestry academic wins international award

Dr Justin Morgenroth, senior lecturer in the New Zealand School of Forestry at University of Canterbury, has been awarded the 2016 Early Career Scientist Award, one of the International Society of Arboriculture’s (ISA) Awards of Distinction.

Dr Morgenroth’s research focuses on solving applied problems in forested landscapes with a specific focus on urban forests. Recently his research has included measuring tree response to changes in soil properties following Christchurch’s earthquakes and modelling the structure of urban forests using satellite imagery and LiDAR data.

“I’ve researched urban forestry since 2008, so it’s a big honour for me to be recognised by the ISA for my research. I’ve always felt a connection to street trees and parks – they are the green oases in a sea of grey infrastructure that includes buildings and pavements. My work has generally focused on measuring changes in tree cover in cities as well as improving the management of urban trees,” Dr Morgenroth says.

ISA uses the award to recognise individuals who show exceptional promise, with high potential to become an internationally recognised scientist. Recipients demonstrate a high level of scholarship and integrity in all aspects of their work, and dedication to arboriculture, urban forestry, or a related field, and promise of outstanding achievement.

With over 20,000 members worldwide, ISA has been an active scientific and educational organisation for over 90 years, promoting the professional practice of arboriculture and fostering a greater worldwide awareness of the benefits of trees.

The international award would normally be presented at the ISA Annual International Conference, to be held this year in Texas in August. Dr Morgenroth is unable to attend and will be presented with his award in a New Zealand ceremony later in the year.

Source: Scoop

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Forestry 2017: The Simulation coming to Xbox One

Forestry. What’s this? It’s for youngster’s out there – and maybe young at heart. UIG Entertainment have just announced the answer to those who have a love of chopping down trees but don’t necessarily wish to spend a lot of time outdoors. Forestry 2017: The Simulation will be hitting the Xbox One sometime in the first half of 2016 and according to the advertising out there, it’s going to appeal to those who like the sedate gaming features like the Farming Simulator.

"Cut yourself a new niche in the woodcutting business as Forestry 2017 takes you on an exciting business venture in your very own forest. As with the Farming titles, the game will feature realistic logging machinery and equipment. Everything you need to enjoy the fresh air and challenge your lumberjack skills. Learn to operate and master the tools of the trade and have fun driving ultra-cool harvesters, tractors and trucks".

"If you fancy getting up close and personal, you can always fire up your trusty chainsaw and shout ‘timber’ to your heart’s content. For a little bit of extra old-school fun, bring along your faithful logging horse to tow the timber away. Sell the wood and you can bank the profits or invest in more sophisticated machines to start your logging empire".

The game will also feature hired help with first and third person modes. There will be four types of trees that you can hack down for further processing and you will have the ability to choose from your incoming orders. You can adjust your production cycle where needed and also level your character up in-game.

Forestry 2017: The Simulation will be coming to Xbox One this summer. Here’s the announcement trailer.

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Maori forestry announcement welcomed

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and Te Puni Kokiri (TPK) welcomed the announcement of Te Taitokerau Maori Forestry Collective Incorporated's Action Plan to 2020 launched this week at the He Kai Kei Aku Ringa (HKKAR) Regional Hui in Kerikeri.

The Collective is made up of 10 Maori land entities, and together they plan to replant more than 32,000 hectares of their land in forest – an initiative that offers business, education and employment opportunities. The Action Plan to 2020 will pave the way for the Collective’s future.

Ben Dalton, Deputy Director General at the Ministry for Primary Industries, is pleased with the significant progress the Collective has made.

“The Collective has a Maori aspirational focus; to develop land and create employment to sustain their people. Maori are significant contributors to Northland’s forestry industry and Northland will see tangible economic outcomes from the work of the Collective," says Mr Dalton.

MPI has committed support to the Collective’s next steps to develop a business case and investors prospectus. This will enable them to secure investment for the replant of the remainder of their land.

Source: Scoop

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Global wood pellet production expansion continues

Global wood pellet production continues to expand in order to meet steady growth in demand. To a large extent, this demand growth can be attributed to government policies aimed at reducing emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) by encouraging substitution of traditional fossil fuels with biomass.

Wood and/or biomass waste for energy generation and heating is one of the fastest-growing segments of both the forest products and energy sectors. Estimates have annual wood pellet consumption growing from a range of 28 million tonnes in 2015 to the most optimistic of forecasts — 49–50 million tonnes per year by 2020, equating to a CAGR of 15%.

The leading consuming countries continue to be the United Kingdom, Italy and the United States, followed by Sweden, Denmark and Germany. The U.K., Italy and Denmark, along with South Korea, rely most heavily on imported pellets. Intra-EU trade satisfies about 75% of its domestic demand, with the balance being imported (almost exclusively from the U.S., Canada and Russia).

The EU region remains the largest producer of wood pellets globally, with just under half of global production led by Germany, Sweden, Latvia, France and Portugal — collectively, these five countries accounted for approximately seven million tonnes of production (48% of Europe’s total) in 2014. North America is next with just under 30% of the global share. The balance is split fairly evenly among the rest of Europe (non-EU28 countries), Russia and the CIS countries, China and the rest of Asia.

Source: International WOOD MARKETS Group,

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Kiwis take out tree climbing titles

New Zealanders have won both the men’s and women’s world championship titles at the International Tree Climbing Championship (ITCC) recently held in Texas. Sponsored by Husqvarna, the 40th ITCC Masters’ Challenge saw Kiwi James Kilpatrick, originally from Tauranga, win the men’s master’s challenge, while compatriot, Chrissy Spence from Morrinsville, took out the women’s event.

James Kilpatrick says the ITCC world title is the ultimate goal for climbers around the globe. “The challenge is not just physical but mentally tough too,” says James, who is now based in Germany, where he works as an arborist.

“Our Kiwi team has an impressive reputation when it comes to ITCC. Over the past five years we have been on the podium more than any other chapter and I'm proud and humbled to be in amongst this team of down-to-earth tree climbers doing what we love.

The Masters’ Challenge is the premier event at the tree-climbing competition, where the competitors with the highest preliminary event scores showcase their skills. The ITCC is run by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) and, since 1976, the annual event has seen the world’s best professional tree climbers gather to compete against each other and the clock. The range of events tests their ability to professionally and safely manoeuvre in a tree while performing work-related tree-care tasks.

More than 60 arborists from 18 countries competed at the 2016 competition in Beckenridge Park in San Antonio, Texas. New Zealand has an impressive, if little known, history in competitive tree climbing. Chrissy has now won the women’s world championship title four times and James has been Asia Pacific men’s champion three times before taking the global Masters title this year. Husqvarna ambassador Scott Forrest has claimed the men’s title three times.

Husqvarna has a long-standing association with the ISA and, as well as their coveted trophies, Chrissy and James both took home an armload of Husqvarna gear, including battery chainsaws to help them in their professional lives as working arborists.

Photo: 2016 ITCC champs, New Zealanders James Kilpatrick (left) and Chrissy Spence (photo: ISA).

Source: NZ Logger

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AU$0.5m investment in farm forestry R&D welcomed

The Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) welcomes the Government’s investment in farm forestry research and development (R&D) under the second round of the Rural R&D for Profit Programme.

The Government has announced $520,000 of funding to Forest and Wood Products Australia (FWPA) for an R&D project that will develop new approaches and decision support tools for the introduction of commercial trees on agricultural land.

Dr Kevin Harding, President of the Australian Forest Growers said, “Farm forestry is yet to realise its full potential in Australia. It deserves greater attention from policy makers due to its role in diversifying farm income and providing multiple economic, social and environmental benefits such as carbon sequestration.”

Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) Mr Ross Hampton said, “The expansion of existing wood and paper processing industries is constrained by the available resources. Farm forestry, through the planting of commercial trees on agricultural land, can provide a valuable addition to the current available resource, enabling wood and paper processing industries to expand and take advantage of new opportunities in domestic and international markets.”

AFPA’s new Policy Proposal ‘Plantations … the missing piece of the puzzle’ identified that more can be done to support farm forestry, through cooperative arrangements that support land owners to develop farm forests and facilitate the aggregation of the resource at a local level.

“Many other countries have a long history of supporting farm forestry, including New Zealand, the United States and Sweden, among others, and are realising the significant positives that can accrue from these sustainable activities,” said Mr Hampton.

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Buy and Sell

... and one to end the week on ... the circus

A couple who work at the circus go to an adoption agency.

Social workers there raise doubts about their suitability.

The couple produce photos of their 50 foot motorhome, which is equipped with a beautiful nursery.

The social workers then are doubtful about the education that the child would get.

"We've arranged for a full-time tutor who will teach the child all the usual subjects along with French, Mandarin and computer skills."

Then there are doubts about raising a child in a circus environment.

"Our nanny is an expert in paediatric welfare and diet."

The social workers are finally satisfied.

They ask, "What age child are you hoping to adopt?"

"It doesn't really matter, as long as he fits in the cannon"

And on that note, enjoy your weekend and we look forward to catching up with many of New Zealand's timber treatment and wood processing companies next week in Rotorua at the Wood Innovations 2016 event. Cheers.

Brent Apthorp
Editor, Friday Offcuts
PO Box 904
Level Two, 2 Dowling Street
Dunedin, New Zealand
Ph: +64 3 470 1902
Fax: +64 3 470 1904
Web page:

This week's extended issue, along with back issues, can be viewed at

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