Recent Comments

Bush fires & climate change   – Wednesday, 6-Nov-2013

The pre-disposition of the global warming scaremongers to attribute any natural disaster to climate change is really alarming. They should at least try to find some facts to back their theories.

The facts around the bush fires are very simple. The green movement has brow beaten and guilted local and state government, into stopping the fuel reduction burns and the clearing of trees around houses. These methods have been proven time and time again to be essential to reducing the hazards and the intensity of fires.

The findings of the investigation into the black saturday fires in Victoria also stated that fuel reduction bruns and clearing of trees around houses should have been permitted.

The extreme green movement has a lot to answer for.

Anonymous

Global warming fire event poll results   – Tuesday, 5-Nov-2013

The results of the poll highlight once again the problem forestry has, with the conservative old guard still unable to grapple with a changing world. At what point will the stupid old white men of forestry realise that global warming is directly linked to more extreme weather events (both hot and cold, wet and dry)by supercharging our weather systems. I would suggest Sydney being beset by heatwaves in late September and ringed by massive bushfires in early to mid October is just such a related event.

Forestry holds so many of the answers to the globes current problems, from CO2 sequestration and replacement of fossil fuel intense products like steel and aluminium through to C neutral energy production etc., and yet it seems one of the main barriers to widespread adoption is our industries own inability to understand the possibilities that will come through, firstly understanding and identifying the CO2 related problems and then, clearly articulating and the advocating our solutions.

Then again maybe the poll was too simply worded and like me you had to check a box that didn't fully accord with your desired response.

Anonymous

Global Warming Causes NSW Bush fires: Not this time   – Friday, 1-Nov-2013

Although climate change is real and is having a significant effect on some areas of Australian forestry, the worst of the NSW fires have been proven to be caused by the Australian Defence Force's live ammunition training and a few kids up to no good.

Climate change may have attributed to providing conditions for a fire to thrive however stating that climate change caused the fires is just misleading. If the fires were caused by unseasonal dry lightning storms on the other hand then climate change may be bandied about as a possible cause.

Anonymous

Tasmanian IGA & Peace in Our Time   – Saturday, 18-Feb-2012

I agree with Peter Volker's comments about the behaviour of protestors. It seems that for those who chose to break the law “for the greater public good,” by saving the forests, for example, have created a no enforcement zone under key legislation.

Despite thousands of breaches of OH&S laws by forest protestors, I am yet to hear of a single fine or prosecution by any work health and safety authority in Australia.

An employer could potentially receive tens of thousands of dollars in fines or maybe even jail time if they allowed employees to behave in the workplace the way forest protestors do. For the uninitiated, a number of video clips (I am not a gangster, I am not a bully nor a gangster and I am not a bully either) can be viewed with a quick search on Youtube. Alternatively type in pedrocam100 to see a number of videos showing recent "meetings" with activists within the Tasmanian forests.

Environmental campaigning has now moved into the realm of economic sabotage. The potential for significant damage to the market value of publicly listed companies by eco-political consumer campaigns has been demonstrated over the past decade. The potential to damage the superannuation savings of millions of Australians, with stock market investments, is growing on the back of well orchestrated greenmail campaigns.

It is time for legislation to be amended so eco-political organisations are subject to truth in advertising, third party boycotts and penalties for any breaches of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 as other businesses are. The legal loopholes that the green mafia use to progress eco-political interests must be closed.

Peter Rutherford of Forestry

NZ & Tasmania native forest and national parks   – Friday, 17-Feb-2012

Anonymous makes a good point in showing that NZ is a much bigger land mass than Tasmania but does little to refute the thrust of my main points. If we compare the native forest, national park & plantation areas on a relative scale you can see what I mean (bear in mind that NZ has had a much smaller human influence on its land - some 600 years versus at least 35,000 years):

Total Area National Park Native Forest Pltn
NZ 26,821,559 3,085,171 (11.5%) 6,456,910 (24%) 1,800,000 (6.7%)
Tas 6,810,000 2,400,000 (37%)* 3,135,000 (46%) 254,207 (3.7%)

*doesn't include the reserves on State Forest under the RFA which bring the % to 49% (plus the proposed 472,000ha under the IGA means in excess of 50% of the State will be in reserves at least a 23% increase on NZ and the native forest estate in Tas is nearly double the size in NZ on a relative scale to the area of the total land mass).

And with NZ having nearly double the percentage area of plantation and 7 times the total area it produces over 4 million cubic metres of sawn timber per year. Thus, it can easily substitute resource from those areas more readily than Tasmania can. And given that Tasmania has 72% of its plantations managed for short rotation hardwood fibre only further exacerbates the problem of trying to produce sawlogs from this resource instead of from native forest.

To be really cynical I could throw in that in the space of 100 years of European settlement from 1840, all of the most productive native forests in NZ were cleared (and not regenerated) for farming and a dedicated softwood plantation program has been continuous since 1920, unlike in Tasmania. NZ can afford to reserve all its remaining native forest and still supply timber to its markets and support a vibrant forest industry. Tasmania will simply not have a sawn timber industry if its most productive native forests are locked up any further.

Robert Onfray of Private

Tasmanian IGA   – Friday, 17-Feb-2012

And what will become of the forest industry in Tasmania if the IGA falls? No one seems to want to ask that question, let alone answer it. Here are some clues:
1.escalation of the forestry wars;
2.continued political interference in the industry;
3.lack of investment and continuing loss of jobs;
4.continued loss of political,commercial and social relevance;
5.extinction???
We have run out of options. 40 years of trying to avoid this moment have come to nought. And what happens in Tasmania affects the reputation and viability of the industry in the rest of the country. This is not an isolated dispute.

The sooner the "negotiations" are resumed and concluded (or evolve into Part 2), the better it will be for everyone.

Gordon Bradbury of www.blackwoodgrowers.com.au

New Zealand & Tasmanian native forest & national park areas   – Friday, 10-Feb-2012

Hi Brent,

I want to provide some facts to Robert Onfray to quantify about our (I am a Kiwi since 1979) NZ native forests and national park areas. He wrote "NZ didn't have much native forest left nor was there much already in reserves" in his reply to you re: "Tasmanian Forestry Agreement – Friday, 27-Jan-2012".

NZ Total land area = 26,821,559 ha
http://www.mfe.govt.nz/issues/land/land-cover-dbase/#table1
Native forests = 6,456,910 ha
National Parks = 3,085,171 ha (majority in native forests)
http://kcc.org.nz/national-parks

Tasmania Total land area = 6,810,000 ha
https://www.tasmap.tas.gov.au/static/content/LandTenureStatisticsJan2011.pdf

Fact - Our NZ native forests cover the whole of Tasmania nearly!!!


Anonymous

Legitimate envionmental protest behaviour?   – Friday, 10-Feb-2012

It appears to me that the behaviour of some people including elected politicians and so called "environmentalists" have taken their instructions from the Mafia Handbook of Stand-over Procedures.

Consider the following behaviours:

1. Threaten people with all sorts of horrible things unless they do what you ask.
2. If they don't do what you ask send in some unidentifiable thugs(ie protesters) to disrupt their business and issue more threats.
3. Intimidate their family (in this case, their customers and bankers) to persuade them to toe the line.
4. Introduce a protection fee with some rules of behaviour to ensure they continue to toe the line (in this case FSC Certification is being used as the front for this).
5. If all that doesn't work, kill them off (ie destroy their business completely) as a warning to others.
6. Have a legitimate "front" to make it appear that you are a law abiding member of society (ie a political party, a charitable organisation which can accept tax deductible donations).
7. Recruit some high profile businessmen and some "hollywood" types to support you, especially when you might be facing legal proceedings.
8. Get involved in some humanitarian project which has nothing to do with your core activities as a public front to demonstrate your altruistic credentials (eg support gay marriage, Free Tibet, reduce rebates for private health insurance). Many Mafia leaders were regular church goers and made huge donations to charities.

Am I that far off the mark? Think about it. Why are all the above behaviours tolerated, when it is in the name of some "environmental cause"? If we sanction these behaviours, how then can we admonish such behaviour as criminal in other walks of life?

Food for thought.

Peter Volker of personal opinion

Good news stories   – Wednesday, 8-Feb-2012

Hi there Stephen

Thanks for your note. You’re right. With a depressed housing market, issues of upheaval within the industry in Tasmania – and in a number of the other States, mill closures and staff layoffs, a significant cut across R&D funding – and staffing… - the list goes on. Backing up your own calls and discussions, I think the industry is justifiably concerned about its immediate future. Any processing operation will tell you just how tough market conditions are at the moment and how they are tightening their belts. As you’ve found out, this applies to other parts of the sector – and service industries at the moment.

The issue of unjust media attention is really an extra – but isn’t the cause for the current pessimism. When you look at the findings of the inquiry – and yes – we have covered this in a previous issue - they’re all laudable - but are linked to future opportunities – and policies that should be enacted to enable the industry to reach its full potential. At this particular time the winds of change are as you rightly point out – are against us.

That said, its times like these that positive press – and using a variety of media – enables the industry to be a little more upbeat – hearing about the good news stories that are out there. We try and cover as many of these as we can in Offcuts. Its times like these we also need to be pro-active in pushing the positive news out to the wider community. The doom and gloom coverage is not doing the industry any good – now or into the future.

Editor of Offcuts

Forestry - how bright is our future?   – Wednesday, 8-Feb-2012

Greetings Brent.

I still enjoy Friday Offcuts – it is a most useful source of information. Many thanks. I spend a lot of the time on the road in SE Asia and it helps me keep in touch with things at home.

I am preparing for AUSTimber2012 event where I am the Chair of the Conference Organising Committee and have been discussing the forestry sector with many in the industry. I have been going through the Committee Report to the House of Representatives Inquiry into the Australian Forestry Industry – it is available on the web, along with all of the submissions at: http://www.aph.gov.au/house/committee/arff/forestry.

I do not recall you having reviewed the report in Friday Offcuts. Perhaps you have – I am not always in a position to review the reports. It contains a good deal of data which might contain useful background for your own articles or for the work of other professionals. The conclusions of the Committee are very positive and that “the future of the Australian forest industry is bright”.

I am scratching my head about this. Since being back home and discussing AUSTimber with a broad cross-section of the Australian industry (Universities, R&D scientists, forest managers, policy makers, harvesting and haulage contractors and processors) I have been struck by a universal gloom about the industry. Almost everyone I have spoken to has complained about lack of political will or commitment, lack of legal and policy frameworks, cuts to staffing and funding, decline in social licence to operate, biased and inflammatory reporting in the media, poor markets and the high Aussie dollar.

I am sure that you receive similar stories in your role. Why is this so? How can a committee report fully support the important role the industry plays in rural and regional economies and conclude that the future of the Australian forest industry is bright, when the practitioners across the broad spectrum of the industry are uniformly gloomy?

Perhaps the Committee was able to examine facts without the distraction of media hype and twenty second TV grabs, and listen to people and their arguments and stories with some scientific authority and be able to make an independent decision? Perhaps the ongoing media attacks are wearing the industry down? Have we become tired of having to defend, defend, defend? I certainly think that it is linked with your recent comments regarding communications by the forestry sector to the wider community.

Anyway, this is a conundrum I share. A committee of our elected political leaders takes a long and careful look at the industry, listens to the brightest and best in the country and comes to the conclusion that the future of the Australian forest industry is bright. Personally and professionally, I am happy with such a conclusion because our society has never demanded the products of the forests more – whether it is biodiversity, water, peace and tranquillity away from urban activity or wood to build houses or make paper.

Stephen Midgley of Salwood Asia Pacific

Communications using the right images   – Tuesday, 7-Feb-2012

Excellent points Rob – and one angle I hadn’t thought of. I think for many of us we are too close to the industry to fully appreciate what are the real buttons we should be pushing to gain buy-in from the community. Look at any brochure for forestry and wood products promotions and we get a whole bunch of photos – just as you’ve outlined.

I remember when NetWork PR did their road show here in NZ 4-5 years ago unveiling their master plan for NZ Wood. The first year was aimed at getting buy-in from stakeholders and raising the awareness of the economic and social contributions that forestry was making to the local community – and to NZ.

All of the promotional materials had photos of smiling faces working out in the forest or happy consumers playing on their wooden decks. There wasn’t a pic in sight showing the normal life cycle we tend to profile from the seedling through to harvest and a range of finished wood products. It at the time was foreign to those working within the industry but obviously selling points from an external agency looking in.

Editor of Friday Offcuts

The Communications Debate - Friday Offcuts   – Tuesday, 7-Feb-2012

I noted in your recent Friday Offcuts your editorial on communications and how we can improve it. I was disappointed to see on a recent issue of a well-known industry magazine a full page photo of a mulching and stumping machine with the wording – inside the forest destroyer unleashed. How do we send a positive message to the community when we talk about “destroying forests” and developing wonderful machines to do this!

Part of the problem in my view is that we spend far too much time talking and taking photographs of the “forestry abattoir” (quote from Ric Sinclair FWPA) rather than the wonderful forests we grow and manage.

The harvesting operation (I have never logged a forest in my life) occurs at most for 10% of the time we manage the forest. The majority would be less than 5%. However we focus the majority of our photographs and stories on this activity and then wonder why the community does not like what we do!

If we ever wanted a more telling example of what can happen when the community ire is activated revisit the ABC Four Corner program from last year on Australian Live Cattle Exports to Indonesia. The majority of the community knows what happens in a meatworks but they just do not want to see it or be reminded of it!

We cannot run away from harvesting forests, it is a necessity but surely we do not have to continually rub the community’s nose in it. If we want to win more of their support we need to far more aware about how we talk about our industry and importantly understand how the community perceives our communication.

Rob de Fégely of Myoora Investments P/L

Promoting the Industry   – Tuesday, 31-Jan-2012

I think that the poll on funding industry promotion is flawed because it only allows one option to be selected. It is the responsiblility of everyone who works in the industry to promote the good news about forests and timber. Until we collectively take action to reverse the mis-information and outright lies that are promulgated daily in the media, we will never reverse the green mindset that has been built up in the general community by the deliberate actions of a few hard core people who have a different philosophy to that of wise use of natural resources.

Recently in Australia there was national media coverage of the federal opposition's consideration of reducing government subsidies to the car manufacturing industry by $500 million. The media reported that this proposed policy change would jeapordise the 50,000 jobs that this industry supported. In contrast, the timber industry supports some 120,000 jobs (BRS figures), gets zero public money and has to operate in an adverse policy environment from all levels of government. Surely with a concerted effort by all forest and timber industry players we can bombard the media and government with facts, figures, letters to the editor and phone and email communications to politicians of all persausions until the message gets through.

It just needs someone (or organisation) with the will and energy to coordinate and direct the effort.

John Ball of Institute of Foresters, Northern Branch

Fluctuating NZ Log Prices   – Tuesday, 31-Jan-2012

Re this week's story on log prices. "Log prices have bounced around over the past couple of months with many saying that this is the sort of behaviour we should expect to see in this market for the foreseeable future. There is still strong demand for New Zealand logs in China even as there are reports of slowing growth. However, the government is trying to cool the rampant property market by building more affordable housing. This is of course doing wonders for the demand for building materials such as timber."

So long as the NZ industry continues to compete against each other on log prices this situation will continue into the future. The industry should take a lesson from the Fonterra example howver unpalatble that might be. I know that the industry has tried co-operative log marketing before and it failed due to the egos of some participants. Asia is the future for the foresdt industry and ther is nothing that the Asians like better but to divide and conquer which is what they have been doing to NZ for decades.

David Buckleigh of Mighty River Power

Forest Industry Promotions   – Sunday, 29-Jan-2012

Some of the money raised from the implementation of the carbon tax should be spent promoting the environmental benefits of timber (especially CO2 uptake). The stated purpose of taxing the big polluters is to make Australia a more sustainable economy. To this end wood should be used in place of alternatives where ever possible.

Mark of Feeling the Forestry Downturn

Tasmanian Solution   – Friday, 27-Jan-2012

In a resource limited world, I cannot understand why people outside the eco-activist movement advocate we should exit from native forest harvesting, to give us a “Chamberlain solution” to the native forest debate in Australia.

For over 35 years, I have worked in a variety of roles in native forest and plantation management, as well as the wastepaper recycling industry.

In recent years, as questions of sustainability are raised, I appreciate that when working in native forests, I am working in the largest land based organic production system in Australia. When regenerating an area of native forest, I don’t have the site prep, seedling and planting, as well as fertilizer and chemical purchase and application bills that are part of the input cost of the plantations that I am also responsible for.

To accept that we should walk away from the native forest industry and facilitate ongoing conversion of tropical forests to plantations and in doing so, continue to export an increasing amount of the impact of our forest products consumption, to try to satisfy the insatiable demands of eco-activists, in my view, borders on immoral behaviour.

Given the tactics opponents of the native forest industry use in Australia, I would expect support from the broader industry for those affected by the eco-bullies would be a more appropriate response, rather than capitulation.

Feel free to view the attached links and decide if behaviours of the anti-forestry activists should be endorsed by the close down of the most sustainable land based production system we have in Australia.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0I1-HMl34-U

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=goxsLw443dw

www.youtube.com/watch?v=DlFaxMmCi78

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lcqyVt2Jk6k

Peter Rutherford of Forest Manager

Wood Video   – Friday, 27-Jan-2012

The Danish wood video "Wood - nature's stroke of genius" is excellent. It is clear, concise, and believable.

Jim Williamson of retired West Australian forester

Nelson Flooding   – Friday, 27-Jan-2012

I think the forest industry should admit some of the practices permitted by Counils in steep erosion prone land do not necessarily equate to best environmental practice. In Golden Bay, where devastating flooding and damage to houses occured involving tonnes of logging debris, there has to be some questions asked of recent logging practices.

Ground based logging was permitted on known areas involving steep slopes, highy erodible soils and close proximity to houses. Admittedly the rainstorm was a 1 in 100 year event, but there have been a series of adverse weather events involving failure of skids sites etc in Nelson/Marlborough over the past few years. They make sensational news but we should not blame the media when as an industry we could lift our game.

peter wilks of pf olsen

Anti-forestry media coverage - comment   – Friday, 27-Jan-2012

Improving Forestry's overall PR story won't solve the regular flooding problems caused in Nelson/Marlborough over the past few years. Improving forestry practices to avoid contributing to subsequent flooding problems in the first place would.

Anonymous

Victimisation by the Unfair Vicious Media   – Friday, 27-Jan-2012

There is always a message there so learn to read it.

Even with P. rad forestry moves slowly. People get used to a landscape so expect reactions when you wop down a few miles of roadside hill and hedge it with slash. A bit better landscape planning, a bit better recognition of land capability, a bit better publicity for what we are doing - 'Gero US owns these trees and we are replanting them with more so that another million oldies can have new hips' - adapt to your situation.

Remember we have come a long way. My first conversation with a New Zealand farmer 50 years ago, on telling him I was a forester, ended with the remark that he didn't see much future there as everyone knew that trees caused disease amongst farm animals.

John Purey-Cust of Retired

Respose to Dr Gordon Bradbury and Brent Apthorp   – Friday, 27-Jan-2012

I do take some umbrage with Dr Bradbury's description of me as an 'industry person' intent on maintaining conflict about Tasmania's forests. I am in fact a forester with over 30-years experience, including lengthy periods in Victoria and Tasmania working in native forest management including timber production and fire.

I am simply advocating that truth, rather than perception perpetrated by decietful anti-forestry campaigns, should be the arbiter of public opinion on forestry. This is clearly a difficult ask as many others have said, but simply rolling over to extremists shouldn't be contemplated if as foresters we can see that it will worsen environmental outcomes. I would suggest that we are letting down the forest, regardless of the industry, if we don't complain about what is happening and try to inject some factual basis to the discourse.

I would contend that Dr Bradbury demonstrates in his regular contributions to the Green-Left blog Tasmanian Times that he understands very little about native forest management or the industry and has largely swallowed the misconceptions being peddled by the extremists.

Both Br Bradbury and Brent seem to be advocating the benifits of willingly rolling over to extremists simply to reduce protests and make life more comfortable for those who remain in the forest industry. Aside from the forest management implications, this amounts to willingly sacrificing the livelihoods of some industry participants for the benefit of others, and it encourages the extremists to target their next area of protest with the same tactics.

Brent is right that Australia is far different to NZ. For a start it has a far bigger native forest industry, as it should given that it has the 5th highest area of forest cover per capita in the world, and I think the 6th highest forest cover of any nation. To produce nothing from native forests under those circumstances would be morally reprehensible in my view.

But a major difference is the respective prevalence of fire in the landscape. The presence of an economic activity and a government workforce planning, managing and supervising it is integral to maintaining effective fire management in Australian forests. As is already apparent, the decline of forest management as a result of national park expansion has a significant effect on the capability to manage fire right across the landscape beyond just the wood production forests. Expect this to worsen if the industry disappears.

The other point to make is that the Australian plantation industry is already in the cross-hairs of the environmental movement – particularly its use of chemicals. This will clearly ramp-up if the native forest industry disappears. So there are real doubts as to whether Australian forestry can ever be conflict-free even if it rolls over on native forests.

Brent said: “Any agreement is going to take give and take on both sides. Sure, the timber industry is not getting all it should – nor, as evidenced by the media out there at the moment are the other signatories to the agreement, the green groups. The agreement is surely a step towards solving the bitter disputes of the last couple of decades – and longer term – may in fact be in the best interests of the Australian forest products industry”

As I said in my first email, I think this view relies on media spin which represents the ‘green’ perspective. The history of forest disputes in Australia over the last 20-years is that ‘agreements’ like this are only observed by one side (because once it has lost its resource the industry has no choice) – on the other hand the ENGOs just readjust their sights and start campaigning for the next bit. Perhaps you should ask why there is currently a girl sitting up a tree in Tasmania when part of the ‘agreement’ is that the ENGOs desist from protesting.

Regards, Mark Poynter

Mark Poynter of Institute of Foresters of Australia

Tasmanian Forestry Agreement   – Friday, 27-Jan-2012

Have to say I'm with Mark Poynter on this one. The thing that the industry often inexplicably seems to forget is that it is dealing with protest groups, not with people who can compromise on an outcome and go away satisfied. The drive behind Green groups is not to reserve special areas or to achieve better forest management, it is to put an end to 'interference' with non-human ecosystem processes.

This is shown pretty clearly in the increasing pressures on plantation forestry that the recent edition of Offcuts mentions. Gunns may think that they're having a win in trading off native forest operations to get their new pulp mill up, but it will bite them on the bum within a few years when the Greens force enough new restrictions on the plantation industry to make it uneconomic.

Every time the forest industry gives ground, it reinforces the public view that they must have been doing something wrong previously and so (thank heavens) they've been forced to stop it.

The past 40 years has been an unremitting trail of surrenders, and the idea the 'next' agreement will mean an end to the pressure is either a cynical grab for some individual short-term advantage or it's naive in the extreme. If temperate forestry in the English-speaking world is going to survive it has to get on the front foot, not just try to surrender more slowly.

Better PR is a good idea, and there was a story in the IFA's last 'The Forester' magazine about visits to schools to promote the industry. These are worthy initiatives, but they won't be enough. If we want a forest industry that is socially acceptable in a Western democracy, then we'll have to change the industry model to something that more people have a direct interest in. Big companies cutting down lots of trees may be economically efficient and ecologically sustainable, but it's a terrible face for the forest sector to show the public.

Forestry in Europe survives pretty well, with quite solid public support in most places. Why? Because so many people have at least a cousin or a friend's parents who own a bit of forest land somewhere, and do some harvesting occasionally. It is a normal, acceptable countryside activity, and protesting against it would seem a bit like protesting against Old MacDonald milking his cows. From the outside, Australian forestry looks very faceless and corporate in comparison.

It would mean some radical changes to introduce this model into southeast Australia, but I believe it would be possible. Beginning with a pilot project somewhere, divíde the general harvesting area into 40 hectare lots, and offer them up in a cascading series of tenders. First up, local landholders can tender for the lot they want, and if more than one person want the same one then the highest bid wins. Second round, open up the process to all local residents, then to outside residents, then finally amalgamate any leftovers into larger lots and offer them to incorporated bodies. Put a limit on the number of lots that anyone can own, prohibit building on forest lots, and enforce some minimum standards of husbandry (post-harvest regen, fire control measures and the like). It would need the establishment of a new class of land title, a specific 'Forest title' with the right to manage the forest and take the income but no right to restrict public access or enjoyment of the land.

The ramifications of this would be fairly swift. Firstly we would see more management diversity, as every owner would have a different vision of what he wants from his forest land. There would be an instant boom in the demand for professional advice, and for smaller-scale forest machinery and operators. Public interest in forest management (as opposed to forest preservation) would skyrocket, and there would be no sitting target for protesters.

For sure, there would be some challenges. Government agencies may have to learn how to do extension work again, instead of just being regulators. Universities would probably struggle to meet the renewed demand for graduates who know the difference between a Vertex and a Valmet. Commodity wood products would be more expensive to produce, although this could be mitigated through some form of coordinating 'small forest owners cooperative'. Any losses through smaller economies of scale are rather insignificant though, when the alternative is the loss of the whole industry. Without some form of radical shake-up we will lose it, because the Greens won't rest until corporate forestry is dead. Doing deals with them is slow suicide.

Chris Eastaugh of BOKU University, Institute of Silviculture

Tasmanian Forestry Agreement   – Friday, 27-Jan-2012

Sorry to harp on this Brent but I think you missed Mark's main points. We should not lie down and accept that native forest as too controversial just because activists don't like it, although I agree with you about the need to get our message across but I am afaid this has been an issue for as long as I have been a professional forester.

The Tasmanian Agreement isn't give and take on both sides - it is give by the industry and take by the greenies. They have not given up a thing. They will not stop once this agreement is signed. They will then attack the plantation industry. And they will keep on this crusade until no trees will be allowed to be felled in Tasmania. Then they will move on to the other States to achieve the same outcome.

It is irrelevent to compare the Tasmanian situation to NZ when they locked up their native forests. For a start NZ didn't have much native forest left nor was there much already in reserves. Secondly, by switching to pine plantations they could readily replace a sawlog product from the plantations. Hardwood plantations in Tasmania, especially E.nitens, will not produce sawlogs of the quality or quantity required to sustain a sawlog industry and thus it is not a simple substitution that can occur to save the sawlog industry. Apart from a small area on State Forest, the plantations were never established to provide a sawlog resource. And the low quality dry coastal forests that will be allowed to be harvested will not produce the resource to sustain the hardwood sawmilling industry.

This agreement isn't about solving bitter disputes. It is about the industry trying to salvage the best deal they can for themselves under duress.

Robert Onfray of Professioal Forester

FOA Levy, Marketing and General   – Friday, 27-Jan-2012

The Forest Owners Association have recently PR'd their intention to propose a compulsary levy for all forest owners at time of harvest (on all wood except firewood - but including binwood/chip).

www.nzfoa.org.nz/component/content/article/924

This weeks Friday Offcuts talked of a need for positive forestry related PR and gave one example from Denmark.

The two topics are related.

I suggest readers contribute to the FOA's proposed levy discussion - such a levy that would create a base from which industry wide PR could be developed. But the FOA's proposal for a referendum on this levy is vague at best - but ill-conceived and poorly specified in my opinion. Decide for yourself.

The FOA seem like an "old-boys club" dominated by exporter companies (themselves overseas equity based - who's sole objective is to return profits to the country of their investor base.

Isn't it time for a rethink of the NZ Forest industry representation given the need for better national PR, national and global marketing, product development particularly in respect of bio-energy where Scion are full of ideas that seem to go nowhere, and EECA now have a database of expensive information but no money to promote any new initiatives through to implimentation?

Time for a new strategy - not throwing more money at old ones.

Andrew Walker

Andrew Walker of Forester

The reports on 'anti-forestry' snippets   – Friday, 27-Jan-2012

The forest industry would benefit greatly if, in it's publicity, it differentiated between plantation forestry and primary-forest forestry.

The latter cops the strongest flack, for obvious reasons, but it uses the known benefits of old-field plantations in its media, and in so doing drags the plantation sector down with it. Also plantations need to be local species, to cope better with local conditions such as local nutrients and fire regimes (even if this means slower growth rates). Separate and win.

Plantations do have obvious detractions though, just like any intensive agriculture, but a main one in non-saline parts of Australia, and in many parts of Africa, is the continual drain on the water table (because the trees are always near maximum growth rate (being young)) - detracting from growth elsewhere in the landscape.

Bring the forest industry to the suburbs and peri-urban areas (and off the fragile areas), and the community will feel part of it, rather than just seeing it as benefiting the fewer rural citizens and the fat-cat executives & shareholders.

Also, a major investment under climate change must be multiple solar/alternative-powered water desalination plants (from sea water), producing water for forest growth (Australia becoming more arid under climate change) - start now and the industry will boom in 20 years.

Also there must be a greatly increased investment in recycling, else the increasingly large dump of used products will be a huge burden on the climate through emissions upon decomposition (whether through methane or direct CO2).

Some thoughts from the science side to aid the industry. Regards, Chris.

Anonymous

Anti-forestry media coverage   – Friday, 27-Jan-2012

I work on the theory that its always more difficult to judge when you know the whole story. Most people dont understand forestry. They dont know what it involves, how it is managed, or what it really produces. In addition the 'crop' is tall and very obvious in the landscape, particularly when it is clear felled.

The forest industry needs to invite the community in - encourage them to ask to tough/awkward questions. Take the time to explain what we as an industry do. We are farmers and/or land managers that face many of the same problems of others in our rural communities. As for the city folk, I think we need to work with our regional communities to build there knowledge and stop the forestry vs food security debate. We need a landscape approach to planning and the forest and agriculture industries need to show leadership in how we can all work together and diversify our regional economies.

Give the community the whole 'forest' story - have a face, be part of it, then lets see how easy it is for them to judge.

Anonymous

Anti-forestry media coverage - comment   – Friday, 27-Jan-2012

In Gisborne, there’s a lot of negative press and opinions around forestry – mostly relating to logging trucks on the roads and in town as they make their way to the port.

As part of the International Year of the Forests - I organised a screening of some of the forestry films in Gisborne. As part of publicising the event – I wrote the content for an issue of a local events calendar highlighting the positive local and global aspects of pine plantation forestry. In working with the editor of the events calendar (a strongly minded environmentalist) I learned some valuable lessons.

The first – anything perceived as jargon turns people off. What we might perceive as accurate descriptions of events, for example: “annual” or “audit, simply comes across as business speak. I learned that in order for our message about the benefits of the forest industry to be received, we have to make it far more engaging and less about using the accurate terminology or simply stating facts.

Even though facts and arguments that are backed up with research and evidence appeal to how we develop our opinions – this is not the way most people decide on issues. We need to consciously appeal to the emotive.

Through this effort – I received positive feedback and at least one convert to realising the sustainability of the industry, but there is still work to be done!

If anyone is interested in the final look of the publication – I can scan a copy for Friday Offcuts to post.

Megan Costello of Ernslaw One Ltd

Media coverage of forestery   – Friday, 27-Jan-2012

Hi Brent

You seem to be under the misguided belief that the rest of the Media is like yourself and interested in informing people, which I might add you do very well, however the mainstream "News Media" are not interested in this at all and are only interested in controversy because controversy gets attention, a bit like the screaming brat child.

So the New Media will create/generate/turn issues so to create a controversy and are willing to twist, tell only half the story or even makeup bits of the story to create this controversy, as in the old journalist adage "You don't want to let the true get in the way of a good story"

Now compare this to the forest industry, which in comparison is about as exciting as watching trees grow and is it little wonder the air time is a bit bent to the tree huggers. As an industry we could send out good media news releases ever day but unless they are controversy they will get NO or very little traction.

I think as an industry we unfortunately are always going to be the butt of cheap media drama's. Simon

Simon Coughlan of Bioenergy student

Danish Advertisement   – Friday, 27-Jan-2012

Extremely impressed by the Danish timber industry TVC, wondering if the Australasian timber industry could emulate same for our struggling industry. I'm sure the Danish would be thrilled to assist thus ensuring the cost of same is as low as possible. About time we got on the front foot and sold our story to the communitity and more importantly to the politicans including those misguided greens!!

David of Virgin Forests

Anti-forestry media coverage etc.   – Friday, 27-Jan-2012

Hi Ed,
Why did you make your poll options mutually exclusive? I wanted to vote for all of them.

Firstly as a forester of 25 years experience in poor old Tasmania I'm sure you realise that neither the Government not FT are regarded by the community as "honest brokers" in the TFIA deal. Suspicion and anger abound. It is all part of the ongoing conflict which many industry people (eg. Mark Poynter) wish to continue.

Your next comments about public anger at clearfelling pine plantations is no surprise either. People really do love trees (yes even pine plantations) and people really do hate seeing the mass destruction of trees. As a trained landscape architect I have always thought that the forest industry has never really understood this nor considered the negative impacts from community reaction. Better landscape management would go a long way to overcoming negative community sentiment.

Finally I fully support your response to Mark Poynters letter. Logging of public native forest is just a very painful, dead-end street for the forest industry regardless of ANY arguments that the industry cares to use. As you say, NZ made the right decision 20 years ago and has succeeded, while here in Australia the forest industry remains on the critically-endangered list.

Clearly the obvious choice is not so obvious to many.

Keep up the good work.

Dr Gordon Bradbury of www.blackwoodgrowers.com.au

Wood- Nature's Stroke of Genius   – Friday, 27-Jan-2012

Superbly done! Thanks for sharing with your readers!

Lon Sibert of Renewable Resource Associates

Tasmanian Forestry Agreement   – Tuesday, 24-Jan-2012

Thanks for your response Mark. As a forester, no argument from me. We went through the same arguments – albeit on a much reduced scale – for our native timber estate over here quite a few decades ago. Although painful to forestry companies, wood processing operations and communities who in large part were dependent on the local timber industry, the decision in hindsight was probably a good one for the industry longer term.

Regardless of the science that backs a sustainable cut and on-going native forest industry, felling of native timber is always going to be a "red rag to a bull" for activists, green groups and politicians. You may say it’s unfair – that we’re rolling over to a few misguided extremists. In the end, in New Zealand, no longer do we have issues around forestry being a “baddie”. In large part, plantation forestry has a reasonably positive image –although the industry could do a lot more in this area. If the industry is looking to push the benefits, socially and economically to the community, all of the good news stories being told are not being undone by negative press surrounding tree sit ins or protestors unfurling banners on Parliament’s steps…

Any agreement is going to take give and take on both sides. Sure, the timber industry is not getting all it should – nor, as evidenced by the media out there at the moment - are the other signatories to the agreement, the green groups. The agreement is surely a step towards solving the bitter disputes of the last couple of decades – and longer term – may in fact be in the best interests of the Australian forest products industry.

Editor of Friday Offcuts

Tasmanian Forestry Agreement   – Tuesday, 24-Jan-2012

G’day Brent

I read with some bewilderment the positive tone of commentary on the Tasmanian ‘forestry agreement’ on Friday Offcuts, and can only conclude that you don’t fully understand what is happening.

Tasmania has 3.1 million hectares of native forest, including about 900,000 hectares that is privately owned.

About half of the total area is already reserved in parks and reserves of various types. Other areas are either unsuited to forestry or are owned privately by owners who are not interested in forestry. Combined together, the area that is not available to forestry equates to around two-thirds of Tasmania’s forests. By any measure, this is a pretty good result for conservation, but it also allowed for a significant native timber industry based on around 590,000 ha of publicly-owned forest and about 450,000 ha of private forest.

The aim of environmental groups has always been to totally close the state’s native timber industry. They have focussed on the public land forests, because they realise they have limited capability to directly influence what happens on private land. However as the public land provides most of the high quality resource, if it is closed to forestry, the industry is likely to be greatly affected with substantial implications for private forest owners.

The Tasmanian Inter-Governmental Agreement will basically remove 428,000 ha of the available 590,000 ha of public forest out of production – or 72% of the area of available public land resource. The overriding aim of ENGOs is to then keep campaigning so as to eventually take 572,000 ha (or 96%) of the public resource out of production. How this can be considered as a good thing for the industry is beyond me. Yes it will provide certainty to Forestry Tasmania – certainty that they will only exist in a form that is a shadow of its former self; and ditto for the industry if it continues at all in the longer term. There are also negative connotations for forest management in general relating to effectively having almost all public forest in parks and reserves, but that’s another story.

Industry support for this situation has been based solely on the prospect of receiving compensation payments for exiting the industry, that they will otherwise not get. There are also other elements of the industry who have agreed to it through gritted teeth, despite substantial divisions amongst their membership, while the CFMEU – the union representing the forestry sector – agreed to it for unknown reasons, but perhaps because it saw it as a trade-off that would help get the Gunns pulpmill built and a totally plantation-based industry which would present opportunities for having a totally unionised workforce. Forestry Tasmania were not even allowed to be party to the Agreement despite managing the land.

The verification of ‘High Conservation Value’ forests is also highly fraught. It is supposed to an independent process, but is being managed by a former Director of the Wilderness Society and a six-man team, of which 4 have links to environmental groups. Talk about putting the fox in charge of the hen-house! Again, I fail to see why any industry-publication could present this in a positive light. I can only conclude that this is due to a reliance on media reports which almost always represent the ‘green’ perspective and omit key information to give a positive spin.

I would urge you to research this issue a bit more deeply before presenting it as though it is great news.

Regards.

Mark Poynter of Victorian media spokesperson, Institute of Foresters of Australia

Carbon unwinding   – Tuesday, 13-Dec-2011

Canada leads the way!!

Check out uk.reuters.com/article/2011/12/12/us-kyoto-withdrawal-idUKTRE7BB1X420111212

Anonymous

Cabon Crash   – Tuesday, 13-Dec-2011

The exposure of the great carbon con that is Emmissions Trading by the coming financial crisis is the best thing to happen in years. The folly that we have been suckered into has fed rent seekers, bureaucrats and parasites all paid for by EU power consumers and other suckers. Enough, it has failed - it must stop. Of course we can get the $400 million refund from CNI Iwi so they can convert Kaingaroa to whatever. Not sure how we get a return of the free pass given to convert Eyrewell and Balmoral to dairy ??

Anonymous

Carbon Credits   – Monday, 12-Dec-2011

Ive been told Fonterra made $10 millon from it's carbon trading last year. I'm reading Air con by Ian Wishart who has found very little evidence to back the need for carbon credits and global warming.

Anonymous

New Zealand carbon price collapse below $10 a tonne.   – Sunday, 11-Dec-2011

Scrapping the Emissions Trading Scheme in its totality seems wisest with such a dramatic price collapse, resentment from many in the sector it is to regulate and the high costs of distraction versus the perceived political benefits. The Schemes complex nature, its retrospective application to exotic forestry, delayed implementation to agriculturalists results in resentment, reduced trust in politicians and a boost for offshore investment. ETS's counterproductive "benefits" smite more of mismanagement, political favouritism and dogmatic refusal to face economic facts. How low does the carbon price have to fall before the powers that be scrap it as a bad experiment?

Anonymous

Carbon Credit Price Crash   – Saturday, 10-Dec-2011

Prior to the arrival of the Emissions Trading Scheme the sun was setting on forestry. New planting had ceased and clearance for agriculture was accelerating. Environment Minister Nick Smith has made the ETS so weak that it exists in name only. I expect we will see a return to the status quo antes with a collapse in new planting and a massive re-invigoration of the deforestation industry. Good bye Kaiangaroa Forest; hello Kaiangaroa Dairy!

Owen Springford of Southern Forestry Ltd

Forest logging increases risk of mega-fires   – Monday, 26-Sep-2011

David Lindenmayer of the anu branch of the wilderness society has, in recent years, made an art form of selecting pieces of information that support his land management objectives and sprinkling in a little science.

He apparently does not accept that regular burning of mixed species native forest by lightning caused fires, as well as aboriginal burns provided low fuel buffers around and into the fringes of the ash forests. This protection meant that the ash forests had the crap burnt out of them every 200 to 400 years. Now it has been reduced over most of the ash forests to between 10 & 70 years.

While ever the arm chair experts refuse to accept the role that fire, in the right time and place, has played in shaping the pre-European forests, they will have government fiddle with the native forest industry, while mega fires and feral predators reek havoc on our native forest ecosystems and the associated biodiversity.

Peter Rutherford of IFA

Forest logging increases risk of mega fires   – Friday, 23-Sep-2011

While you must recognise the importance of long-term research into forests, I am continually disappointed with the work from Lindenmayer. The constant comparison to a compartment (clearfell site in a state forest) to a forest (an entire catchment or protected area) is a little apples and oranges in my view.

Yes, a clearfell results in an even age stand, but this is restricted to the compartment harvested. The entire forest/catchment is far from even aged, but rather mix aged (regeneration + relict old trees). Unfortunately I am not in the position to undertake such research, but it would be interesting to have a breakdown of area by age class for state forests and national parks. If any readers know of this, please reply!

The unreferenced statement that "logging has converted more than 90% of formerly old forest to young regenerating stands" is an interesting one, any readers know where this figure comes from?

Geoff of NGO

Regrowth to cause megafires   – Friday, 23-Sep-2011

Oh for heaven's sake! The abuse of science to push a pre-conceived green view is becoming endemic. Lindenmeyer, fresh from telling us that we shouldn't salvage dead trees from burnt forests (presumably the environment will benefit if we use wood from living trees in south-east Asia instead), is now telling us that logging causes large areas of regrowth forests. Please! Since 1939, much of the Central Highlands of Victoria has been clad in regrowth from the Black Friday fires of that year. Before that, very significant areas of Victoria's ash forests were established as a result of the fires of 1851. These fires did not burn through youing regrowth forests.

One of the things that I agree with Lindenmeyer about is that the 2009 fires burnt through most of Victoria's remaining over-mature ash forests. That is, they burnt without distinction through young and old forests alike. The huge fuel loads in the older forests obviously burnt more intensely that the comparitevely low fuel loads in at least the very young forests. The presence of a logging road network, and the existence of a patchwork of recently regenerated low-fuel areas enabled VicForests to save a significant area of ash forest to the east of Toolangi from being burnt.

It is timid fire fighting, rather than logging regrowth or global warming that is contributing most to what the greens are pleased to call "mega-fires." In particular it is the requirements for fire-fighter safety and the need to do the politically expedient thing and be seen to be defending houses, rather than fighting the fire where it is that are lowering the quality of outcomes from our fire fighting efforts. This is clear to those who havve been involved in these fire-fights, but it is not expedient to say so. By the way, fire fighter safety is a laudable aim, but it seems to me that many times we are keeping our fire fighters safe now, and thus exposing those fire fighters, or others that will be in the path of the fire, to greater danger later.

One thing is certain. Manipulating the facts to suit a green world-view, and debasing science by using ostensibly scientific techniques to push a pre-determined view will not help society in either the short or the long run.

Anonymous

Mega Fires and Logging   – Friday, 23-Sep-2011

It is hard to understand why high profile scienists choose to virtually cherry pick the basis for key reports. This latest report on mega fires and logging/regrowth impacts is a perfect example. In the past decade we have seen 3 major forest fires in the landscape between Canberra and Melbourne - 2003, 2007, 2009.

The 2003 and 2007 fires were far larger and in my view had far greater wildlife and carbon impacts than the 2009 event yet they are ignored in this latest report by David Lindenmayer and others.

The 2003 and 2007 fires occurred mostly in reserved forests and forests that had not been subjected to intensive timber harvesting. Virtually no woodchip operations had occurred within them. Yet they featured broad area incineration at a massive scale.

Interesting that they should be "overlooked" by those who should be among the most objective in our society.

Vince Phillips of SEFE Eden

Forest logging increases risk of mega fires   – Friday, 23-Sep-2011

"Before European settlement, the fire regime was dominated by an infrequent severe wildfire that occurred in late summer" on this statement alone the opion paper by Lindermeyer et al flounders he discounts the effects of drought, lightning, and Indigenous practices in one unsupported sentence. The paper does not account for the transfer since the 70s of millions of hectares of public land into reserves, nor does it account for the removal of planned burning from the landscape over the same time period nor the increased funding and attention to suppression of all fires in the landscape. Lindermeyer asks us to believe that havesting on a tiny percentage of the landscape that is available for harvest and within in that an even smaller subset the wet ash forests is some how responsible for all the bushfire problems in Australia?

Anonymous

Mega fires in Australia   – Friday, 23-Sep-2011

Reading this article made me think. Is the fire-prone nature of these forests the reason why they are called mountain "ash" forests?

Peter Brown of PFS Consultants Limited

Reduction in logging to meet emissions targets   – Friday, 26-Aug-2011

It might interest Byron to know, that a critic of the report referred to above, was threatened with legal action by the report's author, for daring to criticise the methodology. I'm afraid the academics in the Fenner School at ANU, which also houses the old Forestry School (what's left of it), are doing their best to talk down the native forestry sector in Australia, which is a prime source of high quality hardwood timber. The irony is that Australia is now a major importer of tropical hardwood timber and paper products. So these academics continue to press for closing our own sustainable native forest sector while our demand for timber transfers to places that have, at best, questionable sustainable management credentials.

Peter Volker of IFA

Reduction in logging to meet emissions targets   – Tuesday, 23-Aug-2011

The claim that Australia could meet almost half its greenhouse gas reduction target by ceasing native forest logging appears to be based on several questionable assumptions.

1. The study seems to assume that carbon removed from the forest during logging will immediately be released into the atmosphere. In reality, a significant proportion will be stored for decades or even centuries in housing, furniture, flooring and even paper.

2. The study ignores the carbon that will be removed from the atmosphere by the regenerating forest.

3. If native forest logging ceases, Australia will probably make up the shortfall in timber by importing timber from forests that almost certainly will not be as well managed as Australia's.

4. If we don't import additional timber, then we will have to use alternative products such as steel, aluminium and plastic. The manufacture of these products emits huge amounts of carbon.

I suggest that banning native forest logging would be likely to result in an increase in carbon emissions and would have wider negative environmental impacts.

Charles Body of retired forester

Reduction in logging to meet emissions targets   – Friday, 19-Aug-2011

Will our forestry leaders respond to this simplistic idea put forward in The Canberra Times - i.e. carbon capture from regen, carbon costs for alternative materials, bushfires, forest management, etc? or shall we just discuss it among ourselves and say it is just another weak excuse to end sustainable timber harvesting in this country, meanwhile the misinformed public continue to lay the boot into forestry.

Byron of Private Forestry

Carbon credits and wood in service   – Friday, 15-Jul-2011

The masterminds that dreamt up the Kyoto protocol whereby all the carbon locked up in a tree is immediately released the moment the tree is cut down have created a huge negative element for New Zealand and Australian forestry. Our forest plantations of all species, many privately-funded, are the major carbon fixing units on the New Zealand landscape. Much of that wood goes into long term storage as wood in service. We deserve some credit for that.

The residues of bark and sawdust not used in products can be used to generate energy while they are being returned to atmosphere as carbon dioxide. As things stand at the moment, those of us who made the investment (bought the land, planted the trees and tend them until they can be harvested) have been excluded from any financial (carbon credit type) reward for their efforts.

We need to give as much support as we can to our representatives attending the 2012 Kyoto Protocol review to ensure that this farcial situation is put right and credit is given where credit is fairly due. Beware also of permanent forest sink initiatives as no forest is permanent. All will reach old age and will recycle by rot and decay, fire, pest and disease outbreak etc. When these old forests croak who will repay the carbon credits? Our grandchildren or their children? Not a very smart legacy to leave for future generations.

Anonymous

Stop propping up plantation forestry   – Friday, 1-Jul-2011

"Economist at the Australian National University Dr Judith Ajani said excess production of plantation timber combined with slow growth in demand will lead to a substantial annual wood glut."

A major factor overlooked by Dr. Ajani is competition from imported timber. This is largely the result of the high Australian dollar but also caused by Australia's aging sawmilling infrastructure being uncompetitive with large, modern mills overseas.

Martin Strandgard of University of Melbourne

Australian Forest Privatisation   – Friday, 1-Jul-2011

Dr Judith Ajani of the Australian parliamentary commission into forest privatisation believes government owned forests should be privatised. From our experience privatisation has made it very difficult to get long term contracts on waste wood supply for our biomass combined heat and power plants. Current owners of NZ's former state owner forests (Harvard, Hancocks etc) do not want to jeopardise investment exit strategies by signing up supply agreements to their lowest value products and as a result financiers of biomass energy plant withhold funding for lack of secure fuel supply.

If the NZ government still owned NZ forests (Forest Corp etc) I have it on good authority that long term supply would no longer be our primary limiting factor. 1.7 million barrels of oil equivalents rots to nothing (along with the GST and income tax potential) each year on the flat forests of the Central North Island. Beware Australia - given the energy focus of the 21st centry Dr Ajani is advising you in the wrong direction.

Russell Judd of NZ Clean Energy Centre

Wind turbines   – Sunday, 19-Jun-2011

Thanks for the positive response. The image as pointed out was of a wind turbine to complement the story - to break up the text - not wooden but composite blades of a another wind turbine. I hope this didn't confuse our readers. Cheers.

Editor of Friday Offcuts

Radiata Pine laminated wind turbine blades   – Friday, 17-Jun-2011

Dear sir,

Re your story on the development of laminated New Zealand radiata pine wind turbine blades. Great to see further uses for NZ pine being developed. The accompanying photo showed a 3 blade instalation which I have to assume is a carbon fibre composite as the NZ pine blade is only 2 blade?

Regards,
Trevor Stapp.

Trevor Stapp of Pacific Pine Industries

SA Government forestry sale   – Friday, 6-May-2011

Thank goodness. Now we need to focus on NSW Forests selling their plantation resource. Then we might begin to see the forest industry in Australia take on a proper commercial focus, and become a profitable, commercial industry at last. Let's end the nanny culture of the forest industry in Australia please.

Dr. Gordon Bradbury of Gordon Bradbury

Christchurch reconstruction materials   – Wednesday, 4-May-2011

In the comparatives between timber and steel framing options (29/4/2010) those writing the media release are obviously ill informed.

The NZ Department of Building and Housing (DBH) has recently announced the preferred minimum treatment class for Timber house Framing as H1.2.

Timber Framing produced as H1.2 is no more likely to contain Copper, Chrome or Arsenic than Steel framing contains the remnants of Gangster Al Capones getaway car.

Surely the focus in the Christchurch reconstruction should be on New Zealand grown renewable Timber products that require comparatively little energy to grow and produce, other than that provided free of charge from the Sun.

Bruce Anderson of Pinepac

Steel framed houses for Christchurch   – Friday, 29-Apr-2011

I was unaware that New Zealand mined iron ore or that it had a huge source of electricity and coking coal to manufacture steel. Therefore I assume the steel is imported. How can this be sustainable or contribute much to the NZ economy?

Meanwhile NZ exports whole logs, while local manufacturers close their factories. What a great idea it was to sell off the public plantation resource. All those US pensioners are getting a great return on their minimal investment and Chinese workers are enjoying full employment manufacturing timber products that Aussies and Kiwis can buy at bargain basement prices. Rogernomics at its best.

It does demonstrate the complete lack of coordination in the forest and timber manufacturing industries and the lack of willingness to get serious about promoting their own products. The sooner we have one voice for the whole industry from stump to final construction the better (Aus and NZ should combine forces). In Australia we have 35 separate industry representative organisations, it's just crazy - most of the money goes into paying the staff, rather than doing any promotion.

My kids are both studying engineering. The steel, aluminium,cement, petroleum and mining industries are prominent in supporting student scholarships, social functions (ie putting on bbq's with beer and wine!), but the forest, timber, wood manufacturing industry is nowhere to be seen. No wonder graduates never consider timber in their thinking. The School of Architecture at Tasmania University gets some token support from the timber industry, only because the head of department is so keen about timber architecture.

It's about time our industrial partners stopped bleating about losing out to these substitute products and actually did something to help themselves, rather than in-fighting about whether LVL vs solid timber or native forests vs plantations or FSC vs PEFC etc etc.. It's all wood, so it must be good!

Peter Volker of IFA

Everyday entire forests die for paper!   – Sunday, 13-Feb-2011

Many years ago, while doing some strategic planning, I was told that linear thinking usually lead to unexpected or even perverse outcomes. An example of linear thinking is the push to use electronic technology to "save the forests." The proponents are intent on saving one environmental element - trees, while promoting solutions that are potentially more energy intensive and present potentially greater environmental threats than the use of paper.

The first link below provides some interesting statistics on the long term pollution created by obsolete electronic products in Australia. The recycling rate of electronic goods and heavy metal pollution threats do not stand up well in comparision to the recycling rates and pollution risks associated with paper.

The second link puts this issue into a global perspective.

www.environmentvictoria.org.au

www.amta.org.au

It would be a real step forward if a systems thinking approach to solving key environmental problems was taken, rather than the advertising jingle and political rhetoric that currently masquerades as environmetal policy in Australia and elsewhere.

As consumers, we need to ask ourselves a few questions. Do I need to buy/use this product? What is an appropriate balance between these competing/complemenatary goods?

Peter Rutherford of Institute of Foresters

NZ's #2 ranking in lost forest   – Friday, 11-Feb-2011

Have we received the apology yet? I read, now, we have been corrected down to #22nd place. Given that the Greens and other environmental groups were extremely quick to latch onto this obvious error as fact I would expect an apology from them as well............(crickets chirping)

Jeff Martin of Arbor Forest Management

Victoria's old growth forests   – Tuesday, 8-Feb-2011

Firstly congratulations on setting up Friday Offcuts it is a good industry summary and makes interesting reading.

In my professional paid capacity I am the Forest Scientist with VicForests. In a voluntary capacity I am the Victorian Chair of Institute of Foresters of Australia. I was appreciative of seeing the IFA press release regarding the Reflex article included in last Fridays edition. Many of us both at VicForests and within the IFA were quite disturbed by the nasty campaign by the Wilderness Society.

In my IFA role I have worked to promote improved sustainability of native forests, plantation and farm forestry but see it is counter-productive to promote any one form over the other. What is important is abiding by sustainability principles.

Just one correction in your piece from last week is that Australian Paper does not use old-growth forests to make their paper. VicForests undertakes the harvesting and sells pulpwood to Australian Paper from regrowth Mountain Ash and Alpine Ash forests from the Central Highlands of Victoria. Australian Paper also source plantation timber from Hancocks Eucalypt and Pine plantations.

Old Growth Ash forests in the Central Highlands are protected. Further, VicForests are also not permitted to harvest any pre-1900 origin Ash trees in the Central Highlands. Most harvesting is of regrowth from the 1939 wildfires.

Given the relative rarity of Old growth Ash forests in the Central Highlands the protection of these Old Growth forests is supported by Victorian Foresters including those within VicForests.

Michael Ryan of Institute of Foresters of Australia

Sawmill Redundancies   – Friday, 21-Jan-2011

When are corporate entities going to analyze where there markets really are? Commodity prices may be denominated in US dollars but that doesn't mean the US is any kind of market opportunity for New Zealand wood products. Canada can swamp that market in the blink of an eye. Company sale forces should be better appraising the Asia Pacific area to see where markets truly might be available. New Zealand needs the value-added sector to be strong, to provide badly needed jobs and their associated family incomes (and pay taxes of course). We have more than enough wood available to service the log export market and to create vibrant alternate wood utilising industries. Can we not produce competitive products? Where are our commerce trained graduates who can provide market analyses and solid economic leadership for our forest industry?

Anonymous

Time to restructure Victorian forestry   – Wednesday, 29-Dec-2010

Chris McEvoy claim's Victoria would need only 100,000 metres cubed of sawn logs a year to become self-sufficient in durable timber and that would require just 400ha of plantation to be harvested annually - or 8000ha in total on a 20-year cycle.

Assuming at best, a hardwood plantation would produce 1m3 of sawlog for every 2m3 of growth, the durable species plantations would need to have a merchantable growth of 25m3 per annum. Most 'fast growing' eucalypts rarely average 20m3 per annum. As durable species growth rates are usually much slower than blue gums, Mr McEvoy's maths seem extremely optimistic, if not fanciful.

I expect that we will see the claims contained in the McEvoy article regurgitated by the anti native forest harvesting movement.

Anonymous

Plantations could replace native-forest logging in Victoria   – Wednesday, 29-Dec-2010

Another simplistic proposal by TWS to support their political campaign to shut down all native forest harvesting in Australia. The deficencies in the proposal include:
- failure to check what contracts commit at least part of the resource to overseas markets;
- the overall impact of sourcing more wood products from production systems with higher inputs of non renewable energy and chemicals than are used in the production of fibre form native forests;
- the real economic cost of the proposal; and
- the risk of closure of Australian processing industries and the continued transfer of the impact of our consumption to offshore environments.

The economic expertise in the report confirms the proposition that the role of economists is to make astrologers look creditable.

Peter Rutherford of IFA

Forest Carbon Farming Smear Campaigns   – Friday, 3-Dec-2010

We have had various articles in various print lately condeming the current science supporting forest carbon farming vis a vis climate change.

Most recently the "albedo effect" mentioned in your newsletter talking about darker forest areas reflecting less hence warming the planet.

Then there's the EU driven "Forestry Loophole" that picks out NZ specifically.

www.reuters.com/article/idUS368348002620101201

Locally there're multiple anti-community and anti-forestry statements from Farm-Feds Don Nicolson, as well as fear tactics of fire and blight!

http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/10_36/b4193027868842.htm

I suspect the intelligence of all the people behind such activity is not in doubt - but the motivation probably is.

Reality is straight forward ... turn erosion prone grass-land into forestry and watch the rivers improve and the carbon grow within the trees.

There is a short term benefit and a cash flow benefit for the land owner if they join the ETS ... and I expect in due course there will be community related opportunities when forest derived energy is adopted within our hestitant economy as oposed to countries like Sweden who are 20 years ahead of us in this regard.

But overall ... the anti-carbon sink brigade seem no better than the cigarette manufacturers in the 50's using doctors and babies to promote smoking for health!

www.nytimes.com/2008/10/07/business/media/07adco.html

It's all about the hidden agenda.

Regards

Andrew Walker of Forester

Carbon footprint   – Tuesday, 30-Nov-2010

The 3 LVL (laminated Veneer Lumber)producers in New Zealand, NPIL, JNL, and CHH, have worked with Scion to produce a carbon footprint for LVL made in New Zealand. This will be released very shortly.

Philip Wilson of Nelson Pine Industries Ltd

Carbon footprint a selling point?   – Friday, 26-Nov-2010

Thanks for the story on carbon footprinting and drawing attention to Andrew Karalus, excellent presentation from earlier this year. Both the story and presentation highlight the potential for all wood products to exploit their good carbon footprint compared to our non-wood competitors provided they are: based on accepted international standards (ISO and PAS), labelled by credible organisations (eg. Carbon Trust / Planet Ark), and the message is simply communicated (Cabon footprint) for end consumers.

Stephen Mitchell of Timber Development Association (NSW)

Carbon forestry   – Friday, 26-Nov-2010

The models we use in New Zealand do not take account of any positive (or negative) effect of CO2 fertilisation, so the Oak Ridge and Guelph papers are irrelevant for our calculations. We have always considered that the major on-site benefit of planting trees is to convert a landscape of low carbon density to a landscape that contains more carbon when averaged over a long period of time.

The problem of course is that the world has limited plantable land. The albedo effect (as Brown mentions) is important but mainly in high latitude regions where afforestation with a sunlight-absorbing canopy replaces snow-covered bare ground. There is likely to be far less of a difference when you compare pines and grass/scrub in New Zealand.

Piers Maclaren of Piers Maclaren & Associates Limited

Cloud over CO2 storage in trees   – Friday, 26-Nov-2010

And in addition to that of course, is the albedo effect - the fact that forests are darker than non-forested areas such as grassland, so they reflect less light and hence make things warmer. So in NZ, sell any carbon credits that you can while they still exist for forests.

Peter Brown of PFS Consultants Limited

Plantations to replace native forest logging   – Friday, 26-Nov-2010

Another "independent" report from Australian Conservation Foundation and Wilderness Society saying plantations in Western Victoria can immediately replace native timbers in Eastern Victoria? ACF and TWS - always full of simple solutions. Maybe these "conservation groups" could use some of their $15 Million a year revenue to fund the extra 400km a load of trucking costs. Better still use the money saved from extra trucking costs to do some real conservation works in re-establishing native vegetation in parts of the agricultural landscape in need of restoration.

Anonymous

Cloud over CO2 storage in trees   – Friday, 26-Nov-2010

Take care with the perspective of this headline. When I first read this headline in another news brief service, I wondered if Chlorophyll was going to stop sequestering CO2 into carbohydrates and cellulose. On reading the article I find that the study questions the rate that sequestration, and wood growth, was though to be enhanced by the higher CO2 levels expected in years to come. This may be too fine a point for journalists to get a good headline out of, but the headline presented to us is another 'flash of doubt' over the sequestering benefit of forestry and wood products.

John McArthur of Fletcher Building Ltd

Victorian Forestry   – Friday, 19-Nov-2010

Chris McEvoy makes a good point that only a proportion of Victorian timber goes into high value products. What is needed is an X ray scanner to grade logs by detecting internal defects. The process would be to cut the longest transportable log in the forest, thus minimising logging costs, and then making bucking decisions after scanning. The scans would then be used to determine sawing patterns. All possible with existing technology!

Martin Strandgard of University of Melbourne

Tasmanian forest Contractors   – Friday, 12-Nov-2010

20 million dollars for Tasmanian Forest Contractors?

What about $20 million dollars for Riverina Grapegrowers or $20 million dollars for forestry contractors in other states? Why are the Tasmanians so special?

Anonymous

Tasmanian Forest Deal   – Friday, 22-Oct-2010

Outside of the rights and wrongs of the recent deal and the advantages of sustainably managing the State's hardwood resource, for the protestors that have been hammering away for years against native logging, you do have to admire (perhaps this is too strong a word) their tactics and their resolve. With few resources they have had developed some very clever strategies, milked the media and "won the war". If anything else it would be hoped that the forestry industry sit up, take notice and start to build into their longer term planning the absolute requirement to adequately fund and work with the community and the media to take every opportunity to tell the "good news" stories that make up the forestry sector that we work in.

Anonymous

Tasmania Forest Peace Deal   – Friday, 22-Oct-2010

The forestry profession is rapidly losing credibility and respect. These continual new forest agreements which reduce the area of native forest harvesting are paramount to saying that native forest has been poorly managed with little consideration for native species and habitat, and forest growth, which we who have worked in Tasmania native forests know is definitely not the case.

The whole principle of natural, truly sustainable wood products has been cast aside for what? Financial compensation, peace in the valley, public relations? A forestry agency in Tasmania has dropped charges against some 21 forest protestors, rolling over like a little puppy - you protestors were right we were wrong its OK for you to vandalise the forest and property and to sabotage a legal forest operation. Who would be a forester!

Anonymous

Dust suppression   – Friday, 15-Oct-2010

It would be worth calling Mr Dave Orchard (Chemcolour Industries) regarding dust suppression.Dave has underatken a number of trials with most interesting results. Contact on 021 423456.

Regards.

Anonymous

Copper as a 'bell weather'   – Friday, 15-Oct-2010

The correct saying is 'bellwether', and it has to do with the ancient practice of hanging a bell around the neck of a male sheep (often castrated).

Mike Carson of Forest Genetics Ltd

Dust Prevention Metal Yard   – Friday, 8-Oct-2010

Editor, We have a large metalled yard with high volume heavy traffic. This traffic use creates a heavy dusty surface that becomes wind blown. Does anyone have any suggestions of a product that we can apply to the surface so as to bind the dust. Envioromental issues are paramount. Thanks.

Graeme Carter of Herman Pacific Ltd

That tallest radiata!!   – Tuesday, 21-Sep-2010

I think John Ellis had it right folks. In 'Great Trees of New Zealand' by SW Burstall & EV Sale they reported a tree at Atiamuri (Central North Island) in a PSP measured at 64.2m Diameter was 103cm at that stage. The authors report that it was believed to be the worlds tallest. The tree was planted in 1927 and the book published in 1984 so I guess when measured it was around 56/57 years old. There is also an excellent photo of a tree in Nelson measured at 61.6m in 1959. It has almost perfect form.

There is also detail of the largest (as opposed to tallest) radiata. It was also at Atiamuri and at around 50 years old it had a DBHOB of 117.5cm, a height of 54.2m and a volume of 22.57m³.

Graeme Young of Tenon

Death by Green Tape   – Friday, 3-Sep-2010

Peter Rutherford is spot on about the environmental mafia, with many in the Australian timber industry having to endure more than 30 years of this sort of thing. No other business sector, workers or business owners have had to put up with such prolonged unjustified treatment and victimisation.

That said, maybe for many, the greatest threat is no longer “direct action”, legal cases instigated by green activists or even parliaments hung by “Green Parties”. Perhaps the biggest threat, especially for the tens of thousands of smaller businesses right along the timber merchant and wood-processing sector, is silent death by “green tape”. By that I mean the immense workload and cost that results from needing to keep up with, be involved in/comply with, all the current and anticipated “sustainability” regulatory and semi-regulatory processes and requirements. Here’s just a few:

• Involvement in consultation for the upcoming Australian Illegal Logging regulations – Including the Codes of Conduct and RIS consultation, writing submissions
• Understanding GBCA Greenstar compliance rules (just to go to a one day course costs around $800, to join costs thousands of dollars per year)
• Gaining up to two separate Chains of Custody – AFS/PEFC and FSC (for Greenstar compliance)
• Higher prices and availability problems for many certified timbers
• GECA and/or eco-specifer certification, and the fees that you have to pay (in order to compete on Greenstar projects)
• The BPIC LCA project and its consultation process
• Sustainability compliance/paperwork required by individual specifier/customers, often running to several pages

What about the most fundamental form of sustainability, ie business sustainability? If we aren’t careful, there won’t even be many businesses left to charge licencing/membership/course fees to, certify, get Government grants to consult with or study our “sustainability”, regulate, legislate, survey, audit, train, etc., etc.

All the consultants, academics, auditors, certification bodies, NGO’s, Government bodies, working groups etc may be getting paid for their time on this stuff, but the we timber and wood-processing businesses aren’t. We are actually paying, triply. First, by the contribution of our free time, secondly, via business taxes, and thirdly by the fees/licences paid to NGO’s.

Juel Briggs of Briggs Veneers

The tallest radiata in the world   – Friday, 3-Sep-2010

In 1964/65 as District Forester, Tapanui (NZ) I organised a District radiata pine assessment. One plot in Tapanui forest, just to the east of Black Gully - a favoured few will know where that is - gave a height or two of 200 ft plus. The stand was planted in the early '20s, making the trees just over 40. The site, on the plantation boundary just at the hill foot, was an exceptionally good one.

On that other matter, of Tasmanian anti-forest greens, why do we keep banging on about it ? As we found nearly half a century ago with the South Island beech scheme, if you do enough to irritate the public, in the end extremist views prevail and you lose the battle - in our case the whole NZFS. Some one explain what it's all about, otherwise drop it.

John Purey-Cust of Farm forester

Tallest Radiata out there   – Monday, 30-Aug-2010

Interesting contributions. Thanks for kicking it off Forestry Tasmania. From a quick look on the web, there isn’t much that I’ve found on the tallest Radiata around at the moment. However, there is reference to a 58 metre tall P radiata that was found in Tasmania in 1990. This is probably the one that started the smoko room debate. This is around some of the heights that readers have been submitting. Regarding some other tall tales re tree heights, click here

A small excert from the site reads, “Until recently and sadly by comparison, the tallest tree known in Victoria today is an unnamed Eucalypt in the Wallaby Creek catchment which is 91.6m high and is healthy and approximately 300 years old. It is well protected by other trees, but it is unknown how high it will grow, as most of these trees growth occurs in the first 100 years.

However recent regrowth in the Dandenongs after the Black Friday fires has many healthy young trees at 80m in height so maybe in the future we will have some contenders. A recent discovery in October 2008 has found the tallest tree in Tasmania is approximately 100m and is called the Centurion tree. It has been accurately laser measured. It also has its top broken off and may have been significantly taller previously.

There is some controversy over some of the listed amazing historical heights and whether they were really true, as current day examples while still being very tall, are still a good 10 to 20 metres shorter than the above listed heights. However the recent discovery in Tasmania is lending some tantalising credence to the 110 to 120m heights."


Editor of Offcuts

World's tallest Radiata pine   – Monday, 30-Aug-2010

In the summer of 1970 I measured a radiata pine at the Stoodley plantation in NW Tasmania at 157.5 feet or a neat 48m in today's money. The stand was 36 years old, the soils were deep basalt and the understorey blackberries were about 4m tall!!!

Bennett of : Bennett Consulting

What’s the tallest P. radiata tree ever recorded?   – Monday, 30-Aug-2010

While Queensland is not renowned for radiata, we do have a resource in southern Queensland near Killarney growing on basalt at elevation that is fairly impressive. The height of the tallest radiata we have in our database is 46.7 metres from Growth Plot number 4 in Compartment 4 State Forest 661 Gambubal. This tree was measured just prior to clear falling in 1997 aged 40 years.

Leigh Kleinschmidt of Forestry Plantations Queensland

Tallest Radiata   – Monday, 30-Aug-2010

The year was 1994 in Fletchers "Tahorakuri Forest" near Taupo, we were logging a regen stand established after the 1947 bush fire (so the trees were about 46 years old). There was one very dominant tree than apperared about 10m taller than surrounding trees. Carl Hanna measured the tree on the ground after felling, the height was around 54m but could have added another couple because the top had smashed.

Logan Negus of PF Olsen

Environmental Mafia   – Sunday, 29-Aug-2010

While I have not had any direct feedback on the behaviour of the activists negotiating the Tasmanian deal, some of the tactics and comments made by wilderness society activists during their recent internal stoush certainly showed the aggression that these "non violent direct activists" display. These agressive tactics are used in the forests, bullying retail outlets that dare promote Australian native forest timber and bullying international businesses to stop using Australian native forest woodchips.

It should be remembered that if an Australian company involved "in trade or commerce" were to use the same tactics, it would probably be in breach of the Trade Practices Act and the management would likely find themselves on the wrong end of an action by the ACCC.

Typically, the only time violence in the forests makes the news is when some timber worker finally cracks after weeks, months or years of harassment and retaliates. Once again the high moral ground activists slide under the radar, when it comes to laws that deal with harassment and bullying in the workplace.

Activist ENGOs and charitable status is another area that needs a thorough investigation. Exposure of the hypocritical behaviour of the activists is long overdue. Keep up the good work Peter Volker. I am sure that any IFA member or forest industry worker who has had direct dealings with forests activists could give examples to back what you have said and will support your action on this matter.

Peter Rutherford of Institute of Foresters

Tallest P. Radiata in the world?   – Friday, 27-Aug-2010

Question: What height is the tallest Pinus radiata tree ever recorded, and where from? I'm searching for an answer to this question and I'd like Friday Offcuts to ask this question to your readers. We think we have the biggest in northern Tasmania. It might spark some light debate.

Veronica Tyquin of Forestry Tasmania

Tallest Radiata tree   – Friday, 27-Aug-2010

The tallest radiata pine in NZ was to my knowledge in NZFP Forests Tokoroa. I think that this is described in Bob Burstall's book on notable and historic trees. Not sure if that tree was a world beater!

I thought that Tasmania would be content to have the tallest hardwood in the world.

John Ellis of C3 Limited

Tall Tree   – Friday, 27-Aug-2010

Kinleith Forest (Tokoroa) had its "Tall Tree"; its "Big Tree"; and the famous "Tree 55". Hancocks staff at Kinleith should still have the records.

Murray McAlonan of Retired

Tallest radiata   – Friday, 27-Aug-2010

Wallabies and Kiwis beware, I suspect the claim to the tallest radiata pine in the world could well come from Chile. I have also seen some tall radiata in South Africa, but I suspect not as big as some antipodean specimens. So we need to make sure we include them in this search.

Peter Volker of Institute of Foresters of Australia

Tall Prad   – Friday, 27-Aug-2010

No-one seems keen to divulge numbers. Let me start. When I started work in Kaingaroa Forest in 1971 there was the then well-known "Wood wool" compartment, planted in 1918 from memory. The thinnings had been used to manufacture wood wool. At that time the tallest trees were around 61 metres in height. This stand continued to grow until the 1990s. A remnant of the stand remains today but it may not be on the tallest-growing part of the site. Anyway, I follow this debate with interest and reserve the right to re-measure these trees with the owner's permission.

On a similar topic, which stands in the world, natural or otherwise, carry the highest basal areas or volumes per ha?

Mike Colley of Chandler Fraser Keating Ltd

Tallest P radiata   – Friday, 27-Aug-2010

When I was a NZFS forest ranger trainee in Otago (1980s) in a mensuration crew I was told the tallest radiata measured was 64m tall in Pebbly Hills State Forest. The biggest I measured personally was something over 55m.

Bert Hughes of Forest Ent NZ

Don Nicholson on carbon farming impact   – Friday, 6-Aug-2010

When Don Nicholson says "What we are talking about is the loss of 2,800 farms, the loss of 11.4 million stock and the loss of another billion from our $5 billion sheep and beef industry.", he does not seem to realise that from the total of $5 billion that he mentions, the sheep farmers on average get somewhere betwen zero and something less, net of costs. If he is talking about the sort of country that would / could / should go into trees, it is everyone else who makes money from the sheep and beef industry, not the farmers.

What Don needs to do is encourage these farmers - my son-in-law Ben is one of them - to stop focussing on growing grass without any thought about the economics of their land use - as they currently do - and instead concentrate on growing money. Ben and I had exactly this conversation a fortnight ago and he is now on the right track.

Fed Farmers can help with this and I for one have a practical solution for them that will preserve the rural communities, maintain those aspects of the down-stream service industries that actually assist rather than rip off the farmers and generally achieve exactly what he wants.

I will be getting in touch with him about it.

Peter Brown of PFS Consultants Limited

Multiple benefits through Tasmanian forest management   – Tuesday, 3-Aug-2010

Suggestions by the Opposition Leader in his budget reply speech to review the option of separating the wood production activities of Forestry Tasmania from its other management responsibilities must be strongly resisted. While it might appease the environmental lobby, it would be at the expense of good forest management. The Forestry Act rightly demands that State forests be managed to provide multiple benefits - wood, water, carbon stores, biodiversity, cultural and scenic amenity. Simplistically, it might be attractive to separate wood production from the provision of other ecosystem services because it is easy to account for in our current economic models. But it will also polarise forest management as it will concentrate wood production into those sections of the landscape where it is most profitable and management by benign neglect elsewhere. This suits the environmentalists because their aspirations are met simply by locking forestry out of as much of the forest as possible.

We are starting to see perverse outcomes from polarised forest management in other states. Victoria is now having to build a desalination plant to provide sufficient water to meet Melbourne's needs. Forestry is excluded from most of Melbourne's water catchments, which are now largely in reserves. Unless that situation changes within the next decade they will need more desalination plants (powered by coal of course) to compensate for the reduced water yields from their catchments as they regenerate from recent wildfires. Forest management through thinning, or other selective harvests, in these catchments offers an alternative way of increasing their water yields. While thinning the forests for wood production might not be profitable, the additional value it would generate from increased water yields would be enormous if it obviated the need to build additional desalination plants.

Forestry Tasmania in its current form is ideally placed to manage State forests to provide multiple benefits. No other land manager has the mandate or expertise necessary to optimise the delivery of multiple values from forests. Accordingly, Forestry Tasmania's performance should not be judged simply on profits from wood production but on the net value of the range of benefits its management activities provide.

Dr Tim Wardlaw, Dr Martin Moroni, Jane Becker, Brenton Jansen, Dr Paul Adams, Peter Pepper, Penny Douglas, Dr Peter Volker, Maria Butcher, Rosi Davis, Murray Kirkwood

People of Forestry Tasmania

Forestry Tasmania speaks out   – Monday, 2-Aug-2010

Dear Editor

We are proud to work for Forestry Tasmania! As employees of FT, we work very hard to achieve strict forest management standards and apply best practices for a sustainable, profitable and socially responsible business. FT directly employs about 500 people across Tasmania and, together with our families, we make a significant contribution to the Tasmanian economy, not to mention the flow-on effects to other smaller businesses and communities.

Our forests are a natural, renewable resource of this State, a key strength. FT plays a vital role in management of these working forests for production, conservation and tourism. We are not perfect but we strive to improve and believe we are getting the right balance. For this, we should be supported, not attacked. We will certainly not stand by and watch our great organisation be kicked around for political gain!

For far too long now, the anti-forestry lobbyists have been given too much air time and media credibility without question. They are a vocal minority, many with extreme views. To these people we say, remember that you also attack each and every one of us and our families. These people need to open their minds and hearts and look outside Tasmania and Australia to see what's happening in the rest of the world. Then they will realise just how good things are here, that forestry is one of the real strengths of this state, and that FT should be supported in leading a vibrant, economically and environmentally sustainable forest industry in Tasmania.

Martin Moroni, Paul Adams, Peter Pepper, Penny Douglas, Peter Volker, Maria Butcher, Tim Wardlaw, Rosi Davis, Murray Kirkwood

People of Forestry Tasmania

Sheep farming threats - forests or profitability?   – Sunday, 1-Aug-2010

We have discussed this issue at Marlborough Federated Farmers meetings. Marlborough sheep numbers dropped 26% between 2001 and 2006 at a time when there was very little tree planting. The cause was drought and lack of profitability.

Many farmers can no longer afford to fertilise their hill country. Aerial fertiliser in Marlborough has dropped from a peak of 30,000 tonnes per year to 3,000. Reducing fertiliser leads to less grass and less sheep. Many hill country farmers are caught in a declining production trap and have become desperate. No one can afford to buy their farms to continue sheep farming because it is so unprofitable. The flat and rolling country, like Don Nicolson's farm, can still be farmed profitably with sheep.

There is no doubt that forestry adds more to a regions GDP than pastoral farming. A study done in Marlborough showed that the forest sector added $1,245 per hectare to the local economy while pastoral farming added $260.

We should treat Don Nicolson's beat up as a cry for help by desperate sheep farmers. They know that their industry is declining and it is becoming increasingly difficult to run sheep on steep hill country. The switched on farmers will continue farming their easy country and sell or plant the steep country themselves. Others will have to sell their whole farm. This process will add hundreds of millions to New Zealand's GDP.

Michael Cambridge of Organicbuilding

Farming and forestry   – Saturday, 31-Jul-2010

As an Australian forester I find it curious that there is still obviously a strong social and cultural divide in New Zealand between the agricultural and forestry communities 20 years after your Accord. The options you provided in your survey omitted what I thought was the most obvious answer, viz. greater communication/cooperation between the two sectors.

I assume farmers are getting nervous about their future because there is not sufficient dialogue happening. Also, not enough farmers see themselves as actual or potential foresters, while foresters suffer the reverse syndrome. Don't worry thou! You are streets ahead in NZ with this issue, compared to where we are here in Oz, where the forestry/farmimg divide has barely been recognised. Not surprising given that the State governments still control/dominate the forest industry here. As always, there can never be too much communication.

Gordon Bradbury of Private

Federated Farmers and Carbon Credits   – Friday, 30-Jul-2010

It is relatively easy to demonstrate that farmers, particularly hill country farmers, have an enormous amount to gain from the ETS, and with careful placement of woodlots they can do it without massive destocking. Federated Farmers' propaganda attack on the scheme is therefore hard to understand unless one takes account of the fact that the Feds are under attack from some of their own members on this issue, and what we are witnessing may be as much a no-holds-barred debate among farmers as it is an attack on the forestry sector. The sector should provide well founded commentary, without the extreme scaremongering that we are witnessing from the Feds, and watch as others take up the call for more tree planting.

Euan Mason of University of Canterbury

No country for farmers   – Friday, 30-Jul-2010

More government poor research, misinformation on the ETS. How these ideas get to see the light of day never ceases to amaze me. Plant more trees? No plant Nick Smith and his crazy ideas.

Anonymous

The pointing finger ...   – Friday, 30-Jul-2010

I really enjoy the newsletter, but I had to have a chuckle this week reading a newsletter that opens with such an impassioned plea about "how do we tackle these mistruth's" and then ends with a joke attributing a phone message to Maroochydore High School when a quick cut and paste google search would have shown that this is one of those many hoaxes that people make true by circulating without checking.

Even heard the phrase, I saw the pointing finger pointing back at me?

Check out www.breakthechain.org/exclusives/pphsmess.html.

Anonymous

Oxymoronic carbon forestry? Hardly.   – Friday, 30-Jul-2010

Hill country farmers generally are in a difficult position. They know that the only way some of them will make any money from farming is to sell their land at higher prices than they paid for it. They also realise that there is little demand for their land from other farmers. Those businesses who can afford to pay for the land - foreign buyers or forestry companies - are opposed by the Feds because they are not NZ farmers. It's something like Catch 22.

Hill country land is expensive because farmers have been pushing up land prices even while on-farm costs have been rising. Now they find it uneconomic to farm. The Feds are blaming the ETS, exchange rates, environmental controls, forestry companies and everyone but themselves, but it seems to me that farmers have dug themselves a financial hole and fallen into it.

Their anger is real but since it is irrational, there is no point wasting effort trying to counter it with rational arguments. By all means advocate the benefits of forestry, but ignore the outbursts from the Feds. At farmer level, I have found individuals happy to talk to anyone willing to consider buying their land. They are good people facing hard times, and deals can be made with dignity on both sides.

Howard Moore of The Reforest Trust

Fed Farmers, Land use forestry   – Friday, 30-Jul-2010

I believe the forestry and purpose grown biomass crop industries need to respond to the Fed's by strongly noting that the sheep, beef and dairy industries are locking up valuable land and filling the pockets of bankers (through over inflated land values) for little or no profit to themselves. Use the MAF farm models as reference.

The Fed's should be far more open minded about land use change given they currently operate at a loss and muddy NZs environmental reputation. Their stubborness is preventing good discussion on forestry and an emerging Sort Rotation Cropping (SRC) industry for heat power and transport fuels. A more open discussion around land use options would eventually see more money in their back pockets. Not to mention energy cropping narrowly diverting a looming natural gas shortage begining 2014 (see MED and Elec Commission reports) which will slash Fonterra payouts and further diminish meat processor profits.

Another quick point - Its not really carbon and global warming that the coal loving, conservation mining Nats National Govt is responding to - its a gas supply crisis that could well see Fonterra, Open Country, Tatua, AFFCO et al energy budget double in the next 3-4 years.

Russell Judd of NZCEC

Responding to negative media   – Friday, 30-Jul-2010

There is an urgent need to resource and empower the forestry industry in the whole Asia/ Pacific area for responding to negative media on unsubstantiated claims - social researchers could help put facts on the table so public can make informed opinions themselves rather than be emotive to propaganda. If the forest lobby were more powerful at the political level, promoted positive messages in the media, were better funded at the research level, prepared to be more integrated with other rural sectors, the industry is likely to be looked upon more favourably in the public eye. Promote and educate public that 'Wood is very good when sustainably produced and managed', even wood from perennial crops ie. timber plantations!

Anonymous

Fed Farmers   – Friday, 30-Jul-2010

All hill country farmers I talk and work with can't believe what ETS is bringing to them - the best earning opportunity for decades. This tirade from Don is so sad and pitiful its not worth responding to - strange how he has defended selling land to Shania Twain in the recent past and how the huge tax losses she racked up is totally acceptable. Hill country farming should be thanking its lucky stars it now has this option in the tool kit.

David Janett of Forest Management Ltd

B.C. Logs to China   – Thursday, 29-Jul-2010

From information supplied, the situation with logs out of B.C. c.f. NZ log exports is that NZ logs currently exported to China require a phytosanitary certificate confirmed that they have been inspected and free of pests. They also have to be debarked or treated with methyl bromide or alternatively with phosphine in transit.

Canadian (B.C.) logs (as well as Russian (far East), US (Alaska) are still treated with Methyl bromide - but have been granted approvals for fumigation on arrival in China due to the cold temperatures in these areas and lack of facilities to conduct large scale fumigations under harsh weather conditions.

The recent changes being discussed relate to a "special" dispensation being given to Canadian logs out of B.C. that now enables logs to be treated in the Chinese ports mentioned all year round. Gaining the same ability for NZ log exporters would be beneficial for deck cargoes. In Hold cargoes are likely to continue to be phosphine treated as this is significantly cheaper than Methyl Bromide (Chinese Methyl bromide costs however are unknown) and is better for the environment.

Editor of Friday Offcuts

China opens doors to BC log exports   – Friday, 23-Jul-2010

Dear Editor;

While removing the timing window restriction on un-treated log imports from BC may increase competition with NZ radiata pine in Chinese log markets, this is unlikely to be trade-threatening.

Public opinion in BC is opposed to raw log exports and this has formed the basis and policy of historic and current crown forest management.

The areas eligble for raw log exports within BC are limited to private land (primarly the southern end of Vancouver Island) and specific areas within the north and central coast that have received a special dispensation to allow raw log exports due to the un-economic nature of the terrain, accessibility, the species-grade mix, planning and retention requirements.

Unless prices for hemlock increase to around $80 CAD/m3 (currently $45-65), it is likely that these areas will remain un-economic to harvest.

Anonymous

Opening China's Port's to BC logs   – Friday, 23-Jul-2010

The article in your newsletter on BC logs to China got me quite excited for a second. Turns out that it's not quite like what I read though. Would still give BC logs an advantage though. I'm surprised BC has enough logs to export given the devastation from the pine beetle. Especially from the northern ports - Prince Rupert.

"The Canadian logs are still MBr treated, but in China - not Canada.(Cheaper and no MBr issues in Canada). Previously there was an agreement that in winter, due to the low temps preventing successful MBr treatment in Canadian ports, the treatment was allowed to be carried out in China. The change is that this dispensation is no longer "winter/temp based."

Bill Dyck of Consultant

Forestry in Tasmania   – Friday, 16-Jul-2010

Friday Offcuts 16 July reports the 'environment movement' is wanting an end to almost all native logging throughout the state, no suprises there. The devestating and dissapointing news is that the Government (State and Federal) are determined to ensure the closure of native forestry in the State. This is with the usual spurge on high conservation values in forest that has been logged many times previously. If logging is destroying conservation values then why are these forests of high value for conservation?

The management of native forest by dedicated Foresters has greatly improved the health, species diversity, facilites for recreation, timber value and aesthetics of the forest. Timber from native forests is an exceptional material in that it requires no chemicals or soil cultivation to produce, it is biodegradable, and provides forest values while it is growing. All Foresters know the countless benefits to the environment, and the human population, from native forestry but it appears that time and again the Governement of the day is attempting to appease the insatiable green monster i.e. 'environmental movement'.

According to your report the timber industry is well pleased to be recieving monetary compensation and more funding for plantation related development. I wonder how the timber harvest specialists, sawmillers, foresters, landowners and rural communities feel about the closure of native forest harvesting in Tasmania. All due to another Government looking to buy votes and popularity with the loud minority and their spurious claims. How will the popualtion of Tasmania feel about paying for forest fire management, roading, recreation facilities and importing their timber from sources unknown while Tasmanian timber is growing in their 'backyard'?

To cease native forest harvesting in Tasmania is not conservation (to use resources wisely) and there is an apparent lack of negotiation/agreement merely lip service 'phasing out', 'high conservation value', 'with a few exceptions'. To call it a breakthrough to the end of a conflict is an extremely weak excuse, sorry but that's how it sounds.

Anonymous

Carbon Footprint of a bushfire   – Friday, 9-Jul-2010

Soot is not a greenhouse gas. As everyone knows, soot is not in fact a gas at all. But it is a contributer to to the effects that get blamed on "global warming" such as Arctic ice melt, whether or not it is man-made. It all just goes to show how silly the whole concept of "man-made climate change" really is.

But good luck to those who are profiting from this illusion by selling their credits. If someone wants to give you money for this, you would be silly not to take it.

Peter Brown of PFS Consultants Limited

Response to Jim Weston   – Monday, 5-Jul-2010

Jim Weston questions whether the statement under the article headed 'Reality check on carbon forestry in NZ' that the European Union market does not accept New Zealand AAU's from forestry and the report further down the Issue on the sale of carbon to the EU are contradictory.

The answer is no they are not contradictory because the EU sale was of AAU's direct to a soveriegn state (country in the European Union) and not via the European Union carbon market to a company.

Soveriegn States recieved AAU's under the Kyoto Protocol and must surernder AAU's in 2013 to meet their international obligations for the period 2008-2012. Countries with shortfalls must buy from countries with surpluses or New Forest Owners who have been able to exchange NZU's for AAU's.

Although the soveriegn states can buy these New Zealand AAU's, the market from which European companies can buy to meet their company obligations will not accept them.

Steve Wilton of Forest Enterprises Ltd

Please explain   – Friday, 2-Jul-2010

As a result, some international markets (including the European market) do not accept carbon credits arising from sequestration. Above S Wilton quote.

Lower down a report of a sale to EU.

Question are both correct?

Jim Weston of Farmer

Hillsides scarred by poor forest harvesting.   – Monday, 28-Jun-2010

Professor Dick Bellamy's article may be emotive, and in some respects naive and factually incorrect. However PERCEPTION is REALITY when it comes down to the visual appearance of a recently clear felled forest - that's undeniable when compared to the scenery and vineyards of Marlborough.

However Bellamy raises some real issues that the industry is well aware of and does very little about. There have been numerous industry publications of recent times highlighting the residual waste wood recovery from post harvest sites and the potential value and benefits to industry. Some commentators place a value of $400m on this residual recovery as an energy source and compare it to the next Maui gas field.

That may well be the case in the future, depending on the economics of the situation, however currently it beggars belief that forest owners, management and contractors continue to bypass lower grade wood fibre, (conservatively estimated at 5% of the total harvest volume)presumably because the economics don't stack up or is it because the next boat is due at port??

Either way it's a cop out and loss of profit for the industry, and addressing this issue would go someway to appeasing the negative public perception of forestry. Industry can take a defensive stand on articles such as Dick Bellamys, but until the wanton waste and in some cases dubious work practices are addressed within industry, then it can only be defensive not proactive.

It is more of a concern to me that the question is raised as to who or what industry body should be responding to such articles. Let's get real - we're one of the top five industry sectors of the New Zealand economy and we have to ask ourselves this question.

Bernie Lagan of Lindsay & Dixon Ltd

Hillsides scarred by poor forest harvesting   – Friday, 25-Jun-2010

About the messy harvesting practices, watch out folks. We learned our lesson here in Canada. Greenpeace targeted the Canadian forest industry back in the 80s with images of ugly clearcuts along roads in western Canada. They did a fair bit of damage to the European market for Canadian forest products. Best to clean up your act, for the sake of the forest and the industry.

Anonymous

Hillsides scarred by poor forest harvesting   – Friday, 25-Jun-2010

Mr. Bellamy makes a number of emotionally charged accusations against clear felling of the NZ Radiata Pine resource. Comparing a clear felled lot to Vietnam or the Somme battlefields is pretty strong language!

I doubt that many of you agreee with his opinion, and find his view subjectve and ill-informed. As members of the NZ forest industry, you have confidence that the harvesting plans of these areas were followed according to the standard practices that have been approved for this type of harvest activity. No one broke any laws, rules or regulations.

As an American who has had the fortune to travel to NZ and see your forestry practices first hand, I would bet my paycheck that you are all correct.

So, what's the problem then?

In the US, our industry has been largely defeated by a small, but vocal and active population of "Mr. Bellamys". We have lost the ability to actively manage our Federal, State and in some cases, private lands for productive forestry activities. Because we were confident in our abilities, our competence and professionalism, and the solid oversight of our harvest practices, we assumed that we could reason with the "Mr Bellamys'" in the US. It didn't work out that way fellas.

Use your resources to get ahead of this before it becomes a bigger problem. Use your FSC or other third party certificaton that you pay so handsomely for to help diffuse and sooth your "Mr Bellamys".

Good luck down there!

Cheers

Carl Lindgren of Bright Wood Corporation

Ambitious expansion for Brazil's pulp & paper industry   – Saturday, 19-Jun-2010

Just a quick correction to your material, Brazils largest pulp and paper company is FIBRIA, by far. FIBRIA is the result of the recent fusion between VCP and Aracruz. Regards,


Peter Rogers of Lyptus

Carbon Credits and Forest Fires   – Friday, 18-Jun-2010

Carbon trading schemes offer an attractive enticement for planting of forests by providing an additional revenue stream. Is fire being factored in among the risks that this entails? Presumably, after a fire, the sold carbon credits that the lost forest represents would have to be surrendered/repaid by the owner to the government, and this may be at some considerable cost to the owner. It would appear that financial losses from fire in CTS forests could easily rise by an order of magnitude.

Gavin Wallace of Wainuiomata Bushfire

Radiata in US   – Wednesday, 16-Jun-2010

As a Kiwi who splits his time between NZ and the US, I am not at all surprised at your correspondent's observation on the price of NZ plywood in the US. I completed construction of a house in NZ 2-3 years ago, and found it economical to import from the US a large portion of the building materials (including plywood), plumbing, furniture, and appliances, even though it costs about as much as the products are worth, for freight. In other words, these items were less than half the price in the US that they were in NZ, or we would have bought them locally. I wish I were an economist to understand the reasons, but am sure it has much to do with the NZ market being too small to be truly competitive, and Kiwi consumers being unassertive. (Incidentally, we often buy Marlborough wine more cheaply in the US than we can in Blenheim.)

Dallas Hemphill of Consultant Logging Engineer

US radiata price   – Friday, 11-Jun-2010

In New Zealand as opposed to the US the radiata is a special ticketed variety that needs to be clipped several times before it gets to market.

Anonymous

NZ Pine   – Friday, 11-Jun-2010

First of all, bulk importers get heavy discounts on prices, where as in the exporting country the timber for home use passes through many agencies before it reaches the retail market. Apart from the profits at each handling stage, in some countries Govt taxes have also to be paid, when the commodity cahnges hand.

Americans are otherwise also very clever. They will not like to exploit their own resources, which they keep for bad times. They are therefore likely to sell imported timber at lower margins to save their own produce for times of scarcity. This has been happening with oil and may be happenning for wood as well. Otherwise NZ pine does not stand any where in properties compared with American pine.

Satish Kumar of American Connexion

Paper office promotion hogwash   – Friday, 21-May-2010

What utter nonsense to promote the use of paper over electronic documents. Now, there's a campaign which will backfire. You can see by the continued increases in the use of paper that there is no such thing as a paperless office anyway, regardless of the 20+ years of so of trying and talking about it. The use of single use white, chemically bleached paper certainly does not need any help from the forestry industry and paper production has never helped the environment. Never.

As a forester, I would much rather avoid cutting down a living tree just so that it gets chipped up, bleached, made into paper, used once and then trashed. There are far better uses.

William McDonough, author of Cradle to Cradle (Click here) has this to say about a tree: "Imagine this design assignment: Design something that makes oxygen, sequesters carbon, fixes nitrogen, distills water, accrues solar energy as fuel, makes complex sugars and food, creates microclimates, changes colors with the seasons and self-replicates. Well, why don't we knock that down and write on it?"

I wish foresters would begin to respect the product they are selling, rather than just chasing a buck by encouraging over consumption.

Steve Racz of Fa Dubois Ltd.

Future Education for Saw Doctoring   – Friday, 21-May-2010

Dear Editor

Great discussion by all, regarding the future of Sawdoctoring.

I have been responsible for the instruction of Sawdoctoring competencies here in Sydney for some thirteen years. In that time, I have seen numbers of Apprentices sustain only a slight reduction in participating numbers. This is dissimilar to the view of the Industry as a whole, that "Sawdoctoring is a high priority for attraction of new professionals".

It would seem that the culture of Training within the Australian Timber Industry has been missing for some time. The current trend towards recruitment is not sustainable.

Attracting and preserving Sawdoctors in our Industry has been a challenge for many years. Firstly, the awareness of the Trade is very low (even in timber production areas). Secondly, respect for the profession and its people is lacking. And, finally, in some cases, the remuneration is not on par with similar trade professionals.

Here in Australia, there is a movement towards re-energising the Australian Sawdoctors' Educational Association ASDEA. However, it will remain to be seen if the role of the association will be enough to change the current climate. I don't mean to be defeatist; however, change requires many key stakeholders to make the effort.

It is true, that new technologies have become the norm within our Trade recently. I strongly believe that most of these newer technologies have helped the Sawdoctor provide better outcomes to the operation.

I have the utmost support for any consultation and subsequent change to the skills and qualifications of tomorrow's Sawdoctors throughout our region. We can only move forward.

Bradley Lloyd of TAFE, NSW

Use more paper in the office   – Friday, 21-May-2010

Use more paper.......are these people serious. I am sure there are many wiser individuals than me who can manipulate the carbon figures, but the pulp and paper industry is one of the largest users of electricity in the world, next to alluminium manufacture.

OK, so the majority of your printed paper is dumped to landfill (thats another story) and the carbon is trapped for hundreds of years under the ground, but the energy, chemicals and water usage to produce your nice shiny bleached office paper is enormous, and surely must be hugely greater than the carbon gain?

Has anyone not aligned to the P&P industry completed any serious study to this question and can pass on the figures to Friday off-cuts, I think more than I would be interested in the answer.

Print this page at your peril!

Regards
Bill Telford

Bill Telford of Nelson Forests Ltd

Australian ETS   – Friday, 30-Apr-2010

Your title of the article "Australian ETS a Waste of Time" is incorrect. The report referred to actually says that the ETS is not a waste of time. In fact it argues that its financial cost will be cheaper than estimated.

The report primarily argues that the financial compensation proposed to be provided (via free carbon emission permits) to certain industries (eg. aluminium and minerals processing among others) with the introduction of the ETS is a waste of money - about $20 billion.

The article should have been titled something like "Australian ETS Industry Compensation a Waste of Money".

The report actually has something useful to say about emissions intensive and imports exposed businesses (which include some wood-based product manufacturers) and the proposed and much delayed Australian ETS.

I would hate to see the report dismissed and not read because of the incorrect headline.

Stephen Mitchell of Timber Development Association (NSW)

Australian ETS response   – Friday, 30-Apr-2010

Comments noted Stephen and changes to the title made. Thanks for the clarification.

Editor of Friday Offcuts

Future Education for Saw Doctoring   – Thursday, 8-Apr-2010

Recently FITEC has had discussions with key stakeholders on the current decline of Saw Doctor training and the impact on industry. The key message received from these discussions is simply "something has to be done". After reading the e-Letters in the Friday Offcuts it is obviously a common concern.

In reviewing industry qualifications, the obvious people to talk to are the Saw Doctors themself and their respective employers. This is done as part of a formal industry consultation process to ensure the reviewed qualification meets industry and stakeholder requirements.

Saw Doctoring is a specialised skill. However, many employers are now seeking more interaction between production staff and Saw Doctors, particularly for trouble shooting around sawing issues. Good sizing control in the production environment is one of the essential factors for good conversion, good recovery, and ultimately good financial performance of the mill. Well trained and experienced Saw Doctors play a major role in helping to achieve these goals. With ongoing changes in technology there may be a wider role for a Saw Technician, rather than the traditional Saw Doctor.

FITEC will be working with Saw Doctors, industry, and Waiariki in the later half of this year to review the current saw doctoring qualifications. The objective is to ensure the qualifications are "fit for purpose". Current industry practice, new technology, trouble shooting skills, and quality assurance will be some of the key elements to consider when reviewing the qualifications.

The key to ensuring a successful review of the Saw Doctor qualification is to achieve common agreement in a robust consultation process with all stakeholders.

Regards

Mathew Vandy
FITEC

Mathew Vandy of FITEC

Sawdoctors and their future   – Tuesday, 23-Mar-2010

Your comments are right on the mark Kevin. In addition to Australasian sawmills perhaps not making the best use of their sawdoctors or not giving them the recognition they deserve, I'd suggest that perhaps existing sawdoctors and those representing them have to take some of the blame.

I'll throw up a few questions for you. What's the average age of the current sawdoctor workforce? How many new entrants do we have coming into the trade? (I know our training institutions are close to closing their doors on this training through lack of interest by either new entrants or those employed within the industry)? What's being done by sawdoctors to raise their profile in schools or in the workforce to attract newcomers into the trade? What resources currently exist - on-line (is there any web presence for younger students?) or in CD/Print format for someone to learn more about the trade and opportunities that exist? Is there any coordination of effort with sawdoctors speaking to schools or at Careers Expos to promote the trade? What linkage do sawdoctors have to National or Regional Careers activities? Do we have regional sawdoctors who can be used as a point of contact for any interest being shown in the profession? Who is coordinating the effort? Do those in mill - including the mill and site manager really know what is being done in the sawshop? Is professional learning for sawdoctors being promoted within the trade? - as the skill set is changing dramatically from that was needed only 5 years ago. Who is promoting and pushing the profession within the industry?....

These are the sorts of questions that were raised 10 years ago. You have to really ask the question, are the issues you've raised relate to the questions posed above. Also, has a lot of progress on the above being made in the last 10 years or so. If not - this maybe part of the answer.

Editor of Friday Offcuts

The Future of Saw Doctors as we know it   – Tuesday, 23-Mar-2010

This discussion is not one that is new or any different to the conversations I have heard in the last 5 years since I have been HOD of Wood Manufacturing at the Waiariki, School of Forestry's Waipa Campus in Rotorua (formerly the TITC).

What IS new, is the now dramatic collapse of Saw Doctoring Trade Training during late 2009 and early 2010. I understand the very well resourced and professional Training facility at Mt Gambier, South Australia closed its doors late last year due to lack of numbers to train. We in New Zealand are now facing the very same prospect if there's not a massive about turn from the industry in New Zealand.

Just some quick numbers to show how bad this is. Between 2007 and 2009 we saw a 75% decline in Saw Doctor numbers coming through the Training Centre.

In 2010 the bottom has fallen out of the trade completely. We have an unfortunate position where there are two young, keen men at different ends of the North Island waiting to attend a Block A Saw Doctor course....these guys have been waiting since late 2009, unfortunately, two people do not justify turning the lights on let alone committing to 3 years of education. Lets be clear here, the government expects the training centre and all government departments to make money (or at least pay its costs. If the market doesn't support a product, it will be pulled from the shelves.

I should not be so quick to point the finger at industry. The Training centre has been guilty of not investing in modern equipment as the business case has proven too hard to justify. Contracting of Saw Sharpening services has had a significant impact on the requirements of wood processors to retain and train Saw Doctors for their own sites. Onjob assessment of Saw Doctors by roving assessors has been promoted to reduce the cost of training and maintain continuity of operations. The Measure of a Qualified Saw Doctor in New Zealand has not changed in many years, leaving us (I believe) with a tired, old and somewhat redundant National Certificate.

I will take the chance that I will p*** some people off with my comments, however I believe some things need to start happening urgently if we feel there might be an ongoing need for Saw Doctors in our industry.

Firstly, we (the educators and fitec, the funders) need to know if you (the saw mills and contract saw sharpening service providers) want to have a trade qualification for your skilled technicians? If the answer is no, great carry on as you were, it will soon be over. If the answer is yes, then we have some work to do.

If the answer is yes. We (Waiariki) will invest at least $50,000 in our Saw Shop this year (a firm promise) and appoint a full time Saw Doctor Tutor/Saw Shop Manager of high regard (if numbers can lift to 10 new trainees). We will work with FITEC and industry to promote a revamped qualification to serve what Industry (and in particular the saw mills) wants this modern Saw Doctor to be able to do. And I will continue to work with anyone who is prepared to help save the trade and promote education in our industry.

Regards
John Kelly
HOD, Wood Manufacturing
Waiariki Institute of Technology
Rotorua


If you would like to help in anyway, please contact me directly on my email address john.kelly@waiariki.ac.nz

John Kelly of Waiariki Institute of Technology

Reply to Editor   – Tuesday, 23-Mar-2010

Dear Sir /Madam,

As many people are aware the Sawmilling Industry has a different landscape today than it did 10 years ago when the exact same questions you have raised were expressed nationally to The Sawdoctors Association and the ITO committees.

I suggest you Google Sawdoctors Jobs and see the Career Service reply of,Job Outlook;-Chances of getting a job are limited jobs falling 14% between 2001 and 2006. I suggest those odds are slimmer today.

With the demise of 32 or more Sawmills in the past few years I know that the TITC has strugggled to attract sufficient patronage to the point of near closure this year. Companies are choosing to adopt trainees in house to be trained on site specific tasks in order to sustain Sawshops. Trainees may well outnumber Qualified Sawdoctors in some places.

The use of Automated and CNC Equipment has increased accuracy and efficiency for those who have it but at a cost. Many workplaces opted for mechanisation but at a cost of personnel cuts, leaving the encumbent Sawdoctors to try to produce as much, or an ever increasing demand for saws from sawshops in the same timeframe. Some have opted to outsource.

As for professional learning there is no level 6 and 7 which was muted to get to Tertiary level. As you are aware the Sawdoctors Association of today is not what it was 10 years ago and the level of interest from the ITO has waned as Sawmills shut.

The Sawdoctors of today are like myself maturing, with fewer having time to attend Association meetings and events such as Sawtech etc. There is a lack of support from a lot of Companies. They obiviously do not perceive that these events will bring anything of benefit to themselves. You and I both know this to be the opposite,as an informed workforce can solve problems and make advances quicker with information attain at these events.

The skill set is changing only because of the need to embrace the newer tools of trade that have come to Sawshops. Like anything change comes, but as a trade the basics are still to be adhered to,as a starting point, especially when problems arise.

All the newest and the oldest of equipment in our sawhops will still need Trained /Qualified Personnel to push the buttons. Unfortunately this has been an oversite of late.

Kevin Hamilton of Individual

Saw Doctors   – Sunday, 21-Mar-2010

Dear Sir /Madam,

As a serving Sawdoctor and having spent a considerable time observing the Trade of Sawdoctoring around the world I could not help but take notice of an article in the January /February 2010 issue of Timber Processing that I came across recently.

The article was from a Guest Columist by the name of Michael Raybon and dicussed the apparent lack of consultation and use of the information and experience of Sawfilers across USA.

Having read this article I can fully concur with the essence of it and have found that this gradual lack of respect and the downgrading of the Trade of Sawdoctoring has been in fact a worldwide practice. As stated in the article Sawdoctors /Filers are perceived to be a necessary evil as oppossed to being a helpful and invaluable source in extracting the best from any Sawmill or processing situation. It states that this point of view has invariably lead to the demise of several Sawmills.

Unfortunately many Australasian Sawmills are of no exception.

Kevin Hamilton of Individual

Biomass Path to Market   – Thursday, 11-Mar-2010

Continuing the discussion between P.Hall, P.Brown, A.Walker et al:

The first point; Because forestry companies won't offer realistic long term residue supply they aren't going to be part of the biomass to energy decision process. They are just going to be price takers and a last cab off the rank. Second point being that dedicated fuel crops (could be post 1990 forest... although dedicated to a boiler) are going to be the "hedge" to enable biomass energy industry expansion. We know this because, on paper, willow/Miscanthus is lower risk and affords the land owner more "rent" than maize silage on an annualised basis. Planting dedicated crops and building biorefineries (maturing but not mature technology) is risk on risk and only serves to benefit researchers, so that's not going to happen commercially without a political driver or significantly improved returns either.

Heat plants burning wastes and dedicated crops, and expanding their take of forest residues (as foresters come to the party) is the strategy. So its 1) wastes and dedicated crops for industrial heat, 2)forest residue supply chain, 3) cogen, extractives and bio fuels. It could take as little as 3 years if the government would only join in the effort with strong leadership (not necessarily monetary).

Regional waste and energy planning go hand in hand, and in many cases there will be a synergistic solution if people are bold enough to think beyond the end of their current diary.

Russell Judd of NZ Clean Energy Centre

Radiata productivity   – Tuesday, 9-Mar-2010

Response to Peter Browns Comment.

The P radiata with an MAI of 60 is based on PSP data. There are stands that grow that well. I did not suggest that all stands would grow that well, if you want to look at what the report says its available on the Scion website; www.scionresearch.com

In this report on page 11 in the summary section there is a table with tree species ranked by maximum productivity. Under the table is the following paragraph; It is readily apparent that the hardwoods (Eucalypts and to a lesser extent Acacias) with their higher wood density and reasonable growth offer greater productivity than many softwoods, although the high volume production from redwood places it in the 10 most productive species, along with radiata pine, the eucalypts and some acacias. Pinus radiata topped the ranking. (Note, however, that this is the maximum growth recorded from an extensive database - these are not typical figures).

A wood density of of 420 kg/m3 for pinus radiata is an accepted figure, and can be found in the NZIF Forestry handbook.

The other analyses in the bioenergy options reports are not based on the maximum productivity expressed in this table, but on an MAI of 36. Whilst we acknowledge that this is also high, it was based on a regime designed to grow maximum biomass, not maximum sawlog volume.

The scepticism that Mr Brown feels is thus based on a misperception, the costs, supply volumes and economics were based not an an MAI of 60 but one one of 36, which is a optimistic but none the less realistic target. Further, the productivity of pinus radiata is driven by the site and the regime/management as much as the genetics. The best clone in an arid infertile environment will not grow to its potential. Our point with the productivity table and the associated information is that siting is important along with species selection when looking at a bioenergy crop.

There is much that I agree with in Andrew Walkers letter and if there is potential to use wood for heat, then by all means go ahead, but bear in mind that large users of coal pay around $4 to $5 per gigajoule, competing with that is very hard when a pulp log has a value of $45 dollars per green tonne and contains about 7 gigajoules ($6.40 per gigajoule). Petrol on the other hand retails for around $52 per gigajoule and rising.....

Peter Hall of Scion

Fluted beams or bendy wood   – Monday, 8-Mar-2010

I'm a retired former forester in NSW , a subscriber to Friday Offcuts, have an interest in timber boats & subscribe to the American WoodenBoat magazine. In their current issue is a story on a timber product being supplied there that I thought might interest Friday Offcuts readers.

In a nut shell:

American hardwoods are air dried to 20/25% then steamed & while still hot compressed 20% longitudinally. The timber is then plastic wrapped to retain moisture content. Once on the job the wrapping is removed & even quite large cross sections can be bent cold into fantastic curved shapes, even by hand! Once air dried it is like ordinary timber with maybe a 5-10% loss of strength in some directions. They are called Fluted Beams. The timber is being used in all manner of constructions where curved strong wood is called for; furniture boats etc etc. The process does not work with conifers & was apparently developed by the Danes 20 years ago. The website is: www.flutedbeams.com

Carl John Atchison of Retired

Carbon Credits and forest fires   – Friday, 5-Mar-2010

Regarding the article last week about forest fires and carbon credits. The sale of carbon credits provides forest owners with another realistic and possibly highly profitable income option, however, as with all business ventures there are risks that need to be managed.

Forest fire and windthrow can be covered with existing forest insurance polices offered by a range of companies. If a forester sold carbon without such insurance then presumably they would have done their assessment and decided they can afford to carry that risk themselves over their entire forest plantings.

The risk of a disease wiping out the entire forest estate is another matter, in that no insurance seems to be offered for that. If the carbon forest business is to grow, then foresters need to be able to purchase insurance products that mitigate all risks.

Roger Dickie of Roger Dickie (NZ) Ltd

Carbon liabilities through fire damage   – Friday, 5-Mar-2010

In your March 5th issue you raise the question of carbon liabilities associated with loss of carbon caused by fire, and suggest that fire damage is exactly equivalent to harvesting. But is it? At harvest, the ETS uses the Kyoto rule of assuming that carbon on the logging truck instantly re-enters the atmosphere, whereas all the biomass remaining in the forest loses carbon only at the rate of decay. If new planting (or regeneration) occurs immediately after harvesting, then the new growth offsets a substantial proportion of the carbon loss generated by the decay.

In a forest fire - even a severe one - very little of the carbon is actually converted to carbon dioxide immediately. A huge quantity of carbon remains behind on the site as charred logs or underground biomass. My question is: what proportion of the total biomass incurs an instant liability? Perhaps someone in MAF could answer that. A subsidiary question: what techniques would MAF use to estimate the instant liability, and also the profile of future liabilities resulting from decay of the charred wood (which are partially protected from decay)?

Piers Maclaren of Piers Maclaren & Associates Ltd

NZ Forestry for Bioenergy   – Friday, 5-Mar-2010

When we read the comments from Peter Hall, we need to bear in mind that this is the same person who told the recent Bioenergy Strategy Conference that the productivity potential for radiata pine in NZ was an MAI - of the stem volume only please note - of 60.1 m3 per ha per year! Please can I plant a forest of these super trees! By age 30, we will have 1,803 m3 of stem wood per hectare, with a density (quoted in the same presentation) of 420 kg/m3.

This appears to be a gross overstatement of what radiata actually can do. If an MAI of even half that was achievable on a commercial scale, everyone would be using that magnificent cultivar. But of course in real life, radiata, impressive though it is, does well to achieve an MAI of 25 m3/ha/yr on anything like a consistent basis in commercial plantations. So this means that the rest of the figures he has quoted about what can be achieved - and hence the economics of it all - has to be regarded with a great deal of scepticism. Andrew Walker's comment were sensible and realistic.

Peter Brown of PFS Consultants Limited

Forest Logging Creates Fire Traps   – Friday, 5-Mar-2010

The effect of logging wet forests is to change their structure which changes fire behaviour. This is true of all forest types both native and plantation. If we look at Red Gum forests (that have been sustainably managed for decades) we would say that to stop harvesting is to create dense stands of saplings that will increase fire hazard. This is also true of the white cypress forests. If a change in fire behaviour is adequate justification for changes in forest management, then Australia needs to re-open National Parks to harvesting. This would allow the control of forest structure in all areas so that widespread wildfire is not allowed to burn through large areas of unmanaged landscape.

Lindenmayer says that logging produces dense stands of regrowth saplings. This is a natural development stage of native forests and will dissipate as the forest matures.The roads that are said to create ignition points are vital to access the forest to fight fires. Anyone familiar with the Canberra fires will know that inaccessibility in the early days of the fire was a significant contibuting factor to the eventual devastation caused. Likewise Kosiosko National Park. The assertion that lightning strikes become more likely in logged areas is laughable. Lightning is caused by storm clouds not logging slash.

From one piece of research done in Wet Tropical forests there has been some large broadsweeping generalisations that fail to recognise the complexity and diversity of forests in Australia.

Mark.Stretch of Tumut Foresters

Logging creates fire traps?   – Friday, 5-Mar-2010

I am curious as to how piles of 'logging slash' can increase the likelihood of lightning strikes. The piles must be quite tall and maybe more conductive to electriciity than standing trees.

Further, I will read the full story to see how fire ignition is occuring due to roads used for logging, as it is hard to imagine foresters setting fire to their timber resource, and endangering the lives of their fellows. Maybe fires are lit by arsonists and radical greens, in which case the roads should be locked to keep these lunatics out.

Campers and picnicers use the camp grounds, that are well-maintained and patrolled. Tourists/campers/picnicers are not going into the scrub (comprising pickly vegetation, slippery logs, uneven terrain and snakes) or a logging coupe, to have a barbeque. Do these academics ever spend time in wet eucalypt forests? And the roads are access to supress fires before they become a very large uncontrollable life-threatening catastrophe.

Do forests ever regenerate, or they in a state of perpetual old growth? According to the report if the bush is not logged it will have no regeneration, but neglectd to mention the regeneration following naturally occuring wildfire where there is an unusually high accumulation of fuels, or smaller patches where a stand of trees have fallen due to the forces of nature or old age.

Anonymous

Increased log prices good news?   – Tuesday, 2-Mar-2010

Just a response to your comment about the favourable news about the increase in log prices. From a sawmillers point of view who need A grade logs to survive, the 30% increase in prices this quarter added to the 15 % percent raise for the previous quarter means that this may be the last time that you hear from many of us. Positive news for the pension funds that own the forest . For those that try and add value to this resource I dont think so.

Anonomous Sawmiller of New Zealand Sawmill

NZ forestry for bioenergy   – Wednesday, 24-Feb-2010

Response to Andrew Walker - from Peter Hall, one of the Scion staff responsible for the Bioenergy Options study (and the suggestion of 1.8 million ha of new afforestation).

My enthusiasm for forestry for energy dates back to to the mid 1990s, this particular project was funded from early 2007, and it takes a while to get results and publish them, but we have been spreading the forests for energy message starting with the situation analysis report published in 2007. It pains me as much as anybody to see forests being ripped out mid-rotation.

The drivers for more plantation forests are many, and not limited to energy production, they include;
- carbon storage
- erosion control
- water quality improvement
- increased timber supply

There are large areas of New Zealand (several hundred thousand hectares at least) where afforestation (or reforestation in many cases)would be environmentally beneficial.

Energy demand is large and growing, we consume 720 PJ of primary energy per annum, much of this from oil, gas and coal. The first two are in decline in terms of supply. Liquid fuel consumption is 8.1 billion liters per annum and rising year on year.

I would advocate not only for forests for energy (and many other things) but for energy efficiency and conservation, including public transport and the utilisation of wastes to produce energy and mitigate landfilling and effluent discharge.

Its not a question of just do this (forests), but more; if we do this (bioenergy), and this (efficiency)and this (conservation)and this (use all the wastes) we may be able to keep our current life style for a few more years.

The Scion bioenergy options study takes a long term view of energy, aligned with the NIWA EnergyScape assett review, it is not just about what we have today or could do tomorrow, but takes a view of where things might be in 2030 to 2050 (it was part of the brief for the work).

Bioenergy conversion technologies are receiving massive (hundreds of millions of $) investment in Europe and North America, and it is highly likley (not pie in the sky) that some of the technologies currently at pilot/demonstration stage will be commercialised in the next 10 years. However, in order to be useful they need a biomass resource to work on. In New Zealand the biomass resource that is currently the largest, and has the most potential to expand is wood from plantation forests.

Ligno-cellulosic biomass is recognised world wide as a major energy source for the future. It is already currently 4th in terms of world energy supply (behind oil, coal and gas).

The examples used in the bioenergy options studies were not intended to promote a particular BTL conversion route but to point out the likely cost based on knowledge of the technologies as they currently stand. It is not unreasonable to assume that given the level of investment in BTL research around the world that there will at some point in the next 2 decades be a technology that can take woody biomass to liquids at a cost that is competitive with the ever rising cost of oil. Planning for the end of cheap oil is an imperative.

The price of oil will rise in the future (and probably fluctuate just to confuse things), but the cheap oil is mostly gone and whilst oil will be around for decades it will be more expensive to find and extract and environmentally more harmful (eg tar sands).

By the way, why do biofuels have to be sustainable when the fossil alternatives are patently (and increasingly) not?

Whilst the cost of developing this forest resource may be large, it would be spread over many years, and may be in the order of $300 million per annum. We spend around $5.8 billion per annum on importing oil and refined liquid fuels. Everytime the price of oil rises this bill increases. Once the forests mature, we have a domestic industry with the potential to fuel domestic industry, thus reducing the import bill.

The fact that local bodies and commercial enterprises will not take up the use of wood for heat is as much about uncertainty of supply volume and quality as it is about anything else. The cost is also an issue, with gas and coal currently being cheap.

EECA and MAF have put a lot of effort into promoting wood energy as heat fuel in the past 3 years. However, there is a lot more to do and some patience as well as continued hard work is required in developing bioenergy as a viable replacement for depleting fossil based fuels. We did not go from the Model T to the Bugatti Veyron in one step.

The focus on liquid fuels as an end use for wood, is based on the relative costs of energy in various forms, with liquid fuels being much more valuable (expensive) than other forms of energy in $/unit of energy. As to the market, if you go to a drop in fuel (which is the goal of much R&D), its well established and very large, nationally and globally.

There are many alternatives that can be considered for energy supply, and we do not ignore these in the bioenergy options study which covered a range of options including;
- oil seed rape to biodiesel (limited in scale by suitable land)
- anaerobic digestion of wastes/effluents (environmentally superb and should be done) but limited in its scale due to the size of the waste stream
- algae to biofuels (limited in scale if driven by effluent treatment)

We do not imply we should not use these options if they are cost effective. However, we should also look for the biomass resource/conversion route that will be able to meet a large share of the energy demand, and wood can be either a solid, gaseous or liquid fuel as well as all the other things we currently and could use it for.

The bioenergy options for New Zealand study was intended to look at what we have in terms of bioenergy potential, and what we could have. Forestry has emerged as the largest current supply and one of the options with substantial future potential to expand as well as having a raft of other uses for the wood and collateral environmental gains.

So, if we can, why wooden we?

Peter Hall of Scion

World's Oldest Tree   – Friday, 12-Feb-2010

New South Wales, Australia Takes the Clonal Cake:
Dr. Keith Corbett's piece on the Huon pine (Lagarostrobos franklinii), suggests that some clonally reproduced Huon pine trees in a grove in Tasmania could be 1000 years older than the Swedish Norway spruce (Picea abies). Using similar methodolgy and identical clonal development logic, should not Australian Foresters in New South Wales be able to make the case that the Wollemi pine groves Wollemia nobilis)are 2 hundred million year old trees. However, the original ancient growth in these colonies is long dead.

In terms of non-clonal original vegetation, the Bristlecone pine (Pinus longaeva) named "Mathuselah" appears to be the oldest on record. Methuselah is located in the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest in the White Mountains of eastern California, however its precise location is undisclosed by the U.S. Forest Service to protect the tree from vandalism. The age of Methuselah was measured by core samples in 1957 to be 4,789 years old.

In the Snake Range of eastern Nevada Donald R. Currey, a student of the University of North Carolina, was taking core samples of bristlecones in 1964. He discovered that "Prometheus" in a cirque below Wheeler Peak was over 4,000 years old. His coring tool broke, so the U.S. Forest service granted permission to cut down "Prometheus". 4,844 rings were counted on a cross-section of the tree, making "Prometheus" at least 4,844 years old, the oldest (stupidly, now deceased)non-clonal tree known to man.
Roger Crossley



Roger Crossley of Woods Management Services Ltd.

Scion's Scenario 1.8   – Wednesday, 10-Feb-2010

At the BANZ, NZFOA Bionergy Strategy workshop in Wellington this week Scion have publically stated NZ should plant double as much forestry as we already have by 2035 to provide liquid fuel for transport from energy wood crops. An extra 1.8 million ha's.

This certainly is one option. There are other options (for our forthcoming energy crisis), and other partial solution options. Like a 25 year public transport strategy, and vast investment in rail and so on. I'm a forester and I like Scions enthusiasm ... but where was it a couple of years back when NZ was still pulling trees out as fast as can be under Labour?

Let's see 1.8m ha ... say an average of $2000 per ha for land and $2500 for the planting (some suggest 3000 to 10,000 spHa) - that's an investment of $8.1 billion (the calculator I have doesn't have this many digits!) Has anyone at Scion done this calculation? Could we do any better with this money than a singular wood to diesel strategy where the technology is yet to be proven?

I have tried to convince the local council run swimming pool to burn wood residues instead of gas requiring an investment of $1 million or so (that pays its way) - they are too gun-shy of risk to even consider this seriously, even with proven European technology and guaranteed fuel supply. Yet Scion want to suggest we take on a project 8100 times bigger with little surety of technology and market and no considerations for alternatives.

I'd like to suggest the first step towards such a strategy is to "energise" all the forestry waste we have available presently. There's near 50,000 barrels of oil equivalent forest waste available in Wellington now, proven technology that works, yet we still heat swimming pools, hospitals, and Govt Depts with fossil fuel sourced energy, mainly gas, which we know is a quickly diminishing resource in NZ.

Hey everyone! ... the first step in the solution is right before our eyes now.

Apply the current wood to heat technology in NZ NOW. Promote bioenergy within forestry through utilizing the waste resource NOW. Pass the benefits through to a beleaguered forest grower sector NOW. Only then will the forestry sector believe in a Government Department strategy like Scenario 1.8 targeting 2035.

The Swedes commenced their current national energy policy in the late 1970's. They didn't say that by 2010 they wanted to have 25% of their energy sourced from forestry residues - sure, they made general claims, but did what they could when they could, biting off small gains in their energy ambitions year by year and "staying the course".

NZ has a terrible history of Feast and Famine in our agricultural past - it's time for the Government to take a stance and underwrite a National Forestry Energy Policy to promote additional plantings and reduced erosion (with additional carbon benefits), but this strategy will never succeed from a "pie in the sky" 2035 Scion objective assuming technological breakthoughs.

It will happen with a commitment to wood to energy now, today, tomorrow and next year. It will happen using current technology and evolving and growing an industry from novel, to established to mature through a couple of decades. It will need more than a handfull of enthusiastic participants. It will need investment both financially and intellectually but above all it will require a commitment of this Government, and every other one between now and 2035, to a sector that has been dragged through the mud over the past nine years and has little if not zero faith in good ideas alone, irrespective of which Government Department the tax payer funded their creation from.

Thankyou.

Andrew Walker



Andrew Walker of Forester

Global Warming Science   – Friday, 29-Jan-2010

Which science are you referring to? Which science is not compelling? Which science is compelling?

Too often in these discussions people pluck figures out of the air and quote some guy down the road. You, yourself quote "Many people". If your argument is to carry any meaning then you need to quote actual sources. That way, the other people in this conversation can verify and evaluate what you are saying.

Don't get me wrong Brent. I side very strongly with the Timber Industry in this matter. If there is such a thing as global warming, then the Timber Industry is the single most important industry, on the PLUS side, in the world's efforts to reverse it.

To me, the biggest con in this whole subject is the Government playing with the Carbon Trading rules to protect the Petroleum, Cement and Steel industries from consequences of their actions. For every positive protection the Government puts in place to protect these industries, the Timber Industry is punished via restrictions on how they can trade the carbon credits generated.

I think your poll strongly reflects the negative sentiment of the Timber Industry, towards this favouritism, rather than a reliable evaluation of whether or not Global Warming exists.

In fact, both opposing views can easily co-exist. For Instance "Yes Global Warming is real" does not conflict with "Yes, the Timber Industry is being conned to protect other industries".

My call is for clearer arguments on both sides of the discussion.

p.s. The poll results are not surprising, because the majority of Offcut readers work in the Timber Industry. An Industry that could potentially benefit hugely from Carbon Trading but, in recent times, has seen the Government move to restrict those benefits through price caps and restrictions on who can be traded with. This is called Sample Bias. But you knew that already.

p.p.s. Many would argue that the poll results indicate that the average Offcut reader is less intelligent than the average Herald reader. For New Zealand's sake, I hope this is not true.

p.p.p.s. Did you know that 47% of Statistics are made up on the spot?

Jason Horn of Process Lubricants Ltd

Global Warming - a giant Con   – Tuesday, 26-Jan-2010

A recent presentation titled "Why an Emissions Trading Scheme is not Necessary" compiled by Leon Ashby (see www.climatesceptics.com.au) makes the situation very clear to myself & most people I know agree with it, global warming and carbon trading is a giant con proliferated by "greenies" politicians and prominent business interests looking to make an easy buck out of the gullible Joe Public. Also on that vain the furore over alternative fuels is also in my opinion rubbish......when huge food producers stop growing vegetables and start growing alternative crops to produce fuel for more money the world is really in trouble.....people cannot eat and live of biofuel.

Greed really clouds peoples judgement. Really enjoy Friday Offcuts, keep up the good work.

Tony Cox of KLC Ltd

Response to Global Warming poll   – Monday, 25-Jan-2010

I was struck with a range of thoughts when I saw the poll regarding "Global Warming" in this week's edition of Friday Offcuts.

One of the reasons that there is so much confusion about this issue is that the clear cut, irrefutable scientific evidence has been lost amongst the clamour of popular opinion, much of it generated by the opponents of Global Warming. Your poll only adds to the confusion.

The poll gives the impression that if enough people disbelieve in Global Warming, then it can't be true. This impression is fed by the fact that conducting a poll involves scientific method, i.e. X% of people think A, Y% of people think B. Percentages are involved, which is mathematics, therefore it must be science.

Remember that, statistically, half of the people responding to your poll are of below average intelligence. Are these the people you want securing your children's future?

Jason Horn of Process Lubricants Ltd

Global Warming   – Monday, 25-Jan-2010

Thanks Jason for your comments. I would hope that our readers climb above the "below average intelligence" but the points you make are all valid. From the number of responses we got this morning it's certainly still a hot point for discussion - and still amongst those employed within the forestry industry. The objective of the poll is to stir debate - or discussion - and to point out the trends for the questions posed to the public from the NZ Herald poll.

Editor of Friday Offcuts

Global Warming debate   – Monday, 25-Jan-2010

Thanks for the reply. I too hope that Friday Offcuts readers' intelligence is above average. Heck, I read it, there is a big boost right there!

I guess my point is that we should be debating the facts i.e. debating what the scientists' reports say and not debating "What people think". If we debate "What People Think" we risk being side tracked into a secondary arguement that is ultimately of no worth.

Either Global Warming is real or it is not, with the possibility of the truth lying somewhere in between. Opinion polls do not help our understanding of this phenomenon and they do not help us decide on a proper course of action.

It has been said that "There are lies, damn lies and statistics".

If we pay more attention to "opinions" and less attention to "facts" we get a situation where the Cement and Steel Industries are able to pass themselves off as Eco-Friendly and Forestry could somehow be detrimental to the fight against Global Warming.

Think about it. "Tree" vs "Concrete Building". Take away the opinions and it becomes obvious which one is better for the environment.

Jason Horn of Process Lubricants Ltd

Carbon Trading   – Friday, 22-Jan-2010

Carbon trading is the biggest con job in history. It is just another money grab and gravey train. The climate has changed both hotter and colder since the beginning of time. The 1.7% human contribution to green house gasses is not the issue. There is a ot of other contributing factors that are not well understood and is conveniantly disregarded. Maybe someone that wants to tax me to the poorhouse can explain why the world went into a mini ice age in the 13th centry(dont think that human activity caused that maybe all the bison in north America and the vast herds in africa stopped f*******g all at the same time.)

Steven Roberts of Private

Carbon Credits   – Friday, 22-Jan-2010

If a carbon tax become a reality, who gets all the money?

Tony Davies of Nicks Components

Forest Property Right Grievance Issue with the Government.   – Friday, 27-Nov-2009

As an owner of mid-harvest "Post 1989" forestry, and "Pre 1990" forestry I take exception to the treatment by the previous Government when rushing through legislation so Helen Clark can be seen a hero in at Kyoto, similarly, now John Key's deal with select Maori to get the votes for Copenhagen.

I would like to announce I have a "Grievance" with the Government within the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 in relation to the Protection of Personal and Property Rights.

Not only has the previous Government stollen foresters mid-term carbon assets (and given most of them to energy SOE's to sell off-shore to fund wind turbines), the current Government are non-proportionally handing out compensation for stollen Pre-1990 Forestry related property rights, to select Maori entities with no consideration for the rest of forestry ownership.

(If the compensation model was to follow the Treaty of Waitangi Settlement process, a Government funded organisation (like the Crown Forestry Rental Trust) should be established, funded from Crown forestry rentals to directly assist research foresters grieveances. Then a Forestry Tribunal can be similarly Government funded to hear said Forestry grievances for recommendations to be made to the Government of the day.)

Foresters have had a raw deal and it's no wonder the industry is in decline. The Government, in particular Nick Smith, needs to look beyond politics to sort this out. The industry will not prosper from irrational meddling and unfair Political manipulation.

Regards

Andrew Walker





Andrew Walker of Forest Owner

Paulownia 20 Nov 2009   – Monday, 23-Nov-2009

I would have thought after the various experiences by promoters of Paulownia since the 1980's that this genus would have been put to rest, but no here it is again. Pretty much all the plantings, R&D or commercial in Australia, have amounted to nought.

From my experience and observation, Paulwownia in Australia does grow very rapidly in the first 3-4 years and with repeated pruning will produce a bole of about 3-6 metres. However the tree then branches into an umbrella form which is basically unmanageable and the growth seems to concentrate in the branches and foliage.

We saw some very sophiticated tissue culture labs raising large numbers of plants sources from the Chinese Academy of Forestry back in the 1980's and promoted far and wide as the answer to all environmental issues. However the promotion was not matched by performance.

The low basic density and softness are not attractive qualities for domestic use and the quantity of Carbon will also be reflected by the low basic density (volume doesn't equal stored Carbon). However I do have some nice examples of Paulownia calligraphy boxes; probably the best use for the species.

JD Kellas of PTG

Paulownia   – Friday, 20-Nov-2009

Regarding the Paulownia plantation near Jimboomba, QLD - I just wanted to make your readers aware that this tree has great weed potential. Just over the border in NSW it has escaped from a plantation into the creek system where it is spreading, and is difficult to control.

Cheers,
Johanna

Johanna Kempff of Industry & Investment NSW

General Comments   – Monday, 19-Oct-2009

1. Although I am shown as a n/a organisation I borrow a lot of information from you for our newsletter and it is greatly appreciated.

2. Hasn't 'Tree Felling' Annonymous, ever heard of the "Humbolt Scarf" ? Popular in Canada more then 100 years ago. Particularly suitable for high stumps and 'jigger board' work plus reduces the waste of cutting off 'slovens'.

Ted Ramsay of The Men of the Trees (Southland) Inc.

Victoria - world's first state to inventory forestry carbon   – Friday, 9-Oct-2009

Great news that Victoria is now taken over by the mammoth State of South Australia, well done crow eaters. Seriously though, stored and released carbon in public owned forests can now be quantified not only for fuel reduction to reduce the size and intensity of wildfire, it could also be estimated for timber harvesting and (especially) new carbon capture from the subsequent vigourosly growing regeneration, and the cost in future carbon sequestration from not harvesting old growth (for example).

Some dangers inlcude: biased estimations, inaccuracies that make it meaningless, misunderstanding and abuse of knowledge by radical self intrested green groups, making carbon another factor in forest planning.

Overall, it could become a useful tool, and very timely to counter accusations that forest management realeses vast ammounts of greenhouse gases, when we all know the actual carbon released is very little when you consider carbon stored in the soil and in wood products and the subsequent regenerating forest.

Anonymous

Tree Planting in NZ   – Friday, 21-Aug-2009

Many thanks to Roger Dickie and his KFA for achieving the PR to point out the obvious shortfalls of the Govt's current strategies regarding the carbon trading issue. Seems like this Govt is as good as the last one at missunderstanding the real issues in regard to forestry, well Nick Smith is at least. It looks like we'll need a Steven Joyce to cut through the politics and get to the substance of the issues.

What will also help is the adoption of wood as a bio-energy within NZ's energy culture and this will happen in earnest when oil inveitably goes through USD100 a barrel again.

In my home town, the Greater Wellington Regional Council leave an estimated 15,000 tonnes (conservative) of readily accessable energy wood to rot in birdnests on the hillsides after harvest (as is the standard practise in NZ not just here in Wtn I might add) each year. This has the energy equiavlent of 45,000 barrels of oil.

What is going to advance the lot of foresters more ... the use of residue from the harvest for energy(as they do in Scandinavia), or a few extra dollars for theoretically helping to save the plannet?

I believe NZ is right at the edge of a reality breakthrough - watch for the Kapiti Coast District Council to announce the use of wood residue to burn their sewage sludge problem - which will show all that wood energy can be used by more than sawmills.

Inevitably it is this sector (renewable energy) that will get the forestry industry back on its feet, combined with the inevitable carbon credits that the Govt has to fairly allocate which will make many a hill country dry stock farmer look to convert his or her erossion prone paddocks to forestry.

Come on John (Key) give us a Crusher-Collins or a Steven Joyce to get the job done!

Andrew Walker of Forestry Owner

Tree Planting in NZ - Friday, 21-Aug-2009   – Friday, 21-Aug-2009

Government's announcement to restrict forestry carbon trades to New Zealand beggars belief and flies in the face of any and all "free market" concepts and theories. Talk about creating a dysfunctional market with policy that has no economic logic to it whatsoever.

Andrew Walker, a Forestry Owner makes excellent comment regarding the astounding lack of understanding in our communities for biomass energy potential. There are volumes of well-researched articles available on the internet reporting on the hugely overlooked potentials for biomass energy.

Excluding people like Roger Dickie and others, there has been a major failure of most industry organizations, particularly those tasked with representing the interests of forestry and timber industries to the policy makers in NZ and Australia, that they have been unable to convince / persuade our respective governments as to the enormous potentials for biomass energy (and related by-products) - or are they just unable to see the forest for the trees?

Do your research. Biomass is the most overlooked and least understood of all renewable energy potentials in the world. Apart from hydro power, biomass is the only renewable energy that can run 24 x 7 without interruption unlike the far more costly and intermittent wind and solar types. Most importantly biomass can follow end-user energy demands and it provides much-needed base load upon which intermittent wind and solar energies depend.

On page 5 of the IEA BIOENERGY 2008 report (www.ieabioenergy.com) it states "The cost of environmental damage due to production and use of fossil fuel energy and certain chemicals and materials leads us to the inevitable conclusion that new systems of production must be developed. These should focus on reduction of pollution or hazardous materials, producing safe and environmentally benign products in a green and sustainable supply chain. For this to occur, a constant and renewable supply that has a low carbon cost is required. Globally, the only source of such renewable feedstock is biomass."

Given our huge biomass resources New Zealand should have been world-leaders in the biomass energy industry and related by-products. Perhaps it is not too late if some sensible policy were to be enacted (but don't hold your breath given the lost opportunities we have forgone since New Zealand signed up to Kyoto and effectively sat on its hands implementing nonsense policy at the same time as we became world leaders, on a per capita basis, in expanding our emissions).

With regard to forestry credits, if sensible policy had been enacted closer to the time that we signed up to Kyoto, then New Zealand industry could have enjoyed the shelter of offsets from forestry credits to the extent that policy toward industry emissions could now be far less onerous than that which otherwise now needs to be imposed in order to met our Kyoto obligations.

Further to highlight the nonsense going on here in New Zealand regarding emissions trading. Key Energy has a large industrial client in Europe that has asked us to identify opportunities whereby this company is willing to fund, partially of fully, projects for efficiency gains in industry whereby they could obtain Emission Reduction Units (ERUs) under the Kyoto Joint Implementation (JI) mechanism. This same company is also keen to fund, on a joint venture basis, green-fields biomass power plants to obtain credits, but again we are unable to pursue any such opportunities in New Zealand because of the exclusion from JI mechanism that could enable such activity.

New Zealand and Australia are Annex B signatories to Kyoto but curiously both countries deny and refuse the option for offshore parties in other Annex B countries to fund projects that would reduce our emissions and provide enormous benefits to industry. Why sign an agreement, then turn around and exclude and deny the very intent of the agreement to create a free market in carbon emissions trading such as could spur efficiency gains in industry, foster renewable energy projects and reduce carbon emissions? This is about as sensible as removing NZ currency from the global currency markets and creating barriers to trading NZ currency - there is no difference in economic logic.

This short-sighted policy announced by government will prevent sorely needed offshore funding / investment for local projects within various cash-strapped industries in NZ.

In conclusion it needs to be noted that "feed-in tariffs", as has been enacted in over 40 other countries (including several states in USA) have proven to be a far more cost-effective way of stimulating uptake of renewable energy and reducing carbon emissions in industry and should be implemented along with a sensible carbon trading scheme. Key Energy made a submission to the draft New Zealand Energy Strategy in 2007 which can be viewed on the Ministry of Economic Development website (it details the case for feed-in tariffs with particular focus on the timber industry situation):www.med.govt.nz.


Allan Mountain of Key Energy Ltd

Axe Men   – Friday, 3-Jul-2009

Perhaps the industry should lobby for a show on Country Calendar to showcase NZ's standards, safety and professionalism.

Heather Arnold of Nelson Forests Ltd

Tree Felling in Australasia   – Friday, 3-Jul-2009

I watched the show and agree they have some serious OHS issues but one thing I did notice which many chainsaw operators in our country need to take into account is the style of scarf cut used. I believe it is safer than the cuts primarily used here and New Zealand. The scarf was cut underbelly style allowing the head of the tree to pass the 90 degree angle and hit the ground before the butt of the tree unlike the over belly scarf which does not allow the head to hit the ground but stops at 90 degree angle and often cause's the tree to break off at the cut and bounce. As well as being safer the underbelly scarf does not leave a half scarf left on good production timber/logs. Although every person has there own way of cutting, not everything done in our country's can be considered safe either. Maybe we should all learn safety from each other and have open eyes and ears.

Anonymous

Negative Media   – Monday, 15-Jun-2009

I've just stumbled onto your website and discussion and I truly believe the complete media saturation of the green point of view is and always has been the main problem. Politics is not about right and wrong, its about numbers,if 3 million voters in Sydney believe that putting you out of work will save the planet, your gone! The green movement AND the media have to keep up the anti-forestry agenda or admit to the australian public that they've been lying to them for forty years! As far as I can see the only option we have is to demand the "right of reply". Whenever a media outlet gives airtime to one of our detractors we have to push for one of our representatives to answer on our behalf. This would require demonstrations in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane etc to get things started. It would cost time and and expensive travel but different groups from different areas could share it around.

Bruce Shea of Bruce Shea

Promoting Wood's Attributes through the Media   – Thursday, 4-Jun-2009

From my conversations with people who want buildings, my impression is that they rely on the judgment of specifiers- either architects for bigger stuff, or builders for homes, about what are the best materials. Its always a big call for the owner, so they take expert opinion seriously.

So "bang for buck" its about persuading the specifiers & builders about the long term value to the client of wood. And that means good information materials, well presented. I think mass mediais pretty ineffective for these audiences. Yes you get exposure, but I doubt it affects decisions much.

I'd argue for surveys of the target specifier audiences first, then some marketing presentations to key players, then re-survey to see its impact, and get the story right then roll it out across the target group. Value for money in this is changing specifiers attitudes, and that's time consuming. I reckon the Industry is wasting money on TV.

So, I think your questions for voting are the wrong questions. Don't worry about misleading advertising. Focus on the key decision makers.

John Pearce of Quality Strategic Decisions Ltd

Australian Bushfire Management talk by Rodger Underwood   – Friday, 3-Apr-2009

At last a comprehensive dose of commonsense on the whole issue of Australian bushfire management. A really excellent summary that deserves to be acted upon.

Perhaps the most helpful thing that us kiwis could do to assist our Aussie mates is to bring our tuppence ha'pennys worth of international pressure to bear on the clowns in Canberra. NZ should refuse all assistance in fighting the inevitable Aussie bushfires, and cleaning up the aftermath until such time as comprehensive controlled burning strategies are implemented across Australia.

Why should NZ firefighting resources be drawn into fighting fires in utterly hopeless wildfire situations that are created by useless Aussie bureaucrats? Kiwi firefighters are just cannon fodder for Aussie politicians and fire control generals, to be sacrificed on the altar of their career aspirations.

Keep blowing that whistle Roger!!!

Denis Albert of MAF

Student's Opinion of Forestry   – Monday, 16-Mar-2009

I just wanted to comment on your article in today's OffCuts lamenting the poor opinion students have of the wood industry as a career choice.

In the last 20 years these students have seen their Fathers, Brothers and Uncles forced into contracting and made redundant. In return they get to work (if they can get work) for next to minimum wage and for far more than 40 hours a week.

As soon as the economy wobbles the large corporate owners are looking to make cuts and send more people down the road to other careers. It would be hard to get a good recommendation from someone with a 30 year work history who was made redundant because the Yen dropped 5 points.

The solution is simple as it is for any boring, repetitive, dangerous job. Pay more money.

Jason Horn of Process Lubricants Ltd

Storing carbon in landfills   – Thursday, 5-Mar-2009

Good to see recognition of carbon stored in landfills. Disposal of treated grape posts is a big issue in Marlborough. What are the prospects of the Council getting a credit for storing them in their landfill? They should be stored separately in case the price of copper and chrome increases to the point where it is worth digging them up again and extracting these valuable metals.

Michael Cambridge of Maxwood NZ Ltd

Carbon Emissions from the Victorian fires   – Friday, 27-Feb-2009

Good Morning Brent. The story on carbon emissions from the Victorian fires "According to Mark Adams of the University of Sydney. "Once you burn millions of hectares of eucalypt forest, then you are putting into the atmosphere very large amounts of carbon." This is very misleading as there were not millions of hectares burned in the fires. Whilst I do not know the latest estimate on the area burned I believe somewhere around .5M would be closer to the mark. I do not discount there has been a large amount of carbon emitted from the fires but in my view this should not be exaggerated.
A point that should be made is as this burned area re-generates it will re-absorb all the carbon emitted from the fires over a period of time.

Dale Jessup of FEA

Victorian Fire-related Carbon Emissions   – Friday, 27-Feb-2009

In relation to the article about CO2 released from the Vic Fires, note that Australia's emissions are about 600Mt of Co2 (e) this year and have been over 550Mt since about 2000, so the figure quoted in the article is plain wrong and is about half what it should be.

If you want the "real data" go to the CPRS white paper and on page 4-5 and 4-6 (p143 and 144 of vol 1) you have graphs and a discussion. The Guardian is a British newspaper (albeit a relatively well informed one) so probably isn't the best source of news about Australia.

Excluding Forest Management from the national accounts makes lots of sense in many ways: if nothing else measuring, monitoring and then verifying the vast carbon pool is technically very difficult and the sheer size of it would cause major volatility in carbon markets if "permits" etc were created and traded on the back of it. A "minor" variation in the calculations associated with 147 Million hectares of native forest could produce an "adjustment" that would be a significant percentage of the total national CPRS permit pool in a given year. For example the best estimate of the area of forests (native and plantation combined) in Australia went from 164 million in 2003 to 149 million in 2008 (Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry- Australia's State of the Forests Report - 2008). This was presumably a minor variation due to changed measurement methodologies.

To discuss the Victorian fire-related carbon emissions as therefore something unusual or to imply that forest fires generally somehow invalidate emissions trading principles, or undermine the integrity of the proposed scheme - is an argument that doesn't hold up to too much scrutiny. It seems apparent that the structure of Australia's forests and the pattern of fire is changing, but there is limited published analysis that I am aware of that identifies clear trends or quantifies overall carbon balances for the nation as a result. Some climate change scenarios indicate realistic expectations of an increase in rainfall in the tropical north of the continent which may in turn result in increased sequestration that may (or may not - no one knows) "offset" the increased emissions due to more uncontrolled wild fires in the southeast.

Arjan Wilkie of Willmott Forests

Forest Harvesting Safety   – Friday, 20-Feb-2009

The words "didn't wait long enough" and "entering the bush too soon" in the harvesting safety article of Friday, 20th February highlight the conflict that can exist between safety and the production chase. Recently in Tassie we had a harvesting contractor employee struck in the face when a chain he was using snapped under tension.

The "long and the short" of it is that operational decisions were made that maximised machinery utilisation but compromised safety.

The message:- Be situationally aware, pay attention to detail and stay within your own limits and those of your tools and machinery.

Stay Safe

Murray Kirkwood

Murray Kirkwood of Forestry Tasmania

The Victorian Bush Fires   – Monday, 16-Feb-2009

I have attached a local article from radical activist Germaine Greer.

Greer: Authorities are 'arsonists'
Feb 13, 2009 2:00pm

OUTSPOKEN academic Germaine Greer has branded Australian authorities arsonists for failing to carry out regular burn-offs, which she says could have prevented the deadly Victorian bushfires.

Greer said Australians were paying the price for repeatedly ignoring the lessons of past bushfires - the need for burn-offs in cooler months to lessen the risk of blazes in the summer.

"I was born in 1939 and Melbourne was under black clouds of smoke with cinders sifting down everywhere and we were already there on Black Friday,' she said in London overnight.

"We get taught the same lesson again and again and we just think: 'Oh no, that's a bit drastic'. No, it's not a bit drastic, we have to do it.

"It's the same old story. We need to educate people, we need to also have a bit of courage and we probably need somebody to direct the operation.

"It's useless running around looking for arsonists. The arsonists are us. They are our government and our administrators. We have been stupid.'

Greer was speaking while attending a function with Prince Charles in London to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Royal Flying Doctor Service's charity in the UK.

The feminist icon, who recalled holidaying when she was younger in the now devastated Victorian town of Marysville, said fire was part of the Australian bush life cycle and the more fuel that was allowed to build up, the greater the risk of a blaze.

She said authorities should learn from how Aborigines used fire hundreds of years ago to remove the build-up of undergrowth and dead branches from bushland areas.

And, she added, if housing subdivisions continued to be built in the bush, fire management regimes should be considered vital to prevent bushfires destroying them.

"Nobody buys a house in a wonderful green forested area expecting it to be burnt,' she said.

"If it is burnt every five years, you'll have six months where it looks a bit rubbish.

"But you will also get all the orchids and all the rare wildflowers popping up out of the ground.

"All you have to do is turn people's heads around a bit.

"You can't prevent fire. What you are going to have to do is learn how to use fire.'

Article from: News.com.au


While I do not agree on everything she has espoused over the years, I must say I am sympathetic to her views in this case. I have been in and around the timber industry for some 50 years and, during the latter period of those years I have been placed in the difficult position of closing operations due to closing of forests. One must question the rationale of these closures which brought about the abandonment of fire trails, back burning and clearing of forest debris at ground level in some cases due to banning of cattle grazing in the areas. I can understand the specific legislation if only some compensating safety measures had been introduced.

Regards,

J.J.

John M Jones of Sales & Strategies

Fire Retarding Opportunity Missed   – Monday, 16-Feb-2009

Brent,

Further to my previous comments on the immediate need for consideration of compensating fire safety regulations to offset the closure of forest areas and the fire safety measures therein. Shortly following the Canberra fire disaster I made contact with internationally renowned fire retardant manufacturer Magma International (Holland) who had a range of fire retardants tested and approved by authorities in the European Union.

Magma expressed interest in covering Australasia so I linked them with an Australian wood preservation company to develop the products for local use. Failure of local authorities to agree on testing and performance standards exacibated by mountainous costs for testing despite the European Union approvals resulted in all parties walking away from the program. I am not suggesting that these fire retardants would have saved the properties, however, they may well have provided some additional escape time.

John M Jones, OAM of Sales & Strategies

A Kiwi's View of the Victorian Tragedy   – Monday, 16-Feb-2009


An Open Letter

Many rural Victorian people applied to cut trees down close to their houses for a fire safety barrier, but Green protests stopped that happening.
The Govt. wanted to winter control burn to reduce fuel but the Greens blocked them.

The Govt. wanted to production thin more stands for health and to get bigger trees, but the Greens stopped them. Recently the Greens forced a halt in logging in Victoria because a possible rare animal was seen in the area. More than one million native animals have died in the fires this week.

The Greens have forced hundreds of thousands of hectares of good productive forest into reserves and parks. Now hundreds of thousands of hectares of these reserves are charcoal and ash. The Greens fret about CO2-e emissions. Millions of tonnes of CO2-e have been released since Sunday last. Who do they blame for that? It is not the coal producers this time.

The Greens criticize hardworking forestry workers for damaging the environment. They will not have to worry so much in future, as many are dead.
And what are the Greens now saying about it all. Nothing! They have gone to ground, or underground - where they should stay.

But within weeks they will emerge again to continue to disrupt the legitimate forest industry and to set the scene for the next tragedy. Isn't it high time the government had the sense to put a stop to this nonsense once and for all? In fact Green leaders should be charged with complicity to destroy lives and property.

But I doubt they will be.

Dennis Neilson of DANA Limited

Environmental advantages of building with wood detailed   – Friday, 13-Feb-2009

It is great that research is showing that wood in landfills is not degrading and hence, stores the carbon for all intents and purposes permanently. However, it would be a mistake for the timber industry to advocate burial of end-of-life timber in landfill as a way of mitigating climate change.

The general community, and a lot of government policy reflecting community concerns, is strongly opposed to burial of waste in landfills as it is viewed as a waste of a resource that could be put to better use.

It is a waste of a resource when using the end-of-life (EoL)timber by reuse, recycling or to generate renewable energy in place of fossil fuels can deliver greenhouse gas reductions.

This is why the National(Australian)Timber Product Stewardship Group is working to double the amount of EoL timber that is reused, recycled or used as renewable energy to 1 million tonnes per year by 2017.

Of course there may be residual EoL timber that is is not suitable, or uneconomic to reuse, recycle or use to make renewable energy. Burial in well-managed landfills and storage of the carbon stored of the timber is then a good thing which the NTPSG also recognises and advocates.

Stephen Mitchell of National (Australian) Timber Product Stewardship Group

Coconut Wood and it's Potential   – Tuesday, 3-Feb-2009

Informative issue as always. Thanks.

I was heartened by the item on coconut wood and Gary Hopewell's research project. To those of us that spent many years in international development around the Asia Pacific region, this comes as no surprise. Coconut wood, and increasingly oil palmwood, is a traditional building material in house construction and furniture manufacture in many countries from India to Fiji, and of course in production of craft and cultural items.

Some old figures now (but the closest I have to hand, from 2001) are that there are over 10 million ha of oilpalm and over 5 million ha of coconut plantations. Palm oil plantings in Malaysia and Indonesia have increased enormously over the last decade (and incidently are the largest single cause of rainforest deforestation in those two countries). When these reach the end of their productive life for palm oil and copra respectively, the stems are increasingly finding their way into the local timber markets. The analogy is with rubberwood: there are about 9 million ha of rubberwood plantations and these have underpinned a vigorous international market for rubberwood furniture. Current rubber tree improvement programmes in Malaysia select and breed for both latex and wood production. One might see this trend develop through time with the palmwoods. As to wood production, current coconut plantations were estimated in 2001 to be capable of producing about 5 million cubic metres sawnwood per year (see article referenced below).

Coconut wood is strong and of high density (therefore very heavy), has some tissue structural issues, is high in silica (issues with machine tools) but has low natural durability (however it is easy to treat with preservatives). Potential is high and affords an export opportunity for developing countries into markets such as Australia and NZ, but these will be I think for specialty value added products not commodity lumber.

You might find the reference below from FAO staffers of some interest.

Durst, P.B., Killman, W. and Brown,C. Asia's new woods. Journal of Forestry 102 (4): 46-53. 2004.

P.S. I recall being in the VIP lounge at Rarotonga airport many years ago. Pride of place was taken up by an ENORMOUS coconut wood throne that took three men to shift. It was specially built for the (previous) King of Tonga's visits. Also recall seeing bicycles in Kerala and Sri Lanka loaded to the gunnels with 3 by 2s for house building, hand hewn by axe and adze from coconut trunks; these were always cut on the quarter, never on the back (although such terms are really misnomers when one is dealing with palm wood, but you get the picture).

Ian Bevege of Private Consultant

When fact, logic, and expertise is ignored   – Friday, 28-Nov-2008

Mark Poynter's recent article exposes yet again the modus operandi employed by forest industry antagonists and anti-forestry politicians.

Put simply, it's a case of the politicians, both existing and aspirant garnering support from an ill advised community and associating their personal political aspirations with equally ill advised celebrities. At all cost politicians need to remain atop their political soap boxes. Who better to drive their political agendas than home grown celebrities and Cappucino sipping conservationists of Bondi? In return,the celebrities reap the exposure which ensures their next novel or film are absolute sell outs. The press of course lap up the sensationalism! All good business really.

It's the forest activists and forest workers who are the real losers. Yes, a few of the forest activists will forge political careers for their disruptive efforts, the vast majority however could end up discarded political pawns with criminal records. Not a good look on an employment resume. Forest industry workers of course have their livelihoods and families threatened by the political manouvering of a handful of anti-forestry politicians. Despicable!!!

Murray Kirkwood of Private Capacity

Coordinating the Promotion of a Better Public Image   – Monday, 3-Nov-2008

Dear Brent,

Thank you for your latest edition of Friday Offcuts, which contains comments and articles of great interest. Part of my business is in the capacity of Manager to the Australasian Paper Industry Association Limited, representing paper manufacturers, suppliers, and distributors. Our key objective is to promote a positive image of paper and print, and of the extended industry. As you know well, advocacy of our industry to government, business, and the community at large is hindered by the large number of groups and associations representing various segments of the industry, much of the time in an uncoordinated fashion.

At the moment we are working closely with various groups in Australia to promote our industry through such activities as the creation of a common "environmental" web site which will contain information from across the industry, and also in cooperating to promote our industry's interests to governments, business, and the community.

Your comments below in terms of peoples attitude to wood and carbon storage strike a chord. We have so far published one brochure which we distributed widely in Australia, with copies also going to New Zealand, simply titled "Paper...a fundamental part of daily living", and will soon publish a second brochure titled "Paper...naturally sustainable". The first brochure can be downloaded from our web site: www.australasianpaper.org , whilst the second brochure is soon to be printed. It would be appreciated if you could make your subscribers aware of our activities on promoting paper and our industry, and if you have any questions please feel free to ask.


Tony Wood of APIA Ltd

Wood vs the Rest   – Friday, 17-Oct-2008

While I am an ardent supporter of the sustainability of wood and wood products, and have long held the view that wood, as the only natural and prolific sequesterer of CO2 from the air, must be a powerful force in Climate Change abatement, I think we have to moderate our enthusiasm. Cement, Steel (and your next target Aluminium) all have their place in our civilisation. I'm not looking forward to flying to Australia in a wooden aircraft.

I believe society / civilization will become more rational about the use of the most appropriate materials when complex, holistic, evaluation processes such as Life Cycle Assessment achieve a capability to be incorporated into project planning for new structures and products. As the process of internalising environmental costs (based on LCA style evaluation) continues beyond GHG emissions we will see new cost relativities develop.

Don't get me wrong - I think it is high time that the Timber / wood industry publicised its sustainable credentials, its just that tit for tat comparison generally ignores important other features. I have confidence LCA will (eventually) provide robust, scientific support for those credentials.

John McArthur of Laminex Hamilton

Global Warming Scepticism   – Sunday, 5-Oct-2008

Thanks for the latest newsletter. Always interesting - and a great joke!

I don't think that global warming sceptics for the most part disagree that carbon is being burned and atmospheric CO2 levels are rising - although I have found that some people actually believe that sceptics think that.

Instead "we" are sceptical that there is a scientific link between rising
CO2 and rising global temperatures - although the reverse is true, i.e., rising temperatures have historically resulted in rising CO2.

The latest calamity being reported as a component of what is now referred to as "disastrous global warming" is the rapid melting of Arctic and Greenland ice - and also the Himalayan glaciers. So - why is this "global warming" only happening in the northern hemisphere I hear you ask?

For perhaps a more plausible explanation just google "black carbon" or go the following website www.sciencedaily.com

I remain a sceptic until I see the scientific evidence that rising CO2 is actually causing rising temperatures.

Bill Dyck of Science & Technology Brokerage

Feed in Tariffs for NZ Sawmillers   – Monday, 11-Aug-2008

This type of program was first implemented in the USA in 1978, but it is the German model, that begun in 1990 ("Stromeinspeisungsgesetz") and refined in the year 2000 ("Erneuerbare-Energien-Gesetz") when it became a Federally managed program that has proven to be the world's most effective practice for boosting adoption of renewable energy technologies and reducing GHG emissions.

It has been enacted in over 30 countries now and has stimulated phenomenal growth in uptake of all types renewable energy systems as well as significant employment growth in the industries manufacturing, installing and maintaining these systems.

As a result of feed-in tariffs Germany now produces Gigawatts of electricity just from domestic photovoltaics installations alone (no mean feat given their sunshine hours compared to New Zealand!).

The New Zealand Situation It is just astounding that feed-in tariffs have not been enacted in NZ - and the reason most people in Government and their economists will give you is that feed-in tariffs are "state subsidies". The European High Court has ruled on this argument stating without equivocation that they are not subsidies.

Feed-in tariffs are a valid market mechanism - small investors such as timber mill owners invest their own money in setting up cogen (where once it was not economic them to do so, given very long payback under current conditions) and a premium payment accrues for every kW exported to grid so that the mill gets reasonable payback and thereafter it is all supplementary income. Once implemented across a number of sites and generation types, and the investment has been repaid, the costs of power supply begin to reduce over time. Experience worldwide indicates that consumers are willing to pay this initial upfront premium for clean power and GHG reductions.

Regarding "subsidies" - what do they call this current dilemma in NZ where all business and millers on the spot market are paying through the nose - paying massive premium to the big generator retailers at current spot market prices. If that is not a subsidy from all taxpayers and businesses to Government and the generator / retailers then what is? Recent news has indicated that the current power crisis has cost New Zealand $3 billion!

What type of business do you know which gets massive windfall profits for sitting on their hands and doing very little - which is what is happening right now in NZ - and Government is benefitting, as owner of most of the generator / retailers, by receiving windfall stealth taxes.

It is worth noting that in most of the 30 countries where feed-in tariffs have been enacted the big incumbent generators have fiercely resisted their enactment spending huge sums to fight it in the courts.

Other benefits of feed-in tariffs include:
- Reduces our carbon exposure to Kyoto (as opposed to business as usual under current NZ model).
- Supports and underpins any emissions trading system
- Provides additional revenue streams to businesses such as struggling timber mills where cogeneration can be implemented as well as biogas power production from waste streams such as in meat works etc...

For more information visit following website: www.wind-works.org or contact Allan Mountain at Key Energy Ltd Ph: +64 7 574 8258 or mobile: +64 21 474 161

Allan Mountain of Key Energy Ltd

Wood Burns - You bet it Does   – Monday, 4-Aug-2008

Thanks for the response Neil to last week's editorial. Wind Power was flavour of the week for last week's issue - with a number of high profile announcements made in the media - and of course, any generation of discussion as an editor is welcomed. Profiling of options for better utilisation of wood residues for energy production will always be done through Friday Offcuts - so please keep sending them through. Great listing of references.

Editor of Friday Offcuts

Wood Burns? Surely not!?   – Friday, 1-Aug-2008

Thanks for the excellent copy of Friday Offcuts. Just a little disappointed with the over-emphasis on solar and particularly wind energy in the opening section. I would have hoped that a forest-industry publication would be championing the role that woodfuel could play in meeting the targets for CO2 reduction. We're certainly making good inroads into the public and private sectors at the moment, with 6 of our woodchip boilers scheduled for installation in New Zealand schools in the next 6 months or so, and many more applications on the cards.

In a global context, woodfuel is by far the most widely deployed form of renewable energy, and in Europe provides over 50% of their current total renewable energy capacity, and 98% of their renewable heating, whereas NZ is wasting millions on solar heating subsidies that have no meaningful employment benefits and little chance of payback for the consumer. In NZ, Australia and a considerable number of other industrialised nations, the fact that wood burns and releases heat at up to 93% efficiency in a modern boiler system seems to be lost on everyone outside the forest and timber processing industry.

What say we have a meaningful industry programme promoting the benefits of wood as a renewable energy source? There are plenty of examples overseas with marketing and financial support for both the boilers and the costs of creating the supply chain :

www.newheat.org
www.regensw.co.uk
www.usewoodfuel.co.uk
woodenergybusiness.co.uk
www.fey.org.uk

I could go on...!

Neil Harrison of Living Energy Ltd

Wooden Cars   – Friday, 11-Jul-2008

Was interested to see the note on the wooden car in today's (11/07) Off-cuts. For the younger set who are unfamiliar with cars of the 60s I would note that the Marcos GT, a very fine sports coupe reposed on a semi-monocoque plywood chassis made of spruce and glued with Aerolite 3000, as used in boat building. The car was designed and built by Poms Jem Marsh and Frank Costin in 1960 based on aircraft construction. The natural material was stable, corrosion-free, and water and fire resistant. The car proved almost indestructable and went into production in 1964. The fibreglass body had beautiful lines similar to the E-type Jag but its demise was spelt in 1970 when tougher regulations in the USA put paid to the wooden chassis.

Gordon Hosking of Hosking Forestry Ltd

Comment on article Eco-friendly measures in Swedish town   – Tuesday, 29-Apr-2008

Having spent 3 months in Sweden some 11yrs ago it does not surprise me that somewhere in this country such measures have been taken.

Back in 1996 there was a recycling programme which charged households for the amount of waste they put out for garbage collection. This meant that most people not only recycled but companies were forced to have products for sale in recycleable material. Even McDonalds recycled!

The health benefits of timber was already being promoted as all the schools had ripped out their carpets and had floorboards - to assist in the reduction/prevention of ashtma.

Swedish houses and buildings are extremely well insulated and warm and this is a country that has a long chilly winter.

The trains had recently been converted to electricity as it was considered more environmentally sustainable.

And remember all of this was over ten years ago.

We could learn a lot from Sweden. And of course, the country has a timber industry as well.

Deb Carnes of Self

Timber Innovation Company   – Monday, 18-Feb-2008

A small correction to the story on this NZ initiative from last week. The proposed name for STIC is the Structural Timber Innovation Company (not Solid Wood, or Sustainable Wood as some would suggest).

Editor of Friday Offcuts

Solid Timber Research   – Saturday, 16-Feb-2008

It is great that a new initiative has been taken to promote solid wood. In each country there are strong lobbies or cartels e.g. steel, plastics, etc to mention a few, to discredit wood and promote use of fossil based materials to meet their short term goals.

In India in early forties and fifties we were busy finding timeber substitutes for such materials, which were either expensive or had to be imported. We even carried out extensive research to test locally available wood species to substitute imported wood species for specialised end uses like pencils, textile bobbins and shuttles, cricket bats, etc.

As the steel lobby became stronger and wood sector remained mainly with the Govt., wood was pushed out from many uses such as wooden poles for transmission lines, defence stores and subsequently from railway ties. Unremunerative prices for wood discouraged plantation of trees and by 1990 the country became deficient in wood and had to depend on imports. The research activities on wood processing also became dormant.

Since New Zealand is a top producer of plantation wood, such an effort will definitely have a positive effect on promotion of wood. Plantation woods are generally considered inferior and this initiative will take care of such problems.

India is now promoting bamboo in a big way. I wish they would think on similar lines and start developing appropriate technologies to promote this fastest growing woody material.

Satish Kumar of American Connexion, Dehra Dun, India

Solid Timber Research Company   – Friday, 15-Feb-2008

This is a long overdue initiative form the industry, which needs to overcome the marketing campaigns of the steel industry, particularly in Australia where timber use for anything but housing is largely unknown today.

There are a number of examples from the past of innovative timber design. I've always thought that one of the best examples of timber use is Ted Willson's design of the Kinleith dry drum chipper building in the 1980's. This includes significant noise reduction in the cladding, and a 15T overhead crane running on laminated timber crane beams.

One other thing that I feel is needed which the new organisation could undertake is education of engineers and architects at university level, and assist with organising education for trades level people. In Australia, I have spoken at length to staff and students at a couple of the leading Victorian universities, and all they learn is steel and concrete. In discussion with them, there was general disbelief that timber, and particularly pine, could be used as a major structural material in place of their two taught materials

Bruce Bellingham of GHD

Biofuels   – Wednesday, 13-Feb-2008

The article on Biofuels is a brilliant step in the right direction and should be seen as a way forward to value add to the forest industry. Given the current concerns about green house gas emessions, this project should be picked up and fully supported by both the government and the automotive industry to show their support to the reduction of green house emissions while allowing the automotive industry to move forward.

Malcolm Whitmore of ForestWorks Tasmania

Biofuels   – Friday, 8-Feb-2008

Wood to diesel. Your article on the stable biocrude process that CSIRO and Monash as a way of turning wood to biofuel is very big news indeed for the forestry sector. Of course, there are several more critical steps to go yet: manufacturing operational-scale plants, testing the economics of the entire process, etc. But you'd have to be blind not to see that a door has just opened into the future. I await developments with great interest.

Piers Maclaren of Piers Maclaren & Associates

Victorian wind farm gets go-ahead   – Monday, 4-Feb-2008

""The promotion for the project being used in the media includes avoiding production of around 750,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide every year - the equivalent of planting around three million hectares of plantation forest" - this seems wrong: at MAI of 10 tonnes wood per hectare per year (equivalent to around 10 tonnes CO2/ha/yr) 3,000,000 hectares of plantation would sequester 30 million tonnes of CO2 per year whilst growing? - how to get to the 750,000 tonnes CO2??"

Bruce of FIAT

NZWood   – Friday, 1-Feb-2008

Thanks for the heads up on this. Companies with advertising initiatives can build from this initiative.

Keith Mackie of WQI

Wind Farm Carbon emissions comparison   – Friday, 1-Feb-2008

The figure of 750,000 tonnes/year presumably excludes the carbon emitted during the windfarm construction and construction of the wind turbines and other material from mined metals. What about carbon emitted during maintenance and actual production of power. 750,000 tonnes seems enormous. How many tonnes of carbon per year is produced by a coal fired power station?

Howard Perry of Self

Paper Bags   – Friday, 1-Feb-2008

I was really surprised to know that paper bags cause more environmental hazards. I have personally seen plastic bags littering all around in cities and their use have now gone to high altitudes where they finally end up in water bodies, lakes and rivers. In cities they just litter around rail tracks and every where. The stray animals like cows, buffalos, etc consume these plastic bags, often with food and ususally die. The rest goes into the drains and underground sewage systems and clog the same. In the rains the clogged system create crises by flooding the roads and damaging them. This is the status of plastic bags in India. Most of the paper in India is now recycled. This tradition is at least 100 years old, where the paper sheets were dipped for some days in caustic soda and then the pulp was moulded into various utility containers. The containers were dried, painted and sold in the market or used in homes for various purposes. This kept the carbon locked in for several years.

Dr Satish Kumar of American Connexion Wood Products Newsletter

17th Jan 08 issue of off-cuts   – Monday, 21-Jan-2008

Interesting to read your article on the phasing out of plastic bags, and how paper bags are the way to go...
Plastic bags take five times less energy to produce than the equivalent paper bag, are lighter, stronger and do not fail when wet. They also break down in sunlight. No wonder there is consumer resistance to going back to paper. . In a landfill situation, newspaper over one hundred years old has been dug up and can still be read. Also as a comment to the P&P industry, how many more indigenous forests in Australia will be cut down before the industry owns up to the fact. There is always more than one view on a subject, lets get a balanced view please, and use whole of life environmental comparisons please.

Bill Telford of Nelson Forests Ltd

Paper Bags Increase Greenhouse Gases   – Friday, 18-Jan-2008

Surprised that the comment '... that substitutes like paper, will do worse for the environment by increasing greenhouse gases.' in this weeks item headed 'Plastic Bags to be phased out this year' went unchallenged by the Editor.

This is typical of the erroneous statments that woods competitors are successfully pushing in the media and which are becoming accepted by the public as true because the industry is not vigorously correcting them. In my view there needs to be legal action taken to stem the tide of this misinformation.

Paper bags from plantation forests are a sustainably produced product that rapidly bio-degrades in landfills (or as compost) and are carbon neutral. The carbon eventually released from a degraded paper bag was first extracted from the atmosphere by the tree from which the paper was manufactured.

Steve Wilton of Forest Enterprises Ltd

Plastic bags   – Friday, 18-Jan-2008

Could not agree more with Steve Wilton on the issue of paper bags being worse for the environment than plastic bags! What nonsense to believe that plastic bags are better for the environment than paper bags from renewable resources! Please test the statement by "Clean Up Australia". I do agree with them that charging for plastic bags will not necessarily lead to reduction in quantity of bags around. We have that system here in South Africa and after a while people just get used to the cost of the bags and you're back to square one. The best approach would be to ban plastic bags altogether.

Ons can also put a charge for paper bags to encourage people to re-use or to get their own bags that they can re-use - like cloth ones. We now do see some of that here in South Africa since they started to charge for the plastic bags.

Anonymous

Lifting of Gobal Log Prices   – Wednesday, 5-Dec-2007

I find your Friday Offcuts newsletter interesting, informative and useful. You are doing a great job.

Today's (30 November 2007) newsletter carried a story on the Global Lumber/ Sawnwood Cost Benchmarking Report - 2006 & 2007 Q2. Your newsletter quotes, One of the most significant changes seen in the survey was the rise in delivered log costs in almost every region: since 2002, global log prices have increased by 66%."

I found the report's finding on the 66% increase in log prices interesting to the extent that it prompted me to see whether this global rise has lifted the prices of pine logs in Australia and NZ. A quick look at the June 2007 issue of Australian Pine Log Price Index (http://www.kpmg.com.au/Portals/0/PineLog-JanJun07.pdf) revealed that the trend lines of average stumpage for all sawlogs were flat. Next, I had a quick look at the NZ Radiata Pine Log Prices on MAF website (http://www.maf.govt.nz/forestry/statistics/logprices/index.html). For this purpose, I selected pruned and A grade logs for export market and P1,P2, S1 and S2 logs for domestic market. I found that price trend lines for all six categories of logs were also flat.

A tentative conclusion is: the global rise in the delivered prices of logs appears not to have lifted the prices of pine sawlogs in both countries. One wonders: why? A food for thought and a topic for serious research for someone! Regards, and keep up the good work on Friday Offcuts.

U.N. Bhati of The Australian National University

Tasmanian Pulp Mill - a Difference of Opinion   – Monday, 17-Sep-2007

On Thursday 13 September 2007, ABC TV aired its Difference of Opinion program which was aimed at exploring both sides of the pulp mill debate. The forest industry in Tasmania sent a small number of representatives to support Jill Lewis (CEO - Timber Communities Australia) and Tim Woods (Assistant National Secretary of the Forestry & Furnishing Products Division of the CFMEU). Unfortunately the crowd was dominated by a large number of interstate personnel who were very much focussed on the Green issues. These people lacked respect for the forest industry panellists and regularly interjected. Therefore it was difficult for the pro-forest debate to make a suitable mark although Jill and Tim did excellently in the circumstances.

Nevertheless it is critical to get some points out:

1. Tasmania's forest industry is carbon positive - refer to the CRC for Greenhouse Accounting - so to is the Pulp Mill because it will reduce emissions by 1.1 million tonnes per year by reducing the need for fossil fuels and the transport of woodchips.

2. In Tasmania, more trees are planted then harvested - therefore we can hardly be accused of deforestation!!

3. Research shows that younger trees will absorb 60% of their total carbon absorpotion capacity in their first 50 years of growth.

4. Timber products retain carbon therefore harvesting does not emit carbon into the atmosphere - carbon emissions only occur when timber is burned or when it decays - old decaying trees left in the forest actually contribute to the greenhouse problem.

5. Tasmania's forest practices rate extremely well when compared to other countries.

6. The Greens and the extreme environmental activists do not want a Pulp Mill because they will then have to change the nature of their guerrilla marketing campaign from one targeting export woodchips to one targeting pulp and paper, with the latter being difficult for them to target.

7. The pulp mill and other downstream processing initiatives will stabilise the Tasmanian forestry industry and ensure long tern sustainability for many businesses, their employees and their rural communities.

8. A move to Hampshire will only create further transport problems as well as new and even more challenging environmental issues therefore this is not a viable option for social, economic and environmental reasons.

Finally, this debate should not be an election issue but unfortunately some are very good at feeding this situation. The bipartisan support enjoyed by the industry is being targeted by this negative campaign aimed at creating a potential election nightmare. Therefore this is about relevance for the Greens rather then anything productive. It is time for the true facts to come out and be explored and debated in a fair and reasonable manner.

Ferdi Kroon of Tasmanian Forestry Contractors Association

Early days of Powered Sawmilling   – Saturday, 18-Aug-2007

Your correspondent, Guy Cavanaugh, has asked for pointers re the earliest days of powered sawmilling ... I believe that this consisted of the application of steam power to the form of pit-sawing then in use in naval ship-yards in Britain ... Thus, early powered sawmills were very much akin to a large frame saw with single blade ...

I am wide open to being corrected ...

EDS

Evan D. Shield of Forestry / Forest Industry Consultant

Guy Cavanagh's Enquiry on Machine Woodworking   – Friday, 17-Aug-2007

Guy,

Woodworking machine developed as eary as the late 17 hundreds. In the industrial revolution, Sir Samuel Bentham invented machinery for prisons and shipbuilding starting 1770, and Marc Brunel in 1779. References I have are: Hjorth, Herman 1937 Machine Woodworking, Bruce Publishing Company, Milwaukee, USA, and Koch, Peter, Wood Machining Processes, 1964, who give earlier references, e.g. Manson, Judson H. Woodworking Machining-History from 1852 to 1952 Mechanical Engineering 74, No. 12 (Dec): 983-995. Bill McKenzie

W.M. McKenzie of Long retired

Sawmilling History   – Friday, 10-Aug-2007

Can anyone advise me where and when in the industrial revolution powered sawmilling began or give me a reference towards it. My guess is it is in the age of steam and is probably ist quarter of 19th century and will be probably in Britain or Sweden.

Guy Cavanagh of Consultant

Investment in On-shore Processing   – Monday, 9-Jul-2007

Your article this week suggests that the rising bulk freight, and better container rates, will encourage investment in sawmilling by off shore log users. Well, maybe buying up existing mills. Perhaps even square up the logs. But probably pretty small scale "Log Yard" type stuff.

Because if you look at a 10-20 year lifetime for a green field sawmill investment, and you look at the competitive costs of capital investment & operating costs in NZ, or in any of several Asian countries; and if you take a medium term view of freight rates ( if the high bulk rates persist, new bulk capacity will come along to take advantage of them, and the oversupply will force prices down) then NZ still isn't going to be the target for smart money in processing. ( Which is not to say it wont attract some dumb money.)

After all the Industry effort, and lots of smart people looking very hard, it still seems pretty clear that no-one wanting to make a good capital return is going to try & construct a new Greenfield sawmill in New Zealand. The drivers of uncertain RMA issues; higher capital construction costs & longer times; insecurity of log supply for an economic sized mill; difficulty of access to good international marketing & distribution chain; and currency volatility & risk, all indicate that there are better places than wood processing in NZ to invest. But Hell will freeze over before the Government, officials, and a few commentators who would like to see it happen accept the reality around them. ( If I can get 8% for very low risk Bank Deposits, & more in property, what return would I want for these kinds of risks? Its got to be forecast in the 15%-20% range, and the 20 year average you can forsee for a NZ Greenfield plant is nowhere near that, unless you kid yourself on the assumptions)

Twenty years ago, NZ had a real prospect of developing a portfolio of internationally competitive wood products businesses. We blew it. My perspective ( biased sawmiller) is that we blew it because the forest owners, the people who had most to gain from a strong local industry, took a determined short term view about maximizing log price every quarter; and lost sight of the economic value to them of a sound processing industry. The people whose businesses were built around a 20-30 year time horizon couldnt think beyond a 1 year time horizon. Instead of treating forestry as the foundation for a national industry, they treated it as a con-game, forecasting unrealistic future earnings, and then pushing too hard short term to justify their unrealistic forecasts. Result, massive forest write-downs, and losses to conned investors. And few people willing to invest $100m+ in processing, because once you sink that cost, the forest owners get all the available product stream margin.

Until the Government accepts that major new processing has to be made internationally competitive, by establishing sensible "rules of the game" - which is what Governments are there for), all the effort of pushing against reality for new investment with the odds stacked heavily to failure is a real waste of good people's time & efforts. The trouble is that Government is always willing to encourage others to risk their investment, and misrepresent the possibilities, ( viz the Jaakko Poyry studies) because that is easier than making effective change.

Gloomy, Im sorry. But I think its true,

Answers include sorting the RMA; and integrating forest & processing ownership, so that a long term view prevails. But more likely is just upgrading brown field plants, and industry rationalization ( read quasi-monopolisation) to achieve the scale needed for international marketing. And more nice looking, uneconomic forests that it makes no sense to cut down.

John Pearce of MSA

Great Global Warming Swindle   – Thursday, 5-Jul-2007

I have downloaded the "Great Glabal Warming Swindle", BBC programme, to my computer but have been unable to put it onto discs for distribution. I understand the ABC has been coerced into putting it to air, possible sometime in July.

Jack Gittins of Retired Forester

Skills Shortage   – Friday, 29-Jun-2007

Just so everyone understands, skills shortage in manufacturing is not unique to NZ and Australia, or Western Europe or the forestry industry for that matter.

Please read this article: http://www.maintenancememo.com/

Wanted: Factory Workers

John Yolton

John Yolton of SKF Global P&P Segment

Skills Shortages   – Sunday, 24-Jun-2007

I read your item on skills shortages in the industry and thought I would put in my two pennyworth.

Many moons ago (15 years I think) at a sawdoctoring conference I presented a paper predicting a major skills shortage in our industry in the next 10 to 15 years and the main cause was the industry itself. This has been brought about by the Cavalier way the industry treated their employees both in processing and forestry, when it was suggested apprenticeships should be done away with the Timber Industry Federation led the charge to support this and when a prominent SI Sawmill Owner at the time when asked where he was going to get his skilled workers told us "from other mills". Every time there is a slow down in the forest sector we have mass lay offs with half hearted efforts to find alternative outlets to save jobs, and sawmills closed at the drop of a hat for no apparent reason. How do they think bright young people perceive an industry that shows contempt for the people who really do want the industry to grow as a career with a future.

I know it may sound like a winge but having been there through it all and the effects on training especially I would need to see a major change in our employers attitudes to their staff to be convinced they will ever attract anyone with major talent when they see other competing opportunities in other manufacturing which has shown long term stability and opportunities to advance.

In the mean time, keep up the good work

Tom O'Toole of Tom O'Toole

Forestry Skills Shortages - an Australian Perspective   – Sunday, 24-Jun-2007

I couldn't agree more with you on this subject, focus of your intro to this week's OFFCUTS.

I shared this with Peter Kanowski, ANU and others who are involved in revamping forestry /industry training in Australia. As well as the proposed AFFA ( Commonwealth Govt) sponsored technical training programme for forest workers etc, the Oz universities (ANU, Melbourne, Southern Cross) are putting together a shared Masters programme for forestry that will build on a revamped more general first degree. However these initiatives leave wood science, process engineering and timber-in-construction engineering and architecture still lamenting. They really do need a champion.

Peter K has just sent me a copy of a recent FWPRDC report on a proposal for processing engineering training, which I have attached for your information and interest. If this gets off the ground (potential here for an ANZAC initiative?) it will fill one gap. But we really do need strengthening of the other complementary areas.

Ian Bevege of Private Consultant

Australian Wood Manufacturing   – Friday, 22-Jun-2007

Just noticed your reference to "wood processing is the country's second largest manufacturing sector (including harvesting) contributing AU$1 billion to Australia's GDP". I know statements to this effect have been made by others but I don't think they are correct and I don't think it does our industry any good to be using this data.

Some of following figures might help paint a more accurate picture.

The GVP for the primary production part of the Australian industry (logs delivered to mill door or wharf gate) in 05-06 was $1.666 billion (ABARE Forest and Wood Products Stats May 2007).

Value of turnover (gross) for wood and paper products in O4-05 was $18.269 billion made up of log sawmilling and timber dressing ($3.9 billion), other wood product manufacturing ($6.3 billion) and paper and paper products ($8.0 billion). Value added (net) for the same three categories was $6.479 billion.

ABARE says that forest products represent 5.4% of Australian manufacturing on turnover basis or 6.6% of manufacturing on value added basis. ABS data for 2002-03 shows wood and paper products as the 6th largest manufacturing category behind food, beverage and tobacco; machinery and equipment; metal products; petroleum, coal,chemcial and assoicated products; and printing, publishing and recorded media.

Richard Stanton of A3P

Lack of Forestry Skills   – Friday, 22-Jun-2007

Brent, as usual I was very interested to catch up on this week's edition of OffCuts and more especially your lead in editorial.

A big tick to everything you wrote, but I am sure and have been for a longtime, that the major problem is with the insecurity attached to the Forestry Industry.

There have been a huge number of instances even within Ernslaw and Blue Mountain where extremely capable, knowledgeable and highly educated young people have been caught up in "industry downturn" and have been somewhat forced to turn their "future" attentions to those less vulnerable pursuits often or more often resulting in them not only being lost from New Zealand Industry but in most cases from New Zealand.

I can recall from several years back, Jim Anderton suggesting that the Forestry companies of New Zealand themselves were responsible for the poor numbers and the lesser quality of the human resource within their industry. I wonder how he would respond now to questions on the same point.

We often talk to our employees about the "portability" of the industry units and the fact that they also have a similar relevance in like industries. However, in the ideal world we should selfishly protect our training so that in any other "world" it has very little relevance.

Most generally, the industry now has become a better payer, and with the apparent increase in opportunity and the increased mechanization on most sites, we should be able to "train and hold" a greater number of employees than what is apparent.

With the dollar remaining at its high and a Reserve Bank intent on increasing Interest Rates, all power to the Government as they attempt to "wipe out" both the Export Sector and the Domestic Housing - two of the "key" components of the continuation of our successful New Zealand Industry.

Keep up the good work.

Horace McAuley of Blue Mountain Lumber

Lack of Skills   – Friday, 22-Jun-2007

It was interesting to read this editorial only two weeks after the IFA and NZ Institute of Foresters held their ANZIF Conference in Coffs Harbour, NSW.

At that event the issue of attracting students was high on the agenda. A student forum which was attended by students, academics and some graduates from most of the uni's in Aus and NZ identified that the perception of forestry in the community was one of the draw backs. Foresters are seen as loggers and not much more. Logging is viewed by urban communities as something that shouldn't happen - although one wonders why they continue to buy timber and paper if that's the case (I digress). Rural students often aren't attracted to forestry as a career because they want to go to the city for a new lifestyle (although I suspect most foresters these days are city based as well).

It is apparent that just by looking at the range of careers that graduate foresters end up doing, that forestry degrees are a ticket to a rich world of careers and experiences. They provide opportunities for travel, indoors and outdoors work, hands-on to academic careers etc. We all know this because we've done it. So how do we get this message across to young people (or even older people who may be looking for a life change).

Marketing is the key. Unfortunately nobody in Australasia has really bitten the bullet to market the industry in its whole sense - from seedling to timber product and all the other environmental benefits. The forest industry is much more than timber production, but this is the predominant image that we do market. Even then we have plantation users fighting native forest users - we can't even present a united voice within our own industry.

I think we need a change of attitude. We need to get the chip (pun intended) off our shoulder and concentrate on selling our industry as a sustainable and environmentally sensible industry. Rather than sending barbs to our opponents (both within and outside) we should engage with them to find what we have in common. Then our perception may begin to improve.

Finally the IFA is seeking to engage with industry and government to find ways of getting more students into forests and forest products degrees. We will be looking at holding a Tertiary Education Summit later in the year to come up with some soultions.

In the meantime NAFI and A3P have also received government funding to address skill shortages throughout the industry.

Peter Volker of Institute of Foresters of Australia

Carbon offsetting - buyer beware   – Friday, 25-May-2007

Look for carbon offsetting schemes to be the subject of firstly, major corruption and eventually standardisation and regulation.

Any business that is based on charging $ to assuade guilt over leaving a carbon footprint is rife for corruption. Who's to say how much 1km of driving or flying is worth in planted trees? Who ensures that the money goes to these causes? Who ensures that trees planted are not cut down 'forever'? Who ensures that the trees are not just planted but also survive? and who ensures that the same trees are not being sold more than once?

I urge consumers to be informed before investing in such schemes if you feel that you must.

Reducing your consumption or switching to alternatives would be a much more active way of doing your part. Carbon offsetting is a dangerous copout.

Steve Racz of Fa Dubois Ltd.

Russian Softwood   – Thursday, 10-May-2007

According to one of my Japanese customers the current export tax on Russian softwood of 6.5% will be increased to 20% in July 07 and is scheduled to be increased to 25% in April 2008 and 80% in Jan 2009. One has to assume that these tax proposals have been instigated as a result of concerns over deforestation. Popular rumour says logging is controlled by the Russian mafia so there may well be environmental issues. Logs are shipped out of Vladivostok to Japan and Korea and huge quantities go into China I have not been to Russian Siberia but the logs exported to Japan, notably red pine (Pinus sylvestris) and Siberian larch, are very tight grained and obviously growth rates in these Northern forests are slow and even if they do have any replanting program it will be a long rotation.

Ross Ibbotson of Forestry Consultant

Finding the 'Great Global Warming Swindle'   – Saturday, 5-May-2007

Try This link.

This is a bit torrent download. You will need a bit torrent client such as "bit tornado" found at http://www.bittornado.com/ Click on latest version.

Greg Jacob of Greg Jacob

The Global Warming Swindle   – Monday, 30-Apr-2007

I notice that the video link on the 'Great Global Warming Swindle' was (not surprisingly perhaps) hastily pulled for 'reasons unknown' ?. I must say that I found some of it fairly convincing and it provided support that debunked much of the surrounding hype. Do you know anyone who downloaded it perhaps ?. I would like to locate a copy. Any help would be appreciated.

Mike Shaw of Queensland DPI&F

Green Credentials of Steel   – Saturday, 24-Mar-2007

Thanks for the feed back. According to the EWPAA it would have been great to do a direct comparison on a m3 basis unfortunately, the data compares only what is freely available in the public domain. The data was actually produced by the National Association of Forest Industries. They may well be able to provide a better comparison.

Editor of Friday Offcuts

Timber vs. Steel   – Saturday, 24-Mar-2007

The amazing comparison between recycling car bodies and timber forestry is a joke. A more honest comparison involving recycling timber would have a house lot denailed, docked,edged and dressed for the energy required to melt one wheel from one of those 6 cars.Come on concrete industry 'spokespeople' time to put your foot in mouth on this subject as well.

Greg Jacob of Greg Jacob

The true 'green credentials' of steel   – Friday, 23-Mar-2007

I was interested in your article regarding the production of steel and the amount of Chemicals used and Volatiles produced by the production of steel as compared to timber production and I assume treatment thereof. I feel however, that the letter (the background to the story) missed the mark somewhat as a comparison between Hyne and Blue Steel production per tonne or cubic metre would better highlight the difference rather than total capcity. All this says to me is that Blue Steel produce a hell of a lot of product, a fact most of use would probably already expect.

David Smith of Willmott Forests

The true 'green credentials' of steel   – Friday, 23-Mar-2007

Hi there. In response to the request for further comparison of wood to alternatives and their respective effect of production on the environment we have found the web site, ecoselect.com.au really useful and concise. It outlines the amount of carbon emissions released per kg/m3 and shows the positive effect on the environment of using wood and negatives of steel/aluminium/concrete. The following text was copied from this website for your immediate digestion, however I couldn't paste in the graph for you - which is worth having a look at - so you'll have to go to the website directly to see it. I realise there are a host of other sources of information on this topic, but for now I hope this suffices.

"In any appraisal of the environmental performance of a product, 'Cradle to the Grave' or Life - Cycle Assessment and total embodied energy are key factors to consider. Life-cycle assessment or analysis (LCA) means measuring the total impact of a product on the environment - from when the raw materials are extracted, through the product's life, to when it is disposed of or recycled. Embodied energy is the energy required to obtain raw materials, process them and produce the building material; the energy used in transporting the material (at all stages); and the energy used in construction.

Timber accounts for 50 per cent of the industrial raw materials used in the world, but only four percent of the energy required to convert these raw materials into useful products. The manufacture of other construction materials such as steel, aluminium and concrete consumes vast amounts of our non-renewable resources and releases large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere - considerably more than during the manufacture of timber.

The net effect of timber products is in fact a cleansing of the atmosphere - no alternative material can claim this fact. Steel is manufactured from non-renewable resources such as iron ore, alloy metal ores, coal and limestone. Although the supply of those resources at current rates of usage is guaranteed for many hundreds of years, the same may not be true for some of the minerals (chromium, nickel, cobalt, vanadium) needed to form the alloys which give steel its special properties. In the manufacture of iron and steel, there are emissions to air of carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides (totalling 40 kg per tonne of steel), and to water of heavy metals and oils.

Large quantities of solid waste (mainly slag, such as metal oxides) are created during manufacture, in addition to smaller quantities of hazardous waste, which may require disposal to landfill. About 15,000 litres of contaminated water (containing hydrocarbons and other organic compounds, sulphides, phenolics, ammonia, metals, cyanide, oil and grease) are produced for each tonne of steel*. * Williamson et al 2001.

The most notorious by-products of aluminium production are caustic red mud and red sand. Over 15 million tonnes (dry base) are generated each year in Australia and over 200 million tonnes are presently stockpiled. Aluminium smelting is the source of fully fluorinated compounds (FFCs) which are much more powerful greenhouse gases than carbon dioxide and have extremely long half-lives. Fortunately, controls over these compounds are improving. During their period of active growth trees take in carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, release oxygen and sequester or "fix" the carbon in woody tissue - thus lessening the greenhouse effect.

Half a tree's mass is carbon, so using timber for long-life products such as floors, windows, building products and furniture ensures the carbon remains fixed as a solid material, not as carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Mature trees have little ability to continue to sequester carbon dioxide because their growth rates have slowed down. Carbon storage does continue in the ecosystem in, for example, root systems and branches on the forest floor. Trees are harvested when they are at the stage of life where they have a reduced ability to fix carbon. By continually regenerating harvested mature trees with actively growing young trees continued sequestration is ensured, with a greenhouse positive result."

Damian McCue of Koppers Wood Products Pty Ltd

Emissions - woodworks vs steelworks   – Friday, 23-Mar-2007

Perhaps a more appropriate way of comparing emissions from timber and steel production facilities would be to use the same terms as the steel ad - i.e. kg of each pollutant per house frame equivalent of production.

Michael Kennedy of DPI&F Qld

Lessons in how to make a monster   – Friday, 9-Mar-2007

They should have sold tickets. The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry's Sustainable Land Management and Climate Change policy road show just hit Dunedin town. It all relates to the policy "discussion document" produced by MAF before Christmas. Essentially, forest growers provide a surplus of internationally tradable carbon credits for those new forests planted since 1990. The Government has chosen to take ownership of those credits, and at least some of the costs associated. These credits didn't exist before the Kyoto Protocol so, argues the Government, they don't belong to the forest growers. The government can use these credits to "balance the books" by offsetting the carbon sink (the growing forests) with those industries that are a carbon source - including intensive agriculture, transport and some industries.

Sounds fair. The forest grower indirectly donates carbon to its construction industry competitors; the producers of steel, concrete and aluminium. It sounds a bit like lending your reserve front row forward to your arch rival because their one fell sick - just to make a game of it. It will not come as a complete surprise that there is just a tiny bit of resistance to this sort of charity. "We want the credits to sell on our own right," suggest some forest owners. Then they'll sell their front row forward to whomever they decide. That will offset the effective subsidisation of a competitive producer. Other forest growers are saying that the ownership of the credits is not the most important point - so long as the Government keeps all the costs as well as the credits, and the Government ensures the surplus benefits go back to those land uses that plant and maintain trees, through research or encouragement of innovative tree planting and processing options, etc., rather than direct competitors.

But then, just to make the forest growers move from a slight heat under the collar to a full blown rage, the Government reacts to 30,000 hectares of deforestation occurring mainly through three companies in Canterbury and the Waikato by suggesting a charge on deforestation in the order of $13,000 per hectare. There is a fable about straws and camel's backs that may be fitting, though in this case it's more like an anvil than a straw. It remains an "option" at this stage within the "discussion document", but MAF's liking for this "option" is obvious with their strong defence.

And in doing so, they've created a monster. The Government's fear is that any deforestation will involve a cost to them. They fear that the current deforestation may continue. They think they need to come down hard to stop things immediately. When I say "they", I mean the policy analysts in Wellington head office. If they had bothered to talk to regional staff, or, now here's a thought, forest growers that are not part of the various lobby groups, they might have realised that it is not as widespread as they might think, and in most regions may not be significantly greater than the amount of conversion out of forest into farmland that was occurring in the past - a farmer felling a block for instance, and putting it back into pasture while perhaps planting trees somewhere else. This is the usual dynamics of land use. Nature does the same. It abhors stasis more than a vacuum.

The deforestations that are occurring currently are all special cases. Their common feature is that they all involve conversion to dairy farming. In the case of the Waikato, the buyer and developer happens to be a Government-owned company. A little directorial control may have solved the problem. In the Canterbury cases, the forests are on exceptionally poor soils - literally four inches of dust on top of river gravel - that used to be so poor for farming that they were planted in trees. The forests that resulted were not good forests. With the rise in irrigation and dairy renaissance, the soils are now just the berries for a little dairy hydroponics - just add water and fertiliser, and never mind the downstream households drawing water from the aquifer. But apparently the forest grower ought to pay for the resulting environmental degradation, or at least the carbon balance cost; never mind the other ones relating to the hydroponics. And never mind other land uses that convert from extensive farming to intensive farming. "Equity" is not a word that springs to mind throughout this interesting parable on policy making.

And here's the really interesting part; the suggested "option" of charging forest owners has probably done far more harm than good. The idea that not only will Government claim the credits, but will impose additional costs on the sector that provided them with those credits in the first place, as well as reduce their competitiveness, and will charge them for getting out of a land use that is apparently not the apple of the Government's eye, has meant that some growers are, not surprisingly, considering their future options. The "option" of a charge for deforestation and conversion to farming is not yet law, but growers do not trust MAF head office officials (the ones that go straight from university to an office job with both their arrogance and ignorance intact) not to draft that law. The implications are obvious, if you're going to get out, get out right now. That's the monster, and the Government made it all by itself.

Chris Perley of Chris Perley & Associates

Secret Sawmiller's Business   – Monday, 19-Feb-2007

We take your point Simon - less jargon. Well over half of our readers are from wood products companies and terms like "quad-roll log turner" or "optimised log infeed" will be very familiar to them. That of course doesn't help the other readers who are perhaps less familiar with the workings and terminology used for plant in a modern wood processing or manufacturing operation.

Editor of Friday Offcuts

Secret Sawmiller's Business   – Friday, 16-Feb-2007

New standard in industry jargon and "secret sawmiller's business"

"The new primary breakdown line will feed an optimized edger .... and an existing gang .....and will include a quad-roll log turner, a short optimized log infeed with slewing and skewing to maximize recovery, and conical chip heads. A vertical feed module with a sharp chain will feed an L&B-style quad bandmill with separator outfeeds."

Source: Friday Offcuts 19/2/07

Simon Olding of Olding Associates

Carbon tax   – Thursday, 8-Feb-2007

When reading a waiting room magazine recently aimed at the construction industry the energy footprint of concerete vers. steel was being discussed .concerete was looking good that week because portland style of manufacturing could now be replaced with new methods more energy efficient.the ratio between the two to produce a beam to span x and support y was at most 2 :1 .I would like to know where timber,, laminated,or lvl,, kiln or air dried compares with each other and then to steel or concrete .The way the talk was running a battle was looming and ground could be lost to other construction materials.... like wood .If the energy ratios are to matter more between matierals in the neer future the "wood miles" negitave that transportation of engineered construction components to Australia would seem insignificant compared to the affore mentioned ratios....

Greg Jacob of greg jacob

Sweeping Changes to Weyerhaeuser Down-Under   – Sunday, 14-Jan-2007

In relation to today's Friday Offcuts I wish to point out an error in the item headed "Sweeping Changes...".

The item refers to "...the appointment of a new CEO at the company's US headquarters". This is not correct. Steve Rogel has been the CEO at Weyerhaeuser nearly 10 years and in 2006 agreed to defer his scheduled retirement to 2009. I refer you to Weyerhaeuser's May 2006 press release, which I have copied below for your information along with the website link.

Following the September 2006 promotion of Sandy McDade to the role of senior vice president and general counsel, the responsibilties for Weyehaueser's International operations changed. Craig Neeser (Senior Vice President, Canada) expanded his responsibilities to include responsibility for Weyerhaeuser's International businesses (including Australia). I refer you to Weyerhaeuser's September 2006 press release, which I have copied below for your information along with the website link.

Regards

Tony Morse
Acting General Manager



attach.

News Release
Weyerhaeuser CEO Steven R. Rogel Agrees to Defer Retirement Until 2009

FEDERAL WAY, Wash., May 3, 2006 - Weyerhaeuser Company (NYSE: WY) today announced that Steven R. Rogel, chairman, president and chief executive officer, has agreed to defer his retirement until 2009 at the request of the board of directors. Rogel, 63, had intended to retire in 2007.

In making the request, the board said that Rogel's continued leadership while Weyerhaeuser implements its strategic plans would be in the best interest of shareholders and other stakeholders.

"I am honored by the board's request and look forward to continuing my work with our strong management team," Rogel said. "This team, along with the board, has developed a plan to achieve sustained, profitable performance; focused strategic growth; and return capital to shareholders. I look forward to effectively executing that plan."

Rogel joined Weyerhaeuser in 1997 as its president and chief executive officer and was elected chairman of the board in 1999.

Weyerhaeuser Company, one of the world's largest integrated forest products companies, was incorporated in 1900. In 2005, sales were $22.6 billion. It has offices or operations in 18 countries, with customers worldwide. Weyerhaeuser is principally engaged in the growing and harvesting of timber; the manufacture, distribution and sale of forest products; and real estate construction, development and related activities. Additional information about Weyerhaeuser's businesses, products and practices is available at http://www.weyerhaeuser.com.

For more information, please contact:
Media - Bruce Amundson , (253) 924-3047
Analysts - Kathryn McAuley , (253) 924-2058

News Release
Weyerhaeuser Names McDade, SVP and General Counsel; Neeser Assumes Additional International, Industrial Duties

FEDERAL WAY, Wash., September 11, 2006 - Weyerhaeuser Company (NYSE: WY) today announced that Sandy D. McDade has assumed the role of senior vice president and general counsel effective Sept. 5. McDade previously served as senior vice president, International and Industrial Wood Products.

Craig D. Neeser, previously senior vice president, Canada, assumes expanded responsibilities as senior vice president, International and Industrial Wood Products effective Sept. 5. He retains his Canadian responsibilities.

McDade began his career at Weyerhaeuser in 1978. During a 20-year career in the Law department, he held numerous positions including corporate secretary and assistant general counsel. He has also served as vice president, Strategic Planning and senior vice president, Canada. McDade has played a critical role in a number of portfolio changes, most recently leading the team that successfully negotiated the combination of the Weyerhaeuser Fine Paper business with Domtar Inc. (TSE/NYSE: DTC).

McDade holds a law degree from Seattle University (formerly the University of Puget Sound).

Neeser has extensive international and manufacturing experience extending back to 1978. During his career, Neeser led numerous wood products manufacturing operations for MacMillan Bloedel in Canada and was senior vice president, Solid Wood when Weyerhaeuser acquired MacMillan Bloedel in 1999. He also had responsibilities for all MacMillan Bloedel operations in Japan, Mexico, China, Australia and the European Agency system. At Weyerhaeuser, Neeser served as vice president, British Columbia Coastal Group before assuming the role of senior vice president, Canada.

Neeser holds a bachelor of science degree in forestry management from the University of Alberta.

Weyerhaeuser Company, one of the world's largest integrated forest products companies, was incorporated in 1900. In 2005, sales were $22.6 billion. It has offices or operations in 18 countries, with customers worldwide. Weyerhaeuser is principally engaged in the growing and harvesting of timber; the manufacture, distribution and sale of forest products; and real estate construction, development and related activities. Additional information about Weyerhaeuser's businesses, products and practices is available at http://www.weyerhaeuser.com.


Tony Morse of Weyerhaeuser Australia

NSW Bush Fires   – Monday, 4-Dec-2006

Reading Friday's Offcuts your lead story struck close to home.

I live less than 5km from the site of the "20 Forests" fire near Oberon NSW. My wife and I watched the massive column of smoke with some trepidation last Sunday afternoon. Earlier that day we had dutifully run around and setup our fire pump and laid out the hoses. We had done one more run around with the tractor to clear any standing grass and picked up the closer windfall and branches from the stand of 200 year old gray gums near the house. The wind was taking the smoke (and the fire thankfully) away from us, but the haze still filled the valley below us. That night the sky glowed a dull orange but the ridge line at the top of the fire was completely blacked out by the thick smoke.

Bush fires are fought largely by volunteers with professional support from captains on the ground and pilots in the air. Locally the wildlife rangers (national parks service), and the NSW forestry department maintain fire fighting capability. Because I run my consulting business from home I have the flexibility to be part of the Rural Fire Brigade, but had never received a call up until last week. On this fire the hard yards had been done by more experienced crews, but they were exhausted just trying to contain the fire in the heat and the high winds. At the peak of the fire there were over twenty trucks and three helicopters on the fire. We were brought in last Thursday to help with the mopping up and putting out hot spots. The fire had burned only about 300ha, about Ω native bush and Ω private pine plantations; it was on very steep ground and parts of the native brush were virtually inaccessible. Existing breaks in the forest and some fast bull dozer work had contained the fire short of the State owned pine plantations. The privately held stands looked to be a total loss, only good for chip at best. The native bush, having evolved to deal with regular fires, was in surprisingly good condition with only the occasional tree completely destroyed. I've been in burned out native forest 12 months after a fire and it's often hard to tell there had ever been a fire. The trees regenerate by sprouting leaves from every available surface giving them a furry look and the native brush and grasses move in quickly.

Our little fire was a relative success story with no one hurt or homes damaged; only one vehicle damaged by rolling over on a steep trail. The big one in the mountains is another story; all they can do there is protect property and watch the native bush burn. At last count they had up to 90 aircraft on that fire alone. That fire was started by dry lightening. The "20 Forest" fire, like too many others, appeared to have started at someone's weekend bush camp where investigators apparently found a butchered kangaroo, cartridge casings, and a smouldering camp fire - we hope charges will be laid soon.

David Mitchell of Mitchell Engineering Associates

Food and wood miles   – Sunday, 19-Nov-2006

I get a great deal of value out of your "Friday Offcuts" and enjoyed your recent editions. The Global Warming Report info is very interesting and the emerging concept of "Food Miles" and "Wood Miles", could indeed be of concern. However, by the same logic, we should also look at the Carbon footprint of all our other commodities and other fuel-using activities, perhaps "tourism miles" (a 100kg tourist traveling 7000 miles to New Zealand and back).

With a complete Carbon footprint for each commodity, we could make real choices about the materials we use (steel, copper, oil, aluminium, etc.) and wood will likely come out on top each time. An interesting calculation would be the amount of fuel, per ton mile, for moving a unit of finished lumber, by sea, to a major market vs. the "local" equivalent being moved by road transportation.

My point is, even though New Zealand is geographically isolated from its major markets, if such "Carbon footprinting" is going to become de rigueur, it should be used for each commodity and service. Putting everyone in the same boat will assure equal pain and thus no whipping boy, like New Zealand timber or Kiwifruit.

I wonder what would happen if we were heading into another period of Global Cooling? Twelve thousand years ago, my office was under 2-miles of ice...

Anonymous

""Team Green" correction"   – Thursday, 12-Oct-2006

Further to the e-letter from the editor of Friday Offcuts re "A skewed vision from team green" in the Weekend Australian 16-17 September, I think it might have been better had he mentioned, as was stated by the Australian, that Alan Oxley, who wrote the article, is the "Principal of ITS Global, who recently analysed the forestry situation in PNG for Rimbunan Hijau and produced a report on the industry's economic importance". This is the same report to which readers' attention was drawn on 18th August.(Abridged)

David Gough of Forestry Pacific P/L

Clarification of information   – Tuesday, 19-Sep-2006

Thanks to the "Offcuts team" for the good info they provide.

A small correction to the article in Friday 15 OCtober 2006 - "Tasmanian plantations surveyed". The main industrial softwood plantation forest owners on public land (State Forest)in Tasmania are Norske Skog and a joint venture between Forestry Tasmania and GMO Renewable Resources (not Private Forests Tasmania - PFT is a small state govt agency and does not own any resource, but provides independent advice to government and especially private growers of all types of resource.) Rayonier has a management contract with FT/GMO to manage the softwood plantations in the JV - but Rayonier does not own them.

There are in addition to the State forest softwood plantations about 12,000 ha of privately owned softwood plantation in the state with Gunns Limited and Norske Skog having the major share and the balance made up of many private property landowners. Private Forests Tasmania annually collates some data on the private property forest area and reports on the harvest from private property -our annual report on our website is a useful starting point for more detail - see www.privateforests.tas.gov.au.

Andy Warner of Private Forests Tasmania

A skewed vision from team Green   – Sunday, 17-Sep-2006

In line with recent discussions relating to Greenpeace's campaign against Rimbunan Hijau and its forestry operations in PNG, an excellent article appeared in the Weekend Australian, 16-17 September 2006. The article looks at how Greenpeace is using one of the largest forestry investors in PNG as a proxy attack on commercial forestry in the region. Every one of the allegations against the company being made by Greenpeace was examined and it was concluded that "Greenpeace's rhetoric stands in stark contrast to the hollowness of its claims".

The article concluded; "For more than 15 years, Greenpeace and WWF have hankered for a global forest convention to implement their goal of replacing commercial forestry with eco-forestry world-wide. Only some European companies support this. Developing countries mistrust their motives and the US does not support it. So the strategy is to whip up concern about illegal logging and goad Governments into using trade sanctions to bring developing countries to heel". It appears that Rimbunan Hijau as the largest forestry business in PNG and commercial forestry in PNG is just a pawn in a much bigger campaign.

Reports on the issue include:

Two ITS reports: "The Economic Importance of the Forestry Industry to PNG" and "Whatever it Takes: Greenpeace's Anti-forestry Campaign in PNG", www.forestryanddevelopment.com

WWF reports and news: www.wwf.org.uk/researcher/issues/forests/index.asp
Australian Conservation Foundation:
www.acfonline.org.au

The Editor of Friday Offcuts

Another take on logging operations in PNG   – Wednesday, 13-Sep-2006

Thankyou for drawing our attention to the report commissioned by Rimbunan Hijau: "Whatever it takes - Greenpeace's anti-forestry campaign in Papua New Guinea", Friday Offcuts, 18th August 2006.

I wonder if any of your readers have also seen the article in the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH), Sept 9-10, 2006, page 22, entitled "Loggers remain a law unto themselves". It is essentially about the Rimbunan Hijau (RH) logging operations in Papua New Guinea(PNG) and the Solomon Islands, written by the paper's Asia-Pacific editor, Hamish McDonald, which I believe is an objective, well informed piece of writing about a complex and depressing issue. For those of us who are at all interested in the forests and the well being of the people of PNG, I also believe that we won't find much objectivity in the consultant's report mentioned above, which was paid for by RH, with the express purpose of making them appear like knights in shining armour.

I don't hold much of a torch for the conservationists. For many years during the rise of the conservation movement and the unnecessary demise of production forestry in most of our State Forests in Australia, I was employed as a forester with the Queensland Forestry Department. And I saw how they operated. However it was Senator Graeme Richardson, the numbers man for the labour government of the time (not a very nice man if you remember him), who gave the conservationists the opportunity they needed. All he needed was to have the voters in Sydney and Melbourne on side; the people from the big cities who knew very little about the real country, except that, from their remote lounge-rooms, they didn't want any trees to be cut. The conservationists delivered and the rest as they say, is history. All governments in the developed world now ignore these green 'opportunists" at their peril.

However, for the people of developing nations the scenario is often the other way around. In PNG, the conservationists, though vocal (mostly with good reason), are really ignored, and here Rimbunan Hijau is the principal "opportunist". There is no doubt that almost from the time of independence, PNG has seen a disappointing line of corrupt governments and public service departments and it wasn't long, before this, combined with the relatively abundant forest resources, presented an opportunity too good to miss for RH. As your readers probably know, RH developed their particular style of doing business some time ago in Malaysia and since then they have siezed similar opportunities in quite a few developing nations.

I worked in forestry in Malaysia about 20 years ago and a few years ago I did a job for an RH subsidiary in Malaysia. I know a bit about how they operate. More recently I completed a forestry consultancy in PNG (not for RH) and in all of these positions I have tried to be objective and to base my observations on fact.

PNG has enormous potential. It has vast mineral wealth and soils and a climate that can grow anything. It also has many honest and intelligent people who love their country with a passion, despite the corruption that most of their leaders engage in, and the poor or absent services that we in Australia and New Zealand all take for granted. These are the ones who are really missing out because of the opportunistic nature of businesses that operate the way RH does. I think most of them reluctantly accept that a certain level of corruption is often the way of things, but for some time now the level of corruption has been rising to new heights of greed. Although the "corruptors" may be paying in total, something approaching a "fair price", only part of the price is reaching consolidated revenue. Do your readers know that subsistence living has actually increased in PNG by 10 percent over recent years? This means that there are more people following a subsistence life than there were about 10 years ago. They can't get paid jobs in the towns and cities and the government certainly isn't allocating very much money to the provinces.

Do your readers also now just how much RH has spread its tentacles in PNG? Apart from having a substantial interest in, if not outright ownership of, something like 90 percent of the logging companies in PNG, RH also owns businesses in real estate, transport, supermarkets, shipping, oil palm, banking and one of the two newspapers in Port Moresby. They are huge and have become untouchable. The SBS report, now apparently withdrawn, on police brutality on behalf of RH, and the PNG Government report on employment conditions and immigration irregularities at a large RH milling complex, now also withdrawn, were not simply concocted by conservationists.

I urge your readers to get on the web and read the SMH item. They will be told how the well respected PNG Treasurer, Bart Philemon, was sacked by the Prime Minister because he wanted to extend audits into the National Forestry Authority, which issues logging permits. But such an incident is only the tip of the ice-berg. The people of PNG deserve better. We in Australia and New Zealand certainly wouldn't put up with anything like the amount of corruption and patronage engaged in by the PNG government and the "opportunists". Shouldn't we stand behind the people of PNG and help them benefit from their forest resources?

David Gough of Forestry Pacific P/L

PNG forest management   – Friday, 1-Sep-2006

Part of my background is the founder of the Pacific Heritage Foundation in PNG in 1992, and the Executive Director for 10 years. The primary aim was to stop the Asian loggers' rape of PNGs forests, but it quickly became obvious that there were many socio-economic problems resulting from industrial logging even more serious than the biodiversity destruction. We were successful in establishing many portable sawmills as an alternative to logging, and we worked with others to attempt to demonstrate that techniques such as "selective tending" could produce serious economic results in logged areas by allowing selected species to survive amongst the creepers, vines and other post-harvest rubbish. Admittedly a monoculture such as E deglupta isn't a natural forest, but these planted areas employ villagers in their home areas, give potentially good cash returns, and reinforce the traditional connection to the land. In West New Britain conditions, deglupta can give MAI's up to 100 cm/ha/yr.

"Following your article on Rimbunan Hijau, the following is of interest in demonstrating a serious alternative. However, note the section of the report that has been highlighted - it seems to mean that the landowners do not appear to have any asset security over trees which they plant on their own land. Rather than encourage this type of development the Forestry Department not only lacks any legislative capacity to ensure security of planted assets, they appear to be more in partnership with foreign loggers than with their fellow citizens."

Conservation brings progress

Out in West New Britain province, in Ulamona Village, Bialla District, the villagers have managed to stave off the stifling encroachment of a relentless drive by the Oil Palm Industry to manage a timber area. The villagers are not new to logging. Having had more than 80 years (since 1927) of sawmilling by the Catholic Church and since 1994 when the mission handed over the facility to the locals by Ulamona Sawmill Development Corporation (USDC). The villagers have witnessed the ups and downs of a logging-based village economy. Young men with skills acquired from the factory have gone on to work for firms in Kimbe, or Rabaul, Lae and Madang, sending back money for the upkeep of home by relatives, who go on to pay for education and health fees, among other necessities. It has made them one of the most socio-economically well off villages in the country.

Back in the early 90s, they decided to set up a firm, the Galilolo Development Corporation (GDC), to be a vehicle to carry their economic aspirations. Through one of their own sons, University of Papua New Guinea biologist, Dr Simon Saulei, they opted to go into reforestation. The GDC planned to reforest 3000 ha logged over areas with Kamarere (Eucalyptus deglupta), which is native to the Ulamona area as well as other native species. The main aims were threefold: l To sustain a long term timber supply; l TO rehabilitate the land after the flooding of 2002/2003 as a result of excessive removal of forest cover through almost a century of logging; and l TO provide another means of income from the traditional gardening, and cash cropping, especially cocoa, coconut, and now palm oil. The landowner company took a 15ha area and reforested it with Kamarere using 40 per cent of their royalty from the Mission. Their drive hit a snag when funds ran out, compounded by the ramifications of the flooding until March 2003. That's when they decided to reactivate the project by floating shares within the village. They raised K25,000.

The GDC in March 2005, negotiated for a Timber Authority (TA) license to carry out salvage logging operations on both fell and remnant forest areas with a view to carry out reforestation on these 3000ha logged over areas. The reforestation project levy generated from logs extracted would be used for reforestation project, while royalty payments made directly to the landowners. The National Forest Authority funded a K30,000 nursery last May, through negotiations by Dr Saulei, who is now professor and dean of research and post-graduate studies at the University of Papua New Guinea. And that was about it.

"Numerous efforts in convincing the acting managing director as well as the PNGFA board to approve our TA and license for this reforestation project has not been approved yet",Professor Saulei says. He stresses it was initiated by landowners at their own expense. "The explanation for this delay, the PNGFA says, is because of fear of legal repercussions as there is nothing in the Forestry Act that concerns TA license issuance regarding the empowerment of resource owners to develop their own forest resources themselves or the issue of reforestation projects initiated by resources owners on their own land." "It's absurd."

Despite this hitch, the GDC is looking at the 15,000 ha area previously logged on Lolobau Island, just off the coast of Ulamona, as a potential area of reforestation. Assistance has been sought from the Department of Agriculture, overseas aid agencies including those from the EU and Japan as well as the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). Prof Saulei is also seeking assistance from the World Bank through the Prototype Carbon Fund, Bio-Carbon Fund and the Community Carbon Fund mechanisms under the Clean Development Mechanism type of investment espoused by the Kyoto Protocol. The villagers are still keeping their eyes peeled and their ears up.

Maxwell Henderson of Starfibre Australasia Pty Ltd

Australian Carbon Trading Scheme   – Tuesday, 29-Aug-2006

Thanks for today's Friday Offcuts. I find them most informative.

However, I want to raise a point about the article titled "Howard attacks Australian carbon trading scheme". The article is about the release of a discussion paper on a possible national carbon emissions trading scheme. To clarify - the paper was prepared and released by the Australian States and Territory Governments. The article gives the impression that the proposed scheme is a bad idea as it gives prominent coverage to negative comments by the Australian Prime Minister half the article and in the title.

I don't think the article serves your readers well. If you actually read the discussion paper, the forestry industry and wood products industry are clear "winners" under the various scenarios assessed under the proposed trading scheme. This did not come across in the article. In fact - the impression given is that it is a bad thing for the forestry/wood products industry as it gives so much weight to the Prime Minister's comments. Whatever your views on climate change or carbon trading, I think it important that you present to the industry a balanced approach on this very important debate.

Stephen Mitchell of Timber Development Association

Carbon Trading Scheme   – Tuesday, 29-Aug-2006

In response to Stephen's comments, point taken. Follow up information supplied by Stephen includes a link, www.emissionstrading.net.au/ to the discussion paper and supporting economic modelling. The paper lists the top 10 expanding industries under the three different modelled scenarios. Forestry is in the top ten under all three. The wood products industry expands under all three scenarios and also makes the top 10 in two of the scenarios (page 116). There is also favourable discussion of the role of the forestry sector, particularly in relation to sequestration and the use of offsets.

The Editor of Friday Offcuts

Boron for H3.1   – Friday, 14-Jul-2006

An application was made to have Boron treated timber approved for use in H3.1 situations. The final draft for this amendment (no. 3) to include Boron treated timber for use in H3.1 situations also included a change relating to the determination of complete sapwood penetration for Boron H1.2 and H3.1. Currently determination of complete sapwood penetration for Boron H1.2 to establish compliance with NZS 3640:2003 is using the spot test (Tumeric acid), AS/NZS 1605:2000.

The change in A3 to 3640 involves analysis of the central one ninth, with no minimum level of Boron specified only that it exceeds the level found in untreated timber. Potentially less than 0.01 % BAE m/m. There are companies interpreting 3640 and 1605 without A3, conveying a message that analysis instead of spot test is acceptable in relation to reporting compliance. Standards NZ is currently seeking an overseas expert to cast a deciding vote on A3 as the technical committee could not reach agreement on the change in relation to determining complete sapwood penetration for Boron.

Anonymous

""Coals to Newcastle or ice to eskimos""   – Friday, 9-Jun-2006

""Coals to Newcastle or ice to eskimos" or exporting completed housing timber frames to N.Z. made of Russian grown wood products and its not 'if', its when? It appears China is well ahead for ideas of their futuristic planning for wood products. This idea is not new, over the decades overseas made wood products have been imported into N.Z. but with the exception that this is bigger, and easily fitted into shipping containers. At the end of the day, what are our forest industry 'thinkers' doing? "

Willis Hapi of Ngati Porou Whanui Forests Ltd

New Zealand 61 out of 61   – Friday, 19-May-2006

I found the article on NZ's ranking 61 out of 61 etc very confusing and i really have no idea what message it was trying to convey. Could I have a broader explanation of what the author was on about?

Anonymous

New Zealand 61 out of 61   – Friday, 19-May-2006

Can I suggest you google "IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook". There are a number of references to both this recently released report and articles in relation to NZ's position.

The Editor of Friday Offcuts

Editor's response: timber treatment news   – Wednesday, 19-Apr-2006

We agree with you that it is a big issue for the timber industry in Australasia. As detailed in the media release put out by the Commerce Commission, there is no doubt that TimTech's entry into the NZ market and its ability to conduct business were affected by this cartel. The full release from the Commerce Commission can be viewed on www.comcom.govt.nz//MediaCentre/MediaReleases. It was the size of the fine and the crackdown by the Commerce Commission on the practice of companies working together to reduce and hinder competition that was the key point covered in the short story in last week's Offcuts. This is the first significant case of its type in New Zealand since the maximum penalties for cartel behavior were doubled.

At this stage, as High Court Proceedings against other NZ and Australian timber treatment companies and company executives are still continuing. A hearing against overseas defendants protesting against the Court to hear these claims according to the Commerce Commission is likely to occur in late 2006 or early 2007. Progress on these hearings will be reported in Offcuts as information comes to hand.

Editor of Friday Offcuts

Record $3.6 million fine for Koppers Arch   – Tuesday, 18-Apr-2006

I was very disappointed by your story about KA's fine! What a twist on the news!! The story isn't about the bungled ComCom release! The story is about the biggest fine in NZ's history for cheating the timber treaters & TimTech Chemicals by means of totally illegal Cartel behaviour!

The suppression order on the other companies was lifted about 45 - 60 minutes after the media release. The only names suppressed are those of the 7 individual executives.

As you know, KA pleaded guilty to an "Overarching" agreement with Osmose (and their earlier iterations)to fix prices, share customers, rig bids, not to compete with each others customers & also to exclude & eliminate TimTech from the market.

I am disappointed in your one sided reporting of this story.


Ron Eddy of TimTech Chemicals

Saving us from Greenpeace   – Tuesday, 29-Aug-2006

I was interested in your article on Greenpeace and Rimunan Hijau in PNG re their "illegal logging operations". I have never had time for Greenpeace whatsoever because they are over funded pack of arrogant dills who are mostly a law unto themselves, Greenpeace may save the forests and whales but who is going to save us from Greenpeace?

I have been dealing with RH in PNG for some three years and have spent a lot of time in PNG over the past 15 years on and off. Some facts for you to ponder on this. Some few months back a large barge carrying 16 Cat D7's, nine log trucks, several excavators, chain saws and many illegal immigrants who did not go through customs at Port Moresby landed down the coast under the guise of starting a palm oil plantation. Anyone will tell you that palms do not grow in this area. These illegal thugs were carrying guns ( guns to plant palms?) and were actively breaking the laws of PNG.

This was followed by another barge with more equipment and they proceeded to log an area that included land on 100 year lease to Galley Reach Holdings ( the second oldest company in PNG) after quickly cutting some 5000 m3 of logs of all species.

" ILLEGALLY " the manager of that company protested to anyone who would listen including Greenpeace who asked for a substantial amount of money to intervene, No money came forward and Greenpeace were silent!!!

Further to the Greenpeace reports of the local people being exploited by RH with rapes, starvation, bashings and hut burnings used to get them to work for RH. I have visited the large RH operations in remote areas such as Kamousie, Kikori River, Edevu, Sarco, and Bulolo and seen first hand that their is no evidence at all of these people suffering under RH employment, They are happy workers who are given smoko, lunch and biscuits to take home in the evening. I know a happy Papua New Guinean when I see one.

I asked my old mate Bob Tate of Forest Industry Association straight out three weeks ago in his POM office was there illegal logging taking place and he said over 90% of all logging was legal with people having the correct government approvals for the work. Bob has been there for over twenty years.

Just a few snippets for you. I'll be able to update you on my return from another visit up there this month.

keep up the good work.

Anonymous

The power of e-letters and the internet   – Friday, 14-Apr-2006

Thanks for your work with the excellent newsletter - and the new service. The internet is certainly a real plus for improving communication. Communication is tough enough within a larger company. It gets even tougher across the industry. I see that car companies are now increasingly using electronic media to reach their customers. In a recent article Ford Australia were reported to have just booked out space for the next year on three leading Australian automotive classified websites doubling their internet spending. It's all part of the company's concerted strategy to "own" the internet and to "muscle out the competition". There is even a name now given to describe new car buyers searching on line for models, "new car eyeballs". Keep up the good work.

Anonymous




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