Friday Offcuts 9 March 2018
As most remote sensing specialists and inventory foresters in this region are aware, updates on developments around drones, sensors, remote sensing and collection of data for forestry operations are being supplied on a monthly basis to www.foresttech.events subscribers. If interested in keeping abreast of the latest developments in this space – on a monthly basis – you can subscribe directly. It’s free. In keeping with remote sensing technologies, we’ve just finished running North America’s first ForestTECH event ( ForestTECHx). It ran in Vancouver on Wednesday and Thursday of this week. A number of local tech providers, researchers and innovative forestry companies from this region were involved. We plan now on showcasing some of the advancements being made by larger companies in North America as part of this region’s annual ForestTECH series later in the year.
In log transportation this week we've covered a number of stories. We made reference a couple of issues ago to the first of two wood transport and operations planning workshops that have been set up for WoodFlow 2018 delegates in June, both in Australia and New Zealand. An outline of the second in the series is covered in this week’s issue. Both are free to event delegates. However, both have limited spaces that are available. Details on the WoodFlow 2018 Australian programme and the NZ programme are attached here for your information. Full details on both workshops and the June tech series can be found on the event website, www.woodflow.events.
In Australia, AFCA provide an update on progress being made on the national code of practice specifically for log haulage, in New Zealand, a report by Crown Research Institute Scion on the use of liquid biofuels is suggesting that market forces alone aren’t going to be sufficient to kick start large-scale biofuel production and in Canada (the issue isn’t theirs alone), a shortage of truck drivers is now starting to bite with forestry companies reporting drops in earnings because of transport disruptions through driver shortages. As with skills and worker shortages in forestry operations, with around 200,000 truckers working in Canada they’re projecting that the shortage could actually climb to as high as 34,000 to 48,000 in just six years. Enjoy this week’s read.
This week we have for you:
Woodflow 2018 adds transport planning workshop
The second workshop, following on from the Cloud-based Operations Management workshop being run by Remsoft is being run by the Australian Forest Operations Research Alliance (University of the Sunshine Coast) and Trimble Logistics. The second workshop in both Australia and New Zealand, runs between 3.00 and 5.00pm. Full details on the pre-conference workshops can be found on the event website.
What’s it going to cover?
Effective Planning to Improve the Efficiency of Transport Operations
Transport operations can account for up to half of the delivered costs. Effective planning of transport operations at tactical and operational level is crucial to deliver the right products to customers, in time and at minimum cost. In this workshop, we’ll present a few transport planning tools and discuss the operational factors with the greatest impact on transport costs and efficiency.
In addition, a few real cases of forest companies implementing central truck scheduling and dispatching in Australia and New Zealand will be presented, which will be the basis to discuss the challenges and opportunities when adopting operational transport planning tools.
Full programme details and event information can now be found on the event website, www.woodflow.events. Note: Space for each workshop is likely to be limited so registrations are being taken on a first come-first served basis.
Forest researchers trial remote sensing technologies
The trans-Tasman group of 14 scientists from the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI), SCION, the University of Tasmania and Interpine spent three days in the Pinus radiata plantation capturing research data.
The Carabost State Forest is a Pinus radiata plantation managed by Forestry Corporation of NSW. The project is partly funded by Forest and Wood Products Australia and collaborating forest growers with in-kind support from the SCION, University of Tasmania, NSW Department of Primary Industries and Interpine.
DPI Leader Forest Science Dr Christine Stone said through collaboration with forest industry service providers and robotic scientists, the project aims to deliver efficient, customised plantation assessment dataflow solutions.
“We are harnessing the latest technological developments in remote sensors and platforms for the capture and processing of 3D dense point cloud data for plantation resource assessment,” Dr Stone said. “It’s an exciting space to be – in Carabost, we tested out the most advanced remote sensor technology currently available for forestry applications.”
“The sensors on these platforms are capable of acquiring ultra-high density point cloud datasets, suitable for tree-level on screen visual assessments and 3D reconstruction modelling. Using the information captured last week, the study will allow us to assist timber plantation growers to optimise the extraction of tree-level resource information from remotely acquired data.”
Interpine Operations Manager Bruce Hill said, “We are looking to collect LiDAR data inside the forest and then do virtual cruising in the computer.” This field campaign is part of trans-Tasman research project, “Optimising remotely acquired, dense point could data for plantation inventory”.
Photo: VUX-1LR LiDAR sensor mounted on a helicopter. From left to right: Ryan Jaffe, Ryan Judd, Glen Morey, Bruce Hill, Barbara Del Perugia, Christine Stone, Susana Gonzalez and Arko Lucieer.
Australian log haulage COP updateTo support the development of an Australian national code of practice specifically for log haulage EY have completed the risk assessment consultation phase of their project. Three workshops were delivered over late November and early December, with over 70 people attending. There was a healthy representation from forestry contracting businesses, land owners and consigners, and trailer manufacturers. Each workshop was also attended by Aaron Moeller from the NHVR and Peter Elliot from the Australian Logistics Council who spoke about changes to the NHVL and the development of a Master Code of Practice (MCoP).
The objectives of the workshops were to get industry involvement in the identification of critical risks associated with log haulage and collect information and data about controls and better practice. The information and insights collated is to inform EY’s report to AFCA that will then be used to build the Forestry Log Haulage Code of Practice (FLHCoP). Outcomes of the workshop, including the risks for inclusion and exclusion, were circulated for comment via the Steering Committee and Working Group, and to broader industry via AFCA’s website, with stakeholders invited to provide feedback.
EY also reached out to organisations for additional data and information regarding risk events. The data was collated and analysed to provide additional insight into the different types of incident events, as well as their frequency and severity. Analysis was presented back to the Steering Committee and Working Group for final comment. To read more and view the outcomes of the consultation and summary of the keys risks identified for log haulage click here.
If you have any comments on the FLHRCoP please provide it via email to email@example.com. Stacey will also be providing an update on the code of practice at this year’s Woodflow 2018 series ( www.woodflow.events) set up for forestry companies, harvesting and haulage contractors and planners. In Australia, the two-yearly tech update is scheduled to run in Melbourne on 20-21 June.
The future of NZ housing is in prefab housing
It took just five days for assemblers to put up this prefabricated house in Sydney using factory made cross laminated timber panels from XLAM, which has a factory in New Zealand. To make the government's Kiwibuild plan work, New Zealand will have to embrace factory-made homes that can be trucked in pieces to building sites and erected in a matter of days.
On Thursday, Prefab NZ, an industry association of housing prefabricators, released a report into the industry's capacity to turn out houses for Kiwibuild. It will also launch a nationwide competition seeking a design for a tiny one to two-bedroom house plan that could be "pre-consented" by Auckland Council, and any other councils wishing to follow suit, which homeowners with big enough gardens could simply parachute onto their land.
The tiny house would be called "The Snug", said Pamela Bell, Prefab NZ's chief executive. Bell said for prefabrication to achieve scale under Kiwibuild, the government would have to look at measures to give prefab companies the confidence to invest. This could include low interest or no-interest loans, as well as guarantees of volumes on which their investment in new factories could be planned.
The government was elected on a platform of poverty reduction and delivering affordable housing, but the opposition National Party has called its ability to build houses fast into question after releasing estimates from MBIE which indicate it's going to take "years to ramp up" building.
But Bell said the estimates were based on the traditional method of building, which was suffering under a skills shortage, not factory-made homes assembled on site far more rapidly. For eight years the prefab industry had been working on a plan to achieve scale, Bell said. "If it is going to happen, it's going to happen under Kiwibuild, but it is going to need close alignment with the government and MBIE," she said.
Gary Caulfield, chief executive of XLam, a high-tech prefabricator based in Nelson, said guarantees of volume were needed for companies to invest in expanding their manufacturing capacity. XLam's cross laminated timber (CLT) panels were already used in Housing New Zealand new builds, but the country was lagging the rest of the world in adopting more efficient, and higher-quality building methods, he said.
"Though New Zealand is behind Europe in the use of cross laminated timber (CLT), one significant advantage we already have is the type of wood we use in construction – radiata pine and Douglas fir – compared with the spruce that is widespread in Europe, which has properties that make it difficult to treat.
"There is also, given our well-established forestry sector, no difficulty in expanding the production base for CLT from the running start we already have, which would lend a time and cost boost to the construction industry that is tasked with pushing forward the massive housing programme."
Fletcher Residential, the home-building arm of NZX-listed Fletcher Building, is also eyeing the opportunities for its prefab business. It's chief executive Steve Evans said: "In order for panelisation to be commercially viable for businesses like ours you need to have the surety of volume in the pipeline, in order to justify the capital investment in the manufacturing facility." More >>.
Logging spotlighted after heavy rains
Tasman residents want stronger controls on forestry after logging waste and debris from collapsed pine forests swept around homes in Marahau and the Motueka Valley near Nelson, NZ when ex-tropical cyclone Gita hit two weeks ago.
A petition signed by more than 3500 people was due to be handed in to Tasman District Council calling for stronger controls on the industry. Forest and Bird regional manager, Debs Martin, said logging companies had felled trees too close to river courses in the past, and there was "some suggestion" logs had been stockpiled on skid sites.
BRADEN FASTIER/STUFF Slopes sometimes looked as if they had been "annihilated", with whole hillsides cut down and "quite a bit of slash" left on the ground. The slash accumulated sediment when it was carried downhill by rain, Martin said. "We've seen areas and rivers that have been totally silted up, they've been destroyed with sand, people's efforts of planting trees for years and years that have been buried under a metre of silt, wetlands that have disappeared and ... ultimately our sea, our bays, are receiving the sediments."
The national environmental standard for plantation forestry, coming into effect in May, would improve some practices, she said. "But there are some areas where we think the national standards probably don't go far enough." Martin called on the council to monitor and enforce compliance, and reconsider if hillsides should be zoned for forestry use, with regards to climate change.
However, the council is warning stopping timber operations in the hills around slip-affected communities near Abel Tasman National Park won't guarantee an end to the kind of damage caused by ex-cyclone Gita. Tasman's deputy mayor Tim King said the region was "not a benign environment" and warned that "whatever we put in place and whatever national regulation there is, is not going to make that go away."
He said it was important to point out the scale of ex-cyclone Gita, the volume of rainfall, and the nature of the "Separation Point Granites"; a strip of granitic bedrock that stretched 100 kilometres south from the Abel Tasman National Park.
"For as long as people have lived in Nelson, this land has eroded, collapsed, under whatever land use that happened to have been in at the time," he said, referring to floods in 1877, when 300 acres of native bush near Ngatimoti "fell into the Motueka Valley". Slips and debris flows on February 20 had not only occurred on pine forest sites and recently logged land, but in areas of native bush, regenerating land use, and pasture. People had to be conscious of that when they moved in to the area and built houses, he said.
Source & Photo: Stuff
NZ forestry cutting rights being reassessedThe NZ Government is adding forestry rights to the Overseas Investment Act screening regime ahead of this week's signing of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership in Chile, preserving its right to legislate on the issue using the same carve-out as residential property.
Ministers are finalising the details and it will then be referred to a select committee with a short period for public consideration, Associate Finance Minister David Parker said in a statement. Adding a new asset class to the regime can only be done through legislation, and Parliament's finance and expenditure committee is currently assessing an amendment to include residential property.
Parker heads to Chile this week to sign the CPTPP - a trade and investment pact involving 11 countries across the Pacific - and "making this change now will preserve policy options for future governments in relation to forests,” he said.
“Not making this change would mean future governments could not screen overseas purchases of our forests because there is little difference in effect between a long-term lease and a long-term forestry registration right. Both confer effective control of the forest and land.”
Parker said overseas investors will only be able to purchase up to 1,000 hectares of forestry rights per annum, or any forestry right of less than three years duration, without approval. Forestry rights do not involve the sale of the land but the right to grow and harvest the crop.
Together with a decision to ban the sale of existing residential homes to foreign buyers, the government has also sought to increase its scrutiny on foreign buyers of rural and forestry land.
In November it issued a new Directive Letter to the Overseas Investment Office that emphasised the forestry sector has the potential to add "significant value" to the overall economy and environment. In particular, it aims to encourage an increase in the value-added processing of raw products and the advancement of its forestry-related strategies.
Parker said changes approved by Cabinet mean a new streamlined approval path will be opened for overseas investors buying forestry rights that will make it easier to gain approval.
A standing consent system will also be developed, so quality forestry investors can make purchases of forestry land and rights without needing to seek prior approval of each individual transaction. This new streamlined approval path will also be available for investments in leasehold and freehold forestry land, which are already screened.
"It is important to note that Maori hold a large percentage of forestry interests in New Zealand. It is not anticipated that this change will prejudice interests that iwi have secured through the settlement process or fundamentally change the rights and interests of M?ori in relation to their lands," Parker said.
Using drone-based aerial photogrammetry in forestryAs unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs or drones) find their place in the forestry sector, Waypoint met with a pioneer in this field, researcher Stefano Puliti of the Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NIBIO). In this wide-ranging interview, we discuss his commercial forestry learnings—including the always-hot topic of LiDAR versus aerial photogrammetry—and we delve into Stefano’s ongoing research, which could apply to several industries, combining partial-coverage eBee UAV observations with freely-available satellite imagery.
For the full article, click here.
The first issue of the ForestTECH.events blog for 2018 containing an array of articles on new resource management and forest inventory tools including LiDAR and aerial photogrammetry was sent out to local foresters a few weeks ago. You can check out the resource directly. If you or your colleagues aren’t already on the list to get the monthly tech updates you can sign up directly on the site.
A green transport fuels future for NZ?
“We initiated our own study to inform and stimulate debate on the large-scale production and use of liquid biofuels in New Zealand,” says Paul Bennett, Scion Science Leader Clean Technologies. “Our aim is to provide robust data, insights and a roadmap for our country to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve our energy security.”
Scion undertook extensive stakeholder discussions, and modified a computer model (Bioenergy Value Chain Model (developed by the Energy Technologies Institute, UK) to create scenarios of what crops and processing facilities would be needed to produce different quantities of transport fuel sustainability.
This modelling of fossil fuel replacement with biofuel equivalents ranged from 5% to 50% substitution. With combustion of liquid fossil fuels in 2015 representing about 23% of New Zealand’s domestic greenhouse gas emissions, biofuels could have a major impact on overall lowering of carbon emissions.
The modelling tool is available for more quantitative scenarios, based on what Scion hopes is an informed deliberation, planned strategy and long-term implementation to manufacture green fuels within New Zealand. The study findings, presented in the New Zealand Biofuels Roadmap Summary Report, shows drop-in fuels from non-food feedstocks, particularly forestry grown on non-arable land, is the most attractive option. This form of biofuel production would also provide strong regional development and employment growth in regions such as Northland, East Coast and the central North Island.
“However, both our modelling and stakeholder discussions are explicitly clear that market forces alone will not be sufficient to kick start large-scale biofuel production,” says Paul Bennett. “If New Zealand can agree on the future role and scale biofuels should play in decarbonising New Zealand transport, then we can develop a nationally coordinated implementation plan, aligned with stakeholders. Part of that internal agreement needs to be getting the public on-board as key beneficiaries of a sustainable liquid transport fuels approach.”
Scion’s modelling shows that by growing longer-term crops, such as energy forests, New Zealand could build a bio-fuelled future. The quantitative scenario modelling clearly shows tens of thousands of hectares of purpose-grown feedstock crops and billions of dollars of capital investment in processing plant construction and production would be needed to make an ideal a reality.
The report is available at www.scionresearch.com.
Afforestation Grant Scheme funding round now openThe 2018 funding round for the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Afforestation Grant Scheme (AGS) opened on 23 February and closes on 14 May 2018. The AGS contributes to the Government’s One Billion Trees Programme. Through the AGS, MPI provides grants of $1,300 a hectare for landowners to plant new small to medium-sized forests of between 5 hectares to 300 hectares.
Native or exotic trees can be planted and your application can include a mix of forest species. A forest species is one able to grow to at least five metres in the place you have planted it. Every application is assessed against eligibility criteria, which includes a technical forestry assessment. If you would like to apply or for further information, head to www.mpi.govt.nz/ags.
If you would like to get in contact directly, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
ArborGen on track to more than double earningsRubicon shares rose 9.1 percent after chief executive Luke Moriarty told shareholders its sole asset ArborGen is on track to more than double annual earnings. "We have great belief in the potential future upside in ArborGen," Moriarty told shareholders at the annual general meeting in Wellington, according to speech notes published on the NZX.
Last June, the NZX-listed forestry investor took full ownership of ArborGen, agreeing to pay International Paper and WestRock US$28.5 million in three instalments. It has paid US$18.5 million to date with a final US$10 million instalment due in July.
On Jan. 31 it closed the sale of its 45 percent stake in Tenon Clearwood Partnership for US$15 million, which allowed it to pay Rubicon's outstanding subordinated debt and gives it the headroom to make that final payment. ArborGen - which sells and develops advanced genetic seedlings to improve forest productivity - is now Rubicon's only asset.
Canadian forest industry hit by truck driver shortagesA shortage of truck drivers is hampering Canada’s forest sector as shipments have been delayed and at least one producer was forced to slow production because of a lack of wood chips.
Weyerhaeuser Co. chief executive Doyle Simons said Friday that availability of transportation services has been a challenge, especially in the past quarter. "We, like other companies, are, in fact, seeing that type of tightness," he said during a conference call about the company's results. Simons said the company faced truck and rail disruptions, mainly in December, and took a US$10 million to US$15 million hit in the fourth quarter.
Paul Quinn of RBC Capital Markets said transportation issues is something all forestry producers are talking about. "People have been talking about labour issues for a while, it's just getting more acute now," he said from Vancouver. He said companies have been able to offset the pressure with higher selling prices.
Shortages are a national challenge in many sectors, said Stephen Laskowski, president of the Canadian Trucking Alliance. "What you're starting to see is a capacity problem in our industry due to a truck driver shortage," he said in an interview.
Laskowski said the trucking industry is struggling to convince young people to take up the profession in sufficient numbers to replace the 10,000 truckers who retire every year. About 26 per cent of all truck drivers are over 55 years old, a larger percentage than other sectors, he said. The average age is expected to be around 50 years old by 2024. The shortage is expected to reach 34,000 or as much as 48,000 by 2024, Laskowski said. There are currently more than 200,000 truckers working in Canada.
Bob Matters, wood council chairman for the United Steelworkers union in British Columbia, said the shortage of drivers across the country comes down to demographics. Young people aren't attracted to working long hours, often in harsh conditions for inadequate compensation, he said. Also, zero tolerance and pre-employment drug testing is eliminating many potential recruits.
Springer Group acquires FinScan
“With the majority stake in FinScan we extend our market product portfolio as an integrated technology provider for the wood-processing industry,” Springer chief executive officer Timo Springer said. “From now, we have an extensive range of optimization systems in the wood-processing industry at our disposal and that way, we can expand our technological and innovative leadership.
“We see good opportunities to grow and strengthen our position in the future together. We are looking forward to working together,” he said.
“FinScan is very successful, has long time customers and has a clear portfolio of sophisticated scanner solutions at its disposal,” FinScan chief executive officer Jyri Smagin said. “Through the merger with Springer we expect a further technological progress.”
The Loggers premiered this week
“Go deep into the forest in this 10-part local series and meet the Newtons, a family who have logging in their blood. Three generations have worked tirelessly in the bush, and now the Rotorua-based family business is doing better than ever!
Rain or shine, the five Newton Logging crews work side by side every day, in one of the most dangerous industries in New Zealand. The work is intense, and the deadlines can’t be missed in this multi-million dollar business, but the gang are committed to the forest, and greet every day with humour and enthusiasm.
For more information on the show, visit: www.primetv.co.nz/the-loggers.
New LiDAR drone announced with industry firsts
Founded in France, Delair has had the advantage of legally flying beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) since 2012. Working with regulators and large industrial enterprises – like leading energy companies – Delair has been able to develop a deep hardware and software solution for the enterprise, with long-range drones as a primary tool.
The new Delair DT26X LiDAR UAV, says the company, is “the industry’s first long-range fixed wing drone to combine highly accurate Light Distance and Ranging (LiDAR) sensing capabilities with an integrated high resolution RGB (red, green, blue) camera, dramatically increasing the precision, efficiency and cost effectiveness of surveying and 3D mapping.” The company released details of the new model at the International Lidar Mapping Forum in Denver.
Highly accurate LiDAR sensors are a valuable tool in mapping and surveying, providing detailed data on elevation even in vegetated areas. But they generally need to be used with other imagery to form an accurate 3D model, typically requiring multiple flights with separate drones – one to carry LiDAR and one to carry and RGB camera. The advantages to carrying both are clear.
For more information, visit www.foresttech.events.
Buy and Sell
... and one to end the week on ... talking horses
Two horses were wandering around a big paddock, one a thoroughbred and the other a standard bred. One day they ran into each other for the first time, chasing the same patch of green grass.
And on that note, enjoy your weekend. Cheers.
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