Friday Offcuts – 25 August 2017

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It’s about time the Tasmanian timber industry had something to celebrate. It’s been a long time between drinks. Last week, came the welcome news that the Regional Forest Agreement for the State had just been granted a 20-year extension. The agreement (for further information click here), which was due to expire this year, allows the logging of native forests on public lands. It now provides some sort of certainty to the thousands of Tasmanians involved (around 3600 today c.f. 7000 direct jobs in 2008) in the local forestry industry. The decision to extend has also been lauded as a “solid victory for science” rather than some of the arbitrary decisions that unfortunately have so often been used in the past to reduce the area of production forests.

We’ve covered the “rise and rise” of drones in numerous articles in this newsletter. Why? Because they’re an integral part of the “fourth industrial revolution”, they’re increasingly being used operationally and in planning by foresters and let’s be truthful, they’re really are a pretty neat toy. Some Governments are seeing them though as much more than that. They’re an essential part of the current technology race. In an article, this week comes news that the South Korean Government has committed to spend more than US$1 billion (no, this isn’t a misprint) on drone technology research and development over the next five years.

The plan is to bring South Korea up to a ranking of 5th in the world in this sector. Not only is the spend impressive, they say that the payback is a likely 164,000 new jobs created by 2025. They’re also expecting to be operating more than 60,000 industrial drones through a new system of “drone highways” that they’re going to be introducing into their airspace within 10 years. Fact or fiction? Check out the story in this week’s issue along with the fire-fighting drones that have recently being employed as part of the recent fire-fighting efforts in North America.

In wood products this week, the Wood Processors & Manufacturers Association have just announced a new scheme for processors and manufacturers of NZ wood products. It’s going to be used to profile the environmental credentials of a wide range of wood products, including structural grade, appearance grade, treated, finger-jointed and glue-laminated timber using an Environmental Product Declaration.

Finally, we’ve included this week a look at some of the key trends and the outlook for North American softwood lumber from well-known industry expert, Russ Taylor from International WOOD MARKETS Group (which incidentally, has just been purchased by the economic forecasting and consulting firm, Forest Economic Advisors). The outlook this year and looking forward is optimistic with U.S. lumber prices in the near future also expected to remain high. You can check out the details and analysis in the story below. Enjoy this week’s read.

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Tasmanian forestry deal extended

An extension of a Tasmanian forestry plan has been hailed by government as a win for the timber industry. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Tasmania Premier Will Hodgman on Friday, visited a Launceston timber mill where they signed off on a 20-year extension to the Regional Forest Agreement. The agreement, which was due to expire this year, allows the logging of native forests on public lands, and gives exemptions to Commonwealth environmental laws.

Mr Turnbull spoke to workers on a tour of the plant and said the deal will give security to the industry, which employs some 3,600 people in the state. "This is supporting Tasmanian jobs - that's what this is all about," he told reporters.

Bob Gordon, newly elected National President of the Australian Institute of Foresters has welcomed the extension saying, ‘The extension of the RFA provides certainty to the thousands of Tasmanians involved in the forestry industry in Tasmania including park managers, ecologists and timber workers.

‘The extension of the Regional Forest Agreement is testament to the ongoing work managing Tasmania’s sustainable forestry industry in the constant face of adversity and represents a victory for science.

‘The comprehensive system of reserves will remain with more than half of Tasmania permanently locked-up and, with the combination of sustainably managed multi-use forests, will continue to produce impressive biodiversity outcomes while allowing Tasmanians to benefit economically for generations to come.

The Australian Forest Products Association has also applauded the 20-year extension saying the deal will support jobs, investment and innovation in state, which accounts for 28% of national native hardwood harvest by volume and 20% by value.

AFPA CEO, Mr Ross Hampton said the national RFA framework sought to balance environmental, social and economic considerations in the management of our forest estate, but while environmental objectives had been met and exceeded, certainty for industry had not been met.

“It is vital that we see a 20-year extension across all RFAs without further delays to provide the certainty of resource supply necessary for industry to remain competitive, encourage investment and innovation, and underpin jobs,” Mr Hampton said.

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Quality Scheme launched for NZ Wood Products

New Zealand wood products already undergo strict and independent, third-party scrutiny to ensure that they comply with the NZ Building Code. All NZ wood products are made to standards and codes set by the official NZ standards body, Standards New Zealand, and by the building industry regulator, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. Adherence to these standards is then assured through inspection by independent verifiers operating throughout the country.

Assurance of fitness for purpose is provided by Building Consent Authorities checking that the correctly specified product goes into the right place in the structure. All of this means that customers can be confident in NZ wood products.

“That said, in this day and age, customers require much more from our product range. Our customers want to be assured that the products they are buying come with hard evidence that they are doing the right thing for the environment”, says WPMA Chair, Brian Stanley. “This is why I’m delighted to announce that the WPMA and thinkstep Ltd are working together to enable processors and manufacturers of NZ wood products to state with certainty the environmental impacts of the products they produce and the processes they use.”

While it is widely accepted that wood products have a relatively low environmental footprint, there is at this stage only one recognised and audited means of calculating and communicating relevant environmental impacts: the Environmental Product Declaration (EPD).

An EPD is a verified and registered document that communicates transparent and comparable information about the life-cycle environmental impacts of products. The EPD will be published under the Australasian EPD® Programme – part of the global International EPD® System – following international standard ISO 14025 and European standard EN 15804.

Brian Stanley noted that WPMA member companies have contributed to the development of this EPD and it will cover a wide range of wood products, including structural timber, appearance timber, treated timber, finger-jointed timber and glue-laminated timber.

WPMA member companies believe that supplying authoritative environmental impact data to architects and developers, in a format that enables the total environmental performance of buildings to be calculated will result in their wood products being preferred, both over timber from other sources and to non-timber products in environmentally-discerning markets.

“Growing the market demand for quality-assured, NZ wood is not only good for the environment but is also critical for ensuring more employment and economic growth in regional NZ – a win-win-win for New Zealand”, concluded Mr Stanley.

Source: WPMA

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Tall timber stacks up in commercial terms

Recently, well-known property investor Sir Bob Jones announced his company’s plan to build a tall timber building in Wellington, New Zealand. Jones has done his homework on the advantages of wood for large commercial buildings. Australian and Canadian developers and building companies are well ahead of their New Zealand counterparts in using engineered wood to commercial advantage.

In a recent announcement for another large building – a multi-family residential building, in at the University of BC, in Vancouver Canada (see, the development company set out to clarify why they chose wood for this large project. They said new engineered wood components like cross-laminated timber (CLT) meet or exceed the structural properties of concrete. Wood components are seismically superior as they don’t crack or shatter like concrete.

Mass timber components are resistant to fire because the material self-chars, meaning oxygen can’t get at it. It’s more sustainably produced, requires less energy to recycle, and since the panels are pre-assembled offsite, there’s virtually no on-site waste.

Quick construction is a highlight of CLT. Cross-laminated timber panels weigh much less than concrete equivalents and are easily transported to their site for craning quickly into position. Only two construction workers are needed to guide panels into place onto the building frame. A typical floor for a multi-residential mid-rise building consists of 160 to 200 CLT panels. They are lifted at a rate of one every 12 minutes. The onsite crews erecting CLT panels can work at high rates - installing 400 m2 of floor space in less than three hours.

Brock Commons, currently the world's tallest CLT building at 18 stories, was erected in nine weeks, at an average rate of two floors per week. A national conference in Rotorua next month features as its keynote speaker the project manager from that building – Karla Fraser from Urban One Builders in Vancouver.

The on-site assembly of engineered wood structures is also virtually silent — a definite bonus for the neighbours say experienced managers like Karla Fraser. CLT construction is predicted to continue to make inroads as a viable, environmentally superior alternative to traditional “stick-on-stick” construction or concrete and steel design in the multi-family and high-rise market.

“One of the primary benefits of engineered wood structures is the way they influence design and scheduling. Unlike conventional construction, where you build the shear walls and then frame with plywood, CLT panels are tilted up and connect directly to the columns — a accurate method that’s simple, fast and very precise.”

As the market becomes more educated about the benefits of this product, demand will only continue to increase. There are so many benefits to using these materials for construction. It offers superior acoustic, fibre, seismic and thermal performance, not to mention a reduced carbon footprint."

The upcoming national building industry conference, entitled “Changing Perceptions of Engineered Timber in Construction” runs on 28 September in Rotorua. It's the second annual conference for Innovatek in commercial wood building. The diverse programme attracts building owners, developers, architects, engineers, specifiers and key engineered wood suppliers. The conference theme is “Advantages of Timber in Mid Rise Construction”. For more details see:

The conference is set to be part of a wood technology week of events coming to the city in September, including the Forest Industry Engineering Association’s (FIEA) WoodTECH 2017 ( two-day conference and trade expo. Rotorua Lakes Council are event partners promoting their successful “Wood-First” policy.

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Korea investing 1.0 billion in drone industry

Determined to be part of growing Asian drone industry, the South Korean government has announced that it will invest a further 1.2 trillion won (over $1 billion) in the industry over the next five years. Korean news outlets report that the country’s Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs (MOLIT) has detailed plans designed to boost drone infrastructure and industry in South Korea by 2026.

The country has aggressive – and specific – goals for competing in the drone industry. The funds will be spent on drone technology research and development through 2022; the government hopes that this will bring South Korea to rank 5th in the world in the sector and bring the country’s “technological strength” up to the level of the industry leaders.

The government expects that the investment will create 164,000 new jobs by 2025, when they predict that they will have increased the local drone market from 70.4 billion won to 4.1 trillion won. South Korea estimates that their country – less than 20% the size of California – will operate more than 60,000 industrial drones within 10 years.

In addition to providing research and development assistance to new drone companies, and to purchasing 30,000 drones for public agencies, South Korea is working on an unmanned aerial system traffic management system (UTM) for drone integration into the country’s airspace.

South Korea plans to introduce a system of “drone highways” into their airspace plans in order to facilitate the growth of the commercial drone industry. Drone highways will be an official designation of airspace at above 300 meters for drones to fly below passenger aircraft. They plan to have clarified drone regulations in the country and established a national flight test site in Goheung by 2020.

The recent announcement is the latest in South Korea’s concentrated efforts to bring themselves to the forefront of the “fourth industrial revolution” and to take their place beside China and the US in leading the drone industry. Japan has also made significant efforts to reach a top spot in the Asian drone industry, now dominated by the manufacturing forces in China.


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Market ready DNA screening technology for eucalypts

A project led by researcher Gondwana Genomics Pty Ltd has completed a key test of new DNA marker technology for commercial applications. The project is aimed at implementing MAS to rapidly increase productivity in Australia’s major plantation eucalypts.

Outstanding trees in breeding programs are currently identified by growing and measuring thousands of trees in trials to identify elite families from which parents are chosen. However, just as in human families, there is considerable variation in the offspring of these crosses, which currently can only be identified by growing the progeny until 7-8 years of age and then measuring them.

The FWPA project has demonstrated that it can identify elite E. globulus and E. nitens families and the best individuals in those families by using a simple DNA test. The DNA test involves screening trees with thousands of targeted DNA markers, or SNiPs, that occur in genes that control key commercial traits like wood density, growth and pulp yield.

Using only the DNA from parents in E. nitens and E. globulus seed orchards of Forico and HVP, scientists on the FWPA project were able to predict elite trees among progeny from different trials with very high accuracies. Correlations comparing predicted performance (just using DNA) with Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) ranged from 0.7 - 0.9, which is an outstanding result.

This same marker technology also allows for fingerprinting to identify labelling errors, identification of inbred trees and full pedigree reconstruction, all in the same cost-effective test. Marker technology can be used to complement the traditional breeding and increase the efficiency of tree breeding.

These results demonstrate that DNA markers can be used to screen large numbers of seedlings raised from open pollinated and controlled crosses to select superior progeny. This will allow identification of superior trees for breeding when they are seedlings.

Andrew Jacobs, Research and Innovation Manager at Forico, one of Australia’s largest private forestry management companies, states: “The results are very exciting and Forico remains committed to applying the technology to support our traditional breeding programs as MAS is likely to deliver significant productivity gains through the shortening of the breeding cycle.”

Source: Gondwana Genomics Pty Ltd

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NZ structural log prices hit new record

New Zealand structural log prices hit a new record as local mills compete with the export market to secure supply to meet the demand from the busy domestic construction market.

The price for structural S1 logs lifted to $127 a tonne this month, from $124 a tonne last month, and $115 a year earlier, according to AgriHQ's monthly survey of exporters, forest owners and saw millers.

New Zealand's economy is being buoyed by increased construction activity as record levels of tourism and migration stoke demand. However local wood mills are having to compete for log supply with the export market, with the price for S1 logs creeping above the price of export A-grade logs in AgriHQ's latest data for the first time since late last year.

"A consistently firming export log market has driven increases in structural log prices in recent months, though positive housing construction rates locally have been key to mills being able to stomach these increases," said AgriHQ analyst Reece Brick.

"The short-term outlook is for either a steady or slightly firmer market, where the exchange rate movements will likely be key to the competitive pressure between the local and export markets."

Brick said the closing valuation between wharf gate and domestic values may indicate some stabilisation in the market towards the end of the year, assuming no major change occurs in the export market.

Log values at the wharfgate slipped by around $2 a tonne this month according to most of those surveyed by AgriHQ, hurt by a rise in the New Zealand dollar exchange rate with the US dollar through mid-July to mid-August to peak at a 28-month high of 75 US cents. However, the report noted that the exchange rate is now tracking downwards.

"Any concerns towards future easing of this market are minimal," Brick said. "There's little to no concerns regarding the state of overseas log markets for the short-term."

In China, New Zealand's largest log market, the price for unpruned log grades rose US$2/JAS, marking the 13th consecutive month without any weakening, Brick said.

Meanwhile, shipping rates were stable, following ongoing stability in world oil prices, Brick said. "Exporters are anticipating shipping rates to stay locked in position as we approach the end of the year," he said.


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Tracking wildfires with drones

Boeing-owned Insitu has announced that it will provide drones to FireWhat, a California-based company that monitors wildfires and natural resources. As spotted by GeekWire, the Insitu drones will be used to keep track of fires even at night or under heavy smoke conditions.

Military-grade electro optical cameras and infrared cameras make the drones particularly versatile. Their video can then be sent back to FireWhat incident commanders in real time. The partnership also includes Esri, a company that makes the Geographic Information Systems software that will provide the web-based live feeds.

This video from 2016 which we may have run in an earlier issue shows how Insitu drones can be used to fight fires, as well as how they are catapulted into the sky.

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North American softwood lumber trends & outlook

The recovery in North America has been ongoing since 2009. While there are many factors at play here, this is largely the result of favourable global economic trends and improving markets worldwide following the U.S. housing collapse and global financial crisis. Some of the key trends and outlook for North American softwood lumber drawn from the Sawn Softwood chapter of the UNECE/FAO Forest Products Annual Review 2016–17 include;

Demand in North American softwood lumber markets increased steadily in 2016 and the first half of 2017. U.S. housing continued to be the primary driver of consumption: starts reached 1.17 million units last year, up 5.6% versus 2015 (U.S. Census Bureau, 2017). Single-family housing grew significantly (+9.4%), while multi-family starts declined (-1%).

The U.S. economic outlook is relatively healthy, with GDP growth projected to remain in the range of 2.0%–2.2% per year through 2019. For the full year of 2016, apparent North American softwood lumber consumption was 97.9 million m3, a y/y increase of 8%. Of the total consumption, the U.S. comprised 81.7 million m3 (+10% y/y) and Canada 16.2 million m3 (-0.6%).

Last year’s U.S. softwood lumber output came in at 55.6 million m3, an increase of 3.4% from 2015. The gains were the highest in the U.S. South (+4.1%), followed by the Midwest and Northeast regions (+3.1%) and then the U.S. West (+2.5%). Depressed timber prices since 2009 in the South — the result of excess log supplies and strong housing demand — have kept the region (which accounts for more than 50% of U.S. output) in the lead for highest operating earnings among U.S. lumber-producing regions. The West faced a tight log supply, with strong export log prices keeping coastal log prices high and sawnwood production in check.

Canadian softwood lumber production grew by 6.2% in 2016 to 48.2 million m3. Production increased by 3.6% versus 2015 in the British Columbia Interior (Canada’s leading region for softwood lumber production), which accounted for 42.5% of national production (Statistics Canada, 2017). Coupled with a low Canadian dollar relative to the U.S. currency, Canadian mills were highly competitive in the U.S. in 2016, allowing exports south of the border to soar by 13.5%. New import duties on Canadian lumber being sent to the U.S. market started in late April 2017 and rose again near the end of June. It is widely expected that Canada’s lumber production, as well as exports to its southern neighbour, will decline slightly during the rest of 2017 and then drop by 5%–10% in 2018.

The bellwether structural framing lumber composite price in the U.S. gained 4% in 2016 and rose by 19% in the first half of 2017 y/y (Random Lengths, 2017), with U.S. countervailing duties (average of 19.9%) on imported softwood lumber from Canada starting in April 2017 the main contributing factor. There are favourable demand forecasts in the U.S. for the rest of 2017. Given tightening sawnwood supply factors and punitive duties on Canadian lumber exports south, U.S. lumber prices should stay high. Forest fires in the B.C. Interior and California in July (and into August) have also led to supply disruptions, enabling prices to move higher in response to a very lean supply chain.

Canada continued to dominate U.S. imports — nearly a 96% share in 2016 and up by a whopping 3.0 million m3 to 25.5 million m3 — as exporters took advantage of the temporary duty-free situation. U.S. imports from Europe, however, soared in the first six months of this year, rising by over 90% in comparison to the same period in 2016. U.S. softwood lumber exports were relatively flat last year at 2.8 million m3. The most significant reductions were to Japan (-17%), Asian countries other than China and Japan (-15%), and Canada (-4%).

For Canadian softwood lumber, exports to all overseas markets declined by 7.6% to 7.3 million m3; it was only shipments to the U.S. that grew (+13.5%). Canadian exports to China declined for the third consecutive year (to 5.2 million m3) and were lower again (-15% y/y) in the first four months of 2017.

Persistently positive economic drivers and the potential for a tightening of the sawnwood supply/demand balance produce an optimistic outlook for softwood lumber markets through 2017 and into 2018. For North American producers, the key metrics to watch will include rising U.S. consumption (housing starts/repair and remodelling), currency rates, the impact of U.S. duties on Canadian shipments to the U.S., and possible growth in offshore export markets.

Source: Russ Taylor, President, International WOOD MARKETS Group

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Orara East State Forest’s Track wins international award

The new First People experience along the Gumgali Track to Korora Lookout in Orara East State Forest has been recognised as a world class outdoor exhibit, taking home third place at the National Association for Interpretation awards, announced in the USA last week.

The National Association for Interpretation is an international professional organisation dedicated to advancing the profession of heritage interpretation. Forestry Corporation of NSW’s Strategic Projects and Programs Leader Justin Black said the Gumgali Track was recognised alongside exhibits from around the world.

“We were incredibly privileged to be able to work with the local community to bring a centuries-old Gumbaynggirr story to life through the Gumgali Track and it’s exciting to receive international recognition for we believe is a really unique First People experience,” Mr Black said.

“The Gumgali Track was born out of a partnership with the Coffs Harbour and District Local Aboriginal Land Council and Coffs Elders Group, who gave us permission to tell the story of how Gumgali the black goanna moved down the escarpment that Korora Lookout sits on today to the sea off Macaulays Headland.

“We worked with Elders, Muurrbay Language Centre, Bularri Muurlay Nyanggan – 2 Path Strong and local artists to create three magnificent timber sculptures and a 30-metre mural telling Gumgali’s story to visitors as they make their way along the walking track.

“The track ends at Korora Lookout where we’ve installed a soundbar that allows people to listen to Gumgali’s story in Gumbaynggirr language and English while taking in the view that inspired the story so many generations ago.

“The Coffs Harbour Based Interpretive Design Company helped us bring the experience to life working with us developing the concept and transforming this into a true outdoor exhibit that gives visitors to Korora Lookout an insight into this forest’s rich Aboriginal cultural heritage.

“What’s really exciting is that the Gumgali Track is providing ongoing opportunities for the local Aboriginal community to share their language and heritage with the local community and tourists, not just through the exhibit but also through the regular Giingan cultural showcases put on by Bularri Muurlay Nyanggan Aboriginal Corporation in Orara East State Forest.

“In addition to the cultural showcases Bularri Muurlay Nyanggan is now running a Nyanggan Gapi (Perfect Coffee) van on weekends at Sealy Lookout. We encourage locals to get up to Sealy Lookout, enjoy a perfect coffee, walk Gumgali Track and support this local Aboriginal business.”

Photo: Visitors take in the view from the Gumgali Track

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Asia Pacific hits over 10,000 FSC certificates

The number of FSC Chain of Custody (CoC) certifications in the Asia Pacific region has reached a record high number of 10,077, according to the facts and figures of FSC International released in July. The APAC region now has the second largest number of FSC CoC certificates, after Europe’s 17,264.

The APAC region has experienced exponential growth in the CoC certificates over the past five years. From 2012-2017, the number of CoC certificates has grown from 5,538 to 10,077, accounting for about 82% increase and an average year-on-year (YoY) growth of 13% — approximately equivalent to gaining 900 new CoC certificates each year. It is a remarkable growth that outpaced the APAC regional economic growth over the same period, which the growth rate for the latter was between 5.3 percent and 5.7 percent.

The country that has the highest net increase in the actual number of CoC certificates is China. The 3,032 certificates gained account for 67% of the total increase in CoC certificates in the Asia Pacific region. Vietnam comes second with a 285 net increase in certificates, followed by Hong Kong (185), India (141) and Japan (96).

The country that has the highest YoY growth is Thailand (25%), followed by China (20%), Sri Lanka (19%), Vietnam (16%) and the Philippines (15%). The top three product types that see the highest increase in CoC certificates are Paperboard/packaging, Paper, and Furniture, which China had a staggering growth of 224%, 182% and 179% in these three categories respectively.

One of the most promising areas of product growth was timber veneer, reflecting the increasing trend for FSC certified material in the design industry and construction projects. Demand from the Australia and New Zealand is viewed as key influencers in the regional growth due to the countries role as importers. To date, Australia CoC figures have maintained, currently with 271 CoC Certificate Holders. New Zealand CoC Certificate Holders numbers are steady with 151 Certificates.

Adam Beaumont, the interim director of FSC in Asia Pacific region, says he anticipates that Southeast Asian (SEA) countries will be picking up the strong growth after China. “While China is still the World’s Factory, we see a ‘Factory Asia’ emerging, where countries from Southeast Asia such as Thailand, Vietnam, India are more involved in the global supply chains.

These countries show impressive growth in FSC certified businesses,” he further explains. “A lot of Southeast Asia countries are looking to grow export volumes into European markets looking for responsibly sourced forest products, particularly furniture. Having FSC certification helps companies meet compliance and timber legality requirements in Europe, such as European Union Timber Regulation (EUTR), where FSC certification forms a key part of a company’s due diligence.”


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Check how teams are handling tough winter conditions

In a week where sadly, two young men have died in forestry workplace accidents in New Zealand, SafeTree have sent out a timely reminder and pointers on working in tough operating conditions brought on by inclement weather.

We’re getting close to the end of a long, hard winter – that’s left many forestry crews worn down and forestry sites sodden.

Tired workers and difficult conditions increase the risk of mistakes and injuries. So now would be a good time for crew owners, forest managers and forest owners to check in on how people are going.

Workers know better than anyone if there are emerging problems onsite. So,talking to them is an excellent way to catch problems before they turn into incidents.

Ask the crews working for you how they are coping with the conditions? Is anyone worn out, needing help? Is there a way to change the work to take account of the conditions? Are the work targets still realistic given the weather?

Talk about how fatigue and sodden sites can increasing forestry’s five critical risks – the things that most often lead to people getting killed or permanently injured:

1. Tree felling (including branches and spars from above)
2. Breaking out / extraction
3. Driving vehicles
4. Processing on the skid site
5. Maintenance problems.

Also ask if fatigue and poor conditions are affecting the crew’s ability to use the five critical defences know to prevent injuries:

1. Planning – for the block and for the day - resources and people
2. Communication – what’s the plan, does everyone know it, is it working, has anything changed
3. Separation – either distance (2 tree lengths, safe retreat), or time (not doing work activities at the same time)
4. Competency – people doing the work have the necessary training, skills and experience
5. Emergency response – there is a well-practised response if anyone does get hurt.

Source: SafeTree

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WOOD MARKETS this week announced that their company has been purchased by Forest Economic Advisors LLC (FEA) based in Massachusetts. The WOOD MARKETS team in Vancouver, BC will enhance FEA’s current products and services with more depth in terms of international supply trends and market dynamics and will provide more strategic analysis in global costs and trade flows.

In return, the FEA team will provide WOOD MARKETS with improved access to many economic and industry details as well as the timberland business. Collectively, the new enterprise of FEA in conjunction with WOOD MARKETS will offer its clients enhanced insights into better understanding what the emerging demand, supply and price trends might be in North America and global markets for a variety of wood products and timber.

Russ Taylor, formerly the President of the International Wood Markets Group, has assumed the role of Managing Director of FEA-Canada. Russ and his team will continue to spearhead the production of WOOD MARKETS’ key publications and Russ will remain available to lead independent research projects. Read more.

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Visy launched AU$100M expansion at Tumut

Malcolm Turnbull flew to regional Australia this week for an investment launch with billionaire Anthony Pratt, as the government tries to assure voters it is acting on jobs and the economy, despite a storm over the dual citizenship of three ministers. The Prime Minister was on hand for the announcement of a AU$100 million expansion at Mr Pratt’s flagship paper mill at Tumut in southern NSW — a project that has boosted jobs and proven the benefits of clean energy as a way to cut business costs.

Mr Pratt’s Visy Industries has poured AU$500m into clean energy projects over the past six years, including a 30 megawatt plant at the Tumut mill where it produces electricity from the heat generated from waste. He is vowing to scale up the use of clean energy, signalling an Australian push to match his $US1 billion commitment in the US to expand paper recycling and the generation of renewable energy from waste. The Tumut mill employs about 300 people and is being expanded to produce 800,000 tonnes of paper a year, using plantation wood from the region and exporting products to more than 50 countries.

Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg also announced a separate clean energy commitment with a AU$12m federal investment in the South Australian government’s plan to build a large-scale battery with a capacity of 30 megawatts. Investment from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency will cover almost half the cost of the project.

Source: The Australian

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Nannup timber mill reduces operations

One of Western Australia's oldest timber towns has been thrown into limbo, with Nannup's jarrah mill laying off half its workforce. About 30 people are expected to lose their jobs in the restructure which was announced to staff on Wednesday.

In a letter sent to employees, Nannup Timber Processing (NTP) said the situation was 'regrettable' but was brought about by many factors out of its control. Those reasons include the cost and quality of the jarrah being processed and a declining demand for its products in the current economic climate.

It's understood NTP will close its green mill operations from 6 September, but will keep its dry timber processing arm open for the foreseeable future. The company said staff redundancies were secure and some employees will be offered positions in the dry mill. Nannup Shire President, Tony Dean, said the job losses equated to about 20 per cent of the workforce in town.

The news of the closure has sparked fears for other smaller timber mills in the state. John Clarke from the Institute of Foresters of Australia said cheaper imports of hard wood took their toll on smaller mills.

Source: ABC News

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Sydney timber building picks up major design award

Australia’s first engineered timber commercial building has taken out the prestigious Athenaeum and European Centre for Design Award for International Architecture.

International House Sydney, designed by Tzannes as part of the Barangaroo redevelopment, received recognition from two of the world’s leading design institutions: the Chicago Athenaeum and the European Centre for Architecture, Art, Design and Urban Studies. This is the sixth major international design award Tzannes has received in the last two years.

The LendLease-developed International House Sydney opened its doors earlier this year, as the ‘front door’ to Barangaroo South. The project is built entirely of cross-laminated timber (CLT) and glue-laminated timber (GLT), including floors, columns, walls, roof, lift shafts, egress stairs and bracing bays. The six above-ground commercial levels are supported by a single ground-level retail floor of conventional concrete.

“Tzannes’ design turns the limitations of structural engineered mass timber and recycled hardwood to advantage, establishing a strong visual presence and legible load path through the building column and beam construction,” reads a statement issued by Tzannes in response to the award.

“The double-height colonnade bracing columns, made from recycled iron bark, evoke memories of the forest origins of timber, these ancient trees respected in their new industrial use to further distinguish the architecture and its contribution to the design of the public domain.”

Altogether, around 3,500 cubic metres of sustainably grown and recycled timber were used in the construction of International House Sydney. This conscious decision not to use concrete meant that “thousands of tonnes of greenhouse gases” were avoided.

“International House Sydney is an exemplar of placemaking architecture that reduces negative environmental impacts in the built environment,” says Tzannes. “It provides an ongoing store for carbon, pointing towards the future of commercial building construction throughout the world.”


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Buy and Sell

... and one to end the week on ... Aussie determination

Sent in recently by a reader. The video, "how to catch a mud crab" is aimed at teaching anyone in Queensland who is keen on getting a feed. Check out this guy. You do really have to admire the team's enthusiasm.

And on that note, have a great weekend. Cheers.

Brent Apthorp
Editor, Friday Offcuts
Distinction Dunedin Hotel
6 Liverpool Street, Dunedin 9016, New Zealand
PO Box 904, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand
Tel: +64 (03) 470 1902, Mob: +64 21 227 5177, Fax: +64 (03) 470 1906
Web page:

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

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