Friday Offcuts – 4 May 2018

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At last year’s ForestTECH event, local forestry companies for the first time got a chance to look through a VR headset. The research and presentation was able to highlight the potential use of Virtual Reality for future forest inventory. The FWPA funded research was aimed at exploring new tools which would enable users to extract key tree measurements such as diameter, height, sweep and branching from data collected from terrestrial or airborne platforms with photogrammetric or LiDAR technologies. A follow-up workshop was also held at the HIT Lab in Launceston, Tasmania in early December. As evidenced by the long lines of foresters using the VR headset in Rotorua and Melbourne for the first time, the technology and the concept was pretty exciting.

The technology is being rolled out in Europe as well. Finnish forestry and tech companies Metsa Group, Tieto and CTRL Reality have just built the first version of their own virtual forest. It forms part of Tieto's Digital Forest Twin concept and it’s expected to be up and running later this year. Like the ForestTECH demos last year, the virtual forest runs using a VR headset. However, in addition to using the technology for forest inventory purposes, strapping on the VR headset and stepping into the virtual forest is according to Metsa going to open a raft of exciting new opportunities for forest owners and managers. Check out the story below.

We’ve included a story that follows on from last week’s piece on the installation of Australasia’s first 3D laser measurement system for measuring the solid volume of bulk hardwood logs at a Tasmanian operation. The technology and the results from the new installation will be a key focus this year’s WoodFlow 2018 series running in June. A raft of new developments around log measurement, scaling and tracking that are being profiled in the upcoming series have also been outlined in a story this week. Registrations are rolling in now for the two-yearly tech update. Note, if keen on attending, discounted early-bird registrations CLOSE on Friday of next week, 11 May so if keen, best to get onto it.

Finally, this week we’ve included a short article written by a young New Zealand forester. He was one of a small team of invited NZ and Australian foresters who met with the Prince of Wales several weeks ago in Queensland to discuss sustainable forestry practices, both here and abroad. What’s really refreshing is not so much the report on the thrust of the discussions at the Mossman Gorge.

Rather, it’s the enthusiasm that comes from the writer in this particular piece on the profession and the role that he sees young foresters taking by working collaboratively to help shape our environment. The writer and a couple of young and motivated foresters are currently establishing a Young Foresters Group (Future Foresters). They have big ambitions to build up a community for young people involved in all aspects of forestry in NZ, throughout NZ. Further details are expected in early July. Enjoy this week’s read.



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Log measurement technologies forefront of June series

A key focus for this year’s WoodFlow 2018 event running in June is log measurement, scaling and tracking. It’s being a major issue for the forestry industry for a number of years. Technologies being trialed over the years though for a number of reasons haven’t quite lived up to the hype.

Wood represents on average about a third of delivered log costs at the mill or port. Accurate, quick, clean, repeatable and cost-effective wood volume estimates are therefore critical to the forest owner, the manager and to the contractors.

Poor log measurements impact not only on the returns for the grower and the harvest and haulage contractors but can also have a major bearing on contractual business relationships. Although laser scanning has become a mature and more affordable technology for log measurement in forestry operations, it still remains expensive to adopt and, in some instances, difficult to implement in some real-life operations. Measurement where payment is based on green weight, manual measurement or weight to volume conversion factors all have their limitations.

As part of the upcoming WoodFlow 2018 series, Mauricio Acuna from the Australian Operations Research Alliance will present findings from recent trials undertaken with local industry using multi-view photogrammetry and commercial 3D image processing software. It’s being tested as an alternative method to automated volumetric measurement of truckloads. The study has also been investigating the accuracy of truck volume calculations using photogrammetric methods and 3D reconstruction software compared to manual systems.

Smart phone technology for log measurement is another area that’s been trialled, both in this region and internationally. Timbeter, a European company has gained perhaps more traction in this space than others. Timbeter’s (formally known as Timber Diameter) team came together in October 2013 at a Garage48 hackathon event in Pärnu, Estonia. The team spent over 2 years developing the log detection algorithm and Timbeter launched worldwide with their log measurement system in March 2016.

Very simply, log measurement in the bush, in a container or on truck is undertaken by taking a photo with a smart device like a mobile phone. Piece count and volume data is recorded digitally and is able to be shared by link. The system now has over 10,000 users and is used every day by the Estonian and Lithuanian State Forests. Lithuania is also the first country to make photo optical measurement the official method for timber measurement. Vallo Visnapuu, Chief Executive Officer for Timbeter will be outlining just how the system works and is being used operationally by forestry and wood transport companies at the WoodFlow 2018 event.

In Australia, Islay Robertson, COO of HQPlantations will also be outlining progress on the development of a Code of Practice for using scanning technologies at the mill for the volumetric measurement of individual logs for payment purposes.

Woodflow 2018 runs on 20-21 June 2018 in Melbourne, Australia and again on 26-27 June 2018, Rotorua, New Zealand. It’s run every two years for Australasia’s forestry managers, harvesting and wood haulage contractors and transport planners.

In addition to the two days of tech updates, conference delegates also this year have the opportunity of registering for two pre-conference workshops, one on cloud-based operations management and the other on wood transport planning. Both are free to Woodflow 2018 conference delegates and will run on the afternoon before the conference in Melbourne and in Rotorua.

Full details on WoodFlow 2018 series can be found on the event website, www.woodflow.events.

Note: Discounted early-bird registrations finish next Friday, Friday 11 May.



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Nearly 2,000 forest owners testing virtual forest

The virtual forest developed by Metsä Group, Tieto and CTRL Reality runs on all VR devices, and it can simulate different forest management methods and their impact on income and the landscape, for example. The solution can replace actual visits to the forest, and it helps to illustrate the impact of forest management activities, among others, to forest owners.

"Metsä Group built the first version of its virtual forest in autumn 2017. The version has been tested with forest owners ever since and, on the basis of feedback, we are developing the final version, which will be completed in autumn 2018. We demonstrated the virtual forest with Tieto at Slush in November 2017 and received tonnes of positive feedback from professionals in the digital sector", says Juha Jumppanen, senior vice president for member services at Metsä Group.

"The virtual forest is part of Tieto's Digital Forest Twin concept, and Tieto can also offer the virtual forest to other global forest industry operators. In addition, Tieto uses the concept to combine the special expertise of companies operating in the industry and its partners into an ecosystem that serves various parties. The service has already attracted plenty of interest among other forest industry operators, also outside Finland", says Jaakko Kuusisaari, head of Wood and Fibre Solutions at Tieto.

The virtual forest is a true VR experience, and it runs on all VR headsets, and also on mobile devices and in web browsers. In the service, users can move from one site to another, see what harvesting and forest management activities should be carried out each time, and run estimates on the income and costs of each activity.

Users can also examine the properties of a single tree, such as volume and value. The virtual forest also shows what the forest would look like after different activities, and it offers 360-degree images of the forest. Using the virtual forest requires that users log in to Metsäverkko, Metsä Group's electronic channel for wood trading and forest asset management.

Kaapo Seppälä, founder and shareholder of CTRL Reality, a company in charge of the technical implementation of the solution, says that the virtual forest is a new way of trading in wood. "The virtual forest also allows forest owners living in cities to have a look at their land and eliminates any obstacles from forest management and wood sales by illustrating the impact of forest management activities.”

Digital Forest Twin is an exact digital reproduction of a real-world forest area. It helps, for example, to calculate the value of a forest, steer forest planning, trade in wood, and plan and model functions related to wood, purchasing, harvesting and transportation.

Source & Photo: Metsa Group



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2018 NZ log exports off to a good start

New Zealand's export log market has picked up following a slowdown ahead of the Chinese New Year period. Traders are optimistic about the outlook for the year ahead, according to the latest AgriHQ forestry market report.

The country's log export volumes in February were 1.6 percent ahead of the three- month average and 18 percent up on the same time last year as weaker exports to India and South Korea were offset by strong exports to Japan and China, the report said. Lumber exports also picked up, with February export volumes up 25 percent on the same time last year, driven by strength in China and the US.

Overall, the log trade into China, New Zealand's largest log market, weakened in February with imports down 32 percent on the three-month average and 14 percent below the same time last year because of disruption due to Chinese New Year celebrations, AgriHQ said. A similar pattern occurred for lumber imports, down 18 percent on the same time last year and 34 percent below the three-month average.

Still, New Zealand's softwood log exports have picked back up following a slowing of the market prior to the Chinese New Year, AgriHQ analyst Reece Brick said in his April report under the heading '2018 log exports off to a good start'.

"Import levels witnessed in February hold very little credence for coming months. It is forecast for log and lumber inputs to remain strong or to increase further on past years," Brick said. "If the past month is any indication then 2018 should be another good year for the export log trade. Any post-Chinese New Year jitters have essentially disappeared as the port-level log offtake has risen to the level required to keep the market sturdy."

Brick noted buyers in China are becoming more selective about their logs based on the fairly large volume of logs still on port, with the AgriHQ Log Price Survey showing lower value logs held at levels near to a month ago while better quality logs trended upwards.

He said higher shipping rates and a higher local currency were weighing on the export log market through March and early April, although he noted these appeared to be short-term issues and overall the export log market remains in a "healthy position".

"Each of the main export markets are still showing positive levels of interest which has log traders optimistic that the highs of the past 12 months or so can be repeated again throughout 2018." Brick said competition with the export log market was still driving contract negotiations in New Zealand's domestic market and holding the market solid across the board.

"Mills hoping for a reduction in log prices look like they’ll be out of luck for at least the next few months," he said. "Domestic log demand remains solid, more so on pruned logs than unpruned, while overseas markets are continuing to absorb any product coming out of NZ with relative ease."

Source: BusinessDesk




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UQ’s timber building a show-stopper

The University of Queensland’s advanced engineering building is an inspirational showcase of a ‘living building’.

Designed by Richard Kirk Architects in partnership with Hassell, the 5 Star Green Star rated building is an award-winning demonstration of Australian excellence in environmental architecture. As cars, phones, computers and digital devices are getting smarter, so too should buildings. This was the Architects motivation.

The building is also home to the GHD Auditorium; an engineering masterpiece set to inspire those who learn within its walls for decades to come. The decision to construct the auditorium entirely out of timber was not only to achieve the aesthetic interaction between the natural environment, but also the structural functionality and environmental impact of the building.

The auditorium’s 215-tonne roof is supported entirely by impressive timber members that span the entire 30-metre-wide space. Hyne Timber’s prefabricated GLT components, all Responsible Wood certified, were grown, harvested, milled and engineered in Queensland. The hardwood beams were Hyne beam 21 which are unique to Hyne Timber.

Rob Mansell, Hyne Timber’s Commercial GLT Business Development Manager said this was a great example of working closely throughout the design phase, “Where an average project might involve a few pages of drawings, this particular project involved over 2000 pages of drawings. Being involved with the detailing prior to fabrication allowed for early discovery and resolution of conflicts, and coordination with other building components and services”.

“Our offsite prefabrication service also ensured accuracy and time efficiency with the onsite installation – cutting down the overall construction phase timeline considerably. The assembled trusses were so large that they had to be transported in the middle of the night but they could be assembled in place and when completed, lifted in a single day!” Mr Mansell concluded.

The project Architects won the Engineered Timber category in the Australian Timber Design Awards and later took out three categories in the National Architecture Awards for:

- Public Architecture Awards – The Sir Zelman Cowan Award;
- Interior Architecture – The Emil Sodersten Award; and
- Sustainable Architecture – National Award.

In the latter, jury awards citations acknowledged the use of Queensland timber, the 5 Star Green Rating of the building and acknowledgement that this “spectacular use of timber makes the auditorium a delightful space to occupy – radiating geometry”. The jury went on to further acknowledge a softness more usually associated with residential architecture because of their use of timber.

Source: www.responsiblewood.org.au



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A call to arms for young forester’s

As a young and naïve forester, it came as a shock (and a delighted shock to my mother) to be invited to Queensland to sit down with the Prince of Wales to discuss forestry issues around the globe.

By no means am I a devoted royalist eagerly awaiting the Queen’s speech each year, but to have Prince Charles invite IFA and NZIF representatives to a roundtable discussion on forestry, there may have been a slight hint of royalism in the air. Initially, my thoughts were of a simple meet and greet; shake his hand, say a few carefully constructed words, and then he’ll head off on his next royal visit. Fortunately, the reality was quite the contrast.

After the initial handshake, twelve of us sat down to a chaired discussion run by IFA president Rob de Fegely. Every single person at that table got a minimum of two minutes to share their thoughts to His Royal Highness and engage in any following discussion. To be given that opportunity to share my personal beliefs on forestry to not only the Prince but to Australian government officials and forestry representatives was an empowering moment for a young forester wanting to influence change and promote forests globally.

To me, the benefit of this opportunity lies in the prestige behind the Prince’s name, to have received an award backed by his status, and to showcase that a young forester has the chance to meet the prince, is hugely powerful for use as promotion towards young New Zealanders. It lets them know that forestry is viewed on a global scale as an internationally important solution to worldwide issues.

This visit has cemented my resolve to promote forestry to a wider audience. More specifically to promote forestry to the young people of NZ. The young generation are looking for a career in which they can find a sense of purpose, forestry has given me a sense of purpose and I would like to think I am not an anomaly among the young.

As a forester you are a guardian of the land, you have the ability to impact landscape-level changes that effect NZ society as whole. You are a generalist, even if you specialise, with a broad understanding of the forestry machine from tree breeding and soil science, to heavy machinery and engineering principles, right through to drivers of global economics and market forces.

I dare to speculate that most kiwi parents would not consider forestry as a number one career choice for their beloved offspring. I would postulate that most kiwi parents wouldn’t expect a young forester to be given opportunities like attending international visits from Royalty, exposure to global networks, and immense and diverse career opportunities. I genuinely feel that the general public (yes that was me not that long ago) has very little idea what forestry is and how the products that end up in their houses, on their desks, and in their fireplaces were created and actually got to them as the end user. It is my desire to change this public perception.

The world we live in and the issues we face can be counteracted by proper and world-class forestry practices that promote sustainable forest management. What we will hopefully see is a shift away from the ‘us’ (foresters) and ‘them’ (all other primary producers) model. A truly sustainable future has land-uses integrated rather than butting heads, working collaboratively to find solutions that work for everyone.

I currently see New Zealand balanced at the tipping point of a potentially historic precipice: on one side we have a future where there is nationwide support for forestry practices, forestry is seen as a desired industry to work in, NZ is world-class in forest technologies and forest growing, we are implementing best environmental practice, and farmers are integrating forests on their lands for carbon, riparian, and soil management.

On the other side of the precipice I see a future industry constrained by regulation with negative public opinion forcing government to take environmental responsibility away from foresters, with labour shortages constraining all aspects of the industry, with wood not being a preferred building material for low to mid-rise construction, and with farmers’ opinion of trees simply as a barrier to good grass growth.

My personal challenge is to use this visit to promote forestry to the Future Foresters of NZ, to the young people looking for an environmental and dynamic career, to anyone who has even a hint of a desire to be involved in the future decisions that will shape New Zealand’s landscape. I believe all foresters are environmentalists because we work with the land, with that comes immense responsibility, and without which we are powerless.

My challenge to anyone reading this is to encourage the Future Foresters of New Zealand (launching 9th July at the NZIF conference) and to help promote our industry through best practice and collaboration. I ask for all of your help in making sure this visit is more than just a framed picture of a young naïve forester next to Prince Charles sitting on my mother’s mantelpiece.

Photo: L to R; Jesse Mahoney, Senior Policy Officer, International Forest Policy, Department of Agriculture and Water Resources – Australian awardee of the Prince of Wales Award for Sustainable forestry, Prince Charles, Alfred Duval, Regional Forester, Port Blakely Ltd

Alfred Duval, Regional Forester, Port Blakely Ltd

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Research hub in Mt Gambier up and running

The new National Institute of Forest Products Innovation has kicked into gear in South Australia, with an inaugural meeting of its industry-driven advisory committee electing Tammy Auld (pictured) as Chair and planning a workshop to discuss the research priorities and strategy with all interested industry professionals on 10 May.

The Institute has been established to investigate innovation in areas such as forest management, timber processing, wood fibre recovery, advanced manufacturing and the bioeconomy. Tammy Auld said the Institute hub would strengthen ties between research and the industry's strategic needs.

"South Australia not only has a long history in forestry, but a bright and innovative future with the potential for a range of new bio-materials and other opportunities to value-add," she said.

Ms Auld, Woodflow Manager at Timberlands Pacific, is joined on the committee by: Glen Rivers of OneFortyOne Plantations; Phillip Dohnt of LV Dohnt & Co; David Oliver of Timberlink; industry consultant Charlma Phillips; as well as Prof Christopher Saint of the University of South Australia who has been appointed as a non-voting observer to the Committee.

The Institute’s Mount Gambier hub is also expecting to utilise and draw upon many of the resources made available through the University of South Australia's Mount Gambier campus, which is also home to a separate initiative, Forestry at Mount Gambier Hub or “ForMT”, a collaboration with ForestrySA and Primary Industries and Regions SA.

IFPI’s South Australian hub has received a AU$4 million funding commitment from the Australian and South Australian Governments, and it is anticipated it will also attract industry support. The Institution also has a further hub in Launceston, Tasmania.

Anyone who is interested in attending the regional briefing session can contact info.sa@nifpi.org.au


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New fertilizers for sustainable forestry

Torgny Näsholm has been awarded the 2018 Marcus Wallenberg Prize for having documented how trees use amino acid molecules as sources of nitrogen. He has also shown how this organic nitrogen dominates the nutrition of trees in boreal forests. The findings have resulted in new types of fertilizers.

Professor Torgny Näsholm, The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Umeå, Sweden, has examined the role of amino acids in supplying the nitrogen required for the growth of forest trees. His work has caused a paradigm shift in explaining the nutrition of plants. For his discoveries, Torgny Näsholm is awarded the 2018 Marcus Wallenberg Prize of SEK 2 million.

The ability of boreal forests to take up atmospheric carbon dioxide and produce wood depends on the availability of nitrogen in the soil. The growth of most forests is however limited by a low supply of nitrogen.

Some species have developed symbioses with bacteria that can process nitrogen gas into amino acids. More than a century ago some plants were demonstrated to have the capability of taking up amino acids directly. The process was not considered important until the isotopic methods were further developed and could simplify chemical analyses of different elements.

Torgny Näsholm has in different studies since 1998 investigated the nutrition of forest trees – particularly Scots pine and Norway spruce. He found that nitrogen from amino acids was taken up by tree seedlings and discovered that the amino acid concentrations in forest soils are high enough to provide a substantial supply for tree uptake. He could also testify that the major nitrogen source of pine and spruce in boreal forests is amino acids rather than ammonium ions or nitrate.

The new insights inspired Torgny Näsholm to develop fertilizers based on amino acid and nitrogen. Field studies revealed the improvement of shoot growth when seedlings were grown on this organic nitrogen. Leaching of nitrogen was also reduced compared to conventional inorganic fertilizers. The findings have had an impact on nursery and forestry practices in coniferous forests in the Nordic countries.

The first patent for this approach was issued in 2000 and a fertilizer called Argrow, based on the amino acid arginine, was introduced on the market. Arginine is a nitrogen rich amino acid that is easily absorbed by plants. The fertilizer is mainly used in forest nurseries in Sweden, Finland, USA, Canada, Uruguay, China, New Zealand and Australia. It is also being tested on other commercial crops and garden plants.

The innovation has been further developed. Subsequent patents have highlighted improved plant growth. The Prize Selection Committee of the Marcus Wallenberg Foundation states in its motivation that Torgny Näsholm has made innovative discoveries with substantial practical importance to a sustainable management of forests. He has managed to translate and transfer his groundbreaking scientific discoveries into useful applications.

Photo: Torgny Näsholm is awarded the 2018 Marcus Wallenberg Prize. Photo: Johan Marklund

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Queensland sawmill opens after 7-year shut down

Tambo’s reopened sawmill is reviving the town’s fortunes after a million-dollar investment and seven years in mothballs. Queensland’s Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick said the upgraded mill, which was backed by AU$262,250 from the Palaszczuk Government’s Building our Regions fund, has officially been opened.

“This investment helped fund updating the mill, which is now supporting 15 ongoing jobs, bringing AU$1 million a year into Tambo and with the potential to bring AU$4 million a year into the regional economy,” Mr Dick said. “The revived sawmill started up again last August and is bringing new life to the town and the whole shire.”

Tambo, on the Barcoo River in central western Queensland, was struggling through drought and mining downturns when Blackall–Tambo Regional Council bought the disused sawmill in 2014. Council oversaw the AU$1,108,293 project that included buying the mill and timber sales permit and the AU$683,000 upgrade and granted the lease and operating rights to family company R&R Logging Pty Ltd after calling for expressions of interest.

Blackall–Tambo Mayor Andrew Martin said the mill has given the Tambo community and the central west region, a long-term, environmentally sustainable, economically viable and diversified asset. “In a small town like Tambo with 359 people, 15 direct jobs is a big jump in employment.”

Source: Queensland Government




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China to continue antidumping duties

China's Ministry of Commerce (MOC) has announced that it will continue to impose anti-dumping duties on cellulose pulp imported from the United States, Canada and Brazil. The decision was made upon reviewing anti-dumping measures following a World Trade Organization dispute ruling over such restrictions on cellulose pulp imports from Canada in August last year, the MOC said in a statement.

China started to impose anti-dumping duties on cellulose pulp imported from the above-mentioned countries from April 2014 for five years after a probe found companies from these countries have dumped cellulose pulp on the Chinese market.

After reinvestigating the case, the MOC ruled that during the original probe period, such dumping has caused substantial damage to the domestic industry, and there was a causal relationship between the dumping and damage.

Anti-dumping duty rates for U.S. imports range from 16.9 percent to 33.5 percent, while those for Canadian imports range from zero to 23.7 percent, and Brazilian companies are subject to rates from 6.8 percent to 11.5 percent, with the exception of products from Bahia Specialty Cellulose, according to the original decision.

Source: Xinhua News Agency




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New biosecurity intelligence unit launched

New Zealand’s Biosecurity Minister Damien O'Connor said the Ministry for Primary Industry's new bisecurity business unit would shift the public focus back onto what the top priority of preventing and predicting pest and disease breaches.

With climate change challenges and increasing global trade and tourism constantly threatening New Zealand's borders, the Ministry for Primary Industries has unveiled its new future-focused biosecurity intelligence squad.

Launched on Monday, the standalone early warning squad is still in development but will work closely with its Australian counterparts to gather offshore risk intelligence. Biosecurity Minister Damien O'Connor said intelligence would be shared with both Australia and industry sectors.

The intel unit was revealed as part of a the launch of Biosecurity New Zealand – one of four new business units created within the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), along with Fisheries New Zealand, Forestry New Zealand and New Zealand Food Safety, all of which will launch in May.

O'Connor said the intelligence unit would use smarter technology and skilled analysts to source and look at all available information on overseas pest and diseases.

"Earlier signals of biosecurity threats will help our border staff to make better decisions to target air passengers and cargo that are most likely to carry risk goods, as well as those who deliberately flout New Zealand's biosecurity rules."

"Pest incursions and disease outbreaks threaten our biodiversity. With increasing pressures such as the growing scale of trade, more visitors from abroad and climate change challenges, we need a greater focus on biosecurity."

Setting up the four units cost NZ$6.8 million, with operating costs of NZ$2.3m a year, and was funded through reprioritised spending within MPI at no extra cost to the taxpayer, O'Connor said.

Source: stuff.co.nz

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System to strengthen building structures

By mixing biochar from saw dust with cement, concrete constructions can be made 20 percent stronger and 50 percent more watertight.

A research team led by Associate Professor Kua Harn Wei has developed the novel approach of using biochar made from recycled wood waste to enhance concrete structures.

Wood waste from furniture processing plants makes up a tremendous segment of waste produced in Singapore. In 2016 alone, in excess of 530,000 tons of wood waste was created, of which, a critical sum is as observed tidy. Rather than burning or arranging them in landfills, wood waste can be reused to make biochar, a permeable, carbon-rich material that assimilates and holds water well.

Scientists from the National University of Singapore (NUS) have discovered a creative and ecological cordial system to improve building structures. The new strategy, which consolidates biochar reused from saw tidy into bond, enhances the quality and water snugness of mortar and cement, and offers an elective use to the vast volume of wood waste delivered.

Biochar is largely employed in the agricultural industry as a soil amendment to improve crop yield. Scientists expanded the application of biochar by successfully using biochar recycled from sawdust to significantly improve the mechanical and permeability properties of concrete and mortar. More >>



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US softwood lumber consumption to reach record-highs

A newly released study by ForestEdge and Wood Resources International forecasts that US softwood lumber demand will grow at an annual rate of 2.3% through 2030, which will be higher than the reports projection of real GDP. The study's Base Case demand scenario suggests that US lumber consumption will reach an all-time high by 2030.

A detailed analysis of the future consumption of softwood lumber in each of the five end-use categories (residential housing, repair & remodelling, non-residential construction, material handling and other) reveals that the category "Non-Residential Construction" will grow at the fastest rate and will increase its share of the total softwood lumber usage from just over 11% in 2016 to almost 14% by 2030. Lumber consumed by the residential housing sector, including repair and remodelling, will continue to account for the almost 70% of the end-use market.

At an estimated softwood lumber production cost of less than US$200/m3 in 2016, the US South is one of the lowest cost suppliers of softwood lumber to the US market. This, combined with a significant "overhang" supply of softwood sawtimber as a result of the Global Financial Crisis in 2008-09 and a mature plantation resource, is expected to continue to facilitate a major expansion of sawmill capacity in the region.

The Canadian lumber producers market share in the US is expected to decline in the coming years, with the biggest reduction occurring between 2017 and 2025. The outlook for available log supply to the sawmilling sector will be different in the two major lumber-producing regions in Canada, with harvest levels falling substantially in British Columbia over the next ten years.

,i>Overseas supply of lumber to the US is forecasted to increase both in volume and market share by 2025, followed by a decline until 2030. Based on the study's lumber supply curve analysis, the major supplying regions are likely to include Brazil, Chile, Germany and the Nordic countries. In the study's High Demand Scenario, which projects a very strong rebound in housing starts, R&R and non-residential construction, overseas supply will be crucial and reach a market share of over 10 % by 2030.

After nearly two decades of real price declines of sawlogs in North America and elsewhere, the combination of a rebounding US softwood lumber demand, constraints on log supply and export production in Western Canada and continued strong demand for softwood lumber from markets in Europe, Asia and the Middle East/North Africa (MENA) region, is expected to push conifer log prices higher in real US dollar terms in many timberland investment regions by 2030.

The excerpt above is from the new multi-client study "Future Suppliers of Softwood Lumber to the US Market – Supply and Demand Outlook 2017-2030", published by ForestEdge LLC and Wood Resources International LLC.

Source: Wood Resources International LLC

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Wood you like a drink?

Discerning drinkers may soon be able to branch out after Japanese researchers said that they have invented a way of producing an alcoholic drink made from wood. The researchers at Japan's Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute say the bark-based beverages have woody qualities similar to alcohol which is aged in wood barrels.

They hope to have their "wood alcohol" on shelves within three years. The method involves pulverising wood into a creamy paste and then adding yeast and an enzyme to start the fermentation process. By avoiding using heat, researchers say they are able to preserve the specific flavour of each tree's wood.

So far, they have produced tipples from cedar, birch and cherry. Four kilogrammes (8.8-pounds) of cedar wood gave them 3.8 litres (eight pints) of liquid, with an alcohol content of around 15 per cent, similar to that of Japan's much-loved sake.

Researchers experimented with both brewed and distilled versions of the new beverage, but "we think distilled alcohol appears better", researcher Kengo Magara told AFP. Wood fermentation is already used to produce biofuel but the product contains toxins and is flavourless, making it far from a suitable cocktail component.

"But our method can make it drinkable, and with a wood flavour, because it does not require high heat or sulphuric acid to decompose the wood," Magara said. The institute has a broad mandate for scientific study related to Japan's extensive woods and forests, but Magara acknowledged "wood alcohol" might not be the most obvious application for their research resources.

The government institute aims to commercialise the venture with a private-sector partner and to have the lumber liquor on shelves within three years. "Japan has plenty of trees across the nation and we hope people can enjoy wood alcohols that are specialised from each region," Magara said.

Source: www.straitstimes

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Scion launches innovation hub plans

Scion has launched its plans to build an innovation hub in the centre of its Rotorua campus. The NZ crown research institute revealed the wood-rich design concepts at a function this week. A NZ$2.5 million grant from the Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s regional infrastructure fund helped get the multi-million dollar project underway.

Scion CEO Julian Elder says the innovation hub will become the focal point of Scion’s campus and is part of a broader campus redevelopment that will foster innovation in the forestry, manufacturing, energy and sustainable land-use sectors.

“We, and our predecessors, have a proud history of innovation on this site but to take us into the future, our aging site needs upgrading. This investment will give us flexible and fit-for-purpose facilities that reflect the world-class science we do here. “We are creating a unique and dynamic environment that will promote innovation, commercialisation and collaboration by bringing Scion staff and industry closer together. Engaging with the public is important too, and we will be opening up parts of the campus to our neighbours, local community and tourists,” said Dr Elder.

Scion worked closely with Architects RTA Studio and Irving Smith during the design phase to ensure the building will be a showcase for engineered timber and sustainable building principles. Construction is expected to start before the end of this year, and it is due to be completed by December 2019.

Costing an estimated NZ$18 million, the redevelopment is the largest in many years and follows a laboratory upgrade in 2012.

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... and one to end the week on ... fire-fighting 747

Check this out for a bush fire-fighting tool.








And on that note, enjoy your 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: www.fridayoffcuts.com


This week's extended issue, along with back issues, can be viewed at www.fridayoffcuts.com

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