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Friday Offcuts – 20 August 2010

This week we have a new platform for Friday Offcuts and a new web-host. It's been an action packed week but we're right back on track. The new software associated with the hosting of the newsletter also enables us to introduce a number of other features that we've been planning and will be rolling out in the near future. Thanks for your patience over the last few days.

This week we have a number of technology related stories. Programmes for the ForestTECH 2010 technology series for Australasian forest managers are now available on-line, expressions of interest are being sought for the Bio-energy Show and GREENERGY EXPO planned for March/April 2011, a LiDAR mapping trial is now underway in Forest NSW’s forests, a new Global Fire Information Management System developed by FAO is rolled out which is able to show fire hotspots almost in real time and the green light for the construction of the largest wind farm in the Southern hemisphere was announced this week.

Finally, a busy weekend is planned. The Kiwis will be glued to the footie game - the rugby test against South Africa in Soweto on Sunday – but that’s just to confirm the Tri-Nations cup for this season – right? The Aussies are going to have a much closer game on their hands - seeing who is going to govern the country after Saturday. We hope your team comes out on top this weekend - whatever side of the Tasman you're on.

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2011 Australasian Bio-energy event seeking early interest

Residues to Revenues 2009 was one of the better attended wood technology series that ran in Australasia in many years. Bioenergy and options for forest products companies to diversify their current operations, to learn about new and developing markets and some of the technologies that had been developed to turn wood wastes into a revenue stream obviously struck a chord with a wide cross section of the forestry sector. Over 350 persons from the industry in New Zealand and Australia participated in the 2009 series.

Continued interest in this topical theme since this event ran has led the Forest Industry Engineering Association to begin work on designing Residues to Revenues 2011, incorporating the GREENERGY EXPO which will run in both countries in late March/early April 2011. The focus of this new technology series will be to provide practical updates on:

- Developments in internationally significant markets;
- Topical issues of biomass resources, quantities/measurements, methods and properties for forestry feedstock – including traditional and non-traditional forest supplies;
- Potential for Government Policy initiatives to accelerate industry development;
- Solid and liquid bio-fuel processing technologies, procurement, treatment, transport and logistics;
- Market developments in energy production – new ways to make heat/power.

At this stage, Expressions of Interest in being involved in either presenting or exhibiting in this technology series are being sought – before 30 September 2010. For more information, please see the attached EOI.


Carbon farming proposed by Australian Labor Party

The Australian Labor Party has announced an initiative to enable Australian farmers, landholders and forest growers to participate in domestic and international carbon markets. Under the plan, there would be no restriction on the number of credits that could be generated, with initial estimates suggesting it could generate credits worth about AU$500 million over 10 years. The government believes this new scheme could contribute about 21 million tonnes of greenhouse gas abatement over the four years to 2014.

The AU$45.6 million carbon farming initiative (funded through the Renewable Energy Future Fund) would include methodologies for calculating sequestration or emissions savings from activities such as reforestation, legacy waste emissions, savannah fire management, avoided deforestation, soil carbon and biochar.

The initiative also includes funding for Landcare to facilitate the participation of farmers in such projects. The announcement does not detail whether this initiative is envisaged to operate within a voluntary or a mandatory carbon market in Australia, or if methodologies for reforestation projects will draw on the rules that were being developed for the CPRS. Without a legislated carbon price, projects participating in the initiative would need to rely on voluntary purchases from the private sector to create domestic demand for carbon offsets.

Source: A3P Canopy


1.8 Million tonnes of woodchip export from Portland

Australian Bluegum Plantations Pty Ltd (ABP) and South West Fibre Pty Ltd (SWF) have advised that they have entered into a 10 year alliance that will facilitate harvesting, haulage, processing and marketing of up to 1.2m tonnes per year of blue gum from ABP estates in the Green Triangle region. Combined with existing supply arrangements, total export volume available from SWF Portland is now up to 1.8 million tonnes per year until at least 2020.

This supply and marketing alliance establishes the first fully integrated forest to market supply chain for industrial scale blue gum in the Green Triangle region. It is an exciting development for both companies and for the regional economy.

Australian Bluegum Plantations (ABP) is a leading Australian hardwood plantation company with sales primarily to Japan. ABP has a considerable plantation estate within the South West Region of Western Australia and the Green Triangle Region of Victoria, South Australia. ABP was created by Global Forest Partners (GFP), an international plantation timber investment management group based in New Hampshire (USA). The total area of plantations under management by GFP globally exceeds 700,000 hectares.

South West Fibre (SWF) is a joint venture between Midway Ltd and Mitsui Bussan Woodchip Oceania Pty Ltd. SWF owns and operates the Myamyn Woodchip Mill and is currently the only exporter of blue gum fibre from the Port of Portland. In mid-2010 a milestone of 1-million tonnes exported was reached since operations commenced in 2006.


Focus on forest establishment and management

For the first time in Australasia, this year's forestry technology update, ForestTECH 2010 will be covering some of the new tools, technologies and research that are available for forestry managers to improve their planning and operations around selection of the tree crop, plantation establishment and management.

The Forest Industry Engineering Association has been working closely with foresters and key technology providers throughout Australia and New Zealand to pull this independent technology event together. Key themes being covered in this new two-day programme will include; - Genetics and Tree Breeding - Nursery Technologies - Land Preparation - Fertiliser/Herbicide Trials, Technologies and Application - Plantation Silviculture, and - Fire Fighting Technologies.

ForestTECH 2010 will be building on the outstanding success of the 2009 technology series that ran in both New Zealand and Australia in November last year. Over 300 technical staff attended the inaugural events, ForestTECH 2007 and ForestTECH 2008. Well over 200 forestry managers, forest owners, technical foresters and forestry consultants attended ForestTECH 2009.

ForestTECH 2010 will run in Rotorua, New Zealand on 17-19 November and again for the Australian forestry industry in Albury, NSW on 22-24 November 2010. Further details on the programme content and registrations can now be found on www.foresttechevents.com


Gunns offloads non-core assets

It was announced this week that Victorian winemaker Brown Brothers is to buy all of Gunns Limited's Tasmanian wine interests for AU$32.5 million. In recent months Gunns has also sold its hardware stores to a Woolworths subsidiary for about AU$40 million, and 28,000 hectares of Tasmanian native forest for AU$27.5 million, much of it to the retail entrepreneur and philanthropist, Jan Cameron. Other sales in walnut orchards and hotels are reported to be under way.

Also this week Gunns announced that its annual profit for 2010 fell by 50 per cent as a result of impairments. The company has posted an annual net profit of AU$28 million, according to preliminary and unaudited figures, compared with AU$56.24 million in the 2008-09 financial year. On June 11, Gunns said it expected EBIT for the 2010 full year to be $50 million to $60 million. Full details on this weeks announcement can be read here


Hart’s biggest acquisition yet

Billionaire Graeme Hart’s investment company Rank Group may borrow as much as $5 billion to help pay for its acquisition of Pactiv Corp to add to its global packaging empire. Hart would be able to combine Pactiv, which makes everything from food containers to trash bags with his existing packaging business, Beverage Packaging Holdings, which acquired Reynolds Consumer Producers and bottle-cap maker Closure Systems International last year. If the banks provide the full amount, Rank Group would finance 83 percent of the $6 billion takeover with borrowed money. The buyout is the biggest for Hart, who has amassed a fortune investing in businesses from lumber to dairy and built a global packaging empire through takeovers. The transaction will fold Pactiv into Rank Group’s Chicago-based unit Reynolds Group Holdings Ltd.


New UN online tool detects fire hotspots in real time

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today unveiled a new online portal to help countries monitor fires and protect property with data from satellites operated by the United States space agency NASA.

The new Global Fire Information Management System (GFIMS) shows fire hotspots almost in real time, with a lag of 2.5 hours between when satellites pass over fires to when information is available. More >>


Be a part of the forestry industry summer jobs campaign

Many organisations in the forestry sector employ students over the summer in a wide range of jobs including forestry, administration, manufacturing and logistics. Each student is a potential future recruit to the organisation and the industry overall.

Forestry Wood Products Australia (FWPA) would like to widen the potential pool of students by increasing awareness of these summer work opportunities. This becomes a means of promoting the benefits of sector to future employees as well as the opportunities to study forestry at an undergraduate or post graduate level.

FWPA is putting together a national summer jobs marketing campaign for this summer. The campaign is targeting science, agriculture and environment students across 10 universities and they are looking for industry to work with them to promote their summer jobs and to provide students with their ‘first taste’ of the forest and wood products industry.

It has been shown that companies which employ students over the summer period and show them the best of what the sector has to offer will have access to a talented pool of potential recruits upon graduation. For this summer job campaign to be a success, they need a significant number of quality jobs to be listed on the new industry promotion website (www.growingcareers.com.au). So if you are thinking of having students participate in a summer jobs program, please think of listing your positions with us.

These jobs will be promoted to university students via online display advertising, email campaign, job boards- both the major commercial as well as the university job boards, posters and postcards on campus and student ambassadors to hand out information to talk to student about the summer jobs available. The promotion activity will commence mid September and will continue until the exam period.

So if this sounds like something you would like to be involved in, contact Melissa Houghton on 0412 811 450 or melissa@sustainabilityatwork.com.au or Tania Crosbie on 0412 149624 or tania@sustainabilityatwork.com.au by next Friday 27 August.


AU$500,000 LiDAR trial for Forests NSW

Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) mapping technology using digital data captured from aerial surveys will be trialled in NSW's State forests, Forest Resources Minister, Paul McLeay has announced. From next month, the trial will focus on native forests on the mid-north coast near Taree, Wauchope and Kempsey. The two-year, AU$500,000 trial is expected to deliver savings of around AU$1.8 million for Forests NSW, with the exact amount saved to be determined over time.


IUFRO Executive Director stepping down

Peter Mayer, International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) Executive Director, has been appointed Director of the Austrian Federal Research and Training Centre for Forests, Natural Hazards and Landscape (BFW). In the interim, Alexander Buck, will act as Executive Director, and lead the IUFRO Headquarters. IUFRO is seeking to appoint an Executive Director to serve as its chief executive officer based at the Headquarters in Vienna, Austria, located at the Austrian Federal Research and Training Centre for Forests, Natural Hazards and Landscape (BFW), as of 1 November 2010.


Largest wind farm in Southern Hemisphere

The largest wind farm in the Southern Hemisphere will be built in Australia at Macarthur near Hamilton, 260km west of Melbourne, Victoria. The 420 MW $1 billion Macarthur Wind Farm will have the capacity to power more than 220,000 average Victorian homes and abate more than 1.7 million tons of greenhouse gases every year – the equivalent of taking more than 420,000 cars off the road each year.

Power companies AGL and Meridian will each fund 50 percent of the capital construction costs, while AGL will acquire all of the wind farm’s energy output and renewable energy certificates. Recent enhancements to the Australian Government’s 2020 Renewable Energy Target (RET) scheme will require around 9,500 MW of new renewable energy generation capacity to be built this decade. The first turbines are expected on site during Q3 2011. The Macarthur Wind Farm is expected to be fully operational in 2013 at a time when it will be needed to meet the legislated demand for Renewable Energy Certificates under the RET scheme.


Carbon trading activity in NZ subdued

Carbon trading activity in New Zealand remains muted according to Agri-fax’s latest monthly report. However, there are reports of some forward transactions from sellers who are anticipating falls in pricing for New Zealand Units (NZU’s). Carbon issuances to fisheries, Emissions Intensive Trade Exposed companies and pre?1990 forest owners (EITE’s) are imminent and an influx on the supply side may drive prices downwards. Over July, around 1 million NZU’s traded, which is a similar level to June 2010.

An NZU is currently priced around NZ$18.50/TCO2, however bids and offers range between $18.30/T CO2 and $18.70/TCO2. In comparison, a Carbon Emissions Reduction unit (CER) is priced at NZ$22.30/TCO2 and a European Union Allowance (EUA) is priced at NZ$27/TCO2. This makes EUA’s in particular, too expensive as an option for buyers from New Zealand. NZU’s remain priced below the New Zealand government CAP value of NZ$25/TCO2.

An EU report in the past week indicated that Assigned Amount Units (AAU) may have a surplus of 2.5 billion units for the 2008?2012 Kyoto period, which is a billion units more than previously predicted. Source: Agri-fax


Heat wave causing problems through forest fires

Forest areas which have been ravaged in wildfires across central Russia will return within 15 years, but will take some 300 years to make a full recovery, according to ecology reports in the Russian media. "It will take 15 years for the fire-ravaged sites to be covered with forests," Alexander Isayev, head of the Moscow-based Center for Forest Ecology and Productivity, said at a news conference late last week.

"Usually birch forests cover burn sites first because deciduous trees recover more rapidly than others," Isayev said. But it will take some 300 years the forests to recover completely, the expert added. Russia has no special structures or organizations to take on reforestation measures because businessmen who own plots of land are not interested in this, he said.

Russia is suffering the worst heat wave in the 130 years since records began. Wildfires continue to rage across much of the central part of European Russia as the country experiences temperatures of up to and above 40 degrees Celsius. In an effort to show that action is being taken by the government, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Tuesday took part in extinguishing forest fires in Ryazan Province on board an amphibious firefighting airplane. The Russian head of government was the co-pilot for half an hour aboard a Be-200 plane scooping up water from the nearby Oka River and dumping it on raging forest fires some 200 kilometers southeast of Moscow.

The area affected by wildfires raging across central Russia fell by half to 90,000 hectares compared to Tuesday's 180,000 hectares, according to Russian Emergencies Ministry reports. Wildfires, sparked by weeks of abnormally high temperatures in central Russia, have severely damaged the Russian economy, with the estimated short-term loss of $15 billion.




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...and one to end the week on...the family tradition

Wiremu, had long heard the stories of an amazing family tradition.

It seems that his father, grandfather and great-grandfather had all been able to walk on water on their 18th birthday. On that special day, they'd each walked across the lake to the tavern on the far side for their first legal drink.

So when Wiremu's, 18th birthday came 'round, he and his pal Rangi, took a boat out to the middle of the lake, Wiremu, stepped out of the boat ...and nearly drowned! Rangi, just barely managed to pull him to safety.

Furious and confused, Wiremu, went to see his grandmother.

'Grandma,' he asked, "It's my 18th birthday, so why can't I walk 'cross the lake like my father, his father, and his father before him?"

Granny looked deeply into Wiremu's, troubled brown eyes and said, "Because your father, your grandfather and your great grandfather were all born in August, when the lake is frozen, and you were born in December, you idiot.............."

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

Brent Apthorp
PO Box 904
Level Two, 2 Dowling Street
Dunedin, New Zealand
Ph: +64 3 470 1902
Fax: +64 3 470 1904
Web page: www.innovatek.co.nz

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

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