Friday Offcuts 12 August 2011
After seeing changes that had been made from the Statement of Principles and Heads of Agreement signed just two weeks ago the timber industry justifiably has come out fighting (see lead story below). Why? When the AU$276 million peace package was initialled a fortnight ago, at least 430,000 hectares of native forests were going to be protected in informal reserves, with an additional 155,000 m3 of high quality sawlogs, 265,000 m3 of peeler logs and a smaller quantity of specialty timbers set aside if needed to fulfil logging contracts. The deal would ensure existing major logging contracts could be fulfilled from forests outside the protected areas, but it would halve the key saw log quota.
As reported, the Greens withheld their backing two weeks ago. They didn’t accept the initial package. The new deal now places the 430,000 hectares of native forest in question immediately into informal reserves and it means the future needs of the industry are not going to be sourced from the allocated forest area. In addition to opposition from Australia’s peak industry body, the Australian Forest Products Association, the Forest Industries Association of Tasmania, the Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association, Timber Communities Australia and the Tasmanian Sawmiller’s Association have all voiced their opposition. This is certainly not the last we’re going to hear on the dispute and it appears that the Tasmanian timber industry is going to be working hard to block the deal.
Finally, details have now been released on the forestry technology series for Australian and New Zealand foresters for 2011, ForestTECH 2011. Designed by foresters on both sides of the Tasman the focus this year is going onto those companies that have trialled and are now integrating remote sensing technologies into their forest inventory and management activities. The financial and operational gains have been significant. Full details and programmes for this practical technology series can be downloaded from www.foresttechevents.com
This week we have for you:
Timber industry staggered by Tasmanian dealThe Prime Minister and Tasmanian Premier last Sunday signed-off on agreement for the future of the forest industry in Tasmania. Under the agreement a total of AU$276 million, including AU$15 million from the State Government, will be provided in the following areas:
• AU$85 million to support contractors affected by the downturn in the industry, and in particular Gunns Limited’s decision to exit native forest harvesting;
• AU$43 million to facilitate protection of new areas of high conservation value forests;
• AU$120 million over 15 years, including an initial payment of AU$20 million to identify and fund appropriate regional development projects; and
• AU$7 million per annum ongoing to manage new reserves.
Tasmania will immediately place 430,000 hectares of native forest into informal reserve, subject to verification, which the governments will protect under a Conservation Agreement. However, the real issue for the timber industry is that the agreement differs from the deal flagged by the prime minister last month, most notably in the removal of a legislated supply of 155,000 cubic metres of native timber for loggers.
The legislated supply is to be replaced with a regulated target of the same amount, while the government would compensate logging companies if enough timber could not be found in other forests. The AU$120 million of regional development funding will be dependent on the state passing legislation to protect the 430,000ha of HCV forests.
Forestry Industries Association of Tasmania chief executive Terry Edwards said the deal would be a crippling blow to the sector. "If this agreement stands as it is written and is implemented as it is written, then the Tasmanian timber industry is as good as dead," Mr Edwards said on Monday. Mr Edwards said he would put pressure on the state's independent-dominated Legislative Council to block the deal, saying the state should not have to depend for the regional funding on the agreement's passage through parliament”
In a media statement this week, the Australian Forest Products Association said the Intergovernmental Agreement on Tasmanian Forests was bound to fail, as it is based on commitments to ENGO and the Greens’ reservation claims that would mean industry wood supply cannot be met sustainably.
The Coalition forests spokesman, Richard Colbeck, also come out to say the deal capitulated to green groups by cutting in half Tasmania's AU$1.4 billion forest industry. Doubt remains over the position of the major timber player Gunns Limited. Its decision to stop native forest logging opened the door for the peace talks, but it is still seeking a reported AU$100 million to have its contracts paid out.
First CLT manufacturing in southern hemisphereA NZ$7 million factory producing cross-laminated timber panels is to be established at Tahunanui, Nelson, with its backers saying it provides a ready-made solution for the rebuilding of Christchurch. The first of its kind in the southern hemisphere and 18 months in the planning, the factory is expected to start production in January 2012 and employ 15, mostly local people.
Chris Edmonds, general manager of XLam NZ, the Stoke-based company behind the venture, said it had already generated "enormous" interest from architects and engineers keen to use the prefabricated panel system. "We've had up to 500 hits a day on our website."
The factory, which will be housed in an existing building 100 metres long and 20m wide, containing sophisticated computerised machinery imported from Germany, will have the capacity to produce 10,000 cubic metres of panels per year – enough to build 100 standard-sized homes. It will use locally sourced pine and douglas fir.
Unlike other engineered wood products, XLam would be able to produce panels measuring up to 15m by 3m, which would create fresh prefabrication opportunities, Mr Edmonds said. He and his business partners – who include Nelson architect Ian Jack and his brother Robin, who owns a machinery supply company – were convinced that it offered big advantages over traditional building systems, was an easier option for home builders and could play an important part in the Christchurch rebuild.
Details on this new manufacturing facility and options for CLT in this part of the world will be covered as part of a one-day conference being run for the forestry, timber and construction industries being held at the Rotorua Energy Events Centre. Participation is limited to 100 attendees. More details and on-line registration are available at www.forestevents.co.nz
Full details of the one-day program highlighting Innovative Products, Designs & New Developments for Timber Building in Rotorua on Wednesday 7 September can be downloaded here.
Source: The Nelson Mail
Tools for improving forest mapping and inventory
A new generation of satellite imagery, only available since late 2010, is also being evaluated by forestry companies this year. Early indications are that some of the satellite imagery may be suitable for routine forestry applications such as quarterly harvest area measure ups, storm damage assessment, disease mapping and forest establishment assessments which to date have been carried out using aerial photography taken from small aircraft.
The new imagery can be ordered over the internet and is available in almost real-time. RapidEye for example is a constellation of five satellites capable of downloading over 4 million km² of high resolution, multi-spectral imagery every day. The unique combination of large area coverage, high spatial resolution and the possibility of daily revisit to an area may provide superior management information solutions for the forestry industry.
Other advancements include developments in satellite aperture based radar in conjunction with optical imagery, the use of LiDAR in conjunction with multi-spectral imagery and ground based sampling and using unmanned aerial vehicles (remotely controlled aircraft) for forest mapping. All of this technology is being trialled this year.
ForestTECH 2009 set the scene and whet the appetite for technical foresters in both Australia and New Zealand. Much of the technology highlighted has been applied in extensive trials and in many instances, has already been adopted and integrated into forest inventory and planning for a number of major forestry companies in Australasia.
“Remote sensing is a critical component of Forest TECH 2011. The objective of ForestTECH 2011 is to get those companies that at the forefront of this new technology to discuss what the systems or tools are, how the technology has been adopted and what impact it’s had, financially and operationally, on the company’s operation” says FIEA Director, Brent Apthorp. “It’s apparent that in many instances that people, capital and process adoption is often more limiting than the technology development itself”.
ForestTECH 2011 will provide Australasia’s first independent platform for local foresters to outline what remote sensing technologies have been trialled, what the results have been and what it's meant operationally and financially to the company. ForestTECH 2011 will run in Albury, NSW on 1-2 December and again for New Zealand foresters in Rotorua on 6-7 December 2011. Full details of the programme can now be down loaded from the event website, www.foresttechevents.com
BNZ Carbon News
Domestically, carbon continued to soften over the last month. Local brokers had NZUs offered at NZ$13.25 earlier in the week but volume is still light. The weakening currency is normalising the relationship between CERs (denominated in NZD) and NZUs, with spot CERs at NZ$ 13.36 and Dec 11 CERs at NZ$13.29 on Tuesday morning.
At prices below NZ$25, CERs act as a floor to NZUs as they can both be submitted by NZ based emitters. CERs are attractive not only in terms of price, but also in terms of the market in which they trade – a liquid, transparent, exchange-based market with no price cap - as opposed to the local market which is quite the opposite. For these reasons we expect that CERs should trade at a slight premium to NZUs.
We expect the reason why NZUs are trading at a small premium to CERs has more to do with a lack of local supply – many forestry clients are choosing not to sell into this market. There is also a perception that CERs are more risky and some emitters do not have the mandate to buy CERs.
The European carbon market was surprisingly muted early in the week. CERs held ground, and EUAs (the European compliance unit) were only off a few cents. Compare this to the Energy markets, where WTI crude is currently off 7.5% (US$ 6.50) and Brent crude off 5.65% (US$ 6.16). Reports from Europe indicate utilities were buying EUAs (off around 11% for the month).
One driver of this may be shifts in relativities in the energy market on this sell-off, with cheaper coal prices shifting the mix of fuel purchased by German utilities for example (coal is more carbon intensive than gas, and therefore requires more carbon credits to be purchased against emissions). Reports also of a massive trade in ERUs (Emission Reduction units) on Monday – said to be 4 million units. To put this in perspective, for the first 6 month compliance period in NZ only 8.3 million units were surrendered in total.
$4 million for high-tech mapping programmeHigh-tech mapping of New Zealand’s forests, pastures, rivers and cities will result from a research programme announced yesterday by Environment Minister Nick Smith and Science and Innovation Minister Wayne Mapp.
The Government will give NZ$1 million a year over the next four years for the research which uses satellite technology, geospatial mapping techniques and advanced computing power.
“The four-year Land Cover Research Programme will provide vital information about our rural and urban environment for the natural resources sector, regional councils and research organisations to use,” Dr Smith said. More >>
China imports of BC lumber jump 97%According to the latest import statistics from China Customs, Canadian lumber shipments to China (almost all from B.C.) increased by a whopping 97% in the first six months of 2011 over the same period in 2010. Chinese softwood lumber imports from Canada totaled 3.14 million m3 for the first six months of 2011 as compared to 1.6 million m3 for the same period in 2010. Further details will be released in WOOD MARKETS’ China Bulletin – August issue.
Canadian (mainly B.C.) lumber shipments are increasing so rapidly that total B.C. lumber shipments to China are likely to reach 7 million m3 or higher for all of 2011 based on the pace set in the first half of 2011. At this rate of shipments, it appears that China could import up to 35% of total B.C. lumber production in 2011! However, a major constraint to further growth could be in shipping logistics, such as container availability and port loading capacity, not to mention the current high lumber inventory levels in China that could also slow the gains in second half 2011 shipments.
The continuing expansion of China’s softwood lumber market continues to have a major and growing impact on B.C. lumber production and North American lumber prices. Due to continued poor U.S. housing starts and lumber consumption, China has provided a huge market opportunity for many sawmills in B.C., which were closed or curtailed in the 2007 to 2009 period - many have either started up or increased lumber production in the last two years as a result of China.
U.S. lumber exports to China have grown at an even faster rate than Canadian lumber exports. Although U.S. lumber exports started from a much lower level in 2010 compared to Canada (594,000 m3 compared to 1.6 million m3 for Canada), exports increased by 118% to 1.3 million m3 in the first half of 2011.
Although Chinese imports of sawn hardwood and softwood lumber from countries such as Russia, Indonesia and Chile have also increased dramatically in the last few years, it appears likely that Canada will become China’s largest sawn lumber supplier in 2011 – replacing Russia, who has been the major sawn lumber supplier to China for many years.
Based on first half 2011 results, China’s total lumber imports will have increased by over 300% since 2006, or from 6.1 million m3 to about 20 million m3. This means that China will likely replace the U.S. as the world’s largest sawn lumber importer in 2011.
Source: International WOOD Markets Group, www.woodmarkets.com
Gottstein Memorial Trust 2012 fellowships openThe J. W. Gottstein Memorial Trust, the national education trust for the Australian forest industries, has called for applications for its 2012 fellowships. In this 40th anniversary year of the Gottstein Trust the Trustees are proud to make members of the forest industries aware that since its establishment in 1971 the Trust has granted 119 fellowships and run 20 Wood Science Courses.
The purpose of the J.W. Gottstein Memorial Trust Fund is to create opportunities for selected persons to acquire knowledge which will promote the interests of Australian industries which use forest products for the production of sawn timber, plywood, composite wood, pulp and paper and similar derived products.
For further information please go to www.gottsteintrust.org or contact Silvia Pongracic at firstname.lastname@example.org
Termites eradicated in Nelson
An investigation determined they most likely arrived with railway sleepers brought over from Australia in the mid-1990s, which were used for landscaping. This particular species is an invasive wood pest, says George Gill of MAF's Plant Response Team. "It could cause significant harm to New Zealand's forests, trees and timber structures if it established here. Incursions by this termite species have occurred occasionally since the 1930s."
An Australian firm with experience and expertise in dealing with termite incursions was contracted to carry out the field work. More >>
Chairman of NZ Wood appointedLees Seymour, managing director of Nelson Forests, has recently been appointed as the chair of NZ Wood in a revamp of NZ Wood’s governance structure. Further new additions on the revamped management board are Tim Rigter from Red Stag and Peter Berg from Pentarch Forest Products –both members of the Woodco board. Source: NZ Wood
Circular saw selection for Secondary Manufacturing
The first step to selecting or optimizing a circular saw is to understand that one saw will not do all cutting tasks well. The more specific the process, the more refined the design of the saw needs to be. In extreme cases, saws are designed for one depth of cut, one feed speed, and perhaps only one wood species.
To see the full report, click here
NZ's first operational continuous timber drying kiln
This new kiln will significantly reduce the energy required to dry timber and is part of Red Stag’s drive to improve efficiency and product quality. Kiln Manager, Steve Goldsmith says he is extremely pleased with the quality of the lumber coming out of this new Mahild kiln.
Record over-harvest of indigenous timberA New Zealand West Coast man and company have been fined more than $130,000 after admitting what the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) says is the largest recorded over-harvest of indigenous timber in New Zealand since 1993. More >>
Strong surge in investments in Green EnergyGlobal investment in green energy rose by 32 per cent last year, driven largely by wind farms in China and small-scale solar panels on rooftops in Europe, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) said in a new report on renewable energy trends that has just been released.
Investors put a record $211 billion into renewable energy projects last year, about a third more than the $160 billion invested in 2009, and a 540 per cent rise since 2004, according to the report, entitled “Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2011,” prepared for UNEP by the London-based Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
For the first time, developing economies overtook developed countries in terms of new investments, spending on utility-scale renewable energy projects and the provision of equity capital for renewable energy companies.
Some $72 billion was invested in developing countries, compared $70 billion in developed economies, which contrasts with 2004, when new financial investments in developing countries were about a quarter of those in developed countries, according to the report.
China, with $48.9 billion in new investments in renewable energy, up by 28 per cent, was the world leader last year, but other emerging economies also showed strong growth. More>>
UN-developed tool for energy use and emissionsA tool developed by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) for measuring energy use and carbon dioxide emissions in homes and offices is under consideration for standardization, a move that could lead to the creation of a uniform system for defining the climate impact of buildings.
The Common Carbon Metric (CCM), developed by UNEP’s Sustainable Buildings and Climate Initiative, is to be considered by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the world’s largest developer and publisher of international standards, the UN agency said in a press release.
The CCM is intended to create a uniform system for defining the climate impact of buildings through a consistent protocol, which can, in turn, help develop international baselines for use by architects, designers and the construction industry. More >>
Buy and Sell
...and one to end the week on...a quiz for the oldies
Get the brain cells working. Think carefully and don't rush headlong into the answer.
And on that note, have a great weekend. Cheers.
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