Friday Offcuts 10 November 2017
Much closer to home, a campaign was recently launched by the NSW National Parks Association. A very clever advertisement was produced which blamed the Regional Forest Agreements for declining koala populations. To go with the video, a petition has been set up titled www.logging.sucks with one of the key objectives being to put an end to logging of public forests across Australia. You can check out the video below.
A small regional grouping, the South-East Timber Association (SETA) representing harvesting operations in native forests and plantations in South East NSW and East Gippsland, on both public and private land, decided that it was time to fight back. It was time to correct some of the misinformation that was being pushed by this particular grouping. According to SETA, for over 60 years, the environmental charity sector in Australia has pursued policies aimed at putting as much public land as possible in the parks and reserves system. For over 30 years environmental charities have also been using anti-native forest harvesting campaigns as one of their key fundraising tools.
SETA have aligned themselves with the fictitious “Moore & Moore National Parks Association”. Instead of media releases, blogs or interviews, the industry grouping has responded directly with a video of their own which was posted a couple of weeks ago. Go on – check this one out. You’ll enjoy it. It appeals to the same audience, it’s eye-catching and like the Juice Media release, it’s very smart. SETA, who like Resolute in North America, have said “enough is enough”.
In North America, last week, the U.S. Commerce Department finally ruled on the level to be applied on countervailing and anti-dumping duties for Canadian softwood lumber exports. It’s certainly a significant issue. Canadian companies sold US$5.6 billion worth of lumber into the U.S. in 2106. If they’re approved by the International Trade Commission in mid-December, Canadian companies are going to have to pay an average 20 percent tariff on the value of softwood delivered to U.S. customers. It’s expected that the new duties are going to push lumber prices even higher which will impact on both American builders and new homeowners.
With the ForestTECH 2017 series kicking off in Rotorua next week, we’ve added a story related to gathering forestry data or information. An early version of a predictive smartphone app has just been developed as part of a project funded by Forest and Wood Products Australia. It enables you to predict the moisture content of log piles undergoing infield drying. With water accounting for over 50 per cent of the weight of freshly harvested logs, infield log drying has the potential to significantly reduce the costs of transporting logs from the forest to the processing plant or port. Links to the full report can be found in the story below.
Enjoy this week’s read.
This week we have for you:
Changing email contacts for Friday OffcutsAs you may be aware, if you are using email services from Vodafone in New Zealand, they have made a decision to discontinue these services from 30th November 2017. For more information and to answer any of your questions on the change over, click here.
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Record log harvest for Australian forestry industry
The ABARES report for the March and June quarters 2017 shows growth in demand for Australia’s sustainably managed wood products resulted in an estimated record harvest of logs of up to 33 million m3, worth AU$2.5 billion. The report does highlight challenges for industry including a softening demand for new house construction and reliance on a few key domestic and international markets.
- Forestry industry value added, or contribution to GDP, increased for the third year in a row, growing by 9 per cent to $8.6 billion in 2015-16. Sales and service income for the forestry sector also grew strongly to AU$23.7 billion in 2015-16 (up 7 per cent from the previous year).
- ABARES estimates that Australia's forestry sector continued to grow strongly in 2016-17, with the total volume and value of logs harvested reaching record levels. Estimated total volume log harvest from native forests and commercial plantations increased by 9 per cent to 32.8 million cubic metres and estimated total value increased by 12 per cent to AU$2.5 billion.
- After four consecutive years of growth in residential construction activity in Australia, dwelling commencements fell by 6 per cent to 219,300 in 2016-17. The decrease in commencements of other residential buildings (including units and house conversions) was greater than the decrease in house commencements.
- Australia's trade in wood products has been growing since 2012-13 and reached a record level of AU$8.6 billion in 2016-17. The value of exports reached a record level of $3.4 billion (up 9 per cent from the previous year), while the value of imports fell to AU$5.3 billion (down 4 per cent from a record level in the previous year).
- China was our largest trading partner in 2016-17 for wood products, accounting for over a quarter of Australia's total wood product imports, nearly half of total wood product exports and the majority of total wood products export growth over the year.
To download the latest forestry stats, click here
New industry video to counter anti-forestry claimsA few months ago, in Australia, Juice Media, with some financial support from the NSW National Parks Association, released an “Honest Australien Government” Advertisement. It was pitched at the declining koala population and the Regional Forest Agreements are being targetted for the declining koala populations. To go with the vide, a campaign or petition has been set up to stop the Regional Forest Agreements, www.logging.sucks.
The National Parks Association of NSW’s goal is to put an end to industrial logging of public forests. According to their website, "There is a frenzy of forest destruction happening right now in Australia. On both public and private land, land is being cleared and forests degraded faster than any other developed country. This is killing our wildlife, pushing species towards extinction and driving climate change. And for this we have the privilege of spending millions of dollars in subsidies. If we want a future where our kids and grandkids get the chance to see koalas in the wild, and have a climate that supports human life and food production we have to act now!"
Step up to the plate the South-East Timber Association (SETA). The SETA management committee decided that it was high time to present a different perspective on issues that are impacting on koala populations and to highlight some of the deficiencies and misleading information being used by environmental charities to raise funds for their campaigns.
So, “are you one of those latte sippers, who make up for shifting Moore & Moore of your consumption offshore, by making monthly donations to your favourite environmental charity? You think you are making a difference? You are, but it may not be the difference you were expecting.
The video was posted onto Youtube on 27 October. Check it out below.
*The South-East Timber Association (SETA) was formed in 1988 to represent the interests of people working in harvesting operations in native forests and plantations, on public and private land, in South East NSW and East Gippsland.
SETA members are strongly committed to ensuring public forests are available for a range of commercial and recreational activities and expect land management practices will maintain environmental values in the long term.
SETA expects the government to commit to ensuring forest and related policies strike an appropriate balance between social, environmental and economic outcomes, while minimising adverse impacts of policy changes on regional communities.
Growth in virtual reality sector booming
Cross reality (XR) is a term used to describe the continuum of immersive technologies that blur the line between the physical and digital world, including virtual, augmented and mixed reality.
The report, VIRTUAL GETS REAL: The Explosion of Cross Reality in New Zealand, showcases the New Zealand XR sector, highlights some of our achievements and success stories to date and predicts strong growth for the sector over the next few years. For example, it calculates that around 1,100 people currently work in the sector New Zealand and predicts that this is set to increase to over 2,200 people by 2019.
MBIE Policy Director Kim Connolly-Stone says the report will help government, industry and academics to identify the challenges and opportunities associated with XR and what it means for New Zealand and our growing digital economy.
“The report is critical to helping us better understand our local XR industry. For example, the report recognises our strong position in some market segments such as holographic capture, local games development and augmented reality,” Ms Connolly-Stone says.
“Government has an important role to play in helping New Zealand adapt to this change by making sure the policy and regulatory settings are fit for purpose and by investing in the connectivity infrastructure and the skills needed for the future. This will help to ensure we are positioned to take full advantage of the benefits that new technologies such as XR can offer.
“This is a key part of our digital economy work programme, which includes similar work focused on helping us better understand emerging and disruptive technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things,” Ms Connolly-Stone says.
The report was commissioned by the New Zealand VR/AR Association in partnership with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. It is the first of a two-part exploration into the New Zealand XR ecosystem. The report is available at www.nzvrara.nz.
Virtual and augmented reality and the use of this new technology, particularly in the collection and analysis of forest resource information is being explored as part of the upcoming ForestTECH 2017 series starting in Rotorua, New Zealand next week. Late registrations can still be made and full details on the programmes for both New Zealand and Australia can be found on the event website, www.foresttech.events
Final softwood lumber duties set for CanadaThe U.S. Commerce Department last week set the final countervailing and anti-dumping duties against Canadian softwood lumber exports. Canadian companies exporting lumber to the U.S. will pay combined duties of about 20% on all lumber exports to the U.S., once they go into effect sometime in December.
The anti-dumping and countervailing duties that were announced earlier this year were preliminary rates. On November 2, the U.S. Department of Commerce sets the final rates. They do not go into effect, however, until there is a determination of injury, which is expected until around mid-December.
Once that determination is made, the anti-dumping and countervailing duties will be applied to lumber exports. Three B.C. companies are identified for specific rates: Canfor Corp. West Fraser Timber and Tolko Industries Ltd. Anti-dumping duties range from 3% to 9%, while countervailing duties range from 3% to 18%. Canfor and Tolko will pay combined duties of 22% on their exports; West Fraser will pay 24%. All other exporters will pay 21%.
Companies have already been paying the temporary duties. Their impacts have been mitigated by high lumber prices in the U.S. The duties will push lumber prices even higher, so the biggest impact may be on American builders and new homeowners. Also, companies like Canfor and West Fraser also now somewhat hedged against softwood lumber duties because they have been buying up sawmills in the U.S., so the lumber their mills produce there are not subject to the duties.
Whereas Canadian companies sold US$4.9 billion worth of lumber into the U.S. in 2104, in 2016 they sold US$5.6 billion. Talks continue between Canada and the U.S. to get a softwood lumber agreement that would remove the duties. Those talks are continuing parallel to talks with the U.S. over the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Further coverage, analysis and reaction can be read here.
New smartphone app to model in-forest log drying
Infield log drying has the potential to significantly reduce transport costs by reducing moisture content, and the weight, of the load. That’s not surprising when you consider that water accounts for over 50 per cent of the weight of freshly harvested logs.
Researchers funded by FWPA with support from the Queensland Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF), conducted field trials in various weather conditions to measure drying rates. This information was used to create an initial version of a smartphone app to predict drying rates over time.
Vital data was collected through ongoing testing of Pinus radiata and Eucalyptus globulus log piles, as well as a number of individual logs for comparison. While this data was used to develop a preliminary version of the predictive smartphone app, further development will see certain deficiencies in the data addressed through additional testing and research.
Future projects will examine:
- different drying rates in different log types, and in different conditions and locations
- value and volume loss resulting from infield log and biomass storage
- the potential for loading trucks with additional volumes of dry versus green material
- means of paying for logs, chips or biomass based on their moisture content or volume, rather than their green weight
- balancing the costs and revenues from infield drying to determine optimum storage times for logs and biomass.
You can read the report in full by clicking here.
Jason Wynyard is World Champion again
After 2012 Lillehammer again hosted the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® world championship. The best logger sports athletes of the world battled in front of 5,500 spectators in the Håkons Hall in top-class competitions. At the end of the electrifying single competition, Jason Wynyard from New Zealand secured his ninth world championship title and relegated Australia's Brad De Losa and Canada's Mitch Hewitt to second and third place.
On Friday, the New Zealanders took the title in the team competition. The "Kiwis", led by Jason Wynyard, defeated the Polish team in the final and grabbed their fourth title. The big favourite from Australia surprisingly lost against Poland in the semi-final, because they received a time penalty due to an early start. Meanwhile, the Poles fought the competition of their lives causing a major upset. The Australians defeated the Canadians in the small final and finished third.
About STIHL TIMBERSPORTS®
STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® is an international extreme sports competition series. Its roots lie in Canada, the United States, Australia and New Zealand, where workers in the timber industry would hold competitions to determine who was the fastest in a range of wood chopping and sawing disciplines that closely simulated their everyday work. These logging disciplines evolved with time into a series of sporting disciplines that require tremendous athleticism, strength, precision and power.
Today, the world's best athletes compete in national and international events featuring three axe disciplines and three sawing disciplines. Springboard, Underhand Chop and Standing Block Chop are the classic axe disciplines; Single Buck (single-man cross-cut saw), Stock Saw (standard chainsaw) and Hot Saw (tuned, customized chainsaw with up to 80 horsepower) are the sawing disciplines. For more information visit: www.stihl-timbersports.com .
Record prices seen in US lumber marketThe U.S. market has been red-hot in 2017 on a combination of supply, demand, trade and climate factors that have combined to create a “one-of-a-kind” year. And it isn’t over yet! We have been predicting a timber supply crunch in Canada since 2007, when we first analyzed the impact of a diminishing timber base in the B.C. Interior (mountain pine beetle-related) and Eastern Canada (mainly in Quebec, due to government timber policies). The effects of reduced timber supplies and, by default, lower lumber production, were expected to show up “in the middle of the next decade,” with the timing subject to U.S. lumber demand, key export-market dynamics, and supply from major offshore exporters.
This scenario began to show up in 2016 as rising global demand propelled prices higher in most markets, with many all-time U.S. price records being achieved this year. In its October 6 issue, Random Lengths highlighted that 297 (18%) of its reported 1,674 weekly prices of softwood lumber, panels and veneer “were at or had already touched record highs in 2017.” This is despite only somewhat modest gains in lumber consumption: U.S. “derived demand” volumes for the first seven months of 2017 were near zero (although 4%–5% would be a more realistic gain, ignoring derived demand). Canada shows an 8% gain year-to-date due to its strong housing market.
B.C. Interior lumber production is finally declining, as predicted: year-to-date production is down 3.4% and total Canadian production is lower by almost 1%. This is despite record-level prices in the U.S., and has resulted in significantly reduced Canadian exports south of the border: the Canadian trade data show a decline of 496 million bf (-5.6%), while the U.S. trade data point to a larger decline of 577 million bf (-6.5%).
At the same time, U.S. West production has grown by a mere 45 million bf (0.6%) in the first seven months of 2017 — also despite record-level prices, and also as a function of tight log supplies and a strong log-export market. Only the U.S. South has been able to show any real increase — 380 million bf (+3.7%) so far this year — despite huge availability of low-priced sawlogs amid rather limited sawmill capacity increases. Offshore imports have seen a substantial jump: up 130 million bf in the first seven months of the year (+32.8%), driven by high lumber prices and reduced Canadian supplies.
Throw in massive forest fires in B.C. and the U.S. Pacific Northwest, along with hurricanes in the U.S. South, and we have all the components of a “perfect storm.” With uncertainty around Canadian import duties starting in early January 2018, we are already setting up for another volatile year in North America!
Source: Russ Taylor, Managing Director, International Wood Markets Group (now part of Forest Economic Advisors (FEA))
2017 Dangerous Designs winners crowned
Dangerous Designs is an online competition sponsored by FWPA’s WoodSolutions and is open to anyone in Australia. It is supported by professional associations, industry bodies, universities and other tertiary institutions.
All designs were rated by experienced professionals, using criteria such as originality, use of wood and wood products, usefulness, desirability, commercial potential and sustainability.
The winner of the inaugural Annual Prize of $10,000 was Geoffrey Marshall, who submitted the Conus Lighting Range.
Incorporating ‘the pared back elegance of a seashell’, the range of nine lights including desk lamps, a floor lamp and pendant lights is described as having ‘sculptural functionality’. Each light is hand-finished and hand-assembled, combining both timber and metal.
The designer used ‘strong-back’, a traditional boat-building technique which ‘allows the custom-made, laser cut 2mm plywood to maintain form when held in tension around the powder coated mild steel components’. Each light is finished with natural oils and waxes to enhance the timber’s characteristics.
The People’s Choice Sur(Prize)! Winner was the Gaijin Chair, submitted by Jeff Thornton. It’s a ‘stylish Japanese inspired dining chair adapted for Western tastes’. The prototype uses flexiply, with just a single sheet required to create one chair, limiting wastage. The design has been noted for its simplicity, which makes it ‘eminently suitable for mass production’.
Photo credit: Dangerous Designs
Logging - the most dangerous job in the U.S.This piece comes out of a North American news site, The Penny Hoarder. The article looks at the very real issue of logging fatalities and safety in the U.S. and what’s being done to address the issue.
While many of us believe we are giving too much of ourselves — our time, mental exertion and personal freedoms — to our jobs, we likely have it better than workers in riskier career fields. In fact, there are several careers that put their workers’ lives in danger every day just by the nature of the job: police officers, fishermen and pilots, to name a few.
But what is the job with the single highest fatality rate? Logging, by a mile. According to the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 67 loggers in the U.S. died on the job in 2015. While more truck drivers (885) and farmers (252) died that year while on duty, loggers had the highest number of deaths per 100,000 workers: 132.7. That is more than double the second highest, fishermen, at 54.8 per 100,000 workers. The American average, for reference, is 3.4 per 100,000, making logging 39 times more dangerous than the average job in the U.S.
So, what is it that loggers do on a daily basis, and why does it make them so prone to on-the-job fatalities? And more importantly, what safety regulations are in place to protect them, and is it enough? The writer of this article turned to Jeff Wimer at Oregon State University (OSU) to find out. More >>
Jeff Wimer currently works as an instructor at OSU and manages the student logging training program. He has worked as vice president for Wimer Logging Company, served as president of the Oregon Logging Conference and is the incoming president of the Pacific Logging Congress. His career in logging safety spans 20 years and includes investigations into more than 25 logging fatalities and three books on logging safety.
Tesla to unveil new electric truck
Tesla’s electric truck prototype was first spotted last month and videos of the automaker’s truck test mule emerged after that.
Aside from the design and Musk teasing a few record-breaking specs in terms of torque and handling, not much is known about Tesla’s latest product. Last month, Musk boasted that the truck has better specs than anything that was suggested in the media to date.
Over the past few months and weeks leading up to Tesla’s unveiling, several other companies have unveiled new electric truck prototypes. Cummins unveiled its first prototype electric truck, VW announced a large $1.7 billion investment to bring electric trucks and buses to market, and just last week Daimler unveiled a heavy-duty all-electric truck concept with ‘up to 220 miles’ range.
While Tesla is also only expected to unveil a prototype, the company has expressed some serious intentions to bring the truck to volume production within the next 2 years. The event should also prove interesting for another reason. At the Tesla shareholders meeting this summer, Musk teased “some unannounced” features to be unveiled at the event. We’ll keep you updated.
Value of Brazil's pine sawn-wood exports up 19%In September 2017, Brazilian exports of wood-based products (except pulp and paper) increased 25.0% in value compared to September 2016, from US$201.2 million to US$251.5 million. Pine sawn-wood exports in value increased 19% from September 2016 (US$ 35.3 million) and September 2017 (US$ 41.9 million). In volume terms, exports rose 12% over the same period from 181,100 cu.m to 202,500 cu.m.
Tropical sawnwood exports expanded 41% in September 2017 from 30,200 cu.m in September 2016 to 42,500 cu.m this year. The value of September tropical sawnwood exports jumped 38% from US$14.1 million to US$ 19.5 million this year. The good news continued with the value of pine plywood exports which expanded 36% in September 2017 from US$ 35.8 million a year earlier to US$ 48.7 million this September. In volume terms September 2017 exports were up 24%.
As for tropical plywood, Brazilian exports were 23.5% higher in volume and 17% higher in value, from 13,200 cu.m (US$ 5.4 million) in September 2016 to 16,300 cu.m (US$ 6.3 million) in September 2017. Exports of wooden furniture from Brazil increased from US$ 35.7 million in September 2016 to US$ 40.4 million in September 2017, a 13% increase.
Source: International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO)
Labor backs new vision for Australia’s forest industriesAustralia’s Federal Labor’s Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Joel Fitzgibbon, has given the Opposition’s in-principle support for a new National Forest Industries Plan for Australia’s AU$23 billion forest and forest products sector.
Speaking at an Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) dinner this week, Mr Fitzgibbon urged the Government to deliver the Plan by next year to capitalise on the industry’s potential for growth:
“If [the Coalition] is still the Government, and it’s a good plan, it’s a well thought out plan, and it’s an economically responsible plan, then of course we will support it.
If there is to be a fibre boom, and I think there will be, it’s important to understand that it’s not going to come to us, we need to go to it. To get there, we need a plan, we need a very serious plan and you need government guidance.
It is time for progress for the fortunes of the forest and forest products sector. And of course, the opportunities are many… Yours is a wonderful product – a natural, renewable product, a carbon-storing product that is capable of being grown in a sustainable way. That’s got to be the best brand anyone could hope for in the current global and political environment.”
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced that he was backing the creation of a new Government plan for the forest industries at the AFPA Gala Dinner in September. Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Senator Anne Ruston, has been tasked with developing and delivering the plan.
AFPA Chief Executive Officer Mr Ross Hampton said, “Federal Labor’s in-principle support for this initiative is vital. Without Long-term certainty and stability our sustainable, renewable carbon positive industries cannot meet their full potential.
AFPA will be working with the Government and Opposition over coming months to ensure there is bipartisan consensus for the National Government Plan so that it delivers a step change for the industry and is secure from future political change.
Buy and Sell
...and one to end the week on ... World Cup Fever
With the NZ All Whites coming up against Peru this Saturday in Wellington for a place in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, we thought this end of week story appropriate.
And on that note, enjoy your weekend. We're looking forward to meeting up with resource managers and inventory foresters from throughout New Zealand at next week's ForestTECH 2017 series in Rotorua. See you there. Cheers.
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