Friday Offcuts 17 February 2023
Click to Subscribe - It's FREE!Many across the North and East coasts of New Zealand have been absolutely hammered this week with more rain – and this time – severely damaging winds. Some regions like Gisborne and the East Cape had already been savaged for over a year from damaging storms before Cyclone Gabrielle entered from the north this week, causing widespread destruction from the far north down. A national state of emergency, only the third time ever, was called on Tuesday by the Government. Over 10,000 residents have been displaced. Regions are still cut off. Many are still isolated, out of home and communities are struggling with the size of the clean-up. Aside from the widespread devastation in what’s been labelled the most significant weather event NZ has seen this century, the severity and the damage from the storm on infrastructure is going to severely curtail forest industry activity in these regions for many months to come. Our thoughts are with all those who have been impacted by this week’s weather bomb and who'll be working on the lengthy period of reconstruction ahead.
In other news, the shift of large industrial or manufacturing sites using fossil fuels to biofuel for heating and energy is already well documented. It’s these conversions and future demand that’s spurring forestry companies, harvesting contractors and independent suppliers right now to explore options for the recovery of forestry and other wood residues. Regionally, bio-fuel hubs are being investigated, the idea being that a 24/7 supply of bio-fuel will provide surety to those looking to convert – or to invest in new plant.
Fonterra is aiming for net zero by 2050. It’s committed to getting out of coal by 2037. Their latest conversion announced last year was an installation of a 30- megawatt wood biomass boiler to replace a coal boiler at their Waitoa site in the Waikato. As discussed with the forestry industry at last year's Residues2Revenues event, this was the fourth sustainable fuel switching decarbonisation project in as many years for the Co-operative. Fonterra and Genesis Energy have just announced that they've signed an agreement to work together to explore the viability of biomass as a substitute for coal as well as setting up a domestic biomass supply chain.
Genesis Energy operates Huntly, New Zealand’s largest thermal power station. It’s repeatedly been targeted by environmentalists as it’s one of the largest carbon dioxide greenhouse gas generators in the country. Like Fonterra, Genesis plans to remove coal completely from their Huntly operation. If the trial is successful (early results are due shortly) the companies are looking to use NZ wood residues, including forestry slash, to produce biomass. The real opportunity now of economically extracting forest slash, bin wood, offcuts left on landings, short length or malformed logs and sawmill residues and working on how best to aggregate large volumes of biofuel regionally is very rapidly gaining the attention of local forest owners. Demand was there in 2022 but it’s now really ramping up.
Finally, last week last week we covered a new initiative set up in New Zealand, Wahine in Forestry. Today, we bring you a similar story from Australia. It reveals that women are better represented in forestry than in many other traditionally male-dominated industries. A recent survey of 21 forestry companies also showed a 20 per cent increase in female employees compared to two years ago. Yes, the tide is slowly turning.
This week we have for you:
Fonterra and Genesis want to replace coal with woodGenesis Energy and Fonterra want to use wood biomass to generate electricity and heat. Genesis interim chief executive Tracey Hickman said the companies signed an agreement to work together and explore the viability of biomass as a substitute for coal.
The possibility of a domestic biomass supply chain would also be investigated, Hickman said. The companies had signed a biomass collaboration agreement as they looked for an alternative fuel source to help decarbonise the businesses, she said. The agreement came ahead of a trial to burn biomass at Genesis’ Huntly Power Station this week, Hickman said.
Genesis burned coal to generate electricity, while Fonterra burned coal to create heat for dairy processing. The Huntly plant would continue to provide back-up to the electricity grid while Genesis transitioned to more renewable generating methods, she said. The biomass used in the trial was imported and not manufactured locally, she said.
The black torrefied biomass was made from tree sawdust. During torrefaction the biomass was heated slowly without oxygen to between 200C to 300C, she said. The process created a solid and uniform pellets that had about 30% more energy than raw biomass, Hickman said. Burned torrefied biomass generally produced less than 10% of the emissions of coal, she said.
If the trial was successful the companies wanted to use New Zealand wood residues, including forestry slash, to produce biomass, Hickman said. The companies needed to work with the forestry sector to determine how it could create a constant supply of raw material, and the possibility of a biomass plant being built, she said.
Australia's last white paper plant closesAustralia's last white paper manufacturing plant will close over a shortage of timber supplies, leading to job losses.
Opal Australia will withdraw from producing graphic paper at its mill in Maryvale in Victoria's Latrobe Valley, citing the sudden and unexpected suspension of wood supplies stemming from an ongoing court battle.
"The company and Opal has been considering alternative wood supplies in order to continue graphic paper operations," Opal's Japanese parent company Nippon said in a withdrawal notice. But has concluded that alternative procurement is not feasible and has decided to discontinue the graphic paper business at the MV Mill (permanent suspension of some manufacturing assets)."
White paper production at the mill was impacted in December after state-owned supplier VicForests was ordered to scale back harvesting in parts of Victoria. The Victorian Supreme Court found VicForests failed to adequately survey logging coupes for two protected possum species.
VicForests is appealing against the decision, with a hearing in the Court of Appeal on March 23. The disruption led to 49 production workers at Opal being stood down, although their pay was guaranteed until the middle of this month by the Victorian government. Nippon expects to post a AU$21 million loss from the closure.
"With the withdrawal from the graphic paper business, Opal will focus on the packaging business, which is expected to grow in the future, and will strengthen its integrated packaging supply strategy in Oceania by transitioning the MV Mill into a sustainable packaging paper mill," it said.
For further coverage on this week's announcement, expected job losses and commentary on future native logging in the State as a consequence of the announced closure, click here and here.
Source: AAP, news.com, SMH
Cyclone Gabrielle cuts through North Island forestryThe sound of trees snapping “was like the loudest gunshots you’ve ever heard” as Cyclone Gabrielle ripped through central North Island forestry. Kasey Smith, who lives next door to the forest, witnessed the cyclone tearing through the trees.
“It was crazy. They were 15-30 year old pines just snapping. Like the loudest gunshots you’ve ever heard. It sounded like fireworks being let off and massive bangs, one after another. The sound of the wind was deafening.” The extent of the damage was devastating, Smith said.
“We couldn’t believe when the morning came and the whole forest was wiped out except one row along the fence line. It was like a match box had been thrown and all the matches fell out with the tops of trees scattered. The smell of the pine was incredible.”
Residents and pets in Motuoapa, northeast of Tūrangi, endured a scary night of cracking trees. John Mack said it sounded like a train as the wind cut a swathe through the forest. “It was more like a tornado than a than a cyclone the way it just cut through the trees.”
Timberlink celebrates its 10-year milestoneFebruary 1st 2023 marked a key milestone for Australian timber products manufacturing business Timberlink®, as it celebrated 10 years in business.
Timberlink CEO Ian Tyson said “this is an important moment to reflect on the enormous amount of change and improvement that has happened in our business since February 2013. Change that can only occur when a business has a vision and plan for its future, has an ownership structure and a Board that supports this, and then most importantly, has a great team of people who can add to and deliver on that vision and plan.”
Timberlink was formed in February 2013, following the sale of Gunns Limited’s softwood sawmilling assets, and is a part of an integrated softwood forestry business that is managed by New Forests. CEO Ian Tyson has been at the helm of Timberlink since its formation. “Thanks to the great support we have had from our customers and through expanding our operations, we have grown as a business, and now proudly employ 600 team members compared to where we started in 2013 at 380. The majority of which are in regional areas,” said Ian Tyson.
This year Timberlink will complete two significant innovation projects: one in mass timber with CLT and GLT, and one with wood-plastic composites. “These projects will take Timberlink from being primarily a structural timber manufacturer to a structural engineered timber products and solutions business, a remarkable change in ten years,” said Ian Tyson.
To reflect and support this growth, Timberlink has released a refreshed logo and a newly redeveloped website. Timberlink’s new positioning statement, “A future made better for all” is reflective of its commitment to helping build environmentally friendlier homes and buildings that support the world being a better place for the generations that follow.
Foresters breaking the glass canopy11 February marked the UN’s International Day of Women and Girls in Science. While great progress has been made, a significant gender gap and under-representation in STEM disciplines continue to persist, with 34 per cent of those enrolled in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects being women, 28 per cent of women employed in STEM industries and 23 per cent of women in key management/senior management roles in 2020 (STEM Equity Monitor 2021).
“Ask someone to picture a forester, and they will likely conjure an image of an axe-slinging lumberjack in a flannel shirt. But modern forestry could not be further from that. Picture the female scientist who discovered that working as a plantation forester was her dream job, or those working on tree nutrition, biosecurity, or climate-resilient tree genetics”, said Deb Kerr, CEO of the Victorian Forest Products Association (VFPA).
The amount of applied science, innovation and technology in our sector is as staggering as it is important. And women are better represented in forestry than in many other traditionally male-dominated industries. Many of VFPA’s members have made significant progress in increasing female representation. A Gender and Diversity survey of 21 forestry companies showed a 20 per cent increase in female employees compared to two years ago.
“It is important to show our young people, male and female, how a science degree can get them into this – very varied – industry,” Deb Kerr continued. One of them is Bonnie Galbraith (photo), a technical forester at SFM Environmental Solutions. She has a major in plant science, but sustainability and carbon sequestration via photosynthesis are among her passion topics.
“My way into forestry was not linear, and not a case of following family tradition like so many others in the industry. I love the ocean so, after studying, I did a stint in the navy, working at sea as an Officer of the Watch. But in forestry, my science degree allows me to follow another of my passions, which is plants. It opened doors to amazing opportunities, and I feel that my field can have a real impact on positive environmental outcomes,” Ms Galbraith explained.
“We need to ask ourselves, how does forestry fit into the environmental debate? The scale for positive impact is huge, especially when you look at the carbon sequestration potential of trees and timber”, said Ms Galbraith.
“There are so many opportunities for scientists in our sector. Back in high school, maths and science weren’t high on my agenda. But it started to click when I pursued my degree – and you can imagine how thrilled I was to finally find real-life applications for mathematics, something that high school didn’t manage to convey!
If you’re on the fence about where to go next, don’t let perceptions stop you. Look at what you’re good at, and in which environment you feel most comfortable, and then check if there’s a career or science degree that fits those requirements. Nothing is insurmountable,” Ms Galbraith concluded.
Source: Victorian Forest Products Association
Waste not, want not: UN report on wood residuesWood residues – the materials left over when trees are logged and processed – hold the potential to support resource-efficient energy access, revitalize rural economies and help mitigate climate change, according to a new report from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
The role of wood residues in the transition to sustainable bioenergy, produced in collaboration with Canada’s Laval University, explores the potential for converting wood residues into modern bioenergy such as wood pellets and wood-based gaseous or liquid energy carriers. These can be used to generate heat and electricity for local use or fed into the power grids.
Converting wood residues into modern bioenergy products can significantly improve their fuel properties (such as moisture content, density, calorific value and combustion efficiency) while making logistic handling, compact storage and long-distance transport easier and cheaper.
“When we consider that as much as 85 percent of trees in industrial harvesting can end up as wood residues, it’s clear that efficient use of wood residues for modern bioenergy and other forest products can reduce the pressure on natural forests,” said Senior FAO Forestry Officer Sven Walter.
“In turn, this can help reduce greenhouse gases, contribute to a transition towards a forest-based bioeconomy, and help achieve Sustainable Development Goal targets on increasing the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.”
Opportunities and challenges
The role of wood residues in the transition to sustainable bioenergy analyses the use of industrially harvested wood as well as the energy mix in regions around the world to identify opportunities to deploy wood residues for modern bioenergy, and challenges to overcome in doing so.
It notes a higher percentage of use of industrial roundwood in the Global North versus substantially lower rates in most of the subregions in Africa and in some of Asia and the Americas. It also indicates where there is potential to encourage a sequential or ‘cascading’ use of wood residues before their final disposal, maximizing their added value.
But the report observes a significant challenge to deployment of modern and sustainable bioenergy in developing countries where woodfuel plays an important role in the energy mix. Currently, the informal woodfuel sector provides significant income to a large population in many countries. As such, the report says, the regulation and formalization of this sector could have important impacts for an effective energy transition.
To help address challenges to deploying wood residues for modern bioenergy, the report recommends better governance of land use and forest resources to help the modernization of wood energy value chains, and establishing a market price for wood reflecting the cost of sustainable production.
It also recommends raising awareness of the benefits of modern bioenergy as a renewable resource and improving data on wood flows from the land base to end-users to better understand availability and usage of wood residues.
It suggests fostering bioenergy cooperatives, comprising producers, entrepreneurs and consumers, to ensure more reliable supply of wood residues and better technologies to process them. The publication calls on policymakers to consider adopting technical standards and certification schemes for wood residues and energy carriers, as well as measures that incentivize and support the development of new industries and markets for wood products, and guarantee prices for modern bioenergy.
This new UN report can be downloaded here
23% of the U.S. forest inventory could be lostA study led by a North Carolina State University researcher found that under more severe climate warming scenarios, the inventory of trees used for timber in the continental United States could decline by as much as 23% by 2100. The largest inventory losses would occur in two of the leading timber regions in the U.S., which are both in the South.
Researchers say their findings show modest impacts on forest product prices through the end of the century, but suggest bigger impacts in terms of storing carbon in U.S. forests. Two-thirds of U.S. forests are classified as timberlands.
“We already see some inventory decline at baseline in our analysis, but relative to that, you could lose, additionally, as much as 23% of the U.S. forest inventory,” said the study’s lead author Justin Baker, associate professor of forestry and environmental resources at North Carolina State University. “That’s a pretty dramatic change in standing forests.”
Source: North Carolina State University
Australia’s first entirely wooden stadiumBressanone, a small town nestled among Italy’s northern mountains, is 15,000 kilometres from the Australian metropolis of Sydney. The prefabricated wooden components travelled around world to Sydney to build Australia’s first sports stadium made entirely of wood.
The idea of a wooden stadium was born to create an infrastructure that would be perfectly integrated with the natural park in which it is located. And it answers the ever growing demand from Australia’s largest cities for sustainable infrastructure to develop new ways of living based on green mobility and civil engineering. With this in mind, the Eric Tweedale Stadium, erected within Cumberland’s Granville Park, a vast green area near Sydney, was built using wood.
The Italian wood began its journey on board trucks, but for the near totality of the trip, the prefabricated parts crossed seas and oceans inside eight containers on board a ship. The long journey was necessary to transport to Sydney not just the wood but also the complex structure for the roof that covers the stadium’s 750-seat grandstand, conceived to withstand vibrations and hold up to strong winds.
The stadium, which hosts the Two Blues Rugby Union Club, is made almost entirely of lamellar wood. In addition to the 750-seat grandstand, it includes various multi-purpose halls, a parking lot, the rugby field and a kiosk.
Each element of the structure was first designed in 3D, then created physically with the goal of creating a project that would marry two requirements: on one hand, the need for a modern and efficient sports venue; on the other, the desire for a sustainable project perfectly integrated in its environment.
Call for RD&E proposals to benefit AU forest growersForest & Wood Products Australia (FWPA) invites RD&E proposals to advance research of benefit to the Australia’s commercial forest growers, aligned with one or more of FWPA’s programs:
Program 3 – Assisting value chain optimisation
Program 4 – Increasing resource availability and reducing risk
Program 5 – Impacting decision-making and industry capability
FWPA’s forestry research, development and extension (RD&E) Investment Plans were developed in consultation with Australia’s commercial forest growers to inform investment in RD&E activities. From the investment Plans, the Priority Topics were identified as the key targets for investment.
Proposals must either:
1. Advance one or more Priority Topics identified in the Investment Plans, or
2. Advance RD&E outside of the Priority Topics where the prospective researcher can demonstrate significant support by Australia’s commercial forest growers.
Successful proposals will reflect an understanding of the current status of knowledge in relation to Priority Topics. A list of relevant recent and current projects funded or supported through FWPA is available.
Term and commencement
Proposals are invited for projects of up to three (3) years’ duration and commencing in 2022/23. If it is demonstrated by the proposal that a longer duration is warranted, projects of up to five years may also be considered.
For further details on the process, timing, deadlines for proposals and contacts for more information, please click here.
Forest company cleared of RMA breachesThe owner of a NZ forest company who has been cleared of breaching the Resource Management Act says the charges were without merit. Forestry company John Turkington Ltd was found not guilty by unanimous verdict of four charges of breaching the act after a month-long trial in the Environment Court at Whanganui, which finished last week.
The charges were over work done by the company at two sites: at Kai Iwi northwest of Whanganui between April 2018 and June 2019, and at Rewa north of Feilding between December 2018 and June 2019. Another charge of breaching National Environmental Standards for undertaking earthworks at Rewa was withdrawn during the trial.
Turkington said in a statement the decision to defend the charges were straightforward because he had always maintained the charges were with without merit and would be strenuously defended.
“I stand by my values, my professional integrity and that of my staff, the industry, environmental experts with whom we work on a daily basis and that of my clients.
“I have been involved in the forestry sector for more than 30 years, working in partnership with forestry owners, from private individuals and companies to publicly-owned organisations.”
He said his team included people asked by industry and government agencies to advise on the development of best practice standards for the sector, including those that fall under the Resource Management Act and National Environmental Standards.
“I am incredibly proud of them and respectful of their expertise and industry standing.” Turkington said there had been a hefty cost to the process and it had been “incredibly stressful”, but he would make the same decision to defend the charges again on principle.
He believed a better way to deal with these issues was not through a “litigious and adversarial approach by the regulator”, but for the parties to work together and put environmental outcomes at the centre of the matter.
Nominations open for 2023 SWC Forestry AwardsFollowing a few years now of COVID-19 meeting restrictions playing havoc with Wood Council Forestry Training Awards across both New Zealand and Australia, the expectation is that we’re back into business as normal for this year.
They’ve still the largest gatherings of local industry seen every year with forestry companies, forest contractors, log transport operations and wood products companies along with their crews and families from across each region attending.
As a start for 2023, the Southern Wood Council representing forestry and wood products industries from across the lower South Island of New Zealand, the date for the 2023 major awards evening has been locked in. Details for the evening can be found on the event website and the awards evening will run in Dunedin on Friday 19 May 2023.
It’s a once in a year opportunity for anyone involved in or associated with forestry to come together to celebrate success. It’s the industry’s chance to recognise those who had achieved formal training qualifications over the year, to celebrate through a series of major industry awards, the top performers and to profile the real contribution that forestry and those working within the industry are making to the economic and social well-being of each region.
For those in the South, mark the date into your diary. This year, in addition to awarding well over 100 National Training Certificates on the night, ten major training and business awards will be presented including a new Outstanding Forest Industry Contribution award that has been set up to celebrate an individual who has made a significant lifetime contribution to the forest or wood products sector within the Otago, Southland or South Canterbury regions.
Nominations for the ten major Forestry Awards close on Friday 31 March 2023. So, for those in the lower South Island, start to give some thought as to who you can nominate in your or someone else’s company or crew. Who’s made a difference? Who’s really stood out this year? Who deserves to be recognised for their efforts?
Click here to download the 2023 Award Details and Nomination Form
Further details on nominations or the awards evening planned can be found on the Southern Wood Council website.
Rotorua to host international remote sensing conferenceRotorua and Whakarewarewa Forest will be the backdrop to a global forestry conference that is set to attract up to 500 remote sensing specialists to the city in just over 18 months’ time. Scion has successfully secured a bid to host ForestSAT 2024, the most prestigious international conference on the application of remote sensing technologies for forest monitoring and modelling.
Previous conferences have been held in Germany, USA, Chile, Italy, Spain, France, Sweden and Scotland. For the first time the conference will be in Australasia over five days, starting 9 September 2024. Scion’s general manager for Forests to Timber Products, Dr Henri Bailleres, says the event will be an incredible opportunity to showcase New Zealand and Scion.
“Scion has a strong remote sensing group with international outreach and a wide industry network within the New Zealand forestry sector,” he says. “The hosting of ForestSAT in Rotorua by Scion highlights the excellence, standing and reputation of our science with our global peers, as well as showcasing Rotorua as a premier tourist destination.”
Scion principal scientist Dr Michael Watt, who leads many remote sensing areas including modelling of forest carbon capture and use of hyperspectral imagery, presented at ForestSAT 2022 in Berlin. He was impressed with the overall quality of presentations at the event and thought that New Zealand had a reasonable chance of hosting the next conference. Working closely with Tourism New Zealand, the Scion team, led by Watt and Bailleres, submitted an application that was unanimously approved by the ForestSAT board of directors.
“What New Zealand and Scion does is unique globally,” says Watt. “Our group’s research is competing on the global scene and is attracting interest from many overseas forestry companies and research organisations.” Global heavyweights in remote sensing for forestry are expressing their excitement about the opportunity to visit New Zealand in September 2024.
Founder of ForestSAT and former conference chair, Dr Juan Suarez, says Rotorua is one of the most important innovation hubs in forestry science worldwide. “Hosting the conference will enable Rotorua to cement its global reputation in this area, connect academia with a forestry industry actively embracing new tools and technologies and attract new practitioners that can lead the transition to 21st century forestry.”
Puruki Forest is also likely to capture the attention of conference participants. About half an hour out of Rotorua, Puruki is a nationally significant experimental forest. Data and models from Puruki underpin almost every management decision New Zealand’s forestry companies make today. As planning for the next rotation begins, there is an opportunity to design new sets of trials and create an internationally important forestry science resource.
“Allowing international delegates the chance to visit this forest could provide opportunities for co-design of the next forest,” says Bailleres. “There is the potential for Puruki to be linked in with other international experimental forests and for a digital forest of the estate to be generated so lessons and the future forest can be shared beyond New Zealand.”
Work to organise the conference, planned for 9-13 September 2024, is now underway. The conference committee includes Scion’s portfolio leader, Claire Stewart, and key members of Scion’s Data and Geospatial Intelligence group. Collectively, they will provide attendees with several technical sessions and field trips that explore world-class recreational and productive forests.
Shielding forestry workers from aggressive protestersForestry workers in Northern NSW are experiencing illegal protests at their work sites, with one contractor told their machinery would be “burnt to the ground”, says Shooters Fishers and Farmers MLC, Mark Banasiak.
“Peaceful protest is essential in a democracy. However, there is nothing peaceful about the protests currently happening in the Bulga State Forest,” said Mr Banasiak. “I am inundated with desperate calls for help from forestry workers who are intimidated, harassed and threatened by many of these protesters at their work site.
“Forestry workers have a right to go to work and feel safe, just like all other workers in this State,” said Mr Banasiak. Since December 19, 2022, harvesting operations in State forests on the Mid-North Coast have been shut down on three separate occasions, with four illegal blockades by environmental protesters.
“The actions taken by these protesters threaten the safety of everyone; the site workers, the security personnel and their safety,” said Mr Banasiak. “In the last term of Parliament, I introduced a Bill that aims to protect forestry workers, authorised personnel and security personnel from environmental activists who disrupt forestry operators with aggressive and violent behaviour that risks the safety of those who work on the site.
“I will reintroduce the Bill in the next term in a bid to curb these illegal activities”. Greens MLC, Sue Higginson, has been on-site in the Bulga State Forest, offering legal advice to the illegal protesters. “Putting the safety of forestry workers at risk to win votes in an election is truly despicable behaviour by The Greens, although I am not surprised, I am appalled that a Member of the Legislative Council would encourage illegal behaviour,” said Mr Banasiak.
Source: Shooters, Fishers and Farmers
As NSW approaches a state election, the future of forests is a key question for many communities, conservationists and the timber industry. The National party launched its election campaign on Friday and MPs were greeted by about 20 protesters, some holding “protect native forests now” banners. Renewable native timber harvesting, done sustainably, will continue to have a future under a Liberal and Nationals government.
Victor Violante from the Australian Forest Products Association NSW, says the protests are “incredibly damaging for the mental health of workers” and he said that the position of parties such as the Greens and some independent candidates is also detached from reality.
“To replace the native vegetation volumes currently being harvested with plantation hardwood, we would need 250,000 additional hectares of hardwood plantations,” he said. The protests – and debate – are expected to ramp up in the lead up to the election in six weeks’ time.
Read more >>
Source: The Guardian
Buy and Sell
... and one to end the week on ... complete or finished?
"Complete" or "Finished"? Now here's your English lesson for the day!
On that note, enjoy your weekend. And for those caught up in
the cyclone this week, our thoughts go out to you and your
communities as you mop up and take stock of the last week's
events. Stay safe. Cheers.
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