Friday Offcuts – 1 September 2023

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Well over 300 delegates this week met up at our 5th Innovatek Carbon Forestry Conference. With the policy environment being so dynamic right now, carbon markets being de-stabilised by recent Government announcements, there remains a high degree of uncertainty for forestry companies, forest and land owners, the wider investment community. Consultation has only just ended on possible changes by regulators on the exact makeup of the country’s ETS. So we were pleased to feature a strong line-up of relevant speakers at our conference with insights into the current state of the industry, local and international carbon markets and the potential for change ahead. With plenty of time allotted for question-and-answer sessions there were several lively panel discussions allowed during this very popular event. Detailed information from conference presentations will be sent to all delegates shortly.

With seedling plantings dominating forest operations in the past few months, we’ve built in details this week of innovations that potentially will change how we're planting over winter. Lessons from early mechanised planting operations internationally will again be profiled by a range of practitioners at our annual FIEA ForestTECH Conference series coming in November to Rotorua and Melbourne.

Mechanised or machine planting is already successfully being used across Scandinavia, Brazil, USA, Canada and more recently, in New Zealand and Australia. Operational trials have successfully been undertaken in Australasia and now commercial planting is being undertaken in both the central North Island, New Zealand and in Victoria, Australia. At ForestTECH 2023 this year, insights and lessons from Hancock Victorian Plantations and a planting contractor who’ve now got two planting seasons under their belt using the Risutec SKB mechanised planting head will be given. For the first time, results will be shared from this year’s trials at Pan Pac Forest Products using the Swedish designed and manufactured PlantMax mechanised planter.

We’ve also got an update for you from the Precision Silviculture Programme at Forest Growers Research. We also have report on two trials recently undertaken in the central North Island with hydrogels applied during planting. The idea is that, like South America where it’s already being used operationally, moisture around tree roots from the application of the hydrogel will be able to assist in seedling establishment and growth, to extend the planting season beyond the usual winter window.

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Bay of Plenty now mapped with LiDAR

There is a new way to see the Bay of Plenty, following the completion of a project to map the region in 3D using LiDAR (light detection and ranging) elevation data, which is now available through Toitū Te Whenua Land Information New Zealand.

Made possible by the Provincial Growth Fund, the project has improved Toi Moana Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s ability to model natural hazards and climate change, design better infrastructure and improve environmental outcomes for the region.

The region now joins several others in New Zealand to have full LiDAR coverage, which has already proven to be useful in the mahi the Regional Council is doing, says Glen Clarkin, Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s Enterprise Systems Manager, who leads Geospatial services for the organisation.

“For a region like ours, where work such as flood modelling is hugely important, it means we have accurate information about the ground terrain, which in turn means we’re better able to model where we think water may flow. From here we can look at where flood protection might be best placed, and which areas will be at greatest risk of flooding.”

Mr Clarkin said that was just one way the information will be used by the Regional Council. “Catchment mapping, understanding and preparing for natural hazards, helping us better understand the history of the region we live in, and planning for climate change are all key benefits of us having access to this data.”

The information also has benefits for local industry. Stakeholders in such industries as agriculture, engineering and forestry are using this information to gain a deeper understanding of the environments they operate in, improving their decision-making processes and contributing to improved outcomes. The project also received support from the Bay of Plenty Local Authority Shared Service (BOPLASS) group. This has enabled the data to be shared between all councils in the region within existing Long Term Plan budgets.

LiDAR covering 50 percent of New Zealand is now freely available, and this figure is expected to grow to 80 percent nationally next year, when the PGF-LiDAR project is complete.

The data is publicly available at LINZ Data Service.

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Mechanised planting innovations - ForestTECH 2023

The 2023 ForestTECH programme, consisting of pre-and-post conference workshops and meetings along with trade exhibitions has been designed with Australasian forestry companies. It’s now live.

Last year, well over 500 delegates from 15 different countries were involved in the on-line event run for the industry in February and the in-person end-of-year series that ran in both New Zealand and Australia in November 2022.

Details on the content and coverage for this year’s ForestTECH 2023 series running on the 14-15 November in Rotorua, NZ event and on 21-22 November 2023 in Melbourne, Australia the week after, can be found on

Like recent ForestTECH events, two key themes are being covered; (a) tree crop management, automated silviculture, including mechanised planting, thinning and pruning, forest establishment and (b) remote sensing, forest data capture and forest inventory management.

Of relevance to readers involved in forest establishment, this year’s series will be detailing lessons from mechanised or automated commercial operations being used for planting and silviculture.

Mechanised or machine planting is already successfully being used across Scandinavia, Brazil, the USA, Canada and more recently, New Zealand and Australia. Operational trials have successfully been undertaken in Australasia and now commercial planting is being undertaken in both the central North Island, New Zealand and in Victoria, Australia.

Key presentations at ForestTECH 2023 will include;

1. Lessons from two planting seasons in Victoria using a fully mechanised planting operation – results, lessons and payback from a forest owner’s and contractor’s perspective

2. A new concept in mechanised planting. Results from the first Australasian trials by Pan Pac Forest Products using the Swedish designed and produced PlantMax mechanised planter

3. Results from operational trials using remote controlled mechanised tree pruning

4. Using smart phone and drone collected data to improve the quality and productivity of Chilean mechanised thinning operations

For the first time in Australasia, a unique system of raising tree seedlings is also going to be unveiled to the local forestry industry. Using the concept of vertical farming systems (growing crops in vertically stacked layers), Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) who’re looking to plant tens of millions of new trees in the coming years, have trialled a new nursery system that’s going to enable them to meet their ambitious planting targets.

Both conifers and broadleaved species using this vertical “growing machine” have shown this system can produce seedlings six times faster than open grown stock. Both FLS and Intelligent Growth Solutions (IGS), the Edinburgh-based firm that has designed the system, will be presenting at the ForestTECH 2023 series in November.

For the full conference programme, information on pre-and post-conference workshops that have been opened to all ForestTECH 2023 delegates as well as information on a Remote Sensing Cluster Group meeting being held the day before the Rotorua event, can now be found on the event website,

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Gender & diversity in the Australian forestry industry

In the latest episode of our StatisticsCount video series, Kevin Peachey, Statistics & Economics Manager at FWPA, takes viewers through the latest data on gender and diversity in the Australian forest and wood products industry. The information in this short two-minute video is based on the findings of recent industry surveys.

Source: FWPA

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NEW CEO for Forest Owners Association

The new Chief Executive of the Forest Owners Association, Dr Elizabeth Heeg, is promising to expand the vision of the NZ forest industry.

Elizabeth Heeg has just taken up the job, to replace long serving chief executive David Rhodes. She was previously working at Te Uru Rākau New Zealand Forest Service. "The Forest and Wood Industry Transformation Plan, which was launched just last year, lays out a clear pathway to maximise forestry’s role and value-add to address the climate crisis."

"But as we meet the challenges of realising the full potential of our forests and development of an advanced processing industry, the catastrophic effects of Cyclone Gabrielle earlier in the year, have also reminded us that we must adapt to climate change as well."

"We’ve got to get better at managing our forest debris, and do it ahead of the growing intensity of storms which put all land use at greater risk." Elizabeth Heeg says she’s looking forward to working with FOA member companies, other primary industry organisations and associations, decision makers and communities.

“FOA has always been close to the Farm Foresters Association, who represent small scale forest operations, and they are important partners as we look towards diversification and adaptation."

“We also are looking to future partnerships to utilise woody biomass for energy, with companies such as Fonterra. Forestry is moving into a new age of partnership and collaboration."

"By building partnerships across the forestry supply chain, with the Wood Manufacturers Association and Timber Industry Federation, we can process more wood onshore, use more wood for building, and get the highest value from our forests."

"The ITP estimates New Zealand could lower its projected carbon emissions by fifty-four million tonnes by 2050, if we increase domestic processing and u biomass efficiently. That’s a target worth aiming at."

Forest Owners Association President, Grant Dodson, says he’s delighted to welcome Dr Heeg as a highly qualified woman as CE of the Association. "She’ll be bringing a whole range of new perspectives to the top of the industry. There’s a lack of female leadership in the sector and Elizabeth’s appointment is going to go towards redressing the imbalance towards a more diverse leadership and participation in forestry and its supply chain."

Source: Forest Owners Association

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Submission on NZ's proposed ETS redesign

Professor Euan G. Mason, Professor at the New Zealand School of Forestry, University of Canterbury has provided a well-reasoned and researched submission to the NZ Governments proposed redesign of the ETS. It summarises the current state and the role of forestry in helping New Zealand respond appropriately to climate change.

The full submission can be accessed on the link supplied below.

Synopsis of submission

Many proposed changes to the emissions trading scheme (ETS), particularly the idea of splitting credits into sequestered carbon versus avoided emissions with only the latter of any market value, are irrational, will create confusion, will lower confidence in carbon forestry, and will cause us to fail to meet our targets. This will cost the nation potentially billions of dollars in purchases foreign carbon credits of dubious quality, and in lost markets as other countries begin to sanction our lack of action.

Continued expansion of forests, particularly exotic ones, is vital for us to reach our national targets. Unharvested exotic carbon forests could be assured of ultimate conversion to native by:

a. Carefully selecting sites on which these forests are established,
b. Requiring owners of such forests to place a portion of their carbon credit revenues in an escrow account to pay for any management required for their conversion.
More accurate assessments of sequestration on small woodlots would encourage farmers to establish carbon forests on small portions of their farms and reduce the likelihood of whole-farm conversions to forest that are currently causing such anguish in the agricultural sector.

Our emissions trading scheme ignores those responsible for more than half of our gross GHG emissions. The “emissions leakage” argument used to exempt most greenhouse gas (GHG) emitters from the ETS does not work, because it requires us to assume that:

a. We are the most greenhouse gas (GHG)-efficient producers of primary products
b. Other countries will not seek lower their GHG emissions;
c. People will continue to purchase goods with a high greenhouse gas footprint as the climate crisis worsens.

Moreover, actual studies of emissions leakage show that it is a negligible problem. Therefore, the NZ agricultural sector and other trade-exposed industries, responsible for 57.5% of our gross GHG emissions, should not use the “leakage argument” as a justification for their exemption from purchasing NZUs.

The discussion document suggesting changes to the ETS fails to make the case that forest-based carbon credits threaten reductions in gross GHG emissions by overwhelming the carbon market with cheap credits. This case relies on the assumption that the supply of credits will increase while the demand for credits will remain small. However, making trade-exposed industries and agriculture responsible for their emissions would greatly increase the demand for credits, invalidating the argument that forest-based credits necessarily threaten reductions in gross emissions.

The pathway to lowering gross emissions is to:

a. Require everyone, including farmers and trade-exposed industries to submit credits for the full amount of their greenhouse gas emissions;
b. Allow the price of carbon credits to rise to the point where it is more cost-effective to lower emissions that to purchase offsets;
c. Stop auctioning carbon credits;
d. Stop giving away credits.

The threat of carbon forestry to our high country farming culture can be mitigated by making carbon lookup tables accurate and/or allowing owners of carbon forests < 100 ha in extent to measure actual carbon sequestration in their woodlots. This would encourage farmers to establish their own small woodlots, reducing the incentive to convert whole farms to forest and greatly increasing the profitability of hill country farms.

More >>

Source: Euan G. Mason

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Forest Growers Research annual conference 2023

The 2023 Forest Growers Research Annual Conference, will be held at Rydges, Rotorua over two days from Tuesday 12th to Wednesday 13th September and the third day is a Field Trip on Thursday 14th September 2023

This year’s theme, Meeting the Challenge – Protecting and Enhancing the Environment through Sustainable Forestry, will provide an update on FGR’s main research programmes, showcase the collaborative work with industry, government and other stakeholders that is supporting the sector and its transformation, and discuss the latest forestry innovation and technology. A great event to add to your calendar for those who work in the forestry sector.

The three-day conference will incorporate a diverse range of topics and activities, including presentations from over 40 speakers, Panel Q&A sessions, a field trip to the Kaingaroa Timberlands forest estate and the Annual Awards Dinner, with plenty of networking and engagement opportunities throughout.

Day 1 – Tuesday 12th September. Four sessions with various speakers presenting on topics including FGR Research Programmes and the Annual Awards Dinner with Guest Speaker, Roger Dennis, Strategic Foresight Expert, followed by the presentation of six awards.

Day 2 – Wednesday 13th September. Wahine in Forestry Breakfast – Guest Speaker Dr Elizabeth Heeg, newly appointed Chief Executive of Forest Owners Association. Four conference sessions.

Day 3 – Thursday 14th September. Full day Field Trip, to Kaingaroa forest estate, hosted by Timberlands Ltd.

The full programme of activities can be viewed here.

Registrations for the 2023 Forest Growers Research conference close Thursday, 7 September 2023. Only one week to go! Secure your tickets at Forest Growers Research look forward to seeing you there!

Source: Forest Growers Research

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Mercedes-Benz eActros begins NZ testing

A fully electric 19-tonne Mercedes-Benz eActros has arrived in New Zealand for validation testing with Daimler Truck dealer network partners. The eActros 300 4×2 cab chassis model, with a reported range of up to 330km, is now being put through its paces in the North Island with customer participation alongside commercial vehicle dealership Keith Andrews.

Testing will also soon begin in the South Island with Daimler Truck dealer network partner CablePrice NZ. The eActros, that was also on display at EROAD’s Fleet Day in Hamilton, is focused on heavy-duty, short radius distribution. Development trucks have been at work in select fleets in Europe since 2018 and series production began at the Wörth plant in Germany in 2021.

The model is Daimler’s first heavy-duty zero-emission truck and follows the launch of its Fuso eCanter as the world’s first series-produced electric truck. The first eCanter arrived in New Zealand in 2021.

For the eActros, there are two 4×2 models and three 6×2 options planned for the range in major markets. The model’s evaluation phase is the first step before its official release in New Zealand. Daimler Truck and the dealer network will provide updates on availability once the evaluation phase is complete.

“It really is the next-level for heavy-duty e-vehicles, enabling reliable performance over an extended range and charging from 20%-80% in an hour with a standard DC fast charge,” Keith Andrews alternative fuels transition manager Matt Gillatt says.

Source: TransportTalk

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Resilience workshops planned by Future Foresters

Future Foresters are looking forward to hosting a free resilience workshop for our Future Foresters and wider forestry community in the Hawkes Bay and Gisborne regions on the 21st and 22nd of September. This year has been a tough and challenging one for many, including our forestry industry. 'Thriving at Work' is a free resilience focused workshop that will explore how to support foresters to thrive and not simply survive.

Hawkes Bay Workshop: 12-4pm, 21st September, Quality Inn Hotel.

Gisborne Workshop: 12-4pm, 22nd September, Aratu Turanganui Training Room.

If people are the bedrock of the success to any forestry operation, then our mental well-being is of utmost importance. It will examine both the way work is organized and managed as well as develop practical habits for improving physical and mental well-being.

Dr Hillary Bennet is a Director of Leading Safety, a consultancy specializing in the leadership of safety and wellbeing, the assessment and development of safety and wellbeing culture, human factors, and workplace health and safety. Hillary is a registered psychologist and is passionate about supporting people to thrive both at work and at home.

Our Hawkes Bay and Gisborne Future Forester Regional Leaders, Harry Dineen and Buck Trafford have been putting in the mahi behind the scenes to pull this one together. There will be food provided at the workshops and of course an opportunity for networking afterwards.

"We’d love to see you all there. Please RSVP before the 12th September by emailing or messaging us on our socials to secure your spot.

Source: Future Foresters

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Wairoa appeal goes against forest owners

The Court of Appeal in Wellington has found against forest owners in their judicial review of the Wairoa District Council imposing a differential rate on foresters. The Court of Appeal ruled it was necessary for councils to follow a democratic process even if the outcome was unfair for some ratepayers.

The Court decided there was no evidence that the Mayor of Wairoa wanted to exclude forestry in the district to protect farming, though the Court did accept that farming had been declining in the region for many years through removal of subsidies.

The Court also accepted at face value the claims by Beef + Lamb NZ that farming supported many more workers per unit of land that forestry did – simply by excluding the forest harvest workforce.

The judgment is a dangerous one for all land users, not just foresters. It opens a door for local government to force some land users to effectively subsidise other less profitable ones out of simple political prejudice. FOA will be pushing the incoming government to amend the Local Government Act to try to ensure fairer outcomes in the future.

For further coverage on the case and legal challenge;

Forest owners lose appeal in Council rates stoush, and

Wairoa council fights off industry’s court challenge to higher rates for forest companies

In response to the decision, the Forest Owners Association wants the incoming government to change the Local Government Act to protect minority ratepayers in rural areas.

The FOA says the recent Court of Appeal judgment, against forest owners in Wairoa, opens the way for local councils to make arbitrary rates decisions against minority landowners.

More >>

Sources: Forest Owners Association, Gisborne Herald, NZ Herald

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Altus wood pellets business in receivership

FTI Consulting has given wood pellets maker Altus Renewables’ suitors until September 15 to prepare their indicative bids for the business, which went into receivership last week.

Altus has production facilities close to forestry areas with access to port infrastructure. Its Tuan Facility has a 125,000 tonnes annual capacity and is running at 90,000 tonnes, according to the flyer. Prospective bidders were told that the company is in the third year of a 10-year offtake. It also has a development site, the Green Triangle Project, near Portland.

Queensland-based Altus used pine sawdust to make pellets, supplying the product as a complementary source of fuel for power stations. It was hurt by rising raw material costs, which ate into profitability despite rising revenues.

It appointed McGrathNicol as the administrators this month, which was followed by lender Mitsui calling FTI as the receivers. Mitsui, which is an offtake counterparty as well as a lender, was owed AU$14.5 million at June last year.

Source: AFR

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Safety using the T-Winch harvesting downhill

Zane Knight, owner of Knight Logging, and his operator Johnson Peri, talk about their new T-Winch, which can be operated from the cab using a remote control. Zane says the T-Winch is so easy to use that Johnson stays hooked up all the time when harvesting down the hill – meaning he’s much safer.

- Watch Zane’s video

- Watch Johnson’s video

Source: Safetree

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Testing hydrogel to extend the planting season

Hydrogels which retain moisture around tree roots can aid seedling establishment and growth, and potentially extend the planting season beyond its traditional winter window.

As part of the Precision Silviculture Programme within Forest Growers Research, a trial to test a seaweed-based hydrogel was set up by a team from Scion together with Timberlands and contractor, H.A.Fear. The hydrogel was applied, and the trees planted, using a mechanical ‘M-Planter’ in Tarawera Forest in March 2022.

The site was renowned for its dry, difficult establishment conditions. On this occasion the hydrogel had no significant effect on tree survival, and only a minor positive impact on early growth, perhaps because the weather was unusually wet around planting time. The results from this first trial were outlined to local foresters as part of the ForestTECH 2022 series, both in New Zealand and Australia, that ran in November last year.

A second similar trial was planted with the M-Planter in December 2022 in collaboration with Rayonier-Matariki Forests to see whether hydrogel would increase survival over drier summer conditions. Again, the trial was compromised by unseasonably wet weather, however, the team learned a lot about the operation of the M-Planter in wet weather and clay soils.

The final report on the project can be read here.

A fundamental research trial on hydrogels, that removes the vagaries of the weather will continue because their use is closely aligned with mechanised planting. Extending the planting season is key to increasing planting machine utilisation, thereby improving the overall cost-effectiveness of mechanised operations.

Source: Forest Growers Research

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EV graveyards in China - what's up?

Something isn’t quite right over in China. Footage has emerged showing fields of cars, predominantly electric vehicles, just sitting there. It's a bit eerie, and quite confusing considering how China is a massive market for EVs, so what’s going on?

More >>

Source: Stuff

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Buy and Sell

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

Strange ..... I must be getting stronger as I age.

It used to be an effort to carry in $100 of groceries from my car.

Now I can carry in $200 worth with only one hand ....

A little boy was waiting for his mother. As he waited, he was approached by a man who asked, "Son, can you tell me where the Post Office is?"

The little boy replied, "Sure! Just go straight down this street two blocks and turn to your right."

The man thanked the boy kindly and said, "I'm the new pastor in town. I'd like you to come to church on Sunday. I'll show you how to get to Heaven."

The little boy replied with a laugh; "You're kidding me, right? You don't even know the way to the Post Office."

And on that note, enjoy your weekend. Cheers.

Brent Apthorp
Editor, Friday Offcuts
Distinction Dunedin Hotel
6 Liverpool Street, Dunedin 9016, New Zealand
PO Box 904, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand
Tel: +64 (03) 470 1902, Mob: +64 21 227 5177

John Stulen
Editor, WoodWorks News
PO Box 1230, Rotorua, 3040
Tel: +64 7 921 1381
Mob: +64 27 275 8011

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