Friday Offcuts – 29 March 2019

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Two major announcements were made this week. Both related to NZ forestry and the treatment of forests in the country’s Emission’s Trading Scheme (ETS). On Tuesday, a major report was released by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment. It was suggesting an alternative approach to dealing with long-term climate change targets and policies. Some of the fundamental design principles of the country’s ETS were also questioned. The Government almost immediately dismissed recommendations made in the report that forests should only be used to offset agricultural greenhouse gas emissions. Instead, for the sake of providing “policy stability and predictability for emitters and the forestry sector”, they said that they’re committed to using forests as carbon 'sinks' for carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions.

On Wednesday, a second set of changes to the Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) were announced by the Government. The announcement included the introduction of averaging accounting for all forests registered from 1 January 2021 and the option of using the new accounting method for all forests registered in 2019 and 2020. This means owners will no longer have to measure and report on the amount of carbon being stored or face a carbon liability when trees are harvested. The idea here is to make the scheme simpler and to provide certainty to those planting or investing in forestry. Links to both releases along with more information are contained in the stories covered this week.

And some more good news. All of us over the years have been doing our level best to encourage or enthuse youngsters to look at forestry as a future career option. Efforts though typically have been localised. Resources to go with the site or school visits or the career open days more often than not are cobbled together at the last minute. For a major export earner and with skills shortages already identified as a significant constraint to the future growth of our industry, let’s be honest, we’ve really been sitting on our hands. Compared to the efforts of most other major industries, our efforts in this space have left a lot to be desired. Anyone who has been to a recent careers’ day will tell you that a couple of pull up banners and a few brochures these days don’t really cut it.

To finally put some grunt into this space, a new web portal, has just been launched in New Zealand. It’s designed to answer all those questions posed by those that may be interested in forestry education, training and careers. Information is provided on a wide range of jobs, with an outline of the work involved, salary range, and what training or education might be needed to match each of the jobs. A comprehensive training section details the many regional and national education and training courses that are on offer. Scholarships, awards and other assistance packages available to help those looking at heading down this path are also profiled to encourage students.

It’s a one stop shop. It’s still being added to but congratulations to all those involved in pulling the site and material together. It’s going to provide an excellent resource. As a company, as a trainer, as an industry association or Wood Council, your aim should now be to build in links to the new site and resources into your own web pages. No doubt further materials will be made available to those on the front line working with their local schools and students. As these are developed, we hope to be able to pass on information to help you and your staff, your contractors and local training providers to use. That’s it for this week. Enjoy this week’s read.

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ETS revamp for NZ forests announced

Changes to the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) will see 89 million more trees planted in the coming years and an extra 45 million tonnes of carbon dioxide stored in New Zealand’s forests.

Forestry Minister Shane Jones and Climate Change Minister James Shaw on Wednesday announced a second set of changes to the Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) as part of broader reforms to make the scheme fit-for-purpose.

“The announcement includes the introduction of averaging accounting for all forests registered from January 1 2021 and the option to use the new accounting method for all forests registered in 2019 and 2020,” Shane Jones said.

“By taking a long-term view of the amount of carbon in a production forest, averaging means forest owners will be able to trade more carbon (NZUs) at lower risk, and not have to worry about finding units to repay when they harvest.

“It’s essential the ETS provides the right incentives for forestry over the long term so we can deliver on our One Billion Trees programme as well as our commitment to taking action on climate change and supporting the transition to a low emissions future.

“We’ve heard from the forestry sector about the need to make the ETS simpler while increasing the incentives to plant trees – simpler accounting for the carbon stored in trees will make a positive difference for anyone considering investing in forestry,” Shane Jones said.

“The timing of this decision – as the 2019 planting season is about to get under way – is important for forest owners. They can now go ahead with planting this year knowing they can choose the new system and we hope this provides the certainty they’ve been seeking as a sector. We expect to make further decisions soon on the details of averaging accounting, and whether forests already in the ETS can transition to averaging.”

James Shaw said Cabinet had also agreed to several operational changes to streamline the ETS process for forest owners. “We will improve the emissions rulings process where applicants can get an assessment of their land prior to investment and enable the use of a mapping instrument to make applications even easier,” James Shaw said.

“These proposals work together: the improved emissions ruling process will be in place once the legislation changes, while we develop the mapping instrument over the longer term.

“These changes to the ETS are part of a number of overlapping policy levers that aim to strike the right balance between production and protection. We need clean water and reduced greenhouse gasses. We also need food and employment, including in the regions.

“Alongside these important forestry changes, the Government is progressing more amendments to the ETS. These changes will improve the ETS to support New Zealand’s commitment to the Paris Agreement and our transition to a low emissions future. We aim to introduce the changes to Parliament around the middle of this year.

“We are also making the scheme fairer, and creating the ability for the Crown to make sure people are operating within the intended framework,” James Shaw said.

Click here to take a closer look at the changes being made to the country's ETS.

For the forest owners comments on the announcement, click here.

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Forestry Careers & Training web portal launched

A new web portal - - was launched in mid-March by the Forest Growers Levy Trust (FGLT). The portal is a comprehensive starting point for anyone interested in forestry education, training and careers, providing information and directing users to other relevant websites and sources of information.

The facility is “long overdue” according to Fraser Field, a member of the FGLT Training and Careers Committee (TCC) and forestry training manager. The TCC has overseen the development of the web portal, and will keep the site up-to-date into the future.

“It is absolutely critical that there is an authoritative source of careers and training information, that is easy to access and up-to-date,” says Fraser. “Up until now there has been a real lack of cohesiveness, with information scattered all over the place. So this portal is going to be of great value.”

The web portal contains information about the myriad of career opportunities in forestry. It covers options from practical roles in silviculture and harvesting to forest management, engineering, surveying, research, administration, human resource management, IT and others. Information is provided on some 30 types of jobs, with an outline of the work involved, salary range, and what training or education might be needed to match the particular job.

A comprehensive ‘Training’ section details the many regional and national education and training courses on offer, again covering the full range from entry level practical and academic courses through options for further training mid-career to ideas for people thinking of moving into forestry from other sectors. There are links to the various course providers’ websites and contact people.

A surprisingly large number of scholarships, awards and other assistance packages are available for education and training at every level in the industry: the portal provides a starting point to help people seek these out.

Glen Mackie, secretary of the TCC and a key contributor to the website’s design and development, says another benefit is that the portal will provide a fund of resources for school careers advisers or anyone else who needs information about forestry careers, education and training.

“We have a great collection of videos and other resources,” says Glen, “and these are going to be accessible and downloadable for people running careers and recruitment events for example. There’s also some background information on the industry, and some ‘myth-busters’, which we hope will help dispel some of the negative impressions that tend to blight attempts to recruit new entrants.” One myth that is definitely dispelled is that forestry is a low-income sector, with potential wages at all levels looking very competitive.

“We want the portal to be dynamic, used and refreshed by the education and training sectors, employers, people already working in forestry, and potential new entrants to the industry,” says Glen. “Forestry offers so many career opportunities and training pathways. Our aim is to help people find what’s right for them.”

The new resource – with details and links - should be linked to your own company, association or Wood Council web pages, can be viewed on

Source: Forest Owners Association

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Minimising stem breakage on steeper slopes

There’s nothing more frustrating than watching an impressive 35-m tall Radiata pine topple to the ground and then shatter into two or more pieces. That stem has now not only lost a chunk of its value, it has also become harder to get those fractured pieces back up to the landing or skid site, compared to a wholly intact tree.

Unfortunately, this is a sight that is all too familiar in logging operations throughout New Zealand forests, with some estimates putting breakages as high as 75% - that’s three quarters of the crop. Amazingly, its accepted as normal practice by forest companies and contractors alike. But now something is being done about it.

An old, yet simple idea is making a timely comeback and its set to play a significant role in the way our trees are felled, particularly on steep slopes. It’s a new take on the venerable fixed head feller-buncher. And interestingly, a bunch of Australians have been driving the trend in this part of the world.

Hardly surprising. Fixed head feller-bunchers have been popular in ground-based Eucalyptus forests across the Tasman for many years, notably the US-style disc saw and shear head models that can cut and accumulate multiple stems and place them accurately and, most importantly, gently on the ground. This results in better bunching for the skidder and virtually no breakages.

It didn’t take long for astute Aussies to figure that pine trees could be felled in a similar fashion. But disc saws don’t work so well with large diameter pine, which led to fixed head chainsaw models being developed and becoming mandatory in some Australian forests, particularly those under the management of HVP Plantations in the state of Victoria.

Two Nelson based harvesting contractors, Nathan Taylor and Hamish Matthews, working with Ian Wilson, have put a fixed felling head with lateral rotation onto a new levelling felling machine for their Nelson operation - the first of its type in New Zealand. They have discovered just what a huge difference this style of machine can make to minimising felling breakages and improving the way they extract trees on steep terrain.

The full story on the adoption of this felling system and advantages to their operation can be read in the March 2019 issue of NZ Logger.

Nathan Taylor from Mechanised Cable Harvesting and one of the early adopters in Australia, Andrew Mahnken from Mountain Logging in Gippsland, Victoria who had discovered the benefits of using fixed felling heads to harvest full stems long ago, will both be presenting as part of the HarvestTECH 2019 event being run in Rotorua, New Zealand on 26-27 June.

Full details on the two-day wood harvesting event and exhibitions can be found on the event website,

Source & Photo: NZ Logger

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Climate policy needs a landscape approach

A report about taking an alternative ‘landscape approach’ to Aotearoa New Zealand’s long-term climate change targets and policies has been released this week by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Simon Upton.

“It focuses on dealing with our agricultural greenhouse gases and forest sinks together, while dealing with fossil carbon dioxide emissions separately”.

“We could store carbon in forests over large areas of New Zealand and score a net zero accounting triumph around mid-century; or adopt a more ambitious approach to reducing fossil emissions and make a clear statement about how far biological emissions should be reduced.”

The risk of the current approach is that, while New Zealand might achieve net zero emissions, delayed action on gross fossil emissions could mean they are still running at around half today’s level. New Zealand would need more time – and land – to offset the balance well into the second half of the century.

New Zealand has witnessed dramatic changes in land cover and land use, each of which has moved round large amounts of carbon. The way New Zealand responds to climate change will once again drive land use change.

“Since carbon dioxide is the main driver of global temperature rise, serious climate action to tackle New Zealand’s gross fossil carbon dioxide emissions can be delayed no longer. The scale of the climate challenge is such that, to meet it, the shape and structure of our economy and our rural environment will look very different”.

“Equally, if we fail to rise to the challenge, our economy and rural environment will also be transformed but in a much more damaging way,” said Mr Upton.

The current approach to New Zealand’s emissions relies heavily on forest offsets. While the warming effects of carbon dioxide can last for centuries to millennia, the climate benefits of forests cannot be guaranteed for such lengthy periods.

Forests are at risk from fire, disease and climate change itself. Managing a long-term problem with a short-term ‘fix’ is risky. Under an alternative approach explored by the report, fossil emissions would be managed down to zero by the second half of the century, separately from biological emissions and forest sinks.

While biological emissions would need to be reduced, that would not be to zero because of their shorter lifetime in the atmosphere. Biological emissions could also be offset with forest sinks. This approach more closely aligns the duration of the warming impact of these emissions and the duration of forest sinks that offset these emissions.

The report adopts a timeframe through to 2075. This provides time for further zero carbon technology development. Transitional ongoing support through continuing free allocations, access to international units or even some forestry offsets could also be considered for those sectors currently lacking low carbon technology options.

Modelling the two approaches showed a striking difference in real-world outcomes to the extent of land use change.

“Policymakers need to be prepared to test different approaches rather than accept without argument that ‘there is no alternative’. There are always alternatives – and reducing gross fossil carbon dioxide emissions must be the priority.”

Read the Commissioner's report, Farms, forests and fossil fuels: The next great landscape transformation?

For further coverage and comment on the report, click here

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Call for speakers - Changing Perceptions 2019

New Zealand’s 4th Annual Changing Perceptions Conference (part of the WoodWorks service) is focussed on the growing use of engineered timber in commercial construction. It is scheduled to run on 3-4 September 2019 in Rotorua, New Zealand. This event will be showcasing the use of engineered timber case studies as well as exploring changes in timber use in New Zealand. The value of wood will be explored from different angles, including cost and climate change / carbon considerations.

The target audience for the event are developers, architects, engineers, building designers, specifiers and quantity surveyors. This conference will continue on from the previous three events in this series, exploring further the use of engineered timber in buildings both in New Zealand and what we can learn from others around the globe.

The organisers are working closely with a wide range of well-developed project managers, suppliers and engineers to develop a strong and innovative programme.

If you are an early adopter, developer, innovator, technology supplier, service provider or applied research practitioner within the engineered timber and construction sector, the Changing Perceptions team would like to hear from you.

The 2019 conference will include sessions on:

- Building Performance Issues: Do timber solutions stack up?
- Mass Timber for Commercial Building Solutions
- Multi-Residential Buildings: Framing, Mass Timber or Hybrid?
- Case Studies: Small, medium and large.

If you are interested in being considered as a presenter, or would like to recommend an early adopter, case study or international expert, please contact the conference organiser: John Stulen, Tel: +64 27 275 8011,

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AU$30m fund welcomed by Climate Proofing Australia

Climate Proofing Australia (CPA) has welcomed the Federal Government’s announcement of a AU$30 million pilot Agriculture Biodiversity Stewardship Program, and urges for more to be done to incentivise carbon projects that deliver the co-benefits of biodiversity, productivity, water quality and landholders and employment.

Climate Proofing Australia (CPA) is a conservation and industry alliance comprised of Farmers for Climate Action, the Red Meat Advisory Council (RMAC), Greening Australia and the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA), committed to advancing the role of agribusiness, conservation and natural resource management in Australia’s climate change and emissions reduction policy.

Farmers for Climate Action CEO Ms Verity Morgan-Schmidt said the pilot program’s objectives of seeing “farmers receive incentives for projects that boost biodiversity and also, if appropriate, absorb carbon” is important recognition that the agriculture sector has an important role to play in Australia’s climate change mitigation strategy.

“With climate change leading to increasing management and productivity challenges for farmers, this pilot scheme is a positive step forward to ensure that farmers receive appropriate recognition for the eco-system services they provide,” Ms Morgan-Schmidt said.

Greening Australia CEO Mr Brendan Foran said the conservation sector has an important role to play in working with the agriculture and forestry industries to better integrate biodiversity and carbon sequestration in their operations, and urged the Government use the$2.2 billion Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) to prioritise carbon projects that deliver multiple benefits.

“CPA calls on the Government to remove existing barriers in the ERF architecture that have limited the land sector’s participation, and direct at least AU$500 million from the ERF for land-based projects that also deliver environmental and productivity benefits,” Mr Foran said.

“The current ERF conditions limit the land sector’s capacity to generate co-benefits associated with carbon sequestration, such as reinstating wildlife habitat, supporting sustainable agriculture, increasing the plantation forestry estate, and cleaner waters in our rivers. By working with the conservation sector, Australia can be more ambitious about what we can achieve with this investment.”

Source: Climate Proofing Australia

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12-storey wood buildings now OK in B.C.

The height limit for wooden buildings in B.C. is rising to 12 from six storeys in a move that Premier John Horgan expects to spur development using timber and give the province a head-start on other parts of the country.

B.C. is changing its building code to allow the construction of taller wood buildings as a safe, economic and environmental alternative to concrete apartments and office buildings, Horgan said Wednesday. B.C.’s building code changes come a year ahead of expected changes in the national building code, which are also expected to increase height limits for wood buildings to 12 storeys, Horgan said.

“We’re not waiting for the rest of the country to get here,” said Horgan. “We already know that the product we’re building, that we’re creating here, is fire resistant. We know that we can build faster and we know it’s better for the environment.” He said he expects local governments and First Nations to approve more wood buildings for family apartments, student residences and business locations.

Horgan made the announcement at Structurlam, a timber production company in Okanagan Falls near Penticton that has been a North American leader in wood products used in buildings. “We need to get more value out of every log,” he said. “It’s cost-effective. It’s environmentally sensitive and it’s putting British Columbians to work with a B.C. product.”


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Forest owners want clarity from Government

Forest Owners want clarity for what New Zealand plantation forestry is expected to deliver on climate change targets. The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Simon Upton, has just issued a report which downplays the contribution of forestry in sequesting atmospheric carbon, and instead wants to drive down fossil fuel use.

But the Forest Owners Association President, Peter Weir, says Simon Upton is contradicting the Productivity Commission’s report earlier this year which pointed to planting trees serving as carbon sinks as the main means of getting New Zealand to carbon neutrality by 2050.

“The PCE takes a different tack to the Productivity Commission. The PCE makes the argument that long-lived gases from the burning of fossil fuels should be treated differently to short lived greenhouse gases from biological sources.”

“For instance, the Productivity Commission talked about the possible need for up to 2.8 million hectares of new planting to reach carbon neutrality. Simon Upton has a figure of 5.4 million hectares of new trees. That's a very big difference. Both make the current One Billion Tree project aspirations look quite modest.”

Peter Weir says that Simon Upton is correct in that forestry can’t offer climate change solutions indefinitely. “The industry has never suggested that we are a solution for all time. But in the immediate term we just can’t wait for the development of a political will for a reduction in the use of fossil fuels, or the evolution of technical solutions to reduce livestock emissions. We don’t have time for either of those.”

“Fast growing exotic plantation trees are a quick fix for getting our net emissions down in the critical next couple of decades. It’s important in all this commentary also to acknowledge and appreciate the large difference in sequestration rates between exotic plantation forests and indigenous planting. Exotics are many times faster at absorbing carbon.”

“Again, Simon Upton is right when he says landscape transformation has the potential to be disruptive and has to be managed carefully. But he, and those who make policy, should take on board that growing plantation forests is an income generating activity which, certainly for some regions, exceeds that of current marginal farming.”

“Simon Upton is cautious that forestry may have a downside which reduces its value in sequesting carbon. I have a real concern that this is going to be misunderstood in some quarters that we should abandon an expansion of tree planting altogether.”

“It’s great to have the debate, but we do need some urgency in our government producing a carbon forestry policy and a critical first part of that is reform of the Emissions Trading Scheme.”

The President of the Farm Forestry Association, Neil Cullen, also wants the government direction to be clear.

“We have a concern that there is a proposal from the PCE to restrict forestry offsets. If the government decided to follow this and limit offsets to agriculture, then this would have a dramatic negative impact on the value of carbon units, reduce planting rates and perpetuating the seesaw policy that forestry has been experiencing for too long,” Neil Cullen says.

He also points to the Interim Climate Change Panel coming up with yet another set of formulas for addressing greenhouse gas emissions. “It’s time for government decisions.”

Source: FOA & NZFFA

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Log distribution JV formed by NZ companies

Four forestry companies operating in the Wairarapa region of New Zealand have announced the formation of Log Distribution Limited, a joint venture company which will commence operations on 1 April 2019.

Log Distribution Limited is a collaboration between FOMS Ltd, Forest Enterprises Growth Ltd, Wairarapa Estate Ltd and Norsewood Estate Ltd which aims to improve efficiencies in log export through the collaborative management of log marketing and shipping, marshalling and stevedoring, road and rail transport and log storage.

The company’s operations will be based at Masterton and will ship logs from the Wellington and Napier ports. Log Distribution Limited will be supported by TPT which has been engaged to oversee the company’s export marketing and shipping.

Forest Enterprises Growth Chief Executive Officer Bert Hughes says the four founding companies share common interests in the supply chain. The companies collectively identified the opportunity to improve the efficiency and safety of log export operations through increased coordination and scale.

“We believe the formation of Log Distribution Limited will result in reduced waste across the supply chain and better use of our critical rail and port infrastructure,” Mr Hughes says. “A key focus of Log Distribution Limited operations will be to improve efficiency in log cartage across the southern part of the North Island. This includes initiatives that will assist in alleviating bottlenecks in the supply chain, as we expect to see local harvest levels steadily increase over the next five years.”

Recognising the increased demand to provide the region’s growers with a route to market, Mr Hughes says Log Distribution Limited will place focus on reducing the reliance on road transport over the Rimutaka Range and lessen port congestion at Centrepoint Wellington.

As New Zealand’s forestry harvest levels continue to grow, Mr Hughes is confident Log Distribution Limited will strengthen the supply chain and deliver a wealth of benefits to stakeholders. “The formation of Log Distribution Limited is a great example of positive collaboration in the forest industry that will benefit both community and industry stakeholders,” Mr Hughes says.

Wairarapa Estate Ltd and Norsewood Estate Ltd properties are managed by New Forests, an international funds management business specialising in responsible forestland investment. Local management of both properties is overseen by IFS Growth Ltd a New Zealand company specialising in forest management.

Source: Campbell Squared

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3D printing using timber waste products

3D printing technology can combine timber waste products and recycled plastics to transform them into a high-performance construction element, as results from research conducted at the University of Sydney show.

The Forest and Wood Products Australia (FWPA)-supported research is the focus of the latest episode of WoodChat, and is being conducted by a team led by Professor Sandra Löschke, Director of the Architecture Design Research Group at the University of Sydney.

In the season two launch episode of FWPA’s podcast series, Professor Löschke explained that she and her team set out to explore what 3D printing can offer both the construction and forestry industries that conventional technologies do not.

The process of 3D printing involves a composite material being placed through a nozzle, and being applied layer by layer to a surface, before it hardens. Its use in the construction industry is growing rapidly, especially for the creation of concrete elements. However, these elements still largely rely on traditional construction processes, for example the use of steel reinforcement bars. This project looks at what 3D printing can offer the construction industry that traditional methods cannot.

“The aim has been to produce an element that is strong and aesthetically pleasing by varying the material composition during the printing process. We want it to be as close as possible to natural timber, both in terms of the percentage of timber used, and also in its look and feel,” Professor Löschke said.

“We have developed a printing process that can gradually modify the material to allow for a wood-like pattern and texture that give the feel of timber. This is crucial for boosting the product’s marketability.

“The ultimate dream is to be able to build entire buildings and even cities using this technology. And when you consider that two-storey houses are already being 3D-printed in concrete, it is easy to imagine that we may be able to do the same thing, better and more sustainably, with a recycled timber composite,” Professor Löschke said.

The interdisciplinary research team includes Professor Gwenaelle Proust and Higher Degree Research students John Mai, Yerong Huang and Jordan Girdis.

This episode of WoodChat is the first in the new series. You can listen to WoodChat on SoundCloud and iTunes.

Source: FWPA

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Log imports to China climb for third year

China is continuously exploring new sources of softwood logs around the world. Minor log exporters, such as Japan, Poland, Chile and South Africa all expanded their shipments to China in 2018, reports the WRQ. Of the major log supplying countries, only Russia and Canada reduced their exports to China, while New Zealand, the US and Uruguay all increased their shipments year-over-year.

China had another record year of softwood log imports in 2018, when over 40 million m3 of logs landed at Chinese ports. This was the third consecutive year of year- over-year- increases, with 2018 volumes being up 37% from 2015. Although import volumes fell slightly from the 3Q/18 to the 4Q/18, the December numbers were the second highest monthly imports on record.

Over the past five years, import volumes have declined from the key supplying regions of Russia and Canada, while they have increased from New Zealand and Australia. New Zealand continues to expand its market share, supplying 44% of the total import volume in the 4Q/18, up from 30% just three years earlier, according to the Wood Resource Quarterly (WRQ).

The biggest decline in market share has been that of Russia, which has fallen from 36% to 18% in the past three years. The only other major change the past few years has been an increase in pine log shipments from Uruguay. These have increased from just a few thousand m3 in 2016 to almost 2.5 million m3 in 2018, making the country the fifth largest log supplier to China last year.

The average log import price fell three percent from the 3Q/18 to the 4Q/18, mainly because of lower costs for logs originating from New Zealand and the US. The total average import price has gone up for three consecutive years. Although the prices have trended upward over the past few years, they are still lower than import prices in 2013 and 2014, when high-cost suppliers in the US and Canada had a larger market share.

Another interesting development is that Japan, the sixth largest softwood log importer in the world, has almost tripled log exports to China over the past few years, from just over 300,000 m3 in 2014 to almost a million m3 in 2018. Other smaller log supplying countries that have increased shipments to China in 2018 include Poland, Chile, South Africa and Germany.

Source: Wood Resources International LLC,

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World’s tallest wood building opened

The Mjösa Tower was officially opened on 15 March 2019, taking over the title of the world’s tallest wooden building. The 18-storey building, located in Brumunddal, Norway, reaches up to a height of 85.4 metres. The building includes a hotel, private homes and office space. Metsä Wood‘s fast, light and green Kerto LVL (laminated veneer lumber) products were used in the intermediate floor elements of the building.

The Mjösa Tower symbolizes environmentally friendly thinking in construction, and it is proof that tall buildings can be built using wood. The design assignment of creating such a tall wooden building was a positive challenge for Øystein Elgsaas, architect and partner at Voll Arkitekter. “We want to inspire others to build the same way,” said Elgsaas.

The structure is similar to conventional buildings, but the dimensions of the elements are much larger than usual. Both the structure and façade of the Mjösa Tower are made of wood. The load-bearing structure consists of glulam columns, beams and diagonal members, which suits high-rise buildings well. The first ten floors are made of prefabricated wooden elements. The decks on the upper floors are made of concrete, to restrain the building and keep it from swaying.

The target was to build using sustainable, local wood products and local suppliers. In addition to Norwegian glulam and CLT, the building makes use of Kerto LVL products delivered from Finland.

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Forest research projects announced for Mt Gambier

Australia's forestry industries are set to benefit from more than AU$2.4 million of new research through the second round of projects funded under the National Institute for Forest Products Innovation (NIFPI) centre in Mount Gambier.

Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Senator Richard Colbeck, and South Australia's Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Tim Whetstone, have congratulated the grant recipients and welcomed the benefits these projects will bring to Australia and South Australia.

"These projects will create jobs by driving forestry research and development in areas such as worker safety, carbon emission targets, design standards, biosecurity, fire detection, and genetics," Minister Colbeck said.

"The total value of these projects is more than AU$5 million through a combination of Australian and South Australian Government funds, together with funding and in-kind contributions from industry and research agencies.

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Tim Whetstone, said these projects provide exciting opportunities for the future of the South Australian forestry industry.

"Forestry is an important industry in South Australia and Mount Gambier is leading the way in research and development on Australia's plantation forests," Minister Whetstone said.

"Importantly, much of this research done in Mount Gambier will have national application—it can be applied to other forestry regions across the country. These projects build on the research being undertaken by those funded through round one.”

Launceston NIFPI projects will be announced soon.

Find out more about the successful NIFPI recipients and the round two projects here:

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Making augmented reality your business reality

Showcased at a press conference in Barcelona, Microsoft's HoloLens 2 augmented reality headset promises more features, better virtual and augmented displays, and a more comfortable experience when wearing the headset.

Yes, the HoloLens headset might look as if it has been built for playing video games – not a surprise, given the mixed reality project has its origins in Microsoft Kinect, the motion controller for Xbox 360. But Microsoft is determined to position it as an enterprise tool, to help boost productivity and collaboration with the aid of interactive holograms.

"Imagine transforming any room into an infinite workplace, when you can teleport your presence anywhere and visualize and collaborate on your ideas with anyone effortlessly," Alex Kipman, technical fellow for AI and mixed reality in the Cloud and AI Group at Microsoft and HoloLens 2 project lead, told the audience.

"You can transform personal computing into truly collaborative computing where devices become lenses into our connected world." To help build HoloLens 2 into an enterprise collaboration tool, Microsoft is working with augmented reality company Spatial to provide remote users with the opportunity to use HoloLens 2 to meet as 3D avatars in a virtual meeting room where each user can interact with the AR environment using touch and voice commands.

"Today companies tackling the biggest problems are increasingly spread across the world and the HoloLens lets us work together as if we were standing next to each other, face to face," said Spatial co-founder and CEO Anand Agarawala, who was soon showcasing the technology by speaking with a colleague represented by a fully mobile 3D avatar.

The avatar is generated from a photo of the user and is designed to let those in a virtual room work as if they're face to face — albeit face to face via disembodied floating torsos.

In an effort to make a real case for HoloLens 2 as an enterprise tool rather than just an impressive gimmick, Microsoft's presentation involved contributions from two companies that are already using HoloLens 2 as part of a partner programme: toy manufacturer Mattel and construction and logistics firm Trimble. Both are large enterprises with multinational offices — the exact sort of organizations Microsoft is looking to appeal to with HoloLens 2.



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

Two Irish engineers Patrick and Seamus (Design Engineers) were standing at the base of a flagpole, looking up.

A woman walked by and asked what they were doing.

"We're supposed to find the height of the flagpole," said Patrick, "but we don't have a ladder."

The woman took a wrench from her purse, loosened a few bolts, and laid the pole down. Then she took a tape measure from her pocket, took a measurement, announced, "5 metres" and then walked away.

Seamus shook his head and laughed. "Ain't that just like a blonde! We ask for the height and she gives us the length!"

And a Brexit one to finish on.

Physicians were unable to reach a consensus on whether the UK should Brexit.

The Allergists were in favour of scratching it, but the Dermatologists advised not to make any rash moves.

The Gastroenterologist's had sort of a gut feeling about it, but the Neurologists thought May had a lot of nerve.

Meanwhile, Obstetricians felt certain everyone was labouring under a misconception, while the Ophthalmologists considered the idea short sighted.

Pathologists yelled, "Over my dead body!" while the Paediatricians said, "Oh, grow up!

The Psychiatrists thought the whole idea was madness, while the Radiologists could see right through it.

Surgeons decided to wash their hands of the whole thing and the Internists claimed it would indeed be a bitter pill to swallow.

The Plastic Surgeons opined that this proposal would "put a whole new face on the matter."

The Podiatrists thought it was a step forward, but the Urologists were pissed off at the whole idea.

Anaesthesiologists thought the whole idea was a gas, and those lofty Cardiologists didn't have the heart to say no.

In the end, the Proctologists won out, leaving the entire decision up to the a**holes in Parliament!

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, Fax: +64 (03) 470 1906
Web page:

This week's extended issue, along with back issues, can be viewed at

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