Friday Offcuts – 5 April 2019

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In this week’s issue we look at some results of a just completed survey of NZ forestry contractors. It’s comprehensive and represents the views of more than 115 contractor crews drawn from across the country. Attracting skilled workers and retaining existing workers has always been identified as a major concern to the future viability of contracting businesses. In this latest survey, it has also received top billing with 24 percent of those surveyed stating that the risk of losing key staff was keeping them awake at night. Results also highlight that few people are entering the industry right now and competition between crews is as a consequence, increasing. The full report is linked to the story in this week’s issue.

In another project run last year by Safetree, health information has been collected from 774 forestry workers. For the first time, a snapshot on the health status of people working in New Zealand’s forestry industry has been provided. Sleeping issues were picked up again along with a number of other concerning health problems. The outcome here is that Safetree, and individual forestry companies, are now be able to develop targeted initiatives to reduce some of these identified health problems to ensure workers stay fit and safe in their work place. A video outlining a new tool developed by Dr Tom Mulholland, used as part of a 14-stop roadshow where Dr Tom talked to more than 1100 forestry people about how to improve their physical and mental health, is included in the story below.

In tall timber this week, the first veneer-based mass timber panel in the world has just picked up U.S. and Canadian patents along with fire approvals to build up to 18 storeys high. In New Zealand, the Timber Design Society is proposing that carbon credits be paid to owners of new timber buildings, to recognise the value of the carbon stored in the wood, and to encourage the design of timber buildings using renewable materials. And fittingly, one of the very early researchers and proponents for CLT for tall structures is being recognised with the awarding of the 2019 Marcus Wallenberg Prize. This will to be presented by the King of Sweden at a ceremony in Stockholm planned for October of this year.

And finally, in Rotorua this week, the MobileTECH 2019 wrapped up yesterday. Close to 300 technology developers and early adopters of new technology from across the primary sector, including forestry, have been meeting in Rotorua over the last couple of days. Every year, results on a raft of new innovations being developed, adopted and used out in the field are discussed. As demonstrated by several case studies this year, the event, now well and truly established on the calendar for the country's primary sector, provides developers and researchers from around Australasia a unique opportunity to set up longer term strategic alliances across a number of land-based industries. It really has been an eye-opening couple of days. For those attending, details on access to the presentations given over the last couple of days will be sent out shortly. Enjoy this week’s read.

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Results from latest Forest Contractors Business Review

The Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology has recently completed another update of their New Zealand Forestry Contractors Business Review. The results are summarised below and a copy of their latest full report is attached.

This review represents the views of more than 115 contractor crews from all regions in New Zealand. Of these, 24 per cent state the risk of losing key staff is keeping them awake at night. This is up 17 per cent, compared to six months ago. Sixty per cent of contractors leaned towards specialised skills as opposed to multi-tasking abilities in their crews. Silvicultural contractors generally favour multi-skilled operators.

The East Coast, Hawkes Bay and Lower North Island are regions that experienced the highest growth in business over the past 12 months and also foresee strong future growth. Contractors in the Bay of Plenty, Taranaki, Waikato and Otago expect a more challenging business landscape over the next 12 months. Employment growth is still slow with few new people entering the sector. This is despite the overall high level of job satisfaction among contractor crews and the incentive of good wages.

The Forestry Contractors Business Review is carried out free of charge by the Faculty of Primary Industries, Science and Environment of Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology. The information reflected in this publication is based on confidential information collated from a number of operators in the New Zealand forestry industry. The data collection activity was done in collaboration with the Forest Industry Contractors Association. The next review will be carried out in September 2019.

For a full copy of the latest review, click here.

Many of the issues being of concern to local harvesting contractors plan to be addressed as part of the major two-yearly tech update, HarvestTECH 2019, being run for forestry contractors about this region. It runs in Rotorua, New Zealand on 26-27 June. Full details and registrations can be made on the event website,

Source: Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology

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Using drones and AI for koala management

In a paper first published in, the authors discuss an interesting applied technology use case, using both drone data collection and AI to allow for the more frequent and accurate detection of specific individual animals or species of animals.

The use case is for koalas, which in addition to being cute and cuddly are shy creatures. Koalas reside in forests with varying density, and are of interest to researchers. Prior to the current method described, teams of observers would go into areas to observe the number and density of koalas via physical inspection – just looking for them. The study finds that even experienced observers are only likely to find 70% of the koalas present in a given area; less experienced observers are only able to locate 23% of the koalas in a given area. This makes sense: many koalas look alike.

Also being relatively small, koalas are easy to miss; so the accurate data collection is more suspect. This issue has varying importance given the size and the area covered (think elephants or giraffes, which are easier to locate given their larger size, but may be in more remote areas further from where humans reside and therefore less accessible).

Now, drones equipped with thermal imaging can find the koalas – and AI can identify the specific animal, to avoid counting it twice and provide greater insight into behaviour and health.

From the abstract to the story:

“Effective wildlife management relies on the accurate and precise detection of individual animals. These can be challenging data to collect for many cryptic species, particularly those that live in complex structural environments. This study introduces a new automated method for detection using published object detection algorithms to detect their heat signatures in RPAS-derived thermal imaging.

As an initial case study, we used this new approach to detect koalas (Phascolarctus cinereus), and validated the approach using ground surveys of tracked radio-collared koalas in Petrie, Queensland. The automated method yielded a higher probability of detection (68–100%), higher precision (43–71%), lower root mean square error (RMSE), and lower mean absolute error (MAE) than manual assessment of the RPAS-derived thermal imagery in a comparable amount of time.

This new approach allows for more reliable, less invasive detection of koalas in their natural habitat. This new detection methodology has great potential to inform and improve management decisions for threatened species, and other difficult to survey species.”

The data collection is something that we are used to seeing with drones, but the combination of AI is interesting in this application. Interpreting the data manually is tedious and time-consuming, as well as error prone. A commercial application such as reviewing aerial photography from a drone for a long pipeline inspection is very analogous, or even CCTV camera’s looking for bad guys: looking at large amounts of video data is difficult, boring, and prone to errors.

It seems, however, that koalas have individual heat signatures. That allows scientists to identify individual animals with some confidence.

More >>


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KiwiRail to boost log capacity out of Wairarapa

KiwiRail plans to increase its log capacity out of Wairarapa by about a third to cater for the increased harvest and reduce the number of trucks travelling into CentrePort in Wellington, New Zealand. The company runs two trains on week days – typically of 15 wagons each - and twice as many at the weekend when there are fewer commuter services.

Alan Piper, the group’s sales and commercial general manager, says the firm has no plans for additional services. But he says the weekday trains currently have surplus capacity and just require extra wagons to increase their loads.

“We are planning to add 15 wagons to one of the daily trains in May, once more wagons become available,” he told BusinessDesk. “That will increase the capacity by around 100,000 tonnes a year from the current 270,000 tonnes” and reduce truck movements over the Remutaka Range by about 6,000, he said.

Log exports are booming, with many ports working to increase capacity to handle trees planted in the 1990s. Logs and timber are the country’s third-largest export and brought in NZ$5.3 billion in the 12 months through February, 12 percent more than a year earlier.

KiwiRail is also investing heavily to capture more of that harvest for its own business. It is converting about 100 container wagons annually to carry logs and is expecting to receive an additional 200 new log wagons by the end of the year.

CentrePort handled 891,500 tonnes of logs in the six months through December, 36 percent more than a year earlier. Port Taranaki handled about 425,000 tonnes in the same period, a 24 percent increase. Napier Port handled a record 2.2 million tonnes in the 12 months through September, 35 percent more than the year before.

Wairarapa and Tararua is home to almost 70,000 ha of forest. KiwiRail delivers logs from the Waingawa hub south of Masterton. It was established in 2016 by CentrePort and local foresters.

A new venture active this month wants to find ways to use that facility more efficiently. Forest Enterprises Growth, New Forests and Feilding-based FOMS have formed Log Distribution to better coordinate their shipments. The trio, some of whom also have operations around Gisborne and Rangitikei, are collaborating around their common interests in Hawke’s Bay and Wairarapa.

Forest Enterprises chief executive Bert Hughes says recent changes mean all three firms are using Tauranga-based TPT to manage their export marketing and scheduling of their shipments. While they are still competing for sales, their logs are going on the same ships so they can work collaboratively to gather consignments and get vessels loaded quicker.

“We expect to put 600,000 tonnes through Wellington” a year, he told BusinessDesk. “Once we get that right, we can grow it out from there.” Hughes is expecting a steady increase in the Wairarapa harvest during the next five years and CentrePort is expanding storage at Waingawa.

Bert he said reducing ‘choke-points’ in the logistics chain will be key to making better use of the region’s rail and port infrastructure and reducing truck movements on the Remutaka Range, he says. Being “a bit more careful” about the grade of logs being cut may improve the use of space at Waingawa and increase stock turn, he said.

Last week, Hughes said about 8,000 tonnes of logs were being railed to CentrePort weekly – the equivalent of 40 log trucks a day. Starting overnight services would be ideal, but while the supply of locomotives, log wagons and drivers remains tight, firms have to find other ways to maximise the use of the assets available. “We’ve just got to be more organised.”

Source: BusinessDesk

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2019 Marcus Wallenberg Prize for CLT researcher

Professor Gerhard Schickhofer from the Institute of Timber Engineering and Wood Technology at Graz University of Technology, Austria is being awarded the 2019 Marcus Wallenberg Prize of SEK 2 million for research and knowledge transfer behind the stable and eco-friendly material, Cross-laminated timber, CLT.

Gerhard Schickhofer and his research team have played a leading role in establishing European standards and Technical Approvals for CLT production and use in industrial applications of wood construction.

CLT has radically transformed the view on construction and design in the wood building industry. Its orthogonal, laminar structure allows applications as full-size walls and floor elements as well as linear timber elements able to bear heavy loads.

The Prize Selection Committee of the Marcus Wallenberg Foundation states in its motivation that Gerhard Schickhofer has made scientific and engineering contributions required to standardize the development of CLT and enable its adoption as a building material.

Gerhard Schickhofer has also succeeded in transferring scientific knowledge to practical applications. His user-friendly software tools and handbooks have had a great influence in the field. The Institute of Timber Engineering and Wood Technology and the Competence Centre at the University of Technology in Graz also stand out by their application-oriented research. Both organisations provide the industry with technical support, testing and training.

Gerhard Schickhofer’s passion and commitment to the field of CLT have played a key role in raising the profile of wood for the construction of massive and tall structures. His work has been seminal in interpreting the technological opportunities of CLT to architects and designers, says professor Johanna Buchert, chairperson of the Selection Committee.

The 2019 Marcus Wallenberg Prize will be presented by HM the King of Sweden to Gerhard Schickhofer at a ceremony in Stockholm in October this year.

Photo: Prof. Gerhard Schickhofer is awarded the 2019 Marcus Wallenberg Prize. (Photo: Helmut Lunghammer @ Lunghammer - TU Graz)
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Adam Jones, Future Green Leader of the year

Passionate about lowering the environmental impact of the construction sector, structural engineer Adam Jones has been involved in a range of environmentally positive activities, including WoodSolutions. His work was recognised by the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) who named him Future Green Leader of the year at their recent TRANSFORM 2019 event.

Recognising the effect that young professionals will have on developing a sustainable future, the GBCA created the Future Green Leaders program, which is available to all industry professionals under 32. As the Future Green Leader of the year, Adam will gain entry and access to a wide range of GBCA events, a speaking opportunity at Green Building Day and a mentor for the year.

Adam explained what winning the title means to him.

“Being Future Green Leader of the year reinforces the value of a lot of the side projects and volunteering I've done and it also gives me an opportunity to shine a light on the things I'm most passionate about and to use this platform to really further the sustainability goals of Australia.”

“Structural engineers have a real opportunity to make a big change in regard to more sustainable green-building choices every time they go to work, every single day. What materials we build with has a massive impact from a life cycle assessment. Around 8% of the whole world's greenhouse gas emissions come from the production of cement. Steel production is responsible for about 2-3% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions. Structural engineers are the ones who really need to understand these impacts and get engaged, if there's any chance of improving building material emission impacts in the future.”

Before working with WoodSolutions, Adam was the lead researcher for strategy four, which was using timber, of the Rethinking Cement report, produced by Beyond Zero Emissions. The aim of the report was to demonstrate strategies that could reduce emissions associated with cement to zero in 10 years. Adam explained that while he was working on the report, he became far more aware of the environmental benefits of wood products and the activities of WoodSolutions and decided that he’d like to become involved.

Today, Adam is a senior engineer with TPC Solutions (Aust.) and amongst a range of engineering activities also produces WoodSolutions Timber Talks podcasts and co-hosts the WoodSolutions Young Professionals Network, which has informal gatherings in Melbourne and Sydney, where, in Adam’s words, “Each month we catch up for a social drink, a presentation from an expert and talk about construction in general.”

Source: WoodSolutions

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First mass plywood panel approved for 18-stories

Located in Lyons, Oregon, Freres Lumber has been in business for nearly a century. After starting out producing standard lumber projects, the company moved into wood veneers some 60 years ago and in 1998 purchased a plywood plant. Now, it’s made another step: getting U.S. and Canadian patents on its mass plywood panel (MPP), the first veneer-based mass timber panel in the world, and fire approvals to build up to 18 stories high with the panel.

The mass plywood panel has already been put to the test on a smaller scale—this past year Freres worked with design-build startup BuildHouse to construct an A-frame house with the panel in Snoqualmie, Washington.

The company has also seen its product used in larger projects. Oregon State University’s new Peavy Hall, a forestry science center designed by Michael Green Architecture (a Katerra partner), featured Freres Lumber’s product on the roof, while the nearby A.A. “Red” Emmerson Advanced Wood Products Laboratory shows off the panels on its interior and exterior walls. Both buildings are part of OSU’s forestry complex, which is designed to display an array of new mass timber technologies.

Freres also maintains a relationship with the TallWood Design Institute, a partnership between OSU and the University of Oregon, working with the institute to test its products. The company claims that MPPs have a number of benefits when compared to the cross-laminated timber products that have taken off in recent years—it was a CLT product that collapsed this past summer in the Peavy Hall Project, not Freres’s.

Freres noted that MPPs offer better structural support and design flexibility. CLT can only be built out in orthogonal layers and is generally confined to standard lumber dimensions and shapes, whereas MPPs have greater flexibility in form and dimension (the panels and their thin veneer layers can be very small, but they can also scale up to as much as 48 feet long and 1 foot thick), giving designers and builders a greater range to work and experiment with. Prefab plywood panels are also an option, but they can easily be cut by a CNC machine to spec.

Mass plywood panels also use less material; they take 20 percent less wood fiber to meet the same structural specifications as CLT. They’re also more eco-friendly in terms of what trees they can use. MPP can be built with smaller diameter trees, as small as 5.5 inches, though normally trees with 9-inch diameters are used. Using small trees means relying on second-growth trees, like local Oregon Douglas fir, and ones that are likely to be “choked out” under the shadow of larger growth.

Things are getting easier, according to Freres, and while he pointed out that the “mass timber movement is so new,” many projects and possibilities are on the horizon for MPP, including tornado-resistant structures, highway barriers, as well as buildings both tall and small. “People are constantly coming up with new ideas and new ways to use this material,” said Freres, “[mass timber] is going to be an enormous benefit to the construction industry going forward.”

Photo: The mass plywood panel being used in construction at OSU's Advanced Wood Products Laboratory. Typical panel dimensions were 3 inch thick by 12 feet wide by 42 feet long. (Lauren Rennan/Courtesy Freres Lumber).


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Incentives for low carbon timber buildings proposed

The New Zealand Timber Design Society (TDS) is proposing that carbon credits be paid to owners of new timber buildings, to recognise the value of the carbon stored in the wood, and to encourage the design of timber buildings using renewable materials.

The TDS Management Committee is promoting this incentive in support of the government’s One Billion Trees programme to encourage more forestry on marginal lands, and the Zero Carbon Act to reduce the use of fossil fuels. Both initiatives rely on carbon sequestration in forests, and both can be enhanced by encouraging low carbon timber buildings. Such timber buildings will keep more New Zealand grown wood in the national economy, rather than exporting logs overseas.

As trees grow, the process of photosynthesis absorbs carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere, and carbon is stored in new wood. When trees are cut down, the sequestered carbon stays in the wood and wood products for some time, extending the life of the pool of carbon. The wood components of a new timber building can store significant amounts of carbon for hundreds of years, until the wood eventually decays or is burned.

The eventual goal must be to phase out fossil fuels, because this is the only long-term way to achieve a zero-carbon economy. Forestry is a short-term step to buy time as larger steps are implemented.

According to Dr Andy Buchanan, Professor Emeritus at the University of Canterbury, new forests on unforested land are needed to increase the pool of carbon in New Zealand’s forests. These new forests can be permanent forests (mostly native), or managed forests (mostly exotic). In permanent forests, the amount of sequestered carbon levels off as the forest matures, eventually reaching a steady state. In forests managed for wood production, the amount of sequestered carbon rises and falls during forest rotations, with the average long-term pool about half that of a permanent forest.

To enhance the carbon benefits of forestry, the owners of new buildings should be encouraged to use wood rather than traditional structural materials. A financial incentive could be based on credits for the carbon stored in the wood, paid to the building owner. The benefits of low carbon construction can be quantified.

About half the weight of dry wood is carbon, so one cubic metre of wood which weighs half a tonne (500kg), sequesters a quarter of a tonne of carbon (250kg). This is equivalent to almost one tonne (920kg) of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere. Carbon credits and carbon taxes are usually related to equivalent tonnes of carbon dioxide, not to tonnes of carbon.

A typical 200 m2 timber house contains 30 cubic metres of wood, and stores carbon equivalent to 27 tonnes of CO2. The three-storey NMIT Arts and Media building in Nelson contains 460 cubic metres of wood and stores 425 tonnes of CO2. With carbon credits trading at $20/tonne, the building owner would have received a modest cash incentive of $8,500.

Dr Buchanan suggests that the incentive should be a one-off cash payment to building owners at the time of construction, because a single payment for selected timber buildings is much easier to administer than a long-term compliance system for all wood users. In Hamburg, Germany, for example, building owners receive €0.80 for each kg of timber used in new commercial construction.

Structural timber is beginning to compete worldwide with steel and concrete in attractive and functional new buildings, with no increased cost and similar or better safety and performance. The New Zealand construction industry has been slow to adopt new timber technology. Even a small financial incentive based on carbon credits could make a difference. The main markets are commercial, educational, and cultural buildings, as well as offices, hotels and apartment buildings up to 10 or 15 storeys tall. Some timber buildings contain many hundreds of cubic metres of wood.

A further benefit of timber buildings is that wood processing is carbon neutral. The manufacturing processes for materials like steel, concrete and aluminium pump large amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere.

Many building owners are looking for green, renewable, and low carbon construction. Even a small financial incentive may tip the balance towards timber. The benefit to the government will be a small but significant contribution to the national carbon budget. Sustainable timber construction will provide many other benefits of to the national economy, including more forestry jobs, more local wood processing, and regional development.

Source: NZTDS

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Södra wins marketing campaign of the year

Södra’s pioneering Act of a Hero campaign was named Marketing Campaign of the Year at the PPI Awards in Vienna. Linda Ottosson, Head of Marketing Communication, who led the campaign with Sales Director Marcus Hellberg, accepted the award on behalf of the Södra Cell team, along with Customer relations Manager, Angeline Elfström. “We’re extremely proud of the pioneering Act of a Hero campaign for several reasons,” she told the audience.

“We pushed the boundaries of traditional advertising by a pulp supplier, deliberately targeting our customers’ customers and spreading a generic positive message about sustainable forest products. The campaign far exceeded our expectations and those of the customers we collaborated with (another first), registering over 4.3 million views (including search engine views). Video views number more than 815,000 so far.”

“The statistics are impressive,” added Hellberg, “but they’re not the whole story. The fact that we have won not one but two awards for this campaign (it also won Sofidel’s Best Sustainable Project, Social Category) shows there is real value in creative, out-of-the-box communication, especially when it is accompanied by analysis of the stakeholders in the chain and collaboration with customers. We also need to thank our creative agency, Ehrenstrahle, for helping us to think bravely and to take a whole new approach to the marketing of pulp.”

Founded in 1938, Södra is Sweden’s largest forest-owner association, with nearly 52,000 forest owners as its members. We conduct modern and responsible forestry, and operate state-of-the-art mills in which we process our raw material. In 2018, sales amounted to SEK 24 billion and employees totalled 3,100. Through value-generating relationships and a long-term approach, Södra shows the way for the next generation of forestry. Source:

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The future of forestry for Southland schools

Southland students have been encouraged to become the future of forestry. To coincide with the UN International Day of Forests, a forestry careers day was held on Thursday 21 March to introduce students to the many varied jobs available in forestry in Southland, New Zealand.

Held at the Winton Salvation Army, the event attracted 70 students including eight students who travelled from Tokomairiro High School in Milton, where they are involved in forestry classes two days a week.

Students were able to learn about the harvesting, management, environmental and new technology aspects of forestry from speakers from Rayonier Matariki Forests and City Forests, and speak with industry experts about career pathways and job opportunities in the sector. An informal expo setting also allowed students to watch a drone demonstration, experience a forestry harvesting simulator and inspect and handle items ranging from chainsaws to seedling trees.

The event was organised by Southland Youth Futures in partnership with Acacia Farmery of Rayonier Matariki Forests, and other local members of the recently-formed Future Foresters Group which aims to increase the number of young people choosing forestry as an industry.

Although 1650 people are employed directly in Southland’s forests and downstream industries, it is recognised that many more workers will be required locally and nationally as the Government’s one billion trees planting project gets underway.

Southland Youth Futures coordinator Allison Beckham said the ‘Be the Future of Forestry’ day was a first for Southland, and possibly for New Zealand. “As far as I am aware, nothing like this has been held before anywhere in New Zealand. It was an exciting and stimulating way to introduce students to forestry careers.”

The response from students, teachers and industry participants was overwhelmingly positive, she said. “Some of the industry participants are very keen to replicate the day in Otago, and we have offered out help to make that happen.’’

Southland Youth Futures is a Venture Southland-led programme which strengthens connections between young people and primary sector employers by providing career exploration opportunities. Among the many industries explored are dairying, horticulture, apiculture, trades, manufacturing, rural contracting, business services, science and technology, and exporting.

The industry people who participated enthusiastically and gave up their time for the day and organised machinery and trucks to be there were; Rayonier Matariki Forests, Niagara, Ernslaw One, CH Faul, Lawson Forestry, Competenz ITO, Mike Hurring Contracting, City Forests, Craigpine, DT King Transport, Sparrow Logging, South Port, Edendale Nursery, Forest Management, D&D Heavy Haulage, and Venture Southland.

Additional photos taken during the day can be viewed on the Southern Wood Council website.

Source: Southland Youth Futures

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AFPA CEO reappointed to UN FAO forestry advisory body

The Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA), Mr Ross Hampton, has been reappointed for a third consecutive term to the international body which advises the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations on matters relating to sustainable management of forest industries globally. Mr Hampton sits with representatives from: South Africa, Canada, USA, Brazil, China, New Zealand, Argentina, France, Germany, Japan, Korea, Russia and several other countries.

“I’m honoured to be reappointed to this body,” Mr Hampton said. “The FAO advises the global community on the best principles and practices to ensure we use the world’s resources in a way which means we are living on the interest rather than the capital of the planet. Australia is considered an exemplar in forestry, as we do not practice deforestation which occurs in so many parts of the world. Our native forest operators and plantation managers all replant or regenerate after harvest.

“The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) provides the overarching approach which is promoted by global leaders who care about the environment and about sustainably using the earth’s resources as we battle the effects of a changing climate.” The IPCC stated (4th Assessment) - “A sustainable forest management strategy aimed at maintaining or increasing forest carbon stocks, while producing an annual sustained yield of timber, fibre or energy from the forest, will generate the largest sustained (carbon) mitigation benefit”.

“Global demand for timber products is expected to quadruple by 2050. The mission to ensure that all of these products are produced sustainably across the world, like they are in Australia, is vital and urgent,” Mr Hampton concluded.

Source: AFPA

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FOMS rebranding to Forest360

One of New Zealand’s largest independent forestry service providers, FOMS, has today announced the rebrand of its operations to Forest360. Since its formation in 2004, the privately-owned company has become one of New Zealand’s largest independent log procurement, harvesting and marketing service providers, with forestry operations spanning across the North Island.

The relaunch of the FOMS brand follows its recent merger with Woodnet, a forestry and marginal land-use advisory and management company that has been operating nationwide since 1999. The relaunch will bring together the respective operations of each company under the new name, Forest360. The corporate rebrand also includes a new logo and positioning statement, Growing your future.

Managing Director Dan Gaddum says the rebrand reflects the company’s commitment to playing a lead role in shaping the future of New Zealand’s forestry industry by ensuring excellence across every part of the supply chain. “We work to create long-term value from day one,” says Mr Gaddum. “Our team’s collective knowledge and broad professional skillset across forest management means we can provide innovative, best practice solutions for our clients. The name Forest360 underpins our commitment to provide full service to the industry as a whole.”

Mr Gaddum says Forest360 will continue to build upon Woodnet’s position as one of New Zealand’s leading Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) specialists through its work in the landuse, environment and conservation space.

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Managing forestry workers health risks

Safetree ran a project last year to find out about the health of New Zealand forestry workers. The goal was to identify what health risks need to be managed to ensure forestry workers stayed fit to do their jobs. We also wanted to give people a better way to monitor and manage their health.

The project was run in partnership with Dr Tom Mulholland’s KYND Wellness group, Rayonier Matariki and FICA. It collected anonymised health information from 774 workers and it gave us, for the first time, a snapshot of the health status of people working in forestry.

The project identified that of the 774 workers:

- 23% are current smokers
- 39% have a waist circumference that suggests a high risk of injury (e.g. getting out of machinery) and long-term disease such as type 2 diabetes
- 69% have elevated or high blood pressure, indicating an increased risk of a heart attack or stroke
- 19% have an unhealthy cholesterol ratio, indicating an increased risk of cardiovascular disease
- 14% had a blood test result that indicates either pre-diabetes or diabetes
- 51% have sleep issues
- 23% were at risk of moderate to severe depression; 4% screened positive for severe depression.

This information is really useful because it means Safetree, and individual forestry companies, can develop targeted initiatives to reduce these health problems and ensure workers stay fit to do their jobs. We know being physically and mentally healthy has a positive impact on safety outcomes.

The project also benefited the individual workers involved. 226 workers were alerted that they have high/elevated blood pressure. Another 38 were alerted that they have pre-diabetes/diabetes and 80 people were alerted they were at risk for depression. KYND emailed 106 workers who had potentially serious health conditions to help them come up with a plan to improve their health.

The project involved a 14-stop roadshow, where Dr Tom talked to more than 1100 forestry people about how to improve their physical and mental health. People at the workshops downloaded the KYND app, which helps them monitor and manage their health.

Thanks to everyone who helped with this project, particularly the workers who took part. We’re now looking at some next steps to support forestry companies and workers to improve health in their workplaces.

Safetree are suggesting that you might look to build in Dr Tom’s TWIG video at your next off-site safety meeting.


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Mills looking for markets!

In comparison to this time in 2018 — when all lumber markets were active and it was supply that was the constraint — the situation in 2019 is quite the opposite. When we look at the key global producing and consuming markets, there is a consistent theme: too much supply chasing markets amid slowing demand in most major markets. Whether this is temporary or not is a big question that will be answered shortly by the fast-approaching spring buying season. A quick look at the key countries, gained through recent travels by the FEA team, offers the perspectives summarized below.

China: As reported in this month’s China Bulletin, log and lumber inventories are soaring and getting close to the levels achieved in early 2015 that set the stage for a price collapse both in China and around the world. All exporters need China to take either the low- or furniture-grade lumber that is incremental to other markets. For example, when U.S. markets for SPF #2&Better lumber collapsed in the fourth quarter of last year, B.C. mills diverted volumes to China. The consequence of that action has been a glut of SPF lumber at Chinese ports.

Finland: High cost logs are an overriding issue. Among other challenges, exports to China have slumped by one-third, and other markets are not as robust as last year.

Sweden: Despite some favourable operating and logistics costs, Sweden may see lower sawnwood prices in Q2 versus Q1, for only the second time in 20 years. Export opportunities to the U.S. and China have slowed, with margins much thinner than in 2018.

Germany: With a huge spruce bark beetle outbreak and vast areas of storm-felled timber, German sawmills in the affected areas (as well as Czech and Austrian mills) have low-cost logs; however, they need markets that will accept blue-stained lumber.

Australia: A slight slowdown in the housing market has combined with rising lumber inventories to keep lumber prices holding for now. European imports have surged, but this is not well timed to the current market situation. Australia’s acceptance of blue-stained lumber has led to an increase in import volumes from Germany.

U.S.: So far in 2019, winter and/or rainy weather have slowed homebuilding activity, leading to some inventory buildup at mills. However, while dealers’ inventories are reported as high in weather-constrained areas, they are low in most other regions. This situation could result in a surprise price spike in Q2/2019 given the number of sawmill curtailments witnessed in Q1.

All in all, 2019 should continue to be a volatile and unpredictable year in many regions. Source: Russ Taylor, Managing Director, FEA-Canada

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Fire fighters lost in Chinese forest fires

A fire high in the mountains of western China's Sichuan province has killed 30 firefighters and others, the government said on Monday.

The deaths occurred after a change of wind Sunday as the firefighters were battling the blaze in a rugged area at an altitude of 3,800 meters (12,500 feet), according to the Ministry of Emergency Management and the military. Among the dead were 27 firefighters and three local residents recruited to help fight the blaze, the ministry said.

Nearly 700 people were battling the fire in Sichuan's Muli county that erupted on Saturday, but contact was lost Sunday with the 30. Two helicopters carrying medical staff and military personnel were dispatched to help in the search.

China has been battling forest fires in recent weeks in various parts of the vast country, including on the outskirts of Beijing, fed by dry weather and high winds across many northern areas.


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Significant kauri seed collection taking place

One of the biggest kauri seed collections to be undertaken in decades is happening now across the upper North Island of New Zealand in an effort to identify trees that are resistant to kauri dieback. The seed collection is part of the Scion-led Healthy Trees, Heathy Future (HTHF) programme focused on researching and combating several Phytophthora species, including Phytophthora agathidicida aka kauri dieback.

The co-ordinated collection will see 14 mana whenua groups working with researchers from Scion, Manaaki Whenua-Landcare Research and professional tree climbers from BioSense to collect seed from kauri from northern Northland to Tauranga in the eastern Bay of Plenty.

Mana whenua groups involved include Omahuta, Ngamanawa Inc, Te Roroa, Te Rarawa, Patuharakeke, Tau Iho I Te Po, Te Rawhiti, Ngati Huarere Ki Whangapoua, Te Uri o Hikihiki, Ngati Hine, Ngati Rehia, Te Uri O Hau, Kawerau a Maki and others. Kauri seed is enclosed in cones that mature between February and April. Maturation is earliest in Northland and then moves south.

Tree climbers use special gear to climb into the tree canopy to harvest cones. It is vital that the cones are collected while still on the tree so collectors can record which tree they came from, and collectors can go back to gather more if the specimen is identified as being resistant. Cones are then sent to Scion in Rotorua where some of the seed will be raised in a specially commissioned kauri polyhouse within the Scion nursery where strict hygiene precautions ensure it stays free of kauri dieback. Seed not used this year will be placed into a seed bank for mana whenua to use in research or restoration.

This is the fourth year of seed collections in the HTHF programme and will be the biggest collection undertaken so far. The 2018 harvest focussed on collection from healthy trees in areas where dieback is known to be present. This year, the aim is to collect from 500+ trees across kauri lands to establish a resource for future research, screening and propagation programmes.

Programme leader Dr Nari Williams explains, “By taking seed from mature trees, we’re hoping to get a better understanding of the range of genetic resistance present. This is one part of understanding why and how some trees succumb to dieback and others remain apparently disease-free.”

Funding for the kauri stream of the HTHF programme is provided by the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment and the Kauri Dieback Programme. Collaborators include Massey University, Manaaki Whenua, Plant and Food Research and Auckland University of Technology. The programme wraps up in September 2019 after six successful years, but the researchers hope to continue the work in partnership with mana whenua.

Photo: Rongo Bentson collecting cones

Source: Scion

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Buy and Sell

... and one to end the week on ... now this is weird

I was barely sitting down when I heard a voice from the other stall saying:

"Hi, how are you?"

I'm not the type to start a conversation in the restroom but I don't know what got into me, so I answered, somewhat embarrassed,

"Doin' just fine!"

And the other person says:

"So what are you up to?"

What kind of question is that? At that point, I'm thinking this is too bizarre so I say:

"Uhhh, I'm like you, just travelling!"

At this point I am just trying to get out as fast as I can when I hear another question.

"Can I come over?"

Ok, this question is just too weird for me but I figured I could just be polite and end the conversation. I tell them

"No.......I'm a little busy right now!!!"

Then I hear the person say nervously...

"Listen, I'll have to call you back. There's an idiot in the other stall who keeps answering all my questions.

One more for you at the end of the week to get you thinking. Did you know that if you replace "W" with "T" in "What, Where and When", you get the answer to each of them.

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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