Friday Offcuts – 26 April 2019

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Along with the lofty goal of getting one billion trees into the ground over the next decade, the NZ Government realises that in addition to getting access to land, investors and tree stocks, that they’re going to need planters to get the trees into the ground. Results of a recently completed survey of silvicultural and harvesting contractors paints a clearer picture of the expected labour requirements, both seasonal and permanent roles, for the 2019 calendar year. The full report can be accessed by the link in the story below.

This week we’ve built in an article written on attracting young tech-savvy graduates to an industry that’s increasingly struggling to find young talent. It’s been one of their major challenges for a number of years. Sound familiar? This time it’s the oil and gas. They’re using drones as the lever to peak interest from younger students in their industry. They’re showcasing opportunities for incoming young talent to use this innovative new technology and to lead a new era of digitisation within their industry. It’s an important message. It’s an avenue that’s also increasingly being picked up by the forestry industry. The image attached to this particular article is from a forestry open day run for local schools a few weeks back in Southland, New Zealand. If you look closely at it, notice the age of the forestry representative demonstrating the technology and the interest being shown by the younger students.

Drones aren’t only being used to attract the interest of younger students. We covered work being undertaken by a UK-based company, Biocarbon Engineering back in 2017. This project actually started in 2012. Since then, they’ve employed the technology around the world, including seeding at abandoned mine sites in Australia. What’s interesting in this particular story is that the company is now working with local communities in Myanmar who’re looking to reforest areas that they’ve cut down. They’re training local people to fly the drones and process the data that they’re collecting. Like the students in Southland, locals “like the IT stuff”. The technology is attractive, they’re regenerating their forests and it sure beats hand planting.

Finally, this week the Victorian government announced that it’s going to be getting back into plantation forestry, some 20 years after privatising and exiting from the industry. Under pressure on several fronts the Government has a legislated obligation to supply at least 350,000 cubic metres of hardwood pulp to the Latrobe Valley’s Australian Paper Mill until at least 2030. They’re also under pressure to move away from native timber harvesting. The focus will be on hardwood timber plantations and the state-owned native forest manager VicForests has been earmarked to oversee the establishment and management of the plantations. And to provide some sort of certainty to the Victorian timber industry and local communities across the State, VicForests has also just released the long overdue Timber Release Plan amendment following the Victorian Government’s release of the Allocation Order. And on that positive note, enjoy this week’s read.

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Victorian Government establishing hardwood plantations

The first eucalypt seedlings will be planted out in the Latrobe Valley this winter to meet the Victorian Government’s 2017 promise to spend AU$110 million growing hardwood plantations to support the state’s timber industry.

Agriculture Minister Jaclyn Symes launched the plantation programme at Yallourn North, where crown land will be used to establish plantations. But rather than using the experience of the private sector, the government intends to use its state-owned native forest manager VicForests to oversee the plantations to meet its legislated obligation to supply at least 350,000 cubic metres of hardwood pulp to the Latrobe Valley’s Australian Paper Mill until at least 2030.

The move is also seen as an attempt to reduce the reliance on native forests pulp logs as the Government comes under pressure from environmentalists and green groups to phase out native timber harvesting. Bringing VicForests into plantation forestry to meet Australian Paper’s future demands would bring the Government back into a sector it privatised more than 20 years ago.

Former Premier Jeff Kennett’s Coalition Government sold off the state’s 170,000ha of soft and hardwood plantations in 1998 to US investment company Hancock Timber Resource Group for AU$550 million.

One industry player said it did not make sense for VicForests to run plantations, given there were seven efficient private-sector firms already operating in Australia. Three of these firms operate in Victoria: Hancock Victorian Plantations, New Forests and Global Forest Partners.

The move back into plantation forestry is seen by industry players as an attempt to find a role for some of VicForests’ 128 staff. But one analyst argued only 15-30 staff would be needed to operate AU$110 million of hardwood plantations.

Source: Weekly Times

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NZ forestry labour requirements for 2019

In December 2018, Te Uru Rākau, the Forest Owners Association and the Forest Industry Contractors Association, with support from Competenz, surveyed the New Zealand silviculture and harvesting sectors’ labour requirements for 2019. The results were published last month. As we move into planting season, the responses and results from the survey you may find interesting.

The survey was designed to better understand:

- expected labour requirements, both seasonal and permanent roles, for the 2019 calendar year; - for which roles, and in which regions, silviculture contractors and harvesting contractors are experiencing challenges; - the recruitment strategies people intend to use in 2019; and - the industry’s views of the key reasons for the labour shortages. Some of the findings include;

- Silviculture contractors involved in planting estimate that they will need approximately 1,780 workers for 2019, an increase of 750 workers or around 73 percent on 2018.

- The main regions for forestry employment are Waikato, Gisborne, Bay of Plenty and Northland.

- The survey respondents estimate that the forestry workforce for silviculture and harvesting will increase by 36 percent in 2019.

- Silviculture contractors are looking to increase their number of seasonal workers in 2019. However, 54 percent of the new planting jobs (approximately 400 of the 750 new jobs) are still expected to be permanent roles. As a result, the silviculture workforce in 2019 is expected to be 64 percent permanent and 36 percent seasonal. If these permanent staff are retained, silviculture contractors will be better placed for the 2020 planting season.

- There are regional differences –In Northland all new jobs are expected to be permanent where as in Southland and Bay of Plenty most new jobs are expected to be seasonal.

- While overall the forestry sector permanent workforce increased in 2018 (that is, more people were hired in 2018 than left), 25% of permanent workers left the firms they were working for during the year.

- Contracting organisations (silviculture and harvesting contractors) had a much higher percentage of their permanent staff leaving during the year than other forestry entities. This suggests that even though silviculture and harvest contractors offer permanent employment, they face difficulties retaining staff.

- Almost 70% of silviculture contractors expect to plant more than last year, with nearly half of respondents expecting to plant more than 20% more, and around 15% of respondents expecting to 50% or more than they did last year.

To look over the results from the full survey, click here.

Source: Primary Industry Capability Alliance

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Thomas Song memorial service

In last week’s Offcuts we reported on the untimely passing of one of New Zealand forestry’s leaders, Thomas Song, the founding Managing Director of Ernslaw One.

A remembrance service for Thomas Song is going to be held Monday 6 May at 11am. The service will be in Auckland and the venue will be confirmed by the end of day Monday 29th, but in all likelihood it will be held at the Auckland War Memorial Museum.

It would be appreciated if those planning on attending could rsvp to as soon as possible.

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VicForests releases Timber Release Plan

VicForests has released the Timber Release Plan (TRP) amendment following the Victorian Government’s release of the Allocation Order. VicForests Chief Executive Officer Nathan Trushell said the TRP provides detail on which coupes will potentially be harvested - subject to forest protection surveys, operational assessment and stakeholder consultation.

“The release of the AO and TRP amendments are vital components to VicForests’ planning and operations processes,” Mr Trushell said. Mr Trushell said the release of the TRP and the AO would give more certainty to the forestry industry and communities throughout Victoria.

The Victorian Government also announced a new plantation program across Gippsland from this winter, including hundreds of hectares of crown land in the Latrobe Valley. VicForests looks forward to having a key role in working with the Victorian Government on the program.

VicForests appreciates the important role it plays in protecting and conserving Victoria’s state forests and timber reserves, and commitment to work towards a long-term goal of sustainable harvesting and regeneration practices, which will deliver for both the needs of the timber industry and the requirements of the environment.

VicForests is continuing its work towards achieving the Forest Stewardship Council Controlled Wood Standard by 2020, which promotes sustainable forest management, to complement VicForests’ Responsible Wood certification already in place.

Further details can be viewed at Victorian Government and VicForests.


- There is 7.1 million hectares of public forests across Victoria, about 94 per cent of which is protected in parks, reserves or is unsuitable for native timber harvesting.

- VicForests harvests around 3000 hectares per year, or 0.04 per cent of that area – nominally equivalent to 4 trees in 10,000.

- High Conservation Values (HCVs) are protected through rigorous conservation practices including exclusion zones for threatened species and buffer zones to prevent encroachment on rainforest areas.

- VicForests protects any Leadbeater Possum or colonies through a 12.6-hectare Timber Harvest Exclusion Zone, equivalent to about 6 MCG fields. This protection has been consulted and agreed upon with a wide range of independent scientists, regulators and environment groups.

- VicForests also applies Greater Gliders protection zones, throughout East Gippsland, of 100 hectares in areas where more than 10 Gliders are found in a one-kilometre line.

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Forestry finalists in NZ Safety Awards

Forest industry safety leaders are among finalists in the New Zealand Workplace Health and Safety Awards for 2019. The winners in each of the categories, and an overall winner, will be announced at a gala dinner at SKYCITY Convention Centre in Auckland on 28 May.

A lifetime achievement award will be presented to Dr Hillary Bennett for her pioneering work in health & safety leadership and in the forestry sector.

Safeguard editor Peter Bateman says the more than 150 entries received this year illustrated the wide variety of approaches being taken to prevent injury and illness and to promote wellbeing. The entries also celebrated individuals who are going above and beyond to make these initiatives happen.

“Health and safety is all about people, so it is always a pleasure each year to read the award entries and learn about some of the people who work behind the scenes to protect their fellow workers. They do tremendous work and these awards are all about acknowledging and celebrating that.”

The category finalists, in alphabetic order within category, are:

NZ Safety Blackwoods best initiative to encourage worker involvement in health & safety

• Air New Zealand

• Hancock Forest Management NZ

• Spencer Henshaw

ACC best leadership of an industry sector or region

• Farmstrong

• Forest Industry Safety Council/Leading Safety/Tuakiri/Forestsafe

• Government Health & Safety Lead

Business Leaders’ Health & Safety Forum leader of the year • James Fletcher, Treescape

• Jono Brent, Connetics

• Michelle Henderson, PowerNet

The awards are organised by Thomson Reuters, publisher of Safeguard magazine, and proudly supported by WorkSafe New Zealand. Since their inception in 2005 the awards have become established as an annual highlight for everyone involved in the prevention of work injury and ill-health.

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Manufacturing still matters

“Manufacturing still matters,” Dr Alison Pennington (photo) told delegates at the Wood Processors and Manufacturers’ Association (WPMA)’s conference in Christchurch recently. Dr Pennington is an economist at the Centre for Future Work within the Australia Institute, and was a keynote speaker at the conference.

“Manufacturing drives innovation,” she explained. “It continues to open new frontiers in innovation and technology, and invests proportionally more in research and development than any other sector. Besides, no sector can even apply innovation without including manufactured goods!” Most scientific discoveries could not have been made without manufactured microscopes, for example, nor could forestry be as efficient without factory-manufactured machinery.

Manufacturing is not a sunset industry, she believes – international experience shows that this sector can still expand in developed countries of a similar size to our own (think Ireland, Korea, or Chile for example) and our labour costs are lower on average than theirs. Manufacturing can also deliver nationwide spill-over benefits such as increased productivity, innovation, income and exports.

“Manufacturing is the dominant component of all international trade,” she said, “yet New Zealand’s loss of manufacturing has harmed your economy more than that of other countries,” helped by our current enthusiasm for a “knowledge economy.” Historically, wood manufacturers have had little Government support to compete cost effectively on the world stage, and this has had particularly serious consequences for New Zealand’s regions.

According to OECD and national statistical agency figures, New Zealand’s job numbers in manufacturing have dropped two percent since 2010, while the OECD average is a seven percent increase. Some of that decrease can be placed at the “definitions” doorstep, however – support jobs that used to be part of the manufacturing sector have been outsourced and defined as “services.”

New Zealand’s exports as a percentage of GDP have also been steadily decreasing. From approx. 32 percent of GDP in 2010, exports had dropped to 26 percent by 2017 (the latest figures available from Stats NZ, Infoshare and National Accounts) – showing that “free market” policies haven’t helped the manufacturing sector especially.

New Zealand’s manufacturing sector decline had been caused through a failure of political will rather than economics, she said, and did not need to be inevitable. A modern manufacturing policy could still ensure manufacturing makes a better contribution to our future prosperity, but time is running out. To ensure New Zealand gets its fair share of the international trade pie, an effective Government policy is an area in need of urgent attention and development.

Global experience shows that Government policies play a key role in fostering innovation, nurturing clusters and growing demand. “People don’t work with their bare hands anymore,” Dr Pennington pointed out. “Manufacturing is integral to all production, and always will be.”

She believes the secret to expanding trade is to “use materials you already have, but perhaps change how they’re delivered.” To maintain cost competitiveness, Dr Pennington suggests New Zealand needs to prevent over-valuing our exchange rate and maintain strong productivity growth.

Source: Wood Processors and Manufacturers’ Association

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Treemetrics ambitious plans for growth

Forestry software company Treemetrics intends to double, if not treble, its workforce over the coming 12 to 18 months as it embarks on a plan to drive revenues from €1 million to €40 million by the end of 2022.

The Cork-based company, whose clients include Coillte, the World Bank Group and the European Space Agency, is lining up a multi-million euro funding round over the next 12 months to fund the growth plan, which will see it entering into new markets. The move comes as the United Nations predicts that demand for forestry products will double by 2040.

Founded in 2005 by Enda Keane and Garrett Mullooly, Treemetrics has developed a cloud-based forestry management platform called ForestHQ, which contains a series of tools that effectively replace traditional methods of managing forests, many of which have been in place for hundreds of years. Both company founders have outlined their technology at ForestTECH events run in both New Zealand and Australia.

Treemetrics captures and analyses forestry data using satellite communications technology to enable forest owners and managers to maximise sustainable production and profitability. The software can provide tracking details of individual forestry products “from the stump to the shop”.

The Enterprise Ireland-backed company has in recent years built a successful business largely on the back of word-of-mouth recommendations. It is now looking to expand beyond its core markets in Ireland, Britain and continental Europe to take advantage of sales opportunities in newer markets such as South America and Australia. It is also looking to make its product available to a wider cohort of users beyond forestry managers.

“Our value proposition is significantly stronger than we first envisaged because there are also significant process improvements and operational cost reduction benefits to it that we hadn’t really concentrated on when we first developing the platform,” said Treemetrics commercial director Joe O’Carroll. “Back then, it was also helping users to maximise benefits but they are getting a whole more from ForestHQ than just being able to do that.”


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AFPA partners with augmented reality experts

The Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA), is partnering with augmented reality App ‘Viewa’ as part of the Growing Your Future Federal Election Campaign. Last week, we reported on the launch by AFPA of Growing Your Future, a campaign targeted at planting more timber production trees in the right places and securing the future of native forest industries.

The partnership with Viewa will mean people will be able to access video content explaining the benefits of forest industries by scanning upcoming newspaper advertising, or the front page of AFPA’s ‘10 Actions for Growth’ document.

AFPA is running advertising in Tasmania’s Examiner and Advocate newspapers this coming Friday the 26th April. The advertisements will be Viewa enabled, meaning readers will be able to access video content by hovering their smartphone over the advertisements or front page of the ‘10 Actions for Growth’ document, using the Viewa App, to unlock video.

To utilise Viewa to access AFPA content:

1. Download the Viewa App to your smartphone.
2. Using the App, hover the phone over newspaper advertising or the front page of AFPA’s ‘10 Actions for Growth’ document.
3. Watch the video content through the Viewa App.

The ‘10 Actions for Growth’ and underpinning policy ‘asks’ can be found the campaign website:

Source: AFPA

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How Drones are attracting new graduates

This article relates to how young tech savvy graduates are now being attracted to the oil and gas industry. Transpose the oil and gas industry to forestry. There is an important message here. The image displayed is from a recent forestry open day run for interested school students in Southland with a young local forestry company representative (Matt Cotterrell, City Forests) outlining the drones capabilities and operational use in forestry operations.

College graduation is just around the corner, which means thousands of young, tech-savvy graduates will soon enter the workforce. As new graduates search for careers, several will be eyeing opportunities that allow them to utilize their technical skills and offer high-growth opportunities.

With the “great crew change” arguably one of the biggest hurdles traditionally facing oil and gas operators, attracting new and young talent has been a major challenge for years. However today, drones are offering a surprising solution to help bridge the gap between seasoned vets edging towards retirement, and incoming green talent.

Solving the great crew change

For trusted oil and gas experts who have worked in the industry for years, adequately training an incoming younger, tech-raised employee can be daunting. However, new technology like drones equipped with aerial telepresence help benefit both new and seasoned workforce alike. With access to instant real-time visibility in the field from anywhere in the world, aerial telepresence allows experienced workers to better train and empower the incoming younger generation, while also promoting the use of some the most innovative tech to improve efficiency and safety.

When new, green talent enters the oil and gas industry, training is the first step to learning and understanding the day-to-day tasks of the job. But unlike traditional methods of training, today, experts are able to use drones to be more efficient during employee on-boarding. Using a drone, experts and new talent are able to simultaneously and in real-time get eyes on nearly every inch of the field, fast. What might have taken days to understand, large and often dangerous areas of terrain, including pipelines, well sites, and tanks, now only takes a few hours with the help of a drone. And with access to stored footage from cloud storage repositories, incoming younger workers are enabled to go back and gather insights from drone footage immediately after training sessions to help improve retention and understanding in the field.

Smart technology, smart operations

Today, the smartest oil and gas operators are utilizing drones to help reduce costs, drive operational efficiencies, and improve safety. For incoming workers, that can mean several opportunities to quickly learn and get ahead in the industry.

For example, drones enable experts to show incoming talent the ins-and-outs of crucial tasks like asset inspection. Instead of enduring hours of drives between well site pads, or walking pipelines, drones allow experienced employees and newcomers to navigate complex assets, while still pinpointing critical insights within minutes and from a safe location. With drones saving hours and even days of time on highly-manual and time-consuming jobs, experts and younger hires are freed up to focus on higher-impact areas of fieldwork, including how to maintain asset integrity, mitigate problems, or properly respond to a situation when something goes wrong — all helping to increase incoming workers’ efficiency, and safety while in the field.

Reducing costs

Additionally, are drones helping save organizations significant costs. Instead of deploying trucks, or helicopters to survey and inspect wide ranges of terrain, a drone can be launched within minutes for a fraction of the cost. And with added aerial visibility and intelligence, in the event of an alarm sound or emergency, a drone can quickly get eyes on a situation, and help operators and those who are less experienced better determine the right resources to manage a situation, instead of deploying tools that ultimately wouldn’t be needed.

Increasing safety for all

For less experienced workers, understanding the safety risks of the field is pertinent, and knowing how to respond to an emergency can help save resources and even lives. Luckily, smart operators are using drones for emergency response and helping to enhance situational awareness. With the ability to give incoming talent a first-hand and up-close look at an emergency, new workers are able to see exactly what’s needed to mitigate and fix an issue. For example, before operators make a decision to respond to an emergency like a fire, spill, or gas leak, operators can quickly deploy a drone to get aerial pictures of a site and make accurate decisions. And with real-time aerial visibility giving them a holistic view of an emergency, operators, and first-responders are able to turn to drones for enhanced situational awareness and pinpoint areas of danger instead of entering one blindly.

All team members can deploy a drone

For oil and gas operators who might be considering starting a program, today’s technology makes it easier than ever to implement drones into daily operations. With functionality and features like geo-fencing and obstacle avoidance technology, nearly anyone — seasoned vet or incoming hire — can easily and safely deploy a drone to get a quick, detailed, and zoomed-in view of assets that may be hard to view, without worrying about crashing or destroying an asset. Additionally, by integrating enhanced technology like FLIR infrared and thermal cameras, seasoned operators can help less experienced workers better identify irregularities in the field, including hot spots that may cause dangerous situations like fires.

Today, drones are one of the keys to attracting and retaining top incoming talent. With the ability to enable trusted experts real-time visibility in the field from anywhere in the world to better train and empower the younger workforce, drones are providing new ways to help improve operational efficiencies, reduce costs, and increase safety. Offering opportunities for incoming talent to use innovative, new technology and help lead a new era of digitization and insights, while also getting a full, holistic understanding of oil and gas operations from seasoned vets, drone technology is not only a smart way to bring in new talent, but also helps bridge the gap between operators with legacy knowledge and driving green and ready-to-learn talent.

Source: Author. Chris Rittler is the CEO of Cape, the leading cloud platform for drone telepresence and data management.

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Tree planting drones firing seed missiles

A company is now producing drones designed to fire seed missiles into fields, aiming to help restore the world’s forests. According to National Geographic, between 1990 and 2016, the world lost 502,000 square miles of forest due to a combination of humans cutting them down, and natural factors including wildfires.

With deforestation affecting all life on Earth, it needs addressing urgently, and Biocarbon Engineering believe they can help. The company have designed drones which, in September, planted seeds in a field just south of Yangon, Myanmar. These seeds have now grown into mangrove saplings, about 20 inches tall, and now Biocarbon Engineering are looking to ‘replicate this success’ elsewhere.

The company’s cofounder, Irina Fedorenko told Fast Company “We now have a case confirmed of what species we can plant and in what conditions. We are now ready to scale up our planting and replicate this success”.

Biocarbon Engineering also used drones to plant both trees and grasses at abandoned mines in Australia, as well as other locations over the world. Since the project started in 2012, more than six million trees have been planted by non-profit organisation Worldview Impact, which has recently been working with Biocarbon Engineering.

Many of these six million seeds were planted by hand which takes time, so Worldview Impact hopes to use more drones in the future now they’ve proven to be successful. It’s estimated two operators working with 10 drones can plant an amazing 400,000 trees a day.

After flying over the areas, the drones then map it, while collecting data about the soil condition and topography to determine the best locations to plant seeds. They then fire biodegradable pods into the ground, which are filled with a germinated seed and the nutrients it needs.

The project in Myanmar is all about community development and enabling people to care for trees, providing them with jobs, and making environmental restoration in a way that it’s profitable for people.

The forest didn’t vanish by itself — the forest was cut down by local people. We train local people to be drone pilots, and they want that. They want to be in IT. They want to process data, they want to fly drones, they want to do agroforestry, they want to do regenerative agriculture, they want to create vertical farms, they want to do all this cool stuff. It’s not the ambition to be a seedling planter for $1 a day.

So, the drone project isn’t just helping the forests themselves, but the local communities too by helping provide new economic opportunities. The project will hopefully have a huge impact with climate change, as researchers recently calculated there’s enough room on the planet to plant 1.2 trillion trees, enough to suck up more carbon each year than humans emit. Amazing!


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Strong year for Eastland Port

New Zealand’s Eastland Port, Gisborne. achieved an annual tonnage throughput of just under 2.9 million tonnes of cargo in the year to March 2019, slightly down on last year’s record-breaking result. “The 12-month period was another very strong year for throughput at Eastland Port with vessels taking this district’s export product to South Korea, Japan, China, and Singapore,” says general manager Andrew Gaddum.

In the year to 31 March 2019, 140 ships handled 2,956,071 tonnes of cargo at Eastland Port. Of that, 126 ships took away 2,941,324 tonnes of logs. Mr Gaddum says the record of 3,000,766 tonnes of cargo handled in a year was set in 2018. The lower log export volume in 2019 was primarily due to the floods in June last year which significantly impacted the region’s harvesting and transport infrastructure.

While the annual record wasn’t surpassed there were other milestones reached in the time period. Eastland Port marked a cart-in record-setting day after 15,004 tonnes of wood arrived and was processed on Tuesday 19 March 2019. “To put that in perspective that’s about half a ship worth of wood,” says Mr Gaddum. The previous record of 14,838 tonnes was also set during the year on 18 December 2018.

Processing 15,000 tonnes of wood in a day on port represents thousands of hours of work by a range of people beforehand - the port is just the last part of a process thousands have played their part in.” Mr Gaddum says a ship carrying 30,000 tonnes of logs injects over NZ$3 million into this economy.

“It provides the forest owners a return and importantly creates many direct and indirect jobs within this community. More than 50 percent of the above amount goes to pay locally based contractors and suppliers, regardless of who owns the trees.”

Mr Gaddum says that as well as being the vital link for wood export there is also a growing need for the port to provide for higher value break-bulk products and container exports from the forestry, horticultural and agricultural industries. “Collectively these industries provide a very strong foundation on which to continue with the port’s repairs, maintenance and development work, known as the twin berth development plan,” says Mr Gaddum.

Source: Eastland Port

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Can Finland’s forests withstand Chinese-driven growth?

There are currently five major forestry-related projects underway in Finland driven, at least in part, by Chinese investment.

That’s good news to the CEO of a Finnish company involved in one of them. Heikki Nivala is the head of Boreal Bioref, a planned billion-euro biorefinery project in Lapland’s Kemijärvi, in the Arctic. A quarter of the funding for the project, about 250 million euros, will come from Chinese investors.

Nivala, a nationally-recognised champion of the forestry industry, said he doesn’t agree with researchers who’ve issued warnings about Chinese advancements and investments in the country’s forests. “We have plenty of forest here. The growing stock is young, the forests are growing quickly and need to be thinned,” he said.

“We are just about ready,” he said of the project. “The only things we need now are environmental and building permits, the plant will be built in 30 months,” Nivala explained.

Nivala spearheaded a grass-roots protest movement after paper firm Stora Enso announced it was shutting down a cellulose plant in Kemijärvi in 2007. The facility was closed the following year, but the town’s – and Nivala’s – name continues to be remembered by many in the country, including lawmakers.

The town suffered many job cuts when the factory closed, but because of the prospect of Chinese investments, Boreal Bioref has estimated that its planned facility will bring 1,000 new jobs to the little community. The firm has already inked contracts of intent with the Chinese and the facility’s environmental permit application is expected to be processed this spring.

Not everyone is excited about increased activity in the forestry industry. Jakob Donner-Amnell is one of them. He’s a history and geography studies researcher at the University of Eastern Finland, has studied the forest industry’s past, present and future – and said he is worried about looming growth in the industry.

More >>

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CFA Young Forester Award 2020 opens

As part of the Commonwealth Forestry Association’s commitment to supporting the professional development of young foresters we are pleased to announce the launch of the CFA Young Forester Award 2020 in conjunction with the Faculty of Forestry at the University of British Columbia.

The CFA Young Forester Award provides a short-term work placement of three months hosted by the University of British Columbia between September and December 2020, where the successful applicants will be able to develop their practical skills. The Award covers flights, accommodation, local travel, subsistence costs and a small bursary to cover the period of the placement.

The application process for the Young Forester Award 2020 is outlined here and the application form is attached here.

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New report confirms fall in truck fatalities

National figures released as part of a new report unveiled shows a significant decrease in Australian truck fatalities. The report issued by the National Truck Accident Research Centre confirmed fatalities involving commercial vehicles dropped by 14 per cent over the past two years with predictions fatalities could be reduced even further to zero by as soon as 2032.

An analysis of Australia’s largest database of major crashes involving heavy vehicles shows a downward trend, with the number of fatal truck accidents the lowest in nearly two decades. Released at the Australian Trucking Association’s National Trucking Conference in Perth, the report found the trend has Australia within a generation of achieving zero deaths from crashes involving heavy vehicles.

Report author Adam Gibson, of National Transport Insurance, said the decline in the number of heavy-vehicle involved deaths between the 2017 and 2019 equated to an estimated 1545 lives being saved. “Encouragingly we’ve seen the lowest number of fatigue-related crashes in the report’s 16-year history. Fatigue was the cause of 9.8 per cent of major crashes, down from 20 per cent a decade ago,” he said.

The report also found nation-wide, the overall number of crashes caused by fatigue was down. Findings across the states included that two out of every five serious fatigue accidents occur in New South Wales; Queensland was 51 per cent higher than the national average for the risk of a fatigue accident; in Western Australia 15 per cent of the state's major truck crashes are the result of fatigue; and fatigue-related crashes in Victoria and South Australia decreased in the last two years by 68 per cent and 40 per cent respectively.

Australian Trucking Association Chair Geoff Crouch welcomed the results although says there is still work to be done. “We need to see a strong commitment from our government for practical safety solutions like an improved truck driver licensing system and mandatory safety technologies for new trucks,” he said.


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

1. If poison expires, is it more poisonous or is it no longer poisonous?

2. Which letter is silent in the word "Scent," the S or the C?

3. Do twins ever realize that one of them is unplanned?

4. Why is the letter W, in English, called double U? Shouldn't it be called double V?

5. Maybe oxygen is slowly killing you and It just takes 75-100 years to fully work.

6. Every time you clean something, you just make something else dirty.

7. The word "swims" upside-down is still "swims"

8. 100 years ago everyone owned a horse and only the rich had cars. Today everyone has cars and only the rich own horses.

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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