Friday Offcuts – 26 July 2019

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Multiple registrations are now rolling in for the upcoming sawmilling series, WoodTECH 2019. Mills are using the two-yearly event as a technology update, a team building exercise for key staff in addition to capitalising on perhaps the largest gathering yet seen in Australasia of sawmilling expertise from around the world. This week we carry a story on one of the practical workshops that will be running in both countries by the Canadian company, SiCam Systems. More details on content and focus for the 90-minute workshop, part of the two-day conference and exhibitions, can be seen below.

We’ve included a couple of stories this week on transport and truck safety. In Australia, the Australian Forest Contractors Association (AFCA) has just picked up AU$140k to support the Professional Ownership and Driver Wellbeing programme through the 2019 Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative. A series of over 30 forestry sessions are planned to run across Australia, specifically targeting drivers, management and staff within the forestry industry.

Aligned also to the health of truck drivers, is an announcement by one truck manufacturer, with their “gym in the truck” concept. It’s just been unveiled in Germany. From a recent survey in the USA, 80 percent of long-haul drivers surveyed were likely to have conditions relating to metabolic syndrome (conditions like increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol). The Fit Cab is designed to incorporate exercise and gym equipment into the cab of the truck, the aim being to encourage drivers to do a little more than just drive on those longer haul distances.

And finally, in the technology space this week we’ve included a story on work being done on a shirt with built-in sensors that’s designed to keep forestry workers safe by checking on their health whilst out on the job. Following on from the moon landing celebrations last weekend, we’ve also added another article looking at the long-lasting contributions that the Apollo mission made to technological advancements, this time in the transport industry.

Innovations from 50 years ago include; the digital fly-by-wire system which moved from the early space mission to all commercial aircraft, flame retardant fabrics which are still being used today in all sorts of applications, including firefighting and motorsports, heat shield technology that has been used to further develop fire-retardant paints and foams for aircraft and integrated display and keyboards used in Apollo’s guidance computers that set the ground work for today’s computer-control systems used in vehicles. And on that note, enjoy this week’s read.

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AU$140K to improve heavy vehicle safety

One hundred and forty thousand dollars of heavy vehicle safety funding has been allocated to the Australian Forest Contractors Association (AFCA) to support the Professional Ownership and Driver Wellbeing program (PODW Program) through the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator’s (NHVR) 2019 Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative, supported by the Federal Government.

Ms Stacey Gardiner, AFCA’s General Manager, said that the funding would support the organisation to improve heavy vehicle safety. “AFCA is pleased to be partnered with Australian Trucking Safety Services & Solutions (ATSSS) and KJ Training and Consulting to deliver the PODW Program which will provide fundamental psychoeducation tools, addressing the ‘human factors’, for those at highest risk within the forestry industry of a heavy vehicle accident,” said Ms Gardiner.

Ms Gardiner added, “the PODW Program will be delivered via a series of over 30 free forestry sessions across Australia, specifically targeting drivers, management and staff within the forest industry”. Mr Alan Pincott, Director ATSSS said, “Data from recent forestry heavy vehicle incidents has shown a trend in ‘human factors’ such as inattention and complacency contributing to crashes”.

The PODW program provides an opportunity to address these factors and complements work already occurring within the industry relating to Chain of Responsibility, Registered Codes of Practice and training about significant risks such as truck rollovers.

NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto said the funding was part of AU$5.4 million being distributed across the country. “Heavy vehicle safety is everyone’s responsibility, and through local safety programs, we can make our roads safer for all road users,” Mr Petroccitto said. “Twenty-four recipients from across Australia will be supported to roll out programs targeting heavy vehicle safety. From fire prevention, to truckie mental health, to safe livestock transport these diverse projects will all make a big difference to safety.

For more information visit

Source: Australian Forest Contractors Association

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Q.C. opportunities for the entire mill

In a previous update on the upcoming sawmilling series ( WoodTECH 2019) running in September, we outlined a series of practical workshops being set up for sawmill production and operational staff which have been integrated into the two-day conference and exhibition.

Workshops on primary breakdown and machine alignment and maintenance techniques to improve machine reliability, real-time quality control, condition monitoring, saw and guide alignment and trouble-shooting saw guides are being given in both Australia and New Zealand as part of the event.

Nick Barrett, President of the Canadian company, SiCam Systems will be taking one of the more in-depth workshops on Q.C. in the sawmill. Sawmills are full of opportunities to improve performance on existing equipment and the workshop will help demonstrate practical ideas to achieve this goal. Recovery and predictive maintenance issues can provide substantial payback. Every mill should have a process for auditing equipment, scanning systems, people and overall mill performance.

Included in the workshop will be a session on Quality Control Basics. It’s critical to review the basics and we’ll be highlighting where the opportunities often occur with QC and Size Control. Much of the focus for this part of the workshop will be on specific machine examples and case studies. Topics will include: Size Control Objectives, Value and Recovery, Understanding Variation, Understanding Target Size and Size Control Processes.

The second part of the workshop will cover the application of both manual and automated methods for testing specific machinery in the sawmill. Practical ideas will be supplied on how machines should be monitored within the mill. The elements of predictive maintenance and data analytics are critical nowadays for a modern sawmill. Sawmills have expensive optimizers that make important value decisions and mills need a manual and/or automated system to audit the entire process.

Topics here will include; Primary Breakdown, Width, Thickness, Saw Deflection and Opening Face Analysis, Board Edger: Width and Wane analysis, Gang: Thickness and Wane analysis, Trimmer: Fence Performance, Length Verification and Storyboard Process and Planer: Infeed and outfeed width/thickness and the impacts of drying.

And finally, the workshop will also be covering Quality Control - People and Programme. The biggest lesson being picked up in mills is often the lack of education and empowerment for the QC people. This last session will focus on teaching the entire mill to understand the value of good quality. Production is often the primary focus at mills but when an economic analysis is done, the biggest financial impact on the mill is more often than not improving quality and recovery.

Topics in this last session will include: Mill Staff: Operators, Supervisors, QC and Management - all need be involved appropriately, Mill Specific Opportunities: understanding the opportunities, Economic Analysis: How to calculate payback and Specific Examples: Highlighting several mill QC programme examples.

Registrations to both events in the series are now flowing in with most mills taking full advantage of the significant discounts on offer for group bookings to attend this year’s programme.

Information and registrations can be accessed from the event website, The two-yearly sawmilling series runs in Rotorua, New Zealand on 11-12 September and then again in Melbourne, Australia on 17-18 September 2019.

Source & Photo: SiCam Systems

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Hi-tech shirt for forestry workers

A shirt with built-in sensors could help reduce fatalities in New Zealand's forestry industry. Researchers at the University of Waikato are developing a hi-tech way to keep forestry workers safe on the job, with a 'smart shirt' the leading contender.

Using sensors on the front of the shirt to monitor heart-rate variability and others on the back to measure perspiration, the garment could detect when workers showed signs of fatigue or dehydration.

Engineering student Dylan Exton was looking at the positioning and function of the shirt's sensors. "You've got to make it comfortable and non-intrusive for anyone who wears it. You've also got to ensure the sensors are chargeable," Exton said.

"Right now, I have a mess of wires, but in the coming weeks I'll be plugging them into the computer to see how they behave." Exton said he took on the challenge of making a prototype shirt because he liked the combination of software and hardware required for the project.

Other members of the team were working on finding the best way to manage and understand the stream of data from workers and the environment, Bowen said.

The project team leaders will be speaking at our FIEA Forest Safety & Technology Conference series in May 2020 (See for more information.)

"How do we come up with an alarm that signals 'you're tired, you're dehydrated' from the combination of streaming data? There's a lot of complex data processing that has to happen as these smart shirts are going to be worn every working day and will produce continuous data," she said.

"It's not like working in a lab, we're designing for an uncontrolled environment. In the forest the data's noisy, bits of it can drop out, and people do unexpected or unpredictable things. It's a big challenge, but it's a great project because it's got all these moving parts."

Source: stuff

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Contact steam to heat NZ pellet business

Norske Skog’s wood pellets business in New Zealand has secured a steam supply from Contact Energy for its Taupo plant. The new energy supply for Nature’s Flame will largely come from downstream of the Tenon sawmill, which Contact has supplied with geothermal energy since 2007. It is part of a $7 million project Norske Skog announced in December to bring the facility up to its full capacity of 85,000 tonnes of pellets a year.

Nature’s Flame operations manager John Goodwin says the additional energy supply enables the company to utilise plant that was installed at the site but not operating when the business was acquired from Solid Energy in 2015. It will also save feedstock – sawdust and shavings – currently being burned in the plant’s driers.

The Taupo plant is producing about 40,000 tonnes a year now – split almost equally between domestic and export sales. The low-moisture and low-ash pellets are a premium product and the new capacity is likely to go into overseas markets like Korea and Japan, Goodwin said.

Norske Skog, which also operates the Tasman paper mill at Kawerau, bought Nature’s Flame as part of a long-term strategic shift away from paper and into other sustainable options for wood fibre use. While it remains a major paper maker, in Europe it has been developing options for making biogas from mill sludge. In Australia it partnered with Circa Group to make the ‘green’ biosolvent Cyrene from wood waste.

Contact Energy operates five power stations on the Wairakei, Tauhara and Ohaaki geothermal fields and is considering a further expansion at Tauhara. It is encouraging greater direct use of the underground steam resource by industrial users as part of a strategy to use new renewable technologies to help them reduce their emissions.

Contact chief generation and development officer James Kilty says the new supply agreement with Nature’s flame will enable it to optimise the efficiency of the production well currently supplying Tenon for the benefit of both customers, he said.

Goodwin says the upgrade is on schedule for completion in the December quarter. At full capacity the pellet plant will use about 460,000 gigajoules of steam annually.

Source: BusinessDesk

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ForestTECH 2019 details now on line

Every year, over 250 resource managers, remote sensing, GIS and mapping specialists, inventory foresters and technology providers from throughout Australasia (and more recently SE Asia) meet up at the annual ForestTECH technology series. Since 2007, it’s the one event every year that’s run in both Australia and New Zealand focussing on this particular part of the forestry industry.

“Compared to other parts of the wood supply chain, it’s been the sheer pace of change around the collection, analysis and reporting of data collected for the forest estate that has continued to drive interest and support for this particular technology series” says FIEA Director Brent Apthorp. “In recent years there has been a very short lag time (often less than six months) between the time research results are being relayed to forestry companies to the time that it’s being implemented operationally”.

At recent ForestTECH events, new data collection technologies have been unveiled along with advances that have been made on processing and better interpreting the big data streams now routinely being collected out in the field. The task being grappled with by many forestry companies has been how best to sort through and use this collected data and convert it into something that’s usable for all stakeholders.

The focus for ForestTECH 2019 is “unlocking the true value of data”. Disruptive technologies like artificial intelligence, the IOT, machine and deep learning, robotics, automation, daily satellite imagery, UAV’s and the use of virtual and augmented reality are now increasingly being integrated into day to day operations of most forestry companies.

With input from a wide cross section of forestry companies, tech providers and researchers, the ForestTECH 2019 programmes have been completed.

A couple of key features of this year’s series are;

- A number of pre and post conference workshops have been set up for ForestTECH 2019 delegates in both countries. Check out the website for details. The focus for the workshops includes, using geospatial tools and workflows, new technologies for collecting high-quality 3D forestry spatial data using portable, handheld devices and technology advances around hyperspectral and thermal imaging for precision forestry operations. Note:, places at some of the workshops, because of the venue size, are limited so will be filled on a first in-first served basis.

- The number of presentations being given from major forestry companies and global technology providers from outside Australasia. Key presenters include; Northwest Management, USA, DroneSeed, USA, GreenValley International, USA/China, SKYLAB, Germany, Swift Geospatial, South Africa, Forestal Arauco, Chile and IDAF Forestry Consulting, Spain.

The ForestTECH 2019 series this year runs in Melbourne, Australia on 13-14 November and then again in Rotorua, New Zealand on 19-20 November 2019.

Registrations are now open. Details can be found on the event website; Further information will follow.

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Wood derivative improves unsealed roads

Rugged, remote and astonishingly beautiful, Te Urewera is the largest wilderness region in the North Island of New Zealand, a primeval forest prized for its ecological systems, biodiversity and cultural heritage.

The kaitiaki (guardians) of Te Urewera are Tuhoe, said to be descended from Te Mauna (the Mountain) and Hine-pukohu-rani (the Mist Maiden). Tuhoe – the Children of the Mist – are renowned for their fierce protection of the land that holds such a special place in their hearts. This love for the land has resulted in Tuhoe doing things differently, rekindling traditional knowledge alongside modern research and insights.

In 2016 the Tuhoe Trust commissioned WSP Opus Research to investigate potential options for the resurfacing and maintenance of the section of State Highway 38, which is largely unsealed as it runs through Te Urewera.

The road is essential for maintaining connectivity and services to an isolated rural community and for the development of the tourism industry in Te Urewera. Eschewing traditional construction methods, the Tuhoe Trust challenged WSP Opus to innovate an environmentally- friendly and sustainable approach in keeping with the values of their people.

“We wish to take responsibility for all things we are consciously putting into and taking out of the whenua. Bitumen is not of Te Urewera in much the same way as cyanide or choleciferol poisons typically used in pest control are not of Te Urewera. In our guardianship role, we need to take steps to ensure that we are giving Te Urewera the best chance at balancing her needs for life within Te Urewera.” says Tamati Kruger, chairman of Te Urewera Board.

Jeremy Wu, Research Manager Transport, says a solution is needed to exemplify the principles of sustainable co-existence between people and the land. Importantly it couldn’t detract from the unique, pristine, character of much of the region, which are the home lands of the Tuhoe people, something that’s seen as a major drawcard for visitors.

The world-first solution is at the cutting-edge of innovative sustainability and has proved to be successful in field trials. It uses a tree resin, a natural by-product of the wood pulping process used in pulp and paper manufacturing, which is used in a novel way to bind the gravel and keep it in place.

The result is a solution that suppresses dust – an issue on gravel roads as it obscures visibility – with waterproofing attributes that reduces the occurrence of potholes and corrugations.

Under the bonnet of a field trial the WSP Opus project team and Tuhoe selected two trial sites in Te Urewera, each offering different conditions to test the coating over a 12 month period. The Mangapae section is 250m long between the Mangapae Stream Bridge and Papueru. Around 200 vehicles per day use this stretch, which was chosen as the flat grade allows for higher speeds, ideal for testing dust suppression.

The second site at Rosie Bay, Lake Waikaremoana has steep grades with tight curves, used by around 150 vehicles a day. Although vehicles are travelling at a lower speed, there is increased stress on the surface, a key factor in the development of potholes and corrugations.

“We were keen to involve our Tribal Communities in the planning and leadership challenges of their roading infrastructure, something traditionally left to territorial authorities to manage and for community members to complain about. This trial changes that dynamic, something that the District Councils are backing also” says Kirsti Luke, Chief Executive, Tuhoe Trust.

Test pits were dug on each site to identify and characterise the existing pavement structure and for material samples for the stabilisation design. Materials testing and stabilisation design was carried out by WSP Opus and Hiway Stabilizers at WSP Opus’ Auckland laboratory. Tests included classification of the pavement structure, dry and wet compaction and resistance to loads.

Both trial sites were constructed in January 2018 by Hiway Stabilizers and, on completion the sites underwent a monthly visual assessment.

Source: WSP Opus

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25% hit for B.C. forest contractors predicted

The economic downturn in B.C.'s forest industry is being felt not only by the hundreds of mill workers who have been laid off or had a reduction in shifts, but also by forestry contractors, such as log truck drivers and independent timber harvesters, who rely on the mills to make money.

David Elstone, executive director of The Truck Loggers Association, which represents forestry contractors across the province, predicts the industry will take a 25 per cent hit in the upcoming months which could lead to bankruptcies and more layoffs.

"The challenge is that there's the entire supply chain that feeds that sawmill and that's largely my membership, the logging contractor and their suppliers, that are working to maintain that supply chain when the sawmill does not need logs," said Elstone. "There is no revenue for those businesses, because that's what their job is — to deliver logs."

Canfor announced last Friday that it is further reducing operations with the elimination of an entire shift at the Isle Pierre sawmill in Prince George starting Sept. 20, and an indefinite curtailment of work at its Mackenzie sawmill, adding to a growing list of more than 20 curtailments at mills across the province within the past few months.

As a result of mill closures, many of the members of the Truck Loggers Association have seen a reduction in the amount of work they're getting and are struggling to keep their equipment going and retain employees, Elstone told Daybreak North host Carolina de Ryk.

"They've just been scrambling to try and find other work essentially," said Elstone. "The whole industry is shrinking ... That means that some contractors will likely not be working here once we get through the storm." Timber supply has been an issue the industry has been facing for about 15 to 20 years, he said. However, it was hard to predict when it would all come to a head.

Some of the many factors impacting the forestry industry are the decimation of trees by the mountain pine beetle, as well as weaker markets in the U.S. and China. "Sawmills are trying to curtail their production to reduce the amount of supply into the market to help strengthen lumber prices, but at the end of day the market does what it wants to do," said Elstone.

In the long term, the association is trying to help contractors by making sure they have some training advantages and training support for their workers when they come out of this. "Some sort of immediate work may be helpful, and maybe some bridge financing, but there's not a lot we can do in the short term because we actually don't know how long the short term could be."

Source & Photo:

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Students assist ForestrySA in conservation program

ForestrySA is working to protect endangered bandicoots living within the Kuitpo Forest Reserve, as part of an eco-education collaboration with local school students. The nationally endangered Southern Brown Bandicoot (Isoodon obseulus) was rediscovered living in the forest in early 2018 – the first sighting since the Ash Wednesday bushfires in 1983.

Now, students from McLaren Vale’s Tatachilla Lutheran College are assisting in the ongoing monitoring and protection of the typically shy marsupial. As part of the monitoring program, participating students were briefed by Department for Environment and Water Senior Ecologist Dr Elisa Sparrow, before installing a motion detection camera on ForestrySA land near Kangarilla.

The camera was positioned within bandicoot habitat located in a degraded drainage line overgrown with declared noxious weeds Periwinkle and Blackberry. While both plant species are declared weeds, they provide effective coverage for the bandicoot and vital protection from predators such as foxes and feral cats.

Within just weeks, two bandicoot sightings were captured on camera, much to the excitement of the students. According to ForestrySA Ranger Lennan Whiting, the latest bandicoot sightings increase understanding of its distribution within the Kuitpo Forest and provide confirmation the Bone Gully drainage line is being used as habitat. It also supports a ForestrySA conservation initiative to establish a buffer zone during future harvest operations in nearby pine plantation.

“As part of our long-term, post-clearfall plan, the creek-line will be rehabilitated with local heath species to provide habitat and protection from predators,” Mr Whiting said. “A biodiversity corridor will also be established, linking up isolated known bandicoot habitat areas through the forest in to adjacent private lands. The project will be completed in stages, preserving the existing weedy habitat until the native vegetation replacement is properly established.”

Photo: Tatachilla Lutheran College students work with Department of Environment and Water Senior Ecologist Elisa Sparrow and ForestrySA Ranger Lennan Whiting to install a motion-detection camera within Southern Brown Bandicoot habitat in the Kuitpo Forest Reserve. Photograph courtesy of ForestrySA

Source: ForestrySA

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Gym in a truck concept unveiled

At a global launch of its S-Way range truck cabins, IVECO has unveiled the Fit Cab concept designed to incorporate exercise and gym equipment under a healthier push to help long distance drivers, a group long associated with an ordained, sedentary lifestyle.

Upcoming workshops for the concept were tested as part of a research project coinciding with the European Truck Racing Championship that ran in Nurburgring, Germany on 19 July. As the customer focused project enters its next phase of development, IVECO was assessing improvements to operator wellbeing, comfort and performance as it looked to mitigate the attritional nature of long-haul driving through the cabin.

A five-year study conducted by Atlas Injury Prevention Solutions, based in Grand Haven, Michigan, recently found that 80 per cent of the more than 15,000 drivers surveyed were likely to have three out of five conditions related to metabolic syndrome including a high obesity rate and are 130 per cent more chance to smoke than non-drivers.

The Fit Cab, at this early stage, suggests a gym on wheels featuring devices for improving the driver's mobility, stability, strength and overall fitness. Dedicated hooks and anchor points are integrated into the exterior to host specifically designed accessories.

IVECO confirmed the retractable front step can double up as a training tool while a wall-integrated multi-directional pulley, a roof-integrated folded multi-grip solution, and a functional package that includes resistance bands, sliders and weights distinguish the interior.

Source: primemovermag

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Apollo's contribution to transport technology

Fifty years ago, American astronauts walked the moon, completing an incredible mission that, if we’re honest, was extremely unlikely to happen as soon as it did. And it was all possible because of incredible innovations, some of which paved the way for new tech in transportation. Here are a few of those innovations.

The Apollo program was a highly controversial one in the U.S. in the 1960s, with only 26 per cent of Americans saying that the U.S. should “go all out to beat the Russians in a manned flight to the Moon,” Smithsonian magazine writes. Now, half a century later, I bet most Americans would say it was indeed worthwhile, not just for qualitative reasons like morale, but for more concrete ones like technological development and a greater understanding of how our world works.

Here are a few innovations from Apollo that made their way into the transportation world here on earth. More >>.

Source: gizmodo

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Rail hubs may not boost Napier Port log trade

KiwiRail’s proposed freight hub at Dannevirke, New Zealand may extend Napier Port’s log catchment further south, but is more likely to put existing trucked freight onto rail, port chief executive Todd Dawson says.

Logs, wood pulp and timber accounted for 74 percent of the port’s export tonnage last year. The firm moved a record 2.2 million tonnes of logs in the September 2018 year and is picking that to climb 13 percent to about 2.5 million tonnes in the current year and in the 2020 financial year – reflecting the region’s projected harvest profile.

Dawson told journalists this week that the bulk of the port’s cargo travels less than 100 kilometres and trucking accounts for the vast bulk of those deliveries.

The port receives a daily log train – typically 18 wagons – from Whanganui. Whether rail can grab a bigger share of the North Island log trade will depend on KiwiRail’s ability to compete with truckers, he said.

KiwiRail – through its government owner – is investing heavily to improve regional freight services and take more bulk cargo off the roads. Last month it said a proposed rail-hub south-west of Dannevirke may be able to take 200,000 tonnes off roads a year. Forests in the area are already sending more than 50,000 tonnes of logs to Napier Port annually by road and those volumes are forecast to increase.

Earlier this year, KiwiRail restored the Napier-Wairoa rail link and is now establishing a log hub in the northern centre. Dawson said the firm already sources a lot of logs from Wairoa, about 120 kilometres by road north of Napier. While a hub may shift some of that volume onto rail, he doubted it would materially add to the firm’s log volume.

While logs dominate Napier's tonnage, its container trade generates 63 percent of its revenue. The port, already the country’s fourth-largest container terminal, is picking increases in container volumes of 1.2 percent for the current year and the September 2020 year. Pre-agreed tariff increases will help offset reduced ship visits – due to a change in shipping schedules – and an expected decline in volumes handled by the firm’s container packing facility.

Source: BusinessDesk

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Tasmanian forest practices code comment sought

Effective forest management is vital to the ongoing sustainability of our forests and the viability of the sector, both native and plantation and on both public and private land. The latest proposed enhancements to the Tasmanian Forest Practices Code (‘the Code’) have been released by the Forest Practices Authority (FPA) for public comment.

The Code provides standards and guidance to ensure the ongoing viability of Tasmanian forests balanced with reasonable environmental protections. The latest enhancements include guidance for land owners wishing to establish and harvest trees along waterways (riparian zones) for agroforestry and riparian rehabilitation.

There is also a new section on native forest management (silvicultural) systems which will provide a single stand-alone reference and reduce reliance on external documents. Chief Forest Practices Officer, Peter Volker, said the latest proposed enhancements were developed through a comprehensive review process.

“We set up working groups drawn from industry, private forest owners, discipline experts and community groups to review each section of the Code,” Dr Volker said. “It was a very positive process with a focus on changing only those things that were necessary and ensuring the Code remains up to date with modern forest practices and environmental management”.

“The Code is the go-to for people preparing and implementing forest practices plans to achieve sustainable forest management. Importantly, it is about how forests are managed and is not about setting forest policy or how wood and timber are used, and it is very clear on that”.

“The Tasmanian Forest Practices Code has stood the test of time. It has been rated as one of the best Codes in the world – the latest amendments will make it even better,” Dr Volker said. Tasmanian Forest Practices Code was first released in 1987 and has had previous revisions in 1993, 2000 and 2015.

The enhanced Tasmanian Forest Practices Code is available on the FPA website. Submissions close on Friday, 20 September 2019.

Source: FPA

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Birds thrive at plantation properties

Surveys on Kangaroo Island Plantation Timbers properties have shown that the remnant vegetation on the plantation properties is providing valuable habitat for birdlife.

Last year was the first time that bird surveys had been conducted in KIPT’s plantations, which were visited between November by the 22 volunteer surveyors. More than 85 surveys were completed, across 37 different properties or control sites, and co-ordinated by Birdlife Australia.

Overall, 38 different bird species were seen, the top five most commonly reported being Red Wattlebird, Crescent Honeyeater, Superb Fairy-wren, Brown Thornbill and Grey Currawong. Average abundance was highest within the remnant habitat, with generally high numbers of birds observed in the plantation properties. A Shannon Diversity Index was calculated for each transect, and the average (mean) index value calculated for each of the three transect types.

Remnant habitat patches recorded the highest Shannon Index, indicating that these remnant patches may be playing an important role in maintaining bird diversity at a landscape level. Dr Holly Kirk of Birdlife Australia presented her findings at the recent annual Australian Ornithological Conference in Darwin.

“The number of volunteer surveyors was encouraging and hopefully will be maintained next year,” Dr Kirk said. KIPT Director – Community Engagement Shauna Black thanked all the volunteers who gave up their time to do the surveys. She said suggestions to expand the surveys to include farmland would be considered in future years.

KIPT owns about 25,000ha of land on Kangaroo Island, of which about 7000ha is remnant vegetation. You can read the summary report of the survey KangarooIsland2018_QuickSummary.

And see the conference poster Plantation birds – Poster for the conference.

Source: KIPT

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Buy and Sell

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

Karen’s dishwasher stopped working so she called a repairman. Since she had to go to work the next day, she told the repairman, “I’ll leave the key under the mat. Fix the dishwasher, leave the bill on the counter, and I’ll mail you a cheque”.

“Oh, by the way don’t worry about my bulldog Spike. He won’t bother you. But, whatever you do, do NOT, under ANY circumstances, talk to my parrot! I REPEAT, DO NOT TALK TO MY PARROT!”

When the repairman arrived at Karen’s apartment the following day, he discovered the biggest, meanest looking bulldog he has ever seen. But just as she had said, the dog just lay there on the carpet watching the repairman go about his work.

The parrot, however, drove him nuts the whole time with his incessant yelling, cursing and name calling. Finally, the repairman couldn’t contain himself any longer and yelled, “Shut up, you stupid, ugly bird!”

To which the parrot replied, “Get him, Spike!”

And one more. Mick appeared on the Irish version of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" and was nearly at the end of the quiz with winnings of $500,000.

"You've done very well so far," said the show's presenter, "But to get the $1million, you've only got one lifeline left - Phone a friend. Everything is riding on this question...will you have a go?"

"Sure," said Mick. "I'll have a go!" "OK. The question is, 'Which of the following birds does NOT build its own nest? a) Robin, (b) Sparrow, (c) Cuckoo or (d) Thrush."

"I haven't got a clue," said Mick, "so I'll use my last lifeline and phone m' friend Paddy back home in Ballygoon."

Mick called up his mate, told him the circumstances and repeated the question to him. "Ye gods, Mick!" cried Paddy. "Dat's simple.... it's a cuckoo." "Are you sure, Paddy?" asked Mick.

"I'm sure al'right." Mick hung up the phone and told the TV presenter, "I'll go with da Cuckoo as my answer." "Is that your final answer? Lock it in?" asked the host.

"Dat it is, Sir. Lock it in" There was a long, long pause, then the presenter screamed, "Cuckoo is the correct answer! Mick, you've won $1 million!"

The next night, Mick invited Paddy to their local pub to buy him a drink. "Tell me, Paddy? How in God's name did you know it was the Cuckoo that doesn't build its nest? I mean, you know nothing about birds."

"Ah bejaysus!" laughed Paddy. "Everybody knows a bleed'n Cuckoo lives in a clock!"

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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