Friday Offcuts – 6 September 2019

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This week architects, specifiers and property developers drawn from across the country met in Auckland. The occasion was the annual Changing Perceptions 2019 event. It showcased the very latest uses of engineered timber in mid and high-rise buildings internationally and explored changes in timber use within New Zealand. Case studies of projects and new builds using CLT and LVL from North America, the UK, Australia and New Zealand were a key component of the programme. Interest, as anticipated was high, with the event selling out well before it ran.

In addition to the mass timber conference, the Wood Processors & Manufacturers Association (WPMA) ran a meeting the evening before the event. The focus was on initiatives currently underway promoting timber as a key choice for climate-friendly construction and packaging. A similar regional meeting for the central North Island is planned for next week. It runs in Rotorua and will coincide with the two-yearly tech update that’s running for sawmilling companies from across New Zealand on Tuesday 10 September. Full details on the planned evening meeting for WoodTECH 2019 delegates and local industry can be found here.

In this week’s issue we’ve included a piece being picked up by local media across the region. It’s suggesting that Australian forest policy is now ready for an overhaul. Australian forests, often generate divergent views along with plenty of conflict on how best they should be managed according to Rod Keenan from the University of Melbourne. Forest governance, for a myriad of reasons, is complex and bringing science into the decision-making process has until now, had only mixed success. On top of this, industry along with Government have slashed research, with only around 20 per cent of scientists now working in this field compared to 15 years ago. It’s being suggested that the time is now right to improve the integration of science into policy. This will better enable informed debate over the future management of the country’s forests. Links to the full article and discussion are supplied in this week’s story.

In skills and training this week we’ve built in a couple of stories profiling training successes from out in the forest. Both are from New Zealand. In the first, the Generation Programme, set up by one of the country’s Wood Council’s, has just celebrated the first of their graduates signing up for a three-and-a-half-year forest industry training apprenticeship with one of the region’s larger contracting operations. In the second, on the opposite side of the Island, the article looks at ten young trainees who were out planting seedlings as part of their 17-week course. The outdoors lifestyle, the opportunity for a longer-term position and prospects for a future career path within the forestry industry, appear to be their driving motivation. They’re out planting trees in the middle of winter – and they’re loving it. That’s it for this week.



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New GM for ForestWorks

Australia’s ForestWorks’ Board of Directors is delighted to announce the appointment of Ms Yvette Nash to the position of General Manager. Yvette has extensive experience engaging with stakeholders, managing small and highly focussed teams and working with governments and government agencies. She has been responsible for major improvements to Australia’s anti-dumping system and significant reforms to employment services.

Tony Price, the Chair of ForestWorks said: “We are incredibly pleased Yvette is joining ForestWorks. Her energy and enthusiasm for this job, and the opportunities in it, are exciting. "The Board is committed to supporting Yvette and the team at ForestWorks to deliver the best advice to industry. Workplace training is important for the future of our industry and everyone who works in it. ForestWorks’ role is pivotal in that and we know Yvette can assist the industry to ensure we have the skills needed for the future”.

“Along with the rest of the ForestWorks’ Board of Directors, I look forward to introducing Yvette across the industry at upcoming meetings.” Yvette has commenced in her position this week, and will be meeting with industry stakeholders and representatives at the earliest possible date”.

Please send enquiries and requests for further information to gm@forestworks.com.au.

Source: ForestWorks

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NZIF recognises outstanding forestry contributions

The NZ Institute of Forestry recognised the contribution of an outstanding leader at its Annual Awards Dinner in Christchurch last Monday night, when Dr John Wardle received the NZIF Forester of the Year award. The award recognises an Institute member who has made an outstanding contribution to either the forestry profession, or the forestry sector.

The award recognises leadership, excellence and personal integrity, particularly where this demonstrates the character and strength of the forestry profession, and it is one of the highest accolades the Institute can bestow.

“The Forester of the Year award is a fitting recognition of the contribution that Dr John Wardle has made to the sector over a large number of years”, said the President, David Evison. “Dr Wardle’s earlier contribution to research included writing the authoritative text on the New Zealand beech species, and research into the effects of introduced wild animals on New Zealand’s native forests.

More recently Dr Wardle, in partnership with his wife Rosalie, has developed and managed a unique forestry operation at their property “Woodside” in North Canterbury. They have pioneered innovative management of both indigenous and exotic forests for multiple uses including timber and honey production and conservation.

The property is managed under an open space QEII covenant, which guarantees sustainable management into the future with emphasis on both education and research activities. The QEII covenant on Woodside is unusual, in that it provides for both conservation and sustainable timber harvesting.”

The Institute also celebrated the election of James Treadwell and Mike Marren as Fellows of the NZ Institute of Forestry. The election to this special membership status is granted by a vote of members and recognises outstanding contributions to the profession of forestry.

Source: NZIF

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A new era for science in Australian forest policy

Australian forest policy is prime for an overhaul, and integrating research with decision making is a crucial piece of that puzzle, Rod Keenan writes.

Australian forests are an important global asset. They are extensive, varied and complex and provide many different values, often generating conflict between those with different views on forest management. Forest governance is complex. Different processes have been used to bring science into decision-making with varying success.

Forests are facing new challenges, but also new opportunities, with growing global demand for wood products and recognition of the role of forests in addressing climate change. It is time for a new era of forest policy and better integration of science into policy to inform debate over the future management of our forests.

Australia has over 134 million hectares of forests, about 3.5 per cent of the global area. Forests continue to be cleared for agriculture or urban areas, or are lost due to fire or drought. From 1990 to 2008 there was a net loss of forests. Since then, however, there has been a net gain.

The forest products sector generates considerable benefits. For the last few years, timber harvest has been increasing. Australian forests produce about 33 million cubic metres of wood per year, 88 per cent coming from 2 million hectares of forest plantations.

The contribution of forestry and logging to the economy has doubled in the last 10 years, while the value of wood and paper manufacturing has dropped. In short, we are exporting more woodchips and raw logs and importing more manufactured timber products.

Clearly, forests and their management are important, but they face various challenges. More >>.

Rod Keenan is a Professor in the School of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences at the University of Melbourne.

Source: policyforum.net

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EWC programme opens forestry pathway

The shake-up of vocational training in New Zealand has been welcomed by the forestry industry here, just as its own apprenticeship programme takes off. Eastland Wood Council’s Generation Programme last week celebrated the first of their graduates to go on to sign up for a Competenz forest industry training apprenticeship, with 21-year-old Tahi Hiroki the first to move on to a three-and-a-half-year apprenticeship with Dewes Contractors.

“Apprenticeships and on-the-job training programmes are essential for an industry like forestry where workers can learn while they earn, there is a focus on practical skills and contextualised learning, and they can be assessed while actually doing the job,” Eastland Wood Council chief executive Kim Holland said.

Ms Holland said the news came at a time when the Government has given vocational education a big shake up, moving the nation’s training institutions, where much of the apprenticeship training is done, under one body.

“From an industry and a regional perspective, it will allow training providers to provide programmes and training that meets the needs of industries in the region,” she said. “It should also give more flexibility in delivery and programme structure, to make ongoing training more accessible”.

“Polytechs and PTEs won’t be so constrained by their funding mechanisms, which currently limit what programmes they can offer and how they are delivered. For forestry we hope that it gives better access for on-the-job training and assessment, and increases the number of people in our workforce engaging in upskilling, and ongoing training”.

“For forestry as an industry we submitted for a stand-alone industry skills body — Te Ako Ngahere – Forest Industry Skills Organisation (FISO) — to oversee the qualifications and training, rather than sitting under the umbrella of a wider cross-industry body.”

It would also provide a stronger focus on work-based skills training and assessment. “We think that it’s a good thing,” Ms Holland said. “The changes will also ensure there is a regional focus for any education and training programmes, to meet the needs of industry, offering flexibility of delivery styles and models”.

Tahi’s example with Dewes Contractors is the goal of our Generation Programme, ensuring that our graduates not only move into employment in forestry but work with further training and a career pathway.” Tahi Hiroki completed a New Zealand Certificate in Forest Harvesting Operations Breaking Out (Cable), Level 3 as part of his programme with Turanga Ararau.

“I wanted to get a good job, and one that would provide stability for my family,” he said. He is father to 18-month-old Tahi Jnr and has another child due in October. He signed up to the Generation Programme in October last year and said he enjoyed it straight away.

“I really enjoy the people who are around it and being outdoors all day is good too.” He was now set on gaining more qualifications and perhaps moving into the falling side of forestry longer term. “I am really excited for the future.”

Dewes Contractors’ health and safety manager Paula Neshausen said the young man was an inspiration who had all the makings of becoming a really great logger. “Watching him come through the programme and grow in confidence has been a real pleasure for us. These young guys are our future.”

The apprenticeship would cover all aspects of ground-based cable logging and towards the end he will get to decide if he wants to move to the machinery operation basics or tree falling.

“We are so proud of him — he works very hard and deserves this opportunity,” Generation Programme manager Siobhain Fyall said. The next “generation” of the Generation Programme starts on September 30. For more information contact Siobhain at generation.programme@eastlandwood.co.nz.

Photo: Gisborne man Tahi Hiroki ready to get down to work in forestry, after graduating from EWC’s Generation Programme. Picture by Brennan Thomas

Source: Gisborne Herald, Eastland Wood Council

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Forestry corporation sell-off investigated

The NSW government will investigate leasing out its forestry corporation as part of a plan for more asset selloffs to pay for infrastructure projects. The Australian revealed the plan last month when Premier Gladys Berejiklian said from London more asset selloffs were on the table to pay for infrastructure.

Ahead of Budget Estimates last week, Treasurer Dominic Perrottet released a statement announcing the government would seek more information about the viability of a long-term lease of the state’s commercial softwood plantation business, consistent with its asset recycling strategy.

“Forestry Corporation’s profitable softwood division consists of around 230,000 hectares of radiata pine forests primarily producing timber for use in house construction,’’ Mr Perrottet said. Mr Perrottet said it was time to consider whether it was in the best interest of the people of NSW for the Government to continue running the business.

“A government’s priority should be providing infrastructure and services for its people. Commercial operations are often better left to the private sector but we’ll wait for the outcome of a scoping study before making any decisions,” Mr Perrottet said.

“NSW is the only state left in Australia still running a softwood plantation of significant scale so it’s appropriate we take stock as a state and explore whether this is still the best approach for us.”

Deputy Premier John Barilaro said “any lease of the softwood plantations would only proceed on the basis that it posed no risk to the regional jobs involved. I can assure Forestry Corporation workers, that as the Minister for Forestry, I am determined to grow the harvestable forestry estate across NSW, increasing timber supplies and creating more jobs and better opportunities in the sector,” he said.

Source: The Australian, NSW Government

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A ban on timber exports to China?

The Russian Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology may prohibit timber exports to China in the absence of PRC assistance in solving the problem of illegal logging, said the head of the department, Dmitry Kobylkin, in a recent interview with the Vedomosti newspaper.

“China must clearly understand that if they do not join in solving this problem (illegal logging. - RT), then we will have no other option but to ban the export of forests completely,” Kobylkin said.

Kobylkin previously called for an increase in the number of forest inspectors to strengthen forest control. According to the minister, problems in forests often arise due to neglect of territories.

As Gazeta.Ru reported with reference to the Federal Forestry Agency, in 2018 the damage from the activities of black loggers in Russia grew to 11.6 billion rubles. In 2017, this indicator amounted to 11.5 billion rubles.

Source: russiart




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Latest quarterly Timber Market Survey released

The June quarter 2019 Australian Timber Market Survey has shown downward price movements for structural pine products. Price movements for untreated MGP10 and MGP12 products ranged between -2.1% and -1.1%, while price movements for treated F7 products ranged between -1.4% and -0.9%.

Treated sleeper and decking prices showed only marginal movements, up and down, with price movements within +/-0.3%. Panel products showed moderate upward price movements of up to 0.9%, while price movements for other engineered wood products were mixed and ranged between -1.0% and 1.3%.

Prices for all hardwood products moved upwards in the six months to the end of the June quarter 2019, with Victorian ash products showing the largest upward price movements. Prices for most structural grade products ranged between 2.0% and 5.3% higher, while prices for most flooring products ranged between 0.4% and 4.8% higher.

The TMS collects price data through quarterly surveys of a representative sample of timber market participants in eastern Australia. All quarterly TMS reports contain price movement information for softwood timber, panel and engineered wood products. The June and December quarter editions also include price movement information for hardwood timber products surveyed over a six-month period.

The TMS is prepared by Indufor and funded by nine major Australian forestry organisations: Forestry Corporation of NSW; VicForests; Hancock Victorian Plantations; HQPlantations; OneFortyOne Plantations; Queensland Government Department of Agriculture and Fisheries; Green Triangle Forest Products; AKD Softwoods; and Sustainable Timber Tasmania.


Further information and the latest June quarter 2019 TMS report can be viewed here.

Source: Indufor Asia Pacific (Australia)



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Plans for a Toroawhi H&S forestry pilot

The Forest Industry Safety Council is looking for someone to be a health and safety forestry champion for a pilot project aimed at ensuring a strong workers’ voice in New Zealand’s forestry sector.

Workers know what makes work successful on a day-to-day basis and they play an essential role in reducing work-related injuries and ill-health. Therefore, good worker participation is critical to successfully managing work-related risks. This view was reinforced by both the Royal Commission review into health and safety following Pike River, and the Independent Forestry Safety Review following the 10 fatalities in 2013.

We’ve done lots of good work with the sector since the establishment of FISC, but we still need to crack the gnarly problem of how to ensure there is a strong workers’ voice. In our sector it can be very difficult to create ways for workers to have an influential voice in health and safety and work design decisions, due to the nature of the workforce, crew size, remote locations and work organisation.

One way of addressing this gap is the idea of roving or regional health and safety champions, so FISC is working on a pilot project to test this idea in our sector. The role has been called ‘Toroawhi’, which means ‘collectively we create the momentum for change’. The champions will operate in the community and across multiple worksites, supporting worker engagement and participation as well as supporting businesses to improve practices.

They won’t be a WorkSafe inspector or union rep so they won’t have any regulatory powers or be on a membership drive. Their role is to support the sector by providing additional expertise and soft-skills (great communication and people skills, etc) especially for smaller businesses where this work can be more challenging.

Regional pilots in the UK and Australia showed positive outcomes for workers in improving participation and engagement, and also a positive impact on key business outcomes, including productivity. As we know, good health and safety is good business.

If you could be a champion, a Toroawhi, or you know someone else who could be, please email – or ask them to email fiona.ewing@fisc.org.nz and they'll be in touch.

What is Toroawhi?

- One-year pilot project, co-designed with WorkSafe, with the aim to improve worker engagement and participation in the sector.
- One-year fixed-term contract for two people to be based regionally; region selected will depend on quality of candidates.
- Funded by WorkSafe.
- Role reports to FISC and will be co-branded Toroawhi and Safetree.
- Good development opportunity for someone looking to transition to a new role.
- Recruitment will begin in November – who could be your region’s Toroahwi?

Source: FISC

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Forest Charity announces awards

The NZIF Foundation has announced education and research awards totalling NZ$22,500. “For this year’s allocation of funds, we had a good number of quality applicants, but we were disappointed there were no applicants for some awards”, said Dr Andrew McEwen, the Foundation’s chair.

“In 2012, the first year of the Foundation’s operation, we had four awards worth a total of NZ$6,500. For 2019 we advertised nine award categories plus four student poster competition prizes worth NZ$40,000. What is especially pleasing is the applicants come from a range of institutions and forestry interests, with research projects in plantation forest management, export procedures, indigenous forests and urban forests.”

The awards were announced at the joint conference of the New Zealand Institute of Forestry and the Institute of Foresters of Australia in Christchurch on Monday 26th August.

Daniel Boczniewicz, a PhD student at the University of Canterbury School of Forestry received a NZ$10,000 Future Forest Scholarship for his research on modelling stem properties for eucalyptus in New Zealand’s dryland environments.

The Chavasse Study Award for $3,500 was awarded to Bernadette Nanayakkara, a scientist at Scion working on wood formation physiology. Bernadette plans to attend the International Union of Forest Research Institutions conference “Forest Research and Cooperation for Sustainable Development” in Brazil later this year.

Georgia Craig who is in her fourth year of a B.For.Sc. (Hons) degree at the University of Canterbury School of Forestry, received the NZ$5,000 NZ Redwood Company Scholarship. Georgia’s honours project is looking at the effect of debarking logs on air quality emissions at export ports.

The Frank Hutchinson Postgraduate Scholarship of NZ$1,000 went to Monique Hall, an M.Sc. student at the University of Waikato who is studying restored urban forests. Reihana Fisher a 4th year Bachelor of Forestry Science (Hons) student at the School of Forestry at the University of Canterbury received the undergraduate award. His dissertation topic is looking at the benefit of pruning.

Four forestry students from Canterbury University received prizes in the student poster competition at the Conference. Reihana Fisher received first prize of NZ$800, Georgia Craig second prize of NZ$600, Nick Berry third prize of NZ$400 and Shaun Coles the fourth prize of NZ$200.

“We were delighted with the number and quality of applications”, said Dr McEwen. “We congratulate the recipients of the awards and thank all applicants and encourage them to persist with their research and education and to make a career associated with New Zealand’s forests, which have a vital role to play in this country’s environment, economy and society.”

Source: NZIF Foundation

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Rob de Fégely receives prestigious medal

Margules Groome Consulting’s Rob de Fegely has been awarded the N.W. Jolly Medal for his services to the Australian forest industry at this year’s joint Australia and New Zealand Institutes of Foresters (ANZIF) Conference in Christchurch.

The N.W. Jolly Medal is the Institute of Foresters of Australia’s highest and most prestigious honour for outstanding service to the profession of forestry. The Medal is named after Norman Jolly, a first-class cricketer and footballer. He was South Australia’s first Rhodes Scholar and became the first Australian to be trained as a forester studying at Balliol College, Oxford. Previous recent recipients of the award include Dr Christine Stone (2017) and Dr Hans Drielsma (2015).

Rob’s career in forestry started in Bombala NSW and spanned a very diverse range of roles within the public and private sector, both nationally and internationally, with significant strategic and leadership roles. He is one of Australia’s most respected and well-known forestry consultants, with a reputation for integrity, professionalism, measured analysis and vision for a sustainable forestry sector.

Mr de Fegely is also chairman of Sustainable Timber Tasmania and Co-Chair of the Commonwealth Governments Forest Industry Advisory Council. Photo: Rob de Fégely with Margules Groome Team Members

Source & Photo: Margules Groome



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Taranaki forestry course attracts trainees

Digging in Pinus radiata seedlings on a steep, slippery slope as an icy wind whips off Mt Taranaki is helping provide future work skills in New Zealand’s forestry industry for ten young trainees.

Those trainees are gathered on a cold, overcast morning at a sheep and beef farm behind Stratford. It's their fourth week of a 17-week New Zealand Certificate of Forestry Industry Foundation Skills level two course, which is providing them with an introduction to working in the industry.

In spite of the wintry conditions and sheep nibbling the seedlings overnight the group assigned to plant 15,000 young trees could not feel better - even if some have had to be dragged out of bed earlier in the morning. The Taranaki Forestry Conservation course provides introductory skills in silviculture, harvesting, pest and weed control, with a big emphasis on health and safety.

Once qualified each trainee could be earning as much as NZ$100 an hour as a contractor, programme tutor David Hare says. It's good money for those who want it, he adds.

Hare, and Terence Waiariki, of Tree Machine Services, established the course in conjunction with Whangerei tertiary education provider North Tec, Te Uru Rākau (Forestry NZ), and Ngati Maru to fill the chronic skilled labour shortage in the industry as the Government's One Billion Tree programme takes shape.

As the planting programme progresses the demand for skilled workers will increase, Hare says. "Finding skilled workers who have the right attitude is one of the biggest problems for the industry at the moment. Contractors are being forced to take people who are unskilled and then train them because there is a serious shortage of skilled workers."

More>>

Source & Photo: stuff.co.nz

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Forest supply chain survey

Scion is planning a research project to better understand and assess New Zealand forest supply chain capabilities including visibility, agility, and flexibility. This project aims to identify some key supply chain problems and provide alternative reconfigurations to integrate supply chain systems, e.g. improving collaboration and information sharing. The expected outcome of the project is to contribute to business management and supply chain optimisation.

We invite you to participate in this project by completing an online survey on supply chain management in New Zealand. It should take no more than 5 minutes to complete.

Your responses will be strictly confidential. There are no apparent or hidden risks of participating in this research. The data collected through the survey will be analysed, and the results may appear in publications, such as newsletters and journal articles. Results will be reported in a manner that does not identify you or your organisation.

You can access the survey here.

Questions can be directed to Michael Wang at Scion.

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Further consolidation within B.C.’s forest industry

Canfor announced this week that they plan on curtailing an additional 75 million board feet of production capacity between September, 3 and the end of the year in Canada. The company is a leading integrated forest products company based in Vancouver, with interests in BC, Alberta, North and South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and Arkansas, as well as in Sweden with its recent majority acquisition of Vida Group.

Its Houston, Polar, Prince George and Fort St. John sawmills in Canada will be curtailed the week of September, 3. In addition, Canfor’s Plateau and Houston mills will transition to a four-day work week in September, which will remain in effect until market and economic conditions support a return to the full operating schedule of five days per week.

The curtailments are due to the ongoing low price of lumber and the high cost of fibre, which are making the operating conditions in BC uneconomic.

Another major industry player, Interfor, as a consequence of market conditions this week also announced a plan to reconfigure its B.C. Coastal business, including the permanent closure of its Hammond sawmill, located in Maple Ridge, B.C., and the reorganization of its forestry and woodlands operations.

“The Coastal B.C. forest industry has faced significant log supply challenges over the past two decades and manufacturing capacity needs to be brought into line with available log supply,” said Duncan Davies, Interfor’s President and CEO. “Cedar producers have also been disproportionately impacted by duties on shipments into the United States as a result of the Softwood Lumber Dispute.”

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

An inventor went into a patent office to register some of his inventions. He went to the main desk to sign in and the clerk at the desk had a form that had to be filled out. She wrote down his personal info and then asked what he had invented.

The inventor replied, "A folding bottle”.
"Okay, what do you call it?" the clerk said.
"A Fottle", was the reply.

"What else do you have?" asked the clerk.
"A folding carton," said the inventor.
"And what do you call it?" she asked.
"A Farton."

The clerk sniggered and said, "Those are silly names for products and one of them sounds kind of crude."

The inventor was so upset by her comment that he grabbed the form and left the office without even telling her about his folding bucket.






And on that note, enjoy your weekend. We look forward to catching up with sawmilling companies - both from about New Zealand and internationally - next week in Rotorua at the first leg of the WoodTECH 2019 series. see you there. 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: www.fridayoffcuts.com


This week's extended issue, along with back issues, can be viewed at www.fridayoffcuts.com

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