Friday Offcuts – 6 November 2020

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Around 270 witnesses gave evidence, more than 2,000 documents were provided in evidence and more than 1,700 submissions were received by the Royal Commission responding to the Australian bushfires that razed much of the east coast and parts of South Australia last summer. Over 80 recommendations were made in the final report released last Friday aimed at improving Australia’s national natural disaster arrangements. The message from the Government is that it’s now “committed to responding to and actioning many of the recommendations as soon as possible.” Coverage of the announcement, report findings and commentary from the forestry industry can be found in this week’s issue.

As anticipated, interest in the major log transport and wood harvesting event, HarvestTECH 2021, planned to run in Rotorua, New Zealand in April next year has already attracted keen interest. All indoor exhibition sites at the venue and all but a couple of the outdoor sites have already been booked out - and within one month. The two-day programme likewise has already been filled. Registrations have just been added to the event website this week. Based on interest to date and the event next year being run alongside Forest Safety & Technology 2021 at the Rotorua venue, places for this one are also likely to go very quickly. Full details can be found below or from the event website.

And in the ForestTECH space, many people involved in resource management and forest inventory will be aware of the Hovermap sensor technology. It’s been developed by the Australian data analytics and drone autonomy start-up, Emesent. It collects very accurate LiDAR data and can be operated from the ground and above or below canopy by mounting the unit on a drone. Following last year’s ForestTECH event in Rotorua, Scion put the technology through its paces. Interpine then undertook a number of their own operational trials and then mid-year, purchased their own unit which is going to be demonstrated in a couple of weeks as part of a “hands-on” workshop that runs on the morning after ForestTECH 2020, on Friday 20 November.

Emesent also has been making history recently flying drones autonomously. Ok, so that’s been done before you’ll say. These fights though are deep underground, in mines. One trial was in Canada with the flights being controlled remotely from Australia. The other was in Queensland, with the Hovermap-enabled drone being controlled some 11,000km away, in South Africa. For both, the technology was being operated remotely, but half way around the world. Read more below. And on that note, enjoy this week’s read.

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Bushfire royal commission report released

Report into the apocalyptic 2019-20 bushfires says Australia must radically change its approach to fighting fires under new climate conditions.

Australia’s bushfire disaster last summer was just a glimpse of what global heating will deliver to the country in the future, with major changes needed to the way the nation responds, according to the final report of the royal commission.

The royal commission has made 80 recommendations, including calls for a more co-ordinated approach and new legislation to allow the prime minister to declare a national state of emergency.

The wide-reaching recommendations cut across national and state-based responses, and say there needs to be standardised and consistent approaches. A national cabinet approach is also recommended. Global heating that was driving more catastrophic fire weather could compromise traditional firefighting techniques and make models used to predict bushfires less effective, the report says.

The chair of the commission, retired air chief marshal Mark Binskin, wrote in the report’s foreword: “Every state and territory suffered fire to some extent. The fires did not respect state borders or local government boundaries. On some days, extreme conditions drove a fire behaviour that was impossible to control.”

The royal commission was formally requested by the government in February after fires that started in July 2019 spread across much of the east coast and parts of South Australia, burning between 30m and 40m hectares for more than six months.

The commission was chaired by Binskin, with former federal court judge Annabelle Bennett and climate policy expert Prof Andrew Macintosh making up the panel of three. The federal emergency management minister, David Littleproud, said 14 of the recommendations were for the commonwealth, 23 related to the states and 41 covered areas of responsibility shared.

He said the government was “committed to responding to and actioning many of the recommendations as soon as possible.” He said the report contained lessons for governments, essential service providers, insurers, charities, communities and individuals. All the recommendations were “pragmatic” he said, and he could see no issues with any of those that related to the federal government. There needed to be a “single source of truth” for data on bushfires, he said, and work on this had started. Some 270 witnesses gave evidence and more than 2,000 documents were provided in evidence, as well as more than 1,700 submissions.

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Source: the guardian

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Autonomous drones from half a world away

Emesent is an innovative Australian data analytics and drone autonomy start-up. The company presented at last year’s ForestTECH 2019 event and will again be presenting at this years ForestTECH 2020 event scheduled to run on 18-19 November.

Soon after last year’s ForestTECH event in Rotorua, Scion undertook trials using the Hovermap sensor unit which integrates with a drone flight control system that enables data to be collected from beneath a tree canopy. Mid last year, Interpine, after using the Hovermap technology in a series of forestry trials since late 2019, bought their own unit describing the results as being a "game changer for the forestry sector".

At ForestTECH 2020 this year, not only are results and learnings from the use of this new technology being discussed but an additional half-day workshop (free to ForestTECH 2020 delegates who will be in Rotorua for the event) is being run by Interpine and Emesent on the morning of Friday 20 November. Further details can be found here.

In addition to the application of the technology to the forestry industry, Emesent is also making history with remotely operated autonomous drone flights. The latest flight took place underground in a mine in Canada – but was operated from Australia. These missions “promise to drive revolutionary change in the heavy industry space,” says an Emesent press release.

This flight took place August 28, 2020, at an Ultra-Deep Canadian Hard-Rock Mine. “Emesent’s Hovermap LiDAR payload enabled an autonomous drone flight underground,” says the release. The missions prove the capabilities of autonomy and remote operations. The missions also make excellent business sense. Mines are particularly appropriate for drone technology: they are the dark, dirty and dangerous environs perfect for robotic missions. Mines are often in remote areas. In some cases, mines must be monitored for safety well after their production has ceased.

Due to these factors, the ability to monitor a mine from anywhere in the world is a compelling business application with tremendous value to the mining industry – and many other heavy industry sectors. “For this proof-of-concept, the drone was piloted from take-off to landing by Emesent founders Dr. Stefan Hrabar and Dr. Farid Kendoul using standard online remote collaboration tools and Emesent’s recently launched Autonomy Level 2 (AL2) feature,” the release explains. “Local support was provided by Unmanned Aerial Services Inc., Emesent’s partner in the region. This collaboration resulted in the world’s first remotely-operated autonomous drone flight in an underground mine.”

In early August, Emesent conducted a remote demonstration for a South African company. In that application, operators in South Africa operated “a Hovermap-enabled drone down a tunnel in Queensland, some 11,000 kilometres away,” said the release. So, here’s how it works.

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China blocks Australian log imports

China has suspended imports of logs from the Australian state of Queensland, China's foreign ministry confirmed, expanding a trade clampdown amid souring relations between the two countries.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Wang Wenbin placed the blame on the Australian side in a news conference. "The Chinese customs has since January detected many cases of live pests in timber imported from Australia" that could "gravely endanger China's forestry production and ecological security," he said.

The measure is the latest in a series of bans and other trade barriers – including shipments of lobsters held up in customs in recent days -- targeting Australian goods. The measures are seen as part of a pressure campaign against Canberra as tensions mount over issues including the coronavirus pandemic.

Australia exported more than AU$680 million worth of timber in the year ended June, with 84% going to China, data from Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade shows.

Wang also acknowledged the delayed lobster shipments, which have been attributed to increased customs inspections. This process "protects the safety of Chinese consumers buying imported food," he said, without providing details about the reason for the holdup.

Ties between the two countries have frayed since Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison called in April for an independent investigation into the coronavirus outbreak, and deteriorated further recently over China's territorial claims in the South China Sea and crackdown in Hong Kong.

Beijing halted some imports of Australian beef in May and imposed an 80.5% tariff on Australian barley around the same time, a move described by the Chinese said as an antidumping measure.

Shipments of Australian coal have been tied up in customs amid reports last month of an unofficial ban. The Chinese government has also discouraged domestic spinning mills from using cotton from Australia.


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HarvestTECH 2021 attracting record interest

If you’re involved in wood harvesting, you’ll remember well the major harvesting event, HarvestTECH 2019. It ran in Rotorua, New Zealand last year and the event SOLD OUT well in advance of it actually running. It was the largest gathering of its type ever seen in New Zealand with close to 500 harvesting contractors, harvest planners, forestry managers and equipment and technology suppliers into the region’s logging industry attending.

As anticipated, we’ve been blown away with the level of interest already shown by the industry. Thanks for your input and buy-in. Expressions of interest to present were sent out to the wider industry in September. The conference two-day programme now is already full. Exhibition and sponsorship information were sent out only a month ago and already, the venue has all but SOLD OUT. That’s a full house, 33 in-door and 15 outdoor spaces – six months before the event runs. At the time of writing, only two outside stands remain. So, it’s going to be another huge turnout.

Exhibitors include; McFall Fuel, Cookes, Eagle Technology, BOA, Duxon Donaldson, Randalls Equipment, AGrow Quip/John Deere, Tracplus Global, WorkSafe NZ, Porter Equipment, SouthStar Equipment, Lubricants NZ, Komatsu Forest, West-Trak Equipment, Finance NZ, DC Equipment, Remsoft, FISC, TDDA, TerraCat , Braford Industries, Footwear & Apparel, EMS, Husqvarna, Rearsense Warning Systems, Trimble Forestry, Waratah, Toi Ohomai, Seeing Machines, C3, Hydraulink, Shaws, Chainsaw & Outdoor Power

So, roll on 2021. HarvestTECH 2021 is planned to be run in Rotorua, New Zealand on 13-14 April next year. In speaking to forestry and wood harvesting operations across the region, a few extras have also been added that again will make this event THE wood transport and wood harvesting event for next year.

1. As an added bonus, the very popular forestry safety event run by the Forest Industry Engineering Association, Forest Safety & Technology 2021, is also being held at the same venue on the first day, Tuesday 13 April. This is going to enable delegates from both events to network during the breaks and to capitalise on the large number of trade exhibitions that will be present in Rotorua.

2. For the first time, live links from the New Zealand event will be set up for those unable to travel into Rotorua. It can be viewed in real time or later as a recorded event.

3. Two key themes this year. As well as mechanised harvesting on steeper slopes, the integration of automation & robotics into wood harvesting operations and best practices around ensuring environmental sustainability (roading, stream crossings and harvest residues management) in felling and in extracting wood from the forest, log scaling and measurement technologies and wood transport innovations have been built into the two-day programme.

What now? Further information on the event will follow. At this stage, registrations to HarvestTECH 2021 are now live and the early programme has been uploaded to the event website, Registrations to attend the event can be made here

Note: The message very clearly is that if you are looking to save a space for yourself or your crew at HarvestTECH 2021 (it was sold out well in advance of the event running last year), register early whilst rates are discounted – and to avoid disappointment of missing out on a space.

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2021 Forestry Scholarship recipients selected

Ngā Karahipi Uru Rākau Forestry Scholarship is pleased to support another eight aspiring New Zealanders to study and pursue careers in forestry, with its 2021 Scholarship recipients announced this week.

Now in its third year, the Scholarships are increasing diversity in forestry sciences and engineering, with a strong focus on encouraging Māori and women to embark on forestry careers.

“Māori and women represent only a small percentage of the forestry workforce. Te Uru Rākau endeavours to change that and make the forestry and wood processing sector more reflective of our communities,” says Henry Weston, Acting Deputy Director-General Te Uru Rākau/ Forestry New Zealand.

With the latest cohort, the Scholarship programme has to date now supported 22 Māori and women to study forestry science/engineering at the University of Canterbury, providing NZ$8,000 each year during the degrees’ four-year duration.

“We consider many factors in the selection of scholarship recipients, including students’ interest and commitment to a career in forestry, as well as their community involvement and leadership skills are considered” Mr Weston said. “Receiving a Scholarship is something recipients can take much pride in, as can their whānau and friends.

The eight recipients (in alphabetical order) of the 2021 Forestry Scholarships are:

1. Anaru Walker, Christchurch, Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, Waikato-Tainui, Ngāti Tamaterā, Muaūpoko
2. Angus Syminton, Warkworth, Ngāi Tahu, Te Ātiawa
3. Chloe Small, Methven
4. Heather Harper, Wellington
5. Lana Parker-Hay, Katikati, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Te Whakaue, Ngāi Tūhoe, Te Arawa
6. Maude Rogers, Wanaka
7. Steven Doherty, Rotorua, Ngāi Tūhoe, Ngāti Pikiao, Ngāti Rongomai, Ngāti Raukawa
8. Tessa McCarthy, Rotorua

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Timber supply constraints being assessed

A public hearing of the House Standing Committee on Agriculture and Water Resources inquiry into timber supply chain constraints in the Australian plantation sector took place on October 23. Chair of the Committee, Rick Wilson MP, said that the evidence they’ve heard so far is that accessing product is getting harder and harder.

“Obviously here particularly, in Tumut, we’ve got an issue with the fires, which has created a very dire short-term prospect,” he acknowledged. “But, longer term, it is about trying to attract capital into the plantation sector and accessing suitable country within reasonable transport distance of existing mills, and I guess the existing mills are getting fewer and fewer as the capital requirement gets bigger.”

CEO of AKD Softwoods Shane Vicary said he is looking at the situation as ‘today’s trees versus tomorrow’s trees’, and said there is definitely a shortage with today’s trees. “There will be 70 to 80 jobs lost sometime between now and probably June or July next year, when the harvest level reduces. That’s an outcome from the bushfires,” he said.

“There are areas around Australia where there are effectively shortages of fibre to sustain activities. There’s an element of commercial reality that’s kicked in as well. Sawmills have had to get larger to scale up to reduce their processing costs and be able to compete with export pricing.”

AKD is the largest softwood sawmilling company in Australia, producing around 20 to 25 per cent of the softwood timber consumed in the country annually. Mr Vicary said that, especially post-bushfires, forest owners seem to be a lot more focused on supply rather than export.

“I think ensuring that the trees are offered to the domestic market and that the domestic market is able to compete on an equitable basis is what is important,” he said. “That’s what I would like to see—some form of mechanism that enables free market to work but ensures that we look after Australia’s domestic supply chain first and foremost, but that it doesn’t impinge on the rights of the commercial owner of the plantation.”

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Celebrating Scion’s high achievers

There was cause for celebration at Scion's 2020 staff awards. The awards were held on site in Rotorua, New Zealand on Thursday 22 October and recognised some of Scion’s best and brightest. A number of awards were presented including the highly regarded Roger Newman Award for Science or Engineering excellence.

Chief Executive Officer, Dr Julian Elder says, “In the midst of what has been a challenging year for the world, it is a joy to come together as a team and celebrate the achievements of our colleagues. I’m proud of the way our team has pulled together and of the incredible work they’ve done.”

This year the Roger Newman Award was presented to Dr Steve A Wakelin, Research Leader Forest Systems (Christchurch). With a PhD in plant pathology, Steve has a track record of impressive achievements and strong publications. Steve has driven Scion’s forest microbiome research which has culminated into a multi-million-dollar research programme supported by the Endeavour fund. Steve has also been involved in high impact research such as the “Biotic interactions drive ecosystem responses to exotic plant invaders” and has published over 90 manuscripts in his career.

Three awardees from the event will now also be featured as finalists in the annual Science New Zealand Awards, which bring together the best and brightest from each of New Zealand’s seven Crown Research Institutes. The Science New Zealand awards night will be held at Parliament in Wellington on 3 December.

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Source: Scion

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European lumber exporters increasing sales

European lumber exporters have expanded their sales overseas from 30% to 45% over the past ten years, with Asia receiving a fifth of total exports in 2020, reports the Wood Resource Quarterly.

Sawmills in several European countries have long been exporting large volumes of softwood lumber outside their domestic markets. Historically, most of the shipments were to neighbouring countries on the continent, and only about 20% were shipped overseas to the Middle East/Northern Africa (MENA), the US, and Japan. In 2020, this share had grown to 45%, with shipments to China having expanded the most.

A combination of stagnant wood demand in Europe, readily available log supply in Northern and Central Europe, and a lack of forest resources available to supply domestic lumber manufacturers in major wood-consuming regions worldwide has created opportunities for sawmills in Europe to increase production and export outside Europe.

The four largest producers and exporters of softwood lumber in Europe are Sweden, Finland, Germany, and Austria. Together they produced just over 56% of Europe’s total lumber production in 2019, and the international shipments by these “Top 4” accounted for about two-thirds of continent’s total export volume.

Over the past decade, this group has increased exports by about 20% to an estimated 36 million m3 in 2020, according to the Wood Resource Quarterly. Practically all of the expanded sales have been to overseas markets, predominantly China and the US, but also to several smaller markets in Asia, including India, South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, and Australia.

In 2020, over 65% of Finland’s lumber exports have gone to markets outside Europe. However, Finland remains the only country in the “Top 4” that has not yet expanded into the massive US lumber market. Sweden and Germany have shipped about 45% of their lumber exports overseas. Austrian sawmills still predominantly sell to neighbouring countries, with Italy, Germany, and Slovenia accounting almost 70% of their total export volumes during the first six months of this year.

China and the US, where about 50% of the world’s traded softwood lumber is landing, have become important markets for European lumber producers the past decade. With both countries lacking the forest resources to meet future increases in demand for forest products, it is highly likely that European wood manufacturers will continue to expand their presence in these two enormous markets in coming decade.


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Report recognises importance of fuel reduction

The Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) welcomes the report of the Royal Commission into Natural Disaster Arrangements’ recognition of forest industry crews’ crucial role in firefighting.

"Private forestry industry brigades and farm fire units made a significant contribution during the 2019-2020 bushfires."

- Royal Commission report, p166.

AFPA also welcomes the Royal Commission’s strong findings regarding the vital part fuel reduction must play and the need for more consistency across all land tenures.

“Fuel load management, including prescribed burning, can materially reduce the risk to settlements when undertaken in the wildland-urban interface. • Fuel load management in targeted areas in the broader landscape, away from the wildland-urban interface, can materially reduce the wildfire risk to settlements. The areas targeted for these purposes can include high ignition areas (e.g. high points in the landscape susceptible to lightning strikes), areas where the topography and forest types facilitate fire runs, ridges and other areas known to be associated with high intensity crown fires, and areas that are accessible for suppression and treatment activities.
• Fuel management can reduce bushfire-related impacts on ecological assets and areas of high conservation value.
• The amount of prescribed burning in the landscape (independent of the placement or arrangement of treatments) can materially affect the extent of bushfires.

- Royal Commission report, p372.

“Public land managers should clearly convey and make available to the public their fuel load management strategies, including the rationale behind them, as well as report annually on the implementation and outcomes of those strategies.”

- Royal Commission report, p180.

AFPA CEO Mr Ross Hampton said, “These findings are in line with our advocacy over many years pointing out that we must use all fuel reduction means at our disposal – cool burns and mechanical removal. We must not simply focus all attention on multi use forests. National Parks need to manage fuel loads, and farmers need to be given more flexibility to make their properties safe.”

In his evidence to the Royal Commission earlier this year, Mr Hampton told the Commission that deploying mechanical fuel reduction to create buffers around towns and critical infrastructure would make it easier to suppress catastrophic fires.

“The Royal Commission will be a wasted opportunity if we don’t, as a nation, become far more proactive in our approach to bushfire mitigation,” Mr Hampton said. “Mechanical fuel reduction and thinning of the bush close to towns must play a greater role in fuel reduction. Otherwise we will go into another bushfire season and risk repeating the mistakes of the past,” Mr Hampton concluded.

Source: AFPA

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Underwhelming Bushfire report lacks vision

The Bushfire Royal Commission’s final report is totally underwhelming and fails to address the current imbalance between fire prevention and fire response says the Institute of Foresters (IFA/AFG), the professional association representing some 1,000 forest scientists, researchers and professional forest managers in Australia.

Chair of the IFA/AFG Forest Fire Management Committee Gary Morgan AM AFSM (Australian Fire Service Medal) warned that all governments needed to place a greater emphasis on prevention if continual future repeats of the Black Summer disaster were to be avoided.

“Australia needs a better balance of prevention against response and the Royal Commission does not achieve this vision,” Mr Morgan said. “We are calling for all levels of government to place a greater focus on land management and investment in bushfire prevention activities and research. While we’re pleased the Royal Commission recognised the importance of bushfire hazard reduction measures including prescribed burning, it’s essential a much greater focus is given to this area”.

“Reduced wildfire intensity is a good way to help biodiversity cope with Climate Change impacts. Changing the state of fuel across the landscape, in a way that sustains biodiversity, also reduces the severity of wildfires, so it’s a win-win for longer-term management of the environment. However, to achieve this balance requires well-trained and locally knowledgeable land managers such as forest scientists and professional forest managers who possess the right education, tools, and know-how and interact with the land all year round”.

“Indigenous Australians have held this knowledge for at least 60,000 years and it’s encouraging the report recommends the need to work with them to reintroduce large scale landscape fire management regimes. We believe that Traditional Owners forest fire management practices should be fostered and re-introduced where possible, complementing existing prescribed burning programs but not replacing them.”

Mr Morgan said additional aircraft capability, as recommended by the Royal Commission, did not offer the solution to Australia’s fire emergency problem. “We fail to understand why the Royal Commission recommended a sovereign aerial firefighting capability. Globally we see greater use of very large aircraft in fire suppression. They look wonderful on the television but are not always cost effective,” Mr Morgan said.

“Aircraft are important in fire suppression as well as for intelligence gathering and transport, however more larger fire suppression aircraft is not the answer. To be effective, aircraft need trained forest firefighters on the ground. Ground based resources need more access via roads and tracks, particularly in remote areas”.

“Additional funding should be directed towards good land management and better fire detection, rather than simply increasing emergency response. Further consideration and research into the cost effectiveness of firebombing aircraft, especially the LATs and VLATs, is required.”

IFA/AFG President Bob Gordon said despite the report’s shortcomings, it was encouraging that the structure and processes of the Australia-New Zealand Emergency Management Committee (ANZEMC) were found by the Royal Commission to be not appropriate for the new advisory body.

Source: The Institute of Foresters (IFA/AFG)

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Longest bridge using structural timber

Representatives of the Norwegian road authority Nye Veier and the joint venture Berinor Ans, associating BESIX and Rizzani de Eccher, have signed the contract for the design, permitting and further development of the E6 Moelv-Roterud infrastructure project. The project includes a main bridge over Lake Mjøsa spanning more than one kilometre, and an 11-kilometre section of four-lane motorway.

The bridge concept will make it the longest in the world to use structural timber and will set a new benchmark for the use of sustainable materials in major infrastructure projects. Sustainability aspects, including limited greenhouse gas emissions and quality landscape integration, are amongst the primary objectives of Nye Veier and BERINOR.

BESIX and Rizzani de Eccher have demonstrated in the past the quality of their collaboration in the infrastructure field. In September 2019, several months ahead of schedule, they successfully completed the Crown Princess Mary Bridge (Kronprinsesse Marys Bro) in Denmark. The project included an 8.2 km four-lane motorway and a 1.4 km bridge over the Roskilde fjord, the first cantilever bridge built in Denmark since 1970. Both the motorway and the bridge crossed an EU Natura 2000 area, the works were therefore subject to strict environmental requirements.

Source: panelsfurnitureasia

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Modified timber cabin picks up major award

Following on from its win in the New Zealand Institute of Architects’ Southern Branch awards, the Cardrona Cabin has gone on receive a New Zealand Architecture Award. This latest acknowledgement in New Zealand’s leading architecture awards programme was announced this week at an awards ceremony in Christchurch.

Built as a showcase by eco-timber company, Abodo Wood, the Cardrona Cabin has become known as a ‘chapel to craft’. The craft - in the Abodo eco-timbers used throughout, in the exceptional design by Assembly Architects which takes an abstracted gable form of a Central Otago stone shed, and in the build by Dunlop Builders who crafted every aspect with meticulous detail.

The relationship between all three, the material, the design and the construction – has resulted in this award-winning showcase (the cabin also recently won the Retail Category at the Interior Awards). Most importantly, the showcase is just that. The cabin demonstrates the Abodo range of thermally modified timber products in practice: cladding, structure, linings, flooring, fenestration, joinery, furnishing and fence posts showcase the products.

This building is a showcase of what can be achieved when we think differently - it is designed to inspire others. "We didn't build the Cardrona Cabin to win awards - although they have been gratefully received. We built the cabin to showcase New Zealand's finest product design, architectural design and craftsmanship" said Daniel Gudsell, Abodo Founder.

Source: Abodo Wood

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Bamboo toilet paper start-up attracts investment

While the days of empty shelves and panic buying are (hopefully) behind us amid the COVID-19 pandemic, one product has emerged as the most unlikely commodity of the year: toilet paper. And a new Seattle start-up is capitalizing on people's renewed appreciation of TP while also offering a more sustainable, eco-friendly alternative to the paper-based rolls you buy at the store.

Cloud Paper, a tree-free toilet paper start-up based in Seattle, was started by University of Washington graduates Ryan Fritsch and Austin Watkins with the goal of giving people a way to lessen their environmental impact and end deforestation caused by tree-based paper products.

The company recently raised US$3 million in seed funding from a host of high-profile investors including "Shark Tank" entrepreneur Mark Cuban, Ashton Kutcher, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, Robert Downey Jr. and Goop's Gwyneth Paltrow. "Cloud Paper is on a mission to end deforestation caused by traditional paper products," wrote the company. "Today, 20% of deforestation globally is due to tree-based toilet paper and paper towels."

The company offers monthly subscriptions boxes with their 3-ply bamboo-derived toilet paper with convenient delivery right to the customer's door. All packaging is recycled and plastic free, and even the delivery of the toilet paper is carbon neutral, keeping with their eco-friendly mission.

Bamboo is largely seen as a more sustainable alternative to paper made from trees as it is able to grow up to three feet per day and reaches harvest maturity in just three years. In comparison, trees take up to 30 years to grow back and mature. And that certainly pays off for the planet: the company says that bamboo toilet paper generates 30% less greenhouse gas emissions compared its tree-based counterpart, and the average household would save 250 trees in their lifetime by switching to Cloud Paper.

The company, which is only about a year old, says it has seen an 800% increase in memberships this year, showing how something as ubiquitous as toilet paper can drive change during these strange times.


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Buy and Sell

... and some to end the week on ....

And one more. One day a 12 year old boy was walking down the street when a car pulled up beside him and the driver wound down the window. "I'll give you a bag of lollies if you get in the car" , said the driver.

"No way, get stuffed" replied the boy. "How about a bag of lollies and $10. the driver asked. "no way" replied the boy. "What about a bag of lollies and $50?" asked the driver."No, I'm not getting in the car" answered the boy.

"Okay, I'll give you a bag of lollies and $100" the driver offered."No!" replied the boy." "What will it take to get you in the car?" asked the driver.

The boy replied "Listen Dad. you bought the bloody Volvo, you live with it".

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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