Friday Offcuts 29 January 2021
As registrations continue to pour in for the major wood harvesting event, HarvestTECH 2021 and the annual Forest Safety & Technology 2021 events (both being held this year at the same venue – next door to each other) we’ve included two stories linked to themes being explored as part of the 13-14 April tech updates.
The first is on a forest engineering student in NZ that’s been working on a comprehensive survey of cut-over harvest residues to develop slash management guidelines for the industry. He’s been put forward as this year’s NZ nomination for a major international forestry award for students and young researchers. He’s also presenting to the industry this year at HarvestTECH 2021. And the second is a personal story of someone who’s been diagnosed with a common but often misunderstood workplace health injury (commonly found in forestry operations). He discusses the impact that it’s had on him personally and the steps that he’s taken to highlight the ailment - including the development of a device for collecting data from the workplace to keep our people safe.
And yes, in New Zealand, it’s that time of year again when the industry begins it’s planning to celebrate business and training successes across the country, the annual Regional Forestry Training Awards. Over the years they’ve grown to be THE networking event of the year for the local industry with typically between 300-500 forestry, wood products and transport companies and contractors across the industry turning up in each of the main forestry regions. For obvious reasons, all the awards celebrations were cancelled in 2020 but the industry is already gearing up to recommence the annual celebrations again this year.
This week the Southern Wood Council, representing the industry in the lower South Island, New Zealand is calling for nominations for their nine major forestry awards. The Awards evening is scheduled to run on 21 May 2021. Other Wood Councils have awards evenings planned to run on 7 May, Southern North Island, 21 May, Eastland Wood Council, 11 June, Top of the South Wood Forestry Awards (representing the Nelson and Marlborough regions), 17 September, Northland Wood Council and 12 November, Hawkes Bay Wood Council. Further details on the major planned gathering’s across New Zealand this year will follow. Enjoy this week’s read.
This week we have for you:
NZ FTA with China boost to wood producersAfter eight years and thirty rounds of negotiations, the New Zealand government has put pen to paper on Tuesday this week on what has been called the world's largest free-trade agreement
New Zealand has signed an upgrade to the China free trade agreement, offering some New Zealand goods faster access to Chinese markets and a reduction in tariffs for paper and wood products. Trade Minister Damien O’Connor and China’s Commerce Minister Wang Wentao inked the deal in a video-link meeting on Tuesday afternoon, more than a year after the deal was first settled by the countries.
O’Connor, signing the paperwork in the Beehive in Wellington, said the upgrade meant the free trade agreement was suitable for another decade. New Zealand was the first developed country to sign a free trade agreement with China, in 2008.
"What this does is modernise the free trade agreement that we signed in 2008, brings it up to date. It provides real opportunities for exporters,” O’Connor said. New Zealand will already have 98 per cent free trade with China, its largest trading partner, once the existing free trade agreement comes fully into force. The upgrade has primarily focused on reducing compliance costs for New Zealand exporters, and other measures which ease access to China’s markets.
Under the upgraded agreement, 99 per cent of New Zealand's $3 billion trade in paper and wood products will gain tariff-free, preferential access to China. An additional 12 wood and paper products will have duties removed; the expected value of this change was NZ$36 million. Wood products have been a major export to China. Of the NZ$6.4b in wood exports in 2018, 48 per cent headed to China.
Having signed the upgraded agreement, New Zealand’s Parliament will consider and ratify the deal before it comes into force. Wang, speaking through an interpreter, said the signing of the upgrade was “another milestone” in co-operation between the countries.
Forest Engineering student put forward for major awardPhD student in forest engineering, Campbell Harvey, is this year’s New Zealand nomination for the International Council of Forest and Paper Associations Blue Sky Award.
Campbell has been using drones and flight control programmes to capture imagery of landing slash piles – followed by image processing and then overlaying outputs with engineering survey software to automate volume/shape calculation. He is completing a comprehensive survey of cut-over harvest residues to develop slash management guidelines for the New Zealand industry.
Although very much still in progress, the University of Canterbury Forestry School is already using the results to reach out to industry and help proactively address the issue and opportunities of harvest residue management on steep and difficult terrain.
Campbell is a 2013 graduate of the Forest Engineering programme (1st Class honours), 5-yrs of experience with PFO (Canterbury and Blenheim regions), currently the UC Forest Engineering support lecturer (funded by the NZFOA Levy Trust Work Programme), works directly with the Forest Growers Research harvest automation programme, has helped teach industry Professional Development courses, mentors dissertation projects.
The ICFPA launched the Blue-Sky Young Researchers and Innovation Award in 2016. This global award aims to stimulate competition between students and young researchers exploring forest science, products using forest-based raw materials, process improvements or other innovations throughout the value chain. The award is not only focused on research and development; it is also about being innovative, inspirational and green.
Campbell is also one of the many presenters lined up to talk at this year’s major wood harvesting event, HarvestTECH 2021 in Rotorua, New Zealand on 13-14 April. Campbell, as part of the focus being put into technologies and environmental best practices around harvest planning, roading and stream crossing design and managing harvest residues will be outlining results from the survey of cut-over harvest residues along with early recommendations around slash management guidelines for the New Zealand industry.
Details of the April programme can be found on the event website, www.harvestTECH.events.
Source: FOA E-News
Calling all young harvesting students and operatorsVery rarely do you get anything for free. Here is one offer though to start the year on. The offer was eagerly picked up by students for the ForestTECH 2020 event that ran in Rotorua, New Zealand in mid-November last year. We were in fact blown away by the number of applicants.
This unique opportunity comes with a free conference registration for two days, refreshments and for those outside of the central North Island of New Zealand, accommodation costs that will be met as well. The Forest Industry Engineering Association (FIEA) has teamed up with the WIDE Trust, a charitable Trust formed in 2018 that supports the development and education in New Zealand’s forestry and wood industry sectors.
So, what’s being offered?
To help out younger employees, recent graduates and new entrants into the industry, this new arrangement is going to enable three young employees or students to attend either one of two upcoming major technology events with all major expenses being paid. So, free beer and food as well as the opportunity of learning about new technology, staying abreast with the very latest in research and operating practices, learning about emerging technologies (within and outside our own industry) and networking (with senior management, tech providers and your counterparts from across the country). Now that’s an offer just too good not to look at further.
As we get into a new year, the offer is being made for attendance at this region’s major wood harvesting and log transport event, HarvestTECH 2021, planned for Rotorua, New Zealand on 13-14 April 2021 OR the one-day forest safety and technology event, Forest Safety & Technology 2021 which will run alongside the wood harvesting event at the same Rotorua venue on 13 April 2021. Details for both events can be found on the event websites, www.harvest.events and forestsafety.events.
Applicants for three places to both events are being made available to attend (and travel from within New Zealand and accommodation in Rotorua if applicable) have to be actively employed within the forestry or wood products industries. You're maybe working out in the bush, acting as a harvest planner or scheduler, involved in forest safety or enrolled in a recognised training scheme, apprenticeship or course. To ensure this package is targeting the right person, the applicants we're looking for should also be 35 years or younger. Still eligible?
What do I do if interested?
Places will be filled on a first in-first served basis, provided the eligibility criteria have been met. So, if keen on picking up one of the three available spaces for the upcoming two-day HarvestTECH 2021 event or one day Forest Safety & Technology event, please make contact with firstname.lastname@example.org before Friday 12 February 2021.
Note: This same offer is going to be made available to younger industry employees or students for all FIEA run and managed events planned for 2021. Events being planned for next year can be found here. Details will follow.
Australia Day Honour to Forest industries championThe Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) has congratulated the Chairman of the Softwood Working Group (SWG) Peter Crowe on being named a recipient of the Order of Australia Medal (OAM) in the Australia Day Honours for his service to the softwood plantation industry.
Mr Crowe has worked in the forest industries since 1959 when he joined the then NSW Forestry Commission, where he worked for in a variety of positions till 2006. Since then, he has worked as an industry consultant and advocate, and has been involved in plant breeding initiatives which have improved the quality of the timber grown in plantations.
As well, since 1987 Mr Crowe has been involved with community engagement and regional development as the Chair of the SWG, and as part of the Murray Regional Development Board and the board of Regional Development Australia Murray, between 1990 and 2016.
Deputy Chief Executive of AFPA Victor Violante said, “Peter has been a champion of Australia’s forest industries for nearly 60 years, and on behalf of AFPA and its members I congratulate him on this well-deserved honour. His contribution on many levels cannot be listed in its entirety here, but it spans all sectors of forest management, research and advocacy.”
Mr Crowe said, “I’m extremely proud of working in the industry for all these years alongside a magnificent group of industry professionals, who are both colleagues, but more importantly, friends. Being named as an OAM is certainly an honour for me and my family, but it also recognises the importance of forestry and its contribution to regional development in Australia,” Mr Crowe concluded.
Source: AFPA, Image: Tumut & Adelong Times
China deal vital in post-Covid recoveryThe Forest Owners Association says the Upgrade of the China Free Trade Agreement, signed on Tuesday, is a much awaited and vital step for the future of New Zealand primary exports globally. Association President, Phil Taylor, says our forest and wood products industry exports NZ$3.3 billion of forest products a year to China. Like most of the other parts of the primary sector, forestry relies heavily on China.
“New Zealand signing the Upgrade on the Free Trade Agreement, not only brings immediate benefits to our industry, but is a reminder of the value of mutually agreed rules-based trade agreements globally.”
“The first impact in China will be through lower duties and streamlined documentation. In the longer term, it consolidates our trade access into China and opens the way for more processed timber exports going there and increasing our current 10 percent of imported market share in China of forest products.”
“Our industry participated in a major forest industry delegation to China in 2018, to play our role in improving our access to China, and this government led effort then is producing results now.”
Phil Taylor says the global significance of the Upgrade lies in the context of threats to free trade in the post-Covid trading world. “Protectionism was gaining traction in so many countries before the pandemic, and it’s showing many signs of now getting worse in economies hit hard by Covid.”
“The New Zealand forest industry has been identified by government as increasing further processed exports by NZ$2.6 billion in the next ten years. Our government needs to make sure that the markets which have the potential to buy these exports are not closed to us. More rules-based trade deals to keep those doors open are vital.”
Source: Forest Owners Association
Nominations open for 2021 SWC Forestry AwardsSo, last year COVID-19, the associated lockdown and restrictions on mass gatherings played havoc with all Wood Council Forestry Training Awards around New Zealand. All had to be cancelled. In 2021, the hope is that the region’s once again will be able get together to celebrate local forestry training and business success. They’ve now grown to be the largest gatherings of local industry seen each year with forestry companies, forest contractors, log transport operations and wood products companies along with their crews and families from across each region attending.
It’s a once in a year opportunity for anyone involved in or associated with forestry to come together to celebrate success. It’s the industry’s chance to recognise those who had achieved formal training qualifications over the year, to celebrate through a series of major industry awards, the top performers and to profile the real contribution that forestry and those working within the industry are making to the economic and social well-being of each region.
The 2021 Southern Wood Council (SWC) Forestry Awards Programme run in conjunction with Competenz will run this year at the Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin on the evening of Friday 21 May. Details on each of the main awards and nomination forms for this year’s awards are being distributed as part of SafeStart meetings being run throughout the region by the forestry industry at the beginning of this year and through on-site visits being planned to forestry crews and wood processing operations over the next month or so.
For those in the South, mark the dates into your diary. Nominations for the SWC Forestry Awards close on Friday 26 March 2021. So, for those in Otago and Southland, start to give some thought as to who you can nominate in your or someone else’s company or crew. Who’s made a difference? Who’s really stood out this year? Who deserves to be recognised for their efforts?
Click here to download the 2021 Award Details and Nomination Form
Further details can be found on the Southern Wood Council website.
AU$14 m investment in WA millManjimup in Western Australia will receive an economic boost this year, with the re-activation of a local timber processing centre creating 65 full-time jobs. The new jobs are the result of an AU$14 milliondollar investment from Parkside Timber, as it retires its dry mill at Greenbushes to upgrade the Manjimup facility.
A spokesperson for Parkside said recruitment had already started, with 10 full-time staff employed to date. “Our business plan is for the majority of our wood fibre to be processed into high-end, value-added products, with an emphasis on wood utilisation,” the spokesperson said.
The upgrade will introduce world-class timber processing technology including two high-speed scanning and docking lines, an auto stacking line, finger joining line, large end section joinery planning line and a 56- pocket bin sorter. A pre-drier shed will also be repurposed into a 1000m3 kiln.
Photo: Pre-coated karri decking will be one of the products to be produced at Parkside Timber’s upgraded Manjimup facility
Enhancing safety innovation in New ZealandIn line with the eagerly awaited Forest Safety event that is running in New Zealand, Forest Safety & Technology 2021, on Tuesday 13 April, attached is an article that recently appeared highlighting a workplace health risk, the impact on someone working in a manufacturing environment and the steps he’s taken to highlight the often-overlooked issue and develop a device that can be used to gather information to help us to make smarter decisions to keep our people safe.
When Jason Johnstone was medically discharged from his job as an operator/trainer after being diagnosed with Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS), he decided to explore ways to prevent it happening to other New Zealanders.
Jason is one of the very few people in New Zealand diagnosed with HAVS, a condition that can be permanently disabling, where nerves and blood vessels are damaged by exposure to repeated vibrations from hand and power tools. Symptoms include tingling fingers, numbness, pain, weakness, loss of dexterity and impeded blood flow.
If caught early enough, HAVS can be reversible – but in Jason’s case, his symptoms persist, flaring up at the slightest change of temperature or during certain activities. “All the crockery in our house has chips on it because when I do the dishes my fingers often go numb and I tend to drop the dishes. It’s much worse in winter and I’m pretty much stuffed when it comes to doing up buttons.”
But this hasn’t stopped Jason developing a new hand-arm vibration (HAV) monitoring device and launching a business to address what he calls a “massive grey area” in New Zealand around vibration exposure in the workplace.
Jason has worked with power tools for most of his life. His HAVS symptoms became more pronounced while he was working at the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter as an operator/trainer – a job that involved use of jack hammers amongst other tools. The smelter did have time limits on use of certain tools, but intensity was also a factor.
“My wife is a U.K. trained general surgical registrar and diagnosed me with HAVS, I had no idea what HAVS was at that time. I told the smelter doctor my hands feel funny and was sent to see occupational health specialists Professor David MacBride were he formally diagnosed me; Professor David MacBride is New Zealand leading workplace disease expert.
“Basically, I was told l couldn’t use the tools anymore and was medically discharged from my job at Tiwai. But what I noticed was that no one had any idea how the injury had occurred. Sure, vibration emitted from tools and machinery had caused my injury but there was no data to explain this to the medical or health and safety professional. No one knew how much vibration I had been exposed to on a daily basis, nothing. It was all guesswork and seemed completely crazy, felt like I had wasted 20 years of my life”.
Jason’s experience has led him to research current figures on HAVS in New Zealand revealing what he sees as a major issue of underdiagnosis and misdiagnosis.
“According to ACC data on HAVS, there were only 40-50 cases of HAVS in New Zealand from 2000-2018,” says Jason. “This is unusual because 6230 cases were reported in the United Kingdom in half of that time. Even if we consider that the two workforces are similar, based on population statistics the incidence in New Zealand should have been 785 cases in 18 years or 44 cases per year.”
He also found that during 1 July 2009 and 30 June 2019, ACC data showed there were 5,342 cases of carpal tunnel syndrome compared to the United Kingdom’s 2,930. Furthermore, international research has shown vibration from hand tools does contribute to carpal tunnel injuries.
“In the UK, doctors are trained to recognise HAVS. In New Zealand they’re not. So, it’s very often misdiagnosed as carpal tunnel and that certainly has been my experience after being told I have carpal tunnel each time we relocate. I believe it’s a problem in New Zealand given workers’ exposure in our construction, forestry, manufacture, transport and agriculture sectors.”
Jason identified the need for a user-based device to monitor vibration and capture much needed data. He worked with a software developer Digital Stock in Invercargill to develop a HAV monitoring app and dashboard – and sought a real workplace in which to trial it.
The Forest Safety & Technology 2021 event runs in Rotorua on Tuesday 13 April. Programme and registration information can be found on forestsafety.events. It will be running alongside the very popular HarvestTECH 2021 event so for those attending the Forest Safety programme, the option of staying on for an extra day to join the wood harvesting event on Wednesday 14 April is available. Full details on both events can be found on the event websites.
Forestry Corp expecting significant revenue dropState-owned Forestry Corporation says last summer's record bushfires scorched half of the native forest estate and a quarter of its softwood plantations, setting the agency on track for a sharp drop in revenue in coming years.
The corporation's latest annual report for 2019-20 showed revenue from hard and softwood operations was slightly higher than previous years but mostly because of urgent operations to salvage timber from burnt forests.
Forestry Corp noted the window for salvaging charred trees is about a year before fire-affected timber begins to deteriorate. Such operations ensured it could meet contracts but coming years will see both output and revenue drop.
While fiscal years 2020 and 2021 still had "fire-salvage volumes, revenue is set to decline by AU$100 million or 25 per cent [from about AU$425.2 million] from fiscal year 2022 onwards," it said in its Statement of Corporate Intent.
Fire management specialist recognisedThe Institute of Foresters of Australia and Australian Forest Growers (IFA/AFG) has congratulated Director Dr Lachlan (Lachie) McCaw for being awarded the prestigious Australian Fire Service Medal (AFSM) as part of the Australia Day Honours. Dr McCaw received the medal, which recognises distinguished service by members of Australian fire services, for his ability to bring strategy, fire science and incident management together to inform best practice fire-management principles.
Fellow AFSM recipient and Chair of the IFA/AFG’s Forest Fire Management Committee Mr Gary Morgan AM AFSM said Dr McCaw’s significant contribution to forest fire management and fire research made him a thoroughly deserving recipient of the award.
“Lachie’s dedication to forest fire management through his research and operational management is second to none,” Mr Morgan said. He exemplifies the best form of research – not only conducting significant research but also applying this knowledge actively through the practice of forest fire management. Lachie is also very generous in imparting this knowledge and experience to colleagues and peers, which makes him such a valuable contributor to fire management throughout Australia.”
Dr McCaw has worked in forestry since 1980 and is a Registered Professional Forester (RPF) with skills in native forest management. He has extensive experience in bushfire research and management with a focus on forests, woodlands and shrublands of Western Australia. His research interests include fire behaviour, fire climate and weather, and the role of planned fire in sustainable land management. He has been involved in a many aspects of native forest management including regeneration processes, thinning of regrowth stands and forest health.
He works as a Senior Principal Research Scientist with the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions Western Australia, manages a 15ha family forest at Manjimup and has been an active member of Australian Forest Growers.
As well as being a Director of the IFA/AFG, Dr McCaw adds to the wealth of knowledge and experience on the IFA/AFG’s Forest Fire Management Committee. Other committee members who have been acknowledged for their contribution to forest fire management in Australia include Gary Morgan AM AFSM, Ruth Ryan AFSM, Euan Ferguson AFSM, Kevin Tolhurst AM, Phil Cheney PSM and Neil Cooper PSM.
Focus on year-round bushfire prevention activitiesThe organisation representing some 1,000 professional and scientific forest land managers in Australia has made a submission to the K’gari (Fraser Island) Bushfire Review, calling for a greater focus on year-round bushfire prevention activities over the use of water bombing aircraft.
Institute of Foresters of Australia and Australian Forest Growers (IFA/AFG) President Bob Gordon urged the review panel to weigh-up the effectiveness and cost of relying on water-bombing aircraft as a reactive measure against the need for conventional wildfire responses and enhanced year-round prevention activities across Queensland.
“We often see aircraft bombing established fires, and people think that they put the fires out. They don’t put forest fire out. It is ineffective to attempt to water bomb a large fire out,” Mr Gordon said. “The time to attack a fire is before it starts, with prevention and hazard treatments, and soon after while the fire is small in area, with aggressive, land-based attack.
“Forest fires require a lot of work on the ground to remove fuels so that the fire is actually stopped from moving by a mineral earth break. These are often enlarged using backburns to remove fuel between the active fire edge and the constructed fuel break. Most people do not see this work on the ground take place.
“A greater focus on year-round land management would ensure those equipped with the specialised skill set and resources to fight forest fires could mount timely and informed attacks on any new fire fronts.
“The IFA/AFG are calling for an adequate network of fire access tracks and strategic fuel breaks to be maintained on Fraser Island to support safe burning operations and wildfire response and the establishment of an annual prescribed burn target. This burn target should be based on recommended fire regimes, cultural burning requirements and principles and should be somewhere in the vicinity of 15,000 hectares annually”.
“We also recommend an independent review of the effectiveness and efficiency of firefighting machinery and air fleet in comparison with fire-line maintenance and wildfire mitigation activities.
“In Queensland, the immediate priority for future management should be on other extreme risk localities around the state, where the next fire disaster is more likely. This includes adequate fire-line network design and maintenance, widespread burning involving Traditional Owners where possible, and adopting traditional burning design methods”.
“This will require a commitment from all levels of Government to better fund and resource active forest management and fire management programs across the state, in accord with COAG’s Bushfire Management Policy Statement for Forests and Rangelands. Active management is integral to reducing the risk of catastrophic wildfire events, which is more important than ever as Australia faces hotter and drier conditions as a result of climate change.”
Key recommendations from IFA/AFG’s submission:
• An adequate network of fire access tracks and strategic fuel breaks should be maintained to support safe burning operations and wildfire response.
• Sufficient management controls should be in place to manage backburn risks, and the policy of remote approval should be abandoned in favour of authority for backburn approval remaining with the local, competent and qualified Incident Controller. Clear chain of command and delegation should ensure there is no confusion of responsibilities.
• Relating to K’gari, an annual prescribed burn target should be established and based on recommended fire regimes, Cultural Burning requirements, and property protection, likely to be in the vicinity of 15,000 ha annually.
• Funding and scale of air operations, including Large Aerial Tankers (LATs), should be reviewed based on an objective independent analysis of operational efficiency and effectiveness and a comparative analysis should be made with fireline maintenance and wildfire mitigation activities.
• A post-fire analysis by a competent, independent fire specialist of early containment should identify any real underlying causes for containment failure and ensure continual improvement of any identified weaknesses.
• In accord with COAG’s Bushfire Management Policy Statement for Forests and Rangelands, broadly across all public land, appropriate local or regional prescribed burn targets must be established, and fire adapted vegetation burnt in line with recommended fire regimes.
A full copy of IFA/AFG’s submission to the K’gari (Fraser Island) Bushfire Review is available here
IEA Bioenergy appoints new NZ ChairPaul Bennett of SCION, New Zealand has been elected as the new chair of the IEA Bioenergy Technology Collaboration Programme for 2021. He follows Jim Spaeth of the United States Department of Energy who acted as chair in the past 3 years.
The IEA Bioenergy Executive Committee also appointed two new vice-chairs to assist the chair in his work: Sandra Hermle of the Swiss Federal Office of Energy and Dina Bacovsky of BEST (Bioenergy and Sustainable Technologies), Austria.
Jim Spaeth: “As the outgoing IEA Bioenergy Technology Collaboration Program Executive Committee Chair, I am pleased to welcome Paul Bennett from New Zealand, as the newly elected Chair of the IEA Bioenergy. Paul, who currently has the position of Integrated Bioenergy Portfolio Leader at Scion, brings a wealth of international business experience as well as bioenergy and fuels expertise, having previously worked in numerous very senior management positions for BP in several locations around the globe.”
The IEA Bioenergy Technology Collaboration Programme (IEA Bioenergy TCP) is a global network on research and implementation of bioenergy, established under the International Energy Agency’s Implementing Agreement mechanism.
The IEA Bioenergy TCP comprises a world-wide network of experts in every aspect of the value chain of biomass for energy, who are from the research community, institutions of higher education, government agencies and industry. Further information: www.ieabioenergy.com.
Buy and Sell
... and one to end the week on ... more clever street art
And one more for you.
If you can start the day without caffeine,
If you can always be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains,
If you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles,
If you can eat the same food every day and be grateful for it,
If you can understand when your loved ones are too busy to give you any time,
If you can take criticism and blame without resentment,
If you can conquer tension without medical help,
If you can relax without alcohol,
If you can sleep without the aid of drugs,
Then You Are Probably
The Family Dog!
And on that note, enjoy your weekend. Cheers.
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