Friday Offcuts – 12 February 2021

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Yesterday, 11 February, marked the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. Increasingly, as more and more women are being attracted into forestry and wood products, the day was yet another opportunity to share stories of some of the remarkable women who are working within our industry, the contribution that they’re making and expertise that they bring to our industry.

The opportunity was certainly picked up during the week. Some great stories were covered in the main stream media in keeping with the theme of modern science or the application of new technology. Some of the women featured included Naomi Cleaves, a lab technician at Forico's fibre lab in Tasmania, Marion Hughes, Manager of Resource Planning and Analytics for OneFortyOne New Zealand and Alison Dillon, a planning forester for HQPlantations in Queensland. For younger students who’re working through their own career choices, the stories this week have been able to showcase the many varied and exciting opportunities that exist and for those young people who might not have considered a career in forestry, it might have just provided the spark to find out a little bit more about the sector.

From Australia this week comes the welcome news, despite the Bob Brown Foundation taking its legal battle back to the High Court, that Neville Smith Forest Products who have been operating in Tasmania since 1924, has announced they’ll be increasing production at both of their mills with more than 40 jobs being created. This move is yet another vote of confidence for sustainably produced timbers by the Australian consumer.

Last week we covered in detail the release of the Climate Change Commission’s Draft report to the NZ Government on what needs to be done in order to achieve the country’s zero-carbon goal and meet its international commitments. Already, the six-week period of public consultation is underway. BusinessNZ and the Commission are running a series of meetings around the country with two being run this week and another three planned for the South Island next week. Details can be found here. Incidentally, the impacts of the report’s release are already been felt with NZUs rising into the mid $39's last week.

And overseas, the multinational technology company Microsoft, has just contracted a total of 1.3 million greenhouse gas emissions offsets for 2021 as part of its carbon removal portfolio with the bulk of this volume coming from forestry projects. And Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla & SpaceX, is also now in on the action. He’s putting up US$100 million for a successful project that will result in viable carbon capture technologies. The impetus in 2021 is there already and increasingly carbon removal or offsetting is an integral part of a business’s operations and reporting. Some of the opportunities in this part of the world are going to be showcased in an event, Carbon Forestry 2021, planned to be run in mid-June. Further details will follow. That’s it for this week. Enjoy this week’s read.

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Queensland celebrates work of female scientists

As part of International Day of Women and Girls in Science (Thursday 11 February) Timber Queensland celebrated the work of its female scientists. Clarissa Brandt, Strategic Relations & Communications Manager, Timber Queensland said the forest sector provided women with a wonderful opportunity for a science career in the natural environment.

“Forestry is such an exciting sector to work in because it provides challenging work using innovative technology and a great balance of being in the great outdoors and an office environment,” Clarissa Brandt said. By using their scientific expertise in our forests, women are providing innovative and creative solutions. International Day of Women and Girls in Science is an opportunity to promote full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls.

The day is a reminder that women and girls play a critical role in science and technology communities and that their participation should be strengthened.

Alison Dillon, a planning forester for HQPlantations, Queensland’s largest plantation forest grower, says forestry combines many science disciplines. “Sustainable forest management relies on botany, biology, geology, chemistry, mathematics, biometrics, meteorology, geography and understanding different ecosystem types. In my planning role, I also regularly use GIS-based mapping products and interpret LiDAR data,” said Alison Dillon who is a Southern Cross University Forest Science graduate.

“I love the variety my job offers, everyday I’m doing something different out in the field, in the office, meeting with neighbours and Aboriginal Elders, mapping – it’s great. I’m making a difference, protecting the forest and contributing to carbon capture through growing wood products,” said Alison.

As the sixth most forested country in the world, Alison says Australia’s forests and forest industries are in need of talented young people to carry on the work of maintaining our ecosystem values and playing a critical role in the management of our forests. “I would encourage all women to consider studying science and working in forestry, as it is a really rewarding way to connect with your environment and make a difference,” she said.

Source: Timber Queensland

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Russia to ban log exports in 2022

Softwood log exports from Russia have been in steady decline for the past 15 years and could reach zero in 2022 if President Putin’s new log export ban is implemented.

In a recent statement, Russian president Vladimir Putin ordered the government to strictly control the exportation of roundwood and low-value forest products, and to clamp down on the illegal trade of logs (in his terms: “hard-hitting decriminalization of the industry”).

He also requested a “complete ban on shipments of unprocessed or roughly processed conifer and valuable hardwood out of Russia by January 1, 2022.” This statement would indicate that lower-value hardwood logs, such as birch pulplogs exported to Finland, may be excluded from the future export ban.

To encourage domestic processing of Russian timber, Putin also wants to implement a government program of subsidized loans for investing in wood processing facilities, primarily in Siberia and Russia’s Far East, targeting the growing wood markets in Asia. These industry loans would be available for facilities producing lumber and panels, and pellet manufacturers which predominantly use small-diameter logs for their wood supplies.

If the log ban is enacted, it will be the end of Russia’s long-lasting role as one of the world’s largest exporter of softwood logs. Over many decades, the country exported large volumes of wood raw-material, predominantly to forest products manufacturers in Asia and Europe.

Softwood log export volumes peaked at 37 million m3 in 2006, but when log export tariffs were implemented in 2008, shipments fell dramatically and were down to only 8.5 million m3 in 2019. This year, the decline has continued and only an estimated six million m3 is likely to be exported, according to the Wood Resource Quarterly. A majority of the shipments have gone to China (about 75 per cent) and Finland (10 per cent) in the first half of 2020.

Russian hardwood log exports have fluctuated between 7-8 million m3 the past five years but are likely to fall in the next two years if higher-value logs such as oak and ash are banned for exports.

China has sourced about 10-12 million m3 of softwood and hardwood logs annually from Russia for the past five years. Subsequently, the log export ban will substantially impact the future sourcing of both wood raw-material and processed products to China, a potentially troublesome scenario due to their outlook for increased consumption of forest products.

Source: Canadian Forest Industries

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Full house of exhibitors for HarvestTECH 2021

With a couple of exhibition spaces becoming available, two new exhibitors have just been added to the record turnout that’s expected in Rotorua in a few months as part of this year’ s major log transport and wood harvesting event, HarvestTECH 2021. It runs in Rotorua, New Zealand on 13-14 April 2021. Full details can be found on the event website HarvestTECH 2021.

That’s a full house, 33 in-door and 15 outdoor spaces with all manner of new equipment and technology best suited to the felling and cartage of logs as well as forest safety around the region. So, it’s going to be another huge turnout. With the two recent additions to the already impressive line-up, exhibitors include;

McFall Fuel, Cookes, Eagle Technology, BOA, Duxson Donaldson, Randalls Equipment, AGrowQuip/John Deere, Tracplus Global, WorkSafe NZ, Porter Equipment, Southstar Equipment, Lubricants NZ, Ensign, Komatsu Forest, West-Trak Equipment, Finance NZ

DC Equipment, Remsoft, FISC, TDDA, TerraCat, Bene Footwear, NZ EMS, Husqvarna, Rearsense Warning Systems, Trimble Forestry, Waratah, Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology, Seeing Machines (Autosense), C3, Hydraulink, Beattys, Transdiesel, Shaws, Chainsaw & Outdoor Power, Safe T Works Taupo

As well as a venue jam-packed with equipment, extras for those attending the events this year include;

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. Details can be found on the event website, 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 for those working out in the bush, it can be seen 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.

4. A pre-conference workshop on developing road and harvest planning has been set up for the afternoon before the event, on 12 April. Details can be found here

Note: Space, like 2019 is expected to be limited. If keen on registering, the discounted early-bird registrations finish in just two weeks’ time on Friday 26 February.

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Neville Smith announces production increases

More than 40 jobs are set to be created both in the short and long term across Tasmania in the forestry industry, after Neville Smith Forest Products announced an increase in production at their Southwood site in the Huon Valley. A further 30 full time jobs will be created in the state's south as a result of a second shift being created.

Neville Smith Forest Products chief executive Andrew Walker said more jobs would also be created in the North of the state. "It will actually increase capacity at our Northern mill, so we expect there to be another at least 10 to 15 further jobs here at Mowbray," Mr Walker said.

"We're expecting to offer between four and six traineeships initially, with that expected to grow depending on the take up. There will be a myriad of skill and job applications, anywhere from administration, production, supervision and other skilled trades."

Mr Walker said the addition of the second production shift from July 1 would double the capacity of the company to 80,000 cubic metres of product. "We've worked our way through [the 2019 Huon Valley bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic] those crises shoulder to shoulder with the community, and this is a sign of confidence in the Australian building market to be able to invest in a second shift," he said.

"All of our product will end up in the Australian market, it's on the back of strong demand for Australian native timber, and we'll be meeting that national demand. The demand for sustainably produced Australian timber has never been stronger, it's the attributes of the Australian native timber that's impossible to replicate."

Tasmanian Forest Products Association chief executive Nick Steel said the announcement was great news for the Tasmanian forestry industry. "It's even better news for the community," he said. "It also demonstrates the added benefit for those businesses in the Valley and across Tasmania, be it the tyre providers, or the mechanics, or the service stations that certainly rely on these jobs as well."

Mr Steel said confidence was returning to the forestry industry. "It should show to the public that as an industry, we want to continue to demonstrate our sustainability, and demonstrate that jobs are really important," he said. Resources Minister Guy Barnett said the company's expansion was a "huge boost" to the state.

Source: The Examiner

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OneFortyOne celebrates International Day Of Women

OneFortyOne joined in the global celebration of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science on 11 February 2021. It’s a great opportunity to acknowledge the leading professionals who are contributing their expertise to the success of the forestry and timber industries.

OneFortyOne hopes that by sharing the stories of remarkable women in the industry, girls and young women are inspired to pursue one or more of the varied and satisfying careers on offer.

OneFortyOne wants to be part of the movement that promotes full and equal access to, and participation in, science for women and girls. The day is a reminder that women and girls play a critical role in science and technology communities and that their participation should be strengthened.

OneFortyOne is celebrating leading science professionals who are contributing their expertise to the industry. By exploring innovative and creative solutions our professionals are developing solutions for industry, ensuring that this climate friendly resource continues to produce everyday products for society.

Marion Hughes, Manager – Resource Planning and Analytics for OneFortyOne New Zealand is one such woman. “There are no barriers any more for women wanting to get into any of the fields available in forestry,” says Hughes. “Often the only thing that gets in the way is perception.”

Hughes still recalls a career advisor at school telling her that forestry wasn’t for women, which made her all the more committed to following her passion, combining her love of the outdoors and data, and studying forestry at university. The ability to start working during her final year of studies was a boost. “I got to visit small forest owners, measure their trees and tell them how much they were worth and advise them on the best time to harvest them.”

Hughes says that the forestry industry and OneFortyOne really value the perspective that new graduates can offer. “People who are new to the industry give us the most insight. They question why we are doing things. The rest of us just think it’s normal because it’s been done like that in the past.”

After obtaining a Bachelor of Forestry Science, Marion spent several years as a forestry consultant, working on projects in countries within Asia setting up GPS and GIS systems for forest measurement, providing information on wood availability to set up new pulp mills. She then worked as part of a forestry resources team in the Central North Island before joining OneFortyOne 19 years ago.

She now supports the OneFortyOne business in Australia and New Zealand to accurately measure and value its forest estate, ensuring the forests are harvested sustainably and that the company knows the volume of wood by quality class it has available for its customers.

Hughes and her colleagues use a range of modelling and coding software to undertake repetitive or complex tasks more efficiently and effectively. This allows them to work out key information such as how fast trees are growing, how much wood is in the estate, and how much can be cut whilst maintaining a sustainable harvesting regime. A current focus for Hughes is developing a better way to work out how much high-quality wood is within the forest resource before it is harvested.

“We want to work out how much of the high-quality wood we have within our current resource. It’s about working out the best ways that we can predict it going forward to make sure that our customers will have plenty of that wood, and also how we can grow more of that type of wood.”

Hughes lights up when she describes one of the highlights of working in the forest industry. “One of my favourite things to do is trials, either out in the forest or at the sawmills, trying to adopt new technologies. We normally get an expert in, they show us how it works, then we do the trials, and then I get to analyse the results!”

A current trial of a Resi tool (Resistograph) in the Green Triangle within OneFortyOne’s Australian operation is exciting, says Hughes, and if successful may lead to the technology being used within OneFortyOne New Zealand too. “The tool helps predict how much high-quality wood you have in your stand before you cut it down. It works by using a small drill, to capture details of a tree’s wood variability and quality. Trials like this provide a way for us to take ideas from other parts of our business and make both of our operations better.

“I love finding better ways to do things – ways that are easier or faster and provide a better outcome. We’re always striving to improve. I love that about our business.” Hughes hopes that the International Day of Women and Girls in Science encourages young people who might not have considered a career in forestry to find out more about the sector.

She says that it’s a great option given the number of scholarships that are available to support students during their studies and with work placements during university holidays and the wide range of roles in the industry. “Mapping, flying drones, photography, tree measurement, computer modelling – there are so many options for a career in forestry that most people aren’t aware of.”

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Change is coming in Tasmanian forestry industry

Tasmania's forestry industry has been dominated by men for years, and still is, says its peak representative body. But Tasmanian Forests and Forest Products Network convener Therese Taylor is hopeful that change is coming.

"In Tasmania only about 18 per cent of the workforce are women," she said. "Although that is spread out across all occupation areas ... it's low. And we think a workforce that's got a better representation of males and females is a stronger, more successful workforce."

She said one of the reasons for low female participation was a lack of awareness about how scientific some of the roles could be. "There's opportunities in climate change, sustainability, agronomy," she said. "Without high-level science, this industry won't survive. And we need to tell the stories of the women who are doing that in the modern forestry industry."

One of those women is Naomi Cleaves, who is employed as a lab technician at Forico's fibre lab at Ridgley. "We first saw Naomi working in the Nursery and thought she had great potential to work in the lab," Ms Ennis said. "Fast-forward to now, Naomi is a thriving entry level laboratory technician and is currently studying at TAFE to further her qualifications."

Ms Cleaves said she enjoyed the variety of work at the lab. "No two days are the same," she said. "Depending on the priorities, the lab may be conducting analysis of chip samples from a shipment or undertaking routine scheduled instrument calibrations. "We also recently invested in a Resistograph tool, which is used to measure the density of trees while they are still standing."

The comments come just in time for the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, which Therese Taylor said was a "terrific" opportunity to celebrate the "critical" role female scientists played in the management of Tasmania's forests.

Photo: Naomi Cleaves was working as a casual in a seedling nursery before being scouted to work as a lab technician for Forico. Picture: Rob Burnett

Source: The Advocate

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Hundegger supplying CNC machinery for CLT/GLT plant

Timberlink Australia is delighted to partner with Hans Hundegger AG who will supply the key CNC machining equipment for the new Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) and Glue Laminated Timber (GLT) plant being built in Tarpeena, South Australia. The decision to commission Hundegger Australasia Pty Ltd comes following an extensive international review to find the best Computer Numerical Control (CNC) panel machining technology for Timberlink’s state-of-the-art plant.

“Timberlink is building a AU$60m CLT & GLT facility to be opened in 2023, creating 50 full-time permanent jobs at full output” said Timberlink CEO Ian Tyson. “The significant investment will see the construction of Australia’s first combined softwood CLT & GLT manufacturing plant.”

The initial phase of the CNC machinery supply includes a Hundegger PBA Industry machine, that will be able to process the full range of CLT products for the emerging residential and commercial solid timber market in Australia. The machine will be the first Hundegger PBA Industry CNC line delivered to the Southern Hemisphere and will use the latest in CNC automation technology to precisely custom cut CLT pieces to order.

Hans Hundegger AG in Bavaria, Germany are one of the world leaders in building multi-axis CNC machines for solid timber processing with a proven track record with local support, industry expertise with mass timber processing. Along with the specialised Hundegger CAMBIUM software, these were influential factors in the decision to choose Hundegger as the CNC machinery partner.

Source: Timberlink Australia

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Microsoft using forests to remove CO2 emissions

Multinational technology company Microsoft has contracted a total of 1.3 million greenhouse gas emissions offsets for 2021 as part of a drive to become carbon negative by 2030, it said Jan. 28. The company has contracted the offset credits in its full-year 2021 carbon removal portfolio, with the bulk of the volume coming from forestry projects which lock up atmospheric CO2 emissions.

Of the 1.3 million mt of offset credits, 1.1 million mt were linked to forestry projects while a further 193,000 mt came from soil carbon sequestration projects. The remaining volume comprised 2,000 mt from bioenergy, 2,000 mt from biochar and 1,000 mt from direct air capture projects, the company said.

Microsoft's global emissions stood at about 12 million mt in 2019 and it reduced emissions by 587,000 mt in 2020, according to company data. The company plans to reduce its total emissions to about 5 million mt by 2030, and plans to offset this amount to become a net-zero emissions company within the decade, the figures show. It also wants to go further by removing its entire historical CO2 emissions by mid-century.

"We've committed to be carbon negative by 2030. This means reducing our greenhouse gas emissions by more than half, removing the rest, and then removing the equivalent of our historical emissions by 2050," the company said in a statement. The company's climate strategy involves sharing insights and lessons learned with the industry.

It also wants to source projects that keep carbon out of the atmosphere, monitor them for so-called "reversals" -- meaning release of carbon back into the atmosphere -- and provide recourse in case of failure. Microsoft made a request for carbon removal proposals in July 2020 and received proposals representing 189 projects. The company chose to purchase from 15 suppliers representing more than 1.3 million mt of CO2 removals.

By sharing its experiences, Microsoft aims to catalyze discussion and collaboration that will lead to the development of a more robust global market for corporate procurement of carbon removal solutions, the company said. Corporate commitments to offset emissions are expected to spur rising demand for offset credits in a wide range of voluntary emissions offsetting programs.


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New National Park won’t help koalas

A flawed report commissioned by an anti-forestry group grossly underestimates the cost of closing down the NSW North Coast’s hardwood timber industry and fails to take into account the scientific evidence that the modest, regenerative timber harvesting operations in the State Forest have no impact on koala prevalence, the Australian Forest Products Association said.

AFPA CEO Mr Ross Hampton said independent economic modelling of the impact of the so-called Great Koala National Park on the NSW North Coast found it would lead to an AU$757 million-a-year hit to the NSW economy and cut almost 2000 jobs, devastating communities across the region where the timber industry is a major employer. This conservative estimate by respected economic modeller Ernst & Young would amount to billions of dollars and thousands more down-stream jobs over the 15 years than the National Parks Association-sponsored report considered.

“The flawed report published last week by the National Parks Association fails to recognise their plan would mean the closure of the native forestry industry on the North Coast, and with it, thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic activity in our regions,” Mr Hampton said.

“Forest industries are the biggest employer on the North Coast. Shutting down a sustainable, renewable industry would be disastrous for these communities and the NSW economy, and would deliver no environmental benefits.”

Mr Hampton said the NPA’s campaign ignored the scientific evidence shows that timber harvesting in NSW has no impact on koala occupancy in the forest. “Only 0.2 per cent of NSW native forests are harvested annually for timber production and they are all regenerated by law,” Mr Hampton said.

“The latest research from the NSW Department of Primary Industries’ koala expert Dr Brad Law, who has surveyed millions of hectares of NSW koala habitat using breakthrough 'sound monitoring' techniques, found:

Past timber harvesting did not influence koala occupancy. There was no difference in results between heavily harvested, lightly harvested and old growth sites. Time since harvesting and the amount of harvesting in the local area did not influence occupancy. There was also no difference between National Park and State forest sites.*


Source: AFPA

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Turbo-charging timber and forestry required

Incoming Chair of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation’s (FAO) forestry advisory Council, Ross Hampton, says the world’s renewable timber and forestry sectors must be turbo-charged if we are to have any chance of achieving the global goal of ‘Carbon Neutral by 2050’.

Mr Hampton, who is also Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA), has just been appointed Chair of the UN FAO’s Advisory Council on Sustainable Forest-based Industries (ACSFI).

“I am honoured to be chosen for this role. The ACSFI is determined to promote world best practice sustainable forest management such as occurs in Australia and many parts of the globe. My ambition is to continue the powerful representation of outgoing Chair Carina Hakansson, who was DG of the Swedish Forest Industries Federation,” Mr Hampton said.

Mr Hampton said the world’s sustainably managed forestry and forest products industries were uniquely positioned to play a major role in the renewed global drive to achieve ‘Carbon Neutral by 2050’, and in the international post-COVID recovery efforts.

Mr Hampton pointed to the 4th assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which stated:

“A sustainable forest management strategy aimed at maintaining or increasing forest carbon stocks, while producing an annual sustained yield of timber, fibre or energy from the forest, will generate the largest sustained mitigation benefit.[i]”

“Wood and timber products don’t just store carbon as the trees grow, they also store it in the products produced from forests. Timber is also far less energy-intensive to produce than steel and concrete, making it the ‘green’ choice for construction. However, despite some outstanding breakthroughs in innovative engineered timber products, the shift to medium and high-rise timber buildings has been too slow in Australia and internationally if we are to make a meaningful impact on climate. Every major city authority with a climate action plan should be demanding developers use more timber.”

“Forestry products also have a huge role to play in providing biodegradable alternatives to single use plastics which are choking our waterways and oceans,” Mr Hampton said.

The Secretary of the ACSFI, based in Rome, Sven Walter said, “I congratulate Mr Hampton as incoming Chair. Our push to increase the uptake of forest-based renewables needs strong leadership and Mr Hampton has shown he is a passionate and serious advocate for sustainable forest industries.”

FAO Forestry Officer, Australian Lyndall Bull said, “I have known Mr Hampton for many years. I am looking forward to working with him to implement the new 2020-2030 ACSFI Strategic Framework ensuring that the vital work of ACSFI is at the forefront of the wider global audience”.

Source: AFPA

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Wairoa farmers get rates subsidy from forestry

Citing forestry’s ability to pay, and popular sentiment against forestry locally, the Wairoa District Council in mid-January voted to impose a weighted rate differential on forest land at 4.0. This is more than twice the rate on commercial properties and compares with 0.7 on other rural land. The new rating system is to take effect from 1 July.

Local government legislation emphasises democratic decision making, but this opens the way for vested local community interests to capture a system and impose higher rates on other sectors without the need for objective investigation and analysis.

WDC’s mayor, Craig Little, says the differential factor of 4.0 for forestry reflects community feedback that this sector contributes less towards the social, economic and environmental well-being of the district. None of this feedback has to had any evidence of its veracity.

Forest companies and the FOA made strong submissions against this differential rating to a hearing held by WRC. During the hearing it was disclosed that WDC gives the AFFCo meat plant in Wairoa a NZ$150,000 a year rebate on its water charges. In effect then, this means that forest companies will be required to pay more rates to continue to subsidise a struggling farm operation in the region.

For further coverage on this story < click here

Source: FOA E-News, Farmers Weekly

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Forestry company's $3m bill wiped

A forestry company has had a NZ$2.89 million debt set aside by the NZ High Court after failing to harvest on deadline for a contract written on bad advice from the Marlborough District Council. Zindia Limited signed the contract in 2016, to harvest pine trees on Arapaoa Island, previously known as Arapawa Island, between Tory Channel/Kura Te Au and Cook Strait in the Marlborough Sounds.

The trees were owned by Arapawa Island Forestry Partnership, which leased the steep, difficult property and planted the trees in 1986. The lease expired on August 31, 2020. The trees matured by 2009, but one harvester backed out of the difficult job so before contracting Zindia, the partnership gained consents to get the forest “harvest-ready” when log prices improved in 2016. That did not include resource consent to harvest, the High Court decision issued last week said.

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Source: Stuff

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Musk offers US$100 million carbon capture prize

Elon Musk intends to offer US$100 million to a successful project resulting in viable carbon capture technologies.

Musk, the CEO of Tesla & SpaceX and an entrepreneur who briefly took over from Amazon's Jeff Bezos as the world's richest person earlier this month, made the pledge in a recent tweet.

"Am donating US$100M towards a prize for best carbon capture technology," Musk said, which suggests that more than this amount may be on offer, overall.

Carbon capture is a concept focused on the capture of carbon dioxide emissions produced by manufacturing, vehicles, and food production, among other industries. To date, little progress has been made in terms of technology designed to contribute to the effort of combatting global warming.

The concept, as explored by Vox, could involve burying carbon in saline aquifers or air scrubbing, but for technologies in this area to be developed, potential profit in the eyes of the investor needs to be a factor. As such, carbon capture technology could focus on carbon capture and utilization (CCU), in which carbon dioxide is used, in some way, to develop products or services.

The creation of effective carbon capture technologies -- alongside environment recovery initiatives -- could help countries meet their obligations in the Paris Agreement, an international treaty on fighting climate change.

Source: zdnet

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Bob Brown keeps on fighting their case

The Bob Brown Foundation is taking its legal battle to stop native forest logging in Tasmania to the High Court. The conservation group had its Federal Court case dismissed last Wednesday but has vowed to fight on. It had argued Tasmania's regional forestry agreement is invalid because it does not properly protect threatened native animals.

"The forest industry called for a wake after the Federal Court decision," foundation spokeswoman Jenny Weber said. "Instead, the Bob Brown Foundation held a celebratory launch of the next stage of its campaign including its move towards a High Court appeal." Dr Brown held a town hall meeting in Hobart on Thursday and announced the decision to prepare a special leave application to the High Court.

More >>

Source: The West Australian

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Buy and Sell

... and one to end the week on ...didn't see it coming

A vampire bat came flapping in from the night, covered in fresh blood. He parked himself on the ceiling of the cave to get some sleep. Pretty soon all the other bats smelled the blood and started hassling him about where he'd got it. He told them to get lost and let him get some sleep.

However, they persisted until he finally gave in. "Okay, follow me," he said as he flapped out of the cave with hundreds of bats behind him. Down through a valley they went, across a river and into a forest of trees. Finally he slowed and all the other bats excitedly milled around him.

"Now, do you see that tree over there?" he asked.

"YES, YES, YES!" all the other bats screamed in a frenzy.

"YEAH," shouted the bat, "WELL I DIDN'T".

And one from the Tennis Open running at the moment in Melbourne…

Q: How do you know a plane full of tennis players has just landed?

A: The whining doesn’t stop when they turn off the engines.

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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