Friday Offcuts 26 March 2021
We cover this week an article written by a Professor of Farm Management and Agribusiness at Lincoln University in New Zealand. He looks again at tree planting as a means of meeting the country’s Paris obligations through to 2050. The recent report produced by the Climate Change Commission, according to the author, is skewed towards native species and Government policy is “screwing the scrum” towards forestry on productive farm land. It also unfairly favours overseas investment in production forestry. In a return to the old days (older readers amongst us will remember the NZ Forest Service and Ministry of Forestry), he pushes for a return to an advisory service where farmers can get access to good- quality independent forestry information. Sound familiar? This will in turn enable them to make sense of farm and forestry land-use decisions. A link to the full article is contained in the story below.
And finally, and linked also to agri-business, in Rotorua this week, MobileTECHAg 2021 wrapped up yesterday. Close to 200 technology developers and early adopters of new technology from across the country’s primary sector met. The event, now well and truly established on the primary industry calendar, is one of few providing developers and researchers from around Australasia, results on a raft of new innovations being developed, adopted and used out in the field. It really has been an eye-opening couple of days.
We know like MobileTECHAg this week, in the current environment, that in New Zealand we’ve been incredibly fortunate compared to other countries that we’ve been able to get together again for these large events and trade shows. Two major and well publicised forestry tech events, HarvestTECH 2021 and Forest Safety & Technology 2021 are both running in New Zealand in just over two weeks’ time with companies and contractors descending on Rotorua from all parts of the country – and from around the globe - virtually. But what about the major international forestry trade shows outside Australasia? 2020 was certainly a year to forget. We’ve included an update this week on the major European and North American forestry shows for this year and if at this stage, they still plan on running. And on this note, enjoy this week’s read.
This week we have for you:
Minister supporting Regional Forest AgreementsNative forestry in Australia will continue to be exempted from federal threatened species regulations, Assistant Forestry Minister Jonathon Duniam says, despite a major review finding national conservation law was failing to protect wildlife.
Former competition watchdog Graeme Samuel’s once-in-a-decade review of the Environment Protection Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act, published in January, said there are “fundamental shortcomings” in Regional Forest Agreements and he had “low confidence” they were upholding Commonwealth protections for native forests subject to logging operations.
Regional Forest Agreements are made between state and federal governments. The state provides a plan to “balance” the impact of logging on flora and fauna with economic factors, and in return, commercial logging operations are exempted from national laws that protect threatened species.
“Regional Forest Agreements rely on the states to undertake monitoring, compliance and enforcement, with little Commonwealth oversight,” Mr Samuel said and recommended the federal government remove the Regional Forest Agreements’ exemption from the EPBC Act.
Nationals Senate leader Bridget McKenzie asked Mr Duniam in a Senate estimates hearing on Tuesday how he would respond to the Samuel review. “Our pathway forward will be guided by industry, they will tell us what they need and my job is to deliver for them,” Senator Duniam said.
The native forestry industry is dominated by state government-owned corporations that have supported Regional Forest Agreements. “My job, broadly, is to maintain the Regional Forest Agreements in their current form,” Senator Duniam said. “We are pro-forestry, we want to grow the sector.”
For more on the industry's response click here
Source: SMH, AFPA
Human drivers still key to haul logsA pilot project that we reported on recently aiming to address a severe shortage of logging truck drivers through telemetric wizardry may lead to new jobs being created, not their elimination, the proponents say. When the $700,000 project by Marathon-based Nawiinginokiima Forest Management Corporation (NFMC) and Ottawa-based Provectus Robotics Solutions became known, some assumed truck drivers would no longer be required.
But Provectus business development director Jason Scheib said that drivers will still be involved: an experienced trucker in a lead vehicle, with two drivers in two additional trucks following behind at safe distances. All three logging trucks are to be linked by electronic sensors, with the two in the rear following the lead of the one in front being driven by an experienced operator, Scheib said.
Drivers in the trucks following behind — who would at least possess a standard G driver’s licence — will be needed to manually clean sensors, and also to disengage the electronic link in the event of an emergency situation.
“We believe this will be a valuable advancement to address the driver shortage in Northern Ontario and around the world, while making the transport of lumber to mills safer and more efficient,” Scheib said in an earlier news release. If the system proves to be workable and safe, it would be up to forestry companies to decide whether to adopt it.
Nawiinginokiima Forest Management Corporation said the trucker shortage left the agency with no choice but to explore a technological alternative. “There just aren’t individuals out there interested in becoming (logging) truck drivers, not from our experience within our management area,” NFMC general manager Carmelo Notarbartolo said.
“Therefore, this project isn’t intended to replace jobs, or displace individuals, it is intended to help find a solution to a significant need (for hauling logs to mills) in our area.” A Crown agency, Nawiinginokiima Forest Management Corporation oversees the maximum annual harvest of 1.6 million cubic metres of wood in the Crown Pic and White River forests in the Marathon area.
Scheib said over a three-phase testing program, the project will start with pickup trucks, graduate to trailers and eventually move on to experimenting with logging trucks. Testing will begin near Ottawa but will also include trips on Nawiinginokiima Forest Management Corporation logging roads before the end of this year.
The system would be confined to logging roads, which are private and not subject to normal provincial driving regulations. Given the steep terrain that logging roads traverse, it’s not feasible to tow trailers full of logs, Scheib said.
A new shared vision for Australia’s forestsA paper published last week in Australian Forestry has called for the development of a new shared vision for the management of Australia’s forests.
The paper Reshaping forest management in Australia to provide nature-based solutions to global challenges, by Dr William Jackson and other members of the IFA/AFG, says it is time to move beyond the era of conflict and develop more holistic approaches that encompass all forest values, such as water, biodiversity, tourism and forest products, across the landscape. More collaborative approaches will be required to galvanise the resources, skills and knowledge that enables this shift in shared governance.
“Recent bushfires in Australia have heightened concerns that the management of public forests has largely failed to ensure the health of forest ecosystems, build resilience, and secure a promised balance between economic, social and environmental values”, Dr Jackson said.
“Climate change is our common enemy, and efforts to date aimed at adapting forest management to address climate change have been limited. Furthermore, empowering and increasing the role of Indigenous Australians in forest management could be significantly improved.”
Vice President of the IFA/AFG and co-author of the paper, Dr Michelle Freeman has observed that the COVID-19 pandemic has also highlighted the need to improve the resilience of regional communities to major shocks and stresses related to market dynamics, supply-chain disruptions and natural disasters.
“We need to reshape forest management in Australia to provide nature-based solutions to global challenges”, Dr Freeman said. “Our paper sets out three key strategies to strengthen forest management in Australia. First, we need to establish new shared governance models that bring together government agencies with Indigenous Australians and stakeholders from the private sector and civil society.
“Second, we need to extend active and adaptive management across forest landscapes to build resilience in our forests, local communities and society. And third, we need to integrate traditional knowledge with scientific evidence and innovative technologies to inform forest policy and enhance forest management outcomes. Through these strategies, we can conserve forests for a broader range of values, and proactively manage current pressures and increasing threats from climate change and the interrelated impacts of bushfires and invasive species”.
In the words of European forest researchers, adaptive forest management is required as part of global efforts to “manage the unavoidable and avoid the unmanageable”; and will support Australia’s transition to a more circular economy based on the use of renewable resources and reduced dependency on imported products.
The paper, Reshaping forest management in Australia to provide nature-based solutions to global challenges, is available to read in full here.
Glulam on the BIG StageOver the past few months, the TimberLab manufacturing team in New Zealand have been focusing their efforts on the delivery of components for one of NZ’s largest and most complex Glulam projects to date, the University of Waikato, The Pā.
“The Pā will provide a new main entrance to the campus, a student hub (including food outlets and social learning spaces) and a new University marae. The Pā will strengthen the overall capability of the campus for University and community events and activities”. Source: The University of Waikato.
The structure is inspired by the form of a traditional Wharenui (meeting house); large Glulam portal frames work together with concrete shear walls to form the building entrance at ground floor level. Long Glulam roof rafters extend out from the apex of the Wharenui portal structure in multiple directions making for an impressive scale of roof structure.
Glulam columns support the roof structure at the facade line around the perimeter of the building. Mass timber elements combined with concrete and structural steel components provide a hybrid structure for the various spaces surrounding the Wharenui.
TimberLab worked alongside the project team from concept design stage as an ECI partner. By providing early input, we helped the team to design with prefabrication and construct-ability in mind. A strong focus on prefabrication meant a large amount of work in 3D modelling, BIM coordination and drawings of hundreds of pages of both working and shop drawings in preparation for manufacture and construction.
TimberLab’s vast experience is key in delivering this project; with their ability to not only accurately model but to then CNC process and prefabricate hundreds of large components to consistent tolerances is essential for efficiently built mass timber structures. The 36.4m long rafters for this project are the longest glulam members that TimberLab has made in our 60+ year history.
Their large 5-axis CNC gantry’s ability to process such large members with complex connection detailing is unmatched in the southern hemisphere. With various other complex component shapes in this project such as cranked beams, tapered columns and various cambers to components, the knowledge and experience of the manufacturing team is vital to the successful delivery of projects of this scale.
They are now nearing completion of the CNC works for the project and are mid-way through the remaining prefabrication tasks of fitting brackets and fixings, sanding, coating and protective-wrapping of all components in preparation for delivery to site.
Help build a stronger forestry sectorForest & Wood Products Australia (FWPA) has initiated the development of a ‘clean slate’ Strategic Plan, which will help guide the industry’s future priorities and a on-line survey has been set up to capture your views.
An important element of the process will be the participation of industry, with stakeholders set to be offered a range of opportunities to share their views on the industry’s future and the role of FWPA. FWPA also encourages stakeholders to reach out independently with specific feedback on issues they feel are important to consider going forward.
A reference group comprising key stakeholders will also be established. Its members will be instrumental in guiding the development of the plan, and will be engaged through ongoing communications and a number of interactive workshops. It is expected the plan will be finalised towards the end of the year, with more information to be shared as soon as it becomes available.
Use the on-line survey to make sure that we are able to understand your issues and priorities.
Land-use decisions need unbiased informationKeith Woodford is a Professor of Farm Management and Agribusiness at Lincoln University for 15 years and is now Principal Consultant at AgriFood Systems Ltd. In his last article on forestry, a little over two months ago, he ended by saying that “there is a need for an informed and wide-ranging debate as we search for the path that will lead to the right trees in the right place, planted and owned by the right people”. Here he takes up that issue again.
In the interim, the Climate Change Commission (CCC) has published its draft report on how New Zealand might meet its Paris obligations through to 2050. A key message in the report is that forestry must not be used as the ‘get out of jail card’ (my term) that avoids facing hard decisions elsewhere in the economy.
The CCC estimate is that under current policy settings and with carbon priced at $35 per tonne, then new forests will increase by 1.1 million hectares by 2050. If the carbon price rises to $50 then the CCC thinks new plantings will increase to 1.3 million hectares. Here is their precise wording (p45) in relation to using forestry in this way:
This [forestry-based approach] would fail to drive meaningful decarbonisation and instead use up land resources for the purpose of offsetting avoidable emissions. This is not sustainable and would leave the next generation with the task of reducing gross emissions at the same time as they will need to be adapting to escalating climate change impacts.
The CCC has done an important job by pointing out that it is a policy that takes us to the 2050 targets but then leaves New Zealand falling off a cliff. As the Commission puts it: “We need to avoid pushing the burden to future generations”
The CCC then suggests just 380,000 hectares of new exotic forestry by 2035 in addition to replanting of harvested forests, together with 300,000 hectares of permanent native forests on less productive lands. The CCC says (p67) that there is ‘in the order of 1,150,000 to 1,4000,00 hectares of marginal land’ that could be most suitable for these permanent forests but acknowledges nursery capacity, pest control and fencing as practical limits to the speed at which this conversion can occur.
The apparent flaw is that the CCC seems to over-align permanent forests with native species. The much-maligned radiata pine can also provide an important pathway towards non-harvested permanent forests on some marginal lands. It is much easier and a great deal cheaper to establish radiata pine than native forests. The fast-growing radiata will also provide much greater carbon credits.
There is no single answer as to the right tree for permanent forests. However, radiata pine and perhaps other trees such as Douglas fir do have a role to play, even if the long-term aspirations remain focused on natives. Sterile pine-hybrids, which do exist, might be part of that transformation strategy.
A key issue right now is that Government policy is screwing the scrum towards forestry on productive farm land. This derives from a policy that encourages foreign investment on productive land as long as that land is used for production forestry. Conversely, these investors cannot purchase the land for farming purposes.
The forestry shows in 2021 – What´s up?Fortunately, a full series of technology events and shows are being planned in Australasia by the Forest Industry Engineering Association (FIEA). A full list of events can be found on the FIEA website.
This week, Rotorua hosted the annual MobileTECH Ag 2021 event and in just three weeks’ time, forest managers and harvesting contractors will be coming into Rotorua for the two large events, HarvestTECH 2021 and Forest Safety & Technology 2021. A full programme at this stage is being planned with the first event for some time running in Melbourne, Australia, as part of the WoodTECH 2021 in early August. Further details will follow.
But what about the major international forestry trade shows?
2020 was the year when almost all major international forestry shows postponed to 2021, creating a complicated situation for the shows that were originally planned for 2021. Now we are in 2021, and some shows have already moved to 2022, like the former No 1 Elmia Wood. What will happen to the other ones?
The international forestry shows in 2021
The German show KWF Tagung/KWF Expo was planned for July 2020 but postponed to the same time 2021. They are, so far, the only show that has declared that they will go ahead this year. What about the other shows? Here is a summary:
Ligna 2021, in Hannover Germany, was originally planned for May 2021. It was postponed to 27th September to 1st October 2021. It is, however, unclear what will happen to the forestry part of the show. Ligna is mainly a trade fair for sawmill- and woodworking machinery, the largest in the World in this business. The forestry part has been a quite small, but important, outdoor activity of the fair. For suppliers of forestry equipment, the Ligna show is important as it attracts industry visitors, decision makers that decide about investments both for industry and forestry. This exclusive group rarely visit the pure forestry shows like Elmia Wood, KWF Expo or the Interforst.
As KWF was postponed to this year it seems that most forestry exhibitors will choose to participate at KWF only, and not at Ligna. That can however change before September.
The Swedish shows
Elmia Wood and the new show Swedish Forestry Expo were both planned for spring 2021 but postponed to 2022. New dates for Elmia Wood will be 2nd to 4th June and for Swedish Forestry Expo 28thto 30th April 2022.
Forexpo in France
According to their homepage, Forexpo will go ahead on their new dates 16th to 18th June 2021. The location is the old one in Mimizan south of Bordeaux.
KWF in Germany
As mentioned above, the KWF show will go ahead on the new dates 30th June to 3rd July 2021 with some changes due to Covid -19. The congress will take place the week before on the Internet. No large halls will be used this time. Instead, the exhibitors that normally have their stands in the halls will have small stands along the trails. The trails themselves will be made wider, and the distance between the stands will be increased to make it easier for everyone present to keep safe distances.
DEMO International in Canada
The DEMO International was planned for September 2020 but postponed until 16th to 18th September 2021. The venue will be the same, Ottawa/Gatineau.
AUStimber 2021 in Australia
After several cancellations from bushfires and COVID-19, the AUStimber 2021 event is planned to run on 10-13 November. Further details can be found on the AUStimber website.
Will it ever be normal again?
Well, another year with uncertainty is what we can expect. Above are only the major shows mentioned. There are several small and local shows that also have had to change their plans due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Some even went bankruptcy and will most likely never start up again.
The current situation has taught companies how to market themselves in other ways than on the fairs. How will that affect the fair business? Will the international forestry fairs/shows be needed in the future? I certainly think so. Not only because I was active within the forestry show business in a previous life, but because I think that the need to meet will still be there. Maybe even more than ever now when we haven´t had any shows in a long time.
Customers and suppliers want to meet and forestry people in general wants to meet each other. So, I am quite sure that the shows will go on, but I don´t know exactly how or when.
ForestFit training program pilot launchesLeaders of New South Wales (NSW) forest contracting businesses came together last week for the launch sessions of the ForestFit training program pilot (training pilot) in Tumut (16 March) and Grafton (18 March).
Ms Stacey Gardiner, General Manager, Australian Forest Contractors Association (AFCA) said "The training pilot is designed specifically to meet the needs of leaders of small and medium-sized harvest and haulage forest contracting businesses. The pilot captures the diversity of the forest contracting businesses, ranging from sole providers to medium sized businesses operating across different land tenures."
The training pilot combines face to face sessions and webinars delivered by subject matter experts and is designed to improve knowledge and skills across four key areas:
• Business management,
• People practices and leadership,
• Safety leadership and
• Environmental sustainability.
The training pilot kicked off last week with the face-to-face sessions covering business management practices. The training pilot will continue over the coming months concluding in June. “Feedback from the first session has already demonstrated a benefit with participants reporting they have significantly increased their knowledge of business management practices, including strategies to implement into their business” said Dionne Olsen, Project Manager, ForestFit.
ForestFit is being developed with substantial support and input from industry representatives, who have informed every stage of the training program and pilot development. AFCA is working in partnership with Department of Primary Industry (DPI) to deliver two major outcomes for the forest industry, a nationally recognised and endorsed pilot training program and certification for contracting businesses to deliver quality services in accordance with industry standards and regulatory requirements.
AFCA General Manager Stacey Gardiner said "Australian forest contracting businesses are world leaders and known for their innovation, ForestFit will support consolidation of their knowledge and recognise our leaders.” She added "The feedback and input of the ForestFit participants will influence the final proposed training package when the pilot concludes in June. This ensures we are creating something beneficial for contracting businesses and the industry.”
Source: Australian Forest Contractors Association
Sprinklers start at log water storageSprinklers have been activated at the dam on its Macgill property where KIPT plans to store more than 100,000 tonnes of pine. The pine logs, harvested from the fire-damaged Gosse West plantation will be preserved in preparation as the company awaits approval and construction of the Smith Bay export facility.
KIPT plans further storage facilities on other properties it owns in the West End of Kangaroo Island as it acts to preserve its premium logs, which make about half of the 500,000 tonnes of pine it plans to harvest by the middle of 2022. The remaining fire-damaged stock – about half of the Company’s pine estate – will be left on site in the plantations for later collection for other uses as feedstock for future biomass operations.
Bundles of logs already in the dam are about 80% submerged “like icebergs” and the sprinklers will keep the top logs moist and assist in submerging the bundles completely.
KIPT operations manager Rob Heathcote said the system had been developed using intelligence from previous water storage in the South-East after the 1983 Ash Wednesday bushfires and with the assistance of Harvestco, the company’s harvesting contractor.
“Storing these high-quality logs in water prevents access to oxygen for bacteria and fungi, which can impact the quality of the timber. Burnt pine will deteriorate over time so it’s important to act quickly,” Rob said. KIPT had consulted with regulatory bodies regarding the water storage and will monitor water quality and implement measures to prevent logs and debris escaping into other water courses.
Meanwhile, KIPT continues to find ways to export logs from the Island in relatively small loads as an interim measure because it will not have enough water storage capacity for its pine. The pine makes up about 20 per cent of the KIPT estate and planning for harvesting and exporting its blue gums continues. The first barge-load of pine logs from Kingscote wharf is scheduled for Thursday. The 300 tonnes of logs will be shipped to Port Adelaide and will be containerised and shipped to a South Korean customer.
Photo: Logs under sprinklers at the Macgill plantation
Australian forest industries meet in CanberraAustralia’s forest industries representatives convened in Canberra this week for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic’s worldwide impact on trade and commerce, Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) Chair, Mr Greg McCormack, said.
“It’s critical that representatives from across the full-value chain of Australia’s forest industries meet again in person to discuss future directions as we emerge from the impacts of the pandemic which has caused major disruptions to sections of our industries,” Mr McCormack said.
The Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) hosted meetings in Canberra for member businesses and organisations across the sector, including a Members’ dinner on Tuesday evening at which Federal Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Hon. Dan Tehan gave the keynote address.
“The pandemic has presented many challenges for our forest industries, but it has also highlighted the essential role we play in providing vital products and services to all Australians – from food and freight packaging, timber and building products, and year-round bushfire mitigation,” Mr McCormack said.
“With another Federal Election approaching, we must speak with a united voice to show decision makers that when our forest industries thrive, it directly benefits the tens of thousands of Australians who rely on us for their livelihoods, ensures we continue to produce the products that Australians need, and supports a cleaner, greener future.” Mr McCormack highlighted China’s trade ban on logs from Australia, the exclusion of fibre industries from the Modern Manufacturing Strategy, the remaining barriers for forestry plantations to fully participate in the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF), and the ongoing uncertainty for native forestry operations as a result of lawfare from activist groups, as issues the Federal Government needs to work with industry to resolve.
“Australia’s forest industries support 180,000 jobs nationally, contribute AU$24 billion annually to Australia’s economy and play an enormous role in lowering greenhouse gas emissions. We have an excellent working relationship with the Federal Government and Opposition and need that to continue so the economic and environmental benefits of our industries continue long into the future,” Mr McCormack concluded.
ETS Forestry Regulations consultation updateMPI advised this week that more information to support the consultation on the proposed amendments to New Zealand’s ETS Forestry Regulations is now available.
The following have been added to the Regulations Consultation page:
• A video of the webinar ‘Options for averaging accounting’ held on 12 March
• The presentation ‘Averaging accounting options’ as used for the webinar
• Questions and Answers on the consultation
• A report prepared for Te Uru Rakau by PwC: ‘New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme: Cost Benefit Analysis on Proposals for implementing Averaging Accounting’ – the executive summary and full report are published separately
• The presentation ‘Technical topics’ as used for the webinar on 19 March.
These are in addition to links to fact sheets about the proposals and background information on how forestry in the ETS works. A reminder that submissions close on 9 April.
Source: ETS Forestry Regulations consultation team
NZ$5.5 million boost for Māori trainingWhānau and communities in Tairāwhiti-East Coast, Northland-Tai Tokerau and the Bay of Plenty are set to benefit from a funding boost for Māori Trades and Training, Social Development and Employment Minister Carmel Sepuloni has announced.
“The Government is continuing to support Māori into work and training by investing NZ$5.5m to help up to 150 Māori train and gain qualifications. The funding recipients are Maniaia SAFE Forestry School and the ICONIQ Group in Tairāwhiti-East Coast, North Drill Ltd in Northland-Tai Tokerau and Minginui Nursery in the Bay of Plenty.
“These programmes are about more than just learning new skills. They also provide rangatahi with the pastoral care, guidance, qualifications and confidence to productively participate in their local communities, while also helping build a stronger economy.
“Today’s announcement is focused on regions where we want to engage with Māori and rangatahi who have been impacted by COVID-19, or who are not in education, employment or training. We want to help Māori get the training and qualifications they need, in order to find long-term jobs.
“Māori Trades and Training sits alongside other Government programmes like Apprenticeship Boost, Mana in Mahi and He Poutama Rangatahi. These programmes underline the Government’s commitment to creating greater pathways and opportunities for people to get into sustainable employment, education or training,” Carmel Sepuloni said.
Buy and Sell
... and one to end the week on ... drive slowly - fish crossing
For all you fishermen and fisherwomen out there. This is the only place in the World, somewhere in Washington State in the USA, where they have put up this sign, "Danger, Drive Slowly & Carefully, Fish Crossing the Road". Awesome sight - Salmon Crossing Skokomish River.
And on that note, enjoy your weekend. Cheers.
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