Friday Offcuts – 14 May 2021

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In Australia, aside from the budget release on Tuesday evening which actually treated the industry pretty well, there were two other major announcements that were warmly welcomed this week. Both have caused angst in recent years and both have long been the centre of dispute. On Monday, the full bench of the Federal Court unanimously ruled that forestry operations covered by Regional Forest Agreements provide all of the environmental protections that are required by national environmental laws.

Understandably the historic decision brought immediate relief to Victorian forestry companies, their families and the communities in which they’re operating. Victoria has long been a battleground for forestry and wood products industries. Recently, it’s been fighting legal battles, it’s been dealing with ongoing illegal protests on its worksites and like other regions in Australia, it’s still struggling from the aftermath of the bushfires that devastated forests, log supplies and businesses across the State. Is this the end of legal tussles? Let’s say with the news this week, it’s a really good start.

In the second announcement, a landmark study into the Black Summer bushfires has confirmed that past wood harvesting operations didn’t increase bushfire severity. Rather, it was put down to the unprecedented drought and sustained hot, windy weather that hit the country in the lead up to the fires. The report highlights the need for new ways of thinking on how Australia manages its bushfire risk. You’d hope that the findings will go some way to reducing the criticism that’s been levelled at forestry operations. The hope is that instead of blaming the industry, that forestry’s opponents might now constructively contribute to developing future policies and management guidelines to mitigate the future risk of bushfires from the threats of climate change.

And in New Zealand, the annual regional celebrations for industry training and business success have finally got underway. And, it’s been at least a year in the making. Last year, of course with COVID-19 impacting on meetings and gatherings across the country, all of the country’s Forestry Training Awards were cancelled. The annual Wood Council awards have grown over the years to be the largest gatherings of local industry (typically 300-450 attending each) with forestry companies, forest contractors, log transport operators and wood products companies along with their crews and families attending.

Last Friday, outstanding performers from the Southern North Island were recognised at the sell-out Wood Council Training Awards dinner that ran in Palmerston North (details below). Other regions to follow in the next few weeks include the Southern Wood Council and Eastland Wood Council, both running their events next week, Friday 21 May. Other Wood Council award evenings have been set up to run from June through to November. In addition to recognising those who’ve achieved formal training qualifications over the year, the evenings celebrate the top performers across the region, amongst their peers. They’re also are a great opportunity to recognise the true contribution that forestry and those working within the industry are making to the economic and social well-being of every region. If you haven’t attended an awards evening, make sure you get along. And on this upbeat note, enjoy this week’s positive read.

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Major win for the Victorian hardwood industry

The full bench of Australia's Federal Court on Monday delivered an historic win for the country's sustainable native forest industries by confirming that forestry operations covered by Regional Forest Agreements provide all the environmental protections required by national environmental laws.

In a unanimous decision, the Court upheld VicForests’ appeal against a single-judge decision 12 months ago which had created significant legal uncertainty for RFAs and for the tens of thousands of forest industry jobs that the bilateral state-Commonwealth agreements underpin.

At the heart of the appeal was whether the Commonwealth EPBC Act could apply to forestry operations covered by an RFA, or whether the RFAs provide an equivalent and alternative (as VicForests maintained) regulatory framework with Commonwealth oversight to protect “Matters of National Environmental Significance”. The Full bench has ruled that they do, and consequently the EPBC Act does not also apply.

Australian Forest Products Association CEO Ross Hampton said the decision was vindication for Australia’s sustainable forest industries which are regulated to the highest environmental standards in the world. “Today’s decision provides certainty for Victoria’s native timber industry, and indeed for forest industry workers around the country who depend on the operational certainty that the robust RFA framework provides,” Mr Hampton said.

“It is also further evidence that our sustainable forest industries provide all the necessary environmental protections for threatened species and Matters of National Environmental Significance that the EPBC Act requires. “This decision should put an end once and for all to the claim that RFAs somehow 'exempt' forestry operations from national environmental laws or oversight, and I commend the Federal Court judges for confirming this beyond doubt.”

Victorian Forest Products Association CEO Deb Kerr welcomed the decision, and hoped it will put an end to the lawfare that has stalled VicForests’ planned forestry operations in the Central Highlands for three years. “I call on the activists to respect the full bench of the Federal Court’s decision and stop the litigation so that VicForests can resume timber harvesting operations and provide certainty for the thousands of Victorian hardwood timber industry workers,” Ms Kerr said.

“Today’s decision has the effect of overturning all of Justice Mortimer’s decision last May, which means those who seized on that decision to wrongly claim that VicForests’ timber was ‘illegal’ should now apologise and correct the record,” Ms Kerr concluded.

Source: AFPA

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73 million trees ‘not nearly enough’

Twelve years ago, New Zealand Carbon Farming was just a concept. Now, it is one of the country’s biggest landowners, and its business model – planting permanent forest – is looking more prescient by the day. The company was founded in 2010. By late 2019, a Radio NZ investigation looking for the country’s biggest land owners concluded it was New Zealand’s ninth largest landholder, with 28,365 hectares.

If the same survey was taken today, the company would have vaulted up the ranks. It now owns close to 46,000 ha, and manages another 44,000 ha on behalf of farmers and other landowners, giving it control of some 90,000 ha. If nothing else had changed since 2019, its land holdings would place it fifth on RNZ’s list, excluding land it manages for others.

Yet few people have heard of the company, which has deliberately flown under the radar until recently. Its business model is intriguing. First, it finds marginal or unprofitable farmland, then buys it or partners with the landowner. Second, it plants a cover crop – usually pine.

The pine trees aren’t for harvest. They’re to supply a carbon-rich nurse crop, allowing native forest to regenerate underneath them. While slow-growing native seedlings take root, the faster-growing pine supplies a speedier – and increasingly profitable – source of cash from carbon credits.

A cover of pine trees “creates the right environment for indigenous trees to flourish beneath that umbrella and regenerate over time,” says NZCF co-founder and director Matt Walsh. Walsh’s plans are far from finished. A former big firm lawyer who worked for Telstra, as well as several start-ups, he’s says he's embraced ideas like using pine to nurse native trees because he didn't come from a forestry background.

Meeting the commission’s forestry targets is a big ask for the industry, he says. “Planting a tree requires a long run-up. You've got to harvest the seeds, you've got to grow the seedlings, you've got to transport them. There’s a lot of supply chain investment that has to go on before New Zealand can get to those sorts of levels.”

NZCF has plans to grow. “We're not making a big enough impact on this problem on a global scale. We opened in Australia last year, we'll be doing our first project in North America later this year. We're also seeing... international interest in our local programme here,” says Walsh.

As for how much land is left that’s suitable to plant, the Climate Change Commission estimated there were 1.15 to 1.4 million ha of erosion-prone land, much of it unsuitable for production forestry, that could be suitable for converting to permanent forest. Nobody knows how many of those landowners are willing to sell or partner with a carbon farmer, but a number of iwi groups and others have marginal land that would benefit from earning an income, Walsh reckons.

“At the end of this year, our estate will be 73 million trees,” he says. “But for us that's not nearly enough.”

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Matt Walsh, as part of this country’s focus on opportunities around investing in carbon forestry will be part of the impressive line-up of presenters who’ll be speaking at Carbon Forestry 2021 in Rotorua, New Zealand on 15-16 June. Further details can be found on the event website.

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Australia’s budget gets thumbs up by industry

Australia’s 2021-22 Federal Budget delivers a major step towards a new R&D vision for Australia’s renewable, carbon-positive forest industries that will turbocharge a new generation of jobs in advanced timber manufacturing and wood-based renewable bioproducts, with AU$1.3 million pledged for a feasibility study to create a new National Institute for Forest Products Innovation (NIFPI).

In addition, AU$10.6 million has been announced to expand and continue the Regional Forestry Hubs, including new funding for Hubs in north Northern Territory and south east NSW in response to AFPA’s requests. The Budget also places forest industries squarely in the frame for the ambitious goal to grow the commodities sector to AU$100 billion by 2030 and powers up the Anti- Dumping Commission, so vital to ensure our trade exposed manufacturers of fibre products are fighting on a level playing field.

AFPA Chief Executive Officer Ross Hampton said, “Forest industries have much to thank the Morrison/McCormack Government for tonight. Clearly our messages about the potential of our industries to play a big part in a post-COVID economic recovery have been heard.

“As the world moves to phase out single-use plastics, while expanding wood use, other countries are investing heavily in the development of environmentally friendly fibre-based products. The AU$1.3 million committed for a feasibility study for the NIFPI is very welcome and something which AFPA has been calling for, building on the successes of the NIFPI pilot schemes in Mount Gambier and Launceston.

“The AU$10.6 million committed for new and existing Regional Forestry Hubs will allow our industries to accelerate planning and strategies to accommodate the rollout of the Government’s One Billion Trees program which is vital to produce the timber Australians are crying out for to realise their new home builds and renovations. Assistant Minister for Forestry, Senator Jonathon Duniam, is to be particularly congratulated for delivering the two Hubs in the Northern Territory and south east NSW which means all the major forest industry regions in Australia are now represented.

“The Federal Government is also to be commended for committing additional funding to properly resource the Anti-Dumping Commission, which helps ensure our manufacturing industries that compete in the global marketplace, such as our pulp and paper sector, are not unfairly disadvantaged and have easier access to remedies.”

Mr Hampton said the Budget was strong on climate change initiatives but still falling short on forestry measures, despite our industries being poised to deliver enormous positives to the nation.

“AFPA will continue to argue for equal treatment for production trees with environmental plantings in the Regional Forestry Hubs and fast tracking of policies which will provide carbon credits for carbon storing timber which replaces energy intensive materials. Furthermore, fibre still hasn’t been included as part of the Government’s Modern Manufacturing Strategy and AFPA will continue to advocate for that outcome.

“Forthcoming Regional Investment Corporation (RIC) concessional loan funding totalling AU$37.5 million is also welcomed to progress the Federal Government’s commitment to encourage new plantation developments as well as replant regions damaged during the 2019-20 summer bushfires,” Mr Hampton concluded.

Source: AFPA

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Study highlights policy rethink for wildfire prevention

A new study that found landscape spatial patterns and fire weather drove the severity of the 2019-20 Black Summer bushfires, not past timber harvesting, has been welcomed by the scientific and professional forest land managers across Australia.

The Institute of Foresters of Australia and Australian Forest Growers President Bob Gordon said the study, ‘The severity and extent of the Australia 2019–20 Eucalyptus forest fires are not the legacy of forest management’, highlights the need for new ways of thinking about how Australia manages the risk of bushfires. See here the link to the study.

“There’s no doubt Australia has a wicked bushfire problem. There is no quick fix to this problem, however active and adaptive forest management, across all land tenures is paramount to ensuring our forests are resilient to fire in the future,” Mr Gordon said.

“Some commentators opposed to timber harvesting have tried to use bushfire disasters as a lever to end native forest harvesting, but it’s clear that to move forward we need to move past the era of conflict and focus on what we can do to prevent, prepare and manage our forests to best withstand future catastrophic events.

“Active and adaptive land management across all land tenures, long-term thinking and the use of a range of techniques informed by the latest science and long-held cultural knowledge from Traditional Owners is what’s needed to make sure we can mitigate devastation such as that seen in 2019-20.

“We also need to establish new shared governance models and an approach to policy that brings together government agencies with Indigenous Australians and stakeholders from the private sector and civil society across all tenures.

“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.”

IFA/AFG member and one of the paper’s authors, Professor Rodney Keenan said there was little evidence timber harvesting contributed to the severity of the Black Summer fires and, therefore, future policy needs to reflect that. “Policy proposals to mitigate fire risks and impacts should be evidence-based and integrate multiple perspectives,” Professor Keenan said.

“Traditional Indigenous knowledge, experience of local and professional fire managers, and the breadth of evidence from bushfire research should inform strategies for reducing bushfire impacts and increasing forest resilience and community.”

Source: Institute of Foresters of Australia & Australian Forest Growers

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Global partnerships propel space tech research

New Zealand’s aerospace industry is getting a boost through the German Aerospace Centre (DLR), to grow the capability of the sector and potentially lead to joint space missions, Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods has announced. 12 New Zealand organisations have been chosen to work with world-leading experts at DLR to complete feasibility studies related to propulsion, space communications and remote sensing technologies.

Megan Woods says these feasibility studies will lead to some larger scale collaborations, potentially including joint New Zealand - Germany space missions. “New Zealand has unique competitive advantages which help to enable growth in the aerospace industry, including our geographic location and innovative thinking.

“Remote sensing technologies have huge potential for New Zealand including for monitoring the change in our oceans and searching for vessels, pollutant spills and sea ice. Optical communications will become increasingly important for securely and quickly relaying large volumes of data to and from space craft, particularly for missions to the Moon and beyond.

“Our Government has helped accelerate growth including through an enabling regulatory regime for space, the Airspace Integration Trials Programme and investing in the MethaneSAT climate change space mission,” Megan Woods said. Approximately NZ$900,000 in funding has been allocated to the 12 space technology projects from MBIE’s NZ$28 million Catalyst Fund, which is aimed at growing partnerships with international research organisations.

“Germany is one of New Zealand’s leading science and innovation partners and DLR houses some of the world’s most advanced aerospace technology capability. This is a natural partnership to enable New Zealand to be involved in cutting edge aerospace research.

“The recipients of this funding range from universities and research organisations to start-up enterprises – many of which are conducting ground-breaking research for the future of our aerospace industry. This funding will contribute to studies that are essential for the development of their overall research and innovation efforts,” Megan Woods said.

· Information about the 12 projects can be found on the MBIE website

· The Catalyst Fund supports activities that initiate, develop and foster collaborations to benefit international science and innovation for New Zealand.

· At the 2018 International Astronautical Congress in Bremen, a Letter of Intent was signed between the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment and DLR to enable joint research collaboration.

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How and why prescribed burning mitigates bushfire losses

The following was sent to me from a colleague – it is a Facebook post written by the Nationally and Internationally respected, experienced and renowned Fire Managers/Researchers, Neil Burrows and Rick Sneeuwjagt. Some of the specifics relate to the forests in WA however the underlying principles are as relevant to our local area as anywhere else across the world. It is a long article but really gets to the fundamental around prescribed burning and its value.

The following statement is particularly notable;

Of the elements that make up the bushfire triangle – fuel, weather and topography – only fuel can be managed. But this must be done the right way – underpinned by good science, well planned and well executed by trained, experienced people who are well resourced. Prescribed burning is costly and comes with an element of risk, but the alternative, a cycle of bushfires, is far more costly to communities and the environment.

Out of frustration Neil Burrows and I have written the piece (attached) to counter some of the nonsense that is circulating from people who have no understanding or practical experience with fire behaviour, prescribed burning and bushfire suppression. Between us, Neil and I have more than 90 years’ experience in bushfire science, policy, planning, prescribed burning and fire suppression. The piece is lengthy but it’s a complex issue.

See attached opinion piece, How and why prescribed burning mitigates bushfire losses.

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Source: Murray Dudfield

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KTM Supreme Winner at SNIWC Forestry Awards

The best of best in the region’s forestry industry were toasted at a sell-out Southern North Island Wood Council Training Awards dinner last Friday. The supreme winner, found from the winners of the 12 awards’ categories, was Troy Mason of KTM Silviculture (photo - left), who earlier in the evening had been crowned as the training company of the year.

The big award recognises an individual or company who are leaders in their field, lead by example and demonstrate outstanding excellence in all facets of operation. KTM is owned by Troy and Kelly Mason and judges were impressed with the ethos behind this relatively young company who has a strong ongoing commitment to continuing to upskill its workers and go beyond what is required to ensure the very best when it comes to health, safety and the environment.

Troy is known for his exemplary attitude towards training that ensures his crew not only do a good job but a good job safely done. The company draws on its Māori roots and has a strong connection to the whenua, and especially local iwi and hapū. For them, it gives more meaning in their training programmes for rangatahi, and especially taking care of the whenua and environment, while being kaitiaki of it makes them go that little bit further every time.

Also honoured on the night was Morris Fisher for his outstanding lifetime of commitment to the forestry industry. Judges considered the huge amount of support Morris has given to small scale forestry as well as the development of young people across a wide variety of areas. In a career spanning more than five decades he has planted over 4000 hectares – or four million trees – then managed the silviculture tending through to maturity. He has been involved in setting up areas of native bush for the Queen Elizabeth Trust and planted native riparian and wetland areas, taking an interest in how they are protecting streams and rivers.

During a stellar career he has worked as a log scaler, instructor and manager before establishing his own business TAML Forestry that specialises in silviculture, management and consultancy.

Morris has been a long-running supporter of the New Zealand Institute of Forestry and New Zealand Farm Forestry Association and in recent years been quietly promoting forestry to local schools to encourage young people to consider a career in forestry. A special award was also presented to Kylie Boyd from CentrePort for the work she has done in establishing a log rail collaboration project in Masterton.

Awards were presented across the industry – from apprentices to wood processing excellence, trainees to contractors and more. “These are a chance for us to both recognise and celebrate excellence amongst the skilled forestry workforce in our region,” says SNI Wood Council chief executive Erica Kinder.

It is the fourth year the awards have been held with new categories introduced for emerging talent and wood processing. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s fiancé Clarke Gayford, who is also a television fishing show host, was the MC for the awards dinner, which was held at the Awapuni Function Centre in Palmerston North. The awards cover the sector from Taranaki to Whanganui, Manawatu to Wairapapa, Tararua and Wellington. Forestry is a significant contributor to the region’s coffers, directly employing more than 1000 people across a wide range of jobs who generate around NZ$187m of log sales revenue, underpinning a further 2200 jobs in wood processing.

The winners;

Contribution to the Forestry Industry (sponsored by Kiwi Lumber): Morris Fisher (TAML Forestry).

Special award for Exemplary Forestry Innovation (sponsored by John Turkington Forestry): Kylie Boyd (CentrePort).

Harvesting Excellence (sponsored by Finance NZ): Samuel Keenan (Keenan Forestry Ltd). Runner-up: Hamish Thompson (Mangoihe Logging Company Ltd).

Forestry Excellence (sponsored by Forest 360): Josiah Whenuaroa (Whenuaroa Forestry) .

Outstanding Health and Safety Management (sponsored by New Forests): Dale Ewers (Moutere Logging Ltd).

Modern Apprentice of the Year (sponsored by McCarthy Transport): Glen Etherington (Gillard Logging Ltd) . Runner-up: Sam McPeak (Keenan Forestry Ltd).

Trainee of the Year (sponsored by Competenz): Charles Wipaki (Moutere Logging Ltd). Runner-up: Stevie Wilson (Foxpine). Emerging Talent of the Year (sponsored by Forest Enterprises): Taine Rona (R&S Dreaver Shelter Trimmers Ltd).

Training Company/Contractor of the Year (sponsored by JNL): Troy Mason (KTM Silviculture Ltd).

Contractor of the Year (sponsored by NZ Forestry): Bryan McCarthy (Mangoihe Logging Company Ltd).

Outstanding Environmental Management (sponsored by FORME Consulting): Hannah Harvey (Forest Enterprises). Runner-up: Josh Blazek (Farman Turkington Forestry).

Distribution Excellence (sponsored by Ernslaw One Ltd): Tony Groome (John Turkington Ltd).

Wood Processing Excellence (sponsored by China Forest Group Corporation NZ): Shannon Gillam (Kiwi Lumber Masterton.

Supreme Winner: Troy Mason (KTM Silviculture)

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Relief for Victorian forestry families

Victoria’s forestry families received peace of mind on Monday when VicForests won an appeal to overturn the May 2020 Federal Court decision which affected 66 logging coupes in the Central Highlands. A bench of the Federal Court overturned last year’s decision which challenged the validity of the Regional Forest Agreements under which timber harvesting is conducted.

“The successful appeal is a great relief hundreds of families who faced a bleak future if the decision was upheld,” Forest & Wood Communities Australia Managing Director Justin Law said. “These are people who have been smashed from pillar to post by green-tainted government policy, fire, unchecked illegal workplace invasions and at the time a bewildering Federal Court decision.

“The mental toll on these working people who support our regions and defend our forests in times of crisis has been enormous. “They are proud to supply natural, renewable forest products under our internationally certified harvest model and the relief they felt after this week’s common-sense decision cannot be underestimated.”

The RFAs operate under each State Government’s environmental standards and are recognised by the Commonwealth EPBC Act which governs all Australia’s environmental protections. Well-funded and organised activists launched a legal assault on VicForests by exploiting a loophole in the EPBC Act and claiming it rendered the RFAs invalid.

In a remarkably similar case in 2005, Justice Debra Mortimer acted on behalf of corporate activist figurehead Bob Brown as a barrister and unsuccessfully argued that the RFAs were illegal. As the presiding judge in last year’s case, Justice Mortimer found in favour of the activists but VicForests’ appeal before a bench of three Federal Court Justices was upheld unanimously.

However, Mr Law said he feared the money-making business of attacking forestry meant legal challenges would not stop. “The money that activist organisations are able to raise through generating and selling outrage will no doubt lead to further legal battles but all they will achieve is making their lawyers wealthy,” Mr Law said.

“Science which isn’t solely designed to denigrate Australian forestry shows that our foresters should be proud of being internationally recognised for maintaining world’s best practice. “Our Federal Court has now confirmed this to be the case.”

Source: Forest & Wood Communities Australia

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Soaring timber prices put pressure on Bunnings

An unexpected fourfold surge in the price of fresh lumber has put pressure on timber prices at hardware giant Bunnings and caught the attention of Reddit investors and internet jokesters. Wesfarmers chief executive Rob Scott told investors and analysts at the Macquarie Australia Conference last week that the retail conglomerate was doing its best to stop the price hikes from being passed on to consumers.

“Lumber prices have gone up and there have been constraints there around supply, and we have seen pricing pressure,” Mr Scott said. Lumber prices have more than quadrupled in the past 12 months, with lumber futures last trading at $US1481 ($1914) per 1000-board feet. Two years ago, the same amount of timber would have cost just $US326.

The boom has largely been driven by a surge in home renovations and new homes being built in the US during the pandemic, which has put the squeeze on an already weakened industry. Mills around the world have been shocked by the demand for wood, labelling it a once-in-a-lifetime event.

To add further fuel to the fire, the lumber shortage has been jumped on by Reddit investors, who were responsible for the meteoric rise of struggling video game retailer GameStop. Investors on Reddit’s WallStreetBets forum have been discussing investing in lumber over recent months, despite some labelling the investment as a “boomer stock”. Memes about the price of timber have become popular online, drawing further attention to the boom.

Australia, which usually mills much of its timber from local plantations, has also had its production stunted by bushfires, meaning builders have had to rely on what limited imports they can get their hands on. Mr Scott did not go into detail regarding the quantum of the price increases Bunnings was witnessing but noted the pain was being felt across the market. Wesfarmers is also seeing similar price hikes in international shipping costs and some other raw materials, such as cotton.

Source: SMH

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New NZ Forestry Scholarships unveiled

Te Uru Rākau – New Zealand Forest Service has announced three new Ngā Karahipi Uru Rākau – Forestry Scholarships being offered through Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology in the Bay of Plenty starting 2022. The scholarships will encourage more women and Māori into a career in forestry and wood processing.

“Forestry and wood processing plays a key role in supporting New Zealand’s economic future and response to climate change,” says Debbie Ward, Director, Business and Spatial Intelligence, Te Uru Rākau – New Zealand Forest Service. Our scholarship programme provides a pathway to ensure more qualified and skilled people join our workforce as it undergoes transformation”.

“We are proud to partner with Toi Ohomai to offer the new scholarships for those enrolling in a Diploma in Forest Management. This is a way of opening the door to a career in forestry, and also create more opportunities for women and Māori. By increasing diversity in higher-level study through the new Toi Ohomai scholarships, we help ensure the forestry and wood processing sector better reflect the diversity in our local communities.”

The diploma course covers a range of topics to prepare students for management roles, including business planning, forest health and management, supply chain and harvesting, and operations management.

Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology Faculty Dean of Primary Industries, Trades and Infrastructure, Brian Dillon, says the Institute is excited to partner with Te Uru Rākau – New Zealand Forest Service to offer these scholarships to students.  “We know the forestry workforce is an ageing one and there is a focus to attract the next generation,” says Mr Dillon. 

“We are seeing more interest from local Māori who, once qualified, can go on to manage their iwi land. This scholarship will benefit not only the recipients, but their iwi and wider communities. There are clear pathways from entry level forestry study through to New Zealand Certificates in Forest Harvesting operations. Several of these graduates continue on to study the Diploma”.

The new Diploma scholarships complement the existing Bachelor of Forestry Science and Bachelor of Forest Engineering degrees offered through the University of Canterbury since the establishment of the scholarship programme in 2018.

To date, 22 recipients have been awarded scholarships, and the first students are expected to complete their qualifications at the end of 2022. Applications for all scholarships are open 1 June 2021 to 15 August 2021. Those with a strong interest in forestry, strong community involvement, and who are committed to a career in the sector are invited to apply.

For more information about Ngā Karahipi Uru Rākau Scholarships, please visit

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Proposed changes to NZ ETS regulations

To make sure New Zealand’s ETS performs as well as it can to reduce emissions, its regulations are tweaked and updated every year and this year some changes are more significant.

The consultation includes proposals to:

· Update unit limit and auction price control settings
· Update default emissions factors (DEFs)
· Update the electricity allocation factor used in industrial allocation
· Improve the methodology that accounts for waste in the NZ ETS
· Update the schedule of goods covered by the SGG levy
· Implement new regulations for an NZ ETS auctions

Consultation closes 28 May 2021. Find out more and have your say by clicking here

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Russia confirms log exports ban in 2022

The Russian government is not considering lifting the ban on the export of logs, which will enter into force in 2022, RIA news cited Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Trutnev. “The government of the Russian Federation has made a decision to gradually increase export duties”, said Yuri Trutnev. - This year, the duty is 80%. Next year, the ban on the export of logs comes into force. This is done in order to create jobs in the forestry industry, to build processing plants."

He noted that the government is not considering any issues related to the abolition of protective duties. “We proceed from the assumption that the export of logs will be prohibited next year,” said Yuri Trutnev. The state-owned company for the export of logs is being considered as one of the measures for the transition period, he added.

Russia is one of the world’s largest wood exporters. In 2020, Russian exports of softwood logs fell by 18.8% y-o-y to 6,9 million m3, while the average price dropped 3.8% to $76.0 per m3.


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Buy and Sell

... and one to end the week on ... tree illusion art

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
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This week's extended issue, along with back issues, can be viewed at

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