Friday Offcuts – 25 March 2022

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In this week’s lead story, we’ve built in a detailed report compiled by Margules Groome looking at the implications of the current Russia-Ukraine conflict on forest products trade in the Asia Pacific region. It might mean a switch of Russian log and timber exports from Europe into China. Cost pressures on supply chains from Europe to China could also rise as European producers look to more attractive markets closer to home, reducing their exposure to China. Rising bunker fuel costs could also side-line marginal log exporters (particularly south-east US, Brazil and Uruguay) to the Asia-Pacific. For a more detailed analysis on the concerning and unfolding situation, check out the story and link in this week’s story.

On Monday of this week, forestry and wood products companies, industry associations and the wider community celebrated the UN’s International Day of Forests. Numerous activities were run with media coverage aimed at raising the profile of forestry, forests and the role that sustainable forestry has in our communities and wood as a renewable biomaterial. It also coincided with World Wood Day, celebrated every year by the International Union of Forest Research Organizations that represent more than 15,000 scientists from more than 125 countries. Congratulations to all those who have actively been involved locally -and there certainly have been a few in Australasia.

As we get closer to the 2022 planting season, this week we’ve taken out a cross section of videos as well as a short summary from the second day of the just completed ForestTECH 2021-22 event. The session on forest establishment and tree crop management focused on advancements in automated silviculture with a particular emphasis placed on mechanised planting operations – new technology, developing technologies and an insight into results from local forest trials and commercial planting operations.

Like Europe and South America, the cost and availability of labour for planting have both been major drivers to testing out mechanised planting operations over the last few years in Australasia. A look into some of these forest establishment and mechanised planting technologies from New Zealand, Sweden and Finland (videos showing these planting machines in action and a short summary of key points from each presentation) have just been uploaded onto the ForestTECH.News website – details below.

And finally, for an update on upcoming forest technology events, the decision was made late last week to postpone the eagerly awaited Environmental Forestry 2022 event from May through to the 28-29 June. Yes, Covid got in the way. The postponement ensured the safety of everyone involved and will also enable those with responsibilities in managing environmental best practices across their forest estate to actually meet up, face to face. For those already registered for the New Zealand event, registrations will be carried through to the new dates. The good news is that travel and meeting restrictions have been eased this week in New Zealand which means late June should work for everyone. And on this more upbeat note, enjoy this week’s read.

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The Ukraine conflict - impacts on Asia-Pacific wood trade

Log trade in the Asia-Pacific region is dominated by imports to China. Over 20 years, log imports to China have increased four-fold and now account for 44% of total global log imports (table below). Meanwhile sawn timber imports to China peaked at 22 million m3 in 2019, an increase of 17 times since the early 2000s.

Source: FAOSTAT, Margules Groome

Before the onset of the global financial crisis (GFC), Russia was China’s primary softwood log supplier. The Russian industry has transitioned towards wood processing and in 2020 Russia was the second largest exporter of sawn timber in the world. In 2020 Russia announced that export of unprocessed conifer and hardwood logs would be banned starting in 2022. New Zealand and Europe are the two largest suppliers of softwood logs to China and Russia is the largest supplier of sawn timber.

Despite some apparent cracks in the China real estate market, demand for log imports remains intact – at least for now. The Russia-Ukraine war may contribute to a reversal of some trends in the Chinese log supply, potentially bringing Russia back to the log export market, reorient sawn timber exports from Russia and further boost ocean freight costs.

Since the onset of the Russia-Ukraine war, forest products companies have taken steps to withdraw from Russia. Stora Enso announced that it would stop all production at their three packaging plants and two sawmills in Russia. UPM ceased deliveries and wood purchases in Russia and suspended operations at their plywood mill. Koskisen announced intent to exit operations in Russia; sawmill operations would be discontinued, and it would stop importing sawn timber and logs.

For the full report and analysis from Margules Groome, click here.

Source: Margules Groome

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Tax changes announced for on-farm carbon credits

The Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) has welcomed the Federal Government’s announcement to apply concessional tax treatment to the sale of Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs) generated by farmers from on-farm carbon projects including plantation forestry.

Under the new tax regime, farmers will treat revenue from the sale of ACCUs as primary production income, providing access to income tax averaging arrangements and the Farm Management Deposit scheme. Revenue from ACCUs will be recognised in the year of sale to support cash flow.

“This change will give farmers more choice around the sorts of carbon-storing projects they can undertake on their farm to generate additional income, boost productivity, and reduce emissions,” AFPA Acting CEO Victor Violante said.

“In key timber processing regions, where additional timber plantations are sorely needed to meet Australia’s future timber and wood fibre needs, planting timber tree crops is a logical choice for farmers looking to maximise on-farm productivity.”

“This announcement complements the Federal Government’s recent announcement of an AU$86 million program to leverage state and industry funds to establish new plantations, and supports the Federal Government’s goal of growing Australia’s timber plantation estate by one billion trees by 2030. Farm forestry, delivered in partnership with farmers, is vital to achieving that goal.

“As Australia looks for ways to reach net zero by 2050, supporting the use of Aussie timber in construction and Australian-made paper and packaging to replace plastics must be part of that plan. However, unless we secure the forest resource today to meet future demand, we will fall short of these goals,” Victor Violante concluded.

Further coverage on Monday's announcement can be read here

Source: AFPA

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Tech advancements around mechanised planting

The second day of the just completed ForestTECH 2021-22 event focussed on advancements in automated silviculture with a particular focus on mechanised planting operations – new technology, developing technologies and an insight into results from local forest trials and commercial planting operations. In short, like Europe and South America in particular, the cost and availability of labour for planting have both been major drivers to testing out mechanised planting operations here in Australasia.

From New Zealand, Manulife Forest Management (formerly Hancock Forest Management) have been testing mechanised planting in Kinleith Forest, Tokoroa. Machine planting using a 20-tonne excavator and M-Planter planting head (holding 160 trees) started in May 2020. With now two planting seasons completed, they have planted 90-100 ha each year. Compared to manual planting and slash raking – the set-up enables other tree establishment operations to be undertaken like spot mounding and ripping. Results and lessons from the planting are contained in the link supplied below.

Henry Fear of Henry Fear Contracting has also been involved in early mechanised planting operations in the central North Island of New Zealand for several years. He's run three M-Planting operations since the 2020 planting season. The planting system includes a rip of around one metre and planting mound of 300mm. Fertiliser can also be applied at the time of planting, depending on the site. Henry, along with Timberlands has also been undertaking the first NZ trials of applying hydrogel at the time of planting to extend the planting season. A video of the M-Planter in operations and early results can be found in the attached article.

And from Europe, Risutec, a Finnish mechanised planting head supplier outlined the principal reasons for forestry operations to switch from manual planting operations. As well as overcoming labour shortages, the ability to combine all stages of reforestation – guidance, soil cultivation, planting, compaction, watering, herbicide and fertilizer application with real time monitoring and control at the time of planting are key factors. It also opens the door to more agile service providers that can take responsibility of providing a full package of silvicultural services to forestry companies.

Stora Enso provided an update on the deployment of mechanised planting systems in Finland and Sweden. For Finland, < 5% of all planting is mechanised (around 31 mechanised planters (Risutec, Bracke and M-planter) and in Sweden, < 1% of planting is using mechanised planters (around 10 mechanised planters: Bracke). They also introduced a new planting system, Plantma X, developed and being used in Sweden and being trialled in the US.

And Bracke Forest, a Swedish manufacturer, discussed a range of mechanised planting and direct seeding machines (see video above) being used including a new seedling carousel that can take up to 196 seedlings along with integrated systems for irrigation and fertilization.

A number of videos showing these mechanised planting machines in action along with a more detailed report from the ForestTECH 2021-22 presentations can be viewed on the ForestTECH.News website.

If keen on keeping up to date with forest establishment, mechanised planting and advances in tree crop management, you can sign up, if not already receiving the monthly newsletter, ForestTECH.News which is compiled for you, the ForestTECH community. And, it’s free. Click here if you’d like to sign up.

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China FTA upgrade comes into force on 7 April

Tairawhiti's forestry industry is welcoming an upgrade to the New Zealand-China Free Trade Agreement. The upgrade comes into force on April 7, Minister for Trade and Export Growth Damien O'Connor confirmed last month after New Zealand and China ratified the upgrade protocol and agreed the start date — the final step following the signing of the FTA upgrade in January 2021.

“The upgrade also includes new market access commitments in goods and services, and additional trade facilitation measures,” said Mr O'Connor.

“In terms of goods, the upgrade will deliver further market access improvements, resulting in tariff-free access for 99 percent of New Zealand's NZ$4 billion wood and paper trade to China, once fully implemented. Our existing FTA will also be augmented by new chapters in e-commerce, competition policy, government procurement and the environment.”

Eastland Wood Council chief executive Philip Hope said members were supportive of any Free Trade Agreement, “especially one that phases out tariffs on processed wood exports to China. An upgrade on the Free Trade Agreement, with mutually agreed rules, provides more surety to our industry and enables our sector to consolidate its position.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said China had agreed to eliminate customs duties on 12 additional tariff lines of wood and paper products previously excluded from tariff elimination commitments under the existing FTA.

“These commitments will be phased in through a process of tariff cuts over a 10-year implementation period. This will result in significant duty savings for New Zealand exports and, once implemented, it means that 99 percent of our wood and paper trade to China will receive tariff-free access.

“In addition, a side letter was negotiated which provides a new process for implementing a commitment made in the existing FTA that, should China grant any third party more favourable treatment in the future on wood and paper tariff lines, then this treatment would be extended to New Zealand.

“Under the protocol, the FTA Joint Commission will have a new oversight role in confirming and recording New Zealand wood and paper products benefiting from these existing commitments.

“The new process will provide better transparency of China's implementation of its obligation to extend to New Zealand any future tariff cuts agreed with other countries, and ensure up-to-date information on tariff treatment for New Zealand wood and paper exports to China.”

Source: Gisborne Herald

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Debris flow study indicates landslide risk

Marlborough District Council recently commissioned University of Canterbury researchers to map the North Marlborough area for river and stream catchments that may be susceptible to debris flows or debris floods, to improve the Council’s understanding of landslide hazards.

The research became possible after the capture of large areas of LiDAR (light detection and ranging) data that delivered precise, three-dimensional information about the area’s land surface characteristics.

Environmental Scientist Matt Oliver told the Council’s Environment Committee that the study was a useful indicator of potential landslide and flood susceptibility. “This report has produced tools which can be used to inform landowners, forest managers or prospective land developers on the potential susceptibility of downslope land to debris flows and floods.”

He noted the report’s data layer was not intended to be used as a regulatory tool or for use on property land information memoranda (LIMs). “But it is useful information that can prompt further geotechnical investigation of a particular site.”

Mr Oliver said initially the research was proposed as a way of assisting forest managers to mitigate risks of land sliding from harvested forests. “However, we realised that this methodology could also be applied and used to screen for general debris flow and flood susceptibility.”

He noted there were limitations to the ‘Melton Ratio method’ used in the report for determining debris flows and flood susceptibility. “Our report comes with a clear proviso that the maps from the report can only be used as a screening layer; they are not a definitive geotechnical categorisation of a catchment.”

The total mapped area covers 344,873 hectares. A new Smart Maps Pro webmap will now be developed for use by trained land management professionals such as forest managers and surveyors. Further development of the webmap would include GIS layers of natural and built receiving environments and infrastructure below susceptible catchments to assist users in developing risk assessments.

The report is available on the Council’s website

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Use carbon farming as additional farm income

Very rarely, in the debate of pines marching across the NZ landscape have we had a story with a NZ farmer actually advocating for planting. See below a refreshing story appearing recently where a Taranaki farmer discusses how he's been able to improve the performance of his farming operation by removing some steep sections and planting and then using flatter, higher fertility areas on the farm more productively.

Drystock farmer Niels Hansen says farmers across the country may see economic benefits if they add carbon forestry to their farms. Hansen, wife Fiona Howatson, and his parents Peter and Grethe Hansen have planted more than 15 per cent of their Taranaki dry stock farm in carbon forest, with 217 hectares planted in pinus radiata and 8 hectares planted in mānuka (Leptospermum scoparium).

Hansen’s parents immigrated to New Zealand in 1964. Having some forestry on a farm is a Danish way of life, so they continued the tradition here in New Zealand. It gave them timber for fence posts and acted as a cost-saving measure in the early days.

“We are almost on our third rotation of trees now. We have been in the emissions trading scheme (ETS) with our first batch of trees for over a decade. We have also been considering how we can expand our forestry and so have been adding a lot of trees over the past four years, planting over 200ha of additional trees,” Hansen says.

The region's council has funded the planting of pine trees after flooding more than a decade ago destroyed many farms in the area. On Hansen's farm alone more than NZ$90,000 worth of fencing was destroyed by mudslides. They spent more than NZ$64,000 in the first month after the mudslide to fix road access on the farm.

The council released a stress fund for farmers that financed the planting of trees with the aim of mitigating future damage by stabilising hills and preventing silt loss from steep country. The stress fund paid for all planting expenses and as it was required that forest sections had to be fenced, the fund also allowed for half of the fencing expenses to be covered. The scheme is still active.

Hansen says it led to a number of positive unexpected results. Although the new forest reduced the farm's grazeable area, it affected his production positively and the ETS income also had monetary benefits, for example access to funds to pay off debt.

Planting forest on the steepest parts of the farm meant the grazeable area was reduced by almost 15 per cent. Hansen had already been following intensive grazing practices for some time and losing this grazeable area meant he had to sharpen up his management even more. However, he soon realised the farm's performance increased when he separated the steepest areas.

More >>

Source: Stuff

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Celebrating tree planting – with a film festival

“Tree planting transforms us. These are our stories.” On 19 March The 2022 virtual Tree Planting Film Festival entitled We Are the Landscape, provided an inside look into what it takes to be a tree planter in Canada, sharing stories of passion, purpose, and perseverance.

It featured 26 short films and documentaries, each under 10 minutes in length, as well as an appearance by Paul Stamets, an American mycologist, and musical entertainment by Clayton Joseph Scott, The Boom Booms, and Shred Kelly. This is the third year for the virtual Film Festival, produced by tree Blue Green Planet Project Inc. (BGPP), a collaborative carbon solutions company.

Event organizer Tim Tchida says 600 million trees are planted in Canada each year by approximately 8000 tree planters. The work requires tremendous skill, devotion, and endurance. For many, it’s a calling as much as it is a job.

“Planters share physical traits with high-performance athletes,” says Tchida. “In between the millions of trees being planted each day, in every moment there is a lot happening. In the space between trees there is friendship, initiation, and giving back…. and tough, gruelling, rewarding work. It’s a profound alignment of personal endurance and collective fulfilment; it is an initiation into your own potential.”

The shorts streamed during the festival provided a glimpse into the life of a tree planter, connecting the industry’s history (one documentary takes viewers back to the 70s) to its future potential, all while providing insights into the impact of their work.

Source: Newswire
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Plantation timber insurance unaffordable after fires

A year ago, forester Andy Wright let the insurance lapse on his softwood plantation in Denmark, Western Australia.

Key points:

• Many timber plantations across Australia are uninsured after price hikes and an exodus of insurers from the industry
• Experts warn it puts Australia's timber supply at serious risk after a decade-long stagnation in new plantations
• An insurance scheme is in the works for next season, but the fire risk is growing

In February fires tore through local forests and destroyed his trees. "It's probably a quarter of a million dollars of damage. Another plantation on the hill was ready to harvest and its value would be in the millions," Mr Wright said. Despite the loss, he doesn't regret the decision to cancel his fire insurance.

"Premiums quadrupled on the back of the east coast bushfires a couple of summers ago," he said. Knowing the excess’ he would have paid for a claim, and the salvage value of the timber, Mr Wright said insurance would not have been financially worthwhile. Even now, in our worst year, we'll probably break even from where we might have been had we got the insurance," he said.

David Geddes, who consults for foresters throughout Australia and is a former president of Australian Forest Growers, the industry body for Australian plantation foresters, said the number of insurance providers had fallen dramatically.

"Prior to this summer there were half a dozen [insurance] providers but, as far as I'm aware, there's only one insurer this year and their books filled up quite quickly," he said.

More >>

Source: ABC

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Practical training improving leadership skills

Leadership training for those working in the primary industries including forestry is helping people to lead others. Andy Smith, principal of training provider About Life in New Zealand, says typically people with good technical skills are promoted to lead others with an assumption they’ll be good leaders of people but that is not necessarily the case.

“The next thing is you find a person grappling with leading a team, responsible for production and output, with normally little opportunity for development. A friend on Friday, boss on Monday situation. They often become overwhelmed and pressurised. In my experience, this can drive other behaviours as coping mechanisms such as bullying, abdication and absenteeism.”

His company provides a training workshop that uses practical activities to teach the value of a five-step structured methodology to leadership:

• The first step is to discuss and agree what you want to achieve and why it is important.
• The second step is to discuss and agree who will do what by when, and whoever is doing the work gets the biggest say in how they will do this. This step requires a good understanding of the capabilities of team members.
• Thirdly, give and receive feedback about how the job is progressing and provide any new information.
• Fourthly, remove obstacles for people so they can perform as agreed. This may require coaching.
• And fifthly, recognise people’s effort in a way that is meaningful for the individual.

The practical activities show participants first-hand what happens if the first step is missed. Understanding why a task is important is vital if something unexpected happens, as it empowers the person to adapt and make better decisions. The practical, problem-solving activities cater for tactile learners who learn by doing and who predominate in the primary industries, says Andy Smith.

“Schools often cater for the academic or those good at sport; leaving the tactile reflective learners behind – I was one of them – and a person talking at me from the front of the room was not engaging. There are multiple intelligences; the tactile learners know they’re smart, but they’ve never had it acknowledged.”

Angela Blom, Health and Safety Advisor at Pan Pac Forest Products Ltd based at Napier, was one of a group of 10 Pan Pac staff to attend a course in October and says they all learned by doing and found it applicable to their roles.

“The activities helped the group understand group dynamics and why things fail when good leadership and influence is not applied, and what good looks like when it’s done well. It also highlighted why good communication skills are a must. Everyone picked up something different to take away. The key was to understand our leadership style – everyone has a different style – and that leadership is about influence”.

“It helped us understand people better – what the motivators are that lie beneath. It also gave us a structure for how to begin a discussion with a person who is not performing. One of the things I really liked was a follow-up text before Christmas with a link to a YouTube video that was a reminder of what we learned. That was brilliant.”

Angela is responsible for health and safety across Pan Pac’s entire forestry group which is a fully integrated operation from planting to harvesting, processing and international despatch. This encompasses “all the risks known to man” including manual tree felling, driving logging trucks and flying helicopters.

“I’m a risk-averse person. I like the rules. We want to get home safely. It’s my role to help others do that.” Pan Pac has been based in the Hawke’s Bay for almost 50 years and employs over 400 staff.

Andy says 95 people have been through the Leading a High Performing Team workshop since May 2021, 24 from forestry and wood processing. Courses have been held around New Zealand, funded by the Ministry of Primary Industries. Those who filled out assessment surveys ranked their learning experience and people engagement tools very highly.

Fiona Ewing, Forest Industry Safety Council (FISC) national safety director and deputy chair of the Forestry and Wood Processing Workforce Council, has promoted the workshops to forestry companies. FISC has partnered with About Life for a number of years on leadership workshops resulting in 600 forestry workers now participated.

Fiona is developing a directory of all leadership courses being used in the sector and would like input. “The Council ranks leadership and communications skills training as a priority for the forestry and wood processing workforce.

“We have seen material changes and benefits in forestry crews and organisations who have participated in these workshops and implemented these skills. There is improved worker engagement and participation, reduced absenteeism and happier people who work better together.”

Source: Te Uru Rākau – New Zealand Forest Service

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Sustainable Aviation Fuel report released

A report released this week by the Sustainable Aviation Fuels Alliance of Australia and New Zealand (SAFAANZ) titled Bridging the price gap for Sustainable Aviation Fuel, has identified, amongst a number of other recommendations, the creation of a Jet Council as an immediate priority action for Government to accelerate the significant opportunity presented by the development of a domestic Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) Industry. Please click here for a copy of the report.

“Following the lead of the UK and its Jet Zero Council, Australia and New Zealand should immediately establish a ‘Jet Council’ to connect the various levels of Government with aviation industry stakeholders to guide the ongoing development of sustainable aviation policies,” said Shahana McKenzie, CEO Bioenergy Australia.

“As a priority, the Jet Council would work with the various levels of government along with key industry participants to guide and support pathways for SAF R&D in Australia and New Zealand, as well as guide the design and implementation of policies to overcome existing barriers to SAF development,” McKenzie added. “The Council could also be a forum through which to consider policies that support new technologies and innovative ways to reduce aviation emissions.”

The Report identifies that robust policy frameworks and financial mechanisms are needed to unlock the potential of the SAF industry in Australia and New Zealand. Other recommendations include the creation of a National Framework for voluntary consumer purchasing, an emissions intensity scheme and investment through capital support and production subsidies.

As identified in the Australian Bioenergy Roadmap (The Roadmap) released by Angus Taylor MP in November 2021, Sustainable Aviation Fuel has a significant role to play in unlocking its share of an extra $10 billion each year in GDP, generating 26,000 jobs, while also reducing emissions by approximately 9 per cent.

The Roadmap highlighted SAF as one of the few options to reduce aviation emissions in the short- and medium-term and given how geographically sparce Australia is, air travel is vital to connect communities and underpin local economies. “The Bioenergy Roadmap showed that Australia could be producing 18% of the country’s aviation fuel market by 2030 if a favourable policy and market environment existed” said Heidi Hauf, SAFAANZ Chair.

Aviation emissions have been steadily increasing in Australia over the past several decades, in correlation with the industry growth rate of 2.2% (DIRD, 2017). In 2016, commercial aviation emissions totalled 22.02 MtCO2e, approximately 4.1% of Australia’s total emissions.

“Beyond emissions reduction, this initiative supports jobs in regional Australia, economic development and fuel security,” said McKenzie. “Australia could be the SAF capital of the Asia Pacific region, if we act now.”

The global SAF market is projected to grow from USD$66 million in 2020 to USD$15,307 million by 2030. In May 2021, lawmakers in the United States introduced a bill that creates a tax credit of up to USD$2.00 for every gallon of low-carbon sustainable aviation fuel which is to be produced from feedstocks such as grease, animal fats and plant oils.

The European Commission will soon stimulate growth in the SAF industry through the ReFuelEU Aviation initiative. This is expected to be achieved through legislation that mandates the phased blending of SAF with conventional jet fuel in conjunction with incentives towards increasing capacity production.

“This shows the growing global momentum towards decarbonising the aviation sector, and Australia is well placed to be a key SAF producer and leverage our natural competitive advantages to supply global markets with low emissions SAF,” said McKenzie.

Source: Bioenergy Association of New Zealand

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Drone delivery nearer to take-off

No seriously, drone delivery is coming. If you were sceptical before, an FAA committee just took a huge step with the compliance groundwork to make that a reality. The so-called Beyond Visual Line of Sight Aviation Rulemaking Committee in the US (BVLOS ARC) of the FAA published its final report last week. The committee is charged with paving the way toward broader commercial use of drones in the U.S., and its findings are being widely applauded by many in the sector who have sought a broader scope for commercial drone operations, including in applications like search and rescue and delivery.

"Around the world, commercial drones are saving lives, making jobs more efficient, inspecting infrastructure at scale, and growing the economy," said Lisa Ellman, Executive Director of the Commercial Drone Alliance, an industry trade group.

"But here in the U.S., existing regulations hold back the drone industry by unnecessarily applying incongruous standards and approaches designed for crewed aircraft. This ARC report outlines a common-sense, risk-based, performance-based approach that balances safety with innovation, and will enable drone-based operations to scale in the U.S. for the benefit of all Americans."

Industry advocates have argued that unlocking the BVLOS marketplace will advance progress across a number of areas, including sustainable transportation, carbon emission reduction, equitable access to medicines and vaccines, safer and more effective critical infrastructure inspection, emergency response, aerospace jobs, and domestic manufacturing.

The chorus on the other end of the spectrum hasn't been all that loud, perhaps a function of the relatively obscure rulemaking processes at work, to which the industry is paying close attention but average consumers may not be.

A common industry argument is that the U.S. has lagged behind Europe in efforts to integrate drones into the National Airspace in large part due to the limitations of the regulatory framework and the federal bureaucracy's struggle to move nimbly.

The recent FAA report gives the clearest indications yet of what a coming BVLOS regulatory framework will look like. The committee gave recommendations on things like pilot training requirements, right of way, and rules for third-party providers, such as commercial delivery vendors.

Groups like the Commercial Drone Alliance, a non-profit organization led by leaders in the commercial drone and advanced air mobility industries, have long advocated for such recommendations, an interesting case where industry leaders have felt hamstrung by a lack of government guidance.


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Window closing for ETS registration applications

Te Uru Rākau – New Zealand Forest Service has the following information for forest owners wanting to register post-1989 forest land in the Emissions Trading Scheme.

They are experiencing a significant increase in the number of applications to register post-1989 forest land. This is driven by the high price of New Zealand Units (NZUs) and the current mandatory emissions return (MER) period ending on 31 December 2022. Applications to register land in the ETS must be approved by that date if you want to claim New Zealand Units (NZUs) for the 2018-2022 MER period and have the option of using stock change accounting. The new carbon accounting method – averaging accounting – will apply to land registered from 1 January 2023.

In response to this increased demand to register in the ETS, they have improved their processing rates by increasing their staffing and resources, and refining processes. This has made a significant positive impact; they are more than doubling their processing capacity and further efficiency gains are expected as recruitment continues.

Considering their projected processing rates alongside the rate of incoming applications, they expect to be able to finalise processing of all complete applications received by 30 April 2022 before the end of the current MER period. However, this will depend on the accuracy, volume and complexity of the applications that are yet to be received. They are encouraging you to take care to ensure your applications have all supporting information and meet the requirements of the Geospatial Mapping Information Standard and are lodged with them as soon as possible. Please note they cannot provide the same level of certainty for applications received after this date, but they will do their absolute best to finalise all processing.

In addition to processing applications, they are also taking steps to improve efficiencies in processing other transactions including transfers of interest and emissions returns. These improvements aim to ensure all outstanding transactions are processed by the end of the year.

More information about registering post-1989 forest land is available on the MPI website

Source: Te Uru Rākau – New Zealand Forest Service

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Timber bridge with spin on traditional Chinese design

Luo Studio recently completed an eye-catching and intricate timber bridge that's heavily inspired by traditional Chinese bridge design, but adds some modern touches too. The project serves as both a covered crossing and a viewing point in rural China.

The Timber Bridge in Gulou Waterfront is located in a cultural resort in Jiangmen City, Guangdong Province. It spans 25 m and its interior measures 166 sq m. Construction on the project began in March, 2021 and was completed in January, 2022.

Though its styling references the past, its modern additions are a definite improvement and include glass skylights to maximize daylight inside (there's also lighting installed for night time use), plus there are aluminium plates on its exterior that are angled to protect the interior against sun and rain while still ensuring natural ventilation.

Structurally, the bridge is supported by three large wooden arched beams that bear its load. Hundreds of wooden sub beams, connecting rods, and other components are joined to the three beams to help support its frame and stepping board, while a rectangular roof holds the glazed skylights.

The Timber Bridge in Gulou Waterfront was created as part of a government initiative to help revitalize the area. Indeed, the Chinese government is keen to mitigate the effect of the country's rapid urbanization by revitalizing smaller villages, resulting in many other head-turning projects installed in rural locations, such as the Mountain House in Mist, Treewow Villa O, and Hex Key House.

More >>

Source: Luo Studio

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Buy and Sell

... and one to end the week on ... all for a good cause

A local Rotary club office realised that the organisation had never received a donation from the town's most successful lawyer. The person in charge of contributions called him to persuade him to contribute.

"Our research shows that out of a yearly income of at least $500,000, you give not a penny to charity. Wouldn't you like to give back to the community in some way?"

The lawyer mulled this over for a moment and replied, "First, did your research also show that my mother is dying after a long illness, and has medical bills that are several times her annual income?"

Embarrassed, the Rotary rep mumbled, "Um ... no."

The lawyer interrupts, "or that my brother, a disabled veteran, is blind and confined to a wheelchair?" The stricken Rotary rep began to stammer out an apology, but was interrupted again. "Or that my sister's husband died in a traffic accident," the lawyer's voice rising in indignation, "leaving her penniless with three children?!"

The humiliated Rotary rep, completely beaten, said simply, "I had no idea..."

On a roll, the lawyer cut him off once again, "So if I don't give any money to them, why should I give any to you?"

And one more for all you engineers and home handymen - and women out there.

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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