Friday Offcuts – 25 November 2022

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This week the ForestTECH 2022 series wrapped up in Melbourne with another excellent turnout of foresters, resource managers and tree crop managers drawn from across Australia. The latest forest technology series, attracted well over 300 delegates in addition to an international audience from 12 different countries live streaming the New Zealand event. Links to the presentations, from both legs of the series, along with the recorded presentations for virtual delegates, will be sent out later next week.

In keeping with the forest technology theme, we’ve built in an update on a new GigaFire Project where California based researchers plan on modelling and mapping fire-vulnerable forest vegetation across millions of acres. Their aim is to better understand, using remote sensing technology and process-based models, how vegetation and fuels are changing over large landscapes. Also in the US, researchers are still hard at work lobbying NASA to give the Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI) instrument a second life. Plans at the moment are to jettison the scanner that’s attached to the International Space Station (ISS) Since 2019, scientists say that GEDI has provided “unquestionably the best map of forest canopy height ever produced".

As a consequence of VicForests having to put a halt to harvesting with a recent Supreme Court ruling that the state-owned enterprise’s pre-harvest surveys were inadequate and it wasn’t doing enough to protect two possum species, worker stand-downs at the Maryvale Paper Mill might well be on the cards. The ruling’s requiring a resurvey hundreds of coupes, which could take months to complete. Harvest and haulage contractors along with mill workers are concerned about their jobs in the lead up to Christmas with the court decision causing immediate log supply shortages to the mill.

Finally, for those of you involved in wood processing or manufacturing (or with an interest in opportunities of using RFID tags for tracking logs or lumber through the wood supply chain), we’ve built in an interesting article this week about a window manufacturer that’s adopted an innovative RFID-based solution. It’s enabling them to track custom wooden window frames as they move through production. The company's timber UHF RFID dowel tags are drilled and inserted into the end of each board. They’re then able to be read at eight workstations via fixed readers embedded in the floor during the manufacturing process. In the long term, the company’s hoping that the RFID tags will be able to be used to provide each frame with a lifelong product passport. That’s all for this week.

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Worker stand-downs as log supplies dry up?

The Latrobe Valley’s biggest employer, the Maryvale Paper Mill, has warned of worker stand-downs as its hardwood pulp log supplies dry up in the wake of a Supreme Court judgment that has halted native forest harvesting across most of the state.

Opal, which employs 850 workers at its Maryvale mill, issued a statement saying “unfortunately, limited stand-downs may become necessary, and we are currently consulting on this issue with our team members.

“No decisions will be made until the consultation is complete. These are temporary measures that we may need to put into place while we work through the potential implications of a court decision that was delivered only 10 days ago. As a large Latrobe Valley employer, secure, certified wood supply is crucial to Opal Australian Paper’s Maryvale operations.”

The Weekly Times understands up to 220 of the plant’s workers are at risk of being stood down due to the shortage of hardwood pulp log used in manufacturing the plant’s reflex paper and some brown paper packaging lines.

VicForests warned it had been able to deliver only a week’s worth of pulp logs to Maryvale and that supplies were set to dry up completely, after it was forced to halt harvesting yesterday in response to last week’s Supreme Court ruling. VicForests ordered the stand-down, after Justice Melinda Richards ruled the state-owned enterprise’s pre-harvest surveys were inadequate and it was not doing enough to protect two possum species – greater and yellow-bellied gliders.

The ruling forces VicForests to resurvey hundreds of coupes, which it confirmed would take months to complete and would leave harvest and haulage contractors without work and exacerbate a sawlog shortage that had already led to the closure of one mill.

Justice Richards also ruled that VicForests had failed to meet its obligations to retain enough vegetation on coupes to protect gliders, under the precautionary principle of the Code of Practice for Timber Production. The Victorian government has a legislated obligation to supply the Opal mill with 350,000 cubic metres of mountain forest pulpwood – mountain, alpine and silvertop ash – each year, until 2030.

For further coverage of this story click here

Source: Weekly Times, ABC

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Forestry industry’s first driver drop in day

Softwood forest growers of Southern NSW and North East Victoria joined forces with one of their major customers, Hyne Timber, to host a driver safety day and start a conversation with the forestry transport industry.

All truck drivers leaving the Hyne Timber Tumbarumba mill during the day pulled in for a conversation on driver wellbeing and fatigue, chain of responsibility and load construction, said HVP Plantations’ Northern Customer & Haulage Manager, Steve Blake.

“Around 45 drivers had the chance to talk to forestry industry representatives on what they need to be safer on the road,” Mr Blake said. Forest owners and managers representing around 95 per cent of the local industry worked together to plan the event, including HVP Plantations, Forestry Corporation of NSW, Hyne Timber, PF Olsen, Southern Cross and Hume Forests.

“This is one of the ways we are engaging the forestry transport industry on safety and our focus is on a two-way conversation so we can target future actions,” said Forestry Corporation Haulage & Sales Manager, Linda Cotterill. “Hearing drivers’ stories of working in the forest industry really bought home what a big part of our community it is and how much people care about it.”

Special guest Alan Pincott from Australian Trucking Safety Services and Solutions was also on hand to talk to drivers about their needs and concerns. “It was great to see a holistic and unified approach and have the chance to meet drivers who know their stuff – the forest industry is ahead of others in this space.”

Hyne Timber’s Green Mill Manager, Angela Pappin, was also very pleased with the day and conversations flowing from it. “It was a great joint effort, collaboration and opportunity to listen to drivers.”

The next event is already in motion, planned for the Visy Pulp and Paper mill in early 2023, where organisers expect to engage even more of the industry, hear their feedback, and continue to collaborate and progress safety focus and support in the forestry transport industry.

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Glued joints in Radiata Pine CLT

With more than ten years of research and practical experience in wood science and timber engineering, Younes Shirmohammadli is motivated and prepared to contribute to the timber engineering industry.

Younes is one of two PhD students at the University of Auckland Faculty of Engineering to have received a grant from the WIDE Trust to pursue his research studies this year. The WIDE Trust is a charitable trust that supports development and education in New Zealand’s forestry and wood industry sectors through the provision of grants and scholarships.

In 2015, Younes graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Wood Industries Engineering from the Technical and Vocational University of Iran. His excellence in academics led him to achieve the first rank in the national master’s entrance exam for Wood Industries Engineering, and he completed his Master’s Diploma at the University of Tehran in 2018.

Younes was awarded the prestigious University of Auckland Doctoral Scholarship in 2019. This scholarship is awarded to high-achieving doctoral candidates applying for admission to an approved doctoral programme at the University of Auckland. Through this scholarship, Younes pursued his doctoral studies on "Glued Joints in Radiata Pine Cross Laminated Timber."

Younes says, “Glued-in rods are efficient and high-capacity connections to achieve high-strength joints in new timber structures and reinforce existing timber buildings. With the emergence of cross-laminated timber (CLT) and the construction of high-rise buildings, there is the potential for glued-in rods to be adopted in CLT construction.”

In Younes’ research an experimental assessment of glued-in rods in cross-laminated timber (CLT) is under investigation. For the purposes of this study, 60 pull-out full-scale tests are in progress, where the specimens varied in terms of anchorage length and the location of the bars relative to the arrangement of the layers. Monotonic tension and cyclic tension-zero tests will be performed on all of the rods to grain configurations.

Moreover, numerical simulations and parametric studies of glued-in rods in CLT are being studied. The simulations are based on 3D finite element analysis, using a cohesive surface model for the bond lines between the laminations and the bond line along the rod. The parametric studies are investigating the influence of the glued-in length, the rod diameter, and the rod-to-grain angle on the load-bearing capacity and stiffness of the connection.

Businesses, students and others involved in studies and work to enhance the forestry and wood industry sectors in New Zealand are invited to apply to the WIDE Trust for a grant to support their efforts. Apply Online -

Source: WIDE Trust

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Just madness – removing forest-mapping laser

NASA plan to scrap device would curtail important climate and biodiversity data, researchers say.

Since April 2019, a fridge-size instrument attached to the International Space Station (ISS) has tickled the treetops of much of the planet with laser light, mapping forests’ carbon stores and the wildlife habitat they provide. Yet in early 2023, the laser is set to be jettisoned into Earth’s atmosphere, where it will burn up unless NASA approves a plan to extend its tenure.

Researchers and some U.S. Congress members are now lobbying NASA to give the Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI) instrument a second life so it can finish measuring the world’s tropical and temperate forests.

“To take that data source off is just madness, given that we haven’t even achieved global coverage,” says Matt Finer, a researcher for the Amazon Conservation Association. GEDI is “one of a kind,” adds Sarah Carter, a researcher at the World Resources Institute. Compared with previous instruments, it has given forest measurers “much more nuanced data.”

Imaging satellites such as Landsat can map forests, but have limitations: They can only tell whether trees are there, not how tall they are, what quality habitat they provide, or how much carbon they hold. Planes equipped with radar-like laser instruments called lidars can gather more informative forest measurements, but such flights are costly.

GEDI has used its perch on the ISS to deploy lidar over much of the globe. As the station hurtles around the planet, GEDI pings the surface with 242 pulses per second of near-infrared light and measures the reflections. The focused radiation penetrates dense canopies but bounces back from treetops, midstory branches, and the ground, enabling researchers to produce 3D forest images and estimate the wood and carbon they store.

GEDI has enabled “unquestionably the best map of canopy height that’s ever been produced,” says Ralph Dubayah, an ecologist at the University of Maryland, College Park, and leader of the GEDI team.

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Revamping hauler operation to improve safety

When central North Island contractor Brian Rutgers from Loggabull, decided to refit his old hauler, the first thing he did was ask his experienced operator and foreman for their ideas on what would make the machine work better. Their suggestions, which included a sliding cab to improve or remove blind-spots, mean the revamped hauler is now much safer and more productive than before. Watch Brian and the crew tell the story of the hauler refit.

Source: SafeTree

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RFID tracks work-in-progress for frame producer

Van de Vin predicts it will save tens of thousands of euros, having replaced its paper-based manual tracking system with the automated capture of digital data.

When builders and homeowners require custom-made windows and frames, they typically have little room for delays. With that in mind, Van de Vin recently deployed an RFID-based solution to track its custom wooden window frames as they move through production.

The result, according to the company, has been a reduction in costs related to manually tracking orders and products on paper, the identification and prevention of errors, and an improvement in efficiency. The automated system leverages passive UHF RFID technology from U.K.- and Germany-based RFIDdirect, developed to operate reliably in the highly challenging environment of wood product assembly.

The company's Timber UHF RFID Dowel tags are inserted into the end of each plank of wood, then are read at eight workstations via fixed readers embedded in the floor. Van de Vin's manufacturing execution system (MES), provided by Matrix Software, manages the collected RFID read data and provides real-time updates and alerts based on production activities, as well as instructions for workers at each station on the production floor, specific to every frame. The solution was taken live at the end of 2021, and it has reportedly boosted the company's efficiency and reduced its risk of errors.

Van de Vin manufactures wooden frames for the construction and renovation of houses and apartments. Its custom-made frames, produced in the Dutch town of Heeze, are sold as semi-finished products, or they can be sold ready to install—lacquered, glazed and prepared for the building for which they are destined. The tracking of orders can be a challenging task. Traditionally, the company used paper to manage orders manually, as well as a barcode sticker on each frame that could be scanned to identify a frame up to the point at which it was painted.

The company tried engraving the frame on the processing line with a unique ID number, but the identifier required that someone look up the engraved serial number, which proved cumbersome. To gain visibility with less manual intervention, Van de Vin sought a way to automatically track each wooden plank used in the manufacturing of frames.

But although RFID provides that automatic tracking functionality, it was a technological challenge for the woodworking company, according to Rudolph Den Boer, Van de Vin's IT manager. RFID does not inherently transmit well in and around wood, he says, since timber is dense, with a high volume of liquid that obstructs RF signals.

Dowel-Shaped Tag Built for Wood

The company had investigated RFID, Den Boer says, but found that the technology came up short of its expectations. The management "just played with access-control systems," he recalls, "which proved to be inadequate for the product traceability." Additionally, any identifier had to be long-lived—as much as 75 years, the frame's typical lifespan.

The company took its challenge to RFIDdirect, which conducted its own field tests and suggested how to deploy the RFID tags. "They wanted to identify the individual products" to measure delivery performance and capture work-in-progress details, recalls Mohssine Ouchen, RFIDdirect's business-development manager.

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Source: rfidjournal

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Setting sustainability performance and goals to 2030

In New Zealand, a Hawke’s Bay forestry company is increasing its focus on sustainability, as it plans to become the biggest business of its kind in Australasia, with a NZ$750 million turnover by 2030. Pan Pac Forest Products Limited is New Zealand’s largest integrated forest products company with operations in Whirinaki, north of Napier and in Milburn, Otago. The business has been operating for 50 years, with global demand for its products growing year on year, says Tony Clifford, Managing Director.

“Worldwide, demand is increasing for renewable and sustainable products,” says Mr Clifford. “We envisage our turnover will grow from NZ$500 million today to NZ$750 million in 2030. To ensure Pan Pac is well positioned to meet this increased demand sustainably, we are expanding our operations, and introducing greater automation and processes to improve safety for our people and reduce the impact on our environment.”

The company grows and harvests pine trees that it processes onsite into high end appearance lumber grades and pulp for packaging, which it exports mainly to the United States, China and India. A small percentage of unprocessed logs are also exported. Pan Pac has just released A Sustainable Future Together, a report that outlines its sustainability performance and goals to 2030. The intention is to publish progress towards the goals on a regular basis, says Mr Clifford.

“We believe it is important to be transparent about the way we do business and the areas in which we need to do better. We know we have to lift our performance and we are embarking on a journey of improvement. Pan Pac is a major contributor to our economy, with $1 in every $16 of Hawke’s Bay GDP originating from our business. We provide employment for thousands of people directly and indirectly and are mindful of our responsibilities towards our community”.

To read the report, visit

Source: Pan Pac Forest Products Limited

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SnapSTAT - Australia: Russian LVL imports collapsed in 2022

CH44 Wood Products - RF imports to AU, Jan 2020 - Aug 2022

Source: IndustryEdge
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2022 Global softwood lumber market update

Lumber Markets – Global Trade

Global trade of softwood lumber fell about 10% in the first half of 2022 compared to the same period in 2021. Most of the decline was driven by lower lumber demand in China, the US, and Germany. The slowdown in lumber consumption worldwide came at an opportune time since European countries, North America, and Asia boycotted Russian forest products after the country invaded Ukraine. As a result, Russia's lumber exports fell by over 30% y-o-y during the first six months of 2022 and are expected to fall further in the year's second half.

Lumber Markets – North America

A weakening in wood demand and sharply falling lumber prices reduced operating rates throughout North America during the spring and summer months. The most significant declines in production were seen in British Columbia and Western US. Average prices for southern yellow pine and spruce/pine/fir in western and eastern Canada fell by about 50% from March to July 2022. Despite the recent price plunge, it is essential to note that the current price levels are close to their five-year averages and 15-30% higher than the average prices over the past ten years.

Lumber Markets – Europe

Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the boycott of Russian forest products created much uncertainty in the European lumber market. Many expected that lumber flows from the east into Europe would halt reasonably quickly. As a response, buyers started to build inventories with the expectation that supply would get tighter in the year's second half, according to Wood Resource Quarterly. However, this short-term demand upswing promptly faded, and lumber prices softened in early summer.

Lumber exports from the Nordic countries fell about five percent y-o-y during the first five months (the latest available statistics). In addition, shipments to China took a big hit, with about 30% less imported in the 2Q/22 than in the 1Q/22. As a result, volumes in the 2Q/22 were close to being the lowest in seven years.

Lumber Markets – China

In 2019, China was the world's largest importer of softwood lumber, importing just over 27 million m3. However, in the following two years, import volumes fell 44%, and imports in 2022 are on pace to reach their lowest levels in ten years as demand has fallen in the construction sector. The lumber volume from Russia declined the most from 2021 to 2022, but Ukraine, Canada, and Chile are the countries that lost the most significant amounts in market shares.

Average import values have remained relatively stable in 2022, with 2Q/22 lumber prices averaging $260/m3, up from $255/m3 in the previous quarter. It is important to note that, in the past, Russian lumber prices in China were typically lower than those of Canada and the Nordic Countries - in 2022, they have been practically the same.

Lumber Markets – Japan

Japan decreased the importation of lumber from 6.1 million m3 in 2017 to an estimated 4.7 million m3 in 2021. The importation of sawlogs for domestic sawmills has also declined over the same period, with local logs being used increasingly instead. The Japan Lumber Journal reports that the domestic share of total log consumption is now almost 80%.

However, during the first half of 2022, the declining lumber import trend turned around, with volumes increasing 18% y-o-y. Most of the increase was in shipments from Finland, Sweden, Chile, and Russia, while Canada reduced supply the most because of solid demand and higher prices for lumber in the US.

Sawmill Gross Margins

Sawmills worldwide can look back on a few years with historically high profits due to record high lumber prices and limited increases in wood raw-material costs. Gross margins, revenues from lumber sales and byproducts minus sawlog costs, have for sawmills on most continents been higher the past two years than during most of the period since 1995 when WRQ started tracking this indicator of profit levels.

The US lumber market saw the most dramatic fluctuations in gross margins in 2021 and 2022, when lumber prices saw unprecedented volatility. The Nordic countries' lumber prices stayed elevated in the first two quarters of 2022, resulting in high profits into the 2Q/22. After that, however, wood markets started to weaken domestically and internationally, and sawmills announced downtime during the fall.

Source: Wood Resources International

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Australian Forest Products Association’s CEO steps down

The Chair of the Board of Directors of the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) regretfully announces the coming departure of long-standing Chief Executive Officer, Ross Hampton. The Chair also announces the appointment of Hon Joel Fitzgibbon as Interim Chief Executive Officer who will guide AFPA whilst a search is conducted for a new Chief Executive Officer.

Chair Diana Gibbs said, “After a decade guiding AFPA in the role of CEO, Ross Hampton has announced that he plans to move to the United Kingdom. AFPA and the whole industry was very fortunate to secure Ross ten years ago when AFPA was less than two years old. Ross has overseen the growth of our Association from modest beginnings to being truly the influential, pan-industry, advocacy body the founders envisaged.

Ross has led AFPA into a deep and mutually supportive relationship with agriculture and helped place forest industries in the centre of the vital work of climate mitigation. Under his guidance, AFPA helped secure more than AU$300 million in new commitments for forest industries in the last election, including AU$100 million for a National Institute for Forest Products Innovation (NIFPI) in partnership with UTAS. The NIFPI will help shape the future of our industries for generations to come. Ross leaves with our thanks and best wishes.”

CEO Ross Hampton said, “It has been a great honour and privilege to work with the incredibly talented AFPA team members, our dedicated Directors and the hundreds I have met in our member companies. To a woman and man, they believe passionately in the place for sustainable forest industries in the environmental, social and economic life of our nation. There are some 80,000 people employed across the full value chain of forest industries from the truck drivers and machine operators to the scientists in their lab coats. Every morning I have gone to work thinking of them and how we can better their lives and help secure their futures”.

“My work has necessarily involved deep and ongoing connections with federal politicians and I am deeply indebted to each and every one of them as they have listened to our arguments and helped us co-create outcomes which are for the good of Australia. My special thanks go to the Ministers and Shadow Ministers, and Assistant Ministers and Shadow Assistant Ministers, as well as the Co-Convenors of our Federal Parliamentary Friendship group, who have had responsibility for forest industries across the last decade. I also pay tribute to the Members of the cross bench who have been so willing to open their doors to us. All these federal politicians have made their positive mark on our shared future.”

Diana Gibbs said, “Whilst Ross will remain as CEO until early next year, the search will begin immediately for our next CEO. We will cast the net very widely and look to ensure continuity and even more successes for AFPA in the years to come.”

Source: AFPA

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Big data modelling provides forest fuels mapping

Modelling and mapping fire-vulnerable forest vegetation across millions of acres in California, scientists at the University of Nevada, Reno are using a variety of new technologies with massive amounts of data and computational power. This research will help optimize fuel management to reduce fire risk, support carbon sequestration and improve water quality.

The research team, led by Jonathan Greenberg and Erin Hanan in the University’s College of Agriculture, Biotechnology & Natural Resources, is working on a set of interrelated initiatives that are collectively called the "GigaFire Project." Their overarching goal is to understand, using remote sensing technology and process-based models, how vegetation and fuels are changing over large landscapes.

Greenberg and Hanan are researchers with the College’s Experiment Station and Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Science. Their research will produce statewide and localized fuel maps that will help identify where fire risk is the greatest. They will also inform modelling scenarios designed to predict how management can mitigate fire risk while also promoting carbon retention and water security.

With US$570,000 from the California Air Resources Board and nearly US$1.8 million from CAL FIRE, the researchers are mapping surface and canopy fuels across the state using:

• multi-sensor remote sensing data with Landsat and Airborne LiDAR (LiDAR stands for Light Detecting And Ranging, and is a remote sensing method used to examine the three dimensional structure of vegetation);
• field-based sampling with terrestrial laser scanning and ground based photogrammetry (the use of photography in surveying and mapping to measure distances between objects) to calibrate and validate changes over time;
• machine learning; and
• cloud and high-performance computing to map surface fuel model types, canopy base height, and canopy bulk density across the state.

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Biochar incinerator tested for forest thinning

It looks like a dumpster fire in the forest.

A new take on disposing of small trees and branches cut down during forest-thinning projects aims to turn the material into "biochar" that locks carbon into the ground and enhances dirt. It all depends on a massive "Carbonator," an incinerator resembling an industrial garbage bin on tank tracks that can drive into the forest.

It's unclear if the method will make any money or save any soil at scale. Nevertheless, a variety of land management agencies, stewardship groups, scientists and landowners believe it shows promise.

By locking carbon into the ground, with the added bonus of enhancing water retention and crop yield, growers applying biochar could begin earning income from carbon sequestration efforts. Before the method can be put into wide use in forests, local land managers, stakeholder groups, ranchers and scientists involved in this demonstration project must first figure out whether it's even viable.

According to proponents, using a Carbonator to create biochar produces significantly less smoke than the typical burning of slash piles. That could greatly reduce pollution in nearby airsheds and expand the burn window into times when slash burning isn't allowed.

Biochar production, which uses a specialized incinerator to create charcoal in place of the conventional open-burning of slash piles, is being tested in a thinning project near Gold Creek northeast of Missoula. The project area is a mixture of parcels owned by The Nature Conservancy, which is spearheading the project, and lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management.

Much of the land was formerly logged by Plum Creek Timber. None of the project land is being commercially logged. On Tuesday, private landowners and representatives from the University of Montana, U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, The Nature Conservancy, Blackfoot Challenge and a forestry company gathered at the site — amid snow flurries and braving a muddy logging road — to see biochar production in progress.

Biochar is "basically any organic material you heat up in the absence of oxygen," according to Barry Dutton, a soil scientist contracted by the Blackfoot Challenge to help analyse the project. "Biochar is essentially charcoal. It's almost identical to charcoal."

Biochar greatly increases water retention and crop yield of treated soils through microscopic pockmarks that hold water and nutrients. It's mixed into soil either by tilling it into the ground or broadcast-spreading it on the surface. But it's not a fertilizer.

Photo: Tom Elder of Greenside Construction uses an excavator to load small trees into a Tigercat 6050 incinerator used to make biochar near Gold Creek, northeast of Missoula, on Oct. 25, 2022. This incinerator, designed specifically to make biochar, is the first ever made by Tigercat — serial number 1 — and one of only about seven in existence in the U.S., Joshua Murdock, Missoulian

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Hybrid tree wrongly sold as ‘sterile’

'We can’t get it wrong again' - a tree touted as a potential answer to New Zealand's wilding pine problem has been being sold as something it's not.

A hybrid pine variety in huge demand has been labelled sterile and unable to spread without any evidence to support the claim. With many southern farmers needing to be able to plant income-earning, carbon-sequestering tree blocks, the confusion over the hybrid’s status has highlighted a widespread desire for the Government to let sterile trees out of the lab and into production.

The relatively new Pinus radiata x attenuata hybrid is being snapped up due to its ability to thrive in the harsh conditions of the South Island high country. It is believed to have a lower spreading risk than many commercial forestry trees such as Douglas Fir and Pinus radiata, but is not sterile, according to government scientists and seed suppliers.

Next year’s crop of the hybrid is sold out and individual seedlings, until yesterday, had been listed at $13 each - compared to 90 cents each for standard Radiata pine - at Christchurch nursery Southern Woods.

Marketing manager Rico Mannall said this week, when informed of the discrepancy by Newsroom, that it was unclear how the incorrect ‘sterile’ labelling had occurred. It had been present before he started in the role, he said, but past purchasers of the hybrid, all based in Canterbury, would now be notified and corrections made to sales materials.

The hybrid had been sold for the past three years at around 2500 trees per year, mainly for trials, Mannall said. Ngāi Tahu-owned tree seed supplier, Proseed, confirms the hybrid is not sterile. They say, however, that if a sterile tree could be made available it would be game-changer for the southern forestry industry.

“This hybrid is not sterile. Just like radiata pines, it produces serotinous cones that require high temperatures to open,” General manager Shaf van Ballekom told Newsroom. Van Bellekom says the hybrid is classed in the same category as radiata pine when wilding spread risks are assessed. Proseed had not seen any spread so far, however, at high country planting sites.

“Sterile trees would be a great solution to help solve issues of wilding pine, but we understand the only possible avenue to undertake this for our current suite of plantation species would be through genetic modification technology. This is currently prohibited in New Zealand.”

Many say New Zealand’s legislation around gene editing - the process by which sterile trees have likely now been created ‘in the lab’ - are outdated and overly stringent.

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Source: Newsroom

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Myrtle rust, the silent killer

This video introduces myrtle rust and its cultural, social and ecological effects on Australia's native environment. Indigenous rangers, scientists and landowners share their first-hand stories of this fungal disease and its impact on our precious species and landscapes. We learn about their efforts to bring species back from the brink of extinction and the value of protecting our unique ecosystems from biosecurity threats for generations to come.


• Myrtle rust, caused by the exotic fungus Austropuccinia psidii, is native to South America. It was first detected in Australia in April 2010 in NSW, spreading rapidly to other parts of Australia.

• The disease affects plant species in the family Myrtaceae and attacks new growth, with symptoms developing quickly on new shoots, and young leaves and stems.

• Myrtle rust is affecting more than 380 Australian species, with sixteen species predicted to become extinct within a generation and many more are in decline.

- Time is very short for some species that are severely impacted by Myrtle rust, but there are meaningful conservation actions that can still be taken.

Overarching message:

• Global interconnectedness is increasing the risk of a new threat to Australia’s irreplaceable biological heritage: exotic plant and animal diseases to which native Australian biota may have no adaptive resistance. Some of these diseases are broad-spectrum, affecting many native species.

• Myrtle rust is a new threat of this type. This plant disease, caused by an introduced fungal pathogen, affects plant species in the Myrtle family (Myrtaceae), which includes paperbarks, tea trees, eucalypts, and lillypillies. These are key, and often dominant, species in many Australian ecosystems.

- Our entire myrtaceous flora is largely ‘naive’ to rust-fungi pathogens. Naïve hosts do not have a coevolved disease resistance against myrtle rust

Supporting messages:

• The family Myrtaceae is hugely important in Australian ecosystems and is structurally and floristically dominant in most Australian ecosystems, contributing a high proportion to the plant biomass and diversity of the continent.

• Members of the Myrtaceae are critically important in providing habitat, shelter, breeding sites, and food sources for a wide range of insectivorous and vertebrate fauna, epiphytic flora, fungi (including lichens) and other micro-organisms.

• The disease affects trees of all sizes and ages - killing seedlings, saplings and even established, old trees. Infection of flowers and fruit prevents the regeneration of plants. Broader ecological consequences are expected from the disease.

• The impacts of myrtle rust on Indigenous Communities are broader than ecological and industry values. Country, Culture and Community are all connected, they are not separate.

• There are multiple strains of myrtle rust not yet present in Australia or Oceania, which may affect a broader range of hosts or be more aggressive on certain species than the pandemic strain.

• A National Action Plan for Myrtle Rust in Australia identifies the priority research and actions needed to tackle the environmental impacts of the pathogen.

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Buy and Sell

... and one to end the week on ... the furniture dealer

Murphy, a furniture dealer from Dublin, decided to expand the line of furniture in his store, so he decided to go to Paris to see what he could find.

After arriving in Paris, he visited with some manufacturers and selected a line that he thought would sell well back home. To celebrate the new acquisition, he decided to visit a small bistro and have a glass of wine.

As he sat enjoying his wine, he noticed that the small place was quite crowded, and that the other chair at his table was the only vacant seat in the house.

Before long, a very beautiful young Parisian girl came to his table, asked him something in French (which Murphy could not understand), so he motioned to the vacant chair and invited her to sit down.

He tried to speak to her in English, but she did not speak his language. After a couple of minutes of trying to communicate with her, he took a napkin and drew a picture of a wine glass and showed it to her. She nodded, so he ordered her a glass of wine.

After sitting together at the table for a while, he took another napkin, and drew a picture of a plate with food on it, and she nodded. They left the bistro and found a quiet cafe that featured a small group playing romantic music.

They ordered dinner, after which he took another napkin and drew a picture of a couple dancing. She nodded, and they got up to dance. They danced until the cafe closed and the band was packing up.

Back at their table, the young lady took a napkin and drew a picture of a four- poster bed.

To this day, Murphy has no idea how she figured out he was in the furniture business.

And along the same lines. Today a salesman in a furniture store told me “This couch will seat 5 people without any problems”

I said “Where the hell am I going to find 5 people without any problems.”

Finally, one more. Electric Car Owners Alert.

Some important news for electric car users.

It was announced today that, if you break down in an electric car, you can still use the AA.

But if you break down in a small electric car, you have to use the AAA.

On that note, enjoy your weekend. Cheers.

Brent Apthorp
Editor, Friday Offcuts
PO Box 904, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand
Tel: +64 3 470 1902
Mob: +64 21 227 5177


John Stulen
PO Box 1230, Rotorua, 3040
Tel: +64 7 921 1381
Mob: +64 27 275 8011

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

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