WoodWeek – 25 March 2015

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Greetings from your WoodWeek news team.
This week we have local and international wood industry news updates for you. If you have news of value to people working “inside the forest gate” please share it with us. The most urgent news you need to act on is probably the awards nominations for your hard- working mates in the East Coast region. Nominations close at the end of the week for the Eastland Wood Council Forestry Awards. Today we have tips for people making nominations.

In market news today, with log stocks in excess of 4 million cubic metres in China, prices for export log grades are now easing in that market. On the other hand, in local markets, pruned log prices have continued to rise due to high demand and localised short supply.

Over the weekend there were local celebrations to mark the International Day of Forests. The day is used to raise awareness of the importance of forests and trees in ensuring the sustainability of ecosystems, providing valuable goods and services, and supporting livelihoods. NZ’s associate minister for primary industries got into it and planted a tree.

Meanwhile the call from the forest industry asked for a bit more:
“What we are looking for is a real carbon price that reflects the value of tree planting. Not one that has been watered down. We need consistent long-term policies that give forest owners the confidence to retain existing forests and plant new ones,” says Forest Owners Association president, Paul Nicholls.

In technology news we have updates on MobileTECH – a primary industries technology focus conference focused on mobile technologies. Also, coming in June, we are hosting the HarvestTECH conference. It has rapidly gained a reputation for being the leading global focal point for steep slope harvesting technologies.

Also, John Deere are striving to teach their customers about the value of their ‘WorkSight' systems - access to which can help increase productivity and performance for their businesses. The company says they created these animations with one goal in mind – increasing customers' uptime and productivity.

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NZ export log prices record first drop in eight months

New Zealand export log prices dropped for the first time in eight months as shipments to China, the nation's largest market, exceed demand, resulting in a build up of inventory on Chinese ports.

The average wharf gate price for New Zealand A-grade logs fell to $106 a tonne, from $110 a tonne in February, marking the first decline since July 2014, according to AgriHQ's monthly survey of exporters, forest owners and sawmillers. The AgriHQ Log Price Indicator, which measures average log prices weighted by grade, also posted its first decline in eight months, falling to 96.58 from 97.95 in February.

The price for New Zealand A-grade logs delivered to China are at the lowest level since AgriHQ started tracking the grade in February 2012. In recent months, New Zealand log prices had been propped up by a decline in shipping costs and a weaker local currency even though demand in China had slowed.

"For the first time in eight months, export returns for New Zealand exporters have dropped, as the drops in the currency and shipping costs failed to offset the decline in prices for logs delivered to China," said AgriHQ forestry analyst Ivan Luketina. "Log prices in China have fallen due to deliveries continuing to outweigh sales off ports, especially during the quiet Chinese New Year period."

Luketina said Chinese inventories of logs on ports now exceed 4 million cubic metres, instead of the usual level closer to 2 million cubic metres.

Once inventories are over 4 million cubic metres, some ports will start to run out of room which will lead to delays in unloading. That means prices tend to drop until the situation is corrected, he said.

Meanwhile, pruned log prices have continued to rise due to high demand and localised short supply, he said.

"There is very tight supply in the Central North Island, and that has pushed prices up to between $155-$165 a tonne. A similar issue is being seen for structural logs in Canterbury, where S1 logs are in very short supply," Luketina said.

Source: Business Desk via Scoop News

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International Forest Day - MP plants tree

Associate Minister for Primary Industries Jo Goodhew marked United Nations International Day of Forests at the Methven A&P show on Saturday, by planting a maple tree with industry representatives.

“New Zealand is a proud producer of sustainable timber products,” Mrs Goodhew says. “Today is a reminder of the contribution New Zealand forests make to both the environment and the economy.”

Our forests cover one third of New Zealand, and remain our third largest export earner.

“Leading into the 2020s, there is the potential for a 40 per cent increase in log production. A challenge to industry is to move wood products out of the commodity basket and up the value chain,” Mrs Goodhew says.

“Currently we are missing the opportunity to supply high value wood products to the world because more than 50 per cent of our logs leave our shores unprocessed.

“Canterbury University has developed low-damage design building systems using engineered timber which has achieved world-wide recognition. New Zealand needs more designers and engineers working in this space to design more of these types of buildings, and grow the sector,” says Mrs Goodhew.

“Today we can promote the forestry sector by planting a tree and encouraging both our forests and the forestry industry to grow and develop.”

International Day of Forests is celebrated around the world to raise awareness of the importance of forests and trees in ensuring the sustainability of ecosystems, providing valuable goods and services, and supporting livelihoods.

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East Coast Awards nominations closing soon

Eastland Wood Council Forestry Awards - Tips for people making nominations Please be prompt - We need your nominations this week - as nominations close Friday 27 March.

Clearly Identify the Category you are nominating your person for:
*Training Excellence
*Skilled Professional
*Industry Excellence

Reason for nomination (More than 500 words and less than 1000)

Personal Profile (must be less than 500 words)
Include past and present employment, what sort of person are they, how do they get on within the company, their crews or their community. The profile and endorsements are the best indicators of their skills/personality etc.

List Qualifications - Full details are not required but a summary is important.
For any of the Industry Excellence Awards, please demonstrate with these categories the challenges or examples of why this nominee is being put forward. Make it a very clear and obvious story. Suggest the positive impacts that the nominee has made and the outcomes.

Lastly please provide a photo - Put this at the start of the nomination maybe or send it to prue@eastlandwood.co.nz (It must be a high resolution image as it will go up on the screen at the event)

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Global call to value forest carbon

Forest owners and wood processors world-wide are calling for governments to recognise the role of forests and wood products in combating climate change. Forests and climate change is the theme of the 2015 United Nations International Day of Forests, Saturday 21 March.

“What we are looking for is a real carbon price that reflects the value of tree planting. Not one that has been watered down. We need consistent long-term policies that give forest owners the confidence to retain existing forests and plant new ones,” says Forest Owners Association president Paul Nicholls.

Both measures are promoted globally by the International Council of Forest and Paper Associations. The council says a clear long-term agreement is needed globally in order to reap the positive contributions of forests and forest products in combating climate change.

ICFPA president Donna Harman says carbon dioxide is absorbed from the atmosphere while trees are growing, remains stored when trees are used to make forest products, and that storage can be prolonged through recycling.

“In addition, the industry plays an important role in reducing dependence on fossil fuels. Globally its own greenhouse gas emissions are now 16 per cent below 2005 levels, with 58 per cent of on-site energy needs met from biomass and renewable energy. Some 56 percent of all paper produced is now recovered and recycled, up from 46 per cent in 2000.”

Nicholls says New Zealand needs to be lobbying in global forums for policies that provide forest owners with an income for the ecosystem services they provide. It also needs to be walking the talk by having these policies in place at home.

UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon says political commitment at the highest levels is needed, along with smart policies and innovative partnerships, to build a sustainable, climate-resilient future for all. He says that means investing in the world's forests.

“While New Zealand has an Emissions Trading Scheme it has been watered-down to such an extent that in each of the last two years, we estimate that about 10,000 hectares were deforested – a figure that under existing policy settings could climb rapidly from 2020 when forests planted in the 1990s are harvested,” Nicholls says.

He says the loss of forests and their conversion to farming results in a climate double-whammy. Deforestation results in a greenhouse gas spike, then there are ongoing emissions from the new land use.

As a forester, he says it personally saddens him to see large-scale deforestation, but the owners are simply responding to government policies and market signals.

“For this situation to be reversed our major political parties need to re-think their land-use policies and put the underlying principles of the RMA into practice.

“Forest owners need to be rewarded, not penalised, for the eco-system services their forests provide the country and other land users.”

He says the message that successive governments and regional councils have been giving land owners is that when there is an environmental issue, livestock farming will always be advantaged as a land use over forestry.

“Time after time, the environmental services provided by forestry are either devalued – as with carbon in post-1989 forests – or nationalised – as with nitrogen from livestock in the Lake Taupo catchment.

“Such policies have the effect of raising land values for farmland, making it unaffordable for forest planting. Secondly, they reduce the value of forest land relative to other land uses. It’s a powerful incentive not to plant trees.

“As if this was not enough, we now have some farmer groups lobbying to prevent further dairy conversions in some catchments. Instead of calling for nitrogen emissions to be allocated evenly to all land users in the catchment, which would be in accord with RMA principles, they are in effect signalling to forest owners to convert to dairy while they still have time.”

Nicholls says the irony is that increased forest planting is a win for the economy and a win for the environment.

“Forestry’s contribution to GDP per hectare is nearly double that of dry stock pastoral farming. The return on investment is also typically much higher, if increases in land value are excluded.”

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John Deere releases WorkSight video series

As online video content continues its surge in popularity, John Deere is utilizing the platform to highlight the advantage of data analysis for machine optimisation using John Deere WorkSight™ technologies.

"John Deere WorkSight is a tool that owners and operators are only just beginning to see its full potential," said Liz Quinn, product marketing manager, John Deere WorkSight, John Deere Construction & Forestry. "Many of our customers do not realize the amount of data they have access to that can help increase productivity and performance for their businesses. We created these animations with one goal in mind – increasing our customers' uptime and productivity."

The Construction & Forestry Division produced a series of videos to help owners, operators, and fleet managers understand the many benefits of WorkSight and how it optimizes their machines, uptime and jobsites. The videos provide a bite-sized, topic-specific overview on subjects that are difficult to see and understand.

John Deere WorkSight is a technology package that includes JDLink machine monitoring system, machine health prognostics, remote diagnostics, payload weighing, and grade control. Three years of the JDLink Ultimate machine monitoring system, machine health prognostics, and remote diagnostic and programming capability comes standard on almost all new John Deere construction machines. Grade control choices and four-wheel-drive loader payload weighing choices carry distinct option pricing.

For more information about John Deere WorkSight visit www.JohnDeere.com/WorkSight.

As part of the HarvestTECH 2015 – Steep Slope Harvesting event planned for Rotorua, NZ on 24-25 June, Richard Lawler, Director, Engineering Forestry Equipment from John Deere Construction & Forestry Division from the US will be outlining some of the very latest developments from the company. Full details on the full programme can be found on the event website, www.harvestTECH.events.

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Jobs go with Harvestpro

A forestry worker who was made unemployed without warning last week by the contractor HarvestPro says the company owes him thousands of dollars.

But he says he doesn't expect to see a penny of it.

HarvestPro's website said it employed more than 200 people in Northland and Gisborne.

The man, who asked not to be named, said he arrived for work at HarvestPro's Northland site on Thursday and was stunned to see debt collectors removing the company's machinery.

"We turned up for work on the Thursday morning - like we do every day - and we have four trucks of repossession men waiting there for us without no notice, no warning from management," he said.

"They told us the company's got bills to pay.

"I signed a contract where they're supposed to give me two week's notice, but we've just heard nothing."

He said he understood all of the company's Northland staff were now without jobs. GE Finance confirmed it had repossesed equipment owned by Kiwi Forestry International, which was the parent company of HarvestPro.

HarvestPro has not yet commented publicly.

The man, who had worked for HarvestPro for about two years, said he had found new employment since last week, but many of his colleagues had not been so lucky.


Source: Radio NZ

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Fire Detection for Drive-to-tree Feller Bunchers and Mulchers

Compared to other mobile industrial machines, equipment used in forestry has an above average risk of being damaged or destroyed by fire.

Feller bunchers and mulchers, both track and wheel, are at the most risk. These machines work in the midst of airborne forest debris or ground vegetation that falls or is kicked up by the tires, felling saw or mulching attachment. Needles, leaves, twigs and chips can become trapped inside the machine’s engine, cooling and hydraulic compartments. Left to possibly absorb slow leaking hydraulic oil or diesel fuel and held near high temperature, the heightened risk of fire is not difficult to understand.

Logging industry fire safety publications always advise that regular and thorough removal of accumulations of woody debris from all areas of the forestry machines is without question the single best fire prevention maintenance practice. Yet all too often this recommendation is ignored.

Daily maintenance

• Turn the cab key switch to the RUN position and press the cab instrument panel ‘Bulb Test’ switch to confirm that the ‘Fire Detected’ warning light and buzzer (and all other instrument panel warning lights and horn) are operating properly. This also confirms continuity of the fire detection system wiring.

• Investigate and correct any warning light, buzzer or horn malfunction before placing the machine back to work. If any parts are replaced then the Monthly System Maintenance Procedure (see below) must also be completed to confirm that the complete fire detection system is fully operational.

Weekly maintenance

• While performing machine maintenance operations, visually inspect for damage to the heat detectors and their mountings. Ensure that the system wiring is not cut, pinched, frayed, kinked or loose.

• Ensure that the heat detectors are clean and free of debris, grease and dirt.

• Damaged parts should be replaced immediately. In addition, the Monthly System Maintenance Procedure must also be completed.

• Note in your machine maintenance records that all of the above work has been completed. Proper service documentation can be extremely important in maintaining your fire insurance coverage or if making a fire insurance claim.

Monthly maintenance

• Turn the cab key switch to the RUN position and use a heat gun to apply heat to each of the three heat detectors for 30–40 seconds. Refer to the Operator’s Manual for more specific information. Do not use any type of flame torch to heat test the detectors. The intense heat of the flame can damage the detector.

• As the temperature at each detector reaches 177ºC (350ºF), the ‘Fire Detected’ warning light and buzzer as well as the ‘Stop Light’ (Engine) and warning horn should activate Stop heating the detector and shortly thereafter as the detector cools, the warning lights, buzzer and horn should go off. If not, investigation and corrective action is required. The purpose of this procedure is to confirm proper heat activation and reset of the heat detectors.

• Note in your machine maintenance records that all of the above work has been completed.

See more at: http://www.tigercat.com/safety/fire-detection-drive-tree-feller- bunchers-mulchers/

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High tech monitoring of old growth Tasmanian forests

Drones, laser scanners, planes and sharp shooters have been put to work in the Tasmanian forest to better understand the environmental effects of forest management regimes.

Researchers from The University of Queensland worked with CSIRO, Forestry Tasmania and the University of Tasmania to comprehensively measure and assess a 25 square kilometre area known as the Warra Tall Eucalypt SuperSite. UQ’s Dr Peter Scarth was part of the team who spent a week in the field capturing 3D scans, leaf samples and aerial images of the site.

“The Warra Tall Eucalypt SuperSite we studied is partly within the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage area, which is managed for conservation, and partly within State forest, which is managed for multiple purposes including wood production,” Dr Scarth said.

“These forests are among the most productive ecosystems in the world and their management generates a high level of social and political interest. By consistently monitoring and comparing structural and biodiversity indicators across the World Heritage and State forest areas, we can determine the long-term effects of forest management regimes and measure how environmental change is affecting the forest.”

The researchers used advanced laser scanners to capture the 3D structure of the forest down to individual leaf detail; an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (or drone) to collect infrared images, which allowed them to distinguish between tree species; and a tree climber and sharp shooter to collect sample leaves from high in the canopy to study the chemical composition.

“Parts of this forest have remained unburnt for over 150 years, but other sites have been burnt in more recent times giving us a useful comparison to understand the effects of fire management,” Dr Scarth said. “This work was a significant investment of time and money so we will be making all the data we collected freely available for others to access and use. We hope it will contribute to improving environmental monitoring at local, state and national levels.”

The project was supported by the Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network, which manages 10 ‘SuperSites’ – areas that represent significant ecosystems – across Australia. These sites are consistently monitored to detect changes to flora, fauna and environmental processes in order to understand the response of these ecosystems to environmental change.

Image: Drone in Tasmania Forest

For more on this kind of technology, and other new developments in areas of Agriculture right through to Forestry, make sure you register for MobileTECH 2015. MobileTECH is running in both New Zealand and Australia towards the end of April. For more information and to register, visit mobiletech.events.

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Vale Ben Mitai

WoodWeek wishes to acknowledge the passing of long-time forestry leader - Ben Mitai. Ben passed away at Glen Eagles Hospital in Singapore on 8 March. Many current industry people will have worked with Ben and many others - at KLC (Kaingaroa Logging Company) in Murupara.

Ben's tangi was held at the Rangitahi Marae. Many of his friends and colleagues from the days of the New Zealand Forest Service were on hand to farewell him.

The extends our deepest sympathy to Ben's family and extended family, as they seek to come to terms with this tragic and unexpected loss.

Attached are some photos from the tangi.

In November 2013 Ben was appointed as Managing Director of Toba Pulp. Below is an extract from the ceremony marking his appointment to that role:

Medan - Toba Pulp, pulp industry in Parmaksian, Toba Samosir, appointed a new Managing Director in the General Meeting of Shareholders.

The new Managing Director of PT Toba Pulp Lestari Tbk, is a senior professional in forestry from Rotorua, New Zealand. He is a native Maori. He graduated from Industrial Engineering in Central Institute of Technology in Wellington, and the alumnus of Executive Management in NZ Administrative Staff College in Masterton.

"Pak Ben" his nickname - experienced in handling forestry in several countries. For 16 years from 1970 he was the logging superintendent in Tasman forest in Murupara, New Zealand. Then he became supply wood manager in the forest industry in Lautoka, Fiji.

In 1991 Ben started his working experience in Indonesia, a country which is very famous for its tropical climate, which is in Toba Pulp in Porsea (lately this district has become Parmaksian because of the land expansion). That’s why Ben, on becoming the Managing Director is no longer considered a "newbie."

In Porsea Ben began to improve his Indonesian language ability, before dealing with forestry projects as an operational manager in the Indonesian company at Kalimantan for 6 years until 2003. He returned to New Zealand in 2005 as the head of the Forestry & Wood Processing school, at the Waiariki Institute of Technology in his hometown, Rotorua.

But later on, he return to Indonesia (Riau), in 2005, to handle a variety of positions such as education and development, procurement of raw materials, and nursery, before finally, in last April, joined TobaPulp management for the second time.

Among the Toba Pulp forestry employees, "Pak Ben" is known to join them in the industrial plantation forest (HTI) location, discuss in detail about everything that is needed to make sure that the “HTI plantation” can produce. The discussion while eating rice, with salty fish and sambal belacan on the sidelines of the eucalyptus trees (Eucalyptus sp), often led to strategic conclusions.

Source: Various including TobaPulp

See photos from Ben's tangi>>

That's all for our mid-week wood news roundup.

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Have a safe and prosperous week.

John Stulen

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