WoodWeek – 20 June 2018

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Greetings from your WoodWeek news team. This week we’ve got a positive twist on the subject of wood wastes, be they on a flood plain on the East Coast or not. Local innovators at CarbonScape in Marlborough have made another breakthrough in converting wood waste to graphite – a step beyond their original plan to make activated carbon.

We previously reported on the company in 2010. Back then, the Blenheim-based company featured in British futurologist Mark Stevenson’s book on future technology trends to watch globally. In 2011 they claimed a world-first, pioneering green technology, with a one-step process to cheaply produce highly porous charcoal, known as activated carbon.

Speaking of new technology, this week hundreds of leading industry specialists are gathering today and tomorrow for our FIEA Woodflow Logistics Conference in Melbourne. There is still time to register for the Rotorua version of this event running next week at the Distinction Hotel. Register at www.woodflow.events.

When it comes to timing, Sir Bob Jones has the knack. His quick move to use engineered wood in a new commercial building in Wellington again shows excellent timing of commercial decisions. It’s catching on everywhere.

Now many other developers are moving to build engineered wood buildings. The early movers know the two key reasons: strength and sustainability. In August a popular conference for developers in Rotorua will showcase where commercial wood trends are heading. Registrations are now open at www.connexevents.com/cpetc2018.

Meanwhile, back at the Beehive, new legislation that brings forestry rights into the overseas investment regime will help promote high-quality foreign investment that puts more emphasis on genuine benefits for New Zealanders, Forestry Minister Shane Jones says.

“The Bill recognises the importance of forestry to New Zealanders and I’m confident it’s struck the right balance that will boost forestry investment while ensuring the regime cannot be bypassed,” Shane Jones said.

Well, that’s a lot nicer than what ‘Jonesy’ had to say last week about Fonterra’s chairman isn’t it?

Forest Industry Safety & Technology 2018 is FIEA’s next conference series coming in early August. You can capitalise on discounted early-bird registration rates until 30 June. This popular conference features practical speakers on both crew culture and automation as techniques to improve safety and productivity concurrently. Go to www.forestsafety.events now to register. It’s proving very popular already!

In Australia a new study in NSW found the softwood plantation industry in the South West Slopes contributed $1.05 billion in direct sales in 2015-16, rising to $2.13 billion after including flow-on effects. It directly employed almost 2000 people, roughly two thirds in processing wood and paper, and one third in growing and harvest.

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Waste to 'green' graphite breakthough

Company develops 'green' graphite from forestry waste - A Marlborough company may have struck gold with its own modern-day philosopher's stone, turning waste sawdust into valuable graphite.

Graphite is considered a 'strategic mineral' by the United States for its use in many applications, such as the significant component of lithium ion batteries.

CarbonScape chief executive Oliver Foster said there was a way to go before commercial production of graphite but producing the amount they had so far had been a significant milestone.

More than 1 million tonnes of graphite was mined worldwide in 2016, with the bulk coming from China.

The majority of synthetic graphite was also produced in China using a high-energy, intensive process using petroleum pitch and tar, taking carbon out of the ground.

CarbonScape head of research and development Greg Conner said producing graphite normally took 11 weeks and temperatures of 2800 degree Celsius.

More >>

Source: Marlborough Express

For more information, read this PDF or this PDF.

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Government welcomes investors

High-quality forestry investment welcomed - New legislation that brings forestry rights into the overseas investment regime will help promote high-quality foreign investment that puts more emphasis on genuine benefits for New Zealanders, Forestry Minister Shane Jones says.

“The Bill recognises the importance of forestry to New Zealanders and I’m confident it’s struck the right balance that will boost forestry investment while ensuring the regime cannot be bypassed,” Shane Jones said.

“High-quality overseas investment in forestry will be an important part of achieving the Government’s One Billion Trees planting programme and will also promote economic development opportunities in our regions.

“This Government wants to see a strong and flourishing forestry sector that will create and protect jobs across the country and contribute to our climate change targets.

“Following the Select Committee’s review and intensive consultation with stakeholders, some key changes have been made to the Bill, including increasing investors’ flexibility in obtaining consent and removing unnecessary red tape.

“Investors can now choose from any of three different tests when seeking to acquire forestry land or rights. The Bill also ensures that investors and landowners can make minor changes to their agreements without unnecessarily having to return to the Government to obtain consent.

“I’m pleased with the approach the Bill takes with regards to overseas investment into forestry and believe the sector as a whole has an exciting future ahead,” Shane Jones said.

The Bill will now continue its passage through Parliament. Given the Bill’s provisions are a cornerstone of the Government’s policy approach, its passage could well be complete by the end of the year.

The Government will report to Parliament on the operation and effectiveness of these amendments two years after the new regime starts.

More information on the proposed regime can be found with the link below:

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Forestry has to be sustainable

With issues relating to the environmental effects of forestry in the East Coast region this month we have some insight from forestry advocate Henry Koia.

In an opinion piece on Friday in the Gisborne Herald, he wrote: "I am an advocate for plantation forestry sustainability. It provides an opportunity for forest- based communities across the regions to utilise their natural resources as a basis for long-term economic, social and environmental health.

Plantation forestry essentially entails growing trees for cropping primarily for commercial purposes. One of its main benefits is job creation, and not just inside the forest gate but outside it through downstream processing, manufacturing and industry-servicing activity. At the global level, where current demand for forest products is strong and is driving export growth, the competitive nature of plantation forestry and the drive to maximise value recovery can be a cut-throat game. But when you spoon “sustainability” into the mix, everything changes.

I like to view plantation forestry sustainability simply as the ability to successfully compete in the plantation forestry sector indefinitely. This entails focusing on strengthening the three pillars of sustainability — social (people), environmental (planet), and economic (profits). If any one of the pillars is neglected, the whole system may crash.

For example, if too much weight is accorded to profits at the expense of the environment, or the benefits to local people by, say, replacing workers with machines, then foresters risk having their social licence to operate revoked by those communities that are adversely affected by its profit-heavy practices.

A plantation forestry sustainability indicator is an indicator that is useful in monitoring, making decisions about, or measuring progress towards sustainability. A high forestry death toll; a critical shortage of in-forest skills; poor training outcomes; poor working conditions; and torrential rain events that wash tonnes of woody debris and forestry slash on to roads, bridges and properties, are all key sustainability indicators. My assessment of these indicators unequivocally concludes that the current business model is unsustainable. An underlying problem, I would suggest, is a lack of effective strategic leadership.

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Source: Henry Koia & Gisborne Herald

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Developers seeing the light

Developers recognise wood building advantages - When comes to timing Sir Bob Jones certainly has the knack. With his widely-publicised move to have a major commercial building in Wellington designed using wood for earthquake resistance he has again affirmed his shrewdness for timing of commercial decisions. It is now catching on around the country.

Just as Jones has chosen a mainly wood structure for his offer tower rebuild in central business district of Wellington, developers up and down the country are moving quickly to capitalise on the benefits of engineered wood structures. As the engineers and architects leading the wood renaissance know, there are two key reasons why wood is soaring in popularity.

First and foremost the engineering of wood for structures has grown rapidly as technology has made it more economical to manufacture large beams and panels for commercial buildings. More and more developers are recognising the advantages of cross-laminated timber (CLT) – the new wonder product for both flooring structures as well as walls, both with excellent earthquake resistant properties.

The second major breakthrough has come with more commercial acceptance of the need for sustainable materials to be used in office towers. Leading edge research in nearby Australia has confirmed that people working in wood buildings are happier and more productive than those in traditional concrete or steel structures.

“People tell the researchers they just feel better and more energised when working in spaces enclosed in real wood,” says John Stulen, engineer and conference director for the 3rd annual “Changing Perceptions” engineered wood conference.

With this rapidly growing industry-leading conference running for the third time, Stulen and his team at Innovatek say they are delighted to have a technical conference programme that’s now 100% devoted to engineered wood projects in New Zealand.

“Over the past 2 years, we were fortunate to hear from leading engineers and project managers from Australia and Canada. Each time our audiences have asked for more New Zealand commercial projects, so we’re delighted to showcase exactly that this year,” says Stulen. “We were overwhelmed with the call for speakers this year – all local projects.”

The conference has grown since 2016 and now attracts a wide audience of architects, engineers, developers, quantity surveyors and specifiers, as well as building officials and leading specialist trades, focused on commercial buildings; like electricians and plumbers and heating/ventilating/air conditioning specialist and leading practitioners.

The “Changing Perceptions” Conference is full one-day programme on 28 August at the Distinction Hotel in Rotorua. The event begins with an evening reception on 27 August.

To register go to: www.connexevents.com/cpetc2018

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Jones: More trees on farms

Funding for trees for Manawatu-Whanganui - The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) will provide almost $1 million to see 1,350,000 trees planted on private land this winter in the Manawatu-Whanganui region, Forestry and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced late last week.

The PGF will provide $970,600 which will be used to plant a range of tree species on 1000 hectares of erosion-prone farm land in the region.

“We have the landowners, the land and the seedlings and the Horizons Regional Council has the right relationships with landowners in their region so a partnership of this kind makes perfect sense,” Shane Jones said.

“The regional council will work with up to 40 landowners through their sustainable land use initiative to get trees into the ground in the next few months.

“The funding will also provide for up to 20 customised forest land appraisals for landowners considering planting trees on more than 50 hectares of their land – which would result in a significant change in land use on the farm.

“The establishment of more trees in the region will further lift productivity, incomes and help diversify land use. From this additional planting alone we expect at least ten permanent jobs to be created over the trees’ lifecycle.

“Some of these jobs will be situated in some of the most remote and isolated communities in the region where unemployment is high.

“Environmentally, the tree planting will reduce erosion and sedimentation in the area and enhance climate change mitigation and improved water quality.

“This is about more than an investment in trees – it’s an investment in people, our regional communities and our environment,” Shane Jones said.

Forestry is very important for the Manawatu-Whanganui’s economic and environmental viability. Since 2006, the Horizons Regional Council has planted over 15 million trees.

The region has the largest area of farmed hill country in New Zealand and has the biggest hill country erosion programme. The 1000 hectares will be in addition to the tree planting the regional council already does.

Witt the total cost of planting the 1000 hectares is just over $1.9 million. Additional funding of just under $392,000 will be provided by the Horizons Regional Council and landowners will contribute just under $563,000.

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'Trees That Count' to get funding

Trees That Count Set to Grow through Provincial Growth Fund Support - Conservation organisation, Trees That Count, is gearing up to its grow its programme thanks to a grant from the Government’s Provincial Growth Fund, as part of the Billion Trees programme.

Trees That Count’s goal is to mobilise New Zealanders to fund, plant and count the survival of 200 million new native trees over the next 10 years.

Trees That Count has been funded and supported to date by The Tindall Foundation, and more recently with business and public donations.

“We’re tremendously grateful for Crown support which will enable us to extend our community outreach and provide more training, resources and support to planting groups throughout New Zealand,” says Joris de Bres, Chair of the Project Crimson Trust, the well-established conservation organisation behind Trees That Count.

“We’ll also be able to target our efforts to attract further funding from the business sector to help planters increase their work. We’re keen to see as many companies and individuals as possible funding native trees for community projects.”

Trees That Count has two tools. One is a recently launched online community Marketplace which matches tree funding with planting groups who want more native trees to increase their work. More than 140,000 native trees have been funded or gifted so far.

“The Marketplace has attracted a lot of attention from some of New Zealand’s largest, most innovative companies. They see funding the planting of native trees as a way of making a real and enduring difference to our country for climate change, for biodiversity and for community building.”

The second tool is a national tree count which keeps track of and maps the number of native trees planted in New Zealand. Anybody can participate and add their planting activities at www.treesthatcount.co.nz. Over 14 million native trees have been added to the count since 2016.

“With support from everyone – business, philanthropy, government and everyday New Zealanders - we can create a cultural shift, where gifting or planting a native tree for any occasion becomes the Kiwi thing to do. That’s an exciting prospect,” says de Bres.

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Gisborne Council warned about risks

The Gisborne District Council was warned in a report more than seven months ago that forestry debris was likely to cause huge damage in another big storm.

The council commissioned the report after Cyclone Cook last year swept logs and slash down rivers - it predicted the destruction that's unfolded over the past week was highly likely.

To hear more, click here

Source: RNZ

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New study on softwood industry benefits

Counting the benefits of softwood plantations in the NSW South West Slopes and Central Tablelands - New research has detailed the millions of dollars and thousands of jobs generated by softwood plantations in the NSW South West Slopes and Central Tablelands.

The softwood plantation industry in the South West Slopes contributed $1.05 billion in direct sales in 2015-16, rising to $2.13 billion after including flow-on effects. It directly employed almost 2000 people, roughly two thirds in processing wood and paper, and one third in growing and harvest.

In the Central Tablelands, direct sales accounted for $265 million, rising to $700 million after flow-on effects and directly employed over 850 people.

These were among the key findings of a new industry snapshot funded by Forest & Wood Products Australia and the NSW State Government, and conducted by the University of Canberra in conjunction with consultancy EconSearch, a division of BDO.

The industry is an important contributor to the economy in several regional communities, and contributes to diversification of the economy in many regions.

The Local Government Area with the highest dependence on the softwood plantation industry for employment included Oberon in the Central Tablelands, where 18% of the total workforce is directly employed in the forest industry with other workers from nearby areas also commuting in.

ABS Census data shows a decline in total employment in the forest industry between 2006 and 2016, reflecting both increasing productivity in some parts of the industry and overall decline in size of other parts.

However, investment in the expansion of processing in the South West slopes meant that the decline in employment in that area between 2011 and 2016 was 4.3 per cent, compared to a 12.0% decline in the Central Tablelands during the same period.

NSW full-time forest industry workers were less likely than full-time workers employed in other industries in the two regions to earn low levels of income (6% of forest industry workers compared to 12% in the whole workforce), and more likely to earn high income compared to other workers (50% compared to 43%).

While forestry workers were relatively well paid, they also worked long hours, with 27 per cent reporting that they worked more than 49 hours a week in 2016.

Only 15 per cent of forestry workers were women, with little change in this figure between 2006 and 2016.

Forestry businesses in the area reported challenges in recruiting some types of workers, particularly high level managers (an issue for 94% of businesses), transport workers (67%), finance/book keeping staff (62%) and skilled machinery operators (60%).

Lead researcher Associate Professor Jacki Schirmer said that businesses reported that challenges in recent years also rising input costs, poor telecommunications and falling prices for goods and services.

“Most businesses (61%) felt demand would remain the same, and of the remaining businesses (26%) felt that demand would grow and (13%) that demand would reduce over the next 12 months.

“It is important to remember that the majority of forestry jobs are generated by the processing sector, as is the majority of the industry’s flow-on economic impact. This highlights the importance of local processing of wood and fibre for generation of jobs.”

Source: FWPA

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Tasmania: Forestry innovation grants open

Australia: Forestry innovation research grants open - The Australian and Tasmanian governments continue to support advances in a sustainable and productive forestry industry with wood product innovation set to grow the sector.

Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Senator Anne Ruston, and Tasmanian Minister for Resources, Guy Barnett, today called for applications for a share of $4 million in research grants through the National Institute for Forest Products Innovation Launceston Hub.

Grants will range from $50,000 to $500,000 for periods of up to three years. Minister Ruston said the forestry innovation hubs play a vital role in supporting cutting- edge research, fostering collaboration, boosting innovation, increasing profitability, maintaining jobs and growing the market, locally and nation-wide.

“This funding will open up new opportunities for innovative research into how we make the most of our forestry assets and maximise the contribution of the industry to our national and regional economies,” Minister Ruston said.

“We are looking for projects that industry will adopt to improve their productivity, the productivity of our forests and how we process or use wood,” she said.

Minister Barnett said basing one of only two national innovation hubs in Launceston was a real demonstration of the expertise and world-leading forestry industry sustained in Tasmania.

“We are looking for researchers that can provide real and practical outcomes in areas like forest management, timber processing, wood fibre recovery, value adding, advanced manufacturing and the bio-economy,” Minister Barnett said.

“We want to see the best ideas from across the forestry, academic and scientific sectors to come up with the ideas that will keep lifting the value of the sector,” he said. Minister Ruston and Minister Barnett said the forestry sector was worth some $23.7 billion in 2015-16, directly employing over 70,000 people and supporting families in regional Australia.

“This funding opens up new ideas and new opportunities to make the sector even stronger into the future and build on the plan to double the Tasmanian forest industry’s value-add to $1.2 billion a year by 2036,” they said.

Further information including application guidelines is available at the National Institute for Forest Products Innovation website.

Applications close on 13 July 2018.

The National Institute for Forest Products Innovation hub in Launceston is co-funded by the Australian and Tasmanian governments, supporting the forest industry in Tasmania and across the nation. It is one of only two forestry institute hubs in Australia with the other based in Mt Gambier, South Australia.

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NZIF congratulates member for merit

The New Zealand Institute of Forestry congratulates Dr Gordon Hosking for his recent appointment as an Officer of the NZ Order of Merit, for services to Conservation. Dr Hosking has been a member of the New Zealand Institute of Forestry since 1977, and his achievements during his career as a scientist and conservation leader, are unquestionably worthy of high honours.

Dr Hosking’s contributions to the establishment and the achievements of the Project Crimson, Living Legends and Trees That Count projects are exemplary. The importance of active management of our conservation estate (through tree planting, tending, biosecurity and other measures) will increase, as pest and disease incursions become more likely, and as climate change puts additional pressure on New Zealand’s conservation forestry resource.

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Europe: Energy shift is 'on' to renewables

Various schemes are underway in Europe as nations use existing coal-fired power plants to generate electricity without coal as the feedstock. With rising carbon prices, some big utilities are repowering with sustainable biomass.

The European Union (EU) is preparing to fully generate 20% of its electricity by 2020 using only renewable sources. As such, fuel switching from coal to biomass or natural gas is enabling some power plants in the EU to stay open and profitably generate power despite ever-tightening emissions limits. One of the other major pressures driving fuel switching is Europe’s $38 billion-a-year carbon market. Now a decade after the policy was enacted, it’s finally having an effect on regional generation as more plants turn to biomass. Under EU rules, biomass is considered carbon neutral—and a growing number of large coal burners are finding it a viable option.

Coupled with rapidly falling installation costs for renewables, industry is aggressively finding ways to phase out the worst pollution sources—although unevenly across the continent. While to the east, coal is still the biggest fuel source, western Europe is moving quickly away from it—with Germany, not surprisingly, straddling the fence, essentially building a second renewable system on top of a carbon-intensive one.

Timelines Vary, but Coal’s Time May Be Up - Taking it further, several western European nations have formally announced a deadline to end all coal burning. The UK was the first large user to set a drawdown, scheduling the last fires to go out by 2025, propelled even faster by an increased carbon tax. France, a small coal burner, will phase it out altogether by 2022. The Netherlands and Italy have also proposed plans to close their coal-fired power plants by 2030 and 2025, respectively.

Germany, the EU’s largest economy and a perceived champion of clean energy through its Energiewende program, remains Europe’s largest coal burner. The country’s new coalition government is hotly debating the question of a “coal exit”, and most experts don’t expect a phase-out to fully take place until 2030 at the earliest. Just the same, recent figures show that hard coal-fired generation in Germany fell by 53.2% in the year ending in January, while lignite coal generation dropped by 6.6%.

Making up the gap were both gas and renewables with wind turbines increasing generation by 89.7% in January compared to the same month last year. But the nation’s actual coal burn only fell five percentage points, from 42% in 2010 to 37% in 2017, leaving it still with the fourth-most-coal-intensive electricity production worldwide.

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Buy and Sell

... and finally ... just driving along ...

Photo caption: So, just what is that secret energy source that powers the All-Barretts?


While driving along, Tom had a flat tire and pulled over to the curb right in front of a psychiatric hospital.

While he was changing the tire, a patient inside, stood at the fence just quietly watching him.

When Tom removed the lug nuts, he carefully place them all in the hubcap. But as he slid off the flat tire from the rim, he accidentally stepped on the hubcap and flipped all of the lug nuts straight down the drain on the side of the road.

Perplexed, Tom just sat on his spare trying to figure out what to do.

From the fence came the voice of the inmate saying, “Why not take one lug nut off of each of the other tires and use them to put on your spare.”

Tom was amazed. “How did you know that,” he said.

“Hey buddy. I’m in here for being crazy, not dumb.”


So, now that it is almost the shortest day it's time to drag out that (okay, 'my') old favourite of what how cold it really is ... and the benchmark is to "Canadian" cold.

Okay – it’s been a warm winter so far – but it’s time to put it into perspective:

The Canadian temperature scale and its associated effects
(in both Fahrenheit and Celsius)

+70 deg F (21 deg C) - Texans turn on the heat and unpack the thermal underwear. People in Canada go swimming in the lakes.

+60 deg F (16 deg C) - North Carolinians try to turn on the heat. People in Canada plant gardens.

+50 deg F (10 deg C) - Californians shiver uncontrollably. People in Canada sunbathe.

+40 deg F (4 deg C) - Italian & English cars won't start. People in Canada still drive with the windows down.

+32 deg F (0 deg C) - Distilled water freezes. Lake Superior's water gets thicker. People in Canada enjoy a BBQ outdoors in shorts and jandals.

+20 deg F (-7 deg C) - Floridians don coats, thermal underwear, gloves, and woolly hats. People in Canada throw on a flannel shirt.

+15 deg F (-9 deg C) - Philadelphia landlords finally turn up the heat. People in Canada have the last cookout before it gets cold.

0 deg F (-18 deg C) - People in Miami get severe frostbite... Canadians lick the flagpole.

20 below (-29 deg C) - Californians fly away to Mexico. People in Canada get out their winter coats.

40 below (-40 deg C) - Hollywood disintegrates. The Girl Scouts in Canada are selling cookies door to door.

60 below (-51 deg C) - Polar bears begin to evacuate the Arctic. Canadian Boy Scouts postpone "Winter Survival" classes until it gets cold enough.

80 below (-62 deg C) - Mount St Helens freezes. People in Canada rent some videos.

100 below (-73 deg C) - Santa Claus abandons the North Pole. Canadians get frustrated because they can't thaw the beer keg, eh.

297 below (-183 deg C) - Microbial life no longer survives on dairy products. Cows in Canada complain about farmers with cold hands.

460 below (-273 deg C) - ALL atomic motion stops (absolute zero in the Kelvin scale). People in Canada start saying, "Eh, Cold 'nuff for ya?"

500 below (-296 deg C) - Hell freezes over. The Toronto Maple Leafs win the Stanley Cup.

Thanks for keeping up with the latest wood news with us!
Have a safe and productive week.

John Stulen

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