WoodWeek – 26 September 2018

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Greetings from your WoodWeek news team. Our industry’s most active forestry minister in a long time, Shane Jones, has just completed his first trip to China since the new government was formed. Jones told the media during the trip he was surprised by how upfront the officials were about China’s trade tensions with the United States. Beyond that, the other purpose of the trip was to boost investment here by Chinese companies. Jones also said officials in China were pleased to gain clarity on changes to the treatment of overseas investments in forestry rights by bringing them within the ambit of the Overseas Investment Act.

Meanwhile, here at home last week – timber design professionals were honoured for their creativity and ingenuity at a gala event in Auckland celebrating wood in buildings small and large. The 2018 NZ Wood-Resene Timber Design Awards entrants and award winners continue to demonstrate new and beautiful timber buildings that meet all building codes and client criteria.

Moving to health and safety, one of the world’s most innovative health and safety practitioners is to join WorkSafe New Zealand as Chief Advisor Health and Safety Innovation. Daniel Hummerdal has deep experience in developing new approaches to improving health and safety performance in a work environment. WorkSafe’s Chief Operating Officer Phil Parkes, who recently spoke at our FIEA Forest Safety & Technology Conference, says attracting Mr Hummerdal to WorkSafe is a coup for the agency.

Speaking of technology – artificial intelligence, virtual reality and new technologies are included in the upcoming FIEA ForestTECH conference series. As part of the conference series, app developers Taqtile Inc from Seattle and Microsoft will discuss the very real opportunities these technologies offer forestry companies down under.

This year’s FIEA ForestTECH 2018 conference series is designed to get technical leaders from our local forestry companies to really think outside the square. It runs in Rotorua, New Zealand on 14-15 November and in Melbourne, Australia on 20-21 November.

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China candid about trade war potential

NZ Forestry delegation finds China 'candid' about risk of growing trade war - Chinese officials have been candid in public meetings about the risk of a protracted trade war, Forestry Minister Shane Jones said.

Jones led a delegation of forestry industry figures to the eighth Global Wood Trade Conference in Chongqing.

While it was his first trip to China since the new Government was formed, Jones has visited China before on a number of occasions and was surprised by how up front the officials were about tensions with the United States.

"The officials have been tremendously candid in very public situations. They have clearly identified that as far as they're concerned, they're in a protracted trade war," Jones said from China.

"I've been to China a lot, but I was blown away by that candour in respect to an international audience. They were glad to hear us say that New Zealand abides and is very faithful to the rules of international trade, and it's served us well. That message resonates with them."

Officials in China were "certainly pleased to see a minister", Jones said.

"How it works up here is, when a minister turns up, they send out a minister. I know it affirms the mahi [work] of our local officials up here. The New Zealand industry themselves have consistently said to me, you need to front up, matua Shane."

Jones said that officials in China were pleased to gain clarity on changes to the treatment of overseas investments in forestry rights by bringing them within the ambit of the Overseas Investment Act.

While the changes aim to encourage overseas investment in forestry, Jones said that message had not been made clear on the ground.

"There was a lot of ambiguity in their minds about what our position actually is," Jones said.

More >>

Source: Stuff news

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Timber Design: Award winners announced

Timber industry and design professionals were honoured for their creativity and ingenuity at a gala event that ran in Auckland last week. Entries in the 2018 NZ Wood-Resene Timber Design Awards demonstrated new and different ways to use timber that nevertheless meet all building codes and criteria as well as being beautiful.

“In a market crowded with grand designs and wonderful claims for every construction material, New Zealand timber is proving just how versatile and cost effective it is,” said Wood Processors and Manufacturers Association Promotions Manager Debbie Fergie. “These Awards have again proved how imaginative design and structural integrity can combine to deliver beautiful timber buildings.”

Judges agreed. “All entries demonstrate a love of expressing timber in its many different applications,” they said. “The real stand-outs were those that went a step further, displaying a mature professional approach, an evocative sophisticated outcome, or a surprising twist.”

Entrants competed within ten categories covering everything from residential and commercial architectural excellence to engineering innovation, multi-storey construction and student innovation. Structural performance and aesthetic excellence were highlighted across all categories.

The Resene Supreme Award went to the iconic He Tohu Document Centre within the National Library, inspired by the form and function of a waka huia (treasure container). “This is the perfect vessel to display the founding documents of Aotearoa,” said the judges. “Highly developed manufacturing technologies are woven together with traditional timber materials, showcasing how timber can deliver technological, social and cultural value in a beautiful way.” This entry also won the Niagara Timber Products’ Interior Innovation category.

Runner up was Cymon Allfrey’s Family Bach in Hanmer Springs (photo). “An interesting redefining of the family bach as a series of separate yet interrelated buildings with shared common spaces,” commented judges. “A building where architecture hero’s wood, and wood has hero’d architecture.” This entry also won the CHH Woodproducts Futurebuild Residential Architectural Excellence Award.

The South Island again garnered the bulk of winning entries. Five winners or highly commended entries featured Canterbury builds, and Kaikoura, Nelson and Otago projects also won awards.

Plant and Food Research’s Seafood Research Centre won Nelson Pine Industries’ Excellence in Engineered Wood Products category. Judges commented on the entire structure being prefabricated timber featuring highly refined joint detailing. “This shows how versatile timber can be for both structural and non-structural applications,” they said.

Commended was Warren and Mahoney’s Wellington International Airport project. “Using timber in such a representative building is very important,” said judges. “The curved structural forms demonstrate how timber can be integrated with steel and glass using precision manufacturing and careful attention to detail, and showcase the potential and capabilities of the whole New Zealand timber industry including the forestry, wood product manufacturing, design and construction sectors.”

NZ Farm Forestry –sponsored winner for the NZ Specialty Timber category was the Pukapuka Road house in Rodney. Judges were impressed that 'pickled' timbers were sourced from Northland rivers, and as a result have purple, green and blue hues along with the traditional browns. “The skilful combination of these unique materials produces interior spaces of remarkable mood and atmosphere,” they said.

The XLam NZ Multi-Storey Timber Building Award is a new category, requiring entrants to submit projects at least three stories high. This was won by Te Pa Tauira-Otago Polytechnic Student Village in Dunedin. It was the first five-storey all-timber building in the country, with judges pointing out that the highly efficient modular layout enabled efficient offsite prefabrication which significantly reduced construction time, minimised waste and reduced cost. They also believed this building will help to positively shape the attitude of a new generation towards timber.

Commended in this category was the three-storey Ara Kahukura, designed as much as a living example of sustainable design as to provide teaching spaces. The building is an excellent testimony to the potential for hybrid timber-steel-concrete structures, said judges.

Judges were universally delighted with the standard of entries. “The 2018 NZ Wood-Resene Timber Design Awards showcase some of the best examples of innovation in timber design that New Zealand has to offer,” they said. “It’s evident there is great collaboration between architects, engineers, suppliers, fabricators and builders to produce some outstanding and highly innovative timber buildings and structures.”

“The remarkable achievements of all contestants show how wood is the perfect material to deliver more sustainable and resilient buildings,” they added. “It's fantastic to see the growing use of local products such as CLT, glulam and LVL in a broader range of applications with some stunning results.”

Further details and images can be seen here.
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WorkSafe attracts world class innovator

One of the world’s most innovative health and safety practitioners is to join WorkSafe New Zealand as Chief Advisor Health and Safety Innovation.

Daniel Hummerdal has deep experience in developing new approaches to improving health and safety performance in a work environment, and WorkSafe’s Chief Operating Officer Phil Parkes says attracting Mr Hummerdal to WorkSafe is a coup for the agency. "Daniel is an extraordinary talent and he will be at the forefront of moving the health and safety system in New Zealand toward new practices, tactics and strategies," Mr Parkes says.

"He brings a background in the development and implementation of Safety II and Safety Differently approaches to health and safety. These approaches move health and safety practices from pure compliance to a people and success-led approach and they are accepted worldwide as the future way of improving health and safety performance." "WorkSafe is mandated to lead the country’s health and safety system towards significant improvements, and the system needs people like Daniel to challenge the traditional models and spark new approaches," Mr Parkes says.

Watch the interview of Mr Hummerdal talking about his new role with WorkSafe:

Mr Hummerdal says the Chief Advisor Health and Safety Innovation role is unique amongst health and safety regulators around the world.

"Health and safety practitioners in New Zealand have always shown they’re open and willing to try new ideas, more so in my experience than anywhere else in the world. This presents me with a fantastic opportunity to try some cool new ideas to create a new future for health and safety in New Zealand," he says.

Mr Hummerdal will take up his role on 1 October.

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Monitoring forest health from afar

UAV multispectral imagery and satellite data can be used to monitor physiological stress in trees.

Researchers from Crown research institute Scion treated selected Pinus radiata with herbicide to stress the trees. The colour of the pine needles changed as the herbicide took effect. The changes were monitored over time using a UAV-mounted multispectral camera, and using data collected from the Rapid Eye satellite.

Lead researcher Jonathan Dash says both data sources were sensitive enough to detect the changes in needle colour. “However, the UAV data were more sensitive at a finer spatial resolution and could detect stress down to the level of individual trees. The satellite data we tested could only detect stress in clusters of four or more trees.”

Resampling the UAV imagery to the same spatial resolution as the satellite imagery showed the differences in sensitivity were not just the result of spatial resolution. Vegetation indices suited to the sensor characteristics of each platform were needed to optimise the detection of physiological stress from each data source.

“Detecting physiological stress in forest trees is vital for ensuring productive forest systems,” says Jonathan.

“We have shown that remote sensing can be used to detect conditions that cause changes in foliage colour before they can be observed from the ground. UAV imagery was more sensitive, but satellite data remains a very valuable and cost- effective way to observe trends in forest health over larger areas. Research like this provides a useful range of complimentary tools for forest growers and researchers to monitor forests”

Forest owners and managers can now use remotely-sensed data opportunities to augment traditional monitoring practices. This will be especially useful in distant and difficult to access terrain. As well as physiological stress caused by disease, the effects of drought, lack of soil nutrients and attacks by pests will be able to be detected and responded to early, leading to healthier and more productive forests.

Photo: Linking multispectral satellite imagery to UAV data provides a valuable tool for monitoring forest health

For more information on the project, click here.

Source: scionresearch.com

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Artifical intelligence will create new jobs

The jobs AI is creating - In some workplaces intelligence is in short supply.An influx of artificial intelligence is helping address this deficiency - but don’t think robots behind the counter stealing jobs. Think simpler – it’s likely, particularly in financial services, AI use will appear largely in the form of things like digital assistants, tools to manage personal finances and automated decisions and offers.

Indeed, what goes unreported is the kind of skills workplaces will need when the changes wrought by AI make their way through organisations – the kind of skills only people, with jobs, can provide.

Displaced - The phrase “fourth industrial revolution” was first used in 2016 by the World Economic Forum. It is now upon us and will have significant impacts on the employee of the (not-to-distant) future.

There will be job displacement and it would be naive to think there won’t be - mostly by removing manual tasks. HOWEVER - and that’s in caps for a reason - jobs will be created which do not exist today as work moves up the value chain.

Analyst group Gartner predicts in 2020 AI will move into the black on the employment scale, creating 2.3 million jobs while eliminating 1.8 million.

As ANZ chief economist Richard Yetsenga puts it, technology is “part of the problem but also part of the solution”.

“Everybody agrees we will see tremendous disruption in labor markets but there is still a debate about who will win,” he says.

At many organisations an inevitable result of the growth of AI will be the need to take new operational models into account. Workforces will become liquid and disaggregated, among other things.

Both AI, virtual reality and new technologies are included in the upcoming FIEA ForestTECH conference series. As part of the conference series, in addition, app developers Taqtile Inc from Seattle and Microsoft will discuss the very real opportunities these technologies offer forestry companies down under.

This year’s FIEA ForestTECH 2018 conference series is designed to get local forestry companies to really think outside the square. It runs in Rotorua, New Zealand on 14-15 November and in Melbourne, Australia on 20-21 November.

A series of pre-conference workshops that proved so successful at previous events have also been set up for conference delegates the day before each conference runs. Full details can be found on both programmes on the event website, www.foresttech.events.

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Source: ANZ Bluenotes

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GDP growth underpinned by forestry

GDP rises 1 percent in June quarter - Gross domestic product (GDP) rose 1.0 percent in the June 2018 quarter, up from 0.5 percent last quarter, Stats NZ said today. This is the largest quarterly rise in two years.

Growth was broad-based, with 15 of 16 industries recording higher production. Mining was the only industry to decline, reflecting one-off factors.

“Once again service industries led growth. Goods-producing and primary industries also saw rises this quarter,” national accounts senior manager Susan Hollows said.

The largest contribution to growth came from agriculture, up 4.2 percent.

Growth of 1.0 percent in the service industries was broad-based, with all industries recording a lift.

“The real strength of services this quarter lay in a consistent performance across a range of industries,” Mrs Hollows explained.

Retail trade and accommodation, wholesale, and transport industries all rose, reflecting higher household spending.

Within primary industries, agriculture’s strong performance was supported by growth in forestry. A 20 percent fall in mining – its largest fall in 29 years – provided a strong offset.

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WorkSafe: Lax approach led to injury

Logging operator Cropp Logging was sentenced in the Tauranga District Court yesterday after an incident where a worker was struck by a tumbling log.

The worker was on his first day on a forestry site in Rangiuru working as head breaker out when the incident occurred in March 2017. The site was using a cabling system to move logs uphill when a hooked-on log became dislodged and began rolling down a gully. The log struck the worker resulting in significant injuries and hospitalisation.

The operation of a digger above the worker was found to have increased the risk of the log becoming dislodged and tumbling downhill.

WorkSafe’s investigation into the matter found that Cropp Logging failed to complete an adequate Safe Behavioural Observation of the worker, did not fully induct the worker into his role as head breaker-out and did not ensure that no machinery was operating above the area where the worker was breaking-out.

WorkSafe’s Deputy General Manager for Investigations and Specialist Services Simon Humphries said “forestry is an inherently dangerous industry, from the heavy machinery being worked with, the terrain that work is conducted on and the many people involved in the process."

“A lax approach to managing risk on forestry sites is not acceptable, particularly when considering the rates of fatalities and harm in the industry. Systems and procedures have their purpose and place, and should be implemented to keep everyone safe from harm in the workplace.”

- A fine of $100,000 was imposed. The fine was reduced from $750,000 for financial reasons and in consideration of the size of the family owned and operated company.

- Reparation of $80,000 was ordered.

- Cropp Logging Limited was sentenced under sections 36(1)(a), 48(1) and (2)(c) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.

- Being a PCBU, failed to comply with a duty to ensure the health and safety of workers, so far as reasonably practicable, that exposes individual to a risk of death or serious injury or serious illness.

- The maximum penalty is a fine not exceeding $1,500,000.

Source: WorkSafe NZ

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New John Deere L-Series skidder features

New John Deere L-Series II Skidders - Continuously evolving to better its machines and exceed customer expectations, John Deere is excited to introduce the new L-Series II skidders. The new L-Series II machines feature a simplified design, providing a reliable, powerful solution, while still maintaining the productivity- boosting features of the original line, including an increase in hydraulic speed, large grapples and an improvement in weight distribution.

"With the new L-Series II machines, we wanted to build upon the best features of the original machines, while also simplifying the design to increase reliability," said Brandon O’Neal, product marketing manager, John Deere Construction and Forestry. "Listening to our customers, we reworked the machines, making significant improvements under the hood. The new L-Series II machines offer decreased downtime without any changes to power and productivity."

The new, simpler L-Series II models enhance customer experience by reducing maintenance and increasing uptime due to a number of part changes. Other changes to the machines include a reduction to the complexities of the electrical and hydraulic systems and improvements to component placements. "We like how the wires have been rerouted it so they won’t be so bunched up in the machine," noted Wayne Sugg of Sugg Logging, who was one of the first loggers to test the new machines.

The L-Series II machines also include changes to boost productivity. The new skidder models offer increased grapple squeeze force of up to 10 percent. Articulation steering sensors improve the operator experience, ultimately increasing productivity. A new two-speed 4000 winch replaces the previous single-speed winch. "The machine is better, stronger and faster than the original," said Zane Winfield of Southern Logging.

See a short video of John Deere's Tim Flowers explaining the new features:

Inside is where you’ll find the upgrades, which include:
> New electrical harnesses with plastic sheeting and colour coded connectors, which have been moved higher on the machine to reduce dust and debris impact.
> Soft steering stops to reduce jarring when the machine reaches full articulation. These can be calibrated according to tire size.
> Attachment control unit relocated to a higher position to improve harness routing and increase reach.
> Optional severe-duty engine pre-cleaner with no dust unloader valve, relocated for easier service.
> A 5.5 US gallon DEF tank with a wiper seal cap that removes dust and debris to reduce contamination.
> Relocated ECU to reduce the number of harnesses and allow for easier troubleshooting.
> Jump-start terminals just below the cab.
> A two-speed 4000 series-winch.
> Higher strength metal used in the arch frames.

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Source: John Deere

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Tariffs: China acts on US wood products

In early August, China's Commerce Ministry released a preliminary list of proposed tariffs on $16 billion in US goods. , It came just a day after the US Trade Representative's office released a final list of $16 billion in Chinese goods that will be hit with tariffs.

The tariffs were scheduled to be activated on 23 August, the Chinese ministry clarified, the same day that the US plans to begin collecting an additional 25 percent in tariffs on $16 billion in Chinese goods.

The list identified duties of 5, 10, 20 or 25 percent on 5,207 US imports that include a number of wood products such as softwood and hardwood logs, veneer and lumber, chips, pellets, MDF, OSB, wood pulp, paper and other processed and unprocessed wood materials.

You can view an unofficial version of the HTS (Harmonized Tariff Schedule) at the following links:
25% list
20% list
5% list (No forest products were included on the 10% list)

If enacted, these tariffs will have a significant impact on US markets, particularly the Pacific Northwest (PNW). Due to its proximity to Asian markets, the PNW region exports a number of wood products to China, including softwood logs, lumber, chips, wood pulp, paper, and other processed wood materials.

What will these proposed tariffs mean for the forest products industry in the PNW?

Landowners/land managers - Harvests have been near sustainable long- term levels and there has been very little wiggle room in regional private harvests over the last year. Those involved in the log export market could see diminished export opportunities, which will cause a shift to domestic markets that will result in lower pricing due to increased supply.

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Source: Forest2Market news

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Reward for new sustainable fertiliser

In Sweden, the 2018 Marcus Wallenberg Prize will be awarded to Professor Torgny Nasholm for having documented how organic nitrogen dominates the nutrition of trees in boreal forests. The findings have resulted in new types of fertilisers.

Professor Torgny Nasholm, from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, has examined the role of amino acids in supplying the nitrogen required for the growth of forest trees. His work has caused a paradigm shift in explaining the nutrition of plants.For his discoveries he was awarded the 2018 Marcus Wallenberg Prize of SEK 2 million Earluier this week he received his diploma from the hands of King Carl XVI Gustaf at a ceremony in Stockholm.

With a little help of amino acids - The ability of boreal forests to take up atmospheric carbon dioxide and produce wood depends on the availability of nitrogen in the soil. The growth of most forests is however limited by a low supply of nitrogen.

Some species have developed symbioses with bacteria that can process nitrogen gas into amino acids.More than a century ago some plants were demonstrated to have the capability of taking up amino acids directly. The process was not considered important until the isotopic methods were further developed and could simplify chemical analyses of different elements.

Nasholm has in different studies since 1998 investigated the nutrition of forest trees – particularly Scots pine and Norway spruce. He found that nitrogen from amino acids was taken up by tree seedlings and discovered that the amino acid concentrations in forest soils are high enough to provide a substantial supply for tree uptake. He could also testify that the major nitrogen source of pine and spruce in boreal forests is amino acids rather than ammonium ions or nitrate.

Environmentally friendly - The new insights inspired Torgny Nasholm to develop fertilisers based on amino acids. Field studies revealed the improvement of shoot and root growth when seedlings were grown on this organic nitrogen source. Leaching of nitrogen during seedling cultivation in nurseries was also reduced significantly compared to conventional inorganic fertilisers.

The findings have had an impact on nursery and forestry practices in coniferous forests in the Nordic countries.

The first patent for this approach was issued in 2000 and a fertiliser called Argrow, based on the amino acid arginine, was introduced on the market. Arginine is a nitrogen rich amino acid that is rapidly absorbed by plants. The fertiliser is mainly used in forest nurseries in Sweden, and tests have been performed in Finland, USA, Canada, Uruguay, China, New Zealand and Australia. It is also being tested on other commercial crops and garden plants.

The innovation has been further developed and a new category of patented, slow release fertiliser based on arginine is currently being tested in large scale field trials in Finland and Sweden.

Seedpad is an example of another new technology for improved germination of pine and spruce seeds, that Arevo AB, Umea, Sweden recently developed. Nasholm is the CEO.

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Buy and Sell

... and finally ... you've earned a laugh today

Once upon a time, long ago, there lived a sailor named Captain Bravo. He was a manly man's man, who showed no fear when facing his enemies.

One day, while sailing the Seven Seas, his lookout spotted a pirate ship, and the crew became frantic.

Captain Bravo bellowed, "Bring me my red shirt!" The first mate quickly retrieved the captain's red shirt, and while wearing the brightly coloured frock, the Captain led his crew into battle and defeated the pirates.

That evening, all the men sat around on the deck recounting the day's triumph. One of them asked the Captain, "Sir, why did you call for your red shirt before battle?"

The captain replied, "If I am wounded in the attack, the shirt will not show my blood. Thus, you men will continue to fight, unafraid."

All of the men sat in and marvelled at the courage of such a manly man's man.

As dawn came the next morning, the lookout spotted not one, not two, but TEN pirate ships approaching. The crew stared in worshipful silence at the captain and waited for his usual orders.

Captain Bravo gazed with steely eyes upon the vast armada arrayed against his ship, and without fear, turned and calmly shouted, "Get me my brown trousers!"


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

John Stulen

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