WoodWeek – 11 December 2019

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Greetings from your WoodWeek news team. To start, we have some highlights from the FEA China Bulletin’s Special Report detailing the massive dead timber salvage program that caused increased European lumber production and exports, and especially soaring log exports to China.

Quarterly export statistics to the end of September quantified what you knew already - logs, wood, and wood articles fell $63 million (14 percent) to $395 million; quantity was down 3.8 percent. Untreated logs led the fall, down $34 million.

A reminder that Early Bird rates finish at the end of next week for both ForestTECHX in Vancouver in March and MobileTECH in Rotorua in April. Register now for the best rates! Registrations are also open now for our FIEA Forest Safety & Technology Conference series at Rotorua and Melbourne in May.

Last week in Ireland, global forestry software company Treemetrics launched innovative forestry app called HarvestSync, the latest feature in their stable of forest telemetry services. The HarvestSync App enables automated collection and transmission of key production data from machines working in forests around the world.

Looking to local forestry success in Otago, last year City Forests harvested 336,000m3 of trees at a rate of around 5ha a day, generating $59 million in revenues and a total surplus of $25.2 million. Since coming under council ownership just under 30 years ago, the forestry company has contributed over $225 million to Dunedin City, a tidy return on their initial investment of $25.7 million in 1990.

The final report from the government-commissioned Upper North Island Supply Chain Strategy study will be published tomorrow. That should prime the politicians for some pre-Christmas debate. On one hand, the port and traffic congestion in Auckland must be related. On the other hand, the eye-watering costs of well over $10 billion is quite a chunk of valuable taxpayer money.

Just a reminder of our WoodWeek News Summer break dates: Our last WoodWeek for 2019 will be on Wednesday 18 December, and we will be back in your inboxes on Wednesday 15 January 2020. Have a safe and Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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Cause of soaring Euro log exports

The FEA China Bulletin’s Special Report highlights the massive dead timber salvage program that is causing increased European lumber production and exports, and especially soaring log exports to China.

Spruce bark beetle explosion and storm damaged timber drive Europe’s rapidly changing global trade flows - The rapid expansion of the spruce bark beetle, in combination with windstorms in Europe, has grown to a massive scale in just a few short years, and the net impact is a huge timber salvage program, with far-reaching implications in global markets. Exceptionally hot and dry summers have fanned the flames for an unprecedented outbreak of spruce bark beetles throughout central European forests, killing vast areas of timber.

Drought, brought on by climate change, has weakened mature trees’ natural defense mechanisms, giving beetles a wide-open field to multiply unchecked. The resulting massive infestation has forced landowners to quickly harvest their attacked forests across the Bavarian region of Germany, as well as in the Czech Republic, northern Austria, Slovakia, Poland and half a dozen other European countries.

As first presented in the November 2018 issue and with an update in the September 2019 issue of Wood Markets Monthly International Report, FEA has estimated the central European volume of damaged timber at over 100 million m3 in 2018, including both wind- damaged timber and beetle-killed wood.

While Germany has the most damaged timber so far in Europe, the Czech Republic’s spruce forest are highly stressed and there is the danger of losing up to 80% of its spruce trees over time – trends that are going to create a potential local timber shortage when the beetle epidemic has played out.

With an oversupply of sawlogs in Central Europe, dead and damaged logs are being offered at €40-50m3 (US$44–55/m³) ex-forest road – almost half of what they were selling for just 18 months ago. For older beetle damaged timber and industrial log grades, the ex-forest prices even lower.

In the 1990s and 2000s, a number of German companies (as well as some in neighbouring countries) built large, modern sawmills that featured kilns and large planers. These mills were designed to exploit the U.S. and other markets (including Australia and Japan) that used planed lumber. Unlike many markets in Europe, the US, Australia and China all accept blue-stained lumber, so much of this dead/damaged timber is being re-directed to these regions to move it out of Europe. With plunging log prices and with low-cost manufacturing costs, Central European sawmills have quickly become some of the lowest cost mills in the world – allowing them to be competitive in almost all export markets.

Exacerbating this stark scenario is the European spruce log export story to China: up to the end of October, European log exports to China imports were a whopping 5.6 million m3. The pace of exports has been more than one million m3 per month in September and October and is now more than North America’s log exports to China this year.

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Source: FEA

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Treemetrics launch innovative forestry App

HarvestSync – latest feature in Treemetrics Forest Telemetry Platform

Treemetrics, the pioneering forestry software company, has announced the official opening of its new Global HQ on the South Mall in Cork city.

An Tánaiste, Mr Simon Coveney, TD, Minster for Foreign Affairs and Trade, marked the occasion, as guest of honour, by unveiling a commemorative plaque and also by launching Treemetrics latest mobile product innovation designed to make the Forest industry more efficient and sustainable. The HarvestSync App enables automated collection and transmission of key production data from machines working in forests around the world.

Enterprise Ireland client company Treemetrics now sets into 2020 ready to leverage its excellent reputation and brand recognition in the forest industry and to grow the business in both traditional and also new markets.

An Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Simon Coveney, said:

“Forests are the lungs of the earth and we know from many recent scientific sources that forestry has a huge and varied role to play in the mitigation of Climate Change. This is one of the great challenges facing mankind and the use of technology, such as that pioneered by Treemetrics, is essential in optimising the use of forests as a source of sustainable building products, carbon sequestration and water course protection, to name but a few of the well documented benefits of forestry. I have learned from speaking with the founders that Treemetrics is pursuing many more industry-leading technology developments and the mounting of lidar sensors on harvesting machines will be of particular benefit to the Global Forest Industry.”

Enda Keane, Managing Director, Treemetrics, said:

“2019 has been a year of product refinement. Working with our key clients around the world, such as, Ireland’s state forestry company Coillte. We have taken years of software code developments and built it into a pioneering mobile App to enable us to scale rapidly and globally.”

“Building on the success of our market leading, cloud-based dataplatform, ForestHQ, which has led to the digital transformation of the traditional forest industry, we have now perfected a cutting edge App – HarvestSync, which is designed to support Forest owners and managers through enabling easier collection of data and streaming this onto our ForestHQ platform.”

Enda Keane, Treemetrics Co-Founder, continued his comments:

“Moving to this larger office premises, as well as opening satellite offices in Naas, Co Kildare and London, will facilitate the expansion we are planning in the coming year and beyond, which will allow us to better support our growing list of International clients. 2020 will be about rapid client acquisition and scaling our platform.

Increasing amounts of relevant data from multiple sources, such as earth observation, drone, ground based lidar, traditional inventory and harvesting machines can now be processed and analysed in real-time for clients. This means they make informed decisions to reduce costs,increase efficiency and product recovery and therefore maintain and increase profitability.”

Mr Keane also alluded to the inevitability of Treemetrics opening in-market offices in key target regions, such as, North and South America, as well as, pending announcements regarding partnership agreements in Oceania.

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New Forests appoints forest managers

New Forests has announced the appointment of Forest Enterprises Growth Limited (Forest Enterprises) as property manager for its New Zealand forestry assets in the Wairarapa and Southland areas. Forest Enterprises, based in Masterton, commenced its role on 1 December 2019.

Matt Wakelin, who recently joined New Forests’ Tauranga office as Manager – Operations and Investments for New Zealand, welcomed Forest Enterprises as the property manager for New Forests’ estates in Wairarapa and Southland.

“With Forest Enterprises engaged to provide property management services, we are well placed for the next steps in implementing our strategic plans for these forestry estates,” Mr Wakelin said.

“New Forests continuously seeks to bolster the management of our estates by bringing sustainability into the core of forestry investment. We are confident that this new relationship with Forest Enterprises will align property management with our ongoing efforts to support and strengthen local industry and supply chains in New Zealand.”

New Forests’ Director of Operations, Matt Crapp, explained, “Forest Enterprises and New Forests share common objectives in the supply chain – to improve efficiency and safety through increased coordination and scale. We are grateful for the progress already made together with our peers in the industry, our stakeholders, and our service providers over recent years, while we anticipate a bright future for the full New Zealand forest value chain.”

Forest Enterprises’ CEO Bert Hughes looks forward to building on the existing strong relationship between the companies.

“After collaborating with New Forests and forming Log Distribution Limited earlier this year, this is another great example of a partnership that will benefit both community and industry stakeholders,” Mr Hughes remarked.

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SnapSTAT - Last one for 2019

SnapSTAT - Wordless facts

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City Forests’ big little contribution to Dunedin

Forestry may be getting a bad rap lately particularly from the farming community, but there is no arguing with its returns -The ODT’s Brent Melville logged some time with City Forests recently, discovering a truly biodiverse, sustainable industry at on Dunedin’s back door.

City Forests is now well into logging its third generation of forests. The company, which has held forestry investments since 1906, will celebrate its 30th anniversary of being a subsidiary of Dunedin City Holdings next year. Since coming under DCHL ownership, the forestry estate has contributed more than $225million to the council — a nice round 1000% on the initial investment of $25.7 million in 1990.

On an annual basis, its rate of return has ratcheted up in recent history, on the back of high export log prices and trading of carbon credits. The latter has contributed an estimated $30 million over the past 10 years, and been used to reinvest in expanding its land interests and also to pay its shareholders more.

This past year it expanded its forestry estate by 1000ha, buying up several local farms, and paid total dividends of $8million to the city. Its rate of return over the past three years has been above 14%. Not bad for a company that employs about 12 staff directly and another 80 contractors; most ratepayers would not be aware of the scope of City Forests’ operations, says chief executive Grant Dodson.

The ‘‘big three’’ forestry companies in Otago — City Forests, Rayonier and Wenita Forest Products — control about a quarter of the estimated 206,000ha of plantation forests in the region.

Most of City Forests’ land, about 23,000ha, is located within a bike ride of the city of Dunedin. Its seven commercial forests — some of which are publicly accessible — span more than 16,000ha, with another 2000ha or so either undergoing replanting or under development.

Total tree numbers are at about 8million, of which 80% are radiata, the remainder being douglas fir and other species, such as macrocarpa. It’s biggest forest is the 9,500ha Tokoiti forest, located just south east of Milton. Its smallest is the 650ha Millers estate, near Glenore.

Across the estate, last year the company harvested 336,000cu m of trees at a rate of around 5ha a day, generating $59million in revenues and a total surplus of $25.2million. Its joint ownership opportunities also generated income for other land holders; for example, the company had a joint venture over a 250ha parcel with the Scout Association.

"They harvested at a good time, resulting in a payment last year of almost $1million," Mr Dodson said. The majority of City Forest logs were exported to the South Korea and Chinese markets, with just under a third of log production supplied to domestic mills through Otago and Southland last year.

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Photo credit: Brent Melville
Source: Otago Daily Times

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Nursery celebrates ownership anniversary

Rotorua Forest Nursery has completed its first season under new ownership - What a team! They had a great year with nearly 9 million seedlings lifted and sent all over NZ. Peter Harington's nursery crew dispatched nearly 500 orders, and they never failed to get an order out to let a customer down.

Their biggest day this year reached 200,000 seedlings - and they worked till dark to get the day's orders out. Some days they worked in rain and freezing mud. And we had some laughs as well. Peter Harington says "I'm so proud of everyone on our team!"

The 2020 crop of 10.3 million is now sown, germinated, and looking good. Next winter they will get stuck in and do it all over again!

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PM: Ports strategy out tomorrow

Ports of Auckland is not viable as the main import terminal for the upper North Island long term, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says.

The final report from the government-commissioned Upper North Island Supply Chain Strategy study will be published Thursday.

While Ardern would not comment on its content, nor the government’s specific response to it, she said that long-term the central city port does not fit.

“The Cabinet is of the view that the Ports of Auckland is not viable as the upper North Island key import port in the long-term,” she told journalists in Wellington today. “For Cabinet, the question is not if, but where and when it will move.”

Last month, a leak of the study group’s findings showed it favoured shifting cargo away from central Auckland to Northport at Marsden Point over the next 30 years. Port of Tauranga, the country’s largest export port, already handles about 30 percent of Auckland’s imports and is also considered a contender for much of that volume given its ample scope for further expansion.

The upper North Island supply chain study was the result of a pre-election pledge by NZ First to move container operation from Ports of Auckland to Northport by 2027.

The deep water port has ample scope for expansion, but the operation, part-owned by both Ports of Auckland and Port of Tauranga, has only relatively limited non-forestry freight and to date has been hampered by the lack of transport links south.

In September, KiwiRail was given almost $95 million by the government to repair and upgrade the rail link between Auckland and Whangarei. Separately, the state-owned rail company is also investigating the feasibility of building a 20-kilometre rail line out to the port.

Source: BusinessDesk

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Climate: Have we got the wrong end of the stick

Perhaps, when it comes to forests and climate change, we've got the wrong end of the stick - We talk about forests almost entirely in regards to climate mitigation, through their capacity to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as trees grow. Carbon sequestration by plantation forests currently offsets nearly one-third of New Zealand's greenhouse gas emissions, which helps us meet our international obligations.

But we don't only have obligations for climate mitigation. The 2015 Paris Agreement has three pillars, which also include climate adaptation and climate finance.

Climate adaptation means preparing communities and infrastructure for the effects of a heating world. Climate finance means redirecting financial flows, both domestically and internationally, toward projects and activities that deliver mitigation and adaptation benefits.

Happily, forests can support all three outcomes, at least when the right trees are in the right place for the right purpose. Forest investment is a kind of climate finance, a flow of money into carbon sequestration for timber and credits. Tree planting also contributes to climate adaptation by enhancing the resilience of our landscapes – by reducing erosion, sedimentation and soil loss, and improving water quality and flood regulation. As extreme weather events become more frequent and severe, integrating trees into the landscape is a crucial defence, reducing risks to public and private property, and enriching native biodiversity.

However, the three pillars of climate action don't always overlap. Over-prioritising one outcome can compromise another.

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Japan: Lift in young people in forestry

As forestry work gets easier in graying Japan, young hires opt for paths less taken - Young Japanese are increasingly joining the forestry industry thanks to a government program and labor-saving improvements made possible by the expanding use of machines. Many also see the sector as an opportunity to escape urban life.

“It’s tough to deal with nature, but I enjoy my work because the scenery changes every day,” said Wataru Aizawa, 32, of logging company Horie Forest in Hitachiota, Ibaraki Prefecture. He joined four years ago.

The company has a staff of 12, seven of whom are in their 30s. Work is done by a team of five using high-performance heavy machinery for everything from felling the trees to gathering and transporting them.

Keisuke Horie, a senior managing director, said he was surprised by the recent surge in interest.

“In the past, starting workers were told to focus on weeding around young trees for one year,” Horie, 33, said. “But now, even inexperienced people can have a go.”

According to the Forestry Agency , the ratio of people 65 and over in the industry peaked at 30 percent in 2000 but fell to 25 percent in 2015. Those under 35, however, hit 17 percent in 2015, up from 6 percent in 1990.

The surge is a boon for the industry. Forests occupy roughly 70 percent of Japan’s land, with over half of the planted ones that were felled en masse during the economic growth spurt from the mid-1950s to the early ’70s ready to be cut again.

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Source: Japan Times

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Almost finally … Is it Yeah Nah or Nah Yeah?

Forget wood for a minute, here’s a story about innovation and keeping people safe while swimming at the beach – now, that’s got to be of interest to all of us beachgoers as we approach the summer holiday period: Nah Yeah Buoy success for Victoria University of Wellington Design students - In Wellington, Victoria University School of Design students Hannah Tilsley and Chamonix Stuart have been awarded a place in the global 2019 James Dyson Award for a water safety system designed to prevent drownings due to rip currents.

The Nah Yeah Buoy can detect a rip and change colour, depending on the danger posed by the rip. The pair have used 3D printing and arduino technology to develop the buoy, and have beaten out over 1,000 designers from 27 countries to make it into the top 20.

All James Dyson Award entries must solve a problem. Chamonix says, “I looked into issues New Zealand faced, and discovered that people who are coming onto our island on holiday may not be aware of rips. I discovered that rips were the third highest cause of accidental death, and that 80 percent of all lifeguard rescues are related to rips.”

A number of the LED light-bearing buoys are placed in a grid system in the water and work by radio frequency, collecting waterflow data and relaying it back to an app used by lifeguards. The colours are inspired by traffic lights—green means go, orange means caution, red means avoid the area. Hannah says, “When you see the grid-like system and the lights, it teaches people what the water currents look like.

“If you are standing on the beach and thinking ‘Why is that area red, and why is that area green? What is the difference between the areas?’, with a sign explaining the system, that is combining education with prevention of drownings.”

For every problem, there are many solutions, and Chamonix came up with six concepts, before narrowing the design down to a buoy. “You see buoys all the time in the water, so they aren’t distracting people from the beauty of the beach,” Hannah says.

Once their design was final, the form of the buoy came together in two weeks, and they started 3D printing as soon as it was confirmed. They created their electronics at the same time, and then began testing. “We tested a lot of sensors to see what the right one was. We ultimately went with a water flow sensor, because neither the flex sensor nor the pressure sensor were waterproof,” Hannah says.

The Nah Yeah Buoy app allows lifeguards to change the buoys for emergencies, such as a shark sighting, to allow a quick response from beach-goers.

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Buy and Sell

...and finally ... Life's too short for the wrong job

The 4 stages of life:
1. You believe in Santa Claus
2. You don't believe in Santa Claus
3. You dress up as Santa Claus
4. You look like Santa Claus


Modern day Christmas :

As a little girl climbed onto Santa's lap, Santa asked the usual, "And what would you like for Christmas?"
The child stared at him open-mouthed and horrified for a minute, then gasped, "Didn't you get my email?"


WoodWeek Summer break dates: Our last WoodWeek for 2019 will be on Wednesday 18 December, and we will be back in your inboxes on Wednesday 15 January 2020. Have a safe and happy Christmas and New Years.

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

John Stulen

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