WoodWeek – 29 July 2020

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Greetings from your Innovatek/WoodWeek team. Last Friday, Parliament passed the Forests (Regulation of Log Traders and Forestry Advisers) Amendment Bill. The Bill was referred to the Environment Select Committee, which reviewed more than 600 submissions. The next part of the process is for Te Uru Rākau to work with the forestry sector to develop draft regulations, rules and practice standards. These regulations will be subject to significant industry and stakeholder consultation and are expected to be in place in 2021.

Any business conducting work near live powerlines must consider the risk they pose as part of its safety planning, says WorkSafe. Logging company Mike Harris Earthmoving Limited was fined $100,000 at the Rotorua District Court on Friday after a worker suffered burns from an electric shock that left them without full use of their right hand.

In another WorkSafe sentencing decision this week, Sabre Logging Limited was sentenced for failing to manage the risk associated with using machinery near steep slopes. In December 2017 a worker was operating a skidder to haul logs from a hill in Makara, Wellington. While hauling logs, one got snagged. As the worker went to reposition the skidder to free the log, the machine lost balance and rolled down the hill. The worker suffered fatal head injuries as a result of the incident. The judge indicated a starting fine of $450,000 would have been appropriate, however this was reduced to $60,000 as the company is now insolvent.

Finally, in Tasmania, AFCA has welcomed the announcement made by the Tasmanian Liberal Government to extend the Forestry Contractor Resilience Program to January 2021. This was set up to support Tasmanian Forestry Contractors to access business coaching and improvements. AFCA participated in the Forestry Roundtable last week, where the announcement was made.

It became apparent during roundtable discussions last week with Minister for Resources, Hon Guy Barnett MP, that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is still yet to be fully felt by the industry. This follows news in recent days of uncertainty for forestry contracting businesses that are expected to face significantly reduced production quotas against contracted volumes over the coming months.

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Log Traders Bill passes in Parliament

Log Traders & Forestry Advisers Registration Bill passed by Parliament - Last Friday Parliament passed the Forests (Regulation of Log Traders and Forestry Advisers) Amendment Bill that will provide better information on log supply and build investor confidence in the forestry sector, Forestry Minister Shane Jones says.

The Bill was introduced as part of Budget 2020 and supports the predictable and long-term supply of timber. It will help build stronger linkages between forest growers, domestic processors and exporters, improved professional standards, and greater confidence in business transactions both domestically and internationally.

The Bill was referred to the Environment Select Committee, which reviewed more than 600 submissions.

“I want to thank all those who took part in the Select Committee process. As a result of that input, we have made a number of changes,” Shane Jones said.

The Bill now ensures that small scale operators, such as firewood traders, will not be required to register. It also provides an exemption from the requirement to register as a forestry adviser for those already covered by other occupational licensing regimes established under other legislation, such as lawyers.

Shane Jones said the language of the Bill had also been updated to ensure it was clear that it aimed to provide equity of access to timber for both domestic processors and exporters.

“This means all people buying and selling logs will have access to transparent and impartial information and advice, so they can make well informed business decisions, and that our domestic wood processors get a fair chance to purchase logs.”

It also requires forestry advisers, log traders and exporters to register and work to nationally agreed practice standards that will strengthen the integrity of New Zealand’s forestry supply chain.

“As we strive to build confidence in the economy in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, having legislation that builds confidence in the log supply sector and quality of advice available can only be positive.”

“Forestry can be a 30-year investment if someone is planting a forest, so it’s important that they receive high quality advice from people who are knowledgeable, qualified and operating in accord with industry good practice and a code of ethics.”

“Mum and dad investors need the right information to make investment decisions and they need to have confidence in the log traders that are purchasing their timber,” Shane Jones said.

The next part of the process is for Te Uru Rākau to work with the forestry sector to develop draft regulations, rules and practice standards. These regulations will be subject to significant industry and stakeholder consultation and are expected to be in place in 2021.

Source: Scoop news



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Hovermap set to change forest inventory

Interpine has recently purchased the Emesent Hovermap LiDAR simultaneous location and mapping (SLAM) solution to better serve the company’s clients. “We’ve been using Hovermap technology in a series of forestry trials since late 2019 combined with our own customised deep learning algorithms for segmentation and quantitative tree assessment,” said David Herries, Director and GM of Interpine.

“We are very impressed with the technology and applaud Emesent's innovative approach to SLAM based LiDAR solution and developing systems that produce exceptional results which are a game-changer for the forest sector”.

Interpine will be deploying this for both on-ground 3D scanning and aerial drone LiDAR survey, providing a range of industry solutions from engineering, to forest resource assessment and carbon inventory. There are numerous opportunities and efficiencies in using this type of technology and we look forward to continuing to work with our industry partners, clients and researchers across the sector by making this technology available”.

“From the ground, the unit works as a backpack scanning the surrounding forest completing tree diameter, form, quality and height measurements when combined with Interpine's innovative LiDAR processing solutions. From the air on our fleet of drones the Hovermap collects LiDAR which penetrates vegetation canopies deriving both ground and vegetation 3D models, while also using its own simultaneous location and mapping technology to maintain position and navigate safely avoiding obstacles with or without GPS”.

“Together with Interpine's CAA 102 certification for beyond visual line of sight flights (BVLOS), this greatly enhances safety, autonomy and capability of drone operations over forest canopies in challenging terrain” says David Herries. Further coverage on the purchase can be read here.

Note: The Hovermap technology was outlined for the first time to inventory foresters and resource managers at last year’s ForestTECH 2019 event. Trials were also undertaken by Scion using an industry standard DJI M600 drone carrying an Emesent Hovermap shortly afterwards and a series of operational trials have also been undertaken collecting detailed inventory data below the canopy since, with outstanding results.

As part of the upcoming ForestTECH 2020 event being run in Rotorua, New Zealand on 18-19 November 2020, in addition to outlining the results from some of these early trials, a half day in-field workshop is being planned with Interpine, Scion and Emesent for the morning after the conference concludes, on Friday 20 November. Further details on the comprehensive forest inventory event being planned as part of ForestTECH 2020 will be available shortly.

Sources: Interpine, Photo: Scion



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Te Uru Rākau: Details of Log Traders bill

Key changes to the Act relating to regulating log traders and forestry advisers include:

    > inserting a specific volumetric threshold of 2000 cubic metres of logs traded, below which a person or company is not required to register as a log trader,

    > providing an exemption from the requirement to register as a forestry adviser for those already covered by other occupational licensing regimes established under other legislation, such as lawyers or real estate agents,

    > providing further specification about the process and requirements in relation to registration and de-registration, complaints and disputes including rights or review and natural justice principles,

    > clarifying the functions of the Forest Authority and the criteria that would need to be taken into account before delegation of any of these functions to any body outside the Public Sector, and

    > for the avoidance of doubt the Bill also confirms that practice standards cannot impose conditions that are properly a matter for commercial agreement between parties.

Last week officials from Te Uru Rākau discussed how they will work with key stakeholders to develop regulations and rules (including practice standards), which will be subject to public consultation. While they are still finalising specific timelines, it is expected the processes needed to develop the regulations will take at least 12 months.

For information about the Bill, click here.

For Minister’s Jones’ media release see here >>


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Powerline risks still causing harm

WorkSafe: Risks posed by powerlines must be considered - Any business conducting work near live powerlines must consider the risk they pose as part of its safety planning, says WorkSafe.

Logging company Mike Harris Earthmoving Limited was fined $100,000 at the Rotorua District Court on Friday after a worker suffered burns from an electric shock that left them without full use of their right hand.

In November 2018 Mike Harris Earthmoving Limited was using a forwarder, a vehicle used to pick up and transport logs, at a Rotorua site when the forwarder’s crane stopped working. The forwarder was then transported to an area on site to be repaired.

Once moved, the vehicle came in close enough contact with live powerlines for electricity to be conducted through the vehicle. As a result a worker who was holding a rail on the side of the machine at the time suffered a serious electric shock.

The worker suffered full thickness burns to his right foot and had to have two of his toes amputated. He also suffered full thickness burns to his right hand and has not been able to regain full use of his hand.

WorkSafe’s Acting Chief Inspector Danielle Henry said the incident left one person seriously injured but also put several others at serious risk.

“This work should not have been carried out near live powerlines. Before beginning repairs the company should have considered proximity to the powerlines and the potential for worker injury if the machine came into contact with live electricity.

“Mike Harris Earthmoving Limited didn’t have an area designated for repairs. This is a reminder to all businesses that the risk of powerlines must be considered. This company’s failure to do so has left a worker with life changing injuries.”

Source: Scoop



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Slope fatality brings stern reminder

Working On Slopes Needs Astute Risk Management - Working on slopes is a daily challenge for many New Zealand businesses navigating undulating terrain. WorkSafe says that a sentencing decision released this week in Wellington District Court is a reminder to all businesses working outdoors that things can go wrong, with tragic outcomes.

Logging extraction company Sabre Logging Limited was sentenced for failing to manage the risk associated with using machinery near steep slopes. The sentencing relates to an incident in December 2017, in which a worker was operating a skidder to haul logs from a hill in Makara, Wellington. While hauling logs one snagged. When the worker went to reposition the skidder to free the log, the machine lost balance and rolled down the hill.

The worker suffered fatal head injuries as a result of the incident. The judge indicated a starting fine of $450,000 would have been appropriate, however this was reduced to $60,000 as the company is now insolvent.

WorkSafe’s Chief Inspector Steve Kelly said there was no causative link between Sabre Logging Limited’s failings and the worker’s death. However, the risk of the skidder rolling was not minimised.

He said WorkSafe’s investigation found extraction tracks were not properly formed, with debris on one track and another was sloped on a reverse camber.

“The company also did not measure the gradient of the slope prior to work taking place and this was judged by experience only.”

Mr Kelly said WorkSafe previously investigated Sabre Logging Limited in 2013 after a worker operating the same type of machinery, suffered lacerations to his head when it rolled during log extraction.

“The forestry industry is rightly considered to be high risk and rollovers are all too common in the field.

“A site specific hazard plan should have been implemented and reviewed daily, taking the changing terrain and gradient of the slope into account. This message should be heeded by all businesses working outdoors as the risk is not exclusive to forestry.”

Source: Scoop


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Marlborough: Invest to change forest use?

Plans to turn forestry blocks into eco-friendly alternatives gets support - New feasibility study into ‘land transition fund’ could see pine plantation blocks converted into homestays, carbon farms or bike and walk trails.

Unwanted pine forests could be turned into “boutique” nature blocks to stop dirt clogging seabeds, if a new study gets funding.

In a “landmark” move, marine farmers, forestry harvesters and Marlborough Sounds residents have asked for a feasibility study into a ‘land transition fund’ that would allow landowners to convert their plantations into more eco-friendly alternatives.

Scientific papers released over the decades have proven harvesting blocks in the Marlborough Sounds causes sediment to wash down steep slopes into coastal water, effecting its quality.

The study was first put forward by the Sounds Advisory Group at the Marlborough District Council's annual plan submission hearings last year, but deferred onto a committee for discussion.

Group member Eric Jorgensen told councillors last week the fund would incentivise the retirement of erosion-prone slopes and the creation of catchment buffers in an “equitable and just way”.

“It is both innovative and seeks to ensure no party is unjustly penalised when dealing with this issue,” a report he headed said.

Conifers had long been an issue in the region since the 1970s and 1980s, when the Government paid landowners to plant the trees.

Potential alternatives, which had yet to be explored, could include carbon farming, honey production, bike or walk trails, tourism, scientific studies, boutique nature lifestyle blocks or homestays.

Setting up the fund would require a “significant” investment. If set up, the land fund would complement rules already in place under the council's Proposed Marlborough Environment Plan.

The plan said the council would look at ways landowners could convert their wilding pine blocks to alternative forestry species or land use blocks, and consider providing incentives to switch.

More >>

Source: Stuff news


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Farm foresters: We need diverse forests

RNZ - An interview by Maja Burry from RNZ's Rural News this week features Graham West, as spokesman for the NZ Farm Forestry Association (NZFFA). The Association's message is that New Zealand must diversify it's commercial tree growing business to reduce risks.

West says the biosecurity risks to commercial forest are such that we need to reduce risks by ensuring forests being established are across a range of species for new forests plantings. He adds that there is also a risk to our climate change planning if we were to lose radiata pine as our primary source to mitigate emissions.

More (listen from 3:30) >>


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HVP Selects Trimble Forestry to Implement Paperless Ticketing Solution

HVP, Australia’s largest private timber plantation company, with 240,000 ha in production, has partnered with Trimble Forestry to implement a paperless ticketing solution to help address safety concerns presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. The companies worked together to transfer a system that was reliant on paper ticket exchanges into a seamless, paperless exchange from harvest to delivery. Digital transactions are more efficient and provide additional safety for employees and colleagues throughout the supply chain.

To learn more about Trimble’s Connected Forest Logistic solutions, visit forestry.trimble.com.

Source: Trimble


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Tasmania: Extended support for contractors

AFCA has welcomed the announcement made by the Tasmanian Liberal Government to extend the Forestry Contractor Resilience Program to January 2021. This was set up to support Tasmanian Forestry Contractors to access business coaching and improvements. AFCA participated in the Forestry Roundtable last week, where the announcement was made.

It became apparent during roundtable discussions last week with Minister for Resources, The Hon Guy Barnett MP that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is still yet to be fully felt by the industry. This follows news in recent days of uncertainty for forestry contracting businesses that are expected to face significantly reduced production quotas against contracted volumes over the coming months.

The reduced quotas are likely to result in forestry contracting businesses facing serious financial implications, with high fixed costs and equipment finance commitments that will still need to be met. In addition, there is a serious concern around the possible loss of skilled employees that will be devastating for regional areas in the current climate.

The Forestry Contractor Resilience Program is going to be extended from 31 July 2020 to 29 January 2021 to further support Tasmanian forestry contractors. Both the Australian and Tasmanian Governments have also announced stimulus packages, many of which can be accessed by forestry companies. Tasmania’s forestry contractors can apply under the AU$500,000 Forestry Contractor Resilience Program for funding to improve their business practices, which is being delivered through Rural Business Tasmania.

Under the program, Tasmanian forestry harvest and haulage contractors have the opportunity to work with specialists in business and financial management to identify future opportunities and build stability and resilience into their operations. Eligible applicants will receive five hours of professional business coaching and may also be eligible for up to AU$15,000 to deliver agreed business improvements.

The Program’s guidelines and application form are available from Rural Business Tasmania at www.ruralbusinesstasmania.org.au.

Source: AFCA, Guy Barnett, Minister for Resources


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Funding allocated to support our farmers to grow the future

Private Forests Tasmania is leading a project that will see 212 hectares of trees planted on farms across Tasmania in the next twelve months. The project is co-funded by Private Forests Tasmania, the federal government (through the Smart Farming Grant) and primary producers, seeking to develop a landscape-scale best practice integration of shelterbelts and woodlots into the Tasmanian agricultural landscape.

Private Forests Tasmania called for expressions of interest from Tasmanian primary producers to join the project. Applications were received from 17 farms across Tasmania, which were assessed against twenty selection criteria.

The successful applicants will receive assistance totalling over $600,000 for activities that establish significant farm scale best practice integration of shelterbelts and woodlots into the agricultural landscape; and demonstrate the multiple benefits of trees on farms.

“Seven of the seventeen applications had good claims against all criteria and also met other essential and desirable requirements,” says Private Forests Tasmania Chief Executive Officer, Penny Wells.

“The successful applications are dispersed across Tasmania including farms at Evandale, Dunalley, Montumana, Campbell Town, Ellendale and Westwood. Across the sites there is a 50/50 mix of shelterbelts and woodlots and a range of species including Radiata Pine, Blackwood, Eucalyptus Globulus, Eucalyptus Nitens and other mixed species.

“The trees will be managed for wood products including sawlogs, poles and fibre and will provide a broad range of other benefits including stock and pasture shelter through wind reduction, reduced water evaporation, carbon sequestration and prevention of farmland degradation.”

Ms Wells explained that the benefits of planting trees in the right place on farms are extensive.

“Trees can deliver increased primary production productivity while simultaneously growing high value timber products, delivering biofuel, improving water quality and efficiency, and improving the carbon balance. Trees also protect the land for future generations,” she said.

“The purpose of this project is to illustrate these benefits, which have been well documented around the world, in the Tasmanian context.

Planting will commence in late winter/spring 2021. The trees will be integrated into farming enterprises that currently include prime lamb, wool, grass seed, cereal grains, forestry, aquaculture, dairy, beef, cropping, seed growing and potential future horticultural crops.

“Existing Tasmanian case studies have found that farm systems that include trees are more productive and profitable than agriculture only enterprises with internal rates of return typically around 8%,” says Ms Wells.

“It was great to see such a high number of good quality applications. While 10 of the 17 applicants did not meet all the necessary criteria for grant funding as part of this project, this does not mean they are not worthy projects for agroforestry or forestry investment.”

Unsuccessful applicants will be contacted regarding their willingness to participate in Private Forests Tasmania’s ‘Matching Project’, which seeks to find suitable investors willing to work with landholders to fund mutually beneficial tree growing opportunities.

Tree planting may be of interest to investors in carbon, timber production, superannuation or other industries.

“Private Forests Tasmania would like to work with all land owners interested in gaining the benefits that trees can bring to their farming enterprise,” says Ms Wells.

Image: PFT Forestry Advisor meeting with an applicant for the grant


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... and finally .... your midweek joke

How competition drives innovation - Shopkeeper Smith was alarmed when a new business, much like his own, opened in the storefront to the left of him. A huge sign was installed, reading: “Best Deals”.

Mr Smith was troubled a second time when another competitor leased the building on his right, and erected a much larger sign, reading: “Lowest Prices”.

At this point Smith was really depressed, however, he came up with an idea. He put the biggest sign of all over his own shop. It read: “Main Entrance”.

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A little girl had just finished her first week of school. 'I'm just wasting my time,' she said to her mother. 'I can't read, I can't write, and they won't let me talk!'



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

John Stulen, Editor
Innovatek

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