WoodWeek – 23 September 2020

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Greetings from the today’s first choice in forest news. This week FOA said taxpayers are likely to have to pay billions of dollars for imported carbon credits, if planting production forests is to be restricted to protect farming. That said, Phil Taylor added that the carbon sequestration ability of trees stops being an answer in the longer term. He made the point that New Zealand can’t rely on this for more than perhaps one harvest rotation.

Advances in mechanised silviculture are coming quickly in the lead up to our big ForestTECH 2020 conference running in mid-November. Registrations are flowing in for both real and virtual delegates for Rotorua. For international delegates from Australia and further afield, we offer a virtual on-line registration alongside our ‘real’ events. Early bird discount rates close on Friday 9 October. Register now online.

Continuing the planting theme, a recent SafeTree media release highlights how silviculture workers are crucial to the success of New Zealand’s forestry industry. However sometimes they can be over-shadowed by the harvesting end of the business. Silviculture crews do valuable work. To showcase their work, Safetree teamed up with Whanganui-based company Penetito Forestry. They’ve made some videos of the work the Penetito crews do, and how they add value for the company's clients.

Meanwhile, down south, New Forests confirmed investment funds managed by the firm have agreed to purchase the softwood plantation assets of Invercargill City Forests Limited from the council.

Staying in the South Island, Westco Lumber wanted to reinvigorate a culture of learning among its workers, recognising that an engaged workforce has been key to its success. Bringing in an outside training company since 2019 has led to key members of Westco’s 90-strong workforce participating in a learning programme that followed an individual plan suited to their ability and need – and the results have already been impressive. In doing so, Westco Lumber director Dean Sweetman was pleased to share the news that his team picked up a major award at the 2020 Diversity Awards NZ™ for their efforts.

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FOA sounds carbon credits warning

The Forest Owners Association (FOA) says taxpayers are likely to have to pay billions of dollars for imported carbon credits, if planting production forests is to be restricted to protect farming. Their comments come as Environment Minister, David Parker said Labour would use the Resource Management Act to limit forest planting on areas of more than 50 hectares which is classified as arable.

FOA president, Phil Taylor (pictured) says a quarter of the forest estate is already on these land classes. If foresters were only allowed to plant the harder non-arable class 6 and 7 land, then the overall forest planting rate will fall. He says that would mean New Zealand would most likely to be well short of enough forests to meet the government’s goal of carbon neutrality by 2050 through carbon sequestration.

It would result, he says, in either importing expensive carbon credits, or New Zealand will not meet its 2050 carbon neutrality target.

“Planting restrictions would also be a hit on iwi and farmers who want the choice to plant trees for harvest on the land they own, for sound economic as well as environmental reasons. Banning forests stems from some idea that farming is automatically a better land use. That’s taking away landowner choice of how to produce from their own land.”

“The recent PwC report into the employment and income of hill country farming, found that production forestry, per hectare, is ahead on both counts. “Forest products are a seven-billion-dollar industry and hugely important for many rural communities. The government plan would be both an economic and an environmental step backwards.”

“I can’t see what the panic is about. The total planation estate is 74,000 hectares smaller than it was in 2003. It’s only occupying seven percent of the farmed or plantation forested arable land area. It’s hardly a takeover.” Taylor is emphatic that he is not referring to carbon forests where the owner has no intention to harvest the trees, saying, “There is a place for these carbon forests. It’s on the most highly erodible land which would be unprofitable and irresponsible to harvest.”

FOA says it is a mystery as to why the government appears to have abandoned a previous commitment to use trees to soak up atmospheric carbon, such as through the Billion Tree Programme. “It’s not as though there has been any breakthrough with reducing any of the greenhouse gasses New Zealand is producing. Our gross emissions are still 20 percent above what they were 30 years ago. We still have to work out how we are going to deal with agricultural emissions which make up 48 percent of New Zealand's total greenhouse emissions.”

“We are still in the same situation as when the Productivity Commission in 2018 concluded that whatever technology, politics or market reduction there was, there would still have to be a huge reliance on pine forestry to get to carbon zero by 2050.”

“Without the full range of forest planting options, there is no way that we are going to meet our targets without more draconian and unpalatable action to reduce emissions further down the track."

Phil Taylor points out though, that the carbon sequestration ability of trees stops being an answer in the longer term. “Pines are the only viable immediately available option to reduce net emissions. But we can’t rely on this for more than perhaps one harvest rotation.”

“Longer term measures have to include drastic reductions of the use of petrochemicals and development of renewable technologies. Forestry has a role in this as well with such products as plastic replacements and alternative fuels. Don’t rely on our industry for the long term answers, but just as much, don’t get in the way of us providing the short term solutions,” Phil Taylor says.

Source: Forest Owners Association

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Invercargill: New Forests seeks OIO approval

The Invercargill City Council has a buyer for its forestry estate and the sale now sits with the Overseas Investment Office. Invercargill City Forests Limited – a subsidiary of the council’s holding company, Invercargill City Holdings Limited – owns 14 forests in Southland, Otago, and Nelson/Marlborough.

They have a combined area of 3599ha and a total productive area of 3058ha, predominantly stocked with radiata pine. Those forestry assets were put on the market in February and New Forests has emerged as a buyer.

Australian-based forestry investor New Forests confirmed investment funds managed by the firm have agreed to purchase the softwood plantation assets of Invercargill City Forests Limited from the council. The sale is subject to approval from the Overseas Investment Office.

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OFO CEO appointed

OneFortyOne announces CEO appointment - OneFortyOne is pleased to announce the appointment of Andy Giles Knopp (pictured) as Chief Executive Officer, effective 21 September 2020.

Prior to this announcement Andy has been a key member of OneFortyOne’s executive team since 2016 and will step into the CEO role previously held by Linda Sewell, who resigned in August after nearly eight years of thoughtful and distinguished leadership.

Announcing Andy’s appointment, OneFortyOne Chairman John Gilleland said: “Andy is a proven leader. His ability to balance commercial and people focussed strategy will further strengthen the business.”

Andy is currently Acting CEO and CFO of OneFortyOne. Prior to bringing his financial expertise to the forest and timber industries he held a number of senior roles in the telecommunications sector.

“This appointment marks an exciting new chapter for OneFortyOne and the Board is looking forward to working with Andy to ensure OneFortyOne continues to deliver its promise of growing exceptional wood fibre, producing quality products, delivering responsible environmental management and making regional economic contributions.”

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Silvicultural work highlighted in new videos

Silviculture workers are crucial to the success of New Zealand’s forestry industry. However sometimes the important work they do can be over-shadowed by the harvesting end of the business. But silviculture is where the forestry cycle starts. The planting, pruning, thinning and other work silvi crews do, has a huge impact on the crop as it matures.

Good silviculture crews set things up in a way that adds considerable value for forest managers and owners. They also ensure that things can go more smoothly at harvesting time. Silviculture crews do valuable work. They are people worth valuing, investing in and taking care of.

To showcase their work, Safetree teamed up with Whanganui-based company Penetito Forestry. They’ve made some videos of the work the Penetito crews do, and how they add value for the company's clients. Penetito are Safetree Certified Contractors and have taken part in Safetree's Leadership courses. So, they have some great insights to offer on what makes a successful crew.

Safetree is suggesting you might like to take time out to watch these videos and share them with your crews, teams and clients. They are a great way to acknowledge and celebrate the important work being done by a key part of our industry.

Click here to watch these five new silviculture videos.

Source: Safetree

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Forestlands founder charged with fraud

Forestlands founder charged by Financial Markets Authority - Forestlands founder Rowan Charles Kearns has been named as the individual facing more than a hundred criminal charges for financial misconduct.

Kearns was the founder and sole director of Forestlands, a forestry investment group placed in liquidation in 2018 after the Financial Markets Authority investigated complaints the group had failed to file financial statements.

Earlier this month the FMA filed criminal charges against Kearns for alleged disclosure and financial record keeping breaches. A total of 111 charges were filed in the Nelson District Court, with the three lead charges, under the Financial Reporting Act, carrying a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment and a fine of up to $200,000.

The FMA allege security arrangements of a million-dollar loan were knowingly omitted from Forestland’s financial statements, misrepresenting the group's financial position to investors. Other charges include multiple counts of failing to file financial statements, keep proper accounting records, and to keep and supervise share registers.

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Source: BusinessDesk

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Komatsu 845 in a new outfit for 2021

The Komatsu 845 12-tonne forwarder is a versatile machine that performs well in thinning, but also in lighter final felling.

The 2021 model has been updated with new components, including a new chassis, a new engine and a new control system, bringing it fully in line with the larger forwarders, albeit in a slightly smaller package. New Komatsu 845 options include a larger crane and SpeedShift. The Komatsu 845 in the 2021 line-up boasts an upgraded design with the same popular cab as the larger forwarders. The work environment is spacious and comfortable with good visibility in all directions – over both the hood and the load area, which is especially important in thinning.

The latest engine installation ensures compliance with emission legislation while the overhauled AdBlue system increases reliability and simplifies service. Thanks to the user-friendly functions and tools of the new control system, MaxiXT, the best starting conditions are provided for ensuring full control of the timber from order to roadside delivery.

To simplify loading, the Komatsu 845 now has a straight head board. Just like on the larger forwarders, the load space is spacious and flexible with many customisation options for different harvesting conditions. There is now the option of a larger crane, which results in a more powerful machine well suited to handling heavy and long timber.

Another new option for the Komatsu 845 is SpeedShift, a function that enables the operator to use the machine's entire speed range without having to stop to change gears. SpeedShift automatically changes to a higher gear as the operator increases speed, resulting in both lower fuel consumption and a higher average transport speed.

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FOA applauds Government move

Forest industry says government wood preference policy good for economy and environment - Forest owners say the government’s announcement of a policy to give preference to low greenhouse gas emission materials in government construction will be good for both the environment and for the timber construction industry.

The Forest Owners Association (FOA) says the Labour Party promised a policy to use timber as a first option for government building contracts, before the last election, so it’s been a long time coming. “It’s great to have the policy announced at last, which cites wood as the preferred material,” says FOA president, Phil Taylor, “I see it as an opportunity to get those government officials whose job it is to specify for construction materials to seize on the new timber technologies which are now available, such as cross laminated timber and laminated veneer lumber.”

“Mid rise construction is now possible with these high strength construction materials. And they perform well in earthquakes. “The government also announced back in July that building codes for all construction would increasingly reflect a priority of protecting the environment under a Building for Climate Change policy,” he adds.

“The two new policies, one for government construction, and the other for construction in general, are over time going to benefit both the forest industry and the domestic timber processing industry as well.”

FOA comments were supported by the President of the Farm Forestry Association, Hamish Levack. Taylor says the environmental aspect of the wood preference policy is hugely important.

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Native seedlings blooming in Minginui

Did you know ... that Minginui Native Plant Nursery is now a major native seedling producer.

Ngāti Whare Holdings Limited opened the Minginui Nursery in 2016. Ngāti Whare Holdings is a subsidiary of Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Whare and part of the Ngāti Whare Group. Minginui Nursery grows native plants, with a focus on a new technology for podocarps such as tōtara, rimu, kahikatea and miro. One of the main drivers for establishing the nursery was to provide employment within Minginui. The nursery currently employs 17 permanent staff and a Manager, Matt Jackman. Surrounded by the pre-historic Whirinaki Te Pua-a-Tāne Conservation Park, (described by David Bellamy as “one of the best Mesozoic plant communities remaining Earth”) the Minginui Nursery was formed out of the unique relationship between the forest, Ngāti Whare and Scion – unifying nature, Māori and science.

The idea to establish a native tree nursery was developed as a result of the need to regenerate 640 hectares of pine plantation to native. This need is part of the settlement between Ngāti Whare and the Crown. The section that the nursery is established on, is the old Forest Service building. As part of the settlement, Ngāti Whare, through a joint trust with the Crown were asked to regenerate the land back to its former state as part of the Whirinaki Forest Park. From this agreement with the Crown, Ngāti Whare will use the Minginui nursery to grow the native trees so that once the pine trees are harvested, these can be replanted with native.

Minginui Nursery is a purely native tree nursery specialising in revegetation plants. Our plants have predominantly been propagated from seeds sourced from the Whirinaki Te Pua-a-Tāne Conservation Park but we have the capability to eco-source from other regions. We ensure our plants are carefully nurtured in a series of poly-houses, before being hardened for approximately six months in the tough open Minginui environment.

Customers all over Aotearoa can obtain native plants for riparian planting or returning disused land to native, or simply planting in the household garden. With the capacity to grow over 1,000,000 plants per year the Minginui Nursery is able to supply pure, cold-hardy natives on a commercial scale with orders delivered right to the customer’s door.

Minginui Nursery is dedicated to utilising rapid propagation technology and the Ngāti Whare unique bond and understanding of the forest to build a new sustainable indigenous forestry industry in New Zealand.

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NZ sawmill picks up major skills award

A New Zealand sawmilling operation, Westco Lumber Ltd, picked up this week a major award at the at the 2020 Diversity Awards NZ™ for their efforts to improve learning amongst its staff and workers.

West Coast sawmill business Westco Lumber Ltd wanted to reinvigorate a culture of learning among its workers, recognising that an engaged workforce has been key to its success. Bringing in outside training company Conquest Training Ltd in 2019 has led to key members of Westco’s 90-strong workforce participating in a learning programme that followed an individual plan suited to their ability and need – and the results have already been impressive.

Westco has two sites on different sides of the Southern Alps. Ruatapu, about 20km south of Hokitika, is one of the few sawmills still operating on the West Coast, while further processing is completed in Wainoni, Christchurch.

The company has thrived as an independent operator despite some major challenges, putting a premium on innovative thinking, quality systems and looking after its staff through initiatives such as a profit-sharing scheme. For many years, learning and development were a big part of the organisation but due to economic restraints, the focus waned over time.

Management acknowledged that within their teams were individuals who, for various reasons, had missed out on education and any sort of professional development. Staff were skilled in their roles but would benefit, both personally and professionally, from further learning opportunities.

Westco asked Conquest Training to reenergise the upskilling and learning culture, firstly inviting the training company to speak at quarterly “toolbox” meetings at both its sites, to highlight the opportunities ahead. It was emphasised that training sessions would be fun, educational and build upon existing skills.

An initial group completed a literacy and numeracy upskilling programme, then became its advocates, recommending it to their colleagues. As a result, Conquest is continuing to run programmes and one-on-one training sessions.

Conquest Training and the Westco leaders worked together to develop a programme that would benefit both the organisation and the team. “It was about improving company goals and targets and improving individuals as the key ingredient of that,” says Conquest Training Managing Director Nettles Lamont.

Developing communication skills and understanding conflict were high on the aims list, and it was agreed a focus on Westco, its history and sharing of information – especially financials – were critical, given the profit-sharing arrangement.

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For the full case study on the mill and it’s implementation of introducing a more extensive learning culture amongst its staff and workers, click here.

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Kangaroo Island progressing port plans

Kangaroo Island Plantation Timbers (KIPT) says it has an Early Contractor Involvement Agreement (ECI) with Port Adelaide-based Maritime Constructions and other partners, including global leading civil and maritime construction companies KBR and WGA.

But a neighbour and major opponent of the port plan has labelled the agreement as presumptuous and potentially a waste of time and money.

The proposed port at Smith Bay is about 20km west of Kingscote on the island’s north coast and is still awaiting a final decision from the state government.

The final documentation for the $40 million jetty and handling facility – the Kangaroo Island Seaport – was put to the state government in March and a further response document lodged in June.

The development was given major project status by former planning minister Stephan Knoll 12 months ago. The final decision, which now rests with new planning minister Vickie Chapman who filled the role following Knoll’s resignation last month, is yet to be announced.

The company says the port will be crucial to ship 4.5 million tonnes of bushfire-affected timber that could still be salvaged and sold before it begins to rot. The company has estimated it has a window of about two years before its burnt softwood pine trees rotted while the hardwood blue gums could potentially last up to five years.

KIPT is also expecting submissions from a number of contractors expressing their interest in significant contracts for timber harvest and haulage on the island. It says this is essential to salvage the softwood logs, which are at most risk of deterioration if not harvested soon.

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Photo: KIPT’s Alan Braggs, centre, with Maritime Constructions’ Matt Haskett and Shane Fiedler

Source: INDAILY News

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Who knew? Trees in medical products

Trees are all around us, from obvious uses like lumber and paper, to more surprising uses like touch screens and medicines. In our #ItStartsWithTrees series, we look at the science that explains why thousands of products require trees. Today, we’re looking at products relating to health, hygiene and medicine.

Did you know almost everything you own connects to the forest products industry in one way or another?

While most people recognize that the wood and paper products in their homes are made from trees, the everyday products we use that depend on the forest go way beyond the obvious: touch screens, medicines, bath products, paints, fabrics and even many foods depend on products derived from trees.

“People don’t realize how many everyday products contain some portion of wood or wood fiber,” says John Considine, a Materials Research Engineer with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Products Laboratory. “Our forests are one of our greatest natural resources. They’re like oil wells above the ground, but they’re renewable.”

Today we’re looking at the science that explains why trees are essential to so many critical supply chains in health, hygiene and medicine:

Why are trees in medicines?

Chances are, if you’ve ever swallowed a pill, there was an element that originated in a forest.

Manufacturers use cellulose ether, made from wood, to serve several purposes in the making of medicines. It can be used to bind the contents of a pill, to make the hard outside coating of tablets or even to serve as the slow-dissolving shell in slow-release tablets. Cellulose is also used as a thickening agent in liquid medicines. Of course, the processing of this kind of cellulose is done very carefully to keep it clean and pure. That’s why it’s called a “high purity” cellulose.

Why does it work?

1. Maintains strength even in tiny sizes
The same cellulose that builds strong cell walls in trees can be used to make products strong. A natural polymer, cellulose ether has layers of cellulose chains held together by strong hydrogen bonds. That helps it maintain its strength and stability when mixed with other substances. Because of that, it compresses well, which means it holds together, even under pressure. Think how tiny a pill is, and yet you can squeeze it between your fingers without crushing it or changing its shape.

2. Binds well with medicine, ensuring accurate dose
Cellulose is a great binder, meaning particles of it “grab” medicine particles and ensure they’re equally mixed in their container. This quality ensures the right dose of medicine gets into every pill in the manufacturing process.

3. Natural ingredient
Cellulose is the same material we find in plants and vegetables: It’s nontoxic and biodegradable, making it safe for humans to ingest. While the actual medicine component of a pill will be absorbed into your body, the cellulose component is a harmless fiber that will pass through your body.

Many other uses for forest products in the medical world

Beyond the use of cellulose in medications, we need forest products for countless items used in the medical world:

Wood in hand sanitizers, soaps and bath products

The same binding ability that makes cellulose useful in medicine is also important in the making of soaps. First, it can bind with the other ingredients in liquid soaps, shampoos and body washes, making them thicker or even gel-like. Cellulose also gives products the ability to bind with water, which is ideal for moisturizing soaps and lotions. It’s a good “slip agent” because of its ability to bind with skin and hair. That helps products like deodorants and creams stay on the skin of the person using them rather than slipping away as soon as they are applied.

Wood in Toothpaste

A form of cellulose known as cellulose gum, or Sodium Carboxymethyl Cellulose (CMC), plays several roles in toothpaste: thanks to its binding abilities, it acts as a thickener, attaching to the other ingredients in toothpaste and making it smooth and creamy. This quality also keeps ingredients from separating and helps extend the toothpaste’s shelf life. CMC also gives toothpaste its strength so it keeps its shape, even on your toothbrush. Incidentally, toothbrushes are often made of a hard, “plastic-like” material that’s made with the help of cellulose, which strengthens the material.

Wood in Swabs and Tongue Depressors

Wood is used in the manufacture of tongue depressors. It’s strong and rigid, so it can stand up to the moist conditions of our mouths. It’s also affordable, hypoallergenic and biodegradable: the ideal conditions for a one-time use medical item. For the same reasons, wood pulp fibers are often used to make the “handle” on cotton swabs.

Wood in Diapers and Feminine Hygiene Products

Wood can be broken down into a strong, absorbent material called “fluff pulp.” Softwoods like slash pines have strong, thick-walled fibers that are tightly compacted together. That makes them more absorbent, which is why they are preferred in fluff pulp manufacturing. This same type of pulp is used to make all kinds of absorbent pads, from those used in hospitals to the pads placed under meats in the grocery store.

Wood in Disposable Masks and Gowns

While many gowns and masks are made from polyester, there are forest products in some personal protective equipment, also known as PPE. This article explains how one producer, Harmac, has a specially- designed “recipe” for western red cedar pulp that is used for gowns, masks, caps and other medical PPE.

Why don’t we run out of trees?

Are you shocked at the number of products that come from wood? Keep in mind we’ve barely scratched the surface. Wood is also in many foods, high performance tires, air filters, and of course countless forms of lumber and paper products. There are several thousand more examples, and the list continues to grow as researchers uncover more uses.

With so many uses for trees, how do we keep up? Forests are a renewable resource. Sustainable forestry companies like Rayonier plant more trees than we harvest and ensure we have a diverse array of ages of trees across our ownership. That ensures our company will have a “sustainable yield” in perpetuity, which means we could continue to cut the same amount of trees every year and never run out.

To Considine, we shouldn’t be asking how we can use trees less, but rather how we can use them even more.

“Our forests make our country very wealthy and give us a tremendous advantage. Just look at the countries that don’t have trees and see what that does to their economies,” he says.

“Wood is the densest cellulose resource in the world. All other sources would require a tremendous expense in transport costs. But wood is something we can use economically in so many different ways, and we have a lot of it.”

Source: Rayonier

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Buy and Sell

... and finally ... something to laugh about

I have just completed writing a book on reverse psychology. Please don't buy it.


I was setting a voice recognition password for my new phone and a nearby dog barked and ran away. Now I'm still looking for that dog to unlock my phone.


In this age of "technology" how come new born babies aren't born cordless??


And, of course "little Johnny" always brings something to laugh about:

The teacher says “Ok class, I’d like you to tell me what you need at home.“

Susie says, “We need a computer.”
Wendy says, “We need a car.”
Johnny says, “We don’t need anything Miss.”

The teacher says “Come on Johnny, everyone needs something?”
“No miss, my sister came home with a new boyfriend and my Dad said, “Well that’s all we need!”


Now if those ones didn't get you laughing, then you may need professional help ... try this ... from Michael McIntyre:

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

John Stulen, Editor

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