WoodWeek – 27 April 2022

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Greetings from your best wood news source for a Wednesday. Today we begin with some timely insights from one of our speakers for our upcoming Carbon Forestry Conference. To quote from Keith Woodford's editorial;

"Pine-forest regulation proposals are creating lots of heat with big implications for land-use and the landscape. Right now, there is a fervent debate underway as to where pine trees fit within our future landscape. On one side stand Forestry Minister Stuart Nash and Climate Change Minister James Shaw. They are proposing that existing legislation should be reversed so that pine trees would only be for production forestry and not so-called permanent forests."

Minister Nash has recently come to a position that only native forests should be permanent, and he is supported by many who hold strong environmental values. Dame Anne Salmond is one of the leaders in that camp. In contrast, Minister Shaw is concerned that if permanent pine forests are allowed, then too much carbon will be stored in this way and urban people will no longer be forced to modify their carbon emitting behaviours. There are some huge ironies there.

On the other side stand iwi groups who own large areas of steep erodible land, often far from ports, for which permanent pine forests linked to carbon farming are by far the best income earning opportunities. These forests are also an excellent solution to the erosion problems.


Our Carbon Forestry 2022 Conference speaker line-up includes a wide range of highly knowledgeable and experienced experts. Click here to see our packed conference programme. Last year all seats were sold out so we suggest you register early to be there to listen, learn and network with everyone else. We look forward to seeing you in person again.

Our well-known forest research group is alive and well despite being a decade past pension age. Since it was established in 1947, the Forest Research Institute, now known as Scion, has played a significant role in forest research for New Zealand - This year the Crown Research Institute (CRI) turns 75 and continues to deliver impact for New Zealand, not just across the forestry sector, but also in biomaterials, bioenergy, waste and ecosystem services. This evolution represents the increasing importance of forests, and Scion's commitment to enhancing New Zealand's prosperity, wellbeing and environment through trees.

Moving to harvesting developments and we have news from Sweden. A new type of forest machine is currently moving around their forests. It combines a low- impact approach, increased productivity and an improved operator environment and is the result of a major cooperative project that has been under way since 2019. The concept machine is called Centipede and it has been developed by eight Swedish forestry companies and a forest machinery manufacturer. The machine is currently being test driven and the results are promising. The key objectives are to reduce soil compaction, increase productivity and allow a better work environment.

We hope you enjoy this week's statistic in a snapshot: SnapSTAT on shipping costs vs CPI. Thanks to our feature sponsors - Chainsaw & Outdoor Power and Oregon for their support.

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Debate over pines for carbon intensifies

(Keith Woodford) Are pine trees the problem or the solution? - Pine-forest regulation proposals are creating lots of heat with big implications for land-use and the landscape.

Right now, there is a fervent debate underway as to where pine trees fit within our future landscape. On one side stand Forestry Minister Stuart Nash and Climate Change Minister James Shaw. They are proposing that existing legislation should be reversed so that pine trees would only be for production forestry and not so- called permanent forests.

Minister Nash has recently come to a position that only native forests should be permanent, and he is supported by many who hold strong environmental values. Dame Anne Salmond is one of the leaders in that camp.

In contrast, Minister Shaw is concerned that if permanent pine forests are allowed, then too much carbon will be stored in this way and urban people will no longer be forced to modify their carbon emitting behaviours. There are some huge ironies there.

On the other side stand iwi groups who own large areas of steep erodible land, often far from ports, for which permanent pine forests linked to carbon farming are by far the best income earning opportunities. These forests are also an excellent solution to the erosion problems.

Alongside these iwi groups, but perhaps not generally as well organised, are many pakeha sheep and beef farmers who also own areas of steep erodible land. If either economics or minimising soil erosion is the goal, then permanent non-harvested pine forests on this class of land are the obvious answer. Somewhat ironically, their industry organisation Beef+Lamb does not seem to support them.

This overview might seem to describe a complex situation. Dig a little deeper and everything gets even more complex and confusing. Who is right and who is wrong?

As always in this world that we now live in, there is both information and misinformation. And some of the fervent believers do not understand when they are on shaky ground.

Both native and exotic forestry lie right at the limit of my former professional knowledge, which focuses primarily on agrifood systems. So, learning about forest ecology has been a journey of discovery. But having an education in agricultural science has meant that I do have some prior knowledge about the disciplines of soils, botany, chemistry and physics that underpin forestry. Having studied economics through to post- graduate level also helps.

As for broader ecology, that too lies at the limits of my knowledge, although I did study some ecology a very long time ago. I also had opportunities a long time ago to learn some more ecology in the field as a Board Member for several years of Westland National Park. I have also been lucky to spend multiple years wandering and working in mountain areas across the world, observing nature in its many forms. All of this has been helpful in trying to put together the forestry jigsaw.

To cut to the chase, New Zealand’s native forest trees are not well suited to colonising steep eroded lands that lost their original forest cover between 100 and 1000 years ago and are now covered in rundown pasture and sometimes scrub, and which provide a home for introduced rodents and possums. Newly planted native forests need lots of tender loving care if they are to survive, combined with deep pockets of money to make it happen. Even then, they establish and grow very slowly, with lots of failures.

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Source: Keith Woodford





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Scion marks 75 years

Since it was established in 1947, the Forest Research Institute, now known as Scion, has played a significant role in forest research for New Zealand - This year the Crown Research Institute (CRI) turns 75 and continues to deliver impact for New Zealand, not just across the forestry sector, but also in the area of biomaterials, bioenergy, waste and ecosystem services.
This evolution represents the increasing importance of forests, and
Scion’s commitment to enhancing New Zealand’s prosperity, wellbeing and environment through trees.

In April 1947, the State Forest Service established a Forest Experiment Station beside the existing nursery at Whakarewarewa Forest. The decision to centralise forestry research laid the foundation for Scion today, supporting New Zealand's third largest export industry.

Scion’s research has had significant outcomes for New Zealand’s 1.7 million hectares of planted forests. Forestry adds $6 to $7 billion to the economy each year in export revenue and provides jobs for around 35,000 people.

Scion’s chief executive Dr Julian Elder says the 75th anniversary is a chance to reflect on where the organisation has come from and where it is headed, but also to really acknowledge the place that Scion sits right now – quite literally, the land on which the institute was built.

“When we opened our award-winning innovation hub, Te Whare Nui o Tuteata, in March last year, we started on a journey of inviting visitors into Te Papa Tipu campus, where Scion is headquartered in Rotorua, and sharing our work with the community.

For principal scientist, Brian Richardson, celebrating 75 years of Scion is a chance to acknowledge the high-calibre breadth of work that has been achieved over that time.

Dr Richardson has worked at Scion for 39 years across many areas of forest science. In that time, he has seen a lot of changes – and a lot of things come back around. The highlights across the organisation have been many - genetic improvement of radiata pine, overcoming many forest health challenges and biosecurity incursions, supporting development of sustainable forest management practices to ensure maintenance of productivity and license to operate, and creation of management models.

“Scion has certainly been a leader across a range of research. Our work in areas such as ecosystem services – quantifying the benefits of forests beyond the timber – were happening long before the topics were accepted as mainstream activities.”

Doug Gaunt is a principal researcher in the materials analysis, characterisation and testing team. He joined Scion in 1979 and says the organisation’s contribution to the structural timber sector has been transformational.

Gaunt and his team focus on commercial testing for the timber building sector, supplying customers with the information they need to develop their own products and to meet export standards.

“Scion has been doing this work extensively for 40 or 50 years and I’d like to think that our research and expertise has impacted most building products in New Zealand. That is a huge testament to the work that has been conducted in our timber engineering labs.

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Source: Scion


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Sweden: Centipede forestry machine developed

Swedish forest industry develops tomorrow’s sustainable forest machine - A new type of forest machine is currently driving around the forests of Sweden. It combines a low-impact approach, increased productivity and an improved operator environment and is the result of a major cooperative project that has been under way since 2019. The concept machine is called Centipede and it has been developed by eight Swedish forestry companies and a forest machinery manufacturer. The machine is currently being test driven and the results are promising.

Centipede has been developed to meet the challenges of forestry and offers three important benefits: Lower soil compaction, increased productivity and better work environment. “This is a comprehensive project, in which the parties are taking a long-term approach to promote sustainable forestry. In the project, we have fundamentally challenged today’s technology and taken a step into the future,” says Erik Nilsson, CTO of Komatsu Forest. The machine is built to reduce the risk of ground damage, to increase transport speed and to reduce whole- body vibrations for the operator. The machine has a newly developed forestry track system, with a large support surface to minimize ground impact. It also has a fully suspended chassis to handle uneven ground conditions, enabling the speed of the machine to be increased significantly without the corresponding increase in vibrations.

With this newly developed technology, Centipede can be driven both on sites that are normally regarded as winter sites and on sites that are significantly impacted by precipitation. In addition to being able to satisfy timber supply throughout the year and thus provide better prerequisites for profitable harvesting operations, Centipede has a number of characteristics that will directly increase production.

As a result of its innovative design, Centipede can move around the terrain significantly faster and can carry a larger load than the Komatsu 855, which was used as the benchmark. Both of these characteristics create conditions for significant increases in productivity. In addition, Centipede has demonstrated in simulations that fuel consumption is reduced by up to 15 percent in soft terrain, which is also positive for both the environment and profitability.

An extensive preliminary study was implemented and a new machine concept was developed during the project. The machine has been thoroughly evaluated through simulations and test drives. The comprehensive testing will continue in spring 2022 and decisions will thereafter be made about the project’s continuation.

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Source: Komatsu Forest



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SnapStat: Shipping costs vs CPI since 2011




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Tigercat enters yarder market

Tigercat Enters Yarding Niche with 180 - The new Tigercat 180 swing yarder is purpose built from the ground up. It combines the speed and stability of conventional yarders with the mobility and simpler controls of excavator-based yarders. The result is a powerful and versatile yarding machine for extreme terrain logging applications. The 305 kW (409 hp) carrier was carefully designed with a component layout, hydraulic system, drivetrain, and boom system optimized for yarding. The result is high line pull, excellent stability, and efficient operation.

Designed to achieve exceptional stability, The 180 can achieve high line pull without the use of guylines in most operating conditions. The purpose-built undercarriage has a reinforced pedestal and carbody with an extended blade for added stability. The blade mounts are tied directly into the carbody for added strength. The machine can be quickly moved to the next set-up by simply lifting the blade. In operating situations where additional stability is required such as with extremely long yarding distances or low deflection conditions, a simple static guyline can be quickly set up. The machine still retains the ability to swing with this guyline attached.

The purpose-built winches are driven with efficient dedicated closed loop hydraulic circuits for smooth operations and infinitely variable speed control. The closed loop circuits provide energy when lowering the load for increased efficiency. Intuitive joystick controls, along with many programmable features reduce operator training time and increase production.

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As many experienced loggers will know this is the first time Tigercat has built a machine for cable logging operations - Being a Tigercat this new yarder is purpose-built from the ground up. It combines the speed and stability of conventional yarders with the mobility and simpler controls of excavator-based yarders.

The result is a powerful and versatile yarding machine for extreme terrain logging applications. The 305 kW (409 hp) carrier was carefully designed with a component layout, hydraulic system, drivetrain, and boom system optimized for yarding. The result is high line pull, excellent stability, and efficient operation ... complete with the usual Tigercat focuse on performance (if clearly not modesty in marketing - Ed).

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Source: Tigercat
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Australia: Can pulp logs make structural timber?

One of Australia's largest timber-producing regions will explore using low-value wood fibre in engineered products to address the nation's growing structural timber deficit crisis.

The Green Triangle forestry industry, spanning parts of western Victoria and the Limestone Coast in South Australia, has received a $1.3 million federal grant to explore the creation of new wood products using softwood and hardwood pulp.

The project comes amid the ongoing export log ban by China and structural timber shortages faced by homebuilders, renovators and the construction sector.

A report by Forest and Wood Products Australia claims demand for new housing will climb from 183,000 new dwellings per year to 259,000 by 2050.

This is expected to drive an increase of almost 50 per cent in the demand for sawn softwood.

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Source: ABC News

Photo credit: The housing construction boom, along with a drop in timber imports, is driving a major shortage of structural timber.(Supplied: Australian Forest Products Association)




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Forest industry still chasing staff

Forestry and sawmilling jobs are up for grabs as demand continues to outstrip supply across the sector. A sawmilling company owner in Te Puke who has about 180 employees was also back on the tools because he desperately needs another 30 full-time workers. This was just one dilemma the forestry industry was facing amid a ''perfect storm'', with slower log vessel loading times at the Port of Tauranga and concerns over Covid lockdown policy in China, the sector's biggest export market.

Mahi Rākau Forest Management's health, safety, training and recruitment co-ordinator Joe Taute said he was looking for 30 workers. He said finding people who were drug-free and who would show up was hard. Taute said in his view tree-planting programmes could be under threat alongside the Government's aim to plant one billion trees by 2028.

Red Stag Group chief executive Marty Verry said it was still seeing strong demand and the industry had a good pipeline for the next 12 months. The company was continuously recruiting and would need 15 new workers in the next three months.

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Source: Rotorua Daily Post



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Heavy transport: Reduced RUC rate takes effect

Government support is now in effect for more road users impacted by the current global energy crisis with the passing of legislation to enable a key part of the Government’s transport package. The passing of the Road User Charges (Temporary RUC Reduction Scheme) Amendment Bill delivers a 36 percent reduction across all legislated rates, effective 21 April.

The reduction is part of the Government’s transport support package to help New Zealanders through the global energy crisis caused by the war in Ukraine.

The package includes:
• Petrol excise duty cut by 25 cents a litre.
• 36% reduction across all legislated RUC rates.

“As a nation, we are experiencing the impacts of pandemic induced inflation and a war on the other side of the globe. We know households are feeling the effects too, so we’ve taken swift action that will make a difference for families and kiwi businesses,” said Michael Wood.

“The passing of this legislation allows us to reduce the road user charges more quickly. The Bill instructs Waka Kotahi to apply a 36 percent reduction across all legislated rates of road user charges. This reduction in road user charges will decrease the operating costs for light and heavy diesel vehicles.”

“We also know that operating costs matter. The reduced RUC rates will make it cheaper to transport goods and services and for families to get where they need to go.”

“A key beneficiary of the reduction will be our road transport industry. The road transport industry plays a vital role in supplying food and other essential goods across the country. It is important to the Government that we backed the industry through these challenging times, and I’d like to acknowledge them for their constructive input into the scheme.

The Government has also put protections in place to ensure the integrity of the system.

“To discourage bulk purchasing, those purchasing road user charges during the period of the reduction will be required to complete an online declaration form stating that they are only purchasing charges that they require for that period,” said Michael Wood. “Waka Kotahi will undertake spot checks of large or suspicious purchases and, where appropriate, take enforcement action. Enforcement action could include the charging of unused road user charges at the non-reduced rate.

Meanwhile on the fuel levy cuts, it’s now possible they may be extended.

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... and finally ... more fun with little Johnny

Just for your entertainment ... Little Johnny is BACK at school

Teacher: “Little Johnny, please go to the map and find South America.”
Johnny goes to the front of the room: “Here it is miss”
Teacher: “Now class who can tell me who discovered South America?”
Class: “Johnny!”
Teacher: Little Johnny your composition on “My Dog” is exactly the same as your brother’s. Did you copy his?
Johnny: No miss, it’s the same dog.

Little Johnny: "Dad, will you do my maths homework for me tonight?"
Dad: "No son, it wouldn’t be right."
Johnny: "Well, just do your best then."



That's all for our mid-week wood news roundup.

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