Friday Offcuts – 28 July 2017

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The New Zealand Government announced moves as part of its second-stage review of the Emissions Trading Scheme mid-week. The $25 price cap is staying for now, but the importation of international units will be restricted when the New Zealand carbon market opens to the world again. Details on each of the proposed policies and timelines are provided in this week’s lead story. As far as the forestry sector is concerned, we’re going to have to wait until the middle of next year to learn what technical changes will be made to the forestry accounting rules.

As well as buildings now meeting top sustainability ratings, owners and architects increasingly are looking to achieve new standards for “wellness”. So, in addition to the already well-known design and operational benefits of using timber and engineered wood products, they’re now striving to ensure that their buildings are designed to shape health outcomes.

Sound a bit far-fetched? Not so. From a survey last year, 79% of U.S. building owners believed that healthier architecture and operations would boost employee satisfaction and engagement. As well as the positives here, there’s a downside as well. Poor-performing buildings can also contribute to reduced productivity due to poor health. How much? For the US workforce, they’re estimating this to be a staggering US$570 billion a year. It’s in this “wellness” space that wood is really shining. Connecting buildings with the natural world and using wood to provide a healthier, happier environment was of course the focus for an Australian report produced earlier this year, the Wood - Nature Inspired Design report. Check out the links to some of this work in this week’s story.

More good news this week in the timber for use in buildings space. In a recent update to Green Star, the Green Building Council of Australia sent a clear signal to the market. Carbon zero buildings are coming. Among the key changes to Green Star, in addition to engineered timber such as glulam and CLT, all sustainably-sourced structural timber is being recognised with project teams able to gain points for its use under the scheme. We also cover the soon to be released new book, “The New Carbon Architecture”, where the author extols the embodied carbon of building materials like wood.

Finally, this week we have news on a new app that’s been developed for mapping wildling conifers in New Zealand, a new Work Health and Safety Audit Tool for forestry businesses in Australia that’s been developed in collaboration with ForestWorks and we’ve got a nice video for you of a very clever marketing ploy used by Volvo Trucks North America. It’s an unveiling of one of their new model trucks and it’s a world record. It involves the unboxing a full-size heavy truck by a 3-year-old "truck enthusiast”. Check it out. Enjoy this week’s read.



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New tools to help meet NZ climate change targets

New Zealand’s Climate Change Minister Paula Bennett on Wednesday announced a package of changes that the Government will make to the country’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).

“In 2015 the Government initiated a review of the ETS to ensure it was fit for purpose going into the 2020s,” says Mrs Bennett. “Last year, as a result of stage one of the review, we announced the phase out of the one-for-two measure in the ETS. I am now announcing further changes as a result of stage two of the review.”

The proposals announced will provide businesses with the clarity they need about the direction of the ETS. Cabinet has made an in-principle decision to implement four proposals and asked officials to work on how they will be developed and implemented in the ETS over the next few years so there will not be immediate changes. The proposals are to:

- introduce auctioning of units, to align the ETS to our climate change targets - limit participants’ use of international units when the ETS reopens to international carbon markets - develop a different price ceiling to eventually replace the current $25 fixed price option - coordinate decisions on the supply settings in the ETS over a rolling five-year period.

The in-principle decisions will:

- give the Government the tools to align the supply of units in the ETS with our target - set up a more predictable and transparent process for decision-making on ETS supply settings such as unit volumes and the price level of any price ceiling - allow further engagement and consultation with stakeholders, before the in-principle decisions are implemented - make the NZ ETS more similar to emission trading schemes in other countries which will mean that it is more compatible for international linking (accessing international units).

There will be further work to determine how to implement these proposals, including further consultation and engagement over the next 12 to 18 months. “We are also making no changes to free allocation or to the $25 price ceiling at this point,” says Mrs Bennett.

“We are committed to ensuring New Zealand businesses whose emissions are a big part of their costs are not disadvantaged compared to their international competitors. This means there will be no changes to the current level of free allocation at least until the end of 2020, and any changes would be well signaled and take into account what is happening internationally”.

“The $25 price ceiling will also remain in place until auctioning or links with international markets are established.” More work needs to be done in the area of forestry accounting and operational improvements to reduce complexity for forestry participants and increase the efficiency of the ETS. A package of options will be developed next year with input from the Climate Change Forestry Reference Group.

More information is available at: www.mfe.govt.nz.

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Green Building Council of Australia adds timber incentives

In its latest updates to Green Star, the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) sends a signal to the market: carbon zero buildings are coming. After a lengthy industry consultation period, the GBCA has released new versions of the Green Star – Design & As Built and Green Star – Interiors rating tools which promise to drive the uptake of low-carbon buildings, incentivise new industries and challenge the market leaders to innovate.

Among the key changes to Green Star, are a new ‘prescriptive pathway’ for the use of structural timber which aims to incentivise the material’s use. While the initial intention was to recognise engineered timber, such as Cross-Laminated Timber and glulam, after seeking industry feedback the scope of the credit was expanded to include all sustainably-sourced structural timber.

“We have always recognised the use of sustainably-sourced structural timber, but until now project teams needed to undertake a full lifecycle analysis to achieve Green Star points. This change makes it easier for project teams to gain points using responsibly-sourced timber, just the way we encourage the use of sustainable concrete and steel” says the GBCA’s Head of Market Transformation, Jorge Chapa.

Other small changes are being made to Green Star. New Innovation Challenges on Carbon Neutrality will be introduced in the coming weeks, while others are being rolled into existing credits; and loop holes are being removed that enable double counting.

“As Green Star evolves, we continue to look for new ways to collaborate with the industry to find sustainable solutions. While we won’t compromise on the integrity of the rating system, we are flexible in how we work with project teams to get the best outcomes for industry and the environment,” Mr. Chapa concludes.

Source: Green Building Council of Australia

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Architect: We should be building out of sunshine

“Imagine a building made of sky”, says Bruce King, a Californian architect and author of a new book entitled “The New Carbon Architecture”, due to be released soon. And we are already. Australia’s top developers are leading the way with timber buildings for midrise construction. The wood-based designs are better, faster and more user-friendly than those made of traditional materials. A conference with wide appeal on commercial timber is coming to New Zealand soon.

King’s new book is due out later in 2017. Titled ‘The New Carbon Architecture, Building Out of Sky’ - he means using building using materials that come from the sky. Carbon from the CO2 in the air, sunlight and water, which, through photosynthesis, grow plants we can process into building materials.

“For the first time in history, we can build pretty much anything out of carbon that we coaxed from the air. All of these emerging technologies - and more - arrive in tandem with the growing understanding that the so-called embodied carbon of building materials matters a great deal more than anyone thought in the fight to halt and reverse climate change”, says King.

Keynote speakers from Canada and Australia will deliver presentations on how this vision is already becoming a reality in their countries, at a national conference in Rotorua on 28th September.

Entitled “Advantages of Timber in Mid-Rise Construction,” this second annual conference continues to attract architects, developers, engineers, specifiers, plus building officials and owners.

Conference organiser John Stulen says, “Australian companies are moving ahead of their New Zealand counterparts in commercial building. Their key advantages come from using engineered wood. This emerging trend in new commercial buildings is not just economical but also environmentally friendly. It’s now clear that wood structures are giving industry leaders an edge over traditional materials in many ways.”

Stulen explains the inspiration for this conference came from Rotorua’s mayor Steve Chadwick when she championed the council’s ‘Wood-First’ policy.

“Rotorua’s economy is built on wood. Adding value by engineering the resource for commercial building is a ‘win-win’ for everyone in the supply chain. Thanks to the mayor’s vision and enthusiasm this wood-first conference series was born. So, the Rotorua Lakes Council is a natural partner for us,” Stulen says.

The conference is set to be part of a week of events on wood technology coming to the city in September, including FIEA’s WoodTECH 2017, a two-day conference and trade expo. Stulen said they have also partnered several key national wood industry groups to make this happen.

Information links:

Changing Perceptions Conference – Advantages of Timber in Midrise Construction – 28th September in Rotorua: www.cpetc2017.com.www.cpetc2017.com

WoodTECH 2017 Conference – Wood Scanning, Sawing, Mill Optimisation: www.woodtech.events.www.woodtech.events

About the book – The New Carbon Architecture: www.ecobuildnetwork.org

Building out of sunshine: www.treehugger.com.





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Predicting optimal stand density in NZ plantations

Radiata pine when it is planted too closely together grows tall and spindly while wide spacing encourages branch growth and land may be underutilised. Somewhere in between is an optimum final crop stand density that allows forest owners and growers to maximise the volume and value of the logs produced.

Scion scientists have recently looked at the factors that affect the optimum final crop stand density (Sopt) and how this can vary across New Zealand. Their starting point was the two productivity indices normally calculated from sample plot measurements: Site Index (SI) derived from tree height and age, and the 300 Index (I300), which is a standardised measurement of total stem volume. By linking the productivity indices with environmental information such as climate and soil types they were able to develop productivity maps, or surfaces, of these two productivity indices covering the whole country.

Optimal stand density is also affected by the decision to produce either clearwood timber, where the trees are pruned, or structural grade timber from unpruned trees. With the premium for pruned logs declining, the Scion work focussed on optimising conditions for growing valuable large-diameter, “S27”, structural saw logs with small knots. S27 logs were defined as having a small end diameter greater than 270 mm with the diameter of the largest branch being no larger than 70 mm.

Using the simulation system Forecaster, the researchers calculated the volume of S27 logs that could be grown under a standard framing silvicultural regime for various combinations of SI, I300 and stand density. Forecaster can predict growth, yield and form, including branching, for radiata pine across a range of sites and management regimes in New Zealand. Using these simulations, they were able to develop a relatively simple model of Sopt from I300, SI and rotation length.

Image: Figure 1. Spatial variation in predicted optimal stand density under a framing regime for stands grown to 28 years. Predictions were constrained to the potential range of P. radiata through excluding areas with mean annual temperature <7.9°C, artificial surfaces, and water bodies.

Across New Zealand, the average predicted Sopt for growing S27 logs was found to be 614 stems per hectare, with Sopt increasing from north to south. (see Figure). Given that the average stand density for unpruned sawlog regimes is around 500 stems per hectare, there is definite scope for increasing the volume of high-value log products grown in New Zealand’s planted forests, and value extracted per hectare.

Recognising that 614 stems/hectare is an average, site-specific recommendations can be made by taking account of local variations in productivity indices, and thus local environment, into account. Remote sensing technologies such as LiDAR, can provide forest managers with accurate prediction of local SI and I300 values and consequently more accurate predictions of Sopt.

The Sopt model suggests there is considerable scope for increasing plantation value across New Zealand through optimising stand density by site to values that are higher than those typically prescribed. Forest owners and managers can use the model to plan more targeted operations to optimise stand density and maximise the value of their crop.

Source: Watt, M S, Kimberley, M O, Dash, J P & Harrison, D (2017).Spatial prediction of optimal stand density for even-age plantation forests using productivity indices. Canadian Journal of Forestry Research, 47: 527–535 dx.doi.org/10.1139/cjfr-2016-0220



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Commercial wood systems win for wellness

The recent trend in building innovation is unmistakable: Being green means being healthy. Not only do thought leaders want buildings meeting top sustainability ratings, but a clear majority also wants to achieve new standards for wellness, too. And this confluence of environmental and health-focused design has opened the door for more wood structures, systems, and finishes.

Driving the parallel growth are long-understood design and operations benefits of wood materials and engineered wood products, on the one hand, and on the other hand, increasing knowledge of how buildings shape health outcomes. Bottom line: Architects and building owners want greener places that also boost occupant comfort, productivity, and enjoyment.

Environmental benefits of wood are even more apparent in the latest Version 4 of the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED certifications and even in recent studies on how, for example, wood-frame options meet rules set by IECC, the International Energy Conservation Code. As for high-performance sustainability, commercial wood systems are commonly used in zero-net-energy (ZNE) structures, with many advances coming from California.

To see the role of wood in wellness, project teams today benchmark against the WELL Building Standard™, an increasingly influential third-party certification led by the International WELL Building Institute. Based on rigorous scientific and medical research, WELL encompasses seven areas of building performance including daylighting and water quality, psychological impacts, and physical and sensory experiences, as well as human inputs like air, food, and exercise.

The WELL movement points to wood solutions in a number of areas. Acoustics are essential to wellness and productivity, while a relatively minor element of sustainable design. Solutions include sound-reducing surfaces as well as sound barriers, two areas where wood systems offer design flexibility and advantages. Wood framing and paneling has long been preferred for both noise-reducing properties as well as ways to optimize reverberation and sound reflection. Newer systems, including cross-laminated timber (CLT), present large-scale, prefabricated panel systems with carefully engineered, superior acoustic performance.

Read more

Source: architecturalrecord.com

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New Australian work H&S audit tool launched

A new Work Health and Safety Audit Tool is now available in Australia to support organisations demonstrate and report their compliance against various safety standards. The tool, which was the brainchild of the Forest Owners and Service Suppliers (FOSS) committee, was developed in collaboration with ForestWorks. The FOSS committee consists of forest contracting businesses and forest managers in the Green Triangle.

It was developed to meet the challenge of foresting contracting businesses being audited by multiple forest managers, against slightly different standards. The Work Health and Safety Audit Tool was launched at an event in Mount Gambier last Tuesday, hosted by the Australian Forest Contractors Association (AFCA).

Justin Jagger, Chairman of the Forest Owners and Service Suppliers committee, said the concept of one audit tool came from contractors identifying ways to be more efficient.

“The new tool describes one set of best practice safety standards and provides a template for all contractors to be audited against. It will result in fewer audits, with each one following the same format, saving businesses time and streamlining existing processes. The Audit tool will greatly improve safety management and compliance within our industry. This tool was developed by industry, for industry, in collaboration with our industry partners, and the fact that this tool is scalable and can be used countrywide,” said Justin.

General Manager of AFCA, Stacey Gardiner said AFCA was pleased that it could facilitate the launch of the Work Health and Safety Audit Tool. “The Work Health and Safety Audit Tool is a great solution for industry looking to streamline their auditing processes and communication between forest managers. It demonstrates what can be achieved when industry works in partnership towards a common goal; the end result being an audit tool that will create improved processes and efficiencies in compliance,” said Stacey.

General Manager of ForestWorks, Diana Lloyd said the Work Health and Safety Audit Tool is being used by industry in the Green Triangle and is creating efficiencies for all parties involved in safety auditing processes. “The Work Health and Safety Audit Tool is now being reviewed more broadly, for use in other regions across Australia,” said Diana.

The Work Health and Safety Audit Tool is housed on the Forestry Better Business Program website, as it aligns to the safety standards. The Forestry Better Business Program will be officially launched next month, when access and use of the online portal will become available nationally. The Forestry Better Business Program will recognise professional businesses operating to high standards in the forest industry. Businesses will be able to use the web portal to store and share information to demonstrate they meet current safety, economic, environmental and social standards. The program is currently being trialled in Tasmania with positive feedback.

Access the Work Health and Safety Audit Tool at forestworks.com.au

Photo: From left to right: Andrew Matheson, HVP Plantations; Nick Reynish, ForestryConnect; Diane Muhovics, Moreland Logging; Justin Jagger, One Forty One Plantations; Diana Lloyd, ForestWorks; Dr Georgiana Daian, ForestWorks

Source: ForestWorks

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Progress with PEFC Certification of NZ forests

Illegal forest management practices are a global problem. Governments and markets around the world are increasingly requiring proof of legality for harvested wood products. This has created a demand for labelling and endorsement of sustainably managed and legally harvested forest and wood products. The Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) is an eco-certification system that is recognised as providing assurance of legality and sustainability and is increasingly required for access to some of NZ’s major markets.

Globally, more than 300 million hectares of forest have achieved PEFC certification, making it the world’s largest forest certification system, promoting sustainable forest management, verified through independent, third-party certification. Over 18,800 businesses worldwide hold PEFC chain of custody certification, which ensures that material reaching consumers has originated from a PEFC certified forest.

PEFC certification became available in New Zealand in 2016. This followed the recognition of New Zealand Forest Certification Association (NZFCA) as the PEFC national governing body for New Zealand in early 2015. PEFC endorsement for the New Zealand forest certification scheme based around the New Zealand Standard for Sustainable Forest Management (NZS AS 4708) was achieved at the end of 2015. NZFCA acknowledges the assistance it has had from Australian Forestry Standard Ltd., its counterpart in Australia.

In the last month, three forestry companies (RMS Forests Ltd., (the former Wellington Regional Council forests), Hancock Forest Management NZ Ltd., and Timberlands Ltd.) have achieved PEFC certification for over 400,000 hectares of forest - about 20% of NZ’s plantation forest estate. Two more forest management companies are in the process to be certified. In addition, 27 companies involved in forest products processing and other supply chain activities (timber products suppliers, printers, stationery merchants, etc., (some using imported PEFC certified material) are certified to the PEFC chain of custody standard. This is providing opportunities for NZ forest produce to participate in export markets that demand PEFC certification as a way of demonstrating legal and sustainable forest management.

“It is really encouraging to see forest managers adopting PEFC on such a scale, so soon after we were able to bring it to New Zealand”, said NZFCA Chair, Dr Andrew McEwen. “The New Zealand forest and wood products sector relies heavily on exports with around 70% of production being exported. Increasingly their main markets, particularly Australia, North America and Asia are demanding third party certification as proof of legality of harvest and quality of forest management. Most of the countries New Zealand exports to are now PEFC members and recognise PEFC certification as meeting their import requirements.”

“Our client, has been pleased to obtain PEFC certification as, with the recent addition of the Wellington Region’s forests to its international portfolio, this meant that all its estates are subject to independent third party environmental certification – a long standing objective of the organisation” said Mr Kit Richards Environment Manager for PF Olsen Limited, the manager of the RMS forests.

Mr Colin Maunder, Forest Risk Manager for Timberlands Limited said “the company is proud to achieve PEFC certification which now complements our existing certification through application of a systematic management approach and strengthening our commitments to managing carbon”.

Source: Scoop



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The entire supply chain transformed?

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and Industry 4.0 hold the promise of unleashing profound change throughout the industry. Including a multitude of technologies and ideas that are poised to make a massive impact on plant/facility managers, system integrators and OEMs, these initiatives bring more of a focus on manufacturing flexibility, increasing automation levels and digitization.

While they represent an industrial evolution, rather than a revolution, they require personnel to rethink their approach to product, machine and plant design to reshape how factories, distribution centres and warehouses look and operate. This is the basis for the concept of smart manufacturing.

The world of IIoT will bring connected products with varying levels of intelligent functionality to operate as part of a larger, smarter system. Edge computing will allow for the collection of data between the cloud and equipment in a facility, and provide autonomous flexibility and operation, ultimately optimizing supply chain performance. Specifically, smart manufacturing will provide three core advantages for equipment manufacturers and engineers:

1. Improved material handling and asset performance: Deployment of cost-effective wireless sensors, cloud connectivity (including WAN) and data analytics will allow data to be easily gathered from the field and converted into actionable information in real time. By enabling a forward-looking decision making processes, enterprises adopting IIoT technology will experience an acceleration of many common applications, including condition-based monitoring, preventive maintenance and energy management.

2. Greater process automation control: Next-generation IIoT systems will enable better integration of legacy production, lifecycle and supply chain systems, which will result in improvements to overall enterprise efficiency and flexibility. These systems will enable tight integration of smart connected machines and manufacturing assets, facilitating more flexible and efficient – and hence profitable – manufacturing and distribution systems.

3. Deeper insight for operators: Mobile devices, data analytics, augmented reality and transparent connectivity will increase productivity. But, but the rapid increase in baby-boomer retirement means younger workers will need information delivered to them in real-time and accessible at their fingertips, meaning facilities will evolve to be more user-centric.

Machine operators and factory floor engineers are increasingly embracing mobile devices at work. Mobile, smart connected devices make communication with various elements of the supply chain easier, and give operators the flexibility to move around while still accessing machinery data. Engineers can also diagnose problems and offer guidance remotely, which speeds up implementation of a solution and reduces downtime and losses from component failure.

With an affordable secure cloud, facility managers, contractors, end users and manufacturers can all work at the same time using the same database to improve the efficiency of the plant, warehouse or production facility. Additionally, large companies can hire remote specialists to manage their facilities, meaning they no longer need to be geographically tied to a specific location. Additionally, by leveraging data analytics, facility managers can optimize performance at every level of their operation.

Read more.

Some of these key trends around industrial manufacturing will be discussed as part of the upcoming WoodTECH 2017 series being run for local sawmilling companies. The event runs in Melbourne, Australia on 20-21 September and then again in Rotorua, New Zealand on 26-27 September. Full details on the event and programmes for both countries can be found on the event website, www.woodtech.events.

Source; pddnet.com, Photo: Schneider Electric



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Wilding conifer work plan and new app announced

New Zealand’s Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy and Conservation Minister Maggie Barry have announced the Government will control the spread of wilding conifers over an additional five priority areas this year in Canterbury, Otago and Southland.

The five new areas, covering 371,000 hectares of affected land, add to the 1 million-plus hectares of successful control delivered last year across 14 priority areas.

“Our national wilding conifer control programme last year was so successful that we’ve been able to bring forward some of the work planned for the programme,” says Mr Guy.

This is the second year of the national control programme to remove self-sown trees that have spread from introduced conifers. These invasive trees affect over 2 million hectares of New Zealand, and prior to the national control programme were spreading at a rate of 90,000 hectares a year.

The programme is being implemented by the Ministry for Primary Industries, Department of Conservation, and Land Information New Zealand in partnership with other central government agencies, local government, forestry and farming industries, iwi groups, landowners, researchers and community trusts and organisations.

“LINZ is also involved in this work, with the launch of its new Wilding Conifer Information System in Queenstown, a vital tool in control efforts. The mapping application can be viewed on the LINZ website: www.linz.govt.nz.

This year the national programme contribution towards wilding conifer control across all management units will be NZ$6.35 million, and is supported by co-funding of NZ$1.88 million from other parties. Over the four years of phase 1 of the National Wilding Conifer Control Programme, the Government has pledged $16 million.

The five new priority areas added to the programme in 2017/18 are: Tekapo West, Tekapo East, Ohau (McKenzie, Canterbury), Lammermoor (Otago) and Mid-Dome (Northern Southland). More about the wilding conifer control programme, and last year’s successful control efforts, can be found on the MPI website.



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NZ export log prices weaken

New Zealand export log prices generally declined over the past month as a gain in the New Zealand dollar made the country's products less competitive.

Most grades of New Zealand unpruned logs weakened by between $1-to-$3 a tonne, with A-grade logs falling to $124 a tonne, from $127 a tonne the previous month, according to AgriHQ's monthly survey of exporters, forest owners and saw millers.

Export pruned logs bucked the trend, edging up to $164 a tonne from $163 a tonne. Nearly all the weakness stemmed from the exchange rate swinging out of exporters' favour, with the New Zealand dollar firming about 7 percent against the US dollar since mid-May, AgriHQ said.

"Wharfgate log values took a slight backwards step on last month, but as far as exporters are concerned, there's little to be worried about," AgriHQ analyst Reece Brick said in his report. "Fortunately, the exchange rate is where the negative vibes end," Brick said, noting that overseas demand, shipping rates and oil prices remained favourable.

"All factors considered, sentiment through the log export sector is optimistic," Brick said. "Wharfgate values are anticipated to stabilise or strengthen a little as the year progresses, with only currency movements casting a little doubt over medium-term prospects."

Brick said there appeared to be no slowing in Chinese demand for New Zealand logs. In-market prices in China firmed through June and July to their highest level in more than three years, and the usual decline in activity during the summer months hadn't been noted this year, he said.

Meanwhile in India, the implementation of a goods and service tax on July 1 temporarily hurt demand, but Indian ports appeared to be short on log volumes and the market is expected to settle back to its normal routine after a period of adjustment, he said.

In the New Zealand domestic market, values for all log grades reported by AgriHQ were either steady or slightly firmer. "The pull of export markets is still too strong for mills to be able to bargain the market lower," Brick said. "Many sellers are still finding a premium selling logs through the wharfgate, and it’ll take a solid correction in this area to for any reprieve to come to the market."

Source: Scoop



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UC Forest Engineering running workshops

After a very successful 2016 series, the Forest Engineering team at the School of Forestry, University of Canterbury in New Zealand will again be offering four 1-day (back-to-back) workshops covering GIS/LiDAR, Roads and Stream Crossing, Cable Logging Planning and Steep Slope/Cable Assist operations. Last year over 60 people participated including six from Australia. The workshops will be held at the School of Forestry in Christchurch from the 28th through to the 31st of August.

For more information on the workshops click here or contact kristopher.brown@canterbury.ac.nz .



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3-year-old stars in world's largest truck unboxing

A lucky 3-year-old "truck enthusiast" helped set a world record by unboxing a full-size heavy truck. Volvo Trucks North America organized the stunt to unveil its new Volvo VNL model semi-truck and claimed the Guinness World Record for "Largest object unboxed." Pennsylvania youngster Joel Jovine did the honors of opening up the massive 80-by-14-by-18-foot box, which housed the new truck.

Guinness World Records regulations required the box be made entirely out of standard box materials including cardboard and cellophane. It was also required that the box be opened manually, without the use of tools, and that the truck be removed from the box without destroying it.

Jovine gently opened the large flap on the front of the box before making his way inside the truck that featured a television, a bed and a fridge stocked with juice bottles. A driver soon entered the truck to guide it out of the massive box, as onlookers cheered and Guinness World Records adjudicator Michael Emperic presented the crew with a plaque commemorating their achievement.



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Regrowing Victoria’s State forests

Every year hundreds of millions of Eucalyptus seeds are spread across Victoria’s State forests. Lachlan Spencer, VicForests General Manager Stakeholders and Planning said that helicopters aerially spread seeds over larger areas and smaller areas are sown by hand.

When an area has been harvested it undergoes a regeneration burn before being re-sown. “The burns mimic the process of nature and create a natural ash bed to germinate the seeds,” Mr Spencer said. “Some species, such as the Alpine Ash, are sown just before or in the snow as they require natural winter conditions in order to germinate,” he said.

VicForests holds Victoria’s largest store of eucalyptus seeds. These seeds not only re-grow harvested areas but are also used to re-grow other areas which have been affected by bushfires. VicForests has 17 tonnes of seed in storage and just one kilogram of seed contains 250 000 potential trees. VicForests has spread approximately 377 million seeds across 2 273 hectares this year.

“The way we grow trees replicates that which happens in nature,” Mr Spencer said. “It is a survival of the fittest process whereby natural selection occurs and of the 200,000 seeds sown per hectare only 10 000 seedlings might germinate. In another 50 to 60 years there will be around 300 trees per hectare left as part of the growing forest,” he said.

VicForests conducts a regeneration survey to test the success of the regrowth 18 months after seeding, if it is successful it’s handed back to the Department of Environment, Land Water and Planning (DELWP). DELWP will manage that area of forest until it matures over 50 to 60 years and will eventually hand it back to VicForests to begin the process again.

Source: VicForests

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Jobs


Buy and Sell


... and one to end the week on ... marital misunderstandings

Many of our readers will have heard of the widespread flooding Otago went through with the heavy rain this time last week. You might not have picked up though this image which just shows you how bright rabbits are in this part of New Zealand.

Yep – plenty of them – and they're pretty clever. The water was getting really deep. Here's an image of some rabbits who decided that the best way out of there was to hitch a ride on the back of some local sheep. The photo was taken on a Taieri Plains farm, west of Mosgiel.

You can read more if you want to by clicking here.

Source: stuff.co.nz








And an extra for you. Marital Misunderstandings. How men and women record things in their diaries...

Wife’s Diary:

Tonight, I thought my husband was acting weird. We had made plans to meet at a nice restaurant for dinner. I was shopping with my friends all day long, so I thought he was upset at the fact that I was a bit late, but he made no comment on it. Conversation wasn’t flowing, so I suggested that we go somewhere quiet so we could talk. He agreed, but he didn’t say much.

I asked him what was wrong; He said, ‘Nothing.’ I asked him if it was my fault that he was upset. He said he wasn’t upset, that it had nothing to do with me, and not to worry about it. On the way home, I told him that I loved him. He smiled slightly, and kept driving. I can’t explain his behavior. I don’t know why he didn’t say, ‘I love you, too.’

When we got home, I felt as if I had lost him completely, as if he wanted nothing to do with me anymore. He just sat there quietly, and watched TV. He continued to seem distant and absent. Finally, with silence all around us, I decided to go to bed. About 15 minutes later, he came to bed. But I still felt that he was distracted, and his thoughts were somewhere else. He fell asleep; I cried. I don’t know what to do. I’m almost sure that his thoughts are with someone else. My life is a disaster.

Husband’s Diary:

A one-foot putt ... who misses a one-foot putt.






And on that note, enjoy your weekend. Cheers.

Brent Apthorp
Editor, Friday Offcuts
Distinction Dunedin Hotel
6 Liverpool Street, Dunedin 9016, New Zealand
PO Box 904, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand
Tel: +64 (03) 470 1902, Mob: +64 21 227 5177, Fax: +64 (03) 470 1906
Web page: www.fridayoffcuts.com


This week's extended issue, along with back issues, can be viewed at www.fridayoffcuts.com

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