Friday Offcuts – 17 October 2014

growing trees cutting and milling timber forest products
This week we have news on the first public release of the report prepared by the Independent Forest Safety Review panel in New Zealand. On Friday 31st October there will be an official launch of the independent report at the Distinction Hotel in Rotorua at 11:00am. We’ve got all of the details about this key industry event in today’s issue.

The Tasmanian forestry industry this week have been voicing their concerns about a shortage of forestry contractors. In fact, they may well need to be drawn from across the ditch to meet the shortfall already been experienced in Tasmania. The situation has been exasperated by nearly 90 forestry contractors leaving the native forest industry a couple of years ago as part of the then negotiated forestry peace deal. Having taken exit payments from the Federal Government, those that left are now unable to participate in any forestry activity for a period of 10 years.

Forico (the new company formed by New Forests after their purchase of Gunns' plantation estate) backed up these concerns saying that they’re currently constrained at the moment with their ability to harvest and transport wood. They’re able to process only about one million tonnes, about half of the current annual yield from their 100,000 hectares of hardwood plantations. So right now – and into the foreseeable future - there's a significant problem in Tasmania because of the “worker shortage” in felling and getting the wood from the bush through to the mill or port.

Other news this week from our tech files includes a light-hearted but well targeted video put together by one of North America’s largest forest products companies showcasing as part of a six month campaign, the many and diverse careers that are available in today’s modern forestry industry (something that maybe should be replicated in this part of the world) and several stories around the increasing use of satellites and UAV’s for remote sensing and deliveries.

Finally, we’ve been inundated with calls from local forestry companies organising their planning around the array of workshops and meetings that have been set up around this years’ ForestTECH 2014 event in Rotorua and Melbourne. The full listing of activities that are being organised by industry and some of the key technology providers are detailed on the event website, Extras to the series this week includes Dr Martin Isenburg (who developed LAStools to process LiDAR point cloud data) who is running a special half day workshop in Melbourne on the morning of Thursday 27 November will also now be attending the ForestTech 2014 event in Rotorua and contributing to the one-day LIDAR workshop being planned for Friday 21 November. A multi-award winning company, Revolution Fibres, has also just been confirmed to present at the ForestTECH conference dinner in Rotorua.

Remember, if looking to register for ForestTECH 2014, today is the LAST DAY for registering to access those discounted Early-bird Registrations. It’s also the last day for you to register to go into the draw to WIN an $1800 Panasonic Toughpad. If keen, best you check out and look to register via the website before the end of the day.

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Official launch of NZ’s Forestry Safety Review

The sponsors of New Zealand’s Independent Forestry Safety Review, the Forest Owners Association, New Zealand Farm Forestry Association and the Forest Industry Contractors Association are planning to launch for the first time the findings and report in Rotorua on Friday 31 October.

For the past nine months the Independent Forestry Safety Review Panel has engaged in a thorough process of consultation and analysis of the factors impacting health and safety in the forestry sector. The Report contains a package of practical recommendations that represent the additional steps necessary to bring about long-term, system-wide and integrated changes.

For a copy of the invitation, please click here.

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Forestry sector welcomes new AU$100 million R&D funding

The two major national bodies in the Australian forestry sector welcomed Wednesday’s announcement from the Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, launching the AU$100 million rural research and development (R&D) grants programme.

Ross Hampton, CEO of the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA), was pleased to see that the programme covered the industry, which employs around 80,000 people and is the third largest manufacturing industry in Australia.

“The forestry sector covers the growing, processing and distribution of wood fibre-based products and sits at the interface between agriculture and manufacturing,” Mr Hampton noted. “It is good to see the new programme extends beyond the farm-gate and has a strong focus on supply chain and markets, as well as other key R&D activities.”

The new programme is only open for applications from the 15 rural research development corporations, including Forest and Wood Products Australia (FWPA), and will require at least 50% contribution in cash and in-kind.

Ric Sinclair, managing director of FWPA, said that his organisation has already been canvassing potential investment partners across Australia. “While this is a competitive grants programme, we are hopeful that we will be able to submit a number of projects that will meet the stated criteria,” he said.

Applications for the first round of funding close on 15th December, 2014. Any potential R&D investors that wish to partner with FWPA should make contact with Ric Sinclair as quickly as possible.

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Award winning company confirmed for ForestTECH 2014

Revolution Fibres Ltd is an innovative nanofibre production company based in Auckland, New Zealand. Nanofibre products continue to hit the market in numerous sectors. The company's at the forefront of developing, producing and marketing nanofibre and nanofibre products - as diverse as air filtration, skincare, acoustics and composites. It continues to pick up numerous awards and is taking “clever thinking to a whole new level”.

For example, Kilwell’s nanofibre-enhanced fishing rods continue to reel in awards. The Xantulayr fishing rod using nanofibre technology produced by Revolution Fibres recently won Australia’s best rod for 2014. It's hard not to get a buzz from the thought of just what’s possible with nanofibre. What could we do next? That's the number one question.

An entertaining look inside this innovative company, the new technology, what’s being achieved and what’s the future hold for nanofibres and composite manufacturing will be given by Iain Hosie, Technical Director of Revolution Fibres at the ForestTECH 2014 dinner scheduled on the first evening of the two-day New Zealand conference, on Wednesday 19 November.

Full details on the ForestTECH 2014 conference can be found on the event website, REMEMBER, Early-bird discounted registrations CLOSE TODAY. As an added sweetener, if registering before the end of the day you will also go into a draw to win an $1800 Panasonic Toughpad. The draw will be made live at each event with one Toughpad on offer in both New Zealand and Australia.

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New illegal logging laws in place from 30 November

New requirements for Australian timber importers and processors designed to protect legitimate markets and combat illegally sourced timber products will be in place from 30 November 2014. Senator Richard Colbeck, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, said face-to-face workshops and webinars to assist industry with the transition would be held across the country during October and November.

“The Government has consulted extensively with Australian businesses to develop practical regulations that address the real issues without unduly burdening industry,” “We have worked to ensure that the Australian industry is provided with efficient processes to help them establish that the timber they’re dealing with comes from legal sources. “

“Businesses will have to undertake a relatively simple due diligence process, which involves asking their suppliers to provide evidence that the products they are buying have a legitimate source” Senator Colbeck said. ‘The Department of Agriculture is now working to implement processes that would facilitate easy compliance with the new requirements”.

“We are recognising international certification schemes so that businesses can use a streamlined due diligence process for timber that is already certified as being legally harvested.” Senator Colbeck said. “We have also expanded the range of schemes that can be used to include the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) Chain of Custody schemes. This should ensure that many more businesses can rely on a streamlined due diligence process.”

Senator Colbeck said the government had also worked closely with key trading partners to develop Country Specific Guidelines – the first of their kind in the world – that will help Australian importers better understand the certification schemes available in countries of origin.

“For the first 18 months that the new requirements are in place, our focus will be on awareness and education,” Senator Colbeck said. Information about the new regulations and upcoming industry events is available at

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Committee recommends alternative sites to Triabunna

The forced buyback of land to access and reopen a Tasmanian port for shipping woodchips has been blacklisted by a state parliamentary committee. Instead the government should investigate other sites inside the same east coast bay to export timber fibre from southern Tasmanian forests, recommends an interim report released on Tuesday.

Months of fierce debate has stemmed from speculation the Liberal government would use its power to forcibly acquire land at the former Triabunna mill to access the adjacent valuable deep-water port. But Tuesday's interim report said compulsory acquisition is not the answer.

"It is preferable to not compulsorily acquire all or part of the former Triabunna mill site to access the port," the interim report reads. "But rather to investigate the location and viability of a new export facility in the Spring Bay area."

The recommendation is bittersweet news for owners of the former mill, wotif founder Graeme Wood and Kathmandu clothing founder Jan Cameron - both environmentalists - who have revealed plans for an AU$50 million tourism development. Source: Australian Associated Press. For an update on this story click here.

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Greater flexibility for quarantine treatments

Some of the tight scheduling pressures around log exports for ports and log marshalling companies in New Zealand have been eased, thanks to Scion’s forest protection scientists. In June this year, the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) extended the maximum post-fumigation exposure period for export logs during winter from 72 hours to 21 days for all of New Zealand ports except Northland. This is the period logs can be held after fumigation before having to be re-treated due to the risk of re-infestation.

The decision, which was based on Scion’s on-going research into phytosanitary pest behaviour, will have huge economic benefits for the export log industry. At present New Zealand’s international trading partners require log exports to have approved treatments applied year round. Research Leader Dr Steve Pawson says the extended post-fumigation exposure period is a positive step towards achieving a treatment free, low risk winter period and responding to mounting global pressure to reduce the use of methyl bromide, a widely known and accepted phytosanitary treatment.

“Our forest protection scientists have been gathering information on distribution and population levels of forest pests throughout the country for the past two years,” says Steve. “We have installed traps at forest sites and ports around the country, and the data we collect on insect flight activities are matched with meteorological conditions. This pest activity data supports MPI’s decision-making on post-fumigation exposure periods.”

The new regulation provides log marshallers with far greater flexibility to schedule fumigation treatments between periods of bad or cold winter weather. It will also largely eliminate the need to fumigate a buffer volume of logs, traditionally up to 5% of the cargo.

“Extending the time between having to re-treat logs means we will reduce costs in the supply chain and have more flexibility around getting our goods to market,” says Don Hammond, Chairman of Stakeholders in Methyl Bromide Reduction (STIMBR). “Importantly, we can also improve our environmental performance. These are all of great significance to the forestry industry. The sector can build on this achievement and apply it across other export products. More >>

Source: Scion

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Promoting the “good news” story to the wider community

We’re often looking for avenues to promote our companies and industry to the wider community – in particular – the younger generation. Check out this video. Canadian forest products company Canfor has released a new video and promotions campaign aimed at increasing awareness of the many diverse opportunities within Canada’s leading forest products’ company.

The fun, lighthearted video shows there’s more to the modern forest industry than one might think. While Canfor is proud of its lumberjack roots, there are many diverse, high-tech jobs in the forest products business and youth and job seekers are encouraged to take a close look at the modern forest sector and career opportunities at Canfor. The six-month campaign has just kicked off and will extend through to the Canada Winter Games in February 2015, of which Canfor is a sponsor.

“It’s a new and untraditional approach that we’re taking, but we want people to know that Canfor is a modern, forward-looking company,” says Tracey Arnish, Canfor’s Senior Vice President of People and Culture. “Many people don’t understand the diversity of careers offered in our company, and we hope this humorous video and the other promotions we will be doing will encourage them through to take a closer look.”

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8.5 million seeds to be sown at NSW nursery

More than eight million seeds will be sown over the next 35 days at Blowering Nursery in Tumut, NSW, the state’s largest radiata pine seedling production nursery. Forestry Corporation of NSW’s Strategy and Risk Manager Gavin Jeffries said a workforce of casual staff had come on board at Forestry Corporation’s Blowering Nursery to sow around 250,000 seeds a day, seven days a week over five weeks.

“We’ve dispatched more than 100 million seedlings from Blowering Nursery since the turn of the century and sowing is a crucial part of the seedling production process,” Mr Jeffries said. “Over the past winter alone we planted 9.7 million seedlings across more than 8,500 hectares in more than 40 State-owned plantations, which is about the equivalent of 17,000 football fields, and 6.7 million of those seedlings were grown right here in Tumut.

“In May next year, we expect another crop of around 6.7 million high quality seedlings to leave Blowering Nursery to re-establish plantations around NSW. “Sowing and dispatching are our busiest times of year, creating up to an extra 20 seasonal positions which have traditionally been filled by local people.

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Google testing airborne drones

We ran a story a couple of weeks ago about Amazon and their plans to seek federal approval to test their Prime Air drone delivery system. Google Inc is also developing airborne drones capable of flying on their own and delivering anything from candy to medicine. The effort, which Google calls Project Wing, marks the company's latest expansion beyond its Web-based origins and could help Google break into lucrative markets such as commerce and package delivery, ratcheting up the competition with Inc.

Google, the world's largest Internet search engine, said it will take years of development to create a service with multiple vehicles flying multiple deliveries per day. An early version of the drone, which Google showcased in a video on its website, has a 1.5 meter wide wingspan and is capable of flying pre-programmed routes.

"These planes have much more in common with the Google self-driving car than the remote-controlled airplanes people fly in parks on weekends," Google said on its website, referring to the company's test fleet of automobiles that use sensors and radars to navigate city streets and freeways on their own.

The drone Google showed in its video was equipped with rotors to allow for vertical take-off and landing, as well as a fixed wing for plane-like flying. The drone flew about 40 meters above the treeline, Google said, and dropped a package of chocolate bars to a farmer in Queensland, Australia.

While Google has been quietly developing its aerial drone project since late 2011, the company will now focus on teaching the vehicles to safely navigate around each other, to reduce the noise of the vehicles and to refine the delivery capability such that a package can be delivered to a spot the size of a doorstep.

Google's Gobberg said the company has briefed the Federal Aviation Administration on the project and has been updating the agency. Gobberg said Google has done some "small scale research flights" in the United States but hoped to talk more with the agency to determine specific locations for testing.

Source: Thomson Reuters Corp

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Tasmanian plantation harvest currently constrained

Colin McCulloch was one of nearly 90 forest contractors to exit the industry two years ago. There are concerns forest contractors will soon be imported from New Zealand or interstate to meet the demands of Tasmania's plantation industry.

Hundreds of thousands of hectares of hardwood plantations are about to come online for harvesting, but the industry is struggling to find enough forest contractors. About 90 took exit payments from the Federal Government two years ago to leave the native forest industry as part of the now defunct forest peace deal.

Colin McCulloch, who worked as a contractor for 40 years and used to head the Australian Forest Contractors Association, said it was a deeply frustrating situation. "You've got this burgeoning prospect now we've got a shortage of contractors, we're under subscribed and we've got really good Tasmanian businesses that may just have to sit and watch someone else come into the state and do it, it's ridiculous," he said. Contractors who took the second round of exit payments from the Federal Government cannot return to the industry for 10 years due to their deed of agreement. Mr McCulloch said it meant highly qualified Tasmanian contractors would miss out on the work.

"Companies are going to get those workers from somewhere whether it be New Zealand, Victoria, Queensland or whatever - and it just does not make sense," he said. Mr McCulloch said the exit scheme was poorly thought out. They are unable to participate in any forestry process for 10 years even though they were only ever exited for the native portion of their business," he said.

New Forests, which bought Gunns' plantation estate, and established a new company called Forico owns 100,000 hectares of hardwood plantations that can yield two million tonnes of fibre annually. Chief executive Bryan Hayes said at the moment Forico was only able to harvest half of that.

"We are constrained at the moment at around one million tonnes by the capacity to harvest and transport," he said. In the next 12 months Forico is planning to spend $14 million upgrading the former Gunns' mills at Hampshire in the state's north-west and Longreach at Bell Bay.

Mr Hayes said it would allow the company to double its output, but only if it could source enough contractors. "At the moment we see a significant problem and a significant disadvantage in front of us if something can't be done in the next 12 months," he said. To read more click here


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Comprehensive Tall Wood Buildings Guide released

FPInnovations has released the first edition of the Technical Guide for the Design and Construction of Tall Wood Buildings in Canada. The purpose of the technical guide is to support the design and construction of tall wood buildings and to provide information to the Authorities Having Jurisdiction to help facilitate acceptance of projects using the alternative solutions path in building codes.

Under the guidance of a working group comprising design consultants and experts from FPInnovations, the National Research Council Canada and the Canadian Wood Council, more than 80 technical professionals have been involved in the development of this guide. With the use of modern mass timber products and systems, the construction of tall wood buildings is a goal that the assembled team of experienced architects, engineers, cost consultants, contractors, and researchers believe is achievable.

The tall wood buildings covered by the guide are beyond the height and area limits currently found in the National Building Code of Canada (NBCC). The guide is intended to be used by experienced design and construction teams. It provides the concepts and background information necessary to respond to the questions that arise when designing beyond the height and area limits prescribed by the NBCC.

Design teams of tall wood buildings will have specific design, construction and maintenance challenges that will need to be addressed, and those responsible for the first demonstration buildings will face additional considerations as well. This technical guide is designed to systematically address those challenges. Intended to assist architects, engineers, building officials, developers and owners, the guide is not specific to any one structural solution. Rather, it establishes the parameters and resources necessary for a capable team to design a tall wood building that meets the performance requirements of current building codes and the competitive building marketplace.

It is expected that owners, design teams and authorities will expand on the guide with the specifics appropriate to their projects and that future editions of the guide will add increasing detail as the industry grows and more efficient systems are developed.

For more information and a link to this new guide, check out the latest issue of R&D Works.

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Indonesian's using drones to protect their forests

The villagers of Setulang in Indonesian Borneo have enlisted a new ally in their fight against the illegal clearing of their forests for oil palm plantations: aerial drones.

Setulang lies within a forest conservation area managed by the indigenous Dayak people, who have fostered a thriving tourism industry based on the rainforest’s rich biodiversity and their own cultural heritage. After successfully ousting an oil palm company operating illegally in their territory, the Dayaks are now hoping the drones can help them protect their land.

Dayaks and Drones a video produced by Handcrafted Films, chronicles how the villagers teamed up with an Indonesian non-profit to learn how to program and operate drones. Equipped with GPS technology, the small drones photograph the forest and monitor the area for illegal activities, especially plantations and mines. The villagers will use information gathered by the drones to create a detailed map of their land, which will help in future conservation efforts.

“The international community must help Indonesia accelerate the recognition and protection of the rights of indigenous peoples,” Abdon Nababan, an Indonesian indigenous rights leader, tells the filmmakers.

Source: e360 Digest

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Waimata welcomed to Eastland Port

Eastland Port’s new tug boat the Waimata was officially launched on Tuesday evening at a wharfside event for the port’s customers and employees. Built by Damen, a family-owned company based in the Netherlands, the tug left the Haiphong shipyards in Vietnam on 1 September, stopping in Papua New Guinea on her way to her new home in Gisborne, New Zealand.

Acting chair of Eastland Group’s Board, John Clarke said “The Port is a key contributor to economic development here. Forestry is now the biggest contributor to regional GDP, employing more than ten percent of our workforce and paying more than NZ$100 million in wages every year.”

At 24 metres, Mr Clarke said, the Waimata was a far stronger and larger tug than the Turihaua, with a bollard pull of at least 65 tonnes and displacement of 400 tonnes. “She’ll allow the port and its workers a greater safety margin when manoeuvring the larger logging ships in the restricted area of the harbour.”

Eastland Port manager Andrew Gaddum said the past few years had seen an increase in the general size of ships, particularly logging vessels, coming into Eastland Port. “Six or so years ago we were getting the 160m-170m vessels with a beam of 27.5 metres and 17,000 gross tonnes. Now we’re regularly receiving vessels that are up to 190m long, with a beam of 32.5 metres and a gross tonnage of 30,000 tonnes – and that’s unloaded”.

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EWP focus for upcoming Australian conferences

New products and technologies emerging that will create new markets for engineered wood will be presented by international and local experts at the seminar “Engineered Wood Products - from here to the future” to be held on 13-14 November 2014 at Queensland’s Gold Coast.

Leading world experts from North America presenting at the seminar include Art Schmon and Paul Jannke of Forest Economic Advisors (FEA), senior analysts and forecasters to the forest products industry. They will summarize the current macroeconomic forecast which indicates a surge of residential construction, with increases in demand and prices for panels and engineered wood products.

Other presenters will be discussing developments in modified wood and industry/university cooperative research in North America. Hosted by the Engineered Wood Products Association of Australasia (EWPAA) and Forest and Wood Products Australia Limited (FWPA), the seminar will be held in conjunction with the FWPA Annual General Meeting at Surfers Paradise Marriott Resort.

Engineered wood products will also be a focus for the Frame Australia 2015 conference and exhibition Building with engineered wood construction systems to be held June 1, 2015 at Park Hyatt Melbourne.

Residential construction using timber and engineered wood building systems is becoming the future for many developers and builders, to meet the challenge of lowering costs for medium-density and infill construction to ensure housing affordability.

Multi-residential developers are moving to prefabricated timber frame and engineered wood building systems to achieve increased speed of construction, reduced labour on-site, improved health and safety, higher quality buildings, and up to 25% reduction in overall development costs.

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AFCA appoints new General Manager

David Keenan has been appointed general manager of the Australian Forest Contractors Association (AFCA). His appointment was announced by AFCA chairman Ian Reid and culminated a three-month selection process. Keenan has worked in senior management positions in the local government sector for the past 16 years. Previous roles have included those of general manager or chief executive officer at Tweed and Mitchell Shire Councils, as well as director at Hume, Ballarat and Warrnambool Councils.

Source: Timberbiz

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Buy and Sell

...and one to end the week on ...recession, what recession?

Recession? What recession?

So, it seems that this "global recession" has not impacted negatively on everyone.

Check this out! It's a Mercedes Benz owned by some oil billionaire (naturally - must be working in the forest products industry)

Featuring the newly developed V10 quad turbo with 1,600 horsepower and 2800nm of torque, 0-100km/h in less than 2 secs, 1/4 mile in 6.89 secs running on biofuel.

And by the way, that is NOT stainless steel, it is WHITE GOLD!

I'm sure you'll sleep better tonight, knowing that the money you're paying for fuel these days is going to a good cause...

And on another note, last week we ran a joke to finish the week on titled the Bacon Tree. One reader tells us that there IS in fact a real, though rare, BACON WOOD TREE (Archidendron lovelliae) which grows in Queensland (naturally !!).

And on that note, enjoy the weekend. For those who follow rugby union, may the best team win for the Saturday test up in Brisbane. It shouldn't be hard to pick a winner - right??

Brent Apthorp
Editor, Friday Offcuts
PO Box 904
Level Two, 2 Dowling Street
Dunedin, New Zealand
Ph: +64 3 470 1902
Fax: +64 3 470 1904
Web page:

This week's extended issue, along with back issues, can be viewed at

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