Friday Offcuts 28 August 2015
Politics aside, it’s something that the industry has been pushing for years – a real commitment by Government to set in place policies that are going to encourage and provide surety to foresters, land owners and investors to get more trees into the ground. Apart from all of the environmental and economic benefits, it’s a sure-fire way to offset the country’s future emissions. The reports (links provided in the story below) are telling.
The forestry sector has been involved in the ETS since day one - since 2008. Last year though almost no new trees were planted under the ETS and 250 forestry companies left the scheme. In fact, more of New Zealand’s post-1989 plantation forests are now outside the ETS than are in it. To make matters worse, deforestation over this period added over 10 million tonnes of carbon to the bottom line compared to say industrial processes which added only 3 million tonnes. Maybe – just maybe – the Government may actually do something to address the continued lack of new forest planting as part its long-awaited ETS review scheduled to begin in 2015.
From Australia this week we have stories on the return of Australian fire-fighters from their recent mission to Canada, a piece on the Port of Portland that now lays claim to being the largest global exporter of blue gum chips with 2.65 million tonnes exported in the 2014/15 year and we’ve run a story on the future of Australia’s oldest commercial sawmill, the Morgan Sawmill of Jamestown in South Australia. We’ve also included a couple of clips from the long-running Channel 7 program in Australia, Going Bush featuring World Wood Day in March and a world-leading climate change experiment by the University of Western Sydney.
Finally, numbers to this regions eagerly awaited sawmilling technology event, WoodTECH 2015, which starts in just over two weeks in Melbourne looks like it’s going to break previous attendance records with already around 320 registered to attend the series. As covered in previous issues, the line-up of expertise being brought into Australia and New Zealand is extensive. Full details of both programmes can be found and late places still be booked on the event website, www.woodtech.events. Enjoy this week’s read.
This week we have for you:
New Wood Council launched in New ZealandThe Southern North Island Wood Council is to be formally launched today, on Friday 28th by New Zealand’s Minister of Primary Industries, Hon Nathan Guy. Based on the MPI Wood Supply region, the area covered stretches from Taranaki to Wellington on the western side and Southern Hawkes Bay to Cape Palliser in the east. It incorporates the territories of 3 Regional Councils and 17 Local Authorities.
The forest estate in this region totals 165,800 ha or about 9.6% of the national total. Of this, 31,000 ha are in corporate ownership; about 11,000 ha are in syndicated forests, and about 13,000 ha of forests are owned by overseas investment funds. A large area (about 110,000 ha) is in the form of small-scale forests and farm wood lots.
The region is notable for the large number of small owners, with 22% of the national total of forest owners holding between 40 and 99 hectares. Harvesting this resource represents a significant challenge to the sector in terms of the planning and organising for the harvest, harvest crew availability and logistics. Regional coordination is required for such a disparate resource and geographically spread sector.
A dedicated and specific Wood Council was seen as an opportunity to address this, and the Southern North Island Wood Council was formally established in April 2014. It is a membership-based Incorporated Society. It has a Board and a CEO.
The SNI Wood Council has chosen to present itself as a broad-based organisation that represents the whole sector. It aims to collectively advocate for its members on key issues, allow members to congregate in a non-competitive environment, and also to lead the drive towards best practise in all aspects of forestry operations, particularly Health & Safety. It will also coordinate support for industry advocacy in District and Regional planning matters, as well as for NES-related issues, thus avoiding costly duplication of effort.
Through Wood Council membership, members will be able to access to industry networks and gather information through specific events, meetings and field days. The inaugural Chairperson for the grouping is Dave Hilliard, Juken New Zealand and CEO, Geoff Cameron ( email@example.com ).
2014 Emissions Trading Scheme reports issuedIn New Zealand, the Environmental Protection Authority has issued the latest annual data reports on the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme on its website.
The reports issued last week are:
- 2014 Emissions Trading Scheme Report under section 89 of the Climate Change Response Act
- 2014 Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Levy Report under section 250 of the Climate Change Response Act
- NZ ETS 2014 – Facts and figures, a plain language overview of the operation of the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme during the 2014 calendar year.
The reports provide information on how many businesses were in the ETS, how much greenhouse gas they emitted or removed, and give year-on-year comparisons. The Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Levy Report provides details of how the levy was applied from 1 July 2014.
The EPA has responsibilities under the Climate Change Response Act for administrating the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme and the New Zealand Emission Unit Register (NZEUR).
In doing this, the EPA works with the other administrative partners (the Ministry for the Environment, the Ministry for Primary Industries, the New Zealand Transport Agency and the New Zealand Customs Service).
Publication of annual operational data maintains the transparency of the Scheme for participants, allocation recipients and interested parties. Reports for the previous years of the operation of the ETS are also available here
Forestry-related manslaughter trial beginsNew Zealand's first forestry-related manslaughter trial has started in Palmerston North. Paul Robert Burr, 47, cut down the tree that fell on Lincoln Kidd on a forestry block between Levin and Foxton on December 19, 2013. Kidd, 20, died from his injuries. It is alleged Burr did not take reasonable steps to avoid danger to people while using a harvesting machine, and also did not observe a legal duty.
The manslaughter charge has been laid under various sections of the Crimes Act, including those covering using something dangerous without taking reasonable steps to avoid danger to people, and culpable homicide by not observing a legal duty.
Burr also faces charges laid by WorkSafe New Zealand in relation to the incident. The jury was chosen in the High Court in Palmerston North on Monday morning, but were sent home while legal discussions were held. The trial is set down for three weeks.
Forestry innovator lifts top awardA local innovation leader has received a boost to his boardroom ambitions, winning a prestigious award from the Institute of Directors. Bryan Graham has been named winner of the Bay of Plenty Aspiring Director Award in New Zealand, recognising him as a future talent at the board table.
Mr Graham is a Science Leader at Scion, the Crown research institute charged with driving innovation and growth in forestry. A recognised expert on informatics, he leads teams specialising in computer science, geomatics and complex systems.
The award was presented at a function in Tauranga on 29 July with Institute of Directors CEO Simon Arcus. “In an age of cyber threats, disruptive technology and digital innovation, firms need to consider the value of skills and capabilities like those we see in Bryan at the board table,” said Mr Arcus. “We’re pleased to be part of Bryan’s next steps in realising his potential in governance, and we look forward to working with him over the next year to ensure he gets a good grounding in all aspects of directorship.”
Institute of Directors Bay of Plenty Branch chair Glenn Snelgrove says judges were impressed by Mr Graham’s communication skills, drive, and leadership ability. “Bryan stood out as a promising future leader who brings fresh thinking and an innovative mind set to the table. Diversity of skill is a crucial component of an effective board, and we’re confident that Bryan’s expertise will make him an asset to any boardroom.”
The Aspiring Director Award is designed to foster upcoming talent in governance through mentoring, practical experience, and formal governance training.
Source: Institute of Directors
Going Bush highlights World Wood Day and climate changeThe long-running Channel 7 program in Australia, Going Bush, highlights interesting news and views about the Australian forest and wood products industry – viewers recently saw two segments featuring World Wood Day held in March in Sydney and a world-leading climate change experiment by the University of Western Sydney.
“Going Bush is an excellent way to communicate the importance of the forest and wood products industry to average Australians, said Eileen Newbury, FWPA’s Marketing and Communications Manager, “from World Wood Day to climate change experiments, there’s so much of value to Australia and the Australian wood and timber products industry that’s happening behind the scenes.”
View the World Wood Day segment online at https://youtu.be/K6p1w36qYnk
See the eucFACE segment below.
Now in its third year, World Wood Day is an international celebration of the role of wood in civilisation and culture. Organised globally by the International Wood Cultural Society, this year Australia participated through Planet Ark’s Make It Wood Campaign and FWPA’s Wood. Naturally Better.™ The centrepiece of the event was the building of a nanoHouse – a low waste, sustainable wooden structure designed by architect Daiman Otto. The site was the forecourt of Customs House, behind Sydney’s Circular Quay, a related breakfast seminar for architects, engineers and building designers was held nearby.
The Going Bush segment highlighted the role of wood as a sustainable building material that has a significant part to play in tackling climate change. Members of the Sydney Youth Orchestra played wooden instruments to entertain the lunchtime crowd and help deliver the message.
The climate change theme continued in the second segment, that goes to air on Sunday 30 August, filmed at the University of Western Sydney’s eucFACE research facility at Cumberland Woodlands, 60km north-west of Sydney. Here, an international team is using a series of 40m high cylindrical rings to inject carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and measure the effect of the raised CO2 levels on the growth and composition of the native eucalypts the tall tubular rings enclose.
Also in its third year of operation, the experiment is expected to take some ten years to produce significant results. Unlike similar projects in other parts of the world, this is the only one to use established native forest, as opposed to man-made plantations.
Largest global exporter of blue gum hardwood chipsIt is a claim that can only be fully appreciated when standing atop one of the 40-metre mountains of blue gum woodchips that are waiting to be shipped from the port on Victoria's south west coast. For many Australians, the blue gum is a species of disappointment, from the individual farmer caught up in one of the infamous failed investment schemes of the late 1990s, to the hundreds who lost jobs at doomed paper mills.
But those trees that were not ripped out in bitter frustration have continued to grow for the past 15-odd years and, for the companies that bought plantations up, the blue gum is finally living up to the hype. In the 2014/15 financial year, 2.65 million tonnes were shipped out of Portland.
"We're looking at that increasing into the low three million tonnes this year," Mr Cooper said. "It's going to go up even further than that, into the high three millions, and we're expecting it to stay up there through to the mid-2020s."
In response to the extra volume, a second ship loader is being built at Portland's port, along with other new equipment to facilitate movement. Forestry companies are advertising for dozens of truck drivers. "One big trucking company, Port Haul, is currently looking for 60 new truck drivers in the next two months," Mr Cooper said. More >>.
Source: ABC Rural
Origami battery made from paperOrigami, the Japanese art of paper folding, has inspired the creation of an innovative new low cost battery made of paper. Seokheun “Sean” Choi, an engineer at Binghamton University, developed a battery that generates power from microbial respiration, delivering enough energy to run a paper-based biosensor with nothing more than a drop of bacteria-containing liquid.
“Dirty water has a lot of organic matter,” Choi says. “Any type of organic material can be the source of bacteria for the bacterial metabolism.” While paper-based biosensors have shown promise for use in remote areas, the existing technology must be paired with hand-held devices for analysis. Choi says he envisions a self-powered system in which a paper-based battery would create enough energy — we’re talking microwatts — to run the biosensor.
The battery, which folds into a square the size of a matchbook, uses an inexpensive air-breathing cathode created with nickel sprayed onto one side of ordinary office paper. The anode is screen printed with carbon paints, creating a hydrophilic zone with wax boundaries. The total cost of this potentially game-changing device is five cents.
For more information and to view the full report check out the latest issue of R&D Works.
New figures show foresters deserting tree-plantingMore of New Zealand’s post-1989 plantation forests are outside the Emissions Trading Scheme than are in it. The scheme is supposed to encourage the planting of carbon-sequestering forests, but latest Government figures show the impact of forest owners bailing out of the scheme over the past two years.
In 2012, a third of post-1989 plantation forest, or 182,000 hectares, was outside the scheme. But by last year, the amount of forest outside the scheme had more than doubled to 382,000 hectares, or 58 per cent of the total amount of post-1989 forest.
The Emissions Trading Scheme, which came into force in 2008, allows the owners of forest planted since the Kyoto Protocol baseline year of 1990 to annually claim for carbon credits equal to the amount of carbon stored in their trees that year.
Initially, forest owners embraced the scheme, but changes in Government policy, coupled with record-low carbon prices, saw them leaving the scheme in droves. But the extent of the exodus has surprised even Forest Owners’ Association chief executive David Rhodes.
“If you’d asked me whether more post-89 forest is in the scheme or out, I would have said it’s probably about even,” he told Carbon News. Carbon prices fell steeply in 2012, with spot NZUs hitting a low of $1.50 in February 2013, making carbon trading unattractive to foresters, who say they need prices around $17 a tonne to encourage planting.
But Rhodes says the real blow came in last year’s Budget, when the Government moved without warning to close what it saw as an “arbitrage loophole” being exploited by foresters using cheap international credits to meet their carbon obligations.
“The arbitrage thing was a nail in the coffin of the ETS for many,” he said. Recent rises in prices, to around $7 a tonne, have drawn foresters’ attention, he says, but they are not yet high enough to bring them back into the ETS.
“We are watching what happens in (international climate negotiations) in Paris later this year, and waiting to see what the Government will do in its review of the ETS,” he said.
Source: Carbon News 2015
Remembering a forestry pioneer who loved the outdoorsDr Paul Kibblewhite was "probably the most amazing scientist Scion and Rotorua has ever had". He was also a family man who had a massive enthusiasm for the outdoors, including tramping, gardening, sailing or travelling. Dr Kibblewhite was also blind and was accompanied on his adventures by wife Leonie and his guide dog.
He died on Friday aged 74. His service on Monday was standing room only as family, former colleagues and friends from all aspects of his life gathered to farewell the revered scientist.
"He was a real outdoors enthusiast," his wife said. "His first love was native trees and we'd go bush walking and tramping. We did most of the Great Walks. He didn't let his blindness stop him. Dr Kibblewhite was born very short-sighted and, from 1997, gradually lost his sight. He and his guide dog Taupo hit the headlines in 2003 when they had to be rescued from the Tongariro Crossing after Taupo became ill from poison.
Dr Kibblewhite was awarded an MBE in 1993 for his research on wood fibre and kraft pulp. He was regarded as the world's leading researcher on the forms of wood fibre from radiata pine.
"He was probably the most amazing scientist Scion and Rotorua has ever had," said Dr Russell Burton, Scion research and investment general manager. "He was internationally regarded. He was the person who helped us get radiata pine on the map in terms of a species for producing high quality paper. He was a significant part of that team and radiata pine is what has been driving Norske Skog and Carter Holt Harvey pulp and paper.
"He was a character, a fantastic mentor of young staff." Dr Burton said Dr Kibblewhite started at what was originally the Forest Research Institute way back in 1968 and retired in 2009. He is survived by his wife, three daughters, two stepsons, seven grandchildren and guide dog Enzo.
Source: Rotorua Daily Post
Australia's oldest saw mill’s future uncertainTrees from the nearby Wirrabara Forest Reserve and Bundaleer Forest Reserve - a combined 10,000 hectares of forest - are brought in to the Morgan Saw Mill in Jamestown every day to be fed through heavy circular saws, leaving behind a small mountain of wood chips. The timber heads out again each day, cut and trimmed, in the form of anything from wooden pallets to patios.
It may not be the largest, but the operation is the oldest commercial mill in the country, one that employs up to 60 people as permanent staff and supports four other businesses in the region around the small South Australian town. But the operation is now facing an uncertain future after major bushfires in both forests destroyed 2000 hectares of the plantations and left just four years’ worth of mature trees to feed production.
Ed Morgan and his son Luke, the owners of the mill, have concocted a plan to extend that time frame to ten years. They say if they can supplement the remaining trees with others brought in from the Adelaide Hills, the mill could have enough wood to carry production long enough to allow the young trees in the area to mature. More >>.
Source: ABC News
Australian forester returns from fighting wildfires in CanadaMatt Pope, Grafton District Manager for the Forestry Corporation of NSW, has returned from Canada after assisting with raging wildfires in the south-west of the country. Mr. Pope joined the 100-strong contingent of Australian personnel deployed to help control more than 5000 wildfires in Canada this season. Three million hectares have been burnt so far, more than double the land area affected by fire in 2014.
Parliamentary Secretary for the North Coast and Member for Clarence, Chris Gulaptis congratulated Mr. Pope for joining the fire-fighting response team, which was made up of crews from throughout Australia as well as staff from the NSW Rural Fire Service, National Parks and Wildlife Service and Fire and Rescue NSW.
"The NSW contribution of 32 fire personnel was part of a contingent of 104 Australians sent to Canada to assist with the wildfire situation and included fire fighters from the Forestry Corporation," Mr Gulaptis said.
"Canada looked to Australia for assistance with devastating forest fires across British Columbia, Alberta and northern Saskatchewan and the Forestry Corporation responded, deploying four specialist fire fighters to contribute to the emergency response”.
"As well as being skilled forest managers, ecologists, roading experts and more, Forestry Corporation staff are highly trained in fire-fighting so these four qualified and experienced field commanders will bring valuable skills to the fire front to relieve local crews and help bring the blazes under control”.
Mr. Pope said being part of an international emergency response was very rewarding, especially seeing fire in a completely different landscape and that the international effort helped Canada keep their wildfires under control.
Forestry Corporation is responsible for more than two million hectares of native and plantation forests and has been formally involved in fire-fighting in NSW for almost 100 years. Forestry Corporation also deployed fire fighters from Wauchope, Eden and Tumut as part of the combined fire-fighting response.
Crews from Victoria, New South Wales, Western Australia, Australian Capital Territory, Tasmania, Queensland, and South Australia flew into Vancouver, and then travelled to key areas that were affected in British Columbia and Alberta. Emergency Management Victoria co-ordinated the deployment on behalf of all Australian states and territories.
Do I have to go digital narrowband?Simon Green, General Manager of Icom NZ answers some of the questions being asked by the forestry industry about the confusion between “going digital” and narrowbanding.
It’s a common misconception that, like analogue TV, your analogue radios are going to be switched off. In fact, although there are many compelling reasons to consider a digital upgrade, you don’t need to rush into a complete replacement of your radios just yet! Even though narrowbanding is being pushed by some manufacturers as a migration path for the new digital technology, it doesn’t mean that analogue radios will no longer be supported or have a place in the forestry industry.
What is Narrowbanding?
The New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has announced that in order to allow for an increasing number of users in radio frequency bands, 25 kHz radio equipment needs to be phased out and migrated to more efficient Land Mobile Radio (LMR) technologies.
When does all this happen?
For licensed frequencies up to 470MHz the deadline is 1st November 2015 and for frequencies above 470MHz it’s December 2019. Some dispensation has been given to the forestry industry to allow for reprogramming work to be done up to the end of the New Year break 2016.
Who does it affect?
All radio license holders that operate on UHF or VHF channels – both simplex and using a repeater. If you’ve been in operation for more than 10 years, chances are you are operating on wideband channels and will need to change. Most licenses issued in the last 10 years or so are probably already narrowband. If you are unsure, Icom offer a free license check service to tell you quickly if you are affected.
Do I need new radios?
Major manufacturers such as Icom have been making narrowband capable radios for over 10 years now, so if your radios are less than 10 years old they probably only need reprogramming. If your radios are around 10 years old or more then you need to check with your radio supplier or the manufacturer. If your current radios are wideband only will you need to replace them.
Will I need a new license?
If your license isn’t a narrowband license then yes, absolutely. The cost of applying for a new license is only a few hundred dollars so there’s no reason to wait. Once you have your narrowband frequencies issued, your radio supplier can reprogram your narrowband radio equipment easily and quickly. Should I “Go Digital”
Although digital radios provide clearer audio, greater range, longer battery life, with more features, a full digital switchover isn’t always the best solution. There are some areas of use, including forest type environments, where analogue is potentially a better solution. Analogue radios don’t experience the “digital cliff” where digital radios completely stop working and won’t transmit or receive after reaching a certain distance. Transmission from analogue radios gradually fade out where voices become static and hard to hear – it lets you know when you’re starting to move out of range so you know your distance limit instead of suddenly dropping out of communications range.
What should I do now?
Effective communication is vital for safety, especially when working in a hazardous environment such as the forestry industry. For example, a digital radio solution in vehicles operating alongside ground teams using analogue radios is potentially a better solution for forestry type environments rather than solely analogue or digital.
Icom digital repeaters are capable of operating in mixed mode which makes communications possible between analogue and digital radios. Having an Icom mixed mode digital and analogue radio solution ensures the benefits of both digital and analogue are received simultaneously.
Right now you need to be talking to your radio supplier and checking if your radios are capable of operating at 12.5 kHz. If the answer is “No” then you will need to replace your radio equipment with a more modern analogue or digital radio.
Above all, don’t rush into putting up a new digital radio network that you don’t necessarily need right now. For further information or to ask any other radio related questions, call Simon Green at Icom NZ on 09 274 4062.
Communications and technologies to improve transmitting and receiving data in our forests will also be a key focus for this year’s ForestTECH 2015 event which will run in both New Zealand and Australia in mid-November. Full details for each programme can be seen now on the event website, www.foresttech.events
Harvard fellowship for forest ecology lecturersA Lincoln husband-and-wife team have just returned from a nine-month research sabbatical at Harvard University in the United States. Lecturers Brad Case and Hannah Buckley each gained a prestigious, Harvard-funded fellowship to work on a joint research project based at Harvard’s Forest Ecology department.
The programme, called the Charles Bullard Fellowship, is highly competitive and accepts only five-to-seven recipients a year from a large applicant pool. One of Dr Case’s primary areas of expertise involves using IT tools to understand ecological patterns, while Dr Buckley’s research aims to understand biological diversity.
Together, they worked on a new method for analysing forest ecosystems, with the aim of helping predict the future dynamics of plant communities in order to manage environmental changes.
“The method we used, called co-dispersion analysis, has been introduced in statistics literature, but what we have done is apply it to ecology,” Dr Case says. “It involves looking at how ecological data – such as tree diameters, soil characteristics and species abundances – are linked, what causes them to be structured the way that they are, and how environmental factors change things.
“The method is different from others because it reveals detailed information about how these patterns change in different places and directions. This is really useful in ecology because many of the patterns we see in nature, and the relationships that exist among organisms and between organisms and their environment, change from place to place.
The project also involved using computer modelling to predict how a forest will change over time, particularly in the face of issues such as climate change or disturbance from pests and disease.
“The computer model we were using operates at the scale of individual organisms,” says Dr Case. “It tracks the fate of each tree in a forest through time by modelling its growth, mortality and interactions with other trees and the environment.
“In the case of Harvard Forest, one of its main species, the eastern hemlock, is dying out due to an insect called the hemlock woolly adelgid. So we were trying to model what the future forest will look like when all the hemlock die in the next 10 to 20 years.”
Dr Case and Dr Buckley are now in the process of publishing their new method, along with the results of their forest analyses.
Buy and Sell
...and one to end the week on...Bruce's luck
Bruce, the Oz, went to the doctor for a check-up. The news was not good at all. The doctor diagnosed him with the rare and deadly disease, B55, and told him that he had just one week to live.
And on that note, have a great weekend. Cheers.
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