Friday Offcuts 19 December 2014
As mentioned last week, as you pack up from your office or work site, take a quick peek at the technology events being planned for 2015. With record attendances at this year’s FIEA events and a growing trend by forest products companies, industry associations, key suppliers and researchers to link in workshops, seminars, site visits and meetings around each event, we’re planning on building on this momentum again next year. FIEA has already been working with many of you for planning around 2015. Check out the events planned, mark these into your diaries and we’ll provide updates next year as each of these programmes are being developed.
To end the year on a positive note we’ve got a number of “good news” stories in this week’s issue including; news that at this week’s Latrobe City Council’s meeting the Wood Encouragement Policy was unanimously adopted, a positive outlook (finally) with major investment being signalled or planned for New Zealand’s wood processing industry, unmanned machines that are being trialled to fight forest fires, price increases (finally) recorded across major structural softwood timber products in Australia and several stories showing again the versatility of wood in design. Since its nearly time to pack up for your summer holidays (well for those in the Southern hemisphere anyway), we've also thrown in some pretty neat video clips for you as well.
A reminder also as you break for 2015. Remember, the super early-bird discounts on registrations FINISH today for this regions first major Forest Industry Safety Summit 2015 (New Zealand and Australia) scheduled for early March of next year. If planning on attending or sending through some of your staff, best look to register today. Details can be found on www.forestsafety2015.com.
Finally, from the hard working team at Friday Offcuts, we wish you and your family a relaxing, safe and “festive” Christmas and New Year holiday. We're looking forward to working with you all again in 2015.
This week we have for you:
2015 technology events planningAfter an incredibly busy year, the Forest Industry Engineering Association (FIEA) has in conjunction with a wide cross section of industry on both sides of the Tasman, developed an Events Planner for next year.
With record turnouts at FIEA technology events that have been run this year, we’re excited with what 2015 holds.
Events being planned for 2015 include;
1. Forest Industry Safety Summit 2015
3-4 March, Rotorua, New Zealand
10-11 March 2015, Melbourne, Australia
2. MobileTECH 2015 Primary Industries
UAV's - Robotics – Automation
21-22 April, Gold Coast, Australia
29-30 April 2015, Auckland, New Zealand
3. HarvestTECH 2015 Steep Slope Harvesting
Improving Safety & Productivity in Forest Harvesting
24-25 June 2015, Rotorua, New Zealand
29-30 June 2015, Melbourne, Australia www.harvesttech.events
4. WoodTECH 2015
Mill Scanning - Sawing - Optimisation
16-17 September 2015, Melbourne, Australia
22-23 September 2015, Rotorua, New Zealand
5. ForestTECH 2015 e-Forestry
IT Innovations for Forest Products Companies
19-20 November 2014, Rotorua, New Zealand
25-26 November 2014, Melbourne, Australia
Mark the dates into your 2015 calendars. At this early stage, if interested in either presenting or exhibiting, let us know and if appropriate, we can look to build you into the planned programmes.
Attached for your information is a PDF of 2015-16 Technology Events which provides you with further information on the schedule of events planned for next year.
Quadcopter and unmanned helicopter to fight forest firesYou've gotta hand it to Kaman's K-MAX UAS unmanned helicopter ... it's been used to deliver cargo in a combat zone, it's set altitude and payload weight records for airdrops, and it's been part of an autonomous air/ground mission. Now it's teamed up with a quadcopter in an exercise which suggests that the two could be used to fight forest fires, without endangering human pilots.
The exercise was conducted earlier this month at Griffiss International Airport in Rome, NY, where a contained fire was lit to stand in for burning trees.
A Lockheed Martin Indago quadcopter was then flown over the field by remote control, and used its gimbal-mounted electro-optic/infrared (EO/IR) imager to detect the flames. It alerted its human operator to the presence and location of the fire.
The K-MAX helicopter was subsequently set into action, using an autonomous control system developed by Lockheed Martin to lift over 24,000 lb (10,886 kg) of water from a nearby pond. It proceeded to the location identified by the Indago, using its own EO/IR to home in on the blaze. It then dumped the water on the fire, extinguishing it.
During the exercise, the helicopter's ability to deliver supplies and personnel to and from forest fires was also demonstrated. "The unmanned K-MAX and Indago aircraft can work to fight fires day and night, in all weather, reaching dangerous areas without risking a life," said Dan Spoor, vice president of Aviation and Unmanned Systems at Lockheed Martin’s Mission Systems and Training business.
Highlights from the exercise can be seen in the video below.
Investors gamble on carbon marketsSome private investment companies are looking to profit from preserving forests in developing countries, betting that the emissions reductions can be sold in future carbon markets. London-based Permian Global said on the side lines of U.N. climate talks in Peru this week that it will invest $100 million in projects to avoid deforestation in Latin American countries.
Permian and other investment companies, such as Hong Kong-based InfiniteEARTH and Brazil's Biofilica, are hoping that a new U.N. climate change deal, due to be agreed in a year's time, will let forest-based offsets be used in compliance markets and traded internationally.
That means emissions reductions from a project that prevents deforestation in Indonesia, for example, could be sold in Europe or in the United States. It is a risky bet, but one that could guarantee good returns if it is successful. Generating carbon credits from forest programs is cheaper than reducing industrial emissions, for example, because they are large-scale projects.
Investors are pressing countries to accept the model. But some countries, including Brazil, home to the world's largest rainforest, are against it. "Whoever is betting on future markets for forest-based offsets is going to lose," said a member of the Brazilian delegation to the climate talks, who asked not to be named. He said it would make no sense in efforts to stop global warming, because countries would just use the forest-based offsets to maintain their levels of emissions.
Investors disagree. They say paying landowners to keep trees standing would avoid millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions. It would be fair to offset emissions elsewhere with credits from the preserved forests, they say.
"Philanthropy will not be enough to preserve forests," said Stephen Rumsey, chairman of Permian Global and a former executive for Barclays and Merrill Lynch in London. "We created a private-sector solution, so we have a window of opportunity now to include forest-based credits on compliance carbon markets," he added.
Source: Thomson Reuters
Japan to expand cross-laminated timber productionJapan's Forestry Agency and land ministry said they have produced a roadmap to produce an annual 500,000 cubic meters of cross laminated timber by fiscal 2024 with the aim of promoting the use of wood in buildings of medium height. Through the move, the government hopes to boost demand for lumber and make Japan's forestry a growth industry, officials of the agency and ministry said.
Japan is expected to use the material mainly for buildings with three or four stories. CLT is already used in apartment buildings of up to nine stories in Europe and the United States. According to the roadmap, production capacity will be increased from the current 10,000 cubic meters per year to 50,000 by the beginning of the fiscal 2016.
Some 500,000 cubic meters of CLT can be used to build some 4,000 three-story buildings. CLT costs more than concrete. However, the government plans to reduce the cost by mass production. It will also encourage the use of the timber by developing related building standards and support model projects. Technologies to utilize the material in the flooring and walls of steel-framed housing will also be developed, according to the roadmap.
Source: Jiji Press
Latrobe City adopts 'Wood Encouragement' policyIn a leading decision for Australia, Councillors at Latrobe City Council on Monday night voted to adopt a 'Wood Encouragement' policy. The policy has the goal of driving construction in the region towards an outcome which is better for the environment and will benefit a great many local businesses. The Council’s decision to adopt the policy followed significant positive support coming from a public consultation process undertaken in November.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Forest Products Association, Mr Ross Hampton welcomed the Council’s decision led by Mayor, Councillor Dale Harriman and looks forward to implementation of the policy.
'All over the world in countries such as Canada and France, governments are making the decision to change their tender processes to better accommodate timber. Latrobe City Council is to be congratulated for leading our nation with the adoption of this policy’, said Mr Hampton.
Nationally forestry and forest product industries provide some 80 000 direct jobs and about 200 000 indirect. These jobs are generally clustered around regional areas in Gippsland, Tasmania, South east Queensland, the Green Triangle of South Australia and Victoria, northern and southern NSW, Central Tablelands and the Tumut area of NSW, and Southwest WA.
Mr Hampton said, 'It is my hope that all councils in these areas will follow the lead of Latrobe City Council and adopt their own wood encouragement policies’. The Latrobe City Council wood encouragement policy would require all submissions for Council construction to pay adequate regard to wood, and acknowledge Council's strong preference for quality wood buildings, where suitable.
New investment in NZ wood processing welcomedAcross New Zealand new investment is either confirmed or signalled for upgrading processing mills and manufacturing plants. This is good news for the forest industry and essential to realising the New Zealand Wood Council’s (WoodCo) ‘$12 billion by 2022’ export goal. Processing more logs onshore, at least 70% compared to the present 45-50%, is a key element in achieving this target. The upgrade and expansion announcements do not mean it is plain sailing for mills to catch-up on deferred maintenance and capex investment, however it does confirm that solid wood and pulp processors see a good future in New Zealand and their belief they can be internationally competitive.
In the central North Island, Rotorua-based Red Stag has confirmed they will construct a state-of-the-art super mill which will double log input to 1.2+ million cubic metres per year and increase output from 450,000 to 700,000 million cubic metres per year. Nearby, Oji Holdings, who with their 40% co-investor the Innovation Network Corporation of Japan (INCJ) have acquired Carter Holt Harvey’s Kinleith and Tasman (Kawerau) mills, are expected to undertake a mill modernisation programme that will increase their need for wood fibre.
Developments at Kawerau include Sequal Lumber’s installation of geothermal drying kilns, which will enable them to double their mill output. Closed former mill sites are also being reappraised, for example, the Tachikawa mill site in Rotorua has been purchased by investors with plans to re-establish a sawmill. In Taupo, Pacific T&R’s new high-tech plant to produce terpenes and rosin from radiata pine stumps is due for commissioning in early 2015; and new firm Carbon Producers Limited is being established to make carbon activated products from forest biomass and other plant sources. The latter examples will allow value to be recovered from more of the forest biomass.
Elsewhere, Pan Pac Forest Products Limited (Pan Pac) purchased the former Southern Cross Forest Products Limited (in receivership) sawmilling and drying assets at Milburn and Milton in November. Following upgrading of both sites, full production is expected from April 2015, regenerating local jobs. Regional mills in Taranaki, Auckland and Northland are also modernising their plant to improve efficiency and worker safety, and lift product quality and diversity. Other investors are exploring how they can utilise New Zealand’s renewable forest resource, relative abundance of clean energy and water, trade agreements and stable political situation. More >>
Source: Scion Connections
A unique use for UAV’sUAV’s have played quite a role in recent MobileTECH and ForestTECH events that we’ve run this year for Forestry and other primary industries. With Christmas just around the corner we thought you’d find this clip amusing.
In an interesting take on the use of UAVs, a clothing company has flown examples of their wares (drone-based advertising or ‘drone-vertising’) above Sao Paulo, so that the hard-working executives located in its skyscrapers could peruse their sale items without leaving their desks.
Crazy stuff. Check it out in action below.
Australia’s land surface in stunning 3-DAustralia's vast and complex land surface has been exposed in new ways thanks to the most comprehensive nation-wide digital maps of our soils and landscapes yet produced. The entire country is now represented as a digital grid with two billion 'pixels' that are about 90 by 90 metres, down to a depth of two metres below the surface.
The Soil and Landscape Grid of Australia, launched at the recent National Soil Science Conference in Melbourne, is the result of a partnership between CSIRO, the University of Sydney, several federal, state and territory government agencies and the Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network (TERN).
The Grid draws information from the partner agency databases weaving together both historical and current data generated from sampling, laboratory sensing, modelling and remote sensing. The Grid also includes estimates of reliability and is designed to integrate new data in the future — even data generated by technology that has not yet been invented.
Soil and landscape attributes such as soil water, nutrients and clay, affect the sustainability of Australia's natural resources and the profitability of sectors such as agriculture, mining and infrastructure. CSIRO Research Director Mike Grundy said the Grid had already woven together hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of past soil and landscape science into a new 'digital tapestry'.
"The research community has known we need better ways to make this diverse information available; new science and technology has let us make the most of the rich data we have," Mr Grundy said. "From exploring new land use options, to making the most of water, to finding habitats for endangered native species, this technology has applications we are only just beginning to imagine."
"Agribusiness will benefit from this technology, both at the farm scale — with data to inform production models and risk management decisions — and industry scale, as it draws together many years of past research and knowledge for future investment decisions” said Alexandra Gartmann, CEO at Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal and former CEO of Birchip Cropping Group.
"The Soil and Landscape Grid is a huge leap forward. With its national datasets and consistent and comparable data, it has huge potential for regional development, informing planning and decision-making." The Grid will be beneficial to a wide range of applications and users including urban and regional planners, land managers, farming groups, scientists and engineers.
For more information check out the latest issue of R&D Works.
Brain trainer tree fallers at Safety SummitForest safety brain trainer for Tree fallers - Switchback’s Steven Falk joins International Safety Conference The Forest Industry Engineering Association (FIEA) is pleased to announce that forestry teamwork expert Steven Falk from British Columbia, Canada has been confirmed as a keynote speaker for its flagship forest safety conference series March 2015. The summit runs at Rotorua’s Distinction Hotel on 3-4th March and Bayview Eden Hotel in Melbourne on 10-11th March.
Steven Falk’s team of trainers at Switchback has worked with manual tree fallers in British Columbia for many years. They report that “Our feedback shows that 96% of participants thank us for the training/coaching and express a desire for their families to be able to participate in further Switchback training.”
Switchback’s secret strength is its commitment to team. Steven has had the privilege to give leadership to this growing innovative team since 2010. Previous to Switchback, Steve operated a successful counselling / consulting private practice on Vancouver Island, Canada for 21 years.
Falk explains how they work with tree fallers, “We believe people can change and that true, sustainable success is found in the power of team. Switchback Foundation leads participants through the fascinating process of understanding how our stored memories form our core values and how our core values direct our thoughts which ultimately produce the actions by which we are judged.”
“...Switchback is about teams that come together rather than fall apart when they’re under pressure.”
He explains how their tree faller sessions work, “Gaining a new level of understanding and control over this process is transformational. It builds mental toughness, capacity, resilience, responders rather than reactors and teams that come together rather than fall apart when under pressure. Our sessions are filled with teaching, training, break out groups and participant participation. It is uniquely designed so it can be taken once or experienced several times until the historical challenges are overcome, current problems are resolved and measurable success is firmly established.”
Full details of our upcoming Forest Industry Safety Summit conference programmes and registration details can be found on the event website, www.forestsafety2015.com. With the Christmas almost upon us, remember that a super early-bird rate for registrations has been set up which will give you significant savings on your registrations. This closes on Friday 19 December - TODAY. Best be in before you head off on holiday.
Latest Australian Timber Market Survey results releasedThe latest edition of the quarterly Timber Market Survey (TMS) report has just been released for the September quarter 2014.
The September quarter 2014 TMS has revealed price increases across major structural softwood timber products MGP10 and MGP12 ranging between 4.0 percent and 5.5 percent. The strong result has pushed the nominal price for both products past previous price peaks seen in the September 2008 and September 2010 quarters. Prices for treated structural softwood products also increased over the quarter, although at a more moderate rate compared to untreated products. Outdoor treated product prices produced mixed results with decking products showing price increases of around 1.5 percent while treated sleeper prices remained relatively flat.
Softwood panel products monitored by the TMS have all shown price increases over the September quarter 2014, marking the fourth consecutive quarter of increases for the product group. Particle board products recorded the largest upward price movement with increases up to 3.1 percent. Prices for plywood products showed increases of up to 2.2 percent, marking the largest quarterly price increase for plywood products in over five years. Engineered wood product prices have remained relatively flat over the September 2014 quarter recording only small price movements in either direction.
The TMS collects price data through quarterly surveys of a representative sample of timber market participants in eastern Australia. All quarterly TMS reports contain pricing information for softwood timber, panel and engineered wood products. The June and December quarter editions also include pricing information for hardwood timber products. The TMS is prepared by URS Australia and funded by seven major Australian forestry organisations: Forestry Corporation of NSW; VicForests; Hancock Victorian Plantations; HQPlantations; ForestrySA; DAFF Queensland Government; and Green Triangle Forest Products.
Further information and the latest Timber Market Survey report is available at: www.urs.com/au/timber-market-survey
NZ hosting major International Forest Engineering ConferenceAt the recently concluded international Forest Engineering Conference (FEC) in France, it was conferred that New Zealand would host the next event in February 2018. FEC is a truly international conference held every four years that brings together both researchers and professionals from all over the world.
“We’re delighted to be able to host this international conference,” says Associate Professor Rien Visser from University of Canterbury (UC) School of Forestry. Visser will work with the FIEA conference team to coordinate the event. He emphasised, “It’s a real complement to the quality of work currently occurring in Australasia.”
“Not just research here at Canterbury, but with the harvesting work at Future Forests Research, and the AFORA programme based at University of the Sunshine Coast in Australia, we are seen internationally as leaders in pushing the boundaries with innovation.”
“While New Zealand’s forest industry leads in cost effective large scale harvesting operations, and has good logistical systems, we can learn a lot in terms of the latest developments in areas such as safety, integration of technology, and automated control systems,” added Visser. Professor Mark Brown and his AFORA research team will be co-hosts. They will also organise a pre-conference field trip in Queensland to ensure that this is truly an Australasian event.
“We are already working with experienced event team at the Forest industry Engineering Association (FIEA) to manage the event,” reports Visser. “By combining it with one of the scheduled FIEA events in 2018 we’ll be well-placed to attract a good number of industry delegates from around the Southern Hemisphere. While we can learn a lot from our international colleagues, they too will benefit greatly from engaging with the New Zealand’s forest industry.”
A recent participant and contributor at the event in France was Alex Tolan. He recently completed his Masters at UC and is now part of the planning team with Rayonier based in Auckland. “Attending a major international event such as this really opens your eyes to all of the different and new developments. It is also nice to enjoy the forestry camaraderie that is very much alive and well at these events. There is a lot more to forestry than just harvesting trees,” Tolan said.
Alex’s research presentation on the effect of log sorts on productivity at the landings was well very well received and is currently being published in the International Journal of Forest Engineering. It is important to retain an international presence says Visser, and providing such opportunities to our young forestry professionals is important for both training, and retaining our best and brightest talent.
Pulp undies for Christmas?Just in time for holiday gift giving, lovers of wood and wood products will enjoy MeUndies, underwear made from Lenzing Modal, a material extracted from the European beech tree.
According to the Lenzing website, the material is CO2 neutral and made using Edelweiss technology, which is based on oxygen-based chemistry. More than half of the beech wood used by Lenzing is from Austrian forests.
Distributed by MeUndies, the beech-based undergarments are offered in both men's and women's styles. According to the company's website, "the low rigidity of the beechwood fibres allow for unparalleled, natural softness," while the cellulosic properties of the fibre" naturally inhibit odour-causing bacterial growth."
A variety of colours and patterns are available. Check out the products at MeUndies.com
Tough decisions on Lima climate talks deferredNegotiators in Peru raced to reach an agreement in the dying hours of the United Nations climate change talks and were forced to defer many of the tough decisions until next year. The scramble came as the Abbott Government was accused of "creative accounting" in the way it reported emissions from land clearing and forestry in a new study by German-based research organisation Climate Action Tracker.
Australia also took the award of the "colossal fossil" from environment groups as the worst performed country at the two week talks. "From the get-go Australia signalled they were not coming here to make progress towards a comprehensive international climate agreement," the groups said in a statement.
Underscoring a key issue in these negotiations of transparency, the Potsdam study found that because of the way in which reference levels were set for these sectors, Australia would actually be able to increase emissions by 26 per cent above 2000 levels in 2020, rather than the cut of five per cent it has promised to meet.
Australia also came under fire from the foreign minister of the Marshall Islands, which said it found Australia's position in the negotiations "perplexing". More >>
New forestry course takes rootA unique new Lincoln University forestry course will be delivering cutting-edge training in a Northland school in New Zealand next year. Subject to funding, LincolnFirst Telford, a division of Lincoln University, will run the inaugural course at Kaikohe’s Northland College under the auspices of the Northland Educational Hub.
Students will gain hands-on experience by working in a pine forest block the College owns. The course is a game changer for the region, chairman of the college’s farm committee, and Lincoln University principal farms advisor, Murray Jamieson says.
The students can prepare for a future forestry career without having to leave school, and be trained by industry professionals. “No other school is offering a course like it in New Zealand,” Mr Jamieson says. He says the course will foster potential managers and leaders in the field. More >>
Buy and Sell
...and one to end the week on... Xmas message and tree harvest
As we’ve regularly been questioned (well on occasions) on the last story
or joke that we place in each week’s issue (funny that though as all are
being supplied by readers – and for a whole bunch of reasons, we can
only use 1 in every 5 of the jokes supplied), we’ve taken legal advice
to provide you with a parting message of good will.
And on that note, time to clean up the office, pack up for your holidays and plan to move on out. It's been a delight bringing you Offcuts this year and we're looking forward to working with and for you again in 2015. Have a relaxing Christmas. Read plenty of books, do a bit of fishing and go easy on the food and beverages. We’ll get back into it early in the New-Year with the first issue of Offcuts planned for Friday 16 January 2015.
We welcome comments and contributions on Friday Offcuts. For details on advertising for positions within the forest products industry or for products and services, either within the weekly newsletter or on this web page, please contact us.
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