Friday Offcuts 22 September 2017
Again, all sorts of records with this series have been broken. Numbers of local sawmilling companies (around 400 delegates) involved this year, the suppliers of saws and sawmilling technologies speaking and exhibiting (over 30 companies have come into this region from Sweden, Germany, Austria, Italy, USA, Canada, Australia and NZ) and the series of practical troubleshooting workshops being run for local companies, really struck a chord with Australian mills this week. Further information on this latest tech series will follow in future issues.
Today we’ve got a story on an Australian forestry company that helps out a nearby university with arranged visits, talks and field trips for forestry students. As outlined by the local FCNSW district manager, the relationship they’ve established is working well for both parties. It’s providing students with an insight into the many opportunities available to them in forestry and for the company, they're getting new ideas and fresh perspectives on their own operations. In this case, the offer of future employment was also able to be made. Eastland Port in New Zealand likewise have been opening their facilities to a wide range of local groupings, including students.
If you have any other good news stories on industry setting up school or training institution relationships, please let us know. With our industry skills shortages and forecasts going forward not looking that rosy, it’s exactly these sorts of initiatives we’d like to promote. Collectively we can learn from, and ideally emulate them further.
Finally, to finish the week, we’ve got a short video clip akin to something out of the terminator movie series. A helicopter with a bank of 10 circular saws beneath the machine is being used to trim vegetation alongside power lines. Check out the team work involved in this particular operation. Enjoy this week’s read.
This week we have for you:
OneSafe Group win Safety Innovation AwardOneFortyOne Plantations, with its contractor partners in the OneSafe Group, are honoured to have been awarded the 2017 Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) Forest Industry Innovation Award for Innovation in Safety.
The award was presented to the OneSafe Group before 500 forest industry leaders and Government representatives, including the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Anne Ruston, at the AFPA Gala Industry Dinner, held at Parliament House, Canberra last week.
OneFortyOne CEO Linda Sewell congratulated the OneSafe Group on the achievement. “In just 12 months, as a result of the intensive work and collaboration of the OneSafe Group, the collective injury incident rate has more than halved,” Ms Sewell said.
“This award is testament to the foresight and focus of the OneSafe Group in improving safety, in a way that has never been done before in the forestry industry. OneFortyOne is proud to be part of the OneSafe Group and congratulates all members on their achievements in creating real change in safety, and shifting safety culture in the forestry industry.”
Formed in May 2016, the OneSafe Group is a collective Green Triangle safety group between forest owner (OneFortyOne Plantations); harvesting contractors (Harvestco), haulage contractors (Scheidl), harvesting & haulage contractors (KC & MR Boult, Tabeel Trading, Moreland Holdings, Fennell Forestry) and a log marshalling contractor (ISO). The Group will donate the $1,000 prize money to charity.
Photo courtesy of AFPA: Anne Kerr, OneFortyOne Plantations (OneSafe Group Member), Willie Van Niekerk, OneFortyOne Plantations (OneSafe Group Member), Malcolm Turnbull, Prime Minister, Nick Roberts, Forestry Corporation of NSW (Sponsor of the Award), Tony Pasin, Federal Member for Barker.
Heyfield timber mill purchase finalisedThe Victorian Government last week finally signed a deal to buy the Heyfield Timber Mill, after Premier Daniel Andrews made the decision to buy the mill in July. Under the arrangement, Minister for Industry and Employment Wade Noonan will be responsible for the transition of ownership from the Hermal Group and oversee the corporate structure and strategic direction of the mill.
A new board will be established and the existing ASH management team will be responsible for the day to day operations of the business. The Government has not said how much they have paid to buy the business but it is understood at least AU$40 million has been paid.
The Victorian Association of Forest Industries chief executive Tim Johnston welcomed the Government's move. "The forest, fibre and wood products industry is the lifeblood of many rural and regional communities across Victoria," he said. "It is a AU$7 billion industry that employs 21,000 Victorians and supports another 40,000 to 50,000 local jobs, many of these in regional areas."
Source: ABC News
NZ Carbon Market updateThe New Zealand carbon market has sprung back into life over the last few weeks as the election has become much closer. It now has become a binary event where the carbon market could potentially double in size (over time) with the election of a Labour government. NZUs have rallied from below $16.50 a tonne to the high for the year at $18.35 a tonne.
Major owners remain absent and settings continue to unwind under the current governments ETS pathway. The one for two setting is nearly halfway through its unwinding process moving to a surrender requirement of 33 million tonnes next year and 40 million tonnes in 2019.
National have also stated that the $25 CAP will go at some point and it’s just a matter of how – either taken away or raised. Labour have said they would phase in agriculture to the ETS - ten percent initially which would add four million tonnes of demand per annum.
The reality of all this is that carbon will continue to grind higher under National as we move towards the start of Paris in 2021 or it will move dramatically higher under Labour as they move to considerably strengthen the scheme.
Our view is to keep buying carbon and whilst we make no money telling owners of NZUs (who don’t need the cash and are prepared to take the risk) to continue to hold on to carbon. There are estimates for carbon prices next decade to be between $30 and $130 a tonne.
Our view, taking into account there are risks in all of these things, is that forestry sits in a very good position in the next 10 to 20 years. Carbon is no longer just an annual dividend setting inside your forest with your main aim and game being to harvest. Carbon could now possibly be the only thing you grow trees for where you see marginal land as fit for no other purpose and the predicted high carbon price makes permanent forestry a worthwhile investment.
Buy carbon, hold carbon, grow carbon.
Source: Nigel Brunel, Director - Financial Markets, OMF
Choosing the right stand densities and tree geneticsForest owners and managers can increase log quality, yield and total value by up to $16,000 per hectare by choosing the right tree spacing and best genetically improved tree stocks for their forest stands.
A team of Scion scientists in New Zealand have carried out end-of-rotation assessments at Atiamuri near Rotorua (planted in 1990) and Glengarry near Napier (planted in 1987) (Moore et al, 2017). These sites are part of the long-running silviculture-breeds trial series, which covers 28 sites across New Zealand.
Plots within each trial were planted at different initial stand densities, thinned to final stand densities of between 100 and 600 stems per hectare, and included material from seedlots with growth and form (GF) ratings ranging from GF7 to GF25. Pre-harvest assessments were made on diameter at breast height, tree height, branching patterns and stem straightness on standing trees. Wood density and stiffness were also measured.
The researchers modelled the log grades likely to be obtained from each stem in a plot to estimate the total volume of recoverable wood (TRV), and its value. They found that both increasing final stand density and increasing genetic improvement significantly increased TRV and total value, as well as significantly decreasing the number of branches greater than 7 cm in diameter.
Trees from seedlots with a GF rating of 20 or more had significantly straighter stems. Final stand density, however, was not found to affect stem straightness. The wood properties density and stiffness increased significantly with increasing final stand density. While individual seedlots were significantly better than others, there was no clear trend. This is not unexpected as none of the seedlots in these trials were selected for wood properties.
The final stand density of 600 stems per hectare found to give the greatest TRV and value is very close to the density recently predicted to maximise value (Watt et al, 2016). At this stand density, which is higher than is typically found in many planted forests in New Zealand, a site is fully occupied but not overcrowded. The higher stocking rate also suppressed the formation of larger branches.
To look at the effect of seedlot, the GF Plus ratings for (diameter) growth, straightness and branching were estimated for each seedlot. GF Plus diameter ratings were shown to be positively related to total standing volume, while GF Plus ratings for branching and straightness also affected total value as a higher proportion of wood volume was in more valuable log grades.
No interactions between final stand density and seedlot were seen for any of the parameters measured in this work. However, as other experimental plots in the trial series reach maturity over the next five years, the additional data will enable the development of a more detailed understanding of the relationships between silviculture, genetics and wood quality.
Data from this work will help forest owners and managers better able to account for the impact of genetic improvement and density on total value in modelling software such as Forecaster. Optimising stand density and using improved seedlots presents a real opportunity to grow not just more wood, but more usable, higher quality wood, increasing the productivity of planted radiata pine forests in New Zealand.
Photo. Detailed data collection at the Atiamuri site part of a nationwide trial series investigating the effect of silviculture and genetics on wood properties and economic value. The full paper is available here
Source: Moore, J. R., Dash, J. P., Lee, J. R., McKinley, R. B., & Dungey, H. S. (2017). Quantifying the influence of seedlot and stand density on growth, wood properties and the economics of growing radiata pine. Forestry: An International Journal of Forest Research, 1-14.
Global softwood lumber trade set to reach record in 2017Increased demand for softwood lumber worldwide has pushed lumber prices upward, particularly in the US and China during the first half of 2017, according to the Wood Resource Quarterly.
Global Lumber Trade
International trade of softwood lumber is on pace to a new record high in 2017 if the trend from the first six months of 2017 continues in the second half of the year. Of the ten largest lumber-exporting countries in the world, Russia, Finland, Austria and Ukraine increased shipments the most year-over-year during the first half of 2017.
Russia alone, has accounted for 22% of global lumber trade so far in 2017, which is up from 15% ten years ago, according to the WRQ. Canada’s seven consecutive years of expanding shipments may reach an end this year with export volumes having declined 2.2% during the 1H/17.
Lumber markets – North America
During the first five months of 2017, lumber production in the US South bounced back after having declined during the second half of 2016. The total production output from January through May was 7.3% higher this year as compared to the same period in 2016, according to the WWPA.
In Canada, lumber production was up seven percent in the Eastern provinces during the first five months of 2017, while it fell 2.1% in British Columbia. The decline in BC occurred mostly because of a reduction in lumber exports to China by 10% year-over year.
Lumber prices in both the US and Canada have trended upward for almost two years and reached 13-year highs in July. One exception has been pine lumber prices in the US South, which have fallen the past few months to the lowest level seen in almost a year.
Lumber markets – China
Demand for softwood lumber has picked up in China in 2017 with import volumes during the first seven months being 16% higher than during the same period in 2016. By far, the biggest jump in supply sources has been from Russia, which increased shipments by 24% y-o-y to 7.1 million m3 from January to July.
Russian sawmills also increased their market share from 42% of total Chinese imports in 2014 to 62% in 2017. Despite a substantial decline in the cost of Canadian lumber delivered to China from the record highs in 2013 and 2014, Canadian sawmills have lost market share substantially, dropping from a 40% share in 2013, when it was the largest supplier of softwood lumber to the Chinese market, to a current 22%.
Lumber market – Japan
Japan has increased importation of softwood lumber by two percent during the first half of 2017 as compared to the 1H/16. Total import volume in the 2Q/17 was 1.6 million m3, the highest level in two years. The biggest changes on the supply side this year compared to 2016 has been an increase in imports from Canada and Sweden, and a decline from Russia. In Yen terms, domestic lumber prices have moved up slightly in 2017, while import prices have remained practically unchanged.
Lumber market – Russia
Russian sawmills have increased production by an estimated 14% the past five years, mainly driven by a rise in demand for wood in China. Although domestic softwood lumber demand was up three percent in 2016 from the previous year, domestic consumption has fallen 12 percent the past five years.
Russia has become a major player in the global lumber market the past ten years, but exported a surprisingly small share to Europe or the US. Instead a majority of the Russian lumber has been shipped to China, Japan, Iran and the CIS countries (see detailed export data in the latest WRQ Trade Snapshot). Export prices have trended upward for more than a year, and in June 2017, reached their highest levels since February of 2015.
Source: Wood Resources International
Mobility eats everythingIn just 10 years the 'smartphone' has become an essential part of our working and personal lives. We hear and see a lot of hype about the 'next big thing' in mobile devices, however, in reality, all we seem to get are incremental upgrades and new form factors.
Everything is just about to change! This is the topical subject for this region’s after-dinner presentations for the upcoming ForestTECH 2017 series.
The presenter, Randall Cameron, Managing Director Australia for Mobile Mentor will be providing an educational and entertaining look into the mobile innovations that are literally just around the corner. The company has increasingly been working alongside a number of major forestry companies in this region developing some very smart mobile apps and solutions.
Randall will be providing some entertaining insights into important questions like;
- Do you want a smart contact lens with a built in digital screen?
- Maybe a real-world use case for VR, AR and mixed reality?
- How about a voice-to-voice language translator run in real-time?
- Or do you just want a smart digital assistant that doesn't break as soon as you lose data connection!
There has been a lot of promises over the years. What’s reality and what is going to change how you run your own lives – and business – over the next few years.
The ForestTECH 2017 series will run in Rotorua, New Zealand on 15-16 November and then again in Melbourne, Australia, on 21-22 November. Full details on the programme can be found on the event website, www.foresttech.events.
NZ housing supply – panelisation provides paradigm shiftWood panel factories, not on-site workers, is the only way to solve the housing supply crisis, says a Rotorua engineer who is organising a national wood technology conference later this month.
John Stulen, from Innovatek says, “More workers building houses on-site is not enough to really lift housing supply. Only new high-volume wood panel plants will do that in a big way, which is exactly what New Zealand needs. It simply has to happen. XLAM’s cross-laminated timber (CLT) plant in Nelson and Stanley Group’s modular building factory in Matamata have delivered some added capacity, but there is room for far more supply to meet demand.”
He says, “In Australia, developers and large builders have already boosted their industry by adding more wood panelisation plants. It is a welcome sign for ramping up the supply of new affordable housing. We need at least one or two more large wood panel factories using new ultra-modern manufacturing technologies to ramp up single family and multi-residential homes in New Zealand.”
Stulen is organising a national conference in Rotorua this month. International keynote speakers will explain how housing and mid-rise residential building capacity has grown immensely in Australia and Canada on the back of new wood panel and pre-fabrication plants.
In Australia, since launching its automated prefabrication facility 12 months ago, building contractor Strongbuild has grown from strength to strength. The first of its kind in Australia, the panelisation facility in Bella Vista, northwest Sydney, manufactures extremely precise prefab components that are highly cost-effective, allowing for rapid and safe assembly on site.
Prefabrication now plays a part in roughly 80 per cent of Strongbuild’s projects and, more and more, the company is choosing only to work on projects where they can add value through offsite manufacturing. Strongbuild’s business development manager, Shane Strong, will discuss their business model at the “Changing Perceptions” annual conference in Rotorua this month.
Prefabrication gives the company control over the entire design and build process taking place in-house, including price, quality and timing. Strongbuild, and wood panelisation plants generally, are helping to meet the challenges of Australia’s housing supply shortage. They are delivering cost efficiencies and time savings that lead to overall lower costs per dwelling.
Strongbuild can complete a two-storey townhouse, to lock-up stage in about three days from the floor slab being completed. Shane Strong says that panelisation is a manufactured solution they’re absolutely committed to. They are also doing bathroom pods, but they’re not really a modular builder. Their Sydney plant produces prefinished panels, both as cross-laminated timber (CLT) structural elements and for walls using standard lightweight timber framing.
Strongbuild launched in 2000 with a vision to create a streamlined building system that would take the negative variables out of the design and building process. Beginning by delivering single-residence homes in a classically Australian style, the business soon expanded into the multi-residential space, splitting into two divisions – home building and community building. The multi-residential arm has delivered townhouse communities, residential apartments and vertical retirement villages, including Australia’s largest CLT project, The Gardens at Macarthur Gardens in Campbelltown.
Growing demand from developers in the Sydney market has driven Strongbuild’s expansion, with prefabrication being the engine that allows the company to deliver savings in material costs and construction timelines. With Aveo Norwest – a luxury vertical retirement village – Strongbuild are able to deliver the project three months ahead of a traditional construction timeline for a similar project.
The upcoming national building industry conference, entitled “Changing Perceptions” is focused on “The Advantages of Timber in Mid-Rise Construction.” It's Innovatek’s second annual conference in commercial wood building and runs in Rotorua on 28 September.
The conference is part of wood technology week running in Rotorua next week alongside the FIEA WoodTECH 2017 two-day conference and trade expo. Rotorua Lakes Council are event partners as part of their “Wood-First” policy. The diverse programme has attracted building owners, developers, architects, engineers, specifiers and key engineered wood suppliers from around the country. See more at www.cpetc2017.com.
Record log volumes from Eastland PortAs Eastland Port registers its biggest export month in its history, it’s giving guardians of our national identify, students, sport fishers, and MPs, unprecedented access behind the scenes.
Eastland Port achieved record log tonnage throughput in August, reaching 297,195 tonnes. It’s an increase of 36 percent compared to last August when it reached 219,245 tonnes. It was the busiest month for wood export since Eastland Port was created in 2003, and the biggest export month in the history of the port.
The record is no surprise to Port General Manager Andrew Gaddum as demand for local wood from overseas continues to show year-over-year increases almost every month. “The local supply chains are working to keep up with these demands and Eastland Port is at the end of that supply chain.”
Thirteen log vessels took away wood bound for India and China during the month. Each ship carried between 8,000–36,000 tonnes of logs. Mr Gaddum says September and October should be two of the busiest months ever seen for wood export – possibly setting more new records.
The forecast is made as exporters move away from the more difficult winter harvest months and enter the spring flush. “We’re expecting exporters to shift some of the largest volumes of wood ever, and that’s a good indicator that what we’re planning for the twin berth project will meet the needs of our customers.”
To manage the volume of wood coming, the port wants to be able to park two 200m long ships in the port and load them at the same time. The problem is, at the moment it hasn’t got enough room to load them both, or enough strong wharf frontage, to park them both.
Eastland Port has openly shared its development plans since May, and for the past three months, Mr Gaddum has been showing interested groups of iwi, business leaders, conservationists and heritage staff, around the normally secure port. The behind-the-scenes tour of the port is now a regular Tuesday morning event.
Recently a Lytton High School economics class, Heritage New Zealand’s Lower North Island Manager, East Coast MP Anne Tolley, and Gisborne Tatapouri Sport Fishing Club members, took a look behind the scenes.
Mr Gaddum welcomes the scrutiny. “We reckon we’re all in this together. Some people find what we are proposing challenging, while others are dying to know more. So, we’re involving as many people as we can in the port’s five-year development plan.”
Photo: Budding economists from Lytton High School led by teacher Hagan Logue take a look behind-the-scenes at Eastland Port
Source: Eastland Port
2017’s top NZ forester awardedPassionate forestry industry champion Garth Cumberland has been presented with the coveted NZIF Forester of the Year award for 2017. The prestigious title is the highest accolade attainable by a New Zealand forestry professional. It is awarded to Cumberland this year, in recognition for his outstanding contribution to the industry, through his efforts to establish a cohesive national Forest Policy for New Zealand.
Cumberland is an Agri-Forestry specialist with a solid background in farm-forestry and over three decades of experience. He’s a committed industry professional with a big picture vision to protect the future sustainability of forestry.
With tireless dedication, Cumberland has spearheaded the development of a new Forest Policy for New Zealand. No easy feat, Cumberland set the wheels in motion, garnering critical support from key stakeholders within and beyond the forestry industry. He has maintained momentum, and driven the initiative needed, to bring New Zealand into line with other leading forestry producing nations.
Announcing the award at the NZ Institute of Forestry’s annual conference in Rotorua NZIF President James Treadwell acknowledged Cumberland’s efforts. “He is not just a great forester, Garth has vested a huge amount of time, effort and money to bring the Forest Policy Project to life. This work creates tangible long-term benefits for New Zealand by creating better forests. It secures a path for the sustainable long-term future of New Zealand forestry.”
Around the globe, a new era of environmental accountability for land use is dawning. Developing such a policy initiative provides a clear road map for the forestry sector in New Zealand, and secures inter-generational responsibility for its sustainable future.
Forestry favoured with NES?Environment Southland, New Zealand has expressed concern that forestry operators will be allowed to operate at lower environmental standards than others, under new government rules. A report to an Environment Southland meeting says a national environmental standard for plantation forestry was enacted in July and will come into force next May.
The national standard covers all activities relating to plantation forestry including earthworks, river crossings and mechanical land preparation. Councils such as Environment Southland are not permitted to set rules more stringent than the national standards, except in limited circumstances, a report to Environment Southland councillors, written by senior policy planner Tanith Robb.
“The regulations are more lenient than many of the rules in the proposed Southland Water and Land Plan. “As such, forestry operators will be able to operate at lower environmental standards than other resource users in Southland,” Mr Robb said.
The national environmental standards for forestry were passed despite Environment Southland earlier expressing concerns they could undermine its ability to manage the environmental effects of plantation forestry in the region.
The national standards would allow small wetlands to be disturbed, including by building a river crossing over a wetland under .25 of a hectare – whereas under the proposed Southland Water and Land Plan it would be a non-complying activity.
Among other differences, the national standards also say mechanical land preparation must not occur within 5m of a river less than 3m wide, or a wetland larger than .25 hectare. Whereas, depending on the slope, the proposed Southland Water and Land Plan may have required a 20m setback and no mechanical cultivation on slopes greater than 20 degrees.
Land sustainability officers currently work with forestry operators to increase awareness about environmental effects, but the national standards eliminate the need for such conversations according to Mr Robb. The national forestry regulations also limited Environment Southland’s ability to take compliance action against forestry operators when adverse effects were reported.
Environment Southland chairman Nicol Horrell said the national environment standard for plantation forestry appeared to give one sector a more lenient pathway.
Source: The Southland Times
Testing nursery research in the forestSeveral nursery trials carried out as part of GCFF projects in New Zealand have shown that reductions in fungicide and fertiliser use can produce seedlings of the same or better quality when leaving the nursery gate, but how much does this matter after those seedlings are planted in the forest?
Recent analysis of growth data from a 2010 out-planting trial using stock from a nursery trial has yielded exciting results, indicating that reductions in chemical use increased both survival and growth rates. At this forest site, these gains have combined to produce an 8% gain in basal area after six years.
The interim results from a larger multi-site study, established in 2015, also supports the potential to reduce chemical use in nurseries. This trial series demonstrates that, at worst, seedlings subjected to reduced chemical exposure during their time in the nursery performed exactly as well as those that received standard or increased rates of chemical treatments.
While survival and growth rates across the studied sites clearly differed, the extent of chemical use had no effect on either metric at any site, adding support to the already known economic and environmental benefits of reduced chemical use in tree nurseries. For more information, contact Simeon.Smaill@scionresearch.com.
Source: CCFF Newsletter, Scion
Forestry Corporation staff advising on careersForestry students from Southern Cross University got a first-hand perspective on working in local forests from Forestry Corporation’s Grafton District Manager Peter Walters, Walcha District Manager Gary Miller and Walcha-based Stewardship and Fire Supervisor Warren Chawner, who recently visited students in Lismore.
Current SCU student Alex Caparao, who took up a summer position with Forestry Corporation last year and has continued working as part of the Walcha management area team while he completes his studies, also attended. Mr Walters said Forestry Corporation had long supported Southern Cross University’s forestry program through visits, talks and field trips and all three Forestry Corporation speakers were SCU alumni.
“Forestry is an extremely diverse profession. Professional foresters need to understand every stage of the plantation cycle, from seedling production to harvest planning, harvesting and planting, as well as timber grading, logistics, safety, environmental management, pest and weed control and firefighting,” Mr Walters said.
“Over the years, we have hosted field trips to everything from fire hazard reduction burns through to active harvesting operations to support local forestry students in their studies and this meeting was another opportunity to give students an insight into professional forestry. It is also exciting for us as forestry professionals to meet the next generation of foresters, who have incredible enthusiasm and new ideas and perspectives that can bring real benefits to our organisation”.
“Last year, we were able to offer one student a summer role that has turned into an ongoing role in Walcha and we are hoping to bring more students on again this year.”
Current student Alex Caparao said he couldn’t put a value on the opportunity to gain industry experience by working in forests around Walcha while completing his studies. “Being exposed to the operational side of forestry was a fantastic opportunity and the practical experience really complemented my studies. Also, meeting and talking to people in the industry provided an excellent opportunity to access a wealth of knowledge in the industry,” Mr Caparao said.
Source: Forestry Corporation NSW
Helicopter tree sawing - check this one outCheck this one out - a helicopter tree saw pilot. They’re using a helicopter and a bank of saws beneath the machine to trim vegetation alongside power lines. The team works a crazy schedule, twenty-eight days, twenty-eight days off. They work really hard while they are away from their families and then they get a break and get to go home for twenty-eight days.
This is an absolute amazing helicopter pilot job. The tree saw hangs below the helicopter from an aluminium tube. The tube basically just is a carry mount for the saw. The saw itself has a gas motor that drives the saws with a belt. The pilot operates the saw from inside the helicopter. He can start the unit, get the blade spinning and get them up to RPM. He can also turn the saw in relation to the helicopter depending on how he's cutting.
You’ll notice though that the person on the ground isn’t perhaps fitted out with the safety gear as would be demanded in this region. However, the skill to fly this helicopter and manage the saw and stay safe and clear of the power lines, keep track of everything that’s going on down on the ground and make sure that you're not going to cause any damage to persons or property on the ground, it's a pretty amazing feat.
Logging halt in central highlands' native forests?Victoria's central highlands are essential to protecting Melbourne's water supply and also contributing AU$260 million a year to the tourism economy, a new study has found. The report from the Australian National University (ANU) used an international method recognised by the United Nations to value the ecosystem in the central highlands — an area that spreads north and east of Healesville.
The study estimates the central highlands add AU$310 million of economic value to the state's water supply and AU$260 million to tourism, while the native logging industry is worth just AU$12 million.
However, a study by Deloitte for the state-owned VicForests last year found native logging and processing helped generate more than AU$500 million for the state's economy supporting more than 2,000 jobs. VicForests says the new ANU report does not factor in the value of timber products and processing.
Opponents of native timber logging said the industry could be supplied with plantation timber, something many in industry acknowledge but argue that transition takes time. The study said that moving away from harvesting of native forest would contribute to improved "economic, social and environmental benefits for the people of Victoria."
"The net value of ecosystem services would increase if native forest logging were phased out, due to improved ecosystem condition in older forests that continued growing,' the report said. By stopping logging, the water catchment would be improved and would maximise "water yield and quality" and increase the amount of water available to Melbourne, it found.
But VicForests chief executive Nathan Trushell said the report substantially downplayed the value of the timber industry. "The key issue is that the ANU report has only calculated the value add of timber in the forest, rather than the impressive domestic value add from processing and downstream manufacturing to produce high quality timber products,' he said.
VicForests said only 6 per cent of forest in Victoria was available and suitable for native timber harvesting, while more than 70 per cent was located in National Parks and reserve systems. Environment minister Lily D'Ambrosio said the central highlands were a complex issue and a special taskforce had been working on a solution. She also said that a national park was a consideration.
Source: ABC News
Buy and Sell
...and one to end the week on ... pot hole repairs
Pot Hole Repair in Adelaide (does Perth have this yet?)
And on that note, have a great weekend. We look forward to meeting many of our
Kiwi readers in Rotorua next week - post election. Cheers.
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