Friday Offcuts 2 June 2023
Click to Subscribe - It's FREE!As well as the major disruption to forestry contractors and mills at the moment with the phasing out of native logging in Australia, across in New Zealand, contractors likewise are now really starting to feel the pinch. As pointed out in PF Olen’s NZ log market report this week, at wharf gate prices for export logs dropped on average another $22 per JASm3 in May, the lowest price since July of last year. Low log prices (which are expected to drop again this month) and reduced production though is being compounded by the impacts of Cyclone Gabrielle and what’s now been three-tough years.
Looking ahead to this month's FIEA event, thanks to everyone who has already registered for our upcoming Environmental Forestry Conference running on 20-21 June. We still have seats available and a bumper programme including panel sessions and a session led by a group from Future Foresters. Register your team now and we look forward to seeing you there.
From a recent survey of Forest Industry Contractors Association members, 57% of respondents indicated that their wood production had been reduced by 20% or more, with 16% down more than 30%. And at the moment, 21% of the responding contractors don’t have a current contract. After prolonged and compounding pressures, the further reduction of harvest targets and cancelled contracts mean that many forestry contractors just won’t survive. The dire situation being faced right now is well illustrated in another story this week where a well-known and respected forestry contractor in Gisborne has had to pull the pin after 23 years in business. To get a feel for the issues confronting NZ forestry contractors, a copy of the NZ Forestry Contractors State of the Nation Survey - May 2023 has been attached to this week’s lead story.
And more on last week’s shock announcement to bring forward by six years (ahead of the state government’s original timeline) the ending the commercial harvesting of native timber in Victoria. The real impact being felt right now by those involved in harvesting, cartage or milling is highlighted in the story on the impact being felt in affected timber towns. Re-skilling or retraining being offered by the Government, as pointed out by one worker, is a huge challenge for those who have spent their entire working lives in mills. It’s also all of the ancillary businesses in these small rural communities that will be hit hard as well. Families, businesses and towns have been thrown into chaos. Last week’s announcement to cease on 1 January 2024 means that there just isn’t time for any meaningful transition.
And finally, we carry a couple of stories linked to wood residues utilisation. We profile the global line-up of major global technology and equipment providers involved in the upcoming Residues2Revenues 2023 event who’ll be providing updates on the very latest wood chipping and grinding technologies as part of a two hour in-field chipping workshop on Tuesday 25 July. (Note: Discounted early-bird registrations for this event close in just two weeks). And we cover a short video clip from the US on the opportunities that exist with biochar. In Utah, they have surplus waste wood or slash piles following harvesting operations. They label it “liability biomass”. After Cyclone Gabrielle on the East Coast of NZ earlier this year, sound familiar? Rather than burn it or letting it sit there as a future hazardous fuel, they’re producing biochar – “charcoal that's made for the soil”. And that's it for this week.
This week we have for you:
NZ forestry contractors at breaking pointNew Zealand’s forestry contractors are at breaking point, with compounding pressures from the last three years mounting. Some are already in liquidation and many more are at risk of losing their livelihoods.
Forest Industry Contractors Association (FICA) is hugely concerned for the viability of forestry contracting businesses at the moment. Pressure has been exacerbated by Cyclone Gabrielle but it comes on the back of a tough three years, with Covid-19, fuel hikes, high inflation resulting in significant interest rate rises, and continuous wet weather all thrown into the mix.
Pressure is compounding with increased operational costs, staffing / employment issues, market instability and contractual issues. The already low log price (which is expected to drop again next month), will definitely mean reduction of harvest targets and cancelled contracts, which many will not be able to endure this time round, says FICA spokesperson Ross Davis.
“A recent survey of our members showed a widespread reduction in production over the past year. 57% of respondents indicated their production had been reduced by 20% or more, with 16% down more than 30%,” Ross says. “When asked if they could survive at an 80% production level for a year, only 26% of respondents indicated that they could.”
“At the moment 21% of the responding contractors do not have a current contract while 40% only have a one-year contract.” In recent weeks, two larger Gisborne-based contractors have had no option but to cease operations and ‘shut up shop’, after operating in Gisborne for 15-20 plus years.
“Each day we are getting phone calls that confirm more and more contractors are falling over. Our role at FICA does not stop at the forestry gate – we want to support our members. Working with the wider industry and the Ministry of Social Development on the best possible subsidy schemes is imperative. We are working with Ministry for Primary Industry -Te Uru Rakau to get better recognition at Government level,” Ross says.
Ross says it is extremely worrying and is calling on Government and the wider industry to understand what is happening. The forestry sector is the third biggest contributor to NZ export earnings alongside dairy and meat, and there is concern for contractors, workers, families and communities that rely on it for income. We want to retain people in the industry to ensure we have a sustainable industry for the future.
“We’re still seen as a turn-on, turn-off industry. It’s not a blame game at all, but if we want logging contractors to be around in another 12-24 months then something needs to change now. We employ thousands of people, and we cannot keep operating at a loss. Jobs will be lost. Homes will be lost. Communities will be lost,” says Ross.
“Without enough contractors, the industry will really slow down and that is not something any of the sector groups want. It is a matter of becoming more business savvy and having a good partnership between contractor and principal with any negotiation being fair and demonstrating the sharing of the risk.”
See the results of the NZ Forestry Contractors State of the Nation Survey - May 2023.
Logging ‘export opportunity’ remainsThe Australian timber industry has warned that Victoria’s early phaseout of native forest logging could lead to a shortage of hardwood in Australia, but has rejected calls for a scheme to shore up local supply.
The industry’s warning came as the federal government backed the continued export of timber from native forests and plantations, which it said was an important economic opportunity for the sector. Conservationists have been calling for an end to native forest logging for decades, with habitat loss a driving factor for native wildlife extinctions.
But Australian Forest Products Association chief executive Joel Fitzgibbon said Victoria’s decision this week to bring forward its 2030 deadline to end native forest logging to January 1 next year could cause global environmental harm by increasing the need for imports of hardwood timber.
The former Rudd government forestry minister claimed much of the imports would come from the tropical forests of developing nations with lower environmental standards than in Australia. “That’s no way to protect and conserve Australia’s native forest estate or to halt global deforestation practices,” Fitzgibbon said.
But he said he would not back a scheme to reserve native timber to ensure local demand was met before it was sent offshore, and instead argued for an expansion of native timber harvesting for both export and local sales. “We need to keep our sustainable native forestry sector open and thriving, so we can satisfy both our domestic and export needs,” he said.
Other coverage on the recent announcement of banning native forest harvesting in Victoria includes:
- Severe impact on timber towns
Early axing of logging falls hard on timber towns.
- Union leader quits Committee Over Victoria Native Forest Ban
Michael O’Connor has resigned from the Victorian Forestry Advisory Committee, branding the group ‘a shame’ following the decision to fast-track the end of native harvesting. O’Connor’s resignation comes amidst growing dissatisfaction with the accelerated end of native logging. As the National Secretary for Manufacturing for the Construction, Forestry, Mining, and Energy Union (CFMEU), O’Connor resigned from the Victorian Forestry Plan Advisory Committee before the decision went public on Tuesday last week.
- Why do you hate timber workers, Albo?
Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester says he has no regrets after being booted out of Parliament for accusing the Prime Minister of hating timber workers.
In a heated Question Time clash on Thursday last week, Mr Chester challenged Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to provide any examples of where his government had actually supported the hardwood timber industry, in the wake of the Victorian’s Government’s decision to ban the logging of native trees in just six months.
“I gave the Prime Minister a chance to prove he was different to the Premier and he knocked it back,” Mr Chester said. “They are as bad as each other and Albanese’s answer demonstrated a complete lack of compassion for timber workers and their families. His Ministerial colleagues just laughed as I raised a point of order so I asked a new question: Why do you hate timber workers so much?”
Sources: SMH, aap.com.au, AFPA, Wood Central
23 year old forest contracting business pulls the pinIn NZ, a Gisborne-based forest contracting business owner is “devastated” by having to pull the pin on his 23-year-old company. Robert Stubbs (photo) owns Stubbs Contracting and forestry has been his life. Prior to owning the business, he spent 10 years working for others in the sector.
But after much angst and thinking, last week he shut up shop, and on Monday he was sitting on a forest skid site overseeing the removal of his harvest contracting gear. He will sell it on the second-hand market, but that was not going to make him much money.
“The market is flooded with equipment that’s not selling. The market is in a downturn situation, for, I don’t know, probably the third or fourth time since the beginning of Covid,” he said.
This was a situation a number of years in the making, he said - his costs had gone up, margins to make money were slim and as export log prices had kept dropping, forest owners dropped harvesting rates and pulled back on how many trees they wanted to harvest.
At its peak, Stubbs Contracting employed up to 70 people - that had now dropped to three harvest crews and about 25 people. Stubbs said the business had been going backwards for some time and it was forest contractors taking the hit.
Source: NZ Herald
Global in-field chipping and grinding technologiesAs part of the Residues2Revenues 2023 event being run in Rotorua, New Zealand on 25-26 July for local forest owners, harvesting and wood chipping contractors and bio-fuel aggregators, an international showcase of new wood chipping and grinding technologies is being showcased for event delegates.
It’s designed to be practical with advice from global chipper and grinder suppliers on how to select the right machine for your woody biomass harvesting needs.
Key questions on selection of the equipment include “what’s your customer buying? what’s the end product that you’re making and what are they looking for? If the customer is looking to purchase an engineered chip with very particular specifications, a drum chipper is likely to be the more appropriate choice. If it’s a logging or land clearing operation that wants to process whole trees at a fast rate, and produce a quality dimensional chip, then a whole tree chipper is normally the preferred option.
For producing residential wood pellets, the feedstock needs to be relatively clean, and a chipper is likely to be the better option for processing the wood due to its ability process clean feedstock quickly. If you’re going into industrial pellets that can be a little dirtier, so you can get into some grinder type applications.
To answer these questions and to provide the very latest updates on wood chipping and grinding technologies, major equipment suppliers into Australasia will be presenting as part of a two hour in-field chipping workshop sponsored by EECA running just before the Residues2Revenues 2023 event on the morning of Tuesday 25 July. Presenters and companies involved in the workshop include;
- Astec Industries, Inc., USA
- Hydralada representing Bandit Industries and Arjes
- Bruks Siwertell, Sweden
- Vermeer Asia Pacific, Singapore
- Morbark, USA
In addition, EECA will be providing guidance on a new fund that’s been set up (the Biomass Supply Chain Investment Fund) to deal with the supply side of biomass. It’s been designed specifically to cater for the huge interest being shown in harvesting and processing woody biomass and for companies or organisations who can contribute to increasing the supply of biomass (chip, hog fuel, pellets).
Details on Residues2Revenues 2023 can be found on the event website, www.woodresidues.events
PF Olsen NZ Log Market – May 2023Market Summary
At Wharf Gate (AWG) prices for export logs further decreased an average of $22 per JASm3 in May. The AWG prices have now dropped to their lowest prices since July last year. The CFR log sale price in China for New Zealand pine A grade has dropped to 108-115 USD per JAS m3. Softwood inventory and log demand in China has remained steady, but market forecasts of an increase in construction activity have not eventuated and an increase is now less likely as China enters its hotter months of June-August when construction activity traditionally reduces.
The May PF Olsen Log Price Index decreased $11 to $113. The index is the lowest since July last year. The index is currently $9 below the two-year and $10 below the five-year average.
Domestic Log Market
Domestic log demand has reduced with many mills reducing their log orders. Prices are stable as they are generally set for Quarter 2. The local structural market in particular is oversupplied. Many DIY projects such as building decks and other home improvements were done during Covid lockdowns. Households also have reduced discretional spends. New build starts have slowed. Logistical warehousing builds are still ongoing but these have reduced timber input compared with dwellings.
Export Log Market
China softwood log inventory has dropped to about 3m m3 with radiata accounting for about 2.75 m3. Port off-take has remained steady ranging round 70k per day. Usually construction activity drops 10-15% in the hotter months of June to August. Most commentators think we won’t see such a significant drop this year, as construction is already at a lower yet consistent level. There is also low inventory through the supply chain, so daily port offtake wont drop at the same rate as productivity.
The CFR price for A grade radiata logs in China has dropped to 108-115 USD per JASm3.
China also has increased supply from domestic harvesting of Masson pine in southern and central China and Poplar in Northern China. These sell for an average price of 800 RMB per m3 which equates to 113 USD. The 2020 ban on sending Australian logs and timber to has now been lifted. This was a political spat thinly disguised by China as a quarantine risk. Log buyers in China don’t expect much log volume from Australian suppliers, and especially at current pricing levels. In many cases infrastructure needs to be reinstated and this cost isn’t justified at the current pricing level.
The biggest issue for log buyers and construction companies in China remains cashflow constraints. The construction sector in China has the longest average payment delay of any sector in China with an average of 96 days.
The China Caixin manufacturing PMI dropped to 49.5 in April. This was the first contraction in factory activity since January. The optimism earlier in the year seems to have reduced with the property market not increasing activity as forecast and fears of a global slowdown.
Prices for green sawn timber in Gandhidham have remained steady over the last three weeks. Green sawn timber from South American pine sells for 501 INR per CFT while Australian radiata green pine sells for 561 INR per CFT. The price for European kiln dried sawn timber is 621 INR per CFT. Demand is low for all construction materials.
Running a business in India is getting expensive as banks prefer to lend lower risk home loans. The disparity between interest rates on home loans and business loans has increased. Home loan interest rates in India are about 10% while interest rates on business loans are between 10 and 25%.
Scott Downs, Director Sales & Marketing, PF Olsen Ltd
Source: PF Olsen
SnapSTAT: New fund to push woodNew Zealand's Forestry Minister, Peeni Henare, has announced a NZ$57 million fund (see further details re applying in another story this week) to promote investment in domestic wood-processing facilities, as the Government seeks to push wood as a carbon-friendly alternative in construction, fuels, packaging, and even biochemicals and pharmaceuticals.
Since 2020, the volume of wood harvested in New Zealand has doubled to 37 million cubic metres a year, but the processing capacity has remained more or less unchanged at 13-14 million cubic metres, the transformation plan report said (see graphic below).
Aircraft vs Satellite vs Drone - what's changed?Over the years there have been numerous articles comparing capture with Aircraft vs Satellites vs Drones. So, what's changed in relation to this comparison? In practical terms not a lot but there are technology advancements which will likely come into play in the not-too-distant future. This blog isn't intended to promote one technology over another but rather state the facts.
Drones are still the best choice for areas where manned aircraft cannot fly safely, such as very close to buildings, narrow streets or under bridges. Whilst line of site, range and payload capacity are limiting factors, the technology is advancing quickly. Range is improving and sensors are getting smaller and more powerful. Cost of quality systems remains reasonably high. Technologies like drone in a box that allow drones to fly and charge themselves will expand their use capabilities. Regulations will need to evolve quickly to support these types of operation.
• Ideal for capturing small areas (up to 2 km2)
• Resolution down to 2cm or better
• Drones currently require visual line of site (VLOS) unless authorisation is given for beyond visual line of site (BVLOS) by the aviation authority
• Drones currently not authorized to operate over urban areas due to privacy concerns, or in rural areas where fire maybe a concern
• Battery life and in turn range limit the area that can be captured in a single flight
• Limitations on payloads reduces the size of sensors that drones can carry, this combined with altitude limits reduces the efficiency of capture
• Can fly below the clouds so possible to capture in wider range of weather conditions and can be time specific
• Well supported now by processing software automating, much of the mapping work for the untrained operator
• Cost of entry and operation is still significant for quality systems
• Limited geographically
Aircraft are still the most cost and time efficient option for large capture areas. Efficiency/capability of sensors continues to advance with 3D cameras becoming more common. Automation and remote operation of sensor equipment will likely reduce the cost of operation further in coming years. As flight regulations evolve the possibility of pilotless flight operations will further change the way aircraft are used for capture.
Source: Aerial Surveys
Minister visits Timberlink’s Bell Bay FacilityTimberlink was pleased to welcome the Tasmanian Minister for Resources, Felix Ellis MP, to Timberlink’s Bell Bay manufacturing facility on Friday 12 May 2023. The Minister toured Timberlink’s wood-plastic composite manufacturing plant, which will be the only facility in Tasmania to manufacture these products.
This plant will manufacture upcycled decking and screening products using post-consumer plastic waste which is granulated and provided to Timberlink by a 3rd party. The plastic is mixed with Tasmanian plantation pine residues from Timberlink’s own Bell Bay facility such as sawdust and shavings. This new decking and screening brand is expected to be launched in June 2023, and production later this year.
Timberlink EGM Sales, Marketing & Corporate Affairs, David Oliver, said ‘Not only will this facility be the only one in the state of Tasmania to manufacture wood-plastic composite products, but it will also make Timberlink Tasmania’s only vertically integrated wood products producer.’ The facility will play a vital role in increasing Australia’s sovereign capacity to manufacture wood-plastic composite products, reducing reliance on imports.
Timberlink’s wood-plastic composite plant will be powered by a combination of rooftop solar and Tasmanian hydro power, while rainwater will be harvested and stored to be used for cooling in the manufacturing process.
While at the facility, Minister Ellis observed Timberlink’s new finger-jointed and primed outdoor products line, which has been partially supported by an AU$1.06m grant from the Tasmanian Government’s Department of State Growth On-Island Processing Program. The line is expected to be completed in late 2023.
Minister Ellis thanked Timberlink for its role in contributing to Tasmania’s circular economy, creating jobs and flow-on effects for the state. ‘Timberlink’s Bell Bay operation is a key part of Tasmania’s modern and sustainable forestry sector and is among the country’s largest softwood mills and a major local employer,’ Minister Ellis said.
OneFortyOne appoints Chief ForesterCommencing July 2023 Branislav Zoric (photo) will join OneFortyOne as its Chief Forester, working in both Australia and New Zealand.
Branislav will provide technical and professional advice on forestry matters including the integration of environmental, social, and economic values for sustainable forest management. He has over thirty years’ experience in forest management, most recently Business Excellence Manager for APP Jakarta. This followed his role as Forest Planning Business Unit Head for APRIL Group, a leading manufacturer in the pulp and paper industry.
In making the announcement Peter Brydon, Interim Chief Executive Officer said “The role of Chief Forester is to provide trusted technical expertise. We welcome Branislav’s international experience as well as his vast knowledge gained from working in Australian and New Zealand forestry.”
“One of our greatest challenges is the impact and risk a changing climate brings and Branislav is well placed to ensure we adapt to changes, embrace innovation and enhance value” Peter said. “Branislav is a committed forester with a passion for balancing the values forests offer including important timber resources, biodiversity, and recreation. I welcome Branislav to OneFortyOne.”
What’s behind the rise in timber prices in AustraliaThe lifting of China’s export restrictions, combined with rising interest rates and a housing shortage, could spell trouble for the Australian housing industry.
Australian timber prices may have fallen from their Covid pandemic spikes but the respite might be short-lived, creating a headache for the critical housing sector and its role in helping address a severe shortfall in new homes. The housing industry is being hit by opposing forces, with rising interest rates designed to cool demand at the same time as a housing shortage stirs it.
An impending resumption of the timber export trade to China is also raising questions over whether Australia has enough local supplies to meet its own requirements.
What has happened to timber prices?
The pandemic and disruptions to shipping led to a dramatic spike in pricing of building materials, with timber among the most affected commodities over the past couple of years. There were also shortages of shipping containers at the same time as appetite for renovations and new homes surged, pitting Australia against countries, including the US, for timber supplies.
Australia typically imports less than one-third of its structural timber needs, mostly from northern Europe, although this increased to 40% amid heightened demand caused in part by government stimulus and low borrowing rates, says Tim Woods, managing director of market intelligence company IndustryEdge.
While some buyers had longer-term price contracts in place, overseas indices that track daily price movements show that timber costs soared in early 2021, and then again in early 2022. In some cases, prices tripled over short periods of time. The high materials costs have now hit the building industry hard, with insolvencies running near decade highs for the construction sector.
Many builders were unable to profitably complete jobs under contracts negotiated before the steep rise in materials and labour costs, with prices paid for skilled trades increasing significantly. Businesses also struggled with increased borrowing costs linked to a string of Reserve Bank rate hikes designed to ease inflation.
The collapses threaten the sector’s ability to respond to a chronic shortage of new homes at the same time that federal and state governments are trying to encourage the construction of dwellings to ease pressure on fast-rising rentals. “You can expect to see some moderation of prices perhaps through the next six months but it doesn’t take very much more demand for that to turn around,” Woods says. “The sales downturn associated with interest rates and inflation might be quite short lived.” New home sales are almost 50% lower than a year ago, according to Housing Industry Association figures.
What will happen next?
Two big forces are crashing against each other, with rising rates designed to cool housing demand and a housing shortage that would typically spark it. Developers are holding off building tens of thousands of homes across Australia, despite already gaining planning approval, because of high construction costs. Increased borrowing rates have also hit the buying power of potential homeowners, making it harder for builders to pass costs on.
The good news is that some builders are now reporting a fall in timber pricing of about 25% from a year ago, and supplies have freed up, although building costs are still above pre-pandemic levels.
“There’s a slowdown in building activity but a bucket load of work on the ground is still to be completed,” says Tim Reardon, chief economist at the Housing Industry Association. So there’s going to be a strong volume of homes reaching completion but a slowdown in the number commencing. With strong population growth, that’s going to cause that supply shortage to worsen.”
Alarm bells sound for Federal GovernmentFederal Cabinet must discuss Australia’s increasing reliance on overseas timber and wood fibre imports along with our shrinking locally based forest plantation estate – as an issue which reduces our sovereign capability as a nation.
The Australian Forest Products Association’s (AFPA’s) call follows Victoria’s decision to bring forward the closure of the state’s native forestry industry by the end of 2023, which will only further tighten much needed timber and wood fibre supply, Acting Chief Executive Officer of AFPA Natasa Sikman said.
“Alarmingly, at a time when the state governments in Victoria and Western Australia are shutting down sustainable native timber industries, imports of hardwood products are skyrocketing. It’s unconscionable that we are closing down our world leading sustainable industries here while we import products, often from places with lesser environmental controls than Australia,” Natasa Sikman said.
Recent Forest and Wood Products Australia (FWPA) statistics show:
• The volume of hardwood imports into Victoria has increased by nearly 40 per cent since 2019, when the Andrews Government announced the 2030 closure of native forestry
• By volume the majority of Australia’s hardwood imports are coming from Brazil Indonesia, Malaysia, China and the USA
• 86 per cent of imports are coming from countries with a worse environmental index that Australia (the Yale Environmental Index)
• Sawnwood and mouldings make up the vast majority of the increasing hardwood imports
“It makes no sense that we are closing down our own sustainably managed state-based native forestry industries while imports of the products they produce are growing steeply. Furthermore, our national forestry plantation estate is also declining when we know national and global demand for the products they produce is growing sharply,” Natasa Sikman said.
Forestry firefighters assisting CanadaThree of Forestry Corporation’s most experienced firefighters and incident management specialists are part of the Australian firefighting contingent being deployed to Canada to assist with the wildfire emergency.
The overseas deployment comprises a 222-strong contingent from Australian and New Zealand fire agencies, coordinated by the Australasian Fire Authorities Council’s National Resource Sharing Centre.
“AFAC as the National Council for fire and emergency services in Australia and New Zealand, is proud to support the deployment of these specialists through our National Resource Sharing Centre,” AFAC CEO Rob Webb said. “Australia, New Zealand and Canada have a long history of supporting each other, and we are pleased to be able to help Canada as they experience significant wildfire activity,” he said.
Canada is experiencing significant fire activity early in the season and is at national preparedness level five, the highest level. There are currently 225 active fires across the country, burning over 2.1 million hectares.
Forestry Corporation is one of NSW’s four firefighting authorities, with staff skilled and experienced in firefighting locally. Forestry Corporation’s firefighters deployed to Canada include Senior Field Ecologist Mark Drury from Wauchope, Harvest Manager Tom Halliday and Protection Coordinator Peter Simon, who are both based in Coffs Harbour.
Mark, Tom and Peter draw on decades of experience in forestry firefighting. Mark Drury has served with Forestry Corporation for 24 years and is actively involved in firefighting duties as an Operations Officer having undertaken previous deployments in Tumut in 2006, Victoria in 2009 and 2013 and Tasmania in 2016.
“I participated in a Rotary vocational exchange to Alberta, Canada back in 2011 where I learnt about forestry and firefighting in Alberta’s forests,” Mr Drury said. “I am excited to get back over there and see some of their techniques and equipment in action and I might even cross paths with some of the people I connected with during my exchange.”
Tom Halliday has served in a firefighting capacity throughout his 20-years of employment with Forestry Corporation. “In terms of the fire-fronts in Canada I will expecting a vastly different firefighting operation to what we have here in Australia in terms of terrain, topography and techniques,” Mr Halliday said.
Peter Simon also draws on a wealth of experience in his 30 years as a forestry firefighter having confronted pine forest wildfires during the 2003 Canberra bushfires and, of course, the Black Saturday bushfire emergency.
“I’ve got to say the Canadians were awesome during our big firefighting season a few years ago so any opportunity to go over there and lend them a hand and return the favour is a great thing and I put my hand up for this straight away,” Mr Simon said. “I am expecting something completely different to Australia, a different style of firefighting, different structures of fires and obviously terrain so I’m certainly expecting to learn a lot in Canada.”
The firefighters are expected to complete a 30-day deployment, which may change depending on the severity of the wildfire situation in Canada.
Source: Forestry Corp of NSW
Black is the new Green: Exploring biochar’s potentialFrom almost any scenic viewpoint in Utah, the problem becomes readily apparent; among evergreen and aspen is a peppering of gray: standing dead trees. Utah forests have had an especially tough couple of decades, and foresters are grappling to manage the remnants. An emerging tool — biochar — shows potential to benefit both forest and the greater ecosystem, according to USU forestry resources specialist Darren McAvoy.
Biochar has potential to both reduce the risk of wildfire on public lands and limit the amount of greenhouse gasses released when burning hazardous fuels, said McAvoy, from the Quinney College of Natural Resources.
Buy and Sell
... and one to end the week on ... airline madness
One more for you. The Lone Ranger and Tonto went camping in the desert. After they got their tent all set up, both men fell sound asleep.
Some hours later, Tonto wakes the Lone Ranger and says,
"Kemo Sabe, look towards sky, what you see?"
The Lone Ranger replies, "I see millions of stars."
"What that tell you?" asked Tonto.
The Lone Ranger ponders for a minute then says, "Astronomically speaking, it tells me there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets.
Astrologically, it tells me that Saturn is in Leo.
Time wise, it appears to be approximately a quarter past three in the morning.
Theologically, it's evident the Lord is all-powerful and we are small and insignificant.
Meteorologically, it seems we will have a beautiful day tomorrow.
What's it tell you, Tonto?"!
Tonto is silent for a moment, then says, "Kemo Sabe, you dumber than a pile of buffalo dung. Someone has stolen our tent!
And on that note, for the Kiwis, enjoy your long 3 day weekend.
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