Doubling forest productivity sustainably

Friday 2 May 2014

A multi-disciplinary team of scientists at Scion and other research organisations is embarking on a six year research programme aimed at raising the profitability of current and future commercial forestry.

The programme is a joint initiative between Scion, New Zealand’s forest growing industry and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment that will combine world leading technology with an in-depth knowledge of plant growth sciences to improve the value of forestry through sustainable intensification. The Ministry has allocated NZ$3.375 million a year funding to the project with a further NZ$1.6 million a year commitment from forest growers.

“This is one of the most significant initiatives undertaken by the sector,” says Russell Dale, recently appointed Research and Development Manager for the New Zealand Forest Owners’ Association. “It is focused on improving the value of existing forests and doubling the productivity of future forests”.

Doubling productivity will require precision forestry, integrating the latest advances in sensor technology, tree physiology, genetics and forest ecology, and vitally, working closely with industry to solve problems. The research programme targets where improvements can be made throughout the forest growing cycle for both current and future forests that will boost productivity under intensified management regimes, while maintaining wood quality and the quality of the environment.

“The forests that will provide timber and wood fibre for the next 15 years are already growing,” says Scion Science Leader Dr Peter Clinton. “We are therefore targeting mid-rotation treatments to increase tree growth and considering options to realise more value from the logs harvested, while learning more about these trees in order to create better forests in the future.”

Source: Scion Connections,

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