Friday Offcuts – 21 July 2023

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First to the NZ carbon market where NZUs remain in a state of confusion. Reporting from Carbon Match captures the issues succinctly: A State of Flux - the current paralysis of the spot NZU market presides, election or not. Since the Government publicly tabled its review of the ETS, screen-based trading in spot NZUs has all but come to a standstill. Colin Jacobs' (from Lewis Tucker) open letter to the Minister states that “the current review of the ETS is being attributed to a failure to cut gross emissions. However, it is government decisions and subsequent uncertainty that have driven this failure, including more than halving the price of carbon (from nearly $89 to $38 – although NZU prices moved up yesterday to $49), blocking the price signals required to drive behaviour change and directly subsidising fossil fuels.”

Despite market participants arguing about the fall in carbon prices being attributed to "chaotic policy and confusion in the market" following the Cabinet’s decision in December, Ministry officials maintain that they didn’t create the uncertainty - that there was already considerable uncertainty in the ETS under the status quo. To help to get your head around understanding the rational for the Climate Change Commission’s advice and their thinking or treatment of forestry, we’ve built in this week a very detailed Open Letter from well-known forestry and climate change mitigation consultant, Jeff Tombleson.

To add to the confusion, the High Court released a judgment late last week finding the Government regulations didn’t follow the Climate Change Commission’s 2022 advice on NZ ETS unit limits and price control settings for 2024 – 2028. They weren’t lawful (and it’s this High Court ruling that’s principally been behind the rise in prices seen over this last week). Māori landowners have also been front footing the issue by flying to the United Nations in a last- ditch effort to stop changes to the ETS putting forward their case that the Government's proposals could jeopardise the local carbon credit industry worth an estimated NZ$16 billion to the Māori economy.

In the technology event space this week, we’ve got many of our readers heading into Rotorua next week for the eagerly awaited Residues2Revenues 2023 workshops, conference and exhibitions. As well as another major gathering of local forestry and wood harvesting contractors, sawmillers, wood residues processors and aggregators of biofuels, we’ve also got a good contingent again this year from outside New Zealand who’ll also be linking in and joining remotely. Interest in this year’s major Carbon Forestry 2023 event being held on 29-30 August from across the forestry and investment communities likewise, for obvious reasons, has also been outstanding with another full house expected next month.

And from Australia this week, past work and data collected from Victoria’s farm forestry sector has been collated as part of the Trials Review, Information and Genetics project with the aim of delivering new, updated tools and information for farm forestry plantings. Australia's archaic road rules, and unique weight restrictions on trucks, have also emerged as a major stumbling block to transforming the country's heavy duty truck fleet to fully electric. Weight rules appear to be hampering larger vehicle manufacturers building electric trucks in Australia at the moment according to the Swedish manufacturer, Volvo. Despite 18 months of talks, and agreement from other trucking companies and the industry’s main lobby group – there's still been little or no movement on the weight limit issue. That’s it for this week.

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July 2023 NZ log market update

Opinion Piece; Marcus Musson, Forest360 Director

Sentiment’s a funny thing. A month ago, we were staring down the barrel of a long and protracted export market ‘crash’ as prices plummeted to double digits courtesy of lack of demand from China and an oversupply, or perceived oversupply from NZ.

Most in the industry knew that the oversupply situation, perceived by Chinese buyers, was very short term and that once prices dropped below the magic $120/m3 level, supply would drop faster than the popularity of home-built submarines. This has played out as expected, however, supply from NZ has been artificially buoyed by the windthrow harvest in Taupo and the shutdown of the Pan Pac mill in Napier which are both short term anomalies.

Unsurprisingly, as port deliveries have reduced in the past month (especially in Gisborne and regions supplied by the woodlot sector), the sentiment of exporters has noticeably changed as supply dips under demand and looks to be low for a reasonable period. This is reflected in the increased pricing of July deliveries and the posturing for volume by exporters.

While July pricing is barely above $100/m3 on an at wharf gate basis, and about as appealing to forest owners as a Kardashian singing karaoke, it is a signal that there is some flickering light at the end of the tunnel. Actual sales prices in China have only increased very slightly, and the July wharf gate increase is a result of this combined with lower shipping and demurrage costs, but we’ll take any increase at this point.

This doesn’t signal a change to the fundamentals of the Chinese real estate market which needs a serious dose of Prozac. You only need to look to the negative reports from the global steel industry to see that the consensus is that the Chinese building boom has had its run, a bit like Phar Lap, great while it lasted and ended unexpectedly.

While there will be continued baseline log demand, it will very likely be below levels we have enjoyed for the last 15 years, which will necessitate lower supply to keep prices to acceptable (maybe not enjoyable) levels.

We are currently in the Chinese slow construction season and port offtake is in the 65 -70,000m3 per day range which isn’t horrible as NZ accounts for around 80% of total China softwood supply. On port log inventory has been reasonably static in the high 3Mm3 range and is expected to track down as NZ supply reduces.

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Source: Forest360

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NES could end all Australian native forestry

Australia’s forest industry fears the Albanese government’s new national environment standards could end native forest logging nationally.

Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek is drafting the new standards as part of a revamp of environmental law and has vowed to apply them to Regional Forest Agreements. RFAs are federal-state deals that have effectively enjoyed an exemption from national environment laws, on the basis that reserves, and forest practice requirements are sufficient.

The native timber industry – already facing logging bans in Victoria and Western Australia – is sweating on the detail, fearing the new standards could “destroy” remaining industries in NSW and Tasmania. Conservationists are “hopeful” of significant change, arguing the current system is failing to protect endangered species and high conservation value forests.

Former federal Labor minister Joel Fitzgibbon, now chief executive of the Australian Forest Products Association, warned his former colleagues against “misinformation from extreme activist groups”. With Australia importing more than AU$5bn of timber each year, further curtailing native forestry would threaten the nation’s “sovereign capability” to build homes and maintain a range of timber-based industries, he said.

“Twenty-five per cent of our housing construction timber now comes from other countries,” Mr Fitzgibbon told The Australian. “The big risk is much of that product will come from jurisdictions that don’t enforce the environmental and labour standards we do here in Australia. The industry understands and appreciates the government’s political pressures, and we are working with it to better help Australians understand the increasing role the sector can play in meeting our climate change aspirations, and our capacity to remain a country that makes things at home.”

Sources who have seen drafts of the standards said they were encouraging for conservationists. Conservation groups are cautiously optimistic. “It could make logging under the RFAs nigh impossible,” said Wilderness Society Tasmania forest campaigner Alice Hardinge.

Victoria’s exit from native forest logging from November has forced Tasmania to review its forest contract policies. The Wilderness Society and the Bob Brown Foundation called on the Andrews government to ban imports of native timber from NSW and Tasmania.

Source: The Australian

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North America's largest biochar plant takes shape

A group of Canadian and French companies will build a $80 million plant in Quebec to turn forestry waste into biochar, a black substance which can store carbon for hundreds of years and improve soil quality at the same time.

The facility in Port-Cartier — about 850 kilometres northeast of Montreal — will be completed next year with an initial annual capacity of 10,000 tons per year, which will be tripled by 2026, making it North America’s largest biochar plant. The plan was announced in a joint statement by Canadian cleantech startup Airex Energy Inc., lumber producer Groupe Remabec and French waste-treatment group Suez SA.

The project will sequester 75,000 tons of carbon per year — equivalent to over 400 railcars worth of burned coal — and generate certified carbon credits that will be sold by First Climate AG. The nascent market for biochar could grow if more farmers use it as a soil additive, or if it’s integrated into building materials as companies seek new ways to reduce emissions.

Biochar is produced by heating wood residues and other biomass in a low-oxygen chamber that limits emissions, in a process known as pyrolysis. As the biomass heats, bio-oils and gas are also produced, which can be used for power generation.

“There’s much more demand for biochar than supply,” Yves Rannou, the head of the Recycling and Recovery at Suez, said in an interview. The cost of building the three production lines at the Port-Cartier plant by 2026 will amount to $80 million, he said.

Suez and Airex aims to produce 350,000 tons of biochar by 2035. The French company has identified areas in Europe and Africa where it would have access to feedstock to produce the carbon sink, as well as potential buyers, Rannou said, without providing details because the projects are still at “very early stages.”

Airex, which will provide the pyrolysis technology, is backed by investors such as Cycle Capital, Investissement Quebec, Desjardins Group and Export Development Canada. Groupe Remabec is owned by its founders and managers as well as Produits Forestiers Arbec Inc.

Further coverage.

Source: financialpost, newswire

Climate Change mess just got messier

Just after 5pm last Thursday night, the High Court released a judgment finding New Zealand’s Government regulations which did not follow the Climate Change Commission’s 2022 advice on NZ ETS unit limits and price control settings for 2024 - 2028, were not lawful.

The Climate Change Response Act 2002 requires the Minister (Shaw) to satisfy himself as to certain matters before regulations are promulgated. Shaw agreed with the Commission’s 2022 advice. He didn’t think the cost-of-living impact was relevant to future price and supply settings for the ETS. The Cabinet did, but it was not its call to make. Shaw then promulgated regulations in accordance with Cabinet’s view, but not his own.

The High Court has given Shaw until 30 September to reconsider his view. Unless the Government changes the law, it appears they are bound to accept his view, although they retain the right to persuade him to theirs. If, in coming to a view, he considers irrelevant considerations, or fails to consider relevant considerations, he will likely be judicially reviewed again.

What the High Court decision shows is two things: first, the ETS is not a government plaything, liable to be pushed out of shape by political and ideological considerations. The Court has a role to play in ensuring the Minister and the Government don’t try to make it one. Second, and subject to Court control, it is the Minister and not the Cabinet that is in control when it comes to price and supply settings.

The full implications of the High Court decision are yet to be felt. Before the invalid regulations were promulgated last December, NZU spot prices were near $90/NZU. As a result of those regulations, reflecting the Cabinet’s views but not Shaw’s, the price fell to around $53/NZU as buyers refused to pay more for NZUs when it appeared Cabinet could change ETS settings for political and not climate reasons.

Then the Government scored an own goal on 19 June 2023, when it launched its ETS Review consultation, by further signalling to the market that it cannot be trusted not to change the rules for 28-year investments after they were made, causing prices to drop as low as $34/NZU.

The full implications of the High Court decision have yet to be felt. First, the auction in early September of NZUs will be under the invalid settings, but little probably turns on this as the consensus is it will likely fail as the last two this year have. Second, after the auction, but before 30 September 2023, the Minister must satisfy himself on new price and unit settings under the ETS for 2023-2027. And third, invalid decisions have legal consequences, and no doubt someone will seek legal redress for losses the invalid regulations have caused them, at least if the NZU price doesn’t recover sufficiently and they haven’t been forced to sell in the meantime. Below we look at the second of these.

More >>

Source: Halt NZU Grab

In response to the announcement, the Forest Owners Association says the successful judicial review of the workings of the Emissions Trading Scheme shows government attitudes and actions are jeopardising New Zealand reaching its greenhouse gas reduction goals. Read more.

Further coverage on climate activists that won a lawsuit late last week appears to bumped up the faltering carbon price. Read more

In addition to these issues, the Minister is also now likely to have the UN breathing down his neck. See TV1 News 15 July 2023

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Australian Timber Market Survey report released

The latest edition of the quarterly Australian Timber Market Survey (TMS) report has been released for the March quarter 2023.

Softwood products

Prices for untreated MGP structural timber products continued to soften in the first three months of 2023, with price movements ranging between -0.4% and -0.2% lower over the March quarter. Price movements for treated outdoor products were mixed, ranging between -1.0% and 0.2%.

Price movements for particleboard and MDF panel products were strongly upwards, ranging between 2.6% and 5.7% higher over the quarter. Plywood product prices moved in the opposite direction, decreasing by -4.1%.

Prices for LVL and I-joist/I-beam products continued to decline from their Covid-19 pandemic-related peak levels, falling between -7.2% and -3.7% over the March quarter.

The TMS collects price data through quarterly surveys of a representative sample of timber market participants in eastern Australia. All quarterly TMS reports contain price movement information for softwood timber, panels and engineered wood products. The June and December quarter editions also include price movement information for hardwood timber products surveyed over a six-month period.

The TMS is prepared by Indufor and funded by ten major Australian forestry organisations: Forestry Corporation of NSW; VicForests; Hancock Victorian Plantations; HQPlantations; OneFortyOne Plantations; Queensland Government Department of Agriculture and Fisheries; Green Triangle Forest Products; Sustainable Timber Tasmania; Southern Cross Forests; and ACT Parks and Conservation Service.

Further information and the latest Timber Market Survey report is available here.

Source: Indufor

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Research aims to future-proof planted forests

Research and smart technologies are offering hope and solutions to growers needing to create more resilient planted forests and mitigate the effects of climate change on tree health and industry productivity.

Although the forestry and wood processing sector is the best positioned of all industries to help New Zealand meet its net-zero emission targets by 2050, the impact of climate change on pine forests through disease, market challenges and the loss of social license poses an economic risk for managers wanting to grow better quality wood for export and meet the local demand for high-value biobased products and fuels made from fibre.

Scion’s Resilient Forests Research Programme was developed in 2019 with support from industry to mitigate any market uncertainty and future proof planted Pinus radiata forests from the effects of climate change.

Geared towards de-risking forestry investments and helping owners make better management decisions, Scion’s research has focused on three key areas: managing risk and uncertainty, enhanced productivity and quality, and enhanced resilience to the impact of pine needle diseases, such red needle cast. The programme has been funded to the tune of more than NZ$18 million over five years from Scion’s Strategic Science Investment Fund and the Forest Growers Levy Trust.

At a two-day conference in June hosted by Scion in Rotorua, 60 people from across the forestry sector and government heard how research has been tracking. Principal scientist and programme lead Peter Clinton says that scientists enjoyed the opportunity to present their research and connect with people in the industry to hear first-hand what issues matter most.

“Understandably, the industry is concerned about its future under climate change and general market volatility. Trees that will be harvested by 2050 are already in the ground so they want to know what does the future hold for those trees.

“Are we going to see more or less disease among those trees and what are the other big drivers for change across the industry that they need to factor in? Should they diversify their planting to manage any risk? These are the questions that our research is seeking to answer, as well as provide the industry with tools and recommendations to support more informed decision-making for planting and tree health management.

“What’s clear is that taking a business-as-usual approach to managing New Zealand’s planted forests is no guarantee of success in an uncertain world.” A range of research topics was shared with conference participants, including a review of New Zealand’s forest companies’ sustainable activities. The research, led by Dr Grace Villamor, is exploring how companies report on sustainability – efforts that are a measure of their corporate social responsibility. Her work under the Resilient Forests Programme is also surveying forest managers to better understand how they are adapting their practices to the likely future impacts of climate change.

Scion’s research relating to the monitoring, modelling and control of red needle cast was also covered, with scientists updating conference participants on their work to better understand the red needle cast disease cycle. This is leading onto further data collection work and modelling that aims to more accurately predict when an outbreak of red needle cast might begin, peak and end based on weather forecasts.

Red needle cast is a disease affecting radiata pine and other conifer species and is caused by infection from Phytophthora pluvialis. It is predominately found on the East Coast and Central North Island but more reports are being received from other parts of the country. When trees are infected, needles discolour then drop from the tree. Research presented by David Lane revealed how defoliation can impact tree growth rates for three years after the trees first shows symptoms of the disease.

With prevention measures needed to support industry to better manage red needle cast and other pine needle diseases, Stuart Fraser, research group leader for Ecology and Environment at Scion, updated conference attendees on the progress of research trials that have examined the timing for applying fungicidal sprays, and their effectiveness. These include copper control options for red needle cast and more environmentally friendly metal salt options for control of Dothistroma needle blight.

Day two of the conference featured a visit to research sites at Kinleith Forest. Led by Scion's team, including Blaise Ratcliffe, Damien Sellier, David Pont, Natalie Graham, and Peter Massam, attendees had the opportunity to observe the ongoing red needle cast control trials that have been underway since 2019. The group gained valuable insights into Scion's methods for controlling and predicting red needle cast, and witnessed the application of cutting-edge technology, such as UAVs and satellite imagery, that researchers are using to collect data for more accurate and repeatable mapping of unhealthy pine forests.

Forest Growers’ Research chief executive Paul Adams says the Resilient Forests Programme is a key investment in the industry’s research and development portfolio.

Source: Scion

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Small holdings tree farm advice released

The final report of the Trials Review, Information and Genetics (TRIG) project, has been released along with advisory information and updated data. According to TRIG Steering Committee Chair, Dr Kevin Harding, the project sought to leverage the past work of Victoria’s farm forestry sector by accessing legacy information and datasets to ultimately deliver new, updated tools and information for the next generation of farm forestry plantings.

“Victoria has a proud legacy of extensive farm forestry trials and research established during the 1980s through to the early 2000s,” Dr Harding said. Dr Harding said farmers and small private forest growers need to maximise the quality of trees that they integrate into their farm plantings or investment plantations if they are to grow commercially competitive trees.

“To grow the best quality trees farmers and foresters need to be informed on the genetic quality of the stock they source and use, as well as its likely performance in their planting region. Performance tends to be dictated by species, provenance (where it comes from) and inherent genetics like frost resistance and drought tolerance and stem straightness, desirable branching habit and tree vigour”.

“To assist farmers and tree growers the TRIG project has captured the learnings from past programs and repackaged the information so its current and accessible and also able to be interrogated using interactive web tools. “The program also identified sources of seed with the highest genetic quality for key species that have grown well in this State to ensure future plantings can be established with high quality tree stock”.

PF Olsen was appointed as project manager and on behalf of the TRIG Steering Committee engaged with farm forestry groups, indigenous groups, forestry consultants, CSIRO, and the Victorian Government to learn more about these historical trials and what information from these trials can support the expansion of trees on farms in Victoria.

Further outcomes from the project included:

• The development of productivity maps of two key species (Eucalyptus cladocalyx and Corymbia maculate) which will be made available via an interactive web portal on the Forestry Australia webpage.
• Analysis into the potential for forest forestry plantings to access carbon markets in Australia.
• The identification of a series of model plantings to be highlighted as demonstration sites, with some case studies published in the report.
• An overview of the opportunities and barriers to access existing and new sources of improved seed for a key suite of farm forestry species

The TRIG project was designed in consultation with Farm Forest Growers Victoria, with funding provided by the Australian Government, and delivered via the Victorian Government’s Department of Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action (DEECA). Forestry Australia, in its project oversight role, engaged PF Olsen to project manage and deliver the TRIG Project.

To read the final report and review the data, click HERE

Source: Forestry Australia

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Australian environmental activist jailed

An environmental activist has been sent to jail in Tasmania for the first time in more than a decade after protesting at logging and mining sites.

Colette Joan Harmsen, a 47-year-old veterinarian and seasoned “peaceful forest protester” with the Bob Brown Foundation, was sentenced to three months in prison for breaching a suspended sentence for protesting against a mine on the west coast of Tasmania.

Harmsen appeared in Hobart magistrates court on Friday after pleading guilty to four counts of trespassing, as well as other related offences. It comes just a year after the Tasmanian government passed anti-protest legislation that was aimed at the Bob Brown Foundation and its blockades. Under the laws protesters can be fined up to AU$12,975 or jailed for 18 months for a first offence. Organisations can be fined up to AU$103,800 if they are judged to have obstructed workers or caused “a serious risk”.

The Bob Brown Foundation campaign manager, Jenny Weber, said police prosecutors had attempted to prosecute Harmsen under the anti-protest laws. Weber said it was the first time a woman in Tasmania had been sentenced to prison for environmental protesting. In 2011, the protester Ali Alishah served five months in a Tasmanian prison after he breached a suspended sentence by continuing to protest against logging.

Harmsen’s charges relate to her involvement in a protest in 2021 where she locked herself on to an excavator at MMG’s mine on the state’s west coast and refused to leave when asked by police. She was also charged with trespassing during a protest at a forestry site and Venture Minerals’ mine in the north-west, on three separate occasions from 2021 to 23.

In his sentencing remarks, Magistrate Chris Webster noted Harmsen had a long history of trespassing, dating back to 2010. “The original penalty was to encourage [her] to stop her illegal protest activities,” he said. “No doubt she will learn a lesson from her imprisonment.”

Source: The Guardian

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Australia’s road rules hampering electric trucks

Australia’s archaic road rules, and its unique weight restrictions on trucks, have emerged as a major stumbling block to moves to transform the country’s heavy duty truck fleet to fully electric.

Volvo Trucks – the world’s biggest maker of heavy-duty electric trucks, and Australia’s biggest vehicle manufacturer – wants to start selling its heavy-duty electric trucks now and to build them at its Wacol factory near Brisbane from 2027 – but says arbitrary weight limits stand in its way.

The weight rules – unique in the world – put a 6.5 tonnes limit on the front axle of the truck’s prime mover, ostensibly to protect Australian roads. Volvo says this makes it impossible to load enough batteries to where they are needed. They want it lifted to at least 7.5 tonnes.

And ironically, even an empty heavy duty electric truck, which normally weighs up to 44 tonnes when the trailer is fully loaded, would not be allowed on Australian roads under current rules.

Volvo has sold more than 5,000 electric trucks and is the first in the world to build heavy duty electric trucks at scale. It has brought in its first FH heavy duty electric truck to Australia, in time for the Brisbane Truck Show – the industry’s flagship event – but can only drive it on local council roads, and not the freeway, after getting special permission.

“This is the biggest transformation ever,” Roger Alm, the head of the Swedish truck maker said a launch event at Wacol on Wednesday. Volvo claims 50 per cent of the electric truck market in both Europe and the US, and has set a target of lifting electric trucks to half of its production by 2030, and 100 per cent by 2040.

But – despite 18 months of talks, and agreement from other trucking companies and the industry’s main lobby group – there has been little or no movement on the weight limit problem, and it was not even mentioned in the National Electric Vehicle strategy released late last month by the federal government.

“The barrier we have right now is legislation,” the head of Volvo Group in Australia, Martin Merrick said. “If we don’t get legislation change, then we won’t meet these targets. Everyone feels it should be done, it is just taking time.”


Source: thedriven

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Fourth NZ firefighting crew deployed to Canada

As fires still impact Canada, a fourth crew from Fire and Emergency is on its way to the province of Alberta to help fight wildfires. The crew of 22 will spend up to six weeks providing specialist support for what has been the worst wildfire season in Canada.

The fourth contingent is made up of a 20-person fire strike team, an agency representative, and an air attack supervisor from across the country. Twelve of the firefighters are from Fire and Emergency, while five each are from Department of Conservation and Forest Protection Services.

Fire and Emergency Deputy National Commander Steph Rotarangi says the crew will head to Alberta in Canada then north of Peace Lake where they will assist international crews already on the ground. "While the work will be physically and mentally tough for our crew, the skills they will gain from an international deployment will be invaluable when they re-join their brigades and teams back in New Zealand."

Since May, Fire and Emergency has sent a total of 90 personnel at the request of the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre (CIFFC). The crew will join a third deployment in Canada and two crews have returned home to New Zealand.

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Japanese firms target carbon credits with forestry fund

A cross-sector group of Japanese companies has invested in a forestry fund created by Japan's Sumitomo Forestry, aimed at eventually issuing carbon credits through forest management mainly in North America.

Sumitomo Forestry said that it had launched the fund, worth around $415mn, in June to manage forests on the east coast of the US and Canada, the west coast of the US and Latin America to create carbon credits. Eastwood Forests and SFC Asset Management, both Sumitomo Forestry group companies, will manage the fund for 15 years.

The fund consists of joint investment by nine other Japanese companies — refiner Eneos, utility Osaka Gas, postal firm Japan Post, shipping firm Nippon Yusen Kaisha, diaper producer Unicharm, financial firms Sumitomo Mitsui Banking and Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank and leasing firms Tokyo Century and Fuyo. It is unclear how much each company has invested in the fund.

The forestry fund is expected to generate around 1mn t/yr of carbon credits, which could be used for voluntary and compliance carbon markets, such as through increased forest management and afforestation. Sumitomo Forestry aims to buy around 130,000 hectares of forests with a high conservation value by 2027 to achieve carbon absorption targets, along with nature-based solutions.

Source: Argus Media

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New Timber Durability & Design Life Centre Director

The National Centre for Timber Durability and Design Life is entering the next and exciting stage of its evolution, with the appointment of new Director, Professor Tripti Singh. With more than 20 years of experience in managing collaborative, multi-million-dollar research programmes, Professor Singh is one of the leading names in wood protection research.

The centre is a Forest and Wood Products Australia (FWPA) and University of the Sunshine Coast (UniSC) supported initiative. It launched in 2016 with the goal of returning Australia to the forefront of international best practice and underpinning consumer confidence in timber product performance.

“We are delighted to welcome such a well-respected and widely recognised name from the international wood science community to the Director role,” said Craig Taylor, FWPA Chair. “The centre has enjoyed an outstanding launch and evolved to become a valuable resource for the entire industry. We look forward to its continued success and expansion under Tripti’s leadership,” Mr Taylor said.

Over the past six years the centre has made important inroads. It has collaborated with the sector to ensure Australia has access to the world’s leading research while building strong links between industry, academia and customers. It has overseen critical research projects that have delivered significant value to the sector and helped to educate the next generation of durability scientists, boosting Australian research capacity. Today it is home to 20 associated researchers and students.

“Tripti has a proven ability to innovate, build teams, and develop strong relationships with stakeholders including industry members, funding bodies and academics, making her the perfect fit for this role,” said Professor Ross Young, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) at the University of the Sunshine Coast.

Professor Singh is currently a senior scientist at New Zealand’s Scion, a government-owned company that conducts research to drive innovation and growth from the nation’s forestry, wood products and wood-derived materials. She is also highly familiar with the work of the centre having acted as an international advisory committee member since 2017.

“Taking over the leadership of such a vital centre for research into timber durability is a privilege, particularly during a time where so many opportunities exist for expanding timber use in Australia,” said Professor Singh.

Industry also applauded the centre’s work and the new appointment. “The centre strives to deliver practical solutions to existing industry challenges and sustains an ongoing focus reflective of the needs of our sector and its future development,” said industry representative Marina Milic, Wood Technologist at AKD, Australia’s largest softwood sawmilling business.

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Rotorua to host international 2024 IUFRO conference

Rotorua and Scion are set to welcome one of the oldest and largest international organisations to the city in March 2024 for a conference dedicated to propagation technologies for forestry.

Founded in 1892, the International Union of Forest Research Organisations IUFRO is a non-profit, non-governmental network of forest scientists and researchers committed to voluntary global cooperation and knowledge sharing in forest-related research. With nine divisions focusing on specific areas of forest research, IUFRO’s influence is far-reaching.

The upcoming sixth international conference of IUFRO 2.09.02 unit, titled “The might of vegetative propagation for healthy and productive forests to face climate challenges,” will take place over five days, starting 3 March 2024. Previous conferences have been successfully held since 2010 in several countries, including the Republic of Korea, the Czech Republic, Spain, Argentina, and Portugal.

Dr Jana Krajňáková, a senior researcher for tissue culture and project leader at Scion, is an integral part of the IUFRO 2.09.02 unit organising committee. She emphasises that this event will bring together researchers, university professors, and PhD students from around the world to collaborate, exchange knowledge, and address specific research topics in forestry, and more generally woody plants.

“The programme sessions proposed will cover all fields of application of vegetative propagation to preserve, assess, improve, adapt, and deploy tree genetic resources in resilient and productive forests.” Vegetative propagation technologies encompass various methods to reproduce plants without seeds. Examples of vegetative propagation technologies include cutting, grafting, layering, and tissue culture (micropropagation, including somatic embryogenesis).

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Buy and Sell

... and one to end the week on ... the barber

An elderly man walks into a barbershop for a shave and a haircut.

He tells the barber he can't get all his whiskers off because his cheeks are wrinkled from age.

The barber gets a little wooden ball from a cup on the shelf and tells the old man to put it inside his cheek to spread out the skin.

When he's finished, the old man tells the barber that was the cleanest shave he'd had in years but he wanted to know what would have happened if he had accidentally swallowed the little ball.

The barber replied, "Just bring it back in a couple of days like everyone else does".

And along the same lines - it was a cold winter day.

An old man walked out onto a frozen lake for fishing, cut a hole in the ice, dropped in his fishing line, and waited patiently for a bite.

He was there for almost an hour, without even a nibble, when a young boy walked out onto the ice, cut a hole in the ice next to him. The young boy dropped his fishing line and minutes later he hooked a Largemouth Bass.

The old man couldn’t believe his eyes but chalked it up to plain luck. Shortly thereafter, the young boy pulled in another large catch. The young boy kept catching fish after fish.

Finally, the old man couldn’t take it any longer. “Son,” he said, “I’ve been here for over an hour without even a nibble. You’ve been here only a few minutes and have caught a half dozen fish! How do you do it?”

The boy responded, “Roo raf roo reep ra rums rrarm.”

“What was that?” the old man asked.

Again the boy responded, “Roo raf roo reep ra rums rarrm.”

“Look,” said the old man, “I can’t understand a word you’re saying.”

The boy spat the bait into his hand and said… “You have to keep the worms warm!”

And on that note, enjoy your weekend. Cheers.

Brent Apthorp
Editor, Friday Offcuts
Distinction Dunedin Hotel
6 Liverpool Street, Dunedin 9016, New Zealand
PO Box 904, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand
Tel: +64 (03) 470 1902, Mob: +64 21 227 5177

John Stulen
Editor, WoodWorks News
PO Box 1230, Rotorua, 3040
Tel: +64 7 921 1381
Mob: +64 27 275 8011

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