Friday Offcuts – 13 October 2023

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Retirement-fund investors (Australia’s UniSuper, the U.K.'s Pension Protection Fund, and the Netherlands' APG Asset Management) have jointly acquired the largest private forest-management company in Australia's Tasmania State, Forico. The 173,000 ha is the biggest freehold land estate in Tasmania and includes 89,000 ha of forest that can be harvested, with the remaining area mostly preserved for conservation. The deal also includes two wood processing mills, a seedling nursery and a technology laboratory. UniSuper already has three other forestry plantations, one in Victoria, HVP Plantations, and two more in New Zealand that are cumulatively worth around AU$1 billion. New Forests, will continue to manage Forico but will not have an equity stake.

We covered the NZ forestry industry’s angst a couple of weeks ago when the Ministry for Primary Industries introduced their new fees regime for foresters participating in the country’s Emissions Trading Scheme. They at the time were labelled excessive, unreasonable and disproportionate as well as have a major detrimental effect on planting intentions and new investment. They’re estimated to add at least NZ$14 million per year in fees with some individual forest owners facing more than NZ$1m a year in new fees. It maybe just shows how out of touch the Government is with forest owners right now. Finally, angst turned into action this week. In a real show of unity, forest owners across the spectrum joined forces and together have launched a judicial review in the High Court seeking an urgent examination of the new MPI fees regime.

And on a much more sombre note, the forest industry has been rocked this week on news of the passing of three well-known forest industry champions. Last week of one of the world’s renowned forest fire experts, Professor Kevin Tolhurst passed away. Many readers will have worked with Kevin over the years and often sought out his advice on fire behaviour and fire suppression strategies at major bushfires. Kevin was an instrumental member working in the state control centre on Black Saturday and was later one of the Royal Commission’s appointed planned burning experts.

Then this week, we learnt of the untimely death of Dr Tom Mulholland who in his early years trained as a forester, then as a GP and then moved on to become a tireless campaigner for physical and mental health. He was always instantly recognizable to NZ forest harvesting crews with on-site health check-ups being given out of the back of an old Chevy ambulance that Tom used as his pop-up medical clinic. And then on Tuesday, well-known forestry identity, John Halkett passed away, just a few days before his 77th birthday. John was widely known, on both sides of the Tasman, as the GM of the Australian Timber Importers Federation, co-publisher of Timber and Forestry enews and Timber Trader and MD of Forestlands Consulting. It really has been a hell of a week. Kevin, Tom and John’s sudden departures leave a huge void that's going to be profoundly felt by their loved ones, their workmates and the wider forest industry community across Australasia and further afield.

And in forest technology updates, Te Uru Rākau (New Zealand Forest Service) and Toitū Te Whenua (Land Information New Zealand) have joined forces to process and release more than 38,000 high-resolution aerial images captured in NZ between 1975 and 2005 and covering around 70 million hectares. The mapping and analysis ready imagery is now publicly available for usec(link below). And for those looking still yet to register for this year’s major forest technology event, ForestTECH 2023 discounted early-bird registrations to both the NZ and Australian legs of the series CLOSE today. If wanting to pick up this opportunity, click here. And that’s it for this week.

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Forico sold to retirement fund investors

Australian superannuation fund UniSuper, the UK’s Pension Protection Fund (PPF), and APG Asset Management N.V (APG) on behalf of its Dutch pension fund client ABP, have announced the acquisition of Forico and a 170,000-hectare plantation forestry estate in Tasmania, from a New Forests managed fund.

Forico is Tasmania’s largest private forest management company. The forestry estate is one of Australia’s largest plantation hardwood estates by productive area and consists of vertically integrated assets and operations spanning approximately 90,000 hectares of productive plantation forest.

It also owns key infrastructure along the supply chain consisting of two wood processing mills, a seedling nursery, fibre technology laboratory, and port access via a freehold facility at Long Reach, Tasmania.

The estate is the largest freehold land estate in Tasmania and a key contributor to the supply of sustainable hardwood domestically and abroad for end uses such as packaging and tissues. Under the agreement, the three investors will each own 33% of Forico and the forestry estate. New Forests will be retained to provide investment management services.

New Forests full media release can be found here

For further coverage on the transaction click here and here.

Sources: New Forests, asianinvestor, AFR

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Pan Pac making real progress on restart

This week, Pan Pac Forest Products operation in Hawkes Bay achieved a huge milestone in the recovery of their Whirinaki site following the devastating Cyclone Gabrielle flood. After eight months of hard mahi from their awesome staff and contractors, their chipmill is now operational! This is the first of their mills to get up and running again since the flood. The chipmill is an essential part of their business, providing chip for their pulp-making operation and fuel for their boilers. We look forward to being fully back in business soon! Brilliant job.

Source: Pan Pac Linkedin post

ForestTECH 2023 extra workshops

ForestTECH, it’s this region’s most popular annual independent forestry technology series. In addition to advances being made in remote sensing and forest inventory, like recent ForestTECH events, sessions this year have been set up on the very latest developments and learnings from forest establishment, mechanised planting and silvicultural operational trials and commercial operations.

In addition to meeting up in person in both Rotorua, New Zealand and Melbourne. Australia, virtual on-line links from the New Zealand event have also been set up for those outside Australasia who’ll be unable to travel to attend in person.

In the past few years, delegates from well over 20 different countries have linked into the annual end of year ForestTECH event. Connecting remotely will again ensure international delegates, who now are such an integral part of the wider ForestTECH community, can actively be involved again this year.

As well as the conference and trade exhibitions running in both Rotorua, New Zealand on 14-15 November and Melbourne, Australia on 21-22 November, a series of pre-and post-conference workshops have been set up for this year’s ForestTECH 2023 delegates. All are free to registered delegates. These include;

Monday 13 November. Remote Sensing Cluster Group Meeting. Industry application of remote sensing methodologies and reports around how well these methods are being integrated into industry settings.

Tuesday 14 November. Advances in forest management planning and operations efficiency. The latest developments in CFForest, a spatially-enabled operations management system developed for forest owners.

Wednesday 15 November. The Tools for Foresters workshop will look deeper into SOP’s developed for UAV data capture by three students. Scion and Eagle Technology will also be hosting an interactive session within the workshop on using the ESRI deep learning toolset within ArcGIS Pro.

Tuesday 21 November. ProFert (a model designed to enable forest managers to identify the most responsive plantations to fertilise and the most profitable combination, rates and timing of fertilisers to apply through the entire rotation) and APSIM (a process-based modelling framework that’s been developed for assessing yield gaps and the effects of climate change on eucalypt and pine plantation productivity in Australia, along with management impacts on water use and carbon sequestration) tools for optimizing fertiliser use and profitability in plantations.

Wednesday 22 November. The latest developments in CFForest, a spatially-enabled operations management system developed for forest owners.

Full details on the planned ForestTECH 2023 Workshops can be viewed here

Note: Discounted early-bird registrations to attend this year’s series finish on Friday 13 October – TODAY.

Registrations can be made directly on the ForestTECH 2023 website

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Forestry science and innovation awards presented

The 2023 Science Awards were presented at the FGR Conference in Rotorua this September, honouring six recipients for their contribution to science and innovation in New Zealand's forest growing sector.

Robin Hartley (Scion) (photo) was recognised with the Communication and Sector Engagement Award, for his ability to present complex geospatial, autonomous and digital technologies to the industry in ways that are understood and engaging. Robins’ passion for forestry and geospatial technology has been demonstrated in his founding and co-leadership of the Tools for Foresters group, and his tireless advocacy for technology in the forestry sector.

Jared Silvester, a design engineer at Tinder Engineering Ltd in Nelson, was the recipient of this year's Innovation that Enhances Sector Value Award. Jared has been working with FGR over the last two years to design and develop an Automated Load Securing System comprised of a chain thrower, auto-tensioner winches and a load monitoring system. As a result of Jared’s work, the system has been built and fitted to a trailer to be demonstrated at the TMC Trailers Trucking Industry Show in November 2022 and the Wood Transport & Logistics Conference in May 2023.

Rosie Sargent (Scion) received the Contribution to a Science Team Award, for her dedication and outstanding performance throughout the duration of the Specialty Wood Products programme. Rosie has been an integral member of the SWP since its inception and has continually demonstrated exemplary qualities as a team member. Her passion, dedication, problem-solving abilities, and commitment to excellence have profoundly impacted the SWP team's success.

The Science of international Quality Award went to the Scion Tissue Culture Science Team - led by Science Leader Associate Professor Jana Krajnakova. Their work is helping to further enhance science and is securing valuable intelligence to support New Zealand's forest industry. During the project, the team have formed international collaborations with universities and world leading science and deployment teams in the United States and Finland; and have produced quality, international science, as evidence by manuscripts published in international peer reviewed publications.

PanPac was the worthy recipient of the Research Participation and Implementation Award. Despite grappling with significant challenges in the aftermath of Cyclone Gabrielle, Sean Wright, Richard Airey and Peter Campbell remained steadfast in supporting several innovation initiatives within the Precision Silviculture Programme. Without the team's dedication to innovation the industry would not be able to move as quickly to evaluate the value, and ultimately uptake, of new technology. Not to mention, all of this in the face of adversity.

The final award of the night, the Young Scientist Award, recognised Sam Davidson - an up and coming data scientist at Scion. With expertise in deep learning and computer vision, Sam's work in Tissue Culture involves using machine learning to predict germination success from morphological features derived from mature somatic embryo images. Sam shows a real passion for how this area of science could create opportunities in the sector and is already making significant contributions to science programmes of value to New Zealand forestry.

Congratulations to all of this year's winners.

Source: Forest Owners Association

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Historic high-resolution imagery boost for ETS

High-resolution aerial photos of rural New Zealand from around 1990 are now publicly available for use in mapping and spatial analysis. They will be used for a broad range of applications by government, councils, forestry consultants, businesses, universities and the public.

Te Uru Rākau – New Zealand Forest Service (TUR-NZFS) and Toitū Te Whenua - Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) have partnered to process and release more than 38,000 high-resolution aerial images captured between 1975 and 2005, with most of the images taken around 1990.

The imagery was scanned by Toitū Te Whenua through the Crown Aerial Film Archive historical imagery scanning project. TUR-NZFS then improved the imagery’s immediate usefulness for mapping and spatial analysis by orthorectifying (spatially aligning to real-world locations and removing distortions) and mosaicking (stitching together).

TUR-NZFS made a significant investment to process and release this imagery, which covers about 70 million hectares. This has resulted in most of the country now having access to mapping and analysis-ready, high-resolution imagery either side of 1990 that was previously unavailable to the public.

The primary driver for processing and releasing this imagery was to provide high-quality data to inform Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) forest land status. The ETS incorporates 31/12/1989 as a key date to determine forest land entitlements and obligations and aerial imagery is the most definitive and comprehensive information source to inform ETS land status at this date. As information confirming the date of forest establishment so long ago is often patchy, the availability of historic high-resolution imagery is of great assistance for more accurately verifying forest establishment dates, determining forest extent and ETS status.

The processing and public release of this imagery will produce benefits for the ETS, including:

• Increasing the integrity of the forestry aspects of the ETS

• Helping ETS forestry applicants and consultants to prepare applications and increasing the accuracy and certainty of their self-assessed land status

• Providing investors greater certainty for their land use investment decisions due to increased certainty of ETS land status

• Reducing the effort of ETS assessments by Te Uru Rākau – New Zealand Forest Service and increasing the accuracy and transparency of these assessments.

The release of this imagery addresses a key information gap for the ETS says Phillip Lubeck, Manager of Spatial Intelligence at TUR-NZFS.

“Prior to this project, orthorectified near 1990 imagery coverage was patchy, lower resolution and not publicly available. The release of this mapping and analysis ready imagery is a major step change for ETS forest land status decisions. We also recognise there are broader uses of this imagery that organisations and the public will benefit from, such as analysing and modelling other types of land use and environmental change,” Phillip Lubeck says.

Below is an example comparison of the previous low-resolution imagery (left) and the new version high resolution version (right).

Spot spraying associated with recent forest planting is visible on the newly processed imagery, enabling increased confidence and accuracy of land management practices and ETS forest land status.

The imagery is hosted on using Toitū Te Whenua’s Amazon Web Services (AWS) Registry of Open Data. As the lead agency for administering aerial imagery and custodians of the Crown Aerial Film Library, hosting by Toitū Te Whenua is a natural fit. Additionally, the public release of this imagery coincides with other high-resolution imagery made available on LINZ Basemaps.

While the primary purpose was to support the ETS, we anticipate the imagery will be used for a broad range of applications by government, councils, businesses, universities and the public. Making the imagery publicly available and consumable for GIS applications were requirements for this project, so we are thankful for Toitū Te Whenua’s efforts to make this a reality.

We will look to process and publish more historic imagery on LINZ Basemaps in future.

Source: Te Uru Rākau – New Zealand Forest Service

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Judicial review sought to halt ETS fees

The Ministry for Primary Industries’ new fees regime, which will increase costs for foresters participating in New Zealand's Emissions Trading Scheme by several thousand percent, will undermine climate action, put Iwi, landowners and farm foresters under significant financial pressure and threaten the country’s climate action, according to sector leaders.

The Climate Forestry Association, NZ Institute of Forestry, Ngā Pou a Tāne – The National Māori Forestry Association and the Forest Owners Association, along with a wide range of industry representatives and Māori forestry interests – in total representing the owners of more than 300,000 hectares of local forest – have launched a judicial review in the High Court seeking an urgent examination of the new MPI fees regime, which they call excessive, unreasonable and disproportionate.

These new charges are estimated to add at least NZ$14 million per year in fees for foresters participating in the ETS, with some individual forest owners facing more than $1m a year in new fees.

Climate Forestry Association chief executive Andrew Cushen says the industry has come together to take legal action because there is much more at stake in this proposal than just the impact the new fees regime will have on a sector that creates jobs and revenue for the regions. “As well as piling enormous costs onto an industry that many local businesses and communities rely on, MPI’s new fees will disincentivise climate action,” says Andrew Cushen.

The new charges are likely to have a major chilling effect on planting intentions and new investment – already thrown into uncertainty by the Government’s ETS review – when forest carbon sequestration is currently one of New Zealand’s most successful climate change mitigations.

NZIF President James Treadwell says these charges are poised to shatter hopes of achieving the Climate Change Commission's target of 300,000 hectares of new native forest, potentially jeopardising the 2050 climate commitments. “They are also expected to further devalue land prices by at least another $500 per hectare, a blow coming precisely when farmers are grappling with increased interest rates,” James Treadwell says. "The fees create a discouraging environment for the emergence of future markets, like biodiversity markets, aimed at enhancing Aotearoa's environmental footprint."

Ngā Pou a Tāne Chair Te Kapunga Dewes says the fees are clearly in breach of the Crown’s duties as a Treaty partner and put the environmental and economic futures of Māori and non-Māori alike at grave risk. “Many Iwi and Māori landowners are captured participants of the ETS. As a result of confiscations and the Treaty settlement process, much of the land Māori have been left with is best – and often only – suited to afforestation. Indeed, in many of these settlements, the carbon value of forests was part of the negotiation and settlement with the Crown,” says Te Kapunga Dewes. “The value of those settlements will again be eroded through this new fee regime, with many of the new costs disproportionately hitting Māori directly.”

Forest Owners Association Chief Executive Dr Elizabeth Heeg says these charges could set a dangerous precedent for other ecosystem service markets like biodiversity credits, but also will hamper New Zealand’s ability to transition to a bioeconomy.

“The system should be designed so that polluters pay, rather than penalising the people who are doing the vital work of capturing carbon dioxide. Ultimately all of us as taxpayers will be forced to bear the cost of New Zealand’s failure to meet its climate targets. We are already projected to fall short of the target and the uncertainty created by measures like this just makes for a bigger bill.”

Elizabeth Heeg says the industry also has major concerns about the impacts of the fees on local farmers and landowners, as well as the people who rely on them for jobs. “The new measures are enough to put some small and medium operators and farm foresters out of business given the wider economic downturn. The chilling effect on forestry will have impacts on our ability to transition to a bioeconomy in coming decades if these charges remain in effect.”

The industry action, which was filed in the High Court on Friday, is seeking a halt to the new fees.

Source: FOA

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Loss of forester & entrepreneur mourned

The death of industry dynamo John Halkett in Sydney on Tuesday has sent ripples of shock and sadness across the forest and forest products sector in Australia, New Zealand and internationally. The New Zealand-born professional forester and business entrepreneur died in his office a few days before his 77th birthday.

John was more widely known as general manager of the Australian Timber Importers Federation, co-publisher of Timber and Forestry enews and Timber Trader, and author of five books that reflect his love of trees. He was the managing director of Forestlands Consulting, with expertise in temperate and tropical forest management and forest-based industries.

John held senior positions in government forest and conservation agencies in Australia and New Zealand and worked in the US, Canada, Papua New Guinea, southeast Asia, Myanmar, China and Africa. He was a board member of the Global Timber Forum.

As a respected author, one of his books ‘Trees that Call Australia Home’ was especially successful. In the book’s foreword John said; “This book is a spiritual, cultural, environmental and economic celebration of Australian trees – trees that are increasingly vital as we search for solutions to climate change, renewable energy and more sustainable lifestyles in the 21st Century.”

We will celebrate John Halkett’s life with the same sentiments. John is survived by his partner Maxiene Leske, a travel consultant at Erina on the NSW central coast, daughter Jonelle, granddaughters Hana and Cailin, grandson Eban and four siblings Lawrie, Bob, Peter and Sue.

Brother Lawrie Halkett is well-known on both sides of the Tasman as the former CEO of the New Zealand Pine Manufacturers Association. Details of John Halkett’s funeral service will be advised.

Source: Jim Bowden, Wood Central

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Metsä’s Kemi bioproduct mill & paperboard mill starts

The largest investment of the forest industry in Finland – the new Kemi bioproduct mill and the paperboard mill expansion – came into operation as planned on Wednesday 20 September 2023. The operations will start department by department. Pulp deliveries from the new mill to customers will begin in October 2023.

The Kemi bioproduct mill produces 1.5 million tonnes of softwood and hardwood pulp annually. It uses zero fossil fuels and will be completely waste-free by 2030. Featuring cutting-edge technology, the mill operates a fully-fledged circular economy, as all the wood raw material and production side streams are efficiently used for various bioproducts and bioenergy.

For example, the mill produces tall oil and turpentine, as well as two terawatt hours of renewable electricity per year, which is equivalent to the annual consumption of 100,000 electrically heated single-family homes. This accounts for approximately 2.5 per cent of Finland’s total electricity production. Thanks to its efficient chemical cycles and other environmentally efficient solutions, the new mill’s emissions are lower than the limits specified in the currently valid environmental permit for the closed Kemi pulp mill, despite the considerable increase in production capacity.

The bioproduct mill will use 7.6 million cubic metres of wood per year, 4.5 million cubic metres more than the old mill. The wood supply will be based on regenerative forestry with the aim of achieving a verifiable improvement in the state of nature by 2030.

The modernisation and bottleneck investments made in Kemi paperboard mill will increase the annual production capacity of white top kraftliner by around 40,000 tonnes to 465,000 tonnes. This increase will further strengthen the Kemi mill’s position as the world’s largest producer of coated white-top kraftliners, whose products are used worldwide as surface material for corrugated packaging.

The integration of the bioproduct mill and the paperboard mill, as well as the modernisation of the paperboard mill’s production line, will considerably improve the paperboard mill’s water and energy efficiency. The investments will reduce the mill’s water consumption by 40 per cent and energy use by 5 per cent per tonne of paperboard produced.

Metsä Group’s completed, ongoing and planned investments since 2015 total approximately seven billion euros. The investments enable the company to better meet the needs of forest owners and customers across the forest industry’s value chain and contribute to climate change mitigation. Energy efficiency, a smaller environmental load and the bioproduct mill’s fossil free operations support Metsä Group’s and its customers’ sustainability targets.

Source: Metsä Group

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Vale Dr Tom Mulholland

Dr Tom Mulholland, a celebrity physician and beloved Kiwi campaigner for physical and mental health, died suddenly at the weekend. Known affectionately as Dr Tom, the medical practitioner had helped hundreds of thousands of people globally over the past three decades including working alongside forestry workers in the bush – from the very top to the lower part of New Zealand, over many years.

Mulholland hosted his own TV and radio shows, wrote two best-selling books and was a professional speaker for the likes of Google, Microsoft and Hilton. He worked as an emergency doctor for 25 years and was also an honorary lecturer in psychological medicine at the University of Auckland. He was also an Emergency Department Doctor and GP for over 25 years and has practised from an Auckland Hospital, rural New Zealand towns, the Chatham Islands and worked in Antarctic, Arctic and Indo-Pacific as a ship's doctor and expedition leader.

Mulholland’s website – “Dr. Tom on a Mission” - says that during his time working in emergency departments, he recognised that many patients visiting hospitals had preventable illnesses.

“Whilst he could often prolong their lives by a few years, months or sometimes only weeks, he realised most of the damage had already been done. With this knowledge and a passion to help people, Dr Tom set out to become the ambulance at the top of the cliff, rather than the bottom”.

He left school in 1979 to join the New Zealand Forest Service and become a forester, the website says. He discovered his passion was helping people, so completed a first-class honours degree in molecular genetics at the University of Canterbury, then graduated with a medical degree from the University of Otago in 1989.

“His love of surfing and the mountains took him to Taranaki where he was an orthopaedic and general surgical registrar, gained a diploma in sports medicine, started his own general practice and founded Taranaki’s first accident and medical clinic, White Cross. He also started Doctor Global and was the first in the world to do online consultations last century, won numerous business awards and featured on 60 Minutes twice.”

From all those in the forestry industry who’s lives had been turned around after being tested out the back of that old Chevy ambulance that Tom used as a pop-up medical clinic, a big thanks. You’ll be missed and so many in our, and other industries, owe our health and in many instances, our lives to your tireless efforts.

More >>.

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Australian Timber Market Survey report released

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

Softwood timber products – Quarterly
  • Prices for untreated MGP structural timber products remained relatively stable, ranging between -0.1% lower and no change.
  • Price movements for treated outdoor products varied slightly and were as much as -0.1% lower.
  • Price movements for MDF and particleboard products were mixed, between -0.2% and 0.9%, while plywood prices moved downwards by as much as -1.5%.
  • Prices for LVL and I-joist/I-beam products continued to decline, with price movements between -3.9% and -5.6%.
Hardwood timber products – Six monthly
  • Price movements for kiln dried structural hardwood products were upwards, between 1.6% and 2.4%.
  • Price movements for hardwood flooring products were mostly upwards, between 0.7% and 3.4%.
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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Untimely passing of top bushfire scientist, Kevin Tolhurst

It is with a very heavy heart that we share the tragic news of Professor Kevin Tolhurst’s passing from a suspected heart attack. A respected figure in the field of bushfire preparedness and an advocate for understanding bushfire behaviour in Australia’s native forests, Professor Tolhurst’s sudden departure leaves a void that will be profoundly felt by his loved ones and the entire community.

On the day before his untimely death, Professor Kevin Tolhurst addressed a crowd of approximately 130 people in Mallacoota. He shared his vast knowledge and insights into bushfire preparedness and the intricate behaviour of wildfires in Australia’s native forests. His dedication to educating the public about the dangers of bushfires and the importance of preparedness was unwavering.

The loss of Professor Tolhurst is not only a personal tragedy for his family, friends, and colleagues but also a significant blow to all regional Australians who live in or near our native forests. His expertise was instrumental in shaping our understanding of bushfire behaviour, thereby contributing to the safety and preparedness of countless communities across the country.

Professor Tolhurst’s passion for his chosen field was evident to anyone who had the privilege of hearing him speak or work alongside him. He dedicated his life to researching and teaching about bushfires, their behaviour, and the measures that can be taken to mitigate their devastating impacts. His efforts were not only theoretical but also practical, as he strived to bridge the gap between scientific knowledge and on-the-ground action.

One of Professor Tolhurst’s notable contributions was his work in promoting controlled burning as a means of reducing the fuel load in forests and minimizing the risk of catastrophic wildfires. His research played a pivotal role in shaping bushfire management strategies, emphasizing the need for proactive measures to protect lives and property.

As we remember Professor Kevin Tolhurst, we should also take a moment to reflect on the profound impact he had on bushfire preparedness in Australia. His dedication to education and research leaves a lasting legacy that will continue to benefit generations to come.

In these difficult times, our thoughts and condolences go out to Professor Tolhurst’s family, friends, and colleagues. They have lost a beloved member of their community, while the entire nation mourns the loss of a true champion for bushfire preparedness and forest conservation.

Professor Kevin Tolhurst’s memory will live on through his work and the countless lives he touched. Let us honour his legacy by continuing to prioritize bushfire preparedness and forest management, ensuring that his vision of a safer and more resilient Australia is realized.

Source: James Lucas

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World’s tallest hybrid timber tower approved

Plans to build the world’s tallest hybrid timber tower in Perth have been approved after negotiations and redesigns. Victorian developer Grange Development Consulting now has the green light to build the AU$350 million tower with 237 apartments over 51 storeys.

The proposed building at 6 Charles Street is named C6 after the periodic table’s symbol for carbon and would become the State’s first carbon-negative building. The City of South Perth had recommended against its approval as it believed the development did not meet “design excellence” in relation to amenity, legibility, and safety.

But the project was approved unanimously at a recent Metro Inner-South Joint Development Assessment Meeting. The developer submitted the plans, designed by Fraser & Partners, to the City of South Perth in April last year.

Grange Development founder and director James Dibble said timber as a building material had been around for centuries but mass timber construction and fabrication methods had made it a viable option to use only recently. “C6 represents the future of what is possible, except we will deliver it now,” he said last year.

“If we get this right, we should never have to rely on building another solely concrete or steel tower in our lifetime.” Post-construction, Grange Development has committed to sharing its C6 research, design and construction documentation as a call to arms for other developers to take up, evolve and develop the building methodology. “We as a company are not driven solely by profit: we are driven by the need to urgently reduce our carbon footprint whilst delivering happier, healthier homes,” Mr Dibble said.

“We want to encourage other developers to see what we have delivered with C6 and start to incorporate the methodology across other projects. If we can accelerate a paradigm shift into the use of more renewable building materials such as mass timber in a hybrid nature and see even 10, 15 or 20 per cent of future projects use mass timber in their construction in the next few years, we will have succeeded.”

Photo: Grange Development Consulting

Source: Perth Now

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2023 Timber Design Awards being celebrated

Timber Unlimited is inviting you to join architects, engineers and timber industry leaders to celebrate Timber Design excellence and innovation in New Zealand. The 2023 NZ Timber Design Awards gala presentation dinner on Thursday 2nd November 2023 will reward practitioners who have surpassed the 'everyday' with their professional skill and ability to deliver excellence to their clients.

In a marketplace that makes many claims and with expectations around 'grand designs' abounding, representatives from the New Zealand Wood Products industry and design professionals will be meeting up to celebrate those that can truly see the wood from the trees and know how to use it!

For further information on the awards evening, click here

Timber Unlimited in collaboration with NZ Timber Design Society are also hosting a Hybrid Buildings Seminar during the day of the Gala Awards Dinner.

Click here for more information.

Source: Timber Unlimited

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Buy and Sell

... and one to end the week on ... the best patients

With the NZ General Election running tomorrow, after months of electioneering, policies, promises and wall to wall media coverage, had to add in this one.

Five surgeons from big cities are discussing who makes the best patients to operate on.

The first surgeon, from Sydney, says, "I like to see accountants on my operating table, because when you open them up, everything inside is numbered."

The second, from Melbourne, responds, "Yeah, but you should try electricians! Everything inside them is colour coded."

The third surgeon, from Auckland, says, "No, I really think librarians are the best, everything inside them is in alphabetical order."

The fourth surgeon, from Perth, chimes in: "You know, I like construction workers...those guys always understand when you have a few parts left over."

But the fifth surgeon, from Wellington, shut them all up when he observed: "You're all wrong. Politicians are the easiest to operate on. There's no guts, no heart, no brains and no spine, and the head and the a******* are interchangeable.

And on that note, enjoy your weekend - including voting in the General Election tomorrow for our kiwi readers and for our Australian readers, the Voice to Parliament referendum. 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

Web page:

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