Friday Offcuts – 10 November 2023

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There was plenty to celebrate across Australasia this past week in timber design and construction. As we covered in the last issue, the 2023 NZ Timber Design Award winners were announced last Thursday. Amongst the many deserving and stand-out winners on the night was Scion’s timber innovation hub, Te Whare Nui o Tuteata adding to an already very impressive collection of local and international awards that have been picked up for its innovative structural engineering design. At the 2023 Awards last week, it won the Sustainable Development Award and was also highly commended in the Innovation Timber Engineering Award category.

On the same night, 2600km away, the winners of for the 2023 Australia’s Timber Design Awards were being announced in Melbourne. The World Heritage-listed Sydney Opera House, celebrating its 50th birthday this year, was the overall winner. A renewal project to help out with the many shortcomings of the concert hall’s poor acoustics took this year’s top honours. A full line-up of this year’s award winners and link to images can be found in the story below.

The clever utilisation of timber is also covered in this week’s Spirit of Tasmania story. More than 6,000 lineal metres of Celery Top Pine sourced from below the waters of Lake Pieman on Tasmania’s west coast is going to be used as feature wall cladding on the new Spirit of Tasmania vessels. The Tasmanian timber is harvested from submerged logs by Hydrowood, one of the world’s first underwater forestry operations. They’ll be working with two other local businesses, AJB Furniture and Joinery and Brock Building Systems to produce the finished profiles. It’s then going to be shipped and installed by Scan Marine, one of Europe’s largest shipbuilding companies in Finland and then the new vessels, brought back for use in Tasmania.

Finally, next week, forest resource managers, inventory foresters, establishment, silvicultural and tree crop managers from across Australasia and further afield, will meeting for our annual forest technology conference, ForestTECH 2023 (see this week’s story on a presentation planned for next week in Rotorua about a new prototype for an interactive tool that will provide foresters with powerful inventory information to aid in planning, management and operations). The series, again is being run in both New Zealand and Australia. Well over 250 delegates have already registered (along with virtual registrations from outside Australasia).

The first ForestTECH conference in our series, including pre-and post-conference workshops, technical sessions and exhibitions, runs in Rotorua, NZ next week and for our Australian audience, the following week in Melbourne on the 21-22 November. At this stage, you can still register online. Virtual or remote registrations are still available for the NZ event and on- site registrations can be made for Melbourne here. That’s it for this week, and we’re looking forward to meeting up with the wider ForestTECH community over the next couple of weeks.

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Global significance of Te Whare Nui o Tuteata

As reported last week, NZ architects, designers, engineers and construction professionals celebrated the innovative use of timber in building and construction at the 2023 NZ Timber Design Awards. The prestigious awards, now in their 48th year, are run by Timber Unlimited and highlight the latest advances in New Zealand’s timber construction capability. The winners of the 12 categories, plus a supreme winner, were announced at a gala dinner in Auckland on 2 November.

Scion’s award-winning timber innovation hub, Te Whare Nui o Tuteata, was given further national recognition by winning the Sustainable Development Award and was highly commended in the Innovation Timber Engineering Award category won by Nelson Airport.

The Sustainable Development Award celebrates buildings that have achieved low environmental impact and enhance New Zealand’s unique society and environment, while the Innovation Timber Engineering Award honours engineering and construction innovation that maximises the use of timber with exciting solutions.

Judges for the Sustainable Development Award sang the praises of the building designed by Irving Smith Architects, RTA Studio & Dunning Thornton Consultants. “[The] building represents a global shift in the way buildings can be designed, prefabricated, assembled, and disassembled,” one judge noted.

“The timber diagrid structure provides a visual aesthetic that brings warmth and expression to the interior.” The second judge said: "This building shines a light towards the future of timber construction in Aotearoa New Zealand and will help pave the way for ways of designing and building with wood that make use of a wide range of materials and available technology for creating timber buildings.”

A judge in the Innovation Timber Engineering Award category said the highly commended Te Whare Nui o Tuteata was of “global significance”. “The innovative structural engineering design of this project is based on a deep understanding of timber properties and how timber buildings can be prefabricated and pieced together to form extraordinary buildings.” Another said the building “set out to explore the frontiers of timber engineering”.

Scion chief executive Dr Julian Elder said “we are very proud of Te Whare Nui o Tuteata”. “Not only is it a beautiful building that is fantastic to work in it is a great example of the innovative engineering and sustainable low-carbon construction that the Timber Design Awards are celebrating. New Zealand needs to build more buildings like this so we can reduce embodied carbon in our built environment and meet our 2050 net-zero climate change commitment.”

The building’s name means the great house of Tuteata and was gifted to Scion by the three hapū who are tangata whenua here - Ngāti Hurungaterangi, Ngāti Taeotu and Ngāti Te Kahu. Tuteata is their ancestor. It was officially opened in 2021 by then Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, has pioneered sustainability and design using engineered wood products and won several domestic and international awards. The design uses a diagonal-grid (diagrid) timber structure and was embodied-carbon neutral at completion.

Source: Scion

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Unique timber for new Spirit of Tasmania vessels

More than 6000 lineal metres of Celery Top Pine sourced from below the waters of Lake Pieman on Tasmania’s west coast will be used as feature wall cladding on two semi-enclosed deck spaces on the new Spirit of Tasmania vessels.

The timber is harvested by Hydrowood which will be working with two other local businesses – AJB Furniture and Joinery and Brock Building Systems – to produce the finished profiles to be shipped and installed by Scan Marine in Finland.

Hydrowood General Manager Darren Johnson said the commitment by the Tasmanian Government to include local products – and the early engagement with Hydrowood - led it to working with the project's architect and contractor undertaking the builds.

“This is the first time Hydrowood has supplied timber for an international ship build and, hopefully, it demonstrates the capacity of our business to deliver premium Tasmanian timber to both domestic and international markets,” he said. “This project for the new Spirit of Tasmania vessels will showcase our uniquely Tasmanian timber products to locals and visitors to the state for years to come.”

Hydrowood, one of the world’s first underwater forestry operations, discovered the largest quantity of environmentally-friendly specialty Tasmanian timber in many years. It involves the recovery of these submerged logs from the depths of water bodies, repurposing them into high-quality, usable timber.

Mr Johnson said Hydrowood had recently undertaken Tasmania's largest equity crowdfunding exercise to expand its footprint in the timber industry. “More than half of our investors were Tasmanian which is fantastic to have the local community as our brand ambassadors,” he said. “We want to make Hydrowood accessible to everyone. This is a piece of Tasmanian history and we are excited to share it with locals.”

Spirit of Tasmania Managing Director and CEO Bernard Dwyer said the company was highly supportive of any Tasmanian business providing content for its new vessels. “The Celery Top Pine sourced from below the waters of Lake Pieman is a truly unique Tasmanian timber,” he said. “Using this timber in wall cladding on the new ships is the perfect way for Hydrowood to showcase its timber products to our passengers, and for Spirit of Tasmania to support and promote Hydrowood’s venture to provide its Tasmanian timber to domestic and international markets.”

The new Spirit of Tasmania vessels are being built by Rauma Marine Constructions (RMC), one of Europe’s largest shipbuilding companies, which specialises in the construction and maintenance of car and passenger ferries, icebreakers and defence vessels. RMC formally started construction of Spirit of Tasmania IV last year when the first steel was cut at a traditional ceremony at the RMC facility in Finland. The second steel cutting ceremony was completed just prior to Christmas 2022.

For more information about Hydrowood, please visit

More information about the new ships is available at:

Source: Hydrowood

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24th Australian Timber Design Award winners

The Annual Australian Timber Design Award winners for 2023 were announced last week at the Cargo Hall in Melbourne, compered by writer and presenter Tim Ross. ARM Architecture received first prize for their outstanding Sydney Opera House Concert Hall Renewal project.

The World Heritage-listed Sydney Opera House celebrates its 50th birthday this year. The Concert Hall, its largest venue and home to the Sydney Symphony Orchestra had never lived up to the promise of the exterior of the building, suffering a poor reputation for acoustics. The challenge to solve this shortcoming involved innovative use of Brushbox timber panelling and smart interventions into the existing White Birch ceiling.

The wall panelling around the stage, stalls and rear walls were reconstructed with new solid carved panelling. All were made in the same Brushbox timber already present in the Hall. The new panels diffuse the acoustic energy, prevent direct reflections and create a blended sound and sense of envelopment in the music. The result is a series of highly tactile and sculptural surfaces that encourage the hand to run along them.

Award Winner:

Overall Winner – Sydney Opera House Concert Hall Renewal by ARM Architecture


- People’s Choice – Boola Katitjin – Murdoch University by Aurecon, Lyons Architects and Multiplex

- Sustainability – ANMF House by BayleyWard Architects

- Rising Star – Austin Reed from Brother Nature for Kunama Townhouses

Excellence in Timber Applications

- Residential Class 1: New Building - Pocket Passiv by Anderson Architecture

- Residential Class 1: Alteration or Addition - Music Room by Alexander Symes Architects

- Multi-Residential - Eternity Life Apartments by k20 Architecture

- Public Buildings - The Pavilion Performing Arts Centre Sutherland by CHROFI & NBRS

- Commercial Buildings - Barker College Maths and Student Hub by Architectus

- Interior Fitout: Residential - Elsternwick House by Melanie Beynon Architecture & Design

- Interior Fitout: Public or Commercial - Sydney Opera House Concert Hall Renewal by ARM Architecture

- Furniture and Joinery - Art Gallery of NSW Library and Members Lounge by Tonkin Zulaikha Greer Architects

Excellence in Timber Products

- Australian Certified Timber - Galkangu Bendigo Govhub by Icon Fairbrother Joint Venture and Lyons Architects

- Engineered Wood Product - Boola Katitjin, Murdoch University by Aurecon, Lyons Architects and Multiplex

- Recycled Timber - Marramarra Shack by Leopold Banchini Architects and Cantilever Consulting Engineers

Tim Ross, an Australian comedian, radio host, writer and television presenter, announced the winners at the Cargo Hall South Melbourne. He is more recently known as the presenter of the ABC shows Streets of Your Town and Designing a Legacy, which reflect his personal enthusiasm as a self-proclaimed architecture geek. The Australian Timber Industry would like to extend gratitude to our panel of judges, sponsors and those who entered projects.

For a complete list of winners, finalists, and the awards magazine ebook, visit

About the Australian Timber Design Awards: The vision of the Australian Timber Design Awards is to highlight, advertise, advocate, and develop a timber design ethos through the encouragement and showcasing of superlative timber design in various applications. A broad range of entry categories demonstrates the diversity of timber and permits recognition of achievement in a variety of areas.

Source & Photo: Timber Development Association

Native Forest Transition (NFT) Promotion

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Call for speakers: 2024 Environmental Forestry Conference

FIEA Environmental Forestry 2024 Conference: Call for Speakers

Hello prospective speakers. If you are interested in being a speaker for the 3rd annual conference on forestry and the environment run by the Forest Industry Engineering Association, please confirm your interest as soon as possible by submitting:

1. A presentation title for a case study, innovation or other practical topic of interest to an audience of environmental foresters, regional managers and environmental monitoring consultants, practitioners and regulators.

2. A short abstract (approx 100 words) to help us to learn more about your work and compare with others to allow us choose which presentations to accept.

To help us decide please consider:
a) Showcasing practical innovations from your work that apply to a wide cross-section of our audience.
b) If you can deliver a presentation in the form of a case study highlighting practical results and/or outcomes.
c) Focus on aspects of your work that apply to a range of forestry and environmental professionals.

FIEA's 3rd Annual Environmental Forestry 2024 Conference will run on 25-26 June 2024 in Rotorua.

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Revolutionising planted forests inventory management

Scion is revealing a prototype for a new interactive tool providing the forestry industry with powerful inventory information to make management, harvesting and wood processing decisions easier. Called ‘Forest Insights’, scientists from the Crown Research Institute will outline the tool’s capabilities and applications for the industry at ForestTECH 2023 in Rotorua next week.

In a world increasingly driven by data and technology, the interactive tool powered by machine learning and deep learning models provides forest owners, managers and wood processors with an overview of the changing availability and growth of planted radiata pine over time. The prototype is currently focused on modelling of East Coast pine forests but Scion has plans to provide the same data and for a wider range of trees for other regions, with Bay of Plenty next cab off the rank.

Scion portfolio leader for New Value from Digital Forests and Wood Sector, Grant Evans, says the prototype will support forestry and wood processing companies to make more informed management decisions. “Long term, it will help anyone with trees planted for production know what they’ve got, where it is and ultimately, what they can do with it in the future.”

Forest Insights is more than just a mapping tool; it’s set to become a window into the heart of commercial forests. It has been built using cutting-edge technologies, including LiDAR, to detect and identify stands of trees to quantify their volume and maturity over time. It outlines the boundaries for each stand of trees and provides essential details, such as age class, area in production, and the number of stems per hectare.

The dashboard view for Forest Insights

Forest Insights also tracks the history of planting and harvesting, which provides valuable insights into changing inventory levels. This inventory data is more than statistics; it’s the key to unlocking investments and strategic decisions for stakeholders across the timber supply chain. Automatically detecting commercial radiata pine forests using trained Deep Learning Convolutional Neural Networks by their boundaries is a game changer for forestry companies. What used to be a laborious task of drawing polygons is now replaced with the click of a button.

Additionally, Forest Insights levels the playing field for smaller forest owners, he says. “These individuals, who own smaller woodlots or stands, can use the tool to see where other small lots in their region are maturing at a similar time and potentially co-operate to negotiate better pricing from mills.” This democratisation of information ensures that the benefits of Forest Insights extend to all players in the industry.

As a prototype it offers a glimpse into the future, with researchers already planning features that will provide additional value. Scion is already working with the University of Canterbury to identify tree species beyond radiata pine, aligning with the Government’s goal of having 20% non-radiata pine forests by 2030. Currently, such measurements rely on people voluntarily reporting their data, making it difficult to track progress. Forest Insights intends to change that by using satellite imagery and LiDAR data from Toitū Te Whenua Land Information New Zealand to detect different tree species accurately.

Harvest tracking

Beyond tree species identification, the prototype goes a step further by tracking forest activities. Collaborating with Indufor Asia Pacific Limited who enhanced the detection training, each orange segment on the map represents an area where harvesting has occurred. This functionality not only helps in tracking inventory but it is hoped, with further training, it would provide a means to assess forest damage following natural disasters.

“For the East Coast, it could also be used as a tool to reveal where planted forests are being abandoned or are no longer being harvested due to concerns relating to planting on erosion-prone land,” says Evans. “For forestry and wood processing companies, this data offers them a holistic view of their assets and a basis for well-informed decisions.”

The journey of Forest Insights started in 2022 and is a collaborative effort. Scion’s data scientists have supplied all the models and data, working with Indufor Asia Pacific Limited to create the online tool and dashboard interactivity. Testing with a handful of industry users has yielded positive feedback, with at least one forestry company expressing interest in using Forest Insights to validate their commercial forestry decisions.

Other collaborators have expressed interest in joining the Forest Insights project, and with their support Scion aims to expand its reach across New Zealand. The aim is to expand its functionality and develop layers of complexity over time. Scion researchers have a grand vision for the prototype to serve as the foundation for a digital twin of New Zealand’s entire forestry estate.

“Imagine having access to information on Eucalyptus trees’ age, harvest readiness, and potential markets, including its suitability for pulp and paper, or feedstock for biorefineries, all neatly presented on a map,” says Evans. “By continuing to work collaboratively with industry and our key partners, we’re committed to expanding the capabilities of Forest Insights to meet everyone’s needs and add value to the forestry and wood processing sectors.”

Source: Scion

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Vale Graeme Black

The global forest industry is mourning the loss of a true visionary after the passing of Graeme Black.

Described by Eileen Newbury, former FWPA Head of Marketing and Communication, “as a beautiful and kind man with such vision,” company directors Lignor, Peter Burton and Steve Baldwin are remembering him for his “intellectual curiosity, kindness and resolve.”

Mr Black, CEO and major shareholder of Lignor was a former director of family-owned Craigpine Timber Ltd NZ and Simmonds Lumber Pty Ltd and will leave an indomitable mark on all around him. His family was a significant shareholder in the first plant in New Zealand to produce the market-disrupting product, MDF, before selling the plant to Carter Holt Harvey in the early 1980s.

Driven by a commitment to environmental change, he was an entrepreneur ahead of his time. In 1987, Craigpine Timber voluntarily stopped milling NZ native forest well before it was legally protected. A decade later, in 1997, he successfully pushed for Craigpine Timber – which exports radiata pine to 22 global markets – including Norway, Estonia, Latvia and other European countries, to become the first company in Australasia to achieve FSC certification.

That is, two years before PEFC was invented and several years before FSC established an office in Australia and New Zealand! In 2007, he was instrumental in adopting DNA tracking technology to demonstrate that timber was legal – to prove the tropical hardwood Merbau could be sustainably harvested from Indonesia.

According to Kevin Hill, founder of Double Helix Tracking Technologies, “Graeme was instrumental in getting genetic-based timber traceability off the ground.” Mr Black also spent 16 years building up Lignor. a new and patented timber stranding technology developing one of the world’s strongest portfolios of engineered wood products (EWP) from sustainable and certified eucalyptus hardwood.

For more information about the history of the Black Family and Graeme Black’s involvement and impact on the timber industry, visit the “ Lignor website.

The Lignor team advised that after Mr Black’s passing, the management team would be changing. In a media release, they said, “he will always be remembered as the heart of the business.” They said, “He brought to the team a vast experience in business and a pioneering spirit that inspired us all every day,” before continuing that “Graeme will be greatly missed by colleagues, friends and loved ones.”

Source: Wood Central, Lignor

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Increasing sawlog production from existing forests

Two new reports have been released by the Tasmania Forestry Hub outlining opportunities to support silvicultural interventions that could deliver additional saw log production in the next 10 years.

Australia faces an ongoing shortage of structural grade timber for use in the construction of houses to meet the requirements of a population which will grow to 40 million by 2050. Longer term policy settings are in place to encourage the establishment of new plantations with the aim of growing more timber to meet those requirements. However, it will be at least thirty years before additional wood is available from new plantations.

There are potential forest management solutions which could be introduced now which could result in increased sawlog production from the existing forest estate. However, in some cases those solutions are not commercially viable. There is a strong rationale for Government intervention, in the form of structured incentives, to help forest owners realise these opportunities.

The analysis undertaken for this report has demonstrated that there are opportunities for Government funded incentives to support short to medium actions which can deliver up to 650,000m3 per year of additional sawlog production by the mid-2030s, which otherwise would not be commercially viable. This represents an increase over current sawlog production of about 7 per cent.

Importantly, the proposed actions (conversion of hardwood plantations from short to long rotation and active silvicultural management of regrowth native forests) will deliver important and tangible environmental benefits for the whole community, including increased accumulation and storage of carbon, improved forest health and improved ecosystem function.

Proposed recommendations in these reports to support the silvicultural intervention programs outlined in this report include:

1. Emissions Reduction Fund rules:
a) Ensure that E. nitens and E.globulus are recognised as eligible long rotation species in Tasmania and Victoria.
b) Ensure that the additionality exclusion for government program funded projects is relaxed for long rotation conversion projects.
c) Ensure that actively managed regrowth native forests are eligible for ERF participation where additional and tangible forest and ecosystem health benefits can be demonstrated.

2. Long rotation plantation forestry fund: Establish a dedicated long rotation conversion fund of up to AU$2.5 million annually for ten years, for eligible plantations with agreed criteria addressing species, productivity, scale and proximity to processing facilities and infrastructure.

3. Forest health restoration fund: Establish a forest health restoration fund of up to AU$4 million annually for ten years to support active silvicultural management of regrowth native forests on private land where additional and tangible forest and ecosystem health benefits can be demonstrated and the activity would not be viable without financial support. Criteria for participation to be determined through the application of an appropriate natural capital accounting method and monitoring.

Both reports can be found on the Tasmania Forestry Hub website.

Source: tffpn

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New Forest Owners Association COO appointed

Joseph Brolly has been appointed as the Forest Owners Association's new Chief Operating Officer (COO), commencing 6 November 2023.

Originally from a farming and forestry family, Joseph has plenty of experience with the challenges of forest harvesting and woodlot logging. While studying, he paid for his studies by working in cable logging and ground-based crews around the central North Island; and after a stint in law, Joseph returned to his forestry roots, working as harvesting and marketing manager for a stumpage and forest harvesting business.

He later became general manager of a large forestry supplies and machinery sales business and went on to found Logsafe, a patented safety technology system to help protect breakerouts and fellers working in forestry.

Joseph says it's an exciting time to join New Zealand's forestry sector, particularly with the potential that exists in the forest residues space, and is looking forward to fostering greater sector collaboration and strategic thinking.

“New Zealand forestry is full of great people with excellent ideas and a proud tradition of innovation and creative solutions," Joseph says. "I would like to bring these people together and make their vision a reality with the right funding and investment solutions."

“We are going through some tough times as an industry, but it’s often constraints and challenges that help produce breakthrough products and technology and I would like to help make that happen."

Source: Forest Owners Association<
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Prue Younger retiring as FICA CEO

After six years at the helm, Forest Industry Contractors Association CEO Prue Younger will retire from her role on 31 March 2024.

During her time as FICA’s CEO, Prue has led the organisation through both prosperous and challenging periods for forestry contractors, including the pandemic and significant log market downturns, as well as some highlights like the 2022 FICA Fast and Forward Forestry Expo bringing together various parts of the industry with forestry front and centre.

FICA Chair Nick Tombleson says Prue has done a great job at the helm. “Over the past six years Prue has done extensive work developing FICA as an organisation, including raising the profile of FICA within the industry and getting contractors a ‘seat at the table’ on issues that affect them,” says Nick.

“Prue has been the key driver on some really important industry projects like the Yarder Tower Inspector Programme refresh, the Hauler Guarding TAG, the Immigration Class Exception for Forestry Work and more recently the drive to collaboratively create a Pan Sector Group which will be a game changer for the industry. Her drive and hard work have meant we have more of a voice now.”

“I have totally enjoyed my time with FICA and have worked on some projects I’m very proud of. The decision to retire wasn’t easy for me to make, but the role has been a full-on one and it’s time for me to take a step back and enjoy more of a balance between work and life,” says Prue.

“While I will miss the people and the fabulous relationships built across the industry, I’m also looking forward to being able to move to a more flexible life ahead. I look forward to seeing where FICA goes from here as it also takes on a progressive stage forward.” FICA will be recruiting for a new CEO in the coming weeks.

Source: FICA

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Slash challenge competition set up

Taking its cue from a global tech award, Scion is incentivising local tech to find a solution to the problem of forestry debris.

After enduring a stream of ministerial visits, inquiries and analysis, Scion researchers are hopeful Tairāwhiti residents will soon see some proof that forest slash is being dealt with well before it ends up on farms, in rivers, and on beaches. The forest research agency and Callaghan Innovation recently hosted a “design sprint” workshop to deliver solutions on the slash problem sooner than later.

Marc Gaugler, Scion’s head of distributed circular innovation (photo), says Tairāwhiti residents are rightly impatient about the slash problem and how to solve it. From the design sprint they determined that a two-tier approach is needed, one with its sights firmly set on getting solutions in play very soon. The second requires taking a longer-term view on alleviating the issues, including how to get more sustainable forestry practices and forests in place.

Inevitably there is no silver bullet to the slash problem, but the design sprint came up with the “S-Challenge” (S for slash) competition. It is modelled on the highly successful startup competition XPRIZE, a global award that helps incentivise disruptive breakthrough technologies to help solve global problems.

The technology competition is open to all comers, “giving innovators, companies, start-ups and communities the opportunity to pitch their solution to the slash problem”, Gaugler says. “The aim is to get a pilot project on the ground sooner than later, hopefully by the middle of next year.”

Tairāwhiti’s ability to grow pine trees is a strength as much as the region’s isolation is a weakness when it comes to formulating possible slash solutions. Transport of low-value slash to a processing site is a key challenge, particularly when it may then have to leave the region to be transported to the outlet using pelletised wood products for fuel.

“The low-hanging fruit is something around the wood fuel-energy side of things. It could be to create energy security for the region, providing fuel for a steam-driven power plant, for example,” Gaugler says. Some success has been enjoyed by Genesis Energy, which trialled imported wood pellets in Huntly power station. Meantime Fonterra is considering its wood fuel options for its milk-drying plants.

Gaugler says he sees a few other technologies that have potential to add more value, helping overcome the tyranny of distance and cost to market. They include converting slash to biochar for soil remediation, a process that can also produce syn-gas for powering the biochar plant, and biochemicals that are a viable alternative to hydrocarbon-sourced chemicals.

“Whatever the options, from the design sprint we learnt it is important the returns from the technology come back to the region. This is the tricky part – to blend a regional resource back into the region’s economy.”

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Source: Farmers Weekly

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Changing markets for Swedish lumber exports

Lumber trade has become more global over the past few decades with an increased flow of wood products from forest-rich countries to regions lacking domestic forests to supply the local markets. One good example is Sweden, where lumber manufacturers in recent years have expanded their sales far outside the markets they supplied in the past.

Fifteen years ago, almost 80% of the country’s lumber export volume was shipped to markets in Europe. That share has declined to about 55% in the past years.

The biggest decline in market shares has been in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region, which fell from 28% to 20% over the past ten years. During the same period, the US market has increased in importance, with the share rising from about 1% in 2013 to over 9% in 2Q/23. According to Wood Resources International, this has been a positive development for many Swedish sawmills since the prices for lumber destined for the US are substantially higher than for wood sold to countries in Northern Africa and the Middle East. In the 2Q/23, the average export price for the US was almost 45% higher than for lumber exported to Egypt, the largest market in the MENA region.

Sweden exported 10% more lumber in the first half of 2023 than during the same period in 2022, and in 2023 is on track to be a record year in shipments. The biggest increases y-o-y were seen in sales to MENA followed by Europe, while export volumes to the US and Asia fell by 8% and 3%, respectively. The strongest improvements to the top-10 markets this year have been to China (+59% y-o-y), the Netherlands (+49%), Egypt (+36%), France (+17%), and the UK (+15%).

There is much uncertainty in worldwide demand for lumber in the 2H/23. However, there are signals of upward movements in prices in the US market because of tighter supply and slightly higher demand, which could be good news for Swedish lumber exporters. During the first six months of 2023, the US total import volume was just over 17 million m3, the lowest half-year import volume since the 1H/20.

Sweden’s share of this market has increased from 1.9% in the 1H/21 to 3.3% in the 1H/23. In 2023, the leading European exporters to the US were Germany (52% of the European supply), Sweden (22%), Austria (7%), Romania (7%), and the Czech Republic (3%). With the log supply tightening in Central Europe, exports from this region will likely decline in the coming year.

Source: Wood Resources International,

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Database to track forestry insect and disease damage

Spain's University of Córdoba is participating in the creation of the first database that harmonizes the recording of disturbances caused by insects and diseases in forests in eight European countries by combining remote sensing, satellite images and field data.

Forest damage caused by insects and diseases is increasing in many parts of the world due to climate change as reductions in plants' defence mechanisms, induced by global warming, seem to contribute to forests' increased vulnerability to the incidence of pathogens and diseases.

These disturbances jeopardize many of the beneficial effects that forests offer the world, such as carbon sequestration, the regulation of water flows, wood production and the conservation of biodiversity. Having a complete and harmonized map of what these disturbances are and have been in Europe is essential to be able to understand and anticipate future incidents, thus protecting forests and their advantages.

The database contains more than 650,000 harmonized georeferenced records, mapping insects and diseases occurring between 1963 and 2021 in European forests. The records currently cover eight different countries and were acquired through various methods, such as land surveys and remote sensing techniques.

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Image credit: University of Córdoba

Source: The Daily Science

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Semi-truck same turning circle as Tesla Model Y

Tesla has been a pivotal part of changing the perception of EVs by getting millions of attractive zero-emission vehicles on the roads. The Tesla Semi is one of these less-discussed vehicle programs from the brand but promises to do much the same in the world of transport logistics and long-distance trucking.

Now, footage of the Tesla Semi being hauled by another Tesla Semi has been made public. The latest video was showcased by Jay Leno on his unique vehicle-focussed YouTube channel, highlighting some of the key features that the Semi has on offer which have previously been under wraps.

In the video which spans over 42 minutes, Leno describes the progress of the Semi program and how well Tesla electric trucks are getting and achieving great outcomes. Leno also got behind the wheel of the truck and compared the key differences between normal diesel trucks and electric trucks. The Tesla Semi’s ride was smooth and efficient and also quite comfortable.

Speaking of efficiency, the Semi has a very low coefficient of drag, coming in at just 0.4 which is much lower than most trucks on the road today which are above 0.8. Part of the inspiration behind the Semi’s aerodynamic design came from the high-speed bullet trains in Japan which are designed to pierce through air while travelling at incredible speeds.

One of the most interesting details shared in the video was how easy the largest electric vehicle Tesla is to turn. The Tesla Semi has almost similar turn radius as a Model Y or Model 3 making it smooth and quick to drive.

Leno also spoke to Tesla’s chief designer, Franz von Holzhausen, and senior manager of Semi engineering program, Dan Priestley, about the Semi’s engineering and cost savings. According to Tesla, each Semi can save freight and logistics operators up to $US200,000 in just fuel costs over the first 3 years of ownership.

While driving the truck, Leno got a chance to tow a trailer with another Tesla Semi on it which according to Priestley was a load over 27 tonnes (60,000 lbs). Even with the trailer on, Leno described the drive as if the Semi was not towing a large load. That’s thanks to the motor and drive-train technology which has been optimised for the application.

On the drivetrain, it was also shared that Tesla is using parts from its other vehicle programs such as the Model 3 and Model Y but more interestingly from the upcoming Tesla Cybertruck which the Semi has adopted multiple hardware solutions.

Other more broader industry challenges were also covered including improving the safety in the industry and promoting electric trucks to the younger generation given the aging workforce in the sector.

It was suggested electric trucks could help the industry get younger people to feel more compelled to be a part of the trucking and logistics industry once again.

Source: thedriven

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... and one to end the week on ... talking in heaven

Two Ladies Talking in Heaven

1st woman: Hi! Wanda.

2nd woman: Hi! Sylvia. How'd you die?

1st woman: I froze to death.

2nd woman: How horrible!

1st woman: It wasn't so bad. After I quit shaking from the cold, I began to get warm & sleepy, and finally died a peaceful death. What about you?

2nd woman: I died of a massive heart attack. I suspected that my husband was cheating, so I came home early to catch him in the act. But instead, I found him all by himself in the den watching TV.

1st woman: So, what happened?

2nd woman: I was so sure there was another woman there somewhere that I started running all over the house looking. I ran up into the attic and searched, and down into the basement. Then I went through every closet and checked under all the beds. I kept this up until I had looked everywhere, and finally I became so exhausted that I just keeled over with a heart attack and died.

1st woman: Too bad you didn't look in the freezer---we'd both still be alive.

One more for you - an oldie but a goodie. A burglar broke into a house one night. He shone his flashlight around, looking for valuables when a voice in the dark said, 'Jesus knows you're here.'

He nearly jumped out of his skin, clicked his flashlight off, and froze.

When he heard nothing more after a bit, he shook his head and continued.

Just as he pulled the stereo out so he could disconnect the wires, clear as a bell he heard

'Jesus is watching you.'

Freaked out, he shone his light around frantically, looking for the source of the voice.

Finally, in the corner of the room, his flashlight beam came to rest on a parrot.

'Did you say that?' he hissed at the parrot.

'Yep', the parrot confessed, then squawked, 'I'm just trying to warn you that he is watching you.'

The burglar relaxed. 'Warn me, huh? Who in the world are you?'

'Moses,' replied the bird.

'Moses?' the burglar laughed. 'What kind of people would name a bird Moses?'

'The kind of people that would name a Rottweiler Jesus.'

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

Web page:

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