Friday Offcuts 10 May 2019
One of the sticking points in meeting the country’s emissions reduction goals has always been the treatment of agriculture (a point raised frequently by the forestry industry). It’s a key sector accounting for around half of the country’s gross emissions. It’s being recognised that if serious about meeting the country’s commitments under the Paris Agreement, agriculture has to be part of the solution. With this in mind, the Bill has set out a framework and longer-term targets to reduce biological methane emissions by 10 percent by 2030. Proposed changes to the ETS are expected to follow in another Bill that’s likely to be introduced within the next couple of months.
To celebrate training and business success within our own industry, the annual forestry award programmes are just about to get underway. Without doubt, they’re by far the largest gathering of forestry companies, contractors and transport operators that get together in each region. The Southern North Island Wood Council awards run this evening, Eastland Wood Council on the 17 May and the Southern Wood Council on 24 May. These will be followed by Nelson on 14 June (new on the calendar this year), Northland 20 September, Mt Gambier, Australia on 26 October and Hawkes Bay (see story this week, new this year) later in November.
If in any of these regions, make the effort to get yourself, work colleagues and family along to each of these awards evenings. It’s always a highlight of the forestry calendar and it’s the one opportunity every year that we get together to reward and recognise individuals and companies that have really stood out within our industry.
And finally, some more forestry stats out this week. This time it’s a snap shot of Australia’s plantation statistics that have been released by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES). As anticipated with the lobbying being undertaken by key industry associations to get the right policies in place to put more production trees into the ground, Australia’s total forest plantation area dropped by 12,400 ha from 2016-17 to 2017-18. Election promises in the lead up to the Federal election in a couple of weeks if in-acted are expected to go some way in reversing this trend. A link to the full report is included in the story below. That’s it for this week. Enjoy this week’s read.
This week we have for you:
Government unveils long-awaited zero carbon lawAfter months of cross-parliamentary wrangling, the New Zealand government on Wednesday unveiled its long-awaited draft legislation that will guide the country to its target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
The Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill enshrines the overall target, but splits out the short-lived greenhouse gas, methane, for special treatment. Methane is a powerful global warming gas emitted by cows, sheep and other cattle and accounts for some 35 percent of all New Zealand’s GHG emissions.
Rather than targeting net-zero methane by 2050, the Bill proposes a target of reducing methane emissions to between 24 percent and 47 percent of 2017 levels by 2050.
That is a slightly weaker target than was contained in the 2018 report of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change, which also acknowledged a split gas approach to methane. The IPCC recommended that global methane emissions should fall to between 24 percent and 47 percent of 2010 levels.
However, the New Zealand methane pathway gets a push at the front-end, with a target of a 10 percent reduction in methane emissions by 2030.
“That provisional range will be subject to review by the independent Climate Change Commission in 2024, to take account of changes in scientific knowledge and other developments,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Climate Change Minister James Shaw said in a statement.
The seven-year difference between the IPCC and New Zealand targets may allow New Zealand some breathing space to account for the rapid expansion of dairy farming during the first part of the current decade.
The legislation will establish the Climate Change Commission as an independent body with advisory and monitoring provisions, but no decision-making or regulatory powers. It will publish five-yearly reviews of New Zealand’s progress towards its emission reduction goals and make recommendations based on that progress.
Detail on the contentious subject of using international carbon credits to meet New Zealand’s commitments is lacking in today’s announcements. “Emissions budgets will primarily be met through domestic action – that is, the reduction and removal (e.g., through forestry) of domestic greenhouse gas emissions. “In very limited circumstances, they will also allow for reductions sourced from overseas to meet emissions budgets.”
It was not immediately apparent what political deals were required to reach that outcome. But today’s decisions leave untouched at least two other key issues that are highly politically sensitive: the extent to which agricultural GHGs are included in the emissions trading scheme and whether the government’s target of 100 percent renewable electricity by 2035 will endure.
The Zero Carbon Bill itself will be introduced to Parliament this month, with the bill becoming law late this year, along with the establishment of the seven-person Climate Change Commission.
Major harvesting event heading to be a sell outWe’ve mentioned it before. The major two-yearly wood harvesting event, HarvestTECH 2019, is going to be a sell-out. All inside and outside exhibition spaces have been sold out for some time. It will be the largest line-up of harvesting equipment (inside and outside) yet seen in New Zealand. Local and international exhibitors include;
AB Equipment/Tigercat, Komatsu Forest, GoughCat, West Trak, John Deere Forestry, Shaws/Eltec, Hydralink, Husqvana, TRS Tyre & Service, BOA, Southstar Equipment, Engineering Services Rotorua (Ensign), Eagle Technology, Mercedes Benz Trucks, DC Equipment, Firestorm Group, ATL – Applied Teleoperation Ltd, Foxx Tyres, Donaldson Mechanical/Duxson, Porter Group, Cookes, EMS, Chainsaw & Outdoor Power, Transdiesel, MIMCO, Mobile Mentor, McFall Fuel, Lubricants NZ, TrackGrip, Scion, Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology, Trimble Forestry, Dr Diesel, Boss Attachments
In addition to raft of exhibitions inside the venue, 17 large pieces of harvesting equipment are expected to be displayed outside adjacent to the hotel venue.
Registrations have been pouring in with over 350 registered already. In addition to local contractors and forestry companies, a large contingent this year is coming in from outside New Zealand. The message to any contractors out there who were planning on registering for the 26-27 June 2019 HarvestTECH event, the venue is getting close to being full. Our advice is don’t leave it to the last minute as you may well miss out on securing one of the few remaining spaces.
The full programme can be seen on the event website. Registrations can still be made (with early-bird registrations FINISHING next Friday) on-line.
Australian plantation statistics 2019 update report releasedThe Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) released the Australian plantation statistics 2019 update report on Friday 3 May 2019 (see below).
- In 2017–18 Australia’s total commercial plantation area was 1,942,700 hectares, a decrease of 12,400 hectares (0.6 per cent) from 2016‒17.
- The total area of softwood plantations increased marginally in 2017–18 to 1,037,000 hectares, and accounted for more than 53 per cent of total commercial plantation area. The total area of hardwood plantations was 896,000 hectares, a decrease of 12,500 hectares (1.4 per cent) from 2016–17, and accounted for 46 per cent of total commercial plantation area.
- In 2017‒18 Victoria continued to have the largest total area of commercial plantations of Australia’s states and territories (420,600 hectares), followed by New South Wales (393,200 hectares) and Western Australia (361,700 hectares).
- A total of 3,150 hectares of new plantations were established in 2017–18, comprising 1,700 hectares of softwood plantations and 1,450 hectares of hardwood plantations.
To access the ABARES report, please click here.
Forest Owners Levy Vote supportedNew Zealand forest owners have overwhelmingly voted to continue the Commodity Levies Act Levy Order for Harvested Wood Materials for another six years. The audited voting results just received from the independent agency who conducted the referendum, Research New Zealand, are:
Both of the voting majorities were higher this time than in the inaugural levy vote in 2013. In 2013, the Owner Vote majority was 86.3 percent and there was a Hectare Vote majority of 86.3 percent. This year’s total vote cast is slightly fewer than the 588 who voted in 2013. The largest area represented by a ‘no’ vote in 2019 was 620 hectares.
This means that funding for the Forest Growers Levy Trust Work Programme has been secured for the next six years. “It means that we can plan with confidence in our work in forest mechanisation, tree breeding, health and safety, biosecurity and all of the other work which enhances our forest profitability. It also means that we can continue to attract other sources of money, particularly government, to assist our work” says Neil Cullen, President, Farm Forestry Association.
Source: Farm Forestry Association, Forest Owners Association
Timberlink welcomes commitment to investTimberlink has welcomed the announcements from both the Australian Liberal and Labor Parties that they will provide AU$3.5 million to complete their Bell Bay Softwood Mill upgrade. “This bipartisan support from both sides of politics is great news for our employees and the broader George Town community”, Timberlink’s David Oliver said.
“The Bell Bay Softwood Mill employs nearly 200 people and provides a value-add of AU$150 million to the George Town economy”. I want to pay particular thanks to Bridget Archer and Senator Richard Colbeck from the Liberals, and Ross Hart and Shadow Forestry Minister Joel Fitzgibbon from Labor for advocating for our project”.
Over the past 6 years Timberlink has invested over AU$27 million in upgrades to ensure the mill becomes internationally competitive, environmentally and financially sustainable. This final AU$3.5 million will allow us to complete our expansion. These funds will be used to purchase a new Green Mill Vision Scanning System.
“The fact that both major parties have committed to this funding commitment provides certainty to our organisation and will ensure that local softwood processing also remains strong, competitive and vibrant in Tasmania for many years to come”, Timberlink’s David Oliver said.
Inaugural Awards to celebrate forestry in Hawke’s BayHawke’s Bay’s flourishing forestry industry will be celebrated this year with the announcement of a new awards event being held in November. It’s been eight months in the making and sees the region join the likes of Gisborne, Nelson, the Southern North Island, Whangarei and Otago/Southland across New Zealand in honoring an industry that is so important to the country.
Matt Croft, chair of the Hawke’s Bay Forestry Group who are driving the awards, says it is a great move for an industry that is one of the biggest contributors to the Bay. Export levels have doubled in the past 24 months, going from 1.6 million cubic metres in early 2018 to over 2.2 million cubic metres now and an expected growth to 3 million by 2021.
With 133,000 hectares of plantation radiata pine in the region and 48,000 hectares at a harvestable age, the industry with its associated services account for around NZ$200 million of the region’s GDP.
“This is a chance to put our industry in public view and acknowledge the great work being done by those who work in forestry,” says Mr Croft. “In the past five years the industry has developed hugely, with a lot of investment in training, machinery and upskilling. This is a far more professional workforce than it was a decade or so ago and we want to recognise that and the contractors and crews who are putting in the time and money to make it what it is today.”
Mr Croft said it was exciting for all to be launching the new awards. “I really like the idea of the workers getting the recognition and for others to see them as the professionals they are,” he said.
There are 14 different categories with the overall Skilled Professional of the Year found from six of those covering forestry, roading, harvesting, distribution, wood processing and tree faller excellence. Women, trainees and the environment are also celebrated in the awards, with categories for each.
Mr Croft was hopeful the awards would highlight just how much was on offer for people keen to work in the industry. It should help people better appreciate the huge array of career opportunities within forestry. “The possibilities are endless,” he says, “with attractive options from tree planting to truck driving, harvesting, mapping, satellite photography, computer modelling, management, export, sales, genetics and more. “There is something for most-everyone in the forestry industry, and, as the awards will show, people on the inside of our industry are loving it.”
Nominations for the awards will open on August 1, with judging in October and the awards dinner in late November.
Reducing transport costs by drying biomass infieldGreen wood is about 50 per cent water, but new desktop planning tools and a smartphone app will help managers balance the reduced transport costs from drying forest biomass and timber infield against product quality, storage costs and machinery wear and tear.
Researchers on a project funded by FWPA and managed by the University of the Sunshine Coast’s Forest Industry Research Centre (FIRC) say the new tools could save the forestry industry millions of dollars. Given that green wood contains so much moisture, substantial transport cost savings are achievable through infield log drying.
Professor Mark Brown, director of FIRC, said: “With more than 25 million tonnes of predominantly green logs and chips transported in Australia per year at a cost of over AU$350 million, potential annual savings of millions of dollars in annual land transport costs are possible, even for relatively small reductions (less than 10 per cent) in moisture content.
“The initial phase of our research into infield log drying found that summer drying rates of more than one per cent moisture content per day were possible in the first week of storage.” A literature review showed that use of post-harvest forest biomass for domestic energy use and for export is common overseas but is a largely untapped resource in Australia, and will continue to be so unless delivered costs can be reduced.
“High harvest and transport costs are a critical barrier to increased forest biomass use, and integration of forest biomass harvesting with conventional forest harvesting has been shown to be an efficient option,” Professor Brown said. “Biomass and logs for chips and other wood products can then be dried infield to reduce transport costs - and for biomass, increase its energy content.”
Professor Brown explained that infield drying of chip logs and higher-value logs can lead to deterioration in quality and additional processing machinery wear and tear, however, little was known about the magnitude of these issues and at what moisture content they become significant.
The FIRC project included infield drying trials of biomass, chip-logs and higher-value wood products, as well as chipper time and motion studies, with variables such as location, season, species and pile size. Field trial results were then used to create drying models and software tools and this was followed by operational trials conducted with industry collaborators.
The predictive tools developed through this research will enable forest growers to make informed decisions regarding infield storage of logs and biomass so they can reduce moisture content to the point where returns from lower transport costs outweigh any losses from reduced quality, increased storage costs and increased machinery wear and tear.
This project will be completed shortly, so watch the FWPA website for further updates.
Tasmanian Timber campaign takes shapeTasmanian Timbers are set to feature on the national stage following the launch of a new campaign focusing on forest certification and the sustainability of Tasmanian timber products. And according to Shawn Britton, Chairman of Tasmanian Timber, the Responsible Wood certification scheme is an all important step in demonstrating the sustainable origins of Tasmanian timber.
“The Tasmanian Timber campaign foundation research and the enquires through the Tasmanian timber helpline have shown a strong need within the marketplace for education around certification in Australia and the sustainability of our timber products. There is also an ongoing need to communicate around forest management, value adding and innovation with the communities making long term decisions about log supply,” Mr Britton said.
On hand to discuss Responsible Wood’s involvement in the campaign, Jason Ross was thrilled with the campaign focus on the all-important forest certification message.
“Awareness of forest certification specifically amongst architects, engineers and end-users of timber-based products remains low. What this campaign strives to do is to improve the visibility and educate consumers about forest certification, to take Responsible Wood to a national audience,” Mr Ross said.
Many of these businesses are Tasmanian, uniquely and proudly so. “As such the Tasmanian Timber campaign saw a need to communicate locally and nationally on these topics. The series of ads produced shed light on the industry behind Tasmanian timber. An industry of auditors, value adders, researchers and innovators,” Mr Britton said.
As to the particulars, the campaign will combine print, digital and social media advertising. “The ads have been placed in Green Magazine print and digital publications nationally, Tasmanian major and regional papers, Hobart airport digital screens, at the AGFEST trade event, and sponsored posts through Instagram,” Mr Britton said.
For more information about the campaign please visit the Tasmanian Timber Campaign website.
VicForests transforming harvest systemsVicForests has completed the key first consultation phase of a revision of its harvesting methods and practices to enhance threatened species protection. The consultative process has benefitted from input from major stakeholders, including industry, environment groups and Government.
More than 100 stakeholder organisations have been directly contacted by VicForests. The extensive consultation is part of VicForests goal of attaining the Forest Stewardship Council Controlled Wood standard by 2020.
The proposed altered harvesting methods and species protection approach will be governed by two key documents, currently in draft. They are:
- VicForests Harvesting and Regeneration Systems
- VicForests High Conservation Value Management Systems
The documents can be found at FSC 2020 draft systems.
VicForests is proposing to increase the use of a variable retention harvesting method and to markedly decrease the use of clear-fall harvesting and regeneration burning methods to enhance biodiversity outcomes.
Variable harvesting retention involves lighter harvesting that can see up to 80% of a forest stand retained within a coupe. Further, the regeneration of harvested forest may be achieved by re-seeding without burning or, where appropriate, using low intensity or limited burning.
The much-reduced reliance on high intensity post-harvest burning will enhance outcomes for retained habitat elements. VicForests’ high conservation value management system for threatened species will centre on retaining hollow bearing and large old trees, and include trees that are assessed to have the potential for developing into future hollow bearing trees.
This is in addition to all other existing protection measures currently applied for many endangered species and their habitats. These trees essentially provide current and future habitat for a wide range of species, including threatened species such as Leadbeater’s Possum and the Greater Glider.
Some clear-fall operations are still expected to occur, particularly in Ash forests where there are no high conservation values present. Underpinning science shows that this method of mimicking the effects of bushfire minimises safety hazards for forest workers and provides the best regeneration and regrowth of these forest types.
In March and April, input into the developing drafts was invited from an array of stakeholders. VicForests has received many comprehensive responses, including from key industry, forest user and environment groups. During May, the input will be analysed by VicForests ecologists, silviculture (harvesting) and operational health and safety specialists, and revised drafts will be developed.
This will be followed by a second round of consultations into the updated drafts in June, before they are finalised in preparation for an FSC audit anticipated for November 2019. The broad principles of the new practices have commenced in some coupes, and these will be continuously refined based on operational learnings and stakeholder feedback. Therefore, the documents will remain iterative, and VicForests will continue to receive input and review the documents on an on-going basis.
“This is a transformational period for VicForests,” said acting Chief Executive Officer, Anne Geary. “We are focused and committed to revising our harvesting and species protection to align with the FSC standard, and also with changing community and industry expectations. We thank those groups and individuals who have taken time to provide detailed and constructive input that will assist us to complete our plans.”
Submissions on the two documents can still be made to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source & Photo: VicForests
Future foresters talking up careersAs part of their mission to promote all aspects of forestry, New Zealand’s Future Foresters have spearheaded the “forestry collective” stand at the recent Rotorua Careers Expo. The expo ran over two days this week with its purpose to showcase available careers in the region to over 2000 primary and secondary school students. An incredible effort from local members and their employers leading up to the event meant that the forestry collective had the largest, most interactive, and most relevant stand at the Expo.
The local Future Foresters group (supported by forestry companies and Toi Ohomai) ran competitions, spoke passionately about the industry to interested students and shared their personal forestry stories and advice on potential career paths in all aspects of the industry.
This could not have been achieved without the impressive and diverse bunch of Future Foresters who kindly donated their time and enthusiasm to share their passion about forestry. We can safely say that the two days was a huge success and would be one of the best efforts to showcase the opportunities of the industry to the local students in the region to date.
Feedback from students was overwhelmingly positive. What largely piqued their interest was the ability to work outdoors, staying away from a typical office 9-5 job, and the ability to be out in nature and enjoy the physical aspects of the work. Nearly all the kids the group spoke to appreciated Aotearoa’s unique landscapes and the ability to make parts of these landscapes their places of work, especially given that a large portion of the population don’t get the chance to make the forest their worksite!
All in all, this was a hugely successful event. The group acknowledges the support of all the companies involved: Kaingaroa Timberlands, PF Olsen, Port Blakely, Rayonier, Hancock Forest Management, Toi Ohomai. Also, a big thanks to all the passionate and dedicated Future Foresters who turned up and helped out in whatever way possible.
Global wood pellet shipments up 21%Over 22 million tons of wood pellets were shipped globally in 2018, up 21% from 2017. The US, Canada, Vietnam, Latvia and Russia, accounted for 69% of global exports in 2018, reports the North American Wood Fibre Review
Global trade of wood pellets jumped more than 21% year-over-year in 2018 when a new record of 22.3 million tons was shipped, according to the North American Wood Fibre Review. The five major pellet exporting countries (the US, Canada, Vietnam, Latvia, and Russia) have remained the top exporters for over five years. They accounted for about 69% of the world’s export volume in 2018.
Following the “big five” in 2018 were Estonia, Austria, Malaysia, Denmark and Germany, in descending order. Pellet production in the US South continued at record pace in, driven by a European move away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy. From the 1Q/18 to the 4Q/18, exports from the region were up almost 50%, further manifesting US’s role as the world’s largest producer and exporter of wood pellets, reports the NAWFR. The United States ships practically all its pellets to three countries: the United Kingdom, Belgium and Denmark. Only a small share of the pellet production in the US is consumed domestically.
Demand for imported pellets in Japan and South Korea continued a three-year growth trend in the 4Q/18 when import volumes reached new record highs of 339,000 tons and 993,000 tons, respectively. In 2018, the total annual import volume for the two countries was just over 4.5 million tons, more than doubling in just two years. With the increased trade, prices for pellets landed in both Japan and South Korea have moved upward over the past three years.
In the 4Q/18, the price for pellets imported to Japan averaged $182/ton, up almost six percent from the 4Q/17. Pellet import prices to South Korea, which were nominally lower than those in Japan, rose almost 25 percent during the same period. The lower average cost for South Korea can be explained by that country’s reliance on pellets from low-cost countries in nearby Vietnam and Malaysia. This is unlike Japan, whose major pellet supplier is British Columbia, a more expensive producer of high-quality FSC and SFI certified pellets.
Source: Wood Resources International LLC, www.woodprices.com
Rayonier Matariki Forests wins outdoor awardRayonier Matariki Forests received an Outdoor Access Champion Award for its work supporting the Pauanui Tairua Trail. The Walking Access Commission Ara Hīkoi Aotearoa presents Outdoor Access Champion Awards each year to people and organisations who have made significant and lasting contributions to public access to the outdoors in New Zealand.
The forestry company was nominated for the award by the Hikuai District Trust, which has been building the Pauanui Tairua Trail. "Rayonier Matariki Forests has been really supportive of the Pauanui Tairua Trail, which passes through a section of forest which it manages," says Asher Wilson-Goldman, Walking Access Commission Strategic Communications and Partnerships Manager.
The Hikuai District Trust has received financial and physical support from Rayonier Matariki Forests for half a decade. Rayonier Matariki Forests has adopted the trail as its environmental flagship project. Last year it was particularly proactive, sending a team of experienced foresters to remove a number of problem trees that were causing potential safety hazards for walkers and bikers.
Andy Warren, Regional Manager for Rayonier Matariki Forests, Bay of Plenty, said lending support to community projects such as the Pauanui Tairua Trail is very important to the company. "We are delighted to be an ongoing part of this great initiative which is a real asset to the community and a wonderful drawcard for visitors. Forestry has a long history in the area and with views of our Tairua Forest all around the walkway, it was important that we be a part of this ambitious project."
Photo: Andy Warren from RMF receiving the award
Source: New Zealand Walking Access Commission
10 best-worst wooden car modificationsGenius or madness? Sometimes there's a fine line between the two, and clearly these modifiers think they are on it. They're not. They're just crazy – and they love wood.
Sometimes, steel is just too expensive. Sometimes, plastic makes too much sense. Fortunately, the forests of the world are vast, power saws are cheap, and besides, didn’t you quit community college halfway through your first semester because you were tired of people judging you?
Behold: the weird and wonderful world of wood car modifications. Here are 10 of the most egregious examples you’ll ever see dodging termites down the turnpike. More>>.
Source: Tree Frog Forestry News
Buy and Sell
... and one to end the week on ... the police recruits
Three Australians were all applying for the last available position on the New Zealand Police Force - Traffic Division. The detective conducting the interview looked at the three of them and said, "So y'all want to be cops, huh?"
And on that note, enjoy your weekend. Cheers.
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