Friday Offcuts – 12 July 2019

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Twelve months ago, we reported on an exciting new initiative – the birth of a new grouping of young foresters in New Zealand, Future Foresters. The plan was to create a nationwide community of young foresters. Their mission? To help change the perception of forestry and their actions, to drive change amongst millennials by actively encouraging students to look favourably at our industry as a future career option.

They’re now one year on and they’ve made huge strides (see the story and contribution below). They now boast 250 members. From their launch of 5 short videos in September of last year, they’ve had something like 1.2 million impressions. For their target audience, social media has been their communication vehicle of choice. In anyone’s language, that’s an impressive reach. For the many of us who have seen the Future Foresters team in action this year - at careers expos, at school visits, forest open days and at industry meetings - you have to be impressed by their passion, their dedication and their commitment to the cause. Congratulations and as an industry, we look forward to supporting this grouping and the team in their second year of operation.

This week we’ve included several articles relating to the Billion Trees planting programme and drop off in log prices being experienced by those exporting into China. An opinion piece from Marty Verry, CEO of the Red Stag Group details how there are now plenty of mass planting programmes being set up around the world. The question being raised is whether our principal market, China, is going to be in a position to take this extra wood as these plantings reach maturity, 30 years or so down the track.

The answer, according to Marty, is that the country needs to reduce its dependency on one country, it needs to broaden its markets and demand for wood products and the Government needs to walk the talk and act on its well-publicised “wood first“ policy promised a year or two back. Another commentator also suggests that the current downturn in log pricing should provide a wake-up call to the industry of having all its eggs in China’s log basket. We have to add value to our wood and we need somehow to compete with cheaper lumber being brought in from Europe in less than half the time it takes our log shipments take to get over there. As suggested, maybe it’s time for a rethink.

And finally, for the tech minded readers amongst you, the latest monthly issues of for local sawmilling and wood manufacturing companies and written for resource managers, remote sensing and GIS specialists and inventory foresters were sent out to readers last week. Check out the latest issues. If not already receiving these tech updates, you can sign up directly through the newsletters – and they’re free. That’s it for this week. Enjoy this week’s read.

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Billion Trees will fail without Wood First policy

OPINION: Marty Verry, CEO, Red Stag Group. Would you invest NZ$481 million in growing a product on the assumption that the price and demand for it in China in 28 years will be the same as it is now? Of course not. But you are. We all are through the Billion Trees programme.

China takes seventy-five percent of New Zealand’s logs. You could say we have all our logs in one basket. So, the question nobody has asked is, will the demand for our trees be there in twenty-eight years and at what price?

Tens of thousands of hectares of farmland has been snapped up by investors, giddy with grants from the NZ$481 million Provincial Growth Fund allocation to the Billion Trees programme. They have pushed land prices up forty-five percent according to the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand.

Farming communities are up in arms at the rapid change, and righty so in my view. No so much because trees are bad (they are great), but because many of these forests could become investment failures, never to be harvested, and a fire and forest disease risk for decades. A white elephant in every rural road.

So why the doomsday scenario, and what can be done about it?

Firstly, a reality check on relying on China long term for our billion trees. Despite MPI targeting having two-thirds of its 50,000 hectares extra planting annually going into natives, the Billion Tree cabinet paper acknowledges most will be in plantation crops requiring harvesting and re-planting. This seems right given MPI’s own CO2 sequestration look-up tables show natives only absorb one tonne CO2 per hectare annually after fifty years. Hardly a long-term solution to climate change, and certainly not a great return for investors.

What about manuka honey? Manuka is a nursery crop for the larger natives that will eventually take over. So, no long term putea for the mokopuna, as the forestry minister might describe the lack of money for the grandkids.

No, the majority of the billion trees will be radiata pine, and radiata pine needs harvesting and re-planting to make the feasibility models work and keep forests healthy. That relies on demand and pricing that covers the cost of land, planting, silviculture, harvesting and transporting the logs.

The problem arises because we are not the only country to work out trees sequester CO2, and launch a billion tree policy. There are a plethora of them around the world. India has planted a billion trees. So has Ethiopia. Pakistan has a ‘Billion Tree Tsunami’ programme underway. A UN billion tree campaign was so successful it was upgraded to a Trillion Tree programme. Even Australia has a billion tree policy.

So, will China need our one billion trees? Ten years ago, it temporarily stopped harvesting to replenish its own forest estate. New Zealand’s supply shot up to forty-three percent of China’s log imports. However, it recently announced plans to increase its own forestry estate by 11 billion cubic meters by 2050. China could be producing enough of its own wood products to replace log imports from New Zealand six times over.

This is before one factors in the huge increase in supply targeting China from the rest of world and New Zealand’s own increased production, and the fact that the demand now from China is largely driven by the huge urbanisation programme underway there which will be largely complete by the time our billion trees mature.

To read the full article, click here.

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Future Foresters celebrate one year on

Future Foresters had their first birthday in June!!! Yes, it has been just over a year now since they officially launched their website (, their branding, and the official idea for this amazing group!! Attached is a small piece written by one of their team – which encapsulates the passion and enthusiasm that has built up over just 12 months.

"For our 1st birthday celebration I thought I would share with you all something a little bit personal, something a little bit emotive, a piece I wrote towards the end of last year more for myself than for anyone else but hey here it is! The question I posed to myself was this: What was the motivation behind Future Foresters?

I am forestry biased to the extreme. I love forestry. I love trees, I love landscapes, I love the outdoors, and I love wood as a product. However, when I began my job in forestry it soon dawned on me that I was missing a certain social connection. I knew there were likeminded and passionate young foresters in Aotearoa but they just didn’t happen to be in my town, or I just hadn’t had the chance to meet them yet. I had forestry friends throughout NZ so I knew they were out there. I knew there were others too, I’d heard rumours of them – like the local Taniwha; talked about but never seen - but I had no means to connect with them.

Surely, I wasn’t the anomaly. Surely, I wasn’t the only one who felt this social connection was missing. I loved my job but one of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs – community; a sense of belonging –was missing.

To me, forestry brings a sense of community like no other. Consistently I am impressed by my manager, my boss, my previous employers, all seeming to know each other from some forestry heyday. Some mystical heyday at Fletchers, or Carters, or some Forest Service camp or training. This comradery, these shared adventures have stuck with them and impacted their careers and their personal lives through meaningful work and social connections.

These historic forestry connections and networks are perhaps not unique to forestry but are one of our collective industry superpowers. The forestry community is one of our ultimate strengths that we need to cultivate and draw upon.

And so, through an admittedly selfish realisation, it dawned on me that I would not be able to make important early career connections just because I didn’t work for a large company and because there wasn’t a forestry community for people to interact.

As we look to a more wellness centric approach to work and life, the importance of sound social connection cannot be overstated. If we truly care about the wellbeing of all those in the industry then we need to promote connection and promote this forestry sense of community.

Future Foresters is an avenue to form our own forestry centric community – I am so damn proud, like a dad whose children go off logging or head to forestry school, I’m so proud that a tear threatens to pass the border of my eyelids.

Future Foresters, as a collective, want to be the catalyst for career-long, and life-long, connections. We are here to provide connection and community for the betterment of all of us. Yes, we have ambitious goals of changing public perception, of encouraging more youth into all aspects of forestry, and of providing a millennial perspective. However, the inner core and purpose is to get forestry people together with the realisation that we are all part of a national community. Hey, you could even suggest we are part of an international community (did someone say Future Foresters International?...).

At Future Foresters we want to do more than simply get together, however, at the heart of it all, it’s this very simple concept that has made it work, and I hope will make it work from now into the future, as we progress from seedling to silviculture, from mid-rotation to harvest.

These are my personal motivations and my own thoughts. Everyone is different, everyone has their own perspective of the industry, of problems we face, of solutions to those problems, but at its core we cannot expect to come up with a cohesive and sustainable way of managing our forests in the future if we do not look to make the connections and relationships now and learn from the past and the present to guide us into the unknown.

So, I leave you with my thoughts. I am striving for a forestry community. At Future Foresters, we are striving for a forestry community and with a forestry community we will have the ability to be resilient, to be sustainable and rewarding, and to be world leading.

Kia Kaha!! Any feedback, thoughts, or ideas? Get in touch via the website or simply email:"

Source: Future Foresters
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Contractors encouraged to access support

The Forest Industry Contractors Association (FICA) and Forest Owners Association (FOA) are encouraging New Zealand contractors to access support early during the logging downturn. The price drop has been felt across the industry in recent weeks.

FOA President Peter Weir says “Woodlot owners and managers are highly likely to reduce or cease log harvesting in the short term in response to price pressure in export markets. Larger owners will have a focus on the longer term and will be keen to make sure they maintain their labour force, for when the market picks up again.”

FICA President Ross Davis reiterates that a key concern for contractors is retaining their skilled, reliable staff, who will be instrumental in maximising production once the market picks up again. He encourages struggling contractors to access support early, including seeking advice from their accountants and advisors.

“Keeping your crew/s operational in the short term while the market corrects itself is the key focus,” he says. “We encourage contractors to keep up communication with your accountants and advisers, who can give you advice whether it’s to reduce your operational overheads or volumes or a short-term rate reduction for example.”

He adds that FICA and FOA are actively working with government, industry and professional advisors to deliver a coordinated network of support. “We encourage contractors in need of support to get in contact. We may be able to connect you with appropriate agencies or provide guidance to help you get through.”

“While we can’t predict the extent of this downturn, we want to assure contractors that we are here to support you and are with you through this challenging time.”

Source: FICA

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Fatigue management guidelines released

The Logging Investigation and Training Association (LITA) has released guidelines for developing and implementing a fatigue management policy for the forestry industry. The material aims to assist forestry industry participants to identify, assess and manage the risks associated with fatigue. The guidance material offers a structured approach to the development of a fatigue risk management system including a fatigue policy, risk assessment tools and risk-based control options to manage fatigue.

SafeWork SA commends the new forestry industry fatigue management guidelines and has visited a number of forestry businesses to check on fatigue management. It has issued Improvement Notices to encourage the development and implementation of appropriate fatigue management plans.

“We would like to remind workers that if they have concerns about safety in the workplace, they should let us know,” said Imogen Selley, SafeWork SA Director of Compliance & Enforcement. The new LITA fatigue management guidelines can be viewed here.

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Global sawmilling experts bought in for September

Following on from the success of the 2017 sawmilling event, a series of practical troubleshooting workshops have been designed as part of the WoodTECH 2019 series that runs in September for a much wider cross section of sawmill production and operational staff. They’re going to provide a unique insight into how sawmills can extract the best performance out of their saws, machine centres and sawing operations”.

Workshops of between 60-90 minutes are being given on; primary breakdown and machine alignment and maintenance techniques to improve machine reliability, real-time quality control, condition monitoring, saw and guide alignment and trouble-shooting saw guides. In addition to the workshops, presentations throughout the two days in each country have also been geared towards both mill management and sawmill production staff.

The three workshop presenters are already well known by local companies and are regular visitors to this part of the world working alongside many mills across the region – in installation, commissioning and in troubleshooting.

Joe Shields, now a mechanical trainer with USNR has over 40 years’ experience in the troubleshooting of electrical, electronic, and mechanical systems. Alignments and system diagnostics have become Joe’s main focus for service trips around the world working with sawmill service and engineering teams developing product improvements to reduce maintenance and downtime. Further details on the Machine Alignment and Maintenance workshop can be viewed here.

Josh Bergen will be taking the workshop on Troubleshooting Saw Guides, demonstrating to local mills how they can get the most out of their saw guides through careful selection, installation, operation and maintenance. Contained in the workshop will be a number of in-mill case studies. Josh is the founding partner of Precision Machinery, a CNC machine shop, R&D facility and industrial manufacturer based out of B.C. With customers all over the world, Josh’s company has specialized and is recognised internationally for their work in manufacturing and maintaining saw guides and guide dressers.

Nick Barrett, President of the Canadian company, SiCam Systems who got outstanding feedback from delegates at the 2017 event, will also be back for the 2019 series. Nick is a visionary in the field of emerging technologies to support lumber size control and predictive maintenance in the mill. He has worked in both Aviation Systems and Robotics but has focused the last 17 years on the wood products industry. Nick is the original designer of the SiCam products and currently the driving force behind the company’s vision. As part of the workshop this year Nick will be outlining through a series of mill case studies, the application of both manual and automated methods for testing specific machinery in the sawmill and systems that have successfully been implemented by leading mills to audit equipment, scanning systems, people and overall mill performance.

Registrations to both events in the series are now flowing in with most mills taking full advantage of the significant discounts on offer for group bookings to attend this year’s programme.

Information and registrations can be accessed from the event website, The two-yearly sawmilling series runs in Rotorua, New Zealand on 11-12 September and then again in Melbourne, Australia on 17-18 September 2019.

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New truck platooning trials on the way

Encouraged by what they learned during last year’s test campaign, FPInnovations and its partners plan to continue evaluating cooperative truck platooning technology in the coming months. This year’s goals are more ambitious.

Researchers, in addition to confirming developments in the technology since last year, will be focusing on steering control in the following trucks. The data collected will be used to get an accurate picture of the technology’s current capabilities and how it must be adapted for use on unpaved resource roads. This will allow us to confirm and update the roadmap for introducing the concept of truck platooning on unpaved roads.

FPInnovations is also exploring the possibility of working with other sectors that have organizational and technological challenges similar to those facing the forestry industry in order to develop partnerships to speed up the required developments.

Key takeaways from the November 2018 trials in La Tuque, Québec:

- Platooning technology, with adjustments, is viable on resource roads;
- Application for the forestry industry is to automate the following trucks in order to address the driver shortage and not to achieve fuel savings;
- The forest environment has an impact on platooning: receiving a GPS signal, maintaining a following distance between vehicles, braking;
- No impact was observed on message transmission by dedicated short range communication (DSRC) protocol; and
- Specific platooning challenges are associated with resource roads.


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Company wants tougher fire-prevention rules

A forest company that lost thousands of pine trees in the Tasman wildfires wants tougher rules around fire prevention to include the wider public.

The fire started in Pigeon Valley in the Nelson region on 5 February by a tractor tilling a dry field. It is thought that farm machinery sparked against a stone, sparking the blaze which grew to become New Zealand’s largest since 1955.

It raced across 2300 hectares of rolling, rural land, including 1400 hectares of trees owned by Tasman Pine Forests. Almost two weeks later 55 properties were damaged, with losses reaching NZ$30 million, and more than 3000 people had been evacuated from their homes. Fire-fighting and evacuation costs reached NZ$50 million.

Tasman Pine Forests boss Steve Chandler was only a month into the job when he looked out of his Spring Grove office window in February this year, and saw the hills ablaze.

More >>.

Source: rnz

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Falling log prices impact on woodlot harvesting

In-market prices for logs in China - New Zealand's largest export market - have fallen in recent weeks and ANZ Bank warns the drop will make the harvest of some woodlots unprofitable. While some price softening is not unusual at this time of year as construction activity slows in the hot months, "the scale of the correction was unexpected," said ANZ agriculture economist Susan Kilsby.

The price of an A-grade log landed in China has fallen from US$130/JAS cubic-metre in early June to approximately US$105/JAS cubic-metre. "The current price level is difficult to quantify as the market has been moving rapidly downwards and in this environment, buyers are unwilling to commit to pricing," she adds.

While some exporters are optimistic the bottom may have been reached "this seems unlikely given the quantity of logs sitting on wharves in China is expected to increase," Kilsby says. A number of ships are sitting on the water destined for China without letters of credit. Sales are typically negotiated on a cost and freight basis where the buyer is responsible for the freight costs. This means for a portion of the logs on the water, the sales process has not been completed, she says.

A lift in the supply of logs and lumber into China relative to current demand is the main reason log prices have corrected, Kilsby says. The quantity of logs that have been imported into China in recent months is more than normal. New Zealand has steadily increased its share of the China log market in recent years to become the largest supplier of logs to China.

New Zealand's exports this year to date have lifted by 22 percent. An extra 1.35 million cubic-metres of logs were exported from New Zealand during the first five months of 2019 - equivalent to about one additional month of supply.

The quantity of logs sitting on wharves in China has lifted to about twice the normal level. While that is not unusual for this time of year, Kilsby says the figure is likely to grow due to the volume of logs currently on the water. She says harvesting activity is slowing in New Zealand as a result of the lower returns. Some harvesting crews have been laid off while others are having volume restrictions placed on them.

The drop in harvesting is expected to primarily occur in the smaller woodlots due to the one-off nature of this revenue. The larger forest owners are more likely to continue harvesting as lower returns from the current spot market will be offset in some cases by contracts already in place, and will be more readily absorbed due to receiving continuous revenue from harvesting.

She says, however, any slowing of felling activity will help the oversupply situation and therefore will assist the China market to recover, or at the least reduce further price falls. A substantial improvement in prices is not likely to occur in the short-term and it may take six months for a marked lift in price, as existing stocks need to be worked through and buyer confidence needs to rebuild.

Kilsby also says diverting a portion of the logs destined for China to other markets would also be beneficial. The quantity of raw logs exported to markets other than China has fallen away in recent years. This is primarily due to these markets not being able to match the prices being offered by Chinese buyers.

"The drop in pricing may now help other markets be more competitive. But it will still be a challenge to divert a significant volume of logs into other markets given that China currently accounts for approximately 80 percent of all the logs exported from New Zealand," she says.

For further coverage on the impact of the log price drop, click here.

Source: BusinessDesk

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Logging crisis a warning?

The world went small car crazy yesterday as the Government’s incentives to get the country into cleaner cars appeared to be welcomed with more enthusiasm than I thought. But while all that was going down, our third biggest export was hitting a bump in the road.

Forestry contributes NZ$5.2 billion a year to our economy. We have big forests and in Shane Jones, a minister obsessed with them. But the tree trade has toppled. New Zealand logs are piling up on Chinese wharves as cheap, sawn timber makes its way by train into the People's Republic from Russia and Scandinavia. Five million tonnes of logs, mostly from New Zealand are sitting on wharves in China unsold.

When I heard that fact I was pretty blown away. Five million tonnes of logs is a lot of logs and apparently more boats from New Zealand are on their way. But to give you an idea of the scale of the operation normally one million tonnes of logs sit on wharves.

NZ Forest Owners Association president Peter Weir says it’s time to put the forestry business on hold for about 6 months and wait and see. He says the whole thing needs a major reset. Jobs are going to be lost and forests will not be harvested.

There’s a lot of reasons for the crash, but here’s two I want to highlight. The timber that’s undercutting us is coming from Europe on trains that take 15 days to get there rather than 45 on a boat. The trains are part of China’s belt and road initiative.

Thousands of fully loaded trains leave China each day and come back half empty so there’s cheap freight prices for European timber to China. We're not really part of the belt and road. Their eyes are set across land and towards the populations of the West. China is always changing to suit China and you need to keep an eye on them because when they cough, we catch the flu.

The second thing that caught my eye was that our logs are being undercut by sawn timber out of Europe. In our economy of primary industries how often have you heard that we need to learn to add value to our produce. Why buy a log you have to cut when a four-by-two from Europe is there and ready to go.

And finally, the price of logs. It used to be $140 a tonne now it’s fallen to $110 a tonne. A tonne of logs for 110 bucks. Wow - dirt cheap. It’s not that cheap when you buy trailer load of firewood for the winter. Logs really are a very basic export.

So, forestry, the great saviour of Shane Jones nephs. Or is it? Our product is too simple, too slow and the world’s beating us to the biggest market. It’s time for a sharpening of pencils all round, I reckon. And another warning about having all our eggs in China's basket.

Opinion: Andrew Dickens, newstalkzb

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New program on detached housing market

Forest and Wood Products Australia (FWPA) has launched a technical extension program to encourage the use of wood products in residential Class 1 properties. The National Residential Construction and Fit-out Program, headed by Dr Alastair Woodard, a structural engineer and construction consultant previously involved in FWPA’s WoodSolutions programs, will uncover the issues and opportunities for timber that exist amongst Australia’s top builders.

The first phase of the program will involve market research and consultation over several months with leading residential builders in every state. This phase will gather insights into the building community’s perceptions of using wood products, what they see as the benefits and their concerns.

Ric Sinclair, managing director of FWPA, noted that the program will build greater connectivity between the forest and wood products sector and its biggest current and traditional market. “The residential sector is very significant for a wide range of structural and appearance products, both sawn and engineered. There has been strong interest from FWPA members to have a dedicated program for this sector where most of their products end up,” he said.

“The business dynamics of the residential construction sector are constantly changing and we need up-to-date information on how wood products can deliver better outcomes for both builders and home owners. It is not a promotion program, rather it is about in-depth market understanding, listening and co-creation with the residential construction sector.”

Following the research phase, a strategic plan will be developed outlining the real issues in the residential sector and how the forestry and wood products industry can address them. The plan aims to identify the key activities and industry players, the potential associated costs, as well as any potential R&D or marketing investment to support the required activities.

Dr Woodard said he is looking forward to taking the lead on this new initiative. “I am really keen to be involved in the new program and to determine what needs to be done to see new market growth and importantly existing market protection in the residential area. The beauty of this program is going in with a blank canvas and identifying the common concerns and priorities from the builders themselves,” said Dr Woodard.

Dr Woodard managed the WoodSolutions Victorian program and Tertiary Education program and is a Director of TPC Solutions, a consultancy advising on the impact of building materials. He has also spent ten years with the Timber Promotion Council as General Manager and Executive Director prior to its closure in 2005.

Source: FWPA

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Plan sets vision for the WA forestry industry

- A strategic framework sets a path forward for the Western Australian forestry industry

- The plan focuses on healthy forests, community benefits and job creation

- Wood Encouragement Policy has been developed and is a key action item of the plan

Forestry Minister Dave Kelly has launched a plan setting out the strategic direction for the future of the Western Australian forestry industry to support healthy forests and support WA jobs. The Djarlma Plan for the Western Australian Forestry Industry was developed under the guidance of an independent panel, and with extensive industry and community consultation.

The plan was inspired by the Noongar concept of Djarlma that reflects the interconnected relationship of people, forests and woodlands, and aims to build new job opportunities in the WA forestry industry. It sets out a framework for action for the next decade to support the transformation of the industry to deliver better economic benefits through the implementation of ecologically sustainable strategies, building on the foundations of the Forest Management The plan identifies opportunities to secure investment and foster innovation in the forestry sector. These opportunities include optimising the use of harvested wood fibre to produce a range of environmentally sustainable products such as engineered timbers and bioplastics.

A key action item from the plan, a Wood Encouragement Policy for Western Australia, has already been developed by the Forest Products Commission. This policy aims to support the forestry industry by encouraging the use of responsibly sourced wood in the construction and fit-out of buildings in Western Australia.

The Djarlma Plan and the Wood Encouragement Policy can be downloaded here.

Source: Government of Western Australia

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Ernslaw One’s interim CEO announced

The Board of Directors of Ernslaw One is pleased to announce the appointment of Paul Nicholls to the role of Interim Chief Executive Officer commencing on Monday 8th July 2019. As Interim CEO, Paul will have responsibility for Earnslaw’s forestry-related activities covering financial, operational and community performance. This will include a review of all systems and processes within the company and a recommendation to the Board for the appointment of a permanent CEO.

Many of you will know Paul from his long association with Rayonier Matariki Forests including 13 years as Managing Director. While he retired from RMF in February 2018 he has remained active within the forestry community with several forestry consultancies and business ventures. Paul will report to a newly established board comprising Dr Paul Tiong (Chairman), Kenny Tiong, Chiong Yong Tiong (Yong) and Jack Porus who will chair the board meetings.

Source: Ernslaw One

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Trade in global softwood lumber increases

Global trade of softwood lumber increased in the 1Q/19, US lumber prices were substantially lower than in early 2019 and Russian lumber exports are on the rise, reports the Wood Resource Quarterly.

Global trade of softwood lumber reached 120 million m3 in 2018, the second highest level on record. The uptick in demand for lumber continued in early 2019, with most of the major lumber-exporting countries increasing their shipments as compared to early 2018.

Out of the top-ten exporting countries, the largest year-over-year increases (in %) were in Ukraine, Russia, the US, Chile and Germany. Lumber exports from Ukraine have taken off dramatically after the country banned practically all exports of softwood logs in 2017.

Lumber markets – North America

The free fall of lumber prices in the US came to a halt in early 2019, when prices were close to a four-year low. During the spring prices rose modest in both the US South and the US West. However, prices were substantially lower than their record highs in the 1H/18.

Oversea supply of softwood lumber to the US has always been a fairly small share of the total import volume. Canadian supply has historically accounted for 94-97% of total imports, only declining when US lumber prices have been high, thus attracting imports from Europe and Latin America. However, non-Canadian imports have increased for six consecutive years and in 2018 reached their highest level seen in 11 years, reports the Wood Resource Quarterly (WRQ).

Softwood lumber exports from Canada were down six percent year-over-year in 2018, with the biggest decline being in shipments to China. Despite efforts by Canada’s lumber industry to diversify its export shipments, 80% of total exports were destined for the US market in the 3Q/18 - a three-year high. However, this share fell to 76% in the 1Q/19 when exports to China rose again.

Lumber markets – China

Despite much uncertainty in the near future for the Chinese economy, lumber imports rose unexpectedly in the 1Q/19 by as much as 14%, as compared to the same quarter in 2018, according to the WRQ. Most of the increase was due to increases in shipments from Russia and Canada, while supply from Europe and Latin America declined. Import prices took a substantial hit in the past year, falling from an average of $335/m3 in March 2018 to $288/m3 in March 2019.

Lumber markets – Russia

Russia increased exports of softwood lumber by 7% from 2017 to 2018 to reach almost 30 million m3. This was the sixth consecutive year that exports have gone up from the previous year. Of the five largest export markets (China, Uzbekistan, Egypt, Azerbaijan and Japan), only Japan imported less lumber from Russia in 2018 than in the previous year.

Source: Wood Resources International LLC,

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One Billion Trees investments announced

Funding for research to improve New Zealand’s native seedling production will boost survivability and create more efficient ways to produce high-quality seedlings, Forestry Minister Shane Jones said.

The One Billion Trees Programme is providing a funding boost of NZ$422,500 for research – led by Scion in partnership with other Bay of Plenty organisations – to identify more effective native seedling propagation techniques and technology.

“The aim is to understand what is and isn’t working and address those key issues including seedling survivability and how to create more efficient ways to produce good quality native seedlings” Shane Jones said. “There’s also the potential to see a more environmentally friendly approach to seedling production through the use of paper wrap instead of the usual plastic wrap – reducing waste in the industry.

“What’s important about this partnership is that it goes beyond just theory. Scion’s aim is to ensure their research into improving native seedling propagation is scalable and available to the industry at large,” Shane Jones said.

“This funding boost will accelerate the planting of native trees through improved and cost-effective propagation technologies. Our unique nursery research facilities combined with our other research capabilities in bioproducts allows us to pursue a more sustainable approach for New Zealand” Scion Chief Executive Dr Julian Elder said.

It was also announced that Crown Forestry will be investing NZ$5 million into two joint ventures that will see 330 hectares of land converted to productive forests. “The first joint venture is 194 hectares owned by Pukahukiwi Kaokaoroa 2 Incorporation while a further 141 hectares is owned by Waipapa 2B2 Ahu Whenua Trust” Shane Jones said.

“These properties included eucalyptus crops which failed to realise an income for the landowners. One of the core goals of the One Billion Trees Programme is supporting Māori to realise their land aspirations. This goes right to the heart of that.

“Not only will these partnerships create an income for the Trusts through rental and a share of the profits at harvest, there is also potential to upskill workers to eventually take over management of the forest from the Crown. Up to 235,000 trees will be planted on these two properties this season, with land preparation now underway”.

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Buy and Sell

... and one to end the week on ... company cleanout

If you've ever worked for a boss who reacts before getting the facts and thinking things through, you will love this!

Arcelor-Mittal Steel, feeling it was time for a shakeup, hired a new CEO. The new boss was determined to rid the company of all slackers.

On a tour of the facilities, the CEO noticed a guy leaning against a wall. The room was full of workers and he wanted to let them know that he meant business.

He asked the guy, "How much money do you make a week?"

A little surprised, the young man looked at him and said, "I make $500 a week. Why?"

The CEO said, "Wait right here." He walked back to his office, came back in two minutes, handed the guy $2,000 in cash, and said, "Here's four weeks' pay. Now GET OUT and don't come back."

Feeling pretty good about himself, the CEO looked around the room and asked, "Does anyone want to tell me what that goofball did here?"

From across the room a voice said, "Pizza delivery guy from Domino's!"

And on that note, enjoy your weekend. Cheers.

Brent Apthorp
Editor, Friday Offcuts
Distinction Dunedin Hotel
6 Liverpool Street, Dunedin 9016, New Zealand
PO Box 904, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand
Tel: +64 (03) 470 1902, Mob: +64 21 227 5177, Fax: +64 (03) 470 1906
Web page:

This week's extended issue, along with back issues, can be viewed at

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