Friday Offcuts 7 February 2020
In the first, the Australian Forest Products Association is urging a new approach is needed to reduce fuel loads in forests. To assist the national Royal Commission into the recent bushfires, a new report has been produced by AFPA outlining how mechanical fuel reduction can be used to complement prescribed burns as part of a national bushfire strategy. In the second, the Institute of Foresters of Australia and Australian Forest Growers have stated that in the aftermath of the fires, a blanket “no to recovery harvesting operations” being pushed by some groups at the moment, is far too simplistic. Instead, a more “systematic plan” needs to be developed to ensure that the environment is protected, that biodiversity is preserved and that the local communities dependent on these forests for jobs during the bush fire recovery period are able to continue. Links to both the report and position paper are contained in this week’s stories.
In New Zealand right now, it’s not so much the aftermath of fires that’s worrying the industry, but the growing concerns and ramifications of Coronavirus in its key log export market, China. China is by far the largest and most important market for New Zealand’s export logs and by value, New Zealand earns half its export income from China. The impact from reduced construction and European imports in China is now being felt in New Zealand with harvesting in a number of regions across the country either reducing or stopped.
At the moment there’s still a huge degree of uncertainty on the immediate future impact that the coronavirus is going to have on forest owners, harvesting crews, transport companies and log traders across the supply chain. The situation is still very fluid. It does though have the potential to become very serious. We’ve included coverage from this week with a cross section of commentary drawn from across the country. We’ve also included a succinct and independent summary of the current situation and potential impacts. Further updates will come in future issues.
And from Australia, we’ve also included an update on the timber industry’s campaign, Frame with Timber, Renew our Future. It was launched late in 2019 and it’s largely targeting builders, the main decision makers and influencers for material choice in construction. Results to date are looking very promising. They’re showing a healthy 3 million plus views of the messaging through various on-line mediums together with a healthy click through rate to the campaign website. Further details on the campaign can be found on www.woodsolutions.com.au/framing.
And finally, the first issues for 2020 for foresttech.news, harvesttech.news and woodtech.news have been sent out to well over 15,000 subscribers this week. If not receiving them yourself, please register directly. They’re free. And on this note, enjoy this week’s read.
This week we have for you:
Analysis - what’s happening in China?Included in this week’s issue is a media release put out on Monday by FOA and the Forest Industry Contractors Association on the impact of the Chinese market and ripple effects being felt by the forestry industry and contractors in New Zealand. In addition to the information in the press release, they’ve included additional market intelligence sent out to their members mid-week that may shed some light on this rapidly evolving situation to our readers.
“It is a difficult time and no one knows how this is going to play out. At this stage we are trying to gather facts. China is trying to keep trade open and as far as we are aware are still unloading ships. However, inventories are at the high end of what is normal at China ports so what happens next depends on whether the Chinese sawmills come back on line after the end of the extended New Year. We are seeing some but not all companies taking a precautionary approach to try to avoid an excessive build-up of inventory in China and the subsequent downside impact on log prices”.
• The situation is very fluid but has the potential to become very serious. More time and information will be needed before we know.
• The port inventory level in China is very high (5-6 million m3) and growing as supply exceeds demand.
• The impact of the Coronavirus is coming on top of market disruption caused by the significant increase in supply of wood (larch) from Europe as a result of the beetle infestation. Supply and demand have also been affected by the Chinese New Year being extended (9 February).
• The Chinese ports are currently open despite some rumours to the contrary. Ship crews are being quarantined while they work. The Chinese government has an obvious interest in keeping the port trade functioning and that extends well beyond forestry.
• Some parties have already taken action. All forest owners are prepared to cut back production at some point. Some have already reached that point. Others are monitoring but still trading and with contingency plans. PFP has advised they will not be accepting any more wood. This has affected Gisborne and Southland ports in particular. On the back of this a number of corporate members have ceased harvesting in the Gisborne region immediately. This adds to the cutback already taken by smaller and medium sized players and means the reduction in supply will be significant.
• The domestic market will also be impacted. Reduction in export logs will also mean a reduction in domestic logs. Furthermore, the export market for processed product, particularly pulp, may compound the issue.
• The end of the extended Chinese New Year period (Sunday, 9 February) may provide some greater clarity as workers officially return to work. Further virus spread and/or on-going travel restrictions are likely to mean that not all businesses will be operating as normal.
• Industry leadership is closely working with MPI and Te Uru Rākau, supported by the New Zealand embassy in Beijing on the rapidly evolving situation.
Source: Forest Owners Association
NZ forest owners wary of closing accessNew Zealand log exporters are bracing themselves for supply chain problems in China due to the outbreak of coronavirus. Some forest owners are already reducing their harvesting rate. Regrettably this will have an immediate effect on harvesting crew employment.
The New Zealand Forest Owners Association says that the extended Lunar New Year public holiday makes it difficult to know what is going to happen when sawmills in China restart. Association President Peter Weir says he understands that log ships continue to be unloaded, but he says we need to wait to determine what the offtake volume of logs might be after the traditional New Year break. There is industry concern that if the virus were to infect more people in coastal towns and cities then access to Chinese ports could be restricted with little warning.
China is by far the largest and most important market for New Zealand’s export logs and by value New Zealand earns half its export income from China. The coronavirus outbreak comes on top of new supplies of softwood into China, due to the salvage of insect and windstorm damaged spruce forests in Central and Eastern Europe. Warmer winters and longer summers have led to very high rates of spruce beetle infestation with large areas of forests being clear-felled and salvage logs railed and shipped to China.
In the coming year, exports of bushfire damaged pine logs from Australia also have the potential to increase the softwood supply to China. Peter Weir says, “We know from our embassy in Beijing that the Chinese central government authorities are doing an excellent job of both trying to protect people from the spread of coronavirus and at the same time ensuring economic activity is sustained. But nobody knows how long and widespread the coronavirus outbreak will be and what effect that will have on any medium-term trade.”
“We are most concerned about the effect on the harvesting workforce in many regions of New Zealand which depend on log exports. Forest owner capacity and circumstances vary hugely. Those owners who supply domestic sawmills will be largely unaffected, but the domestic market can only take less than half the current annual harvest and not all log grades.”
“Stockpiling logs is not a good option, because the logs deteriorate, especially at this time of the year, and unrestrained supply from here is a market threat. I should say that it is possible that the disruption will turn out to be brief, as it was in mid-2019. It is entirely possible that the Chinese timber processing and construction industry will return to normal and the inventory stored at ports will diminish over the next few months as it normally does.”
“In the meantime, we hope that our valued sawmilling industry customers, often small family businesses, in and around port cities in China, are not impacted by the virus. Peter Weir says the industry leadership is closely working with MPI and Te Uru Rākau, supported by the New Zealand embassy in Beijing on the rapidly evolving situation.
The CEO for the Forest Industry Contractors Association, Prue Younger is confirming that contractors being told to halt felling trees has come as a complete surprise. “The industry is reeling a bit as you would expect,” Prue Younger says. “Although market prices were on their way down again, the coronavirus impact has made this a very complex situation. It’s important that we’ll be working with forest owners daily and ascertain the extent of this fallout and how long our crews might expect to be out of work.”
“There are risks for everyone in this scenario and like all primary industries the ripples may be extensive.”
Source: FOA, FICA
Frame with Timber, Renew our FutureAs the devastating bushfires impact on regional Australia, a new timber industry campaign’s key message is timely – Frame with Timber, Renew our Future. The campaign was launched late 2019. The thinking behind ’Renew our Future’ is that timber stores carbon forming an important part of the climate solution for Australia. Its significant, with almost 2 million m3 of renewable plantation structural pine used in Australian buildings each year that’s an annual storage bank of 500,000 tonnes which is stored for the life of the timber each and every year.
Most of this renewable timber is grown and manufactured in regional Australia, so the benefits of timber framing also link back to the ongoing viability of many regional communities and many of those that were directly impacted by the recent fires. As we look to learn from the recent catastrophic bushfires, there is rarely one silver bullet solution but the simple benefit of ensuring timber framing is used in the construction of Australian homes ongoing seems obvious, especially when most new homes each year (over 80%) are currently built with a timber frame.
Sourced renewably, whether local or imported, the structural frame material decision is one of those hidden choices that this new campaign aims to make more conscious. “Supporting our channel customers to get the key messages out about the benefits of timber framing is one of the key objectives of the new campaign”, said Campaign Committee Chair, Ms Marita Pierce-Indugula.
The key message is that with timber framing there is no compromise on build design flexibility or cost, and there are solutions for termites and fire risks which building regulations address. A big point of positive difference for timber framing is that timber stores carbon and has low embodied energy compared to alternative building materials, so is part of our climate solution.
The new campaign is largely targeted to builders via digital mediums who are the main decision makers and influencers in terms of the material choice today. However, the campaign has also developed some messaging for homeowners as there is a growing interest in “what’s holding up my home?” both in terms of safety and environmental concerns.
Results to date have over 3 million views of the messaging through various on-line mediums with a healthy click through rate to the campaign website, including viewing of the builder testimonial videos. The campaign will run in two stages with the next stage including outdoor advertising in key locations.
Founding funding companies for the industry campaign are AKD, Boral, Timberlink, One Forty One, Wespine and Wesbeam. Additional sponsorship support is available to underpin further campaign activities.
Industry participants can access the campaign marketing assets at www.woodsolutions.com.au/framing and once registered, start using these assets in their own marketing and promotional activities.
Explanation sought on apparent changes to timber planVictoria’s hardwood timber industry is demanding Premier Daniel Andrews immediately clarify comments he made on Monday morning in which he appeared to flag changes to his decision to close the state’s hardwood timber industry. On ABC radio Premier Andrews said that the Victorian Government “may well have to revise” its plan to shut down the industry from 2030 as a result of the recent fires in East Gippsland.
The peak industry bodies representing Victorian forest industries – Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA), Victorian Association of Forest Industries (VAFI), and Australian Forest Contractors Association (AFCA) – said it was disrespectful to forestry workers for the Premier to speculate about fast-tracking his decision to close a vital regional industry while firefighting continues.
AFCA General Manager Stacey Gardiner said, “There has been no information released to industry on the assessment of how much timber slated for mills has burnt, and how much is usable – previous post-fire harvesting operations have resulted in significant volumes of timber for processing which has minimised the resource impact of fires.
“The Premier should not pre-empt these assessments and create more uncertainty for regional communities while forestry workers are still tirelessly fighting fires and removing dangerous, burnt trees in East Gippsland so roads can re-open.”
VAFI CEO Tim Johnston said the Premier should engage with industry and ensure that the burnt timber is not wasted. "Large numbers of trees have been felled along roads and firebreaks to control these fires for access, fuel and safety reasons and it is vital that the government works with industry and local communities in utilising this timber. Now more than ever, the government needs to provide clarity and certainty to the industry. If the Premier is serious about supporting timber workers and regional communities, then he should ensure this timber is not wasted.”
AFPA CEO Mr Ross Hampton said, “The Victorian native timber industry is highly regulated and environmentally responsible, harvesting the equivalent of just 4 trees out of every 10,000 annually. Every tree is replaced as the areas are regenerated by law. At this rate it could continue forever without diminishing the net forest area.
“The Premier failed to consult with industry, workers and communities before announcing he was closing the industry. He should not make the same mistake again. As the fires have shown, forestry workers play a critical firefighting role – without them, a key firefighting resource in Victoria will be lost forever.
New report makes case for mechanical fuel reductionA new report by the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA), Using Fire and Machines to Better Fire-Proof Our Country Towns, makes the case for mechanical fuel reduction to complement prescribed burns in a national bushfire strategy. As Australia experiences one of its worst bushfire seasons, AFPA CEO Mr Ross Hampton said it was clear that business-as-usual was not an option, and that a new approach to reducing fuel loads in forests is needed to mitigate against catastrophic fires.
With state governments already failing to meet modest prescribed burn targets, Mr Hampton said it was time to adopt the internationally proven effectiveness of mechanical fuel reduction to complement burns to better fire-proof regional towns and assets. “This report is a comprehensive analysis of research and data from respected sources including CSIRO that shows mechanical fuel reduction is part of the solution to achieve the necessary fuel reduction targets to protect regional communities from catastrophic bushfires,” Mr Hampton said.
Using the latest data from the Commonwealth Department of Environment and Energy, the report overlays almost 30 years of records for prescribed burns and bushfires to show a clear trend of reduced burns and increasing bushfires. Meanwhile, research has shown that as fuel load in the forest is doubled, the rate of fire spread is doubled and fire intensity is quadrupled.
“The evidence is in – bushfire risk in Australia can be significantly reduced through a far more aggressive approach of targeted reduction of understory and dense forest regrowth around towns and strategically important assets. This summer’s catastrophic fires have shown that we cannot rely on prescribed burns alone to reduce the fuel loads in our forests, particularly around towns where they can cause smoke pollution or worse, get out of control.”
Mr Hampton said a national Royal Commission into the recent bushfires must include a focus on how Australia can move to a whole-of-landscape approach to bushfire mitigation and examine how mechanical fuel reduction can complement hazard reduction burns in a national bushfire strategy.
“The impact of climate change – which is contributing to longer, more severe bushfire seasons, hotter temperatures and narrower windows for hazard reduction burns – makes it even more pertinent that we look beyond prescribed burns to manage fuel loads around regional communities.
“The cost of a national program of mechanical fuel reduction is insignificant compared with the social, economic and environmental cost of more catastrophic fires. It is imperative that we add this tool to our arsenal immediately,” Mr Hampton said.
The report can be viewed here (When prompted type in the password afpa (case sensitive) and press the submit button).
NZ industry being hit hard by coronavirusBy midnight tomorrow the forestry industry will be at a near standstill due to what has been described as “a perfect storm” of factors, including the coronavirus outbreak. “Wood from Europe is flooding the market, there is wood that has been salvaged from the Australian bushfires coming to the Chinese market too — and then the virus,” McIndoe Logging Limited owner Rodney McIndoe told The Herald.
“The markets are flooded so we need to stop supply. The whole country is stopping supply, which is the good thing until the dust settles. It all hinges on when the Chinese people get back to work to unload boats and clear the port. That's the long story short.”
Mr McIndoe described the situation as “a perfect storm” and said he would not be surprised if Gisborne was a ghost town by early next week. “We employ 24 people so I estimate this is going to affect at least 1300 employees on the East Coast. The flow-on effect will be phenomenal through the local economy.”
Logging contractors have been told they have until midnight tomorrow to work as several companies temporarily stop logging exports. Eastland Port chief operating officer Andrew Gaddum confirmed major exporters from China had stopped sending ships — 85 percent of log exports from here go to China — but stressed the port would remain open.
“Some exporters have stopped buying wood. That is the problem. The port is open for business. We are not closed to anybody. If people want to export logs through the port, we are open.” Mr Gaddum said the situation was changing all the time.
Mr Gaddum said log contractors had been asked to stop work because exporters had stopped buying wood because it was not being moved off the ports in China. Most harvesting crews in the region had already stopped cutting down trees, with the focus today and tomorrow on log trucks getting as much of that cut wood to Eastland Port so they could be paid.
Further coverage of this unfolding issue can be read here;
Nelson Forestry Contractors Brace for Flow on Effects
Coronavirus Shuts Down Gisborne Log Exports
Virus Brings New Dynamic Supply and Demand
Australian bushfires: Impacts on forest managementThe recent bushfires in Australia have captured worldwide attention, and further elevated the level of concerns and debate about impacts of climate change on our natural environment. These bushfires have extended across vast tracts of the eastern seaboard and into South Australia, including devastating impacts on Kangaroo Island (Australia’s third largest island).
Indufor has an office in Melbourne, Victoria, and is engaged in assessing the impacts of these fires on the forest sector. This article provides a brief overview of the impacts on forests, implications for future management and Indufor roles in addressing the challenges.
Record-breaking temperatures and months of drought conditions have fuelled a series of massive bushfires across Australia over the past three months. The total extent of these fires in Queensland, New South Wales (NSW), Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia was in the order of 7.5 million hectares (ha), as at mid-January. Some of the bushfires remain uncontrolled and the area statistics are expected to increase further over the remainder of the fire season. The recent bushfires in these four states of Australia would account for over 57% of England’s land mass.
In relation to forests, the bushfires have also had a devastating impact on national parks and reserves across multiple states, most notably in NSW and in South Australia, where almost the entire area of Flinders Chase National Park (over 32 000 ha) on Kangaroo Island was burnt in December 2019.
In NSW, of the total land area of bushfire impacts, more than 2.7 million ha (over 50%) were conservation parks and reserves. Indufor expects this range of bushfire impacts may result in a reassessment of the conservation reserve system across the fire-affected states, to ensure it continues to be aligned with nationally agreed criteria for the establishment of a comprehensive, adequate and representative reserve system for forests in Australia.
From a forest industry perspective, the impacts are also significant. In Victoria, the bushfires have burnt approximately 1.2 million ha of multiple use State forest (more than 5% of total area of the State). These State forests are managed for a broad range of values including native forest timber production as well as biodiversity conservation, water quality, carbon sequestration, Indigenous and non-Indigenous cultural heritage, and recreation values. The bushfires will impact on all these forest values, including the capacity for timber and fibre production from mixed species eucalypt hardwoods in the east of the state.
In NSW, vast areas of State forest have also been burned, including extensive areas of softwood (pine) and hardwood (eucalypt) plantations. Preliminary estimates indicate more than 47 000 ha of State and privately-owned softwood plantations have been impacted to date. In addition, there has been fire damage to forest industry infrastructure including fibre export facilities at the Port of Eden. The scale of the affected area will clearly impact on future wood flows and industry supply chains in the short term, and possibly industry structures in the longer term.
Source: Indufor, Photo: iStock-licensed image (photographer Stuart Shaw)
New “welcome mat” launched for WA Forestry IndustryPeople working in the Western Australian forestry industry will have a better understanding of the breadth, scope and value of their industry with the launch of a new on-line tool. The WA forestry industry Welcome Mat has been developed by a team of emerging leaders drawn from across the industry. They recognised the opportunity to promote the WA timber industry by empowering existing employees. This empowerment has come through redesigning how the industry describes itself, and is being delivered via a new communications platform.
The new Welcome Mat website has been praised by acting CEO of the Forest Industries Federation of Western Australia (FIFWA), Matt Granger. “,i>Welcome Mat is a terrific innovation in our industry,” Mr Granger said. “It enables people working in the industry, to gain a better appreciation of the scope of their industry,” he said.
“The Welcome Mat concept crystallised when these emerging leaders came together under a national leadership program,” Mr Granger explained. “They were surprised by the diversity of their occupations and the variety of operations in each sector, and wanted to share the knowledge with newcomers to the industry,” he said.
“Welcome Mat is a neat solution to the challenge they recognised, and will be a lasting legacy to them,” he said. The forestry industry Welcome Mat was launched on Friday 31st January by Federal Assistant Minister for Regional Development and Territories, the Hon Nola Marino MP, at Wespine Industries.
Welcome Mat can be seen here
Welcome Mat was funded by Forest and Wood Products Australia (FWPA) through industry levies and the Commonwealth Government. The emerging leaders who developed Welcome Mat have been supported by their employers in the WA forestry industry.
Russia now largest exporter of softwood lumberRussia has surpassed Canada to become the world’s largest exporter of softwood lumber, and was on track to ship almost 32 million m3 of lumber in 2019 (23% of globally traded lumber in 2019), reports the Wood Resource Quarterly in its latest issue.
Global trade of softwood lumber slowed in the 3Q/19 but was still on pace to be higher than in 2018. Russia, Belarus, Germany and Finland have boosted their lumber sales the most this year, reports the WRQ. An excerpt from the newly released market report Wood Resource Quarterly reads.
Global Softwood Lumber Trade
• Russia has surpassed Canada to become the world’s largest exporter of softwood lumber, and was on track to ship almost 32 million m3 of lumber in 2019 (23% of globally traded lumber this year). Despite slowing economies in North America, Europe and Asia, lumber imports to these markets were higher in 2019 than in 2018.
• Volume traded during the first nine months of 2019 represented the second lowest y-o-y increase for the period in eight years, according to the WRQ. Of the world’s ten leading exporting countries, Russia, Belarus, Germany and Finland have boosted their lumber sales the most this year.
Lumber Market – North America
• Lumber production has fallen in both the US and Canada in 2019 because of disappointingly low activity in the US housing market and meagre demand for North American lumber in overseas markets. From January to September in 2019, lumber exports from Canada were down 5% y-o-y, while US shipments fell as much as 23%.
• All the major lumber-producing companies in British Columbia have taken downtime this fall, causing production to plummet 19% in 2019.
• Prices for softwood lumber were quite stable during the summer and fall in three of the four major lumber-producing regions of North America. Only in the US Northwest, where log supply has been tight and demand for lumber along the US west coast has stayed healthy, did lumber prices move up from their lower prices early in the year.
Lumber markets – China
• China imported 15% more softwood lumber in the first nine months of 2019 than during the same period in 2018. Importation has trended upward for over five years.
• Russia supplied 60% of the import volume to China in the 3Q/19, a slight decline from the 3Q/18. Imports from Canada rose 18% y-o-y and import volumes more than doubled from a few smaller suppliers this past year, including Germany, Ukraine and Belarus. Lumber import prices have fallen for three consecutive quarters to average $174/m3 in the 3Q/19, the lowest level since 2016.
Source: Wood Resources International, www.WoodPrices.com
Australian trucking industry driving diversity changeThe Australian Trucking Association (ATA) and Teletrac Navman are driving diversity change, announcing a ground-breaking initiative that will celebrate industry diversity, develop diversity champions, and improve industry image.
“With the support of Teletrac Navman, the program will showcase diversity champions to the trucking industry and wider community, promoting positive perception of industry and encouraging new entrants into the workforce,’ ATA Chair Geoff Crouch said.
Mr Crouch said while Australia is experiencing a big shift in the perception of transport, there is still a lot of ground to cover when it comes to diversifying the workplace. “Data shows the average Australian truck driver is a 47-year-old male, with females accounting for only three per cent of the driver workforce, and close to 60 per cent of truck drivers are aged 45 years or older,” Mr Crouch said.
“Teletrac Navman are strong diversity champions and have demonstrated a strong commitment to drive positive change in the trucking industry. We are proud to partner with them for this initiative,” he said.
Participants in the 2020 Teletrac Navman Driving Change Diversity Program will learn how to create change and facilitate diversity in their workplace and community, share personal insights into the development a marketing campaign that showcases diversity within industry and develop a strong professional network with like-minded individuals.
“We are excited to be partnering with the ATA to champion change in transport. We know that there is a shortage of drivers in our industry and this program will help bolster diversity in the workforce,” Megan Duncan, Director of Marketing, Teletrac Navman Australasia, said. “Our aim is to support an inclusive industry made up of all people from diverse communities. The benefits that come with having a diverse workforce are well known and we want to include all people in the future of transport.”
The program has received the support of the Australian Government, recognising the importance of diversifying the industry and celebrating diversity champions. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the Federal Liberal and Nationals Government is committed to fostering a diverse trucking industry workforce.
The 2020 program will consist of filming participant stories in their workplace, two days of diversity training and marketing campaign development workshops from 31 March – 1 April 2020, participation in Trucking Australia 2020, in Cairns from 1-3 April 2020 and an industry marketing and promotional campaign.
Participants must be involved as an owner or employee in a trucking business that is a financial member of an ATA member association or TruckSafe. A participant could also be a direct member of an ATA association that offers individual membership. The ATA and its member associations collectively represent the 50,000 business and 200,000 people in the Australian trucking industry.
For more information on how to participate visit www.truck.net.au/drivingchange
Bushfire recovery harvesting subject to strict controlsSuggestions a blanket no to recovery harvesting operations is too simplistic and a one size fits all approach should not be adopted. A systematic plan that takes into consideration a range of matters such as protecting the diversity of the forest environment, local community needs and economic values needs to be applied.
A planned approach ensures that not only is the environment best protected and biodiversity is preserved, but also the local communities dependent on these forests for jobs during the bush fire recovery period can continue as well as creating valuable economic stimulus to the rest of the region in a time of economic hardship.
The organisation representing some 1,200 professional and scientific forest land managers have released a position paper supporting bushfire recovery harvesting operations post forest fires on the proviso of strict publicly accountable controls. Institute of Foresters of Australia and Australian Forest Growers (IFA/AFG) President, Bob Gordon said the IFA/AFG had developed the position paper to ensure there was informed debate on the issue of bushfire recovery harvesting given the devastating 2020 bushfires that continue to burn throughout the eastern seaboard.
“The IFA/AFG supports the use of post-fire recovery harvesting operations in productive and available forests that have been severely burnt and killed by fires,” Mr Gordon said. “Such post-fire recovery harvesting is a means of maintaining sustainable utilisation and regeneration of natural resources, while reducing the safety risks to people working in or travelling though the forests, and reducing the potential risks posed by future bushfire events.
Mr Gordon said any bushfire recovery harvesting should be subject to a number of strict conditions. “Firstly, recovery bushfire harvesting should only occur in forests earmarked for future forestry production,” Mr Gordon said. “Secondly a plan should be developed quickly in each individual site to ensure biodiversity, soil, water and cultural heritage are protected.
“For native forests in particular, planners and managers need to give attention to retaining diversity across the forest through the retention of large hollow-bearing habitat such as trees to support recovering populations of animals, birds as well as other flora and fauna. In addition, practices in native forests should include minimal physical site disturbance to reduce distribution to regeneration of a range of flora species”.
“Agencies with interest in land management must work quickly and should be given the opportunity to input into these plans particularly in areas of biodiversity, conservation, water catchment, soil management, indigenous and non-indigenous cultural values, tourism and recreational values.”
Mr Gordon said post fire recovery plans should also incorporate feedback from local government, regional communities as well as be subject to independent audit by environmental regulators. “To suggest a blanket no to recovery harvesting operations is too simplistic and a one size fits all approach should not be adopted,” Mr Gordon said.
“Instead a systematic plan that takes into consideration a range of matters such as protecting the diversity of the forest environment, local community needs and economic values needs to be applied. “This ensures that not only is the environment best protected and biodiversity is preserved, but also the local communities dependent on these forests for jobs during the bush fire recovery period can continue as well as creating valuable economic stimulus to the rest of the region in a time of economic hardship.”
Position Paper – Bushfire Recovery Harvesting Operations
Leadership change for Pan PacDoug Ducker has stepped down as Managing Director (CEO), after 15 years in the top role and 45 years in the business. Mr Ducker joined Pan Pac in December 1974 and, excluding a brief period working in Sydney in 1984, has been with the company ever since. Tony Clifford, existing General Manager – Pulp, has been appointed Managing Director effective 1 February.
Mr Clifford has been with Pan Pac for 27 years. Initially employed as an electrical engineer, he has held technical and managerial roles within the company and has been a member of the executive management group for 15 years. Mr Clifford has overseen a NZ$70m upgrade of the pulpmill and the development of markets for BCTMP (pulp) into Asia and beyond.
Initially employed as a process engineer to support the expanding pulpmill operation, Mr Ducker assumed roles covering technical services, environmental management, project development and production management. In October 2004, he became Managing Director of Pan Pac with responsibility for the forestry, sawmilling and pulping operations.
Looking back over his time with Pan Pac, Mr Ducker said he had seen tremendous change in the company over the past 45 years. “I have been fortunate to work with excellent people from our staff through to our suppliers, contractors, shareholders, iwi and the wider community,” said Mr Ducker. “The time now feels right to pass on my corporate responsibilities and to explore new projects involving family and friends.”
AU$20 million Hydrogen Transition Centre announcedDeakin University has announced it will pioneer an Australian first Hydrogen Transition Centre to help fuel cleaner, low emissions trucks in Victoria. The centre to be established at Deakin's Warrnambool campus in the state's southwest, will partner with industry on the AU$20 million research and industry testing site according to Deakin Vice-Chancellor Professor Iain Martin.
"Freight trucking continues to grow here and overseas, and trucks are driving further, with heavier loads; all big challenges. The centre confirms Deakin's commitment to the Warrnambool campus and the broader region, and when the HyceL@Warrnambool project is fully established it will create up to 200 full-time jobs," he said. With AU$2 million in Federal Government research funding allocated to it, the Hydrogen Transition Centre will develop hydrogen fuel cells to work in tandem with electric vehicle technologies as part of the fast growing multi-billion-dollar hydrogen market.
"The Federal Government investment will see our researchers’ partner with Australia's leading truck manufacturer, Kenworth, as well as with industry leaders in hydrogen fuel-cells, electric vehicles and gas distribution," said Martin. It is understood PACCAR is poised to partner on HyceL@Warrnambool in which fuel-cells can create electricity from hydrogen and oxygen with water vapour the predominant emission.
An electric truck, using this technology, can create power while driving, to dispense with the frequent stops currently required of battery charging infrastructure. "If successful, the enhanced technologies could be used by Kenworth trucks made here in Australia, as well as those made internationally by Kenworth’s parent company PACCAR – a US Fortune 500 company. The technologies can also be applied to other heavy vehicles, such as buses, including those operated by Warrnambool Bus Lines," Martin said.
According to Deakin the Hydrogen Transition Centre will put Victoria's southwest at the heart of Australia's work in hydrogen fuel-cell innovation and position the region well, to cash-in as new markets for hydrogen technologies emerge in the international push for cleaner transport. The global fuel-cell market is predicted to be worth more than AU$71 billion.
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... and one to end the week on ... Harley Davidson's declining sales
Harley Davidson speaks on declining sales.
And on that note, enjoy your weekend. Cheers.
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