Friday Offcuts 25 June 2021
We often cover announcements around New Zealand’s Wood Council’s forestry awards. Ask any judge, the quality of the applications being submitted is stunning. Each nomination is a story in itself. All are true testament to the professionalism and unwavering commitment that they have to their company and to the wider industry. But outside of the regional awards evenings, very rarely do we give them the wider coverage – within the industry and to the wider community – that they deserve. This week we’ve built in a story of a forestry worker who’s recently been honoured at the Southern North Island Wood Council Awards. Fifty-six years he’s worked in the forestry industry. It’s an interesting read – and provides bit more of a background to the many nominees that each year are putting their names forward.
After many enquiries, we’re also pleased this week to post early details on this year’s ForestTECH 2021 event. Like last year’s programme, the 23-24 November forest technology event is going to be covering new technology and innovations around resource management, remote sensing and forest inventories as well as forest establishment and automated and mechanised silviculture. Last week we provided links to three pre-conference workshops/meetings that will be running the day before the Rotorua event. This week we’ve also included a story on a new foliage sampling tool that’s been developed by a Canadian company, DeLeaves. They’ll be one of the many presenters lined up for this year’s event. Information on ForestTECH 2021 can now be seen on the event website. Further details will follow in future issues.
And finally, one of the presenters at Carbon Forestry 2021 last week, well known business journalist and commentator Rod Oram, in a weekly column (a link which is supplied in this week’s issue) tackles the importance of forestry in solving climate and ecosystem crises. In it he argues that recent recommendations made by the Climate Change Commission make only fleeting reference to the much larger and more diverse role that forests should have in our bioeconomy. A recent report from the UN’s climate and biodiversity panels says that the co-crises of climate and biodiversity are intertwined. We can’t solve one without solving the other. Forestry has a major role to play and a forest’s nature and ecosystem values are far greater than the value of the commercial harvest. An interesting read. And on that note, enjoy this week’s read.
This week we have for you:
J.P. Morgan Asset Management acquires Campbell GlobalJ.P. Morgan Asset Management has acquired Forest Management and Timberland Investing company, Campbell Global, LLC. The acquisition does not impact current investment strategies for Campbell Global clients.
Campbell Global is a recognized leader in global timberland investment and natural resource management. Based in Portland, Oregon, the firm has over three decades of experience, $5.3 billion in assets under management and manages over 1.7 million acres worldwide with over 150 employees. All employees will be retained and Campbell Global will remain headquartered in Portland. The deal will make J.P. Morgan a significant benefactor for thriving forests around the world, including in 15 U.S. states, New Zealand, Australia and Chile.
Campbell Global is the investment advisor for the shareholders of OneFortyOne, a trans-Tasman-forest and forest products company with forestry and wood processing assets in South Australia and Victoria in Australia and Nelson and Marlborough in New Zealand.
Carbon sequestration in forests worldwide will play an important role in carbon markets, and J.P. Morgan Asset Management expects to become an active participant in carbon offset markets as they develop.
"This acquisition expands our alternatives offering and demonstrates our desire to integrate sustainability into our business in a way that is meaningful," said George Gatch, Chief Executive Officer of J.P. Morgan Asset Management. "Investing in timberland, on behalf of institutional and high net worth individuals, will allow us to apply our expertise in managing real assets to forests, which are a natural solution to many of the world's climate, biodiversity and social challenges."
"We have always held that there should be no tradeoff between investing wisely and investing responsibly," said John Gilleland, Chief Executive Officer of Campbell Global. "We made our first institutional investment in timberland 35 years ago, have since planted over 536 million trees, and emerged as a leader in sustainable forestry. We look forward to continuing these efforts with J.P. Morgan. Importantly, this transaction further positions Campbell Global to serve our existing world-class clients at the highest standard." The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter.
Source: Campbell Global
Federal government lobbied for AU$200m forestry centreUniversity of Tasmania and Australian Forest Products Association are looking to bring a AU$200 million National Institute for Forest Products Innovation centre to Tasmania to spearhead Australia's effort with renewable timber.
A new national centre of excellence for forestry innovation which could create new industries will be housed in Tasmania if a new University for Tasmania proposal is successful. UTAS and the Australian Forest Products Association are behind a new proposal which would see a National Institute for Forest Products Innovation centre built at the UTAS Newnham campus.
Under the proposal, the facility would be funded by AU$100 million from the federal government and AU$100 million from industry bodies. The proposal still needs to secure federal government funding before moving ahead. Forestry centres exist in Canada and New Zealand under similar funding concepts like the proposed UTAS one.
New foliage sampling tool availableThe DeLeaves canopy sampling tool was designed and developed in a research laboratory specializing in aerial robotics at the University of Sherbrooke, back in 2017. Suspended under an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), the sampling tool is self-powered, equipped with an HD camera, and has two robotic arms there to grab and cut foliage samples from trees.
In 2018, a first prototype was operated by a group of horticulturists from UBC Botanical Garden on a project that brought them to sample the Vietnamese tropical forest and gather international attention. Following this project, many entities in North America expressed their interest in the technology.
In the summer of 2019, the DeLeaves sampler helped the Canadian Airborne Biodiversity Observatory (CABO) reveal the spectral and functional trait differences within tree crowns; and later demonstrated its efficiency during a field trip with the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) to sample Douglas Fir, Silver Firs, and Western Hemlocks. Across these collaborations and numerous others, continuous improvements were made to the DeLeaves sampler that ultimately enabled its commercialization in the fall of 2020.
Since then, the tool has mostly been used to collect samples of tree canopy from deciduous and conifers, primarily in North America and Europe. Interestingly, the Canadian company of the same name also received several inquiries regarding other potential applications of their technology, such as pest management and crop sampling in agriculture.
More recently, the DeLeaves sampler was showcased and appraised by the research community when compared to other sampling techniques, and the company also added the DJI M300 series to the list of compatible UAVs for its sampling tool.
The new tool from this Canadian company will be showcased as part of this year’s ForestTECH 2021 event being run in Rotorua, New Zealand on 23-24 November and being live streamed to forest resource and tree crop managers worldwide. Further details on the eagerly awaited technology event can be found on the ForestTECH website.
10-story high-rise built in just one dayPrefabricated buildings are designed to be put together very quickly – that's a big part of their appeal, after all. However, you'd be hard-pressed to find a building that goes up as quickly as this recently completed 10-story residential high-rise by China's Broad Group, which was assembled in just over a single day – or 28 hours and 45 minutes, to be exact.
The high-rise was constructed using Broad Group's Living Building prefabricated construction system. One of the most appealing things about this system is that each building module has the same dimensions as a shipping container when folded, making it very easy to transport it pretty much anywhere in the world using existing shipping methods.
Each module is prefabricated in a factory and consists of a primarily stainless steel structure that includes wiring, insulation, glazing and ventilation systems (the Broad Group is also a ventilation specialist). So, to put it simply, the basic idea is that you'd take a group of these container-sized modules to a building site and stack them as required, bolting them into place. They're then connected to power and water, and ready to use.
Of course, as you can see in the video below, for this project Broad Group used a small army of builders and at least three cranes to speed things up and get the job done in that headline-grabbing timeframe, but it's still a remarkable achievement and a standard site with a typical number of builders should see a building go up very quickly using the same system, too.
Broad Group says that its prefab setup is very durable, earthquake-resistant, and can be dismantled and moved if needed. The firm also says it can be used to make residential high-rises, dormitories, hotels, hospitals, and more.
Even more ambitiously, the firm reckons that the system could be used to build high-rises as tall as 200 stories. To put that into perspective, the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, has a mere 163 floors. We've no word on pricing, but Treehugger reports that you can buy an entire 20-unit apartment block for under US$3 million, not including shipping – which is a steal.
Take a look at this amazing project rise by checking out the video below.
CLTP Tasmania launches world’s first hardwood CLTCLTP Tasmania has officially launched the world’s first hardwood Cross Laminated Timber (CLT), along with their new brand – Cusp Building Solutions. Cusp CLT is made from Tasmanian Plantation Oak (Eucalyptus Nitens) sourced from certified sustainable plantations grown in Tasmania. Using a resource that is currently exported as woodchips, they have created a world-leading mass timber product for the Australian building industry.
CLTP Tasmania is the manufacturing entity for the Hermal Group, currently based in Wynyard, Tasmania. The Hermal Group is a diversified private company based in Victoria, Australia for over 70 years. The Group has operations in construction, timber wholesale, modular construction and the marine sector. The Project has had strong local and State government support for the development of the new mill.
Cusp’s products have achieved certification from the Engineered Wood Products Association of Australasia (EWPAA). Cusp CEO Chris Skeels-Piggins says: “The result is building solutions at the leading edge, with impeccable sustainability credentials. We discover better ways to create strikingly beautiful, effortlessly useful buildings and spaces. We also understand what matters in the wider world and how we can make a positive contribution to its future.”
Forestry to play a more diverse role in bioeconomyNew Zealand and the rest of the world can't solve the climate crisis or the biodiversity crisis separately, but must work on them in tandem, writes Rod Oram.
The Climate Change Commission is recommending to New Zealand’s Government significant changes in how we use trees. Its proposals will deliver gains to our economy. But they fall short of the much greater benefits delivered by genuine Nature based Solutions. These are deeply integrated approaches to tackling humankind’s co-crises of climate and ecosystems.
New Zealand has arguably more scope to use such solutions, and to derive greater benefit from them, than many countries. In my column last week I summarised the case for them and focused on their application in agriculture, which was a critical climate response the Commission has ignored. This column focuses on forestry here and the burgeoning work abroad on Nature based Solutions.
“Plant and pollute” was the succinct summary of our existing approach to trees as carbon sinks Rod Carr, chair of the Commission, gave to a carbon forestry conference in Rotorua on Wednesday. In other words, we’ve planted lots of trees but we’ve kept increasing our emissions.
More formally, the Commission says in its final recommendations to government: “Relying heavily on forestry might help Aotearoa meet its 2050 emissions reduction targets but it would make maintaining net zero long-lived emissions beyond that date more difficult. It would delay people taking actions that reduce gross emissions, lead to higher cumulative emissions and push the burden of addressing gross emissions on to future generations.” Along the way, excessive tree planting would also reduce our land use options.
Various problems create our dysfunctional approach to carbon sequestration to date. Crucially, radiata pine, which account for the bulk of our plantings, grow and absorb carbon quickly in their early decades. But we harvest most of them in typically their third decade; replanting pines only restores the carbon lost from harvesting rather than increasing our sequestration; and even if the pines are in permanent forests, they store minimal carbon in their later decades and have far shorter lives than native species.
Thus, the Commission recommends we plant more exotics like radiata pine to capture more carbon in coming decades but sharply ramp up our plantings of natives to ensure our longer-term sequestration. To achieve both goals, it advocates a range of changes in existing mechanisms such as the Emissions Trading Scheme and the creation of new policies and programmes.
The forestry sector is up for the challenge, judging by the views and mood of presenters and delegates at the carbon forestry conference. (Disclosure: I was a presenter).
Strategies of some leading forestry companies are already based on these themes. New Zealand Carbon Farming, for example, plants radiata pine to store carbon but not to harvest them. Over the decades, it will manage its plantations so they gradually revert to native forests. So far, it has 90,000 ha of forests, half of which it owns and half it manages for other land owners. The trees have stored 22 million tonnes of carbon to date, with $95 m paid to landowning partners. This year it will begin its first plantation projects in Australia and the US.
The company is the largest provider of carbon credits in Australasia, with most buyers doing so to meet their regulatory obligations. But some are voluntary buyers who are taking responsibility for their carbon footprints. They are often keen on NZ credits because of six quality attributes that forests have here to varying degrees, Matt Walsh, NZCF's managing director and its co-founder with Bruce Miller, told the conference. These are a permanent forests category in the ETS; reversion from exotics to natives; native plantings; biodiversity benefits; social benefits; and community benefits.
Voluntary buyers will often pay a premium over the basic compliance price established by the ETS, Sean Weaver, chief executive and founder of Ekos, told the conference. Ekos grows and protects indigenous forests here and in the Pacific Islands. It sells carbon credits in them once the forests are certified either under the ETS or Plan Vivo, a Scottish-based organisation that created the world's first carbon credits in 1997.
Note: We are aware that there was some confusion among some of the delegates who attended the Carbon Forestry 2021 event last week in Rotorua, New Zealand about the term averaging accounting. Averaging accounting is a new method to account for carbon storage in forests registered in the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). From 2023 all newly registered post-1989 forests must use averaging accounting unless they are registered as a permanent forest.
Following their presentation at the event last week Te Uru Rākau – New Zealand Forest Service has pointed to the following fact sheet on their website to help aid understanding of averaging accounting.
Fact sheet: Introduction to averaging carbon accounting for forests in the Emissions Trading Scheme
There will be further communications from Te Uru Rākau – New Zealand Forest Service once final decisions about averaging accounting, including how it applies to second and future rotation forests, have been made.
Source: Te Uru Rākau – New Zealand Forest Service
New AU$4.5 million sawmill for South AustraliaA new AU$4.5 million sawmill in the Adelaide Hills will be built which will increase timber supply and create local jobs thanks to a new long-term log supply agreement with ForestrySA. KSI Sawmills, which currently operates a small mill at Nuriootpa, will build the new mill which will be strategically located allowing for expansion, offering improved transportation routes central to both local timber plantations and downstream markets.
Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development David Basham said the new AU$4.5 million mill will help KSI Sawmills more than double their current production to approximately 60,000m3 annually and create nearly 30 jobs. “The new local log processing program will inject over AU$12 million in direct value into South Australia’s economy each year,’ Minister Basham said.
“I congratulate KSI Sawmills for making this significant investment in South Australia’s timber industry which will increase supply and create local jobs. This investment has been made possible thanks to a new 10-year log supply agreement between Forestry SA and KSI Sawmills.
“KSI will predominantly consume lower grade log from ForestrySA’s plantations in the Adelaide Hills. The majority of timber products will be consumed by the local packaging industry. “Some higher-grade products will meet structural grade and be consumed by the local building and construction industry, while residue materials will support Adelaide Hills based agriculture.
The Taranaki forestry worker who planted a million treesMorris Fisher has personally planted a million trees and has overseen a further seven or eight million seedlings going into the ground. At 73, he still has three chainsaws and would rather spend a day cutting firewood than playing golf.
Fisher, of Hāwera, was recently honoured at the Southern North Island Wood Council Awards for his lifetime of commitment to the forestry industry. During his 56-year career, he worked as a log scaler, instructor and manager before establishing his own contracting business TAML Forestry in 1980.
He was involved in setting up areas of native bush for the Queen Elizabeth Trust and planted native riparian and wetland areas, taking an interest in how they are protecting streams and rivers. And he carries a few scars from his work. A jagged line on his upper arm is from a chainsaw, after he slipped while using it to prune trees.
Another time, he leapt off a four-wheeler as it was about to roll on a hill on a remote Matau farm and badly damaged his leg. He was alone, several kilometres from his cellphone in his ute, dressed in shorts on a cold September day.
Unable to walk, he managed to right the upturned bike and sheltered from the wind and rain beside it for hours until his wife, alarmed at not being able to reach him on his cell phone, organised a search party.
“Ann and I had a system where I’d ring her when I got back into range, and she’d ring me if she hadn’t heard from me by 5.30.” He was found about 8.30pm and got to hospital about midnight. “The doctor said if I hadn’t been found, I'd have died of hypothermia,” he said.
After selling an 80 per cent stake of his company in 2016, Fisher went into semi-retirement and says he wouldn’t change anything about his career. “Forestry isn’t just planting trees; it’s road engineering, it’s logistics. There’s a lot more to it.”
ForestVR technology to help grow workforceStudents from across Australia will be given an immersive virtual experience of living and working in the Green Triangle forestry region under a new program aimed at attracting the next generation of foresters. The two-minute Virtual Reality tours will put students in the shoes of foresters and ecologists working in the field, with 360-degree camera technology used in producing the industry experience.
The Green Triangle Forest Industries Hub partnered with ForestLearning, the country’s forest and wood product education portal, to highlight the variety of career pathways and diverse work tasks within the forestry field. ForestVR technology debuted nationally in classrooms last year with a catalogue of footage taking students on virtual excursion to difficult to access locations highlighting forest and timber processing in the region.
The free experiences, which were produced via a productive partnership with teacher association groups and industry, can be accessed using digital and cardboard VR headsets, iPads, laptaps or smart boards for whole of class activities, making it accessible for classroom environments.
Green Triangle Forest Industries Hub chair Ian McDonnell hoped the promotion would inspire a new generation of foresters to the field, highlighting the sustainable and diverse nature of the work. “The industry is faced with a national shortage of foresters, with local growers often forced to look globally to recruit staff,” Mr McDonnell said.
“Forestry provides a long-term secure career path for people who are interested in building their scientific and business expertise, are data and technology driven and enjoy working outdoors. Demand for these roles is going to grow in the future as we look to expand the forestry estate and gain more timber from existing plantations to meet growing domestic and global demand.
“The next generation, who have excellent technology skills, are going to be pivotal in achieving our strategic vision.”
Sustainable Forest Management regional forester Courtney Pink, featured in a short video, is a regional forester based in Mount Gambier who studied a Bachelor of Forest Science and Management at Southern Cross University. Ms Pink said her love of nature and being outdoors inspired her career path.
“Forestry provides a lot of freedom. I love being able to work freely indoors or outdoors,” she said. “We have peak intense periods of operations and other times we get to breathe in the fresh air that we create by growing trees. I love that its strategic and all about problem solving – plus I get to play with some cool toys like helicopters, drones and heavy machinery.”
The Australian Government has partnered with industry organisations around Australia, including the Green Triangle Forest Industries Hub, to expand the ForestVR toolkit with five new ForestVR experiences showcasing careers in forest and wood products, forest science explorers, and agroforestry.
All new experiences will be accessible for schools and the general public by Term 4 via the ForestVR app, ForestLearning website, as well as peak education career websites.
Photo: Sustainable Forest Management regional forester Courtney Pink filmed content for the virtual reality experience at Glencoe Nursery
Latest quarterly Timber Market Survey report releasedStrong price increases were seen across Australia’s structural softwood product range in the March quarter 2021. Price movements for untreated MGP10 and MGP12 products ranged between 4.2% and 4.8% higher over the quarter, while price movements for treated F7 products ranged between 3.3% and 6.0% higher.
Large upward price movements were also seen in the treated outdoor timber product range. Prices for treated sleeper products increased by 4.7%, while treated decking product prices increased by 7.1%. Price movements for engineered wood products were particularly strong in the March quarter, with I joist/I beam product prices increasing by up to 7.9%. Even stronger price movements were seen for LVL products, which increased up to 9.9% over the quarter.
Price movements for plywood and MDF panel products ranged between 2.0% and 4.7% higher, while upward price movements for particleboard products were more moderate.
The TMS collects price data through quarterly surveys of a representative sample of timber market participants in eastern Australia. All quarterly TMS reports contain price movement information for softwood timber, panels and engineered wood products. The June and December quarter editions also include price movement information for hardwood timber products surveyed over a six-month period.
The TMS is prepared by Indufor and funded by nine major Australian forestry organisations: Forestry Corporation of NSW; VicForests; Hancock Victorian Plantations; HQPlantations; OneFortyOne Plantations; Queensland Government Department of Agriculture and Fisheries; Green Triangle Forest Products; AKD Softwoods; and Sustainable Timber Tasmania.
Further information and the latest Timber Market Survey report can be read here.
High Court backs Tasmania’s sustainable forest industriesThe Bob Brown Foundation's legal battle to stop native forest logging in Tasmania has come to an apparent end, with the High Court rejecting the conservation group's appeal bid. The foundation was seeking to appeal a Federal Court judgment that validated the island state's regional forestry agreement (RFA).
In a legal challenge dubbed the "Great Forest Case", Dr Brown’s foundation had argued Tasmania's regional forestry agreement was invalid because it did not properly protect threatened native animals.
Tasmania's Liberal government, Labor opposition, peak forestry body and state-owned forestry company Sustainable Timber Tasmania (STT) all supported the earlier Federal Court ruling. The Federal Court judgment agreed with STT that there is a broader suite of environmental protections in force in Tasmania. State Resources Minister Guy Barnett said the High Court decision cements the validity of Tasmania's regional forestry agreement "beyond doubt".
"I sincerely hope (the Bob Brown Foundation) accept the umpire's decision and cease their relentless campaign against Tasmanian workers and their families." Federal Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries, Jonno Duniam, said the ruling was a win for common sense and regional economies.
AFPA CEO Mr Ross Hampton welcomed the High Court’s affirmation of the Tasmanian RFA, which underpins the state’s robust environmental laws regulating forestry operations. Mr Hampton said the decision was yet another failed attack by activist groups against Australia’s sustainable timber industry. It follows the Federal Court’s unanimous decision last month that upheld the legality of forestry operations under Victoria’s Central Highland’s RFA.
Record 9.1 million pine seedlings dispatchThe first of over 9.1 million pine seedlings have started their journey to State forests across NSW from Forestry Corporation of NSW’s Blowering Nursery, the largest crop in the nursery’s history. Phil Green, Plantation Improvement Manager, said the 9.1 million seedlings will join with a further five million from the Grafton Nursery and contracted supply and will be planted to rebuild fire-affected and previously harvested plantations around Tumut, Bombala, Bathurst, Mossvale, Walcha and Grafton.
“Following the Black Summer bushfires, we have boosted the capacity of our Blowering nursery thanks to a AU$2 million equity investment from the NSW government,” Mr Green said. “Getting to this point has been no small feat, but is an important task in bushfire recovery. Over the last 21 years, Forestry Corporation’s Blowering nursery has seen over 150 million seedlings pass through our gates".
“This year we have 16 staff on board to help with the grading and dispatch program which runs for five-months. At the height of the dispatch program, it is not uncommon to send upwards of 800,000 seedlings out of the nursery gate in a week.”
Mr Green said the seedlings started their journey in October last year, when the team at the nursery planted more than 400 kilograms of seed into individual cells. “Blowering supplies by far the largest portion of seedlings replanted state-wide, so it’s a role the nursery team takes very seriously,” Mr Green concludes.
Source: Forestry Corporation of NSW
Website launched to support NZ forestry sector“The new Canopy website is a centralised online channel that aims to be the ‘go-to site’ for the most up-to-date guidance on forestry, as an investment,” said Mr Nash.
A new website has been launched at Fieldays to support the forestry sector find the information it needs to plant, grow and manage trees, and to encourage investment across the wider industry.
Forestry Minister Stuart Nash says the new Canopy website is tailored for farmers, iwi and other forestry interests, to support their recovery from the impacts of the global pandemic and associated economic shocks for the primary sector.
"The new Canopy website is a centralised online channel that aims to be the 'go-to site' for the most up-to-date guidance on forestry, as an investment," said Mr Nash. "Forestry will be a key part of our climate change response. It also offers huge potential for regional development, Māori economic aspirations, local jobs and training, and diversifying income streams in rural communities.
"The hub was developed by Te Uru Rākau – the NZ Forest Service alongside industry partners. It brings together credible information from leading forestry experts and shares data and research on growing and managing trees.
"The Canopy site will also be invaluable for investors wanting to make the right decisions about whether the land is suitable for planting. Industry partners have shared insights and guidance and the site contains useful tools and support.
"The Forest Service and the industry recognise that many people, businesses, farmers, investors and iwi involved in forestry need to find credible information in an accessible format, in order to make the best decisions for their circumstances.
"Work is already underway to develop the next stage of the website, which will provide specific guidance for Māori landowners, information about regional and national events, training opportunities, and case studies and real-life examples of people and experts”.
Buy and Sell
... and one to end the week on ... one heck of a hurry
The man said to the dentist, "Doc, I'm in one heck of a hurry. I have two buddies sitting out in my car waiting for us to go play golf, so forget about the anaesthetic, I don't have time for the gums to get numb. I just want you to pull the tooth, and be done with it!
And on that note, enjoy your weekend. Cheers.
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