Friday Offcuts – 20 August 2021

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With lockdowns dominating the news this week, an array of rules for forestry workers and businesses across the region have been clarified. In New Zealand, under Alert Level 4, unfortunately, it means staying at home for most of us. Ports though are still able to continue loading logs stored on site onto ships. More information on this is available on the Government’s Unite Against Covid-19 website, including the full Health Order and detailed guidance about doing business under Alert Level 4. Sector protocols for businesses operating across the forestry supply chain on working safely with Covid-19 can also be found on the Safetree website. And in Australia, the ACT Government, like other States at the moment, announced on Tuesday that forestry and timber operations can again resume as essential industries under the Territory’s COVID lockdown rules.

And whilst the Kiwis moved into lockdown this week, the Environmental Protection Authority has laid out some tough new rules around the use of methyl bromide. The decision for the NZ forestry industry is significant. Fumigation of logs and timber exports account for 92% of the country’s methyl bromide use with around 22% of all export logs (2018) being treated with the fumigant. Full recapture is still not achievable with current technologies. In announcing their decision, the Committee said that they're "trying to encourage" the industry to invest in strategies to reduce methyl bromide use and emissions. A link to the decision, the new rules and deadlines for compliance are contained in the story below.

Our WoodWorks Conference coming in mid-September (fingers crossed) is proving extremely popular with architects, property developers and construction managers. As a result, our delegate numbers are 40 percent above previous events. We are pleased to announce that we have expanded our spaces for the Red Stag CLT plant tours with a further 32 places now available. Register now at our WoodWorks website to secure your place.

And finally, for the upcoming annual ForestTECH 2021 event running in mid-November, we profile this week some of the advancements with mechanised planting. Using planting heads manufactured in Europe on excavators, modifying equipment to local sites and conditions, mechanised planting has been trialed and used commercially on a variety of sites, both in New Zealand and Australia with pine and eucalypts. Increasingly, with labour shortages on both sides of the Tasman hampering planting efforts, interest has really ramped up. Even more so in Australia this year as the country battles lockdowns and pressure mounts to plant all those areas that were hit hard by the summer bushfires.

Productivity has improved with modifications being made to the planting systems and site prep before planting. Trials have also just been undertaken using hydrogel at the time of planting to test whether the planting season can be extended. Details on the ForestTECH 2021 programme and what’s being covered, for both those attending in New Zealand and those clocking in remotely, can be found here. And on this note, stay safe and enjoy this week’s read.



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Methyl bromide rules reset

A total ban on methyl bromide fumigation aboard ships in New Zealand is part of a comprehensive suite of new rules imposed by a Decision-making Committee of the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA).

Methyl bromide is a toxic and ozone-depleting substance, which India and China require to be used on logs they receive from New Zealand. It is a biosecurity tool, used internationally to kill pests.

"The EPA’s role in regulating hazardous substances involves carefully balancing environmental, health, economic, and cultural factors," says Dr Chris Hill, General Manager of the EPA’s Hazardous Substances group.

"The decision released today sets a roadmap to full recapture of methyl bromide. It provides a clear and structured pathway for industry to reduce the amount of methyl bromide emitted. The decision recognises the benefits associated with methyl bromide use, while also protecting human health and the environment.

"Ship hold fumigation will be banned from 1 January 2023. This rule change is significant as the amount of methyl bromide used is much higher than elsewhere, and it is not currently possible to recapture methyl bromide during ship hold fumigation. Therefore, in this setting, the risks to human health and the environment outweigh the benefits."

Stepped increases will apply to the recapture of methyl bromide from containers and covered log stacks, starting from 1 January 2022. This phased approach will be more achievable than a single target, allowing the EPA to ensure that requirements are being met by industry at each stage.

The decision also introduces much stricter accountability and reporting measures. Revoking the approval for methyl bromide (in other words banning it outright) was not in the scope of this reassessment, but the decision released today sets far more stringent controls on its use.

"While methyl bromide use is being phased out globally, in New Zealand its use increased by 66 percent between 2010 and 2019. We are currently out of step with most other countries which are turning away from this ozone-depleting substance.

"However, the combined controls imposed by this decision will result in methyl bromide emissions being reduced significantly over the next five years. The aim is also to disincentivise the use of this fumigant.

The Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act requires the EPA to publicly notify its decision no later than 30 working days after the conclusion of the hearing. For this reassessment, the deadline is Wednesday 18 August.

Read more detail on the decision.

More >>

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Changes to forestry provisions in the ETS

Amendments to the Climate Change Response Act 2002 in June 2020 delivered a range of improvements to the NZ Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). These reforms aim to drive a substantial increase in afforestation, reduce operational complexity and improve ease of compliance for forestry participants.

Most of the new forestry provisions will come into force on 1 January 2023. However, some new provisions (notably a new penalty regime) have already come into force, while infringement offences targeting low-level non-compliance take effect on 1 January 2022.

Averaging accounting

A key change is the introduction of averaging accounting which is mandatory for forests registered in the ETS from 1 January 2023. Averaging accounting takes a long-term view of the amount of carbon in a production forest, meaning forest owners will be able to trade more carbon (NZUs) at lower risk and won’t have to pay back units provided the forest is re-established.

Other changes

Other changes effective from 1 January 2023 include a temporary adverse event exemption which reduces the impact of events such as fires, a new permanent forest category in the ETS, and the ability to ‘offset’ liabilities for the deforestation of one forest by planting an equivalent forest.

New regulations

Regulations to give effect to the legislation are currently being developed and at the same time Te Uru Rākau New Zealand Forest Service is designing the services to support the legislative process and implement new regulations.

New technology

Te Uru Rākau New Zealand Forest Service aims to make it easier for forest owners and landowners to decide whether participating in the Forestry ETS is right for them. The new technology will support more forestry ETS transactions, provide greater functionality and transparency for participants and other users.

Find out more at ForestTECH 2021

Te Uru Rākau - New Zealand Forest Service is running a half-day pre-conference workshop at ForestTECH 2021 on the morning of 22 November. This will provide the opportunity to understand more about the changes being undertaken and the implications for foresters, including a new operating model, new technology platform and the new regulations. The workshop will also cover the recent Year One Review of the National Environmental Standards for Plantation (NES-PF) and its ongoing role in resource management and response to climate change.

Bookings for this free workshop along with event registrations can be made through the ForestTECH 2021 website for those attending the conference, or directly to adele.maurice@mpi.govt.nz for those not attending the conference.



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Why does NZ have a structural timber shortage?

If you want to build a house in New Zealand, you'll likely want timber. But in a country that cuts down around 40,000 hectares of trees, there is a shortage of the stuff. National Correspondent Lucy Craymer explains why trade is affecting our ability to produce structural timber.

Builders are struggling to get hold of basic building materials and there are warnings that prices – already high – could rise as much as 35 per cent this year. It’s an ugly forecast for builders charged with tackling a chronic shortage of housing. And it is not easily fixed without the government doing a U- turn on the country’s entrenched devotion to free trade.

The problem has its roots more than 10,000km away in Chinese provinces like Shandong and Hebei, known for wood processing - and also in a trade agreement that has heralded significant benefits to our economy while at the same time undermining the country’s wood manufacturing sector over the course of a decade.

More >>

Source: Stuff

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New video for NZ primary school students

The second video, What is a Forester for the Wood is Good program was filmed in Masterton and features again, the well-known New Zealand actor and comedian, Pio Terei.

Fully funded by MPI the video will be shown at primary schools across NZ as part of the Wood Council’s primary school’s program. Special thanks to the team of actors from JNL, Nixon Contracting and to the team at C3 in Masterton for allowing the video to be shot in their yard. Please feel free to share this with your teams.



Source: Southern North Island Wood Council

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Mechanised planting technologies profiled

Last year, for the first time since the annual ForestTECH series started back in 2007, the technology event ran two separate themes over two days. The usual focus for the end of year series run by the Forest Industry Engineering Association (FIEA) is on remote sensing, data capture, GIS, mapping and forest inventory technologies.

Insights into new data collection technologies that have been developed and being used operationally out in the forest are covered along with advances that have been made on processing and better interpreting the big data streams now routinely being collected out in the field.

ForestTECH 2020 also set aside a full day to cover new technologies around forest establishment, mechanised planting and silviculture. Feedback from delegates in Rotorua, New Zealand and the virtual audience (a record number of remote delegates from over 20 countries joined in 2020) overwhelmingly told FIEA to stay with this same mix of themes for 2021.

ForestTECH 2021 runs in Rotorua on 23-24 November 2021. The two themes again will be covered and like last year, because of the uncertainty still existing around border closures and international travel, it will be run live (with three pre-conference workshops, conference and exhibitions planned for Rotorua) and as a virtual on-line event for our Australian and international delegates.

Resurgence of interest in mechanised planting

Right now. there is a resurgence of interest being shown by forestry companies in Australasia on mechanised or automated operations for planting and silviculture. The economics are starting to stack up and the technology is able to address the growing issue of labour shortages being faced by the industry over the planting season. Mechanised or machine planting is already successfully being used across Scandinavia and in South America. Operational trials have been undertaken in the central North Island of New Zealand and in NSW last planting season with more extensive plantings (both trials and commercial planting operations) using mechanical planting systems being planned for this year.

Early planting trial results

Each of the main mechanised planting head manufacturers; Bracke, Sweden, Risutec, Finland and the M-Planter, Finland presented at ForestTECH 2020. Timberlands in New Zealand outlined trials using the M-Planter for ripping, mounding, fertilising and planting. Around 53ha of cutover in the central North Island had been planted with between 80 trees (cutover) and 200 trees per hour (in line rake without mounding) being planted.

Forestry Corporation NSW also spoke on early trials that they, together with All Above Reforestation Australia had undertaken in September 2020. Over 40ha in two compartments using the Risutec ASP-150 planting head and Komatsu excavator had been planted. It was the first time this equipment had been used in Australia. Initial results showed that the quality of the seedlings planted wasn’t as consistent as first hoped, but much of this was put down to limitations on the equipment and the site. Trials planned for this planting season were to be aimed at improving productivity (with modifications being made to the mechanised planting head) and some supplementary site preparation to be undertaken when planting second rotation sites.

Mechanised planting trials from 2021

One year further on and results from more extensive commercial mechanised planting operations in both New Zealand and Australia will be presented as part of ForestTECH 2022. Lessons and results from two seasons of mechanised planting in Kinleith Forest will be given by Hancock Forest Management along with results (the first in New Zealand) from applying a hydrogel at the time of planting by one CNI forestry contractor. The gel has been applied at the beginning and end of the planting season to test options of extending the planting season using mechanised planting. FCNSW and Pentarch likewise are planning this year to extend their operational trials in NSW, both with pine and eucalyptus plantings.

And internationally; from Europe, Stora Enso will be providing an insight into a new planting machine that’s being developed in Sweden and Risutec, Finland will provide an update on GPS advancements that have recently been made with their planting heads showing seedling and mound locations, areas planted, planting densities and planting progress in real time.

Aside from addressing the shortage of planters and increased labour costs, some of the advantages already being seen with mechanised planting using planting heads mounted on an excavator are better soil cultivation (ripping and mounding) for the young trees and greater consistency in the quality of the tree planting. Fertiliser granules and hydrogel can also be integrated into the planting process, along with herbicides or insecticides if required.

The case for mechanised planting on flatter terrain in New Zealand and Australia will be forming an integral part of this year’s ForestTECH 2021 event. Full details of the programme for both days can now be viewed on the event website, www.foresttech.events/ft21

Photo: FCNSW



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Low carbon construction forum

People interested in learning more about sustainability in construction are invited to register to attend an upcoming Low Carbon Construction Forum planned for Thursday, 2 September in Rotorua, New Zealand.

The Forum will shine a spotlight on the benefits and opportunities provided by low carbon construction, including the latest developments in cross laminated timber (CLT) and why we are encouraging adoption of low carbon construction and wood first policies.

Date: Thursday, 2 September 2021
Location: Te Whare Nui o Tuteata, Scion, Rotorua

Programme:
9.30am Arrival tea and coffee
10.00am Mihi and Introductions
Topics & Speakers:
- What is low carbon construction? Scion
- Where the industry is at? Linda Lodetti , Registered/Chartered QS
- Te Ao Māori View - TBC
- Signals from Central Government - Katie Symons, MBIE
- Red Stag Overview - Warren Trethewey, Red Stag
- The Bay of Plenty Opportunity - Andrew Wilson, Rotorua Economic Development
- 11.45am questions, discussions, close of formalities, followed by a light lunch

To register your attendance click here.

Background: Building industry emissions need to be halved in the next 10 years if New Zealand is to achieve its 2050 carbon target. Transitioning to Low Carbon Construction will be a critical factor in achieving this outcome, helping reduce the 20% carbon emissions currently sent into the atmosphere from the existing building and construction sector.



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New sawmilling course set up in BC

In continued partnership with Interfor, Canfor, West Fraser and Tolko, BCIT has launched a new Associate Certificate Program – the Business of Sawmilling. This new program focuses on educating forest industry workers about essential business skills – helping them grow and advance within their organization and the industry.

The pilot cohort of this program was launched in October 2020 and has already seen early indications of success. There will be 28 more participants from eight companies starting in the next cohort of this program in May 2021.

The new program builds on the success of the Industrial Wood Processing Program (IWP), established in 2016 by BCIT and its forest company partners, and designed to develop current employees and expand their knowledge of all aspects of lumber manufacturing.

The part-time program is delivered mostly online, allowing employees to earn while they learn and apply their new skills on-the-job. Successful graduates of the program receive an Associate Certificate from BCIT upon completing the program. There are now 19 companies across North America that have so far sent more than 280 participants to IWP.

For more information, visit bcit.ca

Source: Source: COFI



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Work based learning Chief Executive appointed

BCITO Chief Executive Toby Beaglehole has been appointed Chief Executive of Te Pūkenga Work Based Learning Limited (WBL), a subsidiary of Te Pūkenga. BCITO Chair Mike King wished Toby every success in the new role and said it is a pleasure to see BCITO leaning into the opportunities WBL and Te Pūkenga presents.

Toby will take up the role of Chief Executive on 4 October 2021, in line with BCITO’s transition to WBL. Recruitment is underway to appoint a director to lead the BCITO Business Division of WBL following transition. WBL Acting Chief Executive Fiona Kingsford will work with Toby and the WBL Board through to the end of November to ensure a thorough handover.

Mr Strong thanked Fiona, who has been in the role since August, following her time as Chief Executive of Competenz. She also held the role of TITO Transition Capability Lead with Te Pūkenga while Chief Executive of Competenz.

Te Pūkenga Work Based Learning Limited is a subsidiary of Te Pūkenga. Once fully established, Te Pūkenga will be New Zealand’s largest tertiary provider and the 35th largest globally and it is expected that 60 percent of Te Pūkenga learners will be work-based.

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Canada invests in hybrid log trucks

As part of #EVWeekinCanada,a $1.7-million investment in FPInnovations was announced to develop and demonstrate hybrid diesel-electric forestry harvesting trucks and help green transportation in Canada's forestry sector.

FPInnovations will retrofit two conventional forestry tractor-trailers into electric-hybrid tractor-trailers. This will be achieved by equipping two forestry trailers with electric drive axles that will assist the diesel-powered trucks, resulting in reduced fuel consumption and improved traction over challenging terrain.

The hybrid semi-trailer prototypes will be driven in real-world conditions in the provinces of British Columbia and Quebec, including over steep slopes, long distances and difficult road conditions, to evaluate the proposed configurations.

Transportation costs make up more than 50 percent of forestry production costs in Canada, with 30 percent of those being from fuel. Favouring hybrid solutions as opposed to diesel equipment will reduce GHG and fuel usage, making Canada's forest sector more competitive. Simulations have demonstrated that fuel consumption can be reduced by up to 15 percent, which represents a reduction of about 40 tonnes of GHG per truck per year.

British Columbia's Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, TYCROP Trailers, Deloupe, LTS Marine, Arrow Transportation Systems, Boisaco, Dana TM4, Grayson Thermal Systems, Hendrickson, Mack Ste-Foy, Meritor, Michelin, PMG Technologies, Promark Electronics, and Star Express are also contributing to this initiative, bringing the total project investment to over $2.4 million.

The project is funded through Natural Resources Canada's Clean Growth Program, which invests in clean technology research and development projects in Canada's energy, mining and forest sectors. The program is a $155-million investment fund that helps advance emerging clean technologies toward commercial readiness so that natural resource operations can further reduce their environmental impacts while enhancing competitiveness and creating jobs.

Related Link: www.nrcan.gc.ca



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CEO to leave CLTP operation

The Hermal Group has advised stakeholders that Chris Skeels-Piggins, the CEO of their plantation hardwood CLTP business based in Burnie Tasmania, is leaving the Group.

The company acknowledged the achievements that Chris had made leading the CLTP business and significant milestones made under Chris’ leadership, especially as they have been attained in the context of rolling and extended COVID-19 lockdowns. The lockdowns have had a profound impact on the businesses capability to acquire, install and certify critical machinery in addition to product certifications.

As Hermal prepares the CLTP and CUSP businesses for significant scale-up they will be making an announcement in the coming weeks in respect to the leadership of these businesses.

Source: cusp.com.au

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Freight supply chain goes electric

DHL Express, a leading express service provider, and Eviation, the Seattle-area based global manufacturer of all-electric aircraft, write aviation history in announcing that DHL is the first to order 12 fully electric Alice cargo planes from Eviation.

With this engagement DHL aims to set up an unparalleled electric Express network and make a pioneering step into a sustainable aviation future. Eviation’s Alice is the world’s leading fully electric aircraft, which enables airlines – both cargo and passenger – to operate a zero-emission fleet. Eviation expects to deliver the Alice electric aircraft to DHL Express in 2024.

“We firmly believe in a future with zero-emission logistics,” says John Pearson, CEO of DHL Express. “Therefore, our investments always follow the objective of improving our carbon footprint. On our way to clean logistics operations, the electrification of every transport mode plays a crucial role and will significantly contribute to our overall sustainability goal of zero emissions”.

Alice can be flown by a single pilot and will carry 1,200 kilograms. It will require 30 minutes or less to charge per flight hour and have a maximum range of up to 815 kilometres. Alice will operate in all environments currently serviced by piston and turbine aircraft. Alice’s advanced electric motors have fewer moving parts to increase reliability and reduce maintenance costs. Its operating software constantly monitors flight performance to ensure optimal efficiency.

“From day one, we set an audacious goal to transform the aviation industry and create a new era with electric aircraft,” said Eviation CEO Omer Bar-Yohay. “Partnering with companies like DHL who are the leaders in sustainable cargo transportation is a testament that the electric era is upon us. This announcement is a significant milestone on our quest to transform the future of flight across the globe.”

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Russia's wildfires largest in recorded history

Russia’s 2021 wildfires are already its largest in the history of satellite observations, burning across 17.08 million hectares of land, the Greenpeace Russia environmental group has said. The new record beats the previous record set in 2012, when fires burned 17 million hectares of land across Russia, and comes with weeks left to go in a devastating wildfire season.

Grigory Kuksin, the head of Greenpeace Russia’s wildfire unit, linked this year’s unprecedented blazes to the intensifying effects of climate change that are making Russia’s huge expanses of forest drier, hotter and increasingly prone to wildfires. “The unprecedented size of fire-damaged areas is partially the result of climate change, and the fires themselves are partly driving climate change,” he said in the group’s statement published Tuesday.

Environmentalists also place the blame for the fires’ rapid spread on Russia’s firefighting policy, which allows regions to ignore blazes if the cost of fighting fires outweighs the expected damages, as well as a widespread lack of funding for extinguishing efforts.

According to official data, some 170 fires are currently burning across Russia, from the Kostroma region in the west to Magadan in the Far East. Nearly 100 of these fires are located in the republic of Sakha (Yakutia) in northeastern Siberia, the country’s largest and coldest region — the largest of which is on track to become the largest single wildfire ever recorded in human history.

Siberia's wildfires alone are now larger than the rest of the world's blazes combined.

Source: themoscowtimes

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Turning olive trees into McLaren Vale wine

An innovative new pilot project in Adelaide’s southern suburbs is removing feral olive trees from national parks and turning them into a product which is helping grow grapes at McLaren Vale vineyards.

This is the first time in South Australia that feral olive trees from Onkaparinga River National Park and Glenthorne National Park - Ityamaiitpinna Yarta are being used to create biochar, a product which can help retain nutrients, improve soil structure and increase water-holding capacity of soils.

Biochar production is an environmentally friendly carbon recycling process which in this project is taking the olive trees, putting them in a portable piece of machinery called a Tigercat and burning the trees at temperatures of 500 degrees Celsius to create biochar.

The Biochar produced as part of the project processed and sold by the project’s commercial partners including to local McLaren Vale vineyards. It’s expected that any funds raised will be able to go back into the project to fund further olive control and revegetation works. Minister for Environment and Water David Speirs said this is a first for national parks in South Australia to be converting feral olive trees into biochar.

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... and one to end the week on ... a few more puns

Two silk worms had a race. They ended up in a tie.

Atheism is a non-prophet organization.

Two hats were hanging on a hat rack in the hallway. One hat said to the other, "You stay here, I'll go on a head."

I was wondered why the baseball kept getting bigger. Then it hit me.

In a democracy, it's your vote that counts. In feudalism, it's your count that votes.

If you jumped off a bridge in Paris, you'd be in Seine.

Two hydrogen atoms meet. One says, "I've lost my electron." The other says, "Are you sure?" The first replies, "Yes, I'm positive."

OK, last one. There was the person who sent ten puns to friends, with the hope that at least one of the puns would make them laugh. No puns in ten did.





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: www.fridayoffcuts.com


This week's extended issue, along with back issues, can be viewed at www.fridayoffcuts.com

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