Friday Offcuts – 5 November 2021

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With Covid hogging the news now for at least 18 months, the issue of the beleaguered Chinese property developer, Evergrande has been bubbling away in the background. It’s an enormous company embedded right across China's financial system and economy. It’s now though the world’s most indebted property firm struggling to repay debts of more than US$300 billion. A collapse will send financial shock waves across China's real estate sector. If followed by multiple property sector collapses, it has the potential to lead to a full-blown national economic crisis as well as impacting on the global economy.

It appears now though that the debts actually go a lot deeper than just Evergrade. It’s being reported that one third of China’s property developers are likely to struggle to repay their debts over the next 12 months. In a recent analysis by Bloomberg, a staggering two-thirds of China’s largest developers have reported to have breached the country’s tough “red lines” debt policy. The Chinese property sector as a whole owes around $5 trillion, a figure roughly equivalent to the whole output of the Japanese economy. As well as Covid lockdown's, this unfolding drama is one to keep a keen eye on. It has major implications (and anecdotally it appears that the ripples may already have started with wharf gate prices for China A grade along with buyer’s sentiments dropping away significantly) to local suppliers of logs and wood products up into this part of the world. As well as a piece on Evangrande we’ve included this week an article that delves deeper into the issues behind China’s current housing market woes.

In the acquisitions space this week, Ernslaw One, New Zealand’s fourth largest forestry business has agreed to sell two of its North Island forests, Whangapoua and Ruatoria to Summit Forests NZ, a subsidiary of Japan’s Sumitomo Corporation. This new acquisition will grow Summit Forests’ forestry assets to around ~52,000 hectares in the North Island. And tree seedling company ArborGen has agreed to sell its New Zealand and Australian assets to a consortium led by Hugh Fletcher for NZ$22.25 million. Currently the company produces around 35 million tree stocks a year in New Zealand and Australia.

And finally, we covered a couple of weeks ago results from a comprehensive survey on how millennials perceive our industry. As we know, it's tough finding employees right now. In the UK this week, the Institute of Chartered Foresters have estimated that, if the sector was going to deliver on climate change and biodiversity commitments, it would need at least 60% more skilled workers – around 10,000 properly trained individuals – over the next few years.

Much closer to home, AKD, with sites across Victoria, NSW and QLD is addressing the “skills shortages” issue. They’ve set up their own recruitment programmes to tap into these millennials. Every year they aim to attract 30 new employees (recent University graduates, apprenticeship positions that become a pathway to becoming a qualified tradesperson and gap year placements that are being offered to school students) through three “talent programmes” they’ve set up. Check out this innovative and very successful approach that they’re using below. And, that’s it for this week.

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Headwinds for Chinese housing market grow

One third of China’s property developers will struggle to repay their debts in the next 12 months, according to a new report, as the sector reckons with increasingly serious headwinds from falling sales, restricted access to credit and a wider downturn.

Even if the embattled developer Evergrande manages to meet its latest debt repayment on Friday and head off a potentially disastrous default, analysts at the credit rating agency S&P warned that many other property companies could be heading towards bankruptcy.

The financial contagion sweeping through the sector represents a serious risk for China – and the global economy – as its investment and construction driven model of growth begins to creak under the strain of mind-boggling debts.

China has suffered housing market downturns before but this one is set to be “unusually intense”, S&P said.

Although Evergrande has emerged as the symbol of the debt-laden structure with liabilities of $300bn at home and abroad, the Chinese property sector as a whole owes an estimated $5 trillion, according to analysts at Nomura. That is one-third of the country’s entire GDP and roughly equivalent to the whole output of the Japanese economy, the world’s third largest.

Property companies must come up with $92bn as bond payments mature in the next year. This task has been made much more difficult because many were cut out of conventional borrowing channels after Xi Jinping’s “three red lines” crackdown on lending to the sector. Some have seen their credit-worthiness ratings cut to “B” or below, which denotes that the company is vulnerable.

“We believe that defaults will rise as firms enter a prolonged down cycle, amid heightened refinancing risk and steep maturity walls coming due this year and next,” S&P says in its report this week. “In the most severe scenario, the liquidity of as much as one-third of rated Chinese developers will come under pressure. The entities most at risk are overwhelmingly rated ‘B-’ to ‘B+’. Over 50% of our rated portfolio of Chinese developers falls into this ratings category.”

The S&P analysts believe Evergrande is likely to default on its debt eventually. Bondholders have been trying to extract information about Evergrande’s financial situation since its financial death spiral become clear in September when it admitted that it might not be able to meet all its debts, which include an obligation to finish up to 1.6 million homes in China that it has already taken payment for.

Attempts to offload its most profitable assets have been unsuccessful and it cannot sell enough homes – even at discounts – because the whole housing market is on the skids. This year has seen the longest slump since 2015 in new construction starts, while property sales by floor area dropped 15.8% in September, the third monthly decline in a row. New mortgages are down 9% this year.

Capital Economics warned this week that China’s manufacturing and construction sectors were “on the cusp of a deeper downturn that could pull down China’s growth to just 3% next year”.

“Evergrande should be seen as a possible global threat rather than just ‘China’s problem’,” he said. “The company is systemically important to the Chinese financial system that had seen its rules eased during the last financial crisis (2008) and levels of gearing explode in turn. Under such circumstances, moderate risks can turn into universal hazards.”

Source: theguardian

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Careers through 3 AKD talent programmes

It’s full steam ahead at AKD with the announcement of their 2022 intake of Apprentices, Graduates and Gap Year employees. As the Australian community finally starts emerging from the past 12 months’ challenges, AKD will bring in over 30 new employees through three talent programs across the country.

Clark Rodger, General Manager – Human Resources at AKD said “the opportunities across the programs being launched would suit a wide range of people. Whether you’re a student looking to take a gap year, a graduate looking to embark on their career, or someone looking to build their skills and learn a new trade, AKD has an option for you. Many of our existing leaders, tradespeople and technical experts have joined AKD through these programs, demonstrating the programs value and our long-term commitment to them”.

AKD’s Talent Development Manager, Genevieve Ryan, spoke on the recently reinvigorated graduate program, voicing that “the program is perfect for recent graduates looking to build on their work experience. The AKD Graduate Program provides individuals with the opportunity to work first-hand on projects across Australia and to accelerate their career by providing them exposure to different operational and business innovation and technologies”.

Ms Ryan said, “this program will give AKD the opportunity to recruit new employees from some of Australia’s leading universities, while offering them invaluable on-the-job training”. AKD are offering graduate opportunities across several fields including Engineering, Commerce, Science, Forestry, Manufacturing, HR and Safety.

The company’s successful National Apprenticeship Program is back for another year, with over 20 apprentice positions on offer once again. Ms Ryan believes that “AKD Apprenticeships deliver a great pathway to become a qualified tradesperson, with nationally recognised training and hands-on experience in your chosen career. We have a number of apprenticeship opportunities available across a range of trades including Saw Technician, Wood Machinist, Electrical and Fitting & Turning, and are available in a range of site locations across Victoria, NSW and QLD. We encourage individuals at all stages of their life to consider the opportunities”.

After another successful year running the gap year program, AKD will be taking in another group of gap year employees, marking the fifth year of running the program. The gap year program is a great opportunity for local students to work in a large business and prepare for university, gaining valuable skills and experiences. “If you’re not sure about what to do following year 12 studies, it’s a great way to get a feel of the industry, or a great opportunity to provide exposure to a chosen field of study and earn money before heading off to university,” Ms Ryan said.

If you are interested in any of these positions or are looking to join the team at AKD, please visit

Photo: Jason Mitchell, AKD Wood Machinist Apprentice

Source: AKD

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What’s happening to China’s housing market?

On Oct 7, dozens of homeowners gathered at the sales office of a new residential development in Nanyang demanding refunds. The value of their homes depreciated at least 30 per cent in less than a year since purchase. The average price of housing in a neighbouring project by the same developer dropped more than 40 per cent.

Nanyang, a city of nearly 10 million people in central China's Henan province, is a microcosm of the real estate market in China's third- and fourth-tier cities. In the past few years, with large inflows of migrants from rural areas into smaller cities like Nanyang, developers such as China Evergrande Group and Country Garden Holdings rushed in to build housing.

Then the central government, concerned about risky overheating in the property sector, moved to cool things down. Since President Xi Jinping declared in 2017 that "houses are for living in, not for speculation," policymakers have imposed a series of measures to limit rampant borrowing by developers and tighten standards for mortgage lending. The real estate sector's industry-wide chill reflects those policies as the world's most populous nation still faces a housing shortage, industry experts say.

Since the government curbed their borrowing ability last year, developers are experiencing a sharp drop in home sales, adding to their financial burdens. Since September, nine developers' credit ratings or outlook have been cut about 20 times. The debt crisis that may lead to the collapse of Evergrande, one of the country's largest developers, has heightened market concerns.

As a result, developers have lost their appetite for real estate, which will put fiscal pressure on local governments that rely heavily on land sales. That pressure will in turn constrain funding for infrastructure and weigh on economic growth.

Housing chill across China

Meanwhile, sales of existing housing have cratered under pressure on mortgage loans imposed by multiple cities. A broker in Hunan province told Caixin that his company's sales of pre-owned housing plunged to 30 per cent-40 per cent of sales in the same period last year.

The sector is feeling the pinch of reference price mechanisms set by city governments that limit the amounts that financial institutions can loan to home buyers. In February, Shenzhen set reference prices for pre-owned properties in 3,595 residential compounds and prohibited banks from processing loans at amounts higher than the reference prices. Since then, sales of pre-owned homes in the city declined every month to 1,765 units in September from a normal range of 5,000 to 8,000 a month.

Other provincial capitals like Sanya, Chengdu and Xi'an followed Shenzhen. Reference prices of most of the pre-owned properties to be included in the Guangzhou system were cut by 30 per cent-50 per cent from market prices.

Many sellers found the reference prices "unacceptable" and have taken a "wait-and-see attitude," which led to a sharp decline in transactions, said Huang Tao, manager at Centaline Property Agency in Guangdong.

At a recent new project in downtown Guangzhou, where new units routinely sold out in minutes, the developer now offers broker’s commissions of as much as 100,000 yuan (S$20,954) a unit. China Vanke, a top-three developer that never used to worked with brokers, recently signed agent agreements for two projects in Shenzhen, according to a local broker.

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Source: Caixin Global, StraitsTimes

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New legislation to enable carbon trading

Western Australian Forestry Minister Dave Kelly has introduced a Bill to amend the Forest Products Act 2000, which will allow the Forest Products Commission (FPC) to trade in carbon assets. Under the existing Forest Products Act, the FPC's functions are restricted to dealing with "forest products" which are defined to mean trees, parts of trees and similar products. The statutory expansion of the FPC's functions will grant the FPC the right to own, trade and otherwise deal with carbon assets.

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ArborGen to sell Australia & NZ assets

Tree seedling company ArborGen has agreed to sell its New Zealand and Australian assets to a consortium led by Hugh Fletcher for $22.25 million.

ArborGen is one of the last remnants of the former Fletcher Forests, and has a range of nurseries producing seedlings for the timber and agriculture industries. The company disclosed in June that it was undertaking a strategic review on its future options after receiving a bid.

The company produces about 30 million tree stocks a year in New Zealand and 5.5 million in Australia and would require “significant” additional capital to expand capacity, ArborGen chairman David Knott said in a statement to the NZX. The board believed the money would be better spent in its higher growth markets in the United States and Brazil, he said. It would also use the funds to explore new growth opportunities and repay debt.

The purchasers were a consortium of New Zealand investors including charitable trusts and private families, led by Hugh Fletcher who was a director of ArborGen predecessor Rubicon until September 2019. An independent assessment of the deal by corporate advisory firm Grant Samuel found the offer was above the mid-point of its valuation range of between $20.7m and $23m, and was “fair”. The deal is due to settle at the end of this month.

ArborGen, which is now based in South Carolina in the US, owns one of the world’s largest and most diverse genetic libraries for commercial tree germplasm, and is one of the world’s largest providers of advanced genetic seedlings.

In New Zealand and Australia, where it has seven nurseries and two orchards, its key seedling species are radiata pine, eucalyptus and other native horticultural species. The operations generated US$9.9m (NZ$14m) of revenue last year, making up 19 per cent of the group’s US$52.7m revenue.

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Source: Stuff

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Ernslaw One announces NZ forest sales

Ernslaw One and its advisor Cranleigh Partners have announced that Ernslaw has completed an agreement to sell the Whangapoua and Ruatoria forests with a combined area of 15,100 productive hectares to Summit Forests New Zealand Limited.

Yong Tiong, Executive Director of the Oregon Group, the parent company of Ernslaw One, said this was a significant step forward in executing Ernslaw's strategy in New Zealand. “This reflects a continued focus on positioning our estate to meet our strategic goals of creating high value downstream products,” says Mr Tiong.

Part of the proceeds from this transaction will facilitate further investments in the Group’s timber and pulp processing facilities located in the North Island.

Takashi Sasaoka, Managing Director of Summit Forests New Zealand Limited, said this is an important day for Summit Forests as it continues to establish a long-term business in New Zealand. “This acquisition of highly productive forests will complement the other assets acquired over the last decade in New Zealand. We look forward to continuing to manage these forests in line with Summit's commitment to best practice and the highest environmental standards,” says Mr Sasaoka.

About Ernslaw One Limited

Ernslaw One is New Zealand’s fourth largest forestry business managing ~95,000 productive hectares (post-sale) on both the North and South Island with 75% of the forests on freehold land or long-term leases and the remaining 25% on Crown Forestry Licences. The company operates downstream timber and pulp processing businesses in Ohakune area of the Central North Island producing over 200kt of pulp sold internationally.

About Summit Forests NZ Limited

Summit Forests New Zealand is a subsidiary of Japan’s Sumitomo Corporation which has a proud trading history of over 100 years. Summit entered the New Zealand forestry industry in 2013 and is proud to employ 244 New Zealanders as staff and sub-contractors which is expected to grow to just over 400 in the coming years. Summit is the seventh largest forestry business in NZ with its main forest holdings in Northland and the Gisborne/East Coast region. This acquisition will grow the business’ forest assets to around ~52,000 hectares in the North Island. Summit also operates its own dedicated log export business.

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Useful tools from forestry bioenergy project

Attempts are being made to shift the focus of energy production globally more and more towards renewable energy sources. In Finland, the use of renewable energy increased by 1 % in 2019 compared to 2018, and it covered 38 % of total energy consumption.

The use of wood fuels continued to grow and their use in 2019 reached a record level. Forest bioenergy plays a major role in Finnish energy production, but actors in the sector need new information and tools to support their work. The outputs of the soon-to-be-completed Baltic ForBio project will bring concrete help to industry players.

Bioenergy is produced with about 20 million m3 of solid wood fuels

In 2019, heating and power plants consumed slightly over 20 million solid cubic metres of solid wood fuels. The share of forest chips was 7,5 million m³ (37%) of the total consumption. 90% of raw material for forest chips was small-sized trees and logging residues, the rest being manufactured from stumps and large-sized decayed roundwood. The share of logging residues has increased in recent years. The use of forest chips in energy production has constantly increased with one fifth from 2010.

The combined production of heat and power consumed 63% (4.7 mil. m³) of the total forest chips, while the share of heat production alone was 37% (2.8 mil. m³). The share of forest chips used in heath production has increased in the past 10 years.

The use of wood fuels and especially forest chips has been promoted in Finland since mid-1990’s. Alongside with support to research and innovation activities, investments in new technologies has been subsidized. Harvesting of small sized trees for forest chips has received funding under The Act on the Financing of Sustainable Forestry.

Profitability and the availability of raw materials are key issues

Main tools and products of the project are:

• General Handbook on the cost-effective harvest methods including country-specific reviews on the sector
Forest Energy Atlas, an open-access Internet-based tool for assessing spatially-explicit harvesting potentials of energy wood (country specific).

Other useful tools and products available on

• Sector-specific review on the studies and research conducted in the partner countries during the past ten years
• Demonstration sites (31 pcs) available in the partner countries with documented site descriptions before and after energy wood harvest
• Training materials as slide-sets, videos and written publications

What are the project impacts in the longer run?

During the project lifecycle the partner countries can compare the current forest energy situation in the neighbouring countries and learn from each other the best practices and prerequisites for a positive development in the sector. The handbook on the cost-effective and sustainable harvest methods gives a broad understanding of the sector in 200 pages. It has been published in six local languages to work effectively for sharing information through national channels. Together with other outputs from the project, such as training materials and Forest Energy Atlas for forest biomass availability assessment, it forms a good basis for the commitment to the development of the sector in the longer run.


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Expansion of the Mauri-Molecular Platform™

Tupu Angitu Ltd, the commercial arm of the Lake Taupō Forest Trust, and NZ Bio Forestry Ltd have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding that they hope will increase the value of the forestry estate and create new regional jobs. And they plan to achieve this on a zero-carbon footprint.

“The Trust owns a sustainable forestry estate,” says Temuera Hall, the Chair of Tupu Angitu. “It controls over 33,700 hectares on behalf of its 14,000 Ngāti Tūwharetoa owners of which 28% is conserved in its natural state. Tupu Angitu is focused on diversifying our asset base and integrating throughout the forestry value chain.” Hall also notes that Ngāti Tūwharetoa is a co-owner of the 170,000 hectares forestry estate in Kaingaroa, one of the largest production forests in the Southern Hemisphere.

NZ Bio Forestry has made it a priority to work with Māori in support of the forestry sector. “Forests are so much more than just structure and fibre,” says NZ Bio Forestry CEO Wayne Mulligan.

“We view forestry through its living essence, its biologics or ‘mauri’. We term this the Mauri-Molecular Platform™. We understand forests as a huge resource of standing biochemistry that can provide alternatives to fossil fuels like coal and petroleum.”

NZ Bio Forestry was founded by NZ Māori and their Singaporean and Taiwanese partners. It provides advanced technologies to convert softwood into biochemicals that can replace petroleum and fossil fuel products. And while most comparable companies around the world use food sources, such as corn, to create bio-plastics and other bio-materials, NZ Bio Forestry exclusively uses renewable non-food sources including forestry waste.

The company has plans to establish as many as 12 bio-facilities across New Zealand. The first site is planned for Marton in the Rangitikei region. However, the relationship announced also provides an opportunity to move quickly to locations around Taupō, the Central North Island and Eastern Bay of Plenty.

More >>

Who are NZ Bio Forestry? click here

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New buildings to be 20% timber

The city of Amsterdam has mandated that all new buildings in the Dutch capital must be constructed from at least 20 per cent wood or other biobased materials from 2025.

The agreement, which is named the Green Deal Timber Construction, has been signed by all 32 municipalities in the Metropolitan Region of Amsterdam (MRA) region. Increasing the use of timber in the city's construction projects is hoped to reduce reliance on steel and concrete – materials that create large amounts of carbon dioxide during production.

In turn, this is expected to help the Dutch capital meet its goal of "climate neutrality", or net-zero greenhouse gas emissions, by 2050.

Mandate encourages all biomaterials

The Green Deal Timber Construction was signed during the MRA Sustainability Summit 2021 in October. However, it will not be implemented until 2025. As an alternative to timber construction, the deal also allows for 20 per cent of a new building to be constructed with other biobased materials – materials that are derived from biodegradable living matter – such as hemp or cork.

According to the Amsterdam Institute of Advanced Metropolitan Solutions (AMS Institute), which is supporting the implementation of the Green Deal Timber Construction, the move is expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the city by approximately 220,000 tonnes a year. This is equivalent to the average emissions of 22,000 homes, it said.

Globally, the built environment is currently responsible for around 40 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions. To reduce this figure, many architects around the world are turning to timber for construction, due to the material's sustainability credentials.

One of the biggest benefits of timber is that it can sequester large amounts of carbon from the atmosphere and store it within a building, offsetting the carbon emissions generated by a building over its lifespan.

"Although the use of abiotic materials in construction has literally taken us to great heights, these materials have a major impact on the environment," explained Pablo van der Lugt, a research fellow at AMS Institute. The latest generation of mass timber products can replace these materials one-to-one, without harming the environment," he added. "Moreover, they actually act as huge carbon sinks."

Deal could help Amsterdam become circular

Amsterdam is not the only city to have introduced legislation that encourages the use of biomaterials. In New York, the city council has approved the use of mass timber for the construction of buildings of up to 25.9 metres tall. In 2020, the French government agreed that all new public buildings in the country must be built from at least 50 per cent timber or other natural materials by 2022.

To support the Green Deal Timber Construction agreement, sites for new construction projects will be designated across Amsterdam.

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Photo; Rhythm House in Amsterdam, Norbert Wunderling

Source: Dezeen

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New manifesto calls for greater use of wood

To avert the worst effects of climate change, global forest and timber industries are calling on politicians and policy makers to urgently support the scaling up of wood use in a new manifesto, CEO of the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA), Chair of the UN Advisory Committee of Sustainable Forest Based Industries (ACSFI) and Member of the global wood industry’s COP26 International Partners Advisory Body, Ross Hampton said.

The manifesto sets out the case for how the world can make greater use of sustainable wood to transform our built environment, which is currently responsible for approximately 40 per cent of global energy related CO2 emissions. Achieving net zero CO2 emissions by 2050 requires construction to rapidly decarbonise whilst still meeting the needs of a growing urban population, the increasing demand for new buildings, and the urgent requirement to renovate existing buildings,” Mr Hampton said.

As reported last week, the manifesto, was launched at 12:00pm UK time on 28 October, during the Royal Institute of British Architect’s Built Environment Summit to a global audience. Speaking at the launch of Time for Timber, Andrew Waugh of Waugh Thistleton Architects said, “Wood and wood-based materials offer solutions based on existing business models and proven technology. This is ‘carbon capture and storage’ in action now – with no further research or technological breakthroughs needed.

Paul Brannen, Director of Public Affairs for CEI-Bois and EOS added, “The primary purpose of the Time for Timber manifesto is to convey to those attending the COP26 in Glasgow that wood is the key material that can decarbonise the built environment both quickly and at scale. We will now be taking this manifesto to Glasgow with our international partners, which include the UK, Europe, Canada, the USA, New Zealand and Australia, to call on politicians to implement the recommendations and take action now.”

The five recommendations included in the report seek to rapidly scale up global forestry and timber industries and enhance the ability of the supply chain to minimise CO2 emissions across the lifecycle of any wood product:

1. Embed mandatory lifecycle assessments and embodied carbon thresholds within local and national building plans.

2. Increase the use of wood within new builds and renovations.

3. Drive the growth of the bio-based circular economy through sustainable public procurement.

4. Facilitate resource efficient use of wood and wood recycling, especially collection and sorting in municipalities, and develop measures to gain access to post-consumer wood, an invaluable secondary raw material resource.

5. Increase training to upskill workers and create new jobs to boost the development of a sustainable and circular bioeconomy.

Source: AFPA

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Selecting productive logging machine operators

The Vienne Test System, followed by the use of simulators, results in productive operators being selected and their subsequent learning curve being quicker with less machine damage.

Researchers used people with no simulator or logging machine experience to test whether applicable aptitude tests, such as the Vienne Test System, could successfully select operators that would be productive machine operators. The abstract of the research summaries the study and results for us. Interesting results were obtained regarding the gaming habits of the group and gender.

Simulators are used worldwide for various applications in different industries (e.g., aviation and medicine), generally to train prospective operators for actual work situations. The forest industry is no exception, with numerous studies – mostly in countries such as Finland, Norway, Switzerland and the United States of America – showing that simulator-based training has many advantages, especially for fast and inexpensive learning. Little information is available, however, relating to the preselection of harvesting operators prior to simulator-based training.

The aim of this study was to determine whether harvesting simulators could be used in conjunction with the Vienna Test System to identify potential harvesting operators. A mixed methods approach (quantitative work study data and qualitative questionnaire data) was used to determine differences among 14 volunteer participants, each of which spent a total of ten hours using the simulator.

After completing demographic questionnaires, participants used the Vienna Test System. The test is designed to measure hand–eye coordination, the ability to concentrate for long periods, and the participant’s cognitrone (concentration performance), and it is used in the mining industry as a pre-selection tool for heavy machine operators.

Preliminary results show that the Vienna Test System was able to pre-identify individuals who are fast and productive. Many studies have indicated that effective and efficient operators require these abilities and more. Learning improved at different rates among participants over the ten hours spent on the simulator.

The research was published in Australian Forestry, Volume 84(1) 2021. The authors are K Schwegman, R Spinelli, N Magagnotti, M Ramantswana and A McEwan.

Source: tandfonline

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World leaders pledge to halt deforestation by 2030

More than 100 world leaders representing more than 85 per cent of the world's forests are set to pledge to halt deforestation over the next decade at a UN climate summit under way in Glasgow. The announcement at the COP26 meeting includes Brazil, which is home to the Amazon rainforest, as well as Canada, Russia, Norway, Colombia and Indonesia.

The United States also signed onto the agreement, which was backed by $12 billion (NZ$16.7b) in public funds and $7.2 billion in private money. The destruction of forests is a major factor driving up global greenhouse gas emissions, according to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, with about 23 per cent of total emissions stemming from agriculture, forestry and other land uses.

While environmentalists and many politicians have worked to keep the world's remaining forests intact for years during previous UN climate summits, they suggested the new agreement could make a turning point.

"Our challenge now must be to halt deforestation and begin restoring forests around the world, and we must do this within the decade or risk the collapse of forests worldwide. It's a huge undertaking," said David Attenborough, in a video prepared for the announcement.

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Buy and Sell

... and one to end the week on ... career choices

And one more sent in last week by an obviously frustrated reader. NZ's new traffic light system for Covid so we all have a really clear idea of where we're going.

And on that note, enjoy your weekend. Cheers.

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

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

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