WoodWeek – 26 April 2017

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Greetings from your WoodWeek news team. In their market news update, AgriHQ says New Zealand log supply will likely be curbed by recent stormy weather, as cyclones dented local production and disrupted sea freight.

In other forest news, software company Treemetrics has signed a significant deal with Ireland’s national forestry company Coillte for an “Internet of trees” project to create a connected forest. The tech platform will give Coillte more forestry harvesting control via real- time satellite communications and cutting-edge analytics. The change aims to optimise operational efficiency.

At the recent Commonwealth forestry conference in India, Australia’s Rob de Fegely said, ‘It’s a source of some national shame that Australia has a $2 billion annual international trade deficit in forest products.

He added, “It’s not an economic argument but a moral and social one. We have the space, skills, wealth and knowledge to do more.”

This month researchers at Scion are celebrating 70 years. The Crown Research Institute was established as FRI in April 1947 when the then State Forest Service started a forest experiment station beside the existing nursery at Whakarewarewa Forest.

Finally this week, today marks the opening punch from USA politicians in the next round of the ongoing fight we all know as the Canada-USA softwood trade war(s). Looking as we do from afar – it is simply a tactical negotiation between the two trade heavyweights.

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Recent storms will impact log supply

New Zealand log supply will likely be curbed by recent stormy weather, as cyclones dented local production and disrupted sea freight.

"Rain and wind from the ex-Cyclones Debbie and Cook lashed the central and lower North Island in the past fortnight, slowing production rates and causing damage to trees," AgriHQ analyst Reece Brick said in his monthly forestry market report. "This should slow offerings to the market, but will obviously only benefit those not impacted by the weather."

AgriHQ's Brick noted that the East Coast and Hawke's Bay were significantly impacted, areas which account for about 17 percent of the country's pine plantations.

The stormy weather conditions also caused havoc to sea conditions, forcing at least one ship to cancel its booked shipments to and from New Zealand, and delaying many other shipments, Brick said.

"Ultimately, this will curb April export volumes," Brick said.

Forest products are New Zealand's third-largest commodity export group behind dairy and meat products.

Brick's monthly survey of exporters, forest owners and saw millers showed prices were little changed this month. Domestically, structural log prices for S1 logs remained at $122 a tonne, while roundwood log prices held at $92 a tonne. Pruned logs were more varied, with the P1 price lifting $2 a tonne to $179 a tonne while lesser quality types were stable or weaker.

In the export market, all measured grades were either stable or marginally firmer, with A- grade logs fetching $126 a tonne and export pruned logs at $165 a tonne.

AgriHQ noted that shipping rates to China had lifted and shipping capacity was more difficult to secure than earlier in the year.

"Commodity trading between Australia and eastern Asia, particularly in iron ore and grain, is keeping capacity active in the Pacific," Brick said. "Weather conditions in the wake of Cyclones Debbie and Cook are also limiting sea freight options.

"There is an increasing belief that once commodity exports out of Australia settle, shipping rates will begin to weaken again."

Source: BusinessDesk via Scoop News

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Australian timber trade deficit

National Shame: Australia's $2 billion trade deficit in wood products

Australia is the seventh most forested country in the world and Australians have more forest per person than most other countries except for the Canadians and the Russians.

Rob de Fegely, National President of the Australian Institute of Foresters presented a grim picture of Australia’s contribution to managing renewable forest and plantation resources to the 19th Commonwealth Forestry Conference in India earlier this month.

Rob said, ‘It is a source of some national shame that Australia has a significant trade deficit in forest products of more than $2 billion each year. This is not an economic argument but a moral and social one. We have the space, skills, wealth and knowledge to do more.

‘Using wood is good – it is a carbon-positive, renewable resource - and it is almost impossible to live a day without using wood products in some form. Wood is a timeless product and we should encourage its use.

‘Most of Australia’s 125 million hectares of forest are either privately owned or on leasehold land yet the bulk of the production from natural forests come from public multiple use forests. In addition, most of our planted forest estate was either established by public forest agencies or with some form of government assistance.

Private forest owners and Indigenous Australians, particularly in natural forests are conspicuous by their absence in the long-term supply of wood products. We can change this if we have the community support and political will to do so!

Indigenous Australians own, manage or have an interest in around 30 per cent of Australia’s forests and many are wanting greater autonomy in the management of their land and forests.

Effectively managing forests for environmental outcomes is also not the pretty picture we are often led to believe. Australia has considerable areas of conservation forests which have no effective monitoring making it challenging to make informed decisions about forest management particularly in a landscape context. Are these forests achieving what we think they are?

‘We need to investigate whether there is market failure in the domestic forest products market and whether incentives are needed to continue to develop new forest resources. Although I am often reminded that one of the best incentives is a simple one called profit!

Australia has a proud history of forest management and has the ability to improve conservation outcomes from its forests while meeting demand for renewable resources like wood,’ said Mr de Fegely.

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Dr Tom’s on a forestry mission

Dr Tom Mulholland, Emergency Department Dr, best-selling author, TV and Radio Talk Show host, former NZ Forest Service trainee & International Keynote Presenter. For the Kiwis, he now has a regular column in the nations major Sunday newspaper.

For forestry companies and contractors, he is regularly seen out in the forest and in forestry towns spreading the good health message. He’s also tackling a session that looks beyond new harvesting equipment at growing healthy people within your forestry or contracting business. He’s also locked in to present at the HarvestTECH 2017 dinner in Rotorua on Tuesday 20 June.

So, just who is Dr Tom? Dr Tom Mulholland is an Emergency Department Doctor and GP with over 25 years’ experience in New Zealand. He has worked in Kaitaia Hospital in the North to Southland Hospital and the Sub Antarctic Islands as a doctor. He has worked in Tologa Bay, Chatham Islands, Papamoa in the east to Raglan, Taranaki and Greymouth in the west. He has hosted his own TV and Radio shows, written two internationally best-selling books and been a professional speaker to the likes of Google, Microsoft and Hilton for the last 10 years.

Dr Tom Mulholland, or ‘Dr Tom’ – has made it his personal crusade to save people from preventable chronic diseases. He’s been actively engaging with the forestry industry – out on site and parked up in his ambulance in small forestry towns. His mission, to offer free health checks to forestry workers. In the past 2 years of touring NZ in a retro Chevy V8 ambulance (and over 25 years as a Hospital Emergency Department Doctor and Rural GP), the rates of uncontrolled diabetes, high blood pressure and heart risk are the highest he has ever seen.

Sought after throughout New Zealand, and internationally now as an after-dinner presenter, Dr Tom will be providing HarvestTECH 2017 delegates with an entertaining, humorous and often controversial look at his one-man crusade that he’s been on. It’s going to be an entertaining – and informative ride.

Note: Places for this regions’ two-yearly logging event running on 20-21 June (with field tours either side of the conference) are filling fast. Places on one of the two field tours filled last week. For the ABB Field Tour, interest can still though be filed for the waiting list. Conference places are still available and a few spaces still remain on the FGR Field Tour. Further information can be found and registrations made on the event website, www.harvesttech.events.

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Scion celebrates 70 years of research

Scion celebrates 70 years and looks to continue growing NZ through trees - One of Rotorua's largest employers is celebrating 70 years this month. Crown Research Institute Scion was established in April 1947 when the then State Forest Service started a forest experiment station beside the existing nursery at Whakarewarewa Forest.

Its decision to centralise forestry research laid the foundation for today's Scion that supports New Zealand's third largest export industry. Scion employs more than 300 people at offices in Rotorua and Christchurch and, according to Scion chief executive Dr Julian Elder, its research areas have evolved dramatically in the past 70 years.

In the 1950s research into growth modelling for forests and timber engineering had only just begun, but some of the timber drying, preservation and fibre production that were developed then are still used today.

Scion now works in fields from genetics to the design and use of wood, fibre and other forest resources reflecting the enormous increase in uses for forests and their products over the past 70 years and are now used as sources of energy for liquid biofuels, feedstock for high performance bioplastic in car components and adhesives in sustainable wood products.

"In our 70 years, Scion has undertaken research that has brought benefits to forestry in New Zealand and around the world," Dr Elder said.

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Contract to transform the global wood supply chain

Coillte, Ireland’s national forestry company, has announced a major €1 million contract agreement, with Cork-headquartered Treemetrics to roll out a pioneering real-time satellite communications and data-analytics platform for forestry harvest control. An Taoiseach Enda Kenny T.D was joined by Coillte Chief Executive Fergal Leamy and Treemetrics CEO and co-founder Enda Keane in Government Buildings to mark the agreement.

The Treemetrics technology platform, a world first for the forestry industry, is designed to optimise operational efficiency, reduce waste and improve environmental sustainability. Treemetrics developed the ground-breaking communications technology working in partnership with the European Space Agency (ESA) over the past four years.

The satellite communications platform communicates directly with harvest cutting machines ensuring that they always have 24/7 connectivity, thus delivering positioning and mapping services to the driver-operators as well as sharing data about the tree-logs in real time with the forest managers and sawmill wood buyers.

Marking the announcement An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, T.D said: “After a chance meeting on a Dublin Street some years ago, I have followed with interest the Treemetrics story of success. Now, as then, I am happy to support them as their visions mature into pioneering solutions for the forestry sector”.

The Treemetrics technology platform aims to improve management of forestry resources by real time monitoring of the harvesting process, providing tree quality mapping and a reduction in travel costs to and from forest sites through In-Vehicle-Navigation and improved Inventory mapping.

Fergal Leamy, Chief Executive, Coillte said “Coillte is on a path to becoming the best forestry and land solutions company in Europe. Our increasing use of technology will be crucial over the next few years as we aim to create the connected forest. I am delighted to be working with world leading technology companies like Treemetrics, who also happen to be based in Ireland, as we develop innovative solutions to how we manage our forests”.

Enda Keane, CEO and Co-Founder, Treemetrics, said “Treemetrics are very grateful for the support we received from the European Space Agency, our technology partner and to Coillte our valued Irish customer, to enable us to deliver the ‘Internet of Trees’ platform, providing real time data analytics and transformative insights, that will deliver great benefits to the Irish forestry industry, in terms of environmental sustainability, management optimization and improved profitability.”

Source: Treemetrics
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Drone over Kaingaroa spots cash crop

Drone finds marijuana plants in Kaingaroa Forest - A drone has been used to identify a hidden cache of 100 cannabis plants stashed in the Kaingaroa Forest near Rotorua last week. Following an anonymous tip-off about a suspicious vehicle from a member of the public, police entered the area early on the morning of April 7.

"We got a call on Friday from a member of the public reporting a suspicious ute in the area," Senior Sergeant Chris Turnbull said.

"Some people had unloaded a bike from the ute and had headed into the Kaingaroa Forest with machetes. They had two machetes and reeked of cannabis. Their excuse was they were hunting with the machetes which is an offence in itself."

Turnbull said the two men were initially detained on hunting charges and further questioning led to police conducting a thorough search of the area.

The canine unit and foot patrols were unable to locate anything suspicious so police officers looked for a high tech solution to their problem. Using a drone flying overhead they were able to detect a secret garden of about 100 cannabis plants, stashed in the Kaingaroa Forest.

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Source: Stuff News

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Seven workplace deaths in a fortnight

There were just 10 fatalities in the first three months of the year - but an average of about one a week for the past few years.

Worksafe chief executive Nicole Rosie said the upward trend was "really concerning", and some families were now without a father, son or mother.

She said the deaths occurred in traditionally high risk sectors: three in forestry, two in farming and two in construction.

"The theme is that not everything you do on a day-to-day basis can kill you, but there are some activities that have significant higher risk.

"What we are seeing is that those activities continue to be the major cause of workplace fatalities in New Zealand," she said.

"Two of these deaths are related to tree felling, so traditionally a very high-risk activity. One is related to working with farm animals and another a quad bike."

One of the construction-related deaths involved a moving vehicle, while the other happened when a man was piling a house that moved and killed him, Ms Rosie said.

She said New Zealand had been doing well, with the number of deaths going down over the past few years.

The government introduced new health and safety laws one year ago, in response to the Pike River mining tragedy in 2010.

The rules required businesses to identify work-related risks and do what was "reasonably practicable" to eliminate or manage them.

They also introduced a $600,000 fine for people held responsible for workplace accidents. Ms Rosie said despite the law change, more needed to be done.

"There has been dramatic downward trend in forestry, and that has been led by the sector itself, which has tremendous leadership in attempting to improve its health and safety record," she said.

"That said, the industry is a high risk industry and people are involved in high risk activity in a day-to-day basis. So it's one of these things that you can't just put a focus on for a short period of time. It's got to be ongoing."

Every workplace and business owner needed to be committed to improving their health and safety, she said.

"Yes, as a regulator we have new tools, but ultimately, it does require a culture change and that has to be led by individual businesses and every individual wanting to be safer," said Ms Rosie.

Source: RNZ (Radio NZ)

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New Forests issues sustainability report

New Forests Publishes 2016 Sustainability Report - Shares Progress on Sustainable Landscape Investment Approach

Late last week New Forests released its fifth annual public sustainability report today, which highlights progress the company has made under its Sustainable Landscape Investment framework. New Forests’ 2016 Sustainability Report describes environmental and social impacts across the company’s investment funds and their relationship to key issues such as climate change, biodiversity, and community engagement.

New Forests’ CEO David Brand said of the report, “With each sustainability report New Forests publishes, we aim to ensure our sustainability reporting keeps up with the complexity and diversity of our growing investment portfolio and the changing needs of our clients. Throughout 2016 we saw increasing investor interest in understanding how portfolios align with the Sustainable Development Goals and action on climate change. Our 2016 Sustainability Report sheds light on these issues with quantitative data via the use of impact metrics as well as stories and insights into the people we work with, the communities where we operate, and the changing sustainability context of forestry investment.”

“New Forests understands that environmental, social, and governance (ESG) information is not only vital for our business and our clients but also for other stakeholders, including local communities, our partners throughout the supply chain, and civil society,” said MaryKate Bullen, Associate Director, Sustainability & Communications, who authored the report.

Bullen continued, “We now have more than 3,600 people working in our investments spanning six countries and across 843,000 hectares. This means that while our responsibility as a fiduciary starts with our clients, it also extends to a broad range of stakeholders. With this in mind we aim for transparency in our ESG disclosures and to make sure this information is relevant and accessible for those who are interested in and affected by our investment activities.”

In 2016 New Forests launched an internal Sustainability Working Group responsible for the planning, development, and coordination of New Forests’ Sustainable Landscape Investment framework and shared value initiatives. The Sustainable Landscape Investment framework was designed to support investment performance through an integrated focus on the areas of productivity, ecosystem services, land use planning, shared prosperity, risk management, and governance. New Forests’ 2016 Sustainability Report is organised around these six ESG themes and uses impact reporting metrics and case studies from each of New Forests’ investment programs operating in Australia and New Zealand, Southeast Asia, and the United States.

Highlights from the 2016 report include:
  • 843,000 hectares under management
  • 39% of all investments by area are managed for protection and conservation
  • With more than 400,000 hectares of plantation forests, 6.3 million tonnes of certified timber products were produced and/or processed by New Forests’ investments
  • 96% of the timber sold was certified to third-party forest management standards
  • The total number of people employed in investment operations was more than 3,600, including permanent and contract workers.
New Forests also reports on its responsible investment activities on an annual basis through the reporting and assessment framework of the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI). The company received an A+ rating in its 2016 PRI assessment, which is available on New Forests’ website.

Brand concluded, “New Forests seeks to generate value for all stakeholders in our business, including investors, communities, and the environment. To realise this outcome, we know that we must continue to set targets, measure our performance, and be accountable for the outcomes and impacts of our business. We hope this 2016 Sustainability Report reflects these goals and furthers the growing dialogue around how institutional investment can respond to challenges such as forest conservation, climate change mitigation, maintenance of biodiversity, shared prosperity and poverty alleviation, and the imperative for sustainable development.”

You can download New Forests’ 2016 Sustainability Report on the company’s website at www.newforests.com.au/#sustainability or http://bit.ly/NF16Report
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More native forests could assist businesses

More native forest can help firms manage emissions obligations - Companies with high greenhouse gas emissions face the risk of high costs in a carbon market where prices could soar as high as US$190 per unit. Researchers at Motu Economic and Public Policy Research have today released a report showing an environmentally and economically attractive way to decrease the risk for those high emitting companies by establishing more native forest.

The report, commissioned by Air New Zealand, explores some of the barriers and potential to get more native forestry offsets created in New Zealand.

“Eight percent of the forest land registered in the ETS is native,” said Dr Suzi Kerr, Senior Fellow at Motu and co-author of the report. “Since 2008, however, only 500 Ha of new native forest has been established and registered. If we established another 10,000 Ha of land in native forest, this would sequester 65,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases annually, which would be eligible to earn 65,000 NZUs per year under the ETS.”

Firms with obligations in the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), or with high emissions that they cannot rapidly reduce, all need to plan ahead in case the unit price goes substantially higher than its current $17 per NZU.

“Recently the International Energy Agency (see footnote) predicted that the international carbon unit price could go as high as US$190. If that happens, the more native forest we have established, the more we will celebrate” said Dr Kerr.

“We don’t want all of NZ back in native forest but on large areas of marginal pasture land there really is no way New Zealand can lose,” said Dr Kerr.

“As well as the benefits for NZ firms who need to meet their future ETS commitments, there is strong interest among a variety of stakeholders, including community groups and iwi, to plant more native trees for biodiversity, plantation forestry diversity, cultural and aesthetic reasons, and for erosion control.”

Dr Kerr also mentions increased certainty around New Zealand’s global commitments with the Paris Agreement as impetus for using native forest to offset carbon emissions, and the fact that there are other payments for planting native forestry available.

“The thing I really like about this opportunity is that it all comes together in a moral and economically justifiable package, which is the whole reason I got into environmental economics in the first place,” said Dr Kerr.

The researchers also looked into other options for offsets, including soil carbon, marine carbon and carbon capture and storage.

“We found that these more alternative options are not yet strongly enough supported by scientific evidence to include in regulation. They may offer possibilities in the future.” said Dr Kerr.

A recent academic paper by Dr Kerr and Tom Carver outlines this issue in more depth: “Facilitating Carbon Offsets from Native Forests” is now available on the Motu website. A note about the alternative options for offsetting emissions written by Veronika Meduna is also available. Both of these publications were commissioned and funded by Air New Zealand with the help of the Aotearoa Foundation and the Tindall Foundation.

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Forest community uses video to tell story

When the people of Vancouver Island's Campbell River wanted to tell their story on the importance of forestry to their community and economy they decided to make a video with the people whose livelihoods are in forestry.

Source: Tree Frog News

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Politicans line up for trade war

The long-standing softwood lumber trade war between Canada and the U.S. is heating up again, with Washington announcing its first batch of duties on imported wood in the neighbourhood of 20 per cent.

In British Columbia, Liberal Leader Christy Clark said she would meet with members of her cabinet and meet with the media on Tuesday. Clark called claims made by the US lumber industry unfounded, unwarranted and unfair.

A US-based professor who is an expert in Canada-US relations said it is time to end Canada’s longest-running trade dispute that has been running since the 1980s, and predates NAFTA.

The US lumber industry is demanding an extra duty to offset what it says are lower stumpage fees in Canada because logs are harvested from Crown land and provinces set the fees, compared with the U.S. where most lumber comes from private land and market forces dictate the price.

The duties together with anti-dumping fees likely to be imposed in June — to compensate US producers because they also allege Canadian lumber producers are selling softwood in the U.S. for less than it costs American mills to produce it — are expected to run as high as 30 to 40 per cent.

The last softwood lumber agreement expired in 2015 and after a year of standstill, the US industry in November again demanded duties.

“What we’ve done in the United States many times with softwood is: We will hit you with a tariff, make you take us to some body, NAFTA or WTO (World Trade Organization), we lose, we go back and have the option of either accepting your countervail back, or make a tweak and do it again,” said Christopher Sands, director of the Centre for Canadian Studies at Johns Hopkins University.

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Source: Vancouver Sun

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Buy and Sell

... and finally ... only a few one-liners left (help!)

  • Today a man knocked on my door and asked for a small donation towards the local swimming pool. So, I gave him a glass of water.

  • If I had a dollar for every girl that found me unattractive, they would eventually find me attractive.

  • I find it ironic that the colours red, white, and blue stand for freedom until they are flashing behind you.

  • Relationships are a lot like algebra. Have you ever looked at your X and wondered Y?

  • America is a country which produces citizens who will cross the ocean to fight for democracy but won't cross the street to vote.

  • You know that tingly little feeling you get when you like someone? That's your common sense leaving your body.

  • Did you know that dolphins are so smart that within a few weeks of captivity, they can train people to stand on the very edge of the pool and throw them fish?

  • My therapist told me part of my problem is I have a preoccupation with vengeance. WELL!! We'll just see about that!

  • I think my neighbour is stalking me - she's been googling my name on her computer. I saw it through my telescope last night.

  • Money talks ...but all mine ever says is good-bye.

  • My friend says to me: "What rhymes with orange?" I said, "No it doesn't".

  • "I bought my friend an elephant for his room. He said "Thanks." I said, "Don't mention it."

That's all for our mid-week wood news roundup.

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John Stulen
PO Box 1230
Building X91, Scion Campus, 99 Sala Street
Rotorua, New Zealand
Tel: +64 27 275 8011
Web: www.woodweek.com

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