WoodWeek 16 May 2018
About 100 forest industry leaders gathered for the ceremony on the Scion campus last Friday. Something that was noticeable from the short speeches was an air of informality and practicality. Prime minister Jacinda Ardern spoke from the heart when she recalled her early childhood living in Murupara. She was quick to acknowledge that, for most of her lifetime, the town and region had suffered dramatically since the forests were sold in 1987. She added that this new forestry business unit is about people in the regions and their ability buy homes and have jobs, not just about achieving GDP goals. Shane Jones focused his comments on his goal of planting trees with the shovel he had with him on the stage the whole time. Then together they got on with the practical task at hand - planting two trees to mark the occasion.
Registrations for our next FIEA conference, Woodflow Logistics, are pouring in as the event is now just over a month away. Both Rotorua and Melbourne events are experiencing high demand and we are looking forward to seeing the advance of technologies for improving business in this vital part of the supply chain.
The next conference programme to be finalised is FIEA Forest Industry Safety and Technology running in August in Melbourne and Rotorua. Looking to the areas where technology is set to make a productivity and safety improvement, log extraction is the most promising aspect of autonomous forestry, according to industry experts. Rien Visser from University of Canterbury says, in a recent report he wrote for Forest and Wood Products Australia, it is the "most realistic" area for autonomous development. Speakers confirmed for this FIEA conference series are focused on two key aspects of safety in forestry – culture and technology developments. The full conference programmes will be released next week.
XLam is New Zealand's only manufacturer of cross laminated timber (CLT); panels of layered timber boards used to make certain prefab buildings, which are buildings that can be largely constructed off-site. The Nelson-based company that helps make prefabricated buildings has invested $35 million in the business, as it anticipates a boom in the market for prefab homes. CEO Gary Caulfield says they expect at least a 30 per cent increase in domestic capacity as a result of a $5m upgrade at the Tahunanui plant, which is currently capable of producing enough CLT to build more than eight houses a week. The company also opened another $30m XLam factory opened in Australia in March. The Wodonga plant will also be able to supply timber for the New Zealand market. More on CLT developments next week.
This week we have for you:
Forestry New Zealand launched in RotoruaLast Friday in Rotorua, Prime Minister Jacinda Arderne and Forestry Minister Shane Jones joined industry and government official to celebrate the launch of Te Uru Rakau, the first step in re-establishing a forestry service in New Zealand.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Minister Shane Jones, Associate Forestry Minister Meka Whaitiri, New Zealand First Deputy Leader Fletcher Tabuteau and Waiariki MP Tamati Coffey attended the launch of Te Uru Rakau in Rotorua today, where the name and new branding was unveiled.
Te Uru Rakau will have its head office in regional New Zealand – honouring the coalition commitment made between New Zealand First and Labour.
“This Government has been clear about its commitment to New Zealand’s forestry sector and the One Billion Trees planting programme,” Shane Jones said.
“I believe Te Uru Rakau will play a key role in supporting and promoting our vision for a flourishing forestry sector, delivering sustainable jobs in our regions, forestry workforce development and training, economic growth while helping meet our country’s climate change targets.
“New Zealand’s old forestry service was disestablished in 1987 and in recent years our forestry sector has experienced decline but we’re determined to shine the spotlight on forestry once more.
“Te Uru Rakau will build a strong and dedicated forestry presence in Rotorua, recognising that Rotorua is at the heart of the forestry sector in New Zealand. Forestry is our third largest export earner – with an annual gross income of about $5.0 billion – and has the potential to grow.
“I’m pleased to be able to announce today that Budget 2018 will set aside $15.0 million of operating funds to boost the capability of the new service, enabling it to work with landowners, provide forestry expertise and deliver on the Government’s forestry objectives.
“Today, we’re also launching an online tree counter to keep track of the One Billion Trees goal. This will be updated weekly throughout the winter planting season and will show how many trees have been planted, the number of tree seedlings sold and the percentage of native versus exotic species.
“Since coming into government, we have given Crown Forestry the mandate to enter into commercial arrangements with landowners, provided $5.8 million of operating funding to scale up production of native seedlings and announced a nationwide planting programme over Matariki to recognise the men and women of our New Zealand Defence Force.
“Cabinet will sign off the exact functions, size and governance structure of Te Uru Rakau later this year,” Shane Jones said.
Minister sets up industry advisory groupNew forestry advisory group established - Forestry Minister Shane Jones has today announced the formation of a new Ministerial advisory group to provide independent advice about the forestry sector and how Government and industry can work together to deliver outcomes for New Zealand.
The Forestry Ministerial Advisory Group is made up of ten forestry experts who will provide industry perspectives and advice to help meet New Zealand’s forestry goals, including the One Billion Tree Programme.
“The group has been selected for their expertise in a wide range of disciplines that I believe are necessary to deliver New Zealand’s forestry goals,” Shane Jones said.
“They will provide direct industry perspectives on a range of topics, including research, commercial and conservation forestry, local government, farm-forestry, wood processing, education and research.
“The group will provide insights on the performance of the overall forestry system, along with advice on future trends, risks and issues.
“I have initially tasked the Forestry Ministerial Advisory Group to focus on supporting Te Uru Rakau to deliver the One Billion Trees planting programme.
“The group will be chaired by Dr Warren Parker, Chair of the New Zealand Conservation Authority and the former Chief Executive Officer of Scion and Landcare Research. Warren brings a wealth of knowledge and experience, and is well-placed to chair the group.
“I’m excited to work closely with the advisory group, and hear the insights they will provide, as we look to the future and drive transformational and sustainable change in the forestry system,” Shane Jones said.
Dr Warren Parker - Dr Parker is the Chair of the New Zealand Conservation Authority and the former Chief Executive Officer at Scion. Prior to that he was Chief Executive Officer of Manaaki Whenua - Landcare Research. He has been a board member and director of several technology development firms and research and industry consortia, and is currently a member of the Predator Free 2050, Farmlands Cooperative, Genomics Aotearoa and Quayside Holdings Boards, and the Advisory Board for Griffith Enterprises.
James Palmer - Mr Palmer is the Chief Executive of Hawke's Bay Regional Council. Before this he held various positions at the Ministry for Primary Industries, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, and between 2005 and 2008 he served as Chief of Staff to the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries and Biosecurity. In the early 2000s he was an adviser and senior private secretary to the deputy Prime Minister.
David Rhodes - Mr Rhodes is currently Chief Executive Officer for the Forest Owners Association (FOA) - the peak industry body representing the owners of New Zealand's commercial plantation forests for all aspects of planation forestry. He is the Forest Growers’ Levy Trust Secretariat, a member of the International Council of Forest and Paper Associations, the Forest Stewardship Council and the Chair of the UN Food and Agriculture Advisory Committee on Sustainable Forest-based Industries.
Robert Green - Mr Green is the CEO of Timberlands Ltd, a forest management company servicing to the Kaingaroa Timberlands Partnership. Previously he held the CEO position (2011- 2016) and Director for Sales and Contracting (2009 – 2011) of VicForests, Australia. Before this he was a Divisional Manager for Snavely Forest Products in San Francisco, USA. Mr Green brings extensive experience in hardwood and softwood, plantation and natural forestry, as well as experience in primary and secondary processing, import, export and distribution.
Gina Solomon - Ms Solomon (Ngai Tahu / Ngati Kuri) is a Director of the Queen Elizabeth II National Trust. She was appointed to this position by the Minister of Conservation after consultation with the Minister of Maori Development. She has extensive community and iwi involvement and is a committed conservationist. She sits on a number of boards and trusts including the Kaikoura zone committee for the Canterbury water management strategy, Nelson/Marlborough Conservation Board, the Kaikoura Marine Guardians Te Korowai o Te Tai o Karokura, and the Hutton's Shearwater Charitable Trust.
Henare Walker - Mr Walker is the General Manager of Summit Forests New Zealand Limited (Summit Forests). Summit Forests is a New Zealand is a registered subsidiary company of the Sumitomo Corporation, manages the harvest of approximately 600,000 tonnes per annum from it forest estate primarily in Northland. Prior to his current position Mr Walker held a range of roles in the finance sector.
Dr Charlotte Severne - Dr Charlotte Severne of Ngati Tuwharetoa and Ngai Tuhoe, is a geologist, former chief scientist for oceans and Maori development at the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research and most recently Deputy Vice- Chancellor Maori and Communities at Lincoln University and Massey University's Assistant Vice-Chancellor Maori and Pasifika. She has a number of Tuwharetoa governance roles including chair of the Lake Rotoaira Trusts (Forest and Lake) and deputy chair of the Opepe Farm Trust. She is a ministerial appointment on the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment Science Board.
Brian Stanley - Mr Stanley was the General Manager (Fibre) at Oji Fibre Solutions and is the incumbent Chairman of WoodCo and the Wood Processors and Manufacturers Association. He has an extensive senior management background in the forestry and pulp and paper industries in New Zealand including periods in NZ Forest Service, Tasman Pulp & Paper Company Limited and the Carter Holt Harvey group.
Fiona Kingsford - Ms Kingsford is the CEO of Competenz – the primary industry training organisation for a range of industries supporting the forestry sector. Her career with Competenz has included positions such as General Manager of Organisational Development, General Manager Trade Training, and General Manager Strategy and Transformation before being appointed to CEO in January 2016. Ms Kingsford has an Advanced Diploma in Human Resource Management and a Bachelor of Business Studies, as well as a Post Graduate Diploma in Business and Masters of Business Administration from the University of Auckland.
Neil Cullen - Mr Cullen is the current president of the Farm Forestry Association and a lifelong farmer. He has a wealth of practical experience of land management and he brings a deep understanding of both farming and forestry and insights into what is required to persuade landholders to convert more land into forest.
Robots are coming to NZ forestsStung by workplace accidents and deaths, the forestry industry is hoping robots will soon take over the most dangerous jobs. Will Harvie from Stuff News reports.
"No worker on the slope, no hand on the chainsaw."
That was the theme of a recent research project funded by the New Zealand forestry industry and Government to reduce accidents and deaths in our forests.
While funding has ended for one aspect, it's still a long-term goal and university researchers such as Dr Rien Visser, director of studies in forest engineering at the University of Canterbury, foresee autonomous felling machines, robot trucks delivering logs to mills and drones replanting forests – eventually and maybe.
While other researchers are looking deep into robotic tree fellers, Visser takes the view that robotic chainsaws are some time away – and there's lower hanging fruit to tackle first.
He also doesn't foresee robots with humanoid features – two legs, two arms and perhaps a head – clomping through New Zealand forests, as fun or frightening as that might be.
Forestry robots will be wheeled or tracked vehicles – uncool, but high-tech industrial beasts built to survive the steepest terrains, festooned with video cameras, connected to the internet cloud, but still overseen by a human. Think of big bulldozers, without a cab for human control.
Visser, in a public lecture earlier this month that marked his promotion as a full professor, said mechanisation of the forestry industry had already come to New Zealand. There are fewer hands on chainsaws and more big machines felling and processing trees, especially on flat land.
Once they are cut, logs have to be extracted from the forest floor to a cleared, flat area called a "landing".
Log extraction is the most promising aspect of autonomous forestry, Visser says. In a January report he wrote for Forest and Wood Products Australia, Visser called it the "most realistic" area for autonomous development.
These days, machines called skidders and forwarders driven by humans are used for extraction on flat and rolling terrain.
Extraction is predictable but sometimes dangerous work, Visser says. Autonomous machines could work on relatively well-defined trails in the forest. They don't need to think much, just move along the trail back and forth, extracting logs to the landing.
"However, for such extraction systems to become very productive and cost effective, [they] need to be able to self-load and unload," Visser wrote in the Australian report. In other words, robots need to be able to identify the trees or logs in the forest, know how to pick them up, and stack them.
He thought autonomous extraction technology was a "near-future opportunity", one to five years away.
Agriculture is already leading the way with this. Driverless machines have been developed to harvest wheat fields, for example. Guided by GPS, they drive simple, straight lines back and forth. Alternatively, a human drives the harvester but the tractor pulling the grain cart is driverless and positions itself with 5cm accuracy with GPS, radar and lasers. It's called "precision agriculture" and Visser says the technology is mature.
Similar technology is used at airports: Driverless shuttle buses drive strict routes with predictable hazards and stops.
Once logs have been extracted to the landing, they need to be processed, and this is another near future opportunity for automation, Visser says. Work on landings is dangerous because it mixes humans, heavy machinery and logs. It can also be monotonous and workers are exposed to the weather.
Systems exist that can autonomously scan logs and make judgments about length and quality. The next step is for robotic systems that can cut, sort and load them.
The Forest Growers Research has a proposal before funders at the moment for work on such a conveyor belt system, says Russell Dale, R&D manager at Forest Growers Research, the applied science arm of the Forest Growers Association. The association harvests about 80 per cent of the annual take and is funded by a levy on cut trees.
XLAM growth brings prefab predictionPrefab buildings touted as part solution to housing shortage - A Nelson- based company that helps make prefabricated buildings has invested $35 million in the business, as it anticipates a boom in the market for prefab homes.
XLam is New Zealand's only manufacturer of cross laminated timber (CLT); panels of layered timber boards used to make certain prefab buildings, which are buildings that can be largely constructed off-site.
The company expects a more than 30 per cent increase in domestic capacity as a result of a $5m upgrade at the Tahunanui plant, which is currently capable of producing enough CLT to build more than eight houses a week.
A $30m XLam factory opened in Australia in March, would also be able to supply timber for the New Zealand market, chief executive Gary Caulfield said.
Demand for the company's products and services had risen dramatically in the last 18 months, and the business was investing in anticipation of further growth, he said.
"Prefabricated buildings offer the potential to address New Zealand's current housing shortage, providing safer, high quality, faster builds."
"We can manufacture a 12 unit apartment block in four days here, and drop it off on site, and somebody can take three months to fill it in."
Savings from faster build times offset higher material costs, Caulfield said.
"We're doing a lot of work with Housing New Zealand at the moment. We've taken the time-scale to build 12,14 apartments from 16 months down to six months. In a commercial sense you pick up a year earlier to market, a year more rental."
Source: Stuff News
Auckland: Light rail will attract apartmentsLast week the media reported that New Zealand’s very own superannuation fund is keen to progress light rail transit in Auckland. This move is certain to trigger an apartment-housing boost along the routes. Using new cross-laminated timber building systems now available, developers will soon be competing for apartment project sites. Tall timber apartment buildings are light. They can quickly be erected over existing buildings. Around the world, higher density living developments targeting commuters always spring up where new transit stations are planned. This trend will continue in Auckland, says a building technology specialist.
The old adage ’build it and they will come’ will happen as light rail transit routes go from planning to implementation phase,” says mass timber building specialist John Stulen. “A bonus for these new apartment living developments is that engineered wood products are increasingly the product of choice of discerning architects and designers,” he says.
Stulen says the appeal for developers of cross laminated timber panels for apartments is they are light and can often be built on top of existing low-rise buildings without major re-engineering of the original supporting structures.
“But it’s even better than that – these strengthened timber panel systems bring advantages like prefabrication options, better earthquake design, faster project management and often material cost benefits too.”
Beyond the construction benefits wood brings, more and more people occupying these new age buildings are reporting high levels of satisfaction of their living and working environments when wood is exposed on interior walls and ceilings.
Detailing new building systems is the subject of a national conference on 28 August in Rotorua. This is the 3rdr Annual ‘Changing Perceptions’ Conference. It features local examples in a line up of motivated speakers. The 2018 theme is “Mass Timber – Raising Building Performance”. Organisers expect it to continue to attract construction managers, developers, architects, engineers, designers, specifers, builder and building owners.
“This year, our speakers are leaders and early adopters from throughout our local design and construction sectors. What they have in common are new experiences of mass timber systems proving their worth to them. These industry leaders now know timber is the revolutionary new commercial building material their suppliers promised,” says Stulen.
“Most of our technical specialists gained their early work experience with traditional materials, so they are well-placed to recognise how modern mass timber panels meet or exceed both structural and aesthetic design requirements,” he adds.
Rotorua was the obvious choice as host city for an international commercial building conference with its ‘Wood-First’ policy making it a local leader in encouraging sustainable commercial buildings.
For full conference details see : https://connexevents.com/cpetc2018/
Industry leaders commend Minister on choicesForest Owners Association president Peter Weir says the advisory group just announced by Shane Jones has the right mix of forest industry background and experience to take the industry forward into potentially vast expansion in the decades ahead.
“Government by itself can’t achieve planting an extra half million hectares of trees in the next ten years, and all segments of the industry have to work together to reach that target. It is clear that Shane Jones appreciates this.”
In particular, Peter Weir says the appointment of Warren Parker as the group’s chair will provide leadership with his crucial forest science, conservation and commercial experience.
“Dr Parker’s previous CEO role in Landcare Research and current chair of the Conservation Authority, will count just as much as his immediately previous position as CEO of the forest research body Scion. It’s becoming increasingly clear that the Minister’s Billion Tree plan, will entail both extensive conservation planting and indigenous tree planting.”
“Dr Parker will understand the costs and issues of this work. But he will also clearly comprehend the need for most, though certainly not all, of the trees to comprise current commercial species.”
“Radiata pines easily outperform indigenous trees with their quick carbon capture abilities, and, under the proposed carbon averaging in the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme regime, such trees will provide early cashflow and a healthy economic return for landowners with no harvest liability. Douglas-fir and Redwood are also outstanding for long term carbon sequestration and income.”
Peter Weir says there is strong Maori representation on the advisory panel as well, which he says represents recognition of the growing and crucial participation of Maori as landowners and forest workers.
“Dr Charlotte Severne stands out as leading the way for iwi to develop their forest and associated land interests. She chairs the Lake Rotoarira Forest Trust which is a long way down the track to developing Maori forestry as a long term, sustainable, profitable and integrated land use.”
“Likewise, Gina Solomon’s experience as director of the QE II National Trust and her involvement with a leading example of community agreements on resource use, the Kaikoura Marine Guardians Te Korowai o Te o Karokura, will be a valuable contribution to the group’s work.”
Rayonier results reflect bouyant marketsRayonier New Zealand (NZ) realised another solid quarter. Adjusted EBITDA of $21.8mm beat BMO’s estimate of $20.4mm. 4Q17 $22.8mm. 1Q17 $15.7mm. Q1 harvest vols +12% y/y – in line with BMO estimate.
Export log prices 8% higher y/y (in line with BMO); domestic +11% y/y (bit above BMO’s +8%). EBITDA aided by a $2.3mm y/y jump in carbon credits. Outlook is encouraging. Pointing to higher volumes and continued strength in both export & domestic markets.
Source: BMO Capital Markets
West Coast native logging plan droppedOld growth West Coast rainforest has been saved after local government backed down from plans to open it up to logging.
Last year the Grey District Council proposed commercial logging of three forested areas – Mt Buckley, Mt Sewell and Cashmere Bay. Fourteen thousand public submissions in opposition were received through environmental groups, including Forest & Bird. This week it emerged the proposal was abandoned in a confidential council meeting earlier this year.
“This is a victory for nature, but it’s also a step in the right direction for the West Coast’s long term sustainable future,” says Forest & Bird Chief Conservation Adviser Kevin Hackwell.
“The forests are the jewel in the West Coast’s crown and the most successful development initiatives – such as the West Coast Wilderness Trail for cyclists – don’t degrade that natural environment, but depend upon it remaining pristine.”
When the Government ended native forest logging on crown land eighteen years ago, West Coast council authorities received a $120 million development package to help the region move away from extractive industries.
“This is a battle that most people thought was over with the close of the 20th century, and I hope this ill-conceived plan is now laid to rest,” says Mr Hackwell.
“These forests are of national significance, so it’s entirely appropriate that any threats to them should be a national conversation, and it’s great to see people from all around the country ready to speak up for the forests when new threats arise.
“We have so little old growth forest left in New Zealand and any logging strips the ecosystem of the resources it needs to sustain itself. That means a reduction in habitat for bats, birds and native insects, it reduces nutrient and energy flows through the ecosystem, and it also adds further stress to ecosystems already undergoing disruption from climate change.
“The forests need our protection, but we need them too – increasing evidence showing how valuable our indigenous forests are as carbon sinks means we should be especially wary of any proposals to remove mature trees.”
Here's something from the 'web'There's nothing like a sturdy bit of English oak. But when it comes to most manufacturing that requires strength, steel is, understandably, usually employed. However, researchers at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm have managed to produce a bio-based material based on wood that supposedly surpasses the strength of all known bio-based materials, fabricated or natural, including spider silk.
This new lightweight material could in theory be used not only to create new kinds of super-strong furniture, but new airplanes, cars, buildings and other products.
Working with cellulose nanofibres, the fibres that coat the cell walls of wood which are the essential building block of wood and other plant life, the KTH team managed to translate the incredible mechanical properties of these nanofibres into larger, lightweight materials. The findings were published in the journal ACS Nano.
The development process included controlling the flow of these nanofibres suspended in water in a 1mm wide channel milled in stainless steel. Connecting flows of deionised water and low-pH water then aligned the nanofibres in the right direction which then let the cellulose nanofibres self-organise into a well-packed state where they could be joined together.
KTH then densified this material to make it into a "super wood" that has a tensile strength nearly four times greater than steel.
Material scientists have tried to replicate the properties of spider silk on an industrial scale for decades. The naturally occurring material is stronger than steel, remarkably light and extremely elastic. This gives it immense potential, not only for clothing, but also engineering and medical uses. Labs are using genetically altered E. coli or yeast to produce the silk proteins through fermentation. The resulting silk is then spun by mimicking a spider's spinneret. “The bio-based nanocellulose fibres fabricated here are eight times stiffer and have strengths higher than natural dragline spider silk fibres, generally considered to be the strongest bio-based material,” said Daniel Söderberg, researcher at KTH. “The specific strength is exceeding that of metals, alloys, ceramics and E-glass fibres.” Söderberg says the study opens the way for developing nanofibre material that can be used for larger structures while retaining the nanofibres’ tensile strength and ability to withstand mechanical load. The process can also be used to control nanoscale assembly of carbon tubes and other nano-sized fibres.
10 Tall Trees and their storyThese skyscraping superstars are the stalwart examples of their species.
Trees may be stuck in the ground, but they've clearly got some enviable traits – I mean, who wouldn't want to live in a pretty forest for a few thousand years? But despite all the things that trees are famous for, it's perhaps their height that inspires the most reverie. Humans may have a lot of cool tricks, but we'll never get to grow up to be 35 stories tall.
In this regard, trees get to inhabit the best of all worlds, heaven and earth. With roots planted in the ground they get a taste of soil, while their upper reaches soak up the sun and touch the sky. But unlike the proverbial beanstalk of Jack's, scientists say they can't grow upwards forever. Theoretically, the maximum height for trees is between 400 and 426 feet (122 and 130 meters) – and while trees of the past may have attained such majestic heights, some of the world's tallest trees were sadly felled for lumber. The towering trees that remain, however, are still staggeringly lofty. Consider the following 10 trees, each one the tallest in the world by species.
Find the list of skyscraper trees here >>
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... and finally ... here's something to laugh about
A little girl was at a wedding with her parents.
"Do you know who I am?" the man snapped back, puffing out his chest in a self-important manner.
The flight attendant calmly picked up her microphone to tannoy to the departures area.
"Excuse me, travellers, there is a man here at desk 14 who doesn't know who he is," she coolly announced. "Is there anyone who would be able to help him?"
Murphy told Quinn that his wife was driving him to drink.
Quinn thinks he's very lucky because his own wife makes him walk.
A blonde stormed up to the front desk of the library and said, "I have a complaint!"
"Yes, Ma'am?" said the librarian looking up at the blonde.
"I borrowed a book last week and it was horrible!"
Puzzled by the complaint, the librarian asked, "What was wrong with it?"
"It had way too many characters and there was no plot whatsoever!" said the blonde.
The librarian nodded and said, "Ahhh. So you must be the person who took our phone book."
That's all for this week's wood news.
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