WoodWeek – 18 September 2019

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If New Zealand’s ambition is to be a zero-carbon economy by 2050 then it must nurture its wood industry. Many industries claim to be driving towards lower emissions, but none have the low carbon profile of the wood sector. The Wood Processors and Manufacturers Association (WPMA) is confident they can.

Continuing this theme, we look at what trees can and can't do for climate change. There was a time when we planted a lot of trees, but then, all of a sudden, we stopped. That needs to change quickly if New Zealand plans to meet its climate change targets.

Looking to markets with an update from China: Russian log and sawn wood enters China mainly through Manzhouli Port. This year, due to Russian restrictions on log exports, China’s imports have declined. On the other hand imports of sawn wood increased slightly.

Research published by Local Government New Zealand shows the enormous impact on land use the Government’s freshwater proposals will really have, National’s Agriculture spokesperson Todd Muller says.

Moving into industry technology, New Zealand needs to embrace technology and not treat it as a threat, NZTech chief executive Graeme Muller says. “More and faster technology adoption will open up opportunities to improve New Zealanders’ living standards,” he says.

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NZ forest industry is carbon zero

New Zealand’s wood sector is zero carbon and we can prove it – If New Zealand’s ambition is to be a zero-carbon economy by 2050 then it must nurture its wood industry. Many industries claim to be driving towards lower emissions, but none have the low carbon profile of the wood sector. The Wood Processors and Manufacturers Association (WPMA) is confident they can.

WPMA chair, Brian Stanley, says; “no other major industry in New Zealand can deliver carbon sequestration, carbon storage and emissions reduction like the wood industry. Our industry now has independent, third-party certification extending right from the forest to the marketplace to prove that our wood-based packaging and construction products do the right thing by the environment. Our customers in New Zealand and overseas expect no less.”

Last week in Rotorua, WPMA highlighted that both major international certification programmes for forestry: Programme for Endorsement of Forest Certification and Forest Stewardship Council guarantee that wood products from New Zealand come from sustainably managed forests. In addition to this, WPMA has just launched its Environmental Product Declarations for wood products. These EPDs provide independent assurance of the environmental credentials of wood.

“It’s crucial that our customers understand the significance of these environmental guarantees”, says Mr Stanley, “so we will shortly launch our environmental guidance to architects and engineers as part of the WPMA Wood Design Guide Series.”

Whilst the New Zealand industry is getting on and proving its worth in terms of environmental protection it is being seriously undermined by overseas subsidies distorting the NZ market.

“If the Government wants a zero-carbon manufacturing sector creating good jobs in the regions – and the NZ wood industry is a perfect example of this - then it must play a much more active role in helping it to grow”, says Mr Stanley.

“The Minister of Finance has made it crystal clear in his directions to the Overseas Investment Office that he wants foreign investors in forestry to support local wood processors and manufacturers. It’s disturbing to see that 90% of OIO applications to buy forests in NZ in the last couple of years make absolutely no attempt to do this. Is the OIO listening to the Minister I wonder,” he adds

“A zero-carbon economy isn’t just going to happen. It needs to be driven by every mechanism that the government has at its disposal. The NZ wood industry is one of the few sectors delivering a triple-bottom-line of regional wealth, strong community and environmental enhancement. Let’s be sure we are doing everything we can to grow it,” concludes Mr Stanley.


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Helcopter slash grapple trialled

Erosion and debris flow from forestry operations is currently a live topic. Severe weather events in the Nelson and Gisborne regions of New Zealand last year caused localised debris flows of mud and ‘slash’ (woody debris from windthrown trees, broken tops and branches, and residues from harvesting operations) beyond the forest boundary on to neighbouring properties. Concerns have been raised about industry practice and the efficacy of management controls over plantation forestry.

At an industry workshop sponsored by Forest Growers Research Ltd on harvest residue management on erosion prone land in Auckland in August 2018, forest industry stakeholders supported a project to address improved extraction of slash from the cutover and adjacent waterways. One idea to reduce the risk of build-up of ‘slash’ on the cutover in steep forested areas was to design, build and trial a helicopter slash grapple.

A prototype multi-tine slash grapple was designed by Helihawk Ltd of Taupo and built by Colchester Engineering Ltd of Matamata in February 2019 (photo). The site for the first production trial of the Helihawk Slash Grapple was a steep radiata pine harvest area in Kanuka Forest, Gisborne, managed by PF Olsen Ltd. The helicopter contractor undertaking this trial was Wairarapa Helicopters Ltd based in Masterton, and the pilot was Tim Williams a very experienced helicopter pilot.

Results of analysis of time study data linked to net helicopter payload as measured by an on-board load cell, showed average net extraction productivity of 18.5 tonnes per productive flying hour when extracting slash only. It was recommended that as much log material is extracted first before using the slash grapple.

In these conditions the cost of slash extraction averaged NZ$135 per tonne of slash removed, or approximately NZ$112 per metre of stream length. When the cost of cleaning the stream using the helicopter slash grapple was averaged over the volume of wood extracted from the harvest area, the net cost was only NZ$1.05 per cubic metre of wood produced.

Using manual workers to remove harvest residues from steep or incised gullies, can readily be recognised as a dangerous task. Sending machinery down into gullies close to waterways to remove harvest residues, while effective, often results in soil disturbance and sedimentation of waterways.

This initial trial showed that the slash grapple designed, built and trialled by Helihawk Ltd was well matched to the task required and the helicopter used for the trial. The implementation of safe and efficient helicopter slash extraction substantially reduces or eliminates the unsafe nature of manual stream cleaning, and minimises the risk of negative environmental outcomes. While the environmental impact is low, high operating costs limit the use of helicopter slash extraction to sensitive or high-risk areas only.

Acknowledgement - Keith Raymond, Forest Growers Research Ltd, the project co-operators Helihawk Ltd, Wairarapa Helicopters Ltd and PF Olsen Ltd and the funding from the Forest Growers Levy Trust.

Source: Forest Growers Research


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China market update – Manzhouli Port imports

Timber imports through Manzhouli Port likely to decline – Russian log and sawnwood enters China mainly through Manzhouli Port. This year, due to Russian restrictions on log exports, China’s imports have declined. On the other hand imports of sawnwood increased slightly.

The decline was first observer in the second quarter of 2019. Analysts say that much of the decline can be explained by the high stock levels in China. In recent years, due to the slowdown of domestic consumption and the decline of spending on infrastructure wood consumption slowed driving down imports. The short term prospects for China’s consumption suggest imports are likely to fall further.


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SnapSTAT - Exports by subsector

This week we have a graphic outline of New Zealand forestry production for exports by sub- sector.




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Is National scare-mongering or vote-catching?

Fewer sheep and more trees outcome of freshwater proposals - Research published by Local Government New Zealand shows the enormous impact on land use the Government’s freshwater proposals will really have, National’s Agriculture spokesperson Todd Muller says.

“If implemented, these proposals are going to see farmers in the Waikato go out of business and their land be converted into a sea of trees.”

“According to the modelling, sheep and beef farming is expected to fall by 68 per cent, while dairy would be reduced by 13 per cent. Meanwhile plantation forestry would boom by an astonishing 160 per cent,” he adds.

“Plantation forestry would then account for over 50 per cent of farmland in Waikato, as these onerous regulations make sheep and beef farming completely untenable.”

More >>


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Skogforsk provide for harvester operators

Out in the forest the machine operator plays an important role in ensuring that the harvester is measuring accurately. The Skogforsk guide helps operators understand measurement better and ensure that the harvester head is measuring accurately. It is the manual control measurement of stems that is the result against which the machine is adjusted. The correct use of the calliper and meticulous measurement of length during checks and calibration are vital if the harvester is to measure really well.

With this guide Skogforsk aims to provide an overview of how the measurement system on the harvester works, and to show how the operator can work systematically with checks and adjustment of the measurement system. The guide is divided into the following sections:

1. Foreword
2. Harvester measurement of length and diameter: This covers how the harvester measurement system works and what affects harvester measurement.
3. Machine setting: A machine with the correct settings not only improves measurement – it is also smoother in operation and there is less need for the head to reverse and restart.
4. How well is the harvester measuring? This includes how well the harvester is measuring and is described with performance indicators (key figures) calculated from the manual control measurements.
5. Manual control measurement: By continually monitoring the harvester’s measurement, you can detect and correct measurement errors before large log volumes have passed the harvester head. Included in this section is the procedure for quality assurance, preparations for control measurement, control measurement of log length, control measurement of stem diameter, measurement results and checks of measurement equipment.
6. Troubleshooting: If the measurements are deviating from what is normal for your harvester, check the measurements of a few more stems.
7. Calibration of the harvester´s measurement system: The measurement system is calibrated when necessary, to ensure that the sensors’ signals correspond to the actual measurement on the stem.
8. Glossary

Source: SkogForsk



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We must embrace technology

New Zealand needs to embrace technology and not treat it as a threat, NZTech chief executive Graeme Muller says. He was commenting late last week on the Productivity Commission’s latest report which says New Zealand needs more technology.

In its draft report New Zealand, technology and productivity just released, the commission looks at the impact of technology on jobs. Muller says New Zealand is not coping with enough tech change and the current tech changes are too slow and too few.

“More and faster technology adoption will open up opportunities to improve New Zealanders’ living standards,” he says. “Embracing technology implies supporting people who are less able to adjust, preparing young people for the future and setting policies and institutions that encourage the entry and uptake of new knowledge, processes, goods and services by firms.”

“There are things New Zealand can do now to support smoother transitions and to seize these opportunities. It is pleasing to see this in-depth research by the productivity commission, validating the focus and strategy of the NZTech Alliance for the past few years.”

The rapid growth in artificial intelligence, machine learning and automation is already starting to have an impact on Kiwis’ jobs. Local tech firms like Robotics Plus are developing robotic solutions to fruit picking and forestry work.



Source: Newsroom and Productivity Commission


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What trees can and can't do for climate change

There was a time when we planted a lot of trees, but then, all of a sudden, we stopped.

That needs to change quickly if New Zealand plans to meet its climate change targets.

Failing to plant billions of trees over the coming decades would be an expensive mistake and may require us to meet the shortfall for any excess carbon dioxide (CO2) we’ve failed to offset, likely by buying costly international carbon credits.

It’s easier said than done. Planting trees is a unique policy challenge, despite the fact that nearly everyone agrees that it’s a good thing to do.

The benefits of planting trees are both uncontroversial and extensive. Trees limit nutrients getting into waterways, and when planted on erodible land, they stop mud slipping into rivers and lakes.

They’re a home for birds, beetles, and other species; they provide the oxygen that we breathe.

These things are called ecosystem services, and one of the most important of these services trees provide is a capacity to store atmospheric CO2.

Higher concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere is a major contributor to positive radiative forcing, the phenomenon that is causing temperatures to rise.

In its recent report on limiting global heating to less than 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) outlined several ways to get there.

Nearly all of them involved some degree of “negative emissions”. That means we can’t just stop adding CO2 to the atmosphere, we need to start taking it out, too.

Far into the future, new technology may make that possible on a wider scale. For now, we only have one reliable way to do it, albeit for only temporary periods: Planting trees.

It sounds easy, but there are a lot of complicating factors, particularly in New Zealand, which has a landscape well suited for trees but a human population that excels at cutting them down, not so much at planting them.

Whether we do or don’t meet our climate change commitments depends largely on this question: How much CO2 can we store in trees by the time our carbon bill falls due?

Read More >>

Source: Stuff News


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Almost finally … the inside story on Shane

Getting Shane off the couch - Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones may have suggested his $1 billion investment would help get the “nephs” off the couch and into work, but it turns out he was no slouch in avoiding hard yakker himself.

At his 60th birthday party on Saturday (before the fireworks) his younger brother, Lucas, spoke about life on the Jones family dairy farm. When extra hands were required to do the hard yards, a hunt would begin for Shane, but he would invariably be found reading the Maori bible with his grandmother; a situation which more or less rendered him tapu as far as work was concerned. The nephs should take note.

Source: Richard Harman, Politik


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from the archives ... The Bushmen of 1952

Logger Rhythms - A Bushman of 1952 – Godzone is “timber country” in this seventh slot in the New Zealand Now series. The NFU film looks at the world of the Kiwi bushman, as milling is providing the raw material for a postwar housing boom.

The narrators provide a good keen guide to life in the remote and tiny (six houses) North Island town of Oraukura, where timber men fell giant native trees during the day and split kindling after work. For the men it’s a hard, but good life; for their wives it’s “pretty dull”. The Axemen’s Carnival in Taumarunui features OSH-unsanctioned woodchopping in socks.

Watch it now >>


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Jobs



Buy and Sell



... and finally ... funny observations

Stuck in traffic for what felt like eons, I couldn't help but notice the license plate on the car in front of me. It read BAA BAA. I was clueless as to why they chose this -- until I looked at the vehicle the plate was attached to: a black Jeep.

Driving in Rotorua I actually laughed out loud after I saw this on a smart new four wheel drive ute - M88 R88 (get it? - Mates Rates!)

Want to see more - send us one of your favourites - if it's a photo that helps see the funny side send that too - thanks in advance for your contributions!

On the other hand, if you got two minutes to spare today here is a short video about personalised plates from 'The SpinOff' website.



Thanks for keeping up with the latest wood news with us!
Have a safe and productive week.

John Stulen
Editor

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