Forest Grower Research award winners

Wednesday 17 Oct 2018

Winners of the Forest Growers Research Awards were announced last night in Tauranga. They have been awarded each year since 2011 to recognise outstanding achievements in forest growing research.

Quality science is a foundation of the forest industry and began 100 years ago with the first experimental plantings of introduced species for commercial wood production to replace New Zealand’s dwindling resource of native timbers. Six awards have been made in 2018.

Research Award for Communication and Sector Engagement - Paul Millen from the Drylands Forest Initiative is the recipient of this award in 2018. DFI is a public/private research venture established 10 years ago between the University of Canterbury, Proseed, the Marlborough Research Centre and a number of vineyard and powerline companies.

Research Award for Innovation that Enhances Sector Value - Simeon Smaill, a scientist with Scion based in Christchurch is the recipient of this award. Simeon has spent the past five years (at least) investigating the potential of novel methods for improving the growth and vitality of radiata pine. He has worked with forest nurseries to develop systems for producing tree seedlings using reduced input of fertilisers and fungicides, which inhibit beneficial mycorrhizal fungi. This not only reduces the cost of seedling production, but also the potential to lessen environmental impacts. He has shown that the gains made in the nursery continue for years after the seedlings were planted out in the forest.

Research Award for Science of International Quality - This award was presented to a team comprising Jessica Kerr, Brooke O’Connor and Steve Pawson from Scion in Christchurch for their world leading research in the Urban Battlefield Biosecurity project. This project began in 2015/16 to develop new tools for dealing with biosecurity incursions in built up areas.

Research Award for Research Participation and Implementation - This award was presented to Paul Adams of Rayonier Matariki Forests. Paul is the Technical Manager for Rayonier/Matariki Forests based in Auckland. Paul is an active member of the technical committee for the Growing Confidence in Forestry’s Future (GCFF) research programme. He is an enthusiastic supporter of the programme and is very proactive in engaging with researchers to learn more about their research and how it can be applied to his company’s forests throughout New Zealand.

Research Award for Contribution to a Science Team - This award was presented to Rebecca McDougal for her contribution to supporting the forest health team at Scion. Rebecca is a molecular forest pathologist, one of a new breed of pathologists who have revolutionised how diseases are diagnosed, using new molecular techniques.

Research Award for a Young Scientist - This award was made to Nurzhan Nursultanov who is very close to completing his PhD studies at the University of Canterbury Electric Power Engineering Centre (EPEC) in Christchurch.

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Source: NZFOA

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