WoodWeek – 30 September 2020

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Greetings from your good wood news team. With a welcome return to something approaching normality in our business and local communities (touch wood), we are pleased to advise that FIEA will run our next Carbon Forestry Conference in June 2021. A call for speakers will be issued shortly. We are working closely with the key industry companies operating in carbon trading and carbon forestry plantings. In addition, we will be running industry information update workshops in close cooperation with MPI in regard to the Emissions Trading Scheme before and after the conference.

Young foresters alert: Very rarely do you get anything for free. Here is one very special offer from FIEA. It’s a new opportunity in the form of a free conference registration for our young people in the industry who meet certain criteria. So, what’s being offered? To help out younger employees, recent graduates and new entrants into the industry, this new arrangement is going to enable three young employees or students to attend FIEA conferences. Yes, we are offering this with all major expenses being paid. What a great opportunity for learning about new technology, staying abreast with the very latest in research and operating practices, learning about emerging technologies.

With less than a month until our annual mass timber conference, WoodWorks 2020, registrations are running high. For years we have seen the strongest growth in mid-rise and tall timber buildings in North America. We have been working hard to get the attention of architects, project managers, developers and engineers to this growing event. With local CLT manufacturing set to grow from Red Stag Timber many more industry leaders are seeing what engineered wood brings to buildings in terms of sustainability, occupancy preferences and pure design elegance. To see our presenters or to register, click here. This is shaping up to be an event to signal a paradigm shift in commercial building trends.

Another area where massive advancements are coming fast is automated silviculture. It’s all part of our FIEA ForestTECH 2020 conference in mid-November. Registrations are pouring this year for the real, live conference running in Rotorua. For our regulars in Australia and further afield, we will be offering a virtual on-line event experience. So this single event is using a hybrid format which we’ve introduced for the first time. Early bird rates for you to attend the Rotorua conference are still open. Check out your options for ForestTECH 2020 registrations here – do it now!

In and around Kinleith forest, for the second year in a row, Hancock Forest Management forestry crews took part in Keep New Zealand Beautiful week by cleaning up the public roads around the South Waikato forest. Environmental forester Sarah-Jane Luoni said although Covid-19 restrictions limited staff time and numbers this year, 2.4 tonnes of rubbish which had mainly been thrown from vehicles was still collected.

Last year's Australian fire season was the worst on record according to reports. This disastrous outcome is making people more receptive to drawing on Aboriginal knowledge, including lighting fires, as part of a more holistic approach to the landscape, according to the author of a new book on the subject.

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Carbon forestry: Many more options a decade on

Industry report shows plenty to ponder for NZ landowners considering forestry opportunities – new industry report - Government policy changes in forestry and climate change will continue to make forestry a more appealing land-use option for some New Zealand landowners. However, landowners should carefully consider a range of financial, strategic and environmental issues to ensure they make informed decisions, according to a new report by food and agribusiness banking specialist Rabobank.

In the report released in mid-2019, entitled Seeing the Carbon for the Trees: A Framework for Assessing New Zealand’s Forestry Opportunities, Rabobank says new planting incentives from the government, include funding under the One Billion Trees Programme, along with changes to how forestry earns and repays carbon credits under the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) which have lowered establishment costs and provided greater clarity for landowners considering entering the carbon market.

Report author, RaboResearch sustainability analyst Blake Holgate said the key question for landowners considering planting trees on a portion of their property is whether the benefits to the overall farming business are greater with the land in trees or in its existing use.

“The opportunities forestry presents for individual landowners vary widely according to their own specific situations. This includes a range of options from targeted planting integrated into existing farm systems, to large-scale planting to generate income from land that had previously produced very little return,” Mr Holgate said.

“There’s ‘no one-size-fits-all’ approach when deciding whether to plant trees and it’s important that landowners gather the appropriate information and seek expert advice to ensure both the long-term implications of planting are well understood and that any planting is done in the right place, with the right species for the right purpose.”

FIEA will run our next Carbon Forestry Conference in June 2021. A call for speakers will be issued shortly. We are working closely with the key industry companies operating in carbon trading and carbon forestry plantings. In addition we will be running industry information update workshops in close cooperation with MPI in regard to the Emissions Trading Scheme before and after the conference.


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Young foresters: Here's your opportunity

Very rarely do you get anything for free. Here is one offer from FIEA to change that.. It comes with a free conference registration for two days, refreshments and for those outside of the central North Island of New Zealand, travel and accommodation costs that will be met as well. The Forest Industry Engineering Association (FIEA) has teamed up with the WIDE Trust, a charitable Trust formed in 2018 that supports the development and education in New Zealand’s forestry and wood industry sectors.

FIEA conferences and exhibitions have set a benchmark for years. They are the leading series of technology related events, run in both New Zealand and Australia, where new and emerging technologies, operating practices and research are able to be regularly showcased to local companies. They’re always well supported. After 20 years, they’ve been able to build up strong communities of like-minded individuals that meet up once a year – or every second year. Newsletters, have been set up to complement the tech events with three industry-focused monthly newsletters going out each month now to around 6,000 readers for each newsletter.

So, what’s being offered? To help out younger employees, recent graduates and new entrants into the industry, this new arrangement is going to enable three young employees or students to attend upcoming major technology events with all major expenses being paid. So, free beer and food as well as the opportunity of learning about new technology, staying abreast with the very latest in research and operating practices, learning about emerging technologies (within and outside our own industry) and networking (with senior management, tech providers and your counterparts from across the country). Now that’s an offer just too good not to look at further.

As we come out of an enforced lock-down because of the virus, we’ll start this offer to attendance at this region’s major forestry technology event, ForestTECH 2020, planned for Rotorua, New Zealand on 18-19 November 2020. Details can be found on the event website, www.foresttech.events.

Conditions: Applicants for the three places being made available to attend (and travel from within New Zealand) have to be actively employed within the forestry or wood products industries or in a recognised training scheme, apprenticeship or course. To ensure the package is targeting the right person, the applicants should also be 35 years or younger.

What do I do if interested? Places will be filled on a first in-first served basis, provided the eligibility criteria have been met. So, if keen on picking up one of the three available spaces for the upcoming ForestTECH 2020 event, please make contact with brent.apthorp@fiea.org.nz

Note: This same offer will be made available to younger industry employees or students for all FIEA run and managed events planned for 2021. Events being planned for next year can be found here. Details will follow.



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USA: University tries drones for forest preservation

Forests cover 30 percent of the Earth’s landmass, but that number is on the decline. Despite forests’ crucial role in conserving wildlife and processing carbon dioxide, many are threatened by deforestation and wildfires. Complicating these threats is the lack of quantitative information that foresters and environmental researchers need for making important decisions to preserve forests.

Steven Chen, co-founder and CEO of Treeswift and doctoral student in Computer and Information Science (CIS) at Penn Engineering, wants to change that.

Chen founded Treeswift as a spin-off company from Penn Engineering’s GRASP Lab. The idea behind it is simple: use robotic tools to automate forestry and reduce risk for human workers. Treeswift uses swarms of autonomous, flying robots equipped with LiDAR sensors to monitor, inventory, and map timberland. The drones collect images of the land and render them into 3D maps that can be analyzed for precise, quantifiable measurements of a given forest’s biomass.

Trained on NVIDIA GPUs, the deep learning algorithms detect trees from point clouds. Treeswift has collected and labeled all its own training data to ensure high quality and to maintain control over the properties being labeled — such as whether the algorithms should classify a tree and its branches as two separate elements or just one.

Some processing is done at the edge, helping autonomously fly the drone through forests. But the data collected for mapping is processed offline on NVIDIA hardware, including TITAN GPUs and RTX GPUs on desktop systems – plus the NVIDIA DGX Station and DGX-1 server for heavier computing workloads. Its algorithms are developed using the TensorFlow deep learning framework. While the drone platform currently captures images at 1-megapixel resolution, Treeswift is looking at 4K cameras for the deployed product.

Of the variety of applications this data has, Treeswift is focused on three main targets: calculating inventory for the timber industry, mapping forests for preservation, and measuring forest biomass and fuel to prevent the spread of wildfires. The collected data can be used by researchers in a variety of industries to assess the health of forests and build predictive models that can aid in climate change action initiatives.

“Treeswift is a balance of priorities,” Chen said. “We are trying to build a general system that solves a lot of problems. Our main customer base right now is industrial forestry, but we are looking into opportunities that would enable us to work in wildfire forest management as well.”

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Source: The Robot Report



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Deere Plans expansion in Australia and New Zealand

Tractor giant Deere & Co. plans to expand in Australia and New Zealand, with its one-time chief economist leading the charge.

Luke Chandler, who has become managing director for the two countries, said he’ll target growth in construction and forestry, including road building and government infrastructure projects. The Moline, Ill.- based firm will also boost its business in precision agriculture — key for Australian farmers to compete globally — as well as in turf and some mining operations.

Australia is a commodities powerhouse, being a large exporter of goods ranging from barley and wheat to iron ore and natural gas, while New Zealand dominates the global dairy market. Deere, known for its green and yellow tractors, is already a leader in agriculture in the region, but the mining and construction sectors are currently dominated by Caterpillar Inc.

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Australia: Indigenous techniques gaining traction

Victor Steffensen: How burning could heal Australia - The recent disastrous fire season in Australia has made people more receptive to drawing on Aboriginal knowledge, including lighting fires, as part of a more holistic approach to the landscape, an author says.

Last year's Australian fire season was the worst on record, with 34 deaths, more than 3500 homes lost and billions of animals harmed. It also wasn't a surprise to Victor Steffensen, a specialist in indigenous fire management. He correctly saw the amount of vegetation on the land combined with the drying effects of climate change as a bomb waiting to go off.

Steffensen believes the practice of cultural burning should be utilised more widely to reduce the threat of more catastrophic bushfires. The idea that fire can be used to prevent fire is challenging - but is based on generations of indigenous knowledge of "reading" and responding to land.

He has written a memoir called Fire Country - How Indigenous Fire Management Could Help Save Australia.

He told Radio NZ's Saturday Morning programme that the knowledge is thousands of years old and he's been fortunate that elders have transferred it on to him. In Australia, he said, there are a lot of eco-systems that need fire which encourages animals to return and to have sufficient food.

Source: Radio NZ

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Kinleith: Crews combat roadside dumping

Roadside dumping puts forestry crews at risk - More than two tonnes of illegally dumped rubbish has been removed from roadsides around Kinleith Forest.

For the second year in a row Hancock Forest Management forestry crews took part in Keep New Zealand Beautiful week by cleaning up the public roads around the South Waikato forest. Environmental forester Sarah-Jane Luoni said although Covid-19 restrictions limited staff time and numbers this year, 2.4 tonnes of rubbish which had mainly been thrown from vehicles was still collected.

“Rubbish outside of the controlled access areas is a growing problem and something that everyone in the district needs to do their bit to combat,” she said. “We wanted to make a difference to the ongoing problem. ‘Do the right thing’ is the slogan for Keep New Zealand Beautiful week and that really fits with what we stand for as a company, along with all of the contractors that work with us."

“It’s a good chance to come together and do something positive.” Luoni said all sort of items are being found illegally dumped along the roadsides and she urged people to think about the impact it was having. It is mostly household waste and a lot of bottles and cans that are being illegally dumped. Carcasses and skins are also common,” she said. “Do the right thing and dump your rubbish responsibly, the forest is a worksite and a space for recreation, not a landfill.”

South Waikato District Council communications manager Kerry Fabrie said the council waived the dump fee during the cleanup.

Image: Hancock Forest Management forestry crew members Terry Amon, Connor Shortall, and Chris Shortall with a trailer load of illegally dumped rubbish collected from a roadside near Kinleith Forest.

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Source: Stuff news


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1BT fund grant for Northland forest restoration

A hapū-led project to restore native forest beside Whangaroa Harbour in Norhtland has been granted more than $1.54 million from the Government's One Billion Trees fund.

The announcement was made last week by Forestry Minister Shane Jones during a visit to Kōwhairoa Peninsula Historic Reserve, which was returned in a 2017 Treaty settlement.

Since then Kaitangata hapū has been working on a largely volunteer basis to eradicate pests and replant forests felled for kauri timber. The grant will allow the hapū to significantly scale up its work.



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NZ's key export statistics for August

Stats NZ logged off for August - This month's export statistics update details don't mention log or wood exports, despite the fact that log export values for the month were up over 90 percent to China and up over 10 percent across all of our export log markets. However we will have full details for you next week.

Exports rise in August - Higher exports of kiwifruit and aircraft helped boost the value of total goods exports by $349 million (8.6 percent) from August 2019 to reach $4.4 billion in August 2020. Several of New Zealand’s main export commodity groups were up in value in August 2020 compared with August 2019.

Fruit rose $104 million (28 percent) to $470 million, led by gold kiwifruit (up $80 million or 48 percent). The rise was quantity-led, but the average unit value also rose, up 8.3 percent. Exports of gold kiwifruit in the 2020 export season to date (March–August) were 29 percent higher in value and 18 percent higher in quantity than in the 2019 season. Exports of green kiwifruit were also up (by 7.1 percent in value and 3.2 percent in quantity).

“The increase in the value of kiwifruit exports in 2020 resulted from strong international demand, higher prices, and higher harvested volumes, particularly of gold kiwifruit,” Mr Cox said. “The volumes exported are higher than in previous years, despite concerns earlier in the year of a potential shortage of labour during the harvest season in April and May.”

Dairy products were up $55 million (10 percent), and wine was up $30 million (18 percent). The largest rise in total goods exports in August 2020 was for aircraft and parts, up $205 million.

Other contributors to the rise in exports in August 2020 were exports of live animals (up $77 million), mainly due to large shipments of cattle headed for China. These rises were partly offset by falls in crude oil (down $39 million), fish (down $36 million), and mechanical machinery and equipment (down $22 million).

Monthly trade balance - The monthly trade balance in August 2020 was a deficit of $353 million. The average deficit in the previous five August months was $1.3 billion.


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The Science: Forests, farms and river water quality

Data reveals impact of land cover on river water quality - This week the team at Land, Air, Water Aotearoa (LAWA) released the annual update of New Zealand’s river water quality monitoring data. Data analysis by Cawthron Institute has revealed water quality is poorest in New Zealand’s urban waterways and a large percentage of rivers in catchments dominated by pasture are under pressure. Unsurprisingly, the best water quality is found at sites surrounded by native bush.

Cawthron Freshwater Ecologist Dr Roger Young led the analysis for the LAWA River Water Quality National Picture Summary (2010 – 2019) and said, “Looking across four key indicators of water quality, it’s clear that land cover, and by implication land use, has a strong effect on the health of our waterways.

“For the national level analysis, we focused on the state of our rivers and streams and looked at how this compares for different land cover types, and how it has changed over time. We found water quality was best in our native vegetation streams and worst in our urban waterways.

“Unfortunately, we found the overall state of E. coli, MCI (macroinvertebrate community index), ammonia toxicity, and DRP (dissolved reactive phosphorus) has not improved over the past 10 years and that more work and time is needed for the benefits of restoration efforts to become apparent,” said Dr Young.

Environment Canterbury Chief Scientist and LAWA River Water Quality Lead Dr Tim Davie said through improved regional council monitoring networks and science programmes, the sector is learning more about where the pressures are.

“Since 2015, the number of river and stream sites regularly monitored by the regional sector and reported on the LAWA website has increased by more than a third. This represents significant investment and a commitment to better understanding our freshwater quality and the interventions that can help.

“Interventions to improve river health include preventing sediment and nutrients entering waterways, upgrading infrastructure, using water sensitive urban design, restoring stream habitats, and ensuring appropriate flows.

“Regional sector science will continue to help inform freshwater management and restoration through regular monitoring, researching, and reporting. There’s a lot of work ahead to give effect to Te Mana o te Wai; the concept that the health of our waterways is paramount,” said Dr Davie.

The LAWA project website shows the most up-to-date water quality data for rivers and streams monitored by regional and unitary councils, and National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA). Here New Zealanders wanting to learn about local river water quality can explore the state and trends of monitored waterways in their catchment: www.lawa.org.nz/explore- data/river-quality.

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council Chief Executive and Ministry for the Environment Freshwater Implementation Group member James Palmer said the updated data released today adds weight to need for greater action on the ground to improve water quality.



“The LAWA River Water Quality National Picture Summary indicates that an acceleration of efforts is required to move the needle on freshwater improvements, and it provides further information on where the most degradation has occurred.

“The challenges at our urban, pastoral, and non-native forest monitoring sites shows the stress rivers are under following more than 150 years of population growth and changes to land use.

“While the Government’s Essential Freshwater package moves us in the right direction, to see meaningful progress in water quality is going to take time and will require a joined-up response from communities, industry, iwi, councils, and central government,” said Mr Palmer.

LAWA is a collaboration between New Zealand’s 16 regional and unitary councils, Cawthron Institute, and Ministry for the Environment, with support from Department of Conservation and Statistics New Zealand.

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Jobs



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... and faintly ... more laughs for you

Back in the early 90s, Sylvester Stallone, Jean-Claude Van Damme, and Arnold Scwarzenegger were getting a little tired of being cast as muscle bound action heroes, and decided to collaborate on a movie about 18th century composers.

When it came time to decide who would play what, Stallone said, “I’ll be Beethoven.”

Van Damme said, “I’ll be Mozart.”

Schwarzenegger said, “I’ll be Bach.”

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Either this guy, or his doctor, has more than just health issues

My doctor said,''I need you to go down to the hospital.''

''Oh dear!'' I replied.''What is it?''

''Well it's a great big building with doctors and nurses.'' He muttered.

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Met a guy this week who told me his credit card was stolen but he decided not to report it because the thief was spending less than his wife did.

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Finally, some logical observations:

You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.

Since light travels faster than sound, some people appear bright until you hear them speak.



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

John Stulen, Editor
Innovatek

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