WoodWeek 27 March 2019
The new environmental report released this week says only farming should be able to offset its greenhouse gas emissions using forests as sinks, a new climate change report recommends. Businesses that burn fossil fuels and create dangerous carbon dioxide need to reduce their emissions to a net zero as soon as possible, Simon Upton said.
Clearly, Federated Farmers were "delighted" Upton had recognised the fundamental difference between carbon dioxide and shorter term methane and nitrous oxide (biological) emissions. However Climate Change Minister James Shaw rejected the recommendation, saying forestry made sense given the tiny window of time to seriously fight climate change. Forest Owners Association called for clarification by the government. We have several points of view and an objective piece from Newsroom this morning.
A forest contractor survey has found that contracting companies in logging and silviculture in the East Coast, Hawkes Bay and Lower North Island regions experienced the highest growth in business over the past 12 months and also foresee strong future growth. Contractors in the Bay of Plenty, Taranaki, Waikato and Otago expect a more challenging business landscape over the next 12 months. See more below.
Four forestry companies operating in the Wairarapa region of New Zealand have announced the formation of Log Distribution Limited, a joint venture company which will commence operations next week.
For those of you wanting to catch up with the latest in primary industry technology developments, make sure you register to attend our MobileTECH event running next week in Rotorua. Nearly 300 primary industry leaders are registered. Our 2-day programme is packed full of innovative digital technologies, practical case studies and key discussions from experts and producers throughout the primary sector. They will provide vital insights on how the agricultural, horticultural and forestry industries can best utilise digital technologies to drive real productivity.
Finally, the ongoing title of tallest timber building in the world is a bit of media fascination, but we’re up for it too. Check out the new leader – it’s a wonderful setting for a tall timber structure too, set beside a lake in a small town. While we’ve got you, be sure to mark your diary for our 4th annual WoodWorks - Changing Perceptions Conference running on 3-4 September in Rotorua. By then we’ll have plenty more case studies to showcase.
This week we have for you:
Foresters: PCE report contradicts Productivity CommissionPCE report needs clarity from Government says Forest Owners Association - Forest Owners want clarity for what New Zealand plantation forestry is expected to deliver on climate change targets.
The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Simon Upton, has just issued a report which downplays the contribution of forestry in sequestering atmospheric carbon, and instead wants to drive down fossil fuel use.
But the Forest Owners Association President, Peter Weir, says Simon Upton is contradicting the Productivity Commission’s report earlier this year which pointed to planting trees serving as carbon sinks as the main means of getting New Zealand to carbon neutrality by 2050.
“The PCE takes a different tack to the Productivity Commission. The PCE makes the argument that long-lived gases from the burning of fossil fuels should be treated differently to short lived greenhouse gases from biological sources.”
“For instance, the Productivity Commission talked about the possible need for up to 2.8 million hectares of new planting to reach carbon neutrality. Simon Upton has a figure of 5.4 million hectares of new trees.”
“That's a very big difference. Both make the current One Billion Tree project aspirations look quite modest.”
Peter Weir says that Simon Upton is correct in that forestry can’t offer climate change solutions indefinitely.
“The industry has never suggested that we are a solution for all time. But in the immediate term we just can’t wait for the development of a political will for a reduction in the use of fossil fuels, or the evolution of technical solutions to reduce livestock emissions. We don’t have time for either of those.”
“Fast growing exotic plantation trees are a quick fix for getting our net emissions down in the critical next couple of decades. It’s important in all this commentary also to acknowledge and appreciate the large difference in sequestration rates between exotic plantation forests and indigenous planting. Exotics are many times faster at absorbing carbon.”
“Again, Simon Upton is right when he says landscape transformation has the potential to be disruptive and has to be managed carefully. But he, and those who make policy, should take on board that growing plantation forests is an income generating activity which, certainly for some regions, exceeds that of current marginal farming.”
“Simon Upton is cautious that forestry may have a downside which reduces its value in sequesting carbon. I have a real concern that this is going to be misunderstood in some quarters that we should abandon an expansion of tree planting altogether.”
“It’s great to have the debate, but we do need some urgency in our government producing a carbon forestry policy and a critical first part of that is reform of the Emissions Trading Scheme.”
The President of the Farm Forestry Association, Neil Cullen, also wants the government direction to be clear.
“We have a concern that there is a proposal from the PCE to restrict forestry offsets. If the government decided to follow this and limit offsets to agriculture, then this would have a dramatic negative impact on the value of carbon units, reduce planting rates and perpetuating the seesaw policy that forestry has been experiencing for too long,” Neil Cullen says.
He also points to the Interim Climate Change Panel coming up with yet another set of formulas for addressing greenhouse gas emissions.
“It’s time for government decisions.”
Business review - NZ forest contractorsThe industry-focused team at Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology has recently completed another update of their New Zealand Forestry Contractors Business Review - The results are summarised below and a copy of their latest full report is attached.
This review represents the views of more than 115 contractor crews from all regions in New Zealand. Of these, 24 per cent state the risk of losing key staff is keeping them awake at night. This is up 17 per cent, compared to six months ago. Sixty per cent of contractors leaned towards specialised skills as opposed to multi-tasking abilities in their crews. Silvicultural contractors generally favour multi-skilled operators.
The East Coast, Hawkes Bay and Lower North Island are regions that experienced the highest growth in business over the past 12 months and also foresee strong future growth. Contractors in the Bay of Plenty, Taranaki, Waikato and Otago expect a more challenging business landscape over the next 12 months. Employment growth is still slow with few new people entering the sector. This is despite the overall high level of job satisfaction among contractor crews and the incentive of good wages.
Source: Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology
End forest tradeoffs for CO2: PCE climate reportNew Zealand has shifted 3 billion tons of carbon from the land to the atmosphere by clearing forests for farming, says a report by Environment Commissioner Simon Upton. Now Upton thinks farmers should have dibs on planting new trees to offset their greenhouse emissions – arguing CO2 from cars and industry is too long-lived to be dealt with using forestry credits.
Even before the embargo lifted on Simon Upton’s long-awaited climate policy report, the Minister for Climate Change had ruled out its boldest suggestion.
The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment proposes stopping New Zealand’s carbon dioxide emitters from using forestry planting as a convenient way to avoid cutting their actual emissions, as they’ve been doing ever since New Zealand signed up to the Kyoto Protocol.
Upton proposes shutting carbon emitters out of purchasing tree-planting credits -- instead ring-fencing the nation’s forest sinks for the exclusive use of farmers.
From the perspective of the climate, there’s logic to this: carbon dioxide can stick around warming the planet for centuries, while forests, particularly plantation pine forests, come and go.
In Upton’s view this makes tree planting better suited to off-setting the climate effects of more temporary greenhouse gases, such as farming’s methane and nitrous oxide.
Without any forest offsets to help them get to net zero emissions, people and industries making carbon dioxide from cars, coal, steel-making and other things would need to make even deeper cuts, and likely couldn’t reach absolute zero emissions by 2050. Upton says 2075 might be a more realistic date to get to absolute zero.
Methane and nitrous oxide, meanwhile, would be cut by whatever amount the Climate Commission deems best, but at least by 20 percent, under the report's modelling.
If New Zealand continues with its current plan of lumping all gases and sinks together it risks claiming hollow “accounting victory” over its emissions, and cutting real carbon emissions slower than we would if we couldn't rely on using forests to count against our carbon emissions, he says.
Environmental report: Farmers get special treatmentNZ greenhouse gas emitters need to get to zero, except for farming, PCE recommends - Only farming should be able to offset its greenhouse gas emissions using forests as sinks, a new climate change report recommends. Businesses which burn fossil fuels and create dangerous carbon dioxide need to reduce their emissions to a net zero as soon as possible, the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Simon Upton said.
Federated Farmers said they were "delighted" Upton had recognised the fundamental difference between carbon dioxide and shorter term methane and nitrous oxide (biological) emissions.
However Climate Change Minister James Shaw rejected the recommendation, saying forestry made sense given the tiny window of time to seriously fight climate change.
Most carbon dioxide emissions come from transport, electricity generation or businesses using coal or gas in boilers. It is regarded as the most dangerous greenhouse gas, lingering in the atmosphere for thousands of years.
Upton said if these businesses wanted to offset their emissions, they should look to means other than planting forests, but more importantly they should look at ways of reducing emissions.
He recommends the two-pronged approach in the report entitled Farms, Forests and Fossil Fuels: The next great landscape transformation.
"We could store carbon in forests over large areas of New Zealand and score a net zero accounting triumph around mid-century; or adopt a more ambitious approach to reducing fossil emissions and make a clear statement about how far biological emissions should be reduced."
Upton's 189-page report contains just three recommendations to Parliament:
* Develop two separate targets for the second half of the century: a zero gross fossil emissions target to be legislated as part of the establishment of the new Climate Commission; and a reduction target for biological emissions to be recommended by the new Commission and subsequently legislated.
* Allow access to forest sinks as offsets only for biological emissions on a basis to be advised by the Climate Commission.
* Develop the tools needed to manage biological sources and sinks in the context of a landscape-based approach that embraces water, soil and biodiversity objectives.
Upton suggested the current date of 2050 to attain net zero carbon emissions would still be consistent with the Paris Agreement and "should not be ruled out if that is considered to be a more credible and achievable time frame within which to effect such a significant economic transformation".
Source: Stuff news
Log distribution joint venture formedFour NZ forestry companies unite in joint venture to enable operational efficiencies – Four forestry companies operating in the Wairarapa region of New Zealand have announced the formation of Log Distribution Limited, a joint venture company which will commence operations on 1 April 2019.
Log Distribution Limited is a collaboration between FOMS Ltd, Forest Enterprises Growth Ltd, Wairarapa Estate Ltd and Norsewood Estate Ltd which aims to improve efficiencies in log export through the collaborative management of log marketing and shipping, marshalling and stevedoring, road and rail transport and log storage.
The company’s operations will be based at Masterton and will ship logs from the Wellington and Napier ports. Log Distribution Limited will be supported by TPT which has been engaged to oversee the company’s export marketing and shipping.
Forest Enterprises Growth Chief Executive Officer Bert Hughes says the four founding companies share common interests in the supply chain. The companies collectively identified the opportunity to improve the efficiency and safety of log export operations through increased coordination and scale.
“We believe the formation of Log Distribution Limited will result in reduced waste across the supply chain and better use of our critical rail and port infrastructure,” Mr Hughes says.
“A key focus of Log Distribution Limited operations will be to improve efficiency in log cartage across the southern part of the North Island. This includes initiatives that will assist in alleviating bottlenecks in the supply chain, as we expect to see local harvest levels steadily increase over the next five years.”
Recognising the increased demand to provide the region’s growers with a route to market, Mr Hughes says Log Distribution Limited will place focus on reducing the reliance on road transport over the Remutaka Range and lessen port congestion at Centrepoint Wellington.
As New Zealand’s forestry harvest levels continue to grow, Mr Hughes is confident Log Distribution Limited will strengthen the supply chain and deliver a wealth of benefits to stakeholders.
“The formation of Log Distribution Limited is a great example of positive collaboration in the forest industry that will benefit both community and industry stakeholders,” Mr Hughes says.
Wairarapa Estate Ltd and Norsewood Estate Ltd properties are managed by New Forests, an international funds management business specialising in responsible forestland investment. Local management of both properties is overseen by IFS Growth Ltd a New Zealand company specialising in forest management.
Supporting Northland rangatahi into forestry jobsThe Government will be providing skills training to Northland youth to help them get jobs in the forestry sector with the support of funding from the Provincial Growth Fund in the Eco Toa programme, Minister of Employment Willie Jackson announced on Monday.
Eco Toa, meaning Ecological Warrior, is a five-month intensive programme for South Hokianga and Kaikohe rangatahi who are not in employment, education or training (NEET). The programme will train Northland youth in pest control, weed eradication, riparian planting and forestry silviculture. He Poutama Rangatahi will invest over $400,000 into the Eco Toa initiative which is based in South Hokianga with funding from the Provincial Growth Fund.
“When a region like Northland faces labour demands in the areas of forestry and ecological protection, it makes sense for the Government to roll up its sleeves and make sure local young people are trained and ready for these opportunities,” Willie Jackson said.
“This is a training programme that will empower unemployed rangatahi into long- term employment that will have the added benefit of protecting our natural environment. What’s more, these young people will be earning while they are learning so they can continue to support themselves and their wh?nau while going through this programme.
“When we support rangatahi into sustained jobs, everybody wins. Rangatahi who go through the Eco Toa programme will be ready to take on jobs that will help boost Northland’s economic growth, whilst giving the next generation the tools to protect our environmental taonga.
“This is the PGF at work, investing in young people so they have the skills the Forestry industry in Northland need. We are investing wisely in the region to support young people and support jobs,” Willie Jackson said.
“The Coalition Government has been clear since day one about its desire to reinvigorate New Zealand’s forestry industry. I’m proud the PGF has been able to support this initiative, which will help ensure the sector has the workforce it needs to meet the One Billion Trees target while providing our rangatahi with skills and a pathway towards a fulfilling career,” Shane Jones said.
Careers portal one-stop information shopA new web portal - ‘ForestryCareers.NZ’ - was launched in mid March by the Forest Growers Levy Trust (FGLT).
The portal is a comprehensive starting point for anyone interested in forestry education, training and careers, providing information and directing users to other relevant websites and sources of information.
The facility is “long overdue” according to Fraser Field, a member of the FGLT Training and Careers Committee (TCC) and forestry training manager. The TCC has overseen the development of the web portal, and will keep the site up-to-date into the future.
“It is absolutely critical that there is an authoritative source of careers and training information, that is easy to access and up-to-date,” says Fraser. “Up until now there has been a real lack of cohesiveness, with information scattered all over the place. So this portal is going to be of great value.”
The web portal contains information about the myriad of career opportunities in forestry. It covers options from practical roles in silviculture and harvesting to forest management, engineering, surveying, research, administration, human resource management, IT and others. Information is provided about over 30 types of jobs, with an outline of the work involved, salary range, and what training or education might be needed to match the particular job.
A comprehensive ‘Training’ section details the many regional and national education and training courses on offer, again covering the full range from entry level practical and academic courses through options for further training mid- career to ideas for people thinking of moving into forestry from other sectors.. There are links to the various course providers’ websites and contact people.
A surprisingly large number of scholarships, awards and other assistance packages are available for education and training at every level in the industry: the portal provides a starting point to help people seek these out.
Glen Mackie, secretary of the TCC and a key contributor to the website’s design and development, says another benefit is that the portal will provide a fund of resources for school careers advisers or anyone else who needs information about forestry careers, education and training.
“We have a great collection of videos and other resources,” says Glen, “and these are going to be accessible and downloadable for people running careers and recruitment events for example. There’s also some background information on the industry, and some ‘myth-busters’, which we hope will help dispel some of the negative impressions that tend to blight attempts to recruit new entrants.” One myth that is definitely dispelled is that forestry is a low-income sector, with potential wages at all levels looking very competitive.
“We want the portal to be dynamic, used and refreshed by the education and training sectors, employers, people already working in forestry, and potential new entrants to the industry,” says Glen. “Forestry offers so many career opportunities and training pathways. Our aim is to help people find what’s right for them.”
Source: Forest Growers Levy Trust
Tall timber building in Norway pips Brock CommonsWhile most of the world’s high rise buildings are not made of wood, there is some fascination with the ones starting to rise up using CLT and other engineered wood products for both its structural and aesthetic values.
In the small Norwegian town of Brumunddal (population: 10,000-ish) residents seem ready to enjoy their moment in the spotlight now that Mjøstårnet, the newly minted tallest timber tower in the world, has been completed. It's certainly been hyped enough.
Up until Mjøstårnet was officially designated as the tallest timber building in the world (standing 85 metres high) by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, the title belonged to Brock Commons Tallwood House, a wood-concrete hybrid high-rise dormitory that towers 174 feet (53 metres) over the campus of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. That's significant growth as far as timber towers go — more than a 100-foot leap from once tallest to new tallest. Also very tall are Treet, an all-wood apartment building in Bergen, Norway, standing nearly 161 feet (49 metres) tall and a 147-foot-tall (45 metres) wooden office block in Brisbane, Australia.
Per Dezeen, the mixed-use lakeside building, which includes 32 rental apartments, five floors of office space, a restaurant and the aptly named 72-room Wood Hotel, is also, somewhat surprisingly, the third-tallest building in Norway. (It's unclear if structures including churches and radio towers count.) A large public swimming pool complex, also constructed built with engineered wood, is attached to the tower.
A structure where even the elevator shafts (!) are constructed entirely from CLT, Mjøstårnet's timber structural elements including glulam beams and columns were supplied and installed by leading Scandinavian wood products firm Moelven.
"We want to create a sustainable future using wood, explains Moelven CEO Morten Kristiansen in a press release. "The Mjøstårnet project is yet another proof of what is possible to build with timber, and we hope that this building will inspire others to choose more sustainable and climate-friendly solutions in the years to come."
Source: Mother Nature Network
While we’ve got you, be sure to mark your diary for our 4th annual WoodWorks - Changing Perceptions Conference running on 3-4 September in Rotorua. By then we’ll have plenty more case studies to showcase.
China trade threats all bark no biteTalk of strained relations between New Zealand and China has led to fears of trade reprisals - but one expert says the Asian superpower has been “all bark and no bite” with its threats in recent years.
Richard McGregor, an Australian journalist who spent nearly a decade as the Financial Times’ Beijing and Shanghai bureau chief, has also dismissed the suggestion that countries like Australia and New Zealand are “reliant” on China for economic success.
Speaking at Victoria University of Wellington’s Global China Seminar earlier this month, McGregor said New Zealand was not the only country “wrestling with China”.
While China was a powerful country, it had very few allies, either in a formal sense or through close friendships.
Instead, it had pursued more temporal, opportunistic relationships with nations, having forged ties with a number of countries through its One Belt One Road initiative.
Source: Newsroom Pro
Scion nursery getting upgradeForestry in New Zealand can trace its beginnings back to the tree nurseries of Whakarewarewa (near Rotorua) established after the Mount Tarawera eruption in the late 1800s. In the years that followed, the nursery was home to the first experiments of New Zealand’s young forestry industry. That work went on to set the New Zealand nursery standard for commercial nursery practices and was established as world class.
Our proud history of nursery-based science continues today. Our research, development and expertise in nursery operations, propagation and mass production of a diverse range of species supports sustainable forestry that delivers economic and environmental benefits to all New Zealand. To ensure we are up to the challenges ahead in forestry and tissue culture science, this year Scion will build the first ‘pilot’ stage of a new nursery, specifically aimed at meeting novel science and commercial challenges in exotic and indigenous forestry.
Changes are afoot in forestry. As we face significant challenges within the existing forestry nursery industry, such as labour shortages, changing chemical and waste management legislation, shifts in weather patterns and more, it is time to re-invent our nursery and how we grow trees. The future is in high spec, hygienic, mechanised nurseries with high throughput of seedlings and clonal material. The opportunity for indigenous propagation is also significant. Indigenous forestry is now in its infancy, not dissimilar to radiata pine 70 years ago, and Scion is ready to lead the way once more.
Scion’s Nursery Research Scientist Craig Ford says, “Our aspiration is that the New Zealand forest nursery industry becomes a leaner and more sustainable industry which provides more attractive, skilled work opportunities. Ultimately, we aim to facilitate integrated tissue culture and highly automated nursery propagation for exotic forestry into mainstream practice and to carry out more novel science in indigenous forestry."
Our pilot nursery
The first phase of the Scion Nursery redevelopment will cost around $1 million. It will be a small scale, modular, automated, lean-flow, environmentally sustainable propagation facility.
New facilities will allow Scion to pioneer and showcase more environmentally and economically sustainable production systems through improved ergonomics, hygiene, water, frost and heat management options, and improved growing media and growing container options. Such facilities will help industry move away from chemicals, plastics, non-sustainable growing media and a reliance on nonrenewable energy for heating and lighting. It will use several new-to-New Zealand forest nursery machines and techniques, such as automated paper pot sowing lines and containerised mini-hedge tunnels (mother stock for rooted cutting production of high-value genetic material).
Read more >>
Forest protection earning Indonesia millionsAn innovative effort to keep trees in the ground and carbon out of the air is paying dividends in Indonesia — the fifth-highest emitter of carbon dioxide globally.
Norway announced on 16 February that it will pay Indonesia for reducing its deforestation by 60 percent in 2017, as compared to 2016. The payment is to be made as part of a REDD+ partnership established in 2010. An acronym for ‘reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation’ – with the ‘+’ including conservation, sustainable forest management and carbon stock enhancement – REDD+ provides a framework for developed nations to pay developing nations for protecting forests.
With its emphasis on reducing carbon emissions linked to greenhouse gases and global warming, the initiative is also a key part of the Paris climate agreements to limit temperature rise.
According to Indonesian Minister of Environment and Forestry Siti Nurbaya, Indonesia has decreased the annual deforestation rate from 1.09 million hectares to 480,000 hectares between 2014 and 2017. The archipelago’s tropical forests play an important role in absorbing carbon and are home to indigenous communities and rare wildlife and biodiversity.
Based on estimates of averted carbon dioxide emissions – some 4.8 million tons – Norway will pay Indonesia an amount expected to be in the range of roughly USD 24 million. Norway and Indonesia are still negotiating the transaction, and the funds are anticipated to be used by the Indonesian government to help underwrite environmental initiatives.
“The calculation of the emission reduction is similar to what is done for other countries, i.e. a historical average as the reference level, and emissions below that is considered an emission reduction,” explains Arild Angelsen, a professor of economics at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences and REDD+ expert.
Now a decade old since it first came about as REDD (sans ‘+’), the REDD+ program is now seeing countries reach the stage when they can be paid for the fruition of their efforts. Brazil reached a landmark agreement this year and is expected to receive about USD 96 million for reducing 19 million tons of emissions, although some questions remain about the accuracy of the program and the country’s commitment to deforestation due to recent changes in its government. In Southeast Asia, Vietnam completed key REDD+ requirements at the end of 2018 and is now eligible to receive payments as well.
“Compared to the payments to Brazil, [the payment to Indonesia] is small, but compared to past payments to Indonesia, it’s not,” says Angelsen.
Indonesia is home to the third-largest swath of rainforest after Brazil and the Democratic Republic of Congo. But in recent years, drought, wildfires, logging, salt water intrusion and palm oil plantations have all taken their toll on Indonesia’s forests. The Southeast Asian nation designates 42 percent of its forests for commercial use.
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... and finally ... your midweek chuckle
Lessons about law:
"Your Honour," he said, "I wanna get out a warrant for that dirty lawyer of mine."
"Why?" asked the judge. "He won your acquittal. What do you want to have him arrested for?"
"Well, Your Honour," replied Carlson, "I didn't have the money to pay his fee, so he went and took the car I stole."
That's all for this week's wood news.
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