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February 17th 2020 Newsletter
Rethinking our harder forest lands
I was intrigued by the news that Nelson Forests are considering retiring some 5500 hectares of seriously erosion prone radiata pine forest.
It’s these hard hill areas a few of us have mulled over for years now. I remember writing an article in the NZ J Forestry about the tyranny of distance; what it will mean in the future for back country hard hill country in radiata pine where real commodity price declines, real energy cost increases, and public concerns and restrictions combine. The writing has been on the wall for a while – even if just from a price-cost-energy point of view. We already have completely uneconomic forests that were planted in a wave of optimism decades ago.
Many of us called for a rethink before the large storm events of the last decade in both Nelson and the East Coast. Many more suggested we look at the lessons of smaller storm events – more particularly occurring in Northern Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne. The localised storm in the Kopuawhara catchment of the Whararatas between Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne provided some more lessons in 2007. That was a repeat of the infamous storm event of 1938, when many workers on the rail line were killed by a similar localised storm. They had their tent town in the lower floodplain.
Panpak’s forests around Mohaka had a localised event in 2010 that scoured out the stream systems down to bedrock and deposited slash down the Waikare River and onto the lovely but remote beach. In the same year, some residents’ houses around Morere at the base of the Whararatas had slash dams causing bank erosion toward their homes. Imagine the concern sitting in the living room during the middle of that event.
Local knowledge of land management people in that Hawke’s Bay – Gisborne area is that you can expect a localised storm event, sometimes covering only a few thousand hectares, in any one place every five years. Some moderate, and every now and then something severe. Those are beyond the regional storms we get every 40 to 50 years – the last one being Cyclone Bola in 1988. Again, expect an increase in frequency and intensity.
All of these issues make up ‘the environmental context’ of these erodible, storm susceptible, hard hill areas. Current marginal economics – likely to get ever more marginal (especially for low value commodities) – social constraints, risks to poor and often Māori communities, key connecting infrastructure, high erosion risk geologies on steep topography, with locally-frequent and regional scale storm events whose intensity is already high, and whose frequency and intensity if very likely to increase.
An environmental system of integrated complexity – of constraints, risks and downstream (literally) values that ought to be meat & drink smoko room conversation topics for professional foresters. A complex system. None of which you will likely find in the average asinine discounted cashflow spreadsheet – especially ones that presume tomorrow will be just like today.
What you do about that context to recognise, mitigate and avoid risks, understand system effects and dynamism, and to protect values, are the interesting questions. Retiring is one model. But that smacks a little of a black and white. Either large scale industrial radiata pine forestry (“this is what we do”), or we pull out entirely and do nothing.
After the 2010 Morere incidents there was an attempt by some to start up a discussion of a few things. The first was to get the forestry operators to establish links to the communities being threatened. Their communities, to which they belong whether they think so or not. The response was decidedly lukewarm.
The second was to point out what should have been obvious – i.e. ‘the environmental context’ that lies in flashing red with a screaming siren beneath good practice.
The third – logically following from that context – was to ask, “why the hell are you replanting even larger settings of radiata pine – getting further away from a normal forest - as if you were in the middle of the Central North Island Plateau?” Larger settings, short rotations, and logging practices focused on “most cheapest” through scale thinking (forget ‘Economies of Scope’) can only exacerbate the risks. So what do you do? You need to think strategy, not more bloody universal tactical recipe books.
Of course, we saw the consequences of having accountants and agronomists in charge of forests with the Tolaga Bay events of winter 2018.
I don’t think commercial forestry should retire from risky areas. We just have to think and adapt. Be smart. There are many alternatives. The world is literally full of them if we go looking. Change species, changing silvicultural regime, question clearfells and short rotations, shift from Economies of Scale thinking to Economies of Scope, rethink Normalisation of local forests, increasing margin through timber value, pre-processing, rethinking centralised ‘continuous’ mill structures vis-à-vis decentralised specialised ‘batch’ processing specific harvest operation practices. I’d rather drink Tuatara than Tui anyday.
We just have to look …. and have a few more smoko room conversations.
From the Registrar
Successful 5-Year Registration Review
- Geoff Thorp of Taupo
- George Platts of Dunedin
The following members have applied for a 5-year review of their status as a Registered Member:
- Paul Silcock of Gisborne
Any member of the NZIF has the right to object to a new application or an application for review. Any objection should be lodged with the Registrar firstname.lastname@example.org within 20 working days of the first appearance (17th February 2020) of the notice in this newsletter, specifying the grounds for the objection.
Alan Bell, Registrar
NZIF Registration Board
The NZIF Council are very pleased to announce that the following Trademark applications have been approved for our use by the NZ Intellectual property Office.
- NZIF Registered Forestry Professional
- NZIF Registered Forestry Consultant
- NZIF Registered Forester
- Registered Forestry Consultant
A system has been set up to ensure the automatic renewal of these registered trademarks in 10 years time.
Peter Hill, Vice President
NZIF Council & Registration Board Nominations
The Secretary of the NZIF is calling for nominations for the following positions on Council and the Registration Board:
NZIF Council (10 positions):
- Vice President
- Six Councillors
Nominees for Members of Council must be Full Voting Members, Retired Associate Members or Associate Members.
Registration Board (2 positions):
- Two Members who are registered members or retired registered members
- Two Members who are full voting members
Each candidate must be nominated by no fewer than two Members, and must include written acceptance of the nomination.
All nominations must be submitted to the secretary via email to email@example.com by 5pm 28th February 2020.
Nomination forms and more specific requirements can be found online: https://www.nzif.org.nz/members-only-area/nominations/
Full details on more specific rules and requirements can be found in the NZIF Rules available online: https://www.nzif.org.nz/assets/Uploads/Documents/NZIF-Rules-amended-2022.pdf
Event: Conference and Celebration for 50 years Canterbury School of Forestry
Date: 15-19 April, 2020
Venue: Student Association Building, University of Canterbury
On behalf of Bruce Manley, Head of the School of Forestry, we are pleased to announce a conference and celebration in recognition of 50 years at the University of Canterbury (1970-2020).
The celebration will include a two-day conference and field trip together with organised social events between 15-17 April and the opportunity for graduating year groups to organise their own reunions from the evening of 17th April into the weekend of 18/19 April. The event will be held at the University of Canterbury based in the fantastic Haere-roa Student Association building which opened earlier this year.
Conference costs include the Wednesday evening Quiz Night, the conference and the field trip to Port of Lyttelton and Summit Road native restoration sites. The Quiz Night will be hosted by Future Foresters and is limited to 100 people with registrations on a first in, first served basis; the bus trip is limited to the first 100 people.
The dinner will have a limited number of seats and is charged separately, with a maximum of two tickets per conference registrant.
For information on the conference, the link to the registration site (Eventbrite) and other details, please go to the conference news site. The site includes a dedicated email address which is included in this message header. For graduating year groups, there is a sub-section on the conference page (Graduating Year Reunions) where we can provide an organisers’ contact name and email address so you can organise your own graduating year reunions. You can see the level of detail we provide in that sub-section already with a volunteer for the 2013 group already named. If you would like to be the contact person for your year, please email Forestry50@canterbury.ac.nz.
Canterbury School of Forestry
Event: NZIF Annual Conference 2020
Date: 28-30 June 2020
Venue: Copthorne Hotel & Resort Solway Park, Masterton, Wairarapa
In Masterton this year, we have an inspiring line-up of speakers and CPD session to showcase the pride and passion in our forestry workforce.
Sunday 28 June – morning and afternoon CPD sessions plus an extra Leadership professional development CPD course (full day, with limited numbers), Annual NZIF AGM and Future Foresters event.
Monday 29 June – a day full of inspiring speakers followed by a Pre-election Policy Panel exclusive to NZIF, featuring forestry representatives from each major political party. Confirmed speakers to date:
- Keynote: Beth Welden, Forest Learning in Australia
- Bert Hughes (Forest Enterprises) Investing in Forests
- Kevin Reardon (Forme Consulting) Carbon Measurement Systems for Woodlots
- Tim Naish (Antarctic Research Centre) Climate change scenarios in New Zealand
- Tim Payn (Scion) Forestry Myth Busting
- Te Uru Rakau – an update on forestry policies and their future direction.
On Monday evening the NZIF Conference and Award Dinner will be held at the Carterton Event Centre. The dinner will showcase timber construction in a public building with a guest speaker to describe the history and construction processes.
Tuesday 30 June – Women in Forestry breakfast with guest speaker and then a morning conference session (open to the public) and focusing on forestry in our communities.
- Guest Speaker Melissa Clark-Reynolds
There are two field trips on offer in the afternoon. Town Tour (log distribution and processing) or Forest Tour (farm forestry and advanced logging systems).
Lock in the dates in your calendars now and watch for further information regarding the conference, speakers and event in the NZIF website and newsletter.
Te Uru Rākau Feedback: A Forest Strategy for Aotearoa New Zealand
Te Uru Rākau is looking at how to harness the collective vision of New Zealanders to cultivate the forests of the future. To do this, they’re developing a Forest Strategy that will guide us over the next 30 years, and beyond.
Te Uru Rākau are asking for shared views on what a forest strategy means to you, why it matters, and what a great forest system would look like. Refer to the online feedback form.
If you want to get in touch with Te Uru Rākau about the Forest Strategy, or to be added to the mailing list so you can keep in touch with what’s happening, then email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Details are in the Forest Strategy page.
MBIE Submissions: Accelerating Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has released a discussion document Accelerating Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency and is seeking submissions.
Close of submissions is 5pm, 28th February 2020.
Event: Central North Island local section
Date: Thursday 20th February 2020
Venue: Room O3, the Forestry school at Toi Ohomai
Time: Drinks and nibbles from 5.30 and the speakers will start at approximately 6 pm.
Speakers: Jeff Tombleson and Graham West
Please RSVP to email@example.com if you plan to attend.
Jeff Tombleson and Graham West will be providing updated presentations that were recently prepared for major conferences. Focusing on the need to rapidly expand the forest estate on farmland with the goal of making a major contribution towards achieving carbon zero 2050? What is the role of the NZIF?
Key issues include; on what land should this estate be grown, how rapidly does it need to be established, how much area is required by 2030 and 2050, what will it take to create landowner buy-in, does it require subsidisation, what species, and what management?
Jeff Tombleson’s presentation is titled “The contribution of plantations to achieving carbon zero 2050” as presented to the VII Chilean Forestry Science Congress on Climate Change. Jeff has maintained engagement into Chile for 20 years and on this occasion was engaged by CMPC that is headquartered in Chile and is one of the largest forestry companies in the world with 638,000 hectares of plantations. Jeff’s presentation will also contain insights into forestry in Chile’s warming climate and how a mega forestry corporate has rebranded to positively address the same environmental issues as those faced by the NZ forest industry – but on a colossal and concerning scale.
Graham West addresses the question “Should the development of small scale forests be on fast forward in NZ?”, provided to the 2019 NZ FFA Annual Conference. What’s at stake?, who will make it happen? What is the Farm Forestry Association doing about it? Graham is chairman of the BOP NZ FFA Branch and was chairman of the May 2019 NZ FFA annual conference organising committee that had the theme “Fast Forward”. A key message was that “we have a once in a generation opportunity to put NZ and our primary industries on a more sustainable footing for the next 30 years”.
Event: Southern North Island Local Section 5th March
Management of Fire in the Forest and Rural Landscape - Future Challenges
Presenter: Murray Dudfield,
Murray was an employee of the NZ Forest Service commencing in 1967 and finished in the role as a Senior Forest Ranger at the time of the demise of the Forest Service in 1987. Moved to the Ministry of Forestry as a Senior Forest Fire Advisor 1987 to 1990 and then fill the role of the NZ National Rural Fire Officer 1990 to 2014. Appointed an Officer of the NZ Order of Merit in 2015. Awarded a FAO Certificate of Excellence for exemplary service to International Cooperation in Wildland Fire Management in 2014. Was a board member of the Australia Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre 2007 to 2014 and a board member of the Otago Rural Fire Authority 2014 to 2017. Is the current Chair of the Forest Fire Committee for the NZ Institute of Forestry.
Date and Time: Thursday 5th March, 5.15 -7.30pm
Venue: CBRE, Level 12 Harbour Tower (Old ASB Tower), 2 Hunter Street, Wellington
Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) was established on 1 July 2017 under the Fire and Emergency NZ Act 2017. This Act combined the national urban NZ Fire Service and the decentralized rural fire services into a single entity. From the FENZ 2019/20 Statement of Performance Expectations, it is projected that over the first five years FENZ intends spending an additional $904.2 million on fire services. This is $601.1 million greater than the $303 million approved by Government in 2016 at the time of approving this merger.
The Minister of Internal Affairs announced in October that there will be a review on how FENZ is funded. If a change is made by Government to move from an insurance based fire levy, to a land based fire levy, what will be the potential impact on the forestry sector given the projected large increased expenditure on fire services by FENZ since July 2017.
Under the FENZ structure a large forest fire occurred on the 5th February 2019 in Pigeon Valley. This involved a loss of more than 2,300 hectares of forested lands located 30km southwest of Nelson. Did the fire weather environment during the first few days of this fire support the decisions to construct firebreaks, external to the plantation, and the evacuation of people from communities to the south-east of this wildfire.
With a cost of more than $17 million the February 2019 Pigeon Valley wildfire is the most expensive vegetation fire in the history of New Zealand. It has also been claimed by some as the most destructive plantation fire in the past 60 years. When compared with data from four other forest fires it shows that the fire environment in the first five days of this Pigeon Valley fire does not warrant this characterisation.
RSVP Peter Hill firstname.lastname@example.org
Event: Bioenergy Association Workshop: The Evidence for Delivering Wood Energy to New Zealand
Date: 25th February 2020
Venue: Copthorne Hotel Wellington, Oriental Bay, Wellington
Government is developing policies relevant to the wood energy sector and seeks evidence of what the sector can contribute and what would assist achievement of the extensive benefits of using wood and other biomass resources as a source of energy.
Government agencies are also considering the opportunities from using wood and waste biomass to replace fossil fuels in communities and industry.
Bioenergy Association has identified that with transformational policies for renewable fuel use by industry that 1 Mt CO2-e pa of greenhouse gas emission reductions could be achieved by 2035, and 1.8 Mt CO2-e pa by 2050. This is a replacement of 20PJ of fossil fuels.
This workshop is to share evidence from the wood energy sector with industry and government of why use of biomass energy is growing, identify those aspects which make projects successful, and identify barriers where new policies or assistance would assist get quicker replacement of fossil fuels by industry and the community.
Programme and Registration details here.
Event: Free Workshop: Microbiology of Planted Forests: An introduction to microbial ecology and processes for planted forest owners
Date: 26th March, 9.30 am – 3.30 pm,
Venue: Scion, 49 Sala St, Rotorua.
Background and objectives
Radiata pine forests are highly productive ecosystems founded on a dynamic and complex ‘ecosystem microbiome’. This microbiome is a community of fungi and bacteria associated with plants and soil that includes mycorrhizae, beneficial bacteria, pathogens and many others. The organisms within the microbiome contains genes that drive their interactions with plants, soil and each other. This process maintains the function of our forests under a wide range of environmental conditions.
Understanding the microbiome and its role in determining productivity for New Zealand’s forestry sector is key for continued improvement of forest management practices. Advances in molecular analysis enables characterisation of the microbes that play critical roles for tree growth and health. The potential to enhance key microbes in different environmental conditions may help with cost-effective manipulation of management practices while also maintaining or improving forest productivity.
The purpose of this workshop is to bring together stakeholders interested in learning the fundamentals of microbes, genes and hormones in forests and how they interact to regulate forest function. The workshop will include practical demonstrations of useful molecular techniques and activities designed to provide attendees with an appreciation of this important area of forest management, along with a pathway to begin developing strategies to more effectively integrate and use microbial processes in forest management. A detailed agenda will be circulated by mid-March 2020.
Participation in the workshop is free and is organised by Scion as part of the interim ‘Resilient Forests’ research programme (Oct 2019 – Sep 2020) that is jointly funded by Forest Growers Levy Trust and MBIE through the Strategic Science Investment fund (SSIF) Forest Systems Platform. Please email Annette.Brockerhoff@scionresearch.com to confirm your attendance for planning and catering purposes.
Event: Tree Crops Association's National Conference
Date: 27-29 March 2020
Venue: Danish House, 6 Rockridge Avenue, Penrose, Auckland
Theme: Celebrating Diverse People, Crops and Food... Providing Food Security in a Changing Climate
Check the Conference Website for more information and registration
Event: Women in Forestry Conference 2020
Women in the NZ Forestry industry are coming together to connect, learn and share our experiences at our next Women in Forestry event.
Date: 30 April – 2 May 2020
Venue: Palm Pacific Resort, Port Road, Whangamata
More details on the Event Page.
NZ Farm Forestry Association Events Page
A calendar of events relating to forestry in the wider landscape are kept up to date by the NZ Farm Forestry Association Events Page.
NZFFA Conference 2020 - “46° South Revisited”. 4-8 April 2020, Ascot Park Hotel Invercargill
Event: Oak Action Group Open Days
Date: Saturday 25 April to Sunday 26 April 2020
Venue: Hackfalls Arboretum and Eastwoodhill Arboretum, the National Arboretum of New Zealand
Join the Oak Action Group on Saturday 25 April to Sunday 26 April 2020 for a two-day event to visit the legendary Hackfalls Arboretum and Eastwoodhill Arboretum, the National Arboretum of New Zealand.
The event is being organised jointly by the International Oak Society and the newly formed NZFFA Oak Action Group.
Both these arboreta contain world-class oak collections, featuring Mexican oaks, American and European oaks, and a day will be spent in each. Our focus on oaks will of course not blind us to the many other treasures these arboreta have to offer. Accommodation will be nearby in Gisborne so we will spend most of the time looking at trees rather than travelling. Join tree enthusiasts from New Zealand and around the world for this two-day event.
If you have questions or would like to register your interest, please email Kathy.email@example.com
Institute of Chartered Foresters Event: Trees, People and the Built Environment: International Urban Trees Research Conference.
Date: 22-23 April, 2020.
Venue: University of Birmingham, UK.
The Institute of Chartered Foresters is delighted to announce the launch of the programme for Trees, People and the Built Environment 4.
We've brought together an outstanding programme. Joining the keynote speakers, Professor Suzanne Simard, Professor Ian Bateman OBE and Yvonne Lynch, are leading experts in the field from around the world.
You can view the full programme here.
The triennial conference, Trees, People and the Built Environment, is a unique gathering of built and natural environment professionals, all working together to enhance green infrastructure at an international level. It is the must-attend event for those who work in urban landscapes of the built environment.
Event: WoodWorks 2020 Conference
Date: 20th – 21st October, 2020
Venue: Jet Park Auckland Airport Hotel, Auckland
The WoodWorks 2020 Conference continues to showcase the practical experiences of a range of building professionals including architects, project managers, designers, fit-out specialists, quantity surveyors, BIM specialists and engineers.
The program has a focus on completed projects from New Zealand and Australia. Each year we also showcase an inspirational wood expert from leading tall timber exemplar building projects overseas. For 2020 a world class architect from the iconic Brock Commons building in Vancouver will be our keynote speaker.
Sponsorship & Exhibition Opportunities: The WoodWorks conference offers an opportunity for companies involved in wood engineering to be a part of the future of timber use in New Zealand construction. Exhibition spaces will be made available to sponsors of this conference and partners of WoodWorks. These booths will provide a unique platform for promoting your products and services to the industry.
To ensure you get a place at either event, if you’d like further information or if you haven’t yet seen a Sponsorship & Exhibition Pack, please contact
John Stulen, Director, (+64) 7 921 1382 or (+64) 27 275 8011, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Latest NZ Journal of Forestry is On-line
Find latest journal here.
MPI Sustainable Forestry Bulletin
MPI’s Sustainable Forestry Bulletin is available through the subscription link. The bulletin outlines new information, upcoming requirements etc relating to the ETS, etc.
Forestry Career Portal
For career options, jobs are available advertised on this site
Institute of Chartered Foresters (UK)
The ICF provides a newsletter with news and blogs as well as relevant information for members through this link.
Royal Society New Zealand
The NZ Institute of Forestry is affiliated with the Royal Society, with many co-memberships. For those interested in receiving their newsletters and other alerts, please follow the link https://royalsociety.org.nz/
Australia & New Zealand FSC Newsletter
It is important NZIF has up-to-date contact details for members so we can stay in touch and keep you informed of news, events and our journal. If you have changed your residential and/or postal address, or any other contact details, please let the office know. You can email us at email@example.com.
IN THE NEWS
NZ: Virus brings ‘new dynamic to supply and demand’ for NZ logging industry
The recovery of log export prices could be short lived on the back of competitive tensions in Asia, and as the coronavirus slows down construction in China.
Log prices had recovered some ground over the past six months to a current level for A-grade logs of about $US124 ($NZ192) per cubic metre after having dropped to as low as $US105 in July 2019.
ANZ agricultural economist Susan Kilsby said while there had not been any strong indications out of China since the virus outbreak, the market had been ‘‘quite tentatively’’ poised and was waiting to see what would happen after the Chinese New Year.
‘‘So, given this scenario, we would expect to see easing in demand in the coming weeks.’’
Forestry exporters yesterday said the sector faced some major headwinds; forest owners and contractors had ‘‘dramatically’’ curtailed production and a number of sawmills faced closure.
Nelson forestry contractors brace for flow-on effects of coronavirus
While Port Nelson's overall operations were continuing as normal, there had been an acknowledged decrease in the number of logs arriving at the port since the coronavirus outbreak.
As forestry crews across New Zealand down tools due to effects of the coronavirus outbreak, the Nelson region is yet to follow suit despite concerns being raised by forestry contractors who depend on log exports for their livelihood.
Government to help forestry sector affected by delays in China
The Ministry for Primary Industries is assuring businesses that Chinese borders are not closed to New Zealand logs, but that there are problems with oversupply, and logs backing up at Chinese ports, which is leading to the demand for new logs to drop.
Forestry contractors warn 30 percent of New Zealand's logging crews are not harvesting as a result.
Government agencies are working on a support plan for the East Coast, which is being hit particularly hard.
Forestry New Zealand Te Uru Rākau Deputy Director-General Julie Collins told Morning Report there had been some good news in the last 24 hours.
"One of the key log exporters that stopped exporting logs last week have indicated that they are going to resume log exports later on this week. And some of the forestry companies that had put a hold on operations have also indicated they're going to resume harvesting at a lower rate."
China bound: Forestry companies restart log harvesting
The Forest Owners Association says despite a significant slump in prices, logs bound for China are starting to be harvested again by many large forestry companies.
Loading railway line with logs.New Zealand forestry companies are resuming work now that wood processing companies in China have reopened. Photo: Supplied / KiwiRail
The novel coronavirus outbreak, combined with an already oversupplied market, resulted in logs backing up at Chinese ports.
In response, many forestry companies in New Zealand last week cut back or completely stopped harvesting, leaving some contractors without work.
Te Uru Rākau deputy director-general Julie Collins told Morning Report this was usually a quiet period for log exports to China - but the coronavirus had exacerbated that.
Collins said the key issue for the sector in New Zealand was how quickly wood processing companies in China resumed work and the whole wood supply chain is back up and running.
She said there had been some signs of improvement. Forestry companies with holds on their logging operations had indicated they were going to resume harvesting, but at a lower rate, she said.
Forest Owners Association president Peter Weir said while log prices were well down, sawmills in China were getting back to work after the extended Chinese New Year holiday period. This had prompted large New Zealand forestry companies to resume work.
"I think pretty much all but big companies that have locked in supply agreements with China are restarting," Weir said.
Coronavirus sees logging crews across New Zealand down tools
Forestry crews across New Zealand have downed tools as contractors close operations due to the coronavirus.
The infection prompted shutdowns which left few people working in Chinese ports, causing slowdowns which have an effect on Kiwi exporters and those who buy in Chinese products.
Logging workers who contacted Stuff said they were told to go home and crews across the country were affected.
The processing slowdown at Chinese ports comes as the country deals with the coronavirus, declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organisation (WHO) at the end of January.
Waverley Sawmills back on the market as New Zealand lumber industry implodes
The new owner of Waverley Sawmills has had a major rethink and binned plans to breathe life back into the plant less than a year after buying it in March 2019.
Spectrum Group managing director Wade Glass confirmed yesterday the sawmill was back on the market as his company refocused its energy and finances on its core business of forestry.
"A lot has changed since we bought the Waverley Sawmills - she's pretty tough out there," Glass said yesterday.
Spectrum Group bought the mill and closed it in March last year. Glass said at the time its resource consent and surrounding forest maturing in 10 to 12 years made it an ideal site for a modern, automated mill that would process higher volumes of timber.
World: Study shows how land use is disrupting forest carbon sinks
Tropical forests contribute less to carbon dioxide uptake than boreal forests: scientists
Tropical deforestation is having a greater impact on the global carbon cycle than was previously realized, according to new research.
A study led by researchers at Sweden’s Lund University, published in Nature Ecology & Evolution journal posits that land use intensification in the tropics means that tropical forests are contributing much less to carbon dioxide uptake.
Five truths companies should consider when using US forests as a natural climate solution
The global momentum behind the vision to plant a trillion trees is fueling unprecedented interest in forests as a climate change solution. But this increased interest has brought increased scrutiny. Can forests capture enough carbon to make a meaningful contribution? Will we lose this stored carbon to wildfires? Does harvesting timber help or hurt our forest carbon sink?
These five truths, grounded in science, can provide a common foundation for companies, the public and decision-makers to shape America’s efforts on forests and climate change.
IN THE NEWS CONTINUED
Seeing the forest and the trees: To fight climate change, we must protect existing woodlands
The mental image of one trillion new trees in the world captures public attention for its ambition. It’s an important initiative and a worthy goal.
The mental image of one trillion new trees in the world captures public attention for its ambition. It’s an important initiative and a worthy goal. (Getty Images/iStock)
When business and government leaders lent their support at Davos for a global initiative to plant one trillion new trees over the next decade, it created understandable excitement that something substantive may be done to address climate change. The mental image of one trillion new trees in the world captures public attention for its ambition. It’s an important initiative and a worthy goal.
But in the years it will take to plant those trees and see their growth reach a point when they can absorb meaningful amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, we will have already lost millions of acres of already-existing forestland and witness a continued degradation of our clean air and water. As we envision the new trees that may populate our earth in the future, we should not lose sight of an eminently achievable and immediate challenge: preventing the ongoing destruction of our working forests.
This is an unfolding crisis that has not received the attention it merits. Over the past three decades, the U.S. has lost 36 million acres of forests. If unchecked, forestry experts anticipate losing an additional 37 million acres in the coming decades — the equivalent of losing 10 Central Parks every day for the next 12 years. When you consider that our domestic forests sequester up to 15% of the greenhouse gas emissions generated in this country each year, it’s easy to understand how devastating this continued deforestation will be for our environment and any hope of slowing climate change.
Buildings can become a global CO2 sink if made out of wood instead of cement and steel
A material revolution replacing cement and steel in urban construction by wood can have double benefits for climate stabilization, a new study shows. First, it can avoid greenhouse gas emissions from cement and steel production. Second, it can turn buildings into a carbon sink as they store the CO2 taken up from the air by trees that are harvested and used as engineered timber. However while the required amount of timber harvest is available in theory, such an upscaling would clearly need most careful, sustainable forest management and governance, the international team of authors stresses.
"Urbanization and population growth will create a vast demand for the construction of new housing and commercial buildings -- hence the production of cement and steel will remain a major source of greenhouse gas emissions unless appropriately addressed," says the study's lead-author Galina Churkina who is affiliated to both the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies in the US and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany (PIK). "Yet, this risk for the global climate system could be transformed into a powerful means to mitigate climate change by substantially increasing the use of engineered timber for construction worldwide. Our analysis reveals, that this potential can be realized under two conditions. First, the harvested forests are sustainably managed. Second, wood from demolished timber buildings is preserved on land in various forms."
Forestry company might retire some plantations on steep land
The biggest forestry business in the top of South Island is considering retiring pine plantations on steep land at high risk of landslides, which threaten communities downstream.
Nelson Forests Ltd said it had identified around 5500 hectares, of its 60,000 ha of productive forest in Nelson, Marlborough and Tasman district, that was in an area "considered to be at the highest risk" of landslide.
Forests estate value manager, Andrew Karalus, said research that the company commissioned Landcare Research to carry out, divided the estate, into "very high landslide susceptibility on the basis of slope and geology", down to low susceptibility.
NZ: OIO approves sale of Hunterville forest to Chinese buyer
The sale was approved under rules designed to make it easier for foreign companies to invest in New Zealand's forestry industry. (File photo)
The sale of a Rangitikei forest to a Chinese buyer has been approved by the Overseas Investment Office.
In a decision released on Thursday, the office (OIO) granted consent for the sale of the 222-hectare Pinehills Forest, near Hunterville, to China Forestry Group New Zealand Limited.
One Billion Tree fire risk warning
A warning that New Zealand's ambitious one billion trees programme could be at risk from wildfires, unless our landscapes are better fire-proofed. It follows Australia's disastrous wild fire season and tinder dry conditions this summer in many parts of New Zealand. Could 'green firebreaks' be the solution? Tim Curran is a senior lecturer in ecology at Lincoln University and Paul Devlin, is the head ranger for Christchurch's fire-prone Port Hills.
CAL FIRE Funds Forest Health and Resiliency Projects on Forests Throughout California, including Nevada and Yuba counties
Editor’s note: $1,679,628.64 were awarded for a project by the Regents of the University of California on behalf of Berkeley Forests Forest for health, resilience, and carbon storage will be enhanced on the 1,500-acre Grouse Ridge Research Forest through a diverse suite of treatment options and an ongoing commitment to long-term monitoring. This project will ultimately serve as a demonstration site for students, landowners, and other stakeholders, and thus have a farreaching impact on future forestland management, research and policy creation.
$4,561,649 were awarded to Yuba Water Agency for their Yuba Foothills Healthy Forests project. Federal and private partners will conduct extensive forest management across 5,375 acres in and adjacent to, low-income communities. Utilizing fuel reduction, prescribed fire, pest management, reforestation, and biomass utilization, the project will provide benefits to forest health and vigor, climate change resilience, species composition, stabilized carbon and sediment, catastrophic fire risk reduction, improved water yield, and direct support for hydro and bio-energy fuels and local jobs.
California’s Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) has awarded $67 million for landscape-scale land management projects intended to restore and maintain healthy forests, conserve working forests, and enhance carbon storage in California’s forests. The grants were awarded by CAL FIRE’s Forest Health and Forest Legacy Programs to local and regional partners and collaboratives implementing forest treatment and conservation activities on state, local, tribal, federal, and private lands. This year’s funded projects are distributed between 13 counties covering the length of California, from Siskiyou to San Diego.
CAL FIRE funded 17 Forest Health grants, targeting over 130,000 acres of California’s forestlands for restoration through a suite of activities. Activities include thinning dense and degraded forests; reducing hazardous fuel loads to change extreme fire behavior across the landscape; managing for drought, insects and disease; and applying prescribed fire for ecological restoration. Some of the overstocked forest material will be converted to bioenergy. Reforestation efforts will result in planting approximately 170,000 trees that will sequester carbon, provide habitat for wildlife, and stabilize soil in severely burned areas.
Forests bouncing back from beetles, but elk and deer slowing recovery
Two words, and a tiny little creature, strike fear in the hearts of many Colorado outdoor enthusiasts: bark beetle. But new research from University of Colorado Boulder reveals that even simultaneous bark beetle outbreaks are not a death sentence to the state's beloved forests.
The study, published this month in the journal Ecology, found that high-elevation forests in the southern Rocky Mountains actually have a good chance of recovery, even after overlapping outbreaks with different kinds of beetles. One thing that is slowing their recovery down: Foraging elk and deer.
"This is actually a bright point, at least for the next several decades," said Robert Andrus, lead author of the study and recent PhD graduate in physical geography. "Even though we had multiple bark beetle outbreaks, we found that 86 percent of the stands of trees that we surveyed are currently on a trajectory for recovery."
Between 2005 and 2017, a severe outbreak of spruce bark beetles swept through more than 741,000 acres of high-elevation forest in the southern Rocky Mountains near Wolf Creek Pass -- killing more than 90 percent of Engelmann spruce trees in many stands. At the same time, the western balsam bark beetle infested subalpine fir trees across almost 124,000 acres within the same area.
The researchers wanted to know if these overlapping events, caused by two different types of bark beetles, would limit the ability of the forest to recover. So they measured more than 14,000 trees in 105 stands in the eastern San Juan Mountains, tallying the surviving species and the number of deaths. They had expected that the combined effects of two bark beetle outbreaks would prevent forest recovery, but they found that the forests were quite resilient.
Australia: Queensland forestry staff not trained to face bushfire crisis: expert
The Queensland government is scrambling to overhaul the way it manages bushfire risk in nearly four million hectares of state forest following a scathing independent report into the firefighting capability of the agency responsible for its extensive timber reserves.
The report found that Forest Products, which sells state-owned timber and other products, had no capacity to stop large-scale fire events, had little input into hazard reduction burns and was likely in serious breach of workplace health and safety laws because staff were not given the chance to improve their fire management skills.
Australia: Gippsland logging industry dealt another blow with 10 contracts voided by Vic Forests
Almost 100 loggers have returned from fighting fires to be told they no longer have a timber job, with contracts to harvest timber torn up in the wake of the fires.
- VicForests said force majeure notices were issued because fires had affected logging in harvest areas
- Agriculture Minister Jaclyn Symes said the Government was talking to VicForests about work for the loggers
- The notices are another blow to the logging entire industry after the Premier announced a plan to end native logging by 2030
VicForests said force majeure notices were issued because fires had affected logging in harvest areas
Agriculture Minister Jaclyn Symes said the Government was talking to VicForests about work for the loggers
The notices are another blow to the logging entire industry after the Premier announced a plan to end native logging by 2030
Forty per cent of the area earmarked for native timber logging in East Gippsland has been burnt by this summer's bushfires, with officials still assessing the extent of the damage.
Oregon lawmakers look to supersize firefighting and forest cleanups; critics say it could be counterproductive
Legislators will consider several bills in the upcoming short session that could expand and overhaul the way Oregon works to fight – and prevent – wildfires.
The plans include an unprecedented effort to restore forest health through thinning, removing brush and small trees, and increasing prescribed burns. Over the next 20 years, supporters aim to do that work on 5.6 million acres of forest and rangelands -- an area equivalent to the state of New Jersey, or nearly 10 percent of Oregon’s entire land base.
The proposals also call for expanding firefighting resources at the Oregon Department of Forestry, putting more boots on the ground and modernizing equipment to put fires out when they’re small, thereby keeping costs low. And they would add administrative staff to make sure the state is promptly invoicing and collecting its firefighting costs – a problem that drove the Department of Forestry to the brink of insolvency last fall.
IN THE NEWS CONTINUED 2
World: Revolutionize food production system or face mass deforestation, scientists warn Indigenous and local communities face threats from biodiversity loss
Unless land management strategies are overhauled to reduce the gap between forestry and agriculture, it will be impossible to feed and nourish the human population without further damaging the environment and forests, according to scientists.
Worldwide, 80 percent of forest loss is caused by agricultural expansion, more than a quarter of it from commodity production, mostly related to cattle, soy and oil palm. Heavily forested countries with lower production costs and fewer environmental regulations are being used to meet the continually growing demand for agricultural land.
Forests should be better integrated into agriculture rather than cleared to make way for it, said Terry Sunderland, a senior associate scientist with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and professor in the Faculty of Forestry at Canada’s University of British Columbia.
“We must rethink our entire food production system and double down on investing in small scale, sustainable farming techniques,” Sunderland said.
“Integrated landscape management techniques like agroforestry systems are vital for protecting forest biodiversity, critical for nutrition and growing a diversity of crops. Such systems are inherently more resilient to both economic and environmental shocks.”
World: What makes a healthy forest
Almost every forest landowner has as an objective for their forest, that they want the forest to be healthy. Maybe it’s due to a fear of the effects of climate change, or maybe it’s because of past management, or maybe the forest just doesn’t look healthy, everyone wants their forest to be healthy. Having a healthy forest sounds straight forward, yet oftentimes when describing what a healthy forest looks like, the mental pictures painted are much different.
This article would like to offer eight characteristics of a healthy forest. Some of these characteristics may “mess with‘ some mental pictures, but the natural world has a pattern of health that it is good for us to “not mess with‘. Please note that every one of these issues are interrelated and overlapping.
- Diversity of species
- Avoid over browsing
- Soil Health
- Woody Debris in various stages of decay
- Stress remediation
- Snags & cavity trees for wildlife
- Controlling invasive plants
SE Asia: Study shows Village Forests in Indonesia can protect the environment and reduce poverty
President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo's administration will continue giving permits for local communities and indigenous peoples to manage forests under the Social Forestry Scheme during his second term.
No official target has been announced this time. Jokowi had previously issued permits to local and indigenous peoples totalling 3.5 million out of the national target of 12.7 million hectares of land , or 27%, throughout the country.
The Social Forestry Scheme has five forms. These are Village Forests, Community Forests, Community Plantation Forests, Customary Forests (forests within the territory of indigenous communities) and Collaborative Forest Management (partnerships between state-owned or private companies and local communities to manage forests).
The aim of the scheme is to reduce poverty by giving people access to manage forests and get economic benefits. In addition, the project aims to curb deforestation.
Our study of the management of Village Forests in Kalimantan island between 2008 and 2014 shows the scheme can work to reduce poverty and curb deforestation. The benefits were greatest in areas surrounding protected watersheds and limited production zones, where quotas limit logging activities.
Community forestry: Framing sustainability in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Africa - Elena Vissa is a recent forestry graduate at the University of Padua in Italy. She conducted field research in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) supported by CIFOR’s FORETS project for her master’s degree.
Elinor Ostrom (1933-2012), a prominent researcher on common-pool resources – which include forests – and one of only two women to receive the Nobel Prize in Economics, argued that when communities can effectively control natural resources, they will manage them to their benefit and ensure long-term sustainability.
However, she cautioned that the following conditions must be met: knowledge, trust and communication within community members; the existence of institutions; and the absence of an intervention by an external authority.
Inspired by Ostrom’s teachings, last summer I traveled to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to witness first-hand the degree to which community managed forests can contribute to sustainable development and reduce rural poverty. With the support of the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), I set up base in Yanonge, a small town located 60 kilometers from the city of Kisangani, on the left bank of the Congo river.
Though the project FORETS (Formation, Recherche et Environnement dans la Tshopo) funded by the European Union, CIFOR scientists are helping local communities to set up a community forest. The initiative is led by supported by Jean-Pierre Botomoito, the district manager, supported by the traditional leaders. When I met them, they explained that they are afraid that their forest will be awarded as a concession to a logging company, so they would like to secure and formalize their rights to exploit the forest resources before that happens. The project is therefore guiding the community to fulfill the different criteria and navigate the bureaucracy to obtain a title.
BC Opinion: Fate of old growth timber in B.C. hanging in the balance
A deadline passed Jan. 31 for one of the rare government attempts to do something significant to save old-growth forests in British Columbia.
It was called the BC Old-Growth Strategic Review Process and consisted of a panel of two professional foresters who held public meetings around the province –except for the East Kootenay – to receive input on how British Columbians feel about the rapidly declining stands old-growth timber in what I would forlornly call “Beautiful BC.”
World: Can Wood Construction Transform Cities from Carbon Source to Carbon Vault?
The steady rise of the world’s urban population will drive an immense demand for new housing, commercial buildings, and other infrastructure across the planet by midcentury. This building boom will likely escalate global carbon emissions to dangerous levels and intensify climate change — particularly if it relies on traditional materials such as concrete and steel.
But if society is able to use more wood-based products to meet this building demand, this urban growth might actually present an opportunity to mitigate climate change, according to a new paper led by researchers at Yale and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK).
Writing in the journal Nature Sustainability, a multidisciplinary team of researchers and architects predicts that designing mid-rise urban buildings with engineered timber — rather than relying mainly on carbon-intensive materials — has the potential to create a vast “bank vault” that can store within these buildings 10 to 68 million tons of carbon annually that might otherwise be released into the atmosphere.
History: Nature Notes: America's forestry pioneers
The practice of forestry dates back thousands of years to the Roman Empire, China and Germany. Early societies recognized the need to protect forests, establish plantations from local seed sources, and plant trees next to water bodies to prevent erosion and enhance water quality.
In Europe, where humans have been present for thousands of years, it became apparent that forests needed to be wisely managed to ensure that people can reap the potential benefits. Forests were routinely managed for sustained yields, and various forestry management practices were developed and recorded for posterity. The Europeans eventually developed institutions of higher learning that taught the tenets of forest management along with other science curriculum. The first such school was believed to have begun in 1785 in Germany. Soon thereafter, forestry schools sprang up in Russia, France and Austria, as well. Graduates of German forestry schools were known as “Forest Meisters.”
UK: Sir William Worsley appointed as Forestry Commission Chair
Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers has today (3 February) confirmed Sir William Worsley as the new Chair of the Forestry Commission.
The announcement comes as Sir Harry Studholme’s time as Forestry Commission Chair ends after seven years in post.
Sir William will step down as the government’s Tree Champion, a position he has held since June 2018, when he takes on his new role.
Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers said:
With his great expertise in forestry and passion for nature and trees, Sir William will play a pivotal role in leading the Forestry Commission at a critical time as it moves into its second century.
Tree planting will play a crucial part in the government’s bold action to combat climate change, and the Forestry Commission has a vital role in delivering our ambitious plans for England’s forests and woodlands.
I also want to thank Sir Harry for his dedication in leading the organisation for the past seven years and wish him all the best in future endeavours.
Commenting on his appointment, Sir William said:
Trees, woods and forests are so important to us – improving our landscapes, helping capture carbon, improving our general wellbeing and providing a renewable resource in the timber they produce.
It couldn’t be a more exciting time to join the Forestry Commission. As Chair, my aim will be to celebrate, protect and deepen the impact of its excellent work, not only for the sake of our environment but also for the huge benefits that our success brings for society.
Ian Gambles, Chief Executive Officer of Forestry Commission, said:
Sir William’s appointment is great news for the Forestry Commission and the wider forestry sector. He is one of the UK’s most engaged environmental champions for forestry.
I am confident that Sir William will bring the expertise and vision required to set a bold direction for the country’s forests and woodlands and I look forward to working closely with him.
Sir William will take up the role on 10 February and will be in post for three years.
National Geographic: A new way to profit from ancient Alaskan forests—leave them standing
In the Tongass National Forest, threatened by expanded logging, a Native-owned corporation is being paid to leave some old-growth trees standing.
They had all tried to quit the woods, and all of them had failed. One evening after a day’s work cutting old-growth trees in the Alaska rain forest, logger Sam Parker sits in the bunkhouse with two of his coworkers, and commiserates.
In their late 20s, they are the last of a dying culture, the youngest on a crew mostly dominated by men in their 50s and 60s. The older men had gone off to their trailers—they had already had their share of late nights before four-thirty shifts—leaving Parker and his friends to sit up and rhapsodize about life in the woods.
Trees keep wasp numbers low, study finds
Recent research suggests planting native trees might help reduce was numbers, in certain circumstances.
A new study has found surprising results: wasps are more common on unforested islands than forested ones.
The research appears at first glance to contradict the existing evidence that common and German wasps dominate beech forests while their paper wasp cousins take over more inhabited areas.
The research team consisted of scientists from the University of Auckland, Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research and the Biodiversity and the Climate Research Centre in Frankfurt, Germany. They studied 36 islands off the east coast of the North Island, and found that wasp numbers were in most cases influenced by, among other factors, the percentage canopy cover on each island.
The Mindful Art of "Forest Bathing"
Most people would probably agree that being among trees and nature is good for the soul. But can meditating in a forest actually aid your health?
Forest bathing is the latest wellbeing therapy to blossom in America and Europe after beginning in Japan a few decades ago and it's starting to gain interest in New Zealand.
It's also known as Shinrin-yoku and it's helping stressed out city dwellers slow down. There are even therapists specialising in the practice, like Sam Lewis based near England's New Forest.