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A Regional Approach to Matching Specialty Timber Species to Sites

By J Morgenroth, M Lausberg, P Millen, E Mason, D Meason, H Dungey, M Evans, February 2017.

Download SWP-T019 (pdf)

Executive summary

A report to summarise the Specialty Wood Products Partnership workshop on site-species matching

A workshop on the theme of matching specialty timber species to sites was held in Wellington in November 2016. The Specialty Wood Products programme has selected specialty timber species able to produce high quality hardwoods and softwoods with properties suitable for a diverse range of applications. Species included in the programme are: a) Naturally durable eucalypts; b) Non- durable eucalypts; c) Douglas-fir; and d) cypresses.

Specialty timber species are typically more sensitive to soil and climatic conditions than Pinus radiata. The direct benefits of matching specialty timber species to sites therefore include successful forest establishment and optimal productivity with indirect ecological benefits such as increasing species diversity. A map that matches tree species to site is a deliverable under the SWP programme. This meeting was held in order to determine priorities and to determine how this might be achieved.

The University of Canterbury is developing juvenile growth models for more than ten durable eucalyptus species. Scion has developed hybrid process-based and empirical modelling approach for spatial mapping productivity for several eucalypts.

Feedback from workshop attendees listed maps, decision support systems and demonstration plots as effective delivery methods for getting research results to industry members.
The following recommendations are made:

  1. Establish commercial-scale demonstration trials throughout New Zealand
  2. Establish additional permanent sample plots (PSPs) for specialty timber species throughout New Zealand
  3. Continue the monitoring of existing PSPs of specialty timber species throughout New Zealand
  4. Elicit site-species matching knowledge from existing experts and papers and incorporate into decision support systems

The current SWP programme does not include any provision to fund the above industry priorities. The consensus at the meeting was therefore that additional funding was required to meet the SWP deliverable of a site/species map and to meet the desires of industry. It was agreed that a joint proposal between University of Canterbury and Scion would be written at the next SFF round to ensure that this would happen.


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