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Trees for Timber

Forests provide many environmental benefits to society. These include improved water quality and reduced soil erosion, along with landscape, biodiversity and recreational values. Healthy forests in critical catchments reduce flood damage downstream and therefore reduce the cost to society from such events. By encouraging the use of timber and timber products, these wider environmental values are recognised.

Unlike other building materials, wood is a renewable product. This is in direct contrast to concrete and steel, where the raw materials are mined. Once mined, no new raw material is generated. In human timescales, timber is a renewable resource, while concrete and steel are not. Forests offer soil, water, recreation and biodiversity benefits that non-wood products do not. Forestry and wood processing is a significant source of sustainable local employment. Wood processing even utilises substantial amounts of wood residue for renewable bioenergy.

Tree Grower articles

  • Telling better forestry stories (Access: NZFFA membership)
    Michelle Harnett, August 2021
    ‘I don’t like radiata’ – A King Country farmer who wants to plant more trees. ‘I do not want any trees on my farm’ − a South Island farmer. ‘Farmers…
  • Think about your future forest (Access: unrestricted)
    Michelle Harnett, February 2021
    It is the year 2050 and you are about to the harvest unpruned radiata pine you grew at 600 stems a hectare. Has everything gone to plan? How different would…
  • How can I make my forest more productive and what does the latest research say? (Access: unrestricted)
    Michelle Harnett, August 2019
    Research. Some think it is essential, others think of it as a time-consuming, cash-devouring black hole. The people who have been working on the research programme Growing Confidence in Forestry’s…
  • Special purpose timbers research project (Access: unrestricted)
    Peter Berg, February 2016
    Scion’s diverse species programme came to an end a year or so ago. At this time a number of people in the forest growing community became concerned that initiatives in…
  • A house built with alternative timber species (Access: unrestricted)
    Richard Thompson, November 2015
    It takes an lot of timber to build a house. I naïvely discovered this as the first huge pile disappeared and we had to mill more and more. Our house…
  • Winner of Indigenous Timber Showcase Award 2014 - Evans family home (Access: unrestricted)
    Michael O’Sullivan, November 2014
    The NZFFA is the lead sponsor, along with support from Indigenous Forest Section and the Neil Barr Foundation, of the Indigenous Timber Showcase Award. This is part of the NZ…
  • Alternative species research five years on (Access: unrestricted)
    Heidi Dungey, Greg Steward and Patrick Milne, November 2014
    The last five years have seen significant progress in assessing the commercial potential of a number of alternative forest tree species. The Diversified Species research programme, one of several in…
  • My thoughts on wood residues (Access: unrestricted)
    Wink Sutton, May 2014
    My forestry interests are mainly focused on the growing and management of plantations. Although important, especially in determining stumpage, I have less interest in wood use. As my approach is…
  • From trees to timber (Access: unrestricted)
    Dean Satchell, February 2014
    Farm Forestry Timbers, the NZFFA’s newest and first nationwide branch, co-hosted the annual action group weekend held in Wanganui in November last year. The theme was quite different from the…
  • Adding value by thinking outside the square (Access: unrestricted)
    Michael Cambridge, February 2014
    The NZFFA conference in Blenheim will feature a session on using wood in cities. We will be looking at some of the new ways to use wood to compete with…
  • Re-manufacturing radiata pine from woodlots (Access: unrestricted)
    Tom Boon, November 2013
    Re-manufactured radiata pine products are of a higher quality than can be achieved with solid radiata pine. They compete with similar products manufactured from hardwoods or slow grown, more stable…
  • Adding value to specialty timber (Access: unrestricted)
    Peter King, November 2013
    In my experience, tree growers are usually interested in the characteristics of finished timbers and the uses they are currently put to. The higher the demand, the higher the market…
  • An inspiring wood advocate, Canadian architect Tye Farrow (Access: unrestricted)
    Wink Sutton, May 2013
    A few weeks ago I had the privilege of experiencing a presentation by the Canadian architect Tye Farrow. Jane Arnott, CEO of NZ Wood, deserves credit for arranging Tye’s visit…
  • Harvesting mature macrocarpa – never judge a book by its cover (Access: unrestricted)
    Allan Laurie, February 2013
    This case study reviews a recent harvest project involving 17 mature macrocarpa trees harvested in south Canterbury. It is very much a story of being aware of what you are…
  • Wooden windows – a missed opportunity? (Access: unrestricted)
    Wink Sutton, August 2012
    Our house in Rotorua was built in 1969. It has single pane glass windows in wooden frames. Although winter condensation is only a minor problem, when it does occur it…
  • Award winning house has blackwood floor (Access: unrestricted)
    Ian Nicholas and Paul Millen, February 2012
    In November last year, a Marlborough Sounds house built by Glenroy Housing of Blenheim won the New Homes category $350,000 to $450,000 house of the year Registered Master Builders award.…
  • Farm forestry timbers - Local timbers for local markets (Access: unrestricted)
    Dean Satchell, August 2011
    When it comes to growing special purpose timber species, in every part of the country I hear the same things − Can we sell our logs? Is there a market…
  • The house of a hundred timbers (Access: unrestricted)
    Nora Flight, February 2011
    Walking through our house with Bevan is like walking through a three dimensional story book. I realised as I researched for this article that every piece of wood triggers a…
  • Timber recovery and economics of short-rotation small-diameter eucalypt forestry (Access: unrestricted)
    Dean Satchell & James Turner, February 2011
    The high value and the diversity of end uses for eucalypt hardwood timber are increasingly being recognised. However, the downside is that eucalypts are considered problematic to mill. A new…
  • High value alternatives to pine (Access: unrestricted)
    Matt Lysaght, November 2010
    When in 1993 Linda and I, along with partners Rob and Trish Roney, decided to establish a forestry block, it was planned to provide a substantial supplement to our respective…
  • Wood properties and use of poplar and willow (Access: unrestricted)
    Ian McIvor, November 2010
    The processing and use of both poplars and willows for different products are strongly influenced by their wood properties − anatomical, physical and chemical. That is why use cannot be…
  • Our timber, our house (Access: unrestricted)
    Ken Stephens, November 2009
    It was with some trepidation that I agreed to relate our experiences of building a house of timber, most of which we had sourced on our property. However, if it…
  • How does Douglas fir compare with radiata pine in framing timber? (Access: unrestricted)
    Mick Hedley, Dave Page, Jackie van der Waals, August 2009
    Douglas fir, which comprises around six per cent of the New Zealand exotic timber plantation, has been used as untreated framing timber for over 70 years. Historically, there were no…
  • A pet project (Access: unrestricted)
    Mike Halliday, May 2009
    It all started with a trip to Kuratau to spend a weekend with a cousin who had a bach there. We fell in love with the place and put an…
  • Selling alternative species (Access: unrestricted)
    Allan Levett and Dean Satchell, May 2009
    Interest in farm forestry circles these days is turning increasingly to selling our precious alternative species logs and timber. This is not only because some of the species Dad and…
  • The house that mac built (Access: unrestricted)
    Benjamin Lee, February 2009
    My brother Julian and his partner Tricia have devoted their working lives to the New Zealand science community. Although still working, they have taken a step back from full time…





  • Is Forestry Really All Evil?: Denis Hocking's blog, December 19, 2021
    Opinion piece first published in Middle Districts Branch Newsletter October 2021  The ongoing debate on the pros and cons of forestry, and particularly permanent carbon sink plantings, versus farming, continues,…


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