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Newsletter 45, July 2008

Newsletter 45, July 2008

New Zealand Farm Forestry Association
P.O. Box 1122


Farm Forestry Newsletter
July 2008 No. 45

In this issue

Field day reminders

Branches and local newspaper columns

Illegal Logging


Countrywide NZ Farm Forestry Association Field Day Dairy

Farm Forestry Awards

Research funding underlines value of forests

MAF sustainable forestry bulletin

Amazon destruction continues

Imported illegally logged timber

U.S. and Australia's emerging bioenergy industry

Carbon trading and bioenergy


Patrick Milne
-North Canterbury
-Central canterbury
-West Coast

Vice President

Denis Hocking
-Taupo & Districts
-Hawkes Bay

Newsletter editor
Dean Satchell

National Executive

John Dermer
-Middle districts

Ian Jackson
-South Canterbury
-North Otago
-Sthn High Country (north)

Neil Cullen
-Mid Otago
-South Otago
-Men of Trees
-Sthn High Country (south)

Dean Satchell
-Far North
-Mid North
-Lower North
-South Auckland

Field day reminders
Please ensure that attendance at local branch field days is encouraged. Articles in local publications publicising upcoming field days are an effective way of doing this.

Branches and local newspaper columns
Branches please encourage your members to contribute articles to local papers.
We could do with the exposure and a good way are columns in local papers.
They need not be very long and profound, but a regular presence can be useful.  Be prepared to use all kinds of sources for material, this newsletter, the "Tree Grower", each other, other branches' columns, Denis Hocking's Countrywide columns, etc..  Don't worry about repetition,  most people's memory for this sort of thing is about 5 minutes and if they
remember anything for 3 months it must have been an especially important point that warranted repetition.

Illegal Logging  
A MAF paper should have gone to the Minister in the last couple of weeks and the Minister is due to visit Indonesia and PNG to discuss illegal logging during August.

Bruce Bulloch and Denis Hocking attended a meeting on eco-verification at Wellington airport during July.  A sizable group was present - growers, processors, retailers, John Eyre (MAF), a couple of MfE reps, a Green Building Council representative and chaired by Peter Bodecker of Wood Processors Assn..  The growers expressed real concern about problems and cost of FSC and the steady creep of conditions.  They are sticking with it at present but may have to give it away if things continue as have done in recent years.  Motivation for certification is mainly market access, with a bit of added pressure from some foriegn owners.
    It appears one major processor has problems in that main supplier is certified but they don't get enough of better structural grades from this source to cover demand and have problems making up the gap.  For retailers it is a considerable burden selling both certified and uncertified timber.  Suddenly 24 grades based on dimensions, stiffness, treatment, etc. becomes 48 grades for radiata alone.  Specifiers often tend to just say they want a b & c, including FSC, when x y & z without certification would be more than adequate because specifying is easy and the problems are just passed down the line.  One interesting case was mentioned, off the record, where FSC timber had to be rushed to Auckland from middle of the NI to replace non-FSC timber already on site, for ------- concrete boxing!!!!!!   One is challenged to understand the environmental gains from such an approach.
    One serious problem is the Green Building Council.  It seems to have been taken over by steel and concrete interests, who are well positioned with 'one-stop-shop' organisations.  Thus, they ignore the embodied energy in buildings (it is only 10-20% of lifecycle energy so is 'best ignored to focus on energy used during operation'), put considerable emphasis on recycling (wood's weak point, even though virgin wood uses only about 1/3 the energy of recycled steel) and demand that all wood is FSC certified.  So we see imported, FSC certified wood used for cladding (Landcare Research building, Auckland) or feature walls (DOC building, Wellington) rather than local material.  Effectively wood has been sidelined despite its superior environmental credentials and this is with the support of one Government Department, Ministry for the Environment, even while MAF is working to push the environmental credentials of wood.
    Apparently Telecom is planning a new 5 star building in Wellington, which, judging by the preliminary sketch, looks as if it will be another steel and concrete edifice.  Will they be prepared to recognise the environmental credentials of wood?
    A good example of the possibilities and environmental credentials of wood was an article in the Christchurch Press in early July covering work done by Professor Andy Buchanan on 'post-tension timber', where wooden beams are reinforced with steel tendons to improve performance.  Such beams could be used for structures up to 10 stories high while matching, or exceeding, concrete or steel designs in areas such as earthquake and fire safety, cost and energy efficiency.  They would also be carbon stores rather than carbon sources.  Sadly, this article doesn't seem to have made it past the "Press" to any other daily paper.
 Denis Hocking

Countrywide NZ Farm Forestry Association Field Day Dairy
Call Liz 0800 852580 to register your branch field day for next month.

Farm Forestry Awards
This is a call for nominations for our innovation awards. We now have a page for these awards on the website

Husqvarna Farm Forester of the Year Awards
- Awards for both North and South Islands.
Download nomination form

Michael Hay Memorial Award
-Awarded to a younger member of NZFFA who is planting or establishing trees.
Download nomination form

Transpower Landcare Trust Grants Award
- Awarded for Innovation in Sustainable Farm Forestry
Download nomination form

Research funding underlines value of forests

Future Forests Research (FFR) has welcomed Government support for forestry research in New Zealand in the allocation of contestable research funding to key areas of forest diversity, productivity enhancement and sustainability.

The Foundation for Research Science and Technology (FRST) announced this week that three proposals involving FFR have gained support in the latest funding allocation rounds. 

Funding of approximately $10 million will support research looking at ways to get improved productivity from plantation forestry in the face of fierce international competition, to match the increasingly important environmental benefits.

Funding of $8 million will support research to develop new forests and new species to complement and strengthen forestry in New Zealand. These other species have potential to create new processing options and market opportunities in high value products and energy. FFR Chief Executive Russell Dale said. There is also potential for native species to play a greater role in long term sustainable wood production and other values.

Russell Dale said the funding recognised the importance of forestry to New Zealand, with an annual economic benefit of NZ$6.5 billion, exports of NZ$3.2 billion and growing environmental benefits through improved water quality, reduced soil loss and sequestration of carbon in line with the Kyoto Protocol. FFR, through its research theme groups, would now play a key part in managing the research on behalf of members and in conjunction with Scion and other research organisations involved.

MAF sustainable forestry bulletin
Issue 3 is available at Articles include the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (Forestry), Permanent Forest Sink Initiative and Afforestation Grant Scheme.

Amazon destruction continues
Destruction of the Amazon rainforest appears to be on the upswing, and Brazil's new Environment Minister,Carlos Minc, is blaming cattle farmers. "The price of meat and soy has skyrocketed and there is a historic relationship between prices and deforestation."
Government researchers said that preliminary data indicate the Amazon lost at least 5850sq km of forest cover from August to April 2008. That was up from 4974sq km over the same period a year before.

The Amazon's 73 million cows outnumber the human population about three to one and feeding them is the biggest driver of deforestation.

Cattle pasture already covers 7.8 per cent of Brazil's 4.1 million sq km Amazon region, according to the National Statistics Institute.

Burning to clear new or overgrown pasture in the region accounts for about 75 per cent of Brazil's total greenhouse gas emissions.

Imported illegally logged timber
The Government says an outright ban on imported illegally logged timber is difficult to impose, mainly because of difficulties knowing what was legally cut and WTO problems with using environmental concerns as a trade barrier. Agriculture and Forestry Minister Jim Anderton is proposing mandatory labelling of all kwila products sold in New Zealand at the point of sale, to indicate whether the supplier has verification of the legality of the wood.
New Zealand imports Kwila from dwindling forests in Papua New Guinea and Indonesian-run Papua. The World Bank had reported 70 to 80 per cent of such logging was illegal.
Mr Anderton is due to report back to the Cabinet this month regarding the feasibility and practicality of implementing mandatory labelling. We will keep you posted.

The Government is also considering adoption of independent third-party verification (certification/certified) for legality and sustainability for its purchases of timber and wood products. Download the TIMBER AND WOOD PRODUCTS PROCUREMENT POLICY document here.

U.S. and Australia's emerging bioenergy industry
The emerging U.S. biomass industry is projected to become a US$1.5 billion fibre market by 2012. The market's explosive growth is due not only to multi-billion investments from private equity firms and Fortune 500 corporations but also as a result of numerous legislative initiatives including the new Farm Bill. To date in 2008, the International Woodfibre Report has identified over 65 new major wood energy projects across North America and notes that there are another 30 to 50 projects in the works, though not all are expected to break ground. Source: RISI via Friday Offcuts

In Australia, WA Biomass is undertaking a detailed environmental impact assessment of their proposed 40MW bioenergy plant and is seeking planning approval for the proposal. The Diamond Mill biomass plant is expected to cost AU$110 million to build and will create around 350 short-term and 100 long-term jobs, direct and indirect, with an estimated additional AU$4-5 million per year in household income.
The plant will provide 40MW of energy from approximately 380,000 tonnes per annum of plantation forest waste. The site is on cleared land located adjacent to the existing Diamond Mill timber operation, approximately 8km south of Manjimup. The power station will be a conventional steam cycle plant generating electrical power, which will be supplied to the South West Interconnected System. Source: Bioenergy Australia Newsletter, June 2008

Carbon trading and bioenergy
So what will it take for woodchips to compete with oil?
At $100/tCO2e permit price, the cost of petrol will only increase by around $0.25/L
Source: Carbon News 2008

Farm Forestry - Headlines

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