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Newsletter 46, October 2008

Newsletter 46, October 2008

New Zealand Farm Forestry Association
P.O. Box 1122


Farm Forestry Newsletter
October 2008 No. 46

In this issue

Community Conservation Fund

National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management

Afforestation Grant Scheme

The Billion Tree Campaign and Global Forests

Australias hardwood woodchips

Victorian eucalypt plantation scheme

Native Forest Biodiversity Workshop

Primary Sector Water Partnership Leadership Document

Wake-up call with shrinking  N.Z. forest figures

Imported tropical timber

Will we continue to see a strong growth in FSC importance in the U.S?

Steel vs timber

Bioenergy options for New Zealand


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
Nominations due by 1st November:
Michael Hay Memorial Award
-Awarded to a younger member of NZFFA who is planting or establishing trees. Download nomination form
Husqvarna Farm Forester of the Year Awards
- Awards for both North and South Islands. Download nomination form

Branches: If you want to change the amount of your branch levies, you have to advise National Office by 1 November.

Gisborne Conference: Remits have to be submitted
to National Office by 1 November.

Community Conservation Fund
If you haven´t already heard - the Community Conservation fund was established
this year and the first round is currently OPEN.
It will fund established community groups to undertake restoration projects on public
land and aims to improve and maintain the condition of rare and threatened native
areas. Your group does not necessarily need to have a legal structure to qualify.

Priorities for restoration work include: wetlands, river streams and banks, dune lands,
urban waterways and forest remnants.

Public Lands include:
  • Department of Conservation lands (reserve, national park, coastal and dune lands)
  • Land Information New Zealand lands (river, some lake beds and river/stream banks)
  • Territorial Authorities lands (reserves, Council land)
  • NZ Transport Agency and Rail lands
  • Crown land covered by the Te Ture Whenua Maori Act.
For more info see

Applications close 3pm Wednesday 5 November 2008

National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management
Management of fresh water is a matter of national significance, and is relevant to achieving the purpose of the RMA. This proposed policy statement will require careful review by land and forest owners as it could result in forested lands again being relegated to the role of providing environmental services (in this case high quality water), in order to offset the impacts of more intensive land uses.
Potential implications of this proposed policy statement may include even less flexibility to change land use from forestry and a further reduction in attractiveness of planting land in trees as the perception is increasingly that change from forestry will be restricted by regulators and a corresponding reduction in forest land values.
The purpose of the proposed National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management is to help guide decision-making on freshwater management under the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) at national, regional and district levels.

Submissions close at 5pm on 23 January 2009. Submission forms can be found here.

Afforestation Grant Scheme 
The Afforestation Grant Scheme's (AGS) first public tender round has granted nine recipients a total of $927,000 to plant new forests; and further applications are being called for by MAF.
MAF hopes to further increase new plantings in 2009 and a second public tender pool round is currently open for applications. The tender round closes on 31 October.
Under the AGS, half of the funding is available to the general public via the public tender pool and the other half is allocated to Regional Councils under a separate pool round. A contract is currently being signed with Regional Councils for their pool and announcements are expected to be made soon.
The AGS is an alternative to other sustainable forestry legislation and policies such as the NZ Emissions Trading Scheme (NZETS) Forestry, the Permanent Forest Sink Initiative (PFSI), the East Coast Forestry Project and the Sustainable Land Management (Hill Country Erosion) Programme.
For further information on the AGS or to download an AGS Public Tender Form see:

(From NZIF Newsletter 2008/37)

The billion tree campaign and global forests
The Billion Tree Campaign has, in just 18 months, encouraged the planting of two billion trees, double its original target and resulted in tree planting in over 150 countries.
The campaign, led by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), was launched in 2006 as a response to global warming, water shortages and the loss of species.
Geographically, Africa has seen over half of all tree plantings. Regional and national governments organized the most massive plantings, with Ethiopia leading the count at 700 million, followed by Turkey (400 million), Mexico (250 million), and Kenya (100 million).

Meanwhile, FAO report that the world's net forest loss is 20,000 hectares per day. Between 1990 to 2005, the world lost 3 per cent of its total forest area, an average decrease of some 0.2 per cent per year, according to FAO's State of the World’s Forests 2007 report, published in March. Net forest loss is 7.3 million hectares per year or 20,000 hectares per day, equivalent to an area twice the size of Paris.
From 2000 to 2005, 57 countries reported an increase in forest area, and 83 reported a decrease.
Global forest cover amounts to just under four billion hectares, covering about 30 per cent of the world’s land area.
Ten countries account for 80 per cent of the world’s primary forests, of which Indonesia, Mexico, Papua New Guinea and Brazil saw the highest losses in primary forest in the five years running from 2000 to 2005.
In Asia and the Pacific, net forest area increased in that same period, reversing the downward trend of the preceding decades. The increase was mainly in East Asia, where large investments in forest plantations in China were high enough to offset high rates of deforestation in other areas. The net loss of forest area actually accelerated in South-east Asia between 2000 and 2005.
Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean are currently the two regions with the highest losses. Africa, which accounts for about 16 per cent of the total global forest area, lost over 9 per cent of its forests between 1990 and 2005. Latin America and the Caribbean, with over 47 per cent of the world’s forests saw an increase in the annual net loss between 2000 and 2005, from 0.46 percent to 0.51 per cent.
Europe and North America showed net increases in forest area over the reporting period.

Australias hardwood woodchips
Australia has become the world's largest exporter of wood chips, shipping a record of over 6 million oven-dry metric tons (odmt) in 2007, with 2008 promising to be another strong year. Eucalyptus chip, most of which is still from native forests, is by far the most common species exported, accounting for approximately 70 percent of the total exports in 2007. The remaining 30 percent is predominantly residual chips from sawmills using plantation-based radiata pine.

Japan has been the major destination for Australian chips, with occasional vessels going to South Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia and China.

Australian Eucalyptus chip export prices have more than doubled the past six years and are currently US$167/odmt FOB vessel in Tasmania for native species and about US$187/odmt for plantation wood chips. 
For the first half of 2008, Australian export prices for softwood chips to Japan ranged between US$147-151/odmt. These prices are 45 percent higher than in late 2006, and almost a doubling since 2003. 

For more information visit
Source: RISI (Friday offcuts)

Victorian eucalypt plantation scheme
A consortium of private Victorian companies has launched a new programme to grow long-term eucalypt plantations on private property. Led by Radial Timber, the plan involves forming joint ventures with land owners to establish eucalypt plantations, initially in Gippsland and then in other regions if the program is successful. Radial Plantations will cover establishment and management costs and the farmer will earn returns by being guaranteed a significant percentage of the income when the plantation is harvested.

The four main species being targeted are spotted gum, yellow stringybark, southern mahogany and sugar gum, durable indigenous-to-Victoria eucalypt species that will provide good returns on harvesting the saw-logs at between 25 and 35 years old. Further details on the scheme can be found on
Source: Friday Offcuts

Native Forest Biodiversity Workshop
This research project has been funded by the Forest Health Research Collaborative.

Purpose of Workshops:

Forest Stewardship Council requires maintenance and enhancement of the biodiversity of native forests or other native ecosystems. These half day workshops will demonstrate ways in which the biodiversity of these native ecosystems can be assessed. The focus will be on fungi and insect herbivores which are also relevant for assessments of the health of native forests.

The workshops will show different ways in which biodiversity assessments can be made and seek feedback on which methods foresters would prefer, so that these tools can be developed for when they are needed.

The attached questionnaire will be completed at the end of the workshops and used to report to the Collaborative on members preferences.
Please don't hesitate to contact Dr Nicolas Martin if you would like any further information.

Christchurch (Lincoln) (hosted by Crop & Food Research)
Friday 10 October 2008, from 1.00pm to 4.30 pm, though if there is lots of discussion it may last until 5 pm.

Crop & Food Research
Canterbury Agricultural & Science Centre
Gerald Street, Lincoln
Nr Christchurch
Phone: 0-3-325 6400

Please book attendance asap and give number of people. Email:

Primary Sector Water Partnership Leadership Document
The Partnership group consists of Fonterra, Dairy NZ, the Foundation for Arable Research, Horticulture NZ, Meat and Wool NZ, New Zealand Forest Owners association and NZ Farm Forestry Association, Irrigation New Zealand, Fertiliser Manufacturers Research Association and Federated Farmers.

The document sets out a collective action plan which has been endorsed by all the partners. There are also some sector specific targets.

Partnership chairman Hawke’s Bay farmer Hugh Ritchie says the document is designed to establish a basis whereby the sector can engage with regional councils and co-ordinate the efforts of the primary sector and research organisations with the objective of improving the management of freshwater in New Zealand.

The focus of the plan is to achieve real positive change in water use and quality.

He says the Partnership has already talked to some regional councils and more consultation is planned to ensure available financial and people resources are directed towards where the greatest gains can be made.

“The Partnership has also taken the step of engaging with environmental and recreational organisations to explain what the group is trying to achieve and to seek constructive feedback on what has been proposed. We are also encouraging other primary sector organisations to join the initiative.

“The various organisations in the partnership have been working on this initiative for two years and this demonstrates that the primary sector recognise the importance of carefully managing water resources and how committed they are to dealing with the matter”, says Hugh Ritchie.

Two of the key goals outlined in the document are about maintaining and enhancing water quality from primary production land and the group achieving demonstrable improvements in water use efficiency by the primary sector within five years.

You can learn more about the Group and its work by looking at the Primary Sector Water Partnership Leadership Document at:

Wake-up call with shrinking  N.Z. forest figures
New Zealand forest owners say figures from the latest forestry census should be a wake-up call for policy makers. The just released figures show the plantation forest area in New Zealand decreased by about 12,000 hectares during 2007 - the third consecutive year the area of forest has declined. At 2000 ha or less in 2007, new forest plantings are the lowest recorded since 1950 - down from 10,600 ha in 2004, 6000 ha in 2005 and 5000 ha in 2006. Meanwhile, 14,000 ha were deforested in 2007, up from 12,900 ha in 2006.

NZ Forest Owners Association president Peter Berg says a shrinking forest estate reflects poor market returns relative to dairying and a policy environment that doesn't recognise the multiple benefits of forestry to New Zealand, nor the needs of land owners making a long-term investment. Mr Berg hopes the forest census figures will act as a policy wake-up call. "We badly need some cogent strategies. Not only is it important for environmental reasons, but forestry is also our third biggest export industry and a major regional employer."

"The peak in plantings during the 1990s is now being followed by a sustained trough that will create instability in the future unless planting is encouraged now. The future wood supply for mills and added value processors is being put at risk and those with careers in the industry will be wondering about their prospects."
Friday Offcuts – 1 August 2008

Imported tropical timber
Pledges by most New Zealand major furniture retail chains have been made to stop importing outdoor kwila furniture. Big Save, Harvey Norman, Briscoes, Farmers and The Warehouse have now all promised not to import kwila furniture (although old stocks might be sold at some stores next summer “season”). Nearly all New Zealand's kwila imports, which are mostly in the form of decking timber and outdoor furniture, come from rainforests in Papua New Guinea and neighbouring Indonesian-run Papua. The World Bank has reported 70 to 80 percent of such logging is illegal and the New Zealand Government has estimated up to 80 percent of illegally-sourced wood products sold in New Zealand is kwila.
Meanwhile, almost one-fifth of wood imported into the European Union in 2006 came from illegal sources, with the UK being the second largest importer. The UK imported 3.5 million cubic metres of illegal wood, which included importing the biggest quantities of furniture, finished wood
products, sawnwood and plywood of all EU states. says a report from WWF. Only Finland brought in more illegal timber.
The European Commission is expected to make a proposal to introduce an EU law to guarantee that only legal wood is sold in the European market. Traders may have to prove the origin and legality of wood and a penalty could be introduced for any violation.

Back in our neck of the woods, under the motto ‘walking the talk’, the Ministry for the Environment leads and manages the Govt3 programme for government agencies, based on sustainable procurement and eco-verification. So why is Kiwi Rail, a government owned enterprise, buying up 14,500 uncertified hardwood sleepers from Peru? What kind of example is this for us?

Will we continue to see a strong growth in FSC importance in the U.S?
The overall awareness and acceptance of FSC has increased dramatically in the U.S. This is especially the case on the East Coast, which had previously been slow to pick up FSC. More "pro dealers" (placemakers, carters equivalents) are obtaining FSC-COC, and seeking FSC products. Architects are now indicating a strong awareness at the consumer level of green building/FSC. On the West Coast FSC is a prerequisite to most business with pro dealers –with a 100% premium for FSC – no FSC no business! 

Steel vs timber
By Andrew McEwen, NZIF President
  • We need a source of facts on wood including comparisons with competing products
(Note that the NZ Wood site ( has been upgraded and has a huge amount of useful information on it);
  • Wood is by far the best in an earthquake & easy to repair when damaged. Whereas I expect steel & concrete structures will be just expensive write-offs. Steel will flex but not spring back & concrete will shatter and / or collapse.
  • How resilient is a steel frame in a "leaky building scenario". While undoubtedly the galvanised surfaces will stand up well, it is the fixing points of the members that involve penetrations through the galvanised layers. I wonder if under the warm high humidity environment of a leaky wall cavity, corrosion might not set in quite quickly at those points. The problem with a steel frame is that all its strength arises from the "stressed skin" concept that in turn relies on avoidance of any deformation of the member profile. The avoidance of deformation depends totally on the fixing points. If they do corrode ......?
  • There appeared to be anecdotal evidence after high winds in Coromandel and Auckland that light steel framed buildings failed while neighbouring wooden ones fared better i.e. wood retained strength under deformation and flexing (as in a high wind) - perhaps steel remained more rigid initially but then deformed under stress and then failed quickly.
  • In British Columbia there has been a long history of building from wood and also of leaky condos (not houses) - but the leaks and wood are not directly connected, it's the design and the flashings and the shoddy construction that was the problem in BC - and in NZ. Steel houses will also leak if they are not designed and built correctly. In British Columbia , instead of bagging wood as being an inferior product, there is a real push to use more wood
  • My dad used to work in the coal mines in Germany and he told me that they used wooden framing to support the ceilings in mine shafts. Never steel. Why? Because when the ceiling started to press down on the framing, the miners would hear it, they said the wood was talking to them. Steel just snaps in such a situation, no warning.
  • The reason for buildings rotting is not the framing material but the change in cladding and design methods that started about 25years ago. Nor is it, as often erroneously quoted the change away from Boron treatment of framing. There are houses built of totally untreated Radiata pine built just post war (about 1949) that are still perfectly sound. Boron’s role is mostly against insect attack. The leaky homes business is a symptom of the desire to have a Mediterranean style home and ignoring the realities of New Zealand weather. We have wind driven rain, quite a lot of it and an efficient building style should aim to defeat this rain entering the structure. The lack of wide roof eaves, decking abutting walls, cladding with fragile coating and building to ground level with no air space is just asking for trouble in these circumstances. Monolithic cladding placed without adequate provision for breathing and provision for some movement is also plain stupid. Sealing materials cannot take up the movement and fail.
  • Steel is not a very good performer in fire.  Heating seriously decreases the strength of steel which can then fail. A wooden frame member will char on the surface and will retain its structural integrity far longer. Wooden frames are also safer in earthquakes, when distorted the structure resists total collapse far better than a steel structure.
  • People with steel framing are going to rue the day they specified it when they want to hang a picture or carry out an alteration.
  • Wood is a natural insulator, steel is a rather efficient conductor of heat out of, and into, the structure. The extra insulation required costs more and again increases the emissions required in the building.
  • Wooden buildings can be altered far more easily than steel framed ones.
  • Lil Ol NZ can grow wood very very well & does not take anywhere near the same amount of energy to convert from Log to Lumber as steel ore does.
  • What about fire or electrocution risk of steel's conductivity (vs that of wood)?
  • The steel industry distorts the facts and foresters world wide are very poor responders. I have heard it claimed (but I have never seen the proof) that steel framing has a much greater rate of thermal expansion and has poorer sound insulation than wood and hence there are more creaks and noise in a steel house. Add this to poorer thermal insulation and wood comes out better. I don’t think the claim that 70% of new homes in the USA are steel framed is correct.
One member rang Golden Homes and was told that they could have a standard home with either steel or wooden framing, both equally weather-tight, etc – but the timber home will cost $7,000 more! I talked to another member about this and he suggested that there is less than $7,000 worth of timber in a standard house – the difference must be in the added labour etc in construction. If this is the case then I hope that the wood products part of the sector is working hard to overcome the discrepancy and find new ways to supply components to builders.
I was also disturbed to see that most of the NZ Wood letter that was printed by the Sunday Star Times extolled the climate change virtues of wood compared with steel. The average home buyer will not worry too much about that if a steel framed house is $7,000 cheaper than the climate friendly one.  What is really needed is to close that cost gap and then we might get some traction by adding on the climate change benefits at no extra cost.
[Footnote:  If you are interested in embedded CO2, and other recent findings on the benefits of wood in buildings, get hold of the latest NZ Geographic (September October 2008) and look at the article on page 24 about Andy Buchanan’s work at the University of Canterbury.]
Source: NZIF newsletter

Bioenergy options for New Zealand
There are two new reports which can be found here on the Scion website.
Technologies exist for converting woody-biomass to a range of transport fuels (i.e. fossil petrol, diesel and jet fuel replacements). It is theoretically possible for New Zealand to be self-sufficient in transport fuel produced from sustainably managed forests. To meet the petrol and diesel fuel demand in 2040 (6.3 billion litres) would require 2.5 to 2.8 million ha of land - this is 34% of the available medium to low quality grazing land. The total liquid fuel demand, including jet fuel and fuel oil for air and sea transport, is expected to be around 8.1 billion litres. It would require approx. 3.7 million ha, or 42% of low to medium quality grazing
land, to produce this volume of fuel from forests.

Technologies exist for converting biomass to liquid and gaseous transport fuels, or biofuels. Biofuels are considered one of the most rapidly deployable ways of reducing our reliance on fossil transport fuels. This assumption drives the focus on transport fuels in this report. Transport fuel production from purpose-grown forest provides significant greenhouse gas benefits (60-90% reduction) compared to fossil petrol and diesel and has an energy return on energy investment of approximately 4:1.

Forest residues to ethanol via enzymatic conversion mean significant GHG reductions (~80%) and is currently only 30% more costly than petrol.

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