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Newsletter 47, November 2008

Newsletter 47, November 2008

New Zealand Farm Forestry Association
P.O. Box 1122


Farm Forestry Newsletter
November 2008 No. 47

In this issue

Gum Leaf Skeletoniser biocontrol work- plea for branch funds

Climate Change Research Grants 2007/2008

Future of Emissions Trading Scheme up in the air

Forest Industry seeks urgent talks on ETS

A new export market for forestry?

Forests are good- more forests are better

Russia delays onerous timber duties- Putin

Time to stop cobalt deficiency and incomplete analysis for deforestation in the Central North Island

Disastrous loss of world forest


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

Conference 2009: Due to many members missing out on registration forms in their Tree Grower, the registration form can be downloaded from here (pdf), or can be accessed from the website.
Please inform local members about registering for Conference 2009, Gisborne 19th-23rd April.

Call for nominations for election of three executive members at the 2009 conference in Gisborne
Retiring Executive Member (North Island):
        Mr John Dermer, R D 7, Feilding.
        Elected April 2004.  John is available for re-election.

Retiring Executive Member (South Island):
        Mr Neil Cullen, Glenomaru Valley Road, R D 1, Balclutha.
        Elected April 2007.  Neil is available for re-election.

Extraordinary Executive Member vacancy (South Island):
The extraordinary vacancy which ensued from the election of Patrick Milne as President in 2007 has remained unfilled.

Non-Retiring Members of the Executive:
National President:
        Mr Patrick Milne, 75 Raddens Rd., Ohoka, R D 2, Kaiapoi.
        Patrick will complete the second year of a two-year term as President in 2009 but has chosen to serve an additional one-year term as provided for under the amended clause 11(b)(ii) of the Constitution and Rules.
North Island Members:
        Mr Denis Hocking, R D 1, Bulls.
        Elected 2001 but had previously served on the Executive.
        Mr Dean Satchell, Skudders Beach, R.D.1 Kerikeri
        Elected March 2006
South Island Members:
        Mr Ian Jackson, Hunter, R D 1, Timaru
        Elected April 2003.

Nomination forms can be downloaded here.  Nominees for Executive can be nominated only by branches in their respective islands.  Nominees must sign their consent and nominations must be received by Head Office, by 20 January 2009. 

Call for Nominations for NZ Landcare Trust Award
For Innovation in Sustainable Farm Forestry
In recent years NZFFA has received a grant from the Transpower Landcare Trust Grants programme for an Innovation Award.  The structure of Grants programme has now been changed to a CommunityCare programme administered directly by Transpower.  Because we were unsure whether the Innovation Award would qualify for a grant under the new scheme, we did not call for nominations at the same time as nominations were called for the Husqvarna Farm Foresters of the Year Awards and the Michael Hay Memorial Award.
However, NZ Landcare Trust has recently advised us that the Trust itself will continue to sponsor the Innovation Award, and thus we are now calling for nominations for this award.

To summarise:
  • The Husqvarna Farm Foresters of the Year Awards (North and South Islands) recognise excellence and achievement in farms forestry, including service to the association and the community. Download nomination form
  • The Michael Hay Memorial Award is a $5,000 grant to enable a younger farm forester to maintain the impetus of planting trees. Download nomination form
  • The NZ Landcare Trust Innovation Award recognises innovation in sustainable farm forestry – “think outside the square”.                       Prize:  $2,000.  A requirement is that an Innovation Award field day be held on the property.                                                                               Closing date for nominations:  20 February 2009 – note that this is a different date from the closing date for Executive nominations, but it has been chosen to allow extra time for branches to formulate nominations and will enable the nominations to be considered at the NZFFA National Executive meeting on 26 February 2009. Send nominations by due date to:  NZFFA National Office. Nomination forms may be requested from NZFFA National Office, or downloaded from here.

Gum Leaf Skeletoniser biocontrol work- plea for branch funds
Work on the biocontrol of the gum leaf skeletoniser (Uraba lugens) has been slowed somewhat by the discovery that parasitoid Cotesia urabae does show some interest in one or two indigenous caterpillars/moths in the same family as Uraba.  It is not clear whether this will be significant in the real world, out in the field, but it does mean that additional work will need to be done, some of it in Tasmania where the parasitoid can be studied under normal condition, rather than the artificial conditions of a laboratory.  Much of this work will be done by an Austalian honours student at the University of Hobart. 
    However, this extra work will delay clearance of this parasitoid for release in New Zealand.  Assuming that the problem is minor and is not considered any threat to the indigenous moths, the present plan is to delay release of Cotesia urabae till January 2011, one year later than originally planned.  January is regarded as the most appropriate month for release, with the highest numbers of Uraba hosts available.  Note that this delay is not due to any problems at the technical level, and technically the work has gone very well.  It is exactly these sorts on interactions that the testing process is designed to uncover.
    However the delay will inevitably mean extra costs and the project will require more support from FFA and other sources to ensure that the Sustainable Farming Fund will continue to support the project.

The NZ Farm Forestry Association contributes $6,000 per year to the main project and has promised $1,000 towards the extension.

It would be great to also have support from NZFFA branches in a financial
position to help. Contact Denis Hocking.

Climate Change Research Grants 2007/2008
More than $5 million has been allocated to fund the first tranche of research proposals through the Plan of Action for Sustainable Land Management and Climate Change. More than 80 proposals totalling $12 million were received in response to a request for proposals – nearly two-and-a-half times the funding available. Of these, 45 proposals from 25 organisations were successful. The successful bids focus on research to help the land-based sectors both to reduce their impact on climate change – known as mitigation – and build the capability and resilience of the agricultural and forestry sectors to adapt to a changing climate. Other research proposals aimed to develop capability and infrastructure within the agriculture, forestry and horticulture sectors. The full list and final reports of the successful research proposals are can be found on:
Source: NZIF Newsletter 45

Future of emissions trading scheme up in the air
by Andrew McEwen, NZIF president

We have a new National-led Government sworn in and supported by three minor parties (Maori Party, Act and United Future). Some relevant Ministers include Hon David Carter (Forestry, Biosecurity and Agriculture), Hon Dr Nick Smith (Environment, Climate Change), Hon Tim Groser (Conservation, Trade, Associate Climate Change – International Negotiations) and Hon Dr Wayne Mapp (Research, Science and Technology)
As a result of the supply and confidence agreement with the Act Party the future of the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) is up in the air. The Government has announced that it is going to delay the implementation of the legislation passed as one of the last Acts of the previous Government. It is unclear exactly what this means to the forestry provisions that were back-dated in the legislation to 1 January this year, but presumably they are now all to be placed on hold. Will the Afforestation Grants Scheme be affected? The Prime Minister has mentioned the possibility that the ETS could be replaced with a carbon charge – something that NZIF submissions on the ETS proposals and legislation had advocated. The following extract from the agreement between National and Act sets out what we know about what is proposed:
National is committed to retaining measures to address New Zealand ’s Kyoto obligations, by making amendments to the legislation that will balance our environmental responsibilities with our economic needs. ACT campaigned on a policy of abolishing the ETS.
National agrees to a review by a special select committee of Parliament of the current Emissions Trading Scheme legislation and any amendments or alternatives to it, including carbon taxes, in the light of current economic circumstances and steps now being undertaken by similar nations.
National further agrees to pass forthwith an amendment to the ETS legislation delaying its implementation, repealing the thermal generation ban and making any other necessary interim adjustments until the select committee review is completed.
ACT is not opposed to New Zealand adopting responsible climate change policies. What it opposes is an ETS that was never adequately justified. If a rigorous select committee inquiry establishes a credible case that New Zealanders would benefit from action by New Zealand , in conjunction with other countries that are important to us, ACT would be prepared to support legislation giving effect to such action. National agrees that the Terms of Reference for such an inquiry will be mutually agreed between ACT and National and that the Terms of Reference proposed by ACT are attached as Appendix 1 will be an initial basis for discussion.
The forestry sector now places another lengthy period of uncertainty – hopefully we not see another big wave of deforestation and down-turn in afforestation. I can only hope that at the end of the proposed select committee process decisions will be made, that they are meaningful for climate change mitigation efforts, and are practically based and cost-effective.
In the meantime Labour has also announced its list of spokespeople. Some of those on the list are Mita Ruanui (Forestry), Stuart Nash (Associate Forestry), Nania Mahuta (Environment), Maryan Street (Trade), Charles Chauvel (Climate Change), Moana Mackey (Research, Science and Technology) and Steve Chadwick (Conservation).

Forest Industry seeks urgent talks on ETS 
Media release, NZFOA
24 November 2008
Forest industry seeks urgent talks on ETS
For more information, please ring Peter Berg, Tel 021 421 291
Forest owners are seeking an urgent meeting with government ministers to discuss the impact of the freezing of the emission trading scheme (ETS).
Forestry was the first sector to enter the ETS. Since January 1, owners of Kyoto forests (those planted since 1989) have been able to trade in emission units.
“Because forestry has such a major role to play in mitigating New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions we have been immersed in climate change policy development for nearly a decade,” says NZ Forest Owners Association president Peter Berg.
“By the time Labour passed the ETS legislation, our businesses had adapted to the reality that all parties in parliament apart from Act supported an ETS in which forestry would have a major role. One of our major concerns was addressed by National's promise to allow for forest offsetting.
“So it is fair to say we are concerned about the implications of National’s Confidence and Supply Agreement with Act. Although this provides for the implementation of the ETS to be delayed while all aspects of climate change policy are reviewed, for forest owners this is in fact a repeal, as we are already in the scheme.”
He says carbon credit contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars were on the table at the time of the election. Some of these involve major emitting industries buying credits that could fund the planting of new forests. These sales may no longer go ahead unless the issue is resolved quickly.
“Finding a way forward is going to be complex, but it needs to be attended to urgently. We will be impressing this on the ministers,” says Mr Berg.
“The government already has contracts with land owners under the permanent forest sinks initiative. Restrictions on converting pre-Kyoto forests to other uses, and the related compensation package, all hinge on the ETS.
“Having such a volatile policy environment harms New Zealand’s credibility with international investors and makes it impossible for businesses to plan. Clearly most land owners with plans for renewed tree planting will have put these on hold until the situation is clarified.”
He says the preference of forest owners would have been to keep forestry in the ETS, but the NZ emission units provided for in the ETS will be valueless if there is no market.
“We will be urging government to reinstate the signals already developed for forestry so that forest owners who are prepared to create and maintain carbon stocks for the country are rewarded. The challenge will be to do this in a way that will not be inconsistent with any future decisions."
Unlike those who have opposed both a carbon tax and an ETS, the forest industry has supported both, says Mr Berg, explaining that the industry's concerns are not to do with the mechanism but with the uncertainty.
“Our concern is that after years of negotiation and debate we have arrived back where we started. The debate has gone full circle," he says.
“We accept there are issues with the current ETS that need amending, such as the current uncapped exposure of industry to price.  We expected and support the amendments to the ETS that National said it would complete within nine months of coming into office.
"But reviewing is different to repealing. The design of a new system is unlikely to be completed before 2012, particularly when it will mean a fresh round of discussions on who should be exempt from what.“In our view, forestry’s interests are aligned with the nation’s Kyoto objectives. We remain confident that the government recognises that forestry is one of the best options for dealing with New Zealand’s emissions profile.
"Whatever the ultimate decision, the rewards and obligations for foresters locking up carbon should be the same. The problem is that the longer the delay in reaching that decision, the more limited will be forestry’s ability to contribute."

A new export market for forestry?

While our forest industry focuses on rewards for carbon stocks, perhaps the real economic and environmental spinoff from forest carbon is being overlooked? Tasmanian wood will be exported to Japan for use in wood fired power plants. Gunns Ltd will export native wood to the Japanese company Chubu Electric. There have been several exports of fuelwood in the last 12 months to a variety of customers in Japan. "The Japanese are like everywhere else in the wortld, they are trying to replace fossil fuel-powered electricity with renewable electricity which comes from wood waste" said Forestry Tasmania managing director Bob Gordon. Fuelwood is of a lower standard than pulpwood and there could be a million tonnes a year of suitable wood spread across Tasmania. Wood-fired power stations might be a solution to reducing forestry regeneration burns in Tasmania.

Forests are good- more forests are better
New Zealand Institute of Forestry (NZIF)
Te P?tahi Ng?herehere o Aotearoa Inc.
MEDIA RELEASE, 20 November 2008
The NZ Institute of Forestry is urging the Government to initiate and lead the development of a comprehensive, cohesive and long term forest policy that recognises the unique nature of forestry and the very significant contributions that forests and forestry make to New Zealand ’s economy, society and environment.
“Forests are not amenable to short term and uncoordinated policy”, said the Institute’s President, Dr Andrew McEwen.  “Forestry is a long term investment and will not occur unless the person who plants trees today has a reasonable expectation that they can be harvested when they mature (which will be in 25-35 years time for pine trees and up to 150 years for native species).”
“Forests provide many benefits.  While a forest will be managed primarily for a particular purpose (National Park, conservation forest, erosion control, water supply catchment, timber production), each forest will also provide many other benefits (which might include erosion and flood control, water quality, recreation opportunities, landscape, shelter, protection of biodiversity, carbon storage, cultural products, energy and timber).  Policy that focuses on just one benefit to the exclusion of all others does not reflect the nature of forests and forestry.”
“A viable and profitable forestry sector will result in more carbon stored in forests which will contribute to climate change mitigation by reducing emissions today as well as giving our children more options in the future”, said Dr McEwen.  “But a policy to establish carbon-only forests is unlikely to result in a viable and profitable forestry sector producing a range of products and benefits.  A better approach is to introduce a comprehensive policy that recognises the many benefits forests provide and removes, or at least reduces, the constraints inhibiting the expansion of forests in New Zealand .  We need to start from the premise that “Forests are Good – More Forests Are Better”, said Dr McEwen.
The Institute has sent the new Government a comprehensive briefing paper ‘Forests and Forestry, An Essential Ingredient of New Zealand’s Economy, Society and Environment’.
The paper discusses the importance of forestry to New Zealand and some of the features of forests and forestry including:
  • Forests occupy over 30% of New Zealand (including National Parks, forests managed by the Department of Conservation, indigenous forests managed for production purposes, forests protecting water supply catchments and plantation forests with the primary objective of timber production);
  • Commercial forestry is one of New Zealand ’s biggest exporters (10% of merchandise export earnings) and a large employer (over 20,000 New Zealanders are directly employed in the sector and many more indirectly);
  • One of New Zealand ’s biggest tourism draw cards is its scenery and landscapes.  Forests are an integral part of those landscapes;
  • Forestry is a long term investment and it faces many risks (climatic, pests and diseases, fire, changes in regulations, changes in markets) in the time between planting the trees and producing a marketable product.
Issues facing the sector include:
  • Poor profitability;
  • Economic and trade conditions that act against an increase in local processing;
  • Inequitable treatment of different land uses;
  • Difficulties with the Resource Management Act (such as high costs, inconsistencies across regions and uncertainty in what will be approved);
  • Uncertainty and change in Government policies.
“Forests can contribute far more to New Zealand than they already do.  We must unlock that potential by a taking a holistic approach and this must start with the Government developing strong and well integrated policy”, concludes Dr McEwen.

Russia delays onerous timber duties- Putin
MOSCOW, RUSSIA , Nov. 12, 2008 (PRNewswire) - Russia will delay introduction of prohibitive duties on raw timber exports by 9-12 months, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin told Finland 's Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen at a meeting in Moscow on Wednesday.

"Taking into account the fact that reduction of supplies from Russia could
lead not only to production cuts at Finnish factories but also to negative
social consequences, the Russian government deems it possible to postpone
by 9-12 months raising tariffs on all non-processed timber," Putin said.

The duties had been set to rise to 80 percent from the start of 2009 from
the current 25 percent, adding to costs for paper companies such as Stora
Enso, UPM-Kymmene and M-Real.

Time to stop cobalt deficiency and incomplete analysis for deforestation in the Central North Island
New Zealand Institute of Forestry (NZIF)
Te P?tahi Ng?herehere o Aotearoa Inc.
MEDIA RELEASE, 8 October 2008
“It is time for politicians and farm leaders to stop using knowledge of cobalt deficiency and incomplete economic analysis as excuses for deforestation”, says Andrew McEwen, President of the NZ Institute of Forestry.  He was responding to comments made by Chris Kelly, Chief Executive of Landcorp, on National Radio on Tuesday that the forests his company was converting to dairy farms north of Taupo were only established because there was no known cure for stock “bush sickness”.  His comments reflected similar ones made by the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture, Jim Anderton, speaking as leader of the Progressive Party at the Institute’s “meet the political party forestry spokespeople” in Wellington on Monday evening and previously by Pete Hodgson a few years ago when, as Minister for Climate Change, he said “the trees were planted in the wrong place”.
“Bush sickness on the Central North Island pumice soils was found to be caused by cobalt deficiency in the early 1930s.  By 1937, topdressing large areas of deficient land became the norm, virtually eliminating bush sickness”, says Dr McEwen.  “All of the trees that have been deforested in the last few years were planted since that time, so there must have been some other reason for their establishment.”
A detailed study1 in the 1960s by agricultural and forestry economists of a Waikato land development scheme demonstrated that, at that time, forestry would generally give a better return than agriculture.  There were differences in the relative performance depending on assumptions of social costs (such as effects on rural communities).  “The study compared agriculture and forestry over the full life of a forest crop – rather different from using a relatively short period of high prices to say that agriculture is superior, while all the poor years are ignored”, said Dr McEwen.  “But the study did not include environmental costs, and we now have significant evidence of the effect of land use on these”.
As early as 1967, there were warnings about the damaging consequences of large scale agricultural development in the Taupo basin2.  But a plea that such land development should not be permitted was ignored.  Now central and local government are contributing $82 million to assist in the cost of reversing the declining quality of Lake Taupo (and another $72 million for similar problems in the Rotorua lakes).  In July this year, Environment Waikato released a critical report3 on the state of soil and water resources in the region, which echoed similar findings by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment in his 2004 “Growing for Good” report4.  “Will those who have caused the problem be asked to pay to clean up the waterways?” asks Dr McEwen.  A 2006 study5 on the effect of land use change on the flood hydrology of pumice catchments (and particularly the one in which State-owned Landcorp is converting forest to farm, an operation for which no resource consent was required) found that such conversions will result in substantial increases in peak discharge during high rainfall events – and that could create the need for increased river maintenance work to stop-banks in the Waikato River.  “Has Landcorp incorporated these costs in its analysis and will its client pay them?”
Add such costs to the liabilities arising from greenhouse gas emissions and we conclude that substantial environmental costs can be associated with some land uses.  “As long as society is prepared to fund these costs, we will continue to hear the cry that ‘the trees are in the wrong place - agriculture is more profitable than forestry’”, says Dr McEwen.  “This will inhibit the search for and uptake of more environmentally friendly land use practices.  A more complete economic analysis, that incorporates society’s subsidy for environmental effects, is likely to show very different relativities and is long overdue.”

1. Ward, J.T.; Parkes, E, Grainger, M.B. and Fenton, R.  1966:  An economic analysis of large-scale land development for agriculture and forestry.  Lincoln College Agricultural Economic Research Unit Publication 27.
2. Jackson, D.S. 1967: Editorial Notes.  NZ Journal of Forestry 12(1), p 1-3
3. Environment Waikato .  2008:  The Condition of Rural Water and Soil in the Waikato Region – Risks and Opportunities.
4. Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment.  2004:  Growing for Good:  Intensive Farming, Sustainability and New Zealand ’s Environment.
5. Mulholland, Murray.  2006:  The Effect of Land Use Change on the Flood Hydrology of Pumice Catchments, Environment Waikato Technical Report 1006/35

Disastrous loss of world forest
Pavan Sukhdev of Deutsche Bank on Disastrous Loss of World Forest
From Nine to Noon, 17 October, interview with Katherine Ryan

The Global  economy is losing far more by the destruction of forests than by the current financial collapse, according to an EU Commission.   Finance losses are said to be $US 1.5 but the present annual cost of deforestation is $US 2.5trillion.

The Interim Report ordered by the G Eight + Five at Potsdam  in 2007 calculates the net loss from cutting down forest , considering food, water and carbon sequestration.  The most aggressive rate makes the cost $US2 trillion, a more ethical calculation shows a cost of $US 4.5 trillion.  Pervan Sukhar emphasizes the loss is permanent.  The report has computed only eight of eighteen ecosystem and bio- diversity values but their replacement cost is enormous.   The poor in once- forested regions of India lose 60-70% of their income and must migrate to cities as economic refugees.

This is not being treated as news as the losses are “public goods” and everybody’s property or business  is deemed to be nobody’s business.  However welfare costs on this scale are no better or worse than bank or individual losses.  Also, if annual carbon emission from deforestation continues at the present rate of 20%, Kyoto levies will cost 6.5% of global GPD.

Like the Stern Report, this report will wake up world government when in eighteen months it produces complete computation of the price of losing coral reefs, with possible cures for Alzheimer’s disease and cancer, of mangroves which nurture fish and mitigate tsunamis, and on the general condition of the oceans, in which plankton work miracles including storing much of the worlds carbon in their calcified remains.

“People did not get the joke,” said Pavan Sukhdev until Lord Stern explained the Carbon problem to us but the EU is now taking it seriously.  People are now listening more attentively and noticing a multitude of local effects.  There are plenty of cures but they need scaling-up and much finance which may come from carbon trading and bio-banking.

Katherine Ryan concluded, “We do not value what is free.”
(From Julie Ryan
, Lower North branch)

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