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Newsletter 50, June 2009

Newsletter 50, June 2009

New Zealand Farm Forestry Association
P.O. Box 1122


Farm Forestry Newsletter
June 2009 No. 50

In this issue

Environmental certification and the NZFFA

Green Building Council and timber

Farm forestry online marketplace

Fresh water reform process announced

Measuring sustainable forest practice

New study comparing structural wood and steel

The future looks bright for mobile chipper

Solid wood initiative gets off the ground

Lowest level of afforestation recorded in New Zealand since 1945

Afforestation Grant Scheme stats


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


Branches must notify Head Office of any levy change before November.


June 30th 2009: Growers with less than 50 ha, last day to apply for an exemption from ETS;
July 31st 2009: last day to apply for allocation of free units.

Environmental certification and the NZFFA
Forest certification has been around now for many years with most of the larger forest growers now certified with the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) – this is in stark contrast to the small grower where virtually none are certified.  To date this has not been very detrimental. However there is a distinct possibility that it could be in the future.  The demand for certified wood seems to be on the increase and linked in with this are ‘chain of custody’ issues.  Currently all NZ certified forests are assessed against an International Standard as there is no agreed NZ National Standard.  There was a very serious attempt to negotiate a National Standard from 2000-03, however there was no agreement forthcoming and it has been on hold for the last five years.  Over the last 10 months, representatives of NZFFA, NZ Forest Owners and Environmental NGO’s have been meeting informally to see if a way forward could be found to restart the negotiations on a National Standard.  These meetings have gone very well and as a result a recommendation to restart negotiations has been made.

Over the last year the Association has taken a very active role in trying to develop a forest certification system for the small forest grower.  To this end, it commissioned a study with funding from FIDA on the benefits of environmental certification for its members and the feasibility of a NZFFA Group Certification Scheme.  This report has just been completed and should be on the web site within the next few weeks.  One of the reports recommendations was that the Association evaluate a SLIMF Initiative for its members.  A SLIMF allows for the development of streamlined FSC certification procedures that will reduce the cost of obtaining certification for small forest growers. Forest management standards can be developed which are simple and easy to interpret.  Over the next year the Association, with assistance of the Sustainable Farming Fund, will evaluate a SLIMF using the South Otago Branch as a case study.  If the outcome of this study is favourable, it may be extended to cover remaining branches; however the reality is that currently we just don’t know what that outcome will be.  There is no question that certification for the small forest grower is problematic. The Association recognises this and as such will continue to try and overcome these problems.
Patrick Milne

Green Building Council and timber
NZFFA is represented by Denis Hocking on a timber working party for the Green Building Council.  Timber and forestry interests have tended to regard the GBC as being rather unsympathetic towards wood with a system that does not recognise the embodied energy in a building.  The GBC's response is to say that they do not have the tools to compare different structural materials and only enter the scene after the primary structure (steel, concrete, wood, etc.) have been decided on.  However points are then allocated for material that come from best practise, environmental producers, use of recycled material and in the case of timber, for FSC certified wood and/or recycled wood.  Then further points are allocated for design, servicing, energy use, etc. for the functioning building.
   Everyone agrees that we need good life cycle analysis data to accurately compare the materials used in a building and that the necessary data is not yet available.  The working group is looking at how points might be best allocated for wood in any building.  Suffice to say that two meetings to date have not produced a simple solution.
Denis Hocking

Farm forestry online marketplace
NZFFA have set up an online marketplace where you can buy and sell anything related to farm forestry. Please have a look and perhaps even list something, especially timber.

GF 21 radiata pine trees available this winter, please phone Stuart Orme, Woodnet Works Ltd
Ph       + 64 6 370 2068
Fax      +64 6 370 2069
Mble  +64 274 442 669


Fresh water reform process announced

A new process to improve New Zealand ’s fresh water management was today announced by Environment Minister Nick Smith and Agriculture Minister David Carter .

“Reform of New Zealand ’s fresh water management is needed to address deteriorating water quality and poor incentives for water allocation and storage," Nick Smith said.

“ New Zealand ’s abundant fresh water resources are the envy of many other countries and the key to our competitive advantage in agriculture and renewable energy – as well as being essential to our environment and lifestyle. The problem is that our system of management has not kept up with the extra pressure on our water system.

“Today’s announcements are about Government setting the direction of water reform and setting up a process with stakeholders and Mâori to develop solutions.

“This work is being led through a collaborative process by the Land and Water Forum involving major water users in agriculture, industry and power generation as well as major environmental and recreational groups. This process will run over the next year and the Government will seek public comment before making any policy decisions.

“This approach reflects a new style of collaborative environmental governance outlined in National’s 2006 Bluegreen vision document and 2008 election policy.”

David Carter said some parts of New Zealand are approaching water resource limits and the issue needs to be addressed.

“ New Zealand has plenty of water, but not always in the right places and at the right times. This has led to demand outstripping supply and economic opportunities being constrained. Water is a vital input for the primary sectors, which are collectively the biggest export earner and employer in New Zealand.

“The focus of the new direction will be on water quality, water quantity, allocation, and infrastructure including water storage.

“We need to ensure that the changes we make are workable and carefully balance New Zealand ’s important environmental reputation with the potential for ongoing economic growth from the primary sector.

“While this policy work is being advanced, water infrastructure development will continue to be an important part of the work of the recently announced National Infrastructure Advisory Board,” Mr Carter said.

Media contact: For Nick Smith (Simon Beattie 021 243 8271)
For David Carter (Vanessa Rawson 021 245 9773)


Measuring sustainable forest practice
Scion is undertaking a series of workshops around the country as part of a Ministry of Forestry and Future Forests Research (FFR) project about demonstrating sustainable forestry practice in NZ.  

There are two workshop series being undertaken, one for people either in the forestry industry or in the management agencies (councils, Doc etc), and the other for community groups (such as recreational hunters and local residents).

Industry/ Agency workshop process:

Firstly we will provide feedback on past research about what New Zealanders value about their local forests (e.g. biodiversity, water quality, employment, products etc).
We will then use the Montreal Process Indicator Framework to work towards an understanding of sustainable forest management at the sub-national level in New Zealand. From the suite of Montreal Process Indicators we will select those that best define and demonstrate sustainable practices and management. As a robust and widely accepted indicator framework this information may be used to:
  • Inform international reporting processes.
  • Inform forest management practice  
  • Inform forest certification processes.
  • Demonstrate sustainable forest management practices.     

The results will be made available to the industry via Scion and FFR.

Remaining workshop dates and venues:
Gisborne: Friday 19th June, 10am-12pm, Mill Park Gisborne Hotel, Corner of Huxley and Tyndall Road.
Whangarei/ Northland: Tuesday 30th June, 10am-12pm, Cheviot Park Motel, 1 Cheviot Street, Whangarei
Rotorua:  Thursday 2nd July, 10am-12pm, Tuscany Villas Motor Inn, 280 Fenton Street, Rotorua.

For further information or to register for a workshop please email

New study comparing structural wood and steel
Engineered wood product Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL) can reduce the impact on global warming when used in place of steel and will also save on overall project costs. The Rotorua-based Crown Research Institute Scion has just completed a streamlined independent environmental study for Carter Holt Harvey Woodproducts.

This study compared the design of an 1800m2 warehouse made using LVL wood products with one constructed of steel. The research confirms that LVL reduces the impact on global warming by up to 56% as compared to steel. Analysis of pricing supplied by Carter Holt Harvey Woodproducts, confirms LVL also provides significant cost savings compared to steel.

"This study is extremely compelling," says Bill Hayward, of Carter Holt Harvey Woodproducts. "It is widely known that portal frames constructed from LVL have better fire resistance than unprotected steel, but now this independent study demonstrates that as well as costing less, LVL emits far less greenhouse gases in comparable applications," says Hayward.

The study uses the accepted ISO Life Cycle Assessment methodology to compare identical 1800m2 warehouses - one with an LVL Portal Frame, the other steel, both designed to bear the same loads. The research includes a full life cycle scenario (based on production data provided by CHH Woodproducts) including assumptions of landfilling for the LVL materials, and steel recycling.

"The fact that the study was conducted by Scion - an independent research body that has been at the forefront of this type of research in New Zealand - only adds to the validity and credibility of the result. The advantage of Scion using an internationally accepted method is that everything is counted, making it a true comparison. When you take the end of life scenario into account, using LVL in place of steel saves nearly half the amount of greenhouse gases emitted in the manufacture of equivalent new steel," says Hayward.

The results come on the back of previous New Zealand and international Life Cycle Assessment studies that demonstrate wood's environmental attributes in different building situations. The cost saving from using LVL products in place of steel in this type of building is significant - up to 9% in total costs can be saved when the completed structures are compared - and likely to grow as the cost of energy-intensive steel rises over time.
Friday offcuts 5 June 2009


The future looks bright for mobile chipper
Ernslaw Bio-Energy's new mobile wood chipper means the Central Otago company is well-placed to take advantage of an expected increase in the use of wood chip boilers.

The company bought the $250,000 German-made Heizohack HM10-500 KT chipper and the John Deere 7530 tractor which powers it in 2008 with the help of a business grant from the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority.

The mobile chipper is one of the first of its kind in New Zealand. It produces about 13 tonnes of wood chips an hour - enough to heat an average-sized school with a wood chip boiler for 10 days. Ernslaw Bio-energy bought the chipper because it was keen to find a way of adding value to low-grade logs, rather than simply selling them for firewood.

The company's project manager Murray Cowan says that while commercial wood chip boilers are relatively uncommon in New Zealand at the moment, he is confident that will soon change. "Wood chip boilers are quite common in Europe - mostly to heat water for central heating. We see lots of opportunities for similar systems here, especially in schools and places such as hospitals, motels and glasshouses."

For the full report click here. Gathering residues and the very latest technologies to utilise wood residue streams will be outlined in detail at the upcoming Residues to Revenues 2009 series being run for New Zealand and Australian companies in just under two weeks. Full details on the programme can be found on
(Friday offcuts 29 May 2009)


Solid wood initiative gets off the ground
With the agreement last week from the NZ Foundation for Research Science and Technology to co-invest with industry, the Solid Wood Initiative (SWI) is now underway. R&D into solid wood processing has fallen away dramatically over the past 10 years in both NZ and Australia and it is great news to see the SWI get over the start line and to sustain this critical area of research.

Investing parties in the SWI comprising NZ processors, NZ growers, Australian processors (through the FWPA), NZ research companies and a North American forestry company, Weyerhaeuser Ltd, have agreed to become shareholders in the SWI and will provide almost NZ$1 million per annum for a 3-5 year period. When combined with the NZ FRST co-funding the research effort will total around NZ$9 million and will be a key research forum for processors in NZ and Australia.

SWI's research will focus on the forest value chain from log and stem segregation (at the forest gate or mill yard) through to final product. The SWI is a redirection of the successful WQI Limited and will be managed from Rotorua with Keith Mackie as the CEO. Three new directors have been appointed; Mark Hansen (Rosvall Sawmill), Tom Boon (Taranaki Pine) and Keith Swansbury (Winstone Pulp International).

The technical programme will commence immediately with leadership from highly experienced technical people; Wayne Miller (Tenon), Marco Lausberg, Tony Haslett, Keith Robertson (Windsor) and Andy McNaught-the latter based in Australia.  
(Friday offcuts 29 May 2009)

Lowest level of afforestation recorded in New Zealand since 1945

The NZ Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has recently published the 25th edition of A National Exotic Forest Description (NEFD). The report contains a detailed description of New Zealand's planted forests along with information on forest activities such as planting and harvesting.

New Zealand's net stocked planted production forests covered an estimated 1.76 million hectares as at 1 April 2008. The stocked area was down 29 000 hectares from the previous year. Taking into account an increase in the area reported as awaiting restocking the total forest area is 17 100 hectares lower than reported in 2007.

Radiata pine is the dominant species, making up 89 percent of the planted forest area. Douglas-fir is the next most common species, making up 6 percent. The remainder of the area is planted in cypress species, eucalyptus species, other softwood species and other hardwood species.

It is provisionally estimated that 1000 hectares of afforestation occurred in 2008, the lowest level since 1945. It is estimated that approximately 15 600 hectares of forest was converted to another land use in the year ended 31 March 2008. An estimated 18.9 million cubic metres of roundwood were harvested from New Zealand's planted production forests in the same period.

The NEFD report is published annually to assist infrastructure and policy planning and is compiled from a survey of forest owners and managers. The report is produced in conjunction with the Forest Owners Association and the Farm Forestry Association. The report can be found at
(Friday offcuts 29 May 2009)

Afforestation Grant Scheme stats
MAF has given out $2.96m in AGS grants over two rounds so far, with a third round to be allocated this year. In 2009 and 2010, AGS projects will create 1,429 hectares of new forest at an average price of $2,029 per hectare for tree species that absorb carbon quickly and $625 per hectare for species that absorb carbon slowly. A total of 26 projects have been funded in the Waikato, Gisborne, Manawatu, Wellington , Marlborough , Canterbury and Otago regions. More than 60 tenders have been received for the third round, which closed on 30 April 2009.

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