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Newsletter 58, October 2012

Newsletter 58, October 2012

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New Zealand Farm Forestry Association
P.O. Box 1122


Farm Forestry Newsletter
 October 2012 No. 58

In this issue

Making better use of tree information resources

Woodco Strategic Action Plan

Working group for a reliable non-declining timber yield

Forest Owners Association Compulsory Commodity Levy Proposal

Climate Change Response Amendment Bill

Emissions Trading Scheme amendments

Australia and New Zealand arrangement to combat illegal logging

Sweet Success at Scion

Water quality in New Zealand: Understanding the science

Permanent Forest Sink Initiative (PFSI)



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

Vice President

Dean Satchell
-Far North
-Mid North
-Lower North

Newsletter editor
Dean Satchell

National Executive

Angus Gordon
-Taupo & Districts
-Middle Districts
-Hawkes Bay

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

Hamish Levack
-Bay of Plenty
-Gisborne East Coast

Patrick Milne
-West Coast
-Central Canterbury
-North Canterbury


NZFFA website
The members only area of the NZFFA website is up an running. NZFFA members can access the members page if you have provided an email address in your subscription form. If this is the case you will have received a registration notice recently via email. If not email Head Office with your name and email address.

New Zealand Farm Forestry Association (Inc) 57th Annual Conference

“Back to our Roots – Growing a forestry future on a soundly based foundation”.

The Lower North Branch is proud to invite you to Orewa for the 57th Annual General Meeting and Conference of The New Zealand Farm Forestry Association -  April 20-23rd inclusive 2013.

The conference theme “Back to our Roots” acknowledges the very significant early forestry activity in the region (it is recorded that often up to 30 vessels at a time were loading Kaipara kauri logs and lumber for export to Australia and California), the early practice of plantation forestry (some of the earliest planting of the Woodhill sand dunes and Riverhead gumlands pioneered the use of radiata pine, eucalypts and redwood) and of course the formation of The Farm Forestry and Horticulture (Lower North) Association by Neil Barr, Hec Nicholls and Frank Bartlett in 1950.
This followed a discussion on the steps of the Helensville Post Office with shelter and the lack of durable timber for fencing, being major issues at that time. Neil was an enthusiast for trees on farms, and with Forest Service help, travelled around the country encouraging farm foresters to set up local interest groups which in turn led on to our Association as we know it today. Since those days we have certainly built a forestry future on the foundation created by those events.

Our conference sets out to revisit a little of the past, but particularly to consider the future and how farm foresters can benefit from and contribute to that future in the most positive way possible.

The conference will be held at The Orewa Arts and Events Centre, Riverside Road, Orewa. Accommodation will be in Hotels, Motels and B&Bs in Orewa and adjacent areas and details are set out in the registration information.

For more click here or download the flyer for this event.

Making better use of tree information resources
The NZFFA is supporting a new project that aims to establish a comprehensive database of information resources about trees on farms.
Please contribute to this useful project by doing a short survey at:
All surveys completed before 31 December 2012 will go into the draw for some fantastic prizes -  $100 petrol vouchers, a copy of Native Trees of New Zealand and Their Story by John Wardle or Rural Women NZ cookbooks ‘A Good Spread’ and ‘A Good Harvest’.

The project will help landowners looking for information about any aspect of planting and managing trees in the working landscape.  The free database created will list the most useful and credible information resources about planting and managing trees available, and where to find them. Listings in the database will assessed by leading farm foresters, forestry consultants and researchers as reflecting current knowledge and best practice.

The project will also help provide information on how landowners prefer to receive information about planting and managing trees. With today’s new media there are so many ways we can learn – formally and informally – and our survey aims to build up a picture of current behaviour and future preferences.

The project is being funded by the Sustainable Farming Fund, the NZ Farm Forestry Association and Scion Research, with support from Rural Women NZ and the NZ Institute of Forestry.

Woodco Strategic Action Plan

Woodco’s Strategic Action Plan aims to take the forest industry export revenues from $4.8b currently, to $12.5b by 2022. $6b of this projected increase is to be from processed products i.e. sawn timber. The aim is for a 30-40% growth in GDP primarily by increasing the value added component. However it has been noted by some that mills are still closing and going into receivership. So what’s going to change that? Further processing on a large scale will need to attract substantial foreign capital, and that is where NZ Trade & Enterprise could be involved. In the last 10 years NZT&E has invested $16m in the forest industry, in a number of initiatives.
Other components of the SAP include engineered products and a small bio-refining component.

Ian jackson


Working group for a reliable non-declining timber yield

A working group, made up of Hamish Levack, Howard Moore, Geoff Thompson, Kelly Coghlan, Jon Dey, Peter Gresham, Harriet Palmer and Humphrey Rainey, has recently been set up by the NZFFA to see what might be done to achieve a reliable, non-declining log supply from New Zealand’s small-scale forest owners [SSFOs].  The challenge is to lead the conversion of the looming wall of wood into a non-declining yield. To achieve this forest owners would need to be coordinated somehow so that their tree harvest ages are spread from 25 to 35 years, and new planting rates are increased to 20,000 hectares a year.

The benefits of coordination
The forecast harvest spike arises from 500,000 hectares of trees planted by small-scale forest owners during the 1990s.  It is believed that most of these owners are first-timers who have not considered working together.  Coordination could lead to planned harvesting, stable log prices, increased market opportunities from new processing investment, economies of scale and fair returns.  Uncoordinated action could lead to competition for scarce harvesting crews and transport, log price-cutting, market disruption, widespread grower dissatisfaction and negative attitudes towards further investment.
Identifying and educating the owners

As a first step to encourage coordination, the NZFFA has obtained a Sustainable Farming Fund contract to identify the small-scale forest owners.  The project has used a GIS software overlay of the national MAF database of post 1989 forests, combined with the land information database to identify exotic forests by location and owner.  Initial results, produced by Roger May, have been very promising.  A pilot study, scheduled for completion before 2013, is currently being run in the southern North Island by Howard Moore to find the correct postal addresses for the owners.  Next year the model will be extended to other regions.  After making contact with the forest owners the working group intends to follow up with an information package to advise them of the risks ahead.  The package will also offer training, industry best practice and support and encourage the owners to work together to rationalise the coming harvest.  Much of the necessary information already exists, spread across several providers in different media and different formats.

Increasing NZFFA membership
The project should help reverse the decline in NZFFA membership, which will be an important side-benefit.

Coordinating the harvest
The intention is that part of the information pack sent to SSFOs will describe options for rationalising the harvest to produce a steady yield and stable log prices, including
  • Amalgamating the forests using companies that would issue shares in exchange for forests at valuation.  Unfortunately the cost of timber provision in the Income Tax Act makes it hard for a forest buyer and seller to agree on a price.  Work is proceeding to develop a tax work-around which re-defines the sale allowing it to fall under a different section of the Act, avoiding this problem.
  • Amalgamating the forests with cooperatives.  Some small forest owners might want to form producer cooperatives, which could provide collective strength in negotiating costs and prices, and smooth income gains and losses.

Investment in new planting

Additional new planting is important not only to help produce a sustainable log supply into the future, but also to help meet the country’s emissions targets and control erosion from serious storms.  Initially it was thought that the ETS would encourage new forest planting, but that now looks unlikely. [See below]
Further work

After identifying, contacting and educating the small-scale forest owners, the Working Group aims to:
  • Work with MPI to help develop regional new planting targets, as there are no targets at present.
  • Work with MPI to help develop initiatives that might be used to encourage new planting and promote the benefits of forestry.
  • Investigate funding to develop pilot commercial models of small forest amalgamation, including a company and a cooperative.
  • Based on the outcome, investigate wider applications of those models for forest amalgamation.
The Woodco Board has acknowledged that the Working Group’s aims fit neatly within Woodco’s strategic action plan.

More detail about Working Group progress will be published in the November ‘Tree Grower’.

Hamish Levack

Forest Owners Association Compulsory Commodity Levy Proposal

Newsflash: The referendum will be postponed until mid Feb or possibly early March of next year.

The commodity levy referendum process will be conducted among owners of forests in October/ November if all goes according to the FOA's plan.

FOA senior policy analyst Glen Mackie is laying the groundwork for the poll to take
place. A key milestone is setting up an incorporated society to administer and allocate the funds gathered. “Another critical milestone is creating an efficient mechanism for collecting the levy, so that hassles and costs are minimised for all concerned,” he says.

“At the moment the FOA and Farm Forestry Association have about 2750 members between them, representing about 85% of the harvest. Collectively, their subscriptions and voluntary levies, which potentially benefit all 18,000 forest owners, cost little to administer.

“By going to 100% or, more realistically, 98% of the harvest, we bring all players into the room. But the costs of gathering their dues must not exceed the benefits of doing so.”

The levy is not just about bringing in more financial contributors (see Forestry Bulletin, Autumn 2012, p2). While the funding load will be shared a little, the overwhelming majority of the levy will still be paid by existing contributors. The biggest benefit will be increased two-way communications across the industry.

Those foresters who don’t belong to the FOA or FFA are not plugged into industry decision-making and information systems. They need to be, especially on critical matters like biosecurity and right-to- operate issues.

Starting September, forest owners will be the focus of a more intensive stage of the information programme. This will explain in more detail what a levy will be used for, how it will work and how they can cast their votes.

For the levy to be become law, the referendum must be supported by a majority of those producers who vote – both by number and by area. The Ministry for Primary Industries monitors the process, to ensure potential levy payers are properly informed and consulted, before making a recommendation to the minister.

From New Zealand Forestry Bulletin, Spring 2012, Forest Owners Association.
(If a dual majority is achieved and if the minister for primary industries approves, a levy ‘order’ will be gazetted in 2013 and the levy will apply later that year).

See also the NZ Farm Forestry Association and Forest Owners Association joint media release 17 October 2012


Climate Change Response Amendment Bill

Last September, NZFFA representatives made verbal presentations on the Association’s submission on the above Bill to the Finance and Expenditure Select Committee at parliament.  [See D6269B3766FC/243633/50SCFE_EVI_00DBHOH_BILL11566_1_A275425_NewZealandF.pdf].  Many other forestry-associated submissions were made.  They are available on Parliament’s web site as well, and all show great concern about the Bill’s likely impact on the forestry sector.  The following open letter to the Prime Minister was jointly made by many of these submitters.  It summarizes the main concerns.
Dear Prime Minister,
 We, the undersigned, call on the proposed ETS Amendment Bill to be aligned with international best practice by including a fifty percent cap on the use of any International carbon units.
 Australia, China, USA, the European Union, Japan and Korea either ban these units or permit them in very limited numbers to prevent the domestic unit becoming redundant.
 Rather than imposing an additional burden on the taxpayer to the tune of over $300 million and threatening the credibility and effectiveness of New Zealand’s ETS, the placing of a cap would restore the confidence of the forestry sector to contribute to the country reaching its emission targets and help drive the economy forward.
 However if the Amendment passes as it stands there will be no incentive for land owners to plant trees to store carbon, resulting in new planting for carbon being virtually nonexistent and greatly increasing the potential for deforestation and its associated environmental risks, including reduced water quality and soil erosion.
 In announcing the Bill the Climate Change Issues Minister said it would demonstrate New Zealand’s commitment to doing its fair share, but these so-called “technical and operational changes” will instead mean we’ll be cutting corners and passing the buck.
 New Zealand was the first country in the world to introduce forestry into an ETS - an industry that a former Environment Minister in your Government described as “of enormous financial and environmental importance to New Zealand”, but if this Bills passes you may as well exclude forestry or suspend the Scheme altogether.
 We share the very real fear of the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment of the planned changes being a farce and a costly and environmentally damaging mistake.
 We implore you to go back to the drawing board and align the Scheme with those of our trading partners.

Hamish Levack

Emissions Trading Scheme amendments:

On Monday 2 July Government announced amendments to New Zealand’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). The key changes affecting forestry are:
  • Introducing off-setting for pre-1990 forest land owners, and
  • Allocating the full second tranche of compensation where off-setting is not taken up.

A bill affecting these changes will be introduced later this year, and a select committee process will follow.

Additional information on the ETS amendments is available later at:


Australia and New Zealand arrangement to combat illegal logging
21 August 2012  (Source: IFA Email Bulletin)

Australia and NZ have today strengthened their long-standing cooperation on forestry issues by signing the Arrangement on Combating Illegal Logging and Promoting Sustainable Forest Management. The signed Arrangement illustrates a shared commitment to working together to address illegal logging and promotes sustainable forest management. Australia’s Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Joe Ludwig, and NZ Associate Minister for Primary Industries, Nathan Guy, signed the Arrangement during forestry talks which included discussions relating to the progress of Australia’s Illegal Logging Prohibition Bill 2011.

Minister Ludwig said the Arrangement recognises that illegal logging and associated trade is a significant global problem and that Australia and NZ will together play an important role in combating these practices.“The Arrangement provides a framework for on-going bilateral cooperation against the illegal logging trade and its impact on jobs, economies and the environment,” Minister Ludwig said.

“This Arrangement will build the capacity of Government and industry to manage forests sustainably and promote systems to verify the legality of timber and wood products in Australia, NZ and the wider Asia Pacific region.”Minister Guy said the respective illegal logging policies of both Governments were supported by the Arrangement." This joint arrangement sends a strong signal that Australia and NZ are aligned in our commitment to combat illegal logging,” Minister Guy said. “Australia and NZ share significant trade in timber products. In 2010-11, NZ was the largest export supplier of forest products to Australia with trade valued at $715 million. NZ is a low risk market because we import very little timber, however it makes sense for our two countries to work together.”

The Illegal Logging Prohibition Bill 2011 passed the Australian House of Representatives yesterday and will soon be introduced to the Senate. New Zealand has a representative on the stakeholder working group for the development of the legislation.


Scion scientists have successfully developed an enzyme-based process for converting chemically-pulped softwood into simple sugars.
This is a critical step toward creating liquid biofuels from cellulose and hemicellulose – a step that many other researchers around the world have struggled to master.
Dr Ian Suckling, leader of Scion’s bioenergy and biofuels research team, hopes the process – which will utilise the industry’s pulp making infrastructure – will prove to be commercially viable once it has been developed further.
“Our key breakthrough has been to develop a pre-treatment which allows the cellulose and hemicelluloses in radiata pine to be efficiently converted to simple sugars like glucose using an enzyme-based process. Softwoods like radiata pine are among the most difficult feedstocks to do this with.
“Independent laboratory analysis confirms that sugars produced by our process can be converted into transport fuels like ethanol and butanol. Using them to produce other products like bio-plastics will be relatively straight forward.”

From New Zealand Forestry Bulletin Spring 2012

Water quality in New Zealand: Understanding the science

The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment has produced this report, available to download here.

The aim of the report is to provide a guide to water quality science covering those aspects which are most useful for the many New Zealanders who are engaged in, and concerned about, various aspects of this high profile environmental issue. Water quality science is indeed complicated, much is unknown, and the devil often really is in the detail.

The report is not intended as a complete reference on the subject and its scope is confined to fresh water – in rivers and streams, lakes, wetlands, estuaries, and aquifers – and to the three main water pollutants of greatest concern in New Zealand. These three are pathogens, sediment, and nutrients.



The PFSI provides an alternative option to the ETS for landowners
to earn carbon credits for the establishment of permanent forest sinks. Unlike other schemes in the ETS, which are designed for commercially harvested forest, the PFSI is designed for permanent forest blocks, and requires that land remains in forest for a minimum term of 50 years. It is particularly well suited to indigenous forest management, or high value exotic forests with long rotation species.

It has been popular with landowners who are attracted to its values-based standards, as it recognises and endorses a variety of approaches to land management. Existing participants range from native forest restoration trusts, territorial authorities, private landowners, farmers, and even a forest sculpture park. Since the PFSI commenced in 2008, 49 separate projects totalling 12 540 hectares have been registered into permanent forest retirement, and around 520 000 carbon units have been allocated to these projects.

PFSI participants enter into an agreement with the Crown that land will be managed under a forest sink covenant as a permanent forest. The covenant prescribes the terms and conditions for managing the forest, including a management plan that identifies that a forest has been, or will be, actively established through planting, seeding, or promotion of natural seed sources. Blocks that have not yet achieved sufficient stocking of forest species may be included within the management plan as ‘yet to be established’ land. Alternatively blocks can be added to the forest sink area at a future date.

The covenant is in perpetuity with the option of withdrawal, or partial withdrawal, after a minimum term of 50 years. Harvesting is restricted during the first 99 years to establish permanent forest, however harvesting on a continuous cover basis is permitted. Under continuous cover forestry harvesting operations must retain a minimum 80 percent of the pre- harvest basal area on each hectare for the first harvesting operation. Waste thinning operations are not included in the basal area restrictions however. Continuous cover forestry encourages the development of an uneven-aged forest structure through the progressive harvesting of individual trees or small coupes of trees.

Applications for the PFSI must be approved before the 31 December 2012 deadline in order to back claim carbon credits for the first 5 year commitment period (1 January 2008 – 31 December 2012). Applications should be received at least 3 months in advance of this deadline and be of a high standard to ensure that they can be approved on time.
For further information on the PFSI, visit the PFSI webpage on the MPI website: forest-sink-initiative.aspx
Alternatively, contact the PFSI national co-ordinator Myles Guy on (06) 348 9462, or email at


Disclaimer: Personal views expressed in this newsletter are those of the writers and do not necessarily represent those of the NZ Farm Forestry Association.

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