Wink Sutton's Blog
Why I became, and remain, a clearwood advocate
Only recently have I become aware of the concept of unique special product or proposal. However, I now realise that for most of my forestry life I have been seeking…
Is an IKEA store to our advantage?
IKEA is possibly to begin trading in New Zealand. Should New Zealand forest owners be pleased? Already New Zealand has large retailers including The Warehouse, Harvey Norman, K Mart, Mitre10…
Live radiata pine stem needles must be removed at pruning
On a recent Bay of Plenty field day, questions were asked about the need to remove live stem needles at the time of pruning. If live stem needles are not…
Wood is as important as food
For over 60 years I have had to defend a common criticism of forestry that ‘forests including plantations are occupying land which should be used for food production’. It is…
Is there a case for timely pruning?
Two principles have emerged from a lifetime of plantation management research − That the size and the quality of trees at harvest are determined by the decisions at the time of…
A levy on log exports and the proposal to plant a billion trees?
The pre-election intentions on forestry of the New Zealand political parties were ably summarised by Hamish Levack on pages 12 to 15 of the August 2017 Tree Grower. All except…
Selective harvesting our indigenous forests
Indigenous forests are living ecosystems. In untended indigenous forests the total standing volume usually only varies by a small amount. Although old trees die, fall over and rot on the…
Forestry and a capital gains tax
Both the Labour and the Green political parties are considering a capital gains tax. Calculating the capital gains on property, shares or other products may appear to be relatively simple.…
Corruption in forestry has serious long-term consequences
Interpol has estimated that the annual global cost of corruption in the forestry sector is of the order of US$29 billion. This supply of wood has had the effect of…
Forests take little from the soil
Particularly since the conversion or trashing of second or third rotation radiata stands to make room for dairy farming, we no longer hear claims along the lines that stands of…
Plantations can be very productive
On a visit to Poland in 2006 one of my Polish forester hosts was adamant that plantations of non-indigenous trees could not be as productive as plantations of indigenous trees.…
Monocultures are natural
Some environmentalists have criticised plantations because they are almost always monocultures. Monocultures are claimed to be unnatural. Are they? Is there evidence that monocultures do not occur in nature. This…
We need intensively managed plantations
Wood is the world’s only environmentally friendly and sustainable raw material. There are current global proposals for a significant increase in wood use such as in the manufacture of biofuels and…
Is there an environmentally acceptable alternative to wood?
In the 1990s I was on a two-year secondment to the Canadian Forest Service from Fletcher Challenge Forests. On a mid-term return to New Zealand I had a meeting with…
Were the recent North Island floods naturally occurring events?
The recent North Island floods seem to be treated as if they were naturally occurring events. Concentrated heavy rain resulted in farm damage and flooding of low lying areas, such as…
Location, location and location
Included on one of the farm visits at this year’s well organised conference in Whangarei was an excellent presentation by Scion’s Graham West. Graham had collated data of nett returns…
Consequences of the current fall in energy prices
On 17 December 2014 the New Zealand ethical investment company Prometheus collapsed and was put into receivership. The company invested in renewable energy areas such as bioenergy, solar and wind…
Biosecurity is very important
During my Canadian secondment from 1992 to 1994, I attended a meeting addressed by the then Chief of the USDA Forest Service who talked about the major biological threats to North American…
The need for fuel wood
On a recent cruise we visited several countries in the Middle East including India and Egypt. As a forester I was well aware of the absence of trees but very…
When it comes to forestry and the wood supply few appear to understand the concept of sustainability. Brian Allison, the now deceased NZ Forest Products economist in the 1960's to…
My thoughts on wood residues
My forestry interests are mainly focused on the growing and management of plantations. Although important, especially in determining stumpage, I have less interest in wood use. As my approach is…
Much can happen between planting and harvesting
There can be 30 years or more between the decision to establish a plantation and its final harvest. Rarely understood or appreciated are the risks faced by the plantation owner.…
Radiata pine not Pinus radiata
When I first joined forestry in the late fifties, radiata pine was regularly called either insignis pine or by its botanical name, Pinus insignis. It was not uncommon for the…
Collective marketing of Tasmanian blackwood?
This year’s Farm Forestry AGM was held in the Lower North region. On one of the field day’s we visited Audrey Hay’s farm. While admiring a maturing stand of Tasmanian…
An inspiring wood advocate, Canadian architect Tye Farrow
A few weeks ago I had the privilege of experiencing a presentation by the Canadian architect Tye Farrow. Jane Arnott, CEO of NZ Wood, deserves credit for arranging Tye’s visit…
The projected peak in the wood supply - A need for action
The rate of new plantation establishment was low in the late 1980s but became exceptionally high in the early to mid 1990s. In the late 1990s and in the first…
The importance of repeating the message
My article on page 42 on the sawing of Hull’s pruned radiata raises a very relevant point. Even though I was involved in the preparation of Fenton’s report on his 1962 sawmill…
Wooden windows – a missed opportunity?
Our house in Rotorua was built in 1969. It has single pane glass windows in wooden frames. Although winter condensation is only a minor problem, when it does occur it…
Wooden skyscrapers are wonderful, but...
Google the ‘the world’s tallest building’ and responses include proposals for a 16 to 17 storey building in Norway and for the Creative Renewable Energy and Efficiency group’s plan for…
Tree shelter is important
Farm foresters are aware of the importance of shelter on farms and it may seem inappropriate to raise the subject of shelter in this magazine. However some farms, perhaps many,…
A question about log exports
During the business section of the 2011 AGM in Masterton earlier this year Allan Laurie asked a very relevant question. Allan’s question was along the lines ‘what are we doing…
Who earns the first dollar?
In the early 1990s I attended a talk that changed how I look at the economy. The central theme of the address was the question − who earns the first…
Can we save old growth forests?
A recurring objective of the world wide environmental movement is the demand to save old growth forests. While there is no doubt that mature natural forests are impressive, is it…
Are the Australian greens the environmental mafia?
On the 20 August Dr Peter Volker, President of the Institute of Australian Foresters, issued a press release − Say no to the environmental Mafia. Dr Volker was responding to…
Forestry and wood and the ETS
If we want to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide why have we limited the forestry contribution to carbon sequestration? Since we cannot go on increasing new planting for ever, the carbon…
Trees are the answer
Trees are the answer. This slogan was first advocated by Dr Patrick Moore, one the original founders of Greenpeace. Patrick is now head of Greenspirit, a Canadian pro- forestry environmental…
The consumption dilemma
The environmentally minded are extremely disappointed that so little was achieved at Copenhagen. Given that all the major players were politicians it was naïve to expect an international agreement to…
Forestry and wood use are ignored or unfairly treated
On a per capita basis the world’s human population currently uses a greater weight of wood than the combined total weight of at least 10 of the most common plant…
The importance of experience
Peter Koch was a most productive forest products scientist. His publications include a series on the southern pines and lodgepole pine – known as contorta pine in New Zealand. Although a…
No environmentally acceptable alternative to wood
Dovetail, the USA based non-profit environmental wood advocacy organisation, has suggested wood may be getting a raw deal. If wood must come from environmentally certified sources should not the same…
A lesson from Harry Bunn
As a young FRI scientist on my first field trip with Harry Bunn, then director of Production Forestry Research and also my greatest mentor, we visited a three-year-old radiata pine…
Initial spacing in radiata pine
Recent silvicultural improvements, such as seed source – almost all seed now comes from seed orchards – nursery practice, tree handling, planting methods, weed control and the adoption of regimes…
The environmental benefits of forestry and wood use
As all of us in the forestry sector know, maturing plantations are carbon sinks and remain as carbon reservoirs when harvesting begins, provided the plantation continues to be sustainably managed.…
Disclaimer: Personal views expressed in this blog are those of the writers and do not necessarily represent those of the NZ Farm Forestry Association.