Media Releases

Mon, 01/08/2016 - 11:02

Tim O’Connell from the Nelson Mail has written an article on “Taking remote control of NZ's forestry future” (click on the link below):

Mon, 01/08/2016 - 10:57

Hon Jo Goodhew
Associate Minister for Primary Industries

25 July, 2016

New PGP harvest technology targets safety

New forest harvesting technology revealed today in Nelson sets its sights on further increasing safety in steep land harvesting operations, Associate Primary Industries Minister Jo Goodhew says.

The new ‘tele-operation’ technology provides out-of-harm’s way operation of a purpose-built tracked feller-buncher forest harvester, from the safety of a separate operator cabin and console.

The breakthrough is part of Steepland Harvesting, a 6-year, $6 million Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) programme between the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and a consortium of forestry companies and contractors, led by Future Forests Research Ltd (FFR).

“The successful development, installation and demonstration of the tele-operated harvester builds on the Steepland Harvesting programme’s successful integration of remote control technology into a forest harvester in 2015,” says Ms Goodhew.

“Tele-operation of the tracked harvester enables trees to be felled and bunched by remote control, beyond line-of-sight on steep slopes, which is believed to be a world first.

“It marks a big advance in the safety of forestry harvesting operations, while improving the operator’s environment and potentially increasing productivity. It is a fantastic achievement for the Steepland Harvesting PGP programme and for New Zealand’s forest industry as a whole.”

The Steepland Harvesting programme has delivered a number of innovations aimed at keeping forest workers safe, while increasing harvesting productivity. This includes development of the ClimbMAX harvester, a ground-based, winch-assisted machine which can fell and bunch trees on steep slopes of up to 45 degrees.

“Eight of the million-dollar ClimbMAX harvesters are now operating commercially in Canada and New Zealand, with the ninth machine recently shipped to Canada and the first machine sold into the United States is currently being built.”

Successful commissioning of the tele-operation control system is the latest result from three-and-a-half years of design and engineering research and development by the FFR team involving Scion, Cutover Systems Limited and ADM Design Ltd, working with harvesting contractors Ross Wood and Simon Rayward of Wood Contracting Nelson Ltd.

“The Steepland Harvesting programme, and this latest innovation in harvesting technology, is a clear example of the value of government and industry working together to keep forestry workers safe and improve productivity in forest operations,” Mrs Goodhew says.

Mon, 14/03/2016 - 10:41

Hon Jo Goodhew
Associate Minister for Primary Industries

11 March 2016
Media Statement

New Wood Products Partnership Launched

The formal launch today of the Specialty Wood Products Research Partnership, marks a new chapter for the forestry sector in New Zealand, says the Associate Minister for Primary Industries, Hon Jo Goodhew.

“I welcome the launch of this new partnership, and the ground-breaking research that will be undertaken. Forestry is a key export earner for New Zealand that is worth around $5 billion annually, and employs nearly 20,000 people” says Mrs Goodhew.

The research project launched today, entitled “New Regional Value Chains for Specialty Wood Products Matching Species, Site, Processing, Product and Market”, is part of a seven year partnership between central government and industry. The project aims to investigate the development of new wood products from specialty species, says Mrs Goodhew.

“This research will help us to identify new processing options for Eucalypts, Douglas-Fir, and Cypresses, in order to produce high-value specialty wood products. This is a great example of high-quality science being applied to industry problems and opportunities, in order to generate value for New Zealand.

“It will also help develop an improved breeding stock, ensure forest health is an ongoing priority, and assist in growing export revenue by further diversifying the range of wood products exported,” says Mrs Goodhew.

The partnership expects the export value of products developed to reach $350 million per year by 2030, rising to $3.6 billion per year by 2050.

The programme is supported by the Ministry for Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) partnership programme with industry funding provided by the Forest Grower Levy Trust. The science partners for the research include Scion, the University of Canterbury’s School of Forestry, and the Marlborough Research Centre.

Media contact: James Sorensen – 021 804 854 or (04) 817 9871

Mon, 14/03/2016 - 10:33

11 March 2016
Forest Owners Association

Industry looks beyond radiata

Future generations of New Zealanders may live in a patchwork landscape where several different forest species compete on the hills for growing space with the familiar Pinus radiata.

“Radiata is a great multi-purpose tree that grows well in many places. But it is not perfect for all growing situations or market needs. And there are obvious risks in having all our eggs in one species basket,” says Forest Owners Association research and development manager Russell Dale.

“We are therefore thrilled as an industry that the government is joining us in the Specialty Woods Products Research Partnership. This is a major programme that will investigate new products and markets for alternative species and build the confidence of forest growers in planting those species that show promise.”

The seven-year programme, which has an annual budget of $1.97 million, is unique in the forest industry in that it spans the value chain from the end product to the trees themselves, their genetics and how they are grown.

The government, through the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment research partnership scheme, is matching an annual $710,000 contribution from forest growers. The balance of $550,000 is coming from the crown research institute Scion.

“The species being explored – Douglas-fir, cypresses and a number of eucalypts – have been popular with farm foresters for decades and Douglas fir is still planted by larger growers in cooler South Island areas. However, until now, they have not been the subject of a concerted research effort,” says Mr Dale.
“Unlike radiata and to a lesser extent Douglas-fir, our knowledge about growing, processing and marketing them is limited to the experience of a few keen individuals.

“We want to provide forest owners with recommendations for growing viable alternatives to radiata pine on particular classes of land. For example, eucalypts in low rainfall areas and coppicing species on steep erosion-prone hill country.

“Some of these species produce timber that is better suited than radiata to a range of applications. For example, eucalypts with high natural strength and durability for use as posts on organic vineyards, orchards and farms; or power pole cross-arms, railway sleepers and landscaping.
“There are also non-durable species that are ideal for use where visual appearance is important, like joinery and flooring. There is strong demand for sustainably-grown appearance timbers both in New Zealand and internationally.”

The programme will also try to find answers for some of the processing and drying issues that present special challenges for some of these species.

The research will be carried out by Scion, the University of Canterbury, Marlborough Research Centre (which has considerable experience growing eucalypts in dry environments) and eight international science collaborators, with assistance from industry participants.

“We expect the success of the programme will be reflected in better returns to the growers of the 142,000 ha of eucalypts, Douglas-fir and cypresses already in the ground. This in turn is likely to result in a big increase in the planting of these species,” Mr Dale says.

“There are three big long-term opportunities: naturally durable and appearance grade timbers, and the use of eucalypts to enhance the strength of radiata pine engineered wood products.

“By adding value to these species, our exporters will be able to offer a diversified product mix of timbers with superior wood properties – sustainably managed alternatives to increasingly scarce international high-value timbers like teak, rosewood and kwila.

“This in turn will result in more investment and employment in the regions.”
For more information, please contact Russell Dale, Tel (07) 921 7258 or 027 493 8061.

Tue, 20/10/2015 - 11:30

Forest Owners Association
Media release
15 October 2015
Forest science awards go to Canterbury and Rotorua

Canterbury-based researchers took home four out of five of New Zealand’s forest growing research awards at an industry dinner in Nelson last night. The recipients of the 2015 awards were:

Mon, 21/09/2015 - 11:22

Remote Controlled Tree Felling Reduces Hazards Please select link for news item:

Wed, 20/05/2015 - 15:14



Date: 19 May 2015

Government and industry work together to build high value wood exports

The new government funding awarded to a Future Forests Research (FFR) led programme is a significant boost to creating a high-value specialty wood products industry from planted forest species other than radiata pine.

Research and Development Manager Russell Dale says this funding partnership between industry and Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment is great news for New Zealand and backs the forestry and wood processing industry and the Government’s strategy to grow high value export focussed manufacturing industries.
“The benefits to New Zealand from this investment are huge. We can expect export returns of around $350M by 2030, growth in regional employment and opportunities for Māori forestry and wood manufacturing in the regions,” said Russell.

Forestry and wood manufacturing collectively is New Zealand’s third largest export earner and relies largely on radiata pine, which is not well suited to some higher value applications.

Plantations of species, such as eucalypts, Douglas-fir, and cypresses, already exist in New Zealand but the opportunities to turn these resources into high value products sought by global markets have been limited by processing challenges, geographic spread and lack of scale.

“These species can supply markets that demand chemical free, stiff and attractive timbers from sustainable resources,” said Russell.

The aims of the FFR programme are to: (i) transform processing options for eucalypts, Douglas-fir, and cypresses to produce high-value specialty wood products; (ii) develop improved Eucalypt breeding stock that will overcome the current problems of growth strain, checking and collapse; and (iii) develop a new, naturally durable eucalypt and cypress resource.

The programme will benefit the country top to bottom, says Russell, and regional strategies will focus on ensuring the viability of this new industry.

“There must be sustainable harvests of sufficient volume from existing forests, or new forests, planted within economic range of processing plants to support local industry. Our key investors have existing routes to market through their international market connections ensuring the research is well aligned to market needs.

“Scientists, engineers, seedling producers, foresters and wood manufacturers will come together to develop new export-oriented opportunities that will make New Zealand a recognised supplier of superior, high-performance wood products,” he said.

The 7-year long research programme represents a total $13.8M investment comprising $710,000 pa from MBIE’s Biological Industries Fund, $710,000 pa from the forestry industry, $550,000 pa from Scion Core Funding and support from the School of Forestry, University of Canterbury.

The programme is set to start on 1 July 2015.

Major industry investors are Southwood Exports, Juken NZ Ltd, Ernslaw One, Forest Growers’ Levy Trust, Blakely Pacific, Timberlands and Proseed. Science partners in the new venture are Scion, University of Canterbury and the New Zealand Dryland Forests Initiative.

Programme Steering Group Chair Peter Berg says this investment in research will deliver future harvests with predictable quality and high-value for domestic and international specialty markets.

“We are looking long-term and predict annual export returns of $3.6B by 2050,” Peter said.

Future Forests Research Limited (FFR) is an industry-owned company established in 2008 to facilitate collaborative research for the forest industry to create New Zealand wide benefits. .


For further information, please contact:
Russell Dale
FOA Research & Development Manager
Phone: +6479217258 mobile +64274938061

Fri, 28/11/2014 - 09:02

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and Future Forests Research Limited (FFR) commissioned an independent progress review of Steep Land Harvesting—a Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) programme—which you’ve previously featured in Friday Offcuts. Steep Land Harvesting is led by FFR. These progress reviews are a standard part of the monitoring of PGP programmes.

Wed, 20/08/2014 - 13:14

 Media release—Remote controlled tree felling trial shows promise

Mon, 14/10/2013 - 10:09

Future Forests Research celebrates research achievements