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Forest Products Industry

Short range remote control adds safety to handling jobs

Australian timber industry news - 13 hours 28 min ago
An advanced Short Range Remote Control solution designed by Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) and CE Engineering Solutions is delivering increased safety, visibility and flexibility. Source: Timberbiz Now offered on request on the EC250E, EC300E and EC350E excavators, the technology provides a powerful solution for customers working in dangerous or difficult jobsites or for those working in environments where operators need an up-close view of the task itself. Customers in North America and Europe who are already enjoying the benefits of this function have remarked on its ease of use and enhanced safety provision and the fact it can be easily integrated into their operations. With this solution, customers can operate their excavator in areas where there is a risk of falling objects or where the machine may roll over, such as on demolition jobs. It is also useful for applications where there is a risk of dangerous movement of the machine, for example in areas with poor ground conditions. Other situations where the Short Range Remote Control can be put to use include tasks where operators need to keep a closer eye on the tool attached to the excavator. This not only provides a better view with increased precision, but also replaces the need for another worker. In addition, the system also enables an improved view for the operator in situations where the view from the cab is deficient. The function can operate over a 100-meter distance, more than sufficient in order to still maintain a close eye on the machine during remote operation. Two-way communication via a radio transmitter and radio receiver allows the operator to communicate electronically with the machine. The system can be easily turned on and off via a switch inside the cab and a light beacon on the outside of the machine alerts those on site as to whether or not the remote operation mode is in use. The agile system development by CE Engineering Solutions allows for the remote control solution to be completely customized and adapted for unique customer specifications on request. While it is so far only available on the EC250E, EC300E and EC350E excavators, it is expected that the range will be increased in the future. For now, the Short Range Remote Control is offered on request to Volvo dealers in global markets where these excavator models are available.

Tree rings are a combination of all that surrounds a tree

Australian timber industry news - 13 hours 29 min ago
Tree rings record annual growth and the environment in which the tree has lived now a new study by Cameron Lee and Matthew Dannenberg that employed machine learning shows that air masses surrounding the tree also make a significant impact. Source: Timberbiz Tree-ring widths depend on the weather a particular tree experiences and are a direct indicator of tree growth and tree health. Often, the relationship between tree rings and weather are described using temperature, precipitation, or drought indices. However, a tree is exposed not just to temperature and/or precipitation alone, but to all weather elements acting together, which can be defined as an air mass. In this research article titled Frequencies of Multivariate Air Masses Drive Tree Growth, the authors explored how air masses impact tree growth at over 900 locations across the Northern Hemisphere. They found that tree-ring widths are significantly related to the frequency of certain air masses, especially a Dry and Warm air mass, and a Humid and Cool air mass. Further, they found that air masses often affect tree growth more strongly than temperature and precipitation alone, up to a year prior to when the tree ring grew. Air mass information could therefore help in forecasting tree/forest health. Key points in their study were: Tree-ring widths are significantly related to variability in air mass frequency (number of daily occurrences) in the year preceding growth The air masses that impact tree-ring widths the most are dry, dry-warm, and humid-cool air masses, especially in relatively hot locations Air mass models explain more variability in tree-ring widths than models based on temperature and precipitation for most sites and species The paper can be found at https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2022JG007064

FSC withdraws remaining forest management certificates in Russia

Australian timber industry news - 13 hours 29 min ago
The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) announced the withdrawal of the remaining forest management certificates in Russia by the respective certification bodies. This is due to the decision by Assurance Services International (ASI) to terminate its FSC assurance activities in Russia. Source: Timberbiz ASI’s decision will enter into force on 1 May 2023 and will be re-evaluated once the conditions allow for assurance again. Based on the risk assessment conducted by ASI, the main reason is the increasing integrity risk in the country as the security for the people involved in oversight activities in Russia can no longer be guaranteed. In addition, there are limitations to operating in the country as a result of the restricted access and sanctions. With the termination of ASI’s oversight activities in Russia, certification bodies will no longer be accredited for auditing against the FSC standards in the country. This withdrawal of all FSC certificates in Russia follows last year’s decision by the FSC International Board to apply measures leading to the suspension of certificates allowing for the trade in FSC certified materials and products in Russia and Belarus, which was made in the immediate aftermath of the invasion. The suspended certificates will now also be withdrawn after 12 months of suspension, at the latest on 8 April 2023. FSC International deeply regrets being unable to maintain forest management certification in Russia and remains focused on upholding the protection of forests with High Conservation Values (HCV) and Intact Forest Landscapes. The pre-war state of these valuable forests will provide a critical baseline to evaluate their responsible management during the absence of forest management certification. FSC will not accept the conversion of forests, especially those of High Conservation Values, which must remain intact. Regarding other voluntary certification schemes that have emerged in Russia, FSC will not endorse such initiatives. However, FSC will not stand in the way of any committed organization that is mission driven and stakeholder focused and that seeks to use equally rigorous requirements to uphold sustainable forest management. FSC hopes that sustainable forest management practices will be upheld in Russia and will be supportive of such efforts. FSC remains committed to continue engaging with FSC International members in Russia, forest owners and organizations that share its values, and hopes that maintaining dialogue with these stakeholders will facilitate the return of FSC certification to Russia. FSC acknowledges that the prolonged crisis affects supply chains for FSC certificate holders around the world and will continue strategic efforts together with partners and members to address the gap.

OFO forestry photo comp for students

Australian timber industry news - 13 hours 30 min ago
OneFortyOne has launched its annual photo competition, asking local students to share what they love about the forest. Source: Timberbiz External Affairs Manager Charlene Riley said the competition aims to encourage students to get outside, explore the forest, and connect with their local environment. “Pine forests are part of the local landscape and people might be surprised at the types of plants and animals they find inside the plantations. We want to encourage people to get out and explore.” Along with entering photos, students will again be asked to submit 50-200 words to share what they love about the forest. “Each year we receive some amazing photo entries,” Ms Riley said. “The highlight of the competition for us is reading the stories students submit.” “The panel are really looking forward to seeing what entries come in this year.” Winners will be selected in primary school, and secondary school categories, and awarded with their choice of a new iPad Air, DJI drone, or GoPro. This year, in collaboration with the District Council of Grant, some entries will be also exhibited at the Mount Gambier Airport gallery space. “The photos and stories are always so great, we can’t keep them to ourselves,” Ms Riley said. “We’re going to pick our favourites, based on both the photo and the accompanying story, to display at the airport to welcome visitors to the area, and welcome locals home.” To enter, send photos, together with a completed entry form to weloveforests@onefortyone.com For more information including terms, conditions, and entry forms, see the OFO website under Community at www.onefortyone.com Entries close 1 May 2023.

MBA’s monthly inflation indicator – inflation has eased

Australian timber industry news - 13 hours 31 min ago
This week’s monthly inflation indicator for February 2023 is another reminder of how we risk entrenching inflation without appropriately addressing supply-side hurdles, says Master Builders Australia CEO Denita Wawn. Source: Timberbiz “The annual rate of inflation has eased back to 6.8%, down from 7.4% in January. While this is a welcome sign that the inflation figures look to have peaked, the rate of decline is happening far too slowly. “Over the year to February, the cost of new dwelling purchases was still up by 13% and serves as a reminder of how tackling home building cost pressures more aggressively could contribute to lowering inflation across the economy,” said Ms Wawn. “Inflation is a hidden tax on everything. It makes people and businesses poorer by eating into our savings and making investments by business less attractive. “It is particularly bad for construction because of the higher capital requirements for the work we do and how closely construction activity is tied to private sector investment decisions. “The cost of housing is not determined in isolation and is heavily influenced by the delivery of critical infrastructure and key non-residential building activity which enables it. “Unlike most cost items, rental prices have failed to decelerate during February and are now 4.8% higher than a year ago. “While monetary policy using interest rate rises is starting to show fruits with consumer spending power, the most sustainable solution to the inflationary problem lies on the supply side, by bringing down the cost of doing business. “This requires issues like labour shortages, materials costs, and the regulatory burden to be dealt with in a focused and urgent manner. “We need to speed up the rollout of new housing stock on the medium and high-density side of the market to help bring rental inflation down. Housing affordability in the rental market is a growing source of stress for many households. “Insufficient supply of titled residential land, high developer charges and inflexible planning laws are also preventing new home building projects from getting off the starting blocks. “We hope all levels of government pull out all stops to tackling this very real challenge and ensure legislation that supports housing affordability and home building, like the Housing Australia Future Fund Bill is passed without delay.”

SA prepares a study tour of mass timber buildings in Brisbane

Australian timber industry news - 13 hours 31 min ago
  The South Australian Forest Product Association (SAFPA) is leading a mass timber building study tour to Brisbane in April as an opportunity for industry, business leaders and government decision makers, to witness first-hand how mass timber buildings can be integrated into future projects. Source: Timberbiz To be held over two days on 18-19 April, SAFPA has secured site tours of three amazing examples of mass timber buildings across the office and residential asset classes all of which used engineered wood products, with CLT as the main building material to construct these modern and environmentally friendly buildings. The tour will particularly focus on 25 King Street and the Monterey Kangaroo Point Apartment. 25 King is the tallest engineered timber building in Australia. It is just one metre shy of the world’s tallest timber building, Brock Commons in Vancouver, designed by Acton Ostry Architects, which was completed in 2016. Engineered timber was used throughout 25 King, with a six metre by eight metre grid of exposed glue-laminated timber (glulam) columns with cross-laminated timber (CLT) cladding, as well as CLT flooring. The building features open office spaces across 10 floors, with exposed services. The offices make up the largest gross floor area for an engineered timber building in the world. The Monterey Kangaroo Point Apartments building in Brisbane is Australia’s tallest engineered timber residential tower. The nine-story building features cross-laminated timber (CLT), which is solid-sawn timber bonded together in transverse and longitudinal layers with structural adhesives to produce thick panels. Panels provide similar strength and stiffness to concrete and steel, while also improving fire performance. Delegates on the tour will meet with developers, architects, engineers and government decision makers to understand how this building material can be used in future projects whilst decarbonising our built environment. Engineered timber products are increasingly being used in Australia and internationally, as this structurally sound material brings a combination of benefits and factors to the construction industry, particularly cost-effectiveness, liveability, efficiency of construction, and more importantly, it’s a product that offers environmental benefits as it’s a sustainable, carbon neutral building material. With thanks to our tour partners, NeXTimber and Aurecon, SAFPA looks forward to showcasing how Engineered Wood Products like CLT will provide mass timber building solutions for our construction industry. For more about this tour, contact SAFPA’s CEO, Nathan Paine; Nathan.paine@safpa.com.au or call 0448 445 177.

Report shows Tassie forests are in good shape

Australian timber industry news - 13 hours 33 min ago
The 2022 Tasmanian State of the Forests report released on Thursday has backed the forest industry’s management of the state’s forest assets and recognises the good work of industry in protecting the environment. Source: Timberbiz Released every five years, the State of the Forest Report presents a quantifiable snapshot of the state of Tasmanian forest assets, both public and private, native and plantation. The new snapshot shows the forest industry continues to manage the estate effectively, and continues to be environmentally sound, according to Tasmanian Forest Products Association (TFPA) Chief Executive Officer, Nick Steel. “The Tasmanian forestry industry can be rightfully proud following the release of this report,” Mr Steel said. “This snapshot shows Tasmania’s forests remain in great shape and backs the management of Tasmanian forests by the forestry industry. “It shows more pristine wilderness has been permanently protected across the state, and that our management of productive lands continues to protect Tasmania’s unique flora and fauna. “In fact, the report shows that 59% of our native forests, 99% of high-quality wilderness and 88% of old growth forests are protected in the reserve network.” Mr Steel also said the report shows that Tasmanian forestry is key in the state’s commitment to carbon neutrality. “The report actually shows that the carbon sequestration has fallen, as more land is protected and matures,” Mr Steel said. “This is because mature forests don’t capture carbon at the same rate of growing forests. “By carefully managing forestry in appropriate areas it means we can increase our state’s carbon storage credentials. “On productive land, every tree is replanted or regenerated, and will sequester carbon as it grows. “That carbon then remains in the wood for the life of its use, proving once again that forestry really is the ultimate renewable. “Forestry is a key component in the economic and environmental success story of Tasmania, and the industry is pleased its work has been recognised by this report.” The report can be read here.

Feds guarantee support for native forestry products

Australian timber industry news - 13 hours 35 min ago
The Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) has welcomed the Federal Government’s explicit guarantee that projects involving the processing of native forestry products will be eligible for support under the newly established National Reconstruction Fund. Source: Timberbiz The Bill, which is aimed at increasing Australia’s manufacturing base and dependence on imports, received support from the crossbench and will invest $15-billion dollars into the Australian manufacturing industry. The $15 billion Fund will provide loans, guarantees and equity to support projects that create secure well-paid jobs, drive regional development, and invest in our national sovereign capability, broadening and diversifying Australia’s economy. The National Reconstruction Fund will be administered by an independent board with government setting its mandate to drive investment in key sectors focusing on value adding and capability development to leverage Australia’s natural and competitive strengths including: Value add in resources: Expand our mining science technology, ensure a greater share of the raw materials we extract are processed here, for example, high purity alumina from red mud in bauxite processing or lithium processing for batteries. Value add in the agriculture, forestry and fisheries sectors: Ensure we unlock potential and value add to our raw materials in sectors like food processing, and textiles, clothing and footwear manufacturing. Transport: Develop our capabilities in transport manufacturing and supply chains including for cars, trains and shipbuilding. Medical science: Fulfil our potential, given our world leading research, in providing essential supplies such as medical devices, and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), medicines and vaccines. Renewables and low emission technologies: Pursue commercial opportunities including from; components for wind turbines; production of batteries and solar panels; new livestock feed to reducing methane emissions; modernising steel and aluminium; hydrogen electrolysers, and innovative packaging solutions for waste reduction. Defence capability: Maximise our requirements being sourced from Australian suppliers employing Australian workers, whether they be technology, infrastructure or skills, complimenting Labor’s Defence Industry Development Strategy. Enabling capabilities: Support key enabling capabilities across engineering, data science, software development including FinTech, EdTech, AI and robotics. AFPA CEO Joel Fitzgibbon thanked Tasmanian Senators Jacqui Lambie and Tammy Tyrrell for their efforts to support native forestry during negotiations on the legislation. “The Greens amendments removing sustainable native forest harvesting eligibility under the NRF legislation was a stunt with no practical effect but with JLN support we were able to secure comfort on the value-adding front,” Mr Fitzgibbon said. “I also thank Coalition MPs and Senators for their ongoing support for our sector. “Australia’s sustainable native forest industries should be recognised as a beacon, operating to world class environmental standards while producing essential products that we cannot live without. They also employ many thousands of people, especially in rural and regional Australia and allow Australians to access essential native timber and fibre products that would otherwise come from less environmentally reputable supply chains internationally. “I look forward to continuing to work with all Members and Senators across our Federal Parliament to ensure a strong, resilient and sustainable future for Australia’s world class native forest industries,” Mr Fitzgibbon said.

Opinion: Nick Steele – Build with timber for the community and economy

Australian timber industry news - 13 hours 35 min ago
Building out of timber not only makes your home more beautiful, but it also creates a positive outcome for the environment, writes Nick Steel. When the University of Tasmania designed new buildings at their campuses in Hobart, Invermay and Burnie, they embraced Tasmanian timber – a smart move on their part. Not only is Tasmanian timber a great way of supporting the local community, it’s also aesthetically pleasing… and great for the state’s environment too. The University knew that by embracing the use of local timber they were sequestering carbon in every piece of wood used. But more than that, they knew that by using timber they were creating up to 40% less greenhouse gas emissions than by using other building materials. The use of steel or concrete would have created more than double the emissions of timber during their creation. And the use of steel or concrete would not store any carbon after the buildings’ completion – unlike timber, which locks the carbon it has sequestered away for the life of the building. But it gets better, as using timber has double the impact, because the Tasmanian timber industry replants or regrows at least one new tree for every one harvested, which in turn captures more carbon while it grows. It meant the university could meet their strategy to utilise renewable, carbon-neutral building materials with 100% sustainable forestry practices. And they did all this, whilst showcasing the sense of calm and warmth Tasmanian timber products create throughout their campuses. It’s an idea that is catching on around the world. The word “sustainability” is appearing more and more frequently in architecture briefs these days, as clients become increasingly aware of the importance of environmentally sensitive sustainable design. This push for more sustainable and low-carbon building solutions and materials has led to an increased demand for using timber in construction and design, which has in turn led to development of new and sustainable timber products. The Tasmanian Government’s Wood Encouragement Policy is delivering these positive outcomes to public building across our state. But more can be done. Local government and State departments across Tasmania could take a positive step to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by encouraging, or mandating, the use of Tasmanian timber products for all residential, commercial and industrial builds across the state. With both the Federal and State governments committing to major housing projects in Tasmania over the next decade, favouring the use of timber for every home could ensure we continue to lock up carbon, reduce our emissions and help the Tasmanian economy thrive. Timber is the ultimate renewable and should be at the forefront of all new building development in Tasmania – both government and private. The idea is great for the community, the economy, as well as the environment. Nick Steel is the CEO of the Tasmanian Forest Products Association.  

Friday analysis: Unusual friendships in the wind in Gippsland’s HVP plantations

Australian timber industry news - 13 hours 37 min ago
At long last, the way ahead is clear for the first wind farm to be built in a plantation in Australia. The Supreme Court in Victoria has ruled the proposed 2000 megawatt Delburn wind farm in the Strzelecki Ranges can go ahead after a community group, Strezlecki Community Alliance, had challenged the approval of the Delburn wind farm, alleging permits breached a local planning requirement not to build wind farm infrastructure within five kilometres of the urban areas of Moe, Morwell and Traralgon. Supreme Court Justice Melinda Richards found no part of the wind farm was within 5km of the three towns. “The permits granted by the Minister on 27 March 2022 are not contrary to the five-kilometre prohibition in clause 52.32 of the Latrobe Planning Scheme,” Justice Richards wrote in her decision. “The proceeding must therefore be dismissed.” Although wind farms have caused controversy across Australia for some time because of concerns over bird strikes, noise and visual pollution, the win for the Delburn project is a victory for logic. Overlooking the site of the dismantled Hazelwood Power Station, the Delburn wind farm project will be on plantation land in the Delburn area covering the HVP Plantations’ Thorpdale tree farm. OSMI Australia, which is behind the project says the Delburn Wind Farm will provide more than 186 full time jobs during construction and 24 ongoing jobs during its 30-year operational life. The 33 towers will be 160 metres high with the blades spanning 90 metres in length which will generate 200 megawatts of power. What was particularly surprising was the response from the Friends of the Earth. The Friends of the Earth said building a wind farm in a plantation site was an effective way to protect the natural environment as the plantation is already a highly modified industrial site. “Our energy system is changing, the Latrobe Valley has a proud history of energy production, and it is great to see that the Valley will continue to play a part in Victoria’s energy production” said Wendy Farmer, Latrobe Valley resident and community organiser for Friends of the Earth Melbourne. Now that was a surprise. Maybe, just maybe, the Friends of the Earth might come around to supporting the timber industry as a whole in the name of carbon capture and responsible environmental management. Probably not.


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by Dr. Radut