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Science awards for Scion

Australian timber industry news - Tue, 06/12/2022 - 23:56
Scion’s leadership in forestry science, bioplastics research and biotechnology has been celebrated by Scion and its peers at the Science New Zealand Awards. Source: Timberbiz Scientists from all seven Crown Research Institutes and Callaghan Innovation were represented at the ceremony held in Parliament on Tuesday night. The awards are in three categories – Early Career Researcher, Lifetime Achievement, and Team. Each Science New Zealand member names a recipient in each category and a panel of independent judges chooses a Supreme Award winner from the 24 awardees. Scion’s awardee for Individual/Lifetime Achievement is Principal Researcher Dr Mike Watt for his leadership in forest science, Scion’s awardee for Early Career Researcher is biopolymer scientist Dr Angelique Greene, and our awardee for the Team Award is the biotechnology team that collaborated with a company in 2021 to support work that explored an experimental Covid-19 vaccine. Scion chief executive Dr Julian Elder says the awards showed the depth and breadth of talent across Crown scientists, including Scion, and lifted the profile of their impactful research for New Zealand. “Most scientists quietly work behind the scenes, but this is a chance to celebrate their achievements and recognise their extraordinary contributions to various industries and New Zealand’s economy. “For Scion, it’s fantastic to see Mike’s expertise recognised, and the creativity and problem-solving ability that Angelique brings to her work every day at Scion. What’s more, this year’s Scion Team award recipients showcase our capabilities in biotechnology, a cutting-edge research area at Scion where we are making our mark and delivering wonderful results.” Scion Principal Researcher Dr Mike Watt received one of eight Individual/Lifetime Achievement Awards for his distinguished scientific career spanning more than two decades. During this time, he has made significant contributions to several research areas with notable influence within the areas of forest science, weed management, forest growth modelling and, most recently, remote sensing. He has produced 173 peer-reviewed publications across a range of topics connected to forestry, making him one of our country’s most prolific and trusted forest researchers. His scientific explorations have advanced knowledge of our nation’s forest estates, providing opportunities for industry to translate his research into practice – adding enormously to the health and economic value of plantation forests across Aotearoa. A globally recognised expert in his field, Dr Watt’s expertise and research leadership will continue to be sought-after by forest managers needing a competitive edge. An Early Career Researcher Award was presented to Dr Angelique Greene, one of Scion’s most creative and productive emerging scientists since joining Scion’s Biopolymers and Chemicals team four years ago. Angelique received her PhD in chemistry in 2016 and is already leading several major research projects and making important contributions to others. Her keen sense for immediate commercial impact has been demonstrated through the success of her Innovation Jumpstart project that developed into a collaboration with Auckland-based filament manufacturer Imagin Plastics. Together with Scion, and with very significant input from Angelique, they have developed an innovative new product targeting users of home 3D printers. The Team Award was the third category and Scion’s awardee was the CVC Vaccine Biotech Team. The interdisciplinary team partnered with CVC (Covid-19 Vaccine Corporation Ltd) to contribute to the global fight against SARS-CoV-2 by helping to develop and manufacture an experimental Covid-19 vaccine. The team worked through early stages of the pandemic with CVC to fast-track the production of vaccine prototypes that CVC took into pre-clinical testing. Scion’s team designed fermentation techniques to produce vaccine material, cultivating it in fermenters before purifying it for further testing offshore. Scion’s resources and expertise working with PHA-producing bacteria, combined with the ability to work flexibly in the face of a global health challenge, was critical to CVC achieving proof of concept for their strategy. Scion team members included Taryn Saggese, Mark West, Alyesha Candy, David Hooks, Diahanna O’Callahan, Christophe Collet, Sumanth Ranganathan, and Gareth Lloyd-Jones.  

New Improved Forest Management accounting method approved

Australian timber industry news - Tue, 06/12/2022 - 23:55
A first-of-its-kind carbon accounting methodology for Improved Forest Management designed to provide more measurable proof of climate impact and to solve access challenges for small forest landowners has officially been approved for use. Source: Timberbiz Developed by the American Forest Foundation and The Nature Conservancy to be used for the organizations’ Family Forest Carbon Program (FFCP), the methodology was approved by Verra’s Verified Carbon Standard, the world’s most widely used voluntary greenhouse gas program, after a rigorous, multi-year evaluation process. “Empowering family forest owners to adopt climate-smart forestry plays a critical role in fighting climate change,” said Rita Hite, president and CEO of American Forest Foundation. “The approval of the Family Forest Carbon Program’s pioneering methodology unlocks the potential for landowners to meet the need for more transparent, credible and trustworthy carbon programs.” This is the first forestry methodology verified by Verra to use an innovative concept called a dynamic baseline rather than a projected baseline. The methodology compares the carbon sequestered on lands enrolled in a carbon program to a control group, or synthetic composite, of highly similar forests that are not enrolled in the program. By measuring the difference between the forests over time, the methodology isolates the program as the key intervention that can be credited with creating the carbon benefit. This provides more discernable proof of additionality. A project has additionality only if the carbon sequestration and storage would not have occurred absent the project. “The concept of dynamic baselines has been around for a while, but it took years of hard work and scientific consultation on the part of AFF, TNC, and TerraCarbon to turn those concepts into a rigorous methodology that works in the forestry sector,” said Spencer Plumb, Manager, Forest Carbon Innovation at Verra. “This is the kind of innovation that ensures the continued evolution of carbon markets, and it could lead to a dramatic expansion of IFM practices in countries with national forest inventories.” The Family Forest Carbon Program (FFCP) is uniquely designed to help owners of forests as small as 30 acres participate in carbon projects. Traditionally, forest carbon projects have been created on properties of 5,000 acres or more, meaning owners of small forest properties have been kept out of 99% of forest carbon projects. This is due to the high upfront costs and complexity of launching these projects. Yet 61% of the climate mitigation potential in U.S. forests lies within these smaller, family-owned pieces of land. The FFCP, thanks in part to its new methodology, removes market entry barriers for owners of small forest properties, allowing them to address climate change while earning income from their land. “Confronting the climate emergency requires an all-in strategy,” said Jennifer Morris, CEO of The Nature Conservancy. “Families and individuals own 39% of America’s forests and must be part of the climate solution. This new methodology not only makes it easier for these forest owners to join the fight against climate change, but it also ensures transparent, measurable and meaningful carbon reductions.” In 2021, international leaders called for greater transparency and accuracy in carbon accounting to ensure the integrity of voluntary carbon markets. AFF and TNC’s new methodology will be available for use by other carbon projects in any of the 112 countries with a national forest inventory system. The Family Forest Carbon Program is currently enrolling landowners in Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont and West Virginia with plans to expand to additional regions next year. The program will hold its first measurement and verification cycle using the new methodology in early 2023, leading to the first transfer of verified carbon credits to buyers thereafter.

Festival still showing Heyfield’s true colors

Australian timber industry news - Tue, 06/12/2022 - 23:53
The Heyfield Timber Festival is on again next year following this year’s success after a 27-year hiatus. Source: Timberbiz The Festival began several decades ago as a way of recognising the enduring relationship the district has with its forests, and Heyfield’s reliance on the timber industry for its prosperity. But various circumstances meant that the festival ran out of steam until Felicia Stevenson and her small committee stepped in. “We’re supposed to have it last year,” Felicia said. “But because of COVID, we couldn’t have it until February this year.” Next year’s festival will be on February 18. Felicia said that bringing back the festival after so long had been a bit of a gamble. “It was only because my husband and boys work in the timber industry,” she said. But the impending closure of the native timber industry meant she felt that she needed to do something to give a little bit of hope. “I wanted to give a little bit of something for people to come out and have a chat with the oldies. “And I thought, why not just bring back the timber festival. It was only a small committee, and we made that happen.” In the 1980s the festival showcased the process of logging, transport and production or utilisation of the timber, and featured a parade with log trucks, wood chopping competitions, displays of machinery, entertainment and carnival rides. Much of that remains. This year’s event will include the spectacular wood chop event on Saturday, dog jumping, children’s entertainment, country market stalls, food trucks and live bands playing until late. “We try to have something for the kids all the way up to 80-90 year olds,” Felicia said. But the current uncertainty in the native timber continues in the background. “Are we going to have loaded log trucks? What about logs for the wood chop.” So far those problems look like they have been sorted. And next year? “I think we need to do it again,” Felicia said. “It brings people in our community together again, and we’re hoping to do it every year. “But if there’s no timber industry, and there’s no logs trucks, well…” Felicia said it was important that people did not lose sight of the history of the timber industry in Hayfield. “It can happen very quickly and I don’t want that to happen.” For more information or tickets, phone Felicia Stevenson on 0487 359 559.  

Performance Based Standards 2.0 Discussion Paper

Australian timber industry news - Tue, 06/12/2022 - 23:51
The NHVR has released the Performance Based Standards 2.0 Discussion Paper seeking industry input to help shape the future of the PBS scheme – ensuring it continues to lead and promote innovation in the Australian heavy vehicle industry. Source: Timberbiz Road manager webinars will be held from Tuesday 24 January 2023 through to Wednesday 15 February 2023 to consult and seek feedback on the PBS 2.0 Discussion Paper. Feedback from road managers, industry and other PBS stakeholders will ensure that the review of the PBS scheme results in a contemporary framework that supports the next generation of innovative vehicles delivering a more efficient and sustainable freight task. NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto said, “As the freight task keeps growing and we continue to be challenged by driver shortages, it is essential that we do everything we can to improve accessibility to safer and more productive heavy vehicles and encourage innovative approaches to move goods. “The Discussion Paper has a strong focus on working with road managers to open up increased access for PBS vehicles, so they can operate on the same networks as their conventional equivalents, provide certainty of access for these vehicles, and eliminate the need for permits. The NHVR’s preferred option presented in the PBS 2.0 Discussion Paper comprises of three key components that will: • ensure PBS vehicles remain at the forefront of innovation through the dynamic management of PBS Standards • create a ‘lifecycle’ for a PBS vehicle from initial concept through to exit from the PBS scheme for common and mature design concepts • expedite end-to-end approval processes through opportunities for third parties – such as, assessors, certifiers and manufacturers – to support delivery of regulatory functions. To read the Discussion Paper, register for a webinar or find out how to submit your views, visit www.nhvr.gov.au/pbs2-0 The consultation period will close at 5pm on Friday 17 February 2023. For more about the PBS scheme, visit www.nhvr.gov.au/pbs

Donated timber improves Tumbarumba school and community facilities

Australian timber industry news - Tue, 06/12/2022 - 23:50
A partnership between Forestry Corporation of NSW, Pentarch Forestry and the Tumbarumba community has seen donated timber enhance facilities at Tumbarumba Carcoola Children’s Centre and Tumbarumba Public School.  Source: Timberbiz The partnership has seen renewable resources used to benefit children and the community, said Forestry Corporation’s Billie-Jo Brown. “It’s great to see the Tumbarumba Carcoola Children’s Centre use this timber to create screens to beautify their playgrounds, provide shade and privacy, and give a talking point for kids and families,” Ms Brown said. “Likewise Tumbarumba Primary School has used the donated timber to rebuild a number of old playground benches. “Some of them may well have been around when I was a student there in the early nineties.” The Community Timber Partnerships program saw donated timber used to improve community facilities across the state. “This program was formed to salvage around 1,000 cubic metres of flooring and decking products impacted by the Murwillumbah floods in 2017,” Ms Brown said. “When we heard about such a large volume of timber being written off, in some cases for damage as minor as water staining, we were determined to salvage it for local community projects. “We’re working with a range of community groups to give the timber a new lease of life and create renewable, durable, beautiful timber facilities for many more local communities to enjoy.” The Community Timber Partnerships Project is endorsed by Planet Ark, under their Make it Wood program. To find out more please visit www.forestrycorporation.com.au

Opal preparing for Christmas Eve stand downs

Australian timber industry news - Tue, 06/12/2022 - 23:49
Opal Australian Paper is preparing to stand down workers at its Maryvale mill on Christmas Eve, in the wake of a pulp-log shortage brought on by environmentalists’ legal action. Source: Weekly Times “VicForests’ operations remain suspended and as a result, the lack of wood supply is continuing to impact the Maryvale Mill,” Opal stated. “We anticipate that our white paper production may be potentially impacted from the third week of December onwards. “As a consequence, temporary stand downs or a reduction in working arrangements affecting a small number of work groups at the Maryvale Mill may become necessary.” About 220 of the mill’s 850 workers operate Maryvale’s white paper processing and converting room, producing the company’s signature Reflex copy paper from mainly native forest hardwood pulp logs. The Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union has called on the federal and Victorian governments to immediately intervene to protect the 220 workers’ jobs. “We’re calling on the Victorian government to change the Forest Code and allow harvesting to recommence as quickly as possible; assist Opal to identify and access alternate wood fibre supply, including freight subsidies where necessary,” CFMEU Pulp and Paper workers district secretary Denise Campbell-Burns said. She said the union wanted the Andrews government to also facilitate an immediate meeting with Opal and the CFMEU Manufacturing Division “to identify long-term wood fibre access that provides our members with the ongoing job security they deserve”. VicForests, which supplies Maryvale and 12 saw mills, halted harvest last month in its most productive forests, the Central Highlands and East Gippsland, following a Supreme Court ruling. Justice Melinda Richards ordered all coupes to be resurveyed to protect greater and yellow-bellied gliders, and slashed the amount of timber able to be harvested in coupes where the possum was detected. The re-survey work will take months, with VicForests and Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning bureaucrats pointing their fingers at each other on who is responsible. Harvest and haulage contractors have warned that even if the survey work is redone, the gliders are so common most coupes will be unviable. Meanwhile, VicForests has moved to stop harvesting in the Tambo region, to protect itself from legal action, until it sorts out what it can do in the wake of the judgement. The CFMEU has accused Victoria’s Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning of undermining attempts to source logs for the Maryvale mill, a claim it denies.

HomeGround wins top NZ award

Australian timber industry news - Tue, 06/12/2022 - 23:46
New Zealand’s tallest mass timber icon – The Auckland City Mission HomeGround building  – has been named the New Zealand Institute of Architects’ 2022 John Scott Award winner. Source: Timberbiz HomeGround’s main structural system is locally sourced Cross Laminated Timber, a prefabricated response that minimised embodied energy, structural depths, construction time and onsite labour. The building is at the forefront of multi-level, engineered-timber construction and sustainability in Aotearoa New Zealand. The multi-storey facility includes 80 supportive housing units and wrap-around services including a medical centre, detoxification centre, education and training facilities, emergency support and meal services, budgeting advice and other support networks. Built Environs’ scope of work also included demolition of three existing buildings and refurbishment of the heritage-listed Prince of Wales building. The design was an innovative Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) solution for most of the structure – a strong, lightweight and sustainable material. The building is the tallest CLT building in New Zealand.

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by Dr. Radut