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Forest Products IIII - Mon, 02/08/2021 - 07:32

Pentarch purchases two sawmills after buying Boral’s timber business

Australian timber industry news - Mon, 02/08/2021 - 04:09
The Pentarch Group has purchased the assets of Dormit Pty Ltd which operates two sawmills and associated operations located at Dandenong South and Swifts Creek in Victoria. Source: Timberbiz It processes hardwood logs primarily for pallet production with final processing occurring in Dandenong. Dormit is Australia’s largest manufacturer of wooden pallets, up to 1.2 million units per annum, supplying the majority of CHEP Australia’s pallet requirements. Pentarch will continue the supply of wooden pellets to CHEP, cementing Dormit’s 30+ year relationship with the company. This acquisition solidifies Pentarch’s strategic commitment to invest and expand its forestry holdings. It adds to the recently announced agreement to buy Boral Limited’s hardwood and softwood business in New South Wales and compliments the greenfields sawmilling operation Pentarch is developing in Eden, NSW. A briquette plant is also under development in Eden alongside Pentarch’s existing chipping and log export operations. “The strategic acquisition of both Dormit and Boral Timber alongside our other developments, places the Pentarch Group in an enviable position for future growth and diversification,” Paul Heubner, CEO Pentarch Forestry said. “Late last year we also purchased the assets of a wood testing laboratory, Wood Industry Technical Services Ltd (WITS – now Pentarch Technical Services) based in Kawerau, New Zealand. We are looking to invest in and provide end-to-end forestry services and we are actively seeking new opportunities across both countries,” he said. Pentarch’s purchase of Dormit took effect from 26 July 2021.

Australian 737 airtanker sent to fight US wildfires

Australian timber industry news - Mon, 02/08/2021 - 02:18
Australia has sent a jet air tanker to the United States to help fight wildfires in the US. Source: Associated Press Officials at the National Interagency Fire Centre in Boise said that the Boeing 737 from the New South Wales Rural Fire Service had arrived. The jet is being made available through an agreement between the US Department of Agriculture and Australia. The airtanker has two internal tanks with a capacity of 4,000 gallons, classifying it as a large air tanker. The aircraft is named Marie Bashir after Dame Marie Bashir, the former governor of New South Wales. “We greatly appreciate having this air tanker from the New South Wales Rural Fire Service assisting us,” said Kim Christensen, deputy assistant director for operations for the US Forest Service. “We’re proud of the long history of cooperation we have with Australia and other countries.” The centre moved to national preparedness level 5. That’s the highest level and means firefighting resources are stretched thin due to multiple large wildfires burning in the US West. The centre said that there were 82 large, active fires in 13 states that have burned 2,600 square miles. More than 21,500 firefighters and support personnel are currently mobilized to fight the wildfires. So far this year, wildfires have burned more than 5,300 square miles.

Sweden on the verge of war among forestry and activists

Australian timber industry news - Mon, 02/08/2021 - 02:18
More than two-thirds of Sweden is covered by trees, and that’s turning the country into a battleground between loggers and climate activists. The spark is the EU’s new Forest Strategy. It aims to boost biodiversity, limit burning trees for energy, protect remaining old growth forests from logging and plant 3 billion trees as part of the bloc’s effort to slash emissions on the path to its Green Deal goal of becoming climate neutral by 2050. Source: Politico Despite assurances from the European Commission that it isn’t trying to dictate forest policy to member countries, the strategy has set off a furious row in Sweden. On one side are environmentalists and Swedish Green Party lawmakers who say the industry must move away from intensive harvesting of forests and let trees stand to maximize the positive impact they can have on CO2 levels, flood risk and soil quality. They see merit in the EU’s new strategy. “This strategy looks like a good first step, and that isn’t something I often say about environmental stuff coming out of the European Commission,” said Pär Holmgren, a Green Party European parliamentarian. That concern is heightened by soaring temperatures and massive annual forest fires. But the farmer-friendly Swedish Centre Party and a swathe of Swedish forestry companies say the industry has the balance right, and the EU should butt out. The likes of SCA Group, Europe’s largest private forest owner, want to continue logging to supply vast quantities of building materials, fuels, and paper products. They say their trees sequester CO2 while they are growing, and when felled, they can be used to replace more environmentally damaging products — for example switching paper cups for plastic ones or timber beams to replace steel in construction. “For me, it is so obvious that the most important thing that we can do for the climate is to continue to manage our forests in an active way,” said SCA Chief Executive Ulf Larsson. The forest debate is shaking Sweden’s already fragile politics, as both the Greens and the Centre Party back the current left-leaning government. Their spat could upend the government if they refuse to back the fall budget. Social Democrat Prime Minister Stefan Löfven recently asked Business Minister Ibrahim Baylan to try and resolve the policy differences between the Greens and the Centre Party to help the government make it to next year’s scheduled election. Asked what he planned to prioritize, Baylan said: “Forestry policy is the obvious one.” This summer, the catastrophic effects of global warming have become increasingly visible in the form of flash floods in Germany and Belgium and record-smashing heatwaves in the American northwest, as well as across Nordic countries. For Sweden, the debate over forests mixes the global with the intensely local. Small forest owners operate alongside Europe’s biggest timber companies, and in some areas, vast patches of monoculture rub up against ancient untouched tangled bosks. On a recent weekday, piles of tree trunks, stripped of their branches, lay alongside the road in the small central Swedish town of Lidköping. A sticker on one stack showed it was aspen belonging to a nearby landowner, Thomas Arvidsson, to be picked up by a big local processor called Södra. Sweden is the world’s third-largest exporter of pulp, paper and sawn timber, according to forestry lobby group Swedish Forest Industries. Timber employs 70,000 people and a further 50,000 single-person businesses are active in the sector, making it a political heavyweight. In counties like Värmland, on the other side of Lake Vänern from Lidköping, you can drive for hours and barely see a gap in the trees lining the main highway. Critics of the forestry industry say powerful companies like SCA Group, backed by the Centre Party, have for too long been able to dictate to Stockholm and Brussels what constitutes sustainable operations. Green Party MEP Holmgren said that forestry companies’ tendency to plant “fields full of the same type of tree” is bad for biodiversity, while harvesting the wood too quickly to burn as fuel or for use in throwaway cups wastes the true ecological support society could get from forests. “At the moment, too much of the material from forests is made into paper or biofuels which then means that the carbon will be released into the atmosphere as CO2 very fast,” he said. “Then we don’t have the climate benefit.” SCA’s Larsson said that, despite its intensive harvesting methods, the company still plants more trees than it takes, and its clear-cutting of some areas of woodland merely echoes the role of fires in unmanaged forests. For Holmgren, the EU strategy looks like the first real challenge in a long time to the idea that forests should be used, not saved. Pointing to the recent flooding in Germany and Belgium, he said that allowing forests, with their associated wetlands, to endure could help stop similar disasters from happening in other places. He wants European authorities to compile better data on the current state of the Continent’s forests to get a better idea of what is vulnerable and needs protecting. What is key is that the climate and the wider environment must be considered before business and not the other way around, he said. “The most important thing for me and the Swedish Green Party — and this should be the most important thing for everyone — is to realize that without a sustainable ecology, we won’t have a sustainable economy either.”

Bandit introduces a tracked horizontal grinder

Australian timber industry news - Mon, 02/08/2021 - 02:17
Bandit Industries’ new Model 1425 track is a highly productive and compact horizontal grinder. It is equipped with many of the same features as the tow-behind version and by adding tracks it substantially increases the capabilities of this unit. Source: Timberbiz “Since introducing the 1425 Track at the TCIA show in 2018 many customers have asked for a track version” said Bandit Marketing Manager Jason Morey. By making it available with tracks, it can now travel over a variety of landscapes with the durable Caterpillar steel track undercarriage. The Model 1425 track is equipped with a 7’ long x 24” wide steel or rubber belt infeed conveyor and a stationary discharge with a stacking height of 7’. To enhance the machines capabilities, a grinder head or chipper drum can be ordered, giving it the ability to produce mulch or a dimensional chip. When ordered with a grinder head, there are 14 cutter bodies with teeth, creating an aggressive, yet smooth grinding action. While the chipper drum features four chipper knives that will produce a chip ranging from ¼” all the way up to 1”. Like the larger horizontal grinders, the 1425 track is offered with a variety of tooth and screen options. “We have one engine option available on this model,” Mr Morey said. “Customers can now order this machine with a Caterpillar C4.4, 174 horsepower Tier 4 final.” For more information or see it run by visiting www.banditchippers.com

Australia asked to help build Timber Beacon at COP26

Australian timber industry news - Mon, 02/08/2021 - 02:16
Australia’s forest industries are being asked to help build the ‘Timber Beacon’ at COP26 in Glasgow in November, a timber structure to show world leaders that embracing sustainably managed renewable timber industries will help to cut global emissions. Source: Timberbiz The Beacon will be used as a pavilion during COP26 to highlight forest industries to visitors and leaders attending. Its construction is being led by the European Confederation of Woodworking Industries (CEI-Bois) and the UK Timber Trade Federation and they are now calling for financial support from global industry members. “COP26 provides a unique platform to share the message that using timber in construction and increasing the tree estate around the world, will help to meet emissions reductions goals. I’d encourage Australians to support the project as an investment in their future,” Australian Forest Products Association Ross Hampton said. The Director of Public Affairs with CEI-Bos Paul Brannen said: “Increasing the use of timber products is an easy way to help decarbonise construction, renovation, and the wider built environment. We are focused on globally recognised good governance as the key to growing forests around the world.” After COP26 the beacon will be relocated to London for the World of Wood Festival. For more details on sponsorship opportunities contact paul.brannen@cei-bois.org

Howitt Society asks coroner to look at Black Summer bushfires

Australian timber industry news - Mon, 02/08/2021 - 02:15
The Howitt Society has asked the Victorian Coroner to investigate aspects of the catastrophic Black Summer bushfires. Following the fires, the Government of Victoria commissioned a report by the Inspector General for Emergency Management (IGEM) and the Commonwealth Government commissioned a Royal Commission into Natural Disaster Arrangements that included bushfire. Source: Timberbiz “Both inquiries were largely focused on response and recovery and did not address some of the root causes of the fire disaster which are focused around lack of preparedness,” said society secretary Garry Squires. “The IGEM failed to fully cover the requirements of and report on any shortcomings in the government’s fully addressing the requirements of section 5 of the Emergency Management Act, and in particular the requirement to ‘minimize the likelihood, effect and consequences of emergencies’,” he said. The coroner’s office can be requested to investigate any fire for the purpose of finding the causes of the fires and to contribute to the reduction of the number of preventable deaths and fires and the promotion of public health and safety. Should the Howitt Society request be accepted by the coroner, there will be opportunities for any people or organisations who wish to be considered “interested parties” to become involved in the process. “The lack of adequate preparations for a fire emergency is well illustrated by the disastrous outcome at Mallacoota so we have requested that the coroner use that location as a case study,” Mr Squires said. The Howitt Society is a group of experienced land and fire managers, scientists, foresters, anthropologists, historians, past and current stakeholders.

Mr Mann is Ernslaw One’s new CEO

Australian timber industry news - Mon, 02/08/2021 - 02:15
New Zealand’s fourth largest forestry company, Ernslaw One, has appointed Darren Mann to the role of Chief Executive Officer. Source: Timberbiz Mr Mann has a wealth of experience in all facets of forestry operations having been in the industry for nearly 30 years. Previously he was with Rayonier Matariki Forests for 15 years in various roles including most recently as General Manager of Operations. Mr Mann has a long history with Ernslaw One, spending the early part of his career with the company. He returned to the organisation six months ago to take up the role of Chief Operating Officer. He will lead the Ernslaw One team with a strong emphasis on people, safety, operations, technology, environmental and financial performance. He is responsible for delivering the strategic plan while continuing to review and improve all systems and processes within the company. Ernslaw’s Executive Director, Yong Tiong, said Mr Mann’s exceptional experience and credentials will position the company well for the future. “We are focused on a path of growth and improvement as we move into an exciting new phase for the company,” he said. “Darren’s operational expertise combined with his visionary leadership will be a real asset to the business.” Mr Mann takes up his new role immediately.

A new rebate on offer for new commercial agroforestry

Australian timber industry news - Mon, 02/08/2021 - 02:14
The Private Forests Service Levy Rebate is available for privately owned or managed forests certified during the 2021/2022 financial year. The 12-month pilot project is intended to provide an incentive for new commercial agroforestry establishment while raising awareness of the benefits of trees on farms through increased productivity. Source: Timberbiz Tasmanian case studies have found farm systems that include trees are more productive and profitable than agriculture-only enterprises. “Trees can deliver increased primary production productivity while simultaneously growing high value timber products, delivering biofuel, improving water quality and efficiency and improving the carbon balance,” Private Forests Tasmania CEO Penny Wells said. “Trees also protect the land for future generations while growing high value products. “There is a global demand for timber and in Australia, demand for soft wood is expected to double by 2050. Additionally, improvements in technology is unlocking new uses for materials derived from trees,” she said. “Farmers can capitalise on the opportunity to plant trees. Given demand is expected to continue to rise there’s really never been a better time.” The levy is based on the net harvested area of land certified in a forest practices plan. Eligibility is for commercial agroforestry plantings only as defined by ABARES description below. To apply for the rebate and to learn eligibility requirements, private forest growers should visit https://www.treealliance.com.au/resources/grants_and_funding or call 1300 661 009.

NZ forestry contractors call for a workable infrastructure

Australian timber industry news - Mon, 02/08/2021 - 02:13
New Zealand’s Forestry Industry Contractors Association is calling for an all of forestry strategy to deal with the mounting pressure on the entire New Zealand forestry supply chain, currently being highlighted by build-ups at the country’s major ports. Source: Timberbiz The FICA says the situation is far from over and the sector needs to work together to find solutions. Export market demand for New Zealand logs has been strong in recent months, putting extra pressure on our infrastructure, particularly at ports. “I don’t think we have ever tried to deliver the volume of wood that we are, and we are finding out our infrastructure just can’t cope,” FICA CEO Prue Younger said. The growing number of ships waiting to dock at multiple ports across New Zealand is a visible indication of the building supply chain pressure. Starting with Gisborne, build ups have reportedly spreading to Tauranga and Napier more recently. In the case of Gisborne, delays have been compounded by infrastructure upgrades to add a second berth and weather conditions. Ms Younger says delays are not just happening at the ports; the entire forestry supply chain is under pressure and has been for some time. “The delays are evident everywhere, from slow deliveries of imported gear such as personal protective equipment (PPE) and vehicles, to harvesting, trucking and shipping back-logs. The entire supply chain is being stretched,” she said. “While pressure mounts, forestry contractors are caught in the cross-fire. They’re not receiving any compensation, with lost revenue mounting. Many are being stretched to the absolute limit financially. “The latest log price drop is pretty typical of the cycle in logging, where we see prices reach new heights, then drop and stabilise to re-set the market. “The issue is that as an industry, we are lacking a coordinated strategy. We’re just reacting without a plan of response. It’s like the weather – sometimes it’s good and sometimes it’s bad, but if we know the forecast, we can make appropriate plans. “We talk about the need for a pan-industry strategy, but we don’t have one. We keep banging on about working together and through COVID, we did. We need to be coordinated and work together to better manage our supply chain, so we don’t get pulled into this boom or bust mentality yet again.”

National Forestry Planting Day today to grow much needed timber for tomorrow

Australian timber industry news - Mon, 02/08/2021 - 02:12
Australia’s current timber shortage and the challenges it is creating for homeowners, renovators and the building industry highlights the critical importance of National Forestry Planting Day 2021 to increase Australia’s understanding of where our timber comes from as well as the climate benefits of production trees. Source: Timberbiz Australian Forest Products Association CEO Ross Hampton said National Forestry Planting Day today, 2 August, which was first initiated by AFPA, is more important in 2021 than ever before. “Australia is experiencing a national timber shortage where builders, homeowners and renovators cannot source the timber they need for construction,” Mr Hampton said. “It’s being caused by the COVID building boom, slowed imports and a shortage of production trees in the ground for harvest. It’s causing consumers to sit up and take notice of what they had previously taken for granted.” Mr Hampton said that Australia’s forest industries had been sending the message for years that Australia did not have enough timber in the ground to support future demand. “Now Australia is going through a situation that will only become more common if we don’t act to plant more trees imminently. “There’s a saying in forestry – the best time to plant a tree was 30 years ago, the second-best time is today,” Mr Hampton said. National Forestry Planting Day recognises the 70 million trees Australia’s forest industries plant each year. As they grow, these trees collectively store hundreds of millions of tonnes of carbon, helping fight climate change while growing the essential products like structural timber that shelter the nation and store carbon for the life of the product. Australia’s forest industries are critical to many regions across the country, directly employing 80,000 and indirectly employing 180,000 people nationally. They contribute $24 billion to the national economy every year. “The message from forest industries this National Forestry Planting Day is recognise the great work our industries do planting trees and the positive impacts they have for the climate, the economy and communities nationwide,” Mr Hampton said.

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by Dr. Radut