Maps and Models Guide Forestry Growth

Maps and modelling programs developed through Future Forests Research are showing forestry investors where to plant trees and forest managers how to manage them for best quality and value.
FFR’s 2011 Annual Science Report outlines new research findings that can be used to ensure the right sites are used to produce the right wood for specific markets.
Scientists at Scion, the forestry Crown Research Institute, have produced a map of New Zealand that provides a detailed picture of what wood properties can be expected on any site in the country. As wood density is driven by temperature, silvicultural regime (such as pruning and thinning) and genetics, the knowledge gained in this study will help to guide tree breeding programmes and planting decisions on specific sites.
Using the same data, gathered over 40 years, models have been developed to predict the distribution of wood density within trees and between trees on any site, with adjustments for age and stocking. These models will allow forest managers to control their silvicultural and management decisions to manage wood density and thus carbon sequestration and product performance.
The new research findings over the past year has been added to FFR’s Forecaster software to continually improve Forecaster’s ability to provide a complete forestry chain value modelling system. Additions include:
·         An improved growth model for radiata pine, known as the 300 Index;
·         capability to adjust for genetic gain in growth and branch habit;
·         assistance with starting and calibrating the modelling system;
·         an economic analysis module to provide discounted cash flows.
FFR has also added a growth calculator for New Zealand’s second most popular plantation forestry species, Douglas fir, to predict growth and yield when making investment and forest management decisions.
In addition, FFR members now have access to calculators for three other species, Eucalyptus fastigata, cypresses and redwoods. FFR has also confirmed that 35 years is a suitable rotation period for redwood to meet end-user requirements.
FFR is also conducting research into plantation forestry using indigenous species that have the potential to produce high value timber. Scion and FFR have supported the production of a new handbook by Tane’s Tree Trust for the commercial management of native species such as kauri.
For more information contact: Chief Executive Russell Dale, ph 027-493-8061, email