|The FGR Conference and Workshops
14th – 16th October 2019, WellingtonThe annual conference, held at Te Papa in Wellington this year, was attended by 140 people and as usual was informative and enjoyable.The conference included a comprehensive summary of the achievements and outputs of the Growing Confidence in Forestry’s Future (GCFF) programme. The GCFF winds up this year, after six years of highly productive industry-guided research. The presentations confirmed just how many major advances have been made by research teams over the past six years.Well done to all those who have contributed to the GCFF; also to those who have worked on the closely aligned Healthy Trees, Healthy Future programme (HTHF) which also draws to a close this year.Summaries and videos of all conference presentations are available on the FGR website – Forest Growers Conference 2019.
Forest Growers Research Awards Presented
One of the highlights of the conference is the presentation of the annual research awards. This year’s award winners are:
| Communication and Sector Engagement
||Dr Amanda Matson, Scion
| Innovation that Enhances Sector Value
||Graham Coker, Scion
| Science of International Quality Team
University of Canterbury Phenotyping
| Research Participation and Implementation
||Hamish Macpherson, PF Olsen
| Collaboration in a Science Team
||Loretta Garatt, Scion
| Young Scientist
||Dr Stuart Fraser, Scion
More details of the award winners are available here
2019 Annual Research Report
The FGR 2019 Annual Research Report has now been completed and circulated to industry and other key stakeholders. The report provides an excellent overview of the large and complex research programme that the Forest Growers Levy supports.
The report can be downloaded from the FGR website: contact Veronica Bennett at FGR if you would like a hard copy.
FGR Science and Innovation Strategy released
The Forest Research Committee recently completed a strategy document – ‘A Science and Innovation Plan for the Commercial Forest Growing Sector 2019-2035’. The strategy was released at the FGR conference and is a significant document: it will guide the Forest Grower Levy Trust’s investment in research, and provide an important statement to other funding agencies on industry research priorities.
The three key strategic priorities identified are as follows:
- Ensuring that we increase profitability from our main commercial species (radiata pine and Douglas-fir).
- Ensuring the long-term sustainability of commercial forestry through realisation of value from emerging species (both exotic and indigenous trees) and developing new models for forestry.
- Future proofing commercial forest growing in New Zealand.
New Chair for the Forest Research Committee
Phil Taylor, a long-standing champion of forestry research, is standing down from his position as chair of the Forest Research Committee. Phil chaired Future Forests Research from the time it was formed in 2008, and then became chair of the Forest Research Committee from 2013 following on from the inaugural chair, David Balfour. Phil has made a huge contribution to forest research over the years, and I am sure he will continue to do so in different ways into the future.
The new chair of this important industry committee is Ian Hinton, Technical Manager at Timberlands and a member of the FRC since its formation.
Research Funding Update
As reported in the last newsletter, a number of funding applications to MBIE to replace programmes coming to an end were unsuccessful, leaving our core forest growing and forest health research with little or no underpinning government funding. A large ‘Resilient Forests’ proposal was the key to building on the GCFF and HTHF programmes, and while this had strong industry support, for now at least it did not meet government funding criteria.
With the support of the Forest Growers Levy Trust, a 12-month transitional programme has been developed with Scion which will enable research teams to maintain momentum while we pursue other funding opportunities.
Tissue Culture Partnership up and running
The new 7-year MBIE-funded, FGR-led Tissue Culture Partnership (TCP) is underway. The partnership includes research and industry stakeholders, with Scion leading the research in collaboration with Georgia Tech University (USA) with input from Swedish and Finnish researchers. Russell Burton will manage the programme on behalf of FGR, and a technical committee made up of leading representatives of the nursery and plant propagation sectors is in place to work alongside scientists in this $7.8 million programme.
Woodlot Analysis Tool available on-line
A new on-line Woodlot Analysis Tool (WATS) has been produced by Dr Glen Murphy and is freely available on the FGR website. Forest Growers Research and the Forest Growers Levy Trust funded the development of both WATS and an on-line booklet called “How to market and harvest your woodlot for profit”.
This is available on the website underneath the calculator in a pdf format, and has had additional input from Prof. Rien Visser, University of Canterbury School of Forestry.
The user pinpoints where his/her woodlot is located on a digital map, gives a basic description of the woodlot, and then enters representative log grades to be harvested, anticipated yields and the log prices.
WATS then reports expected gross and net returns and costs associated with the harvesting and cartage of wood from the woodlot to the wood buyers.
The tool will help those new to harvesting to get to grips with the different elements of the harvesting process, and the magnitude of the various financial flows. It is, however, recommended that woodlot owners engage a harvesting and marketing professional to get the harvesting done.
Using retrospective case-studies, WATS has proved to be pleasingly accurate. Glen and Rien hope to run some workshops for woodlot owners on how to use WATS in 2020.
WATS can be found on the FGR website (top right on the home page) under calculators. It has been designed to run on desktop or mobile systems such as tablets and smartphones. However, please note it does not work on the Internet Explorer browser.
Comment from Russell
With the end of 2019 approaching we can reflect on a year that saw the commencement of two new exciting long-term programmes, completion of a new Science and Innovation Strategy, a very successful forest growers research conference and release of the 2019 Annual Science Report.
The fact that two of our largest and longest running programmes have come to an end with no funding in place to maintain the momentum and capability built up over the last six years highlights the constant challenge of maintaining a forest research sector with short-term funding cycles. The support of the Forest Growers Levy Trust and Scion for a twelve month transitional programme provides a valuable stop-gap, and we are working hard to develop new proposals for longer-term funding. A lot of effort by researchers and industry people will be needed over the next few months to shape these into viable project funding applications.
As this is the last research newsletter of the year I would like to take the opportunity to thank all those who have contributed to the leadership and management of FGR’s research programme, from researchers through to the many industry people who give up their time to attend meetings of technical committees, steering groups and governance boards. The impressive results achieved by our research sector would not happen without your collective efforts.
From Forest Growers Research we wish you all a safe and enjoyable break over the festive season with family and friends and we look forward to working with you in 2020.