Forest Growers Conference 2021 Agenda and Field Trip

19th – 21st October 2021

Following a year of COVID disruption, we are pleased to be able to invite you to the 2021 Forest Growers Conference, which will be held in Nelson from October 19th – 21st. This represents a great opportunity to reconnect with others from within the forestry sector, as well as hear about Forest Growers Levy funded and industry research.

Day 1 of the conference will explore the challenges of climate change and disease control, while also looking at the potential of alternative species, as well as technologies to enhance tree performance.

Day 2 has an emphasis on new tools and automated systems for improved productivity, as well as opportunities for forestry outside of traditional wood processing.

Day 3 includes a visit to the Nelson Pine Industries LVL and MDF processing mill to look at their innovative wood processing setup. In addition, Tasman Pine will host a visit to Pigeon Valley, where we will explore the technical response to New Zealand’s largest recorded wildfire, as well as hear about some of the unique recovery and restoration activities that have occurred since.

To encourage as many people as possible to attend the conference fees have been kept to a minimum so we look forward to seeing you there.

Learn about the research programmes being funded by the levy, the results to date and how you as a forest grower can use these results to:

• Achieve better financial returns from new and existing forests
• Improve the health and resilience of your forests to pests and diseases
• Harness the potential of new technologies

Come along and benefit from this significant investment in the future of the forest growing industry by the Forest Growers Levy Trust.

Registrations close:  Friday, 8th October 2021


Conference – DAY ONE:  Tuesday, 19th October 2021 

Conference – DAY TWO:  Wednesday, 20th October 2021

Field Trip     – DAY THREE:  Thursday, 21st October 2021

DAY ONE – Tuesday, 19th October 2021

9:15 am    Welcome – FGLT R&D Levy Overview

Bart Challis, Research and Development Director, Forest Growers Research Ltd

9:25 am    Scion – Strategy

Julian Elder, Scion

9:45 am    Te Uru Rākau – New Zealand Forest Service – Strategy

Henry Weston, Te Uru Rākau

10:05 am    Q&A

10:15am     Morning Tea

Industrial Forestry and Wood Products

10:45 am    Introduction by Session Chair

10:50 am    The Tree Root Microbiome Programme: A transformative platform for forestry

Steve A Wakelin, Scion

11:00 am    The Resilient Forests: A portfolio of impacts for raising forest sector productivity and reducing risk

Simeon Smail, Scion

11:10 am    Biuret: From concept to product development

Simeon Smail, Scion

11:20 am    Epidemiology and control of red needle cast

Stu Fraser, Scion

11:35 am    Update of Trichoderma in NZ Forestry Project

Helen Whelan, Lincoln University

11:50 am    Panel Q & A

12:00 pm     Lunch

Trees for High Value Products

1:00 pm    Introduction by Session Chair

1:05 pm    SWP: Regional Strategies for specialty Wood species

Paul Millen, Marlborough Research Centre

1:20 pm    SWP: Pests and diseases in specialty wood species

Toni Withers, Scion

1:40 pm    SWP: Douglas-fir Cross Laminated Timber – ready to go

Minghao Li, University of Canterbury

2:00 pm    Future Investment in Contingency & Alternative Species by FGLT

Bart Challis, Forest Growers Research Ltd

2:20 pm    Tōtara Industry Pilot Initiative

Ramona Radford, Scion

2:35 pm     Panel Q&A

2:50 pm     Afternoon Tea

Digital and Automated Forestry

3:20 pm    Introduction Session Chair

3:25 pm    Propagating our future forests – an update on the 21st Century Tissue Culture Programme

Russell Burton, Forest Growers Research Ltd

3:40 pm    Towards autonomous inventory: Collection and analysis of Hovermap data for single tree phenotyping

Robin Hartley, Scion

4:00 pm    Climate Change – tangible impacts on forest management

Ian Hinton: Timberlands Ltd

4:20 pm    Getting to the heart of wood quality: insights from new technologies

John Moore: Timberlands Ltd

4:40 pm    Panel Q & A

4:55 pm    Day One closed

6:00 pm   Pre-dinner drinks – Rutherford Hotel, Nelson – cash bar

7:00 pm    2021 Science Awards Dinner – Rutherford Hotel Nelson

                    Dinner topioc:  Disruption and Managing Risk

Guest Speaker:  John Roche: Chief Science Officer – Ministry of Primary Industries

DAY TWO – Wednesday, 20th October 2021

8:15 am   Welcome and Introduction

Bart Challis, Research and Development Director, Forest Growers Research Ltd

Digital and Automated Forestry

8:25 am    Introduction Session Chair

8:30 am    Scaling up – wilding conifer detection at a mega-landscape level

Thomas Paul, Scion

8:45 am    Automated yarder and grapple

Keith Raymond, Forest Growers Research Ltd

9:00 am    Winch-assisted harvesting

Keith Raymond, Forest Growers Research Ltd

9:15 am    New value chains through automation

Karen Bayne, Scion

9:30 am    Integrating information for site specific management

Graham West, Farm Forestry Association

9:45 am    Panel Q & A

10:00 am     Morning Tea

Industrial Forestry and Wood Products

10:30 am    Risk perception and climate change adaptation

Grace Villamor, Scion

11:00 am    An update on Genetic Gain

Radiata Pine Breeding Company

11:20 am    Editing genes for forest productivity, resilience and sustainability

Glenn Thorlby, Scion

11:45 am    Accelerating forest planting stock production and improving their establishment – preliminary trials at Scion

Craig Ford, Scion

12:20pm    Contribution of long-term trials to the positive outlook for industrial use of forests

Loretta Garrett, Scion

12:30 pm    Panel  Q & A

12:25 pm     Lunch

Trees for BioProducts

1:45 pm    Introduction Session Chair

1:50 pm    The growing demand for Bioenergy

Paul Bennett, Scion

2:20 pm    Rethinking Biorefineries for New Zealand: Anything made from fossil fuel today can be made from a tree tomorrow

Stefan Hill, Scion

2:40 pm    Sustainable wood for sustainable buildings

Andrea Stocchero, Scion

3:00 pm    BioProducts for a sustainable future

Kate Parker, Scion

3:20 pm    Panel Q & A

3:35 pm    Conclusion and Wrap Up

Bart Challis, Forest Growers Research Ltd

3:45 pm    Conference Closed

DAY THREE – Thursday, 21st October 2021


One of the most significant wildfire events in our country’s history occurred in 2019 at Pigeon Valley in the Nelson-Tasman region. Originally starting on farmland, the fire spread quickly into the neighbouring forestry estate, owned by Tasman Pine. Burning over 2,300 hectares and the fire was considered active for a full month and resulted in the evacuation of over 3,000 people from their homes. Containing the fire involved New Zealand’s aerial firefight on record, which included 22 helicopters.

As part of our conference activity Tasman Pine have generously agreed to host a visit to the Pigeon Valley fire site. At the visit we will hear how our research partners Scion, were involved in the immediate response, as well as learn about how Tasman Pine managed their activity post-fire, including wood recovery and site reestablishment. In addition, we will be able to hear more about how Te Uru Raukau’s 1BT fund is helping to support the reinstating of riparian and wetlands, post the fire.

8:30 am    Depart Rutherford Hotel, Nelson

9:00 am    Nelson Pine LVL Plant

Hosts: Nelson Pine Industries Limited

Nelson Pine Industries Limited (NPIL) produces GoldenEdge MDF (Medium Density Fibreboard) and NelsonPine LVL (Laminated Veneer Lumber) from radiata pine grown in the plantation forests of Nelson, New Zealand. Production of MDF began in 1986, and the LVL plant was commissioned in 2002. Nelson Pine Industries has a reputation for:

        • product consistency and quality
        • sustainable timber resource management
        • low environmental impact practices
        • market-led research into product and production development.

11:00am    Depart Nelson Pine Industries

11:30am    Pigeon Valley, Nelson

Hosts:  Tasman Pine Forests

3:15 pm     Depart Pigeon Valley

4:00 pm     Arrive Nelson Airport