Redwoods – Simon Rapley, NZ Redwood Company
The redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) resource in New Zealand has been growing slowly but steadily over the past 15-20 years. An estimated 8,000 hectares of redwoods have been planted since 2002. However, redwood in New Zealand has never benefitted from major research investment.
The FFR era
Between 2006 and 2013, redwood was part of the Future Forests Research (FFR) programme and a number of research studies were completed:
- prediction of heartwood durability using NIR spectroscopy
- development of a NZ-wide site growth model and productivity map.
- a review of silviculture
- assessment of different tree species’ capacity to stabilise soil, including redwood
- analysis of genetics x environment in NZ’s Kuser trials – part of a world-wide network of redwood trials. Medium to high genetic control was found for all main growth and wood property traits.
Post FFR research
A limited amount of redwood research continues, driven by redwood growers. An extension of the Kuser trial study produced results similar to the first trial. A second study using NIR spectroscopy to predict heartwood durability confirmed that NZ-grown redwood has similar heartwood properties to second-growth Californian redwood – a very encouraging result for growers.
Presentation: 14 Redwoods