Scientists to foresters: work closer with us
FORESTRY COULD BENEFIT HUGELY FROM greater “interaction” between scientists and the industry, according to the head of Rotorua-based research organisation, Scion.
Dr Julian Elder, CEO of Scion, told the DANA Forestry Conference in Taupo last month that science has helped to increase the value of forests in New Zealand by $6.8 billion in the period between 1980 and 2010 and it can provide a much greater boost in future.
Just adding an extra one cubic metre of wood per year to each hectare adds $300 million to the value of the estate and Dr Elder says Scion is working on a number of programmes to help the industry make those sorts of gains.
But it can be further improved by more collaboration between scientists and foresters and he encouraged the industry to make more use of Scion. The development of the new Innovation Hub at Scion’s campus will make it easier for the two to work together, he says.
Dr Elder forecast that by 2050, New Zealand will benefit from a 10-fold increase in GDP from forests and manufacturing, along with associated benefits to the environment and social wellbeing.
Meanwhile, Timberlands’ CEO Robert Green told the conference his organisation is on course to achieve its own projected increase in growth by 2050, the so-called 50:50 plan. This aims to increase the current sustainable harvest output by 50% by 2050.
Mr Green says this will be achieved through improved tree genetics and forestry practices, which will see more wood produced without having to increase the amount of land.
And he also had a message for people who criticise the industry for not adding value to logs that are exported from New Zealand, saying: “We take a seedling worth a few cents and turn it into a $220 value by harvest, which is very significant, so I don’t accept that the failure to process here does not add value.”