Sci­en­tists to foresters: work closer with us

New Zealand Logger - - Dana Conference 2018 -

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.”


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