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Olympic torch made from sustainable timber

Thursday 22 July 2004

Olympic torch made from sustainably-produced native timbers

Sustainably-managed native maple beech supplied by Southland sawmilling firm Lindsay and Dixon features in 12,000 torches which runners are using to carry the Olympic flame around the world and ultimately to Athens in August.

Maple beech was ideally suited to the design of the Olympic torch because of its straight grain and turning qualities.

“Private native forests such as the one that supplied this timber cover approximately 100,000ha throughout New Zealand and are managed in accordance with sustainable management legislation administered by the Indigenous Forestry Unit (IFU) of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF),” IFU manager Robert Miller said today.

“There is about 1 million ha of privately-owned native forest land in New Zealand.

“Lindsay and Dixon manages and processes timber from a forest near Tuatapere in Southland. The forest has a Sustainable Forest Management plan approved and monitored by the IFU. It also has international certification through the Forest Stewardship Council.

“Lindsay and Dixon provides a great example of how companies can manage a second-growth native forest and have products that are keenly sought after internationally,” he said.

“Native timbers such as the New Zealand beeches have the ability to fill niche markets such as the attractive component of the current Olympic torches. Native timbers have many properties which suit various specialist uses.

“Maple beech is renowned for its fine, even grain which makes it a very suitable timber for wood turning, joinery and furniture and is the reason why the timber was chosen for the Olympic torches. Red beech is naturally durable and can be used for outdoor furniture. It is also visually appealing for furniture and is very strong for flooring. Another benefit of durable species, such as red beech, is that they do not need treating with harmful chemicals, which protects our valuable environment even further.

“New Zealand native beech timber is becoming world famous and we would like to make it famous in New Zealand,” Robert Miller said.


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