Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


Canterbury research could revolutionise NZ forest industry

University of Canterbury research could revolutionise NZ forest industry

January 8, 2013

University of Canterbury (UC) research could revolutionise New Zealand’s forest industry by treating radiata pine as an agricultural crop and screening for strength and stability at a young age.

The advantage of using young trees is that there is no wastage of resources on trees which would otherwise end up in low economic gains because of low value products, UC forestry postgraduate student researcher Monika Sharma says.

Her research has helped develop techniques that can quickly and reliably screen young trees for stiffness and dimensional stability.

The project has been funded by the forestry industry and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

``The New Zealand forest industry is based on forests covering 1.8 million hectares which makes up around 6.6 percent of New Zealand's land area. Pinus radiata accounts for about 90 percent of the total planted area.

``In the last 50 years, radiata pine breeding programmes focused on improving volume which has resulted in a fall in harvesting age from 35 to 45 years to just 25 to 30 years.

``In radiata pine which is 25 years old, 50 percent of the merchantable wood is core wood, formed in the first 10 growth rings which falls below the threshold stiffness required for structural timber.

``Therefore, it can only be utilised for low value products. The approximate value of low grade timber is $A220 (Australian dollars) per cubic metre whereas structural timber price is $A430 per cubic metre.

``There is large natural variability in the unimproved tree population. Some trees can attain the threshold stiffness in five years while others attain the same threshold in 18 years. This variability can be exploited to reduce percentage of timber below threshold by selecting trees which can attain threshold early in their life.

``In comparison to agricultural breeding programmes, there is not much progress in forestry breeding programmes because of long breeding cycles. Preferred tree breeding selection age is around eight to 10 years and the purpose of the selection is to increase the accuracy of the prediction for merchantable volume at the end of the rotation. 

``Big trees provide information regarding gross volume only but nothing regarding the quality of wood. Economic gains depends both on merchantable volume and quality of wood or all of the volume end up as low value product.

For wood quality, it is desirable to screen trees just a few year old as there is most variable and unimproved wood among trees at that age. Shorter breeding cycles should outweigh any lower accuracy in early selection,’’ says Sharma, whose research is being supervised by Dr Luis Apiolaza.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Future Brighter Money: RBNZ Releases New Bank Note Designs

New Zealand’s banknotes are getting brighter and better, with the Reserve Bank today unveiling more vibrant and secure banknote designs which will progressively enter circulation later next year. More>>

ALSO:

Commerce: Supermarket Inquiry Finds No Breaches By Countdown

The Commerce Commission inquiry into anti-competitive behaviour by Countdown supermarkets, alleged by former Labour Party MP Shane Jones, has found nothing to warrant prosecution, although it warns supermarkets to take care in the way they communicate... More>>

ALSO:

Crown Accounts: English Flags ‘Challenge’ To Budget Surplus

Finance Minister Bill English is warning next month’s half yearly fiscal and economic update from the Treasury may not forecast a budget surplus, saying that returning the government’s accounts to surplus in 2015 will be “a challenge”, given the decline in commodity prices and weak global inflation. More>>

ALSO:

March 2015: Netflix To Launch In Australia And New Zealand

World’s Leading Internet Television Network to Offer Original Series, Movies, Documentaries, Stand-Up Comedy Specials and TV Shows for Low Monthly Price More>>

ALSO:

Price Of Cheese (Is Up): Dairy Product Prices Fall To Five-Year Low

Dairy product prices fell in the latest GlobalDairyTrade auction to the lowest level in more than five years, led by declines in rennet casein and skim milk powder. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Australians Scoring Trade Points Against Us With The Chinese

It hasn’t been a great year for Trade Minister Tim Groser... To top it off, Australia has just signed a FTA with China that has far better provisions on dairy exports than what New Zealand currently enjoys in our own FTA with China. More>>

ALSO:

Iwi & Local Consultation: Oil And Gas Block Offer 2015 Begins

Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges today announced the start of the Block Offer 2015 process for awarding oil and gas exploration permits. More>>

Industrial Action: Stats NZ Throwing Public Money Away Duplicating Data

The Public Service Association (PSA) says Statistics NZ are throwing money away by collecting the same data twice for official statistics such as the Consumer Price Index... As part of the ongoing industrial action, field interviewers who are PSA members are continuing to collect data, but are not sending it through to Statistics NZ. More>>

ALSO:

Other Stats:

Space: Rosetta's 'Philae' Makes Historic First Landing On A Comet

After more than a decade traveling through space, a robotic lander built by the European Space Agency has made the first-ever soft landing of a spacecraft on a comet. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Standards New Zealand

Standards New Zealand
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news