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.


© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Trade: NZ Trade Deficit Widens To A Record In September

Oct. 27 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand's monthly trade deficit widened to a record in September as meat exports dropped to their lowest level in more than three years. More>>


Animal Welfare: Cruel Practices Condemned By DairyNZ Chief

DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle says cruel and illegal practices are not in any way condoned or accepted by the industry as part of dairy farming.

Tim says the video released today by Farmwatch shows some footage of transport companies and their workers, as well as some unacceptable behaviour by farmers of dragging calves. More>>


Postnatal Depression: 'The Thief That Steals Motherhood' - Alison McCulloch

Post-natal depression is a sly and cruel illness, described by one expert as ‘the thief that steals motherhood’, it creeps up on its victims, hiding behind the stress and exhaustion of being a new parent, catching many women unaware and unprepared. More>>


DIY: Kiwi Ingenuity And Masking Tape Saves Chick

Kiwi ingenuity and masking tape has saved a Kiwi chick after its egg was badly damaged endangering the chick's life. The egg was delivered to Kiwi Encounter at Rainbow Springs in Rotorua 14 days ago by a DOC worker with a large hole in its shell and against all odds has just successfully hatched. More>>


International Trade: Key To Lead Mission To India; ASEAN FTA Review Announced

Prime Minister John Key will lead a trade delegation to India next week, saying the pursuit of a free trade agreement with the protectionist giant is "the primary reason we're going" but playing down the likelihood of early progress. More>>



MYOB: Digital Signatures Go Live

From today, Inland Revenue will begin accepting “digital signatures”, saving businesses and their accountants a huge amount of administration time and further reducing the need for pen and paper in the workplace. More>>

Oil Searches: Norway's Statoil Quits Reinga Basin

Statoil, the Norwegian state-owned oil company, has given up oil and gas exploration in Northland's Reinga Basin, saying the probably of a find was 'too low'. More>>


Modern Living: Auckland Development Blowouts Reminiscent Of Run Up To GFC

The collapse of property developments in Auckland is "almost groundhog day" to the run-up of the global financial crisis in 2007/2008 as banks refuse to fund projects due to blowouts in construction and labour costs, says John Kensington, the author of KPMG's Financial Institutions Performance Survey. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news