Ensis puts on a growth spurt

28 June 2005

Ensis - the joint venture between Scion (formerly Forest Research) and Australia’s CSIRO Forestry and Forest Products (FFP) is expanding, making it one of the world’s largest integrated forestry and forest products research organisations.

From 1 July Ensis will incorporate three new business units – Forest Biosecurity and Protection, Sustainable Production Forestry and Integrated Environmental Forestry. Staff numbers will nearly double to 320 with projected annual income of around $60 million.

The expansion will complement the work of Ensis’ existing units: Papro (pulp, paper and packaging), Wood and Fibre Quality, Wood Processing and Products, and Genetics.

This will complete the integration of the forest R&D capabilities of the parent organisations and allow Ensis customers to benefit from research activities across the entire forestry value chain.

Scion Chief Executive Dr Tom Richardson says the combination of Australasia’s two leading forestry R&D organisations has enhanced the breadth, depth and scale of Australasia’s research capabilities to deliver optimum outcomes for the governments and forestry sectors of each country.

“This expansion will reduce the duplication of effort on both sides of the Tasman in areas of forest resource management that are vital to both Australia and New Zealand,” Dr Richardson says.

The provision of core Forest Biosecurity and Protection expertise on either side of the Tasman will improve Ensis’ ability to deal with pest incursions and forest health and fire-risk management issues.

“Both countries also share the same types of sustainability issues in the management of both plantation and natural forests so it makes sense to pool our science capability in these areas” Dr Richardson says.

New Zealand’s Minister of Crown Research Institutes, Hon. Steve Maharey, says the initiative sends a strong signal that New Zealand and Australia can lead the way in developing science that will help to grow our key industries.

Ensis was formed as an unincorporated joint venture in July 2004 and in March won the Telstra Clear Trans-Tasman Business Award for bringing together the two countries leading R&D agencies.