Forestry research partnership to build high-value wood exports

Scion’s support to industry’s diverse species programme has been boosted by Government investment of $5 million over the next seven years in a research partnership to create high-performance speciality wood products from trees other than radiata pine.

The partnership will be led by industry company Future Forests Research Ltd (FFR) in collaboration with Scion, the University of Canterbury (UoC) and the NZ Dryland Forests Initiative (NZDFI), beginning this July.

Scion’s Science Leader for Forest Genetics Dr Heidi Dungey says this partnership will strengthen the way research organisations and industry work together to achieve outcomes for New Zealand. “The aim is to develop high-value, highperforming wood products from forest species that complement radiata pine, such as Douglas-fir, eucalypts and cypresses.

“The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) was impressed with the programme noting that it had a focus on high-value exports and helped mitigate risk through species diversification. Scion has already made considerable progress in seed-to-product research for species such as eucalypts, Douglas-fir and cypresses,” said Heidi.

This partnership is unique in that it takes a value-chain approach and will cover everything from growing different species, right through to high-tech processing of them says Alison Slade, Acting Programme Manager for FFR.

“Often with partnerships, there will be a focus on either the growing aspect or the manufacturing process, and this partnership is quite special because it covers it all,” said Alison.

Total investment in the programme over seven years is $13.8 million. Funding through MBIE’s Research Partnerships Programme is $710,000 per year and will be equally matched by industry. An additional $550,000 per year will be provided through Scion Core Funding. The University of Canterbury is also providing in-kind support to the programme.

The science leaders of the programme are Heidi Dungey and Doug Gaunt (Scion), Paul Millen (NZDFI) and Clemens Altaner (University of Canterbury).

For further information
Contact Alison Slade at alison.slade@ffr.co.nz