Commercial Forestry

New Zealand is a world leader in sustainable wood production from managed exotic forests. Commercial forests offer New Zealand one of its greatest opportunities to lift economic performance, create jobs and improve environmental values. The stories below describe the impact of our science and technology on the forestry industry. 

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    Are small forest blocks viable?

    Most small forests were planted in the 1990s, and now that they are coming to maturity they have the potential to supply most of the large increase in wood availability over the next decade.
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    Managing risk in forestry

    Combating the effects and rising costs of climate change was one of the issues discussed at this year’s Growing Confidence in Forestry’s Future (GCFF) conference, held in Auckland in May.
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    Enhancing forest productivity with soil sciences

    Our ability to understand and manage the links between soil properties and forest productivity is being expanded by the “Growing Confidence in Forestry’s Future” (GCFF) programme.
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    Manuka as a tree crop

    Kiwis have grown up with mānuka honey and tea tree oil but these humble household items are fast becoming a multi-million dollar forest industry for New Zealand.
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    Meet DiscBot, our new wood quality detective

    Developed and built in-house, Scion’s new ‘DiscBot’ is a novel scanning technology designed to assess a range of wood properties that affect the quality of sawn timber and other end products. The automated disc scanner uses a robot to move wood discs past different sensors, which capture information on wood density, microfibril angle, chemical composition and spiral grain angle.
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    Healthy land, healthy rivers, healthy people

    A unique Memorandum of Understanding signed last year between the Ministry for Primary Industries, Te Runanga o Ngāti Porou (TRONPnui) and Gisborne District Council (GDC) has marked the beginning of a long journey to restore the health of the Waiapu Catchment. The catchment, situated on New Zealand’s East Coast, is struggling to overcome years of landscape degradation, poverty and climate change, compromising the ability of local people to revitalise their existing way of life.
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    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.
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    The human factor of forest safety

    Human factors scientist Brionny Hooper helps individuals perform to the best of their ability while compensating for their natural limitations.
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    New facility helps further biosecurity research

    Our entomologists use live insects in their biosecurity research. Examples of projects include rearing populations of pests in containment like the eucalyptus tortoise beetle and the parasitoid wasps that prey on them, and studying insect behaviour.
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    Aerial robotics add new dynamic to forestry

    Aerial imagery, near infrared detection and aerial robotics sound like they belong in a military operation, however these advanced technologies are set to change the dynamics of forest management.
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    Rapid screening for Phytophthora pathogens

    Work is underway to develop rapid screening methods for Phytophthora pathogens in radiata pine, apple species and kauri as part of Scion’s ‘Healthy trees, healthy future’ programme.
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    Choosing the right tree for the job

    Forest growers are becoming increasingly aware of the ecosystem services and non-market values that forests provide.
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    Exciting new possibilities for eucalypts

    Eucalypts are a promising commercial plantation species. With their strength, hardness and attractive appearance, and in some species, durability, they provide timber for a range of markets from furniture and outdoor uses, to fibre for high quality papers.
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    Tree swinging robot may revolutionise steepland forestry

    A remote controlled tree ‘swinging’ robot modelled on stick insects and spider monkeys may revolutionise the way steepland forests are managed and harvested.
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    Are hybrid pines the super trees of the future?

    Hybrid pines are promising to play an increasingly important role in commercial forestry, particularly for the cold, dry southern regions of New Zealand
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    Doubling forest productivity sustainably

    A multi-disciplinary team of scientists at Scion and other research organisations is embarking on a six year research programme aimed at raising the profitability of current and future commercial forestry.
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    Ginseng adds a layer of possibilities for forestry

    Neat rows of netting cloches lined up beneath well pruned radiata pine trees are in sharp contrast to the usual vision of a commercial planted forest block.
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    Growing the value of our trees

    Highlights from our 2013 annual report: technologies to increase productivity and wood quality; reducing supply chain costs and improving worker safety; increasing investment in new forest species.
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    New technologies for improved forest safety

    Three new forest harvesting technologies developed by Scion, in conjunction with industry, will help improve workplace safety in forestry.
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    A bird's eye approach to precision forest management

    Remote sensing technology, such as LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) has had a huge impact on forest management. LiDAR technology uses reflected laser beams emitted from sensors mounted on planes to provide accurate ground mapping and data on stand variables, such as height, volume, basal area and stocking that ultimately may make it possible for foresters to manage vast commercial forests from afar.
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    Taking carbon into account

    Scion is a major player in developing robust carbon modelling methods and inventory procedures for assessing carbon stocks in planted and indigenous forests.
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    Satellite imagery aids forest management

    Satellite imagery is proving an effective tool that meets forestry management and research needs for cost effective, up-to-date information on the status of forest resources.
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    Managing wind risk in forests

    Intense storms have damaged large areas of forest in some parts of the country. While the actual percentage of the forest estate damaged in recent years is less than it was in the 1970s and 1980s, research suggests that this risk is not going away.
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    Managing forests for healthy streams

    The management of woody debris following harvesting operations is the focus of a study by Scion freshwater scientist, Brenda Baillie.
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