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.
The GCFF programme aims to sustainably double the productivity of existing and future forests. “The programme has enabled us to assess long term productivity trials that were established in the 1980s for wood yield and quality, and tree value,” says Science Leader Dr Peter Clinton. “These trials are providing valuable information on the interaction between site, genetics and forest management on wood quality and the ultimate value of the crop.
“Crop stocking is generally too low to take full advantage of site potential, but while a higher stocking rate will increase yield and wood quality, there is a greater proportion of lower quality core wood to consider. This research has shown though, that productivity gains can be achieved without compromising wood quality.”
The trials are also providing information about the effects of nutrients, water, soil and climate on productivity. By comparing predicted with actual site productivity, our scientists have been able to identify areas around the country that are not performing at their best.
“These data are being incorporated into our forest nutrient balance model, NuBalM,” says Peter. “The use of UAVs equipped with powerful sensors has also boosted our ability to identify superior trees in the forest. We then identify the parent trees using DNA sampling and reproduce them for similar sites within the forest.”