Exchange of ideas a focus for international visitors
13 March 2023
Scion recently hosted delegates from India’s Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare. The delegation was in New Zealand to discuss horticulture exports and took advantage of their visit to also discuss ways to resume regular exports of logs from New Zealand to India.
India is concerned about the possible presence of the the woodwasp Sirex noctillio on logs exported to India. The wasp was introduced to New Zealand from Europe in the late 1800s and can be a serious pest in pine plantations. Females lay their eggs in tree trunks and introduce a fungus that breaks down the wood which wasp larvae then feed on. This degrades the wood and can kill the tree.
Scion scientists gave the visitors an overview of New Zealand’s forestry system, biosecurity surveillance and outlined pest and disease status for export logs. The group discussed treatment options for controlling the wasp, and toured Scion’s entomology laboratory.
Scion was one stop among other destinations around the country; the Indian delegation also visited the Port of Tauranga, MPI's Auckland office, and the insect breeding programme at Plant and Food NZ in Mt Albert, Auckland.
Foresty in focus for German delegation
Scion was also high on the itinerary for parliamentarians from Germany who visited in February.
The delegation included representatives from Germany's forestry industry and MPs who are focused on the federal government's agriculture and forestry budget, serving on their country's Budget Select Committee.
With their special interest in plantation forests and research relating to carbon sequestration, the delegation spent the morning with Scion scientists and learned about research that is helping to mitigate the effects of climate change through the development of biobased alternatives to products made from fossil fuel.