Forestry attracts major funding boost for research

4 October 2007

A new entity known as Future Forests Research Ltd (FFR), formed by the New Zealand forest industry and Crown Research Institute, Scion, is driving a major expansion in forestry research activity.

The exciting new industry/research partnership has attracted a funding commitment of over $20 million from Government and forest growers.

This funding will enable more research into the role of plantation forestry in protecting the environment as well as generating economic wealth for New Zealand.

FFR has recently been established as a management company with a Board chaired by Phil Taylor of Blakely Pacific and comprising representatives of the forest growing industry, farm foresters, and a range of other investors as well as the research providers, Scion and Ensis (the unincorporated joint venture between Scion and CSIRO in Australia).

Phil Taylor says the critical role of FFR is to bring the industry together to grow the science funding base and enable research that will raise profitability for forest growers and encourage the expansion of forestry in New Zealand.

“This research is particularly important in light of new climate change policies being rolled out by the Government which rely heavily on a healthy and profitable forest industry if New Zealand is to meet its obligations under the Kyoto Protocol,” Mr Taylor adds.

The Foundation for Research, Science and Technology has committed $3 million per year for six years, with the industry contributing $1 million per year for three years.

Foundation Chief Executive Murray Bain welcomed the launch of FFR.
"This is an important development in the forestry industry. The creation of FFR is a signal that the industry is prepared to make a strategic investment in science that will ultimately return many times the original investment. The Foundation is excited to be associated with it," Mr Bain said.

The FFR Board has now appointed Russell Dale as the Chief Executive of FFR, who will oversee management of the research programmes from his base in Rotorua.