1. To examine the sustainable management of privately owned

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1. To examine the sustainable management of privately owned Powered By Docstoc
					                                                                                  Date: 4 March 2001
                                   VERBAL SUBMISSION
To the Primary Production Select Committee

On the Inquiry into sustainable forestry management.


Introduction
1. This submission is from                 Brian James Swale
                                           140 Panorama Road
                                           Christchurch 8008
                                           tel 03 326 7447
                                           email bj@caverock.net.nz


2. My qualifications are B.Sc (NZ), MA (Forestry) (Oxon.).
I have considerable practical experience in many aspects of managing forests, having spent 32
years of my life engaged fulltime in that profession. I have a continuing strong interest in forestry,
land use, sustainability, and government and the economy in general.


3. During the preparation for this submission I consulted with about six other similarly experienced
and interested forestry professionals.


4. In addition to the information I provided in my written submission of January 2001, I have
prepared more written material. This material provides detail about Special Purpose Timber
Species of tree in relation to New Zealand timber production and consumption; their properties,
uses, volumes traded and available, sources, and the monetary cost to New Zealand of imports of
them. Alternative materials are listed as well..


I ask permission of the Committee to table the written material now.


5. This presentation concentrates on Special Purpose Species of Tree in relation to sustainable
management of indigenous forests


Summary

1. Special Purpose Timber Species of tree are needed for the manufacture of specific timber
articles used in New Zealand.




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2. Special Purpose timbers may be sourced from New Zealand indigenous forests, New Zealand
planted forests, and forests in overseas countries.


3. Industries using Special Purpose timber species need detailed and specific information on
species, location, volumes, age/size, and timber characteristics of the produce of each forest, in
order to adequately plan for and carry out manufacturing. They need to be able to obtain
predictable and regular supplies.


4. New Zealand has no information on the planted (exotic) Special Purpose Timber species of
tree being grown in New Zealand, that is adequate for industry planning purposes. Currently, there
is no intention to obtain this information at a Government level. It is my understanding that the
management intentions of the forest owners are neither recorded in the statistical returns nor
used in timber supply analysis.


5. New Zealand has no national, coordinated plan to grow Special Purpose Timber Species of
tree for domestic or export supply.


6. New Zealand does have some detailed information on species, location, volumes, age/size,
and timber characteristics of the produce of each indigenous forest, and could synthesise
coherent sets of information from this and on-ground validation.


7. Some information is available on the management intentions and laws pertaining to timber
imported from natural and from managed forests overseas. However, is seems that most of the
imported timber is not from forests certified as being sustainably managed. Timber properties for
these timbers are usually judged on practical and historical experience.


8. Imports of forestry products (paper and paper-board, timber, chemical pulp, wooden furniture
and furniture parts) including Special Purpose Timber are currently $1,100 million per annum
(New Zealand dollar terms).


9. New Zealand does have the expertise and experience to manage its indigenous forests
sustainably for Special Purpose timber production, but the most suitable of these forests have
been or are being made subject to law which prohibits management for timber supply. However,
during the last two decades and especially in the last year, the availability of this expertise has
been significantly reduced.


10. New Zealand does have the expertise and experience to manage exotic, planted forests
sustainably for Special Purpose Timber production, but many of the exotic species that could be


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used for this require soils and sites of considerably greater fertility than can easily be found or
acquired now.


11. At present, New Zealand is using significant quantities of Special Purpose timbers sourced
from overseas. Government policies have removed suitable New Zealand indigenous forests from
the influence of professional, sustainable management practice and, in essence, ‘locked them up’
from supplying timber, based on the erroneous concepts that New Zealand forestry professionals
are incapable of managing such forests responsibly and sustainably, and that sustainable use
equals destruction.. At the same time, New Zealand timber imports come in many instances from
indigenous forests of good conservation worth which are being laid waste. There is a strong
element of hypocrisy by New Zealand evident in these matters.


12. New Zealand needs :-
        (a) A stand-alone Department of State (Forest Service) that has responsibility for
        resource planning and which carries out sustainable indigenous forest management and
        timber production in State forests. This is needed not only for sensible, sustainable
        production of timber, but also to provide a lead for private forest owners and as a ‘critical
        mass’ of forest science expertise for the nation.
        (b) A Minister of Forests who understands forestry and is pro-active in supporting and
        promoting it. An apologist for forest preservation has no legitimate place as Minister of
        Forests.


Submission.


1. Timbers can be described in various ways.


In this submission the distinction is between timbers suitable for general uses and those with
qualities suiting them for special purpose uses.


Timbers in New Zealand that are generally considered to suit general uses include radiata,
corsican, and other pines, and douglas-fir (also called ‘oregon’). Most of the indigenous timber
species and many exotic species other than those named above have been used for many of
these general purposes at some time or other, with the general exception of particle, pulp and
other fibre products (eucalypts excepted).


These ‘general use’ species can be used for general construction, cases and pallets, framing and
other structural purposes, fencing, poles and piling, non-specific particle- and fibre-board, kraft




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and news-paper pulp, plywood and other veneer, lower-quality interior building finishing purposes,
lower-quality joinery and furniture.


In general, the technology has been developed for these species to be sawn or otherwise
converted from the round log to plank, sheet or fabric form, and preservative treatments are
available to extend the scope of use for a range of hazardous situations. The particle- and fibre-
boards can be used for flooring, interior finishing mouldings to be painted, and as a base for
veneer either of wood or melamine and other synthetics for use in furniture surfaces.


Special purpose timbers, in contrast, have superior performance in one or several characteristics
or properties.


2. Characteristics or properties for which Special Purpose Species of timber are valued for their
superior performance include:-

 Strength, hardness, toughness, stiffness, elasticity.

 Dimensional stability under changing environmental conditions; they do not warp, twist, shrink
  or swell much.

 Even-ness of grain, ability to be easily cut by machines to fine tolerances, and/or be sanded to
  a fine smooth surface.

 Resistance to decay and/or insect/animal attack, resistance to erosion by chemicals, sunlight
  and wind.

 Specific surface appearance properties such as lustre, colour, grain, and figure.

 Resistance to splitting.

 Ability to take stains and surface finishes.

3. People in many countries value the same or similar species for the same or similar purposes
that New Zealanders do. However, New Zealand may have easier access to the timbers than
many countries do. The timbers are known world-wide.


4. Several New Zealand indigenous timber trees produce timbers which meet some of the criteria
of Special Purpose Species, very well. Some of the exotic Special Purpose Species do likewise.


Among the indigenous species are rimu, miro, beech species, and kauri.


5. However, there are some exotic species which will not grow in New Zealand and which possess
properties un-matched by any or many others.



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Examples are teak, for exceptional stability and longevity in extreme environmental conditions
(such as the decks of boats, exterior furniture). Mahoganies, for colour, lustre and figure. Balau
and some eucalypts, for strength.


6. We do not know in adequate detail for planning and industry purposes what Special Purpose
timber resources we have in New Zealand, in terms of location, species, area, volume, tenure,
management intentions, and so on.


We do have rather global figures for exotic planted softwoods and hardwoods, but these are too
general in nature to be of any use for planning. It is known that most of the eucalypt resources in
the Central North Island and Southland/Otago are intended for pulping/chipping. Supposing that
some of the remainder is genuine Special Purpose Timber species, it seems improbable that the
volume available to meet the needs of the domestic furniture, joinery and panelling industries is
significant.


There are no plans to increase the intensity of government data-gathering for these species such
that the data might be of use for detailed planning. Forest owners already complain about the
work involved in providing data on the mainstream timber species.


There are data available for the indigenous forest estate nation-wide that could be worked up into
reasonable estimates of volume and availability by species. A combination of indigenous forest-
type mapping from Forest Service years, satellite imagery of recent years, GIS mapping
information, and ground surveys to validate the map-based forest typing would achieve this. To
my knowledge, however, no organisation is doing this work.


7. New Zealand as a nation has no coherent plans to provide for domestic production of Special
Purpose species of timber, from either indigenous or exotic forests. This is despite the ability of
available forestry professionals to carry out planning and to make resource assessments. Central
government has divested itself of the ability to carry out the culture of Special Purpose Timber
Species, in either indigenous or exotic forest, through changes in land tenure and reduction of
numbers of employed staff with specific skills. Further, in respect of many of the exotic Special
Purpose Species, New Zealand does not possess a suitable climate or suitable soils.


The New Zealand indigenous tree species that produce Special Purpose Timber include several
which cope very well with the infertile soils and difficult climates of Northland and the West Coast,
and do not require additional inputs of fertiliser or drainage.




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In the 1970’s the New Zealand Forest Service recognised that a crisis in supply of Special
Purpose Species timbers was looming, and held a Workshop in 1979 on the topic. A result of that
Workshop was a policy to establish stands of a small number of suitable species.


In 1987, the Forest Service was dis-established and with it went the Special Purpose Species
policy.


Consequently, twenty-years’ lead time in establishing a domestic resource of exotic species has
been lost. We are now more than twenty years too late in establishing a planted resource.


8. Existing indigenous forests have one advantage not possessed by other forests yet to come
into being. They are already there. No century-long lead time is needed to commence supply.


They have one major disadvantage; they require more skilled management, since the needs of
the total forest biota must be taken into account, whereas to date this is not required of planted
forests in New Zealand. However, as the forest scientists of Timberlands have demonstrated,
forest scientists who have developed the requisite expertise now live in New Zealand.


9. New Zealand currently imports about $1,100 million New Zealand dollar’s worth of imported
forestry products (paper and paper-board, timber, chemical pulp, wooden furniture and furniture
parts) per annum, and the value is rising steeply. For the year ended 30 June 2000, the value
was up 13.3% on the previous year.


Only some of this increase can be ascribed to the falling value of the New Zealand dollar. The
solid volume of all imported forestry products expressed in roundwood equivalents is provisionally
1,737,000 cubic metres, up 7.2% from the previous year.


Of this, wooden furniture and furniture imports increased in value by 24.2% to NZ$ 102 million,
and total (other) timber imports increased by 16.7% in volume to 39,000 cubic metres, valued at
NZ$ 51 million, up 30.6% from the previous year.


Consequent on the cessation of sustainable forest management and rimu timber production from
South Westland, imports will increase commensurately. The halting of the TWC beech scheme
for sustainable production of fine beech timber in perpetuity has cost the region and the nation at
least $32 million per annum, in perpetuity.


10. The New Zealand Government, during the last year or so, has highlighted the need for forest
and biotic conservation, and has taken actions which some consider properly enhance the


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conservation of New Zealand indigenous forest. It is my opinion that most of those actions were
ill-advised and have served the forests and their biota, the associated industries, and the nation,
ill.


A clear result of these actions was to cause almost total cessation of Special Purpose Timber
production from sustainably managed New Zealand indigenous state forests. There are no other
comparable forests in private ownership in New Zealand.


At the same time, New Zealand continues to import similar timbers, particularly from tropical
countries. In respect of many of these, there is widespread international concern that sustainable
forest management practices are not being applied to the forests from which these timbers are
being sourced. Just one local example; Fijian indigenous conifers are being clearfelled from a
significant major reserve and exported to New Zealand. There are others. The imported special
purpose volume is not certified as being sustainably produced, despite the availability of
internationally recognised certification systems, and appears to be sourced primarily from
unsustainably managed forests.


I wish to draw the attention of the Committee to the apparent double standard here, and submit
that such a double standard in New Zealand is something that none of us should be proud of or
prepared to maintain.


New Zealand, with the skills and resources that it has, is currently not prepared to source raw
material it needs from its own forests, even though it can do so sustainably to very high standards.
It is however, quite prepared to use the unsustainably harvested timbers of poorer and less-skilled
nations - to their ultimate detriment.


11. For some of the uses to which Special Purpose Timber Species are fitted, many other
materials can be substituted. Materials such as glass, stone, concrete, aluminium, plastics derived
from petroleum, other metals, and so on.


The use of many of these materials has consequences in environmental effects such as energy
use and carbon-release that are less desirable than the use of wood is.


12. In my opinion, New Zealand needs a stand-alone Department of State (Forest Service) that is
adequately staffed, has responsibility for resource planning, administration of Forest Law, and
which carries out sustainable indigenous forest management and timber production in State
forests. Regions with suitable State indigenous forests include Northland, the Kaimanawas, and
the West Coast. These steps are needed not only for sensible, sustainable production of timber (


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in conjunction with conservation of biota) in perpetuity, but also to provide a lead for private forest
owners and as a ‘critical mass’ of indigenous forest science expertise for the nation.


New Zealand also needs a Minister of Forests who understands forestry and who is pro-active in
supporting and promoting it. A resource-based professional activity of national strategic
importance and which works to planning cycles of decades and centuries such as forestry does,
needs an active protagonist at the highest level.


Recommendations


I recommend the following to the Committee for consideration for inclusion in its report.


That the Committee note that:-


1. Special Purpose Timber Species of tree are needed for the manufacture of specific timber
articles used in New Zealand.


2. These timbers may be sourced from New Zealand indigenous forests, New Zealand planted
forests, and forests in overseas countries.


3. Industries planning to use Special Purpose timber species need detailed and specific
information on species, location, volumes, age/size, and timber characteristics of the produce of
each forest.


That the Committee recommend that:-


4. Information be gathered on the planted (exotic) Special Purpose Timber species of tree being
grown in New Zealand, and on indigenous (potentially production) forest, that is adequate for
industry planning purposes.


5. A national, coordinated plan to grow Special Purpose Timber Species of tree for domestic or
export supply be developed.


6. That Government recognise that New Zealand does have the expertise and experience to
manage its indigenous forests sustainably in perpetuity for Special Purpose timber production and
biota conservation.




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7. That Government recognise that the most suitable of these forests have been or are being
made subject to law which prohibits management for timber supply, and that these actions are not
logical.


8. That Government recognise that New Zealand needs :-
           (a) A stand-alone Department of State (Forest Service) that has responsibility for
           resource planning and carrying out sustainable indigenous forest management and
           timber production in State forests. That this is needed not only for sensible, sustainable
           production of timber, but also to provide a lead for private forest owners and as a ‘critical
           mass’ of forest science expertise for the nation.
           (b) A Minister of Forests who understands forestry and is pro-active in supporting and
           promoting it.




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