Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: March 19, 2018

Today’s Takeaway

Canada escalates softwood lumber fight with U.S., asks WTO to step in

The Tree Frog Forestry News
March 19, 2018
Category: Today's Takeaway

Canada has requested a meeting of the WTO’s dispute settlement body on March 27 to judge its dispute with the United States over Canadian lumber exports. Companies in the news include: Domtar (concerns about a former creosote plant in Edmonton); and Sino Forest (found guilty of fraud in Ontario Superior Court).

In Forestry news: Minister McKenna announces $1.3 billion to protect natural places and wildlife in Canada; BC is protecting more coastal habitat for the marbled murrelet and northern goshawk; the fir bark beetle is wrecking havoc in central BC; and Scotland disputes stories that its Sitka Spruce are at risk from “sudden oak death“.

In Wood product news: Washington State overcomes a major construction hurdle with mass timber by directing its Building Code Council to allow for it; and Austrian furniture giant Egger Wood Products is planing it first North American facility in North Carolina

Finally, shoes made from wood pulp are taking off in Georgia and Greenpeace takes on PepsiCo and Johnson & Johnson for refusing to reveal their palm oil sources.

–Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Special Feature

Low carbon economy challenge – new funding available

Natural Resources Canada
March 19, 2018
Category: Special Feature
Region: Canada

Do you have big ideas for clean growth? Interested groups are invited to attend public Information sessions in Victoria and Vancouver, this Monday and Tuesday.  Applicants can be from provinces and territories, municipalities, Indigenous communities and organizations, businesses, and not-for-profit organizations. Learn more about how to leverage Canadian ingenuity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and generate clean growth in support of Canada’s clean growth and climate action plan, the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change.

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Business & Politics

Canada escalates softwood lumber fight with U.S., asks WTO to step in

By Reuters
Global News
March 16, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

Canada plans to ask the World Trade Organization (WTO) to set up an adjudication panel to judge its dispute with the United States over Canadian lumber exports, indicating that talks have failed to resolve the issue and Ottawa is pressing its case. Canada has submitted the request for a meeting of the WTO’s dispute settlement body on March 27, according to an agenda circulated by the WTO on Friday. Ottawa launched the complaint in November, saying it would forcefully defend its lumber industry against punitive U.S. tariffs, which it said were “unfair, unwarranted and deeply troubling.”

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New orders issued to protect public near former Domtar site in northeast Edmonton

CBC News
March 16, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

New orders have been issued by Alberta Environment and Parks and Alberta Health Services to protect residents living near a former creosote plant in northeast Edmonton from contaminants found in soil. The orders, announced Friday, come after dioxins, furans and polyaromatic hydrocarbons were found in soil sampled from uninhabited and unremediated portions of the former Domtar wood-processing plant site north of Yellowhead Trail near Hermitage Road.

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Sino Forest Corp. co founder found guilty of fraud in $2.6 billion civil case

By Tara Deschamps
Canadian Press in Canadian Business
March 15, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

Allen Chan

TORONTO — An Ontario Superior Court judge has found Sino-Forest Corp.’s co-founder and former CEO Allen Chan guilty of fraud, breach of fiduciary duty and negligence and ordered him to pay more than $2.6 billion. Justice Michael Penny found that Allen Chan “abused his unique position as a fiduciary to orchestrate an extremely large and complex fraud” that caused the timber company to lose billions. Penny’s Wednesday decision is the latest development in one of the country’s largest corporate fraud sagas, which has landed the troubled company’s executives tussling with the Ontario Securities Commission and auditors for years.

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Printers and publishers unite to launch coalition to stop baseless newsprint tariffs

Southern Newspaper Publishers Association
March 19, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

Southern Newspaper Publishers Association (SNPA) is a member of a coalition announced today that is fighting proposed countervailing duties and anti-dumping duties on imports of Canadian uncoated groundwood papers including newsprint and other papers. The coalition – Stop Tariffs on Printers & Publishers (STOPP) – is comprised of members of the printing, publishing and paper-producing industries, which employ more than 600,000 workers. …The coalition is asking the International Trade Commission and the U.S. Congress to reject these newsprint tariffs and protect U.S. jobs. With the announcement, STOPP has launched a new website: www.stopnewsprinttariffs.org and is inviting other interested parties to join in the fight to overturn these tariffs.

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Georgia’s working forestry industry benefits both rural and metro Georgia

By Andres Villegas, president/CEO, Georgia Forestry Association
Athens Banner-Herald
March 16, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

Andres Villegas

Attracting new corporate headquarters to Georgia draws lots of attention — deservedly so…. So why has so little comment been made about the recent announcements of two new production facilities in east Georgia totaling a quarter billion dollars in investment? After all, it is news that benefits both Georgias – metropolitan and the rural parts of our state. Georgia-Pacific, the Atlanta-based forest products company, announced last week the construction of a $135 million dimensional-lumber mill in Warrenton, west of Augusta. …Interfor, another North American forest product company, acquired seven mills in Georgia since 2013, set up its Southern Regional Headquarters in Peachtree City and has invested nearly $500 million to date in Georgia.

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Primary sector export returns tipped to rise by 10 per cent to $42.2 billion

By Gerard Hutching
Stuff.co.nz
March 19, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

NEW ZEALAND — Despite trying weather, export returns from farms, orchards, forests and fishing are tipped to hit a new record of $42.2 billion by the end of June. …The Government’s one billion trees programme would also create change in primary sector land use, primarily through increased replanting rates and new production forest area. …Log exports have grown by 30 per cent since 2015, driven by Chinese demand, with no sign of slowing down any time soon. The report noted it had been rare for demand to remain so strong for an extended time. At the same time, domestic construction has seen a rise in consumption of forest products.

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Rising timber prices bode well for farm forest owners

By Conor Finnerty
Agriland
March 16, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

IRELAND — Rising timber prices in recent weeks bode well for forest owners, according to chairman of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) Farm Forestry Committee, Pat Collins. In order to make the most of these rising timber prices, Collins is encouraging farmers with plantations over 14 years old to start to plan and prepare to thin their forest and make the most of the rising timber prices. “The economic recovery across western Europe has led to a growing demand for sawn timber. 

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

When Your Shoes are Made of Wood Pulp

By Nathan Heller
The New Yorker
March 19, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States

…Since releasing its first non-hideous model, in 2016, their company, Allbirds, has sold more than a million pairs of sustainably sourced woolly sneakers. …By that measure, there’s more nothing than ever in Allbirds’ latest shoe, which is light and made from plants… a sneaker called Tree, which is woven largely out of fibre made from eucalyptus pulp. “This fibre is one of the most sustainable materials on the planet,” Zwillinger said, caressing the fabric, which is cool, silky, and woven into mesh. …The final version of the Tree shoe has laces made from recycled plastic bottles, an insole derived from castor beans, and eyelets based on plant starch.

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State lawmakers boost mass timber and rural communities

By Washington Forest Protection Association
Cision Newswire
March 16, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

OLYMPIA, Wash.,  — Rural communities and forest landowners received a big boost from the Washington Legislature this session with the passage of legislation that will lead to an increase in the use of mass timber products in commercial and residential construction.. …However, one impediment to the wider use of mass timber products in construction has been that building codes have not been updated to account for the new building materials. Senate Bill 5450, passed overwhelmingly 45-2 in the Senate and 91-6 in the House, rectifies this, directing the Washington State Building Code Council to adopt rules allowing for the use of mass timber in construction.

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Egger breaks ground on $700M complex in Davidson County

By Richard Craver
Winston-Salem Journal
March 19, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

Gov. Roy Cooper and Michael Egger

Egger Wood Products has taken the first step toward its $700-million, 770-job project in Davidson County with a ground breaking Friday for its North American corporate offices. The building, scheduled for completion in early 2019, will be followed by plant construction starting by the end of 2018 and particleboard manufacturing production beginning in 2020. The project, announced July 24, is the first large development in the county-owned I-85 Corporate Center near Linwood. Egger, based in St. Johann in the Tyrol province of Austria, said the first phase is expected to take six years. It will feature 400 jobs and a $300 million investment. …The family owned company, founded in 1961, has 17 production plants worldwide with 9,000 employees. Customers include those in the furniture, wood distribution, building and do-it-yourself industries.

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Wisconsin business owner pushes for timber high-rise buildings

By David Ade & Ashleigh N. DeLuca
Gray DC
March 16, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

WASHINGTON  — Troy Brown wants to reshape the skylines of American cities, and he says the U.S. is lagging behind other countries in using wood to build tall buildings. “There’s taller buildings that are built in Europe with cross-laminated timber,” says Troy Brown, President, Kretz Lumber Co. He runs a lumber company based in Antigo, Wisconsin. Brown says if the U.S. can catch up to Europe’s tall wood buildings, it will help people in his region because he says that “Wisconsin has 17 million acres of timberland.” … A bipartisan group of lawmakers wants to explore constructing wood buildings 85 feet and taller. They sponsored a bill, The Timber Innovation Act, that directs the Department of Agriculture to use existing money to research and market that possibility.

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Forestry

Minister McKenna highlights Government of Canada’s commitment to protect nature, parks and wildlife

By Environment and Climate Change Canada
Cision Newswire
March 16, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada

VICTORIA, BC – From coast to coast to coast, nature is at the heart of Canada’s national identity. Our rivers, mountains, lakes and oceans – along with the wildlife that depend on them – are a natural legacy for all Canadians to discover, enjoy and preserve. Today, in Victoria, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, outlined how the historic $1.3 billion investment in nature and conservation, announced in Budget 2018, will enable the protection of Canada’s natural places and the recovery and preservation of wildlife in Canada. The investment will contribute $500 million from the federal government to create a new $1 billion Nature Fund in partnership with corporate, not for-profit, provincial, territorial and other partners. The Fund will make it possible to secure private land, support provincial and territorial species protection efforts, and help build Indigenous capacity to conserve land and species.

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Islanders not giving up forest fight

By Maria Spitale-Leisk
Bowen Island Undercurrent
March 16, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

John Dowler

A tenacious group of residents dedicated to protecting Bowen from logging interests is not letting its guard down. Members of Defend Island Forests quickly mobilized last summer when B.C. Timber Sales attempted to start a consultation process on Bowen and contacted the municipality about its proposed forest stewardship plan.  . …“Our status right now has not changed. BCTS still has a mandate to log here, still can come back and reinitiate the process whenever they like. And this is something that they have done in other communities where they come in softly and then back off and then come back in full force later,” said Defend Island Forests representative John Dowler.

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Village launches beetle salvage harvesting program

Vernon Morning Star
March 16, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The Village of Lumby is trying to help stop the spread of an unwelcome visitor. Residents may have noticed that there is an increasing presence of dead and dying trees on the slopes above and to the west of the village. The fir bark beetle is currently experiencing an outbreak in the forest adjacent to the village. The obvious red needled trees are the visible signs of the increased fir bark beetle presence. Within the Monashee Community Forest, a trap tree program with salvage harvesting is planned to limit the spread of the beetle. …“The beetle infested area is estimated at 45 hectares,” said village Mayor Kevin Acton, chairperson of the Monashee Community Forest. Debris burning will be planned for late fall to early winter of 2018 for sanitation of potentially beetle infested debris. This may generate greater than normal smoke levels for a short duration. The logging blocks are planned as a series of small patches.

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Are Vancouver Islanders ready for the 2018 wildfire season?

Ladysmith Chronicle
March 16, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Edward Struzik

Are Vancouver Island residents taking the threat of wildfires seriously enough, in the face of seemingly ever-more destructive wildfire seasons in the province? Fire season in British Columbia officially starts on April 1 and there are calls for a radically-different approach to managing wildfires. “It’s a topic that far too few of us take seriously, but each year, it seems, our fire seasons here in B.C. are more dramatic and more destructive,” says Steve Lackey, a member of the Campbell River Forestry Task Force. Journalist Ed Struzik, author of Firestorm: How Wildfires Shape our Future, will be in Campbell River later this month, revisiting scorched earth across the continent and introducing scientists, firefighters and resource managers who make the case for a radically different approach to managing wildfires.

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B.C. to protect more habitat for coastal northern goshawk, marbled murrelet

By Andrew Hudson
Haida Gwaii Observer
March 16, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

More B.C. forest habitat will be set aside for marbled murrelet and coastal northern goshawk — Haida Gwaii’s national bird. For marbled murrelet, a small seabird, the goal is to protect another 70,000 hectares of old-growth habitat, up from 750,000 hectares. …For northern goshawk, the largest hawk in B.C., the target is to protect another 168 nesting areas in old-growth and mature forest, up from 240, with four of those nesting areas expected to be found on Haida Gwaii. “These unique species of birds require mature and old-growth forest areas for breeding, and with their numbers declining, we need to do more to help them recover,” said Doug Donaldson, B.C.’s forests minister, announcing new recovery plans for the two at-risk species late last month. 

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Logging protest at Collison Point

By Andrew Hudson
Haida Gwaii Observer
March 16, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

A number of Old Massett Haidas and supporters are calling for an end to logging at Collison Point / St’al.la Kun. Boats carrying protesters and supplies starting making trips to Collison Point from Masset on Tuesday, March 13. The point is on the west side of Masset Sound, east of Sewall and north of Kumdis Island. “We’re just tired of watching our forests and our future leave on every barge,” said Lisa White, spokesperson for the group, which has a Facebook page titled Haida Gwaii Land Protectors. “It’s been happening my whole life, and then some — it’s been 100 years of clear-cutting and logging, and they’re leaving us with nothing.”

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Lac Seul First Nation Signs Forestry Agreement

Net News Ledger
March 16, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

THUNDER BAY – Ontario, in partnership with local First Nations and industry in the Lac Seul Forest and the surrounding area of Sioux Lookout, has signed a historic agreement for the first Enhanced Sustainable Forest Licence. This agreement will allow for more economic opportunities for local and Indigenous communities including more involvement in managing Crown forests. “This long-term agreement will protect the jobs that we have secured and allow us the certainty that is required to have longevity in this resource business. Obishikokaang Resources Corporation will continue to have the same leading role in managing the forest.

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Inventory management system streamlines foresters’ field work

By Stephanie Kanowitz
GCN.com
March 16, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

The digitization of inventory and maintenance processes is helping Michigan better manage its 4 million acres of state forests. About 150 foresters regularly use the Michigan Forest Inventory system to manage the state’s forests, collecting data on tree types and making recommendations for prescribing controlled burns, preserving habitat, improving hiking trails or scheduling timber sales. Originally launched in 2014 as an application on state-owned desktops, laptops and Windows 10 tablets, MiFI is getting ready for an update this year so that iOS and Android users can access the app from their personal devices. “It’s going to open up our ability to utilize different field hardware,” said Jason Stephens, state forest inventory specialist at the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ Forest Resources Division.

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Controlled burns helping restore longleaf pine ecosystem in Alabama

By Dennis Pillion
AL.com
March 17, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

Smoke rising over Lake Martin near Dadeville this week was a sign of progress toward restoring the longleaf pine ecosystems that dominated once Alabama, and most of the Southeast. Alabama Power Company has been conducting controlled burns on its property surrounding Lake Martin, helping control the undergrowth and restore habitat for the longleaf pine trees themselves and for the myriad of other plants and animals that thrive in the ecosystem. Longleaf pine forests used to cover 90 million acres from Texas to Virginia, but now only a few isolated pockets remain. Most of the old growth forests were clear cut for logging operations or development.

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FCS scotches media sensationalism over disease threat to Scottish Sikta spruce

Timber Trades Journal
March 19, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS) has scotched media “sensationalism” of a threat to the country’s timber industry after discovery of tree disease phytophthora ramorum in Scottish Sikta spruce. Two instances of the disease – also known as sudden oak death – were recently found. One was in a small group of 40-year-old trees in Galloway and the other is a single tree at Ae near Dumfries. Newspapers The Times and The Herald have covered the discovery, with the former running a headline “Disease puts £1bn timber trade at risk” and the latter using “Sudden death killer disease stalking Scottish forests”. …“Scientific evidence shows that Sikta spruce is considered to be of very low susceptibility to P. ramorum and no negative impacts have been observed on the large areas of Sikta spruce adjacent to infected stands of larch in south-west Scotland,” said FCS in a statement.

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‘Sudden death’ killer disease stalking Scottish forests

By Rob Edwards
The Herald Scotland
March 17, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: International

SCOTLAND — A killer tree disease has spread to Scotland’s main timber crop, sikta spruce, raising fears for the environment and the £1 billion forestry industry. The government’s Forestry Commission Scotland has told the Sunday Herald that the fungal pathogen, phytophthora ramorum, has recently been discovered in sitka trees in two parts of south west Scotland. The disease, which rots needles, wilts shoots and damages bark, has already caused the death or felling of thousands of larch trees in the region. According to FCS, it has caused “significant collateral damage” to wildlife and heathland, as well as altering the landscape.

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FSC-certified timber importer failed to check legality of shipment from Cameroon

By John Cannon
Mongabay
March 19, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: International

A British government office has prosecuted a wood importer certified by the Forest Stewardship Council after it was found to have failed to ensure the legality of a shipment of timber from Cameroon. The Forest Stewardship Council, or FSC, is an international organization dedicated to ensuring companies harvest and source timber according to a set of environmental and social standards. On March 2, a judge ruled that Hardwood Dimensions had violated a set of laws known as the EU Timber Regulation that came into force in March 2013. According to a statement, the company didn’t properly verify that a shipment of ayous (Triplochiton scleroxylon), a tropical tree species used to make furniture and guitars, had been legally harvested in Cameroon.

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Greenpeace says brands refusing to reveal palm oil sources

The Associated Press in the Idaho Statesman
March 18, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Greenpeace says household brands including PepsiCo and Johnson & Johnson are refusing to disclose where they get their palm oil from despite vows to stop buying from companies that cut down tropical forests to grow the widely used commodity. The environmental group said Monday that in January it asked 16 major brands to reveal their suppliers of palm oil… It said eight disclosed the information and eight refused. Greenpeace said that adds to concerns international consumer goods companies are “way off track” in meeting a 2010 commitment to remove deforestation-linked palm oil from their supply chains by 2020. …Groups representing the palm oil industry in Indonesia and Malaysia contend that much of the opposition to palm oil is a protectionist effort by rival industries in Western nations.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Northwest B.C. pellet plant to provide energy to Asia

By Chris Gareau
The Terrace Standard
March 17, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

The decision to redevelop the former NewPro particle board facility into a wood pellet production plant was celebrated last Monday at the side of a giant pile of wood chips. …Production is expected to start in the third quarter of this calendar year. The plant is a major redevelopment of the former NewPro particle board plant along the railroad track. West Fraser, which owns Pacific Inland Resources in Smithers, is a partner in the project with a 30 per cent interest. West Fraser vice president Larry Gardner said the companies have worked together before, and he believes the plant will be a big benefit to the community in jobs and environmentally.

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Old-growth burning reignites biomass debate

By Aaron Beswick
The Chronicle Herald
March 17, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada East, Canada

Revelations that mature hardwood stands are being cut primarily to supply Nova Scotia Power’s biomass boiler have reignited a long-simmering debate over the burning of biomass to generate electricity. The Department of Natural Resources acknowledged the potential to The Chronicle Herald on Tuesday, saying some mature hardwood in Guysborough County may include old-growth forest that is being cut and burned to produce electricity in the Point Tupper power plant. …“It’s insane,” said Plourde, the Ecology Action Centre’s wilderness co-ordinator. “Not only are we attempting to supply Nova Scotia’s biomass needs, we’re allowing our forests to be chipped and sent overseas.

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Soil fungi may help determine the resilience of forests to environmental change

By University of California – Santa Cruz
EurekAlert
March 16, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

Nature is rife with symbiotic relationships, some of which take place out of sight, like the rich underground exchange of nutrients that occurs between trees and soil fungi. But what happens in the dark may have profound implications above ground, too: A major new study reveals that soil fungi could play a significant role in the ability of forests to adapt to environmental change. Kai Zhu, assistant professor of environmental studies at UC Santa Cruz, took a unique “big data” approach to investigating the role of symbiotic fungi in tree migration in forests across the eastern United States. “Our climate is rapidly changing, and our forests are responding, but in very slow motion–it’s hardly detectable,” said Zhu.

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Health & Safety

Robots are coming to NZ forests

By Will Harvie
Stuff.co.nz
March 19, 2018
Category: Health & Safety
Region: International

Stung by workplace accidents and deaths, the forestry industry is hoping robots will soon take over the most dangerous jobs. Will Harvie reports. “No worker on the slope, no hand on the chainsaw.” That was the theme of a recent research project funded by the New Zealand forestry industry and Government to reduce accidents and deaths in our forests. While funding has ended for one aspect, it’s still a long-term goal and university researchers such as Dr Rien Visser, director of studies in forest engineering at the University of Canterbury, foresee autonomous felling machines, robot trucks delivering logs to mills and drones replanting forests – eventually and maybe.  

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