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Forestry and timber stories

The following stories relate to Tasmania’s Forestry & Timber sector

Hydrowood stars on The Block

Channel Nine’s reality TV show The Block has showcased Tasmanian timber salvaged from Lake Pieman by local company Hydrowood. Aired in prime time on 3 October, the program gave valuable national exposure to Tasmania’s wood products and to the State generally. The Premier, Will Hodgman, said: “Hydrowood is a success story of our resurgent forest industries, with its innovative harvesting of specialty timbers from beneath some of our Hydro lakes … I congratulate Hydrowood on their success and also the Wynyard sawmill that processes the unique timber.”

3 November 2016, Tasmania’s Stories Edition 177

Design award for Hydrowood

Innovative company SFM Hydrowood has been recognised for Excellence in Timber Design at the Australian Timber Design Awards in Sydney for its work with timber salvaged from Lake Pieman. The company is developing a "lake to lounge" concept to utilise timber from drowned trees in Tasmania’s hydro lakes, beginning with Lake Pieman. Hydrowood uses heavy forestry machinery, including a purpose-built, 26-metre telescopic arm, to bring timber, including rare species, to the surface from 1,000ha of drowned forest. Managing Director, Andrew Morgan, said: “Bringing this [timber] out of the wild west coast is really appealing to designers and architects.” He said unique colours and markings the timber had gained through decades of submergence added to its appeal.

5 October 2016, Edition 176

Airwalk is on the market

Forestry Tasmania has invited tenders for the Tahune Airwalk, one of southern Tasmania’s most popular destinations. More than 70,000 people a year visit the site to enjoy a tree-top walk taking in views across the Huon and Picton rivers. Some make use of a cable hang glider. Forestry Tasmania’s Steve Whitely said in a statement in September: “While we are very proud of the profitable business that we have developed over the past 15 years, Forestry Tasmania’s focus is on growing trees, managing land and selling wood to domestic customers.” Mr Whiteley said the airwalk business was for sale, but the site and facilities would be leased.

4 October 2016, Edition 176

UN backs timber-first approach

As Tasmania works on Australia’s first timber-first construction policy, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FOA) has released a report promoting wood and wood-based materials in construction and products in place of non-renewable materials like concrete, metal, brick and plastic. The FOA report, Forestry for a low-carbon future: Integrating forests and wood products in climate change strategies, says an approach, like the one being initiated in Tasmania, could lead to a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. The State’s timber-first policy will see “Government projects encouraged to use more timber products, which will promote a shift towards viewing wood as a first choice for construction, interior design and daily living.” Recent changes to the National Construction Code allow such timber products as cross-laminated timber (CLT) to be used in major building projects.

30 August 2016, Edition 175

Forestry looks to calmer times

Edition 170 WHA forests ... selective logging off the agenda. Image courtesy of the ABC

Tasmania’s forestry industry could be transformed and politically less sensitive by the end of this year.

4 April 2016, Tasmania’s Stories Edition 170

Rare timber rises from lake-bed

Innovative company SFM Hydrowood has begun salvaging trees that have been submerged in Lake Pieman for more than 20 years. Heavy forestry machinery, including a purpose-built, 26-metre telescopic arm, will eventually bring timber, including rare species, to the surface from 1,000ha of drowned forest. Architects, furniture makers, designers and boat builders are expected to scramble for such rare species as huon pine, blackheart sassafras, and myrtle. SFM Managing Director, Andrew Morgan, said: “Bringing this [timber] out of the wild west coast is really appealing to designers and architects.” He said it was not just the provenance that made timber marketable, but also unique colours and markings it had gained through decades of submergence.

1 December 2015, Edition 167

Forico gains FSC green tick

Tasmanian forestry company Forico has been awarded Forestry Stewardship Council certification and will be able to market its products as sustainably harvested. Chief Executive, Bryan Hayes, said: “We already had a plan to expand our volumes, almost double our volumes this year, from 800,000 tonnes in the previous year to 1.5 million tonnes. We already had plans to do that but we hadn't secured the customers, hadn't locked them down for the year, so with this certification we'll be able to go back into the marketplace and lock down those volumes.” After reopening the Hampshire woodchip mill near Burnie in September, Forico has focussed on Korean and Taiwanese markets.

1 December 2015, Tasmania’s Stories Edition 167

Boyer swings to bio-solvent

Boyer newsprint maker Norske Skog is planning a major diversification to the production of a non-toxic and clean solvent that would be an alternative to fossil fuel-based products. The company is investing in a $6.6 million joint venture with Melbourne business, Circa Group, to develop the green bio-solvent from plantation softwood. The partners have estimated a 900,000-tonne annual global market for "Cyrene" which would be a world-first and would be used to improve certain chemical reactions or to dissolve substances during chemical processes. The State Government is providing $1.5 million towards research and construction of a 50 tonne-a-year pilot plant. Last year the Norwegian-owned Norske Skog completed an $85 million upgrade to convert one of its machines to the production of magazine-grade paper.

1 December 2015, Tasmania’s Stories Edition 167

Swift parrot stalls island logging

Forestry Tasmania will suspend logging on parts of Bruny Island to protect the habitat of the swift parrot which is listed as critically endangered and only breeds in Tasmanian blue gum forests. “It has been decided to temporarily cease harvesting on Bruny Island pending the completion of an evidence-based swift parrot management plan informed by an Australian Government review,” the Minister for Resources, Paul Harriss, told Parliament in November. A recent study had revealed that sugar gliders, that are common on the Tasmanian mainland but are not found on Bruny Island, are major swift parrot predators. The Tasmanian Government may extend the logging suspension, depending on the result of the review.

1 December 2015, Tasmania’s Stories Edition 167

$16m plywood plant opens

Ta Ann Tasmania opened its new $16 million plywood mill in Smithton in August. The plant, which will provide a new timber market for private foresters, is expected to generate $26 million in turnover in its first year and to employ up to 120 workers when it reaches full production in three years. Premium plywood will be produced for the Australian market using veneer that was previously exported from Ta Ann’s Huon and Smithton mills. Just under half the investment was provided by the Federal Labor Government as part of Tasmania’s now defunct forest peace deal. The company’s Executive Chairman, Hamed Sepawi, said: “The practice of only using logs from approved forests creates the opportunity for Ta Ann to position itself in the market as a responsible forest product supplier in Australia.”

2 September 2015, Edition 164

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