Catherine Delahunty
Timber report shows need for ‘good wood’ Bill

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry released a fascinating new report today.

The research project, Environmental Impacts of Multi-Story Buildings Using Different Construction Materials, modelled the life cycle energy use and carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent emissions of four similar office building designs that used different materials as their main structural element: concrete, steel, timber and ‘timber-plus’. The latter also used wood-based non-structural elements.

This new report is a very positive contribution in that it takes a life-cycle analysis approach to the environmental impact of construction materials. This sort of analysis is the science of the future.

The report’s conclusions around timber as the most environmentally sustainable material can only be strengthened by regulation that prevents the import of illegal and unsustainable timber from tropical forests.

Deforestation accounts for about 20% of the world’s carbon emissions, the largest single source. Much of that is a result of illegal and unsustainable logging, and New Zealand still imports timber and wood products of this deforestation.

Timber that is sourced by destroying rainforest cannot be considered environmentally friendly, and continuing to allow its import undermines sustainable forestry here and in developing companies.

Fortunately, the Government has an opportunity to find the best regulatory solutions through my recently-drawn Members’ Bill.

The Customs and Excise (Sustainable Forestry) Amendment Bill will have its first reading in September, and requires majority support to proceed to a select committee for consideration.

The other essential mechanism to ensure that the carbon values of timber are recognised in the economy is a price on carbon. Forests capture carbon, in contrast to the production of concrete and steel which emit carbon.

A price on that carbon through the Emissions Trading Scheme would incentivise the use of environmentally-friendly timber in building construction and create jobs in the foresty industry.

28 thoughts on “Timber report shows need for ‘good wood’ Bill

  1. Looks good to me. Best of luck getting this past the NatLabs.

    Trevor.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  2. I bet the Labs will support it, making the Nats support possibly harder to win unfortunately. If so, I bet their excuse will be really interesting.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  3. Time to look at sustainable Beech logging on crown land then Cath?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  4. Shunda – that whole ‘access to the beeches’ thing is back on the agenda again, for sure.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  5. Joking aside, do you really support sustainable logging of crown native Beech forests?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  6. Shunda – No.
    Is there some reason why we should destroy the integrity of one of the very few remaining stands of native forest?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  7. Well if that’s the position of the green party then they have no right to point the finger or even mention sustainable forestry again.
    Until we are using the abundant Beech resources in a sustainable way, NZ is nothing but a hypocrite on the world stage.

    “Is there some reason why we should destroy the integrity of one of the very few remaining stands of native forest?”

    Is there some reason why we shouldn’t sustainably manage (with all the resultant pest control) the remaining ABUNDANT Beech forests?
    Don’t the greens WANT to lead the world in sustainable practice?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  8. Hang on, aren’t there a lot of privately owned beech forests. Wouldn’t that be a more logical place to start when it comes to experimenting with sustainable logging?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  9. Shunda said:

    Well if that’s the position of the green party then they have no right ..blah, blah…

    Jeeze Shunda, you’re a reactive chap! You know I’m not the Green Party! I’m just like you – a flighty opinionated blog commenter!
    Yes, there is some reason we shouldn’t ‘manage’ natural stands of native forest. Our NZ ecosystem needs some stands of untouched virgin forest. Wild country is vital to the health of an otherwise engineered landscape. I dread the day when all is ‘managed’. Surely you recognise that we’ve done quite a number of most of the country already. For God’s sake leave some of it alone!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  10. “Hang on, aren’t there a lot of privately owned beech forests. Wouldn’t that be a more logical place to start when it comes to experimenting with sustainable logging?”

    Oh, ok, so now its the private sectors job to lead the charge?, perhaps you guys could lay off Nick Smith then!!!!
    Sheesh you fella’s chop and change like the wind.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  11. “Yes, there is some reason we shouldn’t ‘manage’ natural stands of native forest. Our NZ ecosystem needs some stands of untouched virgin forest.”

    I am not talking about opening all crown forests up to sustainable timber production, at the moment there aren’t ANY!!

    “Surely you recognise that we’ve done quite a number of most of the country already. For God’s sake leave some of it alone!”

    Yes, on the Podocarps I agree, but I am not talking about trees that take 300-400 years to mature here, we are talking about 80 years for Beech and there is alot of it suitable for sustainable management.
    A managed Beech forest with pest control would certainly increase native biodiversity, it is a win win situation, but it seems there are those that can not see it due to almost religious reasons.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  12. Beech forests are part of a continuim Shunda. They emerge after certain conditions are present and they fade out as a new state begins. Why do you want to meddle with a natural process like that? You’ll only cause unwelcome interruption. There is a GREAT DEAL of land in New Zealand that has already been disrupted in this way. Go there. Use that. Leave the beech forests to play out their assigned role.
    If, on the othjer hand, you feel honour bound to practice pest control in beech forests for the sake of greater biodiversity, all power to you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  13. “They emerge after certain conditions are present and they fade out as a new state begins.”

    From what I have read, Beech is slowly replacing Podocarp forest, not the other way round.
    I think you are reaching there greenfly, in any case Beech forest is less species diverse than other forms of native forest cover, so could even accelerate species decline.
    I guess you are also opposed to the Maori management of Southland Beech forests greenfly?.
    Until we are using SOME of our abundant Beech forest in a sustainable way (particularly west of the Alps) we as a nation have no right to preach about sustainable indigenous forestry.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  14. Any thread on the sustainable management of Native timber never goes very far on this blog.
    Its appears to be a sore issue for many of those of a green persuasion.
    How long will it take for the shame and lies of the 1999 election to settle?
    Another 10 years?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  15. Maybe your impatient approach to this issue doesn’t attract other commenters Shunda.
    Your argument that Beech forest is ‘less of a forest’ because it is not as diverse as podocarp is interesting in that it requires you to make a values judgement – podocarb is better than beech. You personal preference may be clouding your judgement here. If beech naturally replaces podocarp, who are you to intervene? (Disclaimer: I like mixed podocarp forests more than beech, but I don’t desire to replace one with the other.)
    Shunda – I may be opposed to the cutting of Maori owned beech forests in Southland, but I am not opposed to their ownership and right to do as they will with them. My concern there (here) is that those forests are being clear-felled in an appalling manner. I’ve been in them and it aint pretty. The exposure of the fragile soils to the elements and the ruination of the creeks is a crime against nature. I’ve also had an up-close look at the cache milling of nearby forests, sustainable we are told, but I’ve believe it to be a con as well. Manage a forest? We can’t even manage a paddock properly. Why would we rip into the remaining natural stands when our record is so poor?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  16. Shunda barunda Says:
    July 25th, 2009 at 3:21 pm

    > > “Hang on, aren’t there a lot of privately owned beech forests. Wouldn’t that be a more logical place to start when it comes to experimenting with sustainable logging?”

    > Oh, ok, so now its the private sectors job to lead the charge?

    I thought you were talking about opening crown-owned forests up to commercial logging for profit, in which case you’re talking about the private sector anyway, or an SOE behaving as much like part of the private sector as to be indistinguishable from it. And if a company doesn’t have an incentive to act sustainably in logging a forest it owns, it sure as hell won’t have an incentive to act sustainably in logging a forest it doesn’t own.

    I can see some value in a distinctively public-service approach. The main risk with ‘sustainable logging’ is that it gets done in a way that turns out not to be sustainable, to maximise short-term profit. If we gave the Forest Research Institute some beech forest, we could get them to do some experiments in selective logging where there incentive would be to ascertain what is genuinely sustainable, not to make a profit from it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  17. “Your argument that Beech forest is ‘less of a forest’ because it is not as diverse as podocarp is interesting in that it requires you to make a values judgement – podocarb is better than beech. You personal preference may be clouding your judgement here.

    I didn’t say it is “less of a forest” I said “less species diverse” am I incorrect?
    This makes Beech 10 times more suitable for sustainable management than other NZ forest types. Fast regrowth and less disturbance of native wildlife make beech forestry a very real environmentally friendly prospect, don’t you want to lead the world in sustainable forestry?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  18. “If we gave the Forest Research Institute some beech forest, we could get them to do some experiments in selective logging where there incentive would be to ascertain what is genuinely sustainable, not to make a profit from it.”

    Then lets do it!!!
    Kahikatea, that is a great idea.
    I am not advocating a return to the bad old days of clear felling crown forest, or shoddy “in name only” sustainable logging, but we need to begin heading in the direction of producing our own native hardwoods.
    I am convinced Native birds would benefit from a managed forest due to pest control, Beech forests are often crawling with vermin in mast seeding years and the destruction to bird life is appalling.
    It would also be possible for FRI to select strains of Beech for plantation planting, the problem now is that there is no guarantee that a land owner would be allowed to harvest native plantation grown timber.
    We must sustainably use the resources we have got and remove our reliance on treated Radiata pine.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  19. Shunda asks:

    don’t you want to lead the world in sustainable forestry?

    According to many who comment here, including yourself we are crazy to think that we could ‘lead the world’ in anything, let alone ‘sustainability!
    (just think, ‘we could lead the world in becoming carbon neutral’)

    I don’t see how intruding into a natural system like a beech forest can be viewed as ‘environmentally friendly’. Are you planning to use sky hooks to lift out the trees that have surrendered themselves to the trained beavers that have gently gnawed through the trunks of your trees, or are you planning to use chainsaws, skidders and the usual armoury?
    Shunda – we’ve a lot of land already under our dominion. What objection do you have to leaving at least a tiny percentage untouched? (and that which is still ‘untouched’ is a mere hint of what once stood here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  20. Ok, I shouldn’t have read your posts over at Kiwiblog. Nasty Shunda!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  21. “What objection do you have to leaving at least a tiny percentage untouched? (and that which is still ‘untouched’ is a mere hint of what once stood here.”

    I don’t, and i realize that for the majority of NZ any native forestry would have to be planted on existing clear or marginal land.
    But where I am from there are huge tracts of Beech that could be managed, many of these forests are suffering from huge pest problems, it could be win win with pest management in the mix.
    I share your concerns about dodgy practice, and most past methods could not be used in a truly sustainable way, but it can be done by other methods.
    They do it in Europe and our Beech forests are remarkably similar to some European forests, this could be a good thing greenfly don’t let the fear of the past taint your view on this for too long.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  22. “Ok, I shouldn’t have read your posts over at Kiwiblog. Nasty Shunda!”

    He he. Which ones? :)
    You’ve said your own nasties at Kiwi blog Mr kettle!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  23. Hey greenfly, was it this one:

    “Should voting Labour slash Greens as part of good political correction be a criminal offense in New Zealand?”

    I have been in a particularly sh!tty mood today, must be the new moon!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  24. Mr Kettle? That makes you Mr Pot, Shunda!

    Careless!

    It’s tempting to twist a little, til it’s

    ‘Shunda’ a.k.a. ‘Mr Cannabis’

    or

    ask if your first name is ‘Pol’.

    You have indeed been a snot, looking for a nose to get up today!

    Try a beer. I recommend ‘Elemental’ Porter Ale by the Renaissance Brewing Company (Marlborough) It’ll take the edge off your tetchy side and make slagging off the Greens on Kiwiblog seem a scabby thing to do (it is).

    :-)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  25. Actually, I am a bit nicer after a few beers (so says the wife :) ) might take your advice.
    And I haven’t been arguing with greens so much today as pesky labourites, you know, the ones that abused you fella’s for so long (10 years was it?).
    Why did you Greens have to do this whole smacking law thing? If you agree it was wrong I’ll vote for you in the next election.

    conditions apply

    :)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  26. Actually there are a few other things we will have to work out too.
    Hows the sustainable Beech policy coming along?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>