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Totara Industry Pilot Project (TIP)

Project Status: Completed

Forest Ecologist, Dejan Firm from Scion discusses tree rings with Furne Patuwai at Northpine in Waipu

Forest Ecologist, Dejan Firm from Scion discusses tree rings with Furne Patuwai at Northpine in Waipu

The Tōtara Industry Pilot (TIP) was a two-year study to test the business case for a new industry based on the sustainable management of regenerating tōtara on private land.
Regenerating totara is common on many farms in Northland. THis resource could be sustainably managed for conservation and production purposes - but is there a viable business case for a totara timber industry?Regenerating totara is common on many farms in Northland. THis resource could be sustainably managed for conservation and production purposes - but is there a viable business case for a totara timber industry?

This was a collaborative project initiated by Tane’s Tree Trust and the other project partners which included Scion, Northland Inc. Te Taitokerau Maori Forestry Inc. and Te Uru Rākau. Peter Berg of Tane’s Tree Trust chaired the Steering Group. The project ran until mid-2020.

Background

The TIP project involves harvesting, milling, processing and selling of up to 500m3 of totara log volumeThe TIP project involves harvesting, milling, processing and selling of up to 500m3 of totara log volumeIn Northland (and other regions), many farms have stands of native trees and scrub often dominated by naturally regenerating tōtara. In 2005 the Northland Tōtara Working Group (NTWG) formed to explore the potential to sustainably manage regenerating tōtara for timber production. Since then the group has conducted numerous studies on silviculture and timber use – all with encouraging results (see NTWG website pages).

They believe that an opportunity exists for sustainable timber production at a commercial scale to create economic returns for landowners and support business growth and employment within the Northland region, as well as bringing about the many desirable environmental enhancements associated with native forest cover.

Project Details Brett Kewene breaking-out a totara log on the Cookson property near KawakawaBrett Kewene breaking-out a totara log on the Cookson property near Kawakawa

The project harvested up to 300m3 of logs from sustainable forest management permits and plans on private land (involving 3 different farms). That timber was milled, dried and sold in order to understand the supply-chain and test the current market value. Research studies and trials captured useful data along the way. The results of the project indicated that a business case exists for a new regional industry – one based on the sustainable management of regenerating tōtara forests.

The TIP project involves harvesting logs, milling and processing and sales of the timber to obtain costs along the entire supply chainThe TIP project involves harvesting logs, milling and processing and sales of the timber to obtain costs along the entire supply chainOutcomes

The timber was milled at Northpine, a commercial radiata sawmill located in Waipu. Timber grade recoveries from harvests were good. Accelerated kiln-drying studies on green timber were undertaken at Scion in Rotorua. The results of the kiln drying were compared with the traditional air-drying approach.

One kiln-charge (60m3) of 25mm boards was successfully dried from green, in four days, with little drying degrade. The 50mm and other-sized boards were taken to Scion in Rotorua for air, or slower kiln, drying at a smaller scale. It is anticipated that there will be options for commercial-scale kiln drying of 50mm boards in the future. The TIP timber was made available to end users for performance testing and appraisals.

Market demand is being tested and the TIP timber is available via. JSC Timbers. Contact Harry Garg on email jsctimber.co.nz or phone 09 412 2800.

Te Taitokerau Maori Forestry Incorporated have expressed an interest in progressing this initiative from here.

Other updates from the TIP project were included in the 2019 and 2020 NTWG Newsletters.

Links

Checkout the Tōtara Industry Pilot project website: https://www.totaraindustry.co.nz/

Final Summary Report

Tōtara Industry Pilot Project Final Summary Report

V2.1 August 2020
Authors : Elizabeth Dunningham, Greg Steward, Paul Quinlan, Dejan Firm, Doug Gaunt, Steve Riley, John Lee, Andrew Dunningham, Ramona Radford

Contacts for this project

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  • Paul Quinlan: Enable JavaScript to view protected content. Brett Kewene during a TIP harvest operationBrett Kewene during a TIP harvest operation