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Levy News


  • Small scale forestry safety guidelines
    In this page: Introduction Who is Principal? Planning the Harvest Planning access Harvesting Principal’s duties when hiring contractors Who is responsible for what? Documentation and record keeping Review and monitor…


Growing Confidence in Forestry's Future (GCFF) Research Programme

The GCFF programme has been developed to increase the profitability of commercial forestry investments, and is funded by MBIE and the Forest Growers Levy Trust.

The ‘Growing confidence in forestry’s future’ programme aims to help the New Zealand forestry industry achieve its goal to double export earnings from $4.7 billion to $12 billion by 2022. This six year programme involves a multi-disciplinary team of scientists at Scion with collaborators from other Crown research institutes and universities. Through the research programme, Scion aims to shift forest management to ‘precision forestry’. This is defined as planning and conducting site-specific forest management activities and operations to improve wood product quality and utilisation, reduce waste, increase profits, and maintain the quality of the environment. As such, the programme seeks to involve forest stakeholders at all levels of operation in New Zealand. The initial results from this programme will be available for release shortly, and can be found with information describing the structure of the programme at:

GCFF Newsletters


Issue 5, May 2016
  • Improving our ability to predict fertiliser response in planted forests
    The inability to predict growth responses to nitrogen fertilisers has been a significant barrier to the use of these products in planted forests...
  • New spray treatments are showing some early promise
    Research into new and practical options for increased growth of mid-rotation stands has given some early insight into possible new options...
  • Spatial optimisation of plantation productivity and value
    Two of the key end-uses for forest plantation products are clearwood timber, where the lower branches of the trees are removed (pruned) and structural grade timber (unpruned trees). Forest managers in many plantation growing regions have to determine the relative profitability of growing for clearwood or structural grade to ascertain whether pruning will be cost effective.
  • UAV developments support GCFF
    Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are an exciting and rapidly developing technology that is set to transform many fields of research and facets of our everyday lives...
  • Remote sensing for phenotyping trees
    Methods to characterise individual trees using remote sensing are powerful phenotyping tools for tree breeders, showing the effects of genetics, environment and silviculture on tree growth and quality...
  • New frontiers in forest soil research
    Scion’s ability to examine the composition of soil microbial communities and understand how their activity can affect forests has vastly expanded with the GCFF programme’s support of soil molecular research...
  • Developing NuBalM into a nutrient management tool for the forestry sector
    Improved ability to manage soil nutrient dynamics is critical to the ongoing success of the forestry sector in New Zealand. The GCFF programme and the Forest Growers Levy Trust have supported activities that will enable Scion’s NuBalM (Nutrient Balance Model) platform to be utilised by sector stakeholders to achieve this goal...
  • New nursery management trials at Tokoroa Arborgen
    The generous provision of in-kind support by Arborgen has enabled the GCFF programme to install two operational scale trials at the Tokoroa Arborgen nursery. These trials cover 2.4 km of seed bed, and are testing the impacts of alterations in nutrient use and fungicide exposure on seedling health and growth...
  • Cumulative effects of herbicide use project
    Dr Dan Neary from the USDA Forest Service spent five months at Scion in 2015 on an OECD fellowship. Dr Neary worked with Dr Brenda Baillie on the development of a model to assess the cumulative effects of herbicide use (terbuthylazine and hexazinone) on water quality in the Rangitaiki River catchment over a two year period.

Issue 4, November 2015
  • Improving seedling quality and establishment performance
    Nearly 10,000 seedlings have been planted out across five sites over the last two months as part of a new trial series to test the extent to which altered nursery practice can improve the initial performance of a plantation...
  • Can we close the window of vulnerability quicker to reduce the risk of erosion?
    To enable the continuity of harvesting on steep slopes in New Zealand, sustainable methods for preserving soil quality and preventing debris flows post-harvest must be explored...
  • Research Update
    Quantifying the size of the productivity gap: One of the major goals of the GCFF project is to double forest productivity without compromising wood quality. A key step towards this goal is to identify areas throughout New Zealand where actual radiata pine productivity is below potential productivity...
  • What is the maximum level of radiata pine productivity?
    The first Accelerator Trial was established in southern Kaingaroa Forest during the winter. This trial series will provide the basis for future detailed studies of tree growth and wood formation across a range of genotypes, sites, site modifications and treatments intended to make trees grow faster...
  • Development of a tree growth and wood formation simulator - SFsim
    In a tree stem, wood properties and their variation determine the performance of the products that are extracted from logs...
  • The DiscBot – a versatile wood scanning technology
    Scion has developed and built the ‘DiscBot’; a novel scanning technology designed to assess a range of wood properties that affect the quality of sawn timber and other end products...
  • Microcores – a new technique for getting wood quality information
    A novel microcore method based on confocal fluorescence imaging has been developed to examine how wood is produced as trees grow...
  • Engagement
    Forest Growers Research Conference, Nelson, October 2015: A number of researchers from the GCFF programme presented results at this conference, which was attended by over 100 people...
  • Increasing soil sampling capacity in the industry
    Two soil sampling workshops have been held, in Christchurch in May and Rotorua in September...
  • What does the forestry sector need in the way of nutrient management tools?
    The Forest Growers Levy Trust recently funded two projects to examine the sector’s need for nutrient management tools...
  • Productivity Enhancement Innovation Cluster
    The Productivity Enhancement Innovation Cluster met on 22 September in Rotorua and discussed a diverse range of topics around assessing nutritional status of sites and trees, and methods of enhancing site productivity...
  • Engaging with Horizons Regional Council
    Simeon Smaill recently met with members of the Horizons Regional Council and discussed a wide range of issues arising from the research conducted under the GCFF programme...
  • International Links
    Co-development of research on ecosystem services in Europe: Richard Yao gave a presentation on the spatial economic modelling of forest ecosystem services at the New Frontiers in Forest Economics Conference in Beijing, China in August...
Issue 3, July 2015
  • Is there a productivity gap in radiata pine and how big is it?
    Data from the permanent sample plot system have been used to estimate the current level of productivity (in terms of maximum volume mean annual increment) in radiata pine forests and the gap between this and attainable productivity...
  • Wood quality sampling in Atiamuri
    A series of trials was established between 1987 and 1991 to examine the effects of seedlot and silvicultural regime, and their interaction, on the growth, yield and wood properties of radiata pine...
  • Woodhill long-term site productivity trial - an early look at what has happened to the soil resources
    The Woodhill Long-term Site Productivity Trial offers a unique opportunity to assess soil changes over two planted forest rotations...
  • Boost to planted forest water quality research
    Water quality research in New Zealand’s planted forests has received a significant boost with the work of Dr Dan Neary from the USDA Forest Service. Dan has been working with Scion and Dr Brenda Baillie to pull together existing knowledge of water quality conditions under existing forest management and projections of possible future intensification management scenarios on water quality.
Issue 2, October 2014
  • New Tool captures detailed below ground variation
    Soil properties can now be mapped at scales that were previously cost prohibitive. The Plant Soil Interactions Unit at Scion took possession of a new survey tool called a DualEM-1s, which can measure soil electrical conductivity...
  • ZEB1 laser scanner helps measure forest stands
    A handheld mobile laser scanner was purchased by Scion allowing researchers to develop new methods to characterise forest stands for management and research purposes...
  • Sustainable production over multiple rotations - long-term site productivity (LTSP) trials update
    The research team has been busy in the field sampling the LTSP trials to determine if planted radiata pine forests in New Zealand can be sustainably managed into the future...
  • Update on spatial economic modelling
    The importance of ecosystem services and the role they play in determining the overall business case for forestry is being investigated by the newly extended economic team at Scion...
Issue 1, June 2014
  • About the programme
    Raising the profitability of commercial forestry investments is an imperative for the entire New Zealand forestry sector and also vital to increasing economic wealth for our country as signalled in the Government’s Business Growth Agenda.
  • Programme structure
    One of the core elements of the programme is the development of a forest ‘phenotyping platform’ capable of providing information on performance of different genetic material under a wide a range of environmental conditions.


Forest Growers Research News

Forest Growers Research News - August 2014
  • Changes to Organisation of R&D
  • Research Programmes Supported by the Forest Growing Levy Trust
  • Forest Growing Research Conference
  • Access to Research Results and FFR Website
Forest Growers Research News - October 2015
  • Forest Growers Research Conference 2015
  • Forest Research Committee Update
  • Research Projects Supported by the Forest Growers Levy Trust
  • Sustainable Farming Fund Applications Targeting Small Growers
  • Specialty Wood Products Partnership
  • FFR Steep Land Harvesting Research
  • Recently Published Research Results


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