More details on Methyl Bromide & EDN decisions

4 May 2022

In August 2021 a decision on the Reassessment of methyl bromide for fumigation of New Zealand logs was released by the EPA. This was followed more recently by the release of the decision approving the use of EDN in mid-April 2022. Details on the announcement were covered in a Friday Offcuts story a couple of weeks ago.

Both processes had taken considerable time and resource, methyl bromide almost 2.5 years and EDN almost 5 years. To maintain trade of logs with some countries, fumigation treatments are required. Over 71% of all logs exported from NZ are now treated with in-transit, in-hold fumigation using phosphine. China is the only market that accepts phosphine as a treatment with over 14 million tonnes being treated this way last year. The ability to increase the phosphine treated volume is close to maximised unless there are significant changes to ship types or a reduction in top stow logs carried as phosphine is restricted to underdeck treatment as it requires 240 hours to complete the fumigation.

China also accepts debarked logs and methyl bromide treated logs. In 2020, debarking was applied to about 9% of logs exported and the balance was treated with methyl bromide. Debarking volumes continue to grow, and methyl bromide volumes continue to decline as shown below when measured in percentage terms, but when considered in volume terms, the decline of methyl bromide is not as pronounced due to rising export log volumes.

Even with these decisions now announced, it is probable that fumigation using methyl bromide or EDN will only be permitted at Tauranga and Northport, unless off-port facilities are established elsewhere.

Methyl Bromide

The key operational points from the Reassessment Decision were around increased buffer zones when fumigating and increasing requirement to recapture methyl bromide after completion of the fumigation.Of particular importance was the need for extensive buffers (900 metres) around any ship hold fumigation with methyl bromide. As this is impossible to achieve (given this extends both outside the Port boundaries on the landward side and into the marine environment on the seaward side), all fumigation of ships holds effectively ended shortly after the decision last year.

This has far-reaching effects and has resulted in an almost complete cessation of log export to India from New Zealand as methyl bromide is the only treatment accepted by Indian Authorities. This also means over 90% reliance on China as a market for our logs.

Recapture of gas remaining after fumigation under tarpaulins is being further developed by Genera and is likely to allow ongoing use of methyl bromide for the next few years at least, but with increasingly tighter requirements and the need to adequately destroy, recycle or reuse the methyl bromide recaptured.

Globally, efforts to reduce methyl bromide use have been ongoing for decades due to the adverse impact of the gas on the ozone layer. While use is restricted to phytosanitary activities some jurisdictions have also moved to ban its use completely.

STIMBR has shown that considerably lower rates of methyl bromide will achieve the same phytosanitary results, but to date, importing countries have yet to accept these results and change their requirements.

Acceptance of these lower application rates would increase the ability to recapture the remaining gas and to reduce the environmental impact if its use.

For a more detailed analysis of the methyl bromide and EPN decision from STIMBR, click here

Source: STIMBR

Read More

30,000 machine milestone

Tigercat Industries is pleased to announce that it has built and shipped its 30,000th machine in January 2024, just over 30 years into its existence. From humble beginnings in 1992 when Tigercat had a single product, very little dealer representation, and produced just a handful of machines, the company has grown steadily, expanding both its production capacity and product breadth. A few quick facts Tigercat debuted the 726 feller buncher in April 1992 at a forestry equipment show in Quitman ...
Read more

One year on – threat from fragile hills grows

One year ago, all hell broke loose in Tairāwhiti when Cyclone Gabrielle propelled 1.4 million tonnes of wood debris down the East Coast’s steep, fragile hillsides into rivers and on to bridges, homes, farms, roads and beaches below. Though the ...
Read more

First unmanned forestry machine tested

A study published in the Journal of Field Robotics assessed the world’s first unmanned machine designed for autonomous forestry operations. Investigators demonstrated that using computer vision, autonomous navigation, and manipulator control algorithms, their newly developed machine can safely, accurately, and ...
Read more

New CEO for Forest Industry Contractors Association

The Forest Industry Contractors Association (FICA) has announced the appointment of Rowan Struthers as its new CEO. An experienced professional who has worked across the forestry sector in various roles including senior leadership and forest management, Rowan will take over ...
Read more

30,000 Machine Milestone

Tigercat Industries is pleased to announce that it has built and shipped its 30,000th machine in January 2024, just over 30 years into its existence. From humble beginnings in 1992 when Tigercat had a single product, very little dealer representation, ...
Read more

Who needs skidders? – elephant logging in Burma

An extract from Ross Lockyer’s book, That’s What Elephants are For appears in the February 2024 issue of NZ Logger. It’s an amazing read – and an amazing story. In mid-1984, Ross Lockyer was offered a consultancy with the Asian ...
Read more