Image

Plantation thinning for carbon, timber and innovation

5 March 2023

Plantation thinning may not be new in the forestry sector, which has been thinning to improve tree growth and vigour for years. But the operations being carried out by Forico in Tasmania’s northwest are racking up the benefits, continuing the development of forestry-based carbon methodology, growing construction timber, and pushing innovation boundaries.

Forestry and Carbon

Forico is believed to be one of the first Australian forestry and asset management companies to register plantation forestry projects with the Clean Energy Regulator’s Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF). The company uses an Enterprise Valuation Model to identify operations with the potential to add value across its managed estate. In early 2022, modelling predicted that thinning trees between nine and twelve years of age would produce more substantial growth, suitable for sawlogs and the building timber or engineered wood products of the future.

Further investigation by Strategic Planning Manager Steven Butt and Sustainability Manager Simon Cook identified the opportunity to register operations under Schedule 2 of the ERF’s Plantation Forestry Method. This would generate carbon credits, the trees capturing more carbon in the resulting extra ten years of growth than would have been captured on a shorter rotation. Figures indicated that an extra hundred tonnes per hectare of carbon will be drawn down from the atmosphere and stored.

‘We’ve all known for a long time that thinning trees creates results in greater carbon capture in the long term, with greater height and volume in the crop, better access to light and water and capacity to photosynthesise,’ says Darren Herd, Forico’s General Manager of Plantation Performance. ‘What’s new here is the opportunity to convert a hardwood crop from short to long rotation, while creating additional Natural Capital value in more carbon sequestration, with the costs supported by registering for Australian Carbon Credit Units.’

Specialist Harvest Machinery

The project was registered with the ERF in March 2022 and began in July, overseen by Forico’s Operations Forester Roger Ambrose. Forico appointed Tasmanian contractor Casegrande Lumber,whose Principal is Paul Morgan. Both he and Ambrose have extensive experience in commercial thinning operations.

Casegrande was equipped with harvesters designed to rotate within their own footprint reducing the likelihood of damage to trees, and a long boom allowing for greater reach. This reduces the need for ‘outrows’, when an entire row of trees is removed to allow passage, and results in less traffic across the site, reduced impact on soil and productivity, and fewer windrows, reducing the potential for storm damage.

Forestry and Innovation

Working with Private Forests Tasmania (PFT) and Senior Research Fellow Mauricio Acuna from the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC), Forico also facilitated a trial as part of the Wood Supply Co-investment Program supported by PFT, relating to Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) sensing technology. Results from two plantation plots were compared, a control plot in which the harvesting operator selected trees for extraction, and a plot in which trees were marked for harvest in a manner mimicking selection by sensing technology. While results are still being collated, it is hoped that LiDAR will prove to be a highly effective means of streamlining thinning operations.

‘There’s a distinct difference in the appearance of the plantations and the quality of the outcome,’ says Forico’s Harvest Operations Manager for the Northwest, Mark Pearce.

Lumber for the long-term

With a view to long-term planning and diversification, growing plantation hardwood for a longer rotation aligns with one of Forico’s strategic goals, namely the investigation into downstream processing.

Background:

Forico is Tasmania’s largest private asset-management company, engaged on behalf of the investors of The Tasmanian Forest Trust managed by investment fund manager New Forests. Forico manages 89,362 hectares of globally certified plantation for sustainable wood fibre production, and 77,552hectares of natural forest areas, which is not harvested for commercial purposes but conserved by the company for biodiversity and cultural value.

Operations Forester Roger Ambrose (L) with Casegrande operator Brad Fuller (R)

Source: Forico

Read More
Image

Growing the potential of NZ’s forestry sector in partnership

Forestry Minister, Todd McClay, has announced the start of the Government’s plan to restore certainty and confidence in the forestry and wood processing sector. “This government will drive investment to unlock the industry’s economic potential for growth,” Mr McClay says. ...
Read more
Image

North American DEMO International running in September

The Canadian Woodlands Forum (CWF) is excited to announce that registration is now open for its flagship event, DEMO International®, to be held outside the Ottawa/Gatineau area in the beautiful region of Venosta, Quebec, Canada, from September 19-21, 2024. This world-class event, ...
Read more
Image

Extreme bushfires increasing in number and intensity

Extreme bushfires have more than doubled in frequency and intensity over the past two decades, according to a global study from the University of Tasmania. Published in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution, the research reveals that six of the past seven years have ...
Read more
Image

Mining giants collaborate on battery-electric haul truck trials

In a major step to cut emissions, Australia’s leading mining giants, BHP and Rio Tinto, are poised to test battery-electric haul trucks in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. This initiative, hailed as a “massive opportunity” by energy analysts, aligns with the ...
Read more
Image

Plans to construct the world’s first biomass-fuelled ship

A consortium of Japanese shipping companies comprising NYK Line, NYK Bulk & Projects Carriers, Tsuneishi Shipbuilding Company, and UK- headed renewable energy group Drax Group, have recently signed a new Memorandum of Understanding, to develop both the world’s first biomass-fuelled ...
Read more
Image

€100 m investment in wood-based EV batteries

Stora Enso Oyj is preparing to invest about €100 million in a pioneering project to use wood in electric vehicle batteries and offer an alternative to components currently made in China, according to its chief executive officer. The funds would ...
Read more
Image

First long-range electric trucks to New Zealand

Windrose Technology will work with Auckland based Etrucks® to bring the first long-range electric trucks to New Zealand. The Windrose E1400 6×4 semi tractor features extreme aerodynamic efficiency, with an industry low coefficient of drag of 0.2755. Combined with the ...
Read more
Image

DC Equipment Canada return Madill to B.C.

DC Equipment has announced the opening of its new manufacturing facility in Prince George, marking the return of Madill equipment production to British Columbia. The first machines to be produced at this facility will be the Madill 3000B Log Loaders, ...
Read more
Image

Kenworth unveils futuristic SuperTruck 2

Kenworth showcased its SuperTruck 2 demonstrator vehicle at the Advanced Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo in Las Vegas last month, a project developed over six years in collaboration with the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) SuperTruck programme. The aim of the project ...
Read more