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PF Olsen Expands Business in South Island with Selwyn Plantation Board

PF Olsen welcomes Selwyn Plantation Board (SPB) as one of its new clients. Based in Canterbury and managed from our Christchurch office, SPB now has forestry and harvesting management services, along with FSC certification, provided by PF Olsen.

SPB saw the writing on the wall several years ago with regard to the implications of the Kyoto Protocol and carbon emissions and proceeded to convert most of their plains forests to pastoral farming prior to the imposition of the Emissions Trading Scheme's carbon liability (what some call a carbon "tax" on land conversion). Acting as responsible land managers SPB sought to deliver highest and best land use for their shareholders (local territorial authorities, Selwyn Investment Holdings Ltd and Christchurch City Holdings Ltd).

With less than 6,000 hectares of hill country forests, SPB concluded that it was not viable to sustain its own in-house management capability, and it sought proposals from various third-party professional forest managers. "Modern forestry involves national environmental certification, carbon sequestration, emissions trading, forest estate modelling and meeting best-practice compliance", says Austen Russell, SPB's chef executive. "Contract management provides for economies of scale and allows the company (SPB) to access the best professional forestry skills that are available."

PF Olsen is pleased to have been chosen by SBP to be its manager. Kerry Ellem, former CEO of SPB (see photo), has this to say about PF Olsen: "When Selwyn Plantation Board decided to out-source its forest management, proposals were evaluated from service providers around New Zealand. PF Olsen was our preferred choice for a number of reasons. Their 36 plus years of broad-based forest management experience gave them credibility and we felt confident that they could deliver. In our dealings with PF Olsen we found them highly professional and credible. They were able to offer a comprehensive management service and clearly kept abreast of innovation and advances in research through their support of, and involvement in, collective research and lobby groups. We liked their investment in management systems and strong disciplines in areas such as GIS, stand record management and forest modeling. We also needed a manager who didn't have conflicts of interest such as log trading or contracting and PF Olsen stacked up very well in terms of its independence."

Since commencing the new contract in May of this year PF Olsen has been busy transferring data into its FIPS system and getting to know the estate, contractors, neighbours stakeholders and log buyers. The log export container initiative (featured above) will be particularly advantageous for SPB and PF Olsen's other Canterbury-based clients. Up until recently, options for log export out of Port Lyttelton were very limited. "Working closely with Tenco Limited, a global forest products export company, we are looking at signficantly increasing the net return on Export A grade logs by an estimated 30-40% says Scott Downs, PF Olsen's Northern South Island Manager and key account manager for SPB, "That's great news for SPB and great news for our other forest owner clients".