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Introduction

It's hardly worth repeating that we are living in turbulent times and seeing unprecedented volatility in asset prices, capital and financial markets. And as we observe the spectacle, we know full well that there will be further flow-on effects into the NZ economy and our livelihoods.

As this third edition of Wood Matters goes to press we hear about the planned closures of Carter Holt Harvey's sawmill in Putaruru and plywood plant in Mount Maunganui, with the loss of over 300 jobs. This is clear evidence that the down turn in the property and construction markets is hitting log processors hard.

In our section on the Log Market and Ocean Freight Rates we report on market conditions clearly being influenced by the credit crisis and housing down-cycle. What is unclear at this stage, however, is how this will play out for the near-to-harvest forest owner, especially when balanced against a number of significant positive influences facing the export log market.

Peter Clark devotes all of Clarky's Comment to the Emissions Trading Scheme and brings us up to date with important new developments. Lower ETS entry costs are a pleasing new development which will reduce barriers to entry. We also feature the Afforestation Grants Scheme (AGS) which may provide a more attractive incentive for some to develop forestry projects.

In this edition, we profile current and planned seminar activity both in the harvesting and carbon forestry areas, as the industry works hard to disseminate information and opportunities arising from the ETS.

Excellent achievements and an important new collaborative safety initiative are covered in Making Forestry Work Safer.

And finally, the little talked about, but vitally important topic of getting pruning operations right is highlighted in Poor Pruning Operations Can Cost Dearly.