Quick Six - October

Wasp to control Eucalyptus Tortoise Beetle

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is reviewing an application to introduce a Wasp to New Zealand to control the Eucalyptus Tortoise Beetle.

The Australian eucalyptus tortoise beetle causes significant damage to susceptible eucalypt species. Its larvae consume vast amounts for three weeks before pupating, and the adult female beetles also feed heavily as they develop.

Scion estimates the impaired tree growth of susceptible eucalypt species amounts to annual losses of $7.2 million for the NZ forest industry. The industry currently spends between $1-$2.6 million a year in chemical control costs.

Scion identified that 90% of tortoise beetle larvae survive into adulthood, but if the larvae is attacked just once by the parasitoid wasp survival drops to 10%.

New Zealand has no native beetles of the same type as the eucalyptus tortoise beetle, and no native eucalyptus species, Scion says. Its laboratory tests suggest the risks to non-target related native and beneficial beetles appears to be very low. Public submissions on this application opened on Tuesday 2nd October and close on Wednesday 14th November. 

Allbirds’ new sneakers made from Eucalyptus trees

Allbirds are a line of shoes made from wool. Customer feedback about the merino Allbirds showed that wool wasn’t quite as good as it could be in warm weather, so they set out to try and find another material to solve this problem. Their latest shoe is made from the pulp of the eucalyptus tree. The pulp is spun into a fibre then knit into a mesh fabric. The material is reflected in the name of the shoes Tree Runner and Tree Skipper. Ex New Zealand All White Tim White is a co-founder of Allbirds.        

“Eucalyptus fibre is incredible for its cooling qualities and incredible softness,” says Brown. “It’s taken two years of development. First, they found a way to turn it into a yarn. Then we realised that wasn’t enough, they had to introduce a whole new manufacturing process. The uppers are knit with our proprietary yarn, where we could control the different aspects of the knit structure to improve comfort and breathability. We also found a way to use a bio-based material in the eyelet which are fused on in a process that is incredibly advanced. The shoelaces are also made out of recycled plastic bottles.”


Juken New Zealand plans to modernise Kaitaia Triboard mill

Juken New Zealand (JNZ) proposes to make significant investment over the next few years to modernise its 30-year old Triboard mill in Kaitaia. The unique Triboard product is used to build houses.   New Zealand General Manager of JNL, Dave Hilliard, says that although the proposal involves some hard decisions, “it will give certainty to the Northland community about the long-term future of the mill.”  “The Triboard mill is important to JNL and to Kaitaia, and we want to keep it open for the long-term, which is why we’re proposing to make a multi-million dollar investment in upgrading the site.  “This investment will result in a modern, safer and more efficient mill which can continue to be one of Kaitaia’s largest employers well into the future.” 

Alongside this review is the issue of log supply security in Northland. As Dave Hilliard went on to refer to, “We are in early but constructive discussions with the Government about the shortage and how it can be solved. This is an issue that is impacting all Northland mills and creating real uncertainty around wood processing in the region.”

NS Norway to purchase Norske Skog

The Overseas Investment Office (OIO) has approved NS Norway’s application to buy Norske Skog’s Kawerau assets for $29.9 million. The OIO said Norse Skog was financially distressed and owned the freehold interest in 351 hectares at Fletcher Ave, Kawerau where the mill is located, and 48ha at Springs Rd Kawerau.  "We consider that without this Investment, the Tasman mill and New Zealand- based business of Norske Skog Tasman are likely to be closed down in the short term," the OIO said. "This Investment is likely to enable the business and Tasman mill to continue operating while it is economically feasible to do so.”

NS Norway is an international newsprint and magazine paper producer with mills and supply chains predominantly in Austria, Ireland, Poland and Australia.

Potential New Zealand Maple Syrup industry

NZ academics think this country could have a maple syrup industry, despite a mild climate and no sugar maple forests. Preliminary research has determined that a plantation of maple saplings for use in commercial production of maple syrup is a possible and a promising endeavour in NZ. The most promising places for maple syrup production are roughly Molesworth Station and inland from Westport, both in the South Island. Maple trees are unusual in that sap flows in winter. Why that is so is not well understood, but a freeze-thaw cycle is critical. Winters in Canada’s Quebec are harsh and overnight temperatures are consistently about minus 10 degrees Celsius. But there are thaws too. Overseas experts have long thought maple sap production could never occur in NZ because the weather is too mild, but in 1984, Dave DeGray started planting sugar maples near Nelson and his tree growth rates are almost double those achieved in North America, reaching ‘tappable’ girth in 20 years.


Another reason not to live in Australia-stinging trees

The Gympie Gympie (Dendrocnide moroides) grows in light-filled gaps in rainforests throughout Brisbane and northern NSW. It is one of seven sting species in Australia. Even the slightest touch of a D. moroides leaf can cause excruciating pain. Contact with the leaves or twigs causes the hollow, silica-tipped hairs to penetrate the skin. The hairs cause an extremely painful stinging sensation that can last anywhere from days to years, and the injured area becomes covered with small, red spots joining together to form a red, swollen welt. Hard to know what causes Australians more pain-these trees or the Australian Rugby team!