9 Oct 2023

'Race against time': Forestry crews salvage wood after cyclone

5:01 pm on 9 October 2023
A Taupō forest damaged in Cyclone Gabrielle is being cleared.

Photo: Supplied

Forestry crews are in a race against time to harvest 6500 hectares of trees blown over around Taupō and Tūrangi area during Cyclone Gabrielle.

Since the February storm, 40 crews have been picking up about 3.5 million cubic metres of wood that was blown down.

New Zealand Forest Managers general manager John Hura said they were trying to salvage as much wood as possible, before it starts to deteriorate.

"The salvage operation is a race against time.

"We've been fortunate to date that the log quality has held up pretty well, but we're going into the hot dry period where we can expect some of the wood to deteriorate quickly," Hura said.

It was hard to get into some areas initially, but access tracks had been created and crews were going full steam ahead, he said.

"We've harvested 1.25 million cubic metres of logs. We want to at least do another million before Christmas, leaving a million do to in the first half of next year.

"We're aiming to have the salvage all done by the end of June 2024."

Hura said the down-turn in the log market and damage to forestry estates along the East Coast had been a blessing in disguise.

"There were a lot of displaced workers in Hawke's Bay and Tairāwhiti, so they've come over to give us a hand.

"With the log market cooling from about June, there were harvesting contractors looking for work as well.

"That depressed market also helped us secure trucking."

The logs are trucked to ports at Tauranga, Napier, Taranaki, and Wellington and are exported to China and Korea.

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