24 Aug 2012

Project to look at extracting highest value from timber

10:30 am on 24 August 2012

A project is about to begin looking at ways of extracting the highest possible value out of every cubic metre of timber harvested in New Zealand.

The $400,000 project - called Woodscape - is getting funding from the Business, Innovation and Employment Ministry, which has awarded more than $130 million for 47 new research projects.

The Wood Council, which represents the interests of the forestry and wood-processing sectors, is behind the initiative, which chairperson Doug Ducker says is modelled on a 2009 study of the Canadian forest products industry.

The study found that integrating new technologies into traditional wood-processing, including the conversion of biomass into bioenergy, delivers much higher returns.

Mr Ducker says Woodscape will be led by a team of scientists from the Rotorua-based Crown research institute Scion, with technical support from forest industries and several universities.

He says promising technologies which are identified will be costed and ranked, then presented and evaluated at a series of industry workshops to be held before the end of October.

Development ideas for five regions will then be explored before final recommendations are made to the Wood Council by next May.