Forest science awards go to Canterbury and Rotorua

15 October 2015

Canterbury-based researchers took home four out of five of New Zealand's forest growing research awards at an industry dinner in Nelson last night

The recipients of the 2015 awards were:

Communication and sector engagement - John Moore, Scion Rotorua, for his work in identifying opportunities to improve productivity and the value of forests and engaging with large and small forest owners to communicate the key findings of his research.

Innovation that enhances sector value – Professor XiaQiChen, Bart Milne and Chris Meaclem, College of Engineering, Canterbury University, for their work on tele-operation and autonomous harvesting machines. Their development of innovative guidance systems and a new tree felling head have acted as a further catalyst to the rapidly expanding use of machines for felling and extracting trees off steep land.

Research participation and implementation – Aaron Gunn, Blakely Pacific NZ Ltd, Christchurch, for the contribution he has made to steering industry research programmes and for his work in fostering the uptake by the forest industry of remote sensing technology such as LiDAR.

Science of international standing – Eckehard Brockeroff, Scion, Christchurch for the work he has done to raise the international profile of the importance of biosecurity to protect New Zealand from incursions that have the potential to inflict devastating harm to trade, the economy and the environment.

Contribution to a science team – Annette Brockeroff, Scion, Christchurch for the very strong management support she has provided to the industry's flagship research programme, Growing Confidence in Forestry's Future. This programme has the ambitious target of doubling forest productivity and forest value while maintaining the forest growing sector's strong focus on sustainability and minimising environmental impacts.

The awards were introduced in 2011 by the Forest Owners Association to recognise research efforts in five key areas that underpin the success of forestry in New Zealand.
Russell Dale, the association's research and development manager, says the association brings together industry funding for research and provides a channel for obtaining matching public funding. Much of this funding comes from the Forest Growers Levy introduced in 2014.

"We also put great emphasis on ensuring grower-funded research is relevant to industry needs, is managed effectively and that the results of the research are disseminated to forest growers. We want to ensure maximum benefit from this funding to individual growers and the wider industry," Mr Dale says.

For more information, contact:

Russell Dale, Research and Development Manager, Forest Owners Association, Tel 027 493 8061