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The Wood From The Trees - Issue Five - From the Program Manager

Welcome to Issue 5 of The Wood from the Trees, the electronic newsletter of Research Program Two.

Chris Harwood

Chris Harwood

It’s been a very tough year for many people in the forest industries.  I’m sure that, like me, you feel for Australian forest scientists and foresters who have lost their jobs as a result of recent events. Our research must go on in tough times to help build sustainable forestry businesses, and the next year is a critical time for securing uptake of our CRC science results, so let’s redouble our efforts.  The workshop on Decision Support Systems and Tools for forestry that we will hold in August this year (see the story later in this newsletter) will be an important step in planning effective use of our research in operational practice.

Since our last newsletter, Chris Beadle has taken over leadership of Project 2.2 (Silviculture for high-value wood resources) from Tom Baker, who is to be thanked  for his prior contribution.  Project 2.5 (High-value eucalypts from subtropical plantations) is now formally set up as a separate project led by Kevin Harding, with its own project steering committee, which met in Brisbane in April. The new spindle-less lathe research facility at Salisbury, Brisbane, Queensland Primary Industries, will be a key research tool for investigating wood quality of subtropical eucalypt species.  Project 2.5 will run several major processing trials on logs harvested from our field experiments, and link product outcomes to silvicultural treatments and to non-destructive assessment measurements of trees taken prior to harvest.

Geoff Smith and Kevin Harding

Geoff Smith and Kevin Harding assessing veneer

Here are Geoff Smith (Forests NSW) and Kevin Harding assessing veneer from a Eucalyptus dunnii tree at the Salisbury research facility.  Rotary peeling 'unwinds' the entire log, enabling detailed study of defects associated with branches, and spatial variation in wood stiffness and strength, at much lower cost than can be obtained from sawmilling studies.  Small logs can be peeled to produce commercial composite wood products well before they reach conventional sawlog size, helping to improve plantation productivity and reduce rotation times.

We welcome a new PhD student, Paul Killey, who commenced at the Australian National University this year. Paul is studying aspects of the physiology of subtropical eucalypt species, such as species differences in response to pruning and defoliation, that will give insights for plantation species choice and management in the subtropics.

I hope you enjoy the following stories that showcase some of our research in Program Two.  Please contact the research leaders featured, or contact me, if you want to follow up subjects that interest you.


Chris Harwood
phone  03 6237 5664