Forestneeds

July 31, 2007

Totara Element Concentrations: Beginnings

Filed under: Accessability — shem kerr @ 12:33 pm

Typical annual stem diametre increments of around 10mm dont bode well for totara’s success as a commercial forestry crop. At a recent Northland Totara Working Group field day. Randal Austen told of annual stem diametre increments of 20mm after (non-targeted) application of superphosphate. We might ask what gains could come from targeted nutrient application; or even what proportions of what elements the tree uses. I suspect that certain factors in how totara has come to fill its ecological or evolutionary niche, means that it has higher resource needs than some other trees. The essential oils it produces also puts it in a high durability class, with perhaps similar needs as the durable cypresses or eucalypts. However, if nutrient availability is low, growth might also be low and tree form and health may be inferior. Open grown totara typically has lots of big branches and often is multi-leadered. The generally accepted theory is that having tightly spaced totara trees is the main foctor in producing clear stems. Sure, inter-tree competion and both light and wind sheltering are important in tree form, as is genetics. as is nutrition. My own observations around the North Island of New Zealand are that in at least some districts totara health and/or form is less than optimal, with multiple leaders and a predominance of high angled branches even on closely grown forest stands; foliage yellower or bronzier and sparser than need be; and I am left with a suspicion concerning insufficient rooting extent. This leads me to believe that intelligent additions of nutrients are part of the answer to impovement in health and form . Knowing what the tree is up to would be a big help in planning nutrient delivery. However, there has been no published studies on totara physiological processes; nor data on nutrient use within the tree. So, I got Hills Laboratories in Hamilton to analyse my trees and soil. It is an argicultural testing lab, so the soil test is for available nutrients rather than total element amounts within the sample. I will be getting another lab to tell me the totals; and plan to have samples from some more vigorous totara from elsewhere analysed.The stem sample was from the darkest pinky brown, 50mm from the centre of the trunks, the closest that I could get to true heartwood. The ‘foliage included the last 12 months branchlet growth as well as the needles, so it probably also represented a sapwood mix.It may have been bettter to have stripped the needles off the branchlets and had the 2 samples analysed separately. I also havent yet had an analysis of heartwood; that should be on the list of to dos. In the mean time the data below is a start and may help a little in understanding what totara is up to with resource allocation. I have a tentative opinion, however, I’d prefer to see some other comments before I do.

Soil

pH …………………5.3
Olsen P (mg/L)… 5
K (me/100g) …….0.52
Ca (me/100g)…… 2.1
Mg (me/100g)……2.34
Na (me/100g)…… 0.25
CEC 15
Base saturation K 3.5 Ca 14 Mg 15.8 Na 1.7
B (mg/kg) ………………1.2
P (Melich3) (mg/L) …..5
Fe (Melich3) (mg/L) 283
Mn (Melich3) (mg/L) 14.1
Zn (Melich3) (mg/L)… 0.81
Cu (Melich3) (mg/L)… 0.5
B (Melich3) (mg/L) …<0.5
Co (Melich3) (mg/L) 0,1

Al (Melich3)……….1480

Foliage ………………………………………………………………………Stem
N…. 0.9 %……………………………………………………………………… 0.2 %
P…. 0.1 %………………………………………………………………………. 0.02 %
K ….1.1 % ……………………………………………………………………….0.1 %
S…. 0.09 %…………………………………………………………………….. 0.02 %
Ca… 1.71 % ……………………………………………………………………..0.17 %
Mg.. 0.15 %…………………………………………………………………….. 0.02 %
Na.. 0.04 %……………………………………………………………………… 0.01 %

Fe (mg/kg) …74 …………………………………………………………….196
Mn (mg/kg) 130……………………………………………………………….. 9
Zn (mg/kg) …13……………………………………………………………….. 7
Cu (mg/kg)      3………………………………………………………………. 4
B (mg/kg) …..17 ……………………………………………………………….3
Mo (mg/kg) ….0.08…………………………………………………………… 0.07
Co (mg/kg)….. 0.22 ……………………………………………………………0.25
Se (mg/kg)…… 0.04…………………………………………………………… 0.01
Al(mg/kg) ….100 ……………………………………………………………/287

July 29, 2007

Northland Totara Working Group Field Day

Filed under: Forestneeds_Notices,Forestry Research,Timber Growing,Trees — shem kerr @ 6:00 am

Remnants of totara gate and fence

Held at A. Crawford property. Cook Rd. Okaihau on Saturday, 31 March 2007

The 2nd of a 3 part seminar on issues with managing totara. The 1st part being heads talking to powerpoint presentations; an hour or 2 of bums on seats,  4 different days, 4 locations: could’ve been 10 minutes tacked onto the front end of the 3rd part and saved a lot of time and money.

The field day was the most useful of the three.

The field day attendees included bureaucrats, lifestylers, contractors, and pastural farmers. At times the researchers findings or views weren’t just questioned, but downright rejected. Points of contention included: desirable pruning heights; the timing of pruning or production thinning; the role of borer in downgrade; and nutrient application.

From early times of human occupation of New Zealand, totara wood has been utilised because of it’s ease of workability, high durability, stability, fine finish,relatively light weight, along with straight knot-free stems. Those features that gave it desirability, plus a government low price policy, led to overcutting, leaving only remnants of old growth (durable) totara and collapse of the market. Insufficient effort was put into researching and managing the growing of totara (or other indigenous timber species) in sustainable forestry regimes or in plantations to enable continuity of supply. Instead, Pinus radiata, was selected for fast grown non-durable sapwood production in clear felled regimes treated as a mediocre commodity wood or fibre source.

Regenerating totara forest View under young totara regeneration

Since the removal of government subsidies on agricultural production, large areas of marginal farmland in Northland have reverted to scrub and then through to young forest. Fortunately for totara it is a pioneer species that is quite tolerant as to site, and can better thwart browsing than can most New Zealand native trees. A large proportion of this reversion has been to totara dominated forest, creating the potential for a significant new timber resource.

Pruned and thinned tight stand of totara Branchy habit of totara Tightly grown totara of similar age Northland Totara Working Group field day discussion Old growth totara stand

The Working Group was established “to support and promote research and technology transfer in the productive management of totara”. this could cynically be translated into: “as researchers, we should be milking this for as much funding as we can get away with; this is another opportunity to reinvent the wheel.”

At times the day got bogged down in discussion of what amounted to uneconomic harvesting activity. The group doesnt seem to have a grasp on the matter. Who is harvesting this knotty sap farm-crop totara? It appears that at present it is for the most part craftspeople unofficially ‘salvaging’ open grown paddock logs felled to be burned. Research indicates that on fertile sites, totara can put on annual trunk diametre growth incruement of around 10 mm; and that in trees less than 100 years old there is very little durable heartwood. There is no way that this could be and economically viable crop given competing product prices. However, Randal Austen found that a single application of superphosphate fertilizer (untargeted as to matching nutrient needs) gave faster growth rates, twice that, and continuing over at least a seven year period. With fine tuning of nutrient additions, growth rates might match similarly durable exotic timber species. The second part we might work on is shortening the time to produce significant amounts of durable heartwood. Together these two may still not add up economically.

Other factors such as soil and water conservation forestry may help make active management of totara economically sensible. Against this, totara tends to have a fairly shallow root system and might be of minimal value here.

The group has $nz265,000 in funding to demonstrate thinning and pruning.to quantify the resource; to evaluate the wood quality; and to compare growth rates, stand productivity and wood quality of extracted thinnings of naturally-regenerating stands with plantation totara http://www.maf.govt.nz/sff/about-projects/search/06-082/ However.these activities of themselves wont encourage land owners to undertake ‘management (that) is required to maximise the production from these stands’. What is missing is how the land stacks up; as well as infrastructure concerns.

January 28, 2007

From Inglewood to Broadwood

Filed under: Forestneeds_Notices — shem kerr @ 9:20 am

I’ve been asked to post the photos. So I’ll do that first. Here be the thumbnails. Click on those and go further.
Some time in the future i’ll get around to putting down the words.

Taranaki from suburban Inglewood Suburban Inglewood - our version Pond Dawn house washroom Attic bedroom

That’s Inglewood, at least part of what we added to it. it’s not Inglewood the way the Ingle-Woodens see it.

Next up: Broadwood. Again, not necessarily a Broad-Wooden view.
Maungapohuta massif Toward Whangape Herekino Maungataniwha Toward the south Untitled Creek Flat Paper road Mangonuiowae bend

November 20, 2006

Field Day Reclamation: Paengaroa: Welcome Bay; Waitara

 

 

Just got in. Logbook says 855.3 km. I’ll put up the thumbnails temporarily placed first, then get back to the field day issues.

Ok, had to have a bath; eat; then had to sleep; then needed to work. Now i can get back to down-sizing the photos and uploading them. Just noticed that there’s a new way of handling photos on my dashboard – I have to get my head around that. If you click on the thumbnail then it should come up bigger along with a caption. You can click on the bigger picture to see it even bigger.

Family farm forestry
Farm forestry Reid Road Welcome Bay Flying-fox over pond Welcome Bay

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November 14, 2006

Nutrient Denial

Filed under: Accessability — shem kerr @ 8:45 am

Internal rates of return from intelligent application of nutrients to timber crops are typically in the range of 15 to 40%. Yet, comment from growers deride or pour scorn on the practice.

“We dont fertilize trees round here. Either they grow or they dont.” (more…)

September 21, 2006

Beyond Beans

Filed under: Uncategorized — shem kerr @ 1:53 pm


That leading question: how many trees do you have? The one that couples with that of: how experienced are you in forestry matters?

Perchingtree

 

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August 23, 2006

Eucalypts:naturally durable, or easily and profitably grown?

Filed under: Eucalypts,Forestry Research,Timber Growing — shem kerr @ 10:45 am

Carrying on the theme of approaches to growing timber: should it be easy andE_nitens_sapwood_rot
profitable; or should we bang our heads against a brick wall? Take the present enthusiasm for naturally durable Eucalypt timber in New Zealand: what are the trade-offs in growing such species, as against growing less durable or non-durable species?

(more…)

August 2, 2006

Endangered Pine Major Export Earner

Filed under: Timber Growing — shem kerr @ 4:08 am

Take Pinus radiata: a very minor species of inferior wood qualities, mediocre tree architecture for milling, and no market history. Why grow Radiata instead of, say, Black Walnut, Stringybark, or Redwood, when it doesn’t have the beauty, the strength or the durability of these more glamorous timbers? Because it grows vigorously where other trees struggle. It is reasonably undemanding as to nutrients, wind exposure. and frost; and it’s easy to grow, easy to tend. At the end of the day it has been proven (as yet) to grow more profitably over a wider range of conditions in NZ than other species. One could find another tree for nutrient poor sites, or frosty sites, but basically it’s trees from the Pinaceae that end up doing the hard row; and in New Zealand that’s radiata. If there’s anything other than grower ignoranceharvested_hillside that will work against establishing alternative species in NZ, then it’s wind, wind and more wind. I doubt that I’ll be writing much about radiata anywhere in the near future, so let’s give radiata its fifteen minutes of fame.

(more…)

July 7, 2006

Accessability to Group Activities

Filed under: Accessability,Forestneeds_Notices — shem kerr @ 11:16 am

Mechanisms that enable and protect the disabled or otherwise disadvantaged, help the group as a whole. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it will benefit all of the interests of all members, as there are some who will manipulate and take advantage of situations of disfunction – situations that include where:

the rules aren’t known or are insufficient to protect and enable;

leaders effectively hide or bar group information from discussion;

the activities are framed in a way that excludes part, even a majority, of the membership.

l

Farming and forestry based groups are good example groups because of the kind of attitudes involved, and the nature of the interest. The proximity of life and death situations within an unpredictable environment encourages an ad hoc approach to decision making. Conferences and field days can be remote and physically and financially demanding. These activities are pretty much full on physically and mentally – and those who do get to participate have a multi-sensory learning experience. From that perspective, documentation as more than shorthand notes or advertising is seen as unnecessary. Discussion further down the track is also treated in a compressed way. The 90% of members who dont get to that event are effectively excluded from subsequent discussion. In time a small core of members is created that has ‘all’ the knowledge; they are seen as indispensable; they do all the organizing; – the membership at large appear disinterested – therefore information isn’t given, even withheld – a divisive situation builds and the group becomes disfunctional.

Today there is no technological excuse for not documenting and communicating group information. Documenting and communicating provides accessability. This website is an example of how a grower group can provide accessability and do it economically without needing IT skills, or a even members with average or higher iqs. Some references to Content Management Software (CMS), and Computer ( ) are listed on the Accessability page of the Special Needs List of this blog; as should be reference to meeting organisation.

l

July 6, 2006

PDSETH (cont. from previous post)

Filed under: Eucalypts,Forestry Research,Hardwoods — shem kerr @ 2:46 am

These days, in a lot of societies, If you want to borrow money, the lender will want to see a buget, the cash flow forecast, and similar financial information.

If you’re a scientific researcher in New Zealand, you can go along to a funding agency with a wish list and phrases such as “we believe”, no costings no budget or financial information is required.

To futher document the DPSETH project for both growers and funders, I’m going to try to put up a timetable itemized with tasks and costs alongside. You’re going to see some gaps until this information comes in. (more…)

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