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
Carrying on the theme of approaches to growing timber: should it be easy and
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?
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…)
Some people with whom I’m aquainted, are vainly trying to get funding for a research project. That they may get the funds doesn’t leave the project without vanity. What was agreed to, can easily be perverted; and growers left with just a husk, or a viral project that fills an ecological niche so that no useful project can grow there. I wont give any details of the various funding applications made in that case; however, it could be useful for an historical perspective to put down my version of how the project might’ve proceeded if growers’ needs were put before the security of researchers’ jobs. (more…)
In the early days of European exploration and settlement of Australia its timber was variously reported “too hard and ponderous for most uses” [James Cook]; “splits and warps” [Arthur Phillip]; “of little use for building either houses or boats” [George Thompson]; “when the gum bled out of the timber it became brittle and fell to pieces”, and ” the worst wood in any country or climate ever produced.” [J White]. Eucalypt wood was used pretty much just for rough slab huts, because the tools on hand weren’t really up to the job of working the hard wood. – The most significant Australian export of the 18th century was 1,8-cineole, or eucalyptus oil.
In the 20th century and on, one of the single largest uses of eucalypt wood in Australia been for pulp -even though the tools and knowledge to process the crop were there, the resourse was undervalued. The majority of eucalypts planted around the world have also been either for pulp or feulwood, ie quick grown high volume low monetary value crops.
In the early 1960s Australian defence scientists finally found a high value use for eucalypt wood in the synthesis of 3,4,5-trimethoxy-phenethylamine or mescaline. Later in that decade, and I hope that it wasn’t influenced by that work, Australian forestry scientists laid out the largest ever long term in-ground trial of Australian hardwoods. In 1998-9 the plug was pulled on the trial and the results were written up by Laurie Cookson in The In-ground Natural Durability of Australian Timbers. A significant finding of the trial was that termite damage only occured on sites where termites were present ( well, I think it’s significant) – and we could say the same about fungi. One could in hindsight say that someone had just spent 30 years learning stuff-all new over and above anecdotal evidence. It’s not quite the case – it was found that the rankings changed for some species depending on the site environment; and it’s this kind of thought provoking science that prods for finding better ways of finding out things. Since then accelerated testing methods have been worked out. What might have taken 30 year or more, can now be done in a matter of weeks by for example introducing bacteria and fungi or insects to the right environment in which to work on the wood. Non-destructive testing of strength of in-ground durability trials has also been developed. And the biology of the building and its site is given more consideration in design specification.
In recent years there has been heightened interest in naturally durable timber due to concerns about the toxicity of timber treatment chemical effects on health and the environment. Eucalypts have been a target for promotion because some have both durability and fast growth. Potential problems arise when enthusiastism obscures fact; when promoters start pushing a species outside of its natural range, or beyond its physiological capabilities;and/or in short rotation crops such as for posts and poles – harvested in as little as 6 to 8 years. Add to these problems the little bit of stretching that’s going on here – with at least one New Zealand promoter labelling a class 3 durable eucalypt ( not to be used in contact with the ground) as class 2 (marginal in ground use). I’m not sure wether we have another snake oil industry here, until I can tell you so.