Dana Conference 2018
That so-called wall of wood could pass much quicker than originally forecast as a result of the recent practice of harvesting younger trees.
According to forestry consultant, Jeff Tombleson, ‘peak wood’ could actually occur as soon as next year – that’s right, 2019.
He told the 2018 DANA Forestry Conference in Taupo last month that official MPI statistics that show the Wall of Wood starting around now and continuing for much of the next decade, with a peak around 2024, is probably wrong.
That’s partly due to inaccuracies in the figures, and partly because trees are being harvested at a much earlier age.
Mr Tombleson was presenting an update on his research about the upcoming shortage of clear wood in the central North Island, as a result of many forest owners going away from pruning.
When he surveyed forest owners in the central North Island recently he also discovered that the average age for harvesting has been around 25 years, which equates with the peak of planting back in the 1990s.
“Many commentators are saying that the Wall of Wood from the 1990s planting boom is a little way out, it’s not – peak wood is 2019, as far as the central North Island is concerned, and I’m seeing this from harvesting contractors I talk to already,” he says.
“I believe that we are on the top of the curve currently and then it’s all downhill from there and it will impact on harvesting contractors, log transporters and everyone else, not just the mills.”
The peak will differ from region-to-region, Mr Tombleson concedes, but there is evidence of trees being harvested at younger ages in other areas and when the forestry resources of New Zealand are taken as a whole, he believes the overall picture is one of an earlier peak than has been forecast...
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