Seeds for a better future of forestry at Fieldays 2022

For the first time ever, Fieldays visitors will have the opportunity to learn about forestry from more than 40 industry organizations and companies under one roof.

Themed “Timber – Our Low Carbon Future”, the Fieldays Forestry Hub will be a dedicated area at this year’s Fieldays event, giving visitors the opportunity to explore the many facets of the forestry and woodworking industry and how it is developing to play a key role in mitigation of climate change.

At the hub, visitors will discover engaging experiences on forestry, climate change, wood products, timber construction, biosecurity and biodiversity. There will also be two forest simulators on site so that visitors big and small can experience what it’s like to operate machines in the forest.

The hub is a collaboration between Fieldays and an advisory group consisting of Te Uru Rākau – New Zealand Forest Service, Forest Growers Levy Trust, Scion, NZ Forest Owners Association, Red Stag, NZ Farm Forestry Association and Future Foresters. Hub spokesman Alex Wilson says the multibillion-dollar forest sector is a major employer in New Zealand, employing over 35,000 people both year-round and seasonally.

“We are entering an exciting phase in forestry and wood processing that is creating tremendous job opportunities. People of all ages and abilities can find great careers in this sector – from planting and managing native forests and caring for the forest environment, to managing people and resources, to working with cutting-edge technology.

“We also want to bring people closer to the possibilities of trees – anything that is a fossil fuel today can be made from a tree in the future. We will feature bioplastic vine clips, leather shoes tanned with pine bark tannin, insights into biofuels and a demonstration of how drone technology is changing the game,” says Alex Wilson.

Farm Forestry Association President Graham West says the FFA has given strong support to the Fieldays Forestry Hub and been heavily involved in its design and development.

“We want to reach out to landowners with the message that agricultural forestry is working well for our members and is an important option for future sustainable land use in New Zealand.”

Graham West says the Hub’s Agroforestry Division will have hands-on experts and information available on several plantation types, with a focus on redwoods, eucalyptus, cypress, poplar and willow, and radiata pine.

“We also support and facilitate the ‘grow-a-tree’ competition for children.”

Forest Owners Association President Grant Dodson adds that forestry is an excellent land use opportunity for farmers.

“The hub is all about sharing information so that forestry is better understood and farmers who want it can be better informed before they invest.

“We see integrated land use with trees on farms as a real opportunity to increase long-term total returns from agriculture while improving environmental outcomes, particularly in light of climate change.”

New Zealand has around 1.7 million hectares of productive forests across the country and is currently the world’s largest exporter of softwood logs. Plans are also underway through Te Uru Rākau’s Industry Transformation Plan to add value to our forest sector through the processing of wood materials in New Zealand, which in turn will create even more career and employment opportunities.

That’s why it was a no-brainer for Peter Nation, CEO of the National New Zealand Fieldays Society, to set up a new center at Fieldays in 2022, with a focus on forestry and timber processing.

“This is the first time Fieldays has included something so specific to the forestry and timber processing sectors, which is well deserved as they continue to be such an important primary industry in our country,” says Peter Nation.

“There is a tremendous need for workers of all types in the industry – the range of skills that can be tapped is amazing.

“We are so fortunate to have these companies and organizations here to showcase and show how an interest in forestry can quickly become a career.”

Children are encouraged to visit the Fieldays Forestry Hub with the launch of the Kids Grow a Great Tree campaign. Children who take part in the competition will receive a young potted tree to take home and care for. Forestry professionals will keep in touch with this next generation of arborists and provide advice on how to care for and care for their trees.

The Fieldays Forestry Hub joins the Fieldays Innovation Hub, the Fieldays Opportunity Grows Here Careers Hub and the Fieldays Hauora Taiwhenua Health & Wellbeing Hub as focus areas for visitors to explore during Fieldays.

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