Thursday, 06 June 2024 10:55

Potential of trees, wood on display

Written by  Staff Reporters
The Forestry Hub returns to Fieldays this year. The Forestry Hub returns to Fieldays this year.

The Forestry Hub returns to Fieldays for its third consecutive year, showcasing how trees and wood are transforming New Zealand.

Visitors will be able to explore more than 25 forestry-centric exhibits within the Hub, site G80 at Fieldays.

The forestry simulator will be back again this year, immersing job seekers into a virtual reality where they can experience what it’s like to operate machinery in a forest and explore the diverse range of careers the sector has to offer.

Other attractions will include displays of innovative uses of wood, forestry machinery, the latest in forestry robotics, and a roving tractor called GOVOR.

Crown Research Institute Scion will be on site demonstrating their 3D printer using forest-based biomaterials to print pinecones that visitors can take home. Visitors can speak with scientists about how they create renewable biomaterials and how these are turned into structures and objects using smart manufacturing processes.

Plenty will be on offer for families. Nature enthusiasts will be able to exercise their tree identification skills in the What Tree? challenge, and children wanting to try their hand at growing a tree will be able to take home a seedling.

A series of presentations across the four days will further enhance the learning experience of visitors to the Hub. Topics will range from planting alternative and native tree species, predator free initiatives, biodiversity within forests, wood processing and the burgeoning ‘bioeconomy’.

Visitors will get to speak to a range of representatives from small- and large-scale forest growing companies, wood processors, farm foresters, scientists, and not-for-profit groups, who will all be in attendance to answer questions and provide more information on forestry and wood processing in New Zealand.

The Fieldays Forestry Hub has been an ongoing collaboration between New Zealand Forest Service, Forest Growers Levy Trust, Scion, New Zealand Farm Forestry Association, and the New Zealand Forest Owners Association since 2021.

Forest Growers Levy Trust chief executive Dr Elizabeth Heeg says the annual event is not just about the sector engaging with the community, it’s an opportunity to raise awareness of the important role forestry and wood processing holds for future New Zealand.

“Forestry and wood processing offers so much value to rural communities,” Heeg says.

“Our forests provide safe habitats for biodiversity, lessen the effects of climate change, and generate important economic activity, including thousands of jobs.

“The emergence of wood-based biofuels and added-value wood products will accelerate that path to a more sustainable future.

“There is a lot to celebrate about our sector and Fieldays is the perfect opportunity to show the public how we are strengthening our nation’s future.”

New Zealand Forest Service director of forestry engagement and advice Alex Wilson says forestry and wood processing are diverse and dynamic, and have a critical role to play in the future of New Zealand.

“The sector is a key exporter for New Zealand and a major contributor to regional economies and employment.

“Forests are also important in our response to climate change and the transition to a low-emissions future.

“At Fieldays this year and on behalf of sector representatives, we are all really excited about the opportunity to have conversations with rural landowners about the many benefits of planting trees on their land.”

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