$5m new funding for forestry research partnership

  • Steven Joyce
Science and Innovation

The Government will invest $5 million over seven years in a research partnership to increase the competitiveness of the forestry sector, Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce announced today.

“Forestry is New Zealand's third largest export earner – behind dairy and meat, contributing around $5 billion to our exports. This investment aims to strengthen the ties between research organisations and the industry to produce excellent research driven by industry needs,” says Mr Joyce.

The new partnership is led by Future Forests Research, an industry-operated entity, in collaboration with Scion, the University of Canterbury, and the NZ Dryland Forests Initiative.

The research will focus on developing a broader range of higher value, better performing wood products from tree species such as eucalyptus, Douglas-fir and cypresses that provide an alternative to the radiata pine.

The industry’s heavy reliance on pine makes it vulnerable to fluctuations in demands and the threats of pests and diseases. Using alternative species will help to reduce these risks, and create opportunities to increase competitiveness by tapping into the global demand for higher value specialty wood products while maintaining a strong focus on sustainability.

“These projects will help to build on our existing forestry strength by innovating and moving up the value chain,” says Mr Joyce.

The Government funding is provided through the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Research Partnerships Programme and will be matched by the industry on a dollar for dollar basis.

Read more about the Research Partnerships programme: http://www.msi.govt.nz/get-funded/research-organisations/research-partnerships/