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News

SFM finalists in the 2016 Tasmanian Telstra Business Awards

SFM were finalists in the 2016 Tasmanian Telstra Business Awards. Well done to our whole team for their dedication, hard work and commitment to delivering high quality services and innovation in the forestry sector.

 

Telstra Awards - DW and AM

 

Telstra Awards - Katie

 

 

Media Release – Official launch of Tasmanian speciality timber venture Hydrowood

Media Release Friday, November 20, 2015

Tasmanian Treasure Rediscovered 

Specialty Tasmanian timbers standing underwater for decades in lakes created after flooding for hydro-electric schemes are now being salvaged as part of a pioneering Tasmanian project – Hydrowood.

Opened today by Federal Member for Braddon, Brett Whiteley MP, Hydrowood will provide access to a unique subset of Tasmania’s highly-valued specialty timbers for furniture designers, woodworkers and high-end residential and commercial construction.

A feasibility study funded by Hydro Tasmania and the State Government in 2012 demonstrated positive results, leading to the Federal Government providing $5 million from its Tasmanian Jobs and Growth package to see the project come to fruition.

“This is a very exciting day for Hydrowood and for Tasmania, to finally see these amazing timbers able to be harvested and developed to their full potential,” Hydrowood director Andrew Morgan said.

“This project is a great example of Government and Hydro Tasmania working with the private sector to facilitate new industries for the State, off the back of innovative technology and Tasmanian advanced manufacturing expertise,” Mr Morgan said.

Covered under internationally recognised forestry standards, Hydrowood will be sold to customers as certified product with a story to tell. The timber is being sourced from Lake Pieman on Tasmania’s West Coast near Rosebery. Timbers recovered include Celery Top Pine, Sassafras, Myrtle, Eucalyptus and Blackwood.

Tasmanian suppliers and manufacturers including Taylor Brothers, William Adams, Cawthorn Welding and Aquatruck, were used wherever possible for the establishment of the venture.

“We have developed underwater harvesting practices designed to minimise impact by utilising specialist equipment, procedures and technology,” according to Hydrowood director David Wise.

“Advances in technology allow us to safely reclaim the timber in a manner that is economically, socially and environmentally acceptable.

The operations are occurring up to 28m underwater, so safety and environmental management has been of utmost importance, and we have worked closely with Hydro Tasmania to achieve best practice,” he said.

The properties of the previously submerged timber is what is particularly exciting for furniture makers and woodworkers.

“They’ve described it as like cutting butter, and are really excited about the provenance of the timber and how it can add to the uniqueness of their projects.

There is a huge amount of excitement around the future uses of Hydrowood,” Mr Wise said.

Worldwide there are an estimated 300 million trees submerged in dams constructed during the 1950s and 1980s from the creation of hydro-electric schemes and water storage. Often flooded with little salvage being undertaken, this forest resource worldwide is estimated to be worth up to $50 billion. In Tasmania, there remain large areas of untapped forest resource submerged in hydro dams.

Hydrowood has been created by innovative Tasmanian company SFM.

SFM is a leading provider of independent certified forest management and forest consulting across Australia and has developed specialised expertise and innovative systems to assess and undertake underwater harvesting operations in remote locations.

Further information or to arrange an interview:

Keryn Nylander Tel. 0418 996 536

Link to drone vision of operations on Lake Pieman and stills:

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/vert7db7o1wxl35/AADrQPkO38k0MIYyS-Vmp2ppa?dl=0 

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Launch of Timber Plantations Operations Code of Practice for Queensland

SFM Environmental Solutions is proud to have been associated with the successful development and release of the Timber Plantation Operations Code of Practice for Queensland, which was officially launched at the Institute of Foresters of Australia (IFA) Queensland Division Annual General Meeting, held in Brisbane on Friday August 14 2015.

SFM was selected by the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries to facilitate development of the Code, in collaboration with other members of the Queensland timber plantation industry. SFM Senior Consultant Stephen Walker led the drafting of the Code, with assistance from Dan Ryan, who looks after the development and maintenance of SFM’s forest certification systems, and with specialist input from well-regarded Tasmanian Forester Aidan Flanagan.

The Code supports sustainable plantation management practices by provide guidance with regards to operational activities associated with commercial timber plantations in Queensland, in order to comply with all laws and with accepted principles for sound plantation management.

Scan of front cover of code

The official launch of the Queensland Code was made by Timber Queensland CEO Rod McInnes (left) with Simon Dorries, new CEO of AFSL (right) making a presentation titled “Obtaining greater value from Certification”, which was well received by the foresters and other invited guests attending the function. Stephen Walker from SFM (centre) moderated the launch in his capacity as Chair of the Queensland Division of the Institute of Foresters.

The official sponsors for the launch of the Code were SFM Environmental Solutions, HQPlantations and the Specialty Timber Growers group.

SFM was also pleased to donate the prizes for a raffle held at the launch, which raised $170 for the IFA’s Vanuatu forests after Cyclone Pam appeal, a welcome addition to the significant funds already raised by the IFA for this most deserving cause.

Hydrowood at Prince of Wales Bay

The two major pieces of equipment for the Hydrowood project came together for the first time last week. The CAT568 excavator was successfully installed on the imaginatively named HW1, the harvest barge, and will now have thruster controls and telemetry linked at Taylor Brothers.  For the next few weeks Prince of Wales Bay site will be home to a large part of the Hydrowood fleet comprising, the harvest barge, log barges and the Snipe.

 

 

 

Barge on crane
front view of HW1
Thurster being installed

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Limestone Community Involvement Activities

SFM is regularly involved in community engagement across its areas of activity. Below is an update of recent activities in the Green Triangle in relation to the Limestone Estate.

Basalt to Bay

Basalt to Bay delivers community-based Landcare programs in the shires of Moyne and Warrnambool. These programs seek to improve the health of the land and the communities the land supports with on-ground works (native vegetation planting, stock exclusion fencing, weed control, flora and fauna surveys, seed collection, pest animal control, and soil health activities).

In combination with on-ground works, Basalt to Bay also undertakes and supports education and capacity building activities including workshops, field days, demonstration sites, training events, newsletters, and media releases.

In February 2015, SFM joined Basalt to Bay for ongoing projects near the St Helen’s reserve, as there are Limestone Estate plantations in the vicinity – Shalders, Sheehan and Riordan.

Basalt to Bay co-ordinated “The Green Army”- a federally funded program for people aged 17-24 to engage in a practical environmental action programme that supports local environment and heritage conservation projects across Australia.

The Green Army cleared invasive/ exotic weeds from along the road in front of Sheehan, and conducted an ecological survey of remnant native vegetation within the Sheehan property. Camera traps were also set on Sheehan to record the presence of fauna, particularly the endangered southern brown bandicoot which has been found in the nearby St Helens Reserve.

Although no bandicoots were recorded at Sheehan, SFM has joined Basalt to Bay fox baiting program in the St Helens/Orford region.

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Photo: Member for Wannon Dan Tehan discussing Bandicoots and the work of the Green Army at the St Helens Reserve with SFM’s Noel Bull.

Another of Basalt to Bays projects is ‘The Green Line’. The Green Line is an old railway line, running 37 km between Koroit and Minhamite. The road and rail reserves of The Green Line are one of a small number of places where you can see how the Victorian Volcanic Plain would have looked like prior to European settlement. The reserve is crown land shared by VicTrack and Moyne Shire Council. Conservation efforts on The Green Line are focused on weed removal and reconnecting fragmented habitat.

The Green Line adjoins the Shider Plantation near Hawkesdale. In conjunction with Basalt to Bay, Nature Glenelg Trust, and the Glenelg Hopkins Catchment Management Authority, SFM is investigating restoration of the 2 large wetlands on the Shider property.

Nature Glenelg Trust

A hydrologist from Nature Glenelg Trust has visited 5 properties on the Limestone Estate to assess feasibility of returning historic water levels to wetlands.

Glenelg Hopkins Catchment Management Authority

A number of Limestone Estate Plantations fall within the focus areas for Glenelg Hopkins Catchment Management Authority. There is ongoing discussion between GHCMA and SFM for future projects at Phoines and Runnymede.

Work Experience Student

SFM accepted a student from Heywood Secondary College’s work experience program. Year 10 student Kane Mueller joined SFM’s Field Officer Chloe Levings for a week of fieldwork on the Limestone Estate. A letter from Kane is included below.

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SFM a partner in the new ARC Industrial Training Centre for Forest Value

The University of Tasmania recently announced that is has received a $3.6 million grant from the Australian Research Council towards the establishment of a $14 million Industrial Transformation Training Centre in Forest Value. SFM is proud to be a founding industry partner and look forward to working with UTAS and the other collaborating businesses in driving real world value thru R&D.

The Centre will run for an initial period of five years and at this stage is scheduled to officially open its doors on 1 January 2016. The Training Centre is heavily industry focussed and the industry partners have committed over $1.3 million in cash and nearly $4.5 million in in-kind resources over the life of the Centre. There are five industry organisations that in addition to contributing cash and in-kind resources to the Centre are providing at least one Partner Investigator to work as part of the research and training team. These organisations (with their partner investigators) are Greening Australia (Dr Neil Davidson), Forico (Mr Jim Wilson), Forestry Tasmania (Dr Mark Neyland, Dr Dean Williams), SFM Environmental Solutions (Mr Andrew Morgan) and Island Workshop (Mr Matthew Gee). Two other industry partners are contributing significant cash and/or in-kind resources to the centre and will be involved in the decision making and operations of the centre. These are Forest and Wood Products Australia and Neville-Smith Forest Products.

See University of Tasmania’s media release here

 

 

SFM achieves FSC® Controlled Wood for Forest Management

Adding to our comprehensive forest certification options SFM has recently been certified by its auditors Soil Association Woodmark under the FSC-STD-30-010 FSC® Controlled Wood Standard for Forest Management Enterprises. Under this standard forest owners subscribed to the SFM Group Scheme for Controlled Wood will be able to claim FSC Controlled Wood status when selling their forest products.

SFM is committed to being a market leader in forest management and forest certification solutions and this announcement complements SFM existing forest management certifications under the Australian Forestry Standard and Forest Stewardship Council®.

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Wanted to Buy – Southern Tasmanian Hardwood Plantations

SFM is working with a client who is looking to establish a sustainable hardwood plantation estate in the south of Tasmania. Estoveer Pty Ltd is representing a client looking to purchase and aggregate upto 20,000 Hectares of hardwood plantations in Southern Tasmania. SFM have been working with this partner for over 18 months and is excited by the opportunities it will bring to the region.

If you have farming land with established hardwood plantations please contact Charles at Estoveer on 0467 088 088 or email charles@estoveer.com.au

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Hydrowood update

The Hydrowood team have been busy building to a mid-winter launch. Look out for some further media activity in the future as all of the different components are brought together for the first time. Meanwhile here is some updates of the various parts of the project around the state.

On the West Coast we have engaged Stornoway and Digga Excavations to upgrade Argent Road and the boat ramp area.

Upgrading the road involved slashing back vegetation and winter-proofing the road for all-weather activity. Taking the road from this…

Argetn track access

To this…

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In Launceston Haywards Fabrication are putting together the harvest barge which will trucked to Taylor Brothers in Hobart for assembly and testing before being transported in segments to the West Coast.

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Cawthorn Welding in Electrona are constructing the log barges.

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At our partners Plastic Fabrications/AquaTruck our 7m Survey Vessel is taking shape with the cab being fitted.

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And finally,introducing our first vessel, the “Snipe”, a 9.85m push boat to undertake the pushing of the barges.

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Media Release – The search for underwater timber on Tasmania’s West Coast drives innovation in local design and manufacturing

Media Release

Friday, 12 December 2014

Innovative local manufacturing is at the forefront in the search for submerged trees on Tasmania’s rugged west coast, with the construction of an AquaTruck Survey Vessel in Hobart using the latest underwater electronic mapping technology to locate submerged trees up to 26 metres below the surface of Lake Pieman.

Minister for State Growth Matthew Groom today joined Hydrowood’s Darryn Crook for an inspection of the advanced AquaTruck survey vessel being built and fitted with the latest underwater sonar technology at its Prince of Wales Bay manufacturing facility.

The AquaTruck Survey Vessel is the first of a number of work boats and barges Hydrowood is having built for its West Coast underwater logging operation.

The Hydrowood project will recover trees that were submerged in Lake Pieman in 1978. The lake is managed by Hydro Tasmania, which has been working with Hydrowood on the project to unlock the trees of the deep since 2013.

The initiative is funded from the Australian Government Tasmanian Jobs and Growth Plan which was announced in July this year after a feasibility study funded by Hydro Tasmania and the State Government, with operations planned to commence in mid-2015.

Hydrowood General Manager Darryn Crook said Tasmania has some of the most advanced marine manufacturers in the world and they had partnered with AquaTruck and other local firms including Taylor Bros, Island Marine and Williams Adams Caterpillar.

“Tasmania’s marine engineering firms and boat builders are as good as you will find anywhere in the world and the design and advanced manufacturing capacity Hydrowood needed is located at the industrial marine precinct at Prince of Wales Bay.

“AquaTruck is a Tasmanian owned company and their boats have a reputation for being indestructible, so we have partnered with them and specialist electronics supplier Island Marine to develop a Survey Boat Sonar System to map the underwater area of the lakes, including submerged trees.

AquaTruck Business Development manager Glen Shackcloth said his team was quick to embrace the opportunity to be involved in the Hydrowood project, developing specialist workboats to help locate and haul the valuable cargo.

Taylor Bros have designed and are building the Log-Harvesting Barge, which is central to the entire Hydrowood operation.

Taylor Bros Director Greg Taylor said the project is one of a kind in Australia, with specialist skills needed to develop the 16-metre long self-propelled barge that will carry a 50-tonne Caterpillar excavator designed to harvest trees underwater from depths of up to 26 metres below the surface.

“We will have had less than a year to get the equipment designed and constructed, which just goes to show the capability of advanced marine manufacturing here in Tasmania,” Mr Taylor said.

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Contact Us

Phone: 03 6223 3536
Fax: 03 6223 1802
E-mail: info@sfmes.com.au