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For further information about the project, please contact Dr Steve Pawson.

Methyl bromide alternatives literature review [PDF]

Read our latest Newsletter – Issue 11 – November 2016  [658 Kb PDF]    [View previous issues]

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Wood Export Treatments Research Programme Underway

Forestry is a vital component of New Zealand’s economy, contributing over $4.6 billion per year in export products. These wood exports currently use fumigation to kill unwanted insects. These treatments are applied to ensure the products meet trading partners’ importing requirements (market access).

Scion1 is currently leading a four-year research programme, working with research partners2, to find acceptable and sustainable alternatives to chemical treatments. Funding for this work is provided by the New Zealand Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and Stakeholders in Methyl Bromide Reduction (STIMBR). The research funders and science providers recognise that the research outcomes will directly benefit New Zealand’s economy by ensuring continued market access for wood products, New Zealand’s third largest export area.

At present New Zealand’s international trading partners require export products to have approved treatments applied year round. Scion scientists have identified the possibility of a seasonal window during which the need for treatments may be reduced or eliminated, as the targeted forest insects are not present. In essence they want to be able to move from the current mandatory treatment to the application of treatments during periods when forest insects are likely to be present. This is a systems approach to managing risk. To achieve this, the research must provide detailed knowledge about the biology of the forest insects of concern.

Scion proposes to provide this information by:

  • Developing models that predict when pest species will be present
  • Validating these models using a national network of insect traps in plantation forests and at ports
  • Developing models of pest abundance as a function of the landscape, such as the amount of pine plantations in the local area.

The aim of this work is to create and use detailed knowledge of pest abundance, landscape and recent forest harvest activity to be able to predict the risk of pest infestation at any location and at any time.

Forest management plays a key role, as all of the key quarantine pests feed on recently dead Pinus radiata wood. Forest harvesting, pruning and thinning generate most of the available food sources for these species. To achieve these research objectives Scion must rely on collaboration with forest owners so that it can collect data in their forests and source other relevant information. Scion is grateful for the assistance provided by forest industry people and organisations.

For further information please contact Scion’s research programme leader Dr Stephen Pawson.

Phone: 03 363 0910
Mobile: 027 440 0727

[1] Scion is a Crown Research Institute dedicated to improving the competiveness of New Zealand’s forest industry.
[2] The research partners are the University of Canterbury – EPECentre, Plant and Food, Bayesian Intelligence.