Research will focus on field measurement, LiDAR capture and destructive sampling of trees in seven of NZDFI’s Marlborough trials in order to research total tree biomass production. We are fortunate to have the support of the landowners on whose properties these trials are located. Trees for biomass sampling have been selected and School of Forestry summer students started on this work before Christmas including using a drone for LiDAR data capture of each site.
Data collected will provide the basis for four property-based case studies that analyse the potential for durable eucalypts to deliver multiple benefits:
- carbon sequestration to offset landowner’s greenhouse gas emissions
- producing durable posts and poles for the local vineyard industry
- producing biomass for bioenergy, thereby providing a source of renewable energy.
The case studies will analyse the landowners’ GHG emissions and compare these with carbon sequestration by planting new forests of E. bosistoana and E. globoidea. They will inform the landowners the extent to which their agriculture businesses are net-negative, net-neutral or net-positive in GHG emissions.
The project will also assess the regional economic potential of a future hardwood supply chain based on 5,000 hectare wood supply catchment sustainably supplying naturally durable posts, timber and biomass for bioenergy, for Marlborough’s wine industry and other potential users. These new forests could diversify regional land use and wood supply, and support a sustainable bioeconomy.
Summer student crew get down to business
The core research element of the project is being led by Professor Euan Mason, UC School of Forestry, supported by Dr Vega Xu, SoF’s geo-spatial technology expert. Associate Professor Clemens Altaner will oversee the work to dry and test wood properties in the School of Forestry’s Wood Technology Centre. Prof Euan Mason, plus the summer student crew of James Burns, Alex Chamberlain, Thomas Copeland and Seb Lallemant, have been working hard to complete all the destructive sampling and measuring needed to achieve the aims of the project.
Bioenergy New Zealand Executive Officer Brian Cox will lead the bioenergy investigation for the project, including assessing Marlborough’s wine industry and other local industry energy needs and where biomass can most efficiently provide an alternative to existing energy sources.
MPI’s cash contribution of $262,300 to the total project cost of $387,500 is significant, with the balance of $10,000 cash from the Marlborough Research Centre Trust and a further $115,500 of in-kind co-funding from the University of Canterbury’s School of Forestry and the seven landowners who are supporting the project.
Read the full media release here.