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New light on the opportunities for precision forestry

The AUSTimber 2012 Forestworks’ conference ‘Precision Forestry in action’ intends to be hard hitting and controversial, casting new light on the opportunities for precision forestry in action.
Keynote speakers include:
Mr Michael O’Connor – the National Secretary of the Construction Forestry Mining & Energy Union (CFMEU), a prominent and vital component of the industry. In addition, Michael is the Divisional Secretary of the CFMEU Forestry & Furnishing Products Division. He is a member of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) Executive, and several ACTU Committees as well as the Commonwealth Government’s Forest & Wood Products Council (FWPC). Michael is also Co-Chair of First Super, an industry superannuation fund. Michael has the uncanny ability to “tell it the way it is”, and is a forthright and entertaining presenter.
Dr Sadanandan Nambiar – a Research Fellow and former Chief Research Scientist with CSIRO. Dr Nambiar is internationally recognised as a leader in research on sustainable productivity and management of planted forests. His personal research integrated disciplines of soil science, ecophysiology, forest nutrition, genetics and silviculture. His work has led the way for managing sustainable production of planted forests in stress prone environments. Sadanandan will challenge many current practices used in harvesting operations, their effects on long term sustainability and the potential loss of productive forest lands.
The Conference will be chaired by Stephen Midgley, a forester and development specialist who runs his own consulting business, Salwood Asia Pacific Pty Ltd, which seeks to link Australian businesses with forest industries in the Asia–Pacific region. Stephen is an Asia-specialist, and has worked continuously in Asia for more than 37 years through long-term projects in Laos, Nepal, Sri Lanka and China and via many short-term projects.
Some examples of the topics the conference will cover include:
(1) South Africans make profitable use of precision technologies for site assessment and classification: The Head of Planning for New Forests Company in East and Southern Africa, Lee Cunningham, will describe the South African experience in making the most of the attractive opportunities remote and terrestrial systems offer for soil surveys and modelling and how these lead to new possibilities for site specific fertiliser and silvicultural regimes.

(2) One of the best-known brands in advanced positioning solutions, Trimble, will demonstrate how it combines a wide range of positioning with application software and wireless communications to provide commercial solutions to the challenges of modern forestry. Rich Hilliker, from Trimble’s Forestry Division in the USA will share the North American experience of adapting precision farming systems to plantation forestry. Originally from Western Washington, and with a family background in logging, Rich is now dedicated to applying the successful GPS and communication technologies from other industries into the field of forestry.

(3) Canada is a world leader in using advanced technology to maximise log recovery. Dr Jean Plamondon of FPInnovations, Canada, will share the Northern American experience in maximising log value recovery and integrating new inventory methods, harvester data and sales data. Jean’s acknowledged expertise in forest harvesting efficiency and the use of on-board computers will open doors for similar applications in Australia.

(4) We need to know more before we cut; the spirit of Treemetrics. Treemetrics CEO and co-founder, Enda Keane to present on the role of decision support systems and pre-harvest data in increasing produce and value recovery at harvest. Treemetric, an award-winning, innovation company, offers support to forest operations through 3D Forest measurement, Harvest Optimisation, Supply Chain Optimisation and Carbon Validation.