All five forest stands are good quality and are healthy.
Leslie Hills LH1 (108ha). We have now done all the pruning that is justified. All but 11ha is pruned to some extent. The best areas are pruned to over six metres and the poorest are not worth pruning. However this latter area will still produce a return as framing timber, boxing, pulp or bio-fuel so it is far from a write-off. Thinning of the pruned crop is well underway and will be completed in one operation this year. Thinning of the rest can wait a couple more years and will be to a high final crop stocking.
Glens of Tekoa GT1 (23ha). Now virtually completed, with full thinning to be finished any day. Prior to that we extended the pruned height of the best part of the crop with a third lift. There are 2.3ha of unpruned crop which will remain a framing regime. GT2&3 (60ha D-fir) are growing very well, with an ideal season.
Hopefield HF2 (27ha). This is a fine pine stand, your best, being about two years ahead of the other two.
Log prices are rising strongly with cutbacks in Russian exports and tropical supplies. Shipping costs are falling and if our dollar falls we may enter boom territory. The appreciation of the environmental value of plantations is growing. So overall, optimism is more prevalent than it has been for a while.
While your beautiful trees are quietly sucking in lots of lovely CO2, you may be following the argument forest owners are having with the government over their proposed Kyoto Protocol policies. The latest ones attempt to divide growers into three 'Kyoto defined' groups, but as is so often the case with dumb government, the result is the opposite intended. We are all united now in our view their policies are wrong, again. We are happy to help with the rising CO2 problem, but Kyoto bureaucracy is not the way.
There is growing acceptance this Euro-Japanese treaty should not have been ratified by our government. I predict it will be eclipsed in a couple of years by a global treaty, probably phasing in a simple global carbon tax on fossil fuels. As I read it, Kyoto will fail to reduce CO2 emissions at all. In Europe, CO2 emissions have increased or been redistributed east and like here many countries are way way off target. It is helping accelerate deforestation in NZ and may do so elsewhere too if expanded. The US will never join it (even Al Gore voted against it) but they will lead the shaping of its replacement. US climate change action is now ahead of Europe & us and so Kyoto looks increasingly like a problem rather than a solution. Consensus on its replacement is growing.
While in fortune telling mood, I also predict the Bush, Blair, Howard and Clark regimes will all have been consigned to the dustbin by late 2008. These two sets of predictions are connected of course.Charles Etherington, WARREN FORESTRY Ltd, Manager