Growing fit-for-purpose structural timber What is the target and how do we get there?

Authors: John Moore
Publication: New Zealand Journal of Forestry, Volume N.Z.J.For. 2012, Issue N.Z.J.For. 57(3) 2012, pp 17-24, Nov 2012
Publisher: New Zealand Institute of Forestry

Abstract: In order to grow trees which yield structural timber which is going to be internationally competitive in terms of price and performance characteristics, it is important that forest growers understand the needs of endusers and there is good communication in both directions along the supply chain. Structural engineering design is required to prevent collapse of the structure, the ultimate limit state, and ensuring the structure is still able to fulfil its intended purpose, its serviceability limit state. The latter is focused on limiting deflection of structural elements. Therefore, engineers require timber which is sufficiently stiff and strong for their designs, while fabricators of timber elements also need timber which has low levels of distortion and low knot content. The main ways that forest managers can influence the quality of structural timber produced from their forests are reviewed briefly. Forest growers will respond to price signals, but the price they actually receive will depend on market conditions at the time of harvest. This means that silvicultural regimes need to be flexible to allow for future market conditions. As an industry, we should look to developing systems that use our timber rather than trying to compete in the sawn timber commodity market. The latter is where our timber has performance characteristics well below those of some of our competitors, such as in northern European countries.