3 Jun 2010

Research aims to save forest industry $100m

7:20 pm on 3 June 2010

A new research project aims to save the forest industry $100 million over the next eight years.

Future Forests Research is carrying out the work on behalf of the Forest Owners Association, to reduce the cost of harvesting trees on steep slopes.

The projects is funded under the Government's primary growth partnership programme, receiving more than $3 million, which is being matched by the forest industry.

FFR chief executive Russell Dale says steep country forests make up more than 40% of New Zealand's log harvest. This is set to rise to more than 60% in the coming years.

Mr Dale says harvesting methods on this terrain have not changed in 50 years and are very labour-intensive, costly and hazardous to workers.

The project will look to develop new high-tech harvesting machines to increase productivity on steep slopes and reduce the cost and risk to workers.

The research will start next month.