Russell Dale

Streamlining the Shop - Research

Published Forestry Bulletin – June 2016

The management of forest research will be streamlined by a proposal to move most projects under a single umbrella.

"We are proposing that all Future Forests Research (FFR) and FOA research activity come under a single entity. FFR will be renamed Forests Growers Research Ltd (FGR) to reflect its wider role and to reinforce its connection to all forest growers and the Forest Growers Levy," says FOA research manager Russell Dale.

"There have also been discussions between the FOA and the directors of the Radiata Pine Breeding Company (RPBC) to explore bringing its breeding and genomics research into an enlarged and more integrated genetic improvement programme within FGR."

Before the Forest Growers Levy was introduced in 2014, most forest research projects were co-funded by voluntary consortiums of large forest owners and agencies like MBIE, MPI or Scion. Many of the projects were managed by FFR.

On 1 April 2014, with most industry-good research now being funded by the levy, a new research management structure was set up: the joint FOA/NZFFA Forest Research Committee (FRC). The two FFR staff, Russell Dale and Veronica Bennett became employees of the FOA, tasked with managing levy-funded projects and existing FFR projects.

In practice this has created some confusion over where FFR managed research ends and levy funded research begins. A simpler structure is needed.

To set this in motion, Dale says some relatively minor changes need to be made to the FFR constitution.

"We are talking about having five board members: three appointed by the FOA, one appointed by the FFA and one independent."

To make the changes, the approval of 75% of the current members of FFR is needed.

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