Kris Brown

Update by AProf Rien Visser and Prof Bruce Manley

27 June 2016

In 2014 the Forest Levy Trust allocated $100k per annum for an initial 5 years to support forest engineering at the School of Forestry (SOF), University of Canterbury.

The intent was to recruit a suitable candidate to increase forest engineering teaching and research capacity, as well as provide funding for a graduate scholarship. We have been successful in both. In particular the teaching support component was critical for the re-accreditation of, and remains critical in sustaining, the Bachelors of Engineering (Forest) programme at the SOF. The last 5-yearly review of BForSci programme, especially based on feedback from employers, also highlighted importance of forest engineering skills for graduates and encouraged the SOF to strengthen that component.

Dr. Kris Brown commenced a three year Post-Doc position at the beginning of 2015. Kris taught the Forest Transportation and Road Design Course in 2015 and he will teach it again in the second semester of 2016. Kris has also guest-lectured and assisted with field lab exercises for Introduction to Forest Engineering and Harvest Planning courses.

Kris has also established a successful research track record while at the SOF, winning the SOF Young Researcher award for 2015. His work includes a project that surveyed haul road stream crossings throughout New Zealand to characterise road and crossing design, evaluate water control and surface cover BMPs, and estimate the potential for sediment delivery to streams. The research article, "Evaluating the potential for sediment delivery at forest road-stream crossings in New Zealand", was published in the May 2016 issue of the NZIF Journal of Forestry. Kris has nearly completed field work for another project that examines sources of concentrated runoff and sediment to stream channels associated with forest harvesting operations. He has presented the preliminary findings of this study at a workshop on sedimentation and forestry practices held by Nelson Forest Management in late-May 2016.

Student recruitment into both BEng(For) and BForSci is also very important for the SOF. As examples of Kris's involvement, he has participated in the Year 10 Careers Day held at UC by helping Hunter Harrill and Justin Morgenroth with a model yarder demo and provided lecture material about forest operations on fragile earth to Rangiora High School. Kris represented the SOF when he gave two invited presentations to undergraduate students in the Dept. of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation at Virginia Tech (Nov. 2015), with whom the UC School of Forestry has a student exchange partnership. Kris has also supported NZ companies, for example Hikurangi Forest Farms invited Kris to provide council on forest road-stream crossing design and stream water quality assessment using benthic macroinvertebrates.

With Kris's support in teaching, both Rien Visser and Hunter Harrill (employed as a Research Assistant on FFR grants) have been able to make time to teach workshops to NZ industry, including cable logging / harvest planning, and steep terrain harvesting courses around the country. Rien, Hunter and Kris will offer a series of one-day professional workshops in August.

For the Forest Levy scholarship we were able to recruit Thornton Campbell, a graduate from our Forestry Science programme, to complete his Masters. His topic has been to review the potential opportunities of modern medium sized yarders and has completed studies on both a NZ made (Active70) and a European (Koller 602) machine, and through additional support was also able to both present his research findings at a major international conference and carry out a small research project in the Austrian Alps. In addition to his Master's thesis, Thornton has helped write three FFR TechNote publications. He is due to finish this July and then we will be able to offer another Forest Levy funded scholarship.

Finally, forest engineering skill are now being taught more extensively to BForSci students with the 'Harvest Planning' course now compulsory, and majority electing take the Roading and Transportation course. Also, more final year BForSci students are able to undertake dissertation projects related to forest engineering.

The support for forest engineering through the Levy contribution is greatly appreciated. This direct support is essential in retaining a stronger and sustained presence.

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