The initial funding period of the Australian Research Council’s Industrial Training Centre for Forest Value finished on 16 November, ending a highly successful six years of training and research in the forest and forest products area.

To celebrate the achievements of the centre, an afternoon tea event was attended by staff, former and present students, representatives of organisations across the forestry supply chain and colleagues on Zoom including Liz Visher, ARC Director of Major Investment.

project outcomes booklet was launched at the event, highlighting some of the key research produced by the centre.

The Centre for Forest Value commenced in 2016 and was funded through the ARC Industrial Transformation Program and eight industry partners: Sustainable Timber Tasmania (STT), Forico, Greening Australia (GA), Private Forests Tasmania (PFT), Forest Practices Authority (FPA), Neville Smith Forest Products, SFM Environmental Solutions, and Forest and Wood Products Australia (FWPA).

The centre provided an ideal platform to conduct research to solve industry identified challenges and provide researchers and students industry access and expertise. Its research program was managed under four themes that spanned the forest products supply chain: forest production and certification, products and manufacturing, supply chain integration and information management, and forestry socio-economics.

One of the centre’s primary aims was to train industry-ready research fellows and graduates. Across the four themes, the centre directly funded 11 PhD students, 4 post-doctoral researchers and supported numerous research projects and another 15 affiliated PhD students. The research teams have been extraordinarily productive, producing more than 150 peer reviewed articles, securing an additional $3.8 million in funding, giving 125 presentations, hosting 24 workshops, and attending over 700 industry meetings.

The ARC CFV committee celebrated the achievements of staff and students.

Centre director Associate Professor Julianne O’Reilly-Wapstra paid tribute to these achievements.

I am very proud of what we have achieved as the Centre for Forest Value, and I look forward to seeing what new innovations and new solutions we can deliver for the sector in the economic, environmental and social values of our forested estates.

Associate Professor Julianne O’Reilly-Wapstra

The centre has proven to be a great career stepping-stone with all graduates and fellows securing postdoctoral fellowships and working within the university sector or directly within industry.

​​​​​​​“Through its students, staff and collaborators, the centre has produced significant industry-relevant research,” Associate Professor O’Reilly-Wapstra said.

“We now better understand the quality of wood from E nitens plantations so that managers can breed for certain traits and help match wood characteristics of logs to their optimal final product, to maximise value.

“We understand which provenances of eucalypt restoration species are best suited for future plantings under future climates. We have developed unmanned aircraft systems to provide quick, efficient and safe mechanisms for sample collection at tree crowns and we have made transport operations at ports more efficient to decrease port congestion.”

​​​​​​​Representing the industry at the event was Suzette Weeding, General Manager of Land Management at Sustainable Timber Tasmania.

Suzette congratulated the centre on its success and noted that STT, along with the other industry partners, had seen significant benefits through its operation and outputs.

“A key mission of the centre was to facilitate the engagement of students and post-docs with industry to ensure their research was industry relevant. This is clearly seen in the content of the research outputs, where students have often directly collaborated and utilised industry resources. This, in turn, provides the opportunities for the rapid uptake by industry of their research findings.”​​​​​​​

The Centre for Forest Value is now transitioning into new opportunities with six new PhD projects available in conjunction with the Growers and Research Advisory Committee of Forest and Wood Products Australia and additional projects through the Regional Research Collaboration program.​​​​​​​

The ARC Centre for Forest Values project outcomes booklet was launched at the event.