Further opportunities exist to invest in both planted production forestry and timber processing in the Rotorua area.
Direct investments in processing include sawmills, roundwood treatment plants, panel and paper manufacturing, secondary processing such as kiln drying, machining, finger jointing, plywood manufacturing, waste disposal and by-product processing. Indirect investment opportunities also exist in activities such as chemical and packaging supply, and services in engineering, consulting, research and education.
Investment in research and development has resulted in new uses for wood products including bio-plastics and wood extracts or ‘green chemicals’, such as rosin, terpenes, lignin, xylose and cellulose. Currently, there are large volumes of waste wood from harvesting residues which could be utilised for bio-fuel production. There is also the potential for generation of high energy, palletised solid bio-fuel from wood residues, which could replace coal or gas in thermal power stations and boilers, and be used for domestic and industrial heating.
In addition to this, there is strong demand nationally and internationally for specialty timbers, particularly hardwoods, redwood and cypress from sustainably managed sources.
The New Zealand market for hardwood and cypress timbers remains significantly undersupplied and the gap has been filled by imported timber. Local processors of specialty timbers have had difficulty obtaining sufficient cypress logs to meet local demand. Market research also indicates a strong demand for cypress timber in the Pacific Rim nations, particularly East Asia.
Soils and climate in the Rotorua region suit most of these specialty species, and redwoods, cypress and a range of hardwood species have been successfully grown in the region. Considerable research in specialty species has been undertaken by Scion, and the New Zealand Farm Forestry Association has been active in promoting investment and providing technical information and assistance in growing specialty species. Rotorua has developed a forest industry investment case.