Forest industry in southeastern Australia must invest in value-adding, boost production of construction materials, to secure future, recommends AU$1.08M Cellulose Fibre Chain study by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland

DUNEDIN, New Zealand , October 4, 2013 () – A final report on innovation in the south-east forestry industry recommends value-adding to secure its future. The South Australian Government has released the second stage of the Cellulose Fibre Chain study done by Finnish organisation VTT.

The Cellulose Fibre Chain Study involved the VTT Technical Research Centre in Finland, a Finnish equivalent of the CSIRO, and cost the SA government AU$830,000 with a further AU$250,000 from the Federal Government.

The first stage of the study looked at the state of the forest industry in SA as it is now, identifying strengths and weaknesses and changes in the marketplace for timber products. Stage two is looking at the long term future of the timber industries, giving some recommendations to industry on where they may want to look for development to stay relevant in an ever-changing global market. Recommendations include producing cellulose fibre for textile industry use and boosting production of materials used for construction.

Goran Roos, Thinker in Residence and chair of the Implementation Steering Committee, says if industry players aren't sure about whether they should pay attention or not, they just need to look at what has happened in other areas of the world that have and haven't looked at changing and developing their timber industries. "In areas that haven't done this...there has been a decline in the industry," says Mr Roos.

For example, the USA, where little research or innovation has happened in the forest industry area in recent years, timber industries are experiencing a down turn in demand and the businesses are closing, while in Finland, where there's a culture of innovation and research in the industry, business is still strong.

But it can't be government that leads the timber industry out of the doldrums. They have to do that themselves. Mr Roos says the next thing that needs to happen is for those in the forest industries to have a good read through the report and see what they can take on board in their business to make sure they move forward and keep up with world markets.

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