New Zealand School of Forestry - University of Canterbury - New Zealand

Welcome to the School of Forestry

The School of Forestry at Canterbury is the only university department in New Zealand to offer professional forestry degree programmes.

Roy Kerr receives University's highest honour

10 May 2016 UC awards the rare honour of the title Canterbury Distinguished Professor to Emeritus Professor Roy Kerr who is also to receive the prestigious Crafoord Prize in Sweden. (read article)

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Forestry: How to apply

How to Apply

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‘Forestry Engineering is one of the most interesting and active engineering degrees...’

Weiyi (Tony) Li BE(Hons) in Forest Engineering
Graduate Forester, PF Olsen, Rotorua
(read profile)

Two Postgraduate Scholarship Opportunities Available to Korean Nationals for Study in New Zealand in Forestry

Applications are now being called for two postgraduate scholarships for study in New Zealand in forestry. Korean nationals already studying in New Zealand may apply. Information on the scholarships is available on the New Zealand website: ( Applications close on 8 July 2016. Forms are available at: and

The Korean Agency of Education, Promotion and Information Service in Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (EPIS) and the Ministry for Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (MAFRA) will shortlist candidates by July 29 2016 and provide this list to an Education NZ panel for final selection. Shortlisted candidates will need to attend an interview in Korea at their own expense.

IUFRO Interview

Listen to Rien Visser's interview with IUFRO about his research, study at UC and international exchange opportunities.

Rural Ecology Research Group

The Rural Ecology Research Group (RERG) is located in the School of Forestry and comprises Professor David Norton and Dr Laura Young with their graduate students.

Two thirds of New Zealand is not part of the public conservation estate yet a significant amount of native biodiversity occurs there. This area is also critical for the New Zealand economy because primary production is the basis of our export earnings but intensifying primary production is putting more and more pressure on native biodiversity.

The overall focus of research within RERG is on understanding, sustaining and enhancing native biodiversity within farming landscapes. Projects are wide ranging and include understanding what native biodiversity is present, what its values are for nature conservation and how it can benefit farming, and what can be done to sustain and enhance it within these production landscapes. One of our major current projects focuses on the benefits that native biodiversity can provide to farming and how native biodiversity conservation can be integrated into farm management. A key goal of our research is to facilitate widespread uptake of native biodiversity conservation in farm planning and management.

Sustainable Farming Fund Supports Forestry Research Project

The Hon Jo Goodhew, Associate Minister for Primary Industries, recently announced the award of $1.2 million to support five forestry research projects in the SFF funding round. The School of Forestry is pleased to be the recipient of one of the awards, valued at close to $500,000 per year for three years. The research, lead by Dr Clemens Altaner in association PhD student Nick Davies looks at minimising growth-strain in eucalypts to transform processing. The research will screen 10,000 two-year-old E. bosistoana trees for low growth-strain. Superior trees will then be mass propagated. This high quality wood can then be used for the production of engineered wood products such as laminated veneer lumber to open up additional export opportunities for the industry. All SFF-supported projects are matched by significant cash co-funding and in-kind support by industry and other parties. For this project, funding support has come from parties spanning the entire sector - ranging from seed producers to tree nurseries to forest growers and wood processors.

NZ Dryland Forests Initiative - Supreme winner of the Marlborough Cawthron Environment Award 2015

The NZ Dryland Forests Initiative (NZDFI) project won the Supreme Award, presented at the 2015 Cawthron Marlborough Environment Awards dinner on Friday 13th March in Blenheim. The Dryland Forests Initiative is a commercial research project to select the best eucalypt species to establish a durable hardwood industry in New Zealand.With over $2M invested so far by a diverse range of private businesses, councils and research organisations, including the School of Forestry, the award is clear recognition of a shared vision for New Zealand to be a world-leader in breeding ground-durable eucalypts, and to be home to a multimillion dollar sustainable hardwood industry based on eucalypt forests, by 2050.

Professor Ken Entwistle

The School has recently learned of the passing of Professor Ken Entwistle of the University of Manchester. His funeral service was held on 24th April in Prestbury, Cheshire, England.

At Canterbury we recognize Ken's hugely valued scientific contribution to research projects that the School continues to benefit from today. Ken and his wife spent consecutive English winters in New Zealand and Australia from 2005 through 2013. He came with inexhaustible energy and willingness to tackle scientific conundrums that only a great engineer – he thought of himself as an engineer – could tackle. Ken was generous and endlessly patient to all who sought his advice.

The Australian and NZ forest industries got two big ideas/solutions from Ken:

  • Ken with Shakti Chauhan and Monika Sharma have developed a simple, inexpensive screening test for growth-strain in eucalypts that they rigorously modeled and validated. They published 3+ papers. Significantly UC has just got funding to screen 10,000 two-year-old trees of a beautiful, durable eucalypt (E. bosistoana). Think of this species as potentially the equal of rosewood or teak. In the world today, 98% of the world's plantations of eucalypts are chipped and pulped, in large part because of the difficulties in milling eucalypts  - the saw cuts in a straight line but growth stresses in the tree result in two curved surfaces! This novel technique will allow us to find the individual trees that do not move/warp off the saw: these can then be propagated and grown in plantations. It is hugely exciting.
  • Ken with Lan LeNgoc (Callaghan Innovation) and Monika Sharma designed an amazing torsional system using it to measure energy losses in wood. It has proved an extraordinary long and difficult challenge, with quirks such as visiting the company in Leicestershire that cast the bells for Christchurch Cathedral and where the bells were sent to repair after the earthquakes! A quirk? Ken was looking for low energy-loss material which is a feature of the finest bells. This is still work in progress and the insight of Ken will be sorely missed.

The School sends its condolences to Ken’s wife Pat and his children, friends and colleagues around the world.

Kaingaroa Timberlands Kaitiaki oe te Ngahere Scholarship

Timberlands, on behalf of Kaingaroa Timberlands, wants to encourage students to take up study towards a qualification in the forestry industry, as there are many interesting and varied jobs available to graduates and great long term career prospects within the industry.  Timberlands recognise it is a big hurdle for many prospective students to begin tertiary study, often due to the financial cost, and want to make this easier by offering financial assistance through this scholarship.The scholarship supports tuition fees for up to four years study. Information on the application process and award can be found on Timberlands employment site.

Support for Forest Engineering

The Forest Owners Association are making a generous contribution to help support forest engineering at New Zealand’s School of Forestry, University of Canterbury. FOA Chief Executive David Rhodes and FOA Executive Council member FOA-PresentationGrant Dodson, were on campus to hand over the first cheque to Prof Jan Evans-Freeman, the Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the College of Engineering. The planned level of support is NZ$100,000 per year for 5 years. Grant Dodson, CEO of City Forests and also Chair of the School of Forestry Advisory Committee, noted that “moving forward, a professional forest industry requires graduates that can make a true contribution to safe and profitable forest operations”.

Prof Bruce Manley, the Head of the School of Forestry, recognises the importance of FOA engagement with the School, “external support is very important in maintaining a successful programme”. There is a separate Forest Engineering programme at the School of Forestry, but forest engineering skills are taught to Forestry Science students as well as Forest Engineers. Industry input into a recent comprehensive review of the programme highlighted the need for more core forest engineering skills for all graduating students, including harvest planning, being able to cost-effectively design infrastructure, understanding environmental standards and, most importantly, being able to effectively manage safety.

“This support allows us to increase our teaching staff in this area for the next 5 years, as well as attract additional graduate students” states Director of Forest Engineering Studies, Rien Visser. Adding capacity not only increases available contact time for students, but will also increase research potential and outreach opportunities such as workshops.

Using this funding the School has been able to recruit Dr. Kris Brown who will start in January 2015. Kris recently graduated with his PhD from Virginia Tech, USA. Chris’s PhD focussed on improved road construction techniques to minimise environmental impacts, but he is excited about expanding his research to include both logging efficiency and safety. The funding has also been used to offer a post-graduate scholarship for either a Masters or PhD student, and the School is discussing start dates for the recipient.

Workshop on Commercial Application of IR Spectroscopies to Solid Wood

Proceedings from the workshop "Commercial Application of IR Spectroscopies to Solid Wood", held on 11 June 2013 are now available. The workshop explored the issues that need to be covered before we can expect Near Infrared spectroscopy (NIR) to be taken up more widely by the forest industry. While the issues are general, those organising the workshop had a specific interest in addressing local issues and uncertainties.You are invited to download an electronic copy of the workshop, (pdf. 1.19 MB).

School of Forestry Office Locations

The main office for the School of Forestry can be found on the 2nd Floor of the Forestry building (north wing), along from the entrances to F3 lecture theatre. The School Coordinator can be found in Room 217 with other academic staff in offices along this wing. The south lab/teaching block for the School has been closed for strengthening and remediation. Staff and students have been relocated to Level 3 of the Rutherford Building (south wing). Please refer to the School's People page for staff locations.

The Graham Whyte Fund

A fund established in memory of the late Dr Graham Whyte. Graham passed away on 29th June 2005, aged 66, after a long battle with leukaemia. Graham was a specialist in forest management systems, forest planning and production forecasting. He was a graduate of Aberdeen and Oxford Universities, a Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Forestry and a recipient of the Institute's Thomas Kirk Award in 2000. Graham was the first appointment made by Professor McKelvey to the newly established School of Forestry at the University of Canterbury in 1968. He was promoted to Reader in 1981 and was Head of School from 1992 to when he retired. Graham had a great influence on 25 years of graduates from the School of Forestry and consequently has had a large impact on the progress of forestry in New Zealand. Graham will be remembered for his passion about forestry, his fearlessness in debate and his commitment to forestry education.

Graham was aware before he died that this fund would be established and he contributed to the fund. The purpose of the fund, and in accordance with Graham's wishes, is to provide a prize, awarded annually, to the best performing postgraduate student after one year of studies. The invitation to contribute to the Graham Whyte Fund is extended jointly by the New Zealand School of Forestry and the New Zealand Institute of Forestry.

Donations are administered through the University of Canterbury Foundation. See Support scholarships in the Alumni and Fundraising website for details.