Saturday, August 19, 2017
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Scion marks 70 years of forest research

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The Crown research institute Scion, which celebrates its 70th anniversary this year, had its beginnings in April 1947 when the then State Forest Service established a Forest Experiment Station beside the existing nursery at Whakarewarewa Forest, Rotorua.

The decision to centralise forestry research laid the foundation for today’s Scion, which supports forestry, New Zealand’s third largest export industry. In 2017 Scion employs more than 300 people at offices in Rotorua and Christchurch.

Scion’s longest serving staff member Tom Lamason and its newest, Amanda Matson, were chosen to cut the anniversary cake in a celebration of Scion’s past and future.


Scion’s research areas have evolved dramatically in the last 70 years. In the 1950s research into growth modelling for forests and timber engineering had only just begun, but some of the timber drying, preservation and fibre production that were developed then are still used today.

Scion now has science capability stretching across the value chain with work in fields from genetics to the design and use of wood, fibre and other forest resources.

This reflects the enormous increase in uses for forests and their products during the last 70 years. Forests and their products are now used as sources of energy for liquid biofuels, feedstock for high performance bioplastic in car components and adhesives in sustainable wood products.

Celebrations of Scion’s 70th anniversary included a commemorative staff photograph.


Optimising forests

“In our 70 years, Scion has undertaken research that has brought benefits to forestry in New Zealand and around the world,” says Scion CEO Dr Julian Elder.

“It was our scientists who helped analyse the brown-rot fungi in the Auckland leaky homes in 2004, and it was our science that helped resolve technical issues with the production of wooden beams for the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

“Trees are very important to New Zealand, for our economy, our lifestyles and our environment. Going forward their significance will continue to grow. And we will continue to serve New Zealand by optimising forests and protecting them from potential risks and diseases.

“This 70th anniversary is an opportunity to look back on those achievements but also to look forward as we continue to grow New Zealand through trees.”

Celebrations at Scion commenced with an in-house event in April and a commemorative staff photograph. Activities and events are planned throughout 2017 to honour Scion’s past and look to the future.

Scion is a Crown research institute that undertakes research, science and technology development for the forestry, wood product, wood-derived materials and other biomaterial sectors.

Formerly known as the New Zealand Forest Research Institute, Scion’s work contributes to beneficial economic, environmental and social outcomes for New Zealand.

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