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Profile: Mark Brown, Programme Leader

Mark-Brown.jpgHaving been involved in the forest industry my entire life it is with great enthusi­asm that I take up the leadership role with this research programme. From my early days around the small family lumber mill and forest trucking operations through to my more recent experience as a programme leader in transportation systems with the Forest Engineering Research Institute of Cana­da (FERIC), I have been privileged to have seen the forest industry in Canada from many different perspectives. This varied background coupled with my professional training in forest engineering at the University of New Brunswick, Canada, has provided me with a relatively rare skill of not only understanding complex forest operations concepts for efficient planning an­d management but also the understanding of how it fits in with real operations down to the contractor and operator level, “where the rubber meet the road” (as they like to say in transport).

Having been in the position for about a month I am still building a full understanding of the Australian forest industry; its strengths and its weaknesses, or (as we will soon re-label them here at the CRC for Forestry), the opportunities. Having been exposed briefly to some operations, reading through the good industry input from the last year or so, and talking to some industry people, I see many opportunities where new knowledge can be built that will help improve the efficiency, effectiveness and safety of current operational needs and the expanded needs of the future. Whether it be building knowledge and technology to optimise the unique logistical needs for large volumes of wood passing through the port facilities in Portland and Albany; providing answers as to which systems perform best in different native forest thinning operations in New South Wales and Tasmania; or learning the impact of various different operating conditions on the productivity of different harvesting systems for everyone, there is no shortage of opportunities on the table for Programme Three.

Over coming months I will continue to build my understanding of the opportunities with Harvesting and Operations partners and I will refine our strategic work plan for the programme. The strategic plan is based heavily upon past scoping documents and industry input. Throughout the entire process, industry input and cooperation will be paramount to the success of Programme Three so I look forward to working with everyone to turn current industry weaknesses into opportunities and ultimately into strengths.