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Enviva & The Longleaf Alliance announce partnership to protect and restore Longleaf Pine Forests

International Forest Industries - Tue, 31/03/2020 - 13:06

Enviva and The Longleaf Alliance announced the signing of a five-year partnership to protect and restore longleaf pine forests, one of the most biodiverse ecosystems in North America. Enviva and The Longleaf Alliance will collaboratively implement Enviva’s longleaf forest restoration plan.

Longleaf pine forests are a critical forest ecosystem in the southeastern U.S. They are considered high conservation value forests because of their rarity and biodiversity value. Longleaf forests support some of the highest levels of small-scale species diversity of any forest ecosystem in North America.

Once spreading over 90 million acres, longleaf forests today only cover about 4.7 million acres. The partnership between Enviva and The Longleaf Alliance will support the goals of America’s Longleaf Restoration Initiative, an extensive collaboration to increase acreage of longleaf pine forests to 8 million acres across the southeastern U.S.

The Longleaf Alliance will provide technical expertise to ensure that Enviva’s biomass sourcing in mapped longleaf forests improves forest ecosystem conditions. Because many existing longleaf forests need thinning, and because millions of acres of former longleaf forests were converted to other forest types, appropriate biomass removals are a critical step in the longleaf restoration process.

Together, Enviva and The Longleaf Alliance will work with stakeholders, landowners, land managers, and others to support longleaf restoration on public and private lands, as well as to monitor, track, and report on progress.

Enviva Holdings, LP is the world’s largest producer of industrial wood pellets, a renewable and sustainable energy source.

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Komatsu Forest temporarily shuts down production due to Covid-19

International Forest Industries - Fri, 27/03/2020 - 13:06

Due to the closure of suppliers of critical components, Komatsu Forest will temporarily shut down its production of forest machinery at its factory in Umeå. On March 26, the company agreed with IF Metall on short-term work from 2020-04-13 through 2020-06-21 for employees in production.

 “The background is that the Corona pandemic has caused some of our suppliers to shut down their production, forcing us to shut down our production completely for three weeks, after which we intend to gradually increase production. However, our production plan assumes that our suppliers can start up their production according to plan and that restrictions on the spread of infection allow it,” says Jens Bengtsson COO of Komatsu Forest.

Other measures that have been taken are that the company has terminated consultancy contracts and laid off fixed-term employees in production.
The company will continue to operate its services to the extent that restrictions on different markets allow.

“We see that in many places around the world, our customers can still operate. Therefore, we will do what we can to safely service and provide spare parts to our customers. Our workshops and service points will carry out their work based on the restrictions set for reducing the spread of infection,” concludes Bengtsson.

If you have any questions, please contact the Press Officer
Annelie Persson
090-709732
annelie.persson@komatsuforest.com 

 

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NZ$100m forestry package announced

International Forest Industries - Fri, 27/03/2020 - 12:40

The New Zealand Government will spend NZ$100 million redeploying forestry workers who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The forestry industry on the East Coast has been hit hard by the coronavirus because of supply chain disruption in China. Many of the country’s logging crews are unable to work as a result.

Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford, Forestry and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Employment Minister Willie Jackson announced the funding last Friday. Twyford said COVID-19 has had a “significant” impact on workers throughout New Zealand, but acknowledged that forestry workers in Gisborne have been the hardest hit.

“Our Government is moving quickly to help people stay in work through a NZ$100 million package which will see workers redeployed into local alternative employment for the next three to six months. Of this funding, NZ$28 million will go to Tairāwhiti [Gisborne] to help redeploy almost 300 workers.

“Forestry was one of the first industries to be seriously impacted by COVID-19 but by keeping the infrastructure and workforce of the sector intact, we hope it will be one of the first to recover,” Twyford said.

Jones said the forestry industry, which is responsible for 6.7 percent of regional GDP, is still recovering from a “slow-down” last winter. “Many small firms used their cash reserves to get them through that and some companies are now struggling to survive.

“However, the future for the forestry sector is extremely bright and we want to ensure it is in a position to recover from the economic impacts of COVID-19 as quickly as possible. By redeploying workers to short-term projects, we can help ensure they are available to go back to the forestry sector once it returns to normal,” Jones said.

Jackson said the package includes training, transport, administration, assurance and other project-related services. Alternative work identified for Tairāwhiti forestry workers includes:

• local roading work, including road maintenance
• hazardous tree removal
• fast-tracked One Billion Trees projects
• conservation activities
• retraining and educational opportunities.

The money will be administered by the Provincial Development Unit, the Mayors’ Forum and Gisborne District Council. Affected workers will be referred via the Ministry of Social Development’s Rapid Response Team and affected businesses.

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NZ forestry sector COVID-19 update following 25 March

International Forest Industries - Fri, 27/03/2020 - 11:55

Covid-19 – In this update from Te Uru Rakau, please find information on essential services, ports and registering as an essential service which will or should have been implemented as New Zealand went into Level 4 Alert for Covid-19 late on Wednesday.

At an industry teleconference on Wednesday, Forestry Minister Shane Jones clarified that the bar for essential services had been set deliberately high by the Government and there would be no stepping back from this in the current environment as this disease continues to spread.

Therefore, unless you are specifically identified as otherwise, you should assume that your businesses will need to shut down and that your key task is working to manage this, and to be supporting your people over the next four weeks so they can remain at home.

Please find below the list of essential services within the forestry and wood processing sector:

Essential services within the forestry sector

• Oji’s pulp and paper mill (Kinleith)

• Oji’s stand-alone Tasman chemical plant, for the purposes of producing chlorine for water treatment;

• Secondary wood processes for the purpose of producing shipping pallets, packing cases and other packaging requirements for supporting food, beverage and pharmaceutical supply only;

• Chip and pellet production for supply of essential domestic and industrial heating (such as for hospitals and food processors) using existing raw fibre stock;

• Norske Skog for nine days to produce sufficient newsprint for newspapers for four weeks;

• Dispatch operators within the supply chain ensuring the supply of existing stock materials to these producers. This includes dispatching existing stock from sawmills;

• Nurseries will be able to carry out maintenance to on capital stock and plants to keep them alive. They will not be able to open for business as usual.

Non-essential services

• Sawmills and all other producers of wood products including but not limited to Particleboard, plywood, MDF and LVL

• All secondary processors of wood products except those explicitly listed above.

• Logging harvesters

• These should be shut down by now.

Registering as an essential service

• Registering does not make your business an essential service. You should only register if you meet the strict lists and criteria listed above or on the website.

• If you register and you are not an essential service, you will be breach of the Alert Level 4 protocols. The Government will take such breaches seriously.

• If you are an essential service you must go online and fill out the appropriate forms, and adhere to all safety protocols.

• https://www.mpi.govt.nz/covid-19-essential-primary-sector-service-registration/

Transition period

• Te Uru Rākau had asked the Government mid-week to consider allowing operators to apply for an extension time to shut down processing plants where this is necessary to avoid damaging equipment (e.g. when it takes time to safely shut down boilers).

• If you are in this position you should have contacted Julie Collins or Jason Wilson Jason.wilson@mpi.govt.nz.

Reviewing essential services list every seven days

• Te Uru Rakau have committed to reviewing the list of essential services every seven days.

• However, please remember the bar for essential services is extremely high. While there may be some tweaks, there are unlikely to be significant changes to the list of essential services.

• People and their safety will be the priority in all decision making.

Ports update

• After midnight on Wednesday there should be no logging trucks, taking inventory to ports.

• The use of essential workers to move essential goods and provide essential services is paramount and must be prioritised above all other goods and services at the Port. Only in the following circumstances can non-essential goods at a port be transported:

1. if essential workers are already located at the port for the purpose of dealing with essential goods; and

2. if the movement of non-essential goods at the Port does not impact on:

2.1 the movement of essential goods or

2.2 the delivery of essential services at the Port; or

3. if the movement of non-essential goods are required to create space for essential goods and the movement of essential goods within the port and across the supply chain.

See Transport Sector Essential Services You will need to work with your individual Port operators to establish what that means for the port/ports you operate out of.

Your priority needs to be helping keep people safe

• Te Uru Rakau have stressed while there are essential services within the wood processing industry, they expect strict safety procedures to be followed. Contact with people should be limited where possible. Social distancing between workers should be used. You can find all of the restrictions and safety requirements at Covid19.govt.nz

• Any non-essential personnel should be working from home or simply staying home.

Source: Te Uru Rakau

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French government to require 50% timber in all new public buildings from 2022

International Forest Industries - Fri, 14/02/2020 - 10:19

The government of France is set to require that all new public buildings must be made at least 50% from wood or other sustainable materials from 2022 as it pushes for sustainable urban development.

The local government in Paris had already pledged a greater use of natural materials such as wood, straw and hemp, and any buildings higher than eight storeys built for the 2024 Paris Olympics must be made entirely of timber.

“If it is possible for the Olympics, it should be possible for ordinary buildings,” said Julien Denormandie, minister for cities and housing, on 5 February. “I am imposing on all public bodies that manage development to construct their buildings with material that is at least 50% wood or other bio-sourced material.”

The minister also called for the creation of 100 urban farms, with the first 30 to be selected by this summer. “As a father, I prefer that what is on my children’s plates come from the local area, rather than being imported on a plane,” he said.

Finally, he announced the objective of low-carbon cities that can adapt to heat waves and floods. This will involve the building of 90 “eco-neighbourhoods”, to be organised by the a new body called “France Ville Durable”, chaired by Patrice Vergriete, mayor of Dunkirk.

In 2016, it was announced that the city of Bordeaux would acquire France’s first timber towers. The Hyperion towers (pictured), will be 50m and 57m in height. They are being developed by Bordeaux Euratlantique, a public body involved in modernising the city. The project is due to be completed later this year.

Photo: Image: A rendering of Bordeaux’s Hyperion project (Jean-Paul Viguier & Associés)
The 57m high timber construction Hyperion building in Bordeaux

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AU$20 million Hydrogen Transition Centre announced

International Forest Industries - Fri, 07/02/2020 - 13:18

Deakin University has announced it will pioneer an Australian first Hydrogen Transition Centre to help fuel cleaner, low emissions trucks in Victoria. The centre to be established at Deakin’s Warrnambool campus in the state’s southwest, will partner with industry on the AU$20 million research and industry testing site according to Deakin Vice-Chancellor Professor Iain Martin.

“Freight trucking continues to grow here and overseas, and trucks are driving further, with heavier loads; all big challenges. The centre confirms Deakin’s commitment to the Warrnambool campus and the broader region, and when the HyceL@Warrnambool project is fully established it will create up to 200 full-time jobs,” he said. With AU$2 million in Federal Government research funding allocated to it, the Hydrogen Transition Centre will develop hydrogen fuel cells to work in tandem with electric vehicle technologies as part of the fast growing multi-billion-dollar hydrogen market.

“The Federal Government investment will see our researchers’ partner with Australia’s leading truck manufacturer, Kenworth, as well as with industry leaders in hydrogen fuel-cells, electric vehicles and gas distribution,” said Martin. It is understood PACCAR is poised to partner on HyceL@Warrnambool in which fuel-cells can create electricity from hydrogen and oxygen with water vapour the predominant emission.

An electric truck, using this technology, can create power while driving, to dispense with the frequent stops currently required of battery charging infrastructure. “If successful, the enhanced technologies could be used by Kenworth trucks made here in Australia, as well as those made internationally by Kenworth’s parent company PACCAR – a US Fortune 500 company. The technologies can also be applied to other heavy vehicles, such as buses, including those operated by Warrnambool Bus Lines,” Martin said.

According to Deakin the Hydrogen Transition Centre will put Victoria’s southwest at the heart of Australia’s work in hydrogen fuel-cell innovation and position the region well, to cash-in as new markets for hydrogen technologies emerge in the international push for cleaner transport. The global fuel-cell market is predicted to be worth more than AU$71 billion.

Source: primemovermag.com.au

 

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Russia now largest exporter of softwood lumber

International Forest Industries - Fri, 07/02/2020 - 12:41

Russia has surpassed Canada to become the world’s largest exporter of softwood lumber, and was on track to ship almost 32 million m3 of lumber in 2019 (23% of globally traded lumber in 2019), reports the Wood Resource Quarterly in its latest issue.

Global trade of softwood lumber slowed in the 3Q/19 but was still on pace to be higher than in 2018. Russia, Belarus, Germany and Finland have boosted their lumber sales the most this year, reports the WRQ. An excerpt from the newly released market report Wood Resource Quarterly reads.

Global Softwood Lumber Trade

  • Russia has surpassed Canada to become the world’s largest exporter of softwood lumber, and was on track to ship almost 32 million m3 of lumber in 2019 (23% of globally traded lumber this year). Despite slowing economies in North America, Europe and Asia, lumber imports to these markets were higher in 2019 than in 2018.
  • Volume traded during the first nine months of 2019 represented the second lowest y-o-y increase for the period in eight years, according to the WRQ. Of the world’s ten leading exporting countries, Russia, Belarus, Germany and Finland have boosted their lumber sales the most this year.

Lumber Market – North America

  • Lumber production has fallen in both the US and Canada in 2019 because of disappointingly low activity in the US housing market and meagre demand for North American lumber in overseas markets. From January to September in 2019, lumber exports from Canada were down 5% y-o-y, while US shipments fell as much as 23%.
  • All the major lumber-producing companies in British Columbia have taken downtime this fall, causing production to plummet 19% in 2019.
  • Prices for softwood lumber were quite stable during the summer and fall in three of the four major lumber-producing regions of North America. Only in the US Northwest, where log supply has been tight and demand for lumber along the US west coast has stayed healthy, did lumber prices move up from their lower prices early in the year.

Lumber markets – China

  • China imported 15% more softwood lumber in the first nine months of 2019 than during the same period in 2018. Importation has trended upward for over five years.
  • Russia supplied 60% of the import volume to China in the 3Q/19, a slight decline from the 3Q/18. Imports from Canada rose 18% y-o-y and import volumes more than doubled from a few smaller suppliers this past year, including Germany, Ukraine and Belarus. Lumber import prices have fallen for three consecutive quarters to average $174/m3 in the 3Q/19, the lowest level since 2016.

Source: Wood Resources International, www.WoodPrices.com

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NZ forest owners wary of closing access

International Forest Industries - Fri, 07/02/2020 - 12:28

New Zealand log exporters are bracing themselves for supply chain problems in China due to the outbreak of coronavirus. Some forest owners are already reducing their harvesting rate. Regrettably this will have an immediate effect on harvesting crew employment.

The New Zealand Forest Owners Association says that the extended Lunar New Year public holiday makes it difficult to know what is going to happen when sawmills in China restart. Association President Peter Weir says he understands that log ships continue to be unloaded, but he says we need to wait to determine what the offtake volume of logs might be after the traditional New Year break. There is industry concern that if the virus were to infect more people in coastal towns and cities then access to Chinese ports could be restricted with little warning.

China is by far the largest and most important market for New Zealand’s export logs and by value New Zealand earns half its export income from China. The coronavirus outbreak comes on top of new supplies of softwood into China, due to the salvage of insect and windstorm damaged spruce forests in Central and Eastern Europe. Warmer winters and longer summers have led to very high rates of spruce beetle infestation with large areas of forests being clear-felled and salvage logs railed and shipped to China.

In the coming year, exports of bushfire damaged pine logs from Australia also have the potential to increase the softwood supply to China. Peter Weir says, “We know from our embassy in Beijing that the Chinese central government authorities are doing an excellent job of both trying to protect people from the spread of coronavirus and at the same time ensuring economic activity is sustained. But nobody knows how long and widespread the coronavirus outbreak will be and what effect that will have on any medium-term trade.”

“We are most concerned about the effect on the harvesting workforce in many regions of New Zealand which depend on log exports. Forest owner capacity and circumstances vary hugely. Those owners who supply domestic sawmills will be largely unaffected, but the domestic market can only take less than half the current annual harvest and not all log grades.”

“Stockpiling logs is not a good option, because the logs deteriorate, especially at this time of the year, and unrestrained supply from here is a market threat. I should say that it is possible that the disruption will turn out to be brief, as it was in mid-2019. It is entirely possible that the Chinese timber processing and construction industry will return to normal and the inventory stored at ports will diminish over the next few months as it normally does.”

“In the meantime, we hope that our valued sawmilling industry customers, often small family businesses, in and around port cities in China, are not impacted by the virus. Peter Weir says the industry leadership is closely working with MPI and Te Uru Rākau, supported by the New Zealand embassy in Beijing on the rapidly evolving situation.

The CEO for the Forest Industry Contractors Association, Prue Younger is confirming that contractors being told to halt felling trees has come as a complete surprise. “The industry is reeling a bit as you would expect,” Prue Younger says. “Although market prices were on their way down again, the coronavirus impact has made this a very complex situation. It’s important that we’ll be working with forest owners daily and ascertain the extent of this fallout and how long our crews might expect to be out of work.”

“There are risks for everyone in this scenario and like all primary industries the ripples may be extensive.”

Source: FOA, FICA

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Analysis – what’s happening in China?

International Forest Industries - Fri, 07/02/2020 - 12:01
Included in this week’s issue is a media release put out on Monday by FOA and the Forest Industry Contractors Association on the impact of the Chinese market and ripple effects being felt by the forestry industry and contractors in New Zealand. In addition to the information in the press release, they’ve included additional market intelligence sent out to their members mid-week that may shed some light on this rapidly evolving situation to our readers.

“It is a difficult time and no one knows how this is going to play out. At this stage we are trying to gather facts. China is trying to keep trade open and as far as we are aware are still unloading ships. However, inventories are at the high end of what is normal at China ports so what happens next depends on whether the Chinese sawmills come back on line after the end of the extended New Year. We are seeing some but not all companies taking a precautionary approach to try to avoid an excessive build-up of inventory in China and the subsequent downside impact on log prices”.

Key messages:

  • The situation is very fluid but has the potential to become very serious. More time and information will be needed before we know.
  • The port inventory level in China is very high (5-6 million m3) and growing as supply exceeds demand.
  • The impact of the Coronavirus is coming on top of market disruption caused by the significant increase in supply of wood (larch) from Europe as a result of the beetle infestation. Supply and demand have also been affected by the Chinese New Year being extended (9 February).
  • The Chinese ports are currently open despite some rumours to the contrary. Ship crews are being quarantined while they work. The Chinese government has an obvious interest in keeping the port trade functioning and that extends well beyond forestry.
  • Some parties have already taken action. All forest owners are prepared to cut back production at some point. Some have already reached that point. Others are monitoring but still trading and with contingency plans. PFP has advised they will not be accepting any more wood. This has affected Gisborne and Southland ports in particular. On the back of this a number of corporate members have ceased harvesting in the Gisborne region immediately. This adds to the cutback already taken by smaller and medium sized players and means the reduction in supply will be significant.
  • The domestic market will also be impacted. Reduction in export logs will also mean a reduction in domestic logs. Furthermore, the export market for processed product, particularly pulp, may compound the issue.
  • The end of the extended Chinese New Year period (Sunday, 9 February) may provide some greater clarity as workers officially return to work. Further virus spread and/or on-going travel restrictions are likely to mean that not all businesses will be operating as normal.
  • Industry leadership is closely working with MPI and Te Uru Rākau, supported by the New Zealand embassy in Beijing on the rapidly evolving situation.

Source: Forest Owners Association

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