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Environment, Carbon and Forests

Hefler uses $1M line of credit to cover operational expenses during reprieve

GFIS - 11 hours 32 min ago
Hefler Lumber (Hefler Forest Products Ltd.) in Middle Sackville has been given an extended deadline to deal with the restructuring of their business. Source: The Chronicle Herald Lumber giant Hefler Forest Products is using a $1-million line of credit to cover its operational expenses during a reprieve granted to it by the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia. Earlier this month, Justice Glen G. McDougall gave Hefler until Sept. 22 to restructure its business, and the judge also ruled the company could borrow up to $1 million from Allen MacPhee during that period. “We requested a loan and got three offers,” Frank Gaetz, Hefler Forest Products’ president and co-owner, said in an interview Monday. “It’s like a line of credit. You take what you need.” The iconic company has been in business since the year before Confederation. It now owes more than $30 million to four secured creditors and another 30-40 unsecured creditors. But roughly $15.6 million of that is owed to Gaetz and the other owners. The banks are only owed about $12.5 million. Last month, Gaetz said he was looking for an investor to take over the company’s debt in exchange for a controlling interest — or just sell the business outright. Monday, the Hefler co-owner said negotiations are underway but the details are not being divulged. “The most interested of the parties are looking to get 67 per cent of the equity and pay off the banks,” said Gaetz in late July. The company is turning a profit, he said then. Sawmill production has jumped from 12,000 board feet per day in 2013 to 62,000 board feet per day now, and all that product is being sold. Hefler also provides the biomass for its 3.1-megawatt power plant daily and all that electricity is sold on contract to Nova Scotia Power. The company had $26.5 million in hard assets, $600,000 in receivables and roughly $1.75 million in logs on its site in late July.

Construction milestone for UBC Brock Commons

GFIS - 11 hours 36 min ago
The final wood panel has been installed on the Brock Commons building at UBC. The university’s new student residence will be the tallest mass timber building in the world when completed in 2017. The mass wood structure at Brock Commons was completed in just 66 days. The building required the assembly of 1302 Glulam columns and 464 CLT panels. The last CLT panel was placed on the 18th floor on August 9th and the last glulam columns were erected the following day, marking a major project milestone for the world’s tallest mass timber building. Construction of the mass wood structure began on June 6th and was completed on August 10th. Construction of the steel roof structure is now underway. Designed by Acton Ostry Architects, the 18 storey student residence building will stand 53 metres tall and provide housing for 404 students with a mix of studio and quad units. The structure is a hybrid system comprised of CLT floor slabs, glulam columns and steel connectors—all atop a ground floor of concrete with concrete cores rising the full height of the building. Use of a hybrid structure was investigated to assess the technical and economic viability for the project to demonstrate the applicability of mass wood in British Columbia’s development and construction industries. Key project team members include Structurlam, Urban One Builders, Seagate Structures and structural engineers Fast + Epp. “We pushed ourselves relentlessly over months of work with the design team and the CLT manufacturer to simplify the structure — think LEGO,” says Paul Fast, founder of Fast+Epp. “The building blends the simplicity and modularity of LEGO with the concrete-like strength of cross laminated timber to help ensure structural efficiency which in the past has been one of the major barriers to building tall with wood. Our solutions effectively address that concern.” Read original article here.

Mobile technologies wanted for primary sector event

GFIS - 11 hours 42 min ago
Now in its fifth year, MobileTECH has firmly established itself as one of the leading cross-industry technology events in New Zealand. MobileTECH attracted close to 350 attendees from the agricultural, horticultural and forestry industries in 2016. It has become a key meeting place for technology leaders, innovative developers, early adopters and the next generation of primary sector operators. CONNEX: Event Innovators, the team behind MobileTECH, have just announced that next year’s event is going to run on 22-23 March in Rotorua, New Zealand. MobileTECH’s mission is to create a platform of change for this region’s primary sector. The theme for MobileTECH 2017 is disruptive innovations. There is no question that new digital and wireless technologies are transforming the way we operate our businesses. New Zealand’s primary industry has an opportunity to lead the world in how the technologies are adopted and who the innovators are. “The TECH Talks generated a lot of interest during the last MobileTECH programme and for 2017 we are looking to really expand on this exciting format,” said Ken Wilson, MobileTECH’s program manager. The TECH Talks gives presenters five minutes to passionately showcase their idea, product or service on-stage live and direct to the primary sector. These are quick-fire sessions dedicated to promoting the best mobile technologies and innovations within the sector. “Applications are now open to those interested in being part of the TECH Talks presentations for 2017. If you are a developer, innovator, technology supplier, service provider or researcher targeting the primary sector, the MobileTECH team would like to hear from you,” said Mr Wilson. Technologies can involve; mobile communications, productivity apps, cloud computing, the internet of things, automation, remote sensors, smart customer integrations, rural connectivity, mobile hardware, big data, aerial drones, M2M, robotics, satellite mapping, communications, data ownership and field capture tools. If you are interested in being part of the TECH Talks or the program itself, go to www.mobiletech.events for application details. Read original article here.

Tiwi Island three-year woodchip export deal underway as first ship sets sail

GFIS - 11 hours 46 min ago
The first of 14 shipments of woodchips from a Tiwi Islands forestry plantation is due to set sail to Japan. Source: ABC NT Country Hour The traditional owners of the Tiwis are in charge of nearly 30,000 hectares of Acacia mangium trees. Staff have been working around-the-clock for four-and-a-half days to load around 32,000 tonnes of the Acacia woodchips onto a Japanese ship. Tiwi Plantations Corporation signed a woodchip ‘transaction memorandum’ with Mitsui, a large general trading company, three weeks ago, for the supply of 500,000 tonnes of woodchips over three years. Shipping agent John Wilson has the job of certifying the quality and quantity of the woodchip cargo as it is loaded from Port Melville, 80km north of Darwin. He said the Acacia woodchips being produced on Melville Island were unique in Australia. “The difference is, in places like Bunbury, Albany and Geelong, the trees used for the woodchipping come from lots of different privately owned plantations and they can all vary in quality,” Mr Wilson said. “But here it comes from the one plantation. It’s very, very consistent.” Plantation Management Partners’ production manager Wayne Burton said while the isolation of Port Melville presented some challenges. “We try and carry all our spare parts and be self-sufficient, but I guess with a catastrophic mechanical failure or something like that, those are the sort of difficult things,” Mr Burton said. “We’ve had some things we’ve had to fix up along the way, and it’s stopped us for an hour or two but touch wood, or woodchip, so far it’s been good.” Watching a steady stream of woodchips being transported into the ship’s hold via a conveyor belt, Tiwi Plantations Corporation chairman Kim Puruntatameri said he was “very proud”. “It’s great seeing our chips on board the vessel,” he said. “Now that we’re going ahead with this forestry, they’re doing a tremendous job the Tiwi people.” Mr Puruntatameri said he was looking forward to more shipments leaving the port, bound for Japan. “I can hardly wait for that, everything is going forward; it’s certainly making Tiwi people happy,” he said. Read original article here.

Forestry death “sad reminder” of need for industry vigilance

GFIS - 11 hours 49 min ago
WorkSafe New Zealand says the latest forestry death in Hawkes Bay is a sad reminder to the industry of the need to remain vigilant about health and safety. Source: Forestworks Media Monday’s death follows three earlier confirmed forestry fatalities so far this year, and is the second death in the Pohakura Forest. “It is obviously concerning to see two deaths in the one forest within a matter of months. Any deaths are a tragedy for family, friends and co-workers and the wider community,” says WorkSafe’s chief executive Gordon MacDonald. WorkSafe is investigating both deaths in the Pohakura Forest. “Obviously we cannot pre-judge the outcome of our investigations, but I can assure the families that WorkSafe will do all that it can to determine what went wrong. “WorkSafe inspectors have been to the scene of this week’s incident and will meet with the deceased man’s family in due course.” WorkSafe continues to have a strong focus on forestry safety. In the 2015/16 financial year WorkSafe inspectors made a total of 775 forestry assessment visits and issued 578 enforcement notices. “WorkSafe has worked closely with the forestry industry and workers groups over the last few years to lift standards in the industry and real progress has been made – but this reinforces the point that there is no room for complacency,” says Gordon MacDonald. Read original article here.  

Victorian manufacturing boost as 13 firms share in Commonwealth grants worth $16m

GFIS - 11 hours 54 min ago
THIRTEEN Victorian firms will share in $16 million of Commonwealth grants to boost their high value manufacturing capability. Source: Herald Sun The $90 million Next Generation Manufacturing Investment fund — created in response to the death of the Victorian and South Australian car industries — aim to helps businesses which are undertaking new projects. Seablite, based at Tyabb will gain $1.8 million on top of its own $10 million investment to manufacture specialist marine navigation aids and aviation ground lighting systems. Xlam Australia, in Wodonga, will gain $2 million for its $18 million project to establish Australia’s first cross laminated timber manufacturing facility, producing an engineered wood product capable of replacing concrete in building structures. The funding will complement massive private investment of $104.5 million from the firms resulting in a $136 million injection to the manufacturing sector across both states, creating over 500 jobs. Industry and Innovation Minister Greg Hunt, who will announce the grants in Geelong today, said funded projects will boost advanced manufacturing capabilities across several industries including the pharmaceutical and medical device sectors, precision engineering and tooling, industrial textiles and engineered timber building products. “These grants will support businesses to invest in their future by developing innovative new processes and cutting-edge equipment,” he said. Original article here  

Addressing skills shortage

GFIS - 11 hours 57 min ago
  An initiative to address forest industry skill shortages in the Green Triangle region is one step closer following a forum organised by the Australian Forest Products Association – SA Branch (AFPA-SA) last week. Source: Timberbiz AFPA-SA brought together local forest industry employers with representatives from Holden and the State Government’s Automotive Transitions Team to explore the potential for skilled workers from the auto industry to be attracted into the Green Triangle’s expanding forest industry. AFPA-SA State Manager Ms Clare Scriven said there was great potential for a win-win-win situation for the region, the local forest industries and for some of the hundreds of automotive workers, who will be losing their jobs as Holden ceases manufacturing in South Australia. “Forest industries have significantly expanded over the past five years through improved manufacturing technology, increased international demand for timber products and a growing awareness of the carbon benefits of growing, harvesting and re-planting forests,” Ms Scriven said.  “Harvest operations in the region have already doubled, and are set to expand further, which creates demand throughout the value chain.  The huge demand for harvest and haulage operators is well known in the area, but there is also an unmet need for machinery tradespeople, experienced manufacturing leaders and other high-skill roles.” Holden and the Auto Transitions Team outlined the types of skills on offer from workers from both Holden and the greater supply chain, with examples including lean manufacturing skills, quality assurance, change management and mechanical maintenance. “The breadth of skills available from the auto chain was quite surprising. People tend to think mainly of production line workers, but in fact the potential employees include qualified tradespeople, engineers, IT specialists, as well as staff in procurement, logistics, human resources and finance.” “Local employers want to use local people wherever possible, but where there are shortages of skilled personnel, it is crucial for the local economy that we attract staff from other areas.  Now that they are aware of the expertise available, we will be promoting both the industry and the region to attract skilled staff,” said Ms Scriven. Regional Development Australia Limestone Coast and local councils will be working with AFPA-SA to stage an industry and regional Expo at the Holden Transitions Centre in Adelaide at the end of September.  

Towards Low–Carbon Rural Development - Materializing the Landscape Approach Through Enhanced Alignments of National Programs Supporting Land Uses in Mexico

GFIS - Wed, 24/08/2016 - 20:02

The Government of Mexico has made ambitious commitments to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, with a strong emphasis on reducing deforestation, and increasing reforested and restored lands. To support the country in meeting its goals, this activity will analyze the impacts and effectiveness of Mexico’s land-use programs.

CHALLENGE

Mexico boasts over a decade of experience in sustainable forest management, based on a community model. In 2014, the Mexican Government approved an ambitious plan (PRONAFOR 2014–2018) to transform forestry into a competitive and socially inclusive sector that would boost the country’s rural economy. PRONAFOR is directly aligned with Mexico’s work on REDD+, and envisions collaboration and coordination with a number of government entities, including the Ministry of Agriculture.

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The Borneo Case: A new film about the destruction of Sarawak’s forests

GFIS - Wed, 24/08/2016 - 19:18
The Borneo Case is a new film that documents the destruction of more than 90% of Sarawak’s forests and investigates where the profits from the destruction went. As the Bruno Manser Fund notes, “Vast illicit assets have been acquired by the former Chief Minister and current Governor of Sarawak, Abdul … read more

African bird shows signs of evil stepdad behaviour

GFIS - Wed, 24/08/2016 - 18:07
An African desert-dwelling male bird favours his biological sons and alienates his stepsons, suggests research published today in Biology Letters. “Nepotism has likely played a vital role in the evolution of family life in this species,” said Martha Nelson-Flower, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of British Columbia’s faculty of forestry but formerly of the […]

Climate Change Impacts on Forest and Rangeland Ecosystems in the Middle East and North Africa

GFIS - Wed, 24/08/2016 - 17:51

Large parts of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region are covered with drylands - a harsh environment with limited water resources that supports fragile ecosystems, and are likely to be significantly impacted by climate change. This activity will help fill the knowledge gap about the dynamics of climate change, social influences, and desertification in the MENA region.

CHALLENGE

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Texans to celebrate Arbor Day 2016 in the state's oldest town

GFIS - Wed, 24/08/2016 - 17:13

Aug. 24, 2016 Texans to celebrate Arbor Day 2016 in the state’s oldest town Congratulations to the City of Nacogdoches, Texas for being selected as the Texas Arbor Day 2016 host city. Noting their rich history in forestry and designation as a Tree City USA, Texas A&M Forest Service, the Texas Forestry Assoc

A Closer Look at the Brazil GLAD Alerts

GFIS - Wed, 24/08/2016 - 17:01
By Mikaela Weisse Today, Global Forest Watch released a new forest monitoring system for Brazil called the GLAD alerts (named after the Global Land Analysis and Discovery lab at the University of Maryland). Brazil is certainly not new to the idea of monitoring forests via satellite, which may leave some users wondering about what this […]

New Satellite System Analyzes Brazil’s Forests Weekly. Will It Help Curb Deforestation?

GFIS - Wed, 24/08/2016 - 17:00
By James Anderson and Mikaela Weisse As Rio’s Olympic stadiums empty and athletes head home, Brazil’s big moment in the global spotlight seems to be drawing to a close. But if we take the opening ceremony’s commentary on forest restoration and climate change to heart, Brazil is more relevant than ever. Brazil’s forests, from the […]

Housing Starts Edge Up, SYP Prices Remain Strong in July

GFIS - Wed, 24/08/2016 - 16:30

Housing starts continued to inch upward in July, as southern yellow pine (SYP) lumber maintained the high price it has commanded since early April. Demand for housing—both new and previously-owned—remains robust enough to drive the prices of already-short inventories out of reach for many buyers. Given the pervasive sense of market uncertainty that we covered last month, this trend is positive news for a sector that has, for the most part, continued to perform since being devastated during the Great Recession of 2008.

Turning restoration into good business for farmers in Guatemala

GFIS - Wed, 24/08/2016 - 15:43

Originally published by IUCN Over the past 20 years the Guatemalan government has delivered about US$ 173 million in incentives for reforestation and restoration. How can we build on this investment? Guatemalan forests face a major set of challenges: sustained deforestation, persistent management issues, a weak forest sector economy and an unsustainable dependence on fuelwood. To help address these issues, the Guatemalan […]

Managing Forests to Conserve Bat Populations Affected by White-Nose Syndrome

GFIS - Wed, 24/08/2016 - 14:00
In March 2016, scientists found bats infected with white-nose syndrome (WNS), a fungal disease that’s killed millions of North American bats across the eastern United States, in a cave in Washington state, over 1,000 miles from the nearest confirmed infection site in…Read more ›

Express planting in Finland

GFIS - Wed, 24/08/2016 - 10:45
Recently in Scandinavia countries, it has become very popular to use tree-planting machines. Manual planting is still the most common way, but recent improvements in technology may change this situation dramatically in coming future. Let’s check how does this practice looks like in Finland.  Suomi equals Finland Forests cover over 75% (23 million hectares) of…

Point of view: Finland to chair the Arctic Council – will she bring her own strengths to the fore?

GFIS - Wed, 24/08/2016 - 10:15
In 2017, Finland will be the country chairing the Arctic Council. Several background reports have been prepared for setting the […]

Statement on the Climate Leadership Plan

GFIS - Wed, 24/08/2016 - 01:01
Coast Forest Products Association supports the August 2016 Climate Leadership Plan announced by the Province of British Columbia. The Plan outlines a balanced, science-based approach to mitigate BC’s impact on climate change in the years ahead.  It correctly acknowledges forestry as a foundational industry which will aid in combating climate change through a multifaceted approach that addresses environmental, social and economic factors. Through the Forest …

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by Dr. Radut