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Environment, Carbon and Forests

TimberWest Partnering on Safety Improvements

GFIS - 3 hours 36 min ago

Published March 15th, 2017 by TimberWest – Source Grapple yarding has been a mainstay on the BC Coast for decades.  A grapple yarder pulls felled timber off steep slopes to a collection point. The grapple yarder is similar to the game at the fair where you try to grab a stuffed toy by controlling a grapple with a joystick. Except, with a grapple yarder, the …

The post TimberWest Partnering on Safety Improvements appeared first on Coast Forest.

Guest Article: Investing in Sustainably Managed Forests Offers Energy Solutions Now and in the Future

GFIS - 5 hours 12 min ago
The issues of forests and energy are closely interlinked, and this is why this issue was the theme of this year’s International Day of Forests. If the current trend of slowing forest loss, combined with forest restoration and plantation efforts continues, a future where we achieve zero net global deforestation can go from being a dream to a reality soon. Sustainably managed forests are healthy, productive, resilient and renewable ecosystems, which can meet the growing need for forest products, including sustainably produced fuelwood, while at the same time meeting the basic needs of people, and providing jobs and income.

Position Paper on LULUCF

GFIS - 5 hours 21 min ago

CEPI position on the Commission proposal for a regulation on the inclusion of GHG emissions and removals from LULUCF into the 2030 climate and energy framework

Main Goal:

The main goal for the European pulp and paper industry in the debate on climate change and forestry is to work on a policy framework enabling the long term sustainable management of European forests. This is in line with the conclusions of chapter 9 of the 4th Assessment Report of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC): “In the long term, a sustainable forest management strategy aimed at maintaining or increasing forest carbon stocks, while producing an annual sustained yield of timber, fibre or energy from the forest, will generate the largest sustained mitigation benefit.”

Main Concern:

The main concern of the European pulp and paper industry is that proposals for the inclusion of GHG emissions and removals from LULUCF focus on the 2030 horizon and forest sequestration. Meanwhile the potential of the other aspects of sustainable forest management such as the absorption of carbon by more dynamic forest management and storage and substitution of wood products replacing fossil based ones would not be sufficiently recognised and harvesting levels would be reduced.

The European pulp and paper industry is a key contributor to the bioeconomy. It uses wood from sustainably managed forests to produce renewable and recyclable products which substitute more carbon intentive products.. In addition, the European pulp and paper industry produces bioenergy with highly efficient combined heat and power generation. Further increasing the efficiency of the wood use, the industry is developing new products based on wood to grow the bioeconomy and even more substitute fossil based materials. The mitigation potential could be further improved by further supporting the growth of forests, dynamic forestry and the mobilisation of wood, the use of wood-based products, high value added products, the cascading use principle and strengthening innovation in new bio-based products.

Accurately accounting the emissions/removals from the sector is crucial to demonstrate that European forests and the use of its products have a positive contribution to climate change, as forests absorb carbon from the atmosphere and sequester it. Harvested wood products store carbon and substitute fossil based products. Along the chain, wood, harvesting residues and industrial residues are also used to produce bioenergy substituting fossil fuels. (Replacing fossil fuels by bioenergy is an interim target on the way to bio-based value chains creating high value added from products, materials and fuels.)

In the last decades, forests in Europe have been growing both in surface and in growing stock. Looking ahead, Chapter 9 of the 4th Assessment Report of the IPCC states: “In the long term, a sustainable forest management strategy aimed at maintaining or increasing forest carbon stocks, while producing an annual sustained yield of timber, fibre or energy from the forest, will generate the largest sustained mitgigation benefit. Most mitigation activities require up-front investment with benefits and co-benefits typically accruing for many years to decades. The combined effects of reduced deforestation and degradation, afforestation, forest management, agro-forestry and bioenergy have the potential to increase from the present to 2030 and beyond”. The combined climate change mitigation effect should be maximised. Therefore disproportionate measures on one of these elements should be avoided.

In this context CEPI and its members welcome the recognition of forests and forest products in the EU’s new climate and energy policy framework 2020-2030 and the inclusion of the land use, land use change and forestry sector in the framework.

Even though the proposal is on a 10 year period, it should incentivise the long term carbon benefits of forests and the bio-economy. The inclusion should not lead to an optimisation for the 2020 to 2030 period. In the long term, Europe will need more wood products.

The regulation should provide a framework incentivising Member States to promote a forest management, which increases the capacity of its forests to take carbon out of the atmosphere and at the same time store it in products that substitute fossil products.

The Commission proposal includes several positive principles:

Emissions from the land use sector are reported when harvesting takes place. Carbon emissions should be accounted once. Emissions from the combustion of biomass should therefore accounted as zero to avoid double counting. This also ensures the climate effect of the wood use is allocated to the country in which the trees are harvested.

Harvested Wood Products (HWP) are recognised as carbon pools contributing to the mitigation efforts. We believe this is a very important element of the framework, as HWP provide a mitigation potential well below the 2020-2030 period.

Flexibility between LULUCF and the effort sharing sector is limited to afforestation. This gives Member States with potential for afforestation the possibility to use this abandoned land for afforestation. The potential for afforestation is varying strongly between Member States. However, we believe it is not necessary to limit this flexibility to 280 million tons of CO2. There should not be flexibility between LULUCF and effort sharing sector for forest management.

 We believe that the Commission should continue work towards international progress in carbon accounting and encourage other world regions to account for their emissions from LULUCF, particularly countries from which the EU is sourcing wood for bioenergy and products. A credible and though workable scheme in Europe could facilitate the uptaking of similar initiatives in other world regions. Such bottom-up approach has proven successful in the Paris agreement. 

Finally we welcome the fact that the proposal is directed to the Member States rather than smaller entities. This ensures the contribution from forestry is regarded upon in landscape approaches and with long time frames.

The Commission proposal contains provisions to be improved:

The framework should be comprehensive and as flexible as possible to further allow Member States to develop policies based on their national conditions.

 Forest management reference levels should be set on the basis of long timeframes in order to better reflect trends and responses to climate change policies and measures already in force. These timeframes should enable reference levels to emphasise the impact of most recent policy instruments affecting forest resources, forest management and use of forest products in the country.

The setting of projections based on reference levels has to be credible and transparent and should be based on subsidiarity in forest related issues. The European Commission’s role should be focused on ensuring harmonised country established reference levels and on ensuring credibility and transparency rather than a centralised recalculation on those national elements.

The criteria for the establishment of forest reference levels should be reviewed and better focused on carbon relevant criteria. Biodiversity conservation is already addressed in specific EU and national legislation and this should be reflected in policy.

The option chosen by the Commission is based on the no-debit rule. CEPI believes the no-debit rule is crucial in the LULUCF proposal to demonstrate that the forest sector acts as a sink. However, we believe that Member States demonstrating they harvest less than the net annual increment should not be sanctioned.


Responsible travel promoted through “Wild Africa” salon

GFIS - 8 hours 24 min ago
Beijing, China, March 2017—Last week, TRAFFIC, WWF and Qyer co-hosted a “Wild Africa” salon on the theme of “Being a Responsible Traveller”, aimed at Chinese citizens interested in visiting destinations in Africa.

Which countries have the most forest

GFIS - 8 hours 55 min ago
On International Day of Forests, which is a global celebration of trees and woodland, which countries boast the most? Source: Telegraph UK Unsurprisingly, the tropical lands of South America, the Caribbean, Africa, south-east Asia and the South Pacific dominate, with Suriname, Micronesia, Palau, Gabon, Guyana, American Samoa and the Solomon Islands all in the top 10. But some more northerly countries fare well too, with Finland (72.9% forest area) 11th, Sweden (69.2%) 15th, and Japan (68.6%) 17th. A third of the United States is classed as forest, while in Britain it’s 12%. The world’s 20 most tree-filled countries 1 Suriname – 95% covered in forest 2 Micronesia – 92% 3 Seychelles – 88% 4 American Samoa – 88% 5 Palau – 88% 6 Bhutan – 86% 7 Gabon – 85% 8 Solomon Islands – 79% 9 Guyana – 77% 10 St Lucia – 77% 11 Finland – 73% 12 Brunei – 71% 13 Guinea-Bissau – 71% 14 Marshall Islands – 70% 15 Sweden – 69% 16 St Vincent and the Grenadines – 60% 17 Japan – 69% 18 Democratic Republic of the Congo – 68% 19 Laos – 68% 20 Zambia – 66% And the least tree-filled countries? There are four with no forest whatsoever, according to World Bank’s definition while in a further 12 places there is less than 1%. The four countries with no forest whatsoever 1 San Marino 2 Qatar 3 Greenland 4 Oman The 20 countries with the fewest trees 1 Faroe Islands – less than 1% covered in forest 2 Libya – less than 1% 3 Mauritania – less than 1% 4 Djibouti – less than 1% 5 Iceland – less than 1% 6 Kuwait – less than 1% 7 Saudi Arabia – less than 1% 8 Algeria – 1% 9 Bahrain – 1% 10 Niger – 1% 11 Malta – 1% 12 Yemen – 1% 13 Jordan – 1% 14 Comoros – 1% 15 Kazakhstan – 1% 16 Lesotho – 1% 17 Iraq – 2% 18 Afghanistan – 2% 19 Pakistan – 2% 20 Aruba – 2% *Data, from 2012, includes “land under natural or planted stands of trees of at least five meters in situ, whether productive or not, and excludes tree stands in agricultural production systems (for example, in fruit plantations and agroforestry systems) and trees in urban parks and gardens.  

Two forest views on the Day of Forests

GFIS - 8 hours 56 min ago
The United Nations General Assembly designated March 21 as the International Day of Forests to celebrate and raise awareness of the importance of all types of forests and of trees outside forests. Source: Bellingen Shire Courier Sun There are two different perspectives about the state of our forests – the National Parks Association of NSW and Forestry Corporation. National Parks Association of NSW High rates of forest clearing in Queensland and Western Australia – with NSW set to follow – means an “all-out assault on Australian forest environments”. The National Parks Association of NSW (NPA) said it’s easy to become blasé about forests when  living on the eastern seaboard of Australia, as we are fringed by forests and our daily life nature front and centre. “However, this disguises the reality that forests are a rare feature in this vast, arid continent,” NPA senior ecologist, Dr Oisín Sweeney said. “In fact, native forests only cover 15% of Australia. The vast majority of this is woodland, or scattered trees (10% of Australia), with eucalypt forests – those areas that people typically think of as a forest – only accounting for 3% of our land mass and rainforests just 0.5%. “Non-eucalypt forests and woodland make up the rest. “Despite the rarity of forests, they host a disproportionate number of our favourite animals. Gliders, koalas, quolls, phascogales, brush-tailed rock wallabies, powerful owls – they’re all forest species that are only found in Australia. And they’re all threatened because of the rapid loss and degradation of forests.” Dr Sweeney said this concentration of species is why the forests of East Australia are recognised as one of just 36 global biodiversity hotspots. “But with this great privilege of living in one of the most special areas on earth comes great responsibility … and so far we’re not taking that responsibility seriously,” he said. “We have already cleared close to half of our forests in the short time that Europeans have been here, and we’re still clearing faster than any developed country on earth. What hasn’t been cleared has largely been broken up into little bits or heavily degraded – for example through intensive logging. “We must do better or we’ll find ourselves suddenly regretting the extinction of lots of animals we once took for granted. That would be a national tragedy, because it’s the wildlife that makes Australia unique in the world.” Dr Sweeney is calling on state and federal governments to come together and make forest conservation and restoration a national priority. In particular, the NPA wants governments to: Develop a full set of environmental accounts that quantify the value of hidden aspects of forests like water production, carbon storage and wildlife tourism: Without these data we’re making decisions—usually decisions to destroy or degrade forests—based only on partial information.” Urgently map the growth stages of forests, particularly those subject to logging; “This is vital because the oft-repeated justification for logging is that the trees grow back. That’s just not good enough for the hundreds and hundreds of species that require tree hollows, because only older, large trees have hollows’. Reign in land clearing, and instead develop a long-term scheme to identify suitable areas for biodiverse reforestation and incentivise landholders undertake this reforestation: “This will also have the added advantage of helping to reverse regional climate change and protect agriculture in the long term.” NSW Forestry Corporation NSW Forestry Corporation said more than 100 million trees have regrown in State Forests over the past five years “bringing thousands of timber industry jobs to regional communities and maintaining thriving forest flora and fauna”. Forestry Corporation of NSW’s CEO Nick Roberts said International Day of Forests, 21 March, celebrated the vital role productive State forests continue to play in local communities. “There are more than 500 thriving State forests throughout NSW, including over 200,000 hectares of plantations, a million hectares of native production forest that’s been harvested and regenerated many times, and a million hectares set aside for conservation and recreation,” Mr Roberts said. “Every year we replant a new crop of around 10 million seedlings by hand and we also naturally regenerate millions more trees in native forests. “While the number of trees growing in State forests is not an exact science, based on data from our planting programs and regeneration surveys we estimate we regrow between 20 and 30 million trees in NSW State forests each and every year. “We have been working in the same productive forests for more than a century, continuously harvesting and regrowing these forests sustainably so we have an ongoing source of timber to support NSW’s booming timber industry. “With 100 to 150 million new trees growing over the past five years, these forests will continue to support this vital industry for generations to come. “Around 22,000 people work in the NSW timber industry and we have the largest number of hardwood sawmills in Australia. Equally importantly, we also carefully manage State Forests to protect their many environmental values and welcome many thousands of campers, bushwalkers, trail bike riders, four wheel drivers, horse riders and mountain bikers each year. “Because we continue to manage these forests sustainably, they will carry on regenerating and supplying renewable timber 100 years from now and beyond.”

International Forest Day

GFIS - 8 hours 58 min ago
On International Day of Forests 21 March 2017, the Turnbull Government re-affirms its strong support of Australia’s forestry industry. We support the jobs of hard working local people in the forest industries. Everyone should be celebrating our forestry industry, not demonising it. A strong timber industry means towns in regional Australia prosper—they keep their schools, shops and hospitals. What’s more, there are significant and expanding opportunities to utilise the energy in our forests. This year’s theme for world forestry day is “Forests and Energy”—recognising that wood is a major source of the world’s renewable energy. The Turnbull Government recognises the expanding opportunities to utilise wood energy from our forests. We have re-introduced native forest wood waste into the Renewable Energy Target. This will help Australian companies earn renewable energy certificates for the energy they generate from wood biomass. It provides an economic incentive to remove wood waste from forests, reducing fuel loads and fire risk. The UN recognises on this International Day of Forests that sustainably managed forests are a vital source of the world’s renewable energy. Wood is the original stored energy—it’s carbon positive, it provides base load power and it’s been used as a source of energy for generations. Wood energy from the forest—a major source of the world’s renewable energy.

Queensland building plan: timber should be a big part

GFIS - 8 hours 58 min ago
Proposals to improve the sustainability performance of residential buildings as part of a new Queensland Building Plan are ignoring the biggest carbon win, according to chief executive of Timber Queensland Mick Stephens. Source: The Fifth Estate His association has called on the government to ensure that sustainable materials are made part of the policy, and that embodied energy impacts are given equal weighting to operational energy efficiency. “Historically there has been a strong emphasis on energy efficiency,” Mr Stephens said. A lot of that low hanging fruit has now been dealt with, he said. That means the building sector is “approaching the law of diminishing returns” in terms of making buildings more energy efficient. “The elephant in the room is materials and structure.” When the embodied carbon footprint of these is addressed, the gains become “more significant” in terms of reducing carbon emissions from construction and also sequestering carbon. “Research has shown that the choice of building material can represent up to 50% of the total greenhouse gas emissions from a new house in Brisbane over a 50-year cycle.” Mr Stephens said that compared with concrete, aluminium and steel, wood products had very low embodied energy and required much lower fossil fuel energy inputs for their production. “Concrete’s embodied energy impacts can be more than six times higher than timber,” he said. This is because trees use the sun and photosynthesis to produce timber and remove carbon emissions from the atmosphere in the same process. “Switching to a greater use of timber in buildings can generate significant carbon benefits for the state.” If half of all new residential buildings constructed annually were “timber maximised”, the result would be a saving of 600,000 tonnes of carbon emissions a year. The association has recommended the state government adopt a formal Wood Encouragement Policy (WEP) that aligns with the building plan. Already two local councils, Gympie and Fraser Coast, adopted WEPs in January 2017. Councils in other states including Kyogle and Wellington in NSW and Latrobe in Victoria have also done so, and internationally France, New Zealand, Canada, Finland and the Netherlands have adopted WEPs as part of the procurement process to capture the potential carbon abatement benefits of the material. Under a WEP, the full consideration of timber as a preferred choice of sustainable material is required where fit-for-purpose. Mr Stephens said timber had dual benefits: environmental credentials and economic contribution to the state. Growing demand would also increase investment in both forests and their products. This would have a major benefit in terms of carbon sequestration. TQ’s submission stated that the planting of 10,000 hectares a year of new softwood plantation over the next decade would capture and store an additional 15 million tonnes of carbon emissions. There is also a clear economic benefit to be gained. Currently, the industry generates around 10,000 direct jobs and has a $3.1 billion gross annual value. It is a diverse industry, producing plantation pine products including structural timbers, framing, cross laminated timber and laminates, as well as native hardwoods and native cypress, a naturally termite-resistant timber. “Given the diversity of the industry, timber can meet a whole range of applications,” Mr Stephens said. Another benefit of sourcing timber products from within the state’s own industry is the building supply chain is more immediate and it is easier to have transparency, he said. “That means the paperwork and compliance needs are also lower.” The proposals for the Queensland Building Plan have highlighted the issue of non-conforming products, and this is something the association has addressed in its submission. All of the state-owned plantations or native forests are certified either under the Australian Forestry Standard or Forest Stewardship Council standard. The private native forests are not all certified, but have to abide by a mandatory code to ensure sustainability. “The industry is highly regulated.” Mr Stephens said the issue for private forests was the cost of certification. Most are small land owners, so the industry association is looking to overseas examples such as Sweden, where a number of private forests obtain certification at a cost-effective price under a group certification scheme. Another benefit of timbers in the tropical Queensland climate is that they are lower on thermal mass, so are good for keeping homes cool, he said. It is also a material associated with the traditional “Queenslander” style of residential architecture. These homes also tick other sustainability boxes, with elevated structures for coolness and flood resilience, good ventilation and open areas. “The [local] industry is familiar with using timber.” Mr Stephens said that in some of the sustainability codes and practices being applied, the emphasis on energy-efficiency means projects are “missing the benefits of materials” to address thermal performance and energy use. “The benefits of energy efficiency [in design] can be lost.” If the aim of sustainability codes and practices is to tackle climate change, using wood and timber is one of the most effective things we can do, Mr Stephens said. He said the Green Building Council of Australia was already starting to move in that direction, with its recent announcement of a credit pathway for massive timbers in construction. This was something the association highlighted in its submission. “I am greatly encouraged by this progress,” Mr Stephens said. “Designers and architects are also starting to recognise the benefits of wood.” Submissions on the Queensland Building Plan closed Wednesday 15 March 2017 however, online surveys are still being undertaken until the end of March 2017. http://queenslandbuildingplan.engagementhq.com

Record highs for NZ log prices

GFIS - 9 hours 29 sec ago
Buoyant New Zealand activity has pushed up local log prices to new record highs. Source: Scoop Media The average price for roundwood logs used in the horticulture sector rose to NZ$92 a tonne in March, up NZ$2 from February’s average price and at the highest level since AgriHQ began collecting the data in early 2002, according to AgriHQ’s monthly survey of exporters, forest owners and saw millers. Structural log prices also increased, with S3 logs hitting NZ$114 a tonne, the highest since AgriHQ began collecting the data in early 1995, while S1 logs rose to NZ $122 a tonne, the highest since mid-1994. Record high net migration and low interest rates are putting pressure on the nation’s housing market, driving up prices and stoking construction activity. A booming horticulture industry is also spurring investment activity in that sector, helping drive demand for roundwood. “The NZ domestic log market has maintained its incredible strength in recent weeks,” AgriHQ analyst Reece Brick said. “Orders were flowing into sawmills at a constant but rapid rate, mainly underpinned by the ever present housing construction sector, especially around Auckland. This procurement competition between mills meant the AgriHQ price for the majority of key domestic log grades lifted.” Mr Brick said demand remained firm in the pulp, pruned and roundwood markets. “There’s been little sign of any stagnation in the roundwood trade,” he said. “Reports suggest many mills are running at or near their maximum capacity as orders keep coming in, and log supply is too tight to prevent any prices increases.” Mr Brick said there was some concern about whether structural log prices may soften as inventory levels increased at North Island mills heading into winter when construction demand tended to slow. Meanwhile, export prices for New Zealand logs softened by about NZ$2 a tonne across the range of logs measured by AgriHQ. “The key factor behind the weaker wharf-gate markets was the sudden increase in shipping rates,” Mr Brick said. “Unlike other months, it was not oil prices that created this small surge. Instead, an increase in commodity shipments to China, such as iron ore from Australia, has been the key factor. This has engaged a significant amount of previously idle shipping capacity in the Pacific, shifting the market in shipping companies favour.” Mr Brick said exporters were watching the situation closely to see if the change was short-term, or part of a longer-term trend. “From a domestic mill’s perspective, this softening is a step in the right direction, as it may entice more logs to stay within the NZ market,” he said. “That said, a number of logs are still making premiums over domestic trading at the wharf gate, so any change in trading patterns is unlikely to be major for now. Additionally, exported pruned logs tend to be of lower quality than locally traded product, so not all of these logs would be sought after by NZ mills.” Forest products are New Zealand’s third-largest commodity export group behind dairy and meat products.

Planet Ark reports on calm benefits of wood

GFIS - 9 hours 29 sec ago
A new report shows significant health and wellbeing benefits can be had by incorporating wood in interior design and the construction of buildings according to a new report by Planet Ark. Source: Timberbiz The use of wood, especially in conjunction with the principles of ‘nature connected design’ also known as biophilic design, has significant health and wellbeing benefits including lowering heart rates and stress response for students and workers, speeding recovery afer surgery and encouraging greater interaction between residents in aged care facilities. These and other results are contained in a new report by Planet Ark titled Wood – Nature inspired design which has been launched to coincide with World Wood Day on 21 March. The results are important news for Australians who, on average, spend more than 90% of their time indoors. The report also states that in a single generation, children’s play has moved from outdoors to indoors, backyards are shrinking or unavailable, working hours and stress levels have risen, and technology – especially screens – has encroached on almost all areas of life. Research from the international scientific community has repeatedly identified that the increased use of wood in furniture, fittings and structures has measurable physiological and psychological health benefits. “We know that workers are less stressed and more productive, students learn better, patients heal faster, and people are generally happier and calmer in indoor areas which contain wooden elements,” David Rowlinson, Plant Ark’s Make It Wood Campaign Manager said. “Researchers have also reported people experiencing higher levels of self esteem, improved cognitive function and decreased blood pressure, when exposed to wood in their built environment.” It is particularly important to establish these benefits in environments where it is difficult to incorporate nature indoors, such as hospitals, where strict health and safety guidelines may prevent the presence of plants, and office environments where views from the window are of roads and neighbouring concrete buildings. Mr Rowlinson says increasing the amount of wood used in building design and furnishing is also good for the environment. “Responsibly sourced, certified timber is the only major building material that helps tackle climate change. Timber is renewable, it absorbs carbon from the atmosphere, and there are fewer carbon emissions associated with its production when compared tocarbonintensive materials such as concrete or steel. It is also one of the oldest and most versatile building materials used by humanity, but now more than ever it has a large part to play in the design and construction of healthy buildings for us to live, work, learn and recover in.” Wood is one of the most ancient building materials used by almost every culture since pre-history. This new research along with changes in technology have positioned wood as the building material of the future with homes, schools, hospitals, office and apartment blocks and even the Tokyo 2020 Olympic stadium all contributing to a beautiful, healthy and nature-inspired environment. An increasing number of architects who design buildings for living, working, healing, learning and caring are incorporating significant amounts of wood into their structures to capitalise on its health and wellbeing benefits. A number of Australian buildings that showcase the use of wood and nature connected design are featured in the report, including the Dandenong Mental Health Centre, the Marist College Bendigo Montagne Centre, Tempe House, NSW, the Library at the Dock, Victoria Harbour, Melbourne, and the Melbourne School of Design.

NZ forestry worth $1.4b

GFIS - 9 hours 3 min ago
The forestry and logging sector is worth NZ$1.4 billion to GDP, making a substantially larger contribution than either the sheep meat or beef sectors, says a new report released in Rotorua. Sources: The New Zealand Herald, Rotorua Daily Post The report was commissioned by the New Zealand Forest Owners Association and Farm Forestry Association from NZIER. Forest Owners Association chairman Peter Clark said the public had underestimated the forest sector’s role and importance. “Our sector is growing faster than horticulture,” he said. “For the first time since 1882 … the value of our forest product exports is now exceeding the total value of red meat exports. That represents a sea change in our primary export mix.” The Ministry of Primary Industries forecasts that New Zealand forest product export returns will reach $6.15 billion by 2020, from $5.14 billion in 2016. Increasing returns from sawn timber, wood panels, pulp and paper, would all contribute to the growth. However, NZIER noted the fact that the significant environmental contribution of forestry was not usually factored into its economic value, and the lack of a ministry or department dedicated to forestry, were both constraints on the industry. NZIER recommended the establishment of a “satellite account” to reflect the growing importance of this sector. Satellite accounts extend existing information on industries to include social and environmental values, and would assist in reflecting forestry’s wider benefit to New Zealand, the report said. Mr Clark said currently everybody, including NZIER, was making assumptions based on some studies in some regions. “The Government’s Biodiversity Action Plan 2016-20 set 2017 as the target date to investigate the need and potential to produce New Zealand environmental-economic accounts,” he said. “So, in implementing this undertaking, we’d love to see the Government put the environmental ruler across our forest sector.” Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick said Rotorua Lakes Council was the first and so far only local body to promote a Wood First Policy. She noted about 40% of the country’s wood was harvested within a 100km radius of the city. And she was fully supportive of NZIER’s suggestion that a satellite account for forestry be established. “The industry needs positive support from Government and for that to happen, the industry needs to be able to quantify its worth,” she said. Forest Owners Association chief executive David Rhodes said the report’s release was timely, given the increasing interest in environmental issues, and the Government’s focus on regional development. “The contribution the forest sector is making in some regions is quite significant,” he said. “We are hoping to get across through the report that there are a whole bunch of things that forestry delivers, which aren’t being reflected in the market statistics and GDP figures.” According to the report, wood production has risen from 10 million cu m of timber in 1989, to 28.7 million cu m last year. However, Bryce Heard, chairman of the Forest Wood Action Group, part of Bay of Connections, said wood supply was being forecast to diminish as a result of conversion to dairy and lack of replacement planting. The wider Bay of Plenty region was cutting around 12 million cubic metres a year, which was expected to drop to around 10 million cubic metres by the year 2030 on current projections, he said. “We’re busily trying to get people to invest in processing, but they look at 10-15 years out and ask where the wood’s going to come from,” he said. “It’s not a good scenario for increasing processing.” Services such as carbon storage, erosion control, water quality, biodiversity and recreation could provide NZ$9.6 billion of ecological and social value from plantation forestry to New Zealand every year, the report says.

10 truckloads of timber for Easter Show

GFIS - 9 hours 3 min ago
Ten truckloads of timber from Badja, Bago and Yambulla State Forests are making their way to the Sydney Royal Easter Show to be used in wood chop competitions. Source: Eden Magnet Forestry Corporation of NSW’s sales and distribution supervisor Andy Costello said 4017 chopping blocks and 107 tree poles would be used over the two-week event. “The wood chop events at the Sydney Royal Easter Show attract many thousands of visitors each year and Forestry Corporation has been supplying sustainable timber from local state forests for the competition for many years,” Mr Costello said. “According to the Royal Agricultural Society, the Royal Easter Show attracts some 850,000 visitors each year, so this is arguably the most high profile wood chop competition in Australia. “There are 240 entries for the Royal Easter Show’s wood chop events this year requiring 4017 chopping blocks and the organisers have exacting standards when it comes to the timber they want for this prestigious event. “Every one of these 4017 blocks was harvested in state forests by local contractors who have carefully selected logs with exactly the right qualities required for the wood chop events. These were then delivered to the Axeman’s Association’s Peter Knight in Eden who individually wrapped each log in plastic to ensure they don’t dry out ahead of the competitions. “Most of the championship blocks this year are silvertop ash from Yambulla State Forest near Eden and the blocks for the non-championship events are alpine ash harvested from Bago State Forest near Tumbarumba. “The woodchop competition at the Sydney Royal Easter Show always draws a crowd and Forestry Corporation of NSW is proud to support the event by supplying certified sustainable NSW timber.”

Ballarat to double its tree canopy

GFIS - 9 hours 6 min ago
Climate change, powerlines, pests and diseases are some of the challenges the city of Ballarat will face as it looks to double the amount of tree canopy coverage. Source: Ballarat Courier The City of Ballarat has released a discussion paper highlighting some of the key priorities and challenges of its urban forest strategy, with community response to form part of the final action plan. The strategy was adopted in mid 2015 and outlined plans to increase tree canopy coverage from an estimated 17 per cent to 40% by 2040. Currently, there are more than 70,000 trees located across public land in Ballarat, including parks, gardens, streets, reserves, urban green spaces, recreation spaces and wetlands. Mayor Samantha McIntosh said while the urban forest strategy presented council with “a number of issues and challenges”, there were also “some great outcomes” that could be achieved. These included economical, mental, physical and emotional benefits. “Having worked in real estate, I know that property values are absolutely increased in the streets that have those wonderful tree canopies,” Cr McIntosh said. “But it is also about health and wellness, and providing plenty of shade, where people like the elderly will benefit.” She believed the 2040 target of 40% canopy coverage was achievable, pointing out some CBD areas had already achieved 36% coverage. Suburbs such as Wendouree and Sebastopol were highlighted in the discussion paper as areas with less than 10% coverage and in need of new planting. Alfredton also had less than 10%, but was recognised as a new growth area where planted trees had not yet established significant canopy. The paper also considered factors competing with trees for space such as parking, powerlines and underground services including water, gas and the fibre optic network. “The height of tree would be determined by the infrastructure it is standing beside (such as powerlines),” Cr McIntosh said. “But it is important for us not to have the same trees in every single street, we want diversity in the combination of trees.” She said the age, height, species and health of the trees were all taken into consideration. The City of Ballarat does not have a register of dangerous trees, instead residents are encouraged to contact the planning department with their concerns. Cr McIntosh said the discussion paper encouraged public response and suggestions. “We’re not saying we have all the answers,” she said. “Heritage and green space are very important to the people of Ballarat, we want to continue that conversation and ensure the public is involved.”

Scene-of-crime evidence gathering: TRAFFIC helps deliver training in Tanzania and Kenya

GFIS - 11 hours 47 min ago
Dar es Salaam, United Republic of Tanzania, 2017—Inadequate investigative capacity for wildlife crimes has proved to be a major drawback in the fight against poaching and illegal wildlife trade.

Best movie ever: Live tracking of moving sample

GFIS - 12 hours 8 min ago
Researchers have found a way to watch plants grow – with no tricky adjustments of microscopes day after day! The key is some special equpiement that, among other things, concists of a program that lets microscopes automatically track moving objects … Continue reading →

Linking trees and water

GFIS - 12 hours 22 min ago

Save forests, or lose the rain

Celebrating International Day of Forests in Ethiopia

GFIS - 13 hours 55 min ago
Attendees visit a plantation near a wood processing company. March 18 2017 – International Forest day was colourfully celebrated at Debre Birhan, Amhara Region, Ethiopia. The Ethiopian Government Environment’s Forest and Climate Change Ministry (MEFCC) and REDD+ organized an event attended by more than 300 people from a diverse range of international and national organisations: […]

Forests and fungi: Mekong communities reap the rewards of a 500 million-year-old partnership

GFIS - 14 hours 34 min ago

We are only just beginning to realise how much life on earth depends on the partnership between fungi and forests. A recent video, released to mark the International Day of Forests on 21 March highlights new research into...

The post Forests and fungi: Mekong communities reap the rewards of a 500 million-year-old partnership appeared first on Agroforestry World.

India’s growing demand for goods impacts forests globally

GFIS - 14 hours 37 min ago

Indian industry can play a key role in curbing carbon emissions and helping protect some of the world’s most valuable forests.

Aligning smoke management with ecological and public health goals

GFIS - 15 hours 1 min ago

Past and current forest management affects wildland fire smoke impacts on downwind human populations.


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by Dr. Radut