Environment, Carbon and Forests
Sandy Bedfordshire The mistle thrush is chasing invisible thieves, hurling out its rattling call of defiance to all other birds
A mistle thrush has proved to be our foul-weather friend over these last few storm battered weeks. High winds summon it to the treetops, a row of limes, where it guards the mistletoe against all comers.
Up there it is chasing invisible thieves among the rocking branches, hurling out its rattling call of defiance that might be heard over the roaring gales by all the other birds.Continue reading...
Stora Enso’s global responsibility performance report 2014 wins awards in FIBS sustainability report review in Finland
The fate of 70 million people rests on what happens to the Mekong river. With world leaders meeting in Paris next week for crucial UN climate talks, John Vidal journeys down south-east Asia’s vast waterway – a place that encapsulates some of the dilemmas they must solve. He meets people struggling to deal with the impact of climate change as well as the ecological havoc created by giant dams, deforestation, coastal erosion and fast-growing citiesContinue reading...
Resolute Forest Products is threatening not to seek new Forest Stewardship Council certifications for its Canadian forests over fears that possible changes to the designation process could constrain its supply of wood. Source: Financial Post Chief among the Montreal-based company’s concerns is a proposal by Greenpeace that would see “the vast majority” of intact forests — those that have been undisturbed by roads or settlements — protected. “Until significant progress is made in addressing these matters, Resolute will work to maintain its existing FSC forest management certificates where possible, but will not pursue new certification,” the company said as it announced the reinstatement of an FSC certificate for the Black Spruce/Dog River-Matawin forest covering 2.4 million hectares in northwestern Ontario. That certificate was suspended in January 2014 following an audit by the Rainforest Alliance that resulted in a legal fight between Resolute and the review agency. The dispute was settled last February and the reinstatement follows Resolute’s efforts to secure the support of First Nations along with local communities and other partners. The FSC is the largest certification regime in Canada, covering about 50 million hectares of Canadian forests. Resolute, which produces lumber, pulp and paper, is the largest holder of FSC certificates in Canada and second-largest in North America. However, it cautioned that the future of FSC certifications in Canada are at risk unless industry concerns are addressed. Resolute spokesman Seth Kursman said the entire forestry sector worries about the Greenpeace proposal, put forth last year at an FSC international congress in Spain. “If Motion 65 goes ahead as currently written … you are going to find very few if any companies in the Canadian context that are able to maintain FSC certification,” he said. The Quebec Forest Industry Council has warned that any additional restrictions on accessing wood could further threaten mills and employment. It said the province has already reduced the annual allowable cut by 23% over the past decade and established a northern limit that eliminates from harvest about 42% of the continuous boreal forest and 85% of intact forest landscapes. “Quebec has already done its part to maintain intact forest landscapes,” the group wrote in a letter last month to FSC Canada. “The addition of further constraints on harvesting intact forest landscapes within the managed forest would inevitably result in very substantial reductions in wood supply, and therefore the loss of many jobs.” FSC Canada president Francois Dufresne called the industry’s concerns “premature,” coming before it issues a first draft report of the proposed new forest management standard in the coming days and holds consultations. “Before it’s even public they are saying it’s not good or have serious doubts about it,” he said. Mr Dufresne said there’s an opportunity to find “common ground” to maintain a viable forest industry. “Certainly it’s not the intention of FSC to cause these issues in the future but we also have to recognize the international will to take care of these remaining forests around the globe for climate change and ensure there’s not degradation from forest causing emissions in the atmosphere,” he said. Greenpeace said the reinstatement of the FSC certificate for the Black Spruce/Dog River-Matawin forest provides a “feasible path” for Resolute to recover terminated certificates for Ontario’s Caribou Forest and Quebec’s Montagnes Blanches. “We also urge the company to discontinue its public undermining of the FSC system, which is the only credible forest certification system that balances economic, social, environmental and Indigenous voices,” Greenpeace said in a news release.
A record £151.15m of productive forests was traded last year, as the sector becomes an increasingly mainstream investment in the UK. Source: Stackyard In total, 98 properties comprising 18,435 hectares were sold. During 2015, UK timber production also reached a new record, with a total harvest of 11.4 million tonnes, driven partly by standing timber prices, which were the highest they have been in real terms since 1998. High timber prices have contributed to the continued increase in average property price. The UK timber processing industry has continued to invest in new capacity and ‘value added’ processing. Jason Sinden, Head of Investment and Property, Tilhill Forestry said that over the last decade, the average annual return from UK forestry has been 18.8%, beating a range of other investment classes (source: IPD). “Strong financial returns are encouraging investment in sustainable forestry in the UK. Indeed, there is now a compelling financial case for significant new woodland creation in the UK,” he said. “UK forestry is a great long-term ‘green’ investment, and with the increasing use of ‘forestry funds’ is now readily accessible to mainstream investors.” However, the UK is still one of the world’s largest timber importers, importing almost 80% of its total timber needs. George McRobbie, Managing Director, Tilhill Forestry said: “UK forestry has some of the highest environmental standards in the world and woodlands planted for timber production have multiple uses including recreation and conservation. “The UK is the third largest timber products importer in the world, which presents a tremendous opportunity for home grown timber. “Indeed, the strong market in the UK is encouraging woodland creation, especially on marginal farmland. These woodlands are specially designed to produce a wide range of public benefits, as well as timber production.” Fenning Welstead, Partner, John Clegg & Co said: “We’ve concentrated on commercial conifer forests which, in an area of low interest rates, provide a sound asset class underpinned by land ownership and real physical growth in the crop. “The UK has world leading timber processing industries and meeting their demands for raw material provides a ready market for timber. “Forest ownership is a simple and enjoyable investment in sustainable, green assets. “Recorded prices are higher in England ranging from £10,800 to £12,800 per hectare compared to an average of £8,497 in Scotland. “In Wales prices have increased by 23% to an average of £9,162 in 2015 compared to £7,077 in 2014.” John Clegg & Co was established in 1967 and comprises a team of Chartered Surveyors and Chartered Foresters with detailed experience across almost every sector of the rural property market. The company has reputation as forestry and woodland specialists and sells and buys well over 100 properties per year from its offices in England, Scotland and Wales, as well as providing consultancy advice to clients on their existing woodland holdings. Clients include private individuals, institutional and private funds with significant land holdings, traditional rural estates, government agencies and a variety of companies.
China’s paper industry is quickly transitioning into a slow-growth phase that poses challenges to pulp and wood fiber suppliers to that country. Source: RISI Yet, how the industry is developing varies greatly across different grades of paper. Much of the growth in production is in packaging grades, which primarily use recovered fiber, not virgin wood pulp. Still, furnish shares in China are changing quickly for other grades of paper, which will support a rising trend in imports for bleached hardwood and softwood kraft pulps. These and other findings were recently published in The China Pulp Market in Transition: A Comprehensive Analysis and Outlook, new study by RISI an information provider for the forest products industry. Since 2012, the market has experienced a steep decline in growth of paper and board demand and production. Production growth has averaged at 3% per year, a striking difference to the 10.9% average growth per year during china’s “golden age” of the paper industry from 2002-2012. Graphic paper consumption is no longer keeping pace with rising income levels in China. However, for tissue and packaging grades, the link between economic growth and consumption is expected to remain strong. In order to project future demand, exporters of pulp into China may be more reliant on “on the ground” information regarding these changes. “In China’s transitioning markets, exporters of pulp to China will have to count on solid gains of fiber shares as well as in paper and board volumes if they want to justify rapid expansion of market pulp capacity in other regions,” said Kurt Schaefer, study author and Vice President of Fiber at RISI. “During this transition, forecasts for future pulp demand will be heavily dependent on information about the state of furnish shares. “For investors in pulp market projects around the world, the challenge will be projecting where future demand will come from. In the recent addition of the China Pulp study, we try to bring insight into these changes with expanded coverage of furnish share trends and non-wood pulp mill costs and closures.” The China Pulp Market in Transition study is a detailed analysis of the market and provides an in-depth look at end-use markets and furnish share trends that will drive future demand. With analysis of the current competitive landscape, the study identifies how changes will shape the future of the industry.
Representatives from the Southern Downs Regional Council, Tenterfield Shire Council, Destination Southern Downs and local tourist information centres were treated to a tour of the iconic Killarney Sawmill. Source: Warwick Daily News President of the Killarney and District Historical Society, Tony Pearson, said that since the story of 85-year-old Ralph Affleck and his one-man sawmill featured on Landline in October last year, 30 tours had seen well over 1000 people visit the unique attraction. The tour begins at the Killarney Heritage Centre, where visitors have one hour to take in the local photographs, articles and artefacts. Mr Pearson said visitors then get to view exclusive footage of Ralph and his sawmill before enjoying lunch at Queen Mary Falls. The tour then heads to the sawmill about 1pm for two and a half hours with Ralph. “We’ve never had anyone walk away that wasn’t stunned with what they saw,” he said. “It’s not just the sawmill, but Ralph’s character. He is an iconic Australian.” Mr Pearson said that the Landline story aired six times, including in the Best of Landline for the year. RM Williams Outback magazine and Weekend Sunrise have also run stories on the one-man sawmill.
WA home builder, Ray Kershaw, 31, has taken out Australia’s top award as the WoodSolutions National Young Master Builder of the Year in the Master Builders Association’s annual awards held at Jupiters on the Gold Coast on November 14. Source: Timberbiz Mr Kershaw, who is the director of Mondo Exclusive Homes in Doubleview is the fourth West Australian in four years to win the top award. He follows on from Mandurah builder Chris Illis who won the award in 2012, Perth builder Ryan Cole who won the award two years ago and Geraldton’s Serena Giudice who last year was the first female builder to win the award. Already voted as WA’s best Young Builder of the Year by the Master Builders Association, Mr Kershaw won the WoodSolutions award at the Master Builders Association national conference. All entrants in the Best Young Builder category must be under 40 years old. The Young Builder of the Year Award has been running since 2008 to complement the MBA’s Apprentice of the Year Award. Master Builders Director, Michael McLean said Ray Kershaw was a very deserving young winner of the prestigious award. “As the founder and principal of Mondo Homes, Ray Kershaw has worked extremely hard to establish an enviable reputation built on his commitment to quality workmanship,” Mr McLean said. “Ray’s participation in Master Builders Housing Council and on our housing awards judging panel reflects his commitment to the housing industry and his keenness to learn. “WA’s remarkable success with this award for builders under 40 years of age highlights the talent pool of quality builders coming through the ranks which augurs well for the future of the housing industry in this state.” “It’s exciting to be recognising young builders,” said Eileen Newbury, marketing and communications manager at Forest and Wood Products Australia, the industry services company resourcing the WoodSolutions program. “Innovations in timber construction, especially engineered wood products, are changing the way many designers and builders approach material specification for new projects and it’s the younger builders like Ray who will ride this new wave of working with timber.” Mr Kershaw said he was delighted to be waving the flag for younger people in the building industry. He said some people had a perception that a builder needed to be older and more experienced to be able to do the job properly. “By promoting young builders who have done extraordinary things it means the industry can promote apprenticeships, upskilling youngsters who are coming out of school to strive for something,” he said. Mr Kershaw, who turns 32 in January was WA’s youngest builder, getting his builder’s licence when he was just 25. “Getting a building licence isn’t for the faint hearted. I completed seven years of night school studies for the Diploma of Building on top of a carpentry apprenticeship. I then needed to gain over five years’ experience as a site supervisor, so it was not an easy feat. “My application detailing all my experience was probably two inches thick and was put together with the help of Gavan Forster at the MBA. They don’t just hand out builder licences, so to get mine at the age of 25 was a huge thing for me and I owe a lot to all those who helped me. “From there we’ve gone from just a one man team building a couple of homes a year to opening an office, employing staff and last year where we had 16 houses on the go and won lots of awards. Mondo Exclusive Homes was launched almost six years ago. The November 14 MBA award was judged on the quality of work and on craftsmanship. Judges considered awards Mr Kershaw had already won and assessed the skills he had displayed as a master craftsman, taken into consideration financial soundness of the company, growth rates and how Mondo had expanded. “They took a cross-section of client testimonials about our workmanship from clients for whom we’d built houses and sought out industry references from engineers, architects, interior designers, sales people and all sorts of other people across the industry,” he said. “We also had to have a pretty clean occupational health and safety record. Which is something I am really proud of and keen to keep in place.” Mr Kershaw said while there were clients who valued the experience of an older builder there were also many who recognised that in a fast changing world there were benefits of using a builder who kept in touch with changing trends and was able to adapt them into existing building designs. “We’re pretty tech savvy and operate in a modern way, keeping clients up to date with photographs from the site and keeping them updated through email correspondence. “The way we operate appeals to a lot of our clients, who like that we are prepared to give new things a go. Because of our use of new technology it means we also work at a quicker pace,” he said. Mr Kershaw said most of Mondo’s clients were not first home owners, they were generally between 30 and 60 years old and relied on their builder to be across developing trends like data, Wi-Fi, smart wiring, making sure that all the homes built are NBN compliant. As a younger builder Mr Kershaw said it was natural for him to keep across construction methods and technology developments that older clients might not be aware of. “And given the average trades person is now aged around 57 they are not so likely to be thinking about those kind of innovations. Clients are more likely to be focusing on furnishings and what colours the walls are going to be, how the living spaces are going to work and how the house will function. “A lot of the time we’ll just sort out the technology in the background, creating an environment for the house to work properly. “And if I was 60 I suspect I probably wouldn’t be across that as much as I am as […]
The Tasmanian Government has assured specialty timber manufacturers it is “in their corner” despite a plan to back away from logging in the World Heritage Area (WHA). Source: ABC News UNESCO delegates are assessing a proposal to log specialty species of timber in the WHA. The delegation has already spoken to State Government representatives, and to WHA logging opponents. If UNESCO does not support limited logging in the WHA, the Government said it would walk away from those provisions in the WHA draft management plan. But Primary Industries Minister Jeremy Rockliff said he supported the industry. “We have much to be proud of in our specialty timbers in Tasmania, and we need to showcase that and we have some very fine furniture makers as well in Tasmania so we are in their corner,” he said. “I’m sure that we can come up with very sensible solutions in terms of our native species and special species timber.” The Minister would not be drawn on whether abandoning the logging plan would break an election promise. “Well, I’m not going to talk about hypotheticals,” he said. The UNESCO delegates were lobbied by environmental groups to uphold its recommendation to prevent logging in the zone. They talked to representatives from Markets for Change, a group that investigates companies’ environmental performances, and the Bob Brown Foundation. Markets for Change’s Peg Putt said she made a strong case. “It is a very unique type of forest environment and has been specifically listed as one of the most valuable,” she said. “We think the argument is robust.” The delegation met with the State Government to hear its case for selective logging in the area.
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A private Tasmanian forestry company hopes independent environmental certification will help double its overseas woodchip exports. Source: ABC News Forico has been awarded Forestry Stewardship Council certification, meaning its products can be marketed overseas as responsibly managed. Chief executive Bryan Hayes said it would help boost woodchip exports to northern Asia. “We already had a plan to expand our volumes, almost double our volumes this year, from 800,000 tonnes in the previous year to 1.5 million tonnes,” he said. “We already had plans to do that but we hadn’t secured the customers, hadn’t locked them down for the year so with this certification we’ll be able to go back into the marketplace and lock down those volumes.” It is hoped the certification will allow the company to export into Korea and Taiwan. In September Forico reopened the Hampshire mill near Burnie after the 2010 closure caused by the collapse of timber giant Gunns. The mill’s closure lead to big job losses and forest contracting businesses folding. Forestry contractors in the north-west are again investing in new equipment after Forico spent about $10 million reopening the mill. Mr Hayes said the re-opened mill and certification would boost job numbers. “[There’ll be] a little more than 30, maybe 35 direct positions, but in addition to that there’s about another 150, in terms of servicing the plantations, doing the harvesting, transporting, replanting those plantations,” he said. The state-owned Forestry Tasmania is also seeking the certification, but a decision has been delayed. The timeline for a decision is unclear.
A review of Victoria’s logging industry will examine the potential for new national parks in the state’s east but logging in native forests is expected to continue. Source: The Age In a release the state government revealed long-awaited terms of reference for an industry taskforce it has established to navigate the explosive battles between loggers and environmentalists over the state’s native forests. The taskforce will investigate issues including protection of threatened species such as the Leadbeater’s possum, job protection and economic activity. Consideration of developing new forest plantations is also included. Premier Daniel Andrews said the taskforce would work to reach “consensus” about the future of the forests and wood products industry. “This is a historic step forward for the future of our forests in Victoria,” Mr Andrews said. Unions and forest conservation groups were among those that developed the terms of reference. But Greens forest spokesperson Samantha Dunn said it was disappointing that native forests would continue to be logged. “The taskforce’s first job should be to defer logging across the remaining Leadbeater’s possum habitat,” she said. “The government needs to get on with the job of transitioning away from native forest logging and focus on plantations.” Green groups have been campaigning in particular for a new national park covering the forests of the state’s central highlands in order to protect Leadbeater’s possum and other endangered species.
The sweetheart deal that halves carbon-emitting industries’ obligations under the emissions trading scheme may end as early mid-2016, based on a discussion document seeking public submissions on the government’s official review of the six year-old scheme. Source: Scoop.co.nz The document, issued by Climate Change Issues Minister Tim Groser on the eve of his departure for the global climate change summit in Paris, confirms there is no appetite for including agricultural sector emissions in the scheme until realistic options exist and other countries are doing more to curb their own emissions. But it says the rationale for offering a one-for-two deal that allows electricity generators using fossil fuels, the transport fuels sector, and the industrial processes and waste sectors to cover only half the cost of their carbon emissions under the ETS no longer exists. The one-for-two scheme, meaning emitters only have to buy carbon offsets for one in every two tonnes of carbon emitted, was extended in 2011 as New Zealand continued to cope with the economic fallout of the global financial crisis. There was now a “strong rationale for participants in the liquid fossil fuels, industrial processes, stationary energy, and waste sectors to take full responsibility for their emissions,” says the document. It seeks submissions on the main priorities in the review by February 19 and further submissions on a range of other issues by April 30, when greater detail will have emerged about the obligations created by any global agreement struck in Paris. “Moving to full surrender obligations would increase the incentive to reduce emissions and give businesses greater certainty when making investment decisions,” the document says. Trade-exposed industries, including steel and aluminium manufacturing, would continue to receive ‘free allocation’ of NZUs to preserve their export competitiveness “until at least 2020”, but submissions are also sought on a path to reducing and ultimately removing that protection. Of particular concern is the desire to encourage forestry plantation, which absorbs carbon and is an important part of New Zealand’s plans to meet future carbon reduction targets. The document concedes the volatility in carbon prices under the ETS, which have ranged from close to NZ$20 per tonne of carbon in its early days and as low as 20 cents (NZ) in 2013 and 2014 when emitters were buying bargain basement carbon units from European schemes, damaged forestry planting intentions. Disincentives to plant can also incentivise early forest felling, which adds to carbon emissions totals and defeats the aim of the policy. The document lays out a balancing act the government must consider as it moves to adopt new carbon reduction targets between 2021 and 2030 because of the potential for large quantities of “banked” NZUs from the current decade to be applied to meeting carbon reduction obligations in the next decade and potentially undermining the desired action to reduce carbon emissions in the process. Some 140 million NZUs are currently banked, while annual demand from emitters is around 30 million NZUs. That would double with the removal of the two-for-one deal for heavy emitters and reduce the overhang of NZUs. The other factor in this equation is how quickly to allow New Zealand firms back into the international carbon credits market, from which New Zealand withdrew this year. Too early a re-entry could also depress the price of NZUs, which climate change policy expert Suzi Kerr, from the policy think-tank Motu, last week said needed to be at least NZ$15 per tonne to encourage forestry planting. However, New Zealand will be unable to meet its 2030 target unless it allows purchase of international units at some time in the future because New Zealand’s domestic carbon abatement options are “relatively costly” compared with other countries.
The Victorian Opposition is questioning the need for another study into eastern Victoria’s timber industry. Source: ABC News Labor has released the terms of reference for its Forest Industry Taskforce and Environment Minister Lisa Neville said the group had been asked to provide recommendations about the future of the timber industry, including job protection, economic activity and the protection of native flora, fauna and threatened species, by mid next year. “We’ll have a really clear road map both about how we ensure a sustainable timber industry and the jobs there and how we also protect some really important natural assets,” she said. “This is about the remaining timber logging that happens in native forest in the east of Victoria.” However, Nationals’ Leader Peter Walsh said it was unnecessary. “I think the industry is very well structured at the moment,” he said. “Just having another working group puts that uncertainty there into the future.” He said the Coalition developed an industry action plan when it was in government. “I really question the value of another study, it just gives more uncertainty to the industry rather than certainty,” he said. The taskforce includes representatives from the industry, workforce and environmental groups.
Press Release via Bristol City Council Kevin McCloud and Pat Cash join local people to plant a unique tree ‘cathedral’ as part of Bristol’s One Tree Per Child and Future Perfect Public Art programmes. As the tree-planting season gets underway, television broadcaster Kevin McCloud, former Wimbledon Champion Pat Cash, Bristol Mayor George Ferguson, One Tree […]
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Coffee farmers in Uganda are learning climate-smart agriculture techniques aimed at boosting production, ensuring environmental stability and increasing food security.