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Environment, Carbon and Forests

PEFC announces upcoming online Chain of Custody auditor training

GFIS - Thu, 15/02/2018 - 14:45
The PEFC Chain of Custody training schedule is now available, offering a range of options to suit various needs and time zones. Individual auditor training Upcoming online training sessions Date Register Registration closes Details 11 - 12 April 2018Morning...

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Taking a landscape approach to the world’s biggest challenges

GFIS - Thu, 15/02/2018 - 11:01

CIFOR’s Robert Nasi at the Global Landscapes Forum

Canadian take on forestry safety

GFIS - Thu, 15/02/2018 - 01:15
On 18 October, 2017, a logger was killed in a tragic incident near Mackenzie in northern British Columbia, Canada. The operator was using a feller buncher to cut timber on a slope when the machine tipped over backwards, cutting off his escape route when the machine caught fire. Source: OHS Canada The logger’s death was devastating for his family, his community and his co-workers. While the cause of the incident is still under investigation by WorkSafeBC, the question arises: What can we do now to try to prevent this from happening again? That was one of the key issues discussed when WorkSafeBC’s Forest Industry Advisory Group met in November 2017 to talk about concrete steps that employers can take to make remote mechanized logging safer. Here are some of the considerations discussed: First, it is critical that employers have an effective plan in place for those who work alone and designate a contact person to whom the lone worker can check in with on a regular, agreed-upon schedule. The worker must always carry a functioning communication device — a satellite phone, cell phone, two-way radio or satellite transceiver — as well as the check-in contact information. The designated contact must have a copy of the working alone procedure and any applicable emergency-response plan, contact information, locations and/or maps that may be necessary for a rescue. Every check-in call must be recorded, and if the worker fails to check in, the contact must initiate search procedures as outlined in the plan — be that rendering assistance personally or contacting someone close by who is trained, equipped and able to assist. Second, employers should consider situations in which their machines have the potential to roll over and particular hazards that may result. In recent years, the changing landscape of logging operations has meant an increase in the use of steep-slope harvesting equipment. Employers, suppliers and manufacturers must ensure that their mobile equipment meets the requirements outlined in the Workers Compensation Act and Parts 16 and 26 of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation. That includes ensuring that mobile equipment weighing 700 kg or more has a rollover protective structure, as well as structures that guard against falling, flying or intruding objects or materials. Similarly, any tools carried inside the cab need to be secured so as not to create additional hazards. Should a rollover happen, some of the questions that an employer needs to consider include whether they have the equipment necessary to respond in such an emergency and can they be easily accessed and transported to the work site, as minutes can make a difference between life and death in a rescue operation. Third, every piece of mobile equipment must have an alternate means of escape that is clearly marked both inside and outside the cab. Other requirements that an exit should meet include the following: exits must not be located on the same surface as the cab door; they must be usable at all times; they should not pose additional hazards; they can be opened from the inside or out without tools when the equipment is in use; and exits should provide a clear opening with dimensions that comply with the relevant ISO Standard. The employer should test the alternate exit regularly and provide training to familiarize workers with its location and operation, as well as ensure that they can fit comfortably through it in an emergency, as physical fitness or size may be obstacles to a quick escape. If the backup exit is blocked and/or the worker is unable to move, employers must consider what tools can be used to extricate a trapped worker. The fact that machines are designed to keep hazards out poses a particular challenge, as specialized cutters might be needed to pierce cab windows. A supplementary fire extinguisher for use by the rescue crew should always be within reach. Finally, consider where this rescue equipment might be stored; ideally, it will be attached to the machine itself for ease of access.

IKEA buys its first US forest

GFIS - Thu, 15/02/2018 - 01:13
IKEA Group acquired its first US forest property, covering approximately 25,000 acres in Lowndes County, Alabama. Source: Clean Technica The investment in forestry is part of a broader strategy to invest in the sustainable production of resources that IKEA Group consumes directly, such as energy, or indirectly through its products (wood raw material, recycled materials, etc.). IKEA Group also owns more than 250,000 acres of forest land in Europe, located in Romania and the Baltic States. “As a responsible forest owner, we are interested in identifying and applying sustainable management methods that will allow us to preserve and even increase the quality of the forest over time,” says Krister Mattsson, Head of Financial Asset Management, IKEA Group. “Entering the US market is a milestone for our investments in forests, and we believe we will learn a lot here while implementing our long-term approach to forest management and applying for the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification.” IKEA Group is committed to having a positive impact on people and the planet and has allocated over €3 billion for resource and energy independent investments. Those investments support the long-term supply of sustainable materials by investing in forestry, as well as in companies that are active in recycling, renewable energy development, and biomaterial developments. At the end of FY17*, IKEA Group owned 416 wind turbines around the world, including 104 in the US, which produce about 900 million kWh of renewable energy per year. This new acquisition is in addition to several other significant investments IKEA Group has recently made in the US, where they currently operate 47 stores and seven distribution centers. In 2017, the company opened four new stores and one new distribution and customer fulfillment centre. IKEA Group also acquired San-Francisco-based TaskRabbit, an innovative on-demand services platform company, to provide IKEA customers with additional ways to access flexible and affordable service solutions. Additionally, the company made minority investments in XL Hybrids and AeroFarms, who share the brand’s ongoing commitment to supporting sustainable resources. For its forest management in the US, IKEA Group has partnered with Campbell Global, a leader in sustainable timberland and natural resource investment, to oversee and operate the property. “We are proud to be working with IKEA to promote our shared values,” said John Gilleland, CEO, and Chairman of Campbell Global.  “Responsible stewardship is the cornerstone of our culture. We are committed to managing sustainable, working forests to foster optimal forest health and provide direct benefits to local communities.”

Stumped on how to remove stumps, not anymore

GFIS - Thu, 15/02/2018 - 01:11
An Australian and an American hope they are about to solve a problem that has had others stumped. Source: The Weekly Times Naracoorte’s Brad Dickenson knew he was looking at something special when he saw a video clip on social media of a machine in the US wrenching old stumps out of the ground. Brad is a mechanic and he saw it as the perfect solution for removing unwanted blue gum stumps from the so-called green triangle of southeast South Australia and western Victoria. “I always keep my eye out for new technologies coming out,” he said. “I’ve been fixing all these machines in forestry and realising they’re slow, they break, and they cost a lot of money to fix. “When I saw this machine I started doing my research very quickly before anyone else saw it so I could snap one up for myself and get out there in the field before anyone else jumps on board.” The machine was developed by US company Savannah Global Solutions. Director Mark Sauer says the inspiration for the “stump plucker” was a machine from the 1970s that was being used to extract Christmas tree stumps. Mark said the challenge to replicate this machine was set by a client who processed harvest residuals and recycled wood into biomass for boiler fuel to produce electricity. The machine has two lifting wheels mounted so that it rolls over the stumps and pulls the stumps into their midpoint, and it grabs them with enough force to pull them out of the ground. The Australian machine is patent pending, a hydraulic compression system that “really allows us to run longer with less downtime than if we were using the spring option on the original product”, Mark says. The current version in Australia was released in WA last September and Brad had the chance of seeing that machine in action. The stump plucker works in conjunction with a separate rake, which Mark says is mainly to pile the stumps to minimise the area they occupy. Although Brad says it could be used for different trees, blue gums are the target. “The industry here has just come to a stage where the blue gums are all getting chopped down, and basically, they’re getting pulled out. People don’t want them anymore,” Brad said. “The price of land has gone up. The price of stock, cropping has all gone up, which has all played a part in getting rid of the blue gum — and the chip price is not so good for blue gums, it has gone down from where it originally was.” Part of the challenge for land owners wanting to covert old plantations back to agriculture land is keeping stump removal costs low — and less than the difference between the price of the land with the stumps, and price without it. Brad says this machine moves up to 10 times faster than an excavator and twice as fast as a mulcher. His new company is called GT Stump Pulling (GT refers to “green triangle”). Brad and his dad, Ian, are directors, and their wives, Sabrina and Ruth, are also involved. Savannah is manufacturing the machines, and is entering Australia as Asyannah Agro-Forestry Solutions.

Gisborne focus for NZ government

GFIS - Thu, 15/02/2018 - 01:09
The New Zealand Government’s Tuawhenua Provincial Growth Fund will be launched in Gisborne on February 23, catapulting Gisborne to the centre of the Government’s regional development strategy. Source: The Gisborne Herald Ikaroa-Rawhiti MP and Cabinet minister Meka Whaitiri will also hold a Taste of Te Tairawhiti hui in Wellington on February 27 and has invited Gisborne “movers and shakers” and Cabinet ministers to attend. Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones, Ms Whaitiri and other ministers will also meet with Juken New Zealand in Wellington. Ms Whaitiri, the Customs Minister, spoke of the meeting when asked about Labour’s election policy of spending up to NZ$20 million in a joint venture timber prefabrication plant in Gisborne. Building the Gisborne timber fabrication plant was Labour policy, she said. “Minister Jones (New Zealand First) has been made aware that we have made commitments to this region,” she said. The meeting was more around Juken New Zealand. “Remember Juken New Zealand have got plants around the country. They have told us they are keen to keep wood processing in New Zealand. So, it is how we do that.” The Tuawhenua Provincial Growth Fund launch is derived from the coalition Government’s agreed policy of having a NZ$1 billion per annum regional development (provincial growth) fund. The fund covers the capital cost of planting 100 million trees a year (and also includes significant investment in regional rail and commissioning a feasibility study of options for moving the Ports of Auckland). Mr Jones will launch the fund in Gisborne. “It is high on Mr Peters’ agenda,’’ Ms Whaitiri said. There were regions that had been neglected and would be prioritised. “It is advantageous for Tairawhiti, as Minister Jones has identified Tairawhiti and Northland as those areas. “I welcome the attention and commitment from the minister.” The launch would ensure land owners would get information in a timely manner if they wished to participate. Mrs Whaitiri said forestry had been neglected under the previous government, and provincial New Zealand was more diverse than the dairy sector. At a time after the launch, yet to be determined, Ms Whaitiri and Mr Jones will travel on an East Coast (and Matawai) roadshow to speak to those unable to attend the launch. Ms Whaitiri said Mr Jones was committed to the roadshow. The policy was an option for land owners if they had surplus land or land unsuitable for farming. “We are just putting ourselves out there.” There are also hopes that Health Minister David Clark will visit the district. Ms Whaitiri said her Taste of Te Tairawhiti hui would allow senior cabinet ministers and/or their senior advisers to attend the presentation on the region. Issues such as youth unemployment, poverty, homelessness and health are on the agenda while the opportunities in Tairawhiti will also be discussed. Regional leaders such as Gisborne District Council, Activate Tairawhiti, Eastland Community Trust, Hauora Tairawhiti, police, the two runanga, and community organisations such as Ka Pai Kaiti have been invited. “It’s an opportunity to sell the Tairawhiti story to the new Government,’’ Ms Whaitiri said. “Very few regions get this opportunity.” But the commitment to Tairawhiti would not end with the hui. “I’m pretty sure you will see Cabinet ministers rolling into Gisborne and the East Coast,” she said.

Coalmining clearing forests

GFIS - Thu, 15/02/2018 - 01:09
Coalmining companies were given approval to clear nearly 10% of what is now a critically endangered forest in the New South Wales Hunter Valley over the past decade, according to evidence before a government commission. Source: The Guardian It has prompted calls for politicians and bureaucrats to place greater weight on cumulative damage before giving developments the green light. Central Hunter Valley eucalypt forest and woodland was listed as critically endangered in 2015 after it was found 70% had been lost and what remained was highly fragmented. A federal government assessment found the area was vital habitat for 11 nationally threatened species including the regent honeyeater, brush-tailed rock wallaby and spotted-tail quoll, and important to the health and wellbeing of local residents. The Lock the Gate Alliance is contesting a state planning department recommendation to allow mine operators Glencore and Peabody Energy to clear 250 hectares of the endangered area to allow two existing coalmines to become one open-cut mine. The alliance says assessment of what is known as the United Wambo open-cut mine did not properly factor in the cumulative impact of nine previous decisions to allow miners to clear 3,109ha of lowland forest – about 9% of what remained. Two of the approvals, allowing the clearance of more than 600ha, have been made since the habitat was listed as critically endangered. Speaking before a planning assessment commission hearing, Lock the Gate’s state coordinator, Georgina Woods, said the federal government had warned the habitat could be extinct in 40 to 60 years. “This is a scandal,” she said. “The planning department never says the impact of a coalmine in this area is so great it should not go ahead. The result is towns are being depopulated, bush bulldozed and the alluvial aquifer drawn down 10m. “The Hunter region has lost too much of its bushland already. Promises of rehabilitation decades into the future cannot compensate for clearing wildlife habitat now.” A biodiversity project coordinator for Birdlife Australia, Mick Roderick, said woodland birds relied on fertile valley floor forest for habitat but, in the central Hunter Valley, it was almost all gone. He said the state’s land and environment court had ruled that planning decisions needed to take cumulative impacts into account but it was not always happening. “Each of these mines are assessed in isolation,” he said. “It is no surprise when there is a conclusion that one mine may not have a significant impact but, when you take into account the cumulative impacts, they are profound.” A planning department spokesperson said it was expected the issues raised by Lock the Gate would be included in the commission’s review of the project and considered as part of a second assessment. “Our department looked closely at the issues of clearing, rehabilitation and offsets under approved NSW government biodiversity policies during our preliminary assessment of the project. These issues will undergo additional assessment following the independent commission’s review report.” Environment groups under the Places You Love Alliance banner are campaigning for new national environment laws and the creation of an independent agency with watchdog powers to oversee them, arguing the ability to win environment protection is shrinking. Environmental lawyers and academics have released a blueprint for new laws, warning that short-term politics is infecting decision-making and the public

Crown Forestry plants a deal with farmers

GFIS - Thu, 15/02/2018 - 01:08
Crown Forestry is chasing unproductive farmland suitable for commercial planting of pinus radiata to help it meet the government’s one billion trees program. Source: Radio New Zealand The 10-year target will require new planting to cover 500,000 hectares. Farmers and other landowners with at least 200ha to spare are being asked by Crown Forestry, a business unit of the Ministry for Primary Industries, to consider the offer. Land owners are being offered a lease or joint-venture option with Crown Forestry paying all establishment and management costs, paying rent to the land owner and allowing any carbon credits to be retained. The land would need to pass a few other tests, such as being reasonably fertile, have easy access and be identified as suitable for production forestry. Warwick Foran from Crown Forestry said the figure of a minimum of 200ha per block came out of its experience in managing leases. “Commercial forestry is impacted by scale – bigger areas give you better returns.” It is hard to say just how much land fits the criteria,” he said. “Studies show that there is a fair bit of marginal sheep and beef country that is eminently suited to forestry.” When carbon returns are added in forestry stacks up as pretty good land use, he said. “When putting out the call we have, so far 30 or 40 people have come to us with fairly large blocks.” Mr Foran said primarily it will have to be farmland that is used for the massive tree planting scheme. “There is not a big land-bank of Crown land available to plant in trees, so effectively any planting of new land is largely going to come off land that is already in existing use.” Central Hawkes Bay farmer, Steve Wyn-Harris has eight hectares of trees on his property and while he does not have a spare 200-hectares available for any more, he has been looking at the Crown Forestry proposal closely. It offers an opportunity to people who have not been involved in forestry before, he said. “This might be a further incentive for people who haven’t engaged in forestry to give it some consideration. Being able to pick up the carbon credits will be tempting for farmers, he said. “It’s looking like carbon prices will continue to rise.” Steve Wyn-Harris has one note of caution, not about the scheme itself, but the possible effect it may have on rural communities. It could change the structures of some communities with less people living in them and working, he said. “People involved with livestock, such as shepherds might end up doing other things and moving away and that will affect things like local schools.” However, he thinks the proposal will have a good spread throughout the country and the concern is probably not a major one.

Australia’s most dangerous jobs not compensated well

GFIS - Thu, 15/02/2018 - 01:07
In 2016, the industry recorded 44 deaths on the job, but despite the inherent danger involved, the average agriculture, forestry and fishing worker is paid just $76,630 per annum, compared with the average national earning of $75,598. Source: The Morning Bulletin Manufacturing is the country’s fourth most dangerous industry, but workers are typically paid slightly below the national average. The most highly paid of the top 10 most dangerous industries is mining at $141,872 on average, followed by those in electricity, gas, water and waste services who earn an average of $105,030 per year. Finder.com.au’s insights manager Graham Cooke said Australia’s most dangerous jobs don’t necessarily pay the most. He reminded workers in risky jobs to consider income protection in case of a serious accident or injury. “It’s always important to protect your income no matter how high it is, and it’s those who work in more dangerous industries who should consider income protection as an option,” he said. “Workers compensation is an option if something does go wrong, but should be thought of as a last resort and not a definite payout; it’s always best to have an extra safety net. “It’s important for employees to minimise workplace risks as much as possible, as workers’ compensation also won’t cover incidents that occur as the result of employee negligence.” Sadly, 3414 Australian workers have lost their lives on the job since 2003. Australia’s second riskiest jobs are in transport, postal and warehousing followed by construction in third place. Jobs in electricity, gas, water and waste services are becoming more deadly after that industry jumped from ninth place in 2015 to fifth in the most recent list. Mining has dropped one place to the seventh most dangerous profession. A massive 69% of all fatalities in the country occurred in the top three most dangerous industries. The ranking, revealed last month, was based on the rate of fatalities per 100,000 and the rate of compensation claims per 1000 workers. Meanwhile, the country’s safest jobs are found in the financial and insurance services, with only 620 serious injuries and no fatalities in 2016.

Farm forestry in action

GFIS - Thu, 15/02/2018 - 01:04
Forestry has become a strong interest to many people in New Zealand, even if only because this Government is aiming to plant so many trees to cover our emissions. Source: New Zealand Herald For farmers this could be the chance to diversify and for townsfolk the chance to invest. Trees used to cover up to six billion hectares of land around the world. In New Zealand there was not much land free of trees pre-human times. We have modified our environment to our detriment, and now we are being asked to modify it, to a small extent, back the way it was. Each tree is part of a system which helps to keep the earth cool and recycles rain downwind. They are solar powered, self-building, self-repairing, high rise air coolers and rain makers. The trunks also absorb the energy of wind helping to slow it down. Trees are vitally important for our ecosystems allowing other plants to survive by providing suitable conditions, and they do all this and more for free. Dave and Sue Forsythe farm at Te Kawa, with a large milking herd of autumn calvers. The couple have won the North Island Farm Forester of the Year Trophy for their work in integrating forestry with dairy and for their efforts in promoting forestry. They have built resilience into their farm system with trees of many varieties giving alternative sources of income. This is a carbon neutral farm, that is also claiming carbon credits. A field-day will be held on their property to view their interesting plantings of pine, eucalypt, cypresses, redwoods and oaks, learn about carbon credits, and enjoy lunch at the top of Kawa mountain with its’ magnificent views.

Juken junks its Matawhero plant

GFIS - Thu, 15/02/2018 - 01:03
Japanese-owned wood products company Juken has confirmed it will axe up to 100 jobs at its Matawhero plant near Gisborne. Source: Radio New Zealand It said it was pressing on with plans to cut production of plywood and laminated timber products. The company said it had been affected by falling demand in the Japanese housing market and it could not afford to keep losing money on the plant. New Zealand general manager Dave Hilliard said it looked at suggestions for sustaining the business, including producing for the local market, but the investment needed to upgrade was too much. All staff had redundancy pay provisions in their contracts, he said. “Part of the extra assistance we’ll be putting in place is to give a minimum of six weeks’ pay and four weeks’ notice for those who have been here for less than a year.” No job losses were planned at Juken’s Masterton plant, which employs 220 people. Some of the redundant workers at Matawhero were expected to get work at a mothballed sawmill in the area, set to be re-opened in a couple of months. The company was working with unions, WINZ, Ministry for Social Development, local MPs, iwi, community and business representatives to support people through the process, Mr Hilliard said. In a statement, First Union said the job losses would have a significant impact on the region’s economy and community. “If we’re entering a house building boom in New Zealand then now is the time for government, the wood sector and local industry to work together to bring jobs back to local mills.” First Union said it would do everything it could to support the workers. Engineering and Infrastructure spokesperson for E Tu Ron Angel said some workers had already chosen voluntary redundancy while the others were holding out, hoping they might remain employed. He said many staff had worked there for their whole life and would face financial hardship because of the decision.

AFPA lobbies in SA elections

GFIS - Thu, 15/02/2018 - 01:03
South Australian parties and candidates are being urged to commit to a 10-point plan that will double the economic value of timber manufacturing in SA, drive innovation and create thousands more regional jobs in our Forest Industries in the State’s South East. Source: Timberbiz The broad membership of the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) SA Branch, which covers the full value chain and 90% of Forest Industries businesses operating in the South East, have delivered their blueprint for candidates in the lead up to the South Australian Election on 17 March. The plan was launched in the forestry industry hub of Mount Gambier by AFPA national CEO, Mr Ross Hampton. “The Building Blocks for Growth is a plan to turbo charge South Australia’s Forest Industries, which are so important for regional economies and jobs across the state but particularly in the electorates of Mount Gambier, Mawson and MacKillop,” Mr Hampton said. “Forest Industries contribute $2.8 billion annually to the SA economy and employ more than 13,000 South Australians. These are big numbers, but they should be bigger. “Forest industries are largely taken for granted. Given the right political and policy attention however we are convinced that our industries can become a much-needed job generation engine for the state. “That’s why the key ask in this $77 million, 10-point plan, is that candidates and Parties commit to measures that will double the economic value of timber manufacturing in SA and commit to a domestic manufacturing first policy.” The largest part of the funding request is for roads, bridges, power upgrades and support for councils for streaming heavy vehicle movements. “The South East is a special region with special transport needs. It is high time the policy makers in Adelaide dedicated real attention and allocated specific support to the area based on its ability to grow income for the state,” Mr Hampton said.

Global warming drives global warning

GFIS - Wed, 14/02/2018 - 19:43

Bill Ripple, a distinguished professor of ecology at Oregon State University, has spent a large part of his career studying the interplay between predators, prey and plant life in and around Yellowstone National Park. But that changed in December, when he took the lead role in authoring a paper...(more)

Additional Information: Full StoryBill Ripple

Event: International Day for Biological Diversity 2018

GFIS - Wed, 14/02/2018 - 17:16
The 2018 International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB) will mark the 25th anniversary of the entry into force of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and highlight progress made in the achievement of its objectives at the national and global levels. The theme of the Day Is: Celebrating 25 Years of Action for Biodiversity. A summary of events marking International Day for Biological Diversity 2017 is here.

In Brief: Gender in Forest Landscape Projects - Actions and Indicators

GFIS - Tue, 13/02/2018 - 23:05

This 4 page brief shares practical suggestions as to potential gender-responsive activities and actions, and indicators to measure progress towards gender outcomes, that WBG clients/ project teams can potentially include in their forest landscape projects, programs and investments.

NAMA Update: Moldova Registers Twelve Actions for Support, Thailand Submits Unilateral NAMA

GFIS - Tue, 13/02/2018 - 20:03
In February 2018, the UNFCCC NAMA Registry displayed a total of 83 NAMAs seeking support for implementation, with 13 new entries uploaded in the past six months. Moldova registered its first NAMAs seeking support for implementation in the UNFCCC Registry: a total of 12 proposed actions address emissions from electricity generation and use, transport, forests and land use. Thailand registered a unilateral NAMA that seeks to demonstrate public sector leadership by greening government buildings.

European Court of Auditors Assesses EU Strategy to Combat Desertification

GFIS - Tue, 13/02/2018 - 19:16
The European Court of Auditors (ECA) has launched an assessment of the EU’s plans to combat desertification to determine “whether the risk of desertification in the EU is being effectively and efficiently addressed". EU countries considered to be most at risk of desertification are Spain, southern Portugal, southern Italy, south-eastern Greece, Cyprus and areas of Bulgaria and Romania bordering the Black Sea.

Two North Texas communities earn national recognition

GFIS - Tue, 13/02/2018 - 19:09
Two North Texas communities earn national recognition for cooperative wildfire mitigation efforts.


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by Dr. Radut