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Environment, Carbon and Forests

Mechanical forest thinning begins in Dry Lake Hills north of Flagstaff

GFIS - Fri, 18/08/2017 - 05:57

For the next four and a half months, the sounds of feller bunchers, processors and lumber trucks will be a common one around the lower Dry Lake Hills and the base of Mount Elden.

DNA tests confirm Southern Bluefin Tuna on menu in mainland China

GFIS - Fri, 18/08/2017 - 03:00
Beijing, China, 18th August 2017—The Southern Bluefin Tuna market in China, a new study published today, has found Southern Bluefin Tuna is served in restaurants in mainland China, particularly Shanghai. This is a significant finding not only because of the threatened status of the tuna, but as it also provides insights into China’s role as a non-member of the Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna (CCSBT), the organization that sets annual fishing quotas for the tuna.

The glory of the Lake District in autumn wins first prize in the UK and Ireland

GFIS - Thu, 17/08/2017 - 19:00
The Lake District sets the scene for the winning image of PEFC UK and PEFC Ireland’s ‘Experience Forests, Experience PEFC’ photo contest. “We received over 300 fantastic entries, and it was an extremely difficult task to choose only three winners,” said Alun Watkins,...

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IUFRO 125th Anniversary Congress Spotlight #50 – Filling in knowledge gaps about natural disturbances and their interactions in mountain forests

GFIS - Thu, 17/08/2017 - 15:01
PDF for download   In mountainous terrain they are called protection forests – forests that protect human settlements and infrastructure against natural disturbances such as rockfall, snow avalanche and shallow landslides. Natural disturbances are becoming more and more important drivers in many mountain chains worldwide, mainly because of past land-use legacies. But also, under climate […]

IUFRO Anniversary Congress Spotlight #50 - Filling in knowledge gaps about natural disturbances and their interactions in mountain forests

GFIS - Thu, 17/08/2017 - 14:47
This Anniversary Congress session will highlight the need for disturbance management that allows forests to adapt to future environmental conditions.

FairWild in the spotlight at Shenzhen International Botanical Congress 2017

GFIS - Thu, 17/08/2017 - 13:04
Shen Zhen, China, 23 to 29th July, 2017–the 19th International Botanical Congress (IBC), known as the Olympics of botany, was attended by TRAFFIC for the first time. The IBC is an academic conference for botanical scientists and organizations to showcase a diverse variety of exhibitions concerning plant conservation.

Share your knowledge with NOVA funding

GFIS - Thu, 17/08/2017 - 11:48
There is still time to apply for NOVA funding of joint Nordic PhD or Master’s courses! Last date for application is October 16. Courses approved in this application round can run in 2018. It is possible to apply for funding of PhD courses, … Continue reading →

Sweden celebrates Finland’s centennial with grants for forest research

GFIS - Thu, 17/08/2017 - 10:00
As part of Sweden’s gift to honour Finland’s centennial, a research grant totalling EUR 2,7 million will be opened for […]

Present for Finland: Close to 600 hectares of forest protected so far

GFIS - Thu, 17/08/2017 - 08:07
Finns appear to be reaching the target set for gifts of protected forests to honour the country’s centennial. At the […]

Toyota turns to wood

GFIS - Thu, 17/08/2017 - 02:07
Car designers could turn to wood in a bid to make cars lighter, stronger and cheaper. Source: The Sun UK A material made from wood pulp is five stronger than steel but weighs 80% less, according to researchers in Japan. And a leading supplier to Toyota is working alongside the boffins at Kyoto University to experiment with plastics that feature wood pulp. A prototype version of a car using these revolutionary cellulose nanofibres is due to be completed by 2020. The processing method developed is much cheaper than other similar projects potentially making the material commercially viable in the not to distant future. It’s currently around four times more expensive than steel and other alloys used but experts believe the price gap could be halved by 2030. Slashing weight is vital for electric cars with fewer batteries required to power lighter motors. It would make battery-powered cars cheaper – and give them a bigger range between charges. Masanori Matsushiro, a project manager overseeing body design at Toyota, told Reuters: “Lightweighting is a constant issue for us. “But we also have to resolve the issue of high manufacturing costs before we see an increased use of new, lighter-weight materials in mass-volume cars.” Wood pulp isn’t the only steel replacement being worked on by experts. BMW has introduced a carbon fibre body shell in its i3 while high-strength aluminium alloys are used on top-end motors. And some have gone a step further with Dutch students making a car from the resin extracted from sugar.

Trump Towers no – Trump Trees

GFIS - Thu, 17/08/2017 - 02:02
US President Donald Trump doesn’t believe in the science of human-caused climate change. He wants to ignore one of the greatest threats to healthy life on Earth. Source: Todayville Trump wants to bring back coal despite scientists telling us we cannot afford to burn it, and despite economists telling us there’s more money to be made and more jobs available in renewable energy. A New Zealand group is planting a forest to soak up the extra greenhouse gases Trump plans to put into our atmosphere. They say they are planting a global forest to offset Trump’s monumental stupidity. This is not a fund raiser. They want people to go to nurseries or a charity and donate a tree or seedling in the president’s name and send a copy of the receipt to them to go on the list. New Zealand started in a big way and has more than 130,000 trees in its “Trump Forest” in the last 6 months.

Quality assurance for NZ wood products steps up

GFIS - Thu, 17/08/2017 - 02:01
New Zealand wood products already undergo strict and independent, third-party scrutiny to ensure that they comply with the NZ Building Code. Source: Timberbiz All NZ wood products are made to standards and codes set by the official NZ standards body, Standards New Zealand, and by the building industry regulator, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. Adherence to these standards is then assured through inspection by independent verifiers operating throughout the country. Assurance of fitness for purpose is provided by Building Consent Authorities checking that the correctly specified product goes into the right place in the structure. All of this means that customers can be confident in NZ wood products. “That said, in this day and age, customers require much more from our product range. Our customers want to be assured that the products they are buying come with hard evidence that they are doing the right thing for the environment,” WPMA Chair, Brian Stanley said. “This is why I’m delighted to announce today that the WPMA and thinkstep Ltd are working together to enable processors and manufacturers of NZ wood products to state with certainty the environmental impacts of the products they produce and the processes they use.” While it is widely accepted that wood products have a relatively low environmental footprint, there is at this stage only one recognised and audited means of calculating and communicating relevant environmental impacts: the Environmental Product Declaration (EPD). An EPD is a verified and registered document that communicates transparent and comparable information about the life-cycle environmental impacts of products. The EPD will be published under the Australasian EPD Programme – part of the global International EPD System – following international standard ISO 14025 and European standard EN 15804. Mr Stanley noted that WPMA member companies have contributed to the development of this EPD and it will cover a wide range of wood products, including structural timber, appearance timber, treated timber, finger-jointed timber and glue-laminated timber. WPMA member companies believe that supplying authoritative environmental impact data to architects and developers, in a format that enables the total environmental performance of buildings to be calculated will result in their wood products being preferred, both over timber from other sources and to non-timber products in environmentally-discerning markets. “Growing the market demand for quality-assured, NZ wood is not only good for the environment but is also critical for ensuring more employment and economic growth in regional NZ – a win-win-win for New Zealand”, concluded Mr Stanley.

Build Christchurch new stadium in wood

GFIS - Thu, 17/08/2017 - 02:00
NZ First Leader Winston Peters wants Christchurch’s new stadium to be built out of New Zealand-grown timber. Source: Stuff NZ He wants the Government make a major injection into the project, but only if the stadium earns revenue 24 hours a day, seven days a week – and only if it is built from wood. “We don’t want an Eden Park white elephant down here,” he said during a speech at the Transitional Cathedral on Wednesday where he also announced the party’s Christchurch candidates. “We’re backing New Zealand-made, we’re backing the New Zealand worker and we’re backing New Zealand innovation in this campaign.” He said Christchurch’s AMI Stadium was “second-rate” and not worthy of the Crusaders rugby team. A $470 million arena in central Christchurch has been identified as an anchor project. It was originally expected to be completed this year. The Christchurch City Council, which would contribute about $252m of the cost, pushed out the stadium spending over three financial years from 2022-23. Mr Peters criticised Christchurch’s rebuild for being too lethargic and lacking innovation. “Much of the Christchurch rebuild should have been done in wood because it performs better in an earthquake. We should be using wood in projects around this country rather than shipping it off.” Sir Bob Jones recently announced plans to erect the world’s tallest wooden office building in central Wellington. “We want to see far more wood down here.” Mr Peters said procrastination, dawdling and delays over the rebuild have held Christchurch back and he questioned why people would continue to vote for National. “If you go and vote for them after that performance then I’m going to come down and start the Mother Teresa branch in Canterbury of the New Zealand people because the worse they treat you the more you show them forgiveness. “You are living through stagnation and neglect and you have five weeks to do something about it. Give us three years to demonstrate we can do a whole lot better than that.” Mr Peters weighed in on the Christ Church Cathedral debate, saying the option of gifting the cathedral to the people of New Zealand should have been considered years ago. He said the Government should have stepped in and rebuilt it. “That cathedral symbolises what this country is, what the South Island is and what Canterbury is and also symbolises what a significant part of this country’s culture is and we’re not ashamed to say we are part British.”

Lifecycle assessments whitepaper

GFIS - Thu, 17/08/2017 - 01:59
A new whitepaper has been released recently on the importance of lifecycle assessments, sponsored by composite timber specialist Innowood. Source: Architecture And Design The paper titled Improving transparency: how lifecycle assessments help preserve our forests examines our dependency on forests in order to manufacture timber products and timber-based composites, and how deforestation and illegal felling jeopardise much more than just our ability to produce. Timber is a timeless and natural building material that is popular in designs all around the world. The responsible sourcing of timber products used in construction is vital to the world’s economic and social wellbeing, biodiversity and climate. Lifecycle assessments equip building professionals with the knowledge of the overall impact of a product on the environment, providing them with the information to make informed and responsible decisions. The paper goes on to discuss forests’ multifaceted role in those aforementioned issues, before outlining the precise impacts that deforestation has. In the process of uncovering chain of custody, lifecycle assessments can help reduce the practice of deforestation by offering transparency into the process. The whitepaper is free to download and comes with additional information on sustainable timber use and the advantages of relying on natural products. Further information is also available on Innowood and the production processes that result in their composite timber products. To find out more about the importance of our forests and how lifecycle assessments can assist in their preservation, download Improving transparency: how lifecycle assessments help preserve our forests at www.architectureanddesign.com.au/resources/whitepapers/improving-transparencyhow- life-cycle-assessments

Hawaii tree disease a threat to NZ

GFIS - Thu, 17/08/2017 - 01:58
A disease wiping out native forests in Hawai’i could do the same to pōhutukawa and rātā here if biosecurity measures are not stepped up, leading botanists warn. Source: Radio New Zealand Rapid ōhi’a death has killed hundreds of thousands of Hawai’i’s native pōhutukawa – the ōhi’a tree. Once the fungal disease infects a tree it can die in a matter of days. Department of Conservation principal scientist Peter de Lange said if the disease got into New Zealand it could have a drastic effect on the the pōhutukawa plant family, Metrosideros. The fungus behind the plant disease, Ceratocystis fimbriata, lives in the soil and causes leaves to turn black and fall off, killing trees “almost overnight”. “It’s dispersed by insects that bore through the infected wood … and also in dirt – say on people’s footwear – or on pigs, those kinds of things. “If this disease got into New Zealand, it’s going to have a devastating impact on anywhere there is metrosideros. That’s going to be potentially the whole country. “They form the dominant forest type. If they die, we’re in serious trouble.” Mr de Lange said rapid ōhi’a death was the botanical equivalent of foot and mouth disease. He used the example of Rangitoto Island in Auckland to paint a picture of how it could kill native trees here. “Rangitoto is world famous as a young volcanic island that appeared out of the sea and everything that’s native that’s occurred there has naturally arrived from the adjacent mainland. “It’s of huge ecological and botanical significance. If this disease got onto Rangitoto, there’d be 100% death. So we’d be looking at a black, basalt-coloured landscape with a few stunted trees.” Mr de Lange said biosecurity warnings should be placed on all planes going between New Zealand and Hawai’i. The University of Hawai’i said the disease was currently restricted to the island of Hawai’i though some believe it has now spread to Tahiti where large numbers of native metrosideros have died quite suddenly. Landcare Research principal scientist Peter Bellingham said rapid ōhi’a death was from the same class as dutch elm disease which had effectively wiped out elms throughout most of Europe. “If I was going to draw an analogy, myrtle rust would be the common cold … rapid ōhi’a death, that’s more like catching cholera.” RNZ knows of one case where a woman had to persuade New Zealand biosecurity officers to sterilise boots she had worn while hiking in Hawai’i forests. She said the biosecurity officers were happy to do it, but not until she had explained to them the threats of rapid ōhi’a death. Mr Bellingham said the stakes were too high for border patrols not to know about the disease. “Our vigilance at the border about this one has to be paramount. The tree in Hawai’i is so closely related we are really at major threat. “Anything that arrives from Hawai’i that could be a potential vector for it should be a matter of concern.” Forest and Bird’s Kevin Hackwell said current biosecurity measures were too lax. “I always make sure I scrub my gear before I come back. I tell that to the people at the border but I seldom have them actually pull out stuff and check it to make sure I’ve done what I’ve said I’ve done and there hasn’t been a bit of soil left on there despite my best efforts.” The Ministry for Primary Industries is yet to answer questions about what it knows of rapid ōhi’a death, but a 2015 statement said it had recently become aware of it. At that time it put restrictions around importing 39 plant families known to host the fungus where the strain comes from.

A look into Ironbark Timber history

GFIS - Thu, 17/08/2017 - 01:55
Ironbark Timber Products was started in my family’s backyard in Buderim in 1980 by my father David Brady and his friend Laurie Morgan says Simon Brady. So, I grew up around timber from the time I was eight years old. Mum and dad were running the tennis centre then. Sunshine Coast Daily My dad and Laurie put in $500 each to buy a semi-trailer load of sleepers to meet a contract in Melbourne. The business name came from the fact that the sleepers were ironbark. For five years, the business operated out of our home, with trucks being unloaded in the paddock next to the tennis centre. As well as dad, I remember mum being there flipping sleepers and loading them on to the back of peoples’ utes. As sales grew, Ironbark Timber Products took over a small yard in Pike St at Kunda Park. A few years later, it moved again into larger premises at Conara Rd. I remember that the yard was so small, we would stop the semi-trailers on the road and unload them on to the footpath, then spend the rest of the day moving the timber into the yard. You could get away with that because there was hardly any traffic in those days – hard to believe now that the Sunshine Coast was ever so quiet. As a young fellow, I used to love coming into the yard to help. I’d hang out with the truck drivers and wash the forklifts and drive the vehicles around the paddocks – I loved it! I remember one day a tip-truck turned up loaded with a load of railway sleepers and just dumped them in the yard like a giant pile of fiddlesticks. I had to spend all day shifting these 60kg sleepers into stacks and grading them into the different quality levels. Of course, I never got paid for any of that weekend and after-school work. I started working in the family business in the mid-1980s while I was still in high school. When I finished my education in 1989, I headed off to Townville with my new bride Kylie and went to work for Hynes Timber as an estimator. After a couple of years of outside experience, I came back to the Sunshine Coast and to Ironbark. The company kept growing and in 2001 we again needed to expand, so moved to a yard in Maroochydore Rd in Kunda Park. I took over the day-to-day operations of Ironbark Timber in 2002. I got a Diploma in Forestry Management, expanded our product range and increased staff training. Over the years, I developed relationships with guys who are now some of the Coast’s leading builders and developers. I’ve known some of them since they were young apprentices and I was the teenager loading timber for them. Others I went to school with at Mooloolaba Primary or Maroochydore High. Ten years ago, my wife Kylie and I bought out full ownership of the business. One of our biggest challenges was moving premises yet again. Ironbark had continued to grow and we needed more and more space. In March 2009, we moved into purpose-built premises behind OneSteel in Maroochydore Rd, with a shed three times the size of previous facility. This allowed us to store all our kiln-dried timber products undercover to preserve the integrity of the timber. This site is drive in/drive out with good accessibility for utilities and large trucks. That has helped us greatly over the past decade in supplying major civil engineering projects from Tasmania to Darwin. Ironbark Timber Products is now recognised far and wide as a reliable supplier of high-quality timber. We supplied the decking timber for the pontoons on the Yarra River for the Melbourne Commonwealth Games, for the construction of the Hope Island Marina at Sanctuary Cove and major projects at Taronga Zoo, Western Plains Zoo and Australia Zoo, as well as other icons like Aussie World and the Noosa Beach boardwalk. Over the decades, we’ve seen a lot of changes in the Sunshine Coast and in the timber industry. Back when I first started, everyone used 75mm hardwood palings for fencing, and we had 20,000 of them on back order – we couldn’t get enough of them. Now everyone uses 100mm palings. People ask me if my kids are likely to be following in my footsteps, but they’re all too smart for that. They’ve seen the long hours and hard work involved and they’ve chosen other paths. But I still love working with timber every day. It’s a beautiful natural material that can create so many different effects and it suits the Sunshine Coast so well. And I still love dealing with our customers – from the do-it-yourselfers looking for the right product for their project, to the professional deck builder ordering for his latest job.

NZ conservationists take kauri back to court

GFIS - Thu, 17/08/2017 - 01:51
Northland conservationists who oppose the export of swamp kauri are heading back to court for another round with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI). Source: Radio New Zealand The High Court last year dismissed allegations by the Northland Environmental Protection Society (NEPS) that the ministry was allowing unlawful exports of the ancient timber. But the society is still worried that swamp kauri is going out of the country when it should not be. The group said it believed the Forests Act had been interpreted and applied too loosely in regard to the exports and it was preparing to challenge the High Court findings next month, in the Court of Appeal. The society said American timber retailer Ancientwoods had posted videos on YouTube promoting swamp kauri slabs that appeared to be recent imports – but MPI records showed the last export consignment of sawn timber to the company, some 141 slabs of certified sawn stump wood, was in July 2015. The Forests Act says a sawn plank for export can be as long as the diameter of the tree stump, at ground level. NEPS president Fiona Furrell said the Forests Act prohibited the export of dressed or rough-sawn kauri unless it came from the tree stump but some planks in the promotional video could not have come from stumps. “They refer to them as planks recently exported … they have natural edges, one is 18-foot-long [5.48m] and less than 3- foot-wide [91cm] and that cannot be from a stump,” she said. “Our law says that sort of timber cannot leave the country.” However, Nelson Parker – one of Northland’s most experienced swamp kauri processors – said stump slabs could easily be that long. He said some trees were so huge he had been able to cut slabs up to 8m long. “I’ve got slabs in my yard here that qualify because they come out of a huge log that was 13 metres in girth. They’re 7.5 metres long so to say they don’t exist is to say they don’t really understand what’s going on in the game,” Mr Parker said. MPI said it had reviewed the videos and found no evidence of illegal exporting. A spokesman said the fact that the company had posted more videos recently did not imply it had imported more timber recently, under the radar. Every consignment of sawn swamp kauri timber was inspected before it left New Zealand, the spokesman said. NEPS said container loads of kauri classed as finished products were not inspected, because the reporting regime for such items was voluntary for those exporters. The definition of ‘finished’ includes long slabs described by exporters as table tops, which the High Court found were lawful exports, irrespective of whether they were repurposed or sold as joinery blanks by the foreign importers.  

FWPA’s multimedia ad campaign delivers

GFIS - Thu, 17/08/2017 - 01:51
A recent series of 15 second commercials showing different applications of wood and their benefits, boosted by online content marketing, have achieved results. Source: Timberbiz The results exceed media industry averages and increased the number of consumers who say they are more likely to choose wood. Branded with Planet Ark’s Make It Wood and featuring award-winning architect and host of Grand Designs Australia, Peter Maddison, the campaign combined six television commercials that were shown on free to air and pay TV and online, with content and keyword marketing. Consumer research towards the end of the campaign conducted with a national sample indicated that around half of Australians questioned claimed they would be more likely to use wood after seeing the advertising – a 20% increase on those who didn’t see it. The core TV campaign ran nationally for three weeks across the 7 and 9 networks. Recall of all the TV spots increased considerably (over similar research during last year’s campaign), particularly the furniture, home and outdoor executions, more than 100% in several cases. Online, the 15 second videos served a total of nearly 2 million impressions, with more than 95% of the viewers on 7 and 9 digital watching the whole videos – this far exceeds the media industry’s average completion rate of 68%. “These are particularly pleasing results,” said Eileen Newbury, the National Marketing and Communications Manager of the industry services company, Forest and Wood Products Australia. “The recall of the messages, timber flooring in particular, was excellent and validates our decision to move beyond traditional TV into online and content marketing channels.” The campaign was designed to drive traffic to the Make It Wood website where consumers can find out more from Planet Ark – a trusted source of information about the environmental benefits of wood. Ms Newbury said that the 15 second videos and other campaign materials are still available for FWPA members and members of the Wood. She added that FWPA could provide assistance and advice to companies wishing to take advantage of the offer.

Mass Timber – Post and Beam Buildings Free Full Day Seminar

GFIS - Thu, 17/08/2017 - 01:50
With the race to the tallest timber building comes a form of building construction that has surprised the design world in its cost, speed of construction and beauty. Source: Timberbiz This form of building design is Post and Beam construction made from Mass Timber. An all-day seminar will be held in Sydney on 13 September to explore this form of building construction. Australian leaders in this field will discuss the many options available in mass timber. Keynote speaker for this seminar will be Karla Fraser, from Urban One Builders Construction Management, Vancouver, Canada. Ms Fraser was the Construction Manager on behalf of UBC Properties Trust for Brock Commons, an 18 storey student accommodation building for University of British Columbia. Ms Fraser will discuss what they learned while building the world’s tall timber building, this includes logistic planning and benefits of virtual modelling and pre-manufacturing building components to speed up the rate of the build, fire protection during construction and methods to reduce waste. Other speakers with focus on timber floor systems available for post and beam, as well as engineering and construction considerations, DTS regulatory solutions and fire engineering design. The venue is the NSW Teacher Federation Conference Centre at 37 Reservoir Street Surry Hills and the event will be held from 9am until 5pm. For more information contact Ros Hunter on 02 8920 0446 or email rhunter@tdansw.asn.au  

Tall wood buildings: Going up

GFIS - Wed, 16/08/2017 - 23:01

Ari Sinha, Andre Barbosa and Chris Higgins are working on a project called “Framework” (Framework Project LLC), a 12-story, mixed-use structure in north Portland. It was created by a team from LEVER Architects and...(more)


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