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An international crackdown on illegal logging in tropical forests has ensnared the makers of some guitars and other musical instruments, whose top-end products require small amounts of rosewood, a material prized for its rich, multi-coloured grain and resonant sound. Source: The Sydney Morning Herald Since new trade rules took effect in 2017, guitar makers have complained about long delays in getting permits to import rosewood and export finished instruments that contain it. Warehouses have filled with unsold instruments, and a bagpipe maker in New Hampshire went so far as to ask the governor to intervene after a permit application was lost. “I’m so annoyed. I’m so distraught by this,” said Chris Martin, chairman and CEO of C.F. Martin and Co, which uses rosewood in 200 models of acoustic guitar, some played by Eric Clapton, Ed Sheeran, Sting and other stars. The company’s logistics staff estimates it spends 40% of its time dealing with the new regulations. Fearful that Africa and Asia were losing rosewood forests, governments adopted the rules to stem the flow of smuggled rosewood to China’s luxury furniture manufacturers. But the restrictions have also hurt companies that use relatively tiny amounts of the wood in guitars, clarinets and oboes. At Martin’s Pennsylvania-based company, many transactions are stalled: “We have orders for the guitars. We have customers. The customers have the money to pay for them, and we can’t ship them because the paperwork is stuck somewhere,” he said. The guitar industry’s frustration is focused on the United Nation’s Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or CITES, which is responsible for combating wildlife smuggling. The agency has tangled in the past with instrument makers, mostly over restrictions on ivory, tortoiseshell and whale bone. Agency officials previously placed trade limits on only a few rosewood species, such as Brazilian rosewood, which is especially precious. But the 2016 trade rules covered up to 300 species of the rosewood family known as Dalbergia. The new regulations also required permits for products made from the wood, including guitars, violins, bagpipes and xylophones. Many companies that had never needed permits had only three months to comply. “It was a steep learning curve for these companies,” said Timothy Van Norman, chief of the permit-granting branch of the US Fish and Wildlife Service, which saw its permit applications double to 40,000 in 2017 mostly from rosewood. Bigger guitar companies with more sophisticated distribution systems were probably quicker to adapt than smaller companies or individuals making a limited number of instruments. “For them, it probably came out of the blue,” Van Norman said. Taylor Guitars , based in El Cajon, California, reported losing tens of thousands of dollars from months-long delays and confusion surrounding its shipments to some 30 countries in the world. “Each country was suddenly responsible for interpreting what this new rule meant,” said Scott Paul, Taylor’s director of natural resource sustainability. Governments in Africa and Latin America proposed the regulations to combat increased rosewood smuggling over the past decade that they said had endangered the species, which is also known for its fragrance, a sweet floral aroma that gives the wood its name. Much of the smuggling was orchestrated by criminal gangs that took advantage of lax rules and widespread corruption to strip away forest in south-east Asia, Central America and West Africa. The illegal logging also sparked regional conflicts, contributed to desertification and destroyed a key food source for bees, butterflies and other insects. The United Nations describes the rosewood trade as the world’s costliest wildlife crime, with seizures totaling more than almost all other species combined. Between 2005 and 2015, 10,000 metric tons of protected rosewood was seized. Most of that wood was heading to China, where rosewood imports jumped 2000% from 2005 to 2014, according to the conservation group Forest Trends. Much of the material went into the making of reproduction hongmu furniture from the Ming and Qing dynasties, a style popular with affluent Chinese. “These countries didn’t want to wait until their tree species are on the verge of extinction before acting to control the trade. They saw what happened in Asia. There is almost nothing left,” said Susanne Breitkopf, forest campaign policy manager of the non-profit Environmental Investigation Agency. Jiang Hengfu, secretary general of Traditional Furniture Specialty Committee, which is part of the China National Furniture Association, said he did not know much about the industry’s role in the destruction of rosewood forests or the use of illegal wood in furniture. But he acknowledged that trade restrictions and increased environmental awareness in regulations. The debate is due to take place when CITES meets in 2019. Instrument makers such as Martin argue that they use a fraction as much rosewood as Chinese furniture makers – about 50 cubic meters each a year compared with nearly 2 million cubic meters. And, the instrument makers say, they get most of it from sustainable plantations in India. CITES officials say they are open to considering exemptions for certain types of instruments but fear broad exemptions would let smugglers game the system. “It is something that needs to be revisited and how far do we need to go with the regulation to make sure there are not loopholes,” the outgoing CITES Secretary- General John Scanlon told the AP. The cost and hassle of the new regulations have caused some guitar makers to shift away from rosewood. Martin stopped using it on most guitars produced in Mexico and the models made in the US that cost less than $3000. Taylor has rolled out several models without rosewood for overseas customers. But the companies have no plans to abandon rosewood altogether. “There are other woods that work,” Martin said. But guitar builders and players know there is “something very special” about rosewood’s depth and richness of sound. “No one has found … a wood that works better.”
The proposed National Forest Policy 2018 for India that allows use of degraded forest lands for industry has largely been welcomed by wood-based industries, including paper and wood-based board manufacturers. Source: Business Line The draft policy put in public domain for feedback till last week has attracted keen interest from the industry. Plans for Public-Private Partnerships in developing degraded forest areas available with Forest Development Corporations (FDCs), management of trees outside forests through agro forestry and farm forestry to increase tree cover while meeting wood demand and augmenting farmers’ income are among the features that address challenges facing wood-based industries. Saurabh Bangur, President, Indian Paper Manufacturers Association, said the policy covers some of the aspects the industry has been following up with the Ministry of Environment and Forests for years. Pulp wood raw material is a constraint for the domestic paper industry which is dependent on the open market or from farm forestry operation in linkage with farmers apart from imports. But assurance in supply, quality and pricing is a major concern. Now there is a third option. Paper mills should be able to tie up with FDCs in respective States, he said. N Gopalaratnam, Chairman, Seshasayee Paper and Boards, said agro forestry and plantation on degraded forest land will need substantial financial resources. Support could be provided to farmers and participating industries through a Forest Development Finance Corporation with seed capital coming from the Compensatory Afforestation Fund, which is being transferred to the States. Price assurance to farmers is a welcome move but the price determination mechanism has to be “fair and equitable,” he said. In addition to the tree species under consideration for forest plantations, the policy should include Subabul, tropical acacia hybrids, he felt CN Pandey, Principal Technical Advisor, Federation of Indian Plywood and Panel Industry, said the significant feature of the policy is that industry gains access to degraded forest land which can also help in enhancing green cover. Integrating industries and farmers will help wood raw material availability for MDF, a recognised substitute for wood, particle board and engineered products will improve. But the situation continues to be grim for plywood industries. Mr Pandey who was formerly director of the Indian Plywood Industries Research and Training Institute, said plywood industries are facing a special challenge with countries in South-East Asia banning exports of such raw material. The industry is now looking to Africa. The new policy could prove a solution in the long term.
A virtual forest developed by Metsä Group, Tieto and CTRL Reality runs on all VR devices, and it can simulate different forest management methods and their impact on income and the landscape. Source: Timberbiz The solution can replace actual visits to the forest, and it helps to illustrate the impact of forest management activities, among others, to forest owners. “Being the digital pioneer in its industry, Metsä Group built the first version of its virtual forest in autumn 2017. “The version has been tested with forest owners ever since and, on the basis of feedback, we are developing the final version, which will be completed in autumn 2018. We demonstrated the virtual forest with Tieto at Slush in November 2017, and received tons of positive feedback from professionals in the digital sector,” Juha Jumppanen, senior vice president for member services at Metsä Group said. “The virtual forest is part of Tieto’s Digital Forest Twin concept, and Tieto can also offer the virtual forest to other global forest industry operators. “In addition, Tieto uses the concept to combine the special expertise of companies operating in the industry and its partners into an ecosystem that serves various parties. The service has already attracted plenty of interest among other forest industry operators, also outside Finland,” Jaakko Kuusisaari, head of Wood and Fibre Solutions at Tieto said. The virtual forest is a true VR experience, and it runs on all VR headsets, and also on mobile devices and in web browsers. In the service, users can move from one site to another, see what harvesting and forest management activities should be carried out each time, and run estimates on the income and costs of each activity. Users can also examine the properties of a single tree, such as volume and value. The virtual forest also shows what the forest would look like after different activities, and it offers 360-degree images of the forest. Using the virtual forest requires that users log in to Metsäverkko, Metsä Group’s electronic channel for wood trading and forest asset management. Kaapo Seppälä, founder and shareholder of CTRL Reality, a company in charge of the technical implementation of the solution, says that the virtual forest is a new way of trading in wood. “The virtual forest also allows forest owners living in cities to have a look at their land, and eliminates any obstacles from forest management and wood sales by illustrating the impact of forest management activities.” Digital Forest Twin is an exact digital reproduction of a real-world forest area. It helps, for example, to calculate the value of a forest, steer forest planning, trade in wood, and plan and model functions related to wood, purchasing, harvesting and transportation.
Tigercat’s latest harvester, the eight-wheeled 1185, is scheduled to be demonstrated in Tumut/Tumbarumba on May 16. The 1185 made its debut at Elmia in June and now it’s ready for its Oz debut. Source: Timberbiz Anyone can register their interest to attend the demo by contacting Onetrak (national Tigercat distributor). Representatives from the Tigercat factory in Canada will attend the demo day. The Tigercat 1185 is classed as a heavy duty, premium quality harvester designed for high production applications, extreme terrain and demanding operating conditions. The 1185 is powered by the Tigercat FPT N67 Tier 2f engine, rated at (230 kW) 308 hp. The drivetrain components including the pump drive, transmission and the hydraulically balanced bogie axles are engineered and built by Tigercat for extreme forest duty, long life and high uptime. Tigercat’s unique WideRange drive system increases working travel speed while delivering extremely powerful tractive effort for high performance in steep terrain and quick in-stand travel on good ground. The 1185 blends high performance with fuel efficiency through the use of advanced hydraulic circuits. Dedicated pumps power the drive, harvesting head, crane, fan and cooling circuit functions. In addition, a closed loop drive system provides excellent performance and response on steep slopes. A pressure and flow controlled piston pump drives the cooling fan, maintaining optimal operating temperatures at the lowest possible fan speed. The crane features Tigercat’s efficient and operator-friendly ER technology. The hooked profile of the main boom promotes excellent right-side visibility. Not only is the crane efficient but also simple in design, without external parallel linkages. There are two stick boom options – fixed or telescopic. With an extreme duty slew system and 360° continuous rotation, the cabin rotates with the crane. The cabin is spacious with excellent visibility and clear line-of-sight to the wheels. The curved windshield affords excellent upward visibility along with patent pending protective technology. Operators will find all the creature comforts including a comfortable and highly adjustable climate controlled seat with a four-point harness and full Bluetooth connectivity. The demo machine will also be sporting the Tigercat 570 head and the D5 control system. The 570 is a durable, high performance two-wheel drive, three knife arm harvesting head, specifically designed to match the high-performance capabilities of Tigercat carriers. With independent knife arms, the 570 harvesting head excels in tough timber with large limbs and poor stem form. Independent knife and wheel arm improve stem contact. This results in superior feeding, delimbing, measuring and debarking, especially in sub-optimal stem form conditions. The 570 also has optional hydraulic knife timing for easier picking in roadside processing applications. The Tigercat D5 control system helps get the most from your Tigercat harvesting head. The system helps you monitor your harvesting head to ensure maximum productivity. The D5 control system combines field-proven hardware and bucking control with a Tigercat developed user interface, offering simplicity and intuitive operator navigation. The user friendly interface allows the operator to see all critical operating data in real time. The system is highly configurable and can be customized to each operator’s preferences. The Tigercat D5 control system is available in three levels of bucking control and reporting: • Tigercat D5 Prio • Tigercat D5 Prio PC • Tigercat D5 Optimization
Drones, scanners, sensors and satellites are replacing roles typically performed by people, in a research program led by Scion in Rotorua. Source: New Zealand Herald This fifth “Growing confidence in forestry’s future” (GCFF) conference was held in Rotorua to cover the highlights of the NZ$5 million GCFF research program to date. When the program was launched in 2013, former Scion chief executive Dr Warren Parker and former Forest Owners’ Association Paul Nicholls said it was setting out to “increase the productivity of and value from our existing and future commercial forest estate through the development and application of world-leading technology”. The joint initiative between Crown Research Institute Scion, universities, the forest growing industry and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment aims to help New Zealand double forestry export earnings from NZ$4.7 billion to NZ$12 billion by 2022. The program will wrap up at the end of next year. One of its leaders, Scion’s Dr Peter Clinton, said the program had faced “the classic hurdle”. “How do we go from where we are to where we could possibly be? It is no man’s land.” One of its biggest focuses has been applying LiDar imagery (Light Detection and Ranging) in New Zealand forests. “LiDar allow us to view above the canopy and cover large areas very quickly. We could not do that before.” The size and shape of individual trees can now be outlined from the LiDar images, using remote sensing technology and satellites also. Very large numbers of trees can be assessed at one time when LiDar technology is carried aerially by drones, planes or helicopters. LiDar doesn’t capture the lower canopy, so handheld 3D scanners are also being developed for use from the forest floor. “Together the two sets of images give us better models of each tree. From them, we can understand a lot more about the wood quality and what’s inside.” Dr Clinton said using LiDar and scanners was much faster than traditional methods where workers would use a diameter tape and a height pole to measure tree shapes and sizes. “We have been able to measure plantations several times a year, rather than once.” Biotechnology is also a core part of the program, with the development of a “forest phenotyping platform” in central North Island forests. A phenotype is the physical result of a gene. “Some tree genetics will have better physical outcomes in certain conditions in New Zealand,” Dr Clinton said. The platform means genes can be selected to improve the final timber product and to protect trees against disease and harsh soil and weather conditions in New Zealand forests. Another GCFF research leader, Dr John Moore, also works part-time at Timberlands forest management company in Rotorua. He said feedback on the program was positive so far. “The feeling is that there are a lot of unanswered questions out there and industry leaders are very excited by what they are seeing. “The research focuses on what is needed rather than research for research’s sake.”
Hyne Timber is currently upgrading key saw line components at its Tuan Mill in Queensland, to increase structural timber production volumes and process efficiencies. Source: Timberbiz This major undertaking and significant investment comes as Australia continues to experience very high levels of demand for softwood, especially for structural framing products, as key east coast detached and low rise residential building markets remain strong. These upgrades will see the mill ranking highly among world class standards and remaining one of the largest suppliers of softwood in the Southern Hemisphere into the future. “Remaining competitive in a global market includes having the right people and the right equipment,” Tuan Mill Operations Manager and Executive Director, James Hyne said. “We have to continuously assess and look at how we can improve the business, prioritising investment accordingly to ensure our long-term future as a quality product supplier and large regional employer. “Major upgrades to our Tuan Mill have been planned for many months, with employees throughout our operations working together to plan and build stock, minimising the impact to our customers while the installation occurs. “The equipment upgrades include technology to more accurately scan the logs, maximising its potential and in turn, increasing our volumes and efficiency. “We may have a higher log reject rate when they don’t have the right properties, but they certainly don’t go to waste. There is no waste. They are then processed in different ways for other customers, such as another large employer, Laminex. “This means that only the best logs will be sawn, dried and treated, to increase our structural grade recovery.” Hyne Timber’s long-term equipment supplier to the Tuan Mill, the Linck company in Germany provides the highest quality machinery which in turn, allows the Tuan Mill to be at the forefront in sawmilling technology well into the future. This provides certainty in supply to customers as well as strong employment opportunities in regional Queensland.
As part of its ongoing commitment to safety, OneFortyOne (ONO) and its contractor partners in the OneSafeGroup are continuing their work improving safety across the region’s forestry industry, expanding their focus into mental health and wellbeing. Source: Timberbiz OneFortyOne’s Emma-Kate Griffiths recently organised an accredited St Johns ‘Mental health first aid course’ for group members, teaching people how to provide initial support to adults who are developing a mental illness or experiencing a mental health crisis. “We know that mental health has taken over physical injury as the largest cause of absences from work in Australia, and so it was important to all the companies in the OneSafeGroup to prioritise mental health training in the same way we train our people in first aid”, Mrs Griffiths said. Local harvesting company, Harvestco, was keen to participate and support the mental health of its workers. “At Harvestco, we want to actively influence the positive mental health of our team, and this training provided the perfect opportunity for me to learn how to recognise and respond appropriately to signs of mental illness,” Safety Officer, Tim Stapleton said. Chipping and Logging contractor LV Dohnt & Co were also delighted to take part in the training, sending seven of its team to participate with plans to send all their supervisors and team leaders in the future. “We know how important mental health awareness is. Unfortunately, we make judgements on the unknown and I personally misunderstood so much about this topic, but because I was fortunate enough to participate in the course I am now more prepared to deal with my own emotions and behaviours, and those around me,” LV Dohnt’s Alicia Geue said. LV Dohnt’s WHS and Compliance Manager John Bruttomesso thanked OFO for organising the training, finding the course exceptional in helping to understand mental health illness. “I am confident that I now have the tools to identify persons that could be affected by this illness, and my approach would definitely be different at home and my workplace as a result of the training,” Mr Bruttomesso said. The nationally recognised OneSafeGroup was formed to foster collaboration and improve safety across the forestry industry and the wider Green Triangle region. “We know through our industry collaborating in all aspects of safety, physical and mental health and wellbeing, our people can have a positive impact at work and in the wider community,” said OFO’s Emma-Kate Griffiths.
Australia’s log exports remained above 5 million m3 per annum for the second successive month in February, with exports totalling a new record 5.067 million m3. Source: IndustryEdge and Timberbiz Softwood log exports continued to dominate, totalling 4.914 million m3 for the year and accounting for close to 97% of the total. “Exports totalled about 449,000 m3 in February 2017, which was the highest level in seven months,” an IndustryEdge analyst said. “On top of the annual record, that is the fifth highest month of exports ever recorded. It really is an export boom time out there.” Of the total 449,000 m3 of exports in February, 403,000 m3 were Softwood logs, exported at an average price of AUDFob126.25/m3. This was 5% lower than the prior February, but according to market analysts IndustryEdge the lower average price does not mean all Softwood log export prices are lower. “Pricing dynamics changed in 2017, when the formal data started to separate prices for Softwood logs that were larger than 15 cm diameter, from those that were smaller than that.” IndustryEdge advised. “Initially, there was no price difference, but pretty quickly, the market began to distinguish and export log prices – at least the recording of them – shows lower prices for smaller diameter logs.” In February 2018, the average price of Softwood log exports <15 cm was AUDFob108.46/m3, down almost 20% from February 2017. At the same time the average price of exported Softwood logs >15 cm declined a very mild 0.3% to AUDFob131.49/m3. “Larger dimension softwood logs – those more likely to be sawn or peeled – have shown very stable pricing once they were separated from the smaller diameter logs.” IndustryEdge said. Hardwood log exports totalled 45,550 m3 in February, exported at an average price of AUDFob183.31/m3. Exports from Tasmania dominated, accounting for 24,336 m3, and continuing at the very low price of AUDFob117.18/m3. Since they commenced, the exports, which are primarily reported as leaving from the Port of Burnie, have routinely been by far the lowest priced hardwood logs exiting Australia. “The price of Tasmania’s hardwood log exports appears to be little more than a pulpwood price. That probably reflects the end-use of the resource, but even at lower prices, that is not absolutely certain.” IndustryEdge commented. Log trade data is analysed in IndustryEdge’s monthly publication, Wood Market Edge, which is available for subscription, and is also provided on a complimentary basis to subscribers to the monthly wood products trade data series, which includes Woodchip Export, Log Export and Sawnwood Import and Export data.
Australia’s peak farming body has backed growing trees on farms, emphasising that “trees are not the enemy of Australian farmers”. Source: Philip Hopkins The president of the National Farmers’ Federation, Fiona Simson, emphasised she wanted to break down the ideological barriers between agriculture and forestry. She was addressing a recent forum in Canberra held by the Australian Forest Products Association, which has been a member of the NFF since 2015. Ms Simson said the NFF was excited to work with the AFPA on a “rejuvenated quest to see farm forestry, commercial tree plantings, become a larger part of our farm landscape”. “Trees are not our enemy … nothing could be further from the truth,” she said, despite farmers and foresters competing for land and to a lesser extent water. “To some extent this is true … but we have more in common than not.” Ms Simson said the policy platforms and advocacy battlegrounds of the two industries were “largely the same”. Like foresters, farmers needed markets, with market access via preferential trade agreements and tacking non-tariff barriers, she said. But to bolster farm forestry initiatives, the shortcomings of the past must be addressed. Tensions grew between the sectors due to managed investment schemes (MIS) 15-20 years ago, where many farmers complained that the MIS companies, cashed up with tax benefits, were able to outbid farmers for land. Ms Simson said farm forestry had not yet reached its potential. This was due to factors such as uncertainty around the process of recognising carbon rewards or credits; a lack of understanding of how to harvest and market timber; inadequate timber harvest and haul infrastructure; the difficulty in growing and harvesting a large enough haul to make farm forestry economical; and market access. These challenges were not insurmountable and international counterparts showed the way. “In Scandinavia, southern parts of the US and in New Zealand there is a long history of wood supply from a large number of small private landholders and farmers, as well as the development of marketing cooperatives,” she said. “In Sweden and the US, 50 per cent of forest land is owned by individuals and families. In NZ, almost 600,000 hectares, or 34 per cent of the plantation forest, is owned by individuals with parcels no more than 10,000 hectares.” Ms Simson said farm forestry had the potential, through carbon sequestration, to help agriculture lower its greenhouse emissions. A social licence to operate was becoming a “larger issue, almost as each day passes”. “Overall, for farm forestry to be successful in this country, we need to foster strong linkages between farmers and the forestry sector,” she said, which included backing for AFPA’s plan for an integrated farm forestry program. This could also help boost the value of agricultural production, which was $60 billion in 2016-17. “We have a vision for agriculture to be a $100 billion industry by 2030,” she said, and farm forestry had a role in this. Ms Simson said Landcare had shown farmers the benefits of trees on farms. These included shade and shelter for livestock, soil protection, salinity control and the promotion of natural biodiversity. Farm forestry offered the opportunity to incorporate softwood plantations on a commercial scale into existing farm systems. “It really offers a win-win opportunity for farmers and foresters,” she said. Ms Simson said the NFF sympathised with forestry having to put up with massive timber imports that could be produced arguably here in a more sustainable and economic way. “We absolutely support a strong vibrant timber sector in Australia and we simply must have a robust, transparent and equitable system to prevent illegal dumping of product in the domestic market,” she said. “This goes for timber products like paper as much as it does for tomatoes from Italy or dried fruit from Turkey.” Ms Simson said farming and forestry had many common policy issues. These included efficient infrastructure and supply chains, energy market certainty, digital connectivity, research and development, technology and labour.
“That suggests smaller, prescribed burns can be a management tool for potentially decreasing the threat of bigger fires and creating more resilient forests without having a major effect on water yields,” said co-corresponding author Kevin Bladon of Oregon State University.(more)
Additional Information: OSU Press ReleaseKevin Bladon
Charismatic animals such as giraffes and pandas are ever-present in ads, logos, films, books and toys. The scientists posit that the ubiquity of these depictions — which they say amount to a “virtual population”— may lead “the general public to think that these animals are common and abundant,...(more)
Additional Information: Full StoryOSU Press ReleaseWilliam Ripple
Researchers have found that increasing land clearing for logging in Solomon Islands -- even with best management strategies in place -- will lead to unsustainable levels of soil erosion and significant impacts to downstream water quality.
April 16, 2018 — COLLEGE STATION, Texas — There is
high probability of a significant wildfire outbreak in West Texas and the
Panhandle Tuesday, April 17 with elevated to critical wildfire conditions
The areas of concern include Amarillo, Ft. Stockton,
“With these con
To increase forest cover in the Global South in order to mitigate climate change does not always have positive effects, as shown in a new study in southern Ethiopia. It can also threaten biodiversity and the survival of unique alpine plants.
This study shows that the composition of forests is more important than other factors when predicting where the destructive pest will strike next.