Jump to Navigation

Forest Products Industry

Forsite now part of Barr GeoSpatial

Australian timber industry news - Mi, 17/07/2024 - 02:38
Forsite is now part of the Barr GeoSpatial Solutions “BGS” group of companies. BGS is a leading provider of analytics and remote sensing to help manage and protect natural resources and critical infrastructure across North America. Source: Timberbiz Other companies in the BGS group include Northwest Management Inc. (NMI) (Moscow, Idaho), Airborne Imaging (Calgary) and Barr Air Patrol (Houston). Forsite is a leading provider of forestry solutions in Canada including digital tree inventories, forest land management, fire modelling, and vegetation management for utilities. BGS’s advanced fleet of more than 25 sensors and 50 aircraft, coupled with state-of-the-art aerial LiDAR, imaging, surveillance, and Al technologies, delivers invaluable data through sophisticated processing and analytics. Being part of BGS will provide Forsite the resources and market access to allow the expansion of its technology product offerings across the world. Forsite (Canada) and North-west Management (USA) are leaders in forestland and environmental management with specific expertise in Al based Li-DAR forest inventory tools (ForestView and Digital Inventory), fire management, and forest analyses. This coupled with BGS’ expertise in LiDAR acquisition and data processing, allows us the company to partner with clients to develop innovative solutions for their diverse environmental needs. Forsite will continue to operate independently, with its current management team remaining in their roles, poised to expand into new geographies with the support of the BGS family.  

Australia’s housing crisis to continue but there are prefab options

Australian timber industry news - Mi, 17/07/2024 - 02:31
Australia’s housing crisis is predicted to continue towards 2030, and prefabricated housing may hold the key. However, this presents another question: How best to handle such unusual loads across the supply chain? Source: Timberbiz Australia’s National Housing Supply and Affordability Council has predicted a total shortfall in housing supply of more than 39,000 dwellings by 2030. This has been influenced by factors such as skills shortages, lack of diversity in construction, climate, policy, interest rate rises, and lagging building approvals. Fortunately, prefabricated housing – the concept of constructing larger pieces like walls and roofing offsite for completion onsite – has the potential to mitigate several of these issues. Researchers from the University of Melbourne have weighed in on this game-changing construction method. “Due to the diminishing availability of skilled labour and the demand for quicker construction, prefab is fast becoming a necessity more than an option,” Dr Tharaka Gunawardena, a Principal Coordinator for the University’s Department of Infrastructure Engineering said. “It can allow construction with minimum on-site congestion, waste generation and pollution by moving away from a labour-oriented onsite operation to a more process-oriented offsite manufacturing and assembly process.” However, the concept of prefabrication comes with its own issues, like the handling of significantly larger loads. This is where Combilift’s range can greatly benefit the construction industry. In fact, Combilift is already working with partners that provide modular housing solutions in Australia including Fleetwood in New South Wales, the Queensland government’s QBuild Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) program, and Offsite in Western Australia. “We’ve been working with organisations in the modular housing space for several years already in Australia,” says Combilift Country Manager, Chris Littlewood. “We make customised machines that can handle all types of loads, includng bulky and oversized loads, and in many cases that has been key for those who need to move prefabricated, modular components.”

Capping the number of pine trees in the ETS

Australian timber industry news - Mi, 17/07/2024 - 02:28
New Zealand’s Coalition Government plans to cap the amount of pine trees permitted in the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) to protect too much farmland from being converted into carbon forests. Source: interest.co.nz This policy, if implemented, could increase the cost of carbon credits and force emitters to turn to more expensive kinds of offsets and reductions. Climate Change Minister Simon Watts revealed the plan in a broad draft Emissions Reduction Plan published early on Wednesday morning. It said the second emissions budget would be achieved through a mix of gross emission reductions and net offsets or removals such as forestry. Planting permanent pine forests on cheap rural land has proved to be the most cost-effective way to remove or reduce a tonne of carbon from New Zealand’s emissions profile. Some estimates have said forestry removals are often a quarter of the cost of gross reductions available to businesses. This has led to a proliferation of pine forests and ETS units. The draft plan said exotic forestry was an “essential part” of achieving climate targets, but new rules were needed to manage “unintended consequences”. “Forestry competes with agriculture for land. The NZ ETS creates powerful incentives that could result in large-scale afforestation on productive farmland and whole-farm conversions”. “To manage this risk, the Government intends to introduce limits on the entry of new forests into the NZ ETS on productive farmland. Existing forests already in the NZ ETS will not be affected,” it said. This will allow ETS participants to use the market’s price signals to optimize reductions and removals, just without being permitted to take over too much farmland. The document also flagged other environmental risks that come with planting too many pine forests and that more regulations may be needed to manage other risks. The Government also committed to not putting an expiry date on ETS units and not putting a different price on units that originated from the forestry sector. These were both policies floated in the past that created uncertainty in the carbon markets, ultimately pushing down prices. “Forestry competes with agriculture for land. The NZ ETS creates powerful incentives that could result in large-scale afforestation on productive farmland and whole-farm conversions”. Work was also underway to review the free allocation of units to emissions-intensive and trade-exposed firms. The scheme was intended to avoid emissions leakage but hasn’t been updated since 2010. The price of ETS units have been trending upwards over the past two weeks and closed at almost $54 on Tuesday evening, up from about $50 at the start of July. The policies outlined in the emissions reduction plan are expected to reduce household consumption by just under half a percent by 2050, relative to taking no mitigation action. “This is because added costs from changing to low-emissions production or from the NZ ETS raise the price of goods and services, so that people cannot purchase as much as they would have otherwise,” the document said. “To manage this risk, the Government intends to introduce limits on the entry of new forests into the NZ ETS on productive farmland. Existing forests already in the NZ ETS will not be affected,” it said. This will allow ETS participants to use the market’s price signals to optimize reductions and removals, just without being permitted to take over too much farmland. The document also flagged other environmental risks that come with planting too many pine forests and that more regulations may be needed to manage other risks. The Government also committed to not putting an expiry date on ETS units and not putting a different price on units that originated from the forestry sector. These were both policies floated in the past that created uncertainty in the carbon markets, ultimately pushing down prices.

Howitt Society condemns Vic Govt on native forest fire risks

Australian timber industry news - Mi, 17/07/2024 - 02:27
The Howitt Society has condemned the Victorian state government for not including bushfire expertise on the panel that is investigating the future of Gippsland’s native forest. Source: Philip Hopkins, The Gippsland Farmer “The Howitt Society is astounded to note that a panel to make recommendations on the future management of the state’s public land estate, including the 1.8 million hectares of forest previously available for timber harvesting, does not include any members with a strong practical background in forest and fire management,” said the Howitt Society’s secretary, Garry Squires, in a letter to the Minister for the Environment, Steve Dimopoulos. The Howitt Society is a group of experienced land and fire managers and bushmen concerned for the health and safety of the Australian bush and in particular fire management. They are inspired by the work of 19th Century Gippsland scientist Alfred Howitt, who wrote extensively on eastern and north-eastern geology, ecology, forests, fire and Gippsland’s indigenous people. Mr Squires said Howitt Society members recognise that the bush faced an immediate, intensifying and ultimately existential threat from large, high intensity wildfires. “In addition, multiple pest plants and an explosion in feral animal numbers adds further pressure to native flora and fauna, as do increasing and often conflicting demands for access and use,” he said. “Fire is by far the biggest threat to the future of the forest areas of Victoria and if fuels are not managed, all other management actions will be overtaken by the impacts of large intense wildfires such as those which Victoria experienced in 2019/20. In addition, the structure of forests and the flora and fauna, soils and water values will be permanently impacted by the effects of these regular intense fires.” For this reason, Mr Squires said the Howitt Society urged Mr Dimopoulos to reconsider the membership of the taskforce and add a person with a strong background in practical forest/fire management. This way, the review by the taskforce can contribute in a positive way to im-proved outcomes for the future of the forests of Victoria, he said. Traralgon consultant, John Cameron has made similar criticisms of the lack of bushfire expertise in the native forest investigation by the state government’s Victorian Environmental Assessment Council. The Howitt Society’s bushfire fears come as a cross-section of bush users, miners and prospectors are rebelling against the possibility that several hundred thousand extra hectares of forest could be included in a Great Forest National Park. Last December, the Victorian Environmental Assessment Council (VEAC) noted that a national park could be created from three areas in the north and south of the Central Highlands that would link the Yarra Ranges, Kinglake, Lake Eildon and Baw Baw national parks and the Bunyip, Cathedral Range and Moondarra parks. Engage Victoria is due to make recommendations to VEAC on the Great Forest National Park later this year. A rally of more than 1000 people in Drouin a month ago, attended by Victorian Liberal leader, John Pesutto, voted overwhelmingly against closing the Central Highlands State Forest, by incorporating it into a Great Forest National Park. Apart from Baw Baw Shire residents, people came from central Victoria, Omeo, Woods Point, Marysville, Alexandra and eastern Melbourne to show their rejection of the proposal. The crowd consisted of business owners from forest towns, unemployed timber workers after the closure of the native forest industry, hunters, fishermen, campers, train bike riders, 4WD owners, pro-spectors and fossickers. Miners and small prospectors fear that the proposal, by locking up swathes of forest, could shackle mining as a driver of economic growth and jobs in west and central Gippsland. The executive director of the Victorian division of the Minerals Council of Australia, James Sorahan, told the Gippsland Farmer earlier this year that VEAC was considering extending areas of forest into protected conservation zones that are mineral rich. “A proper analysis of impacts on economic opportunities for regional Victorians needs to take place to ensure a balanced analysis of the economic, social or environmental impacts of mining and minerals exploration in the study area,” he told the Gippsland Farmer. “There has been no detailed analysis.” Mr Sorahan said active exploration and mining in the region showed the potential for minerals which can benefit the local and broader state economy. More than 20 mining and exploration companies with 38 exploration licences (EL) and eight EL applications are in the study area. “Explorers are looking for not only gold exploration, but at least one other commodity including antimony, tungsten, tin, molybdenum, bismuth and base metals such as copper and zinc,” he said. Many critical minerals needed for renewables were available. Mr Sorahan said Geological Survey Victoria (GSV) estimates there is “significant potential” for gold and critical minerals worth at least $3.4 billion. “MCA Victoria is not against extending protected areas, but they need to be areas that don’t risk sterilising minerals rich regions because exploration has effectively no impact on the environment, and mining’s is minimised and highly regulated,” he said. “Conservation and modern mineral resource development are not mutually exclusive out-comes.” Mr Sorahan said minerals development had not been identified as a major driver of biodiversity loss in Victorian state of environment reporting. “The footprint is small, and most exploration is low impact,” he said. A Prospectors and Miners Association of Victoria (PMAV) Committee member, David Bentley, told the Gippsland Farmer that a major mining area like Walhalla-Woods Point could be lost. Mr Bentley said the process in Gippsland was akin to the Central West Investigation area, which resulted in the loss of more than 70,000ha of goldfields into national parks. The interim VEAC report into the forests of the Central Highlands, based largely on desktop assessment of previous research and talks with experts, emphasised that forest values were particularly threatened by climate change: heatwaves, floods, higher temperatures, declines in annual rainfall, and increased bushfire frequency and severity. Other threats were invasive plants and animals, such as blackberry and deer, and loss and fragmentation of habitat. Melbourne’s growing population was also placing more pressure […]

National Tree Day this July

Australian timber industry news - Mi, 17/07/2024 - 02:25
Planet Ark is encouraging Australians to get outdoors and do something good for their mental health this National Tree Day, with research suggesting climate-related impacts on mental health are significantly affecting people’s wellbeing. Source: Timberbiz Planet Ark’s National Tree Day started in 1996 and has grown into Australia’s largest community tree planting and nature care event. While every day can be Tree Day, we dedicate the celebration of Schools Tree Day and National Tree Day on the last Friday and Sunday in July. Schools Tree Day is Friday 26 July and National Tree Day is Sun-day 28 July. Tropical Tree Day is Sunday 1 December. Eco-anxiety and climate distress are terms used to identify the feelings of concern and distress that result from climate change, which are particularly prevalent among young Australians. A study released by youth mental health organisation Orygen in late 2023 found more than three in four (76%) young people aged 16-25 are concerned about climate change with two thirds indicating these climate concerns are having a negative impact on youth mental health. Headspace also commissioned a national survey of young Australians aged 18-25 last year, finding that more than half (53%) fear for the future due to climate change. Just under half (46 per cent) worry about whether they’re doing enough to slow climate change, while almost six in 10 (59%) agreed not enough is being done at to address climate change at the government level. These results are reinforced by the results of the Australian Psychology Society’s recent Thinking Futures report released in April, which found a staggering 94% of psychologists said they believe climate change will affect Australians’ mental health in the future, and 77% think natural disaster related mental health issues will increase in the next three years. “We know through our experiences with the National Tree Day program that there are significant benefits associated with spending time in nature, including enhanced learning, concentration, healing, relaxation and recovery, to name just a few,” said Planet Ark CEO Rebecca Gilling. “Time in nature helps us thrive as individuals – physically, intellectually, emotionally, mentally, and ethically and research suggests this is something young Australians really need at this time. “By engaging young minds in environmental initiatives like National Tree Day, we are equipping them with the tools they need to support mental health and wellbeing and become responsible stewards of our planet.” Engaging in nature care activities such as planting trees to restore biodiversity, build urban green areas and improve community amenity can help address issues of climate distress and eco-anxiety from two angles. Firstly, time in nature is proven to have a positive impact on mental health in general. Even a brief interaction with nature, such as a walk in a tree-rich park, can significantly boost mood and cognitive function, with the calming effect of green spaces, as demonstrated by reductions in stress hormones when engaging with nature, particularly noteworthy. Secondly, pro-environmental behaviours where individuals take protective actions toward the environment have been identified as a potential intervention for climate distress. Evidence suggests engaging in pro-environmental activities can provide a sense of hope, help them feel like part of the solution, and make them feel like they are being heard. Previous Planet Ark research has shown that 82% of Australians feel spending time in nature is good for their physical and psychological wellbeing, while 69% agree spending time in nature increases their desire to protect the environment. Despite these significant benefits, the majority (75%) feel like they don’t spend enough time in nature. To find out how to participate or locate an event near you, visit the National Tree Day website https://treeday.planetark.org/

Broadening capability through forestry industry brigades

Australian timber industry news - Mi, 17/07/2024 - 02:22
In 1997 the Victorian Government introduced legislation requiring forest plantation companies to form fire brigades when their plantation assets reached a critical size. FIBs are formed under Section 23A of the Country Fire Authority Act. There are 19 FIBs in Victoria providing critical support to CFA and other fire agencies in both preparedness and response activities. Source: Timberbiz “With 336,531 hectares of plantations in Victoria, it’s essential the plantation industry is well equipped and ready for the threat of wildfire,” CFA’s Forestry Industry Brigades (FIB) Field Officer Ian Hamley said. Mr Hamley is actively engaged with the different industry brigades to ensure good communications and relationships with CFA, and to help FIBs meet member training and equipment requirements by providing advice and guidelines. “FIBs are self-funded and rely heavily on the guidance of CFA to provide the appropriate training and equipment to meet their legislated requirements,” he said. With billions of dollars of assets at risk from wildfire each summer, Victoria’s FIBs are well organised and take their role seriously. Their training program, which aligns with CFA’s, includes General Firefighter, Plantation Firefighter and Class A foam use. Each year Hancock Victorian Plantations runs a well-attended weekend firefighter training camp at Shelley in north-east Victoria. The camp covers training aspects including planned burns and suppression tactics. FIBs, and the forestry industry more generally, are becoming more sophisticated in their approach to wildfire, with increasing investment in preparedness and response capabilities as part of the wider wildfire sector. For example, in south-west Victoria,the forestry industry has formed the Green Triangle Fire Alliance, which funds a summer season Helitack aircraft based at Casterton. It also funds eight remote fire detection cameras at various locations in the forested landscapes of south-east South Australia, and six in south-west Victoria. The cameras are monitored closely and provide crucial support to the more traditional tower-based fire spotter network. In addition to these innovations, FIBs have highly trained crews, modern trucks and equipment, earth-moving machinery such as dozers and graders, and bulk water tankers, to support agencies combat bushfires. Although their focus is to protect the plantation estate, they also provide valuable resources to fire agencies to help prevent and suppress bushfires. This means investments in FIBs increases the response and capability of the broader regional firefighting sector. In addition, forestry industry technical advisers regularly join incident management teams and contribute to incident planning and operations teams. Forestry owners’ conferences are held in October and March to ensure any lessons and recent experiences are captured and shared across the industry and firefighting sector.

World architects award Tas forestry building

Australian timber industry news - Mi, 17/07/2024 - 02:20
The University of Tasmania Forestry Building has won the Building Technology category in the 2024 WAFX Prizes, awarded by organisers of the World Architecture Festival. Source: Timberbiz In all, 33 future projects are recognised in the WAFX Prizes. An overall winner will be announced at WAF in Singapore between 6 and 8 November, along with the winners of the WAF Awards. The Woods Bagot project consists of the restoration and redevelopment of the former Forestry Building in Hobart CBD: the centrepiece of University of Tasmania’s Southern Campus Transformation. The site comprises two heritage-listed 1920s redbrick warehouses, a former 1980s warehouse showroom and a 22-metre dome-shaped conservatory designed by Morris-Nunn and Associates in 1997. The project team is reimagining the site as an inner-city hub for learning, research and collaboration through a highly connected campus that unifies the disparate built elements onsite with integrated landscape, through-block connections and publicly accessible thoroughfares. Targeting 40% less embodied carbon than comparable buildings, the project team has adopted a comprehensively circular strategy to building materials. This means material recovery where possible; the elimination of carbon-intensive materials; and the introduction of only sustainable materials. New materials have been selected for their provenance and sustainability, from the timber studwork to the recycled-content carpets, to the bio-based wall linings. Once complete, the Forestry Building will be the largest example of a commercial use of hempcrete in Australia. Celebrating the confluence of architecture and landscape, the design team will reinstate the indoor urban forest previously housed beneath the glass dome, creating a verdant focal point for the campus that connects its interstitial spaces. The project is slated for completion towards the end of 2025.

Fifth review of Tasmanian RFAs released

Australian timber industry news - Mi, 17/07/2024 - 02:18
The outcomes report for the fifth review of the Tasmanian Regional Forestry Agreement (RFA) has been released. The report marks the first stage in the independent review process, which will now progress to stakeholder consultation. Source: Timberbiz Interested individuals are encouraged to provide their feedback to the outcomes report through a Have Your Say consultation managed by the Tasmanian Department of State Growth. Individuals have until midnight on 30 August 2024 to have their say here. Established in 1997, the RFA is a joint initiative funded by the Commonwealth and Tasmanian Governments that sets out a long-term plan for the management and conservation of Tasmania’s native forests. The outcomes report covers the 2017 to 2022 period and marks the first review since the RFA was extended in 2017 for an additional 20-year period. The 5-yearly review process is critical to ensuring the Tasmanian RFA’s objectives are still being met. As part of the RFA review, Professor Jerry Vanclay from Southern Cross University has been appointed as the independent reviewer. He will now undertake a detailed consultation process as he considers the out-comes report and develops his own independent report. Professor Vanclay is a pioneer in the modelling of forest ecosystems and has significantly influenced the sustainable management of forests worldwide. The comprehensive review underscores the commitment to sustainably managing Tasmania’s forest resources and highlights significant advancements and compliance in forestry practices.

Seiten

Subscribe to ForestIndustries.EU Aggregator – Forest Products Industry


by Dr. Radut