Tree Frog Forestry News

Region Archives: International

Special Feature

The Fire of Notre-Dame de Paris

By Caroline Harrap
France Today
May 16, 2019
Category: Special Feature
Region: International

…One of the nation’s most beloved landmarks, this masterpiece of medieval architecture dates back more than 850 years. …Since that time, the building has been the scene of… the crowning of King Henry VI of England in 1431, Napoleon’s coronation took place there in 1804. …Today, the cathedral is the most visited monument in France, even ahead of the Eiffel Tower, attracting some 12 million people a year. …Though the cathedral is still standing… it has been estimated that it will take at least four months to fully secure the site. …As well as creating a temporary roof, a huge wooden framework will be erected in order to support the main structure, while most of the stained-glass windows will need to be removed and put into storage.

Several leading restoration experts have expressed their desire to see the cathedral recreated as it was previously and the integrity of the building preserved. They have also pointed out that this would be the quickest and easiest way to restore the cathedral – an important consideration if it is to be rebuilt… in time for the 2024 Olympics. …Others have suggested that perhaps a compromise could be reached – where the integrity of the existing structure is respected but new materials are incorporated. For example, the roof could be constructed with steel, concrete or laminated beams – removing the difficulty and expense of finding enough large oak trees. “If laminated wood was used, it could also have the added benefit of making the building more eco-friendly,” adds Michael Heurtevant.

There’s a new sense of optimism that whatever form the renovation takes, France’s beloved cathedral will be back. There was perhaps no better symbol of this than the moment when the statue that once topped the fallen spire, a copper sculpture of a cockerel, was recovered from the rubble “battered but apparently restorable”. A phoenix from the ashes indeed.

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Business & Politics

Trudeau offers Canadian lumber, steel to help rebuild France’s Notre-Dame Cathedral

The Canadian Press in The Globe and Mail
May 14, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, International

Canada is offering homegrown softwood lumber and steel to help with the reconstruction of Paris’s famed Notre-Dame Cathedral, which was partially destroyed by fire in mid-April. In a letter sent to French President Emmanuel Macron this week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada was proud to support France in the reconstruction of the iconic monument. The Canadian Steel Producers Association and the Forest Products Association of Canada have already indicated their support for the Canadian government initiative. “The success of these sectors reflects the talent and hard work of Canadians, and we will be happy to put these assets to work for France,” Trudeau wrote.

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China’s construction sector continues to grow as economy slows in 2019

Eric Wong, Managing Director, Canada Wood China
Canada Wood
May 8, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, International

China’s economy continued to slow in 2019, with Q1 GDP growth at 6.4%, compared to 6.6% in 2018. However, the growth is slightly higher than market expectations. This is attributed to higher factory production, which has benefited from additional tax cuts, infrastructure spending, and other government fiscal stimulus. …Looking ahead, China’s economy continues to be under pressure this year. The trade conflict with the United States and related uncertainties ranked as the top risk to China’s economy. …Softwood lumber inventories at Taicang port and the surrounding area were 1.48 million cubic metres in late February 2019, up 370,000 cubic metres or 33% compared to last month. It was the second consecutive monthly increase. The inventory level of SPF was 500,000 cubic metres, a surge of 200,000 cubic metre, or 67% from last month. In related Canada Wood China news:

Canada Wood, Jiaotong University issue guideline book on timber buildings

Nail Laminated Timber floor panels passed fire test

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US business frustrated as Trump reignites China trade fight

By James Politi and Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson
The Financial Times
May 9, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, International

As the Trump administration ploughed ahead with plans to slap higher tariffs on Chinese goods instead of striking a deal to end the trade war with Beijing, the US Council for International Business reacted with palpable frustration. …Business had been growing increasingly confident that Washington and Beijing would reach an agreement that may not resolve all of their disputes but would lower the temperature and soothe markets. Even for business leaders who saw some benefit to the administration’s aggressive stance towards China… the risk of a collapse in the talks was a disappointment. Some sectors will be particularly hard hit, because they rely heavily on products that will be subject to higher tariffs. These include… chemical companies, clothing manufacturers, and homebuilders that need tools, wood and glass products from China.

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International Trade Commission preliminary investigation finds U.S. cabinetmakers harmed by Chinese imports

By Karen Koenig
The Woodworking Network
April 22, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, International

WASHINGTON – In a 4-0 vote, the U.S. International Trade Commission has determined that “there is a reasonable indication” that American cabinetry manufacturers are being harmed by Chinese imports of wooden cabinets and vanities. …Announced April 19, the preliminary determination by the USITC paves the way for the U.S. Department of Commerce to continue its antidumping and countervailing investigations. …The DOC will make its preliminary countervailing duty determination on or about May 30,  and its preliminary antidumping duty determination on or about Aug.13. …The investigations stem from a March 6 petition by the American Kitchen Cabinet Alliance. …A coalition is currently being formed to represent the cabinetry importers impacted by the petition. …The alleged dumping margins for China range from 177.36 to 262.18 percent. 

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Explainer: How U.S.-China talks differ from any other trade deal

By David Lawder
Reuters
May 7, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, International

WASHINGTON — Chinese Vice Premier Liu He goes to Washington for trade talks on Thursday and Friday, setting up a last-ditch bid for progress toward a deal that would avoid a sharp increase in tariffs on Chinese goods ordered by U.S. President Donald Trump. U.S. officials have accused China of reneging in the past week on substantial commitments made during months of negotiations to end their trade war, prompting Trump to set a new deadline to raise tariffs. …Differences over the enforcement mechanism for a trade deal and a timeline for tariff removal have been sticking points. …Many free trade deals have built-in dispute settlement mechanisms…Canada, for example, has brought challenges to U.S. anti-subsidy duties on softwood lumber before panels set up under NAFTA’s Chapter 19. …President Trump frequently threatened to quit NAFTA during negotiations last year… any move to quit NAFTA is likely to draw a court challenge.

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The International Council of Forest and Paper Associations elects Sylvain Lhôte as its new president

WoodBizForum
May 15, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

Jane Molony and Sylvain Lhôte

The International Council of Forest and Paper Associations (ICFPA) has announced Sylvain Lhôte as its new president. According to the announcement, Mr. Lhôte, director general of the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI), was elected at the ICFPA’s recent annual meeting in Vancouver, Canada, which was attended by representatives from 12 ICFPA member country associations. Sylvain Lhôte has 25 years of government and public affairs expertise working with leading material technology and manufacturing industries on climate and energy policies, sustainability and industrial affairs, as well as competition and international trade issues. He will serve as ICFPA president for the next two years in conjunction with his role at the European industry association.

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NZ and China sign forestry cooperation arrangement

The New Zealand Government
Scoop Independent News
May 13, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

An arrangement signed by New Zealand and China today paves the way for future forestry cooperation and boosting bilateral trade, Forestry Minister Shane Jones says. The arrangement was signed today in Wellington by Shane Jones and Mr Zhang Jianlong, the Administrator of China’s National Forestry and Grasslands Administration. “The updated arrangement supports and strengthens links between government, industry and research institutes in New Zealand and China. It provides a framework to address matters such as sustainability, wood processing and utilisation, and trade and investment,” Shane Jones said. “The forestry sector is an important and growing part of our bilateral trade with China, with export revenue topping $3.2 billion in the year ending 2018. “Much of this growth has come from increased Chinese demand for New Zealand forestry products.

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Tropical timber losing share in German market

The Timber Trades Journal
May 7, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

Tropical timber is losing market share in Germany despite the country’s growth in wood consumption, according to the International Tropical Timber Organisation’s latest market report. …Where Germany is importing tropical timbers, direct purchases from the tropics are falling rapidly and more is being purchased indirectly from importers elsewhere in the EU. Germany’s imports of tropical sawnwood were around 73,000m3 in 2018, a slight improvement on the 67,000m3 imported the previous year, but well down on 103,000m3 imported in 2016 and around half the level prevailing a decade ago. …Germany’s imports of decking and moulding products from the tropics have edged downwards from 42,000m3 in 2015 to 40,000m3 last year. Imports from main supplying country Indonesia fell from 33,000m3 to 28,000m3.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Multiplex project becomes Australia’s largest Passive House

The Construction Index
May 16, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Australia’s largest Passive House building is located on Monash University’s Peninsula campus in Frankston, Melbourne. The Passive House – Passivhaus – standard is designed to ensure that buildings energy efficient, comfortable and affordable at the same time. The new student accommodation complex comprises 150 single occupancy units set over six levels and was completed by Multiplex in March. …The project was designed by architect Jackson Clements Burrows. “We have set a new industry standard for environmentally sustainable construction, and we look forward to working towards the prestigious Passive House standard on future projects.” …The project was Multiplex’s first foray into cross-laminated timber construction (CLT). The use of CLT has the capacity to halve the embodied carbon in the building relative to a concrete structure.

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A question of durability

By Ed Suttie
The Timber Trade Journal
May 14, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

A perennial weed in the flowerbed of timber specification is the question about the service life of a wood product. …Performance classification of wood in construction aims to bring together the material characteristics of a product and its exposure to weather and moisture to define a performance class. It is focused on specification of the right material for purpose. It’s key to underpinning confidence in wood; its ability to deliver service life specifications and, more importantly, to meet customer expectations of performance. It is needed for service life information in environmental product declarations, for material certification schemes and for replacement intervals in whole building assessment methods such as BREEAM. …Project CLICKdesign will develop a performance-based specification protocol to enable provision of a software tool for architects and other specifiers to embed service life performance specification for wood.

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South African student wins global award for wood-based project

All 4 Women
May 15, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Jane Molony and Martin Wierzbicki

The International Council of Forest and Paper Associations (ICFPA) has announced the three global winners of the 2018-2019 Blue Sky Young Researchers and Innovation Award. University of Pretoria Masters student MartinWierzbicki along with Elina Pääkkönen (Finland) and Chinmay Satam (USA) were lauded for their novel wood-based research projects. They made their official presentations in Vancouver, Canada last week to industry executives at the ICFPA-hosted international CEO Roundtable, a biennial gathering of forestry and forest product companies. The international competition – now its second round – aims to attract submissions from aspiring scientists and young engineers who are developing novel solutions using wood fibre, process improvements or other products along the forestry-pulp-paper value chain.

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Tzannes-designed timber engineered commercial build wins top property honour

Architecture and Design
May 13, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Australia’s first engineered timber office, International House Sydney, has picked up the state’s top property award. Lendlease was presented with the Property Council of Australia’s Rider Levett Bucknall NSW Development of the Year award at a cocktail reception this evening. “International House demonstrates that mass timber construction is a viable alternative to conventional construction and stands as a beacon of innovation and sustainable design excellence,” says the Property Council’s NSW executive director Jane Fitzgerald. Designed by Tzannes Architects and completed in April 2017, International House Sydney stands six storeys high, constructed entirely from cross-laminated timber and glue-laminated timber, including floors, columns, walls, roof, lift shafts and stairs.

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XLam confirms it’s closing New Zealand operations

By Tina Perinotto
The Fifth Estate Australia
May 2, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

After months of deliberation and consultation, cross laminated timber company XLam today (Thursday) confirmed fears it would close its New Zealand operations at Nelson. A statement from the company said the operations are no longer considered commercially sustainable and that “a new business model” would “usher in a more commercially competitive and sustainable way for the company to supply CLT to the market.” The move, first flagged by The Fifth Estate in early April, comes after the collapse of the Strongbuild business in Sydney and the failure of the voluntary administrators to find buyers for the business at Bella Vista as a going concern. A statement from Xlam said the move would allow more efficient servicing of demand for its product in New Zealand. “As demand for off-site fabrication, mass timber construction and CLT continues to grow, so too does the XLam business, with a focus on improved customer solutions and increased manufacturing utilisation”.

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The challenges of building defect-free homes

Planning, BIM & Construction Today
May 7, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Offsite construction can contribute to improvements in delivering better quality buildings, says a report that calls for urgent changes in the culture and processes of housing construction. …Its conclusions cover the whole process from project set up to handover on completion. The report, Stopping Building Failures, identified several key problems… The Housing Forum study is centred on three key areas: Procuring for quality; Harnessing innovation to prevent defects; Building defect-free homes. Commenting on the report, Nigel Ostime, project delivery director at Hawkins/Brown, said improvements in quality and productivity can be significantly enhanced with offsite manufacture, including the use of timber frame and CLT. …“It also highlights the benefits of modern methods of construction and greater use of off-site to improve both quality and productivity. This includes timber frame and cross-laminated timber, which also have benefits in reducing carbon.”

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Forests instead of cathedrals

By Guillaume Habert
Phys.org
May 7, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Notre Dame should not be rebuilt, argue Guillaume Habert and Alice Hertzog. In times of climate change and in light of the current religious landscape its reconstruction is no longer a priority. …The recent IPCC report warns that we have 10 years to drastically change our construction techniques. …And thinking about our long-term legacy in this context, might mean not building – not extracting more metals and not felling the trees in the forest – rather than building to last forever. …The morning after the fire, the French insurance company Groupama pledged 1,300 hundred-old oak trees from its private forest in Normandy. …Architects, designers and engineers are well equipped to provide elegant solutions for Notre Dame, without provoking further climate change or jeopardising the quality of life of future generations. When less is more, then maybe nothing is everything.

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Vincent Callebaut envisions sustainable restoration of Notre-Dame cathedral

By Adam Williams
The New Atlas
May 6, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Following the devastating fire that damaged the Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral last month, local [Paris] firm Vincent Callebaut Architectures has unveiled its vision for the iconic building to be restored. The firm imagines it being topped by a new glass roof and a spire, and for it to receive a significant sustainable upgrade. The concept… brings to mind NYC’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral. …While the undamaged parts of the building look essentially the same, Callebaut radically reimagines the upper areas destroyed in the fire. His proposal would create a new spire and wooden frame made from CLT beams, with carbon fiber slats. Covering the building would be a complex glazed roof that allows for lots of natural light inside, incorporates ventilation, and features advanced solar panel-like tech that turns sunlight into electricity. Click here for a gallery of images… and [stay tuned for on-site updates as  your Frog team heads to Paris this Friday to investigate further. Seriously!]

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GG-loop wraps Freebooter apartments with cedar louvres

By India Block
Dezeen Magazine
May 6, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Dutch architecture studio GG-loop has built a pair of prefabricated apartments in Amsterdam with timber louvres positioned to regulate the levels of light entering the building. Called Freebooter, the block was made from steel and cross-laminated-timber and was prefabricated off site. It took three weeks to install all four floors, and the whole project took only six months to build. The building, which contains two duplexes, is wrapped in long vertical planks of timber. These timber strips extend over some the building’s terraces, with cut aways placed to allow light into the building. …GG-loop wanted to connect the project with this context, using materials connected with shipbuilding such as red cedar, pine wood, steel and glass. Cedar, for example, is a popular choice for planking because the wood has natural properties that stop rot.

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Enabling clients to go further, faster, through offsite design and manufacture

By Andy Walker
Infrastructure Intelligence
May 6, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Overcoming industry productivity challenges requires a firm focus on delivering the benefits of offsite manufacture, not just talking about them. …Ramboll has demonstrated best practice in high quality design for manufacture, including working with off-site manufacturing partners. The firm helped deliver Swan Housing Association’s first ever award-winning modular cross laminated timber (CLT) homes from their UK factory in Basildon. …Construction impact was also reduced, with 90% reduction in site deliveries and improved site safety, with 60% fewer workers onsite. Based on standard house types that can be easily customised, Ramboll helped Swan deliver on their aims of beautifully designed homes and improved quality, whilst the standardised house types enable repeatability in the factory environment, driving higher standards.

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Notre Dame: time to call in the French builders with medieval skills

By Kim Willsher
The Guardian
May 6, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

In a clearing in a forest in northern Burgundy, the stonemasons and carpenters of Guédelon are awaiting a call. If anyone can rebuild Notre Dame Cathedral as it was – if that is what is required – they can. Remaking medieval history is what they have been doing at Guédelon for the past 22 years, as a team of workers and volunteers construct a 13th-century château using the tools and techniques of the epoch and, as far as possible, locally sourced basic materials like stone and wood. …As the fire roared through Notre Dame’s “forest” – its oak-beamed roof – sending flames far into the sky over Paris, many feared something irreplaceable had been lost. …Guédelon’s co-founder, Maryline Martin, said if anything good is to come out of the burning of Notre Dame, it is that the traditional trades practised here will finally be recognised as worthwhile.

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Forestry

At 2,624 years, a bald cypress is oldest known living tree in eastern North America

Mongabay.com
May 16, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Ancient bald cypress trees tower along the Black River in the state of North Carolina in the United States. Many of these living trees are over a thousand years old, researchers had estimated in the late 1980s. But there are much older trees still growing tall. One bald cypress tree (Taxodium distichum) in the Black River swampland is at least 2,624 years old as of 2018, a new study has found. This estimate, researchers say, makes it the oldest known living tree in eastern North America and the oldest known wetland tree species in the world. Another tree is at least 2,088 years old. “We studied bald cypress … throughout its native range in Latin America and the U.S. This is the best stand we ever found,” David Stahle, a distinguished professor of geosciences at the University of Arkansas, said in a video statement.

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Eggesford Forest commemorated 100 years after planting

BBC News
May 16, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

The first woodland to be planted by Forestry England is being commemorated after 100 years. Eggesford Forest in Devon was planted on 8 December 1919, shortly after the passing of the Forestry Act. A Luckham oak is being planted by the chairman of Forestry England, Sir Harry Studholme, before a new centenary avenue is planted in December. …The Forestry Commission was founded in September 1919 with the aim of restoring the nation’s woods and forests after World War One. It is now England’s largest land manager, maintaining more than 1,500 forests. In 1956 the Queen unveiled a stone in Eggesford Forest to mark the commission’s milestone of planting 1,000,000 acres of woodland.

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Sino demand for NZ forestry products highlights dilemma faced by timber processors

By Stephen Forbes
Interest.co.nz
May 15, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

China’s insatiable demand for New Zealand forestry products continues to grow, but where are things heading for the country’s forestry industry and how much of the processing is being done here? Forestry is a major employer in regional New Zealand and contributes around $6.4 billion a year to our economy in export earnings. According to Te Uru Rākau (Forestry New Zealand) wood products are now the country’s third largest export earner – behind dairy and meat. Something the Minister of Forestry Shane Jones is more than aware of. Earlier this week he announced he’d signed a new agreement with Zhang Jianlong from the Chinese National Forestry and Grasslands Administration which he expects to pave the way for greater trade and co-operation between the New Zealand forestry sector and China. “Much of this growth has come from increased Chinese demand for New Zealand forestry products, supporting both continued high prices and record export volumes,” Jones says.

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The battle to save Scotland’s forests from disease

BBC News
May 10, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

John Dougan

“When I first saw the impact this disease was having, it really almost reduced me to tears.” The words of Scottish Forestry’s John Dougan as he describes the battle to defeat the deadly tree disease Phytophthora Ramorum. It has spread throughout Scotland in recent years, leaving thousands of dead and damaged trees in its wake. If the ongoing fight is lost, it is feared it could be catastrophic for the forestry industry and also hit tourism. As the busy summer holidays period approaches, members of the public are being urged to take some simple precautions which could help, such as cleaning their boots before leaving. Phytophthora Ramorum was first found in larch trees in the region in 2010. …He said of the felling approach: “What we’re trying to do by clear-felling is removing infected trees, and reducing the risk of them then allowing the disease to reproduce itself and move onto other sites.

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Forest fires blaze in eastern Russia, forcing evacuations

The Associated Press in the Montreal Gazette
May 9, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

MOSCOW — Wildfires are blazing on about 58,000 hectares throughout the eastern reaches of Russia, threatening small villages and forcing the evacuation of children and senior citizens from at least one village. Avialesookhrana, the Russian government agency for aerial protection of forests, said Thursday that the hardest-hit area was the Irkutsk region, where about 16,900 hectares of forests were burning. Some of the fires were coming close to the village of Bolshoe Goloustnoe along Lake Baikal, from which 28 people were evacuated. No casualties have been reported. Forest fires are a major annual problem for Russia as the world’s weather warms. Last year, Russian officials recorded some 10,000 fires encompassing 3.2 million hectares. [END]

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Climate change is giving old trees a growth spurt

Science Daily
May 9, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Larch trees in the permafrost forests of northeastern China — the northernmost tree species on Earth — are growing faster as a result of climate change, according to new research. A new study of growth rings from Dahurian larch in China’s northern forests finds the hardy trees grew more from 2005 to 2014 than in the preceding 40 years. The findings also show the oldest trees have had the biggest growth spurts: Trees older than 400 years grew more rapidly in those 10 years than in the past 300 years, according to the new study. …The increased growth is good for the trees in the short-term but may be disastrous for the forests in the long-term, according to the authors. As the climate continues to warm, the permafrost underneath the trees may eventually degrade and no longer be able to support the slow-growing trees.

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Brazil’s eucalyptus log exports soar

By CGTN America
YouTube
May 8, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Brazil is Latin America’s biggest economy, and one of its top exports is wood. But with rising concerns over deforestation, businesses are turning to sustainable alternatives. CGTN’s Paulo Cabral reports on the emergence of a new market for eucalyptus.

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Ex Brazilian environment ministers blast Bolsonaro’s forestry and water policies

Merco Press
May 9, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Ricardo Salles

Eight former Brazilian environment ministers blasted new right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro and his administration in a letter on Wednesday, saying it is dismantling the country’s environmental protections. The former officials criticized the government’s decision to strip the environment ministry’s authority over forestry and water agency services, while also saying a lack of clear directives to combat climate change is threatening Brazil’s ability to meet its commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions. “All this reinforces, in the end, a sense of impunity, which is the byword for more deforestation and more violence,” they wrote, arguing that this perceived dismantling was unconstitutional. Brazil’s current Environment Minister Ricardo Salles responded point by point to the letter in a statement and blamed external forces for what he saw as a campaign against the country.

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FSC disassociated from the Brazilian forestry company, Jari Group

Global Wood Markets Info
May 8, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) has disassociated from the Brazilian forestry company, Jari Group (Jari), after an investigation carried out by an independent panel of environmental, social and economic experts concluded that the company had breached FSC’s Policy for Association. After analyzing all the evidence and conducting a field visit and in-depth stakeholder interviews, the panel determined that Jari had been involved in illegal logging or the trade in illegal wood or forest products and had also failed to formally and consistently recognize the existence of traditional communities within its forest management area, leading directly to the violation of traditional and human rights in forestry operations.

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Startling UN biodiversity report is a reminder of the risks Canada faces

By Nicole Mortillaro
CBC News
May 7, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Canada, the second-largest country in the world and home to a large assortment of species, is experiencing many of the effects of habitat and species loss highlighted Monday in the UN’s first comprehensive report on biodiversity, and experts say that’s a concern. Extinction looms over one million species of plants and animals worldwide, scientists said. …According to the Canadian Wildlife Federation, of the roughly 1.8 million identified animal species in the world (it’s estimated there could be between five and 20 million species), 140,000 live in Canada, half of which are unidentified. …One of the primary reasons, said Emily Giles, co-author of that report and WWF senior species specialist, is habitat loss. …While Monday’s report from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services is alarming, it’s not all doom and gloom.

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Cut emissions and poverty, not trees, by letting locals manage forests

By Lin Taylor
Thompson Reuters Foundation
May 6, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

LONDON — Giving local communities the responsibility to manage forests – which are shrinking worldwide – could help ease poverty and deforestation, scientists said on Monday in what they described as one of the largest studies of its kind. Researchers examined more than 18,000 community-led forest initiatives in Nepal, using satellite images and census data from the South Asian country, where more than a third of forests are managed by a quarter of the population. …”Identifying a mechanism – community forestry – that can credibly reduce carbon emissions at the same time as improving wellbeing of the poor is an important step forward in global efforts to combat climate change and protect the vulnerable,” said co-author Arun Agrawal from the University of Michigan.

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This Tiny Bug Could Put a $625 Million Hole in Sweden’s Forests

By Jesper Starn
Bloomberg News
May 6, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

The vast wild fires that swept through Sweden last year aren’t the only threat forest companies have to contend with as climate change makes summers hotter and drier. There’s a much smaller — but potentially bigger — danger lurking in the woods. The European spruce bark beetle, or Ips typographus, measures about 4 millimeters (1/8 of an inch). Several can fit on just a fingernail. But it damaged more wood last year than the record wild fires that ravaged Sweden. And as the bugs thrive in increasingly warm and dry weather, the damage they cause will likely grow. A worst-case scenario from the Swedish Forest Agency estimates that it could ruin as much as 12.5 million cubic meters of wood this year, costing as much as 6 billion kronor ($625 million). That’s equivalent to more than 15 percent of annual logging. In its baseline scenario, it sees damage on par with last year’s 3 to 4 million cubic meters.

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Nature in unprecedented decline around the globe, landmark study says

By Ivan Semeniuk
The Globe and Mail
May 6, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Around the world, nature and the benefits it provides are in unprecedented decline — a trend that can be reversed, but only with a co-ordinated international effort and “transformative change” to the way humans draw food, water, energy and resources from the planet, a sweeping new report has found. The report encompasses the first global assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. …Assembled by 145 authors from 50 countries, the report is based on a review of approximately 15,000 scientific and government publications. …While it is hardly the first report to document the accelerating pace at which nature is vanishing from the Earth, it is the first to do so under agreement by participating governments. …Yet, despite political sensitivities the summary included a clear recognition that the world will need to… move toward a more sustainable global economic system in order to have a hope of addressing the biodiversity crisis. [A subscription to the Globe and Mail is required to access this full story]

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UN report says nature is in worst shape in human history

By Seth Borenstein
The Missoulian
May 6, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Nature is in more trouble now than at any other time in human history, with extinction looming over 1 million species of plants and animals, scientists said Monday in the United Nations’ first comprehensive report on biodiversity. It’s all because of humans, but it’s not too late to fix the problem, the report said. Species loss is accelerating to a rate tens or hundreds of times faster than in the past, the report said. More than half a million species on land “have insufficient habitat for long-term survival” and are likely to go extinct, many within decades, unless their habitats are restored. …”Humanity unwittingly is attempting to throttle the living planet and humanity’s own future,” said George Mason University biologist Thomas Lovejoy, who has been called the godfather of biodiversity for his research. …Conservation scientists from around the world convened in Paris to issue the report, which exceeded 1,000 pages. 

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Log trains are getting longer

By Pam Graham
The Wairarapa Times-Age
May 3, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

WAIRARAPA, NEW ZEALAND — Trains carrying logs from Wairarapa to Wellington are going to be longer from this month, ultimately increasing capacity by a third and taking 6000 logging trucks a year off the road. KiwiRail’s group general manager of sales and commercial, Alan Piper, says about 15 wagons will be added to one of the two daily trains once more wagons become available. …Two hundred new wagons intended for logs are due to arrive by the end of the year and KiwiRail is also converting container wagons nearing the end of their useful life to carry logs. …Log exports from the region are booming and when Shane Jones visited last year the industry raised the issue of capacity constraints on log trains. He is Forestry Minister and Regional Economic Development Minister. 

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A billion trees planted by 2030? It can’t be done, forestry industry says

By Kim Honan and Melissa Martin
ABC News Australia
May 2, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

In February this year, the Federal Government unveiled the ambitious target of planting one billion trees by 2030 to create growth and jobs in the sector, with the added benefit of absorbing millions of tonnes of greenhouse gases per year. But CEO of the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) Ross Hampton believed the Government would struggle to meet that target unless it removed barriers preventing the sector’s growth. The AFPA is calling on the Coalition to scrap the Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI), a voluntary carbon offsets scheme, ‘water rule’, to encourage new plantings across Australia. Mr Hampton said the rule restricted new plantations in areas of more than 600 millimetres of annual rainfall and 400mm for farm forestry from competing in the carbon market. …Forestry spokesperson Joel Fitzgibbon has called the rule ridiculous and said it prevented trees from being planted in regions with ideal conditions for growth.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Rooting for a sustainable future: how forest resources can help tackle climate change and air pollution

UN Environment
May 17, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Forests are among the most valuable treasures on earth: they supply energy from timber, help with water regulation, soil protection and biodiversity conservation. Yet in traditional forest management, trees are still primarily viewed as a source of wood. All other products derived from wooded lands… are considered of secondary importance. Non-timber forest resources, however, have far-reaching benefits for millions of households, both in terms of subsistence and income. …Over 90 per cent of the annual yields of wild and cultivated herbs are sold as raw material to Germany, Italy, France and the United States, making Bulgaria one of the world’s leading suppliers in this sector. …In addition, forests act as carbon sinks and can remove pollutants from the atmosphere. …Every year, they absorb one third of the carbon dioxide released from burning fossil fuels worldwide.

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How to Make Money Off Rainforests Without Cutting Them Down

By Lucas Foglia
Bloomberg
May 16, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

How do you save a rainforest? Create a national park, hardcore conservationists would say. That isn’t practical, though, if you’re a nation with 45 million acres of rainforest—an area about the size of Washington state—and a per capita income of just over $8,000 a year. “A tree left standing is not valuable to a family who can’t feed their children three square meals a day,” says Pradeepa Bholanath, head of planning and development for the Guyana Forestry Commission. With the help of international donors, Guyana, a country of fewer than 750,000 people, is pioneering an approach to protecting the trees that cover more than four-fifths of its surface. To make the rainforest last, it’s using it up slowly. Norway signed a deal with Guyana in 2009 offering it as much as $250 million to curb deforestation, and with it, climate change.

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Fighting climate change with bamboo

By Liyana Hasnan
The Asian Post
May 9, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

…The International Bamboo and Rattan Organisation suggests that bamboo can play a significant role in helping countries meet the United Nations’ sustainable development goals or SDGs and help combat the effects of climate change. …The preference for bamboo is perhaps due to its availability and inherent strength. Bamboo comes from the botanical family of grasses that is resistant to tensile stress. …However, bamboo does have a few weaknesses including vulnerability to attacks by fungus, swelling and shrinking behaviour, all of which can be overcome with coating and treatments. …Unfortunately, in some countries like Malaysia, its usage in urban areas still proves to be a challenge as local building codes and standards do not recognise bamboo as a proper building material, especially with regards to fire safety.  

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Health & Safety

Northern Thailand was once a paradise. Now forest fires have made the air worse than Beijing’s.

By Emily Tamkin
The Washington Post
May 7, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: International

In mid-March, the city with the worst air pollution in the world wasn’t an industrial powerhouse populated by millions. It was Chiang Mai, the tourist-friendly cultural center in northern Thailand. And for Chiang Mai and its environs, that was the beginning, not the end, of northern Thailand’s trouble with air pollution. The air pollution was caused in part by forest fires, notably the practice of the area’s farmers of starting fires to clear land for new harvests. Some Chiang Mai residents said the poor air quality showed that the government’s efforts to stop farmers from exacerbating northern Thailand’s seasonal haze problem were not working. …When Thai military junta leader Prayuth Chan-ocha visited… the city had an air quality index, or AQI, of 379— the worst of any major urban center in the world.

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