Tree Frog Forestry News

Region Archives: International

Froggy Foibles

These Researchers Want You to Live In a Fungus Megastructure

By Dan Robitzski
Futurism
January 17, 2020
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: International

Imagine that you roll out of bed onto a living fungus floor. The walls and ceiling — heck, the whole apartment building, down to the plumbing and electrical systems — are made of fungus too. Wood and concrete are remnants of the distant past; this entire city, from the schools to the stores to the hospitals, is made of living fungus — constantly growing, dying off and regenerating itself. That’s the vision laid out in a provocative new paper, which a team of European academics say is the first-ever exploration of living fungus’ potential as a raw material for futuristic, eco-friendly “monolithic structures” that would, in their telling, revolutionize the entire built environment and economy. “We propose to develop a structural substrate by using live fungal mycelium,” reads the paper. “Fungal buildings will self-grow, build, and repair themselves.” The idea is a response to the prospect of catastrophic climate change.

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Business & Politics

McGrath and White talk trade war with China

By Julianna Leach
The Trail Blazer
January 15, 2020
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, International

Amy McGrath & Ray White

MOORHEAD, Kentucky — The impact of the trade war with China on the Kentucky lumber industry was the topic of a discussion for Amy McGrath and Ray White during one of her stops at the Harold-White Lumber Co. on Wednesday.  White said the first overall industry hit was part of the recession in 2008. Around 2011 China came in as a huge consumer of North American hardwoods with the company. With the U.S. tariffs at 25 percent and additional taxes from China, the company was looking at a significant decrease practically overnight. …He estimated nearly 70 percent of his demand was from China. “Congress could do something if they wanted too,” said McGrath. “They could stop this.” White also discussed the importance of the timber industry to Eastern Kentucky and the environmental benefits to selective cutting.

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U.S. and China sign phase one of a trade deal

By Robert Dalheim
The Woodworking Network
January 15, 2020
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, International

WASHINGTON – After nearly a two-year-long ordeal, the U.S. and China have signed phase one of a trade deal. …The deal contains up to $50 billion in agricultural purchase targets from the Chinese. …The deal includes provisions to root out the sale of counterfeit goods, boost Chinese market access, and calls for China to strengthen intellectual property protection. …A fact sheet released at the signing ceremony calls out hardwood lumber specifically as part of the Chinese purchasing agreement of U.S. manufactured goods. …The trade war had a major effect in 2019 – causing a $53 billion decline in U.S. imports from China and a $14.5 billion decline in exports to China. …Chinese furniture exports to the U.S. fell in miscellaneous wood furniture (down 19 percent), wood seats (down 21 percent), and upholstered wood chairs (down 13 percent). 

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Europe becomes major supplier of softwood logs to China, while Russia and North America have lost market shares in 2019

By Hakan Ekstrom
Wood Resources International LLC
January 13, 2020
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

China is increasing importation of logs from New Zealand and Europe, while diminishing imports from North America and Russia. As a region, Europe is now the second largest supplier of softwood logs to China behind New Zealand, reports the WRQ. New Zealand continues to expand its market share in China, supplying 39% of the total import volume in the 3Q/19, up from 32% five years earlier. Russia and North America suffered the largest declines in the Chinese market share from 2015 to 2019, with Russia’s share falling from 28% to 12%, and North America from 21% to 13% during the< same period. In the 3Q/19, log imports from Russia were at their lowest levels in almost 20 years. The< only other major change in the Chinese market over the past few years has been an increase in pine log shipments from Uruguay.

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Sudden closure of sawmill shows intervention needed

By First Union
Scoop Independent News
January 14, 2020
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

Yesterday’s sudden announcement of the closure of Pacific Pine Industries Ltd, a timber processing and sawmill in Putaruru, has left its 60+ employees reeling. Staff were called in…Monday to a meeting where they were informed that the company was entering voluntary administration. Locks were being changed at the site as the meeting was taking place, and not a day’s more work is available for the many long-serving employees at the sawmill, FIRST Union said today. A FIRST Union Organiser attended the meeting where one worker said: “Our whole community will suffer without these jobs.” FIRST Union is calling on the government to meet with industry stakeholders to intervene and coordinate the supply industry, from forest to construction, to ensure that sawmills are able to survive and provide the wood that is needed in our country.

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Australian Prime Minister To Launch Inquiry Into Handling Of Wildfires

By Laurel Wamsley
National Public Radio
January 12, 2020
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

Scott Morrison

Facing criticism for his handling of the ferocious wildfires that have swept across Australia, Prime Minister Scott Morrison says he will call for a government inquiry into the response to the blazes. In an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Morrison said that the “unprecedented” fire season has “created an environment where people for the first time I think, arguably, have wanted to see a more direct involvement of the federal government in responding to that natural disasters.”The crisis has been blamed for at least 27 deaths. …The prime minister acknowledged the role of climate change. “We’re living in longer, hotter, drier summers.

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Finance & Economics

Timber prices set to rise

The Construction Index
January 16, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: International

A leading timber supplier is predicting that timber prices will rebound in 2020 after a collapse in 2019. Excess stock brought in ahead of the original 1st April 2019 Brexit deadline, continuing uncertainty around Brexit and challenges posed by bark beetle attacks throughout central Europe all contributed to timber prices falling last year, says Nigel Buckley-Ryan, UK sales director of Södra Wood Ltd. But there is now a risk of timber shortages and supply delays and so 2020 is likely to see prices going up again, he says.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

WWF voices ‘deep concern’ over purchasing standards set by Tokyo committee for 2020 Olympic Games

The Japan Times
January 20, 2020
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

The World Wildlife Fund expressed concern Monday over standards set for commodity procurement by the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, saying that they are “inappropriate.” In a statement, the WWF said it was “deeply concerned” that the organizing committee produced “protocols that fell far below globally accepted sustainability standards” especially for timber, fishery products, paper and palm oil to be used for the 2020 Summer Games. …“As the host country of the Tokyo Olympics, Japan is responsible for sourcing and consuming products in a sustainable way,” said WWF-Japan CEO Ron Tsutsui. …The committee rebuffed the criticisms, saying its procurement codes recognized various points of views with feasibility in mind and used standards created by international organizations such as the Forest Stewardship Council and the Marine Stewardship Council.

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Developer unveils £33m sustainable office development in Shoreditch

Planning, BIM & Construction Today
January 16, 2020
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Developer Southern Grove has announced plans to build a new £33m sustainable office development in Shoreditch, London. The sustainable office development 16 Orsman Road is also set to break new ground in green building. The developer exchanged contracts on the land yesterday (15 January) and plans to use Cross Laminated Timber (CLT). This will mean the building, spanning six floors, is approximately four to five times lighter than a traditional building, resulting in much smaller foundations and minimal disruption to the neighbouring canal. Architects Waugh Thistleton was selected for its flare in CLT design.

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In this new neighborhood, every building will be made entirely out of wood

By Kristin Toussaint
Fast Company
January 17, 2020
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

In an effort to build a more sustainable future, architects and policy makers are nodding to the past with structures entirely made of timber. …Next up in this timber trend: a Copenhagen neighborhood built fully with wood, with housing for 7,000 people, a school, and a focus on integrating nature with city life. Danish architecture company Henning Larsen is designing the development, called Fælledby …For this neighborhood’s construction, Henning Larsen plan to use prefabricated timber panels sourced from partners throughout Europe. “They must of course be sustainably sourced, nontoxic . . . that’s just a minimum,” Kongebro says. Henning Larsen will become Copenhagen’s first new neighborhood built entirely in timber. The Scandanavian city has a rich history in wood construction, with Denmark as a whole most well-known for its “half-timber” architecture that dates back to the Middle Ages. Kongebro sees this new twist on the old ways as a “paradigm shift.”

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Loyn & Co reveals proposal for carbon neutral neighbourhood in Wales

By Lizzie Crook
Dezeen Magazine
January 17, 2020
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Loyn & Co has unveiled its design for Parc Hadau, a net-zero-carbon housing scheme in Wales that will be built from cross-laminated timber and powered by renewable energy. Developed by Loyn & Co … the Parc Hadau neighbourhood will comprise 35 eco-friendly dwellings. …the homes will have a net-zero-embodied-carbon primary structure, use passive design, use renewable energy technologies to generate enough electricity to power the scheme. …Each house will be built using cross-laminated timber. Timber absorbs atmospheric carbon as it grows, and subsequently retains it during its life in a building. This is hoped to offset the carbon emissions of foundations of the building, which will be made from a low carbon concrete. This will be “evidenced and calculated” throughout construction to look to further improve future schemes. Externally, the homes will be clad in a mix of locally sourced and low-embodied-energy materials that include timber, local stone and reclaimed brick.

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Swan is latest to ditch CLT for high-rise modular apartments

By Joey Gardiner
Housing Today UK
January 14, 2020
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

One of the leading exponents of modular housebuilding based on cross-laminated timber technology is to move to using steel-framed systems for its planned apartment buildings. London and South-east housing association Swan, which set up a 400-homes-a-year modular housebuilding factory in 2017 to deliver its 3,500-home development pipeline, told Housing Today the decision to switch to steel followed the government’s ban on combustible materials in the external walls of homes more than 18m in height. …Critics of the government’s combustibles ban, introduced in the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster, predicted the legislation would turn the UK from a world-leader in cross-laminated timber (CLT) into a “backwater”. …Lendlease announced early last year it was ending its programme of CLT apartments in the UK, with L&G following suit in December. …Anthony Thistleton, founder of CLT specialist architect Waugh Thistleton, said [the ban] could prompt a collapse of CLT use in the UK

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Notre-Dame’s roof should be rebuilt in wood, say architects

By Zelda Caldwell
Aleteia
January 15, 2020
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

representative of France’s top architects said that Notre-Dame Cathedral’s roof should be rebuilt in wood, not in metal or concrete as some have proposed. French President Emmanuel Macron has said he favors adding a “contemporary” touch in the course of rebuilding the spire… Eric Wirth, a member of an association of the country’s architects, however, weighed in to say that replacing the roof with wood makes sense for practical reasons. “The most modern and ecological material today is wood,” said Wirth, of the Guild of French Architects. Wirth added that wood is more fire-resistant than the alternatives, and would also trap carbon. “Had the cathedral been built in concrete or steel it would not still be there,” he added. “Even with all the (chemical) protection treatments, given the intensity of the blaze … the steel would have held for half an hour and then it would have twisted, pulling on the walls and everything would have collapsed”.

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Paper carrier bags help to combat climate change

By The Paper Bag
RealWire
January 15, 2020
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Stockholm/Paris — Making one’s own actions more sustainable is a good resolution for the new year. A first simple step is to consider the environment when choosing your own packaging, for example by using paper bags. To what extent paper carrier bags contribute to combating climate change has been summarised in a new infographic. It was published by the platform “The Paper Bag”, an association of Europe’s leading manufacturers of kraft paper and paper carrier bags. “In a world facing challenges such as globalisation, climate change and a scarcity of raw materials, it is vital that consumers can make informed decisions,” explains Kennert Johansson, Acting Secretary General of CEPI Eurokraft. “With our infographic, we want to raise awareness of the advantages of paper carrier bags as sustainable packaging that contribute to reducing littering and environmental pollution.” Paper bags are made from wood, an ever-growing resource.

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Will the skyscrapers of the future be made out of wood?

By Saul Elbein
National Geographic
January 13, 2020
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Until about your grandparents’ childhood—or maybe your great-grandparents’—the world was made of wood. Everything from weapons and wheels, barrels and houses, tools for cooking and industry, was at least in part derived from materials taken from the bodies of trees. People were born in oak beds and rocked in poplar cradles and killed by walnut-stock rifles and buried in pine coffins.Now a growing industry wants to bring back the golden age of wood starting with skyscrapers. “Look at this,” Antti Asikainen, an austere, affable Finnish forestry professor, says admiringly, pointing to a rectangular hole cut in the sheetrock of a 12-story apartment building, exposing the skeleton below. The frame inside is made of mass timber, a high-density wood product that is one of the new range of high-tech products the global economy relies upon forests to fill.

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Valio and Stora Enso to introduce wood-based reusable lids

Packaging Gateway
January 13, 2020
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Finnish dairy product manufacturer Valio and pulp and paper manufacturer Stora Enso are planning to introduce wood fibre-based reusable lids made from a biocomposite.  Encouraging consumers to reduce waste, the partners will distribute 10,000 reusable lids through Valio’s promotional sales demonstrations early this year.  Valio and Stora Enso will use the reusable lids to test the wood-based biocomposite in food packaging. It will help the companies understand how biocomposite reacts when in contact with food.  Valio packaging development manager Jussi-Pekka Lumme said: “With this pilot project we are encouraging people to take small, concrete actions to reduce food waste. The lid makes it easy to protect the unused crème fraiche or quark.

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Norbord’s Industrial Sales Manager, David Sleigh, offers his thoughts on the healthy state of the supply chain for the industrial market

Structural Timber Magazine
January 14, 2020
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

David Sleigh


We’re in the business of producing wood panel products – OSB, MDF and particleboard – products that are used in a multitude of industrial applications from housebuilding to furniture-making and packaging. For industrial users, these products are basic raw materials. Without them, their manufacturing process, building activities and ability to deliver to their end-users would grind to a halt. These products are low-carbon and turn materials, once destined for the waste stream, into versatile, durable and valuable commodities.  Norbord has been producing wood panel products for over thirty years and is the only manufacturer within the UK to produce a zero-added formaldehyde OSB product in SterlingOSB Zero alongside CaberBoard particleboard and CaberWood MDF brands. …The biggest threat to the UK economy today is, of course, Brexit. But, whatever shape it takes – if, indeed, it ever comes to pass – Brexit will have minimal impact on the cost and availability in the UK of OSB, MDF and particleboard.

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As China’s waste paper imports slow, its disruption of global pulp & paper sector accelerates

By Simon Matthis
PulpaperNews.com
January 10, 2020
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Since 2017, China’s crackdown on waste paper imports has reconfigured the global pulp, paper and board industry – and there’s more disruption to come. From the Americas and Europe to India, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Thailand, every market has been affected. …”By stopping the flow of unsorted waste paper into its ports, China launched a tidal wave of change throughout the world’s fiber, paper, and board markets,” said Hannah Zhao. “Every region’s response has, in turn, affected other markets as well,” Zhao said. “Now Indonesia is also looking to crack down on waste paper imports, even as its industry is using that fiber to boost production,” explained Zhao. “And China’s powerful pulp and paper industry is buying and building capacity in the US and other nations to circumvent domestic supply issues.”

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Mushrooms and orange peel: could biotech clean up the building industry?

By Nell Card
The Guardian
January 11, 2020
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

A biotech startup is researching building materials that could revolutionise construction. Not only are they biodegradable – some also absorb toxins. Cocoa husks, dried orange peel, ground blue pea flowers: the ingredients read like a tasting menu. They are, in fact, waste products that are used to make Orb – a sustainable building material that is carbon neutral. It’s versatile enough to be used for furniture or as a substitute for a wood-based sheet material. Orb is produced by Biohm, a startup founded in 2016 by Ehab Sayed. …Sayed’s “material development journey” led him to Open Cell, a community of biotech startups … in west London. With a small team … he has developed two materials: Orb, made out of food or agricultural waste, and mycelium insulation, made by feeding waste to the root system of mushrooms. “The aim is to replace every harmful construction material with something sustainable and higher performing,” Sayed explains. 

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An architect designed luxury ‘treehouse hotels’ towering above a remote forest in a medieval Austrian ski town — here’s a closer look

By Melissa Wiley
Business Insider
January 10, 2020
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

If you’ve ever dreamt of sleeping in a treehouse, look no further. If you’ve ever dreamt of sleeping in a treehouse, look no further. Kitzbühel is a ritzy ski resort with a medieval town center located between Salzburg and Innsbruck in the Austrian Alps. As part of a new 7-star hotel project in Kitzbühel, Peter Pichler Architecture has proposed a design for luxury “tree suites” that rise above the surrounding forest. Each suite will be accessible by a glass elevator, hidden in the wooden latticed structure on which the suites are elevated. …The use of local wood in the design will create a “warm feeling,” the firm said in a release.

 

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Design’s response to tragedy: ‘Build houses that don’t contribute to the fire front’

By Sarah Buckley
Architecture and Design Australia
January 13, 2020
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

…As a nation that has historically been prone to bushfires and its fatal repercussions it is curious as to how initiatives like the Victorian Bushfire Reconstruction and Recovery Authority’s We will Rebuild initiative, stopped short after a mere 19 pro bono designs, and even fewer houses materialised thereafter. …Why are bushfire resistant homes so scarce in Australia? …Weir… stated that the designs seemed to some, ‘a bit foreign, a bit alien.’ …As ember attack is the primary cause for the loss of thousands of homes during the bushfires’ havoc, practicality over the wooden porch seems rife in BAL-40 zones. Weir adds, “The cheapest thing to do is exclude verandahs and decks, and work with either the verandah being internalised or have masonry terraces – integrating landscape design with the house design as a first principle.”

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Forestry

‘Big impacts’: Almost half of areas in East Gippsland approved for logging burnt

By Sumeyya Ilanbey
WAtoday
January 20, 2020
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Almost half the areas approved for native logging in East Gippsland have been burnt, with Premier Daniel Andrews bracing for what he says will be a “significant” impact on the forestry industry. The devastation wrought by the recent bushfires came just months after the Labor government announced native logging would be completely banned in 2030, and the cutting of old-growth forest would end immediately. Mr Andrews said 40 per cent of coupes – areas approved for logging – as part of VicForests’ timber release plan in East Gippsland were destroyed by the fires that have so far burnt more than 1.4 million hectares across Victoria. “So there’s going to be a significant impact … there’s going to be big impacts on the forestry industry,” Mr Andrews said on Monday morning. “We’ve said for a while now that the sustainability of this industry could be directly impacted by a significant fire event and that’s exactly what’s happened here.”

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Fires set stage for irreversible forest losses in Australia

By Matthew Brown & Christina Larson
Associated Press in The Helena Independent Record
January 17, 2020
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Australia’s forests are burning at a rate unmatched in modern times and scientists say the landscape is being permanently altered as a warming climate brings profound changes to the island continent.Heat waves and drought have fueled bigger and more frequent fires in parts of Australia, so far this season torching some 40,000 square miles (104,000 square kilometers), an area about as big as Ohio.With blazes still raging in the country’s southeast, government officials are drawing up plans to reseed burned areas to speed up forest recovery that could otherwise take decades or even centuries. But some scientists and forestry experts doubt that reseeding and other intervention efforts can match the scope of the destruction. The fires since September have killed 28 people and burned more than 2,600 houses.

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French forest industry not taking advantage of ever-growing forests

By Daniel Eck
Euractiv.com
January 17, 2020
Category: Forestry
Region: International

The forest continues to expand in France, according to industry figures, but the industry is not making the most of it. The metropolitan forest has gained a lot of ground, with 16.8 million hectares (i.e. 31% of the entire territory), compared to 19% of the country’s land area in 1908. But France’s timber industry wants to get moving. The sector, which represents one of the leading wood resources in Europe, currently presents a fragmented landscape. For example, Germany, which has a smaller forest area, generates three times more jobs. Optimising the wood-energy sector is key for France to attain its objective of becoming carbon neutral in 2050. However, 60% of forests in the country are left unmanaged nowadays. 

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Logging makes forest fires worse: experts

By Dominica Sanda
Yass Tribune
January 16, 2020
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Allowing logging in national parks would increase the intensity of bushfires by boosting the amount of flammable fuel and creating additional “kindling”, experts have warned. Millions of hectares have been scorched in raging bushfires across Australia since October and scientists claim fires burned at a higher intensity in heavily-logged forests. Australian National University Professor David Lindenmayer says while the main driver of fires is the climate, logging makes forests drier and leaves behind flammable debris on the ground. “Forests that have been logged and regenerated are significantly more likely to burn at higher severity,” he told AAP. “Very substantial areas of forest which were logged in East Gippsland and southeastern NSW have been burnt this summer.” …Recent calls by the forestry industry to selectively log national parks in a bid to reduce the bushfire risk are “lacking science”, Prof Lindenmayer argues. He says the industry proposal would actually make areas more fire-prone.

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Secrets of ‘1000-year-old trees’ unlocked

By Helen Briggs
BBC News
January 13, 2020
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Scientists have discovered the secret of how the ginkgo tree can live for more than 1,000 years. A study found the tree makes protective chemicals that fend off diseases and drought. And, unlike many other plants, its genes are not programmed to trigger inexorable decline when its youth is over. The ginkgo can be found in parks and gardens across the world, but is on the brink of extinction in the wild. “The secret is maintaining a really healthy defence system and being a species that does not have a pre-determined senescence (ageing) programme,” said Richard Dixon of the University of North Texas, Denton. “As ginkgo trees age, they show no evidence of weakening their ability to defend themselves from stresses.” …As the UK embarks on an ambitious tree planting programme, understanding the mixture of tree species that will deliver the greatest ecosystem rewards over the long term… is important

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Rare tree nurtured in Edinburgh set to save species

Herald Scotland
January 13, 2020
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Martin Gardner and Sadie Barber

For more than 40 years it has stood in splendid isolation, the only species of its type among thousands of others. But now a cutting from a tree cultivated by conservationists in Edinburgh in 1977 could help save a threatened population of its kind 6,000 miles away – near the spot where it was first taken from a native example. Botanists from the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh brought samples of the endangered conifer Amentotaxus argotaenia, also known as the catkin yew, back from Hong Kong. Now, after an appeal from botanists in Hong Kong, rooted cuttings propagated from the original tree in Scotland have been flown across the world to help save the region’s now-scarce population.  The Scottish specimens are uniquely suitable to bolster the Hong Kong population as they are an exact genetic match. 

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Germany agrees timeline, compensation for coal phase-out

By Geir Moulson and Frank Jordans
The Associated Press in the Washington Post
January 15, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

BERLIN — Germany will pay utility companies billions of euros to speed up the shutdown of their coal-fired power plants as part of the country’s efforts to fight climate change. The agreement… removes a key hurdle in Germany’s plan to curb greenhouse gas emissions over the coming decades. …Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said that operators of heavily polluting coal-fired power plants in western Germany will receive 2.6 billion euros ($2.9 billion) in compensation for switching them off early. …Environment Minister Svenja Schulze acknowledged that Germany will need a “massive expansion of wind and solar energy” as the country is also in the process of exiting atomic power, with the last nuclear reactor set to go offline at the end of 2022.

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Climate change adds to frog woes

By Farah Hancock
The News Room NZ
January 17, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

…Last week, almost a thousand attendees from around the globe descended on Dunedin for the 9th World Congress of Herpetology. Held every four years, the event is like the Olympics for those who study reptiles and amphibians. The 600 plus presentations included debate on the fragile state of the world’s amphibians and reptiles.  Around 40 percent of amphibians are threatened with extinction. Reptile species are under similar pressure. University of Otago Zoology Professor Phil Bishop, the congress director, said a recurring thread in presentations was the threat of climate change. New Zealand used to have seven frog species. Three are now extinct and the remaining four are threatened with, or at risk of, extinction. “Climate change is one of those topics where people generally throw their arms up and say ‘there’s nothing we can do’ but we’ve had enough of not doing anything. We really need to be pushing the people who can do something about it.”

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Fire-hit timber towns should become carbon sinks

By Katie Burgess
The Canberra Times
January 16, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

AUSTRALIA — Timber towns ravaged by bushfires burning in south-eastern NSW and Victoria should become carbon sinks, instead of returning to logging operations, a Canberra academic has argued. The longer term future of forestry in the states is unclear, with millions of hectares burnt out this summer. In East Gippsland, it is feared up to 40 per cent of the state forest allocated to be harvested had been destroyed. …Prime Minister Scott Morrison will announce a support package for businesses impacted by fires on Thursday. But Professor David Lindenmayer from the Australian National University’s Fenner School of Environment and Society said these areas should use the fires as a trigger to transition away from logging.

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As we act on climate, we mustn’t neglect nature

By Charlie Gardner, Matthew Struebig & Zoe Davies
Mongabay.com
January 14, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

The discussion of the environment has been unbalanced. While all the talk is about carbon and climate, that is actually only half the story when it comes to our environmental crisis. The other catastrophe is of course the destruction of the natural world, the ecological crisis which threatens a million species with extinction over the coming decades. …This imbalance needs to be rectified, and we must start treating our twin crises equally, because we cannot address them in isolation. Natural ecosystems, such as forests, wetlands, and seagrass beds, store huge amounts of carbon, and protecting and restoring them is the cheapest and most effective action we can take to lessen the climate crisis. The trouble is, our efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change can seriously undermine these key natural ecosystems.

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Wildfires Could Transform Amazon from Carbon Sink to Source

By Chelsea Harvey, ClimateWire
Scientific American
January 14, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

…As temperatures rise and droughts intensify in the driest parts of the rainforest, wildfires are likely to burn more land and release more CO2. And if deforestation continues to rise, as well, the outcomes will be even worse. A new study, out Friday in the journal Science Advances, helps put the issue into perspective. As Amazon wildfires continue to worsen, it suggests, they threaten to convert the region from a carbon sink—a place that sucks carbon out of the air and stores it away—to a net source of carbon to the atmosphere. The study, led by researchers in the United States and Brazil, used a special model to examine different scenarios with various levels of future climate change and deforestation. …Unsurprisingly, a combination of severe climate change and increased deforestation produced the most dire results.

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Watchdog head urges palm oil industry to look beyond forests in climate fight

By Michael Taylor
Reuters
January 14, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

KUALA LUMPUR — The next big challenge for palm oil growers is to go beyond curbing deforestation and look at how they can slash planet-warming emissions throughout their supply chains, the outgoing head of the industry’s watchdog said on Tuesday. The sector has come under scrutiny in recent years from green activists and consumers who have blamed it for forest loss and fires to clear land, as well as exploitation of workers. But Darrel Webber, of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, said producers should not only focus on protecting forests and boosting yields, but examine their entire businesses to stop them worsening climate change. …While deforestation has decreased in Indonesia and Malaysia, a major question is whether small growers will follow larger companies in trying to clamp down on it.

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Forest Fires

Indigenous fire knowledge the latest Australian export in an emerging global wildfire crisis

Bt Vanessa Milton
ABC News Australia
January 17, 2020
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, International

Victor Steffensen and Russel Myers Ross

…Australian Indigenous fire practitioner Victor Steffensen visited Tsilhqot’in territory on the invitation of the Yunesit’in and Xeni Gwet’in communities, part of the Tsilhqot’in Nation. “Indigenous burning is activating the landscape to bring it back to life,” Mr Steffensen said… “to look after biodiversity and stop the country burning to nothing”. In 2017, just three years after the Tsilhqot’in Nation won Aboriginal title to a vast area of their traditional homeland in a landmark ruling of the Canadian Supreme Court, large areas of Tsilhqot’in territory were destroyed in the largest wildfires in the region’s history. …The role of Indigenous knowledge systems in mitigating and adapting to climate change was recognised in the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement. …Mr Steffensen is due to return to Canada with the support of the Gathering Voices Society in April to continue his work with Tsilhqot’in communities to rebuild the practice of fire keeping.

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Canadian firefighters expect to use tailored tactics to battle blazes in Australia

The Canadian Press in the Globe and Mail
January 15, 2020
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, International

As Canadian firefighters boarded flights Wednesday to battle blazes in Australia, they said they will likely have to employ some different tactics than they do to fight local fires. In Halifax, the first three of 69 Canadian firefighters heading to the island continent said hotter temperatures and drier conditions call for different measures than typical East Coast fires, where water is plentiful and the blazes are slower. …Australian bush fires can spread quickly because of the lack of moisture, and response tactics often include extensive use of heavy equipment to clear gaps in the landscape. …“When we don’t have a lot of water … we may be constructing [fire] guards with bulldozers and plows – and if need be, hand tools – to create a fire break,” he said.

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‘Testament of what Alberta can offer’: Alberta firefighter recalls stint fighting bushfires in Australia

By Anna Junker
The Edmonton Journal
January 19, 2020
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International

A cohort of Canadian wildfire firefighters recently returned to the frozen tundra, after a stint down under helping fight the out-of-control bushfires raging across Australia. On Jan. 9, Morgan Kehr, director of wildfire operations with Alberta Wildfire, landed back in Edmonton after spending 39 days in New South Wales, a state that’s been seeing the brunt of the wildfire destruction. Kehr was part of a group of 21 Canadian firefighters who arrived in Australia at the start of December and said the reception from Australians was amazing. …The Canadian firefighters were mainly in incident management roles, helping with the logistics of fighting the fires. Some are also helping with the aviation units.

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Thunderstorms sweep across Australia’s bushfire-ravaged east coast

By Linda Kelly
Reuters
January 15, 2020
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International

MELBOURNE — Thunderstorms and heavy rain swept across parts of Australia’s east coast on Thursday, bringing hope that some of the fierce bushfires razing the country will be extinguished – or at least slowed. Officials warned, however, that short, intense thunderstorms could lead to flash flooding, while lightning brought the risk of new fires being ignited. “We’re expecting unsettled weather for the next four or five days or so at least,” Jake Phillips, a senior meteorologist at the Bureau of Meteorology told Australian Broadcasting Corp radio. …The wet weather brought some respite from the smoke haze that has plagued Australia’s major cities for weeks and has been tracked by NASA circumnavigating the globe. …Fire and weather officials have also warned the current cool and wet weather change will only be a temporary relief.

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Melbourne smothered in smoke as Australian bushfires burn despite cool change

Reuters in the Vancouver Sun
January 13, 2020
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International

SYDNEY — Australia’s devastating bushfire season is far from over despite cooler weather this week, Victorian state officials warned on Tuesday as Melbourne was blanketed by hazardous smoke. At least 180 fires continued to burn across Victoria and New South Wales (NSW) states although widespread rainfall is forecast for fire-hit areas on the east coast from Wednesday. About 20 bushfires were yet to be contained in NSW, Australia’s most populous state, while in Victoria five fires were at the ‘Watch and Act’ advice warning, one level below emergency status, authorities said. “I wish I could say this was over, but we have a long way to go. We’ve got the smoke in our communities at the moment and it is at very poor or hazardous levels,” said Lisa Neville, Victoria’s emergency services and police minister. Brett Sutton, the state’s chief health officer, said air quality in Melbourne dropped to the “worst in the world” overnight…

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Australia turns from defense to offense in wildfire battle

By Rick Rycroft
The Herald and News
January 12, 2020
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International

BODALLA, Australia (AP) — Crews battling Australia’s wildfires said Sunday that they have been able to turn from defense to offense for the first time in weeks thanks to a break in the weather. Dale McLean, who is helping manage the response to a fire near the town of Bodalla in New South Wales state, was part of team that was bulldozing down small trees and burning scrub ahead of the fire’s projected path to try to stop it from reaching a major highway by starving it of fuel. Other workers echoed McLean’s comments, saying cooler temperatures and mild winds have finally offered them a chance to make progress. The weather is expected to remain benign for the next week, although any deterioration in conditions after that could see the wildfires flare up again.

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Australia bushfires: Veteran firefighter killed overnight while battling blaze in Victoria

The Newshub
January 12, 2020
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International

Bill Slade

A veteran firefighter has been killed overnight while battling a bushfire in Victoria, bringing the total death toll from Australia’s worst-ever bushfire season to 28 nationwide. On Sunday, the sails of the iconic Sydney Opera House were aglow with a moving tribute to those who fought on the front line, as the news broke that another firefighter died while on duty. Bill Slade, 60, was killed by a falling tree as he was fighting a blaze in East Gippsland, the fourth person to be killed by Victoria’s devastating fires. “Bill contributed over 40 years [to] firefighting and caring for national parks in South Gippsland and I recently had the privilege of presenting him with his 40-year service recognition, which was an honour,” Parks Victoria CEO Matt Jackson said. Calmer conditions in recent days have allowed firefighters to concentrate on managing the blazes, with around 20 fires now contained across Victoria.

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