Tree Frog Forestry News

Region Archives: International

Froggy Foibles

A Hymn to Notre-Dame

By Ken Follett, Author
The Smithsonian Magazine
September 18, 2019
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: International

On September 1, 1830, the 28-year-old poet Victor Hugo sat down to write Chapter 1 of a book called Notre-Dame de Paris. …It got poor reviews but the public loved it, and it was quickly translated into other languages. The English edition was called The Hunchback of Notre-Dame. And Hugo became world famous. …Nearly 200 years later, on April 15, 2019… Notre-Dame was on fire. I understood what was burning and how the fire was gathering force. …I had, in doing research for The Pillars of the Earth, my novel about the building of a fictional medieval cathedral. A key scene in Chapter 4 describes the old cathedral of Kingsbridge burning down, and I had asked myself: Exactly how does a great stone church catch fire? …Excerpt from Notre-Dame by Ken Follett, to be published on October 29, 2019.

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Business & Politics

Much accomplished, more to do

The Timber Trade Journal
September 17, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

Thomas Goebel, chief executive of German Timber Trade Federation GD Holz, was recently appointed the new secretary-general of the European Timber Trade Federation (ETTF). His mission is to develop its role further as a voice to government, a communication platform and a plug into the global marketplace. …We must also underline the wider worth of timber and the timber sector, working with wood supporting initiatives across Europe and learning from the experience of other industries. …The timber sector across Europe, including the UK, whatever the outcome of Brexit, faces a lot of issues in a fast-changing world. We regret that the UK TTF decided to leave the ETTF, the European body representing the trade. But, regardless, we all need to work together.

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Forestry industry officials gloomy about log trade

By Eric Frykberg
Radio New Zealand
September 17, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

NEW ZEALAND — Forestry industry officials are still feeling gloomy about the log trade, ten weeks after a collapse in sales to China caused layoffs and left logging trucks lying idle. Volumes of log sales are still well down, but prices have inched up slightly, though to nothing like what they were. …China has long been New Zealand’s largest log market by far. But a sudden crunch in early July left New Zealand logs stranded on Chinese wharves, with buyers further inland reluctant to take on new product. …At the time, the price fall in China was estimated at 15 percent, but has since been revised to 25 percent. Forest Owners Association chief executive David Rhodes said there had been a marginal recovery in prices since then. 

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The lowly pallet could be highly problematic for Britain in a post-Brexit world

By Paul Waldie
The Globe and Mail
September 16, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

As Britain scrambles to prepare to leave the European Union as early as next month, one unlikely product has emerged as a symbol of the fear and frustration that surrounds Brexit: wooden pallets. …Once Britain leaves the EU, the country’s wooden pallets and crates will have to meet the bloc’s regulations on heat-treated wood. Those rules are based on a global standard adopted nearly 20 years ago designed to stop the spread of tree-eating insects. Britain has been exempt from the EU rules because it’s a member and because the island country doesn’t have the kind of bugs that cause horticultural havoc. …The fallout could be substantial since just about everything that’s shipped between Britain and the EU sits on a pallet at some point. …The rule dates back to early the 2000s, when forests in the United States and Canada were being ravaged by insects. [A Globe & Mail subscription is required to access the full story]

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Asian wood demand drives $230m Japan investment in New Zealand

By Yuji Ohira
Nikkei Asian Review
September 16, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

TOKYO — The growing need in emerging markets for building materials and fuel has spurred Japanese trading houses to expand their forestry operations. Sumitomo Corp. plans to spend about 25 billion yen ($231 million) on acquiring more pine forest in New Zealand, one of the Asia-Pacific region’s major timber exporters, looking to double its acreage by 2021. Wood is in increasing demand to build houses in emerging markets as incomes grow. Forest waste is also emerging as a renewable energy source to replace coal. Sumitomo harvests in 30-year cycles, allowing time for trees to regrow, with the cut wood shipped as lumber to China and elsewhere. The group also will invest about 6 billion yen to expand a lumber mill in Russia’s Far East run by Terneyles, a logging company in which Sumitomo holds a 49% stake. 

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Việt Nam to gain $11b from wood and forest product exports this year

The Việt Nam News
September 13, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam is likely to reach its export turnover target of US$11 billion from wood and forestry products this year as the main season for business is in the last six months of the year, according to an official of the Việt Nam Timber and Forest Product Association. …Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Hà Công Tuấn also said to meet this goal, the Government has committed to creating favourable conditions for businesses. …Việt Nam is expected to export timber and wood products to the EU valued at over $700 million this year, higher than the $680 million achieved in 2018.

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Indonesia looks to timber, furniture to seize trade war momentum

By Marchio Irfan Gorbiano
The Jakarta Post
September 10, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

The government is mulling over a number of policies to improve the performance of the domestic timber and furniture industries, which it identifies as key industries that could seize the momentum amid an ongoing trade war between the United States and China. In a meeting with industry players in the State Palace on Tuesday, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo said that Indonesia’s timber and furniture products were among the key products that could achieve positive momentum amid the trade war, which has driven down global trade volumes, citing information from the World Bank. “I believe the chances are huge [for us] to fill in the [wood and furniture] market that used to be held by China, but then it left [the market] because of the trade war. This could be our chance,” said President Jokowi.

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Finance & Economics

Softwood lumber trade was up 5% in first half of 2019, with China reaching record-high imports in 2Q

By Wood Resources International
Lesprom Network
September 16, 2019
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, International

Softwood lumber trade was up 5% in the first half of 2019 on a worldwide basis, with China reaching record-high imports in the 2Q. …China imported almost eight million m3 of softwood lumber in the 2Q 2019, a new quarterly high. …The Nordic countries have steadily expanded their shipments to China over the past year and were the third largest suppliers behind Russia and Canada in the 2Q 2019. Import prices have trended downward for the past 18 months and in June hit their lowest levels since early 2016.

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Softwood consumption expands for 3rd year in a row

By Wood Resources International LLC
The American Journal of Transportation
September 9, 2019
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: International

The global flow of softwood logs from countries with a surplus of wood raw- material to regions with tight, or costly log supply, and higher consumption of forest products continued to expand for the third consecutive year in 2018. Sawlog prices fell throughout the world in the 1Q/19 due to either plentiful supply or reduced demand for lumber, depending on region. The Global Sawlog Price Index (GSPI) fell 1.8% to the lowest level noted since the 2Q/17.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

The grass that we could soon be using to build our houses and apartments

By Jim Malo
Domain Australia
September 18, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Fast-growing and environmentally-friendly, bamboo may soon be used in Australian construction, as academics explore the properties of the giant grass.
A lack of research and Australian building standards have held back the sustainable material from being used Down Under despite already being widely utilised overseas, particularly in developing countries, experts say. University of Queensland PhD candidate Mateo Gutierrez was looking into the fire-resistance properties of bamboo, to help determine where the timber-alternative could be used. “We’re mostly focused on the fire performance – what happens if you have a load-bearing element when it’s subjected to a fire?” he said. “My research is to find out how it performs in a fire and how it affects the mechanical response.” Bamboo used in construction would be rarely used in its raw form – the untreated and full cylinders – but transformed into stronger and more versatile materials such as Cross Laminated Timber or Laminated Veneer Lumber, both similar methods of applying glue to wood (but in bamboo’s case, grass) fibres.

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Coca-Cola to replace plastic shrink wrap across can multipacks sold in Great Britain

By Matt Mace
Edie.net
September 19, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP) will replace plastic shrink wrap across its four, six and eight-packs of cans for all its brands sold in the UK. …Over the next 18 months, the plastic packaging will be replaced with cardboard, which is already used for multipacks of 10 or more cans. According to CCEP, more than 30 million packs sold to consumers each year will no longer be wrapped in plastic. Instead, the multipacks will be packaged in 100% recyclable cardboard from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) certified sources. …While the shrink wrap currently used is recyclable, it is estimated that only 10% of UK local authorities collect the material. In comparison, 98% of cardboard is collected as part of household recycling. …The company was named as the world’s largest corporate plastic polluter last year, in a report from Greenpeace.

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Analysis of hygroscopic self-shaping wood at large scale for curved mass timber structures

By Philippe Grönquist, Dylan Wood, Mohammad M. Hassani, Falk K. Wittel, Achim Menges and Markus Rüggeberg
Science Advances
September 13, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

The growing timber manufacturing industry faces challenges due to increasing geometric complexity of architectural designs. Complex and structurally efficient curved geometries are nowadays easily designed but still involve intensive manufacturing and excessive machining. We propose an efficient form-giving mechanism for large-scale curved mass timber by using bilayered wood structures capable of self-shaping by moisture content changes. The challenge lies in the requirement of profound material knowledge for analysis and prediction of the deformation in function of setup and boundary conditions. Using time- and moisture-dependent mechanical simulations, we demonstrate the contributions of different wood-specific deformation mechanisms on the self-shaping of large-scale elements. Our results outline how to address problems such as shape prediction, sharp moisture gradients, and natural variability in material parameters in light of an efficient industrial manufacturing.

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Amazing New Material Combines Wood Fibers and Spider Silk

By Markus Linder, Aalto University
SciTechDaily
September 16, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Achieving strength and extensibility at the same time has so far been a great challenge in material engineering: increasing strength has meant losing extensibility and vice versa. Now Aalto University and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland researchers have succeeded in overcoming this challenge, inspired by nature. The researchers created a truly new bio-based material by gluing together wood cellulose fibers and the silk protein found in spider web threads. The result is a very firm and resilient material which could be used in the future as a possible replacement for plastic, as part of bio-based composites and in medical applications, surgical fibers, textile industry, and packaging. According to Aalto University Professor Markus Linder, nature offers great ingredients for developing new materials… The advantage with both of these materials is that, unlike plastic, they are biodegradable and do not damage nature the same way micro-plastic do.

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Research Shows Advertising Is Changing Public Opinions On Forestry And Wood

By Ric Sinclair, Forest and Wood Products Australia
B&T Magazine
September 16, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

AUSTRALIA — Around 25 per cent of Australians have seen The Ultimate Renewable™ campaign run by Forest and Wood Products Australia (FWPA), which research shows is positively changing public opinions on forestry and wood. A stand-out result from the campaign was that two in three people who had seen the ads agreed with the statement “I think it is okay to harvest and replant Australian native forests”, which is more than 10 per cent higher than those who had not seen the ads. …The new brand builds upon the previous Wood.Naturally Better™ program that successfully improved the public’s understanding about using wood to help tackle climate change. By continuing the partnership with Planet Ark and its Make It Wood website, including featuring Peter Maddison from Grand Designs Australia, the new advertising extends the existing message and introduces renewability. FWPA managing director, Ric Sinclair, explained the effectiveness of the campaign.

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Fire destroys timber framed block of flats

Building Products
September 12, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

A major fire has reduced a four-storey timber-framed block of flats to ashes. The fire ripped through the flats at Sherbrooke Way, Worcester Park in South-West London during the early hours of Monday, September 9. At the height of the blaze some 127 firefighters were on the scene. At this stage there are no reported casualties. The inferno follows a number of major timber fires at completed residential developments this year including the Beechmere retirement development in Crewe in August and Barking Riverside in London in June. “This latest fire underlines the unsuitability and potential danger of using timber frame construction. Developers and housing associations should reconsider its use, said Stephen Elliott, chairman of the British Association of Reinforcement. “As proven by the spate of recent major fires, lightweight timber structures can be a fire risk. They simply do not offer the inherent fire resistance of concrete structures.”

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NZ Wood Industry – Zero Carbon – And We Can Prove It

By the Wood Processors and Manufacturers Association
Scoop Independent News
September 10, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

If New Zealand’s ambition is to be a zero carbon economy by 2050 then it must nurture its wood industry. Many industries claim to be driving towards lower emissions but none have the low carbon profile of the wood sector. The WPMA Chair, Brian Stanley, says; “no other major industry in New Zealand can deliver carbon sequestration, carbon storage and emissions reduction like the wood industry”. Mr Stanley adds, “….and the industry now has independent, third-party certification extending right from the forest to the marketplace to prove that our wood-based packaging and construction products do the right thing by the environment. Our customers in New Zealand and overseas expect no less”. Last night in Rotorua, WPMA highlighted that both major international certification programmes for forestry: Programme for Endorsement of Forest Certification and Forest Stewardship Council guarantee that wood products from New Zealand come from sustainably-managed forests. 

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‘Don’t demonise timber-framed buildings’ – architects react to Worcester Park fire

By Jim Dunton
Building Design Online
September 9, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Architects have voiced concerns that the latest major blaze at a timber-framed housing development could wrongly demonise a “perfectly safe” building material. Fire destroyed a JTP-designed four-storey apartment building at Worcester Park in the early hours of yesterday in a blaze that firefighters said was “well-developed and intense” by the time they arrived on the scene.  …Ash Sakula Architects founding partner Robert Sakula said councils and other social landlords had exhibited a marked push away from exterior cladding or components that were in any way combustible in the wake of 2017’s Grenfell Tower fire. …But he stressed that structural timber was a separate issue. “It’s not that there is anything actually wrong with timber frame if it’s done properly. Fire shouldn’t be able to get into the cavity,” he said.

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Bamboo lights a fire under Australian construction industry

By Genevieve Worrell, University of Queensland
TechXplore
September 9, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

A passion for sustainable construction led University of Queensland Ph.D. student Mateo Gutierrez to explore the potential of bamboo as an environmentally friendly local building material. Bamboo is fast becoming a popular choice in Australia for flooring and furniture, but Mr Gutierrez said global construction industries could be transformed if building regulations incorporated bamboo as a structural building material option. …”Like timber, bamboo suffers a reduction in structural integrity at high temperatures, but our goal is to understand how that reduction occurs and how we can predict the failure of load-bearing elements in a building. “We aim to develop design frameworks that can predict how bamboo buildings will fare in fires, and these could be used to inform revisions of the Australian building regulations.”

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What are you wearing right now? If it’s rayon or viscose, chances are it comes from the Amazon

By Sam Rogers
Vogue Magazine, Australia
September 9, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Do you know what your clothes are made from? If the label says ‘rayon’ or ‘viscose’ then it’s likely that you’re wearing the rainforest, possibly from Canada, Indonesia or the Amazon, which continues to be ravaged by the estimated 2,500 active fires spreading throughout Brazil, Bolivia, and Paraguay. The plant-based fibres used for much of your wardrobe, from those silk-imitation dresses to that trusted cotton-blend T-shirt, were once thought to be eco-friendly alternatives to polyester due to their biodegradability. This is no longer the case, as Nicole Rycroft (founder and executive director of Canopy) points out, because these manmade materials are produced via the deforestation of the world’s last-remaining, irreplaceable old-growth forest. 

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Forestry

The Amazon’s forest fires are a global peril – but so are Canada’s

By Arno Kopecky
The Globe and Mail
September 6, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, International

…if the international community is going to start enlisting eco-warriors to save the planet’s trees in the name of fighting climate change, Canada had better get ready to be invaded too. That’s because our borders happen to contain the second-largest intact forest on Earth after the Amazon. It’s called the boreal and it’s been emitting more carbon than it absorbs since 2002. This is partly due to a logging industry that mows down more than 400,000 hectares of it each year, mostly to supply the United States with Kleenex and toilet paper. These clear-cuts release 12 per cent of the annual emissions Canada has agreed to cut by 2030 under the Paris Agreement. They also put us in third place for intact forest loss, accounting for 15 per cent of the global total, behind only Russia and Brazil – in fact, on a per capita basis, we lead them by a large margin.

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Farm trespass laws pass making it illegal to use websites, social media to incite others

By Kath Sullivan
ABC News, Australia
September 13, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

People who use a carriage service such as websites and social media to incite others to break into farms could be sent to jail under new laws passed through Federal Parliament. …Agriculture Minister Bridget McKenzie said farmers should feel safe at home and at work. The laws were opposed by the Greens but following amendments had the support of Labor. The Law Council of Australia… welcomed the amendments. The forestry industry also welcomed amendments which will see the new laws apply to timber and pulp mills under the definition of primary production businesses. The Australian Forestry Products Association’s Ross Hampton said the new laws sent a strong message to timber workers “that they should be allowed to go about their lawful business without fear of having their livelihoods compromised by illegal protests”.

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Cultural values important to forest stakeholders

By Bio-Protection Research Centre
Scoop Independent News
September 12, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Māori and non- Māori value different aspects of plantation forestry, which owners should bear in mind if they want to maximise their social licence to operate, a new study shows. In a paper published in in the international journal PLoS ONE, titled “Stakeholder valuation of soil ecosystem services from New Zealand’s planted forests”, the authors say understanding these values should also help in developing an assessment and monitoring tool for soil health in New Zealand’s planted forests. Scientists from the Bio-Protection Research Centre and Scion surveyed 145 forest stakeholders from seven groups to find out what forest soil ecosystem services they valued most. The seven groups were: forest owners, forest managers, land owners, land managers, wood processors, recreational forest users, and others with a vested interest in forest soils. 

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The Great Walk of Peace

By Donna Carman
Voice of the South
September 12, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

AUSTRALIA — Organizers are finalising the route and securing camping areas for the imminent Great Walk of Peace from Albany to Perth, scheduled to set off on September 29. The event celebrates the 30th anniversary of The Great Walk from Denmark to Perth, to deliver a message to the government of the day about saving old-growth native forests. A total of more than 1000 people took part in that event, which culminated in a 500-strong parade up St Georges terrace to Parliament house, where the charter was presented to premier Peter Dowding. …“I wanted to do something for the trees, to protect them,” Sam said. “I decided it was time to do The Great Walk again.

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Fires are burning where they never used to burn

By Greg Mullins, former Fire and Rescue NSW commissioner
The Sydney Morning Herald
September 10, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Greg Mullins

As northern NSW and southern Queensland burn, there has been much discussion about an “early” bushfire season. Unfortunately, this is our new normal. While the official NSW bushfire season has always been from October 1 to March 31, long term records show that fire seasons now start much earlier, and last longer. …This is a clear long-term trend, driven by the warming and drying effects of climate change. It is not conjecture, but established fact, verified by the CSIRO, the Bureau of Meteorology, and the Bushfire/Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre. …There is another, more far-reaching cost than the human impact: destruction of natural ecosystems and our fragile environment. …As sensitive ecosystems burn, and communities are threatened, we will hear the platitudes of concerned politicians… It’s time to see that matched by action in the form of genuine policies on climate change and protection of our unique environment.

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Iran’s Government Destroy Country’s Ecosystem

By Pooya Stone
Iran Focus
September 5, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

The deforestation disaster in Iran has been kept silent. In Iran, when we talk about the ecosystem, this phrase only evokes words like disaster, destruction, vanishing and annihilation! This is so serious that some experts predict that many parts of the Iranian plateau will become uninhabitable for decades if the current destructive trend continues! Without exaggerating, what the current regime of Iran has done with the country’s nature in four decades, tens of tyrannical and criminal regimes failed to do with Iran over thousands of years! …In fact, we are facing a chain of destruction and vanishing in the ecosystem cycle in Iran. Damages that, if not prevented, could make the same catastrophic prediction for the Iranian plateau! …Between 1900 and 2012, Iran’s forest acreage decreased from 19 million acres to 14.4 million, and shrunk to 10.7 million acres by 2015. That year. With the current deforestation, Iran will have no forest in the next 75-100 years.

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Ancient farmers burned the Amazon, but today’s fires are very different

By Kate Evans
National Geographic
September 5, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Across the burning Amazon, smoke is rising and fine particles of charcoal are falling softly to the ground. …According to NASA, this year’s fires are more intense than in previous years, too. But Brazil’s National Institute of Space Research has only been keeping fire records since 1998, and two decades isn’t long in the life of a forest where trees live for centuries and humans have been setting fires for millennia. Paleoecology—the study of ancient environments—offers unique insights into how the first Amazonian peoples manipulated fire in the landscape, the effects of those fires on the forest’s ecology over time, and lessons that might help to prevent modern fires. Layers of charcoal buried below the rainforest’s surface reveal that for thousands of years, the Amazon’s ancient inhabitants used fire to clear the forest floor for agriculture—and that it had a lasting effect, making those areas more fire prone today.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

California can help save the Amazon rainforest. Do we have the guts to try?

By William Boyd
The Los Angeles Times
September 12, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, International

Fires burning in Brazil and the broader Amazon basin are shining a spotlight on the role of forests and land use in the climate change challenge. Next week, the California Air Resources Board will hold a hearing that could have a direct impact on such fires. On Sept. 19, the board will vote on whether to endorse its proposed Tropical Forest Standard. California has been working on this standard for 11 years through a unique partnership with 37 other states and provinces from 10 countries around the world, including all of the states in the Brazilian Amazon. Full disclosure: I have served as the project lead for this effort since its inception. At its core, the Tropical Forest Standard establishes a set of performance benchmarks for what a high-quality state or provincial approach to reducing deforestation should aim for. 

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Tree-planting to offset carbon emissions: no cure-all

Associated Free Press in France 24
September 18, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

…as more polluting industries join efforts to offset their carbon emissions, the effectiveness of the approach is open to debate, with some critics suggesting that tree-planting schemes are nothing more than a fig leaf. Once marginal, the offset movement has even reached the arch-enemy of environmentalists: big oil. Shell has ploughed $300 million (270 million euros) into forest plantations to reduce its carbon footprint by 2-3 percent, Italy’s ENI has set an objective of zero net emissions via its forestry investments, and France’s Total plans to set up a special “business unit” next year to spend $100 million annually on compensation efforts. …While trees are an important tool for regulating the climate, reforestation alone cannot whitewash a company’s carbon-emitting activity, say activists. …Large-scale reforestation also poses other problems: the planted trees may compete with local cultures and forests and may not necessarily be beneficial to the local environment.

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World losing area of forest the size of the UK each year, report finds

By Fiona Harvey
The Guardian
September 12, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

An area of forest the size of the UK is being lost every year around the world, the vast majority of it tropical rainforest, with dire effects on the climate emergency and wildlife. The rate of loss has reached 26m hectares (64m acres) a year, a report has found, having grown rapidly in the past five years despite pledges made by governments in 2014 to reverse deforestation and restore trees. Charlotte Streck, a co-founder and the director of Climate Focus, the thinktank behind the report, said: “We need to keep our trees and we need to restore our forests. Deforestation has accelerated, despite the pledges that have been made.” The New York declaration on forests was signed at the UN in 2014, requiring countries to halve deforestation by 2020 and restore 150m hectares of deforested or degraded forest land.

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Forest protection likely to be new priority for EU Parliament

By Florence Schulz
EURACTIV
September 11, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Large areas of forest are being cleared worldwide for the agricultural industry. Although the EU requires its contracting partners to protect the environment, it lacks the means for enforcement. Environmentalists and the European Parliament see an urgent need for action.  The protection of forests should become one of the priorities of the European Parliament in the coming months. Contacted by EURACTIV, conservative MEP Peter Liese (EPP) confirmed that the Environment Committee (ENVI) is planning a hearing on the issue. The European Commission will also launch a legislative proposal. “Our forests, not only in other parts of the world but also in Europe, are an essential contributor to climate protection. And on top of that, they are an economic factor,” Liese said. The German MEP hopes that the plenary will already debate the deforestation issue in September’s session.

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Brazil: can technology help save the Amazon?

By Bryan Harris, Andres Schipani and Anna Gross
Financial Times
September 11, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

…Since the election last year of the far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, who is a keen advocate of opening up the Amazon to commercial interests, [some] groups have been chopping down and setting fire to trees with gusto.  Although far from a record, the trends this year have been alarming: figures released this week showed that the rate of deforestation last month was 222 per cent higher than the same month last year. …But the global furore over Mr Bolsonaro’s approach to the Amazon has also given oxygen to a very different view of how to manage the rainforest. It has focused attention on the disparate community of scientists, businesspeople and activists who believe that technological advances could be the key to promoting sustainable development and tackling deforestation. For them, the key to sidelining the Amazon’s more nefarious actors is to show that the conservation of land can be both economically profitable and environmentally valuable.

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An Artist Just Planted 300 Trees in a Stadium to Warn About Climate Change

By Nick Mafi
Architectural Digest
September 6, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

…Klaus Littmann [is] attempting to open the public’s eyes through his art. The 67-year-old artist has just planted some 300 trees in an Austrian soccer stadium—an incredible feat of physical art meant to challenge our perception of the future of our earth. Littmann had been wanting to do this project ever since he went to a Vienna exhibition and witnessed a 1970 drawing by the Austrian artist Max Peintner… Peinter’s work was a forest of trees planted in the middle of a stadium with a crowd of onlookers there for no reason but to look at the vegetation. …Littmann’s forest consists of a variety of trees that are native to Austria, as well as Central Europe. The instillation… is called For Forest—The Unending Attraction of Nature. …”The exhibition aims to challenge our perception of nature and question its future,” said Littmann.

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The unpopular tree sucking carbon from our air

By Eloise Gibson
Newsroom.co.nz
September 9, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Pinus Radiata grows like a weed, which is why it’s so fast at sequestering carbon. But since many people prefer native trees, forestry scientists are proposing an unconventional solution to get the best of both worlds. To measure how much carbon is in a tree, you first have to kill it. You slice up the trunk, branches, twigs, leaves and roots and dry the dismembered tree parts in an oven. Then you weigh them. “It takes a long time,” says Euan Mason, a professor at the University of Canterbury’s School of Forestry. “I did some in 2012 with two students, and in six weeks I think we did 25 trees.” Sacrificing trees like this is expensive, but researchers need these measurements. Typically, about half a tree’s dry weight is carbon, which you can multiply by roughly 3.7 to work out how much carbon dioxide the tree has sucked from the atmosphere.

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Climate change and forestry: the time for action is now

By the Forestry Commission
Government of the United Kingdom
September 5, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

There is now a convincing body of evidence that we are facing a climate emergency. Planting and managing trees, forests and woodlands so that they are fit for the future must be part of our nation’s response. Growing trees removes carbon dioxide from the air, and stores the carbon in wood products throughout their life. …They are a renewable source of energy today, and a sustainable raw material for the future bio-economy. But trees can only help reduce the negative impacts of a changing climate if they are resilient to those challenges themselves. As one of many signatories of the Climate Change Accord, we know that we must take urgent action. …The Forestry Commission has a key role to play, and we will continue to work closely with our Climate Change Action Plan partners and all parts of the tree, woods and forestry sector to protect our woodlands for future generations.

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Health & Safety

Report: Conveying biomass – A guide to belt selection

Dry Cargo International
September 5, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: International
Conveyor belts carrying biomass have to face the perfect storm; they operate in highly explosive, combustible environ­ments. They need to be completely anti-static and self-extinguish as quickly as possible if ignited. They convey materials that contain potentially damaging materials in terms of oils and resins. They are under constant attack by the elements including ozone pollution and ultra violet. They have to be safe, reliable and provide an operational life that is as long as possible in order to be economic. Belts that can cope with this multitude of demands are, of course, available. However, operators need to be absolutely sure of their provenance and need to be as sure as humanly possible that what the manufacture is promising is actually delivered. When it comes to carrying biomass, belts that are not of the highest standard are a very dangerous and expensive liability. 

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Forest Fires

Bolivia Is Fighting Major Forest Fires Nearly As Large As In Brazil

By John Otis
National Public Radioi
September 18, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International

…Bolivian firefighters, army troops and volunteers have been working nonstop for the past two months amid some of the worst fires in the country’s recent history. President Evo Morales, who is running for reelection next month, has suspended his campaign to deal with the expanding disaster. On Saturday, regional officials estimated nearly 6 million acres of forest and savanna have been torched since August. Eduardo Forno, who heads the Bolivian chapter of Conservation International, says that is almost equal to the area burned this year in the Amazon rainforest in neighboring Brazil, a country eight times larger. …Cecilia Requena says Morales’ government initially downplayed the extent of the fires and the response has been late, chaotic and ineffectual. …Now, a state sponsored TV campaign is portraying Morales as Bolivia’s firefighter in chief, with spots showing a determined-looking Morales spraying water on the flames.

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Indonesia ‘doing everything’ to put out forest fires: President Widodo

Channel News Asia
September 17, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International

PEKANBARU: Indonesia is battling forest fires causing toxic haze across southeast Asia with aircraft, artificial rain and even prayer, President Joko Widodo said during a visit to a hard-hit area. Forest fires are raging on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra, sending a choking fug across the region – including towards neighbours Malaysia and Singapore. During a visit to Riau province in central Sumatra on Tuesday, Widodo said nearly 6,000 troops had been sent to hot spots to help put out fires. “We have made every effort,” he said. …The toxic smoke caused by deliberate burning to clear land for plantations is an annual problem for Indonesia and its neighbours, but has been worsened this year by particularly dry weather.

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Indonesia sends more people, aircraft to battle forest fires

The Associated Press in the Times and Democrat
September 17, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International

JAKARTA, Indonesia — Indonesia’s president traveled to the area hardest hit by forest fires, as neighboring countries urged his government to do more to tackle the blazes that have spread a thick, noxious haze around Southeast Asia. President Joko Widodo flew to Riau province, where nearly 50,000 hectares have burned, to encourage authorities to get the haze under control. Widodo told reporters Tuesday in the provincial capital, Pekanbaru, that about 5,600 additional military personnel have been deployed to help the 9,000 people currently fighting the fires, which have razed more than 328,700 hectares (812,000 acres) of land nationwide. Forestry and Environment Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar said the ministry is investigating 370 plantation companies suspected of intentionally setting fires.

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Experts: Indonesia forest fires may not be extinguished any time soon

New Straits Times Online
September 16, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International

PEKANBARU, Indonesia: Thousands of Indonesian firefighters are locked in an around-the-clock game of Whack-a-Mole as they battle to extinguish an invisible enemy – underground fires that aggravate global warming. Vast blazes are ripping across the archipelago’s rainforests, unleashing a toxic haze over Southeast Asia that has triggered health fears and sent diplomatic tensions with Indonesia’s neighbours soaring. Jakarta deployed more than 9,000 personnel to battle fires turning land into charred landscapes and consuming forests in hard-hit Sumatra and Borneo island. But many of the blazes smoulder deep underground in once-swampy areas known as peatlands, where they can last for months and release eye-watering amounts of thick, acrid smoke. “It’s so much harder to fight fires on peatlands,” a dirty and exhausted Hendri Kusnardi told AFP outside smog-hit Pekanbaru city in Sumatra.

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Thousands pray for rain in Indonesia as forests go up in smoke

Reuters in The Telegram
September 11, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International

JAKARTA – Thousands of Indonesians prayed for rain in haze-hit towns on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo on Wednesday, as forest fires raged at the height of the dry season, the state Antara news agency reported. Fires have burnt through parts of Sumatra and Borneo island for more than a month and the government has sent 9,000 military, police and disaster agency personnel to fight the flames. Indonesia’s neighbors regularly complain about smog caused by its forest blazes, which are often started to clear land for palm oil and pulp plantations. But Indonesia said this week it was not to blame and fires had been spotted by satellites in several neighboring countries. Several parts of Southeast Asia have seen unusually dry conditions in recent months including Indonesia, which has seen very little rain because of an El Nino weather pattern, its meteorological department has said.

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