Tree Frog Forestry News

Region Archives: International

Froggy Foibles

Elephants help forests store more carbon by destroying smaller plants

By Sam Wong
The New Scientist
July 15, 2019
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: International

Elephants do a lot of damage to plants as they stomp around the jungle, but, counterintuitively, this activity increases the biomass of the forest, letting it store more carbon. If elephants were to go extinct, the amount of carbon stored in central African rainforests could ultimately fall by 7 per cent, according to a new analysis. …Fabio Berzaghi at the Laboratory of Climate and Environmental Sciences in Gif-sur-Yvette, France… built a model of plant diversity and simulated the impact of elephants by increasing the mortality of smaller plants. …The model showed that elephants reduce the density of stems in the forest, but increase the average tree diameter and the total biomass. …These effects may also account for the differences between African and Amazonian rainforest. 

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People are stapling slices of bread to trees and residents are so confused

By Ewan Somerville
Gloucestershire Live
July 15, 2019
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: International

…Residents in the South Yorkshire city have been left perplexed by slices of white bread popping up on tree trunks left right and centre. Yes, you read that right, people are stapling slices of bread to the bark. … “This week the trees on the north side of the road have been ‘decorated’ by persons unknown with slices of white bread which have been stapled in place. “They are on the north side of the road and on the north east sides of the trees. Is this part of some weird new cult?” …stapling bread to trees is actually a very weird, slightly deranged, mildly hilarious viral online craze. Online geeks from around the world have been showing off their bread-tree fancies on a Reddit thread,with some even branching out from the classic loaf to em-BARK on a slice of bagel stapling.

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Queen insists she is ‘still perfectly capable’ of planting a tree at 93

By Robert Jobson
London Evening Standard
July 9, 2019
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: International

The Queen was not letting the small matter of her advancing age stand in the way of that most quintessential royal job: tree planting. Rejecting an offer of help on Tuesday to plant a hornbeam sapling, the 93-year-old declared: “No, no, I’m still perfectly capable of planting a tree.” With that she seized the spade and started energetically shovelling in the soil to commemorate 100 years of the National Institute of Agricultural Botany just outside Cambridge. The NIAB chairman Jim Godfrey had been primed to plant the tree for her, and for Her Majesty to “supervise”. …Tina Barsby, chief executive of NIAB said: “It was very impressive to see her planting the tree. She wasn’t scheduled to plant the tree, it was just to supervise the planting. But she handed her handbag to her someone and seized the spade. She obviously wanted to do it!”

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Business & Politics

China still a vital market for hardwood from United States

By Li Yan
Ecns.cn
July 5, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, International

The American Hardwood Export Council is optimistic toward the Chinese market and committed to discovering more demand for sustainable products despite the headwinds resulting from trade tensions between the two countries. As the largest export destination for U.S. hardwood, China remains a crucial market for the U.S. hardwood industry and the industry is committed to working with the China market, said Michael Snow, the council’s executive director. …Despite the trade dispute, during the past 28 years in the Chinese market, the AHEC said Chinese consumers’ awareness of high-quality sustainable materials has grown. …The trade friction between the two countries has led to a yearly decline in the export volume of U.S. hardwood lumber from January to April. …”American hardwood lumber exports totaled $484 million in China from January to April, a decline from the previous year.

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Stora Enso Evaluates Expansion in Wood Products

By Stora Enso
Cision Newswire
July 18, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

HELSINKI — Stora Enso has initiated feasibility studies for a possible cross laminated timber unit in connection with its Ždírec mill in the Czech Republic and a new construction beam unit to be located at the Ybbs mill in Austria. Stora Enso also plans to consolidate production to increase focus on efficiency and to streamline the asset base. …The proposed expansion in Ždírec would add a total annual capacity of approximately 120 000 m3of CLT. It would be Stora Enso’s fourth CLT unit, following the inauguration of the Gruvön CLT unit in Sweden earlier this year. The study is expected to be completed by the end of 2019.

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M’sia’s furniture exports to US jump amid trade war

By Sulhi Khalid
The Malaysian Reserve
July 18, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

THE country’s furniture exports to the US jumped 20.8% to RM1.55 billion in the first five months of 2019, as American buyers shifting their orders to South-East Asian countries due to the ongoing US-China trade war. Malaysia External Trade Development Corp CEO said furniture exports saw an increase of 9.6% to RM4.14 billion, compared to the corresponding period last year. The main exports of Malaysian furniture include wooden bedroom furniture, chairs with wooden frames, office furniture and kitchen furniture. He also urged the industry players to explore the possibilities of transitioning from original equipment manufacturing, to original design manufacturing or original brand manufacturing, as the country has a strong pool of furniture exporters with a niche in manufacturing. …“The furniture industry has also been recognised as one of the main industries capable to drive the transformation of the manufacturing industry into one that champions Industrial 4.0,” he added.

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Afghanistan’s Forests Are Turning a Profit for the Islamic State

By Stefanie Glinski
Foreign Policy.com
July 15, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

AFGHANISTAN — …Small numbers of fighters for the Islamic State of Khorasan Province, the Afghan branch of the militant group, have been in Kunar since 2015. But the group’s new stronghold is in Kunar’s deep forests, inheriting a booming wood industry previously controlled by the Taliban that is now generating a growing income for Islamic State militants. Safi’s government outpost in Chawkay district is along one of the front lines for the war on the Islamic State. But it’s also a key entry point for smugglers bringing wood from the forests to other parts of Afghanistan or neighboring Pakistan. The provincial government banned the sale of wood in 2016, fearing increasing deforestation. …“After terrorism, wood smuggling is the second biggest problem here,” explained Kunar’s deputy police chief, Col. Mohammed Yousuf.

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Wood fiber costs for softwood pulp manufacturers in 16 countries have gone up the past two years

By Hakan Ekstrom
Wood Resources International LLC
July 11, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

The Softwood Fiber Price Index (SFPI) has risen the past two years. In the 1Q/19, the Index reached its highest level since 2014, according to the Wood Resource Quarterly. Higher wood fiber costs in the US South, Russia and New Zealand contributed to most of the rise of the SFPI in late 2018 and early 2019. It is likely that the upward trend will come to a halt during the summer, and then start to decline in the second half of 2019. The cost of wood fiber for the world’s pulp industry has trended upward for over two years because of higher demand and a tightening regional supply of wood fiber. From the 1Q/17 to the 1Q/19, prices for pulplogs and woodchips (in the local currencies) have gone up in all 17 countries tracked by the WRQ. The only exception has been in Eastern Canada, where an oversupply of sawmill residues has put downward price pressure on both logs and chips.

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The Global Sawlog Price Index fell 1.8% in the 1Q/19 to its lowest level in two years

By Hakan Ekstrom
Wood Resources International LLC
July 9, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

Seattle, USA—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, WRI estimates show that the total trade of softwood logs in 2018 reached a new record high of 93 million m3. This was up from just 61 million m3 immediately following the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) in 2007/08, a remarkable 52% increase in trade in just ten years. Over the past decade, imports by Asia, Eastern Europe, and the Nordic countries have increased the most, while imports to Central Europe have grown more modestly. Log imports to China (the world’s largest log importer) actually fell eight percent in the 1Q/19 from the previous quarter, the biggest quarter-over-quarter decline in four years, reports the WRQ. 

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Logging crisis a warning about putting all our eggs in China’s basket

By Andrew Dickens
NewsTalkZB.co.nz
July 10, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

NEW ZEALAND — …Forestry contributes $5.2 billion a year to our economy. …But the tree trade has toppled. New Zealand logs are piling up on Chinese wharves as cheap, sawn timber makes its way by train into the People’s Republic from Russia and Scandinavia. Five million tonnes of logs, mostly from New Zealand are sitting on wharves in China unsold. …NZ Forest Owners Association president Peter Weir says it’s time to put the forestry business on hold for about 6 months and wait and see. …The timber that’s undercutting us is coming from Europe on trains that take 15 days to get there rather than 45 on a boat. The trains are part of China’s belt and road initiative. …The second thing was that our logs are being undercut by sawn timber out of Europe. And finally the price of logs.  It used to be $140 a tonne now it’s fallen to $110 a tonne.  

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New Zealand log export trade could take 6 months to recover after price slump

By Jamie Gray
The New Zealand Herald
July 10, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

New Zealand’s log export trade to China could take four to six months to recover and it’s unlikely prices will revisit recent highs any time soon, rural economists said. Logs are piling up on Chinese wharves as a wave of cheap timber makes its way by train into China from Eastern Europe, toppling prices along the way. At the same time, economic growth in China is cooling and the renminbi is weakening. “A” grade log prices have gone from US$138/140 a tonne early in the year to US$110 a tonne, and could sink as low as US$100 to US$105/tonne. [To access the full story a NZ Herald subscription is required]

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Hundreds of job losses expected as value of log exports to China drop

By Laura Tupou
The Newshub
July 8, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

NEW ZEALAND — Hundreds of people in the regions could be out of a job and out of pocket after a fall in the value of log exports to China. Forestry is New Zealand’s third largest export earner, and more than half of the logs that leave our shores go to China – where we’re the largest supplier. That means any dip in price there, is felt hard here in Aotearoa. …An oversupply of logs to China has pushed prices down, dropping nearly 20 percent over the past month. Larger companies are likely to weather this storm, but it’s a different story for the smaller players. …”We’re going to see reduced hours, certainly possibly down by 50 percent in a number of cases,” said David Rhodes, chief executive of the New Zealand Forest Owners Association.

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Falling log prices may make some woodlots unprofitable – ANZ

By Rebecca Howard
Scoop Independent News
July 8, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

In-market prices for logs in China – New Zealand’s largest export market – have fallen in recent weeks and ANZ Bank warns the drop will make the harvest of some woodlots unprofitable. While some price softening is not unusual at this time of year as construction activity slows in the hot months, “the scale of the correction was unexpected,” said ANZ agriculture economist Susan Kilsby. The price of an A-grade log landed in China has fallen from US$130/JAS cubic-metre in early June to approximately US$105/JAS cubic-metre. “The current price level is difficult to quantify as the market has been moving rapidly downwards and in this environment, buyers are unwilling to commit to pricing,” she adds. While some exporters are optimistic the bottom may have been reached “this seems unlikely given the quantity of logs sitting on wharves in China is expected to increase,” Kilsby says.

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Woodchip price in Australia through the roof thanks to Asian demand

By Matt Brann and Hugh Hogan
ABC News, Australia
July 7, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

Australia’s largest processor and exporter of woodfibre, Midway Limited, which has recently acquired a logging and haul business in Western Australia, expects demand will continue to grow and has been steadily investing in forestry projects around the nation, including in the Tiwi Islands in the Northern Territory. Midway’s managing director Tony Price said it was a good time to be in woodchips. “Over the last couple of years we’ve enjoyed a couple of significant price increases, with the current price for Tasmanian blue gum [woodchip] in the order of US$182 (AUD$260) per bone-dry tonne and that’s the highest it’s ever been,” Mr Price said. …Mr Price said demand from China had now exceeded Japan, and some mills in Indonesia were emerging as valued customers as well.

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German Log Exports To China Soar

By Jo English
International Forest Industries
July 3, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

In January-May, log imports to China from Russia declined 26.2% y-o-y to 3.6 million m3 with import value dropped 27.2% to $439.8 million, according to China Customs data. U.S. log exports to China fell 39.5% to 1.6 million m3, export value decreased 44.6% to $338.4 million. Share of Russia in Chinese log imports slid 4.97 pp to 14.3% and share of U.S dropped 4.16 pp to 6.5%. From January through May, log imports to China from New Zealand expanded 15.4% to 7.4 million m3 with import value surged 13.2% to $1.04 billion. Australian log exports to China jumped 29.9% to 2.5 million m3, while average price declined 18.5% to $109 per m3. Log exports from Germany to China soared 243.0% to 959.0 thousand m3, average price fell 39.8% to $153 per m3. Total Chinese log imports slid 0.59% to 24.9 million m3, while average price decreased 12.1% to $169 per m3.

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Finance & Economics

Södra posts a strong result in a declining market

Sodra
July 18, 2019
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: International

Södra’s operating profit for the first half-year totalled SEK 2,009 million, compared with SEK 2,257 million in the year-earlier period. Return on capital employed was 19 per cent, which surpassed Södra’s target of 10 per cent.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Experts demand urgent removal of cladding from tower blocks

By Robert Booth
The Guardian
July 18, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

More than 100 more tower blocks must be urgently stripped of combustible cladding panels in a significant widening of the fire safety crisis since the Grenfell Tower disaster. High-pressure laminate (HPL) panels, often made from compressed wood and paper and used to produce colourful patterns on new buildings, should be removed “as soon as possible” from housing taller than 18 metres, the government’s expert panel on fire safety demanded on Thursday. The order could affect thousands of tenants and leaseholders who previously believed their homes were safe. Industry experts believe at least 100 residential tower blocks will be affected. Delays to safety reforms ‘risk a repeat of Grenfell disaster’

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A Paris firefighter shared her harrowing account of what it was like inside Notre Dame as they battled the devastating inferno

By Sinéad Baker
The New York Times in Insider.com
July 17, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

A Paris firefighter spoke about the desperate battle against blaze roaring through the centuries-old cathedral, from feeling “powerless” to realizing what strategy the firefighters should take to stop the iconic building from collapsing. Master Corporal Myriam Chudzinski, told The New York Times that she and other fighters were in the cathedral when its famous, 750-ton spire collapsed. …Her team travelled to the cathedral’s attic, where the fire was ravaging the ancient wooden construction, and were forced to come back down as the fire raged and wood began to fall to the cathedral’s floor. But the team had noticed something about the fire’s direction that gave them a new strategy, and ultimately saved the cathedral from collapse. This new plan required the firefighters to let the roof burn and focus their efforts on saving the northern tower, which they felt would take down the rest of the cathedral if it fell. 

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Could wooden skyscrapers be the answer for sustainable construction?

By Malibongwe Tyilo
Maverick Life
July 13, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

In search of sustainable methods of construction, Swedish construction company, Folkhem, is building on a vision of the future of wood in construction. …However, concrete is by far South Africa’s most popular building material. …With the reality of climate change some in the construction business are looking to more sustainable solutions. Swedish property developers, Folkhem and Swedish architect firm, Wingårdhs, are on a mission to expand possibilities of wood in construction …Trees, being made of carbon-based compounds, absorb and store carbon dioxide from the air, therefore reducing the amount in the atmosphere. According to Folkhem, their eight-storey development has total carbon emissions of “minus 1 000 tonnes”. …The wood is also treated to be fireproof… While steel reinforcements can be broken down by heat resulting in collapse, the fireproofed wood is much more likely to withstand the fire. …”we can build houses forever, as long as we take care of the forest,” adds Folkhem CEO

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A timber observation tower with a vertical forest is proposed for Zagreb

By Lucy Wang
inhabit
July 10, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Istanbul-based design studio SUPERSPACE has proposed a new landmark for Croatia’s capital of Zagreb that combines an architecturally striking observation tower with a vertical forest in the heart of the city. Dubbed Ascension, the timber structure would serve as a “new gate” between the historic parts of the city and the post-war areas. If built, the tower would be the 10th tallest building in all of Zagreb and one of the tallest wooden structures in Europe. …The Ascension tower features three main parts: a white and convex outer “shell” that symbolizes the revitalization of the new city; a timber-lined inner “shell” that symbolizes the identity of the old city; and a vertical forest of trees planted on multiple levels of the high-rise to create a visual link to Zagreb’s forested landscape. 

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Over 440 companies across the world remove misleading “go green – go paperless” messaging

Two Sides
July 9, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

CHICAGO, IL – Environmental claims such as “go green – go paperless” and “save trees” are regularly used by banks, telecoms, utilities, insurance companies and many other service providers, as they encourage their customers to switch from paper to lower cost electronic bills and statements.  However, a Two Sides global anti-greenwash campaign operating since 2010 has found that the majority of these claims are unsubstantiated and misleading. To date, Two Sides has successfully engaged with 441 companies worldwide to remove or change such claims about print and paper.  Sectors showing the highest occurrence of greenwashing include telecom providers, banks and financial institutions, utility providers and governmental organizations. In North America, 120 companies, including many of the Fortune 500, have changed or removed their environmental claims following discussions with Two Sides.

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Researchers Invented a New Eco-Friendly Way to Build with Wood

Nature World News
July 8, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

In recent years, scientists have created shape-shifting materials that twist and bend when exposed to certain stimuli, such as moisture or heat. …Now, scientists from the Institute for Computational Design and Construction at the University of Stuttgart have figured out a way to bring these same properties to … wood. …The team of researchers working on the project have created a 46-foot tall twisted tower made of wood to demonstrate their technique. The tower is comprised of 12 wooden components, which were made by laminating two pieces of wood using different levels of moisture. The laminated pieces of wood were then dried out, which caused the material to curve naturally without the need for braces or molds. The technique could be used to create bar furniture, living room tables and virtually any other piece of wooden furniture. While challenges lie ahead, the new technique could lead to more environmentally-friendly, economical buildings in the future.

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Toilet paper is getting less sustainable, researchers warn

By Rebecca Smithers
The Guardian
July 5, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Toilet paper – the one product that the majority of us use just once and flush away – is becoming less sustainable, according to research. Analysis from Ethical Consumer magazine found that major brands were using less recycled paper than in 2011, while only five of the nine major supermarkets (the Co-op, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose) offered an own-brand recycled toilet paper. The large-scale use of virgin paper contributes to unnecessary deforestation. The UK uses 1.3m tonnes of tissue a year, according to the Confederation of Paper Industries, with the average British consumer reportedly getting through 127 rolls every year. But the growing trend for “luxury” four-ply and quilted toilet roll is fuelling the use of virgin pulp in an effort to create the softest product, the study claims. “There is no need to cut down forests to make toilet roll, yet this is precisely what is happening,” said Alex Crumbie, a researcher for Ethical Consumer.

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Forestry

New state-owned timber resource to be harvested by Indigenous company

Mirage News
July 19, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Cape York Timber, an Indigenous-owned business that processes timber at its Cooktown sawmill, has been granted a 10-year sales permit to harvest state-owned native forest log timber which will have local employment benefits. The issuing of the sales permit follows completion of a competitive sale process undertaken by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, with assistance from the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships. Member for Cook Cynthia Lui said the 10-year permit would provide jobs and certainty in the region. “This new sale to harvest 5000 cubic metres of timber annually from state leasehold land until the end of 2028 will provide employment and training opportunities for local Indigenous communities through harvesting, transport, processing and other associated enterprises,” Ms Lui said.

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The cost of peace in post-conflict countries: forest cover

By Dilukshi Handunnetti
The Napali Times
July 19, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

The advent of peace in four countries that experienced wars hasn’t been kind to the environment, with a new study showing greater rates of deforestation during peacetime than during conflict. The paper, published in the journal Land Use Policy, shows how Nepal, Sri Lanka, Peru and Ivory Coast experienced ‘alarming forest loss’ in the years immediately after the end of their wars. …The nature and duration of the conflict in each country differed. …What the four countries do share, however, is loss of forest cover. The average rate of deforestation in the five years after the end of the respective conflicts was 68% higher than in the last five years of the conflicts, according to the study. The data, based on analysis of Landsat satellite imagery, gave the global average rate of increase in deforestation as 7.2%.

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NSW remaps old-growth forests to open up reserves to logging

By Lisa Cox
The Guardian
July 17, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

The New South Wales government is considering reclassifying old-growth forest to open up some protected reserves in the state’s north-east to the timber industry. The Natural Resources Commission of NSW has been asked to remap and rezone old-growth forest in state forest informal reserves that were previously off limits to logging. Environment groups are concerned the move is an attempt to unpick forest protections that have been in place for decades. An NRC pilot study has already examined 13 sites in the north-east. In findings published last year, the NRC said it had identified “significant errors” in old-growth forests maps. It drew up new maps that reduced the extent of protected old-growth in those areas by 78%. It is now embarking on a larger remapping exercise that would aim to rezone 14,600 hectares of old-growth. A draft assessment will be published for public comment next month.

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Native bears and wolves to live side by side in Britain for the first time in 1,000 years

By Emma Smith
The Independent
July 16, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Native bears and wolves will live side by side for the first time in more than 1,000 years in a patch of ancient British woodland. European brown bears, which are thought to have disappeared in the Middle Ages, will roam beside grey wolves, the last of which were hunted to extinction in the 17th century, in a wood near Bristol. The project, called Bear Wood, will give visitors the chance to see how these animals would have coexisted in the woodland that used to cover much of Britain. Today only 13 per cent of the UK’s total land area is covered in woodland and only 2 per cent is covered by ancient woodland, which has existed continuously since 1600 or before. Across the EU, an average of 35 per cent of land is covered in woodland. Two Eurasian lynx and two wolverines will also live beside the bears and wolves in Bear Wood.

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EurActiv: ‘rescEU’: A European fleet to fight forest fires

Focus News
July 11, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

BRUSSELS — More than 200 people were killed in forest fires across Europe in 2017 while more than 100 perished in flames last summer. This year, a new EU-backed fleet of fire-fighting planes is getting ready to prevent further disasters, EurActiv reports. Seven fire-fighting aircraft and six helicopters – this is how the so-called “rescEU” fleet looks like at the moment. These first assets were made available by six EU member states to fight forest fires. And they can be mobilised at any moment, at the request of European or foreign countries. …“We have recently seen forest fires rage throughout Europe, from north to south, from east to west. And fires don’t respect borders,” said Christos Stylianides, EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, who was speaking at the Torrejón air base for the official launch of “rescEU”.

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Toxic processionary caterpillar plague spreads across Europe

BBC News
July 9, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Germany and the Netherlands are battling many infestations of oak processionary caterpillars, whose tiny toxic hairs can trigger allergic reactions and skin irritation. The mild winter and warm spring this year boosted caterpillar numbers. …Germany’s western Ruhr region is densely populated and among the worst affected by the caterpillars. The caterpillars – measuring 2-3cm – can wreak havoc in oak trees, as they feast on the young leaves. …Special teams there and elsewhere have donned protective gear and used firefighters’ lifts to reach the treetops, where they have attacked OPM nests with blowtorches or big vacuum cleaners. …The tiny hairs are carried in the wind and contain a toxin, which can cause rashes, eye irritation, coughing or even an allergic reaction. The caterpillar nests are too dangerous to touch.

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Mexico extends $100 million reforesting program to Honduras

Associated Press in the Longview Daily News
July 8, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

MEXICO CITY  — Mexico said Monday it will extend a reforestation program to Honduras, and increase funding to $100 million to create jobs in Central America and stem migration from the region. Mexico had already announced a $30 million tree-planting program for El Salvador and that money is presumably part of the $100 million total effort. Marcelo Ebrard, Mexico’s foreign relations secretary, said Honduras’ president is expected to finalize details in a visit to Mexico this month. Ebrard said creating jobs will do more to stop the flow of migrants than border enforcement measures. It is unclear whether Guatemala will also join Mexico’s reforestation program. A similar plan to plant fruit and lumber trees is already being implemented in southern Mexico; it is one of the pet projects of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

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World Wildlife Fund warns on “super fires” afflicting Europe and calls for forestry management

The MercoPress
July 7, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Global conservation group World Wildlife Fund (WWF) warned on Thursday of the risks from new faster-spreading “super fires” in the wake of heat waves and droughts that have been afflicting Europe in what many see as a symptom of climate change. Although the Mediterranean is the area most affected by wildfires, traditionally wetter northern European countries have recently also struggled with huge forest blazes. …“The current policy regarding fighting wildfires, which is based exclusively on a system of extinguishment, is obsolete and inefficient in fighting a new kind of ‘super fires’,” said the report. It called for more prevention measures, including better forestry management. …At least 13 people have died in Europe’s most recent heat wave, with many countries such as France surpassing their highest ever recorded temperatures. Over 1,400 European wildfires have already been reported in 2019.

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The wrong kind of trees: Ireland’s afforestation meets resistance

By Rory Carroll
The Guardian
July 7, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Ireland is ramping up its response to the climate crisis by planting forests – lots of forests. East, west, north, south, the plan is to plant forests, the more the better. With enough trees, goes the hope, Ireland can compensate for many of the cows, vehicles and fossil-burning power plants that make it one of Europe’s worst climate offenders. From having just 1% forest cover in 1900, Ireland now has 11%, covering 770,000 hectares. It has just committed to planting 8,000 more hectares each year to reach 18% coverage. … But some in Ireland have a problem with the great green vision. They say Ireland is planting the wrong sort of forests – dark, dank abominations that kill wildlife, block sunlight and isolate communities. “It’s like a wall around you, dead, darkness. It’s suffocating. We’re losing the landscape,” said Edwina Guckian, a member of Save Leitrim, a group that is resisting plantations.

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Brazil president rebuts European criticism over environment

The Associated Press in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
July 5, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Jair Bolsonaro

RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro rebutted European criticism over his commitment to the environment on Thursday, saying that foreign leaders have historically influenced decisions that are hindering Brazil’s progress. The far-right president said he had flown over Europe twice and hadn’t seen “even a square kilometer of forest.” …His comments came two days after French President Emmanuel Macron threatened to boycott a recently signed free trade agreement …if Brazil abandoned the Paris climate accord and his environment minister said the country must respect its commitments to protecting the Amazon rainforest. The trade agreement needs the endorsement of each signatory country’s congress. …In June, deforestation in the Amazon grew by 88% compared to the same month last year, according to the National Institute of Space Research.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Nearly half of companies with deforestation risk aren’t addressing it

By Steve Zwick
GreenBiz.com
July 17, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, International

Deforestation and illegal agriculture still account for roughly 20 percent of all greenhouse gasses, leaving major producers of soy, beef and other commodities exposed to regulatory and reputational risk as the Paris Agreement comes into force. Many companies have spent the last decade restructuring their supply chains — some to do the right thing, and others to reduce their exposure to climate transition risk. New research by the Forest Trends Supply Change initiative, however, shows that 44 percent of the 865 companies most associated with deforestation risk haven’t made any public commitments to reduce that risk. Specifically, according to analysis summarized in “Targeting Zero Deforestation,” just 484 of the 865 companies that Supply Change identifies with the most forest-risk exposure have committed to sourcing commodities sustainably.

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What role does biomass have to play in our energy supply?

By Gary Hartley
Energy Saving Trust
July 17, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

UNITED KINGDOM — Biomass is a renewable energy source, generated from burning wood, plants and other organic matter, such as manure or household waste. It releases CO2 when burned, but considerably less than fossil fuels. We consider biomass a renewable energy source, if the plants or other organic materials being burned are replaced. As the UK moves away from fossil fuel, it’s interesting to note which are the most prevalent energy sources replacing coal. Biomass only contributed around 4% during the UK’s longest spell of electricity generated without coal to date, while other ‘green’ options like wind and solar accounted for 12 and 11% respectively. However, The Renewable Energy Association’s June 2019 report suggests that bioenergy could triple from the levels we see today to 16% by 2032 – and could play a role in getting the UK back on track with emissions reduction targets.

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Construction industry called on to reduce carbon emissions

RNZ.co.nz
July 18, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

NEW ZEALAND – Sustainable building advocates want the construction industry to be given a clear signal to reduce its carbon emissions. Stats New Zealand said emissions from the construction sector jumped 66 percent in the decade to 2017. The sector is already looking to adapt, but some said it would need help to justify the investment. Creating cement is inherently carbon intensive, with a chemical reaction decarbonising limestone. …Public submissions on the government’s Zero Carbon Bill closed earlier this week, and the Green Building Council said it was an opportunity for the industry. …”The second thing the government could do is start to include things like embodied carbon and energy efficiency in the Building Code for future regulation.”

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China says its greenhouse gas emissions soar over 50% from 2005 to 2014

CNBC News
July 15, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

China’s climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions hit 12.3 billion tonnes in 2014, up 53.5% in just a decade, the environment ministry said on Monday, citing the country’s latest carbon “inventory” submitted to the United Nations. China’s carbon emissions data is notoriously opaque, but as a signatory to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Beijing is obliged to submit an official inventory to the UN on a regular basis. It has previously released figures for 2005 and 2010. …The 2014 figure… includes China’s emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane, but does not make adjustments based on changes in land use or increases in forest coverage. The environment ministry said if the impact of forests and other “carbon sinks” were taken into consideration, total emissions would have stood at 11.186 billion tonnes in 2014, still up 17% from 2010.

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A Massive Plan To Expand Forests – And Save The World

By Sasha Stashwick
Natural Resource Defense Council
July 11, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Forests are some of the most incredible places on Earth – teeming with life, filtering our drinking water, and providing us myriad outdoor recreation opportunities. Trees are also the most effective means to capture and store carbon, making them our frontline defense against climate change. For the first time ever, landmark researchpublished this week quantifies how global forest restoration could help us address the climate crisis. The conclusions are astounding: The restoration of Earth’s forests could capture two-thirds of man-made carbon emissions. The researchers call for a global reforestation action plan to capture this potential. …This new research on the massive climate mitigation potential of a global reforestation agenda places in stark relief the choice between a future in which we prioritize maximizing carbon storage by forests vs. one where forests are burned for energy. 

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Finland’s forestry myth undermines its radical climate ambition

By Kaisa Raitio
The Climate Home News
July 9, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

The first major event of Finland’s EU Presidency takes place in Helsinki on Tuesday, when politicians, business leaders and researchers from across the continent gather to discuss the future of the bioeconomy in the EU. For Finland, the European Bioeconomy Scene 2019 Conference, is a chance to show other nations the way forward: how natural resources – in Finland’s case, the boreal forests that cover two-thirds of the country – can help other member states wean themselves away from fossil fuels, and supposedly into the promised land of a low carbon economy. …Finland’s bioeconomy strategy – as the best available science shows – neither mitigates climate breakdown nor tackles the biodiversity crisis. It also fails to safeguard the rights of the country’s indigenous Sámi people. …Yet successive Finnish governments have promoted a bioeconomy which relies on relentlessly increasing harvests of the country’s forests, while ignoring the evidence of its effects.

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French oil giant to invest $136m yearly to preserve forests

The Associated Free Press in The New Paper
July 8, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

AIX-EN-PROVENCE, FRANCE — The head of French energy giant Total announced on Saturday that the company would invest US$100 million annually on a new forest preservation and reforestation project. “We want to set up a business unit to invest in projects that will preserve forests,” chief executive Patrick Pouyanne told a meeting. “The most effective way today to eliminate carbon, for less than US$10 a tonne, is reforestation,” he said. “This is not philanthropy,” he added. “It is about investing in the medium- and long-term. …Mr Pouyanne was speaking just days after Total said it had begun producing biofuel at a refinery in southern France, a project that has sparked an outcry from environmentalists and farmers over its plans to import palm oil.

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