Sometimes conservation controversies explode so fast in one place that it becomes almost white-hot.
That’s what’s happening right now in the Amazon—with a cyclonic mix of good and bad news.
We summarize here some of the key highlights.GOOD NEWSBIG NEW PARK
First, Peru has just declared an expansive new national park in the Amazon. Yaguas National Park encompasses the biologically richest ecosystems on the planet, and will span about 870,000 hectares (nearly 2.2 million acres) along the Putumayo River in northeastern Peru.
The new park sustains two-thirds of Peru’s freshwater fish species as well as thousands of plants, birds, and other fauna.
From Mongabay.com (2018).
In addition to protecting nature, the park will benefit indigenous residents by helping to limit illegal logging and gold mining—which threaten their health and livelihoods.
ALERT’s John Terborgh, who has conducted research in Peru for over a half-century, heralds the good news but says, “Declaring a park is only the first step. The proof of the pudding will be in its implementation [by the government].”
Fingers crossed for this vital new park.MEGA-DAMS
Second, in what could become an earth-shaking precedent, Brazil has just backed away from its intensely controversial policy of building giant hydropower dams in the Amazon Basin.
Such dams not only flood large areas of forest—seriously harming biodiversity, generating major greenhouse-gas emissions, and displacing local peoples—but also require networks of new roads for dam construction and maintenance.
By cutting into intact forests, such roads often catalyze sharp increases in forest destruction and degradation—such as fires, illegal mining, poaching, and illicit logging.
The government of Brazilian President Michel Temer—facing possible impeachment for corruption allegations and barely clinging to political power—has traditionally favored the planned mega-dams. Why the sudden change in policy?
ALERT’s Philip Fearnside, a top Amazon expert, suggests the move has been prompted both by resistance from environmental and indigenous groups, and by the ongoing corruption allegations—particularly those involving hefty government contracts awarded to corporations for dam construction. Brazil’s suffering economy hasn’t helped either.
Whatever the reason, the Temer government has correctly decided—at least for now—to halt one of the most environmentally dangerous and financially risky policies in the Amazon.BAD NEWSROAD-BUILDING FRENZY
In terms of ‘bad news’, one need look only at the incredible spate of ongoing, planned, and proposed road projects in Amazonia. If constructed in their entirety, these projects would massively fragment and degrade the world’s largest rainforest.
For example, there is the massive Manaus-Porto Velho Highway (BR-319), which could help to chop the Amazon in half (see this recent ALERT video).
Beyond this, Peru is funding an avalanche of new roads near its border with Brazil. A recent study suggests these roads, if completed, would lead to the loss of over 270,000 hectares of forest (680,000 acres).
Potentially worse is a proposed highway between Iquitos and Saramiriza in northern Peru—a project that would cut a massive swath through the Peruvian Amazon, including key protected areas and indigenous reserves.
This proposal is not yet funded, but if it proceeds it would be incredibly dangerous environmentally and socially. Peru’s president, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, is formally supporting it, although his own Ministry of Transport does not.
Keep your eyes on the Iquitos-Saramirizia highway—a potential disaster for the Peruvian Amazon.THE CLOSER ONE LOOKS...
And a final alarm bell: scientists have just learned that deforestation rates in the Brazilian Amazon are much higher than was previously thought.
The European Community’s new Sentinel satellites—which have much better spatial resolution than the U.S. Landsat satellites used for the past several decades—are finding much more destroyed or damaged forests on the ground.
With a more accurate picture, it turns out that the Amazon is in considerably worse shape than we thought before. Many forests that were formerly assumed to be intact are actually logged or fragmented.
This is important because degraded forests are particularly vulnerable to fire—as evidenced by large areas of damaged forest that are currently aflame in the Amazon.IN SUMMARY
One could list various other worries—a wild government plan to deforest much of Beni Province in Bolivia, or China’s massive railway scheme that would cut right across South America—but the examples above make the point.
The Amazon is boiling right now, with both good and bad news. It’s a crucial time for conservationists to raise their game.
Our federal forests suffer from the chicken and egg conundrum. The Forest Service has reduced its harvest volumes over the last 30 years, which drastically changed the landscape of the forest industry. Now we have large voids where mills used to dot the map. We currently face a forest health where the Forest Service needs … Continue reading "Right-sizing the Forest Industry"
Our thoughts today at Coast Forest are with all of those affected by this morning’s fire at Terminal Forest Product’s Mainland Sawmill Division. The well-being and safety of these men and women are foremost on our minds during this difficult time
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In Wood Markets’ new five-year softwood lumber forecast, the continuation of U.S. duties on Canadian lumber exports to the U.S. is expected to cause more short-term market and price volatility. The preliminary duties launched earlier in 2017 rocked the U.S. market and more of the same is expected in 2018. The Wood Markets outlook report predicts more chaos and the chance of further record-breaking prices in North America, while global lumber supply tightens and exports grow.
The recent announcement of final countervailing (CVD) and anti-dumping (ADD) duties on Canadian lumber exports to the U.S. will cause lumber prices to remain near record levels in 2018 and even higher at various points over the next five years, Wood Markets/FEA Canada predicts. This is because Canadian lumber production and Canadian exports to the U.S. are forecast to ease in 2018.
“Simply put,” said Russ Taylor, managing director, Wood Markets/FEA Canada, “by restricting incremental Canadian lumber exports via import duties, there may not be enough lumber supplies to adequately balance with projected U.S. demand. There will need to be major increases in U.S. lumber capacity (which is starting to build), more offshore imports, and/or record-level prices to stimulate more supply. The question that we have seen coming for a number of years is: Where will the U.S. get all of the lumber it needs, and at what price?”
While the timing of supply and demand forces is always unpredictable, the group forecasts that the first real “supply gap” could occur as early as 2019. This is when there may not be enough incremental lumber supplies that are readily available to meet overall projected U.S. demand, without seeing an increase (versus the forecast decrease) in Canadian lumber imports.
“What this all could mean,” said Taylor, “is that ongoing price volatility can be expected again in 2018, and even more so in 2019 and/or 2020, when further record-level lumber prices are forecast in the U.S. market.”
Some of the regional trends for North America are summarized here:
– As the import duties on Canadian lumber imports will give many U.S. mills a substantial cost advantage, a surge of capacity expansions has already started and more are expected. This should allow American mills to increase their market share of its home market.
– From near 34 billion bf in 2017, total U.S. output is forecast to increase by around 10 billion bf by 2022, depending on the mill capacity increases in the U.S. This forecast production surge is considered to be a very aggressive and will be difficult to achieve, but it is considered possible given the improved competitive advantage of U.S. mills as lumber prices rise.
– Canadian lumber production is expected to dip slightly in 2018 and potentially in 2019 from the impact of U.S. import duties and tight timber supplies. Exports to China are forecast to increase slightly, but this will depend on lumber price levels as compared to the U.S. price, net of import duties.
– The B.C. Interior timber harvest will drop as import duties marginalize some sawmills, as well as from the impact of lower output from uneconomic mountain pine beetle-killed timber.
– As a higher cost region in Canada, Eastern Canadian mills could have difficulties, at times, to absorb import duties when lumber prices soften. However, is it expected that by 2020 (and maybe sooner), more exports will be required to fill the expected U.S. “supply gap”.
European structural softwood lumber imports are forecast to ramp up dramatically to take advantage of the pending supply gap, that should keep lumber prices at high levels. The magnitude of European softwood lumber exports to the U.S. is difficult to predict, but higher prices will attract more volumes to the U.S.
Source: Wood Markets/FEA Canada
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New Zealand log exports hit a new record last year, underscoring the concerns of local manufacturers that the country is sending too many unprocessed logs overseas, posing a threat for local timber supply in the future and undermining the goal to add more value to exports.
The country exported NZ$2.41 billion of softwood logs in the first 11 months of last year, surpassing all previous records for any full calendar year, according to the latest Statistics New Zealand figures. Data for the full year will be released on 30 January.
New Zealand is experiencing strong demand for logs from China, which has clamped down on harvesting its own forests and reduced tariffs on imported logs to meet demand in its local market. In the first 11 months of 2017, New Zealand exported NZ$1.81 billion of logs to China, above the level for any full calendar year and accounting for 75 percent of softwood exports.
Increased shipments of raw logs goes against the aim of successive governments to add more value to commodities and riles the wood processing sector, which says more manufacturing needs to be done at home to sustain the local industry. It says an upswing in demand for wooden housing could see supply having to be met from overseas if the current situation prevails.
Prior to the election, the wood industry, representing New Zealand’s third-largest export commodity group, was annoyed at the lack of attention it received from the Ministry for Primary Industries which it felt was more focused on food safety, agriculture, horticulture and biosecurity of the border. Forestry, it was felt, was at the bottom of the MPI pile and fronted by junior ministers and officials.
The industry starts this year in a more upbeat mood with the new coalition government’s commitment to re-establish the Forest Service, plant more trees, focus on regional economic development, require greater scrutiny of overseas investment in forestry, and improve the Emissions Trading Scheme for forestry amid industry concerns that foresters couldn’t compete with rival land users such as dairy farmers under the current system.
“We are certainly on the radar now with the government very much pushing in the right direction. The whole industry has a much higher profile now,” said Jon Tanner, chief executive of the Wood Processors & Manufacturers Association of New Zealand. “Forestry worldwide has to have the hand of government.”
While government initiatives gave the industry more optimism about the long-term future, Tanner said uncertainty remained around the shorter-term issue for the domestic market of more unprocessed logs heading overseas. “We are still very concerned about the competition in the market right now and where that is going and how that is going to be regulated and tackled,” he said. “We have got a major problem in the set-up of the market. We have got a lot of logs being exported, and it’s being increased.
“The demand out of China, all the pundits are saying, it’s just only going to increase.” Other wood exporting countries such as Canada and Russia support their local industries while Chinese wood manufacturers benefit from subsidies, creating an uneven playing field for New Zealand processors, according to the WPMA which would like to see the government take a complaint to the World Trade Organisation.
Tanner said the WPMA was contacted by its counterparts in Australia late last year who were starting to experience a similar problem of increasing log exports to China.
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At the Pöls location, the ANDRITZ PrimeLine MG plant will produce environmentally friendly MG paper for flexible packaging and release applications. With an annual capacity of 100,000 t and a design speed of 1,400 m/min., PM3 is setting a new benchmark in the production of this type of product. The unique machine design enables the production of grades with low basis weight and highest strength at best printability and smoothness levels. Start-up is scheduled for mid-2019.
The scope of supply comprises the entire stock preparation line and approach flow system. One key component is the ANDRITZ Vertical Screw Thickener, which thickens the pulp efficiently from a consistency of three percent to between 25 and 30%. The complete MG paper machine with its high-precision MG cylinder is the centerpiece of the plant. The PrimeDry MG cylinder with a diameter of 24 ft (7.315 m) will be the largest of its kind worldwide. Besides full responsibility for the technology, the ANDRITZ scope of supply also includes the automation equipment, an extensive range of services, and the basic and detail engineering.
This order confirms the very successful partnership between Zellstoff Pöls and ANDRITZ. At the end of 2013, both partners successfully started up PM2 at the Pöls location, and this has been the benchmark for MG specialty paper machines worldwide ever since then.
With this investment, Zellstoff Pöls – the largest manufacturer of high-quality Elemental Chlorine-Free (ECF) sulfate pulp from bleached softwood in Central and Southeastern Europe – is extending its paper production capacities for MG paper grades at the site in Pöls.
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ANDRITZ is a globally leading supplier of plants, equipment, and services for hydropower stations, the pulp and paper industry, the metalworking and steel industries, and for solid/liquid separation in the municipal and industrial sectors as well as for animal feed and biomass pelleting. Other important business segments include automation and service business. In addition, the international Group is also active in the power generating sector (steam boiler plants, biomass boilers, recovery boilers, and gasification plants) and in environmental technology (flue gas cleaning plants) and offers equipment for the production of nonwovens, dissolving pulp, and panelboard as well as recycling plants. The publicly listed technology Group is headquartered in Graz, Austria, and has a staff of approximately 25,700 employees. ANDRITZ operates more than 250 sites in over 40 countries.
ANDRITZ PULP & PAPER
ANDRITZ Pulp & Paper is a leading global supplier of complete plants, systems, equipment, and comprehensive services for the production and processing of all types of pulp, paper, tissue, and cardboard. The technologies cover the processing of logs, annual fibers, and waste paper; the production of chemical pulp, mechanical pulp, and recycled fibers; the recovery and reuse of chemicals; the preparation of paper machine furnish; the production of paper, tissue, and cardboard; the calendering and coating of paper; as well as the treatment of reject materials and sludge. The service offering includes system and machine modernization, rebuilds, spare and wear parts, on-site and workshop services, optimization of process performance, maintenance and automation solutions, as well as machine relocation and second-hand equipment. Biomass, steam, and recovery boilers, as well as gasification plants for power generation, flue gas cleaning plants, plants for the production of nonwovens, dissolving pulp, and panelboard (MDF), as well as recycling plants are also part of this business area.
“And it was actually the results obtained with PM1 together with the efficient assistance service and the optimal inter-personal relationship with Recard”, underscores Jalila Mezni, President, CEO and majority shareholder of Lilas SAH – featured by “Forbes” in 2015 among the one-hundred most influential women in the Arab world – “that naturally led us to choose the company again for PM2. Recard’s corporate dimensions are a guarantee and a certainty that we will be considered special customers and not merely a number.”
Created in 2009, Azur Papier began producing in 2013. Before the supply of PM1, its activity was exclusively focused on converting. Thanks to the trust placed in Recard, it decided to also move into the realm of production with a view towards strengthening the group’s independence as far as tissue supply is concerned.
A simple farming technique is proving effective in staving off food shortages in Kenya The female farmers of Makueni County in southeastern Kenya rarely expect to triumph over their parched, unpropitious soils. A pick, a spade and a...
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