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In conversation with… UNFCCC

GFIS - 6 hours 52 min ago

Martin Frick, Senior Director for Policy and Programme Coordination at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), moderated a panel discussion on ‘Bamboo and rattan for climate change and green growth’ at the Global Bamboo and Rattan Congress (BARC). Here, he talks to INBAR about the importance of bamboo as a climate change solution. […]

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Tonight’s Weather Forecast: Unseasonably Hot Till 2022

GFIS - 14 hours 2 min ago

When it comes to climate, things are officially veering out of control.

In the towering Swiss Alps, skyrocketing temperatures — above 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 degrees Celcius) — have revealed a World War II airplane that was buried for over 70 years in a glacier.

In England, rare Andean flamingos are laying eggs for the first time in 15 years, because the weather reminds them of their tropical home.

In Denmark, a drought is costing farmers nearly a billion dollars. 

And an intercontinental heatwave is killing people across the Northern Hemisphere as it provokes devastating wildfires in Greece and California.

Broken Thermometer

It seems like global heat records are being broken year after year.  And a new study in Nature Communications suggests we won’t see any relief soon.

Using a novel statistical approach, the authors of the new study predict that the next five years — beginning this year — will be even warmer than expected.

In any one year, global temperatures are a consequence of two interacting factors, both of which are accounted for in the new study.

One of these is the escalating buildup of greenhouse gases, caused by over 30 billion tons of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases that humans spew into the atmosphere each year.

The other is natural climate variation, which results from a range of different factors, including occasional volcanic eruptions and cyclic variations in global sea temperatures that operate over multi-year time-periods.

The best-known of the oceanic cycles is the El Niño-Southern Oscillation, but there are others, such as the Indian Ocean Dipole.

“Global warming is not a smooth monotonous process,” the researchers write in the new paper.

Importantly, the authors looked at temperatures only on a global scale.  They did not attempt to predict which regions will experience heat waves or extreme temperatures.

But there’s no question the double-dose of warming will hit wildlife and biodiversity hard.  Animals and plants don’t have air conditioning.  

Climate change has already impacted innumerable species, from pikas to sea turtles, from Mexico’s lizards to Australia’s white lemuroid possum

Whole ecosystems, including coral reefs, mangroves, cloud forests, and of course the Arctic and Antarctic are being pummeled.

Hot Opportunity?

While the prediction for the next 5 years is anything but good, it may provide a political opportunity to convince leaders and the public of the urgency of combating global warming.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, humans are more easily convinced of the reality of global warming when it happens to be hot outside.

And there’s plenty of things we can do to combat global warming.

We can move far more actively towards green energy, while divesting from fossil-fuel companies and other heavy polluters.

We can pull out all the stops to protect and regenerate forests, peatlands, mangroves and other carbon-rich environments.

And we can decisively address the fundamental causes of environmental pressures, especially human population growth.

Yes, over the next 5 years, it’s almost certainly going to get warmer.

But we are not helpless.  It doesn’t have to be hot forever.

Jeremy Hance, a leading environmental reporter, is an occasional contributor to ALERT.




Chiara Longhi Recipient of the 2018 President’s Service Award for Excellence

GFIS - Sat, 18/08/2018 - 02:13
Chiara Longhi, Director of Student Services, for being selected for this year’s UBC President’s Service Award for Excellence.

How BINGOs are pushing the Green Climate Fund to subsidise REDD carbon markets

GFIS - Fri, 17/08/2018 - 18:59
A two day meeting is currently taking place at the Columbia Law School in New York of the Private Sector Advisory Group to the Green Climate Fund. On the agenda is the Green Climate Fund’s funding of forestry projects. One the first day of the meeting, speakers included Agustin Silvani from Conservation International, Barry Ulrich […]

Invasive plants: Scientists examine the relative impact of proximity to seed sources

GFIS - Fri, 17/08/2018 - 18:53
A new study tackles an important, unresolved question in the biology of invasive plants. Which is most important to the establishment of new invasive communities -- proximity to seed sources, canopy disturbance, or soil disturbance?

Australia – Forest industry adds 7.3 billion to Victorian economy

International Forest Industries - Fri, 17/08/2018 - 13:44

The forest industry contributed more than AU$7 billion to the Victorian economy last financial year. This includes AU$1.9 billion in direct sales, and a further AU$5.4 billion once flow-on effects in other industries are included, leading to a total contribution to gross regional product (the regional equivalent of GDP) of AU$779 million.

These figures are among the key findings of two reports funded by Forest and Wood Products Australia; the new Socio-economic impacts of the forest industry – Victoria report and an earlier report examining the Green Triangle region.*

The research was conducted by the University of Canberra in conjunction with consultancy EconSearch, a division of BDO Advisory. In terms of jobs, the Victorian forestry industry (excluding the Green Triangle Region) overall generated 14,475 direct jobs including almost 5,115 in primary processing, and over 9,360 in secondary processing.

The new report reveals:
– Softwood plantations generate the highest employment at 47.7% followed by native forests at 32% and hardwood plantations at 8.9%, with the remaining 11.4% dependent on native forests and plantations grown in other regions.

– The industry is an important contributor to the economy in several regional communities, and contributes to diversification of the economy in many regions. In Melbourne there were 7,717 jobs generated (mostly in secondary processing), 3,646 in the Central Highlands and Gippsland, 1,677 in the Western region, 1,435 in the North Central region.

– Of the jobs in primary processing, 55.3% are located in the Central Highlands and Gippsland, 19.6% were in the North Central region, 12.7% in the Western region and 12.4% in Melbourne.

– The Local Government Areas with the highest dependence on the forest industry for direct employment were Alpine (6.8%), Latrobe (4.7%), Benalla (4.7%), Colac-Otway (4.5%), Wellington (3.2%), East Gippsland (2.1%), and Murrundindi (2.0%).

– Between 2011 and 2016, there was growth of 22% in employment in the primary production part of the industry, driven in part by growth in harvest of hardwood plantations. However, during the same time, employment in wood and paper product manufacturing declined by almost 30% (29%).

Managing Director of Forest and Wood Products Australia, Ric Sinclair, said: “The employment trend in wood and paper product manufacturing is attributable to increases in labour productivity and reduced availability of hardwood sawlogs.”

Victorian forest industry workers are slightly less likely than those in other industries to earn lower incomes (less than $649 per week), largely due to the higher rates of full-time work, but also less likely to earn high incomes (above $1,250 per week). Recruitment was a challenge for industry, in particular difficulty recruiting managers and high-level professional staff (reported by 70% of businesses surveyed); transport workers (69%), heavy machine operators (67%) and field staff (63%). Sixteen per cent of forestry workers were women, compared to 48% of the broader labour force.


Lead researcher Associate Professor Jacki Schirmer said that businesses were relatively optimistic about future demand for forest products. “About half surveyed (51%) felt demand would remain the same, about one third (31%) felt that that demand would grow and a few (18%) that demand would reduce.

“There are still big challenges facing many businesses, including recruitment difficulties, increasing cost of labour, government regulations and rising input costs. In Victoria, as with other states, the majority of forestry jobs are generated by the processing sector, as is the majority of the industry’s flow-on economic impact. This highlights the importance of local processing of wood and fibre for the generation of jobs,” she said.

*Benefits from the Green Triangle that could not be attributed to either Victoria or South Australia in isolation have not been included.

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NZ Government doubles funding for tree-planting

International Forest Industries - Fri, 17/08/2018 - 13:24

The NZ Government is doubling to nearly NZ$500 million the funding for forestry tree-planting from its Provincial Growth Fund, meaning one-sixth of the NZ$3 billion, three-year fund will be spent on trees. Regional Development Minister Shane Jones announced the boost this week after the weekly Cabinet meeting.

The NZ$240 million commitment to plant some 60 million trees will be funded through the PGF with about NZ$118 million set aside for grants and a further NZ$120 million for partnership projects over three years and will come on top of the NZ$245 million already committed to the so-called ‘One Billion Trees’ project to kick-start the programme, which includes funding for joint ventures and the expansion of the Hill Country Erosion programme.

The funding would “support tree planting in areas where wider social, environmental, and regional development goals can be achieved” rather than clear commercial returns.

“We’re strengthening our support for planting over the next three to four years in areas where there are currently limited commercial drivers for investment, and where wider social, environmental or regional development benefits can be achieved,” said Jones in a statement.

“The new grants scheme will provide simple and accessible direct funding to landowners for the cost of planting and establishing trees and regenerating indigenous forest. Private landowners, government agencies, NGOs and iwi will all be able to apply.”

Forestry planting has emerged as a key element of the government’s efforts to tilt the New Zealand economy towards action on climate change, land erosion, water quality and regional unemployment, as well as producing a valuable commercial crop.

Source: BusinessDesk

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Conifex Timber 2Q revenues up 72%

International Forest Industries - Fri, 17/08/2018 - 11:46

Conifex Timber Inc. reported results for the 2Q ended June 30, 2018. EBITDA in the 2Q 2018, which excludes countervailing and anti-dumping duty deposits of $8.2 million, was a record $20.8 million, compared to $9.3 million in the 1Q 2018 and $10.2 million in the 2Q 2017.

Revenues totaled $200.3 million in the 2Q 2018, an improvement of 53% over the prior quarter and 72% over the same quarter last year. The revenue growth over the comparative quarters was mainly attributable to an increase in lumber segment revenues. The commencement of commercial operations in April 2018 at its El Dorado Mill contributed approximately 8% of total revenues.

Net income for the 2Q 2018 was $9.2 million, or $0.35 per share, compared to net income of $2.5 million or $0.10 per share in the previous quarter and $4.2 million or $0.16 per share in the 2Q 2017.

Year to date net income was $11.7 million, or $0.44 per share compared to $2.8 million or $0.12 per share for the same period last year. Net income for the first half of 2018 included deferred income tax expense of $4.2 million. There were no income tax expenses recorded for the first six months of 2017.

EBITDA was $30.1 million for the six month period ended June 30, 2018 compared to $16.3 million for the six month period ended June 30, 2017.

Conifex and its subsidiaries’ primary business currently includes timber harvesting, reforestation, forest management, sawmilling logs into lumber and wood chips, and value added lumber finishing and distribution.

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Healthy forests have a significant impact on our lives

GFIS - Fri, 17/08/2018 - 11:35
This August, Sapto Nugroho, a runner up in our 2017 ‘Experience Forests, Experience PEFC’ photo contest, shares the story behind his photo ‘Water Bombing’ and explains why forest fires are so dangerous for all of us. How do you feel about forests? I am closely involved...

-- Delivered by Feed43 service

Boise Cascade reports 2Q net income of $41.8 million

International Forest Industries - Fri, 17/08/2018 - 11:27

Boise Cascade Company reported net income of $41.8 million, or $1.06 per share, on sales of $1.4 billion for the 2Q ended June 30, 2018. 2Q 2018 results include $9.0 million of net after-tax losses, or $0.23 per share, from non-cash pension settlement charges.

“Both of our businesses delivered outstanding results in the second quarter. Wood Products made very good progress on engineered wood products pricing and took advantage of exceptionally strong plywood markets. BMD executed well and captured market opportunities at both the local and national level,” commented Tom Corrick, CEO. “I am very pleased that we further strengthened our nationwide distribution capabilities with the acquisitions in Nashville, Tennessee, and Medford, Oregon. Similar acquisitions remain a priority. As reflected by these acquisitions and our board’s decision to declare an additional dividend of $1.00 per share this quarter, we continue to have a strong focus on deploying capital to create shareholder value.”

Boise Cascade Company is one of the largest producers of engineered wood products and plywood in North America and a leading U.S. wholesale distributor of building products.

Photo: Tom Corrick, CEO Boise Cascade

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Metsä Group’s bioproduct mill reaches full capacity

International Forest Industries - Fri, 17/08/2018 - 11:00
Metsä Group’s next-generation bioproduct mill in Äänekoski, Finland, reached its nominal capacity in August 2018, according to plan. This makes Metsä Group the world’s largest producer of softwood market pulp. The bioproduct mill produced its millionth tonne of pulp on 8 August 2018.

The bioproduct mill was started up on 15 August 2017, on schedule and within budget. The start-up phase progressed in line with the target curve. The bioproduct mill produces 1.3 million tonnes of high-quality softwood and birch pulp annually, in addition to other bioproducts, such as tall oil, turpentine and bioenergy.

New bioproducts that already complement the product portfolio include product gas from bark, sulphuric acid from the mill’s odorous gases and biogas from the sludge from its wastewater treatment plant, as well as biofuel pellets.

The bioproduct mill serves as a platform for the production of new bioproducts, as well as further developing and expanding the industrial ecosystem in Äänekoski. Metsä Group is actively exploring various processes and product paths. Key bioproduct development projects include pulp-based lignin products and textile fibres.

Metsä Group is a forerunner in sustainable bioeconomy utilising renewable wood from sustainably managed northern forests. Metsä Group focuses on wood supply and forest services, wood products, pulp, fresh fibre paperboards and tissue and cooking papers.

The post Metsä Group’s bioproduct mill reaches full capacity appeared first on International Forest Industries.

Western Forest Products enters into new $250 million credit facility

International Forest Industries - Fri, 17/08/2018 - 10:39
Western Forest Products Inc. has entered into a new $250 million syndicated credit facility. The credit facility matures on August 1, 2022 and includes an accordion feature of $100 million.

The credit facility replaces Western’s existing $125 million revolving credit facility and $110 million revolving term loan facility, which would have matured in December 2018 and June 2019, respectively. The credit facility will be used for general corporate purposes, and has terms consistent with current market standards.

Western Forest Products Inc. is an integrated Canadian forest products company and the largest coastal British Columbia timberlands operator and lumber producer.

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Genetic differences in trees untouched by mountain pine beetles

GFIS - Thu, 16/08/2018 - 21:31
A researcher has discovered that mountain pine beetles may avoid certain trees within a population they normally would kill due to genetics in the trees.

India Presents the First Bonn Challenge Country Progress Report

GFIS - Thu, 16/08/2018 - 18:41
Despite the limited data on private sector and NGO restoration efforts, the report emphasizes the vital role that all stakeholders play in the planning and implementation of restoration programmes. At the first Bonn Challenge roundtable in Asia, held in May 2017, restoration pledges for the region crossed the 150 million hectare milestone.

ECLAC Urges Countries to Change Development Paradigm to Combat Climate Change, Achieve Sustainable Development

GFIS - Thu, 16/08/2018 - 18:05
The publication examines nine theses or assumptions related to climate change and sustainable development in LAC and seven challenges they pose. These assumptions and challenges are supported by a series of graphics and illustrations.

Bird communities dwindle on New Mexico's Pajarito Plateau

GFIS - Thu, 16/08/2018 - 15:14
Researchers have found declines in the number and diversity of bird populations at nine sites surveyed in northern New Mexico, where eight species vanished over time while others had considerably dropped.

Logging site slash removal may be boon for wild bees in managed forests

GFIS - Thu, 16/08/2018 - 15:14
New research suggests the removal of timber harvest residue during harvesting may be a boon for wild bees, an important step toward better understanding the planet's top group of pollinators.

James Jones & Sons acquires Billington International

International Forest Industries - Thu, 16/08/2018 - 14:41

James Jones & Sons (Pallets & Packaging) Ltd has announced the acquisition of one of the UK’s leading pallet collar manufacturers, Billington International Ltd, for an undisclosed sum.

The deal will see James Jones & Sons (Pallet & Packaging) Ltd take immediate control of the Billington Group, with business operations continuing from Billington’s current office and warehouse premises in Rotherham, Yorkshire to ensure a smooth transition for the Group’s long-standing and loyal customer base and staff.

The acquisition has been made to further expand the James Jones & Sons (Pallet & Packaging) range of products and services, which includes new pallets, pallet repair, pallet management, recycled pallets and bespoke packaging solutions, and to strengthen its market position in the pallet and packaging sector.

Billington International was launched in 1985 by Frank Billington and has grown to become a leading provider of wooden pallet collars, with an unrivalled reputation for quality products and customer service. The Billington product range includes new pallet collars, used and recycled pallet collars and collar accessories with the business supplying a wide range of retail businesses across the UK.

James Jones & Sons (Pallets & Packaging) Ltd was formed in 2016 following the acquisition of a number of long-established pallet and packaging businesses in the north of England and Wales – Unit Pallets in Golborne, TWP in Gateshead and Larch in Wrexham – over the last two decades.

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CLT suffers a set back when US ‘poster’ project fails

GFIS - Thu, 16/08/2018 - 00:45
Few, if any, construction projects on an Oregon campus have undergone the kind of scrutiny that Oregon State University’s Peavy Hall has faced. But then again, few projects are carrying the load that Peavy Hall has shouldered. Source: Democrat Herald Not only is the new building intended to be the home of OSU’s College of Forestry, it also is intended to showcase a technology that could help revitalize the state’s wood-products industry. Peavy was meant (and still is meant) to be a poster project for the use of cross-laminated timber panels, glulam columns and other engineered wood products rather than steel and concrete for structural support. It hasn’t worked out that way thus far for Peavy, the centerpiece of a planned three-building Oregon Forest Science Complex. The project has been dogged by controversy from the start: Some students and faculty in the College of Forestry say that the original Peavy Hall, which was torn down in 2016, could have been renovated for far less than the cost of a new building. The budget for the entire Forest Science Complex has ballooned from $60 million to $79.5 million. The building was meant to be ready in the fall of 2017, but that timeline has been repeatedly modified amid rising construction costs and other issues. Just last week, this newspaper reported about yet another delay. OSU officials now hope to open the building in the fall of 2019. Worse, a construction accident has fueled worries about the very cross-laminated timber products that Peavy was meant to showcase, even though those products have been in use in Europe for more than two decades. On March 14, part of a 4-foot-by-20-foot section of CLT subflooring on the third floor of Peavy buckled and tumbled onto the floor below. No one was injured when the 1,000-pound sheet of wood fell. OSU and builders immediately hit the pause button on the project to determine what went wrong. The issue was traced to a glitch in the manufacturing process at the DR Johnson mill in Riddle, where preheating of 2-by-6 boards resulted in improper curing of adhesives holding the cross-laminated layers of wood together. The situation was quickly corrected by the manufacturer, but CLT panels that had already been installed had to be evaluated for potential problems. To date, OSU officials said, 40 faulty panels have been replaced and another 45 have been identified for replacement. Others are still being evaluated for safety. OSU remains committed to the use of CLT panels in the complex. OSU Vice President Steve Clark, in a story about Peavy that recently ran in The Oregonian, said he preferred to think about the setbacks “as a learning moment that we hope will never happen again.” But the Peavy affair has opened a window for CLT skeptics. “The OSU building is a godsend,” The Oregonian quoted an official with the Portland Fire Fighters’ Union as saying. “They found a defect. Now, they need to take a break and listen to all the stakeholders.” In fact, firefighters — worried that CLT structures might be more susceptible to flames than traditional concrete-and-steel structures — have signaled opposition to plans to build skyscrapers with the panels. And plans to build a 12-story skyscraper in Portland and a similar structure in Manhattan have been scrapped. So, you can bet Peavy will be the center of attention as construction resumes on the complex. “You’ve got a new product coming on line and the last thing you need is a failure,” said a consultant quoted by The Oregonian. “You just can’t afford any black eyes early in the development.” Now, the question of whether CLT and similar techniques can truly help to revitalize Oregon’s wood-products industry may hinge on whether Peavy can shake off that shiner. That healing requires OSU to be as open as possible about Peavy’s progress — and any additional issues — for the rest of the construction period and after it opens its doors.

Trees growing faster but they are lighter

GFIS - Thu, 16/08/2018 - 00:44
Trees are growing more rapidly due to climate change. This sounds like good news. After all, this means that trees are storing more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in their wood and hence taking away the key ingredient in global warming. But is it that simple? Source: Timberbiz A team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) analyzed wood samples from the oldest existing experimental areas spanning a period of 150 years – and reached a surprising conclusion. The team led by Hans Pretzsch, Professor for Forest Growth and Yield Science at the TUM, examined wood samples from several hundred trees and analyzed every single annual ring using a high-tech procedure — a total of 30,000 of them. “The heart of the LIGNOSTATION is a high-frequency probe which scans each sample in steps of a hundredth of a millimeter,” Prof Pretzsch said explaining the analysis procedure. “By doing so, we measure the specific weight of the wood with an accuracy and resolution which until recently was unthinkable.” The wood samples come from the oldest experimental forest plots in Europe which were created at the same time the TU Munich was founded 150 years ago. The samples were taken from common European tree species such as spruces, pines, beeches, and oaks. “We have detailed knowledge of the history of every single plot and tree,” Mr Pretzsch said. “This allows us to rule out the possibility that our findings could result from the forest being managed differently now as compared to a hundred years ago.” With the combination of wood samples from the 1870s to the present day coupled with the latest measurement technology, the team at the School of Life Sciences Weihenstephan were able to demonstrate that the annually growing wood has gradually become lighter since observations began: By up to 8% to 12% since 1900. Within the same period, the volume growth of the trees in central Europe has accelerated by 29% to 100%. In other words: even though a greater volume of wood is being produced today, it now contains less material than just a few decades ago. However, the explanation which immediately comes to mind does not apply. “Some people might now surmise that the more rapid growth could itself be the cause for our observations,” said Dr Peter Biber, co-author of the study. “In some tree species, it is in fact the case that wider annual rings also tend to have lighter wood. But we have taken this effect into account. The decrease in wood density we are talking about is due to other factors,” he said. Instead, Pretzsch and his team see the causes as being the long-term increase in temperature due to climate change and the resulting lengthening of the vegetation period. But the nitrogen input from agriculture, traffic, and industry also play a part. A number of details lead experts to surmise this, such as the decrease in the density of late wood and the increase in the percentage of early wood in the annual rings. Lighter wood is less solid and it has a lower calorific value. This is crucial for numerous application scenarios ranging from wood construction to energy production. Less solid wood in living trees also increases the risk of damage events such as breakage due to wind and snow in forests. But the most important finding for practical and political aspects is that the current climate-relevant carbon sequestration of the forests is being overestimated as long as it is calculated with established but outdated wood densities. “The accelerated growth is still resulting in surplus carbon sequestration,” Pretzsch said. “But scaling up for the forests of central Europe, the traditional estimate would be to high by about 10 million metric tons of carbon per year.”  


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