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Jaguars and well-managed logging concessions can coexist, say conservationists

GFIS - Fri, 23/03/2018 - 15:48
Logging activities in biodiverse forests can have a huge negative impact on wildlife, particularly large species such as big cats, but a new study proves that the Western Hemisphere's largest cat species -- the jaguar (Panthera onca) -- can do well in logging concessions that are properly managed.

Two new “Areas of Interest” announced for marine protection in Nova Scotia

GFIS - Fri, 23/03/2018 - 12:49
HALIFAX – The Nova Scotia Chapter of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS-NS) welcomes today’s announcement by the federal government that it intends on creating two new marine protected areas in the waters surrounding Nova Scotia.

After 10 years: goodbye to Kees

GFIS - Fri, 23/03/2018 - 12:20
It has been ten years since Kees Boon, together with student Johan Vlieger, founded PEFC Netherlands. But the time has come for us to say goodbye to Kees, as he officially retires as Chairman of PEFC Netherlands on 1 April 2018. “Kees has been instrumental in establishing PEFC in the...

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GFIS - Fri, 23/03/2018 - 11:10

Ecosystems are being rapidly fragmented as the human footprint spreads across the Earth.  ALERT’s Mason Campbell, from James Cook University in Australia, tells us about a key initiative that might help nature to survive the onslaught.

Humans are quickly chopping up the natural world, isolating wildlife populations and making them more prone to extinction. 

This is happening faster today than ever before.  Roads have already sliced the world’s natural habitats into more than 600,000 pieces.

Most worryingly, the world’s tropical forests — the biologically-richest ecosystems on Earth — are rapidly approaching a ‘fragmentation threshold’, according to new research in Nature, the world’s top-ranked scientific journal. 

If we don’t stop cutting down tropical forests, the research suggests, in a half-century we have up to 33 times more forest fragments than we have today. 

Thus, fragmentation is becoming the ‘new normal’ — especially in the tropics.  What we can do to help nature survive?


One popular idea is to create conservation corridors, to help wildlife traverse fragmented landscapes and reduce the impacts on vulnerable species. 

But to date, most large-scale investments in wildlife crossings have occurred in North America, Europe, and Australia — not in the tropics.

A notable exception is the Highway 304 Wildlife Corridor currently under construction in Thailand.  Despite initial concerns, there are some reasons for optimism.

Upon completion, the corridor will link two major forest blocks that comprise an area of biological magnificence, the Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai Forest Complex (DPKY), a World Heritage Site. 

The two forest blocks have been isolated by a major highway and associated land development, illegal logging, and wildlife poaching.

Linking the two forest blocks could improve survival prospects for critically-endangered Indochinese Tigers – hopefully by allowing tigers from one forest block (Dong Phayayen) to repopulate the other block (Khao Yai), where they’ve been extinct since 2002. 

This would be a vital leap forward – as this is one of only two places on Earth where Indochinese Tigers are known to breed.


As a feat of engineering, the corridor is impressive.  The most important segment includes 430 meters of vehicle tunnels, 570 meters of elevated roadway, and many mini-culverts below the road for small wildlife.

In addition, the Thailand Department of Highways is funding ranger stations at key points along the corridor, to help deter wildlife poachers and illegal loggers.

But a conservation corridor like this far from cheap.  So far, over US$41 million has been invested, and the project isn’t completed yet.


The Highway 34 Wildlife Corridor demonstrates that Thailand is willing to invest serious money to help sustain one of its most environmentally important areas. 

The Thai government deserves applause from the global conservation community for its efforts – and for what might eventually become an iconic effort to sustain nature in Asia.

But Thailand’s project also reveals just how expensive and challenging it can be to reduce the impacts of habitat fragmentation from road expansion.

That's scary given that paved roads in Asia’s developing nations will double in length in the next three years

Even more alarming, China’s trillion-dollar “One Belt One Road” initiative will create vast networks of new roads, railways, and extractive industries that will crisscross much of Asia, Africa, and Europe.

China is trying to convince the world that it shouldn’t worry – that its mega-initiative can be managed in a way that won’t devastate nature. 

But few experts are buying China’s arguments.  In fact, there are enormous environmental, social, and financial risks to worry about. 

Indeed, the lessons from Thailand’s conservation corridor suggest it would be incredibly expensive – and even potentially impossible – to contain environmental damage from the One Belt One Road projects. 

Urban Forests and Sustainable Cities: encouraging the youth to think about a greener future

GFIS - Fri, 23/03/2018 - 10:16
  David Ganz, Executive Director | RECOFTC – The Center for People and Forests Earlier this week, I was fortunate to participate in the opening of the 5th Annual Student Debate on forests and sustainable cities hosted by RECOFTC – The Center for People and Forest, and our colleagues from FAO and UNEP. This event, which included […]

A visit from the President of Cameroon

GFIS - Fri, 23/03/2018 - 09:15

H.E. Paul Biya visited INBAR as part of his state visit to China 22 March 2018 – On Friday INBAR welcomed the President of Cameroon, H.E. Paul Biya, to their Headquarters in Beijing. H.E. Biya is in China on a state visit, and has already met with the President of China, H.E. Xi Jinping. Today, […]

The post A visit from the President of Cameroon appeared first on INBAR.

Fire departments from across the state have provided firefighters and fire engines that have been stationed throughout the Texas Panhandle and West Texa

GFIS - Thu, 22/03/2018 - 23:14

Fire departments from across the state have provided firefighters and fire engines that have been stationed throughout the Texas Panhandle and West Texas for response to wildfires that have burned near 52,000 acres this year. 

To protect the world’s forests, we must start with its cities

GFIS - Thu, 22/03/2018 - 23:00

Out with the old. As urban centers grow, a new approach is needed to care for landscapes

The Future of Coast is Now

GFIS - Thu, 22/03/2018 - 22:16

As Coast Forest Products Association completes its final days of operation, I’m reminded of the fact that while the players may change, the coastal forest sector is – and will always be an important and permanent fixture in British Columbia.  In this job I have said a thousand times that every day the men and women in this industry show up, roll up their sleeves …

The post The Future of Coast is Now appeared first on Coast Forest.

World Celebrates International Day of Forests 2018

GFIS - Thu, 22/03/2018 - 18:14
The international community celebrated the 2018 International Day of Forests on 21 March, with events and publication launches around the world, focusing on theme 'Forests and Sustainable Cities'. Special events were organized at UN Headquarters in New York, US FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy, and the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. FAO launched a new publication on 'Forests and Sustainable Cities - Inspiring Stories from around the World'. UNEP signed an MOU with Ethiopian Airlines that will 'Plant one tree for every passenger flown'.

Council of Europe Reports Contributions to SDGs

GFIS - Thu, 22/03/2018 - 17:54
The Council of Europe has released data on how its pillars, sectors and programme contribute to the SDGs. Users can view the Council's contributions by individual SDGs. The Council of Europe invests approximately €200 million in cooperation programmes that aim to contribute to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

SDG Tracker Fosters Engagement with Indicator Data

GFIS - Thu, 22/03/2018 - 17:25
The ‘Our World in Data’ project has launched the SDG Tracker, currently in prototype form. The SDG tracker uses a range of indicators to provide illustrations of progress against each SDG target – not only the indicators included in the UN’s indicator framework. Trends are presented visually and an accompanying blog explains key findings.

Spring is prime time for spread of deadly oak wilt disease

GFIS - Thu, 22/03/2018 - 17:12

AUSTIN, Texas — The big, beautiful live oaks that line your street and shade your home aren’t indefensible. There’s a silent killer that at this very moment could be creeping down your block, one yard at a time. Considered an epidemic throughout Central Texas, oak wilt is one of the most destructive tree

How to grow a bamboo industry

GFIS - Thu, 22/03/2018 - 06:09

The Indonesian bamboo industry is underdeveloped and missing opportunities. More support is needed.

The post How to grow a bamboo industry appeared first on Agroforestry World.

Climate Change Theory

GFIS - Thu, 22/03/2018 - 05:43

Climate Change caused by human activity is a theory.  Is it possible that human activity is influencing the earth’s climate? Sure.  Is it probable that it’s having an effect on our climate? It seems likely.  That doesn’t change the fact that it’s still a theory.  Basing a movement on a theory and calling those that … Continue reading "Climate Change Theory"

The post Climate Change Theory appeared first on Theforestblog.

Event: Global Land Forum 2018

GFIS - Thu, 22/03/2018 - 04:02
The Global Land Forum (GLF) will convene International Land Coalition (ILC) members, government representatives, and other stakeholders from around the world to advance understanding of the complex and dynamic political, economic, environmental and social linkages between land governance, food security, poverty and democracy. The GLF aims to creates opportunities for participants to learn from, and contribute to, land governance successes and challenges. The programme is structured to provide opportunities to participants who may not commonly interact to debate, exchange, learn from each other’s experiences and successes and build linkages so that new perspectives can emerge. The Forum is also an opportunity for ILC’s 206 members to adopt a declaration with common commitments to action during their Assembly of Members. Following a series of in-depth field visits, the main conference will open on the Indonesian National Peasants’ Day, 24th September, with a day focusing on Indonesia and Asia.

What is blue carbon?

GFIS - Thu, 22/03/2018 - 02:08

A look at ongoing research into the world’s water-based carbon sinks

Top picks for profits on Forests Day

GFIS - Thu, 22/03/2018 - 00:40
Blazing threats of global warming have raised panic alarms across the globe, leading to greater consciousness toward building up forestry. Probably this is why a single day has been accommodated since March 21, 2013, to honor the worth of forest reservation. Source: Nasdaq Agreed, it is a socially-conscious idea, but the investing world has a lot to benefit from forestry.  Many companies are engaged in the timber industry. The industry has a low or negative correlation with traditional asset classes. Including this asset class in one’s portfolio provides excellent portfolio diversification, resulting in low volatility of portfolio returns. Investors might be surprised to know that timber ETFs like iShares Global Timber & Forestry ETFWOOD have easily surpassed broader market indices like the S&P 500 this year. The fund has gained more than 37% in the last one year (as of Mar 20, 2018). Lumber prices have been benefiting from the supply crunch (due to last year’s wildfires in Canada’s British Columbia, the world’s top exporter of softwood lumber) and strained trade relations between Canada and the United States. Last April, President Donald Trump announced a tariff of up to 24% on imports from the Canadian softwood lumber industry. Amid rising prices, US builders are reported to be hoarding lumber ‘for what is expected to be one of the busiest construction seasons in years,’ according to Wall Street Journal. Agreed, housing starts slipped 7.0% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.236 million units in February, but single-family projects rose for the second consecutive month. Single-family housing units under construction witnessed the highest number in February since June 2008. With single-family homebuilding making up the largest pie of the housing market, the timber industry definitely has a reason see price escalation. Moreover, profits from harvesting wood are subject to low-taxed capital gains. This makes shareholders in forest product companie organized as REITs enjoy higher current income. Weyerhaeuser Company REITWY yields about 3.60% annually while Catchmark Timber Trust Inc ‘s CTT dividend yield is 4.24% (as of Mar 20, 2018). Stock Picks Given this upbeat backdrop, we have highlighted a few timber-related stocks that investors could consider for a greener portfolio. All stocks come from a top-ranked Zacks industry (top 4%). Louisiana-Pacific Corporation LPX This Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) company manufactures building materials and engineered wood products in the United States, Canada, Chile and Brazil. The stock has a VGM (Value, Growth, Momentum) of B. Universal Forest Products Inc. UFPI It is a holding company of businesses that form one of the largest producers of wood and wood-alternative products in North America. It has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Rayonier Inc. RYN It is a timberland real estate investment trust with assets located in some of the most-productive timber growing regions in the United States and New Zealand. It has a Zacks Rank #2. Potlatch Corporation PCH This Zacks Rank #1 company is a Real Estate Investment Trust with timberlands in Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Minnesota and Mississippi. Boise Cascade L.L.C. BCC This Zacks Rank #1 company operates as a wood products manufacturer and building materials distributor. The stock has a VGM of A.  

Enterprise 50 Year Tree Pledge surpasses 12 million plantings

GFIS - Thu, 22/03/2018 - 00:39
  Since 2006, the Enterprise Rent-A-Car Foundation has funded a massive reforestation effort with more than 12 million tree plantings. Every year, 1 million trees are planted as part of the Enterprise 50 Million Tree Pledge – a unique public-private partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation that will continue through 2056. Source: Timberbiz The 12 million plantings represent more than 100 projects in Canada, France, Germany, Spain and the UK – as well as in diverse forests throughout 16 states in the U.S.: Alabama, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Wyoming. 2017 Plantings Address Critical Needs “Environmental protection, reforestation and watershed conservation efforts are critical for many endangered species. Many of our 2017 planting projects were selected to restore habitats that threaten both wildlife and people that rely on forests for food, cover and water,” said Carolyn Kindle Betz, senior vice president and executive director of Enterprise’s Foundation. Last year’s plantings included 180,000 trees in Lake Superior State Forest in Michigan, a forested watershed that provides vital ecosystem services to the Upper Peninsula. The plantings support much-needed habitat for the endangered Kirtland’s warbler, a songbird that requires dense young jack pine for its breeding habitat; provide clean water for high-quality trout streams; and re-establish a stable food source for native game species. Since 2006, Enterprise’s Foundation has funded the planting of 380,000 trees in Lake Superior State Forest and more than 1.5 million trees in the state of Michigan. Also in 2017, the Enterprise 50 Million Tree Pledge supported its first reforestation project at Davy Crockett National Forest in Houston County, Texas. Restoring the shortleaf pine in this area is critical, as this tree species has suffered a 50% decline in its range since 1980. Furthermore, the newly replanted 110 acres of trees are within the habitat-management area for the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker and will provide cavities for future nesting – helping to support the growth of this endangered bird. “National forests provide habitat for one-third of all federally listed threatened or endangered species,” said Dan Lambe, president of the Arbor Day Foundation. “With millions of acres of forest destroyed by wildfires and natural disasters each year, the financial support of Enterprise is vital to ensuring that replanting occurs before destruction takes a devastating toll on native wildlife.” 2018 Plantings in Progress 250,000 trees in the Econfina Creek Water Management Area, Florida 140,000 trees in the Atlanta Forest Management Unit, Michigan 133,000 trees in Chippewa National Forest, Minnesota 100,000 trees in the Custer Gallatin National Forest, Montana 70,000 trees in Tahoe National Forest, California 50,000 trees in Ireland 50,000 trees in Scotland, Northwest England, Northern Ireland and Wales 40,000 trees in the Willamette River Basin, Oregon 35,000 trees in the Sandhills Game Lands, North Carolina 30,000 trees in Klamath National Forest, California 30,000 trees in Landes Forest, France 30,000 trees in the Spiritwood, Saskatchewan and the greater Toronto area, Canada 25,000 trees in Pike National Forest, Colorado 13,000 trees in the Sachsische Schweiz-Osterzgebirge Administrative District, Germany 4,000 trees in Ateca, Spain Through the Arbor Day Foundation, the Enterprise 50 Million Tree Pledge works with a variety of partners in North America, including the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. National Park Service and the National Association of State Foresters, as well as Tree Canada and Forest Recovery Canada. In Europe, partners include the U.K.’s Woodland Trust, France’s Reforest’Action, Spain Sustainable (Bosques Sostenibles), and the German Forest Protection Association (Schutzgemeinschaft Deutscher Wald).

FSC is just a tick

GFIS - Thu, 22/03/2018 - 00:38
Seventy percent of New Zealand’s plantation forests receive a green tick from the leading international forestry standard despite high industry fatalities and 90% of forestry contractors breaching employee rights. Source: Newsroom NZ Not-for-profit organisation the Forestry Stewardship Council was set up in 1994 with a mission to stop deforestation. To earn the FSC tick, wood must come from a responsibly-managed forest which is audited annually and passes the Council’s social, ecological and economic standards. In a crowded eco-labelling marketplace rife with accusations of green-washing, FSC certification is considered to be the leading international forestry standard. Approved wood can earn forestry companies an extra $2.50 per cubic metre. When certified wood is used in production of goods, a chain of custody certification can be attained. This means the FSC tick can be displayed on consumer goods. Goods currently carrying one range from Purex toilet paper and Kirin beer packaging, to New Zealand’s Allbirds shoes. The Council’s social standards include ensuring workers are kept safe and well and their rights are protected. A December 2017 forestry industry audit conducted by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment found widespread breaches of employment standards. These included staff being paid below minimum wage. The FSC’s director general, Kim Carstensen, is currently visiting New Zealand. He said in order to achieve FSC certification, workers’ rights to health and safety and remuneration need to be met. “I don’t know whether New Zealand as a country is meeting those requirements, but I am certainly expecting that the certified operations in New Zealand would be meeting those requirements. “Those forests that are certified will have to meet requirements that come from the global principles – also in terms of workers’ rights. Workers’ rights in terms of health and safety, workers’ rights in terms of the remuneration. There are requirements that have to be met in a certified forest. “It gets to the point where the lowest common denominator wins. What we need to do is get forestry to really act right. Forest visits form part of the auditing process. “They [auditors] physically go to see the forest. There are possibilities for stakeholders to engage in those conversations so that the workers and trade unions can raise an issue and say ‘Look, here something is wrong because we’ve had many injuries, or we’ve had whatever, the case may be’.” Audits are carried out by auditors independent to the FSC, and are paid by the companies directly. To date, no New Zealand forestry company has failed a FSC forest management audit. First Union represents 27,000 workers across different industries, including wood. Assistant general secretary Louisa Jones said First Union is part of the social chamber of FSC and has been part of a committee working in developing updated social standards for New Zealand FSC certification. “Workers anecdotally have told me they don’t take FSC certification very seriously because they think that the auditing process is flawed. In particular, they don’t talk to workers, or if they do talk to workers, they talk to workers in situations where the workers have been told what to say.” Mr Carstensen said auditors randomly select workers to talk with as part of the FSC certification audit. “The forest management company audit process includes employee interviews, and that these are randomly selected to ensure responses are an accurate representation of the situation. Any external stakeholders, including trade unions, are able to participate in audits and provide feedback regarding workers or anything else related to the FSC principles and criteria. Audits in New Zealand are also published allowing stakeholders an opportunity to engage with the process.” Ms Jones said First Union had only been contacted twice for audits and she has to ask to be involved. Forestry is one of New Zealand’s most dangerous professions and FSC-certified forests are not immune to tragedy. WorkSafe did not release the names of forests where fatalities had occurred to Newsroom, but at least two fatalities of five which occurred in 2016 took place in a FSC-certified forest. “We’re really concerned about the forestry industry overall. The MBIE report really shocked us, but also it doesn’t surprise us because that what’s we hear from our members a lot of the time.” Ms Jones said she is deeply concerned about the forestry industry saying offshore companies often own forests and work is contracted – and then sub-contracted out. “It gets to the point where the lowest common denominator wins. What we need to do is get forestry to really act right. “In terms of workers being able to participate in their own health and safety and to ensure their workers being able to have access to at least minimum standards what you have to do is ensure there is a way for workers to get access to unions.” A New Zealand-based certification scheme separate to FSC has also been developed. It was created by the Forest Industry Safety Council, a pan-industry body which formed after several forestry fatalities in 2013. The Safetree Contractor Certification program is aimed at ensuring contractors know and abide with health and safety regulations and employee rights. Ms Jones hopes the program “will lift the game in the forestry industry”. The process to attain certification requires discussions with workers and has an auditing process Jones described as “more robust” than the FSC’s process. Over the next 10 years the Government plan is for one billion trees to be planted in New Zealand. Some will form part of permanent forests, others will be harvestable plantation forests. Both types of forests will require workers to plant and maintain them. Jones said there are many problems facing the industry “We’re really concerned about the forestry industry overall. The MBIE report really shocked us, but also it doesn’t surprise us because that what’s we hear from our members a lot of the time. “There is so much more that needs to be done.” Among the recommendations First Union has made reviewing the FSC national social standards are for union access to employees in order to discuss health and safety issues and a living wage for employees – even in situations where contractors or sub-contractors are used. If these new standards were adopted, consumer confidence in the validity of the FSC tick would improve. Until then Ms Jones said the current auditing undertaken to award an FSC tick to forestry products wasn’t ideal, but it was “better than nothing”.  


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by Dr. Radut