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Event: 14th Session of the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF 14)

GFIS - Mon, 13/08/2018 - 22:14

The 14th session of the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF 14) will discuss, inter alia: implementation of the UN strategic plan for forests 2017-2030, including voluntary announcement of voluntary national contributions and UN system-wide contributions to the implementation of the global forest goals and targets; monitoring, assessment and reporting, including progress on the development of global forest indicators; enhancing global forest policy coherence and a common international understanding of sustainable forest management; progress on the activities and operation of the Global Forest Financing Facilitation Network and availability of resources; and enhanced cooperation, coordination and engagement on forest-related issues.

The SDG Knowledge Hub story on UNFF 13 is available here.

Policy Brief: SDG Knowledge Weekly: The Belt and Road Initiative and China’s Investment in Africa

GFIS - Mon, 13/08/2018 - 20:51
Academics have discussed the possibilities and pitfalls of China’s Belt and Road Initiative. ICTSD and IIED explore trends in and implications of China’s investments in Africa, while Impakter examines a “trade-down” versus “grassroots-up” approach to SDG implementation, with a focus on agriculture. Brookings compares the US market-driven approach in Africa to that of China’s state-led model.

Sea stars critical to kelp forest resilience

GFIS - Mon, 13/08/2018 - 16:03
A study by a resource and environmental management researcher reveals that sunflower sea stars play a critical role in the resilience of B.C.'s kelp forests, which are among the most productive ecosystems on Earth. Similar to land-based forests, kelp forests provide essential habitat for species and also help remove CO2 from the atmosphere.

Louisiana-Pacific reports 2Q net sales of $811 million

International Forest Industries - Mon, 13/08/2018 - 14:23

For the 2Q 2018, Louisiana-Pacific Corporation (LP) reported net sales of $811 million, up from $694 million in the 2Q 2017. Adjusted EBITDA from continuing operations in the 2Q 2018 was $242 million compared to $167 million in the 2Q 2017.

LP reported income from continuing operations of $163 million, or $1.11 per diluted share, as compared to $95 million, or $0.65 per diluted share for the 2Q 2017.

“Our strong results this quarter demonstrate clear progress against our strategy to transform Louisiana-Pacific into a leading building solutions company,” said Brad Southern, LP CEO. “In fact, this was the best second quarter for LP since 2004, driven by steady execution from our team across the business, strength in OSB pricing as well as ongoing growth in our value added products. Each business – Siding, OSB, Engineered Wood and South America operations – delivered increased top and bottom line results on a year-over-year basis. We remain focused on executing on our key growth initiatives and delivering increased value to shareholders, including capital returns in the form of a new $150 million share repurchase authorization.”

For the six months ended June 30, 2018, LP reported net sales of $1.5 billion compared to $1.3 billion in the first six months of 2017. LP reported income from continuing operations of $258 million, or $1.76 per diluted share, compared to $150 million, or $1.02 per diluted share, for the same period in 2017. Adjusted EBITDA from continuing operations for the first six months of 2018 was $401 million compared to $281 million for 2017.

Louisiana-Pacific Corporation is a leading manufacturer of quality engineered wood building materials including OSB, structural framing products, and exterior siding for use in residential, industrial and light commercial construction.

The post Louisiana-Pacific reports 2Q net sales of $811 million appeared first on International Forest Industries.

Sustainable bamboo management in Uganda

GFIS - Mon, 13/08/2018 - 11:13

Bamboo shoots are a local delicacy for communities surrounding Mount Elgon – both in Uganda and Kenya. Dried and smoked bamboo shoots, locally called melawa, are widely consumed as regular diet; often, shoots are cooked along with groundnut sauce as a daily meal. For these communities, bamboo is an important source of food security. However, […]

The post Sustainable bamboo management in Uganda appeared first on INBAR.

Bamboo Planting in Amhara, Ethiopia

GFIS - Mon, 13/08/2018 - 08:04

An update on INBAR’s work with two initiatives: the South-South Knowledge Transfer Strategies project, and the Dutch-Sino-East Africa Programme. Lake Tana is the largest fresh water lake in Ethiopia, and one important source of the Blue Nile river. It is also of immense ecological and economic value to millions of people in Ethiopia. Due to […]

The post Bamboo Planting in Amhara, Ethiopia appeared first on INBAR.

While Brazil’s deforestation soars, the Environment Ministry announces cuts in emissions from deforestation

GFIS - Sat, 11/08/2018 - 22:01
The rate of deforestation in the Amazon increased by 22% between August 2017 and May 2018 compared to the same period the previous year, according to figures published by IMAZON, a non-profit research institute. Forest degradation is up by 218%. In June 2018, deforestation reached an area of 1,168 square kilometres – the highest monthly […]

Tough life in the savannah? Chimpanzee foods are mechanically more demanding than previously thought

GFIS - Fri, 10/08/2018 - 18:00
A study has analyzed the mechanical properties and the isotopic composition of plant foods eaten by chimpanzees living in the tropical rain forest and savannah woodland. They found that the savannah chimpanzees eat foods that are more mechanically challenging and therefore may place higher selective pressures on their chewing apparatus compared to their conspecifics living in the rainforest.

100th Greentec Cheetah 30 delivered!

International Forest Industries - Fri, 10/08/2018 - 10:44

On the 3rd August Ufkes Greentec b.v. delivered to Beers & Beers Boomverzorging their 100th Greentec Cheetah 30.

Ufkes Greentec b.v is a young, dynamic company specializing in wood chippers, stump grinders, wood cranes etc. Their machines are designed for professional users and meet the highest standards.

After working for several years in the service of a tree nursery, the brothers Daniël and Frank Beers started the company Beers & Beers Boomverzorging. Beers & Beers is a small and dynamic company that cooperates closely with a number of other professional tree care companies.

As a result, they are virtually always capable of finding a suitable solution in terms of working methods and the use of equipment. They work with certified European Tree Workers (ETW) and tree safety inspectors.

The post 100th Greentec Cheetah 30 delivered! appeared first on International Forest Industries.

ALERT Blasts Indonesian Firm Pushing Ape-Killer Project

GFIS - Fri, 10/08/2018 - 08:00

In a worldwide press release, researchers from ALERT and Indonesia today strongly criticized an Indonesian corporation — for using “deplorable” tactics to promote a project that would imperil the world’s rarest species of great ape.

The corporation, North Sumatera Hydro Energy (NSHE), is “pressuring and cajoling scientists, throwing money around to buy influence, making false statements, and now has hired a public relations firm specializing in corporate crisis management,” said ALERT director Bill Laurance.

“These tactics are simply deplorable.”

Ape in Danger

Only 800 individuals of the Tapanuli Orangutan — the rarest great ape on Earth — survive today, in a small tract of rainforest in northern Sumatra, Indonesia.

NSHE is planning ta hydro-energy project that would cut across the ape’s habitat, reducing and fragmenting it, and greatly increasing its vulnerability to illegal poaching, fires, deforestation, mining, and logging.

The hydro project — to be funded by more than $1.6 billion from Chinese lenders — is provoking heated condemnation globally. 

Concerns about the project have been spurred by recent articles in The Conversation, The Christian Science Monitor, National Geographic Online, and Mongabay, among others.

The advocacy group Avaaz has collected over 1.2 million signatures from those opposed to the project.

And today, the largest environmental group in Indonesia, WALHI, lodged a lawsuit against the North Sumatra government for approving the hydro scheme.

Knee-Jerk Reaction

In evident panic, NSHE has hired a public relations firm that specializes in corporate crisis management. 

Using intense tactics, the PR firm is attempting to sway leading scientists — including those from ALERT — who hand-delivered a letter to Indonesian President Joko Widodo last month in opposition to the project.

“The PR firm is repeating falsehoods from the dam company and attempting to confuse the public,” said Onrizal Onrizal, a forestry scientist at the University of North Sumatra.

What the hydro firm fears most, ALERT believes, is that key funders, especially the Bank of China, will withdraw their support for the project. 

Belt & Road Disaster

Notably, the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation and the Asian Development Bank have refused to support the hydro project — largely on environmental grounds. 

This is because the project would cut through some of the biologically richest rainforests on Earth, imperiling the Tapanuli Orangutan and many other rare species, including the critically endangered Sumatran Tiger.

But Chinese financiers and Sinohydro, China’s national hydroelectric authority, have strongly backed the project to date. 

China is the major driving force behind the Belt & Road, a global labyrinth of some 7,000 infrastructure and extractive-industry projects that will span much of the planet and, many fear, slice open many of the world’s remaining wild ecosystems like a flayed fish. 

The hydro project in North Sumatra is part of the Belt & Road.  Chinese President Xi Jinpeng claims the Belt & Road will be “sustainable”, “circular,” and “low-carbon”, but the hydro project is Sumatra is turning into an acid test of those words. 

Right now, the Belt & Road is looking more like a global environmental crisis than anything else.  The recent collapse of massive Belt & Road projects in Malaysia is a signal that the scheme has intense dangers and vulnerabilities.

Decision Time

Scientists have been adamant in their conclusions about the hydro project in North Sumatra: it is an environmental disaster in the making, and should never have been approved in the first place.

But despite growing national and international condemnation, NSHE continues to push for the project — pulling out all the stops in a desperate bid to save it. 

In any other nation, and with any other financiers, it is difficult to imagine a project like this advancing.

But in Indonesia, and with abundant Chinese money behind the scenes, who can tell? 

It just shows that when big money is involved, some corporations will go to any lengths to get what they want — even with the world’s top experts uniformly telling them it’s a terrible idea.

NSHE should be careful — it could end up with a globally toxic reputation — losing business, influence, assets, and market share. 

Prospective financiers such as the Bank of China should run away from this hydro-nightmare and from NSHE — or they will be just as guilty of ringing a death knell for one of our closest living relatives.

All images courtesy of the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme

Book Review: Temperate Agroforestry Systems, Second Edition

GFIS - Fri, 10/08/2018 - 06:34

The first edition of Temperate Agroforestry Systems, an edited volume by Andrew Gordon and Steven Newman, was published in 1997 (Gordon and Newman 1997).  This was an important contribution, but there has been much progress on the science and application of agroforestry in temperate regions over the past 21 years.  I was therefore pleased to have a chance to review the second edition of this book, which has a publication date of March 2018 (Gordon et al. 2018; Figure 1).

Evaluating Complementarity in Silvopasture Systems

GFIS - Fri, 10/08/2018 - 06:33

Silvopasture, a strategic and managed agroecosystem, integrates livestock, forage, and trees or shrubs to improve individual components (Orefice and Carroll 2017; USDA National Agroforestry Center [NAC] 2012). Chizmar (2018) calculated potential returns to silvopastoral systems with Angus cattle and loblolly pine (Pinus taeda). Data were drawn from a field trial in the Coastal Plain of North Carolina (Figure 1) under various assumptions about the relationships between system components.

Appalachia Forest Farming Initiative

GFIS - Fri, 10/08/2018 - 06:31

The Appalachian Mountains are a global hotspot for biodiversity, including many plant species with a long history of medicinal, culinary, and decorative usage and economic value. Unfortunately, native wild populations of these plants are experiencing heavy overharvesting pressures and widespread habitat destruction, leading to serious declines.  Recently, the International Union for Conservation of Nature listed Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis, Figure 1) as “Vulnerable to Extinction” due to unregulated wild-harvesting, and significant loss of forest habitat (IUCN 2017). The World Wildlife Fund reports that  ~83% of the habitat in this ecoregion has been altered (Loucks et al. 2017). These pressures impact many Non-timber Forest Product (NTFP) species, and there is an urgent need to transition from the historically extractive, cash-economy model to a regenerative model.

Assessing Agroforestry’s Role in Mitigating and Adapting to Climate Change

GFIS - Fri, 10/08/2018 - 06:28

The USDA Forest Service has published a new report: Agroforestry: Enhancing Resiliency in U.S. Agricultural Landscapes Under Changing Conditions based upon a national scientific assessment of agroforestry (Figure 1). With contributions from more than 50 experts from the United States, Canada, and Mexico, this report presents the first-ever synthesis on agroforestry as a mechanism for improving the resiliency of agricultural lands under climate change. 

360o of Silvopasturing to Adapt to Climate Change

GFIS - Fri, 10/08/2018 - 06:26

Climate change is already impacting farm and forest lands throughout the northeastern United States. Temperatures are increasing and more rain is falling all at once with dry periods in between. With these changes comes greater variation and uncertainty in crop and livestock production. Without modifying management, agricultural profits may decline (Melillo et al. 2014).  Farmers and land managers are finding ways to adapt to the ongoing changes. Sharing experiences cultivates new ideas and techniques for reducing risk or taking advantage of new conditions. Field visits are a powerful way to view a practice in action before considering it for your land. Through virtual demonstrations you can leave your field boots behind and take a tour from your desk, ‘as if you were there’ in the field.

Agroforestry as observed by The DeSoto Expedition of 1538

GFIS - Thu, 09/08/2018 - 19:43

Despite our understanding that perennial agriculture has been practiced globally for millennia, understanding of North American indigenous agroforestry systems remains poor.  It is a widely-held belief among the public that indigenous North Americans limited their agricultural production to annual crops, while opportunistically foraging for the fruits of perennials in the matrix of wilderness surrounding their settlements.  However, clues from early European contacts with indigenous civilizations of the modern day United States, as well as corroboration from archaeological evidence, point towards an intensive, and widespread perennial polyculture managed in the vicinity of permanent settlements. (Abrams & Nowacki 2008)

Agroforestry as observed by The DeSoto Expedition of 1538

GFIS - Thu, 09/08/2018 - 19:43

Despite our understanding that perennial agriculture has been practiced globally for millennia, understanding of North American indigenous agroforestry systems remains poor.  It is a widely-held belief among the public that indigenous North Americans limited their agricultural production to annual crops, while opportunistically foraging for the fruits of perennials in the matrix of wilderness surrounding their settlements.  However, clues from early European contacts with indigenous civilizations of the modern day United States, as well as corroboration from archaeological evidence, point towards an intensive, and widespread perennial polyculture managed in the vicinity of permanent settlements. (Abrams & Nowacki 2008)

EU Carbon Accounting System to Measure Forest Impacts on GHG Emissions

GFIS - Thu, 09/08/2018 - 17:43
The new accounting system calculates the effect of forests on GHG mitigation by using factual evidence rather than forecasts of projected future policy impacts, as previous systems have done. The EU is expected to use this new system to measure the contribution of the LULUCF sector in its climate strategy.

Caucasus and Central Asia Ministers Commit to Forest Restoration

GFIS - Thu, 09/08/2018 - 17:02
Representatives from Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan reaffirmed their commitments to the Bonn Challenge during a ministerial roundtable on forest landscape restoration. Participants adopted the Astana Resolution, in which they agree to identify degraded lands within their countries, work to restore them and assess the potential for further forest landscape restoration.

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by Dr. Radut