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The underestimated cooling effect on the planet from historic fires

GFIS - Thu, 09/08/2018 - 15:34
Historic levels of particles in the atmosphere released from pre-industrial era fires, and their cooling effect on the planet, may have been significantly underestimated according to a new study.

Thai and European Union negotiations on legal timber trade

GFIS - Thu, 09/08/2018 - 01:49
Thailand and the European Union (EU) have held their second round of negotiations on a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT). Source: Timberbiz The agreement, and the process through which it is developed, aims to help improve forest governance, address illegal logging and promote trade in verified legal timber products to the EU and other markets. The latest negotiations took place in July 2018, amid Thailand’s rollout of substantial reforms affecting the forestry sector. The changes follow constitutional reform that introduced governance improvements including public consultation for legal reforms, gender equality, public access to information, and a right to participate in and benefit from natural resource management. The reforms include administrative and technological improvements intended to reduce corruption, as well as potentially-far reaching grants of land and resource rights. A long-term campaign to secure rights for forest dwelling communities is being realised with the passage of community forest legislation. In parallel, Thailand has made substantial progress in the development of a national system for ensuring the legality of timber and timber products, through its VPA negotiation with the EU. Thailand is designing the system through consultation with stakeholders from the government, private sector and civil society. The latest round of VPA negotiations focused on the legal text of the VPA, the range of products it will cover, and ongoing work to develop the approach Thailand will take to verify compliance with legal requirements for timber. Negotiators discussed Thailand’s timber supply chain controls and a system for ensuring that timber imported to Thailand has been harvested legally in the country of harvest. Thailand and the EU also agreed on a roadmap of joint activities and technical meetings in preparation for the third round of negotiations, currently planned for June- July 2019. “The VPA is an opportunity for Thailand to strengthen trade with the EU and other markets, while improving forest governance and promoting sustainable forest management,” said Wijarn Simachaya, Permanent Secretary of the Thai Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and lead VPA negotiator for Thailand.  Jorge Rodriguez Romero, Deputy Head of Unit at the European Commission Directorate General for Environment, said: “We welcome the progress that Thailand has made on key elements of the design of its VPA timber legality assurance system and look forward to maintain our close cooperation towards a successful conclusion of negotiations. “We encourage Thailand to continue to engage with stakeholders from the private sector and civil society to ensure that the VPA is robust, practical and effective.”

Myanmar to restructure forestry body amid surge in illegal logging

GFIS - Thu, 09/08/2018 - 01:49
As Myanmar has announced plans to restructure the government-run entity Myanmar Timber Enterprise, or MTE, under private sector management, reports of illegal logging are surging, according to Mongabay, a US-based website that publishes news on the environment. Source: Asia Times Until now, MTE has been managing forestry resources and overseeing the export of timber and timber products while huge amounts of money have been paid to Myanmar officials on the border with China to turn a blind eye to illegally felled logs. Malaysia and Thailand are other countries that legally and otherwise import timber from Myanmar. It is unclear what the new restructuring will mean other than that the MTE will “operate under a commercial model.” MTE is among the state-owned enterprises that make the most revenue for the country, and so it is, again, unclear how the restructuring will make it more effective, or whether it will have any impact on illegal logging and smuggling. Myanmar possesses the largest expanse of tropical forest in mainland Southeast Asia, but lost 19% of its forest land – 7,445,000 hectares, – between 1990 and 2010. More recent figures indicate that the loss of intact forest cover has accelerated since then, even after a one-year logging ban was introduced for 2016-2017. Due to its long political and economic isolation, Myanmar retained much of its original forest cover but political and economic changes have led to increased exports as well as smuggling. China’s rapid economic development in recent decades has also led to a rising demand for forestry products. Officially, raw logs cannot be exported from Myanmar but “institutional corruption on a huge scale” has made such bans ineffective, according to the UK-based Environmental Investigation Agency.

Forwarder2020 in field tests

GFIS - Thu, 09/08/2018 - 01:48
Forest biomass is currently one of the most important sources of renewable energy and accounts for almost half of the EU´s total renewable energy consumption; this is in addition to the very important use of round wood from forests. Source: Rehap Besides raw materials, forests also provide a wide range of vital non-wood services that should be protected during wood extraction. In order to make forestry sustainable, it is essential to use commercial vehicles that will affect the forest ecosystem as little as possible. To achieve this forest machine manufacturer Hohenloher Spezial Maschinenbau GmbH & Co. KG (HSM) has launched the innovation project Forwarder2020: main aim of the project is improving the sustainability of wood production and delivery as well as operational forest management and planning. Within the project innovations for more efficient forwarders, essential wood extraction and transportation vehicles will be developed and tested under real conditions. Over the course of 3 years (2016-2019) project coordinator HSM together with 13 European partners from industry and science in six countries will work on five innovative modules for forwarders. They will gather their expertise to advance diverse technologies, which will contribute to smart and sustainable logging operations using innovative forestry machines. The innovations targeted concern a more efficient power-split hydrostatic-mechanical transmission, a hydro-pneumatic suspension, a new hydraulic system for the crane with energy recuperation, a bogie axle with three driven wheels for the timber load and a new monitoring system for documentation and active operations control. The combined effect of these innovative modules will be to reduce the fuel consumption by 30% and the impact on the soil (reduction of rut depth and dynamic wheel load) by 30%. They also allow more precise planning of the tracks and documentation of the loads carried on. Altogether the innovations will contribute to reduce the environmental impact of forest management and harvesting operations while cutting operating costs and reducing the risks of occupational disease for forest operators. Finally, the company HSM and the consortium expect to supply to the market a unique and modular system of competitive high-end solutions which offers the customer the possibility to choose its equipment and then bear no higher costs for the modules not chosen. “In the effort of rendering the forest operations more sustainable, forwarders are of particular interest because these forestry machines have the highest wheel-load and the biggest impact on unpaved forest soils. “They also bridge big travelling distances between the felling points in the stand and the road side timber depots. “The reduction of the fuel consumption, of the impact of the machine on the soil and on the health of the operators through the Forwarder2020 innovative modules will then be of prime importance not only for the sustainability of the logging but also on the economic potential of the forestry companies, our clients,” Felix Fürst zu Hohenlohe-Waldenburg, coordinator of Forwarder2020 project and CEO at HSM said. The integration of three out of the five innovative modules into a completely running first prototype has been achieved and field tests under harsh forest conditions were carried out from from March to April 2018 under operation of Forstdienstleistungen Hegenbarth (FDH) and supervision of Bern University of Applied Sciences (BFH) in Saxony. The forwarding was part of salvage harvesting operations on a wind thrown spruce dominated stand. The tests included preparative test runs, hardship tests, but were dominated by the scientific time study and reference cycle generation. The data evaluation of these field tests is still in progress. However, it is evident that the tests had been very satisfying. The machine works very well and without any failures. The rut depths caused by the bogie tracks are even lower than expected. The data transmission to the monitoring system as well as the cloud connection worked well for different data resolution setups up to high resolution stress level tests. In Scotland further tests under forest conditions will continued inMay 2018 and later on the machine will be tested in Lithuania. A second prototype will be ready for first full field tests later this year and will be tested under forest conditions in Romania.

WoodChat podcasts from FWPA

GFIS - Thu, 09/08/2018 - 01:47
Forest and Wood Products Australia (FWPA) has launched its inaugural podcast series, WoodChat. Source: Timberbiz Each episode in the six-part pilot series will include an in-depth conversation with experts on a different industry-related news story, discovery or innovation. Topics include biophilia, climate impact, genomics, drones and much more. During the first episode of the series the hosts spoke with Associate Professor Jacki Schirmer of the University of Canberra about biophilia – the principle that exposure to nature increases human wellbeing and the positive effects of wood indoors. It comes off the back of world-first research that demonstrates a strong association between wood in the workplace and increased worker satisfaction and wellbeing. Eileen Newbury, National Marketing and Communications Manager, said the organisation is always looking to explore new ways of communicating industry news and information. “There is so much great work happening right here in Australia which is not only of significance to people working in the forest and wood products industry, but also to the wider public,” said Ms Newbury. “Podcasting is a growing medium, which we have been keen to embrace. There are some fascinating topics, which we’re looking forward to presenting to our audience in an exciting and engaging new way.”

New home sales rise for the first time in 2018

GFIS - Thu, 09/08/2018 - 01:45
New home sales rose 2.0% in June 2018, the first rise this year according to HIA’s Principal Economist, Tim Reardon. Source: Timberbiz, HIA The HIA New Home Sales report – a monthly survey of the largest volume home builders in the five largest states – provides an early indication of trends in the residential building industry. “Despite the monthly bounce in June, new home sales during the entire 2017/18 financial year were 5.3% lower than in the previous financial year,” Mr Reardon said. “The increase in sales in June is small in comparison with the fall in sales that has occurred throughout 2018.  New home sales for the first six months of this year are 2.9% lower than in the last six months of 2017. “The deterioration of sales over the financial year reflects the shifts in housing market conditions. The availability of credit has tightened over the past 12 months with banks responding to the decline in house prices and the Banking Royal Commission. “Even after this slow-down, overall building activity remains elevated when compared with building levels over the past decade. “New home sales rose in all states except Victoria, which have been in decline since February 2018 and declined a further a 0.4% in June. “Activity in the Victorian market has reached record levels over recent years and has remained elevated well above historical trends and well in excess of growth in other states. “The decline in sales in Victoria is well overdue. “A pickup in new home sales in the other states, particularly NSW, is a welcome reprieve from a year of slow sales. Sales in NSW were 13.3% lower in 2017/18 than in the previous year. Sales in NSW picked up in June 2018, by 8.3% compared with the previous month, giving a positive end to an underwhelming year. “Across the other markets, new home sales also rose in Queensland (2.7%) and WA (1.5%) and SA (0.2%). “Australia’s population growth has slowed over the past three quarters in response to tighter visa requirements that have constrained inward migration. The Sydney and Melbourne markets have seen a decline in their rates of population growth since 1 July 2017. “ABS data shows approvals for private sector detached houses fell dramatically in May 2018. Approvals data typically trails the new home sales data by three to six months and the dramatic fall in approvals in May is likely to be reflected in the June data,” Mr Reardon said.

NZ report on trees for steep erosion prone land

GFIS - Thu, 09/08/2018 - 01:43
A report on alternative plantation forest species is now available on the New Zealand Farm Forestry Association website detailing the characteristics of a wide variety of tree species that are suited to steep erosion prone land and which have root structures that may better resist landsliding after harvest. Source: Timberbiz The report was written by Dean Satchell, of Sustainable Forest Solutions, and contributes to present industry considerations of how to lessen the vulnerability of trees now being planted for harvests decades in the future. Farm Forestry Association President, Neil Cullen says that land and forest managers are lacking in this sort of information for steep, erosion prone, terrain. “This report identifies the considerable amount of research still required, but does go a long way to provide guidance on the options for land owners preparing resource consent applications to plant or replant land now zoned Red under the new National Environmental Standards for Plantation Forestry (NES-PF),” Neil Cullen said. Dean Satchell says that owners of red zoned land who wish to clear-fell need to provide regional councils with evidence that significant adverse environmental effects can be minimised. Those land owners should consider an erosion-mitigating forest cover on replant. “This report provides information on best practice, identifies the gaps in knowledge and sets the scope for the future to improve environmental outcomes from plantation forestry on steeplands,” Mr Satchell said. “We need more forests on steep hill country to mitigate erosion where pastoral cover isn’t enough” Mr Cullen said. “However, we need the right species, the right rotation lengths and the right harvesting strategies for the best environmental outcomes. “Forestry is the best land use for erodible hill country, but best practice changes over time to meet the expectations of society and increasing severity of storms. An intense downpour that hit recently harvested and replanted sites in Tolaga Bay resulted in slash mobilisation which made news headlines and has impacted very negatively on the forest industry’s social licence to operate. “This report lists a variety of alternative species available that could drive different harvest practices and improve environmental outcomes. It’s up to industry to be proactive and adjust their practices to reflect what society requires. “This report suggests that alternative regimes and or species will be required now, which will accumulate evidence over time that significant adverse environmental effects can be minimised with best practice.” Forest Owners Association President, Peter Weir, says the report is timely, since industry experts are engaging in finding effective ways through forest management and research priorities to build more resilient forests and more resilient communities. The report can be found at www.nzffa.org.nz/farm-forestry-model/why-farm-forestry/trees-for-erosion-controlsoil-conservation/report-trees-for-steep-slopes/

Top 5: Market Points from IndustryEdge

GFIS - Thu, 09/08/2018 - 01:42
Every month, IndustryEdge publishes Wood Market Edge, Australia’s only forestry and wood products market and trade analysis, and supplies its customers with hundreds of unique data products, advisory and consulting services. 618,999 bdmt – IndustryEdge’s projection of woodchip exports in July 2018, based on vessel tracking. Average margin for error is less than 5% AUD291.66/m3 – the average price of Hardwood Log exports in May 2018, reported on a free-on-board basis 86,418 m3 – up 35.9% on the prior year, Australia’s imports of Structural Plywood to the year-ended May remain very strong +14.6% – growth in dwelling approvals in Victoria, year-ended May, reaching a total 75,478 separate dwellings Up 7.4% – Imports of Roughsawn Softwood products over the year-ended May 2018, totalling 242,553 m3

New insights on koalas in hinterland forests

GFIS - Thu, 09/08/2018 - 01:41
A major new study that records forest sounds has found evidence for up to 10 times the rate of koala occupancy in NSW’s north-east forests than previously estimated. Source: Timberbiz The NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) project, which focused on the iconic marsupial’s response to timber harvesting, involved more than 14,500 hours of audio recorded over three years to measure the bellows of male koalas. DPI Principal Research Scientist Dr Brad Law said the new technique saw Song Meter devices installed at 171 sites in the north-east, in many State forests, National Parks and reserves. “Koalas are surprisingly difficult to detect – they are cryptic animals especially in tall forests, yet their bellows echo through the forest at night during the spring mating season, making this new survey method particularly effective,” he said. The study region spanned more than 1.7 million hectares of mapped koala habitat – from the ranges and tablelands of north-east NSW, to the Hunter River in the south and the Queensland border in the north. Sites were located in the public forests of the coast and ranges, but avoided previously cleared valleys and private land surrounding towns where koalas are known to be declining due to urbanisation. Over three breeding seasons, researchers found that 65% of survey sites (the small zone surrounding each Song Meter) on average were occupied by at least one male koala. “We found that occupancy was influenced by elevation, cover of important browse trees, site productivity and extent of wildfire in the last 10 years,” Dr Law said. “Interestingly, past timber harvesting did not influence koala occupancy.  There was no difference in results between heavily harvested, lightly harvested and old growth sites. “Time since harvesting and the amount of harvesting in the local area did not influence occupancy.  There was also no difference between National Park and State forest sites.” Dr Law said for many years, specific environmental protections have been in place in State forests, and the results of this project are an important step in assessing the effectiveness of past forestry management practices. “Our results also support proposed improvements like broader protection triggered by mapping koala habitat,” he said.

Letter to the editor on pine residue in WA

GFIS - Thu, 09/08/2018 - 01:40
To the Editor I read with interest your story (Pine residue up for grabs in WA) of the day in Daily Timber News 7 (August 2018). I would not hold my breath waiting for FPC to make a decision and award contracts to respondents, despite the assertion that announcements are imminent. Their tender RFP2/2018 for the Sale of Pine Rounds, closed on 19 April 2018 – having been called over three months late after existing buyers’ contracts ran out. The results of the tender have not been communicated to the respondents yet – despite the reality that the processing plants affected cannot access sufficient feed stock to continue their operations to satisfy existing demand. FPC’s contracts division are so busy ducking and diving to avoid the respondents, that we are astonished that they have enough time to call new tenders for residues. Perhaps tomorrow’s Top Story will be a vale for pine preservation in WA. It is very frustrating watching public servants dismantle your business. Yours etc., Brendon

Carter Holt Harvey in High Court with Shadowclad

GFIS - Thu, 09/08/2018 - 01:39
A multi million dollar court action seeking damages from building products giant Carter Holt Harvey has been filed at the Auckland High Court. Sources: Newshub, Stuff NZ It is seeking at least NZ$40 million in damages on behalf of owners of properties constructed with Shadowclad. Shadowclad is already subject to court proceedings. The Ministry of Education alleges the product has been defective and created 800 leaky school buildings. The estimated repair bill has been reported as being between NZ$1 billion and NZ$1.3b. The Ministry wants Carter Holt Harvey to pay all the costs associated with removing and replacing the cladding and fixing buildings. Adina Thorn, who is also running the current NZ$200m plus funded class action against James Hardie companies for the design and manufacture of its cladding products, said the Carter Holt class action was the result of building owners expressing concern over weather tightness issues with Shadowclad. “In 2014 the Fair Go television program found 24 property owners who believed they had been supplied faulty or substandard Shadowclad material. “Given Fair Go’s research, the extent of the Ministry of Education’s claim, and the approaches we have had, clearly the issue is significant. This has led to the funded class action.” She had earlier said the merits of the case would turn on the suitability of Shadowclad as a building product. The court action seeks at least NZ$40m in damages on behalf of property owners. “Carter Holt Harvey absolutely deny all allegations against it. This case really turns on this board, and whether this board works or doesn’t work,” she said last year. “The building surveyors say the glue breaks down, they split apart, warps, and water gets in.” Ms Thorn said the 117 owners who had joined the action would face no out-of-pocket expenses while litigation funding is in place. That would cover the cost of the legal team, technical experts and associated costs needed to mount a strong claim. “Our claim is comfortably in excess of NZ$40m but it’s likely to round up to NZ$50m in the wake of recent developments and the media around this and the Ministry of Education’s claim,” she said. It was seeking financial compensation for stress as well as replacing the cladding and fixing rot. It will probably be another year before Ministry of Education court proceedings begin. The company is denying the allegations.

The Earth Ablaze

GFIS - Wed, 08/08/2018 - 21:12
Are we locked in a worldwide pattern of persistent and catastrophic wildfires?

Western Forest Products reports 2Q net income of $27.1 million

International Forest Industries - Wed, 08/08/2018 - 14:50

Western Forest Products Inc. reported adjusted EBITDA of $50.2 million in the 2Q 2018, compared to adjusted EBITDA of $47.1 million in the 2Q 2017, and $43 million reported in the 1Q 2018.

Operating income prior to restructuring and other income was $39.7 million in the 2Q 2018, compared to $37.7 million in 2Q 2017, and $32.6 million reported in the 1Q 2018. Increased lumber shipments and lower manufacturing costs in the 2Q 2018 more than offset the impacts of $11.7 million of US export lumber duty expense and significantly higher stumpage costs.

Net income for the 2Q 2018 was $27.1 million, as compared to $25.6 million for the same period of 2017. Increased revenue and lower operating restructuring items drove an increased net income that was partly offset by higher export lumber duties and income tax expense.

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

The post Western Forest Products reports 2Q net income of $27.1 million appeared first on International Forest Industries.

Rayonier reports improved revenues of $245.9 million in 2Q

International Forest Industries - Wed, 08/08/2018 - 14:36

Rayonier Inc. reported 2Q 2018 net income of $36.3 million, or $0.28 per share, on revenues of $245.9 million. This compares to net income of $26.2 million, or $0.20 per share, on revenues of $201 million in the prior year quarter.

2Q 2018 operating income was $51.6 million versus $46.9 million in the prior year period. 2Q adjusted EBITDA was $111.3 million versus $86.8 million in the prior year period.

“We are pleased to report strong results for the 2Q,” said David Nunes, President and CEO. “Southern Timber volumes increased 10% relative to the prior year quarter, as we fully integrated our prior year acquisitions in coastal Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. Weighted-average stumpage prices in Southern Timber were relatively flat compared to the prior year quarter.

“Pacific Northwest Timber results improved significantly driven by 36% higher harvest volumes and a 26% increase in both delivered sawtimber and pulpwood prices relative to the prior year quarter, reflecting strong domestic and export market conditions.

Excluding the prior year quarter timberland sales, New Zealand Timber results also improved significantly, driven by 20% higher harvest volumes and a 9% increase in both export and domestic sawtimber prices.”

Rayonier is a leading timberland real estate investment trust with assets located in some of the most productive softwood timber growing regions in the United States and New Zealand.

 Photo: David Nunes, President and CEO Rayonier Inc

The post Rayonier reports improved revenues of $245.9 million in 2Q appeared first on International Forest Industries.

BSW infrastructure agreement signed in Slovenia

International Forest Industries - Wed, 08/08/2018 - 14:13

The agreement between the Municipality of Braslovce, Slovenia, and Ministry of Infrastructure of Slovenia was signed. It lays foundations for the direct road connection to the BSW SI Gomilsko production facilities in the Municipality of Braslovce.

The agreement regarding the road connection was signed by Ms. Darja Kocbek, Director of the Directorate for the Land Transport (part of Ministry for Infrastructure), and Mr. Milan Šoštaric, Director of the Braslovce Municipality Office. The new third access road represents a strategic infrastructure investment for the Republic of Slovenia.

It will enable long term sustaninable transport, providing improved links for Slovenia with neighbourging countries, while being aligned with Braslovce local community development plans. The BSW SI Gomilsko facilties being developed are a signficant part of the future plans for the Braslovce Municipality.

Alex Brownlie, BSW Timber Commercial Director and Chairman of the Board of Directors in BSW SI, highlighted that BSW Timber investment plans in Slovenia have always included the requirement to purchase sawn timber from other Slovenian sawmills.

This work has begun with two sawmills and will continue into 2019. BSW SI is looking forward to working with other Slovenian sawmill companies, through trade and cooperation, to support and add value to Slovenian saw products from other mills, as well as its own for the global market.

The post BSW infrastructure agreement signed in Slovenia appeared first on International Forest Industries.

A sustainable fashion industry? Forests can help!

GFIS - Wed, 08/08/2018 - 13:55
You might have noticed, but there has been quite a buzz around how our forests can help the fashion industry in its mission to become sustainable! Using the United Nations High Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development in New York as a catalyst, we brought our Forests for Fashion...

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Maibec sells two sawmills to Group Lebel

International Forest Industries - Wed, 08/08/2018 - 13:50

Maibec concluded a transaction with Group Lebel of Rivière-du-Loup for their acquisition of the Maibec lumber mills located in St-Pamphile, Quebec and Masardis, Maine. The 315 employees of Maibec that are concerned by this transaction will maintain their employment with Groupe Lebel.

“Maibec will now focus on growing its pre-stained exterior siding’s systems based on lap sidings and shingles manufactured with solid wood or wood-based engineered material. Maibec recently announced the launching of the Maibec Resistech® siding systems manufactured on LP SmartSide® from Louisiana-Pacific,” added François Tardif, president of Maibec.

Maibec inc. is a family owned company from Quebec which has been involved in wood products manufacturing since 1946. Maibec is the most important Canadian manufacturer of genuine wood sidings and also the most important manufacturer of white cedar shingles in the East of North-America.

Group Lebel is a family business that has been working in forestry for over 60 years. Headquartered in Rivière-du-Loup in Lower St. Lawrence, it is deeply rooted regionally in 13 municipalities in Quebec and 2 in Ontario. Once the transaction is complete, the company will employ approximately 950 people through first, second and third transformation activities.

 

The post Maibec sells two sawmills to Group Lebel appeared first on International Forest Industries.

CPAWS applauds investment in meeting protected area goals in Quebec urban municipalities

GFIS - Tue, 07/08/2018 - 21:15
The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) applauds today’s announcement by the Quebec government to invest $2.6 million over 5 years in meeting protected areas goals in Quebec.

California's Mendocino complex of fires now largest in state's history

GFIS - Tue, 07/08/2018 - 19:32
California has been dealing with record breaking fires for the past month and they aren't even halfway through their fire season. The Mendocino Complex eclipsed last year's Thomas fire which burned 283,800 acres last December 2017 in Ventura and Santa Barbara.

Forests crucial for limiting climate change to 1.5 degrees

GFIS - Tue, 07/08/2018 - 19:18
Trying to tackle climate change by replacing forests with crops for bioenergy power stations that capture carbon dioxide (CO2) could instead increase the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, scientists say.

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