Region Archives: International

Froggy Foibles

Valentine’s Day 2024: Scientists use wood nanocrystals to mend broken hearts

University of Waterloo
February 14, 2024
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: International

You can mend a broken heart this Valentine’s Day now that researchers invented a new hydrogel that can be used to heal damaged heart tissue and improve cancer treatments. University of Waterloo chemical engineering researcher Dr. Elisabeth Prince teamed up with researchers from the University of Toronto and Duke University to design the synthetic material made using cellulose nanocrystals, which are derived from wood pulp. The material is engineered to replicate the fibrous nanostructures and properties of human tissues, thereby recreating its unique biomechanical properties. …Prince’s research is unique as most gels currently used in tissue engineering or 3D cell culture don’t possess this nanofibrous architecture. Prince’s group uses nanoparticles and polymers as building blocks for materials and develops chemistry for nanostructures that accurately mimic human tissues.

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Business & Politics

Mondi considering DS Smith bid to create $13B UK paper giant

By Yadarisa Shabong
Reuters
February 8, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, International

Britain’s Mondi said on Thursday it is in the early stages of considering a possible all-share bid for its smaller rival DS Smith, a move which could create a packaging giant worth more than $12.6 billion. DS Smith had earlier on disclosed that it received a highly preliminary expression of interest from Mondi. …A bid for DS Smith by Mondi, which under UK takeover rules has until March 7 to make a firm offer or walk away, would mark the second recent multi-billion attempt at consolidation in the paper and packaging industry. Rival Smurfit Kappa is buying WestRock in a $11 billion deal that has not yet closed. “Paper and packaging is a very fragmented industry (especially in Europe) and consolidation is inevitable,” Barclays analyst Pallav Mittal wrote. …DS Smith CEO Miles Roberts, who plans to retire, had overseen the London-based company’s expansion into Europe and the U.S.

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Finance & Economics

China to be short on softwoods but heavy on hardwood supplies

By Russ Taylor Global and Margules Groome Consulting
Russ Taylor Global
February 22, 2024
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, International

We are excited to announce that this week marks the release of our China Outlook Report that addresses key softwood and hardwood topics, issues and outlooks. It includes novel analysis not previously conducted and is a timely must-have report. This new report, China Forest, Log & Lumber Report: Supply, Demand & Prices to 2030/2035, shows China will again become a significant growth market for softwoods – especially for lumber. The Chinese hardwood pulp sector will also see substantial growth with important fibre sourcing implications and opportunities. China’s softwood lumber demand peaked in 2019, a level unlikely to be reached for a very long time. Demand will increase slowly, but only by about 20% from 2023 to 2035. China’s hardwood eucalyptus plantation estate has expanded exponentially and based on size is now on par with Brazil. This expansion allows for more domestic supply than many would expect.

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Mercer International reports Q4, 2023 net loss of $87M

By Mercer International
The Financial Post
February 15, 2024
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, International

NEW YORK — Mercer International reported that Operating EBITDA in the fourth quarter of 2023 was $21.1 million compared to $96.1 million in the same quarter of 2022 and $37.5 million in the third quarter of 2023. In the fourth quarter of 2023, net loss was $87.2 million which included a non-cash impairment of $33.7 million, compared to net income of $20.0 million in the fourth quarter of 2022 and net loss of $26.0 million in the third quarter of 2023. …Mr. Juan Carlos Bueno, the Chief Executive Officer, stated: “In the fourth quarter, we saw improved pulp pricing for both NBSK and NBHK across all our markets as customers restocked inventories. We currently believe this pricing momentum will continue into 2024 with modest price increases expected in the first quarter. We continued to be negatively impacted by the overall weakness in the lumber market.

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Australia’s demand for American hardwood goes up a gear

Architecture and Design Australia
February 23, 2024
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States, International

Export figures released by the American Hardwood Export Council indicate a soaring demand for American Red Oak across Australia, as US hardwood lumber exports increased by 22 percent between Australia and the US in 2023, valued at $32 million. That sum equates to approximately 9,000 cubic metres of Red Oak, America’s number one hardwood species. Readily available, and of a consistently high quality, red oak has similar characteristics to white oak in terms of strength and stability, but an open grain is more suitable for staining. …In addition to Red Oak, there has been demand for the likes of American Cherry and Maple, which have seen volume increase by 650 percent and 110 percent respectively. “Australia and New Zealand remain important markets for us,” says Rod Wiles, Regional Director for the American Hardwood Export Council. 

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House building slump could cost Sweden nearly $100 billion by 2030, study suggests

Reuters in Yahoo Finance
February 20, 2024
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: International

STOCKHOLM – A slump in housing construction in Sweden could cost the economy up to 1,000 billion crowns ($96 billion) by 2030, a report by the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce showed on Tuesday, underlining the risks to growth from a dysfunctional property sector. Inflation and rising interest rates have exposed a deep fault line running through Sweden’s economy centred on real estate. Attention has been focused on the commercial property market, but the biggest effect so far has been in housing construction. Housing starts fell around 55% in the first three quarters of 2023, pushing up bankruptcies in the construction sector, forcing firms to lay off workers and cutting into growth. …While interest rates are expected to start coming down this year and the economy is stabilising, the number of housing starts is expected to drop below 20,000 in 2024 and could remain low for years to come.

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Europe’s paper and board production declines in 2023

Packaging Europe
February 14, 2024
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: International

European paper and board production is said to have declined in 2023, with a preliminary statistics report from Cepi attributing the development to energy costs remaining high, a poor economic environment, and destocking. Consumption is said to have fallen by 15.3% as mid-term global economic trends lowered demand for paper and board and increased destocking. Production was also said to have contracted for the second year in a row and decreased by 12.8%. …However, in the context of globalized low demand, both imports and exports are said to have diminished equally. Pulp and paper trade balance is also said to remain ‘by far positive’ in Europe and is named as one of the EU’s top manufacturing sectors in this area. Still, with consumption decreasing by 12.2%, packaging and paper board production has continued to fall.

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Use of recovered paper slumps across Europe

By Greg Pitcher
REB Market Intelligence
February 14, 2024
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: International

Paper recycling fell by 7 per cent across a broad swathe of Europe last year, according to a key report. A study from the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) found that depressed production of packaging paper and board, along with the closure of certain graphic paper mills, led to the slump in use of recovered paper in 2023. The report added that production of pulp and paper dropped by 13% across the 19 countries the body covers, which include the UK. A poor economic environment, a trend towards destocking and persistently high energy costs all contributed to the fall, according to the study. …Europe’s pulp production also declined, albeit less steeply than overall paper manufacturing, said the report. Consumption of graphic paper dropped by 28% while use of sanitary and household paper fell just 4%.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Navigating a jungle of greenwashing and building certifications

By John Bleasby
The Daily Commercial News
February 14, 2024
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, International

Virginijus Sinkevicius

No other word is used more often today than “sustainability” when talk turns to important environmental matters such as reducing GHG emissions. …Yet, sustainability is part of the distortion that often occurs when commercial and corporate interests attempt to explain their efforts to meet so-called green standards. This distortion is called “greenwashing,” and it’s everywhere. …Canada lags in terms of controlling greenwashing. Some of the problem can be traced to the lack of specificity of commonly-used green terms. For example, Natural Resources Canada offers guidance as follows: “A net-zero energy home is so energy efficient, it only uses as much energy as it can produce from onsite renewable energy.” How net-zero might be achieved is left open. …Greenwashing is so serious the European Union recently approved new laws banning the use of certain unsubstantiated generic environmental claims, such as “environmentally friendly,” and regulating the use of sustainability labels.

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Skylab’s Hip Hotel Tackles Terrain with Mass Timber

Think Wood
February 16, 2024
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US West, International

IDAHO – Faced with a formidably steep site, Skylab turned to ‌prefab mass timber and on-site light-frame construction for the Humbird Hotel in Northern Idaho. The result is a meticulously designed 31-room, three-story boutique mountain resort that refines the alpine vacation experience by paying attention to details—big and small. This hybrid timber solution was not only well-suited to the project’s challenging locale, but reflects the area’s heritage, once the site of a working forest and sawmill. Beyond showmanship, the project’s generous use of wood serves triple-duty—as a light-weight, prefabricated, flexible building system well-suited for the hard-to-reach site; as a natural renewable material with biophilic, sustainable benefits; and as a warm, welcoming material historic to the region. Learn more about how wood made this project a reality in our new project profile. 

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Study highlights how one hospital waiting room feature positively impacts health of patients, visitors

By Jeremiah Budin
The Cool Down
February 23, 2024
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

While many people have an affinity for wood furniture and interior spaces, few of us realize the extent to which wood can tangibly affect our mental health and wellbeing. But according to a scientific study in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, this effect is measurable and significant. Fifty volunteers were observed in the wooden waiting room at the National Oncology Institute in Bratislava, Slovakia before and after their stays in the waiting room, via heart rate, respiration activity, and blood pressure. According to the study, the effects of spending time in the wooden waiting room were overwhelmingly positive. “The usage of wooden materials verifies their regenerative and positive impact on the nervous system, through the appealing aesthetics (color, texture, and structures), high contact comfort, pleasant smell, possibility to regulate air humidity, volatile organic compound emissions, and acoustic well-being in the space”.

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Join an immersive tour to the heart of European mass timber manufacturing and construction

By WoodSolutions
Architecture and Design Australia
February 23, 2024
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Andrew Dunn

Calling all architects, engineers, developers, and building designers to join veteran tour leader and timber expert Andrew Dunn on an immersive journey to the heart of European mass timber manufacturing and construction. Sunday, 26 May to Saturday, 1 June 2024. Over six days of insightful and engaging travel from Vienna, Austria to Milan, Italy by luxury coach, the tour group will visit pioneering factories, facilities, and projects spotlighting CLT, glulam, and other leading-edge timber technologies up close. You will be staying in hotels and accommodation built from wood that showcase clever architecture and interior design. Network with local builders, engineers, and product specialists who are advancing renewable timber’s future across Europe’s built landscape. This is your opportunity to step inside the origins and learn about the future of mass timber building. Witness first-hand how European innovation is driving a modern, sustainable construction revolution using one of the world’s oldest natural materials.

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Wooden-framed high rise marks shift in future of building design and construction: ‘A building can be fully made out of wood’

By Jeremiah Budin
Yahoo! Life
February 22, 2024
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Wood may be viewed as a more old-fashioned type of building material, but wood skyscrapers may actually be the buildings of the future. And now, one renowned Japanese construction company has recently completed a fully wood-framed tower near Tokyo, as Bloomberg reported. Obayashi Corp. completed Port Plus, a training and education facility in Yokohama using a technique called mass-timber construction, which uses thick, compressed layers of wood that create strong, structural load-bearing elements that rival materials like steel and concrete, according to the information platform naturally:wood. Unlike steel and concrete, though, wood is a much more planet-friendly building material. Per Bloomberg, Obayashi estimates that building Port Plus generated the equivalent of about 2,500 metric tons (more than 2,750 tons) of carbon dioxide, whereas making the same building out of steel would have resulted in 4,200 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. The same building made out of concrete would have generated 8,600 tons.

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Construction Challenges and Solutions in Mass Timber: The Case of the Dengo Store

By Eduardo Souza
The Arch Daily
February 22, 2024
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

BRAZIL — Mass timber is an innovative construction solution that is gaining prominence worldwide due to its sustainability and technological benefits. In 2020, the opening of the first Dengo concept store, located in São Paulo, marked the debut of the brand’s first interactive factory and the pioneering use of CLT in a high-rise building in Brazil. Developed by architecture firm Matheus Farah and Manoel Maia, the project faced several challenges precisely because of its use of this new technology, which was just beginning to emerge in the construction sector. The choice of CLT as the project’s main building material reflects a commitment to sustainability and to reducing its environmental impact, as it helps mitigate carbon in the atmosphere. In addition, its use allows for cleaner, lighter, and faster construction compared to traditional building methods. 

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Case study: A stack of cantilevered timber workshop units in south-east London

The Architects’ Journal
February 22, 2024
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

WorkStack, located off a busy road in Charlton, is one of a series of innovative timber buildings by dRMM across multiple sectors, exploring different structures at different scales. …The design answers a growing need for industrial capacity while challenging generic steel ‘tin shed’ light industrial architecture. Many London boroughs have reallocated industrial land, which inevitably becomes residential, forcing production away from city centres. …Built to be affordable to rent, operate and maintain, these workshops answer GEB’s brief to provide flexible, practical and inspirational workspace. …It is a cross-laminated timber structure, with limited steel, polycarbonate, glass and rubber introduced where required for functional purposes. Each building element is designed to be as efficient as possible – a legible, direct design without excess.

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Henning Larsen wins competition for CERN circular timber campus building

By Niall Patrick Walsh
Archinect News
February 20, 2024
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Henning Larsen has won a competition for the design of a campus building at CERN. Designed in collaboration with local architects Brière Architectes, the timber building and landscape are designed to be “immersed in nature, with biogenic materials and low-carbon design prioritized to generate community, collaboration, and wellbeing.” Located on CERN’s Prévessin Campus on the French side of the France-Switzerland border, the proposed B777 building comprises a circular design with a sheltered courtyard in the center. Inside, the building will contain office, laboratory, and workshop spaces.

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Iput to expand logistics park near Dublin Airport

By Caoimhe Gordon
Irish Independent
February 20, 2024
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

The Irish property investor and developer Iput has secured planning permission to deliver an additional 12 units at Nexus Logistics Park. Planning for an initial 800,000 sq ft at Nexus Logistics Park was granted last year. Following the addition of these new units, which are expected to span 1.7 million sq ft, Iput now has permission to build a total of 2.5 million sq ft across 17 buildings at the site. …Each unit can be constructed with a glue-laminated timber frame, while the buildings are expected to have roof-mounted solar panels, LED lighting and rainwater harvesting systems. …“Our ambition is for Nexus to be one of the most sustainable logistics parks in Europe,” Iput’s chief investment officer Michael Clarke said.

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Mass timber reduces construction’s carbon footprint, but introduces new risk scenarios

Allianz Commercial
February 15, 2024
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Mass timber has the potential to be a critical building component for the cities of the near future given the need for the construction sector to reduce its reliance on concrete and steel to lower its Co2 emissions. However, as this market grows and mass timber buildings evolve to greater heights, the construction risk landscape will also be transformed, bringing risk management challenges for companies, according to the new Emerging Risk Trend Talk report from Allianz Commercial. “The emergence of mass timber as a sustainable construction alternative represents a significant opportunity for the building sector to reduce its carbon footprint while also satisfying a demand for a material that is more cost-efficient but as durable as steel and concrete,” says Michael Bruch, Global Head of Risk Advisory Services at Allianz Commercia. … The main hazards and challenges include fire, natural catastrophes, water damage, manufacturing, supply chain and faulty workmanship issues.”

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Experts reveal sustainable approach to generate power from waste wood

By Mrigakshi Dixit
Interesting Engineering
February 14, 2024
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Researchers discovered a novel method for converting waste heat into power using sustainable Irish wood products. According to the University of Limerick experts, this is a sustainable strategy that reduces expenses and environmental impact. The study shows the effective generation of electricity utilizing “low-grade heat recovered from lignin-derived membranes.” …Low-grade heat is defined as thermal energy generated at temperatures below 200 degrees Celsius. …“Despite its potential, utilizing low-grade thermal energy in energy harvesting applications has been challenging due to the lack of cost-effective technologies,” added Maurice Collins, professor of materials science at UL’s School of Engineering. …Lignin is a commonly neglected residue of wood in paper and pulp manufacture. The researchers found that these membranes may transform waste heat into electricity by harnessing the movement of charged atoms (ions) within the material. …This is said to be the first lignin-based membrane for ionic thermoelectric energy harvesting.

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‘It’s almost carbon-negative’: how hemp became a surprise building material

By Edward Helmore
The Guardian
February 15, 2024
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

©Laszlo Kovacs

Cannabis sativa – or specifically its non-psychoactive variant, hemp – is being touted for building blocks for housing that may avoid some of the environmental, logistic and economic downsides of concrete. The cement industry is responsible for about 8% of carbon dioxide emissions, alongside problems created by unyielding surfaces and low R-value properties. The search for large-scale alternatives has so far yielded few results, but on a small scale there are intriguing possibilities, including the use of hemp mixed with lime to create low-carbon, more climate healthy building materials. …Recently hemp’s ability to capture more than twice its own weight in carbon – twice as fast as traditional forestry – has come into focus. By some estimates, hemp can capture up to 15 tonnes of CO2 per hectare, through photosynthesis. Hemp cultivation taking up only 25% of the world’s agricultural land used for dairy and livestock would close the UN emissions gap of 23 gigatons of CO2 annually.

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What Advantages Do Cross-Laminated Timber Structures Offer in Modern Architecture?

By Reginald Davey
AZO Build
February 12, 2024
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Cross-laminated timber (CLT) is a relatively recently developed construction material that is growing in popularity in some sections of the construction industry. …This variation of one of the oldest building materials in the world – timber – has its origins in the work of German engineer Julius Natterer in the 1970s. …CLT possesses some noteworthy benefits for architects and project managers. Firstly, its aesthetic qualities make it an exceptionally beautiful building material. Secondly, if constructed properly, it has excellent strength and dimensional stability. Another benefit of CLT is that it is much lighter than other structural materials, such as steel and concrete. Whilst not as fireproof as concrete, CLT does have some fireproofing capabilities. During a fire, the outer layer chars, protecting the internal layers for a period of time.

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Summer Games: Paris 2024 unveils only purpose-built Olympics venue in city

The Associated Press in Business Standard
February 12, 2024
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

PARIS — Amid the buzz of anticipation for the 2024 Olympics, organizers and Paris City Hall officials inaugurated the first and only purpose-built site in the French capital for this summer’s Games. The Adidas Arena at Porte de la Chapelle is ready and “operational about five months before the Games begin, officials said. It is being touted as showcasing the city’s readiness and commitment to both the global sporting community and its residents. The facility, costing about $150 million and requiring 1,500 tons of steel, required organisers to secure materials from alternative sources amid supply issues caused by Russia’s war in Ukraine. Officials say it is also a symbol of the city’s desire to host a sustainable games, having been built with recycled materials and wood and featuring a green roof. …Other major construction work for 2024 includes the Olympic Village and the swimming pool, both north of the city.

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Forestry

How advanced genetic testing can be used to combat the illegal timber trade

By Melanie Zacharias, University of Laval
The Conversation Canada
February 23, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, International

According to Interpol, between 15% and 30% of the world’s traded timber comes from illegal sources. This is an estimated annual value of US$51-152 billion dollars. Illegal logging has serious consequences for the environment, the climate and the local livelihoods of the people who depend upon the affected forests. …Even in Canada, customers are unwittingly supporting this theft by buying timber with false declarations. In the face of such issues, Canadian researchers are currently developing a traceability system employing genomic identification technologies to help tackle the trade in illegal timber. …To determine the species identity and the geographic origin of a logged tree, researchers take advantage of evolution. …It is possible to assign an individual to a “local population” based on its genetic fingerprint, sharing parts of its genetic makeup with that population and, consequently, also the specific region where it originates from.

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World’s globetrotting animals at risk due to habitat loss, climate change

By Benjamin Shingler
CBC News
February 12, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, International

During its nesting season, the marbled murrelet, known affectionately among bird watchers as a “strange, mysterious little seabird,” lays a single egg in the thick mosses that grow on the branches of British Columbia’s old-growth forest canopy. With some of those forests under threat from logging, the small black-and-brown mottled seabird is considered threatened, too. The marbled murrelet is among a growing number of migratory species animals facing a perilous future, a new UN report found. …A report by a United Nations conservation group released Monday on the state of the world’s migratory species found the threats to these animals, ranging from fish to birds to butterflies, are greater than ever. …Along with habitat loss, other human-caused impacts such as over-exploitation, pollution and climate change are making it harder for migratory species to survive, the report found.

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Global deforestation leads to more mercury pollution

By Adam Zewe
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
February 12, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, International

About 10 percent of human-made mercury emissions into the atmosphere each year are the result of global deforestation, according to a new MIT study. The world’s vegetation, from the Amazon rainforest to the savannahs of sub-Saharan Africa, acts as a sink that removes the toxic pollutant from the air. However, if the current rate of deforestation remains unchanged or accelerates, the researchers estimate that net mercury emissions will keep increasing. “We’ve been overlooking a significant source of mercury, especially in tropical regions,” says Ari Feinberg, a former postdoc in the Institute for Data, Systems, and Society (IDSS) and lead author of the study. The researchers’ model shows that the Amazon rainforest plays a particularly important role as a mercury sink, contributing about 30 percent of the global land sink. Curbing Amazon deforestation could thus have a substantial impact on reducing mercury pollution.

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Human Rights Group calls for investigation of FSC certification in Belarus

Libereco – Partnership for Human Rights
February 22, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: International

BELARUS — An open letter – signed by 14 MEPs from 9 EU member states and 33 international NGOs from 14 countries – calls for an independent investigation of the Forest Stewardship Council regarding its certification of forests and timber and furniture trade linked to torture, repression and destruction of nature in Belarus. The open letter was initiated by British NGO Earthsight and Libereco. …At the end of 2022, Earthsight uncovered that the well-known international non-profit organisation FSC, was certifying Belarusian penal colonies and wood products and furniture made by political prisoners with its green label. Until early 2022 this furniture from Belarus was sold by Ikea and XXXLutz, and while Ikea withdrew from Belarus, many well known stores continue to sell furniture made in Belarusian prison camps. …NGOs are now accusing the FSC of failing to investigate the events after its eventual withdrawal from Belarus in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine.

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Closing Soon: Public consultation to strengthen FSC standards and continue fighting deforestation globally

Forest Stewardship Council
February 20, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: International

FSC is updating its sustainable forestry requirements with three concurrent public consultations. This consultation includes system-wide changes to align with the intention of FSC’s Policy to Address Conversion, the updated FSC Risk Assessment Framework and FSC Regulatory Module. The public consultation for these requirements is open until 1 March 2024 on the Consultation Platform. …FSC Risk Assessments contain 76 indicators for social and environmental protections, going beyond regulatory requirements to ensure material is sourced responsibly. Learn more here. …To further tighten the FSC system to deliver deforestation-free products, FSC is fast tracking the implementation of changes from the intention of FSC’s Policy to Address Conversion. Learn more here. A key part of FSC’s offer is the development of requirements for the FSC Regulatory Module: a voluntary module that complements existing FSC certification requirements to support EUDR compliance. 

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Adidas joins Canopy to protect forests, reduce carbon footprint

By Isatou Ndure
Just Style
February 22, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Adidas has committed to Canopy’s CanopyStyle and Pack4Good initiatives and it is hoped the commitment will also help the brand to move to low-carbon and circular Next Gen alternatives for its textiles, paper and paper packaging products. The initiatives are said to be dedicated to eliminating the use of fibre sourced from climate-critical forests in textiles, paper, and paper packaging while promoting the adoption of low-carbon and circular alternatives. …In addition to committing to sustainable sourcing practices, Adidas is also exploring solutions to reduce waste and reliance on virgin forest fibre. This includes using discarded clothing for viscose production and agricultural residues for paper packaging, thereby repurposing waste materials while reducing the pressure on vital forests. Adidas aims to increase the use of recycled materials in its paper packaging and prioritise sourcing from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified forests when virgin forest fibre is necessary.

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Unanswered questions over why forestry giant Ernslaw One lost environment label

By Eloise Gibson
Radio New Zealand
February 21, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Ernslaw One, a Malaysian-owned forestry company, lost its badge of environmental sustainability. The loss of a Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) labelling is a big deal for a timber exporter – it opens access to overseas markets, and pops up on timber products in stores. Given that the badge is supposed to prove a forest is under responsible management, some green advocates were surprised when Ernslaw managed to keep its FSC label after being found to have broken environmental law, over devastation from its forestry slash. Ernslaw is appealing the decision, stating the issue stemmed from 2018 storm damage. …the audit was carried out by SGS, a contractor responsible for certifying Ernslaw’s New Zealand’s forests as meeting FSC’s standards. …SGS implied some new information had arisen about Ernslaw that led to the suspension, rather than any problems with SGS’ processes. …FSC replied to inquiries that it was “not informed” of the suspension, or the rationale.

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Bob Brown charge, ban over giant tree logging protest

By Tracey Ferrier
The New Daily
February 19, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Bob Brown

TASMANIA — Veteran environmentalist Bob Brown says he’s been banned from all state forests after being charged over a protest in defence of Tasmania’s giant trees. The former federal leader of the Greens and six supporters spent Sunday night at a logging site in the Styx Valley after harvesting machines moved in about a week ago. Tasmania Police were called on Monday and Dr Brown has been charged with trespass, alongside two supporters who locked themselves onto machinery. …“Last week there was a brilliant ancient forest dating right back to the dinosaurs. This week it is a squalid … graveyard of a forest. It’s appalling.” He says the logging could end tomorrow if the state and federal governments mustered the political will. …Sustainable Timber Tasmania says the felled trees were not giants … they must be taller than 85m, or greater than 4m in diameter at a point about 1.3m above ground level.

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Policies focused on forest fringe can help combat ‘omnipresent’ tropical biodiversity crisis

By Josie Garthwaite
Stanford University News
February 15, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: International

The diversity of life has plummeted over the past 30 years in more than a dozen tropical forest reserves in Mexico, a new study shows. Even these highly protected areas are seeing the array of plant and animal life follow a now global trend in which a few groups thrive and proliferate in human-altered landscapes where most groups decline. …The 14 studied reserves, which are part of a biodiversity hotspot that spans across Mesoamerica, have each been designated under a UNESCO program aimed at establishing a scientific basis for improving human livelihoods and safeguarding ecosystems. In and around many of the protected areas, the authors found that new roads continued to go up and trees came down between 1990 and 2020 as people cleared forest for timber or cattle grazing. The abundance of long-lived, shade-tolerant tree species declined on average across all reserves by more than 25%.

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Forestry firm loses international certification over slash

1News New Zealand
February 16, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: International

One of New Zealand’s largest forestry companies has had its certification suspended over slash damage in and around Tolaga Bay. The company, Ernslaw, is owned by a Malaysian forestry giant. The certification was from the Forest Stewardship Council, an international body that sets forestry standards. Damage to the area from the slash is from 2018, however, locals still remained concerned. Tolaga Bay farmer Mike Parker said there’s “thousands” of areas which have had slash damage. …Chair of the Ministerial Inquiry into Land Use Hekia Parata said it was an environmental disaster unfolding in plain sight. Not only has Ernslaw lost its certification from the Forest Stewardship Council but an audit was being conducted into many forests around the country. Ernslaw said it was appealing the suspension.

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Amazon rainforest at a critical threshold: Loss of forest worsens climate change

By Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research
Phys.org
February 14, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: International

The Amazon rainforest could approach a tipping point, which could lead to a large-scale collapse with serious implications for the global climate system. A new Nature study by scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact research (PIK) reveals that up to 47% of the Amazonian forest is threatened and identifies climatic and land-use thresholds that should not be breached to keep the Amazon resilient. “The Southeastern Amazon has already shifted from a carbon sink to a source—meaning that the current amount of human pressure is too high for the region to maintain its status as a rainforest over the long term. And, since rainforests enrich the air with a lot of moisture which forms the basis of precipitation in the west and south of the continent, losing forest in one place can lead to losing forest in another in a self-propelling feedback loop or simply ‘tipping,'” states the study.

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Lessons from Australian fire salvage success shared with timber industry

By Forestry Corporation
Forestry Corporation of New South Wales, Australia
February 13, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: International

AUSTRALIA — Effective collaboration across the timber industry and learning the lessons from past fire salvage efforts have been highlighted as key factors underpinning the success of the record salvage program in the Tumut and Tumbarumba regions following the Black Summer fires in a report commissioned by Forestry Corporation of NSW. Forestry Manager Peter Stiles said the report summarised the challenges, successes and lessons from the timber salvage program and was being shared with the industry to inform future fire recovery. “The Black Summer fires were devastating for the local community and the region’s softwood timber industry was severely impacted,” Mr Stiles said. “Industry was able to mobilise quickly and in numbers against the backdrop of the emerging Covid-19 pandemic to salvage a remarkable 2.7 million tonnes of timber in the two years following the fire. “This was the biggest ever salvage effort in this country’s history.”

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Blue gum research focuses on engineered timber, fast-tracking plantations to bolster construction shortfall

By Andrew Chounding
ABC News, Australia
February 13, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Darryl Outhwaite

Australia’s dwindling timber reserves could be exhausted in less than a decade, but industry experts are hoping a new native nursery in Western Australia could help ease the pressure. In the coastal city of Albany, 450 kilometres south of Perth, Form Forests and Environment director Darryl Outhwaite grows native Australian plants for carbon capture and revegetation projects right across the state. The bulk of his trees, however, are destined for blue gum plantations that dot the south-west landscape and feed paper pulp mills. Following the Cook government’s native logging ban, the Albany tree farmer is expanding the nursery from two to three million seedlings a year to keep up with demand, and purchased a mechanised planting machine — the first of its kind in Australia. …Increasing the domestic supply of construction timber has been in the works since 2021, with the state government earmarking 33,000 hectares to grow 50 million trees.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Climate action: Council and Parliament agree to establish an EU carbon removals certification framework

By Council of the European Union
European Council
February 20, 2024
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Council and European Parliament negotiators reached a provisional political agreement today on a regulation to establish the first EU-level certification framework for for permanent carbon removals, carbon farming and carbon storage in products . The voluntary framework is intended to facilitate and speed up the deployment of high-quality carbon removal and soil emission reduction activities in the EU. Once entered into force, the regulation will be the first step towards… the EU’s ambitious goal of reaching climate neutrality by 2050. The deal reached today is provisional, pending formal adoption by both institutions. The regulation will cover carbon removal including temporary carbon storage in long-lasting products (such as wood-based construction products) of a duration of at least 35 years and that can be monitored on-site during the entire monitoring period.

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Side-effects of expanding forests could limit their potential to tackle climate change – new study

By James Weber and James King
The Conversation
February 22, 2024
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Tackling climate change by planting trees has an intuitive appeal. …The suggestion that you can plant trees to offset your carbon emissions is widespread. Many businesses, from those selling shoes to booze, now offer to plant a tree with each purchase, and more than 60 countries have signed up to the Bonn Challenge, which aims to restore degraded and deforested landscapes. However, expanding tree cover could affect the climate in complex ways. Using models of the Earth’s atmosphere, land and oceans, we have simulated widescale future forestation. Our new study shows that this increases atmospheric carbon dioxide removal, beneficial for tackling climate change. But side-effects, including changes to other greenhouse gases and the reflectivity of the land surface, may partially oppose this. Our findings suggest that while forestation – the restoration and expansion of forests – can play a role in tackling climate change, its potential may be smaller than previously thought.

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Timber Development UK releases embodied carbon data for more than 95% of timber consumed in UK

By Timber Development UK
Furniture & Joinery Production
February 15, 2024
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

The UK’s trade association for the timber supply chain – has released average carbon data for the 10 major timber product categories – completely free for all to access. This data will support architects, engineers, and other specifiers to make accurate assessments of the carbon impacts of their material choices as early in the design process as possible – when they have the greatest ability to influence them. TDUK’s new independently verified Embodied Carbon Data for Timber Products calculates weighted average A1-A4 embodied carbon data for common timber products such as softwood, engineered timber, and panel products, including and excluding sequestered carbon. More than 80 EPDs were reviewed in this comprehensive new paper. …It is available to download for free from the TDUK website.

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Germany’s Move to Tighten Biomass Rules to Squeeze Industry

By Petra Sorge
Bloomberg Investing
February 14, 2024
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Germany wants to curb the use of unsustainable crops for biomass and force producers to better utilize animal dung and organic waste, a move which has prompted warnings from the industry. While only about a third of animal manure is currently utilized for biogas production, the government wants two thirds to be used by 2030, a draft strategy paper says. It also wants organic waste and cover crops to play a greater role in bioenergy, while plant operators typically prefer to use energy crops such as corn or wood to produce heat, power or biofuels. Biomass, which is the main renewable energy source in both Germany and the European Union, has been considered a controversial alternative to conventional fossil fuels. While proponents argue that burning trees and plants — which absorb carbon dioxide — results in lower net emissions, critics worry about deforestation, land use and biological diversity.

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Erratic weather fuelled by climate change will worsen locust outbreaks, study finds

By Carlos Mureithi
Associated Press in CTV News
February 14, 2024
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

©AP Photo/Brian Inganga

Extreme wind and rain may lead to bigger and worse desert locust outbreaks, with human-caused climate change likely to intensify the weather patterns and cause higher outbreak risks, a new study has found. The desert locust — a short-horned species found in some dry areas of northern and eastern Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia — is a migratory insect that travels in swarms of millions over long distances and damages crops, causing famine and food insecurity. A square kilometre swarm comprises 80 million locusts that can in one day consume food crops enough to feed 35,000 people. The U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization describes it as ”the most destructive migratory pest in the world.” The study, published in Science Advances on Wednesday, said these outbreaks will be “increasingly hard to prevent and control” in a warming climate.

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