Region Archives: International

Business & Politics

Growth of cross-border freight brings concerns on capacity, driver shortage

By Pamella De Leon
Commercial Carrier Journal
June 4, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, International

Looking at data from the Bureau of Transportation statistics, northbound crossings from Mexico into the U.S., and southbound from Canada to the U.S. presents an interesting contrast. Jason Miller, interim chairperson and professor of supply chain management at the Eli Broad College of Business at Michigan State University, pointed out, “We see an influx from Mexico to the USA (Q1 2024 up 16% from Q1 2019), whereas southbound border crossings are down 1.4% in Q1 2024 from Q1 2019.” Miller theorizes that the drop in southbound crossings could be due to slower housing starts, especially in the northern U.S., and likely reduced demand for Canadian lumber. …As opportunities for cross-border freight arise, Burkhart said it’s crucial to consider the freight broker you’re working with. Look for a broker with experience in managing cross-border freight and one that has well-established relationships in Mexico, as well as has bilingual experts at multiple crossings. 

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Billerud North America division’s President leaves company

Billerud.com
June 14, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, International

Kevin Kuznicki

Billerud announces that Kevin Kuznicki, President, Billerud North America and member of the Group Management Team, is leaving the company to pursue other ventures, effective 14 June 2024. The recruitment process for the successor to the position will start immediately. “I would like to express a big thank you to Kevin Kuznicki for his contributions since taking over the role in March 2023. He has been a key person in guiding the North America operations during a challenging year for the company and we wish him all the best for the future,” says Ivar Vatne, President and CEO of Billerud. Tor Lundqvist, Deputy President and Senior VP of Operations for North America will assume the role of Acting President, Billerud North America.

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The European Deforestation Regulation could profoundly impact the pulp and paper industry

By Alejandro Mata Lopez
RISI Fastmarkets
June 12, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, International

The European Deforestation Regulation (EUDR), a pivotal component of the EU Green Deal, has swiftly emerged as a point of concern for the European and global pulp and paper industries. This concern does not arise from a lack of comprehension of the EUDR’s objective, but from the numerous areas of ambiguity surrounding its implementation. …The EUDR is projected to reshape trade and supply chains for industries that can be erroneously associated with deforestation, such as pulp and paper. Companies will face increased operational expenses, regulatory scrutiny and the threat of fines for non-compliance, which could reach a minimum of 4% of the annual turnover, confiscation of goods and even a temporary ban from participating in EU procurement. Selling products into the EU will lead to higher costs for companies, undoubtedly leading to price increases when selling in Europe.

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Suzano eyes debt financing for potential International Paper deal

By Oliver Gray
Investing.com
June 9, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, International

Brazilian pulp and paper giant Suzano is reportedly looking to secure up to $19 billion in debt to potentially acquire International Paper, according to Bloomberg. Analysts from Jefferies are predicting a potential cash offer for IP in the range of $54-57 per share, a figure that aligns with previous investor expectations. However, IP’s board may value the company significantly higher. Suzano’s strategic move is geared towards creating a global industry leader with robust cash generation capabilities to expedite debt reduction. The company is also nearing the completion of a $4.2 billion project to boost its hardwood pulp capacity, which is expected to further enhance its free cash flow. Given IP shareholders’ push for the company to divest its Cellulose business, it seems unlikely they would accept stock in a Brazilian pulp company.

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Finance & Economics

European Organisation of the Sawmilling Industry hopes softwood market will “bottom out” this year

TTJ – The Timber Industry Magazine
June 14, 2024
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: International

HELSINKI — European softwood production declined by 6.4% in 2023 to 80,894,000m3 with a further slight drop expected in 2024, according to the European Organisation of the Sawmilling Industry (EOS). The figures were presented at the EOS summer General Assembly in Helsinki on June 12-13. The forecast for 2024 is 79,459.000m3, which if accurate will be the lowest production output for EOS countries for about nine years. But the EOS says there is hope in the industry that the market will bottom out this year. Production shrunk by 5-10% across EOS member countries in 2023, with the decline in turnover much more sizable. Overseas the situation was equally difficult with subdued exports across the board with the exception of the US. Increasing sawnwood deliveries to the US have helped some European sawmills navigate this challenging environment. “Many countries have emphasized a disconnect between subdued sawnwood prices and high raw material prices,” said the EOS. 

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Strong year for business in vibrant forestry sector

The Scottish Business News
May 31, 2024
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: International

SCOTTLAND — Scottish Woodlands, the UK’s leading forestry business, has enjoyed another successful and profitable year, with an increasing headcount and continued focus on graduate recruitment. The company, which is 80%-owned by its employees, reported turnover of £111.6 million in the year to 30 September 2023, with operating profits remaining strong at £4.61 million. Scottish Woodlands Ltd, headquartered in Riccarton, Edinburgh, is involved in the creation of around one-third of all new woodland in Scotland. Its staff numbers have increased to more than 250. …The company has offices across Scotland (as well as northern England, Wales and Northern Ireland) and specialises in tree planting, forest management, harvesting, landscaping, utility services, investment and peatland restoration. Managing Director Ian Robinson said: “The timber market remained challenging – but all other areas of the business were strong.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Electronics made of wood and paper

By Michael Allen
European Commission
June 13, 2024
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Dr Valerio Beni is developing eco-friendly electronics such as sensors and circuit boards. An expert in green chemistry at Swedish research institute RISE, Beni is using wood from pulp in a bid to make consumer electronic devices that have no carbon footprint and are easier to recycle. …He leads a research project that received EU funding to explore ways to make consumer electronics with wood-based materials. Called HyPELignum, the project runs for four years through September 2026… The life cycles of current electronics are unsustainable. In addition to the energy and raw materials needed for production, the gadgets result in mountains of waste once they get discarded. …As an alternative, the HyPELignum team is developing two types of wooden circuit board. …‘Wood and biogenic materials are more or less zero in terms of CO2 impact,’ he said. ‘They absorb CO2 to grow and then they release the same CO2 when used.’

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Forestry Sector Welcomes Government Intent To Engage And Spur Growth

By Forest Industry Engineering Association of New Zealand
Scoop Independent News
June 14, 2024
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

John Stulen

Today’s announcements on growing the forestry sector from Forestry Minister Todd McClay will resonate with industry leaders across forestry and wood products sector, says FIEA events director John Stulen. “With our sector delivering the most carbon-friendly set of exports and benefits to land use all while reducing New Zealand’s carbon emissions compared to other materials, it’s great to see Government showing it wants to grow the sector. “Everything we do for industry aligns with the intent of today’s vision from the Minister.” “It all happens when we delivering our Environmental Forestry, Wood Residues, Carbon Forestry, ForestTECH and WoodWorks events. These technology conferences focus on bringing leaders and innovators together with practical foresters, sawmillers and mass timber construction managers for growing the sector’s productivity and output.” “Our FIEA technology conference team looks forward advancing forestry with the continued support of the Ministry of Forestry, industry leaders and our innovators and service providers.”

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Why timber is having a resurgence in urban architecture

By Emily Wright
The Spaces
June 12, 2024
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

LONDON — In the heart of the London borough of Greenwich, a decorative, latticed tower stands proud. …The fact that the three-storey viewing pavilion is designed to resemble a typical Victorian terraced house is about more than just creating a relatable aesthetic. The tower showcases a building material that is becoming increasingly popular, particularly in the UK and Europe. It represents an industry shift in sentiment around timber use, one that is starting to encourage developers to, quite literally, think outside the box. From lower carbon emissions to faster construction schedules—not to mention creating spaces that bring a greater sense of nature and well-being to those who spend time in and around them—the benefits of looking beyond more commonly used materials such as steel and concrete have sparked a wave of ambitious, new developments. 

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Swedish company launches bio-based plastic derived from forest residues

Packaging Europe
June 7, 2024
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Swedish greentech company Lignin Industries AB has announced the mass commercialisation of its Renol technology, a bio-based material developed from lignin, often found in trees. Lignin Industries claims it has developed a way to end reliance on fossil fuel-based plastics by transforming lignin, an organic material, into ‘renewable, circular’ bioplastics. Apparently, Lignin is an organic polymer most commonly found in trees. It provides structure and aids in water retention, while preventing toxins from entering. The company has created Renol, a bio-based material developed from the lignin, with the technology implemented at a factory just outside Stockholm, Sweden, with multiple applications and commercial use cases either ready to launch or in advanced development stages. Renol is said to have industrial uses such as Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS), Polyethylene (PE), and Polypropylene (PP); which includes domestic goods, automotive, consumer electronics, and PE films among other applications.

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Lendlease taps interest for $1.8b ‘tallest’ timber tower in Sydney, Australia

By Nick Lenaghan and Hannah Wootton
The Financial Review
June 5, 2024
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

SYDNEY, Australia — Lendlease has begun pitching a $1.8 billion office development in the Sydney CBD to potential capital partners while undertaking exclusive due diligence on a luxury apartment project in central Melbourne, as it moves quickly to lock in the $4.5 billion turnaround plan unveiled last week. CEO Tony Lombardo and local boss Dale Connor delivered a presentation on development opportunities in Australia to wholesale investors on its funds management platform.  Among the highlights of that presentation is a 55-storey, hybrid timber tower on the corner of Pitt and Hunter Street in central Sydney. If completed, the 50,000-square-metre premium-grade building would lay claim, at 220 metres high, to being the world’s tallest such hybrid tower, easily surpassing both the 180-metre-high Atlassian Tower under construction nearby, and a 191-metre-high apartment building approved in South Perth. The 220-metre hybrid tower plan is based on an off-market heads of agreement Lendlease has struck with the site’s owner, Milligan Group. 

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Canada Wood Market News & Insights

By Canada Wood Group
LinkedIn
June 4, 2024
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Welcome to the Canada Wood June newsletter! This month, we’re excited to share updates on groundbreaking mass timber projects in Japan, China and Korea. Additionally, we’ll highlight the BC forest trade mission to Vietnam, an emerging market brimming with potential for BC wood products. Dive in to explore these exciting developments and more!

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Dream completes mass-timber office building for Olympic Village

By Starr Charles
Dezeen Magazine
June 3, 2024
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

PARIS — French architecture studio Dream has completed an office building in Paris, which is clad with terracotta tiles to “evoke the history” of the industrial site in the Saint-Ouen district. Situated within one of three Olympic villages, the mass-timber structure by Dream will be used as office space for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games team during the Olympics this summer. One of nineteen buildings in the Saint-Ouen Olympic Village, it was strategically designed for its use beyond the event. “The main idea behind the building is to imagine the office building of the future, with a particular focus on mixed-use programming and, in this case, the integration of a sports area of over 1,200-metre-square on the roof,” studio founder Dimitri Roussel told Dezeen. …A spruce wood frame was used to construct the building and is coupled with prefabricated concrete floors and a Douglas fir exterior. 

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Forestry

EU deforestation law could sideline Indigenous forest management

By JP Gladu, founder and principal of Mokwateh
Business in Vancouver
June 7, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, International

JP Gladu

In April, I joined a Canadian delegation in Brussels to discuss a single, critical issue with EU policymakers—the newly minted EU Regulation on Deforestation-free Products (EUDR) and the looming implications it may bring to bear on the future of sustainable Canadian forestry and Indigenous-led forest management, self-determination and economic prosperity. The EUDR is an ambitious policy intended to combat global deforestation by ensuring commodities entering the EU market—such as wood and paper—do not originate from jurisdictions that enable deforestation or contribute to forest degradation. And while the EU’s intent to halt global deforestation is commendable, the current policy framework risks setting a dangerous precedent by introducing a euro-centric definition of ‘forest degradation’ that may undermine responsible forestry practices and encroach on Indigenous-owned and co-managed forest operations across Canada. …The unintended consequences will disqualify Canadian forest products that come from primary harvested lands that are replanted with the same, native species trees that were there. 

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Manulife bets big on timber as it looks to harvest more than trees

By Christine Dobby
Bloomberg News in the Financial Post
May 29, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, International

At Manulife Financial Corp.’s asset-management business, a slow and steady investment with some novel revenue sources is proving lucrative for the Canadian insurer: timber. The firm has amassed more than US$16 billion of timberland and agricultural assets under management in countries including the U.S., New Zealand, Australia and Brazil as it sought alternative investments to help diversify both its own portfolio and those of its clients. When held over decades, the investments help Manulife match the longer-duration liabilities of its life-insurance policies and offer opportunities for extra revenue, its executives said. “Timberland is not correlated to the fate of equities,” Paul Lorentz of  the company’s wealth- and asset-management division, said. “There are also opportunities to generate other income,” he said, pointing to carbon-offset credits, renting the land out and selling forestry products such as pine straw.

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US Agents Prosecute: Lacey Act Leaves Importers Fully Exposed

By Jason Ross
Wood Central Australia
June 17, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, International

Special agents are cracking down on the surge of Chinese timber evading tariffs and entering American supply chains after a small-time timber importer was the latest to be sentenced, this time for three years probation and a US $360,000 fine after it falsified documentation to avoid paying import duties. …Under the Lacey Act, wood-product importers must file a declaration detailing the genus and species of timber imported and the country where the wood was harvested. This prevents timber species that are protected, illegally logged, or misdeclared from entering the US. In a statement, Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim called the Lacey Act “our best tool in combating timber trafficking.” Meanwhile, Robert Hammer, the Homeland Security special agent in charge of the case, said that the sentencing sent a clear message of accountability for companies that violate environmental laws and deceive customs authorities.

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4 Growing Threats to Europe’s Forests: Logging, Bioenergy, Wildfires and Pests

By Sarah Carter
World Resources Institute
June 14, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Europe’s forests face increasing pressures. Impacts include fewer tall forests, climate change-induced wildfires, insect outbreaks, and, most recently, increased wood harvesting to meet additional demand for “home-grown” biomass in response to the Ukraine war and changing energy demands. Against this backdrop, the EU’s proposed Nature Restoration Law would introduce critical safeguards to prevent further decline in the quality of Europe’s forests. The law seeks to protect remaining old-growth forests, set aside additional forests for restoration, and improve the biodiversity of forests managed for wood production. Here, we look at the latest data, including that from University of Maryland’s GLAD lab and available on WRI’s Global Forest Watch platform, to investigate European forest changes.

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Scientists discover possible cause of Arctic ‘zombie fires’

By David Hambling
The Gaurdian
June 13, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Researchers believe they may have solved the mystery of zombie fires inside the Arctic Circle, which disappear underground in winter only to re-emerge and burst into flames again in spring. These fires occur in peatlands in Siberia, Canada and Alaska. Researchers originally thought the fires started on the surface and continued smouldering underground. Now there is a different explanation. When microbes break down peat, the process generates heat. Much as a haystack can spontaneously combust due to the action of microbes, which raise its temperature past the flashpoint, peat can get dangerously hot. But it does not catch fire until the air temperature rises in spring.

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Climate Forestry Association Welcomes New Zealand Govt’s Commitment To Forestry

By Climate Forestry Association
Scoop Independent News
June 14, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Todd McClay

The Climate Forestry Association (CFA) has praised the Government’s recognition of the forestry sector’s potential to play a major role in meeting New Zealand’s climate commitments. Minister of Forestry Todd McClay announced the Government would be introducing a package of initiatives during the course of this parliamentary term to support industry growth and to deliver positive outcomes across the forestry and wood processing value chain. …“It is important to ensure there is sufficient pipeline of logs to support domestic wood processing as well as encouraging the planting of new trees on suitable land to meet our international climate change commitments,” says Mr McClay. …“Forestry plays an important role in helping New Zealand meet its emissions reductions obligations. This review is the government’s first step on halting Labour’s attack on forestry through increased costs and regulations,” Mr McClay says.

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Forest type modulates mammalian responses to megafires

Nature
June 12, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Although considered an evolutionary force responsible for shaping ecosystems and biodiversity, fires’ natural cycle is being altered by human activities, increasing the odds of destructive megafire events. Here, we show that forest type modulates the responses of terrestrial mammals, from species to assemblage level, to a catastrophic megafire in the Brazilian Pantanal. We unraveled that mammalian richness was higher 1 year after fire passage compared to a pre-fire condition, which can be attributed to habitat modification caused by wildfires, attracting herbivores and open-area tolerant species. We observed changes in assemblage composition between burned/unburned sites, but no difference in mammalian richness or relative abundance. However, by partitioning the effects of burned area proportion per forest type (monospecific vs. polyspecific), we detected differential responses of mammals at several levels of organization, with pronounced declines in species richness and relative abundance in monospecific forests. 

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IKEA in the spotlight: Flatpack furniture linked to ‘systematic destruction’ of Romanian forests

By Charlie Jaay
Euronews.green
June 9, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: International

IKEA has been accused of contributing to the rapid deterioration of Romania’s biologically rich forests. Two recent investigations reveal the impact of the flatpack furniture giant on the country’s Carpathian mountains, one of Europe’s largest remaining areas of old growth forests. According to a Greenpeace report, more than 50% of Romania’s ancient forests have disappeared in the past 20 years, due to corruption and poor law enforcement. A new report from the NGO details the role that IKEA and the Ingka Group, its largest franchisee, have played. …In a separate investigation, Greenpeace Central and Eastern Europe visited Romania’s old growth forests to examine IKEA’s supply chains. Its report, claims that at least seven suppliers for IKEA’s leading wood products were linked to the “systematic destruction” of old growth forests. …Some forest campaigners feel IKEA is hiding behind the FSC, a certification scheme they claim is failing to protect old growth forests. 

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Can flat pack be closed loop? How IKEA hopes to have its Swedish cinnamon bun and eat it

By Oliver Balch
Reuters
June 6, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: International

In the not-so-distant past the furniture adorning most British homes was old-fashioned, solid and, given its relatively high cost, more or less permanent. Then IKEA arrived in the 1980s, and suddenly the nation’s living rooms and kitchens were filled with modern-looking furnishings carrying hip foreign names and very low price-tags. It’s a story replicated in IKEA’s 63 markets around the world. The privately held retailer, founded in Sweden, but now headquartered in the Netherlands, has enjoyed meteoric success with its flat-pack, do-it-yourself approach to homeware (and, for a sub-set of its customer base, its iconic meatballs). But its business model also entails a colossal materials footprint, and that is out of synch with today’s eco-conscious consumer market. …But how does a low-cost, high-volume retailer like IKEA undergo a sustainability transformation? Is full circularity really possible for a company of this size and type?

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Forestry Commission extends beetle pest controls

By Katy Prickett
BBC
June 6, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: International

The Forestry Commission is to extend its measures to tackle a beetle pest across East Anglia. The Ips typographus, or larger eight-toothed European spruce bark beetle, is a serious pest of spruce trees in Europe and has been spotted in the region. Measures introduced in 2022 to the South East will now cover parts of Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, as well as Lincolnshire, from 12 June. Spokesperson Andrea Deol urged landowners and timber processors to “remain vigilant” because “we are now entering the next [beetle] flight season”. The insect is present in spruce trees, especially Norway spruce, in most of Europe and has probably blown into the region. It was first spotted in the UK in Kent in 2018 and prefers stressed or dying trees, but could attack healthy trees in the right conditions, according to the commission.

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Tropical forests adjust strategies to thrive even when soils are nutrient poor, large field experiment shows

By Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies
Phys.Org
June 6, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Tropical forests store a third of the world’s carbon in their wood and soils. However, their future as a carbon sink has been uncertain. Scientists have long wondered whether nutrient-poor tropical soils would limit the ability of mature and recovering forests to thrive. A study published in New Phytologist offers a hopeful response, suggesting that forests have flexible strategies that help them overcome the challenge of scarce nutrients. “We may not have to worry about it so much,” concluded senior author Sarah Batterman, a tropical forest ecologist at Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies. “Because of these flexible strategies, trees may be able to support a carbon sink in the future, even with nutrient constraints. Our findings support the potential of tropical reforestation and conserving intact forests as a long-term climate solution.” …Forests of different ages responded differently to the nutrient additions, showing that “trees are actively responding to their nutrient environment,” said Wong.

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‘Long-term pain’: Scientists warn against Western Australia’s prescribed burn regime

By Sarah Brooks
The Sydney Morning Herald
June 6, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: International

SYDNEY, Australia — State government agencies are amplifying bushfire risk in south-western Australia, say scientists, who further say that government efforts to discredit their research have backfired, resulting in newer and even stronger research. The original paper… published in 2022, examined 55 years of WA’s fire history data. Research lead, Curtin University Associate Professor Philip Zylstra, a former remote area firefighter in New South Wales, said their analysis of records kept by the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions concluded that prescribed burning makes the bush more flammable. The research was dismissed a few months later without explanation by then-WA minister for the environment, Stephen Dawson. In 2023, the department finally provided its reasoning to Zylstra, who used this information to re-analyse the data. This re-analysis has now been published in the journal Environmental Research Letters and Zylstra said it found the results were actually more compelling once the department’s concerns were accounted for.

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Short rotation forestry could lower fossil fuel dependency

Rural News Group
June 6, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: International

NEW ZEALAND — A two-year research project has shed light on the promising opportunities for regional New Zealand to adopt short rotation forestry (SRF) for bioenergy production. The findings are said to show that leveraging short rotation forestry will not only diversify regional economies, but also contribute to sustainable land management and generate environmental benefits as New Zealand looks for ways to meet its netzero emissions targets by 2050. Silviculture and forest carbon scientist Alan Jones says Scion’s modelling shows that short rotation forestry as a feedstock for bioenergy has the potential to replace 6% of New Zealand’s annual fossil fuel demand from less than 1% of the land area. …A key outcome from Scion’s research is a ‘how to’ guide for short rotation forestry targeting landowners, forest investors, and government agencies. It not only outlines the feasibility of SRF but also identifies specific regions most suitable for it in New Zealand.

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Harnessing the Power of Global Forest Watch for Data-Driven Reporting on Land Cover Change

By Morgan Erickson-Davis
The Society of Environmental Journalists
May 8, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: International

In 2013, if you wanted to include forest loss numbers in your reporting, your options were limited to annual reports that used oft-dubious data self-reported by governments and the occasional peer-reviewed unicorn. Regardless of source, this data was a year old at best. But in 2014 the fog began to lift when the World Resources Institute released Global Forest Watch, an interactive, free-to-use online platform that visualizes and analyzes land cover change datasets around the world. Debuting with its flagship tree cover loss dataset and a smattering of context layers, the platform has blossomed into a comprehensive portal that connects the public to more than four dozen global, national and regional datasets. As an editor who specializes in data-driven coverage of land cover change, I’ve been using Global Forest Watch in my work at Mongabay since its debut 10 years ago.

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Arrest warrant issued for Aboriginal elder after no show in court over Tasmanian anti-logging protest

By Adam Holmes
ABC News Australia
June 2, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Jim Everett-puralia meenamatta

A Tasmanian Aboriginal elder says he has no intention of appearing in court — or participating in the “colonial” judicial system — on a charge of trespass for taking part in a protest against native forest logging. A magistrate issued an arrest warrant for 81-year-old Jim Everett-puralia meenamatta on Monday morning, after he failed to appear in the Hobart Magistrates Court. …”I’m not going to be running and hiding from them. If they want to arrest me and bring it on, well yeah, that’s good,” said Mr Everett. He was arrested and charged on March 19 in a native forest coupe in Tasmania, and was bailed to appear on June 3; a hearing he did not attend. …The question of Aboriginal sovereignty, lack of treaty, and the jurisdiction of Australian courts over Aboriginal people are central to Mr Everett’s argument. …Mr Everett said treaty with Aboriginal people would help to clarify these matters.

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Forest Stewardship Council – Helping to Protect Forests Around the World

By Allard Blom and Linda Walker
PBS Nature
May 31, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Have you ever noticed this little symbol? Chances are you’ve seen it in passing, perhaps when you were out shopping for groceries, office supplies or furniture. Well, it turns out this little symbol makes a big difference—for people and the planet. It signifies Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification, which lets consumers know that a product, or even the packaging it’s wrapped in, supports responsible forestry. But what does a responsibly managed forest mean? FSC, a nonprofit cofounded in 1994 with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and other partners, mobilizes markets, including forest managers, manufacturers, traders and end users of forest products like consumers, to support responsible forest management that delivers environmental and social benefits. Those benefits include protecting the rights and resources of millions of people who live in forests and rely on the services they provide. Numerous studies have underscored the indispensable role FSC certification plays in ensuring forests around the globe thrive. 

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Wildfire season is upon us: Here’s what the European Union is putting in place

By Saskia O’Donoghue
Euronews
June 1, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: International

With summer just around the corner, we’re all dreaming of sunshine and swimming in the sea – but with the hot weather comes the risk of wildfires. That’s where the European Union comes in. From June, they’re putting in place measures to bolster firefighting efforts in order to better protect communities across Europe – and the surrounding environment. Following devastating fires in 2023 – recorded as some of the very worst this century – the EU has put together a team of 556 firefighters from 12 countries. They’ll be strategically placed across key locations in Europe this summer, including in high risk areas like France, Greece, Portugal and Spain. Local fire brigades can find themselves overwhelmed when the scale of a wildfire outsizes the response capabilities of a country. The EU are also introducing a dedicated rescue fleet of firefighting aircraft, which will consist of 28 aeroplanes and 4 helicopters stationed in 10 of the bloc’s Member States.

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Rainforest wildlife under threat as below-canopy temperatures rise

University of Cambridge
June 3, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Assumptions that tropical forest canopies protect from the effects of climate change are unfounded, say researchers. Crucial strongholds for biodiversity are under threat as temperatures are rising in tropical forests, the world’s most diverse terrestrial ecosystems, a new study reveals. It has been long assumed that the forest subcanopy and understorey – where direct sunlight is reduced – would be insulated from the worst climate change impacts by the shielding effect of the forest canopy. A new study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, used a microclimate model to examine temperatures beneath the rainforest canopy across the global tropics. This showed that between 2005 and 2019, most of the world’s undisturbed tropical forests experienced climate conditions at least partially outside the range of historic conditions. Many areas had transitioned to almost entirely new temperature averages.

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$13 million boost to protect softwood timber forests and supplies during bushfire season

By the Minister of Agriculture
Government of New South Wales
May 31, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: International

The NSW Government has announced a $13 million forestry funding package to provide much needed protection of critical timber supplies in the Murray region in the lead up to the next bushfire season. This package will build a better resilience into this important regional industry. The measures will deliver fire prevention, detection and response works that have been developed following consultation with forestry industry groups and government agencies. The NSW Government has a plan for developing regional NSW and a plan for delivering more housing. Protecting softwood forests and production is critical to delivering on both of those plans.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Wall Street Backers See Breakthrough Moment for Carbon Offsets

By Natasha White and Alastair Marsh
Bloomberg
June 10, 2024
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, International

After more than three decades on Wall Street, Tom Montag thought he’d seen most forms of financial wizardry. Then Hank Paulson asked him to tackle carbon offsets. …The goal was to “unleash as much carbon finance as possible,” Montag said. But a string of scandals threw the anticipated boom into question. …Prices for carbon offsets tracked by MSCI peaked in 2022, when Paulson recruited Montag, and have been on a downward trajectory since. …Montag and other backers on Wall Street haven’t blinked. They’ve remained convinced companies and governments will eventually embrace carbon offsets as an indispensable climate solution in a world racing to reach net zero emissions. And last month, Rubicon signed a deal with Microsoft Corp., one of the world’s largest offset buyers, to generate credits from a tree-planting project in Panama. …Offset bulls recently scored big wins. The US  just issued the US government’s first-ever official blessing of the credits.

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Revolutionizing Energy: The Rise of Biomass as a Renewable Resource

Alexa Wang
Flux
June 14, 2024
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

…One of the key advantages of biomass is its carbon neutrality. While burning biomass does release carbon dioxide (CO2), the amount released is roughly equal to the CO2 absorbed by the plants during their growth. This creates a closed carbon cycle that significantly mitigates the impact of global warming compared to fossil fuels, which release carbon that has been sequestered underground for millions of years. Moreover, biomass energy production can help reduce waste. Organic waste materials, which would otherwise decompose in landfills and produce methane (a potent greenhouse gas), can be utilized to generate energy, experts from innasol.com explain. This not only reduces greenhouse gas emissions but also addresses waste management challenges. …Looking ahead, the future of biomass energy appears promising. As technology continues to advance and awareness of the need for sustainable energy grows, biomass is likely to play an increasingly important role in the global energy landscape. 

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National Climate Action Plans Have Insufficient Forest Targets and Deforestation Continues to Rise

UN Environment Programme
June 9, 2024
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Despite global commitments to halt deforestation by 2030, only eight of the top 20 countries with the highest rate of tropical deforestation have quantified targets on forests in their national climate action plans, also known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). This is one of the key findings of the UN-REDD report Raising Ambition, Accelerating Action. …The report’s analysis reveals that current NDC pledges submitted between 2017 and 2023 do not meet the global ambition to halt and reverse deforestation by 2030. While 11 of the NDCs contain quantified targets relating to afforestation and reforestation, mitigating climate change requires reducing deforestation first, as it takes many years to capture the carbon lost through deforesting an equivalent area through afforestation and restoration. To further harmonise national efforts, it is also crucial for NDCs to integrate existing national strategies to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+), which 15 of the 20 countries have adopted.

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Russia says its forests can absorb its GHG emissions. Climate change and poor forestry standards make this unlikely.

The Moscow Times
June 7, 2024
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

As the climate crisis intensifies, Russia is pinning its hopes on its vast forests to make up for its carbon emissions — the world’s fourth-highest — and even help the country become a global leader in carbon absorption. But the country’s substandard conservation and ineffective forestry practices, combined with the impacts of climate change itself, make it more likely that Russia’s forests will become a carbon source rather than a sink in the next decade. “If the trend of increasing wildfires continues … then within the next one or two decades, Russian forests will become a carbon source,” a Russian forestry expert said. And according to the expert’s estimates, about a quarter of all logging in Russia targets its largely untouched old-growth forests. …Researchers from the Moscow-based Izrael Institute of Global Climate and Ecology found that Russia’s greenhouse gas emissions appear to be higher than what its ecosystems can absorb. 

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Biomass boiler in Portugal textiles factory cuts CO2 emissions by 95%

Bioenergy Insight
June 6, 2024
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Global workwear textile manufacturer Carrington Textiles, along with its joint venture in Portugal, MGC, said it has achieved significant carbon emission reductions following the installation of a biomass boiler at the site last year. This initiative has allowed the factory to produce 95% of the steam needed for manufacturing while reducing natural gas consumption by 70%, marking a substantial step towards more sustainable textile production practices. MGC’s biomass boiler uses responsibly sourced wood chips from local forests within a 50 km radius of the factory, all certified by SURE (Sustainable Resources), according to the company. This raw material consists of leftover wood intended for the paper industry that needs to be removed to prevent fires. The ash generated in the process is used as soil fertiliser after being treated to avoid soil contamination. This new equipment is carbon neutral and has allowed the textile manufacturer to decrease its overall CO2 emissions by 45% compared to 2022.

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Buying and selling forest carbon as a commodity is dangerous if it trumps other environmental and social uses

By Constance McDermott, Eric Kumeh Mensah, and Mark Hirons
The Conversation Canada
June 3, 2024
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Forests are great carbon sinks. Globally, forests remove nearly all of the two billion tonnes of carbon dioxide that is currently being removed from the atmosphere every year. These days, companies can buy “carbon credits” for the carbon that is stored in living forests and offset this against their own greenhouse gas emissions. International financiers estimate that by 2050, Africa could be selling US$1.5 trillion in carbon credits per year, mainly from its forests. Environmental social scientists Constance L. McDermott, Eric Mensah Kumeh and Mark Hirons are co-authors of a report on global forest governance for the International Union of Forest Research Organisations. They have found that buying and selling forest carbon as a commodity is dangerous if it is prioritised over the other environmental and social uses of forests. It could even result in environmental damage and the displacement of forest-dependent people.

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‘The science’ doesn’t tell us what fighting climate change costs

By Bjorn Lomborg, Copenhagen Consensus
Financial Post
May 31, 2024
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Bjorn Lomborg

We constantly hear that because climate change is real we should “follow the science” and end fossil fuel use. We hear it both from politicians who favour swift carbon cuts and from natural scientists themselves, as when the editor-in-chief of Nature insists “The science is clear — fossil fuels must go.” The assertion is convenient for politicians because it allows them to avoid responsibility for the many costs and downsides of climate policy, painting these as inevitable results of diligently following the scientific evidence. But it is false. It confounds climate science with climate policy. …The story told by activist politicians and climate campaigners suggests there is nothing but benefit to ending fossil fuels — and a hellscape if nothing is done. But the reality is that life has improved dramatically in recent centuries largely because of the immense increase in available energy that has come mostly from fossil fuels.

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Market value of carbon offsets drops 61%, report finds

By Patrick Greenfield
The Guardian UK
May 30, 2024
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

The market for carbon offsets shrank dramatically last year, falling from $1.9bn in 2022 to $723m in 2023, a new report has found. The drop came after a series of scientific and media reports found many offsetting schemes do nothing to mitigate the climate crisis and biodiversity loss. The research by Ecosystem Marketplace, found the market had shrunk 61%. It attributed the contraction to a flurry of studies and media reports that concluded millions of offsets were “worthless”, with some projects linked to human rights concerns. Each carbon credit is meant to represent the reduction or removal of one tonne of CO2 emissions removals or reductions. …Offsets generated by schemes protecting rainforests, the most popular type, lost 62% of their value between 2022 and 2023. These schemes were the focus of a joint investigation by the Guardian, which found more than 90% of rainforest carbon offsets from a large sample of projects from Verra are worthless.

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