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8th June 2020 Newsletter
As the first newsletter since becoming President on the 1st of June, I thought I would briefly take the opportunity to state what a privilege it is to serve members and the Institute again. I would also like to thank all the current council for putting their hand up and agreeing to serve members. It will be a busy two years, but we have a council full of experience and with interests covering all areas of our sector. I am confident this council will deliver for members.
I would also like to personally thank David and his council for their service. It is often an unthankful job and all members owe you a debt of gratitude for the changes you have brought in over the last two years for the benefit of members and the wider forestry sector.
This council started right in the middle of the largest rupture I have seen in the sector. I have observed correspondence putting member against member and it causes me concern. I am all for healthy debate, but I draw the line at bullying and threats. Let’s hope we can rise above this and get back to constructive debate where all perspectives are listened to and we find ways to grow for the benefit of all members. I encourage all members to partake in debate via member feedback in the newsletter. At least this way all members can view arguments from all sides and make informed decisions.
It is time to look for ways to build bridges across the sector and I believe NZIF is uniquely placed to do this. We have members who cover all aspects of the sector, our members are individuals and therefore removed from shareholder pressure, we stand for professionalism and I trust we can have a healthy and robust discussions internally.
I look forward to serving you for the next 2 years.
Biodiversity in an Age of Responsibility
The last month or so hasn’t just been about Covid-19. The stories online that should most concern us as foresters are the significance of biodiversity decline, the European response to the urgency, and the horror that is the Amazon situation. Short-term expedience meets the degradation of a functioning whole. Many will say “so what?” because they do not understand even where their own interests lie. Or because they won’t find it in this quarter’s income-expenditure columns.
If we are thinking long-term, and broadly about us within the scope of a complex system – as foresters are taught to do – then you get the importance. If we can visualise where the feedbacks flow, economically, socially, politically and environmentally … and then back to we as communities, enterprises and individuals … then it is our moral and professional concern.
An Age of Expediency only requires the narrow and the short-term – and keeps bumping into the black swans of system effects (which aren’t even black swans because they are easy to see if people life their head from the screen). An Age of Responsibility requires our old historic forester system breadth and long-term view.
Areas of forest cleared for planting palm oil plantations in Aceh province in Indonesia last summer.Credit...Hotli Simanjuntak/EPA, via Shutterstock
So why does biodiversity matter?
Biodiversity is saddled with a “nice to have” image problem. It has too many syllables for a start. Too technical. It smacks of thing that are ‘nice’, but … A few nice birds in the home garden, some trees, a stream.
We don’t think of ‘biodiversity’ as the planet’s ‘life-support system’, and yet it is just that. We breath it, eat of it, play in it, and it cleans up after us. Remove the rivets one by one to serve the gods Expedience and Efficiency (don’t get me started – bulldozers are ‘more efficient’ than shovels to ditch the stream), and you end up fragile. And when surprise comes – which it will (even thought that also is not in the spreadsheet) – the loss of one rivet inevitably cascades, like a wildfire leaping.
And biodiversity isn’t just a few birds. It’s the landscape systems connected from mountain, hills, soils, streams, coastlines, and continental shelves to the deep ocean trenches. It connects from native forest to farm field to city street, and through the pulse of seasons, good years and bad. Soils and their biology who hold and filter the rain, keeping the streams flowing and filled with life, the pulsing flow of energy that feeds and shelters throughout the year, that reproduces and disperses. The springs and streams where caddis, koura and cockabullies roam, and kids try to catch them.
We as humans are a part of it, integral to it. It isn’t some new age spiritualism to say ‘the land is us and we are the land’. It’s a biophysical reality of health and wellbeing.
We’ve diminished ‘biodiversity’ by thinking of it as ‘over there, beyond the fence’ instead of around us all, across our landscapes, within ourselves, integral. We’ve jumped at a Modern Cartesian dualism, beloved of High Modern Treasury and preservationists, to put cultureless ‘nature’ over one side of the fence, and cultureless and nature-less commerce over the other side. An industrial Tolkein Morder and over the fence a Wilderness (sans Elves of course).
We’ve also diminished it by thinking of biodiversity not within a wider concept of space and time, but as merely some patch of bush, a thing, a noun, a structure, perhaps a bird, and where only ‘indigenous’ species may apply.
Biodiversity is far more about connected flow and flux than ‘thing’. It is verb and function more than native patch or bird. A better biodiversity means accepting integrated landscape function as the important lens through which we see. And that lens means introduced species, the so-called “working lands” and human spaces and systems as part of the whole, both as functional providers on the one hand and pest disrupters to those functions on the other.
Those presumed to be human spaces are also a part of this landscape system. Our cities are critical to autumn and winter feed for birds; nectar, insects and fruits. And the health of our farmscapes, forests, woodlands, wetlands and healthy soil ecology (not a hydroponic medium for a crop) and homestead plantings are critical to soil and stream functions, and provide the habitat from invertebrate to ‘charismatic megafauna’ (aka tui, kereru and such).
A healthy biodiverse New Zealand requires us to see through this wider landscape scope, not just a few native reserves– which might well be oases within a landscape desert. Reserves areas are important, but the imperative is to create a healthy whole, a connected functional landscape of healthy cities, healthy farmscapes, healthy landscapes, and native reserves.
A healthy biodiverse New Zealand also requires us to realise our connections, and accepting that we are – hopefully and imperatively – shifting from an age of expedience to an age of responsibility. Back to integrative and moral thinking, where opportunities lie unseen, and the vulnerability to threats fall away.
NZIF Members are invited to share their COCID-19 experiences and any relevant insights they may have learned to other members through the NZIF Newsletter. This a members’ forum. All comments are welcome.
From the Registrar
SUCCESSFUL 5 YEAR REGISTRATION REVIEW
- Craig McMiken of Nelson
REGISTRATION REVIEWS 2020
The following members are due for 5-year review of their status as a Registered Member during 2020 and have not yet applied for their review;
- Owen Springford
- Nigel Chandler
- Brian Johnson
- Peter Brown
- John Hornby
- Allan Laurie
- Brian Rawley
USE OF NZIF WEBSITE FOR APPLICATIONS, ANNUAL DECLARATIONS AND CPD.
All applications for 5-year Reviews and New Applications for Registered Member status should be made using the online facility on the NZIF website (must be logged in and go to the “Members Only” section). Note that if you do not have time to complete the application in one session there is a “Save” facility that allows you to come back and complete it before submitting.
The annual declaration for Code of Ethics/Professional Indemnity/Real Estate experience can now be entered online. Go to your Profile and click on APC (Annual Practising Certificate) and populate the boxes appropriately – very simple. Those RM’s who have not yet emailed their forms for YE 31 May 2020 should use the online facility. Next year all RM’s will need to use the online entry.
CPD – is still entered online but is Submitted only once each year, as at the end of December. Saving your CPD is not the same as Submitting it. Once it has been Submitted you cannot edit it but if something goes awry please get in touch and we will get the expert (Jay) to assist. The CSV upload facility is available for bulk data and if you require this please get in touch.
Alan Bell, Registrar
NZIF Registration Board
Forests (Regulation of Log Traders and Forestry Advisers) Amendment Bill Submissions
The link below will take you to the 1650 submissions made to the Environment Select Committee on the above bill. While many are just one page of very similar content there are a number of very good in depth submissions.
NZIF CNI Event - Changing the Value of NZ Forestry by Creating New Market
Event: Virtual Meeting! Now here’s a different age.
Changing the Value of NZ Forestry by Creating New Markets
Karen Clark (appita.nz.@xtra.co.nz) is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Join Zoom Meeting:
Meeting ID: 834 7537 0697
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Details of the upcoming national and international events of interest to members of NZIF have obviously been disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic and shut down.
In particular, the Conference and Celebration for 50 years Canterbury School of Forestry has been postponed, and the NZIF Annual Conference 2020 in Masterton has been cancelled.
Learn the simple steps you can take to unite against the virus and slow its spread. Find out what help is available, FAQs and get the latest updates.
Latest NZ Journal of Forestry is On-line
Find latest journal here.
MPI Sustainable Forestry Bulletin
MPI’s Sustainable Forestry Bulletin is available through the subscription link. The bulletin outlines new information, upcoming requirements etc relating to the ETS, etc.
Forestry Career Portal
For career options, jobs are available advertised on this site
Institute of Chartered Foresters (UK)
The ICF provides a newsletter with news and blogs as well as relevant information for members through this link.
Royal Society New Zealand
The NZ Institute of Forestry is affiliated with the Royal Society, with many co-memberships. For those interested in finding out what is happening, receiving newsletters and other alerts, please follow the link here.
RSNZ Rutherford Medal now to include Humanities.
It is important NZIF has up-to-date contact details for members so we can stay in touch and keep you informed of news, events and our journal. If you have changed your residential and/or postal address, or any other contact details, please let the office know. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the News
Coronavirus: NZ Forestry soaring for the meantime post Covid-19
Post Covid-19 lockdown business for forestry companies is growing, but they are not yet out of the woods.
“Things are trucking along quite well,” said Prue Younger, chief executive of the Forest Industry Contractors Association (FICA).
“But the big thing with contractors is that they are at the beck and call of log prices.
"For the last two weeks they’ve been pretty high but how long that will last we’re unsure because of the Chinese economy and the attitude of other internationals towards imports.”
The pre-Covid competition from a deluge of cheap spruce logs from Europe had abated, she said, as China was being particular about what they let in.
NZ: Forestry Bill lambasted at select committee
Businesses involved in the forestry sector are critical of the proposed Forests (Regulation of Log Traders and Forestry Advisers) Amendment Bill.
Forest owner Ernslaw One says the Government’s planned regulation of the industry may stall four projects the firm was considering to expand its processing capacity.
The potential powers the Government was seeking - to intervene in the log sales and contracts of forest owners - were ‘‘absurd’’ and went against any sensible business practices, chief executive Paul Nicholls told Parliament’s environment select committee this week.
Ernslaw One has forests throughout the country, including in the Coromandel, Gisborne, Ruapehu and Manawatu-Rangitikei regions, and Otago and Southland.
The lack of detail in the Bill and the open-ended scope of the proposed regulations meant any consideration of expansion at the firm’s pulp and timber operations near Tangiwai would be ‘‘on hold’’ until the company had a good understanding of the effects of the scheme.
NZ: How many logs do we need?
A new bill has forest owners fuming, but it could be the tip of the iceberg for them if NZ First are re-elected to Government
Forest owners feel blind-sided by a bill before Parliament, but more changes could be coming.
Forestry Minister Shane Jones said the owners of forests hadn't lived up to their end of a social contract to grow the domestic wood processing industry.
He signaled they could expect harsher treatment next term if NZ First were re-elected to Government.
That could start with reversing forestry's special exemptions under the Overseas Investment Act, and could see NZ First could join forces with National after the election to make that change.
"Is it sustainable to give foreign forestry investors an exclusive free pass under the overseas investment criteria?"
"That's the political question. The National Party believe that they should no longer have that privilege."
National Party Forestry spokesman Hamish Walker said his party opposed the bill and the way it would interfere in the free trade of logs, but he was glad Jones appeared to be signalling a re-think of the Overseas Investment Act "carve-out".
"If we're lucky enough to govern post-September 19 we'll certainly be looking at the ridiculous carve-out rules which incentivise foreign owners to plant trees, often on productive land."
NZ: Farmers and forest owners bristle at politicians screwing the scrum so that forest owners subsidise the domestic wood processing industry, potentially resulting in trade retaliation from export markets
Federated Farmers and the Forest Owners Association are joining forces to condemn the Log Brokers Bill as a Trojan horse to potentially force farmers and foresters to subsidise local processing industries from reduced export earnings.
The unwarranted rush over the Forests (Regulation of Log Traders and Forestry Advisers) Amendment Bill risks unintended consequences, including retaliatory action by nations we trade with, Federated Farmers forestry spokesperson Andrew Hoggard says.
The period for consultation is tighter than even the emergency actions on high-powered automatic firearms spurred by the Christchurch mosque attacks.
"The bill has come from nowhere and should be sent back to the drawing board for proper consultation," says Hoggard, who appeared before Parliament’s Environment Select Committee today.
The Forest Owners Association President, Phil Taylor, says both organisations are united on this issue.
"It seems the Bill is designed to use local processing as an instrument to provide employment, and instead of the government paying for it, they want to instead introduce a forestry cross-subsidy. That’s never happened before in New Zealand," Taylor says.
World: Gifford Pinchot plants an idea (The Legacy of Gifford Pinchot)
Gifford Pinchot was both a politician and a scientist, living in a time when the two were not mutually exclusive, as they seemingly are today.
He was one of the pioneers of the US conservation movement and, as an adviser to President Theodore Roosevelt in the first decade of the 20th century, was instrumental in the creation of the US Forest Service and oversaw a huge increase in the amount of national forest land holdings.
An article published by the US Department of the Interior says Pinchot “established the modern definition of conservation as a ‘wise use’ approach to public land. Conservationists believe in using land sustainably to preserve it for future generations, rather than allowing it to be exploited and lost forever.”
Hybrid Vigor: Forest School Builds on Historic Strengths — and Creates New Opportunities
On July 1, the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies will be known as the Yale School of the Environment. Simultaneously, we will establish The Forest School at the Yale School of the Environment in recognition of the ongoing importance of forestry. The new Forest School builds upon Yale’s traditional strength — and creates exciting new opportunities.
Stand dynamics. Second-growth forests. Silviculture. Watershed hydrology. Ecosystem ecology. Community forestry. Forest finance. Ecosystem services. Forest policy and governance.
What would sound foreign to most makes perfect sense to anyone who has come to study at our school. These subjects— and many of the more important advances in forestry and land conservation — have roots here. As a graduate myself and a faculty member for several decades, I presume I’m not the only one who takes great pride in this fact.
Since our school’s establishment, forestry has provided us with our foundation. It’s one of the most mature forms of environmental management and surely one of the oldest. It has structure in its skills and its professional recognition. Today forestry and understanding the human and biophysical attributes of a forest ecosystem still work as a strong anchor to the history of our School and provide students in all areas of study with that critical structure in their academic experience.
Bob Bancroft: Politicians must stop selectively listening to science
It’s good to see politicians turning to science for direction in dealing with COVID-19. When will they use science to foster healthy forest/wildlife management?
1n 1795, Georg Ludwig Hartig, organizer of the Prussian Forest Service, stated: “All wise forest management must endeavour to utilize (woods) in such a way that later generations will be able to derive at least as much benefit from them as the present generation claims for itself.”
More than 200 years of science regarding forestry and forest evolution in central Europe offers some insights for North Americans. The 1700s saw rapid industrialization in Germany and looming timber shortages as a result of unregulated forest exploitation. The response was plantations of fast-growing Scotch pine and Norway spruce. That shifted the composition of German forests from their pre-industrial state of two-thirds mixed hardwood species to two-thirds that were predominantly conifer (softwood) species.
This approach used intensive nursery production, planting, weeding, clearcutting and heavy machinery. It required frequent responses to pests, disease and other stresses, including soil fatigue. By the 1800s, scientists von der Borch (1824), Konig (1849) and Gayer (1886) were demanding a return to mixed (hardwood-softwood) forests and more healthy soils.
Given the myriad of problems that arose using this approach, in the 1880s Frederich von Kalitsch began improving soils and using more tree species. His forests became less attractive for pests. Yield studies confirmed that this approach was more productive.
As this “Dauerwald” approach to forest management unfolded, woodlands once again became more diverse, with older trees and hardwoods included as an essential component for forest health. This return to natural forest ecosystems provided enhanced food sources, shelter for wildlife and other elements of forest diversity.
Europe: Green Deal needs forest bioeconomy, Climate-Smart Forestry, Forest Biodiversity
The European Green Deal proposal should be updated to put more focus on the forest bioeconomy and the diverse possibilities it offers, according to participants at our very first ThinkForest webinar, held on 20 May.
An overwhelming 88% or 125 of those participants who took part in our polling agreed that the forest bioeconomy is an important missing link in the Green Deal. Speakers and panellists agreed that the EU Green Deal is welcome and necessary, but it needs updating to be even stronger, especially in the light of the need of recovery from COVID-19 caused economic slump.
COVID-19 is providing the missing urgency to the Green Deal, and an opportunity to learn valuable lessons, pointed out Janez Potocnik, ThinkForest President. Better management of natural resources is vital for strengthening our preparedness and resilience, as well as competitiveness.
The FAO State of the World’s Forests 2020: Forests, biodiversity and people
The State of the World’s Forests 2020 assesses progress to date in meeting global targets and goals related to forest biodiversity and examines policies and actions, in terms of both conservation and sustainable development outcomes.
Burning forest to clear the land for cattle last year in the state of Mato Grosso,
Brazil.Credit...Victor Moriyama for The New York Times
‘Going in the Wrong Direction’: More Tropical Forest Loss in 2019
Brazil was responsible for more than a third of the total global loss in 2019.
Destruction of tropical forests worldwide increased last year, led again by Brazil, which was responsible for more than a third of the total, and where deforestation of the Amazon through clear-cutting appears to be on the rise under the pro-development policies of the country’s president.
The worldwide total loss of old-growth, or primary, tropical forest — 9.3 million acres, an area nearly the size of Switzerland — was about 3 percent higher than 2018 and the third largest since 2002. Only 2016 and 2017 were worse, when heat and drought led to record fires and deforestation, especially in Brazil.
“The level of forest loss we saw in 2019 is unacceptable,” said Frances Seymour, a fellow with the environmental research group World Resources Institute, which released the deforestation data through its Global Forest Watch program. “We seem to be going in the wrong direction.”
Amazon Deforestation Soars as Pandemic Hobbles Enforcement
A rise in illegal deforestation heightens the risk of fires in the Brazilian rainforest even more destructive than those that drew global outrage last year.
Since coming to office, President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil has enabled increased razing of the Amazon rainforest.
Now, the coronavirus has accelerated that destruction.
Illegal loggers, miners and land grabbers have cleared vast areas of the Amazon with impunity in recent months as law enforcement efforts were hobbled by the pandemic.
Those recently cleared areas will almost certainly make way for a rash of fires even more widespread and devastating than the ones that drew global outrage last year. The newly cleared patches are typically set ablaze during the drier months of August to October to prepare the land for cattle grazing, often spiraling out of control into wildfires.
“The trend line is shooting upward compared to a year that was already historic in terms of a rise in deforestation,” said Ana Carolina Haliuc Bragança, a federal prosecutor who leads a task force that investigates environmental crimes in the Amazon. “If state entities don’t adopt very decisive measures, we’re looking at a likely tragedy.”
The fallout from the pandemic has exacerbated the ecological degradation set in motion by government policies under Mr. Bolsonaro, who favors expanding commercial development in the Amazon and views environmental regulations as a hindrance to economic growth. But some career civil servants are still working to enforce environmental protections.
Studies add to alarm over deforestation in Brazil under Bolsonaro
Research published after video shows environment minister calling for deregulation while public distracted by Covid-19
Two studies have raised further alarm about deforestation in Brazil during the first year of the far-right president Jair Bolsonaro’s government.
One study showed the country lost 12,000 km2 (4,633 sq miles) of forest last year and also provided important information about those behind deforestation. The other research flagged a 27% increase in the destruction of tropical forests in eastern Brazil.
Both studies were released days after it was revealed that the environment minister, Ricardo Salles, had advocated that the government use the cover of the coronavirus pandemic to further weaken the country’s increasingly shaky environmental protection laws. Amazon deforestation and fires have soared since Bolsonaro took office in January 2019, vowing to end the “fines industry” of environment agencies and develop the rainforest.
“We need to make an effort while we are in a quiet moment for press coverage because they only talk about Covid,” Salles said in a ministerial meeting in April. Video of the meeting was released on Friday and showed the minister using an expression about cattle to push for “changing all the rules and simplifying norms”.
The Amazon Will Soon Burn Again
The rainforest and its Indigenous groups face existential threats, while criminals act as if they have license to plunder.
When the dry season returns, the Amazon forest will burn again, as it does every year. But this time promises to be different. Last year’s international headlines caught Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, and his allies by surprise. We can expect their response to the next fire season to contain more smoke and mirrors. It is crucial to focus on their actions.
Deforestation is increasing at an alarming pace. It has grown by 94 percent since August 2019, compared with the previous year’s rate, which had been the highest in a decade. Unlike drier areas in Australia or California, the rainforest can’t catch on fire unless humans cut trees down. The Amazon is being devastated on an industrial scale, and for what? Criminal groups are targeting public lands for low-productivity cattle ranching and mining. Illegal land-grabbing schemes destroy biodiversity and the potentials of bioeconomies, enriching well-connected individuals. Mr. Bolsonaro and his administration encourage it.
Many in Brazil’s elites accepted a Faustian bargain: So long as the government’s economic agenda remains friendly, they look the other way. Now, with all eyes on the pandemic crises, the Amazon and its Indigenous groups face existential threats, while criminals act as if they have permission to plunder.
Oversight and fines for infractions have declined substantially. Last month, Ricardo Salles, the environment minister, fired a director in an enforcement role after he carried out an operation to dismantle illegal mining. The federal government has kept key positions vacant and proposed huge budget cuts to environmental agencies, undermining fire prevention, monitoring and control. The president and his allies support a bill that provides further incentives to deforestation, allowing land grabbers to gain ownership of public lands, including Indigenous territories.
‘Minor’ European forest products hide major values
Alongside wood-based products, forests also produce Non-Wood Forest Products (NWFPs), such as berries, mushrooms, aromatic, medicinal and decorative plant material, nuts, saps and resins. In Europe, collecting NWFPs is an important part of cultural heritage and is closely linked to the recreational function of forests. Moreover, NWFPs are important for the profitability of many small and medium forest-based enterprises.
Nevertheless, for the past decades these products have been mostly considered as “minor” or “side products” and thus only given rather marginal importance by forest managers and decision makers. There are several reasons for this. On the one hand, their economic importance has been considered rather low (when compared to wood). However, this perception results from missing data, rather than being evidence based. On the other hand, these products are used by different sectors (e.g., food, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, decoration), which means that there is no specific sector that enhances their importance. Finally, an important share of NWFPs is collected, consumed and traded by households and in informal settings, and reliable information about this is vastly absent.
To address this lack of knowledge and explore the real social and economic importance these products have in the European context, we conducted the first ever Europe-wide scientific study, with 17,346 respondents in 28 European countries. The study explored the collection and consumption habits, quantities of collected products and their corresponding values for 46 different NWFPs.
Overall the results show that every fourth (26%) European household collects some NWFPs and that the market value of collected NWFPs is worth about 23.3 billion € per year. The most popular collected NWPFs are berries, wild mushrooms, forest nuts, wild medicinal and aromatic herbs and decorative products (see Figure 1). About 86% of the NWFPs are consumed by the collectors and their families, which underlines their social importance.
Europe: Dublin Mountains Makeover to see 9 forests converted from commercial to recreational use
Work is set to begin this summer on the Dublin Mountains Makeover – a forest transformation project that will be the largest of its kind ever carried out in Ireland.
The makeover will have a positive impact on biodiversity in Ireland and will see nine Coillte forests converted from commercial forestry to recreational use.
The project will be led by Coillte Nature, the not-for-profit branch of Coillte. The nine Coillte forests cited for conversion include: Ticknock; Kilmashogue; Ballyedmonduff; Massy’s Wood; the Hell Fire Club; Cruagh; Tibradden; Barnaslingan; and Carrickgollogan.
Transforming the forests will take time and will still involve machinery, felling and lorries on local roads, and diverting or temporarily closing some trails.
It will be a “slow and careful process, conducted in a way that minimises disruption to today’s recreational users, while locking in benefits for nature and the landscape that will be enjoyed by generations to come”.
Dr. Ciarán Fallon, director of Coillte Nature, commented on this new venture, saying:
“Coillte Nature has a mandate to undertake impactful projects of scale that create, restore, regenerate and rehabilitate biodiverse habitats across Ireland and managing those habitats for ecological and recreational value in perpetuity in order to maximise the ecosystem services they provide to society for the benefit of everyone – now and into the future.
Applications open for forestry scholarships to support Māori
“I’m delighted Te Uru Rākau is offering Ngā Karahipi Uru Rākau – Forestry Scholarships for the third year running. These scholarships are increasing diversity in the forestry sector,” Shane Jones said.
Applications have opened for 2021 Ngā Karahipi Uru Rākau – Forestry Scholarships, which will support more Māori and women to pursue careers in forestry science, says Forestry Minister Shane Jones.
According to the recently released Forestry and Wood Processing Workforce Action Plan, Māori makes up only 22 per cent of the forestry workforce, while only 17 per cent of this workforce is female. The Forestry Scholarships help address this imbalance. Whether these graduates become forestry scientists, forest engineers or pursue the range of other careers in forestry, the scholarships are making the sector more diverse.
Eight scholarship recipients will receive $8000 per year for four years to help with tuition and living costs while studying forestry science degrees at the University of Canterbury – either a Bachelor of Forestry Science or Bachelor of Engineering with Honours, majoring in Forestry Engineering. Scholars will also gain experience through paid annual summer internships in the forestry sector.
NZ: Mammoth mission to repair Tolaga Bay damage
Two years on from the Queen’s Birthday weekend floods at Tolaga Bay, The Gisborne Herald looks into the huge, and still ongoing, efforts to repair the area’s battered roading network. It’s a mammoth effort that is only now nearing completion.
Gisborne's largest recovery effort since Cyclone Bola in 1988 is expected to be completed in the next four months, and by then will have repaired more than 5000 sites across the region's roads that were battered in the 2018 Queen's Birthday weekend floods.
The floods, which happened just six days after an earlier event, directly affected 20 homes around the Tolaga Bay, Whangara and Waimata areas, as well as in Te Karaka and Ormond. The event, categorised as a “Medium Scale Adverse Event” by the Ministry for Primary Industries, also left paddocks covered with sediment and woody debris and logs.
An aerial view of a tropical forest along the eastern Pacific Ocean shoreline of
Barro Colorado Island, Panama. Credit: Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
World: Temperature Tipping Point for Tropical Forests Identified – Scientists Recommend Immediate Steps
All living things have tipping points: points of no return, beyond which they cannot thrive. A new report in Science shows that maximum daily temperatures above 32.2 degrees Celsius (about 90 degrees Fahrenheit) cause tropical forests to lose stored carbon more quickly. To prevent this escape of carbon into the atmosphere, the authors, including three scientists affiliated with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) in Panama, recommend immediate steps to conserve tropical forests and stabilize the climate.
Carbon dioxide is an important greenhouse gas, released as fossil fuels are burned. It is absorbed by trees as they grow and stored as wood. When trees get too hot and dry, they may close the pores in their leaves to save water, but that also prevents them from taking in more carbon. And when trees die, they release stored carbon back into the atmosphere.
Tropical forests hold about 40% of all the carbon stored by land plants. For this study, researchers measured the ability of tropical forests in different sites to store carbon.
“Tropical forests grow across a wide range of climate conditions,” said Stuart Davies, director of the Smithsonian’s Forest Global Earth Observatories (ForestGEO), a worldwide network of 70 forest study sites in 27 countries. “By examining forests across the tropics, we can assess their resilience and responses to changes in global temperatures. Many other studies explored how individual forests respond to short-term climatic fluctuations. This study takes a novel approach by exploring the implications of thermal conditions currently experienced by all tropical forests.”
USA: How Small Family Forests Can Help Meet the Climate Challenge
As efforts grow to store more CO2 emissions in forests, one sector has been overlooked — small, family-owned woodlands, which comprise 38 percent of U.S. forests. Now, a major conservation initiative is aiming to help these owners manage their lands for maximum carbon storage.
Tim Leiby had wrapped up a fun but fruitless early-morning turkey hunt and was enjoying an old John Wayne flick when I arrived at Willow Lodge near Blain, Pennsylvania. A few flurries drifted down on this unseasonably cold May morning. After a quick scan of antlers mounted on virtually every wall of the cozy hunting lodge, we headed out for a socially distanced stroll through what Leiby calls “our little piece of heaven.”
This 95-acre woods in south-central Pennsylvania’s ridge-and-valley country is a hunting and hiking refuge co-owned by eight families. As much as he loves it, Leiby knows it could be even better. The forest is still recovering from heavy logging in the 1980s, and it’s full of invasive or unwanted plants — he points out striped maple, princess tree, and barberry — that do little for wildlife and keep desired hardwoods like oak and hickory from regenerating. “Barberry is a terrible invasive around here,” Leiby says. “It’s choking out the ground cover.”
Small family-owned forests like this one make up 38 percent of U.S. forests — together more than 1.5 times the area of Texas, and more than any other ownership type. While most owners want to do right by their land, they rarely have access to the needed expertise or resources. That, however, may be changing. In April, the environmental nonprofits The Nature Conservancy (TNC), American Forest Foundation (AFF), and Vermont Land Trust announced two new programs, powered by a $10-million rocket boost from the tech giant Amazon, to funnel funds from carbon emitters to small landowners like Leiby eager to grow larger, healthier forests.
World: Climate crisis making world’s forests shorter and younger, study finds
Rising temperatures, natural disasters and deforestation taking heavy toll, say scientists
Climate breakdown and the mass felling of trees has made the world’s forests significantly shorter and younger overall, an analysis shows.
The trend is expected to continue, scientists say, with worrying consequences for the ability of forests to store carbon and mitigate the climate emergency and for the endangered wildlife that depends on rich, ancient forests.
The analysis of more than 150 previous studies found the death rate of trees has increased, doubling in North America and significantly increasing in the Amazon, for example. The impact of forest destruction had cut the area of old growth forest by a third since 1900, the researchers said.
But rising temperatures caused by global heating also cuts growth and increases tree deaths by limiting photosynthesis and causing stress. Furthermore, high temperatures, drought, high storm winds and pests and disease affect older trees more and are all on the rise.
ScieTechDaily Coverage: Trees Are Getting Shorter, Younger – Changing Forest Conditions Started Decades Ago
Outskirts of the town of Bilpin in Sydney, Australia, December 2019.
Photograph: David Gray/Getty Images
Report: ABARES insights into Australia’s forest fires
The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) released its insights article: Stocktake of Fire in Australia’s forests, 2011 to 2016. Principal Forest Scientist Dr Steve Read, Acting Assistant Secretary of Biosecurity, Fisheries, Forestry and Land at ABARES, said the stocktake covers where and how often fire occurred in forests, the land tenures and forest types on which the fire occurred, and whether the fire was planned or unplanned.
“Fire is an important ecological driver in most Australian forests, whether the tall moist forests of south-eastern and south-western Australia or the woodlands of northern Australia,” Dr Read said.
“It influences the nature of entire forest ecosystems, including the presence or absence of individual species within these ecosystems, and is essential to ongoing ecosystem health and renewal.
“Fire can be both a destructive and a creative force, so understanding different fire regimes is important in deciding the optimal approach to fire management in different climatic regions, forest types, and in relation to impacts on people.
Australia: Bushfire protection focus to grow SA forestry industry
Boosting fire protection is among stacks of industry ideas to double South Australia’s log production.
Calls for a state-wide audit and upgrade of South Australia’s fire tower network are among recommendations listed in a comprehensive forest industry report released yesterday.
The state’s $2.3 million forest and wood products sector also urged the government to boost community based fire services across outer metropolitan, regional and rural South Australia.
The suggestions, prompted by a devastating bushfire season, are among a raft of recommendations made by the peak Forest Industry Advisory Council of South Australia in its bid to strengthen and grow the sector.
Council chair Wendy Fennell said the industry report focused on ways to expand plantations and double the economic value of the South Australian domestic forest manufacturing industry by 2050.
Australia: Federal Court says VicForests unlawfully logged rare possum habitat
The Federal Court has delivered scathing criticism of the way Victoria’s state logging agency manages the habitat of two rare possums in a landmark court ruling that finds the agency unlawfully logged areas of habitat.
The decision sets a legal precedent in applying federal threatened species protection laws to the logging industry in Victoria, which for more than 20 years has operated under a special exemption.
The critically endangered Leadbeater's possum lives in tree hollows in Victoria's central highlands.
The community group Friends of Leadbeater’s Possum (FLBP), represented in court by Environmental Justice Australia, successfully argued that logging by VicForests in 66 areas of habitat critical to the vulnerable greater glider and critically endangered Leadbeater’s possum contravened federal law.
In scathing court findings, which will have ramifications for native forest logging in other states such as NSW, Justice Debra Mortimer found VicForests had not carefully evaluated the “very real” threats of serious damage to the possums posed by its forestry operations in the Central Highlands.
“Not only do VicForests’ forestry operations damage or destroy existing habitat critical to the survival of the two species, they also prevent new areas of forest from developing into such habitat in the future,” the case summary says.
Call for forestry halt after koala national park assessment revealed
Environmental groups are calling for a moratorium on new logging in 10 key koala habitat zones on the NSW North Coast identified by the NSW government as deserving increased protection for the marsupial.
Details of the 10 so-called focus areas were developed in an analysis of a potential Great Koala National Park by the Department of Planning Industry and the Environment, and revealed following a freedom of information request by the Bellingen Environment Centre.
The assessment was ordered by Matt Kean, the energy and environment minister, following a two-day tour of the region in May 2019 soon after he took over the portfolio. The department initially refused to release its findings.
All up, the zones would see the transfer of just under 55,000 hectares of state forests to the national park estate, with almost two-thirds of that land currently earmarked for logging.
Ontario proposes extending endangered species act exemption for forestry sector
Ontario has proposed extending an exemption to the Endangered Species Act for the forestry sector, a move that environmental groups say is another step toward decimating species at risk.
The forestry sector, meanwhile, said forcing the industry to follow the act would be a bureaucratic nightmare and “impossible.”
Last week, the province proposed extending the exemption for another year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that consultation isn’t required due to a temporary regulation it put in place on April 1. The province has, however, opened up the proposal to public comments until June 18.
“This proposal will maintain the current requirements and help avoid additional regulatory burden and economic strain on the forestry sector while a long-term approach is finalized,” the province wrote on the Environmental Registry of Ontario.
B.C. forests watchdog finds sediment from road work affecting fish habitat
An investigation by British Columbia's independent forestry watchdog has found that sediment from roads posed a high risk to fish habitat in three of five watersheds it assessed.
The chair of the Forest Practices Board, Kevin Kriese, says in a release that some industry practices were quite good, such as maintaining fish passage during road work, but more must be done to prevent sediment from winding up in streams.
He says sediment management should be considered from the time a road is designed through to its construction to its deactivation.
The board's investigation found risk was highest in the Ainslie watershed near Boston Bar, the Owen watershed near Houston and the Pennask watershed between Merritt and Kelowna.
Its report says most of the contributing factors could have been avoided by following well-established best practices for erosion and sediment control.
Mangroves threatened by sea level rise
Studying history provides a future warning.
Mangrove ecosystems may cease to function if greenhouse gas emissions aren’t reduced, according to a new study published in the journal Science.
Using ancient sediment data, an international team led by Australia’s Macquarie University predicted the probability of mangrove trees surviving under two scenarios – low and high carbon emissions.
They estimate that if sea level rise exceeds six millimetres a year – in line with high-emissions scenarios for 2050 – there is a 90% probability that mangroves will not be able to grow quickly enough to keep pace with the rising water.
They are more likely to survive if sea-level rise is less than five millimetres, but the six millimetres threshold “will be easily surpassed on tropical coastlines” without concerted efforts to cut emissions, says lead author Neil Saintilan.
The loss of mangrove ecosystems, which support some of the highest rates of carbon sequestration, would result in increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and fewer buffers against storm surges, the researchers say.
Mangroves in the Caribbean. Credit: Neil Saintilan
B.C. prepared for wildfire season amid pandemic: forest minister
The minister in charge of BC's Forests says while it's unclear what the upcoming wildfire season will be like, our province is ready for it.
Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development Doug Donaldson spoke with media Thursday on a conference call to talk about the upcoming season, especially given the new COVID-19 reality.
"We have the funding, the expertise, the equipment and the people to deal with whatever is in store," said Donaldson.
The minister, along with a representative of the BC Wildfire Service (BCWS), says new protocols have been introduced and extra precautions are being taken to keep crews safe.
Consider the Tree: Philosopher Martin Buber on the Discipline of Not Objectifying and the Difficult Art of Seeing Others as They Are, Not as They Are to Us
“Let no attempt be made to sap the strength from the meaning of the relation: relation is mutual.”
When Walt Whitman contemplated the wisdom of trees, he saw in them qualities “almost emotional, palpably artistic, heroic,” and found in their resolute being a counterpoint to the human charade of seeming. “When we have learned how to listen to trees,” Hermann Hesse rhapsodized in his lyrical love letter to our arboreal companions, “then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve an incomparable joy.” A century and a half earlier, William Blake wrote in his most beautiful letter: “The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing which stands in the way… As a man is, so he sees.”
But to truly see and listen to a tree — or to any being beyond ourselves — as more than a teaching, more than an object of envy or worship or desire, more than a metaphor for our own lives, requires a special kind of regard — the kind to which Ursula K. Le Guin alluded in contemplating the difference between objectifying and subjectifying the universe.
This unsolipsistic orientation to another’s reality does not come easily to us, being such colonizers of the experience and essence of others as we are. What it takes to cultivate it is what philosopher Martin Buber (February 8, 1878–June 13, 1965) explores in poignant passage from I and Thou (public library) — his 1923 existentialist masterpiece, laying out Buber’s visionary lens on what makes us real to one another and extracting from it abiding insight into the meaning of love and presence.
Better wines among the pines: Agroforestry can climate-proof grapes, French researchers show
- Climate change is affecting the growth of grapes used in winemaking worldwide, causing them to ripen too soon which changes the quality and character of the product; but new research in the global home of wine suggests that trees can help growers adapt.
- In southern France, long trellises of wine grapes are being grown among rows of trees that provide shading and other microclimate benefits that cause the grapes to ripen weeks later than in surrounding areas, leading to higher-quality wine.
- This agroforestry system, where crops are grown among woody perennials like trees, appears to have additional benefits in vineyards including increased tolerance of vines to heat and frost, and harboring populations of beneficial insects.
- Agroforestry also sequesters large amounts of carbon from the atmosphere and is therefore recognized as a top solution to countering the effects of climate change.
MONTPELLIER, France — As the world warms due to climate change, winemakers are struggling to maintain the quality of their product. But in the home of wine, agroforestry researchers are showing that growing “vines among the pines” can help growers adapt.
Higher average temperatures speed up the ripening of grapes, which leads to lower acidity and increased sugars in the fruit, yielding higher alcohol levels in wine and altering other compounds in grapes that affect aroma and flavor.
“Wines are becoming fuller-bodied, more alcoholic, and riper in flavor,” as one Italian grower told Bloomberg in late 2019, and this is a problem for winemakers who want to market particular wines with established characteristics.
As the climate warms, this is becoming increasingly difficult and the best growing regions for many kinds of grapes are shifting northward toward the U.K., Germany and Sweden, in Europe’s case, and toward the Pacific Northwest from California in the U.S. Growers typically can’t move their vineyards, though, so some are opting to grow new grape varieties that are more tolerant to heat or drought.
Wine grapes grown in an alley cropping agroforestry system at the Restinclières research farm in southern France. Image by Erik Hoffner/Mongabay.