- Who we are
- Registration Board
- Fellows Committee
- Local Sections
- Ethics Committee
- Valuations Committee
- Fire Committee
- Forests (Regulation of Log Traders and Forestry Advisers) Amendment Act Steering Group
- Future Forester
- NZIF Awards
- Honours Board
- Governing Documents
- NZIF Foundation
- Member Services
22nd June 2020 Newsletter
Thank you to those members who took the time to respond to my first column. It is great also to see ideas being put forward in the members voice of this newsletter. I still have grave concern about the lack of cohesion within the industry and over the next two years will work hard to grow better understanding between all parts of the industry. We all need each other to prosper, it does not matter if we are contractor, manager, forest owner, investor, processor, exporter, carbon farmer, land owner. Only working together will we build a stronger and more robust industry contributing more to New Zealand and improving everyones returns.
The Bill, which has highlighted this split, has been sent back to parliament by the select committee with proposed changes. Democracy is working. The committee heard and read all the submissions and have incorporated this feedback into their recommendations for changes to the Bill. I am sure there will still be sides not happy with parts of the Bill, but this will always occur. It is not a matter of trying to please everyone, as this is impossible, but rather trying to get to a middle ground which satisfies most. As the Bill works it’s way through Parliament, I hope we can now focus back on the business of forestry, no matter where in the production chain you work.
I had the honour of listening to a recent past PM speak last week. One statement he made is “change is the most frightening word in politics but change we must”. How true is the statement! We are all scared of change, but we need to be prepared to change, the post Covid world will be very different, the post BLM world hopefully will be very different, we have had time to shine a light on some of the issues which have always been around, but not actively worked on. Climate change has not gone away, and hopefully post Covid and the rapid change we saw in environments around the world has made people understand we can do something about it and we can do it now. So I would like to challenge members (again for discussion in this newsletter) what can / should we as a sector and as individuals be doing. Whilst public focus is on dairy at present, we are not squeaky clean. Let’s stay ahead of public opinion and make changes because we feel it is right, not because the public force us to. I look forward to reading ideas in future newsletters.
The new council meets for the first time on Friday the 19th. As I am writing this before the meeting an update on the meeting will have to wait until the next newsletter. However as stated when I stood for election I want council meetings and decisions to be open to members. Where possible I will try to make minutes available for members to read and we will have the budget and progress against it available for any financial member to view. This is your Institute and it is important to me you all have a say in how it works, what it works on and decisions it makes. At anytime feel free to contact me or your nearest councillor with ideas, concerns or suggestions. I am sure we will improve our service to you with timely and constructive feedback from you.
Let us all work together to build our sector.
From the Registrar
There are no registration reviews this fortnight.
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.
Latest NZ Journal of Forestry is On-line
Find latest journal here.
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.
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
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 email@example.com.
11 June 2020
Wood Processors and Manufacturing Association; Brian Stanley
NZ Timber Industry Federation; Kevin Hing
NZ Forest Owners association; Phil Taylor
NZ Farm Forestry Association; Hamish Levack
NZ Institute of Forestry; James Treadwell
Subject; Log Traders Bill – A Desperate Need for Industry Unity
I am writing this letter to you all as a concerned forest industry participant. I hope my comments may be of some assistance going forward. It is evident that the Log traders Bill is polarising our industry at a time when we desperately need to work together as we come out of Covid 19.
I have read many of the submissions and heard many of the presentations. There are valid arguments from both sides of the spectrum. I am not going to go into the pros and cons of each side as they are well documented and recorded. The process is now being progressed behind the scenes by CEO’s, high powered Lawyers, Lobby groups, Industry organisations, Ministers and our elected officials in Parliament. Each trying their best to influence an outcome. Maybe a compromise can be reached, maybe not who knows. We will see what comes out of this all.
I have had the privilege to meet Minster Jones once informally at a NZTIF conference. He is clearly passionate about our Industry and is willing to make serious change. He has tread on a few toes but sometimes that is necessary to get things done at his level. He is also a politician and they are different from the rest of us and needs to be re-elected if he is to survive. He has made it very clear that he wants the Forestry growing sector to listen to some of the concerns raised by processors and that both parties strike a fair balance in log supply security and price. The industry has not been able to reach an agreement at this stage. The Minister has also said on numerous occasions publicly that if the Forest Industry cannot speak with unity and address and resolve the key issues, he feels need attention, he will go down the path of Regulation. I have been told that this is not his preference. I have also been advised that this Bill has been designed by Minister Jones himself and that none of the industry organisations /participants have been party to constructing it. Minister Jones has made it clear that he is taking full responsibility for it.
While nobody objects to increasing the professionalism in our sector, everyone in the industry knows that was never the main reason for the introduction of this Bill.
As expected, the processing industry is supporting the Bill as it is expected to address the issues, they want the forest growing sector to work with them on. We do not know if it will but from their perspective it gives them a chance their concerns will be actioned on. For them this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to be heard as they have a Minister championing their cause. Forest owners (of all sizes) on the other hand are very concerned as the proposed Forestry Authority, mentioned in the Bill may impose Rules on how a Forest Owner may sell their logs and or standing timber and may influence the financial returns of their investments. Both concerns are valid and need to be addressed.
It is felt by Government that the industry is not listening to each other and so cannot speak with unity. This perception needs to change with or without the passing of this Bill.
We are here now, with this polarizing bill, as the industry has not been able to reach common ground on some key areas of concern raised by the processing sector. This is happening at a time as we come out of Covid 19 and we face an election in 3 months. Many different dynamics at stake in a very short period of time.
Some Background to our industry.
Most of NZ’s current processing industry has been built on the back of a committed supply from Government owned forests with long-term supply agreements or by publicly listed/private forest owners building their own processing plants to add value to their own forest resources (vertically integrated companies). The selling of most of NZ’s key forestry assets during 1990’s and early 2000 was driven by poor returns to the NZ Government and publicly listed companies respectively. Private capital however was waiting to take the long -term view and take the risks. Many of those early years were not good for the owners of the newly privatised forests and some went broke!
Since the sale of NZ Government’s Forests (just over 500,000 ha) and the breakup of the two largest vertically integrated forest companies (CHH and FCL) there has been no significant increase in domestic processing in NZ.
When the forests from these key players were sold off some had domestic supply contracts in place other didn’t. A significant part of NZ’s processing sector was left with a lack of long-term committed supply (some by choice as the log export market was much less dominant in the 1990’s and early 2000 than today). Most logs are currently sold in NZ through a quarterly pricing /supply agreement.
With significant increases in harvesting coming on stream, Forest owners had to find new markets for the huge increase in log supply for all the grades the forest produces. The log export market was their only immediate option to take the increased supply.
Then came the massive growth in China since 2008 and the world trade dynamics changed.
Through no fault of any one, we are now a very different industry with most Forests and Processing owned by separate commercial entities with limited long-term committed supply at a price that will enable the processing sector to grow and raise capital.
Forest growers have taken the risk in buying and creating forestry assets and benefited from the massive growth in the Chinese log export market but we all know it is a very volatile and ruthless business which has regular boom and bust cycles.
While the grades in the above graph are very different, the key message highlights the enormous price volatility between domestic and export markets. The impact of this price volatility causes huge disruptions throughout our supply chain and is very damaging to many. The impact of substantially reduced prices is only part of the story. Usually the lower prices mean the market is oversupplied and is carrying high inventories. Supply volumes are cut back, on stump returns to grower’s plummets and private forest owners, with high cash costs lay off contractors and transport operators until the market recovers. The impact of this boom and bust cycle to our contractor workforce can be devastating.
The larger forest owners have a high exposure to the domestic market and can keep most of their infrastructure in place during these cycles. But they also sometimes struggle with maintaining supply of the narrow ranges of grades the domestic market requires if the export log market is not able to take the grades the domestic market does not want.
NZ has emerged as the most efficient log export country in the world with over 90% of our forest resource within 150 km of a world class log port, very different from Canada, Russia, Europe and USA. It has been very difficult for NZ processors, that generally take a narrow range of log grades to compete with this on a quarterly basis.
We all know that we have a very high exposure to the Chinese log market and we would like to diversity but we also need to sell all the grades the trees produces at the time of harvest and China can take all the grades the forest produces.
There is no other real show in town (see graph below). The industry knows that we need diversity in geographic markets and market segments and an expanded domestic processing sector could offer that if we can strike the right kind of supply agreements between growers and processors.
Source; Global trade Atlas
In time it is expected that China will reduce its log imports and increase imports of semi-finished products just like Korea and Japan have done as their domestic processing costs increase and tariffs on finished products reduce. This is a gradual process and will take time but it will happen. In the mean time we have time in NZ to adjust and reshape our industry. We can only do so if the Captains of our industry recognize the key issues and are willing to make change.
While the processing sector and forest owners are both long-term businesses, we tend to focus our energy on issues we face today, or this quarter, and lose sight of the long term issues our sector is facing and how we can effect change and still work together harmoniously in the long term.
The Government appears to be very committed to the forestry sector, as they recognize the key role forestry can play not only in the commercial aspects but also in the ETS and other ecosystem services it provides to the country. Maintaining and if possible, growing our employment in the Forestry sector as we come out of Covid 19 is also critical. They would like the forestry growing sector to support the processing industry and give them a chance to be profitable and for them to grow their export businesses if and where it makes sense. Government does not have all the answers and they are seeking guidance from the Forestry Sector how to go about this, but our sector does not speak with unity and vision and does not appear to be able to resolve contentious issues.
We should be under no illusions going forward. The next 12 months will be very challenging for both processors and forest owners. Chinese and global demand for forest products will slow, the huge increase in spruce beetle damaged European volumes will continue to flow and impact our markets. Local and international demand for our logs and lumber will be uncertain and this will impact the prices we can achieve and volumes we can sell.
As we come out of Covid 19 we should not let the Bill polarize our industry. It is vitally important that we continue to focus on finding common ground and to tackle issues our industry is facing. Despite what we hear in the media there is a lot of good work going on between forest owners and processors.
Since reading a number of submissions and hearing various presentations I summarize here some areas that seem to be common ground for all parties;
1. Everyone in our Industry supports increasing professionalism in the sector.
2. As we come out of Covid 19 all forest owners and processors seek stability in volume and a price for the next 12 months to assist in maintaining employment in the sector. Striking a commercial deal that is fair to both parties that recognises the issues and constraints each face could be a good first step and I sense there is a willingness to do something. But all parties need to be willing to really listen to make this work.
3. Most larger Forest Owners strongly support domestic processing and are willing to consider changing the current quarterly price negotiations to give processors more certainty in volume and price over a longer period.
4. Most processors understand that investing in forests is a long-term business and that forest growers are entitled to a fair return and that they need access to the export market for the grades the NZ processing industry cannot or does not wish to process at the time of harvest
5. Most forest owners and traders are already giving domestic processor 1st call on domestic log grades if they can have access to the log export market at all times to sell the balance. This could be expanded to cover all forest owners on a voluntary “Support NZ Industry First” basis.
6. Most processors and most forest owners do not favour Regulation on how logs and or trees are sold if the above can be resolved to mutual satisfaction
7. Most Forest owners will support an increase in domestic processing as it will enable them greater access to more markets and market segments, but it must make commercial sense to both parties.
8. We will also need to address more contentious issues at some stage but let’s first focus on establishing common ground.
Maybe some of the above can be fleshed out in a bit more detail and others added to it to come up with a Forest Industry Accord. The key to any Accord is that it clearly sets out the Key Issues that need to be addressed and by when they will each be resolved to mutual satisfaction. This will require trust.
As I see it the industry has a few choices;
1. Allowing this Bill to pass in its current form will give Government the control levers to make Rules they believe will address the contentious issues in our industry. As Forestry Ministers will come and go, this loss of influence/control on how we shape the future of our industry must be of serious concern to both Processors and Forest owners. The questions the sector must ask itself; Will this bill in its current form really address and resolve the contentious issues we face? and Do we really want Government to do that for us? Once we go down this track it will be very difficult to unwind.
2. The parties manage to modify the rushed Bill and limit its scope. It is very unlikely that any modified version will address the real issues the industry needs to resolve for the future.
3. The Industry takes control of its own destiny, by finding common ground, be pragmatic about resolving the issues that need addressing and the industry speak with a unified voice to Government. This could happen by industry participants signing a Forest Industry Accord. This Forestry Industry Accord would have wide support and be signed by all key players. It would clearly set out the key issues that will be addressed and resolved within agreed time frames. As part of the Accord the signatories would strongly recommend to the Minister/Select committee that the Bill be put on hold until the industry have resolved the terms of the Accord to mutual satisfaction. Upon receipt of a signed Forest Industry Accord, the Minister may be
willing to put the Bill on hold to give Industry time to carry out the Agreement reached in the Accord. I believe that this would be a great outcome for all.
In the meantime, no matter what is happening with this Bill the issues will not go away and will need to be addressed at some stage. No better time than now. There will always be differences of opinion in the sector, but I urge you all to be openminded and be willing to find common ground and take action. The coming weeks will be critical for our industry. I believe it is better for our industry to take control of its own destiny, rather than Government to do it for us.
Is the above something that can be used as a strawman for a Forest Industry Accord? We have very good people in the forest growing and processing sectors willing to work together to find common ground to make this work.
This letter has been prepared to stimulate discussion. It puts forward my own personal views and observations having been involved in the NZ Forestry sector for 40 years. The content of this letter has not been endorsed by any of the forest industry organisations. If it can assist the sector to better understand the current dynamics and recognize the urgent need to establish common ground and speak with a unified voice to Government, it will have achieved its purpose.
Declaration of interest;
I am a forest grower and am planting trees for our children and grandchildren. I am also a former GM Sales and Marketing for CHH Forests where I was responsible for sale of Logs and woodchips to group, non- group and export markets. I firmly believe NZ’s Forest industry has enormous potential but it needs to be unified to develop a common vision and action plan for the future
In the News
Webinar Event: Forest & Wood Innovations
- Biocycle biocycle.co.uk
- carbonauten GmbH Carbonauten.com
- Fighting Treetop Fire fightingtreetopfire.com
- MetGen Oy metgen.com
- Natural solutions natural-solutions.eu
- Pro Farm Technologies Oy profarm.org
- sintecsys sintecsys.com
- Smarter Habitat
- Swiss Wood Solutions swisswoodsolutions.ch
- TieBam TieBam.com
- Wuudis Solutions Oy wuudis.com
Time: Jun 26, 2020 03:00 AM in Auckland, Wellington time zone.
Contribute to … A Sound Map of the World’s Forests
I’m contacting you from Timber Festival in the UK as we’ve recently launched an exciting new project which we thought would be of interest.
Sounds of the Forest is a mass participation audio project to create the first ever forest soundmap of the world! We’re inviting people to contribute recordings from forests all over the globe to become part of an open source library available to everyone. Now more than ever, we want to reinforce the importance of forests and encourage people to experience the transformational power of forests and trees.
We would be hugely grateful for your help in sharing information about the project and it would be wonderful to have sounds from some of New Zealand’s forests featured on the map.
Further info and images are included in the pack attached. Do let me know if you’d like any more details and if we can return the favour in any way.
Many thanks in advance
Marketing & Communications Officer
NZ: ETS Updates
9 June 2020 – We're making it easier to register forests in the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS)
Over the next 2 years we're looking at ways to streamline our ETS administration and upgrade our technology to make it easier for people to take part.
We're replacing the existing Climate Change Information System (CCIS) with a new system. The first version of this will be live by mid-2022. Along with this you'll also see:
- streamlined processes
- improved administration
- better guidance and tools for landowners.
- Our new system and processes will give you:
- a more user-friendly interface
- reduced application processing times
- a quicker and simpler system for registering trees
- reduced complexity - making it easier for you to meet statutory requirements.
Get in touch if you want to sign up for updates or give feedback on what you'd like to see in the new system. You can contact us by email firstname.lastname@example.org
2 June 2020 – Emissions Trading Reform Bill has second reading
The Government has introduced some important changes to forestry through a supplementary order paper (SOP) which will now be debated in the House.
The SOP proposes 3 key changes for forestry:
- Many of the forestry provisions will come into effect on 1 January 2023. Forests registered between 1 January 2019 and 31 December 2022 will be able to use stock change accounting or averaging accounting.
- The temporary adverse events provisions will be made available to all post-1989 forests in the ETS. Temporary adverse event cover will let participants "pause" their unit earning after an adverse event, such as a fire, instead of having to pay units back.
- The new non-surrender/repayment penalty will apply to small forestry participants from 1 January 2023. The existing penalty in the Climate Change Response Act will apply until 31 December 2022 to forestry activities that result in a surrender obligation of less than 25,000 units per year.
Find out more about the Bill on the Ministry for the Environment (MfE) website (Overview of the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme reforms – MfE).
World: Pervasive shifts in forest dynamics in a changing world
Shifting forest dynamics
Forest dynamics are the processes of recruitment, growth, death, and turnover of the constituent tree species of the forest community. These processes are driven by disturbances both natural and anthropogenic. McDowell et al. review recent progress in understanding the drivers of forest dynamics and how these are interacting and changing in the context of global climate change. The authors show that shifts in forest dynamics are already occurring, and the emerging pattern is that global forests are tending toward younger stands with faster turnover as old-growth forest with stable dynamics are dwindling.
Forest dynamics arise from the interplay of chronic drivers and transient disturbances with the demographic processes of recruitment, growth, and mortality. The resulting trajectories of vegetation development drive the biomass and species composition of terrestrial ecosystems. Forest dynamics are changing because of anthropogenic-driven exacerbation of chronic drivers, such as rising temperature and CO2, and increasing transient disturbances, including wildfire, drought, windthrow, biotic attack, and land-use change. There are widespread observations of increasing tree mortality due to changing climate and land use, as well as observations of growth stimulation of younger forests due to CO2 fertilization. These antagonistic processes are co-occurring globally, leaving the fate of future forests uncertain. We examine the implications of changing forest demography and its drivers for both future forest management and forecasting impacts of global climate forcing.
Brazil drives increase in worldwide forest loss
Brazil lost 1,361,000 hectares of primary forest last year, the highest loss worldwide.
Primary forest destruction contributed carbon dioxide emissions equivalent to 400 million cars last year, as tree cover loss increased by 2.8 per cent compared with 2018.
Primary forests located in the tropics are especially important for carbon storage and global biodiversity. Last year the tropics lost 11.9 million hectares of tree cover, according to analysis by the online monitoring platform Global Forest Watch (GFW).
Analysts warn that despite efforts to halt deforestation and apparent successes by some countries in curbing forest loss, “the 2019 data underscore one fact: the fight to curb tropical forest loss is far from over”.
World: How Fighting Poverty Accidentally Stopped Deforestation
Forest destruction is responsible for 10% of human carbon dioxide emissions, and much of it is the result of extreme poverty. For local communities, selling timber and clearing land for cultivation is an income stream of last resort. Researchers, governments, and non-governmental organizations have debated for years how to rid the world of these twin scourges. But which comes first, alleviating the poverty or saving the trees?
Data from an Indonesian anti-poverty program that began in 2007 provided researchers a natural way to answer that question. The result: Cash payments to people in impoverished areas led to a 30% drop in tree loss, even though the payments came with no conservation conditions.
“Conservationists don’t have to see this as a zero-sum game—that if the money goes to poverty, it’s not helping the environment,” says Paul Ferraro, a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor at Johns Hopkins University’s Carey Business School and the study’s co-author. (While Michael R. Bloomberg, the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, endowed the research chair, neither Ferraro nor any of the other Bloomberg Distinguished Professors coordinates with Bloomberg or Bloomberg Philanthropies.) “For years, these two camps have been at loggerheads, anti-poverty and the environmental protection camp.”
Indonesia’s Program Keluarga Harapan, or Family Hopes Program, promises six years of quarterly payments as long as recipients register with local health and education institutions and ensure that pregnant women and children receive exams and vaccines. Children must also attend school.
While the relationship between anti-poverty and conservation measures is poorly understood, past conservation efforts have had unforeseen or undesirable social impacts, and community-driven deforestation drives have achieved mixed results. Research efforts have more commonly looked at the effects of healthy forestry on well-being, not the other way around, note Ferraro and co-author Rhita Simorangkir, an economics researcher at the National University of Singapore.
For forest communities without a legal footing, new guideline is a starting template
- Environmental law group ClientEarth has developed a global guideline to help forest communities build legal frameworks that uphold their rights.
- The new guideline lays out an elaborate and highly adaptable list of questions that decision-makers and stakeholders involved in the community forest can use to develop and review legislation.
- Community forest enterprises are believed to be a proven mechanism for conserving forests and biodiversity, but communities’ rights are often sidelined by governments in favor of infrastructure projects and extractive industry interests.
Forest communities around the world struggling to achieve the legal recognition that would give them a greater say in how their natural resources are managed now have recourse to an independent guideline recently developed by the environmental law charity ClientEarth.
Legal researchers from the NGO have created what they call a first-of-its-kind toolkit to support laws that uphold the rights of indigenous and local communities over their forests worldwide.
“Mounting evidence shows that forest-dependent communities around the world play a key role in protecting rainforests, their biodiversity and the carbon they store,” the London-based group said in a statement published May 20.
“However, their rights to these resources often fail to be properly recognised,” it added.
U.S. unveils vision for more development in national forests
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on 14th June unveiled what he called a “blueprint” for enabling energy extraction, mining, grazing and logging in federal forests by speeding up environmental reviews and permitting.
In a memorandum to U.S. Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen, Perdue said more was needed to relieve burdensome regulations on industries and make federal forests and grasslands more productive.
“These lands are critical for the prosperity of rural communities, sustaining jobs and livelihoods in grazing, mining, oil and gas development, recreation and forestry,” the letter said.
The vision laid out in the letter is in line with the Trump administration’s broad effort to allow more energy extraction and infrastructure development on federal lands and waters.
Carter Holt Harvey staff devastated by more cuts
Workers are devastated at a restructure proposal which could see more than two-thirds of their team made redundant at Carter Holt Harvey’s remaining Northland, New Zealand timber plant.
In May, the company proposed to cut 68% of its production roles from 241 down to just 77 at their Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL) plant at Marsden Point, as part of a plan to abandon export sales and focus on domestic supply only.
Despite LVL receiving around NZ$2.2 million in wage subsidies in the first week of April, workers were forced to use, on average, two weeks of their annual leave during the Level 4 lockdown.
Some workers, who had little or no leave, face a zero or negative leave balance and redundancy.
Union representing laid-off workers in Northland backs Forestry Bill
The E tū union is backing a new bill that's expected to strengthen domestic wood processing and retain jobs.
Recent job losses at sawmills around Northland was the reason a new legislation aimed at strengthening domestic wood processing should be supported, the largest private sector union in the country said.
E tū represents more than 1400 workers in wood manufacturing and processing throughout New Zealand and said it supported the intent of the Forests (Regulation of Log Traders and Forestry Advisors) Amendment Bill to improve long-term sustainability of domestic timber processing.
The bill, introduced as part of the Budget 2020, will require forestry advisers, log traders and exporters to register and work to nationally agreed practice standards towards a thriving forestry sector that benefits New Zealanders first.
NZ: Blocking MFAT Advice On New Forestry Bill ‘concerning,’ Says NZ Initiative
Wellington, 16 June 2020 - The Government’s refusal to let its skilled public servants advise a Select Committee about new legislation is “deeply concerning,” said The New Zealand Initiative.
Today, the Environment Select Committee published its final report on Minister Shane Jones' Forests (Regulation of Log Traders and Forestry Advisers) Bill. Despite the Bill’s many flaws – and an unprecedented chorus of disapproval – it has emerged from the Select Committee largely unsubdued.
The Bill’s purported purpose is to create an occupational licensing regime for log traders and forestry advisers. It deems all forest owners to be “log traders,” thereby subjecting them to the registration and regulatory requirements of the new accreditation scheme.
The New Zealand Initiative chairman Roger Partridge said during the Select Committee process, forestry owners raised concerns that the Bill’s regulation and rule-making powers could be used to require logs to be provided to domestic mills and to otherwise intervene with the commercial terms in log sale and purchase agreements.
But according to the National Party’s dissenting minority view in the Select Committee report, New Zealand’s top trade officials were blocked from advising the Government on how the Bill might hurt the country’s trade relationships.
NZ: MPs move to prevent forestry price controls
The forestry sector has had a small victory over its minister with Parliament's environment committee limiting the potential for a new industry regulator to interfere in commercial agreements between growers and log buyers.
New legislation intended to establish a register of log traders and forestry advisers is heading back to Parliament after being rushed through a truncated select committee process under Budget urgency. Forestry Minister Shane Jones claimed the measures were required to improve the quality of advice to small woodlot owners and improve the ability of local processors to compete against export log buyers.
One of the most contentious aspects of the Forests (Regulation of Log traders and Forestry Advisers) Amendment Bill was a clause that would allow a new Forestry Authority to set practice standards on everything from land preparation to harvest planning, emissions trading and even sales and purchase agreements for domestic or exports sales.
Many of the hundreds of submitters on the bill had been concerned the government may use those powers to set a volume quota, or a cap on log prices, for domestic processing - potentially breaching World Trade Organisation rules.
Government backs investment in wood
The Government is backing the forest and wood-processing industry to play a major role in New Zealand’s economic recovery, with the launch of the Invest in New Zealand Wood Processing prospectus to encourage wider local and offshore investment.
“The Government is confident that the future of the forestry and wood-processing sector will be bright. Our products are held in high regard internationally, and we want investors interested in being part of a sustainable high-value sector that helps support our goal to transition to a low-carbon economy,” Forestry Minister Shane Jones said.
“New Zealand has an abundance of natural resources, access to growing markets around the world, and we are consistently ranked as one of the easiest countries in the world in which to do business.”
The industry has faced some short-term challenges but the medium to long-term outlook is extremely positive as the sector embraces new technologies and looks to develop more high-value products.
“Products will be sold not only within New Zealand but to a much wider range of markets than our logs currently go to, reducing exchange rate risk and building market resilience,” Shane Jones said.
“At present more than 75 per cent of wood from our production forests is exported in different forms including logs, wood chips, sawn timber, engineered wood products and pulp and paper.”
Forestry sector looking 'very positive' after COVID-19
Although forestry was one of the first industries to be hit by the impact of COVID-19, it is recovering well, says Malcolm Burns, founder of South Island-based forest procurement company Forest Distribution & Logistics (FDL).
"Post COVID, the industry's actually looking very, very positive," Burns told Rural Exchange.
"At this point in time the industry's holding firm."
Is Biochar the Latest and Greatest in Forestry Innovation?
As recently as 2017, just 11% of adults living in North America (surveyed by the North American Forest Partnership) would characterize the forest industry as “innovative.” And yet, we’ve seen the recent emergence of several cutting-edge wood technologies and forest products: from mass timber to cellulosic biofuels to nanotechnologies.
The latest innovative forest product to gain steam is biochar: a charcoal-like substance that’s made through burning biomass in a controlled process called pyrolysis. During this process, little to no contaminating fumes are produced; and at the end, a very stable form of carbon is created (meaning the carbon can’t easily escape into the atmosphere).
Not just for soils
The benefits of using biochar as a fertilizer and long-term carbon sequestration technique are well-documented. A new study suggests that adding biochar to cattle feed can improve animal health and feed efficiency, reduce nutrient losses and greenhouse gas emissions, and increase soil fertility when applied as fertilizer. Recently the Nebraska Forest Service found that the inclusion of less than 1% biochar into the diet of cattle can lead to a 10% reduction in their methane emissions.
Six Tairawhiti forestry projects boosted by One Billion Trees funding.
One Billion Trees funding of more than $1.5 million for six projects will bring employment and help kick-start the Tairawhiti economy following the Covid-19 lockdown, Forestry Minister Shane Jones says.
One Billion Trees grants of more than $89,300 have been provided to Abushman Contracts Ltd, a Maori-owned forestry silviculture business which has developed the Paiaka Forestry Introductory Programme.
NZ: Facing fine for forestry failings
Defunct forestry company DNS Forest Products Limited has been convicted and faces a fine of $124,700 for water pollution caused by poor harvesting practice at its Makiri Forest, two years ago.
In Gisborne District Court yesterday, Judge Brian Dwyer rejected the company’s application for a discharge without conviction.
The judge indicated the fine and a reparation order of $15,000 for damage also caused to neighbouring Matuku Station, but did not impose them.
Instead the case was adjourned until July 20. News of the company’s liquidation (in May) came at short notice for legal counsels involved. Specific submisssions were required as to whether provisions in the Companies Act might preclude the penalties being imposed.
China: National measures help mangrove forest growth
China has expanded its total area of mangrove forests by 7,000 hectares in the past two decades, the forest authority revealed on Monday.
China now has more than half its mangrove forests under state protection, according to the National Forestry and Grassland Administration.
Monday marked World Oceans Day, which celebrated the role of the oceans in our everyday lives and inspired action to protect the oceans and use marine resources sustainably. The United Nations announced the theme for 2020 is "Innovation for a Sustainable Ocean".
As mangrove forests play an important role in improving marine biodiversity, the administration echoed the UN's theme and called for better protection of them in China.
B.C.’s forestry watchdog needs greater independence, ‘new path forward’: former board members
The 25-year-old institution must better address Indigenous Rights, climate change and the public interest, critics say. It’s up for the challenge, board chair promises
After two years on the board of B.C.’s independent forestry watchdog, Tara Marsden, or Naxginkw, felt compelled to write about her experiences.
She wanted to name the challenges she’d seen at the Forest Practices Board: “undue government influence” over chair appointments, “top heavy” and inefficient organization, a lack of engagement with the public and a lack of partnerships with Indigenous Peoples.
The board, created in 1994, is mandated to audit and investigate government and industry to ensure the province’s forestry and land management rules are being followed.
But Marsden found systemic problems with the organization were preventing the board from truly protecting the public interest when it comes to B.C.’s forests.
Pandemics result from destruction of nature, say UN and WHO
Experts call for legislation and trade deals worldwide to encourage green recovery
Pandemics such as coronavirus are the result of humanity’s destruction of nature, according to leaders at the UN, WHO and WWF International, and the world has been ignoring this stark reality for decades.
The illegal and unsustainable wildlife trade as well as the devastation of forests and other wild places were still the driving forces behind the increasing number of diseases leaping from wildlife to humans, the leaders told the Guardian.
They are calling for a green and healthy recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, in particular by reforming destructive farming and unsustainable diets.
A WWF report, also published on Wednesday, warns: “The risk of a new [wildlife-to-human] disease emerging in the future is higher than ever, with the potential to wreak havoc on health, economies and global security.”
WWF’s head in the UK said post-Brexit trade deals that fail to protect nature would leave Britain “complicit in increasing the risk of the next pandemic”.
High-level figures have issued a series of warnings since March, with the world’s leading biodiversity experts saying even more deadly disease outbreaks are likely in future unless the rampant destruction of the natural world is rapidly halted.
Earlier in June, the UN environment chief and a leading economist said Covid-19 was an “SOS signal for the human enterprise” and that current economic thinking did not recognise that human wealth depends on nature’s health.
Big Money Bought Oregon's Forests. Small Timber Communities Are Paying The Price.
Wall Street investment funds took control of Oregon’s private forests. Now, wealthy timber corporations reap the benefits of tax cuts that have cost rural counties billions.
A few hundred feet past the Oregon timber town of Falls City, a curtain of Douglas fir trees opens to an expanse of skinny stumps.
The hillside has been clear-cut, with thousands of trees leveled at once. Around the bend is another clear-cut nearly twice its size, then another, patches of desert brown carved into the forest for miles.
Logging is booming around Falls City, a town of about 1,000 residents in the Oregon Coast Range. More trees are cut in the county today than decades ago when a sawmill hummed on Main Street and timber workers and their families filled the now-closed cafes, grocery stores and shops selling home appliances, sporting goods and feed for livestock.
But the jobs and services have dried up, and the town is going broke. The library closed two years ago. And as many as half of the families in Falls City live on weekly food deliveries from the Mountain Gospel Fellowship.
“You’re left still with these companies that have reaped these benefits, but those small cities that have supported them over the years are left in the dust,” Mac Corthell, the city manager, said.
Climate change: Warm springtime's unwelcome legacy
A new study shows that the severe impact of the summer drought that hit Europe in 2018 was partly due to the spring heatwave that preceded it, which triggered early and rapid plant growth, depleting soil moisture.
With lots of sunshine, high temperatures, and ultimately drought, the summer of 2018 was extremely dry in Europe -- particularly Northern and Central Europe. Among the consequences of the lack of precipitation were forest fires and significant harvest losses, which had a considerable economic impact. In Germany alone, the sums paid to farmers in compensation amounted to 340 million euros. The 2018 drought differed from the dry summers of 2003 and 2010 insofar as it was preceded over much of Central Europe by an unusual spring heatwave. An international collaboration, led by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich researchers Ana Bastos and Julia Pongratz, has now shown that the spring heatwave amplified the effects of the subsequent summer drought. The impact of the summer drought on the productivity and carbon balance of ecosystems varied on a regional scale, depending on the nature of the dominant type of vegetation. In light of ongoing global warming, the incidence of summer heatwaves and periodic droughts is expected to rise. According to the authors of the study, the adoption of alternative land management strategies could offer ways to mitigate droughts and their effects. The findings appear in the online journal Science Advances.
Temperate insects as vulnerable to climate change as tropical species
In previous research, it has been assumed that insects in temperate regions would cope well with or even benefit from a warmer climate. Not so, according to researchers from the Universities of Uppsala and Lund in Sweden and Oviedo, Spain, in a new study. The earlier models failed to take into account the fact that insects in temperate habitats are inactive for much of the year.
The research group's study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, presents new knowledge about the potential effects of global warming on insect populations. The results show that insects may be more threatened by climate change than previous estimates have indicated.
"Insects in temperate zones might be as threatened by climate change as those in the tropics," says Uppsala University professor Frank Johansson.
The researchers found new, disturbing patterns in a modified analysis of a previously used dataset on insects' critical temperature limits and their survival. Their conclusion is that temperate insects might be just as sensitive to climate change as tropical ones. The previous studies showed that tropical insects are severely threatened by climate change since they already live very close to their optimal temperature and "critical thermal maximum." However, the scientists responsible for those previous studies also assumed that temperate insects live far below their own optimal and maximum temperatures, and might therefore benefit from climate change.
The problem is that the earlier studies used mean annual temperatures for all their estimates. In so doing, they failed to consider that the vast majority of insects in temperate latitudes remain inactive in cold periods -- that is, for much of the year.
Coffee, cocoa and vanilla: An opportunity for more trees in tropical agricultural landscapes
The cultivation of coffee, cocoa and vanilla secures the income of many small-holder farmers and is also a driver of land-use change in many tropical countries. In particular, cultivation in agroforestry systems, in which these crops are combined with trees that provide shade, is often considered to have great potential for ecologically sustainable cultivation. Researchers at the University of Göttingen are now showing that the land-use history of agroforestry systems plays a crucial role in assessing the sustainability of agroforestry. The results have been published in the journal Conservation Letters.
New technology transforms study of tree crowns and Congo Basin dynamics
Doctoral student tests potential of remote sensing to inspect the canopy
Studying the dense and humid forests of the Congo Basin is no mean feat. Under rustling tree canopies, buttress roots tangle with climbing plants to form natural barriers, murky creeks cut across muddy and narrow paths, and the scorching heat and humidity fill the air with steam. Foresters have to hike for hours and even days in these conditions to get as close as possible to their subject of study.
The challenge is even bigger when the research in question requires measuring the crowns of huge tropical trees, some of them up to 60 meters high. Until recently, scientists had to estimate crown dimensions based on the shadows projected by trees, but in tropical rainforests trees are surrounded by thick vegetation and uneven ground, so the process was tiresome and the results somewhat imprecise.
Now, new remote sensing technologies such as satellites and drones are offering unprecedented opportunities for scientists to get closer than ever to the canopy, without even setting foot in the forest.
These innovations are revolutionizing tropical forestry, according to Jean-Baptiste Ndamiyehe Ncutirakiza, a 29-year-old Ph.D. student from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), who says the drones are a powerful tool to characterize the structure and dynamics of Central Africa’s forests.
“The Congo Basin remains the world’s least-known forest, but remote sensing is shaking things up,” said Ndamiyehe. “We are now able to collect data in difficult access areas, sometimes much faster and cheaper than working on the ground, and without disturbing nature.”