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6th July 2020 Newsletter
Your council held their first meeting via zoom on the 19th of June and roles were allocated as displayed latter in this newsletter. Please take time to review these roles and if you have an interest in a role contact the relevant councillor and volunteer to help out. Management of the institute, with the purpose of adding value to your membership, is often limited by councillors time. Councillors are volunteers working to improve services to you; however they all have day jobs and other responsibilities, so ‘spreading the load’ around membership helps more be attained in a quicker timeframe. I therefore encourage you to ask yourself what you can give to your Institute and contact the relevant councillor and offer to help.
At the meeting council agreed to display copies of our minutes on the website once they have been approved at the next meeting. It is important to me you are all aware of what is happening within council and what is being discussed on your behalf. The newsletter will notify you once minutes have been placed on the website and I encourage you to review them and contact me or the relevant councillor if you have any concerns, comments or questions. Likewise we also intend to put the budget and progress against it up on the website for all members to view at anytime. If there are other items you would like the ability to view please let me know. This is your institute and council are here to serve you (the members) needs.
The council has reappointed Peter Casey to chair of the registration board and co-opted Adrian Loo onto council (representing future foresters). I would like to thank both for offering their time and service.
I have great pleasure in welcoming Raewyn back into the administration role, with Jay working on projects, conferences etc. Raewyn will be using the email@example.com email address and I am sure you will all join me in welcoming Raewyn back into the NZIF fold.
As you are aware the AGM was postponed with the cancellation of the 2020 conference. However we must still hold an AGM before the end of September. It is our intention to hold the AGM on the afternoon of Saturday the 26th of September in Wellington. We will run a series of CPD opportunities in the morning and early afternoon before the AGM and I encourage as many of you as possible to come to attend the CPD on offer and attend the AGM. We will be announcing our awards at the AGM as well. If possible we are looking at the ability to set up Zoom for the AGM so members unable to get to Wellington can call in, Jay or Raewyn will keep you informed on this as we get closer to the date. Please put the date in your calendar now, it would be good to see as many of you there as possible.
In regards to the cancelled conference, the Wairarapa team has agreed to plan and run the conference in Masterton in 2021. This means the 2022 conference will be held in Auckland. I thank all local members who have volunteered to set up and run these conferences. They are a very important part of our annual calendar, and an opportunity for members to gain CPD and to network. However they take many hours to plan and manage and I am deeply grateful to all members who volunteer to run our conferences.
As always I am interested in your thoughts, views and ideas. Feel free to contact me directly if you wish, or start a debate in the newsletter. Remember this newsletter is your newsletter. It only goes to members and should be a ‘safe’ place for debate on any tropics which affect professional forestry and forestry within New Zealand. Only with debate and seeking understanding will we grow. Saying this; there is never a need for personalised attacks, so any letter to the newsletter which has personal attacks within may either not be published or the attack removed. We have seen some pretty hideous personal attacks recently and I encourage all members to remain professional and keep any debate on the topic rather than a person. I look forward to seeing the “members voice” section of this newsletter grow with your comments and thoughts.
Introducing the New 2020 NZIF Council, Membership and Responsibilities
James Treadwell – President (Newsletter, Media, NZIF Rules)
Peter Hill – Vice President (CPD Workshop, Forest Fire Management Committee, 2021 Conference)
Kent Chalmers – Treasurer (Finance)
Bridget Fraser – (Membership, Website)
Murray Parrish – (Submissions, Forest Policy)
Edwin Jansen – (Registration, NZIF Forestry Handbook)
Peter Houston – (Local Section, NZIF Valuation Working Party)
Russell Dale – (Fellows)
Kit Richards – (NZIF Code of Ethics, Submissions)
Adrian Loo – (Future Foresters)
Peter Casey – (Chair of the Registration Board)
Introduction of NZIF Councillors
Each fortnight the Newsletter will introduce a member of the current NZIF Council. This fortnight, the honour goes to Peter Hill.
Peter Hill, Vice President of the Institute
Peter has a B For.Sc (Hons) from Canterbury and an MBA from Otago. He is a Fellow of the Institute and has been a member for 16 years. Peter chaired the Auckland local section for 5 years before moving to Wellington and this is his second term on Council.
He has spent many years developing the log export markets in Korea, China and India. He spent 10 years as General Manager of Wenita Forest Products Ltd and 13 years as Managing Director of Pentarch Forest Products Ltd. He also was President of The NZ Forest Owners’ Association from 1993-1995.
He has an interest in developing webinars for CPD as the loss of this year’s conference has deprived members of at least 10 hours of CPD which has to be replaced by some method.
Hi Council responsibilities are: CPD, Forest Fire Management Committee
From the Registrar
Successful 5 year registration review
- Peter Clark of Rotorua
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;
- Peter Brown
- Brian Rawley
Alan Bell, Registrar
NZIF Registration Board
+64 27 444 7779
NZIF Foundation Awards
The NZIF Foundation announces six education and research awards for 2020. “Despite some disruption from Covid-19 restrictions, we were pleased with the number and quality of applications”, said Foundation chair, Dr Andrew McEwen.
Owing to the cancellation of the 2020 NZ Institute of Forestry Conference, there has been no awards ceremony and the poster competition was not able to take place. Nevertheless, six applicants are receiving scholarships and awards totalling $21,000.
“In 2012, the first year of the Foundation’s operation, we had four awards worth a total of $6,500. For 2020 we advertised eight award categories plus the subsequently cancelled three student poster competition prizes worth a total of $29,500. The applicants come from a range of institutions with research projects in plantation forest management and harvesting, markets and indigenous forests.”
Leslie Mann, a PhD student at the University of Canterbury School of Forestry received a $10,000 Future Forest Scholarship for her research looking at the tolerance of different Eucalyptus species to attack by paropsine leaf beetles. The beetles have recently moved into South Island plantations and are causing damage to the trees.
Phoebe Milne who is in her third year of a forestry degree at the University of Canterbury School of Forestry, has received the $5,000 NZ Redwood Company Scholarship.
Two students at the University of Canterbury have each been awarded $2,000 Jon Dey Memorial Awards. Jacob Allum is a 4th year Bachelor of Engineering (Hons) student looking at the amount of infrastructure needed when harvesting small-scale woodlots. Campbell Harvey is investigating the management of harvesting residues in steep-land plantation forests for his PhD at the School of Forestry.
Katherine Yallop, a third year Bachelor of Forestry Science student at the School of Forestry at the University of Canterbury received the $1,000 undergraduate award, while Renee Reynolds a second year Forestry Management Diploma student at Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology in Rotorua has received the $1,000 Mary Sutherland Scholarship.
“We congratulate the winners and wish them and the unsuccessful applicants success with their studies, as they cope with the disruptions and uncertainties caused by Covid-19”, said Dr McEwen. “We encourage them to persist with their research and education as part of a career associated with New Zealand’s forests, which play a vital role in this country’s environment, economy and society.”
Contact: Andrew McEwen, Chair, NZIF Foundation
Mob 027 473 3262
Website accessible through www.nzif.org.nz
Background to NZIF Foundation
The NZIF Foundation was established by the NZ Institute of Forestry in 2011. It is a registered charity and has its own Board of Trustees. Its purpose is the advancement of education in relation to forestry in New Zealand. This includes encouraging and supporting forestry related education, training and research through the provision of grants, scholarships and prizes; promoting the acquisition, development and dissemination of forestry-related knowledge and information and other activities.
The Foundation is funded through donations from individuals, companies and other entities who wish to support forestry related education and research in New Zealand.
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
+64 27 444 7779
22nd June 2020
Latest NZ Journal of Forestry is On-line
Find latest journal here
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
Events and Issues
EVENT: The 2020 Forest Growers’ Research Conference – Webinar substituted for In Person
The FGR had scheduled our annual forest growers research conference and field trip for the 13th – 15th October 2020 in Nelson.
Over the last month or so we have been monitoring the COVID developments and reviewing whether we will be able to continue with our plans to hold this conference in Nelson.
Reluctantly we have come to the conclusion that we will not be proceeding with this years “in person conference“ for several reasons including:
- the uncertainty over whether gatherings of this size will be permitted if there is any resurgence of COVID cases;
- the reluctance of many organisations to allow their staff to travel and attend external meetings of this type;
- business recovery being a priority rather than time and expenditure on travel and conference attendance.
However, it is important that we continue to communicate the outcome of our research programmes to industry levy payers and other stakeholders and we will be substituting the conference with online Webinar sessions during the same period of time in October (13th – 15th) 2020.
We will be developing a programme for this with our research partners and communicating this to our industry members and stakeholders in the near future.
We regret having to make this decision but in the circumstances we are all having to deal with we believe it is the sensible option.
Information on the 2019 FGR Conference are available here.
NZFOA Dothistroma Control Committee Briefing
Dothistroma is a needle blight that affects the health and growth of pine trees. Each spring and summer, affected forests around New Zealand are aerially sprayed with a copper fungicide to control the disease.
The Dothistroma Control Committee (DCC), a sub-committee of the NZ Forest Owners Association Inc (NZFOA), coordinates this spray programme on behalf of all forest owners. The Committee is concerned that forest owners or managers of small blocks may overlook the presence of the disease in their forests until serious damage to the stands has occurred. In addition, untreated stands create a source of infection to neighbouring forests.
The Committee’s services are available to all forest owners - large or small, to ensure the best control of the disease in the most cost effective manner.
The DCC purchases bulk supplies of copper fungicide at competitive rates on the world market; purchases spray oil; and contracts aerial application of the spray.
The Committee, which is non-profit making, is also responsible for monitoring the programme and reviewing new research and developments that might improve the programme. The DCC members are from major forest growers, Farm Forestry Association, Te Uru Rakau and Scion.
In order to ensure that the most competitive flying rates are received, the Committee requires requests for spraying to be made by late-August of each year.
If assistance is required to assess levels of infection, you should contact one of the NZ Forest Owner’s Association approved Forest Health Surveyors, a Registered Forestry Consultant, or someone trained in Dothistroma assessment.
Forest owners are urged to act promptly so that their forest can be scheduled on the work programme for this season. For enquiries or assistance with spray programmes contact:
Dothistroma Control Committee,
P O Box 1035,
Forestry Ministerial Advisory Group
Report on the 13th FMAG Meeting of 16th June 2020.
The 13th meeting of the Forestry Ministerial Advisory Group (FMAG) was held in Wellington on 16 June and included about half of the members as well as guests participating via Zoom. We were mindful of Covid-19 post recovery opportunities for the forest industry in our discussions. The Agenda covered:
- An update from Te Uru Rākau on the Forests (Regulation of Log Traders and Forestry Advisers) Amendment Bill and the ETR Bill;
- A discussion on afforestation, social license, and land use change policy;
- A presentation and discussion of the context, guiding principles and scope of the Forest and Wood Products Industry Transformation Plan (ITP), which is being led by Te Uru Rākau;
- A presentation from BioPacific Partners on the main findings of the Stage One research investigating the best options, investment-wise, for wood fibre; and,
- Topics FMAG would like to include in the Briefing for the Incoming Minister (BIM) of Forestry, additional research we could commission to support the ITP and agenda items for our meeting on 10 September.
We were delighted to be joined by the Chair of the Climate Change Commission, Professor Rod Carr, fellow Commissioner, Professor Nicola Shadbolt and the CEO, Jo Hendy. They contributed to our discussion on land use change, the ITP and the BioPacific Partners report. Te Uru Rākua Director Julie Collins joined us for the first hour and Jason Wilson, Director Sector Investment, participated for the full meeting from Australia.
Te Uru Rākau briefed us on the Forests (Regulation of Log Traders and Forestry Advisors) Amendment Bill and the next stages of the Bill’s passage through the legislative process. There were a large number of submissions, and we discussed some of the main issues of support and/or concern. Amendments made for the second reading were described. FMAG, maintained its stance as a source of independent advice to the Minister, and neither submitted nor made external commentary. Nevertheless, we are mindful of the long-standing goal to increase onshore processing of logs to improve domestic value creation and ensure essential infrastructure is in place to support climate change mitigation and adaption such as through circular bioeconomy approaches. Our earlier work on an over-arching vision and story that all New Zealanders and the forest industry could aspire to and work towards together is integral to the full potential of forestry in the New Zealand economy, communities and environmental regeneration being realised (see attached).
We also heard from Te Uru Rākau on The Emissions Trading Reform Amendment Bill.
The Emissions Trading Reform Amendment Bill passed its 3rd reading on Tuesday 16 June. The Bill will introduce some major changes to forestry in the ETS, including the introduction of:
- A new carbon accounting methodology called averaging;
- A new Permanent Forestry category, which will replace the existing Permanent Forest Sink Initiative;
- The ability to pause unit earning for all post-1989 forests following a temporary adverse event (rather than repaying units under the previous rules) until the forest gets back to its previous carbon stock;
- The ability to plant a carbon-equivalent forest to offset the deforestation from another post-1989 forest (only for post-1989 forests using averaging); and
- A large number of operational fixes.
The major policies, such as averaging, will come into effect on 1 January 2023. This is because those policies require significant amendments to the forestry regulations to make them work in practice. Te Uru Rākau is currently working with a technical advisory group on the finer details of the regulations, and final policy decisions will be sought in early 2021. Te Uru Rākau is developing some interim guidance for participants so they can understand what is changing and when.
Afforestation of pastoral farmland remains a ‘hot topic’. Land use policy, incentives to achieve highest and best use of land, and forestry’s social license have been on our agenda since FMAG’s inception. The ‘right tree, right place, right purpose (and scale)’ statement is challenging to achieve in practice due to concerns about property rights (willing buyer-willing seller), carbon price incentives through the ETS (allowing offsetting through forests rather than addressing emissions at source), and rural community de-population (and related loss of services). On the other hand, forestry can be entirely complementary to livestock farming, restore natural capital and generate valuable ecosystem services (e.g. stabilise erosion prone areas, improve landscape aesthetics and diversify income), provide shelter and shade, and contribute to national timber and fibre supply. We heard from Neil Cullen (NZFFA) on the benefits that diversification of species brings for biodiversity, resilience and new products for the wood processing industry. He described the leading preferred alternatives to Pinus Radiata that will grow well in New Zealand and policy options for ensuring greater diversity in New Zealand plantation forests.
Afforestation, even with increased mitigation of emissions at source, remains the most fiscally efficient and reliable means for New Zealand to meet its Paris 2030 commitments and set-up our pathway to zero net emissions by 2050. However, woodlots and small forests generally produce lower quality logs and these can be more expensive to harvest and transport to mills or wharfs. This raises the question of how do we establish larger scale forests (>10,000 hectares) with mixed aged classes in good growing regions and well located to future infrastructure? One wonders - can these multiple-objectives be achieved with market-led approaches in concert with higher carbon prices, long-term district plans and good information available to land- owners and investors? We pondered alternative approaches with the Climate Change Commission (who are responsible for setting 5-yearly national carbon budgets) but have yet to reach a settled view on the advice FMAG should provide to the Minister.
We noted MPI’s land capability maps showing considerable areas of land not currently utilised or profitable for livestock production could be targeted for afforestation.
The first draft of the Industry Transformation Plan (ITP) was welcomed by FMAG. This document outlines pathways for growing onshore processing/manufacturing of wood products from trees and fibre over the mid- to long-term. Barriers to growth and investment are identified but so too are the strategic imperatives for New Zealand and therefore possible areas for policy or other intervention. The ITP work programme will be formulated in partnership with industry and cross-government agencies. In this sense it is different to previous industry-led plans such as WoodCo (2012). The ITP will become a standing agenda item for FMAG; I encourage you to take a close interest and, where you can, participate in its work programme.
We received a presentation from BioPacific Partners on the research report (the Report) that we jointly commissioned with Te Uru Rākau and MBIE on New Zealand’s Wood Fibre Futures Project. The Report (Stage One) sets out the scope of forestry- based bioeconomy technologies that are being actively developed by high-tech companies and recommends the best opportunities for New Zealand, investment-wise, for further investigation (Stage Two). These are biocrude, liquid biofuels, coal substitutes and high-value biochemical, bioplastics and biomaterials. Although not in scope, the Report recommends New Zealand also focus on processing wood-based construction materials that will increased use of wood in the built environment. This will have powerful synergistic effects: increase domestic wood consumption and value capture, increase the primary value of logs, generate more residual woody biomass (which can be fed into biocrude or liquid biofuel manufacture), and reduce carbon emissions from concrete, steel and non-renewable insulation. The Report clearly sets out New Zealand’s advantages and barriers to attracting large-scale international investment and describes smart and flexible policy instruments used by other countries to overcome investment barriers. The Report was well received by FMAG members.
I note that the Report was also presented to Forestry Ministers on 18 June and Government officials from key agencies on 25 June 2020. The next step is to advise the Minister of Forestry on the Report and propose approaches for Stage Two. This will be led by Te Uru Rākau as part of the ITP, rather than FMAG, but will likely include other key Government agencies such as MBIE, MFAT, Ministry of Transport and NZTE. I will advise when the Report is released and available on the FMAG website.
We concluded the meeting by agreeing topics for further FMAG research investment that could support the ITP and forestry policy development. This includes a quantitative evaluation of a risk adjusted return approach for growers and processors for longer-term, less volatile log supply and pricing; a comparative of assessment of what other countries (notably Chile and Canada) are doing to support the pre- competitive development of wood products and fibre markets. We will also highlight to the Minister the importance of continuing research into species diversification.
Over the next month FMAG will provide input into MPI’s Briefing for the Incoming Minister, continue the work programme outlined above, and reflect on the contribution FMAG has made since it was set up.
We will also prepare for our next meeting to be held in Wellington on 10 September. At this stage the agenda topics include engagement with Māori land owners for forestry, updates on the ITP and future bioeconomy (and related investment) workstreams, and how to improve access to ETS information and understanding of how the new legislation works in practice to land owners.
Any feedback you have on any of the above matters or on how you think FMAG can assist the industry prosper will be most welcome; you can contact me via my details below.
Chair Forestry Ministerial Advisory Group
370 Dansey Road RD2
Vision and future story for the New Zealand forest industry
“Our vision is for people everywhere to understand our plantation and indigenous forests and value the products and services from them, as critical to regenerating Aotearoa New Zealand’s natural environment, enriching our communities and enabling the transformation to a circular, low‐carbon economy.”
More details of the FMAD Forest Industry Vision and Narrative here.
Select Committee Report (Forestry Amendment Bill) & ETS Links
Please find links below for the select committee report and for further information on the ETS changes.
Forests (Regulation of Log Traders and Forestry Advisers) Amendment Bill
A copy of the committee’s report on the bill (containing the RT as amended by the slip) is now available on the Parliament website at here.
The departmental advice has also been published to the website here.
Climate Change Response (Emissions Trading Reform) Amendment Bill
MPI web link for breakdown of key forestry changes here.
MfE link for breakdown of broader changes and helpful webinar here.
EVENT: Environmental Defence Society Climate Change and Business Conference confirmed for October in Auckland
The Environmental Defence Society (EDS) is pleased to be proceeding with its annual Climate Change and Business Conference in October this year.
“We are delighted to confirm that our event will go ahead as planned. It will be held in Auckland on 6-7 October 2020. Feedback from conference supporters is strongly in favour of holding an in-person conference, though we will also offer livestreaming registration options,” said Conference Organiser Fiona Driver.
“We are currently finalising a wide-ranging programme and inviting constructive ideas for key speakers and content, and sponsor support. Registration for the event is now live and earlybird registration options are available on the conference website until 20 July 2020,” said Olivia Grainger.
Event: Global Environmental Facility.
Webinar – The Journey of the Global Environment Facility: Delivering Transformational Change
Date: July 9, 2020
We are living beyond the carrying capacity of our planet, putting human systems and natural systems on a collision course: COVID-19 is a manifestation of this fact.
The fundamental cure and prevention for this will be to change how we live, eat, move, produce and consume. How can we protect nature and combat climate change while rebuilding our economies?
Moderated by WRI President and CEO, Andrew Steer, this event will look back over the last eight years of Naoko Ishii’s leadership as GEF CEO and Chairperson. With incoming CEO Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, it will also look forward towards the next chapter in the GEF’s journey to deliver transformational change and protect our common home.
The event will be opened by GEF STAP Chair, Rosina Bierbaum. It will also include a conversation between the two GEF CEOs, and an audience Q&A.
Agnes Kalibata, President, Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa
Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, Minister of Energy and Environment, Costa Rica
Dominic Waughray, Managing Director, Centre for Global Public Goods, World Economic Forum
Izabella Teixeira, Former Brazil Environment Minister
Johan Rockström, Director, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research
Naoko Ishii, CEO and Chairperson, GEF
Paul Polman, Co-Founder and Chair, IMAGINE
Andrew Steer, President and CEO, World Resources Institute
Rosina Bierbaum, Chair of the GEF's Scientific and Technical Advisory
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 throughthis 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.
In the News
FAO & UNEP: The State of the World’s Forests 2020: Forests, biodiversity and people
As the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity 2011–2020 comes to a close and countries prepare to adopt a post-2020 global biodiversity framework, this edition of The State of the World’s Forests (SOFO) examines the contributions of forests, and of the people who use and manage them, to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.
Forests cover just over 30 percent of the global land area, yet they provide habitat for the vast majority of the terrestrial plant and animal species known to science. Unfortunately, forests and the biodiversity they contain continue to be under threat from actions to convert the land to agriculture or unsustainable levels of exploitation, much of it illegal.
The State of the World’s Forests 2020 assesses progress to date in meeting global targets and goals related to forest biodiversity and examines the effectiveness of policies, actions and approaches, in terms of both conservation and sustainable development outcomes. A series of case studies provide examples of innovative practices that combine conservation and sustainable use of forest biodiversity to create balanced solutions for both people and the planet.
The following complementary information is available:
Read online the full digital report
See the interactive story
Read the In Brief
NZ Comment: Forestry sector's hopes lift after rollercoaster ride
Marcus Musson of Forest 360, gives an update on the forestry sector as the global pandemic eases.
While the past few months have been a rollercoaster for many industries, the forest sector has been feeling the effects of Covid-19 since early February.
NZ: Doom and gloom report questioned
‘Let’s hope the Westpac economists are being pessimistic’.
The latest Westpac regional economic roundup indicates the Gisborne/Hawke's Bay regions will experience a severe recession over the coming year.
But that's not a view foresters currently share and farmers point to the far greater impact of drought in Hawke's Bay than in Tairawhiti.
The bank's economists said in their report, released last week, that while a recovery was in the offing, they thought it would be slower in Gisborne/Hawke's Bay than in most other regions.
“Mainly because of the region’s exposure to agriculture and forestry,” the report said.
“Indeed, the outlook for Gisborne's forestry industry is not particularly good. Log prices have risen sharply in recent months but we doubt whether this can be maintained, especially given an expected global economic downturn and the likelihood of weaker activity in China.
“The region's sheep and beef farmers are also likely to face more challenging times, with prices set to fall in the coming year because of weak global economic conditions.
The Westpak regional roundup can be viewed here.
New Zealand could meet its zero carbon target at virtually no economic cost. But is the social cost too high?
When you look at it mathematically, tallying numbers in a spreadsheet, New Zealand’s climate problem has a cheap fix.
Not only could you get New Zealand’s climate pollution to net zero, you could turn the country into a carbon sink. The economic cost would be minimal, if there was one at all – in fact, you could leave major parts of the economy, including dairy farming and energy generation, virtually untouched.
How do you do it?
You let the market take over, and allow the end of sheep and cattle farming.
This was the finding of a draft Government analysis, which examined the economic cost of reducing emissions across all sectors of the economy.
NZ: Government tells builders: time to go green
The construction industry has been put on notice that the Government plans to toughen the building code, because it wants lower-carbon, warmer, drier homes and buildings.
On Friday, Minister for Building and Construction Jenny Salesa announced that the building code would change to be more climate-friendly – though specifics are yet to come.
The government plans to raise the minimum standards for new buildings, with details to be announced and publicly consulted on next year.
The Building for Climate Change work programme will introduce maximum carbon budgets for new buildings, including all materials, construction and waste disposal. This is expected to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions produced in the construction process.
NZ: Labour's forestry policy 'a step in the right direction', farmers say
Conversions of sheep and beef farmland to forestry has concerned many in rural communities in recent years.
Labour’s first policy out of the gate aims to tackle rural concerns about wholesale forestry planting of productive farmland.
The policy will revise the National Environmental Standards for Plantation Forestry to require forestry blocks larger than 50 hectares on ‘elite soils’, Land Use Capability (LUC) Classes 1-5, to get a resource consent.
Federated Farmers meat and wool chairman William Beetham said the policy was “a step in the right direction”.
"We’re really pleased there is now acknowledgement there’s an issue with large-scale exotic plantings - particularly those grown just for carbon credits - swallowing up land used for food and fibre production.
NZ: Government may review farm-to-forestry conversions if they reach 40,000 hectares a year
Conversion of farmland into forestry has been repeatedly accused of undermining thriving rural communities.
The much criticised conversion of farm land into forestry could be checked by the government if it goes too far, politicians have been told.
Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor, who is also Minister for Rural Communities, last week told Parliament's Primary Production Select Committee that land conversions might have to be reviewed if they reach 40,000 hectares a year.
The conversion of farmland into forestry has been repeatedly accused of undermining thriving rural communities and replacing them with a green desert.
Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor told a select committee conversions might have to be reviewed if they reach 40,000 hectares a year.
Federated Farmers and Beef + Lamb said this would be even worse when trees were grown for carbon credits, not timber.
50 Shades of Green protesters
NZ Forestry: Don't give in to 'anti-tree' campaigners
The Forest Owners Association has rejected Government suggestions that it would need to step in if farm-to-forestry conversions exceeded 40,000 hectares a year.
Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor told Parliament's Primary Production Select Committee that land conversions might have to be reviewed if they reached that level.
Conversions have been accused of undermining rural communities and replacing them with "a green desert".
Forestry Owners Association vice-president Grant Dodson said if the Government gave into "anti-tree" campaigners the country would fail to reach carbon neutral status by 2050, a goal enshrined in the Carbon Zero Act.
NZ: Forestry Amendment Bill would hurt GDP, damage industry - NZIER
A new report has accused a forestry bill going through Parliament of increasing costs for the forestry business and reducing the value of the New Zealand economy.
Pine trees are harvested on a hillside in southern Hawke's BayPine trees are harvested on a hillside in southern Hawke's Bay Photo: RNZ / Kate Newton
It also warned that the bill could conflict with trading agreements that New Zealand had signed with other countries.
The Forests (Regulation of Log Traders and Forestry Advisers) Amendment Bill, which aims to ensure logs are sent to local processors instead of being exported raw, was introduced just after the Budget and has already been through a select committee.
Forestry Minister Shane Jones had accused "log mongers" of selling Northland logs en masse to China, leaving not enough available for local saw mills to do their job, a move that would harm employment opportunities.
However, critics of the bill have called it cumbersome and expensive, and it would require many people in the log trade to become registered.
These criticisms have now been supported in a new report by the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER), commissioned by the Forest Owners Association.
Pine trees are harvested on a hillside in southern Hawke's Bay Photo: RNZ / Kate Newton
World: Our national forests are not crops – Response to Purdue ‘Modernization Blueprint’
US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue flew into Missoula on June 12 to sign a “modernization blueprint” memorandum directing the U.S. Forest Service to essentially double down on its continued push to prioritize logging, mining, drilling and grazing, all while limiting environmental reviews. During the campaign-style signing event, Secretary Perdue even bragged “we see trees as a crop.”
Missing from the secretary’s statements was any recognition that America’s national forests, 193 million acres in all, are actually diverse ecosystems that are home to hundreds of imperiled fish and wildlife species, and contain the last remnants of wildlands in this country that millions of people cherish. The secretary failed to mention how numerous communities rely on national forests to provide clean drinking water, or the fact that intact forests do more to remove atmospheric carbon than do stumps. In fact, national forests have a crucial role to play as part of global, natural climate change solutions.
Returning to the past, when resource extraction and exploitation ruled the land, is hardly a blueprint for the future. Yet, this is exactly what the secretary ordered and what the Trump administration has been pursuing from Day One. In fact, Perdue’s memorandum comes on the heels of two recent Trump Executive Orders allowing industry and federal agencies to waive compliance with long-standing environmental laws that safeguard fish and wildlife. These orders follow Trump’s wholesale rolling back of rules requiring federal agencies to involve the public, take a hard look at the environmental consequences of its actions and consider alternatives.
A recent Journal of Forestry article demonstrates the rationale for these rollbacks and attacks are baseless. Even without further “streamlining processes,” the Forest Service approved over 80% of projects between 2005-2018 by categorically excluding them from environmental analysis. The same study also showed that less than 1% of all projects were challenged in court.
Numbers not neutral and only part of a story, say scientists at GLF Bonn
Acknowledging political dimensions of numbers is starting point for all change
Numbers are not neutral and data, even when collected and analysed by scientists, reflect power and politics, a climate change scientist told a panel discussing data use for transformational change at the Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) Bonn Digital Conference.
“If we talk about numbers, then we also have to talk about politics and the power of making choices,” said Maria Brockhaus, a professor in the Department of Forest Sciences at the University of Helsinki.
“Numbers are not neutral…facts don’t always speak for themselves – they are interpreted, selected, put into a context,” Brockhaus said during a lively session on Leveraging data for transformational change towards climate- and forest-friendly food systems. The session looked at innovations and challenges in gathering data for decision-making, analysis and verification of outcomes measured against commitments.
Participants heard about new technology for monitoring and measuring land use and associated greenhouse gas sources and sinks; as well as data collection for such calculations as Forest Reference Emission Levels (FREL), a significant tool in climate change mitigation work.
Political choices based on data are made by decision-makers and not the scientists who collect the information, Daniel Murdiyarso, principal scientist with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), said in response to Brockhaus. “Let the numbers tell what the story is,” said Murdiyarso.
Yet numbers don’t tell the entire story, said Christine Lamanna, a climate change adaptation scientist with World Agroforestry (ICRAF). “Data are only one piece of evidence, and there are so many other types of evidence that are really important for decision-making and policy-making,” said Lamanna during the session, hosted by CIFOR.
“How do you combine this ‘hard’ evidence … with other ways of knowing and other sources of information, including farmers’ experiences?”
Environmental devastation at Tolaga Bay may take a century to recover, says councillor
"Our mission really is to make sure no more beaches end up looking like this," says district councillor Kerry Warsnop.
Forestry waste has again flooded the beaches of Tolaga Bay.
A video of a log-covered Tolaga Bay beach had been shared widely on social media on Tuesday.
A storm hit the district on Queen's Birthday weekend 2018, washing over 40,000 cubic metres of wood onto beaches.
"We had 300 millimetres [of rain] up there over the weekend and a total new amount of wood has come down," local farmer Henry Gaddum said.
Gisborne district councillor Kerry Warsnop said the slash littered beach was the "new normal". She said there was consensus in the community that this was what Tolaga Bay beach would look like for the foreseeable future.
Logging slash on Tolaga Bay foreshore
Europe & World: Reconciling forestry and agriculture: we need a new certification scheme to protect forests
In this interview, Roby Biwer (LU/PES), Member of Bettembourg Municipal Council, answers six questions on the EU action to protect and restore forests worldwide. In the context of the COVID-19, the rapporteur of the CoR opinion on 'Stepping up EU action to protect and restore the world's forests' calls for a new EU certification scheme and information system that endorses deforestation-free products and short, transparent supply chains. The opinion is to be adopted at the 1-2 July plenary session.
Extensive deforestation in the Amazon is driven by global demand for meat, with thousands of hectares being felled every year to feed world meat markets. Are we literally eating up the Amazon rainforest? In general terms, how can we make sure that food production (meat, coffee, cocoa and palm oil) does not have a negative impact on forests? What is the EU role in protecting and restoring the world's forests? Is the EU doing enough?
Although most consumers are not aware of it, meat, coffee, cocoa and palm oil are amongst the products that are currently causing heavy deforestation at the global level. We must work in two fronts if we want to make markets move towards more sustainable and deforestation-free products. As a first step, we need to reinforce information and educational actions to ensure that consumers are aware of the economic, social and environmental impact of their food-consumption habits. Consumer behaviour can definitely shape food markets and accelerate the production of sustainable and deforestation-free products. For that same purpose, we must also promote healthier and ethically correct diets, stressing both the nutritive and socio-economic benefits of plant-based intakes with high levels of fruits and vegetables that are certified as resulting from deforestation-free supply chains. The second front we need to work on is a European commitment to design and implement a new certification scheme that encourages deforestation-free products and contributes to the promotion worldwide of a forward-looking European vision on forestry and food production.
Australia: NSW Natural Resources Commission – Old growth reassessment program suspended
The NSW Government has suspended the program to reassess old growth forest mapping on coastal state forests.
The draft old growth reassessment framework was delivered to the NSW Government in August 2019 for their review prior to community consultation. At that time, the program was temporarily placed on hold to allow Forestry Corporation of NSW to conduct further modelling of total hardwood wood supply, including hardwood plantations.
Since then, the 2019-20 fires burnt over 5 million hectares of New South Wales, including 890,000 hectares of native state forest. On the NSW north coast, over 100,000 hectares of mapped old growth in state forests was burnt.
Working with 2Rog Consulting, the Commission looked at the impact of the fires on mapped old growth forest. This assessment used spatial data only, including the burnt area mapping prepared by the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment. We then considered the implications for applying the proposed methods in the draft old growth reassessment framework.
Australia: Royal Commission hears forestry opinion on bushfire disaster and future management
The Royal Commission into Natural Disaster Arrangements has been told of the devastating impact the Black Summer bushfires had on forest industries around Australia. In its submission to the Royal Commission the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) also highlighted the need for a whole-of-landscape approach to land management and hazard reduction. Source: Timberbiz
Appearing before the Royal Commission via video link, AFPA CEO Ross Hampton told the Commission that while bushfires were unavoidable, more fuel reduction, that included mechanical fuel reduction, to create buffers around towns and critical infrastructure, would make it easier to suppress catastrophic fires.
Koala recovery plan five years overdue as populations are 'smashed'
A recovery plan to help bring koala populations back to health is five years overdue, despite warnings from experts that new research shows the species faces fresh challenges to cling on to its remnant habitat.
When the status of koalas was changed to vulnerable in 2012, the federal government took the advice of the Threatened Species Commission and committed to create a recovery plan.
Environment Minister Sussan Ley warned last year that the status of koalas in various locations may be downgraded to endangered due to bushfires.
Recovery plans are an instrument of national environment laws and come with a three-year deadline to implement and fund. Their purpose is "to maximise the long-term survival" of wildlife. A one-off three-year extension is permitted, which former environment minister Greg Hunt issued for the koala plan in 2015. This is now two years overdue.
Australian National University ecologist Kara Youngentob said a recovery plan should "absolutely be a priority", as forestry operations in some areas were damaging koala habitat and contributed to monocultures in forests.
Koalas could be listed as endangered in parts of the country after taking 'extraordinary hit'
Australia: Environment groups urge Nippon Paper to scrap Victorian timber from supply chain
In a letter to the Japanese company, activists call for rapid transition to products sourced from plantations and recycled fibre
More than 40 environment groups have called on Japan’s Nippon Paper Group to remove timber logged in Victoria’s native forests from its supply chain in the aftermath of bushfires and a landmark judgment that found a government forestry agency repeatedly breached conservation regulations.
It comes as a legal injunction halted VicForests’s operations in a further 14 coupes in the state’s central highlands and amid growing pressure for a statutory review of Australia’s national environment laws to reconsider the industry-wide exemption for logging.
Nippon Paper Group is the owner of the Opal Australian Paper mill in Maryvale, Victoria.
In a letter to the company, 41 environment groups, including the San Francisco-based Rainforest Action Network, The Wilderness Society and Friends of Leadbeater’s Possum, detailed their concerns about the company’s supply chain and called for a rapid transition to products sourced from plantations and recycled fibre.
They stressed the bushfire disaster exacerbated loss of habitat for endangered species already being threatened by native forest logging that Nippon Paper Group “has a direct stake in”.
“Due to the unprecedented and catastrophic fires, native flora and fauna, and forest ecosystems are under immense stress, and many animals have been pushed closer to extinction as a result of the fires,” the letter said.
“Post the 2019-20 bushfires, there is growing support for the protection of Australia’s native forests from logging.”
Conflict is back in Tasmania's forests, and two decisions in Victoria could make it worse
It had been quiet in Tasmania's forests, until recently.
- Conservationists say recent bushfires have highlighted the need to end native logging, but the industry has no intention of becoming plantation-only
- A decision in Victoria to phase out native logging is predicted to increase demand for Tasmanian native timber
- A Federal Court decision judgement on logging of Leadbeater's possum habitat in Victoria could have implications for Tasmania
With a long history of forest conflict, a peace deal struck between environmentalists and loggers in 2012 cooled things off in the state.
And despite the Liberal government putting a symbolic end to the peace deal in 2014, there had been some semblance of peace.
But now, it seems, the conflict is back on, with tree-sits in the Tarkine, locking onto machinery at Ta Ann's Smithton mill, glueing themselves to the offices of the state-owned forestry agency Sustainable Timber Tasmania resulting in about 25 activists arrested in the past six months.
Now, two decisions in Victoria are being closely watched for whether they'll spell more conflict for the island state.
Land-clearing in Queensland. Two major reports on how effectively the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act is working are due over the coming week. Photograph: Auscape/UIG via Getty Images
Australia: Million hectares of threatened species' habitat cleared without assessments
WWF Australia says after new analysis that federal department is failing to enforce environmental laws
More than a million hectares of threatened species’ habitat was cleared for agriculture in New South Wales and Queensland without referral to the federal environment department for assessment, according to new analysis by WWF Australia.
Data for land-clearing in both states suggests the department is failing to ensure developers and farming operations are following environmental laws, according to the analysis.
Under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, anyone undertaking activities likely to have a significant impact on nationally listed threatened species and habitats is required to seek federal approval.
Two major reports on how effectively the act is working are due over the next week, including an Australian National Audit Office review. That will be followed by an interim report of the statutory review of the EPBC Act.
British Columbia: Protect BC’s Ancient Forests
Old growth forests in BC are being systematically eliminated through industrial forestry and bad government policy. Present government policy is allowing for the destruction of what little old growth forest remains in British Columbia – if this continues, old growth forests and the species that depend upon them will disappear. We’re asking you to take action to end old growth logging in BC.
A new independent scientific report outlines that less than 3 percent of the province is productive old growth forest. (To be a productive old growth forest, the trees grow old and tall, something relatively rare in our province. A number of elements need to line up to make an area a productive forest, from soil to elevation and more.)
Most of the productive old growth in BC has been logged. These old growth stands are incredibly valuable for wildlife and biodiversity. They are the ancient low and mid elevation forests where trees tower over the landscape. And old growth forests aren’t just about old trees, they are about structure and diversity, where death and new life mix and interact with each other, where fallen down logs provide perfect growing sites for young trees, where gaps in the forest canopy provide enough light for a diversity of plants, where lichens and moss cling on to tree trunks and branches.
Across British Columbia, we are still logging these rare forests that exist nowhere else on Earth. Past provincial estimates have claimed that 23 percent of the province is old growth forest, but the province doesn’t differentiate between types of old growth forest. The provincial estimate includes all trees growing at high elevations, on steep slopes, subalpine or bog environments. Trees in these environments do not grow large nor provide the diversity of habitat that those growing on nutrient rich sites do.
Old growth forests are important for both sequestering carbon and supporting biodiversity—they are resilient ecosystems that protect watersheds for people and nature. They are critical for so much of our wildlife. Old growth forests are also incredibly resilient. In the face of the current global climate and biodiversity crisis, that resiliency is far too precious to trade for short-term logging profits.
British Columbia poised to lose ‘white rhino of old growth forests’
- In the public imagination, British Columbia is swathed in green and famous for its towering old growth forests. But while the provincial government says 23% of BC’s forests are old growth, a new study finds that a mere 1% remains with tall trees.
- Intense pressure is now being put on the remaining trees by a forestry industry eager to capitalize on nations desperate for new “carbon neutral” sources of energy, including the revamping of coal-fired power plants to burn wood pellets.
- But while the UN says burning biomass in the form of wood pellets is carbon neutral, ten years-worth of new data says that burning trees to make electricity could help put the world on a glide path to climate catastrophe — exceeding the maximum 2 degree Celsius temperature increase target set by the Paris Climate Agreement.
- A recently elected progressive government in BC is weighing its policy options as it negotiates a new provincial forest plan, trying to satisfy the dire need for forestry jobs and a growing economy, while conserving old growth forests which store large amounts of carbon as a hedge against climate disaster. The outcome is uncertain.
The lush, green interior of British Columbia, Canada, is renowned as the home of one of the last-remaining inland temperate rainforests on earth. BC’s towering, centuries-old red cedar, western hemlock, spruce and subalpine fir make up a wet, complex ecosystem brimming with wildlife, ranging from endangered woodland caribou, grizzlies, diverse birdlife and tiny lichens.
But the province’s rare old-growth forests are shrinking dramatically due to encroaching timber harvesting, especially for wood-pellets used to fuel the industrial biomass-burning industry, now fast replacing coal-fired electrical power plants around the globe.
British Columbia’s old-growth is in desperate need of protection, according to the stark findings of two recent studies prepared for the Victoria-based provincial government, which for the first time in a generation is considering a new old-growth forest management plan that could permanently save what’s left from chainsaws, sawmills and wood pelletizing plants.
“Almost every productive ecosystem across BC has very low levels of old forest remaining, and in many areas of BC, this remaining productive old growth is at risk of being logged in the next five years,” said Rachel Holt, a forest ecologist and co-author of one of the studies. “Current provincial policies are inadequate to protect old-growth ecosystems. And without immediate change to both the policy and how it is implemented, BC is on a path to losing these irreplaceable forests forever.”
Special Issue Forests journal: “Forest Management, Conflict and Social-Ecological Systems in a Changing World”
Management objectives in forest social-ecological systems (FSES) are changing very fast as governments face increased pressure to limit carbon emissions and to use alternative forms of energy, while maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem restoration targets. Because actors in FSES frequently have divergent views, conflicts appear easily when applying adaptation and mitigation public policies that have not been thoroughly discussed. In this Special Issue, we present case studies in which conflicts between actors arise when facing new management goals, like intensive biomass production or strict biodiversity protection. This Special Issue will focus on conflict resolution mechanisms and the emergence of new and alternative forest management practices that maintain forest multi-functionality in a changing world.
One paper (open access) to date: Forest Protection Unifies, Silviculture Divides: A Sociological Analysis of Local Stakeholders’ Voices after Coppicing in the Marganai Forest (Sardinia, Italy)
PEFC and labour rights
The COVID-19 pandemic has opened our eyes to the many jobs that we often don’t see and don’t value enough. Jobs in healthcare, supermarkets and delivery services have come to the centre of attention, but there are so many more hidden jobs, for example in the forest.
PEFG CEO Ben Gunneberg spoke with our Head of Communications, Thorsten Arndt, about the hidden heroes in forestry.
“There are quite a few hidden heroes in the forestry world,” says Ben. “Many products we have in the shops wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t for them.”
In fact, forests and their value chains are of critical importance for sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all, especially in remote rural areas.
And forestry work concerns us all. Forests deliver invaluable benefits, from the air we breathe to the water we drink, and forestry workers around the world make sure they continue to do so.
At the same time, forestry work is still among the most dangerous professions in the world, with operations taking place in highly varying terrain and climatic conditions, using chain saws and heavy machinery. It is therefore vital to improve occupational safety through training and adequate risk management.
Why are environmental advocates down on the Forest Stewardship Council?
Why are environmental advocates down on the Forest Stewardship Council, given its mission to eliminate unsustainable forestry?
Environmentalists, indigenous people and others exploited by logging in developing countries rejoiced at the launch of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) in 1993. Formed to “promote environmentally sound, socially beneficial and economically prosperous management of the world’s forests,” FSC has definitely done a lot of good in the intervening three decades. Some 500 million acres of working forests around the world have become FSC-certified, and millions of consumers can sleep better at night knowing that their new decking, siding or framing comes from sustainably harvested wood.
World: Urban Forestry, Tree Cover are Key Components of Reforestation
As Armenia embarks on a 30-year plan to double its forest cover, it is important to remember that forests take many forms and can exist in a variety of settings. Providing tree cover in urban areas and along roads is an important component of reforestation. Urban plantings protect the environment and supply many benefits to local residents such as clean air, dust reduction, shade and fruit.
A recent study found that trees literally improve the quality of life for urban dwellers. Research involving millions of people from multiple countries found that urban residents who live close to green spaces are less likely to die prematurely. Michelle Kondo, a research social scientist with the US Forest Service and an author of that study, noted that “the major ways that nature or green space can improve health include improved social contact and cohesion – how we relate to each other.”
Streak of hot weather and dry forests force closure of Crown land
Government of New Brunswick and J.D. Irving Ltd. on high alert as 2020 fire damage exceeds annual average
New Brunswick forests are so dry, the province has closed all Crown land to industrial operations and recreational activities, with the exception of provincial parks.
"Our forests are tinder dry and right now even the smallest spark could ignite a major wildfire that could threaten people's homes and destroy wildlife habitat," said Natural Resources and Energy Development Minister Mike Holland.
"Even the heat coming off the bottom of a vehicle while you're driving through the woods could ignite a blade of grass," he said.
More than 80 per cent of the province is forested and forestry product exports were valued at close to $2 billion in 2018.
SE Asia: Coronavirus cuts force Indonesia to scale back forest protection
Indonesia has scaled back protection for some of the world’s most important tropical forests ahead of the worst season for fires because of budget cuts due to the coronavirus, the environment ministry said.
At risk are forests bigger than any outside the Amazon and Congo and which are home to more than a tenth of the world’s mammal species - including the rare orangutan - and nearly a fifth of its birds.
Fires, often set to clear land for palm oil plantations in the world’s top producer of the commodity, were the most damaging in years in 2019. It is still early in the June-October dry season, when most land is cleared, to get a clear picture of what’s happening this year.
But according to an analysis of satellite data, the forest land thought to have been cleared in the first 24 weeks of 2020 was about 400,000 hectares (988,000 acres), an increase from 300,000 hectares in the same period last year.
The economic impact of the coronavirus in the Southeast Asian country meant there had been a 50% budget cut for the team that finds fires and helps put them out, an environment ministry official said.
Europe: Better prepared for forest fires
Cross-institute project to understand the dynamics of forest fires and mitigate the risk
Long-lasting drought increases the risk of forest fires. In the past two years, many sometimes large forest fires developed in Germany. However, the forestry sector and fire departments are still lacking knowledge to successfully cope with forest fires. Scientists of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) are studying how threatened areas can be detected, the fire risk can be reduced, and burnt forests can be reforested sustainably. The project is funded with about EUR 1.5 million by the Fachagentur Nachwachsende Rohstoffe (central project-coordinating agency in the area of renewable resources).
In 2018, 2349 hectares of forest were destroyed by fires in Germany. According to forest fire statistics of the Federal Office for Agriculture and Food, the total burnt area corresponded to nearly 3,300 football fields. The resulting forest damage has been largest since 26 years.
According to latest climate prognoses, drought periods will occur more often in future, which might cause the number of forest fires to further increase.
Simulations to Understand Fire Dynamics
Different Tree Species Make the Forest more Robust
Use of forests to offset carbon emissions requires an understanding of the risks
Given the tremendous ability of forests to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, some governments are counting on planted forests as offsets for greenhouse gas emissions -- a sort of climate investment. But as with any investment, it's important to understand the risks. If a forest goes bust, researchers say, much of that stored carbon could go up in smoke.
In a paper published in Science, University of Utah biologist William Anderegg and his colleagues say that forests can be best deployed in the fight against climate change with a proper understanding of the risks to that forest that climate change itself imposes. "As long as this is done wisely and based on the best available science, that's fantastic," Anderegg says. "But there hasn't been adequate attention to the risks of climate change to forests right now."
Europe: Climate extremes will cause forest changes
No year has been as hot and dry as 2018 since climate records began. Central European forests showed severe signs of drought stress. Mortality of trees triggered in 2018 will continue for several years.
Until now, 2003 was considered as the driest and hottest year since the beginning of instrumental climate recording. This record can now be considered obsolete: "The past five years were among the warmest in Central Europe since record, and 2018 was the most extreme one," says Professor Bernhard Schuldt from Julius-Maximilians-Universität (JMU) Würzburg in Bavaria, Germany.
The average temperature from April to October 2018 was on average 3.3 degrees Celsius above the long-term average and 1.2 degrees higher than in 2003, Schuldt and a research team report in the journal Basic and Applied Ecology. This had dramatic consequences for the forests in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
Water transport through the wood collapses
"At such temperatures, our Central European vegetation reaches its limits," says the JMU professor. Together with other researchers from Germany and Switzerland, the plant ecologist was able to confirm with physiological measurements: When it is too hot, the tree simply loses too much water via its surface. As a result, the negative tension in the wood's conducting tissue becomes too steep, which ultimately leads to hydraulic failure interrupting the water transport.
Already during the course of the summer, severe drought-related stress symptoms were observed in most ecologically and economically important tree species, including widespread leaf discoloration and premature lead shedding.
Nth America: As wildfires flare up across West, research highlights risk of ecological change
Following high-severity fire, scientists have found forest recovery may increasingly be compromised by lack of tree seed sources, warmer and drier post-fire climate and more frequent reburning.
One of Jonathan Coop's first vivid memories as a child was watching the flames of the 1977 La Mesa Fire in north-central New Mexico. The human-caused fire burned more than 15,000 acres of pine forests in the Bandelier National Monument and areas surrounding the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
Now a forest ecologist and professor at Western Colorado University, Coop studies the ecological effects of fire on forests in the Southwest United States. He's also the lead author of a new scientific synthesis about how wildfires drive changes in forest vegetation across the United States. Sean Parks -- research ecologist with the USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station -- and Camille Stevens-Rumann, assistant professor in the Department of Forest and Rangeland Stewardship at Colorado State University, are co-authors of the synthesis.
"Wildfire-driven forest conversion in Western North American landscapes," was published July 1 in BioScience.
The new paper, with contributions from more than 20 researchers, uncovers common themes that scientists are reporting, including increasing impacts of wildfires amid climate change from the borderlands of Mexico and Arizona to the boreal forests of Canada.
Following high-severity fire, scientists have found forest recovery may increasingly be compromised by lack of tree seed sources, warmer and drier post-fire climate and more frequent reburning.
World: Forest loss escalates biodiversity change
New international research reveals the far-reaching impacts of forest cover loss on global biodiversity.
The research, led by the University of Edinburgh and the University of St Andrews, investigated the impacts of forest loss on species and biodiversity over time and around the world, revealing both losses and gains in species.
Focussing on biodiversity data spanning 150 years and over 6,000 locations, the study, published in the journal Science, reveals that as tree cover is lost across the world's forests, plants and animals are responding to the transformation of their natural habitats.
Forest loss amplifies the gains and losses of biodiversity - the numbers of individual plant and animal species, as well as the wider diversity and composition of ecosystems around the planet.
Forests support around 80% of all species living on land, from eagles, bluebells, beetles, and many more. This biodiversity provides important ecosystem services and some species, such as the rosalia longicorn beetle, survive best in intact old forests. However, forests are being altered by human activities, for example deforestation for the cultivation of agricultural crops or the conversion to rangeland for grazing cattle. The research reveals that forest loss amplified both gains and losses in the abundance of different species as well as in the overall biodiversity.
World: Scientists armed with new tech and cool gadgets face off against wildfires
From new satellites to artificial intelligence, these are some of the latest firefighting tools
This story is part of the World on Fire series, a five-part podcast that takes us to the front lines of out-of-control wildfires in Canada, Australia and California. Recorded during the COVID-19 pandemic, each episode examines what it takes to find hope in the midst of fear and destruction. Wildfires cost us our health, our homes and our communities, yet people everywhere rebuild and not just survive — but thrive.
From infrared cameras that detect fires smouldering deep underground to satellites capable of tracking smoke and ash from high above the stratosphere, scientists are taking the fight against wildfires from the forest floor to the laboratory.
As the threat of wildfires increases with the arrival of more extreme weather each spring, fire researchers around the world are giving firefighters new tools to battle the threat.
Technology is quickly becoming a powerful weapon against the flames. Here is a look at new innovations at the forefront of wildfire management.
For research scientist Josh Johnston, wildfires are best understood from outer space.
Johnston, an analyst at the Great Lakes Forestry Centre in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., is developing a new type of satellite that will monitor and relay information about fires to crews on the ground in real time.
World: Forests are a solution to climate change. They’re also vulnerable to it
- Forest-based solutions play an important role in addressing climate change, but the risks to forests from climate change also need to be calculated, according to a newly published paper in Science.
- For forests to be good carbon-removal investments, they need to be relatively permanent, meaning that the plants and soil in a forest will absorb carbon and keep it locked away for decades or centuries. Climate change threatens that permanence.
- The authors lay out a road map for assessing permanence, which includes forest plot data, remote sensing, and vegetation modeling.
- The authors urge policymakers to be sure forest-based, natural climate solutions are done with the best available science. Likewise, scientists are urged to improve tools for sharing information across different groups outside of science.
Investing in forests to fight climate change seems like a sure bet. Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, pump out oxygen, and live for decades. What could go wrong?
The answer, according to a newly published paper in Science, is: a lot. Fires, rising temperatures, disease, pests and humans all pose threats to forests, and as climate change escalates, so too do these threats. While forest-based solutions need to play an important role in addressing climate change, the risks to forests from climate change must also be considered.
Planting an acacia tree in Yangambi, Democratic Republic of Congo. CIFOR/Axel Fassio
Trees: To plant or not to plant: Not a simple climate solution
Trees, glorious trees. Let’s plant a million, a billion, a trillion or more.
Tree planting is growing into a global movement amid efforts to restore ecosystem balance and save the planet from the ravages of climate change.
This is what we want, but the simplified concept of “if you need to offset your emissions you plant a tree,” must change.
At the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), World Agroforestry, conservation organizations and entities, naturally we thrive on vegetation, celebrating its proliferation – in particular, trees and forests, the vibrant landscapes, livelihoods and biodiversity that they support.
Some detractors say that tree planting is a waste of time because it draws attention away from cutting fossil emissions, and in addition might result in unintended risks to biodiversity and even to climate change mitigation efforts.
We beg to differ.
Ideas published in two recent papers that appeared in Nature Sustainability journal have stirred up a debate in the popular press over the value of tree-planting in efforts to fight climate change. The key message gleaned is that planting trees is not a simple climate solution.
Yet, this is a fact that we in the forestry community have long known.
In California, A Push Grows to Turn Dead Trees into Biomass Energy
As forests in California and the Western U.S. are hit by rising numbers of fires and disease outbreaks related to climate change, some experts argue that using dead and diseased trees to produce biomass energy will help to restore forests and reduce CO2 emissions.
Jonathan Kusel owns three pickups and a 45-foot truck for hauling woodchip bins. He operates a woodchip yard and a 35-kilowatt biomass plant that burns dead trees, and he runs a crew marking trees for loggers working in national forests. Those are a lot of blue-collar credentials for a University of California, Berkeley PhD sociologist known for his documentation of how the decline of the timber industry affects rural communities.
What drove Kusel into a side business — logging small and dead trees and burning them in biomass boilers — is fear of fire. In 2007, the 65,000-acre Moonlight Fire blew flaming embers onto his lawn near Taylorsville, California as he readied his family to evacuate. Last September, the Walker Fire scorched 54,614 acres just up the valley from the offices of the Sierra Institute for Community and Environment, the nonprofit research organization Kusel founded in 1993. In that 12-year span, wildfires burned 690 square miles in the northern Sierra Nevada.
Drought, a warming climate, and bark-beetle infestations have also killed 147 million California trees since 2013, most of them along the Sierra spine running south from Kusel’s home base past Lake Tahoe and Yosemite National Park to Tehachapi Pass, 75 miles north of Los Angeles. Scientists say these trees are poised to burn in California’s next round of megafires, threatening the range with blazes so intense they will leave some places unable to establish new forests.
Kusel, 63, is one of a growing number of citizens and officials anxious to put those trees and their thick undergrowth to use before they ignite large-scale wildfires, pollute the air with choking smoke, and release large amounts of CO2. His institute has invested in logging equipment to supply wood chips to community biomass facilities, which burn them to produce heat and electricity. This is low-value vegetation that would have burned in natural fires a century ago, before the U.S. Forest Service began suppressing fire.
New Cepi study on material substitution effect: Choosing forest-based products over fossil materials is good for climate and EU economic recovery
For the first time, a study evaluates the overall positive climate effect of the European forest-based industrial ecosystem.
The study “Climate effect of the forest-based sector in the European Union” calculates the “substitution effect” which consists of preventing CO2 emissions moving away from fossil-based materials and couples it with existing data on process emissions, CO2 removed by the forest and the CO2 stored in forest products.
The results show that forests and forest-based products remove a net of 806 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalents annually.
This corresponds to 20% of all fossil emissions in the European Union!
A boost for mass-timber in building larger structures; marketed as sustainable, lighter
In a move designed to strengthen the province’s forest and timber industry, Premier John Horgan has appointed Ravi Kahlon as the lead in expanding the use of mass timber in B.C. buildings.
Kahlon, parliamentary secretary for the Forests Ministry, will be expected to engage with provincial ministries, local governments, industry and the construction sector to look for new opportunities for mass-timber construction and to develop new markets.
“As our economy bounces back from the COVID-19 crisis, we want to do everything we can to support forest workers,” said Horgan, who made the announcement during a call with the Council of Forest Industries.
“By focusing on mass timber, we have an opportunity to transition the forestry sector to high-value over high-volume production. This will mean opportunities for local workers, strong partnerships with First Nations and greater economic opportunity while making a significant contribution to advancing Clean B.C.”
Last year, the province announced a push for the increased use of mass-timber building products in its capital construction programs, particularly in the development of the new St. Paul’s Hospital and upgrading of the Royal B.C. Museum.
In mass-timber buildings, the primary load-bearing structure is made of solid or engineered wood. These buildings can be one-fifth the weight of comparable concrete buildings, while still meeting performance standards for safety, structural resilience and fire protection.
Saving forests can protect public health: Examining the role of forest ecosystems in preventing zoonoses
Aside from claiming high numbers of victims, what do Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV/AIDS), Ebola and COVID-19 have in common? The answer is that all three are zoonoses, the term given to an infectious disease caused by a pathogen that has jumped from animals to humans. Nearly three-quarters of recognized emerging infectious diseases (EID) are known to have originated from animals, generally from wildlife, and as the world has attempted to digest the profound implications of COVID-19 in recent months, much has been written about wet markets in China, thought to have been the starting point for significant human to human transmission.
However, strong evidence points to another connection – namely, forest degradation and habitat loss, or more specifically the way that nature is used to meet societal needs. Research has revealed that a small but significant percentage of emerging infectious diseases have a direct connection with forests; one study found that some 15 percent of approximately 250 EIDs analysed were linked with forests, with several of these, such as HIV/AIDS and Ebola, related to high costs in terms of human lives.
Behind the link between zoonoses and forests is the rich biodiversity that these latter generally host, particularly in tropical regions. That biodiversity is in turn a major source of potential pathogens – the infectious agents that cause disease when they spill over into humans– and of the vectors that transmit them. Many emerging infectious diseases appear to be transmitted among non-human primate hosts or insect vectors, and involve a variety of potential intermediate hosts, including domestic animals. However, forests also have an invisible secret weapon when it comes to zoonoses. So long as they and their ecosystems are left undisturbed, they can act as a buffer to disease transmission between animals and humans, through the so-called dilution effect, as observed for tick-borne Lyme disease where species richness protects against infection from zoonotic pathogens.
The tipping point comes when humans intervene and disrupt that equilibrium, whether it be through logging or cutting swathes of forest to grow crops or rear livestock.
World: On pandemics and forest fires
EFI's Director Marc Palahí reflects on the destruction of ecosystems, the recent economic and environmental crisis and the opportunity to move towards a new model of circular bioeconomy.
The coronavirus crisis, as well as the recurrent forest fire crises we experience every year in many areas of the planet, are only the tip of the iceberg of a much larger crisis: our economic system. A system addicted to fossil resources and economic growth at all costs that has failed to value and incorporate the most fundamental capital of all, our main source of well-being and health: nature.
For years, science has warned that the loss of biodiversity, deforestation and uncontrolled urbanisation are key factors in the emergence and transmission of new viruses of animal origin. The year 2020 is the culmination of a decade marked by record-high temperatures, the threat of several pandemics and natural disasters, including catastrophic forest fires of an intensity and extent never seen before in many countries: Australia, California, Chile, Portugal, Greece, Germany, Sweden…
If our economy were a patient, we could say that it is in the Intensive Care Unit and its doctors only treat the symptoms, without understanding or having the courage to solve what causes the problem. The patient, after following an unbalanced diet based on fossil resources for over 100 years, has gained weight exponentially; in the last 30 years, the world’s GDP and middle class have tripled, while poverty has been drastically reduced. For many areas of the world, gaining weight was necessary, as they were undernourished, but in general overweight has resulted in loss of resilience and the appearance of acute pain in the form of forest fires, droughts, pests and diseases, which increasingly prevent patient mobility.
As for the specific problem of forest fires, these have existed since humans left the forests to live in the savannah, but their intensity in the last decade is explained by the mutual acceleration of two structural problems generated by the fossil economy. On the one hand, the climate crisis, which is particularly evident in the Mediterranean regions. On the other hand, unprecedented urbanisation, which has led to the abandonment of the rural economy and a general loss of the links that connect us to nature and its biological and ecological cycles.
The solution to forest fires, as to so many other problems that are becoming increasingly apparent (plastics in the oceans, loss of biodiversity, climate change…) will only come through a change in the economic paradigm, by means of a generalised change in our economy’s diet. We must move from a fossil economy with a compulsive appetite to an economy based on a balanced diet of renewable resources.
Canada: Nova Scotia forestry transition team outlines new plan for the sector
What will the future of the Nova Scotia forestry sector look like? After months of consultation by a government-appointed “forestry transition team,” the province has published its vision for the industry.
The outline will help to guide the distribution of funds being held in the province’s $50-million Forestry Innovation Transition Trust, which was established after the closure of Northern Pulp earlier this year to help the industry launch new initiatives.
The province recently appointed a three-member board to oversee the trust, review project applications in consultation with industry, and allocate funds.
China's revised forest law to take effect in July
The revised Forest Law, featuring sustainable forestry development, will take effect Wednesday.
The law categorizes forests into "public benefit" forests and "commercial" forests, and adopts differentiated management measures.
The forests of public benefit will be rigorously protected, and the commercial forests will be managed by authorized operators in accordance with the law. The authorized operators can appropriately use the resources in commercial forests to seek economic benefits on the premise of not damaging the ecosystem, according to the law.
China turns 34 mln hectares of marginal farmland into forest, grassland: white paper (what they don’t tell us is that much of that ‘marginal farmland’ was local functional commons, Ed.)
UK: Re-opening of Forest Expansion Scheme for landowners
The Forest Expansion Grant Scheme has been re-opened by DAERA and Environment Minister, Edwin Poots.
He said the scheme aims to encourage and help landowners plant their own woodland.
Successful applicants to the Forest Expansion Scheme will receive up to 100% of eligible establishment costs and annual premia for a 10-year period.
Minister Poots said: “Earlier this year, I launched the Forests For Our Future programme, where I pledged to plant 18 million trees by 2030 and create 9,000 hectares of new woodland to help our environment and economy.
“In order to help us achieve this ambitious target, my Department has consulted industry and other stakeholders and made a number of changes to the Forest Expansion Grant Scheme which I am now re-opening. The revised scheme will be opened earlier than previously and includes a reduction of the minimum application area to three hectares which will help more landowners to plant some of their land. To date, the Department has committed £6.4 million of grant aid to support 115 landowners to plant just over 850 hectares of all types of woodland, including new native, other broadleaf and predominantly coniferous woodland.
A controversial Russian theory claims forests don’t just make rain—they make wind
Every summer, as the days get long, Anastassia Makarieva leaves her lab in St. Petersburg for a vacation in the vast forests of northern Russia. The nuclear physicist camps on the shores of the White Sea, amid spruce and pine, and kayaks along the region’s wide rivers, taking notes on nature and the weather. “The forests are a big part of my inner life,” she says. In the 25 years she has made her annual pilgrimage north, they have become a big part of her professional life, too.
For more than a decade, Makarieva has championed a theory, developed with Victor Gorshkov, her mentor and colleague at the Petersburg Nuclear Physics Institute (PNPI), on how Russia’s boreal forests, the largest expanse of trees on Earth, regulate the climate of northern Asia. It is simple physics with far-reaching consequences, describing how water vapor exhaled by trees drives winds: winds that cross the continent, taking moist air from Europe, through Siberia, and on into Mongolia and China; winds that deliver rains that keep the giant rivers of eastern Siberia flowing; winds that water China’s northern plain, the breadbasket of the most populous nation on Earth.
With their ability to soak up carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen, the world’s great forests are often referred to as the planet’s lungs. But Makarieva and Gorshkov, who died last year, say they are its beating heart, too. “Forests are complex self-sustaining rainmaking systems, and the major driver of atmospheric circulation on Earth,” Makarieva says. They recycle vast amounts of moisture into the air and, in the process, also whip up winds that pump that water around the world. The first part of that idea—forests as rainmakers—originated with other scientists and is increasingly appreciated by water resource managers in a world of rampant deforestation. But the second part, a theory Makarieva calls the biotic pump, is far more controversial.
Family outraged by $150k fine for forestry company after death of young father
Piri Bartlett went to work in a forest on the East Cape on August 18, 2017, to provide for his young family.
The 23 year old never came home.
Tragedy struck again for Bartlett's fiance, Te Rangimarie Rautjoki, with the death of the couple's 2-year-old boy a year later.
Bartlett's employer, Blackstump Logging Ltd, has admitted it failed to keep him safe and was fined $150,000.
Rautjoki said the fine was a disgrace.
NZ: Consultation closing on Nelson City Council's forestry management
Nelson City Council is asking for feedback on its commercial forestry management ahead of its application for industry best-practice Forest Stewardship Classification. (File photo)
Consultation on how Nelson City Council manages its commercial forests will close this week.
The council is seeking public feedback on its plan to seek Forest Stewardship Certification from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), a globally-recognised forestry standards authority.
The city council owns several forestry blocks, managed by PF Olsen, in the Brook, Maitai, Roding, and Marsden Valley.
PF Olsen has prepared a Forest Management Plan for the next five years, from June 2020 until June 2025, to achieve the certification.
New Zealand: Pine plantations to be axed from Kingsland Forest above Richmond
Kingsland Forest covers about 150 hectares behind Richmond, on the flanks of the Barnicoat Range.
Commercial forestry will be retired from the land above Richmond and the 150ha site made available for more recreation under a new name: Kingsland Forest Park.
The Tasman District Council strategy and policy committee on Thursday’ adopted the Kingsland Forest Development Plan, which paves the way for the changes to the council-owned forest, which is already a popular spot for recreation – mountainbiking, walking and dog walking in particular.
A draft plan was released for feedback in December 2019. It attracted 212 submissions, most in support of the proposal to retire the plantation forestry and replant the land in permanent native trees and mixed exotic woodland.
More mountainbike and walking tracks were also proposed.
World: Treating The Forest Like Family
United Nations Development Programme
Some of Northern Armenia’s most beautiful landscapes include thousands of hectares of forests and trees that are protected by sustainable management of forests and protected areas.
Norayr Amirkhanyan, 45, is one of the seven foresters who guards the “Noyemberyan forestry enterprise”, the branch of HayAntar (Arm Forest) in Armenia’s mountainous northeastern Tavush region.
Every day he travels 50 kilometres or more to observe forested lands under his responsibility, to look after wildlife habitat, and monitor plans for planting new trees.
More than 10 years ago, he began his career as a forestry technician. It was through his grandfather, one of the founders of the Noyemberyan forestry, that he learned a love of the forest and everything that resides there. Since then, he has never lost the desire to spend long days studying every class of plant, and the secrets of the woods, which are also a major source of fresh water for the entire country.
Sth America: Innovation by ancient farmers adds to biodiversity of the Amazon
Innovation by ancient farmers to improve soil fertility continues to have an impact on the biodiversity of the Amazon, a major new study shows.
Early inhabitants fertilized the soil with charcoal from fire remains and food waste. Areas with this "dark earth" have a different set of species than the surrounding landscape, contributing to a more diverse ecosystem with a richer collection of plant species, researchers from the State University of Mato Grosso in Brazil and the University of Exeter have found.
The legacy of this land management thousands of years ago means there are thousands of these patches of dark earth dotted around the region, most around the size of a small field. This is the first study to measure the difference in vegetation in dark and non-dark earth areas in mature forests across a region spanning a thousand kilometers.
The team of ecologists and archaeologists studied abandoned areas along the main stem of the Amazon River near Tapajós and in the headwaters of the Xingu River Basin in southern Amazonia.
Lead author Dr Edmar Almeida de Oliveira said: "This is an area where dark earth lush forests grow, with colossal trees of different species from the surrounding forest, with more edible fruit trees, such as taperebá and jatobá."
The number of indigenous communities living in the Amazon collapsed following European colonization of the region, meaning many dark earth areas were abandoned.
The study, published in the journal Global Ecology and Biogeography, reveals for the first time the extent to which pre-Columbian Amerindians influenced the current structure and diversity of the Amazon forest of the areas they once farmed.
COVID-19 lockdown precipitates deforestation across Asia and South America
- Increased logging activity has been reported from Brazil, Colombia, Cambodia, Indonesia, Nepal and Madagascar since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Reduced monitoring by enforcement authorities and social upheaval have both been cited as reasons for the increase.
- Environmental groups are concerned that the expected global economic recession will result in governments deregulating businesses, leading to a less green recovery as a result.
It’s time to rein in the industries devouring the world’s last standing forests (commentary)
Commentary by Gaurav Madan on 26 June 2020
- Gaurav Madan, Senior Forests and Lands Campaigner at Friends of the Earth U.S., argues that industrial commodity producers are failing to rein in destruction of the world’s tropical forest, despite a raft of commitments to end deforestation.
- Accordingly, Madan argues, society should prioritize transitioning away from unaccountable production and unfettered consumption.
- “It’s time we end our addiction to endless consumption and realize our future is tied to the fate of the planet,” he writes.
- This article is a commentary. The views expressed are those of the author, not necessarily Mongabay.