Figures from EU monitoring service for August are highest since it began measurements in 2003August was another record month for global wildfire emissions, according to new satellite data that highlights how tinderbox conditions are widening across the world as a result of the climate crisis.The Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service of the EU found that burning forests released 1.3 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide last month, mostly in North America and Siberia. This was the highest since the organisation began measurements in 2003. Continue reading...
A study at the University of Zurich in Switzerland shows that a large proportion of existing medicinal plant knowledge is linked to threatened indigenous languages. In a regional study on the Amazon, New Guinea and North America, researchers concluded that 75% of medicinal plant uses are known in only one language.
The familiar striped skunk of North America (think of the cartoon Pepé Le Pew) has a lesser-known cousin: the spotted skunk. These polka-dotted relatives are smaller, about the size of a fat squirrel, and do impressive handstands to warn predators before they launch their stinky spray. And now, this skunk group has a few more […]
The North Atlantic Right Whale (Right whale) is one of the most endangered whale species in the world with only about 368 remaining off the east coast of North America.
In March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic shut theatres across North America and beyond. What’s the receipt of two Primetime Emmy Awards, a Tony Award, and nominations for four Academy Awards, and three Golden Globe Awards to do? For Jane Alexander, an acclaimed film and stage actress who is up for her eighth Tony Award nomination […]
Many scientists consider the "Cambrian explosion"-which occurred about 530-540 million years ago-as the first major appearance of many of the world's animal groups in the fossil record. Like adding pieces to a giant jigsaw puzzle, each discovery dating from this time period has added another piece to the evolutionary map of modern animals.
Gray wolves once roamed the entire North American continent, from the scrubby deserts of Mexico to the boreal forests of Alaska. But by the 1950s decades of overhunting and habitat loss had nearly extirpated the species in the contiguous United States.
After rising to a record high in the United States of over $1500/MBF in May, the Fastmarkets Random Lengths Framing Lumber Composite Price Index has now crashed to under $400/MBF, in line with historical pricing levels we have seen for the industry. Source: Timberbiz “Ultimately the correction has resulted from a combination of cooling demand for lumber and mills finally being able to sufficiently ramp up production,” Fastmarkets senior economist Dustin Jalbert said. On the demand front, new housing construction has slowed due to labour and material shortages, forcing home builders in the United States to ration production despite very stronger buyer interest. Renovation activity has also dropped off as households pivot their spending back to the service side of the economy. With vaccination rates rising in North America, people are becoming more comfortable traveling, going out to eat or attending social gatherings, which means more time and money spent away from the home. “Sticker shock has also set in for some wood product buyers, putting many home renovation projects on the sidelines,” Mr Jalbert said. For supply, sawmills struggled to ramp up production in the depths of the pandemic as labour shortages and positive cases at mill operations hampered output just as demand conditions had shifted higher. As caseloads came off the very elevated peak in the spring, production ramped up significantly in response to record prices and strong demand as mills were better able to add overtime and shifts as the staffing situation improved. “Now that lumber prices have corrected, we are starting to see buyers step back into the market, which is helping firm the cash market,” Mr Jalbert said. “Additionally, mill curtailments in response to the collapse in prices, wildfire-related log shortages, a new wave of COVID cases and a potential doubling of lumber duties on Canadian mills by the end of the year will likely contribute to another bounce in lumber prices before the end of the year, further contributing to the record volatility for the industry.”
JAKARTA — The planned expansion of one of the largest pulp and paper producers in North America will threaten Canada’s boreal forest, the most carbon dense woodland in the world, environmentalists warn. Earlier this year, Canadian paper and packaging company Paper Excellence announced its plan to acquire U.S. competitor Domtar, which is one of the largest pulp producers […]
Picture a skunk. You're probably thinking of a stocky animal, around the size of a housecat, black with white stripes, like Pepé Le Pew. That describes North America's most common skunk, the striped skunk, but they also have smaller, spotted cousins. Scientists still have a lot to learn about spotted skunks, starting with how many kinds of them even exist-over the years, the number of recognized species has ranged from two to fourteen, and lately, scientists have agreed there are four
Since its origin, more than 40,000 years ago, fishing has taken a variety of forms — from spearing to hook-and-line fishing. In the 1960s, scientists began using a method called “electrofishing” to study aquatic populations. In a study published in the North American Journal of Fisheries Management, USDA Forest Service scientist Zanethia Barnett researched the […]
A new study of two approximately 52-million-year-old fossil finds from the Green River Formation in Wyoming, U.S., has fit them into the evolutionary history of crocodiles. Biogeologists Jules Walter, Dr. Márton Rabi of the University of Tübingen, working with some other colleagues, determined the extinct species Tsoabichi greenriverensis to be an early caiman crocodile.
Ponsse’s cut-to-length forest machines have proved to be excellent harvesting solutions, also on steep slopes. Environmentally friendly and safe harvesting solutions for slopes are in high demand, especially when harvesting takes place in areas with varying terrain and steepness. Source: Timberbiz “Our solutions are always based on our customers’ needs, and our forest machines designed for steep slopes are no exception. We test and develop them together with our customers in truly demanding conditions, for example, in China, Brazil, North America and in Central Europe,” says Marko Mattila, Sales, Service and Marketing Director at Ponsse. “We have invested in the testing and research equipment required for the development of slope harvesting solutions at our Vieremä factory, and we have even built an artificial slope for testing and studying in detail how our products operate in slope conditions.” PONSSE Synchrowinch is one of the most important optional equipment required for cut-to-length (CTL) forest machines when working on steep slopes. It helps the forest machine remain highly productive in an environmentally friendly and safe way compared with alternative manual methods also in demanding conditions. Working on slopes is not new but as the environmentally friendly cut-to-length logging method is becoming more common, it will develop in a safer and more effective direction, minimising any damage to the terrain. Ponsse’s solutions for working on slopes Eight-wheeled harvesters and forwarders, combined with balanced bogies, offer tractive force, stability and comfort for the operator Engines, brakes and tanks developed for slope conditions PONSSE Synchrowinch and other options designed for working on slopes Efficiency and productivity of cut-to-length (CTL) forest machines – no need to pull cables or wires manually. Smooth working – by using the winch, the machine can be moved smoothly, even in demanding locations PONSSE Synchrowinch is available for PONSSE Cobra, Ergo 8W and Bear harvesters and Buffalo, Bison, Elephant and Elephant King forwarders. The winch is optional equipment installed in forest machines during the installation stage. Register for the English online Solutions for Steep Slope Harvesting webinar to held on 25 of August at https://www.ponsse.com/en/ponsse-studio-presents/steep-slope-webinar#/
Convergence, community and justice: Key emerging conservation trends of the pandemic era (commentary)
2021 continues to be a year like no other. From record heat and wildfires in western North America to the flooding in China, the impacts of climate change and environmental destruction are becoming more and more apparent all around the world. Meanwhile the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold, highlighting the connections between human health and […]
Between Tropical Storm Henri, Hurricane Grace, and torrential downpours in Tennessee, it was a bad weather weekend for people living on the eastern side of North America
A world-wide shortage of timber that has plagued the construction industry is driving up the price of shipping pallets. In the United States the Produce Marketing Association, which represents the production, packaging, and retail segments of the fresh produce (including greenhouses) and floral industries, reported the surge in new house and renovation construction is consuming most of the wood available from the mills and that the price for lumber s at all all-time high. Source: Timberbiz The association reported that there is a shortage of all pallets, not just CHEP and PECO pallets. White pallets (lower quality and not always rackable) also are not available. And The Australian reports that timber shortages have made CHEP pallets, used to transport anything from TVs to potatoes, more expensive after their maker Brambles introduced a surcharge, reaping US$60m ($82.3m). The company said that it battled higher lumber costs and shortages in the second half – sharing the pain of many Australian renovators and home builders who have been struggling to access structural pine. “Inflationary pressures accelerated in the second half of the year with higher lumber and transport costs in all regions,” chief executive Graham Chipcase told The Australian. “Lumber costs were driven by increased demand and supply challenges which impacted pallet availability and resulted in both higher pallet capex costs and increased repair costs. “The impact was particularly evident in the US and resulted in record levels of lumber inflation and industry-wide pallet shortages in key markets, with manufacturers and retailers also increasing pallet balances across their operations to avoid disruptions to their supply chains.” The Produce Marketing Association said: “although conversations are occurring within the North American (and global) industry about the current acute pallet shortages we believe that many do not yet realize hte factors impacting the situation and the potential scope fo the issue, including the availability of produce to consumers”. “If there is not a concerted effort across the supply chain to ensure pallet availability for shipment of produce, there is little doubt that it will be very difficult, if not impossible, for the grower/shipper community to meet buyer, and ultimate consumer, demand for produce,” the group said in a statement. “Simultaneously, growers and shippers are working hard to remain compliant with pallet requirement specifications where the can, but this is proving challenging. Temporary modifications or exceptions to pallet requirements, as long as they do not jeopardize safety, would prove advantageous until this pallet shortage is resolved.”
Like many people, I will remember this summer in shades of gray and red. As snapshots of a dull orange sun circulated social media, "zombie fires" rose from the Russian permafrost, entire towns were wiped off the map and Southern Europe became a scene of the apocalypse.Satellites tracked enormous plumes of wildfire smoke across North America, the Atlantic Ocean and the Arctic Circle until they reached the North Pole.
Five hundred homes worth of timber destined for Melbourne has been abandoned at a Shanghai dock because a shipping company accepted a lucrative offer to divert course to Los Angeles. Source: The Age, The Hardware Journal The Master Builders Association of Victoria (MBAV) said 50 containers carrying timber had been dumped in China and warned the incident could worsen Australia’s timber shortage and lead to unfinished homes. The shipment of European timber arrived in Shanghai in late July. The shipping company was then offered 60% more to use its shipping containers, according to the MBAV, prompting the ship to dump the timber at the Chinese port and leave for the US with new goods on board. It is unclear how the company was able to take this action, given it had a contract to deliver the goods to Australia. Global demand and prices for building products such as timber and steel have risen steeply this year. There is also a worldwide shortage of shipping containers, according to federal Trade Minister Dan Tehan who told The Age the government was investigating the economic impact of the shipping disruption. Industry leaders said a “perfect storm” of booming demand and tight supply had caused shipping costs to spike threefold. Timber prices in Australia rose by 11.8% in the past year and 6.5% in the June quarter, ABS figures show. One-fifth of the timber used by Australia’s building industry is imported and some merchants are paying 60% more for imported timber than local product. MBAV chief executive Rebecca Casson said the dumped timber could inflame the domestic shortages and drive-up costs for Victorian builders, who are going broke in record numbers “This has the potential to push things over the edge … Basically we’ll have unfinished homes,” she said. “We are aware of some Australian merchants that import from major European companies that have experienced difficulty getting product to Australia. “There is currently a load of 50 containers, the equivalent of 500 homes, stranded overseas that were abandoned.” Mr Tehan said the pandemic had disrupted the shipping sector and asked organisations that had experienced difficulty importing goods to contact the government. He said shipping activity rebounded more quickly in countries such as China which got out of lockdowns earlier in 2020, causing a disproportionate number of containers to end up in those places. The knock-on effect was an insufficient quantity of containers in Europe and North America, as nations on those continents emerged from lockdown and rebooted economic activity late last year and early this year. “The current misallocation of containers is something the government has been strongly looking at. It’s not an easily resolvable issue,” Mr Tehan said. “There are up to six-month delays getting into the largest ports like Los Angeles, plus we’re seeing increasing demand and cost of containers to deal with the misallocation.” John Halkett, general manager of the Australian Timber Importers Federation, said it was unsurprising an international shipping company would divert course from Australia to the US. He said shipping costs and port delays had risen dramatically, and it was more financially attractive for companies to deliver to the northern hemisphere. “There is a perfect storm of demand for building products both in Australia and Europe and the US, and serious issues with supply caused by disruption to shipping and logistics,” he said. Bushfires, a temporary pause for South Australian mills due to its recent lockdown, delays due to the Suez Canal blockage, and a worldwide vessel shortage are also contributing to the issue. Ms Casson fears building and construction insolvencies will rise further if supply issues continue and said some businesses were being quoted 18% timber price increases for September orders. Victoria accounted for 40% of all building and construction industry insolvencies in Australia and its share of all Victorian insolvencies is at a record high. In the first four months of 2021, there were 145 industry insolvencies in Victoria – up 34.3% on the same time last year.
In some places in North America, the sound of buzzing above fields and forests may no longer foretell trouble, but rather, an innovative solution to a centuries-old problem. Drones are gaining traction as a method for controlling insect pests in the agricultural sector. Insect damage to crops costs the U.S. alone more than $100 billion […]
The world watched in July 2021 as extreme rainfall became floods that washed away centuries-old homes in Europe, triggered landslides in Asia and inundated subways in China. More than 900 people died in the destruction. In North America, the West was battling fires amid an intense drought that is affecting water and power supplies.