The Global Forest Coalition (GFC) invites you to participate in a webinar series looking at what is fueling agro-industrial livestock production, taking place at the end of October and beginning of November. Four regional webinars, covering Asia on 27th of October, Latin America on the 29th, Africa on the 3rd of November and finally Europe and North America on the 5th, will explore how financial support and other incentives in producer and consumer countries is driving the expansion of the … The post Webinar series: Fueling agro-industrial livestock production appeared first on Global Forest Coalition.
New research shows that while winter rains can temper the beginning of the wildfire season, monsoon rains are what shut them down. This monsoon season was the second-driest on record, leaving Southern Arizona dry and vulnerable.
Camera traps bring you closer to the secretive natural world and are an important conservation tool to study wildlife. This week we’re meeting the red fox! Red foxes live across the entire Northern Hemisphere: North America, Europe, Asia, and some parts of Northern Africa. Due to their wide range, they have forty-five recognized subspecies of […]
Deere & Co plans to expand in Australia and New Zealand, with its one-time chief economist leading the charge. Luke Chandler, who has become managing director for the two countries, said he’ll target growth in construction and forestry, including road building and government infrastructure projects. Source: Transport Topics The company will also boost its business in precision agriculture, key for Australia to compete globally as well as in turf and some mining operations. Australia is a commodities powerhouse, being a large exporter of goods while New Zealand dominates the global dairy market. Deere, known for its green and yellow tractors, is already a leader in agriculture in the region, but the mining and construction sectors are currently dominated by Caterpillar Inc. “We have been present in the Australian and New Zealand market in agriculture and turf for a number of years,” Mr Chandler said. “John Deere’s construction business is incredibly strong in North America, but we see a real opportunity given the sophistication of the clients and customers there.” Deere’s business in Australia, New Zealand, Asia, Africa and the Middle East accounted for US$3.8 billion in sales last year, or almost 10% of the company’s total revenue. The company doesn’t break down earnings for the two countries to be led by MrChandler, who served the last three years as chief economist. While Deere will support some mining operations, it’ll be more focused on equipment for infrastructure and earth moving. In the tractor sector, there will be a focus on developing precision agriculture tools. “Around 60% to 65% of agriculture production is exported, so Australian and New Zealand farmers need to be extremely competitive in the world market,” Chandler said, noting that those nations don’t have the benefit of subsidies and safety nets seen elsewhere in the world, including the US and European Union.
The five story, 159,000-square-foot Catalyst building has opened its doors, marking the culmination of a collaborative effort of diverse industry partners to create a transformative, real-world prototype for sustainable development. Catalyst is one of North America’s largest zero energy and the first zero carbon building. Source: Timberbiz The building is in Spokane, Washington adjacent to the Scott Morris Centre for Energy Innovation and it is the first zero carbon building to be certified by the International Living Future Institute. Catalyst is the result of a collaboration between a cross-industry team of partners including Av ista, McKinstry, Katerra and Eastern Washington University (EWU). The South Landing neighborhood started with a bold vision when Avista’s then-CEO and current chairman Scott Morris conceived and set out to create “the five smartest blocks in the world.” Mr Morris’s idea was to create a real-world model for sustainable, efficient and forward-looking development in which smart buildings are deeply integrated with the grid and talk to each other to better manage demand, while leveraging on-site renewable energy generation and storage during peak loads. “This is an important milestone to celebrate. With the foundation for the five smartest blocks in the world now in place, Catalyst and the South Landing eco-district prove what is possible when industry leaders work together to think big and test bold ideas,” said Scott Morris, Chairman of Avista. “What we have created is so transformative and innovative, it will serve as a new model for collaboration across industries. Together, we are reimagining the future of energy and sustainable development. What we learn will support a reliable, affordable, and clean energy future for all of us.” The Catalyst building employs innovative, integrated systems for on-site renewable energy generation using photovoltaic arrays, heating, lighting, and exhaust heat and gray water recovery, as well as Internet of Things (IoT) sensors to optimize operation. Catalyst’s design, by Michael Green Architecture, used roughly 4000 cubic metres of locally sourced mass timber products produced by Katerra as both structural and design elements, enabling Catalyst to achieve near-passive house levels of thermal performance. Incorporating mass timber into Catalyst also reduced the need for steel and concrete, helping to collectively offset approximately 5000 metric tons of carbon, equating to 1100 cars off the road for a year. Catalyst and the recently opened Morris Centre were designed in tandem to test the innovative new shared energy eco-district model. The main idea of the eco-district is to have buildings that work together to actively manage energy loads and balance on-site energy demand, generation and storage in real-time to reduce the impact on the grid. A centralized heating, cooling and electrical system reliably, sustainably and affordably serves the energy needs of current and future buildings in the South Landing development. In addition to heat pumps, boilers and chillers, the Morris Centre houses thermal and electrical storage as well as onsite renewable energy generation that can be stored and shared. South Landing and Catalyst show how utilities can partner with property owners to operate their buildings in a manner that better utilizes the existing grid and could lead to a more affordable, clean energy future. Eastern Washington University is the anchor tenant for Catalyst, with its College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (CSTEM) re-locating its electrical engineering, computer science and design programs to the new building.
Now in its 23rd year Timber Offsite Construction 2021 organised by Frame Australia will be a global hybrid format combining ‘in person’ and ‘live streaming’ for speakers and delegates to provide a new and unrivalled experience for all event attendees. Source: Timberbiz Sessions will combine ‘live streaming’ international presenters with ‘in person’ local speakers to provide interactive global coverage of topics by world-renowned experts. Topic themes embrace building design influences, construction productivity, manufacturing & technology, and global wood building projects. Building project panels will comprise developers, architects, engineers, builders, and suppliers discussing ‘real life’ challenges in a range of timber and mass wood projects. Projects selected will embrace diversity in design and building functionality utilising timber and engineered wood for residential and commercial developments with individual design and construction constraints. Projects selected will embrace diversity in design and building functionality utilising timber and engineered wood for residential and commercial developments with individual design and construction constraints. With the event now ‘hybrid’ it offers access to a much larger audience of local and international delegates both ‘in person’ and ‘virtual’ attendees. The event will be held Tuesday and Wednesday 22-23 June 2021 at Crown Melbourne, and for information visit the website www.timberoffsiteconstruction.com Speaker highlights include Andrew Waugh, a globally renowned architect who designed the world’s first 10 storey mass wood apartment building in London, as is a pioneer in tall timber buildings. His presentation Innovation in mass wood building design and global sustainability objectives will embrace projects currently underway and outlook for the future. Another global icon will be Gerry McCaughey, Chief Executive and Chairman of Entekra USA, a design engineering and manufacturing company that provides a fully integrated off-site timber frame solution for both residential and commercial construction in North America. His presentation titled Panelised timber frame construction to increase productivity and profitability for builders will focus on hi-tech manufacturing and prefabrication leading to panelisation and benefits to both builders and frame and truss plants in providing new business opportunities. Katerra is a new kind of company in the building industry, and Craig Curtis, President of Katerra Architecture will present Improving productivity through mass timber building platforms based on Katerra’s model which combines end-to-end integration with significant investment in technological and design innovation. To achieve this, they improve speed to market; move labour from the field to the factory; leverage technology for every process; and provide a high quality, responsible product.
Laricobius nigrinus is a small beetle that eats an even smaller bug – the hemlock woolly adelgid, or HWA. Since 2003, Laricobius has been used to help control HWA. But the beetle, which is native to western North America, is only active during the fall, winter and early spring. Recently, USDA Forest Service research entomologist […]
The latest U.S. and Canadian home building, sales, and prices data has shown remarkable — indeed record-breaking — activity, with absolutely no signs of slowing down. In fact, the business of real estate across North America can truthfully be described as “red hot”. Another notable development this year is an early, and so far quite […]
Reduced resilience of plant biomes in North America could be setting the stage for the kind of mass extinctions not seen since the retreat of glaciers and arrival of humans about 13,000 years ago, cautions a new study.
The Northern Hardwoods Research Institute (NHRI) and Remsoft have partnered to support best practice implementation of the Remsoft Operations Cloud within small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the forestry sector. The first SME pilot implementation is underway with a leading producer of hardwood products in Canada. Source: Timberbiz NHRI is a collaboration of the forest sector, government and academia that conducts research related to the management of hardwoods and mixed forests of Eastern North America. The research is used to develop solutions to forestry management challenges including resource growth, timber value and long-term sustainability. Remsoft Operations is a cloud, SaaS solution designed to manage the forestry supply chain from forest to mill in real time. It has been successfully deployed within large, global operators such as Weyerhaeuser. Hundreds of users, across different teams are actively planning and scheduling in the Remsoft Operations Cloud, and the system is being used to manage thousands of harvest units and several millions of tons of fibre. “Within the Remsoft Operations Cloud, forest product companies can consolidate and connect all the people, processes and data sources needed to manage the entire supply chain,” Doug Jones, Senior Vice President, Client Solutions & Innovation at Remsoft said. “The ability to see everything in one, real-time view is key to unlocking cost savings, revenue, and performance opportunities across the value chain. “And, with its cloud architecture and modular design, Remsoft Operations can scale to any company’s needs.” A key challenge for small to mid-size businesses adopting digital forest supply chain solutions such as Remsoft Operations is preparing the necessary data. The NHRI-Remsoft partnership will leverage NHRI’s unique expertise to overcome this challenge by streamlining the implementation process, including data preparation, digitization, and integration. “By partnering with Remsoft and implementing our precision block planning processes, we can improve operations and lower costs for SMEs,” Gaetan Pelletier, NHRI’s Executive Director said. “These are key drivers for developing a sustainable and globally competitive forestry sector.” Jeff Lingley, Investment Analyst with NBIF said: “We’re happy to support the collaboration between NHRI and Remsoft. The Remsoft Operations software will prove valuable to any size organization in the forest industry and our team sees that potential. This partnership gives them access to R&D support to help bring the final SME solution to fruition.”
Trees are one of humans' biggest allies in the fight against climate change, soaking up around 30% of the carbon we pump into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuel.
It’s an understatement to say that CoVid-19 has disrupted the entire world. No country is immune. It is of course virulent, disruptive, debilitating and deadly. It is also a distraction. Source: Bruce Mitchell Australia’s attention has been fixed on the daily press briefings detailing border closures, restrictions, infection rates, case numbers and, sadly, deaths, for months now. Debate on almost everything but the virus has been shut down because state parliaments have been closed. But, in the background and shrouded by the overwhelming effects of the virus, there is still activity. The target is, again, the native timber industry. And the conservation lobby, which usually performs for and needs the mainstream media to highlight its campaigns, seems to have changed tactics. Gone are some of the stunts that used to gain so much airtime. In Northern NSW it has become a war of attrition. By constantly harassing logging companies, maybe they hope that companies will just want to give up through fatigue. There has already been a hint of that feeling among some loggers in East Gippsland. And in Tasmania we have seen, but gladly not a repeat of, the recent spiking of trees headed for sawmills. No Green group claimed responsibility, no Green group decried it. Western Australia is the latest case in point. South West Greens MP Diane Evers yesterday introduced a Bill into State Parliament’s Upper House to end native logging in Western Australia and wind up the State-Government run Forest Products Commission with little or no attention paid by Perth’s mainstream media. She told the House that under the Greens’ plan current timber contracts would be wound up as soon as practicable, noting their existing end dates are 2023 with the expiry of the current forest management plan. “The south west and the rest of the state deserve a system of forest management that is capable of harnessing the entire value of our native forests through truly sustainable industries,” she said. Can’t argue with that. But to then suggest that “there are many new and emerging opportunities, such as ecotourism, honey and bee production…” shows just how unrealistic the conservation movement can be. As the Forest Industries Federation of WA pointed out honey and bee production portrayed an unlikely scenario, given that under the plan native forests would become national parks, and it is currently illegal to place hives in WA national parks. At the end of the day, the Greens’ Bill is a stunt. Word from WA is that it will not be passed. Ms Evers has possibly established a base camp from which to mount further campaigns. And there is no hope the Greens will give up after the Bill is defeated. But it is another distraction at a time when the world is distracted enough. Maybe the Greens’ should be taking more notice of the Harvard Forest Long-Term Ecological Research’s recent study on climate change and forestry. Harvard Forest is an ecological research area of 3000 acres owned and managed by Harvard University and located in Petersham, Massachusetts. The property, in operation since 1907, includes one of North America’s oldest managed forests, educational and research facilities, a museum, and recreation trails. The study, published in Ecological Monographs, reveals that the rate at which carbon is captured from the atmosphere at Harvard Forest nearly doubled between 1992 and 2015. Trees have also been growing faster due to regional increases in precipitation and atmospheric carbon dioxide, while decreases in atmospheric pollutants such as ozone, sulphur, and nitrogen have reduced forest stress. The volume of data brought together for the analysis by two dozen scientists from 11 institutions, is unprecedented as is the consistency of the results. It’s the sort of science the environmental sector doesn’t want to read, or believe in. For those in the timber industry it is powerful reading.
As governments look to kick-start economies stalled by pandemic restrictions, natural resource sectors say they are in a good position to put British Columbians to work. BC’s forestry sector could be one of them, especially given a recent spike in softwood lumber prices, but the industry is being crippled by disproportionately high operating costs – something the provincial government could address but appears unwilling to do, says Susan Yurkovich, CEO of the Council of Forest Industries (COFI). Source: Prince George Citizen “This is a sector that actually can get people back to work sooner,” Ms Yurkovich said. “We’ve been operating during the pandemic with safe work practices, and we can deliver a tonne to the economy.” But starting last year, a wave of sawmill closures and curtailments took place in BC and now pulp mills and other secondary industries are poised to fall like dominoes. Six sawmills permanently closed in 2019, and several more took extended curtailments. And, as predicted, pulp mills are starting to go down, too, because they rely on sawmills for wood waste. “It’s a huge blow to our community,” said Mackenzie Mayor Joan Atkinson. “There are about 250 well-paying jobs.” The Mackenzie pulp mill closure isn’t permanent, but it is indefinite. It follows, and is linked to, the indefinite closure of a Canfor sawmill in Mackenzie, which employed 220 people and supplied the Paper Excellence pulp mill with wood waste. Conifex Timber also closed a Mackenzie sawmill last year, but it just recently restarted. A map of North American sawmill closures and curtailments from 2019 shows that British Columbia has experienced a disproportionately high number of closures and curtailments compared with other states and provinces. BC’s annual allowable cut has declined due to a mountain pine beetle epidemic, forest fires and increased conservation that has prohibited logging in large areas of timber. But it’s not just a shrinking timber supply that is behind the recent closures and curtailments. Companies also face high operating costs due to high stumpage rates and red tape. North American lumber prices have soared 75% in recent weeks. Many sawmills in North America were idled due to the pandemic and when the demand for lumber started picking up, there was a shortage of inventory. That drove prices up from about US$300 per thousand board feet to US$500. Whether it is a temporary spike remains to be seen. The higher prices will benefit the mills still operating in BC, but it probably won’t bring back mills that were indefinitely shut down. “If we don’t address our fundamental issues of cost, then we will continue to be the jurisdiction that takes a disproportionate amount of downtime, which doesn’t allow us to get people back to work,” Ms Yurkovich said. “We have an interest in getting our cost structure right. The government has an interest in getting the cost structure right.” When responding recently to the closure of the Paper Excellence pulp mill in Mackenzie, Premier John Horgan said the industry is “in transition.” That “transition” includes a transition of investment capital to other countries by companies that were founded in BC. The recently announced planned acquisition of three sawmills in Sweden by a Canfor subsidiary is just the latest example of BC forestry giants voting with their feet. The industry has been calling for a reform to the formula for calculating stumpage rates, but the BC government worries that changing the formula will only give the US softwood lumber lobby more ammunition to claim harm and push for more antidumping duties on BC lumber exports. But as Mr Taylor pointed out, other provinces have managed to structure their stumpage rates so that mills can keep operating, while BC mills have shut down.
Norbord Inc. reported Adjusted EBITDA of $84 million for 2Q 2020 compared to $75 million in 1Q 2020 and $36 million in 2Q 2019. The quarter-over-quarter increase was primarily due to lower manufacturing costs, partially offset by lower shipment volumes, while the year-over-year increase was primarily due to higher realized North American OSB prices, as […]
Each morning at the Ämmän Leipä bakery in Kainuu, eastern Finland, bakers bustle around preparing the bread for the day. Flour is sifted and dough is kneaded to make customer favourites like maalaisleipä (sourdough) and rieska (Finnish flatbread). But for one product there’s an unlikely ingredient: tree bark. Source: Timberbiz Pettuleipä, or ‘bark bread’, is made by removing the outer layer of bark from pine tree trunks. The inner layer, known as nila, is shaved into thin strips, dried by heating it in the oven and then ground into a powder called pettu. The Samí people of northern Scandinavia have long integrated ingredients from pine, spruce and birch trees into cooking. In Finland, pine bark flour became particularly important during a period of famine at the end of the 17th century, when there wasn’t sufficient flour to make bread. Hungry people would also eat wood chips, lichen and moss bread. Wartime rationing in the 20th century saw cooks once again supplementing their flour with bark. Today, at Ämmän Leipä, bakers make pettuleipä out of a nod to tradition, rather than scarcity. It is made using rye flour and is around 8% bark powder. Arto Jäske, the owner, has been baking the bread for almost 30 years, after the recipe was passed down from his family. While the bakery’s pettuleipä has proved popular at events and markets, and with tourists, it is not for everyone—Jäske describes the taste as similar to eating rye bread before “biting off a mouthful of pine bark” from a tree. Ämmän Leipä also sells unleavened bark bread and blueberry dry bark bread. The use of edible forest products is not as unusual as it might seem. Fruit from trees has been a staple for millenia and there is evidence that humans ate apples in the Neolithic period. Wild berries and mushrooms are also a common staple to this day in areas of Scandinavia, North America, Russia and the Far East. Maple sugars and syrup, derived from the sap of maple trees, formed part of the diets of indigenous people in north eastern North America. Today, regions like Quebec and Vermont remain famous for their maple syrup, sales of which contribute significantly to the local economy. Brazil nuts, which cannot be grown in plantations and must be harvested from wild populations, are the most valuable internationally traded forest product in the world. Like tree bark in Finland, forest foods have historically played an important role as emergency sources of nutrition in times of hunger. Many societies have scavenged for fruits and nuts during lean periods. Tree roots, though they take a long time to cook and prepare, are highly calorific. The roots of the baobab tree, which grows across Africa, have frequently been boiled and eaten during famines. Trees and shrubs can also provide crucial ‘fodder’ for livestock, particularly during dry seasons when the nutritional quality of grass crops is greatly reduced. The global population is expected to reach nine billion people by 2050. Such numbers will place unprecedented demands on the world’s food supply, and the need to produce nutritious food at scale will become ever more pressing. This will be layered on top of increasing threats from climate change, making it critical for food to be produced in a sustainable and environmentally healthy manner. Forests can play a meaningful part in meeting this need. In a paper presented to the International Conference on Forests for Food Security and Nutrition in 2013, researchers noted that the “potential for forest foods to contribute to food security and better nutrition as elements of sustainable diets is largely untapped”. Though constraints on space and time mean that grain crops, like wheat, will continue to be used, forests can complement more conventional farming methods. One way this can be achieved is via agroforestry, which is when trees or shrubs are grown among other crops. But stand-alone forests increase food security, too. Large-scale crop production is particularly vulnerable to extreme weather events like hurricanes or droughts, which will become more frequent as climate change worsens. Forests can help protect against this risk in a variety of ways: by mitigating climate change through the absorption of carbon; by protecting waters and soil, and harbouring pollinating insects; by providing food that contains a wide range of nutrients and minerals; and by offering a safety net for if crops fail. “We know that forests already play a key role in mitigating the effects of climate change,” says Christoph Wildburger, a coordinator for the International Union of Forest Research Organisations. “They also play a key role in alleviating hunger and improving nutrition.”
Katerra in North American has a CLT manufacturing facility with capacity to produce 185,000 cubic metres annually, the largest in North American timber. Katerra also offers mass timber design, engineering, and construction services, in addition to material production and distribution. Source: Timberbiz This integrated approach stands alone in the North American construction market strengthened by technology and a strong supply chain, extensive product performance testing, scaled purchasing power and high-volume fabrication. “Cross-laminated timber is more than a structural building material. It is an opportunity to evolve the very nature of building design and construction, and we believe that it will be the backbone for future generations of high-performance, low-carbon buildings,” said Katerra Director of Mass Timber Integration, Nick Milestone. “With an integrated, technology-driven team, every discipline works together to continually improve production speed, efficiency, and quality. “Today we have the capacity to supply roughly one 250,000-square-foot building per week, which positions Katerra to help dramatically scale CLT production across North America and drive growth across the industry.” Katerra’s state-of-the-art CLT manufacturing facility in Spokane Valley, Washington is equipped with extensive automation technologies, as well as one of the largest CLT presses currently in operation globally. The factory is the largest single-use CLT facility in North America, producing 30% of the current North American mass timber manufacturing capacity, two times any comparable manufacturer. Project Delivery Katerra’s integrated approach to mass timber is demonstrated in the Catalyst Building, a 159,000-square-foot commercial building project in Spokane, Washington. Catalyst is the first CLT building in the state and the first vertically integrated CLT project that Katerra has managed from inception to completion. In order to address vibration from a nearby active train track at Catalyst, Katerra developed the Katerra CLT Rib Panel, the first long-span mass timber floor solution in North America to address vibration without the use of any concrete or structural composite action. The building was found to be effectively carbon neutral by a third-party life-cycle assessment study and is expected to be certified as one of the largest net zero carbon and net zero energy buildings in the world. Katerra is one of just three CLT manufacturers in North America to receive Declare labeling from the International Living Future Institute. Katerra’s CLT factory has received Chain of Custody (CoC) certification under three major certification programs: Sustainable Forestry Initiative, Forest Stewardship Council and the Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification.
As recently as 2017, just 11% of adults living in North America (surveyed by the North American Forest Partnership) would characterize the forest industry as “innovative.” And yet, we’ve seen the recent emergence of several cutting-edge wood technologies and forest products: from mass timber to cellulosic biofuels to nanotechnologies. The latest innovative forest product to gain steam is biochar: a charcoal-like substance that’s made through burning biomass in a controlled process called pyrolysis. During this process, little to no contaminating fumes are produced; and at the end, a very stable form of carbon is created (meaning the carbon can’t easily escape into the atmosphere). The benefits of using biochar as a fertilizer and long-term carbon sequestration technique are well-documented. A new study suggests that adding biochar to cattle feed can improve animal health and feed efficiency, reduce nutrient losses and greenhouse gas emissions, and increase soil fertility when applied as fertilizer. Recently the Nebraska Forest Service found that the inclusion of less than 1% biochar into the diet of cattle can lead to a 10% reduction in their methane emissions. Biochar also holds promise for industrial applications. Researchers at the National University of Singapore have concluded that adding only a small amount of biochar to concrete can increase its strength by up to 20% and make it 50% more watertight. And when biochar is added as a concrete supplement, up to six metric tons of wood waste could be recycled and reused in the construction of a 1,076-square-foot home. Other research suggests that adding 5% biochar by weight to 3D printing polymers improves tensile strength by up to 60%. And that biochar is an excellent, low-cost method of removing contaminants from water that could prove extremely beneficial to public health (particularly in low-income communities). What is perhaps most intriguing about biochar is its potential (yes! It can do even more!). Right now, biochar is being tested for its medicinal properties and even its potential for use as mattress filling. So, the next time you hear the forest industry isn’t innovative, just point to biochar. Tyler Hoguet is with the National Association of State Foresters in the US.
Hellbenders are North America’s largest salamanders, living in rivers and growing to an incredible length of over two feet. Eastern newts are tiny and terrestrial, but both are susceptible to a fungal pathogen called Bsal. While Bsal has yet to make an appearance in the global hotspot of salamander diversity that is North America, it […]
Amynthas agrestis is an Asian earthworm that has become increasingly abundant in North American forests. The earthworms consume massive quantities of leaf litter, disrupt established food webs, and outcompete native species. Ideas for control have been limited by the lack of information on their life history traits, such as optimal hatching temperature. With UGA graduate […]
Ash trees have been part of North American and European forest landscapes for millennia. Yet, they are now under threats because of invasive pests and pathogens such as the ash dieback in Europe and theContinue reading The post Are ash trees doomed? appeared first on Forest Monitor.