North American migratory birds have been getting smaller over the past four decades, and their wings have gotten a bit longer. Both changes appear to be responses to a warming climate.
New research suggests restoring habitat may not be enough to save threatened woodland caribou -- an iconic animal that's a major part of boreal forests in North America and a key part of the culture and economy of many Indigenous peoples in Canada.
(Vancouver, B.C.) – The BC Council of Forest Industries issued a statement today expressing significant concern about the impact of rail transport disruptions from the strike at CN Rail. “90% of the forest products we produce are sent to export markets in North America and around the world,” said Susan Yurkovich, President & CEO of the BC Council of Forest Industries. “We rely […] The post CN Rail Strike: Media Statement by BC Council of Forest Industries appeared first on Council of Forest Industries.
A 91-million-year-old fossil shark newly named Cretodus houghtonorum discovered in Kansas joins a list of large dinosaur-era animals. Preserved in sediments deposited in an ancient ocean called the Western Interior Seaway that covered the middle of North America during the Late Cretaceous period (144 million to 66 million years ago), Cretodus houghtonorum was an impressive shark estimated to be nearly 17 feet or slightly more than 5 meters long based on a new study appearing in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.
The North American robinia (black locust) has many positive, but also many negative characteristics. Today, it has become part of ecosystems and the cultural landscape in many places, so neither free and unlimited cultivation nor widespread active control measures make sense.
With climate change, plants of the future will consume more water than in the present day, leading to less water available for people living in North America and Eurasia, according to a Dartmouth-led study in Nature Geoscience. The research suggests a drier future despite anticipated precipitation increases for places like the United States and Europe, populous regions already facing water stresses.
Sanderlings, red-headed woodpeckers and great gray owls are just a few of the North American bird species projected to be threatened by climate change in the coming decades, according to the latest assessment depicting an increasingly dire situation for the continent's avian wildlife.
Continent could lose 389 of 604 species studied to threats from rising temperatures, higher seas, heavy rains and urbanization
North American lumber prices have bounced back but how long will this last? Madison’s Lumber Reporter has been following the ups-and-downs of North America construction framing softwood dimension lumber prices in 2019, which remain baffling. Sources: Timberbiz, Forest2Market A look at the latest US housing starts and home sales data shows continued mixed performance with US housing starts dropping by 4% in July while the inventory of available homes continues to decrease steadily even as home prices are pushed further upward. If the lumber market seems soft, the data demonstrates that steady demand for finished lumber products is simply not there. While existing home sales and home inventory levels provide some guidance on the general direction of the market, a jump (or upward trend) in housing starts will ultimately drive the kind of lumber demand needed to move the needle. The price of benchmark lumber commodity Western Spruce-Pine-Fir KD 2×4 #2&Btr in the first week of September gained +US$24, or +7%, to close the week at US$370 mfbm compared with US$346 the week before. That week’s price was also up +US$24 or +7% from one month ago. Compared with one year ago, this price is down -US$114, or -24%; it is also down -US$78, or -17% relative to the 2-year rolling average price of US$448, and down just -US$2 relative to the 5-year rolling average price of US$372. Producers of kiln-dried Douglas-fir dimension lumber also enjoyed another strong week. Buyers were in the mix every day, keeping suppliers busy; sawmills had order files into mid- and late-September on all commodity items. With the impressive recent rally in green Douglas-fir prices, dry fir commodities are now finding their way into a few Southern California markets at a discount to green on a delivered basis. In Eastern Canada, brisk sales of Eastern Spruce-Pine-Fir have allowed sawmills to extend their order files into mid- or late-September. The flurry of buying activity slowly died down during the Labor Day weekend, but a resounding sense of optimism remained. After seeing the quick shift in the market, a considerable number of buyers booked orders thereafter to fill in their nearly-depleted inventories.
Wood raw-material costs for many lumber producers in Europe and North America have fallen over the past year both because of increased timber harvests and reduced log demand, particularly in North America and Asia. Some of the biggest price changes in the 1H/19 have been seen in the Western US, Central Europe and New Zealand. / Wood Resources International
Purple martins will soon migrate south for their usual wintertime retreat, but this time the birds will be wearing what look like little backpacks, so scientists can track their roosting sites along the way. The researchers recently discovered that purple martins are roosting in small forest patches as they migrate from North America to Brazil, an unexpected behavior.
Angela Merkel’s government has promised more than half a billion euros to revitalise the country’s crisis-hit forests in the fight against climate change. A third of Germany’s landmass is covered in woodland. But a combination of storms, drought, forest fires and aggressively spreading bark beetle plagues have this year destroyed swathes of German forest equivalent to more than 250,000 football fields, forcing the government to convene an emergency “forest summit”, in Berlin. Source: The Guardian “Every missing tree is a missing comrade-in-arms against climate change,” agriculture minister Julia Klöckner said ahead of the gathering of around 170 organisations representing both environmental groups and industry. “Whatever we don’t reforest today, our grandchildren will, of course, miss.” In the face of the numerous challenges, Germany’s federal government has announced making available €547mover the next four years to remove dead trees and plant new ones, with state contributions boosting the emergency fund to €800m. Woodland owners however, insist their trees deserve better financial compensation for cleaning polluted air. Representatives of the country’s influential forestry industry – employing some 720,000 people, almost as many as the car sector – have already warned the funds won’t be enough to replace the forest that has been lost. Umbrella organisation AGDW, representing forest owners and forestry workers, has called for direct investments of €2.3bn, as well as a new tax on industrial pollution that would help to subsidise forests at €125 a year per hectare of forest. Trees absorb the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO₂), and their leaves can trap the toxic pollutants nitrogen dioxide (NO₂), ozone, and harmful microscopic particles produced by diesel vehicles, cooking and wood burning. According to AGDW, Germany’s forest currently compensates 14% of the country’s CO₂ emissions. “Those who pollute our environment with dirt have to pay for it, and those who receive the dirt should be financially compensated in turn”, forest owner Ferdinand Graf von Westerholt told broadcaster ZDF. “That’s the solution.” But even how the funds already made available can be used has become a divisive issue between landowner and environmentalists. The forestry industry proposes replanting areas of destroyed forest with some non-native species that are more suited to a drier and hotter climate, such as the Japanese larch, the North American Douglas fir or the northern red oak. Environmental groups warn this could have a devastating impact on local wildlife, which could struggle to adapt to the new environment. Hubert Weiger, chair of the German branch of Friends of the Earth said cash should be injected on “public money for public services” principle: “Taxpayers’ money should only be spent to build up natural broad-leaved deciduous forests made up of native species”.
When a major new study on North American bird populations appeared in the journal Science last week, it included all the trappings of a typical scientific paper, along with one, less conventional addition: The study also came with its own hashtag, #BringBirdsBack.
Bird populations are crashing in North America. And it’s not just the rare and threatened species that are disappearing — even the common, seemingly widespread backyard birds like sparrows, warblers and finches are vanishing right under our noses, a new study has found. Since 1970, bird populations in the continental U.S. and Canada have suffered […]
In the 2Q 2019, the European Sawlog Price Index (ESPI) fell to a nine-year low, reported Wood Resources International in its Wood Resource Quarterly. In Euro terms, average sawlog prices in Austria and Germany have fallen almost 20% over the past two years, improving the competitiveness of the two countries sawmilling industry. US softwood log shipments to China have fallen by US$124 million in value since the trade war started May 2018. Sources: Lesprom, Wood Resource Quarterly Prices for softwood pulplogs and wood chips fell in practically all markets around the world in the 2Q/19 because of a combination of factors. These factors varied by region, but included reduced fiber demand, lower pulp prices, insect-damaged forests, and favorable logging conditions. In the 2Q 2019, the Softwood Fiber Price Index (SFPI) fell by 1.5% from the previous quarter. The Hardwood Fiber Price Index (HFPI) was down 0.5% quarter-over-quarter in the 2Q 2019. Hardwood pulplog prices fell the most in Indonesia, Germany, the US Northwest and Brazil, while prices increased in Russia, Japan and Australia. Pulp mills around the world have had to tackle both weak demand and high inventories of pulp during the second quarter of 2019. The prices for NBSK and BHKP market pulp in July were down as much as 26% and 18% respectively, from October of last year. With unchanged or slightly higher log costs and lower lumber prices in the 2Q, sawmills in North America saw their profit margins decline again after the short-lived improvements seen in the 1Q 2019. Demand for lumber in China, the UK, Egypt and the Netherlands increased this year despite a slowdown in the global economy. Lumber production in Canada from January to May 2019 was 9% lower than it was during the same period in 2018. Most of the decline were in British Columbia, where production was down 16.5% year-over-year. China imported almost eight million m3 of softwood lumber in the 2Q, a new quarterly high. Russian deliveries reached five million m3, a 39% increase from the 1Q 2019. The increased lumber demand in the MENA region continued in the 1Q 2019 when the two major markets, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, increased their importation by over 50% from the 1Q 2018. In 2015, only 80,000 tons were exported to Japan, while an estimated 600,000 tons (24% of all exports) are expected to be shipped to this relatively new market in 2019. Wood fiber costs for US pellet manufacturers fell in the 2Q, while Canadian pellet producers experienced higher costs due to reduced supply of sawmill residues.
FutureMetrics announced that a project that it has guided for more than two years is now producing high quality pellets in Vietnam. FutureMetrics provides advice on producing, selling and transporting pellets, on operations optimization and other guidance for the industry sector. Source: Timberbiz Under the guidance of FutureMetrics’ operations expert John Swaan, a new 120,000 metric tonne per year pellet plant located in Binh Dinh province Vietnam has reached the commercial operation stage. When FutureMetrics was retained by Ayo Biomass in early 2017 the objective was to build a world-class pellet mill that broke the stereotype of the typical Vietnam pellet factory. Ayo wanted to produce pellets that would be on par with north American industrial wood pellets in terms of quality, consistency, sustainability, and to have the pellets produced in a plant that is safe, clean, and reliable. Those objectives have been realized.
Margules Groome Consulting’s Rob de Fegely has been awarded the NW Jolly Medal for his services to the Australian forest industry at an Australian and New Zealand Institute of Forestry conference in Christchurch. Source: Timberbiz Mr de Fegely is also chairman of Sustainable Timber Tasmania and Co-Chair of the Commonwealth Governments Forest Industry Advisory Council. The NW Jolly Medal is the Institute of Foresters of Australia’s highest and most prestigious award for outstanding service to forestry in Australia. It is named after Norman W Jolly who was the first Australian to be trained as a forester at Oxford University in 1904. In accepting the award Mr de Fegely said he was deeply honoured to have been recognised by his peers for his services to forestry in Australia. “I started my first job as a forester in Bombala in March 1980 developing pine plantations on old farmland and I am very appreciative of the lessons I learned working in the Bombala community for nearly nine years,’’ Mr de Fegely said. “In addition to my normal job, I had the honour of being the project manager developing the Bicentennial Gardens which was a great community effort and is now a wonderful asset in the middle of the town along the river. “Since my time in Bombala my career has taken me to Canberra, Queanbeyan and Melbourne before returning the Far South Coast. I have had the opportunity to work on projects for both government and private clients in every state of Australia and overseas in Asia and North America which has been a wonderful experience,” he said. “I also owe a great deal to my early mentors Prof Lindsay Pryor (NW Jolly medallist – 1971), Ray Margules and John Groome and I have also learnt a huge amount from my many clients over the years.” Mr de Fegely said Australia had a very positive future in the forest industry. Not only was Australia the seventh most forested country in the world but on per capita basis the country had more forest per person than every other country except for Canada. “Sadly, though we are still a net importer of forest products importing around 60 thousand cubic metres per annum of sawn hardwood and 740 thousand cubic metres per annum of softwood and some of this timber is coming from forests that are not as well managed as ours in Australia,” Mr de Fegely said. “So, Australia should be doing more and as wood is the ultimate renewable product it will play a very important role in meeting the challenges of sustainably feeding, clothing and housing the 10 billion people that will be living on our planet by 2050.”
Despite opposition from trade unions on both sides of the Atlantic, the neoliberal EU continues to sign free-trade deals with Latin American states, says Bert Schouwenburg. Plus letters from Sara Starkey, Steve Edwards, Michael Stone and Stephen AndrewsThe calamitous fires laying waste to the Amazon rainforest (Report, 28 August) make a mockery of the European commission’s claim that a blockbuster free-trade agreement with the Mercosur (South American common market) countries will enhance what they euphemistically refer to as “sustainable development”. On the contrary, the agreement will merely lock in the South American republics’ historic dependency on the export of agricultural commodities such as genetically modified soya, beef and sugar, much of which comes from savannah and forest land that has been destroyed by huge agri-business combines. Local resistance to the destruction of their lands has been met with repression and violence, particularly in Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina, where rightwing extremist governments treat their indigenous populations with contempt.Despite sustained opposition from trade unions on both sides of the Atlantic, the EU continues to sign free-trade deals with Latin American states such as Colombia, Guatemala and Honduras regardless of appalling human rights violations, displacement of peoples and environmental degradation, and all in the name of sustainable development. Given the scale of the disaster in Brazil, perhaps the neoliberal EU will finally heed the old North American warning that only after every tree has been cut down and every river poisoned will people realise that you cannot eat money.Bert Schouwenburg(Trade union adviser), London Continue reading...
Summer extremes of heat and rain are likely to last longer in Europe, North America and Asia if the world warms by more than 2°C, with serious effects for agriculture and human health.