In the midst of cascading crises from climate change to biodiversity loss and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Earth Leadership Program - the global successor to the renowned Leopold Leadership Program, now in partnership with Future Earth - has announced its 2021-22 North American cohort.
Here’s something you probably didn’t know: the construction business accounts for an estimated 23% of the world’s carbon-dioxide emissions—5.7 billion tons, according to the most recent estimates. Much of this comes from the use of concrete and steel, the two biggest contributors to emissions in the building sector. As the BBC has reported, if the concrete industry were a country, it would be the third-largest emissions producer, behind China and the United States. And there’s no end in sight: The United Nations Environment Program predicts that humans will put up the equivalent of a new Paris every week for the next 40 years. In the US, an architectural publication predicted that some 1.9 billion square feet of new structures will be built in the next three decades. If only there was a sturdy and renewable building material, one that could actually help curb climate change while giving us more calming and aesthetically pleasing spaces in which to live, work, and play. Such a miracle substance exists, of course. It’s wood. As you are no doubt aware, trees absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen back into the atmosphere during photosynthesis. The carbon is sequestered in the tree while it’s standing and remains locked inside wood products after it’s harvested for lumber. (Large amounts of CO2 are released only when wood decays or is burned.) America’s oldest standing wooden home, the Fairbanks House, built in Dedham, Massachusetts, in 1637, is still holding onto 400-year-old carbon today. That’s a major reason why environmentalists fight so hard to preserve existing forests and plant new ones, studies suggest that it’s the most useful thing we can do to mitigate climate change. Cutting down a tree for lumber, of course, ends its carbon-inhaling days. And even within well-managed woodlands, reforestation takes a significant amount of time, especially when you’re waiting on the large specimens that are traditionally used in construction. Still, over the long term, forests managed for timber sequester carbon nearly as well as wilderness woodlands do. And in the US, we’re currently adding more trees to our working forests than we’re cutting down, there’s as much forest today as there was in 1910, according to the Forest Service. We can add a lot more if we develop construction methods that make use of smaller trees, which can be propagated in a few decades, rather than giant ones that can take centuries to grow. Enter mass timber, a term for a category of innovative products made from smaller pieces of wood such as two-by-fours and two-by-sixes that are either glued together or cross-laminated to create beams, structural walls, ceilings, and floors. These pieces can be prefabricated to make building highly efficient. And with the latest milling machinery coming to market, even small-diameter trees like black spruce can be used. The Nature Conservancy is so bullish on mass timber’s potential to drive reforestation that it commissioned an exhaustive study, involving 16 institutions across Europe and in North and South America, investigating how new practices might move the planet toward the organization’s goal of expanding forests by 500 million acres by 2030. “That would mean 200 billion more trees,” Mark Wishnie, the Nature Conservancy’s director of global forestry and wood products said. “Mass timber isn’t a silver bullet for growing more forest, but we’re hoping that it’s part of the silver buckshot.” Mass-produced cross-laminated timber (CLT, in industry parlance) was first conceived in central Europe. Austrian foresters, looking to make better use of smaller trees for traditional building techniques that favoured large, exposed beams – think Bavarian chalets – created the first mass-timber presses more than 30 years ago. Scandinavia followed suit, but the US was slow to embrace the idea. That finally started to change in 2013, after the Forest Service initiated studies of CLT technologies. Around the same time, a few forward-thinking Americans and Canadians began incorporating Austrian-made CLT into one-off buildings. Even so, as recently as 2016, organizers of the Forest Business Network’s annual mass-timber conference could point to only a handful of domestic projects. Since then, mass timber has taken off. This spring, Woodworks, an advocacy group for wood construction, counted 549 active CLT projects, and analysts expect that to rise into the thousands in short order. Interest in mass timber has been boosted by high-profile buildings like Carbon12 (a mixed-use luxury showpiece in Portland, Oregon, that at eight stories is the tallest CLT building in the country), Minneapolis’s seven-story T3 building, and a hip new hotel in downtown Bozeman, Montana, called the Lark. Sidewalk Labs, owned by Google’s parent company, Alphabet, has proposed creating 3.2 million square feet of new mass-timber buildings in Toronto, some up to 30 stories high, as well as a CLT factory in Ontario. Then there’s Walmart, which in May announced that it will build its new corporate headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas, using mass-timber materials. “Mass timber isn’t a silver bullet for growing more forest,” Mr Wishnie said. “But we’re hoping that it’s part of the silver buckshot.” The Department of Defense is also keen on wood. In collaboration with the Forest Service and Woodworks, the Pentagon conducted blast simulations on an assortment of mass-timber buildings; it’s now planning to erect wood-construction hotels on military bases considered to be at high risk for a terrorist attack. Other research suggests that CLT is resistant to earthquakes and get this – fire. The outer layers tend to char, insulating the wood from the flames, and the lack of oxygen in the highly compressed material offers minimal fuel to burn. “We’ll never look back,” Ben Kaiser, the architect and developer behind Carbon12 said. “We’ll only build using mass-timber products going forward. We’ve seen firsthand that this methodology is approaching a panacea.” Many experts believe that the real growth opportunity in North America involves buildings between four and 12 stories (which mainly means office parks and apartment buildings). Rosy guesstimates from some analysts have mass timber amounting to as much as 10% of US construction within the next 30 years. Part of […]
Join us this summer from June 28 to July 2, 2021 for the North American Association for Temperate Agroforestry Virtual Conference: Scaling up Agroforestry for Carbon Drawdown. AFTA is teaming up with the Savanna Institute to host the conference virtually. For updates, sign up for our newsletter and watch for emails in February for the Call for Abstracts and in March for Early Registration. We hope you will join us!
CASE Construction Equipment has earned a 2020 Good Design Award from the Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design and Metropolitan Arts Press for “Project Zeus”: the CASE 580 EV (electric vehicle) backhoe loader — the world’s first electric backhoe. The award recognizes “the most innovative and cutting-edge industrial, product, and graphic designs produced around the world”. Source: Timberbiz This is the third CASE design to win in four years. CASE G Series wheel loaders were honoured in 2017, and the methane-powered concept wheel loader, Project Tetra, won in 2019. “Project Zeus” was noted for its innovative lighting/backlighting design elements; its rugged and clean lines and contouring; and a modern and intuitive user experience that combines traditional backhoe operation with specialization related to electrification. “The theme is born from combining the essence of CASE heritage and the mission of sustainability into a clean and simple design,” says David Wilkie, head of the CNH Industrial Design Centre. “It is extremely practical and built around function while delivering distinctive design elements that communicate strength and progress. From the lighting to the colour and the way that the operator interacts with the machine. Project Zeus represents the sustainability and forward-thinking of our industry.” According to Leandro Lecheta, head of construction North America, CNH Industrial the electrification of equipment, and the focus on sustainable power sources and machine ownership/operation, are all driving forces for public and private fleet owners around the world. From an operational perspective: the power and performance of the CASE 580 EV is equivalent to diesel-powered backhoes in the CASE product line and provides considerably lower daily operating costs while also producing zero emissions.
China has notified the World Trade Organisation that it will introduce new regulations covering anti-pest measures for timber imports, including those from Australia. Source: Philip Hopkins for Timberbiz The chief executive of Tasmania’s Tree Alliance, Penny Wells, said it was understood the new regulations would govern how its customs manages phytosanitary requirements for all countries’ timber imports. Tree Alliance is the representative body for private forestry in Tasmania. “The new requirements appear likely to apply to logs and sawn timber, excluding wood packaging materials, processed wood products and bamboo products,” she said. Ms Wells said the bans on Australian timber imports, including from Tasmania, were due to concerns about a number of beetle detections – Bark beetle (lps grandicollis). “This beetle originates from North America and arrived in Australia in the 1940s and is now in every state except Tasmania. They can cause significant damage, through tree mortality, to pine plantations,” she said. All softwood exports from Tasmania had the phytosanitary requirement to fumigate for the Bark beetle and the Sirex wood wasp. “While the Bark beetle has not been detected (here), the Sirex wasp is in Tasmania.” Ms Wells said the situation had created significant uncertainty. Some exporters of Tasmanian logs had cancelled or postponed shipments. “A number of Tasmanian forestry companies are known to be impacted and this has had flow-on effects through the supply chain including harvest and haulage contractors,” she said. “How long this issue will continue for is unknown.” Ms Wells said industry was working with the Commonwealth’s Department of Agriculture to ensure the new phytosanitary measures would allow timber exports to China to resume. “However, to date there has been no clarity provided from the Chinese Government in relation to the required phytosanitary treatments,” she said.
The 6th Annual 2021 International Mass Timber Conference will be 100% virtual held from 30 March 30 – 1 April, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. A virtual platform should drive even greater global attendance, more than 900 attendees from 15 countries are already. Although 2021 will be virtual only, a hybrid in-person and virtual conference is expected in 2022 and beyond. Source: Timberbiz The Mass Timber Conference covers the latest information and innovative thinking on the entire supply chain for mass timber, from forest seedling to finished building. The event takes an in-depth look at mass timber products such as cross-laminated timber (CLT), nail-laminated timber, glulam beams, mass plywood panels, dowel-laminated timber, and laminated veneer lumber. The 2021 conference will feature more than 40 industry presenters, offering real-world information necessary for mass timber businesses and projects. A best-in-class keynote presentation from highly sought-after housing and construction research analyst, Ivy Zelman of Zelman & Associates, will provide insights into what 2021 brings for construction and demand and the impacts to the mass timber sector. In addition, Antony Wood, CEO of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, will discuss mass timber’s role in super skyscrapers and in the increasingly vertical cities of the future. Registrants will be able to connect with the worldwide audience via the virtual platform and a mobile app. Virtual mass timber building tours will provide a unique opportunity to look inside innovative buildings from around the world. The event’s virtual exhibit hall will also give attendees access to over 100 exhibitors and offer one-on-one appointments and virtual booth presentations. In addition, registrants will each receive a complimentary PDF of the 2021 International Mass Timber Report, a useful tool for proceeding with and selling mass timber projects with greater confidence. A special 30% early bird discount is available on general attendee passes until 3 February. The Mass Timber Conference is produced by Forest Business Network in cooperation with the wood design experts at WoodWorks-Wood Products Council. The conference is supported by Premier Sponsors: Hexion, Swinerton Mass Timber, Katerra, and Kallesoe Machinery. Major Sponsors include: Think Wood, Freres Lumber Company MPP, D.R. Johnson Wood Innovations, Sustainable Forestry Initiative, Seagate Mass Timber, Sansin, Hilti North America, Nordic Structures, Weyerhaeuser, Sterling, Oregon Forest Resources Institute, and USNR.
Our Australian economy is going through a relatively tough time at the moment, including in regard to COVID-19 and trade actions. There are current issues across Australia in regard to timber exports to China, an important Australian export market and there have been export restrictions applied across all States, resulting in harvesting and export impacts. In contrast to the export sector, there are also industries with inadequate plantation timber supplies within Australia, as a result of the 2019/ 20 bushfires, and also from industry that desire more resources. I understand both the importance of plantation timber exports and the importance of local industry and regional employment, and I suggest it is a useful time to tease out any opportunities for Australia in regard to optimising both exports and within Australia. There appear to be potential opportunity areas that could increase available plantation timber export markets and value, including: Diversifying plantation timber export markets and products to a broader range of countries and markets. This is happening in many countries throughout the world. Value adding of plantation timber products in Australia before export, hopefully over the broad range of timber products. Completing more free trade agreements, including with the UK, Europe, India, Indonesia and other markets. There are potential opportunity areas to value add and utilise more of the available plantation timber resources within Australia, including: Developing more timber markets and products here in Australia, including sawn products, cross laminated timber, glue laminated timber, fibreboard, fibre, pulp/ paper, packaging, veneers, biofuel/ densified pellets/ biomass pellets, bioenergy, other engineered wood products, nanocellulose, wood composites, wood plastic composites and lignin products. Bioenergy involves using carbon-rich waste to produce heat and electricity. The energy produced can be cheap, abundant and reliable and as with other renewable energies, power and heat from bioenergy is generated closer to where the energy and heat is used. With bioengineering it can produce chemicals, fuels, synthetic rubber, cosmetics, detergents and textiles. Setting up industries that can rely on variable intake of product, both in conjunction with existing industry and separate, such as if there is excess plantation timber, where timber parcel sales occur, where there are value adding opportunities, where market opportunities allow or where export markets reduce. Exploring opportunities to further optimise salvage of burnt timber plantations for products, increasing salvage returns, reducing reestablishment costs and reducing time to replant. This includes interstate/ regional agreements for large plantation bushfire impacts and optimising products from bush fire salvage, salvaging standing timber well after the first year after bushfires. This also includes using salvage opportunities with biomass pellets in Australia and for export, including for longer periods after bushfires. This includes transporting and using more bushfire impacted plantation timber across borders/ from other timber areas, increasing salvage of burnt plantation timber following major bushfire events. Improving timber salvage technology to store salvaged plantation timber over greater than 1 year, up to 5 years, as I understand this was achieved in the South Australian Mt Gambier 1984 bushfires with P radiata. This was achieved using water spaying and storage in water, water spraying is likely a better option. Continuing to resolve supply constraints in the timber industry, including plantations. The current supply constraint inquiry is applicable. Increasing plantations in Australia is an important opportunity and will greatly assist in supplying timber to Australian markets and for export. Continuing to promote the advantages of embodied emissions of the materials used to construct buildings, timber appears to be an attractive option, since according to many studies it can achieve less embodied and operational emissions in comparison to concrete and steel. In addition, the prefabrication of timber components with precision can deliver a highly efficient building envelope that improves insulation, saves on heating and cooling and minimizes thermal bridging. Continuing expansion in using timber in the construction of tall buildings, bridges and other major projects. Considering optimised integrated plantation harvesting operations so that there are suitable markets in the event of export closures. Focussing on promoting ongoing early plantation thinning programs, to produce chip/ pulp/ other timber early and increase more valuable log product production. Also, thinning programs occur early/ in advance and so that thinning/harvesting programs are not as affected by export closures. Exploring opportunities to reduce fuel loads in pine plantations at strategic fire breaks, using the upper pine needle layer as compressed biofuel in mixes or bioenergy from these areas. This would increase plantation safety where this approach is used strategically. Examples of value adding and increasing utilisation of the available plantation timber resources in Australia include: The planned $59 M Tarpeena cross laminated timber (CLT)/ glue laminated timber (GLT) plant at the Tarpeena sawmill site in South Australia. Hyne’s sawmill at Tumbarumba has sourced 441,000 m3 of pine plantation timber from South Australia and Victoria over the next three years, following the major bushfires at Tumbarumba and Batlow in early 2020. The SA timber currently has no Australian market and is exported. Hyne is working through some assistance with freight with the State and Federal Proposed biomass pellet mill plant on Kangaroo Island capable of processing fire-damaged timber (Daily Timber News, 4 January 2020). Over the past 12 months, KIPT has worked to secure diversified markets for dry product, that is, logs produced from forests damaged by bushfire, beyond the tolerance of traditional export markets. Biomass pellets are a sustainably produced, carbon neutral form of fuel used for electricity generation in established markets in Japan, North America and Europe. There is growing interest and trade in biomass pellets as an emissions reduction strategy. New purpose-built plants are capable of generating power from 100 per cent biomass pellets. The plant would be at the company’s timber processing hub at Timber Creek, a site which was damaged by the fires of last Summer. The pellets would be exported using the chip-handling facility at the proposed Kangaroo Island Seaport at Smith Bay. Developing such business plantation timber market, diversification, value adding and resource use opportunity areas would improve Australian economic, employment and other […]
A $5.5 million bushfire recovery grant will support establishment of a biomass pellet mill plant on Kangaroo Island capable of processing fire-damaged timber.Over the past 12 months, KIPT has worked to secure diversified markets for dry product, that is, logs produced from forests damaged by bushfire, beyond the tolerance of traditional export markets. Source: Timberbiz The $5.5 million grant will support development of a biomass pellet plant on Kangaroo Island, capable of accepting the fire-damaged logs and any other logs that cannot be sold into export markets. Biomass pellets are a sustainably produced, carbon neutral form of fuel used for electricity generation in established markets in Japan, North America and Europe. There is growing interest and trade in biomass pellets as an emissions reduction strategy. New purpose-built plants are capable of generating power from 100 per cent biomass pellets. The plant would be at the company’s timber processing hub at Timber Creek, a site which was damaged by the fires of last Summer. The pellets would be exported using the chip-handling facility at the proposed Kangaroo Island Seaport at Smith Bay. Due diligence work on the pellet proposal continues with project partners and KIPT aims to have internal approval for the project in the first half of 2021, subject to regulatory consent. Benefits for Kangaroo Island would include a small-scale biomass power plant to support the pellet mill, which is capable of dispatching base-load power to the electricity grid. Biomass-generated electricity is carbon neutral, supporting Kangaroo Island’s brand values as a tourist destination and provider of high-quality agricultural produce. “On the first anniversary of the tragic Kangaroo Island fires, I commend the Commonwealth government and Assistant Minister Duniam on their vision and foresight in supporting this exciting project proposal,” KIPT managing director Keith Lamb said. “Although I am confident that lessons learned from the wildfire will reduce the risk of conflagrations of the extent and intensity, we saw last summer, the proposed pellet and power project would provide a market outlet for all plantation growers on Kangaroo Island who might experience fire damage in the future. This re-builds confidence for the sector and the Island economy.” KPT will advise the market of developments on this project and the status of the approvals for the proposed Kangaroo Island Seaport at Smith Bay.
Metrie, a North American manufacturer and distributor of interior millwork, has announced its acquisition of Pacific MDF Products Inc. and Canadian MDF Products Company, collectively known as Pac Trim, located in Rocklin, Calif., and Edmonton, AB, respectively. Metrie says that, when the newly acquired Pac Trim assets are added to its existing MDF manufacturing facilities, […]
Climate change is having a widespread effect on lakes across the Northern Hemisphere, a new study has found. The study, published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, examined 122 lakes from 1939 to 2016 in North America, Europe and Asia, and found that ice-free years have become more than three times more frequent since 1978. These ice-free years not only threaten the livelihoods of people who depend on them, but they also have the potential to cause deep ecological impacts. "Ecologically, ice acts as a reset button," said Sapna Sharma, co-author of the study and an associate professor in the biology department at York University in Toronto. "In years you don't have ice cover, the water temperatures are warmer in the summer. There's a higher likelihood of algal blooms, some of which may be toxic. And it can really affect spawning times and can affect fish populations under the ice." Aerial view of melting permafrost tundra and lakes near the Yupik village of Quinhagak, on the Yukon Delta in Alaska on April 12, 2019. (Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images) There's also concern in the Arctic, where the warming is happening three times faster than anywhere else in the world. And with more warming, there's more permafrost thawing, which can affect water quality in northern communities. "One impact is on the hydrology of the region," said Claude Duguay, a professor at the University of Waterloo and a university Research Chair in Cryosphere and Hydrosphere from Space who was not involved in the study. How climate change threatens the winter we know and love "When you have catastrophic drainage of these lakes, of course, they disappear. And they will not necessarily reform as we get to higher temperature conditions. The impact for communities can be on food security. So you think about trapping, hunting, fishing, as well as water availability for the communities." Of the millions of lakes in the world, the study suggests that more then 5,000 of them could be ice-free by the end of the century. Dramatic changes The authors found that ice-free years were more common in the second half of their study period. While there were only 31 ice-free events before 1978, there were 108 after that year. One of the oldest records kept of lake ice is that of Lake Suwa near Nagano, Japan, which dates back to 1443, kept by Shinto priests. The study found that rather than freezing annually, it now freezes on average twice every decade. "Within the next 10 years, it may be the last time that the lake ever freezes again," Sharma said. These changes to the lakes, the authors say, are likely to continue for decades as the planet warms due to the ongoing release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Sapna Sharma, co-author of the study and an associate professor in the biology department at York University in Toronto, says lakes that don't freeze in the winter lead to repercussions in the summer, such as more algal blooms that threaten fish and other wildlife. (Craig Chivers/CBC) The lakes most at risk are those that are deep, as it's more difficult for them to form ice, particularly the Great Lakes, Sharma said. And it's not just about the quality of the water; it's also about the quantity, she noted. Ice helps reduce the rate of evaporation, so without that essential ice cover, evaporation rates may increase and reduce the amount of available freshwater. Alex Mills, a professor at York University who studies ice phenology and was not involved in the research, has seen the change himself, particularly on Lake Simcoe in Ontario. Heading to the lake for some shinny this winter? New study finds more children dying due to unstable ice Wild weather this year shows growing impact of climate change, scientists say "The overall trend is pretty clear and that is since about 1850, the lake now freezes up about two weeks later than it used to, and it thaws about one week earlier than it used to," he said. "And so if you add those up, there's ice on the lake here about three weeks less per year than there used to be. So that's quite a dramatic change." Mills said that Barrie, a city that lies on the shores of Lake Simcoe, used to have an annual carnival on Kempenfelt Bay every winter until the 1970s. Then someone fell through "and that was it," he said. "We never have had a carnival on the lake since then." Though it's likely that more lakes may see more ice-free winters, Sharma said she believes that with more research and solutions, there is still hope. No one will be untouched by a warming planet, scientists say "I've been to the the [United Nations climate change conference] meetings, and there's just so many young people who care about climate change who are dedicating their work lives to doing something about it. And people have very creative solutions," she said. "I think in the next 20 or 30 years, if we can get that support to know [the] climate is changing and it's affecting us now and we need to do something about it now - if we get people on board for that, I think we can change things." ABOUT THE AUTHOR Nicole Mortillaro Senior Reporter, Science Nicole has an avid interest in all things science. As an amateur astronomer, Nicole can be found looking up at the night sky appreciating the marvels of our universe. She is the editor of the Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada and the author of several books. With files from Tashauna Reid CBC's Journalistic Standards and Practices|About CBC News Report Typo or Error RELATED STORIES Canada can hit climate targets without ruining economy, economists and climate experts say 2020 could be on track to be another record-setting warm year despite global lockdowns??????? WHAT ON EARTH? Tracking the effects of climate change on Arctic animals is no easy task No one will be untouched by a warming planet, scientists say
SCA announced that they will increase the pulp (NBSK) price to $960 per tonne in Europe from 1 January 2021. “Demand for pulp is strong in all markets. Europe has lagged behind in price developments compared with that in North America and Asia. We now want to reduce the gap between Europe and other markets […]