World rubber crisis warning as forest devastation found by Scots conservation team

by Brian Donnelly, Senior News Reporter
A SCOTS research team has warned a worldwide rubber shortage is looming as demand grows, costs rise and an adequate man-made substitute is yet to be found.

The natural commodity used throughout modern life is dwindling to such an extent that Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh researchers said if farmers in Africa and Asia continue to fell trees at the current rate more than half of the world’s main source of the critical plant will be gone in 30 years.

It means an impending rubber shortage that would affect production of everything from wellington boots to aviation tyres and scientists are calling for better management methods and policies in major producing countries including China, Vietnam, Thailand and Laos.

Source: World rubber crisis warning as forest devastation found by Scots conservation team – HeraldScotland, 2017-01-06

Belize to introduce harsher penalties for Rosewood harvesting

By Marion Ali, Assistant Editor
People who engage in harvesting Rosewood will face harsher penalties shortly, after the Ministry of Forestry, the Environment and Sustainable Development seeks to ask the House of Representatives to introduce amendments to the Forest Act.

The request for the change follows the latest incident where a stash of illegally cut Rosewood was discovered and seized. The offender was charged and taken to court, but the maximum penalty for the offense under existing laws, is only $1,000.

This is a far cry from what the fines should be, the Ministry feels, and in a press release on Wednesday, informed it would seek for more severe penalties for forest crimes. The Ministry has since begun to revise the penalties and fines for forest offenses.

Source: Forestry to introduce harsher penalties for Rosewood harvesting – The Reporter Newspaper

China’s forestry output to hit $1.3 trillion by 2020

CHINA will bring its forestry output to 9 trillion yuan (US$1.3 trillion) by 2020, an official has said. Nearly 60 million people are expected to be employed in forestry, Zhang Jianlong, director of the State Forestry Administration, said at a conference.

Nearly 60 million people are expected to be employed in forestry, Zhang Jianlong, director of the State Forestry Administration, said at a conference.

Development of forestry can raise the income of a large workforce, he said.

Around 60 percent of the country’s poor population live in mountains, forests and desert regions, which are key areas for tree planting.

China has become the world’s biggest producer, trader and consumer of forest products. Output grew from 409 billion yuan in 2001 to 5.9 trillion yuan in 2015, a 13.5-fold increase in 15 years.

Source: Forestry output to hit US$1.3t – Shanghai Daily

Denmark’s largest power station replaces coal with wood pellets

By DONG Energy
For the past 18 months, Avedøre Power Station has been converting its coal-fired power station unit, and the entire combined-heat-and-power plant is now able to produce electricity and heat based on wood pellets and straw, rather than coal and gas.

“Following the conversion of unit 1 at Avedøre Power Station, we can produce heat for more than 215,000 Danish households in the Greater Copenhagen area without using coal or gas. The conversion is a major contribution to achieving a green district heating system in the Greater Copenhagen area as well as a green electricity system, supplementing solar and wind power,” says Thomas Dalsgaard, executive vice president at DONG Energy.

Source: Denmark’s largest power station replaces coal with wood pellets | Biomassmagazine.com

Interpol says corruption in global forestry sector worth $29 billion every year

The international police organization Interpol released a report today that highlights the scale of corruption in the global forestry sector as well as the importance of coordinating law enforcement efforts across national boundaries in order to protect forests.

According to the report, the cost of corruption in the global forestry sector is some $29 billion annually. Bribery is the most common form of forestry corruption, followed by fraud, abuse of office, extortion, cronyism, and nepotism.

“Criminal networks use corruption and the bribery of officials to establish ‘safe passage’ for the illegal movement of timber,” the report states. “Those criminal groups also exploit these routes to transport other illicit goods, such as drugs and firearms.”

Source: Interpol says corruption in global forestry sector worth $29 billion every year – Mongabay

Which tropical forest conservation strategies are proving most effective?

A collection of studies published by the journal PLOS ONE earlier this month evaluates the effectiveness of numerous tropical forest conservation policies and programs in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

By Mike Gaworecki
A multitude of conservation strategies are currently deployed across the tropics in order to curb deforestation, preserve biodiversity, and mitigate global warming. But conservationists and researchers often point to a need for more and better evaluations of the effectiveness of this diversity of conservation initiatives in order to determine what actually works and what doesn’t.

A collection of studies published by the journal PLOS ONE earlier this month seeks to fill this knowledge gap by evaluating the effectiveness of numerous tropical forest conservation policies and programs in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, including certification schemes, community-based forest management, forest law enforcement, payments for ecosystem services, and protected areas.

An overview study led by Jan Börner of Germany’s University of Bonn and the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) focuses on annual forest cover change as a measure of the conservation effects estimated by the 14 studies in the collection. The latest assessment by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization found that Earth’s overall natural forest cover continues to shrink, though at a slower annual rate than in the past. “Reduced deforestation rates may be the result of slower economic growth, decreasing demand for cleared land in urbanizing economies, or a sign that conservation policies are succeeding,” Börner and his co-authors write in the overview study.

Source: Which tropical forest conservation strategies are proving most effective? – Mongabay

Asian Wood Pellet Producer & Market Snapshot

Pellet Mill Magazine reviews Asian wood pellet production,export and import markets of Thailand, Indonesia, China, Malaysia and South Korea.

By Ron Kotrba | November 16, 2016
…In 2014, Thailand exported nearly 111,000 metric tons of wood pellets, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Statistics Division (FAOSTAT). In 2015, however, Thai exports of wood pellets dropped considerably, to 25,429 tons. Contributing to Thai wood pellet exports to Japan and South Korea is BioPellets Thailand Co. Ltd. …According to FAOSTAT, Thailand’s cumulative wood pellet production has grown from 20,000 tons in 2013 to 115,000 tons in 2015.

…FAOSTAT data show that Indonesian wood pellet manufacturing doubled from 2013 to 2014, jumping from 40,000 tons to 80,000 tons in a year. Data estimates suggest a leveling off in Indonesian wood pellet production in 2015, remaining at 80,000 tons. In total, Indonesia exported slightly more than 37,000 tons in 2013, more than doubling to nearly 76,000 tons in 2014, with FAOSTAT estimates at roughly the same tonnage for 2015. A majority of Indonesian wood pellet exports are going to South Korea.

…China’s wood pellet production nearly doubled from 2013 to 2014, from 200,000 to 370,000 tons, according to FAOSTAT data. While 2015 production estimates show a leveling off, the country’s exportation of wood pellets skyrocketed from 2013 to 2014, jumping from a mere 3,293 tons in 2013 to 165,654 tons in 2014. Nearly all of the increase in production from 200,000 to 370,000 tons from 2013 to 2014 went to exports. However, though Chinese exports hit record highs in 2014, they nosedived a year later. In 2015, Chinese exports sank to 52,025 tons. According to an Argus Biomass Markets report, this marked reduction in Chinese exports was in large part due to cheaper Vietnamese competition carving out market share in the demanding South Korean pellet market.

…South Korea imports rallied from 122,447 tons in 2012 to 484,668 tons in 2013 to an impressive 1.85 million tons in 2014, according to official FAOSTAT data. Imports backed off in 2015, down to 1.47 million tons. Domestic production estimates are stagnant from 2012-‘15 at 15,000 tons annually.

Source: Asian Wood Pellet Producer & Market Snapshot | Biomassmagazine.com

Forest Enterprise Simulator app to assist emerging forestry entrepreneurs

The Forest Sector Innovation Fund (FSIF), administered by Forestry South Africa, has developed an innovative decision-making support tool for small scale forestry entrepreneurs and larger, existing timber growers.

The Forestry Enterprise Simulator (ForEntSim) was designed to assist small growers in evaluating the feasibility and profitability of forestry enterprises and activities throughout the rotation length. It is a joint initiative by the Department of Forest and Wood Science at Stellenbosch University, the Institute for Commercial Forestry Research and the Forest Economic Service.

The simulator is an open source web-based application for small growers and entrepreneurs interested in entering the industry and helps them to calculate the net present value, equivalent annual income, land expectation value and internal rate of return of one hectare of plantation based on income and costs. It provides an ex-ante simulation of enterprise ventures to test viability and capital requirements to identify potential improvements that will increase profitability.

Source: Forest Enterprise Simulator app to assist emerging forestry entrepreneurs – Bizcommunity

Japan’s Rising Pellet Sun

As wood pellet imports in Japan begin to accelerate, industry professionals offer cautious optimism that an Asian market opportunity for North American producers has arrived.

In July, Japan imported 52,000 tons of wood pellets, eclipsing the previous monthly high of 51, 500 tons set in December 2015. Additionally, monthly volumes in 2016 have been more consistent in contrast to the peaks and valleys that defined 2014 and 2015. As a result, Japan is expected to finish 2016 having imported between 350,000 and 400,000 tons of wood pellets and producers around the world are optimistic that Japan’s wood pellet demand is set to rise steadily to 1 million tons per year within the next handful of years.

Source: Japan’s Rising Pellet Sun | Biomassmagazine.com

Two ways to settle the latest Canada-U.S. softwood lumber dispute

The standstill agreement on softwood lumber trade expired recently, leaving Canadians holding their breath for the U.S. Lumber Coalition to launch legal proceedings.

In the calm before the storm of the next Canada-U.S. softwood lumber dispute, speculation about how the issue will unfold has crystallized around two options: a tax or a quota. The differences may appear merely technical, but they would mean vastly different things economically.

While a quota would impose a cap on exports to the United States, a tax would allow the level of exports to fluctuate with U.S. consumers’ willingness to pay for Canadian lumber. In other words, as U.S. lumber prices increase, Canadian lumber would still be able to enter the U.S. market to meet demand.

Source: Two ways to settle the latest Canada-U.S. softwood lumber dispute – The Globe and Mail