by Chalmers University of Technology
Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, have succeeded in 3-D printing with a wood-based ink in a way that mimics the unique “ultrastructure” of wood. Their research could revolutionise the manufacturing of green products. Through emulating the natural cellular architecture of wood, they now present the ability to create green products derived from trees, with unique properties—everything from clothes, packaging, and furniture to healthcare and personal care products.
The way in which wood grows is controlled by its genetic code, which gives it unique properties in terms of porosity, toughness and torsional strength. But wood has limitations when it comes to processing. Unlike metals and plastics, it cannot be melted and easily reshaped, and instead must be sawn, planed or curved. Processes which do involve conversion, to make products such as paper, card and textiles, destroy the underlying ultrastructure, or architecture of the wood cells. But the new technology now presented allows wood to be, in effect, grown into exactly the shape desired for the final product, through the medium of 3-D printing.
By previously converting wood pulp into a nanocellulose gel, researchers at Chalmers had already succeeded in creating a type of ink that could be 3-D printed. Now, they present a major progression—successfully interpreting and digitising wood’s genetic code, so that it can instruct a 3-D printer.
It means that now, the arrangement of the cellulose nanofibrils can be precisely controlled during the printing process, to actually replicate the desirable ultrastructure of wood. Being able to manage the orientation and shape means that they can capture those useful properties of natural wood.
“This is a breakthrough in manufacturing technology. It allows us to move beyond the limits of nature, to create new sustainable, green products. It means that those products which today are already forest-based can now be 3-D printed, in a much shorter time. And the metals and plastics currently used in 3-D printing can be replaced with a renewable, sustainable alternative,” says Professor Paul Gatenholm, who has led this research within the Wallenberg Wood Science Centre at Chalmers University of Technology.
A further advance on previous research is the addition of hemicellulose, a natural component of plant cells, to the nanocellulose gel. The hemicellulose acts as a glue, giving the cellulose sufficient strength to be useful, in a similar manner to the natural process of lignification, through which cell walls are built.
AN has mapped the schools, organizations, and manufacturers across the U.S. and Canada that are powering the domestic timber boom.
The timber industry has long thrived on its small-scale, local nature due to the sourcing of its materials as well as the limits on project size set by the building code. With this has come a good deal of fragmentation and disorganization, so we decided to map out the different schools, organizations, and manufacturers that are leading the way in the research and development of mass timber across the United States and Canada.
Healthy forests, just like healthy human populations, are sustained by a diversity of ages and types. In many parts of the United States, forests are becoming largely homogeneous, and in places like the Appalachian Mountains, young forest and mature, old growth forests are in short supply.
A lack of diverse forests has negative impacts on wildlife and the economy, as different age classes support higher biodiversity and provide a more sustainable source of income for forest landowners. Through the use of sustainable forestry practices, forest landowners are able to compensate for lack of natural disturbance.
USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) recommends a number of sustainable forestry practices to forest landowners. These practices provide landowners with a number of choices, depending on the land and a landowner’s goals.
By Lauren Anderson
The fifth Mediterranean Forest Week and the 19th Commonwealth Forestry Conference (CFC) brought together countries and other stakeholders to share experiences, promote sustainable forest management and encourage action in support of forest-related development goals and priorities.
The fifth Mediterranean Forest Week, held from 20-24 March 2017, in Agadir, Morocco, coincided with the International Day of Forests, held annually on 21 March. The Week focused on the restoration of Mediterranean forests and landscapes, and resulted in nine countries affirming their support to forest and landscape restoration (FLR), land degradation neutrality (LDN) and biodiversity conservation efforts in the Mediterranean region. Algeria, France, Iran, Lebanon, Morocco, Portugal, Spain, Tunisia and Turkey committed to a “new regional dynamic.” The dynamic is meant to boost achievement of the Bonn Challenge (to restore 150 million hectares of the world’s deforested and degraded land by 2020 and 350 million hectares by 2030) and the targets laid out in Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 15 (life on land), as well as the UN Forum for Forests (UNFF) Strategic Plan for Forests 2017-2030. It will also seek to catalyze regional forest and landscape restoration goals linked to the broader sustainable development agenda.
The 19th CFC convened at the Forest Research Institute in Dehradun, India, from 3-7 April 2017, under the theme ‘Forests for Prosperity and Posterity.’ The Conference served as a platform for CFC participants to share experiences, strengthen forest research, identify critical issues and support the collaborative management of forests as they relate to water, food and energy security with an overarching goal of contributing to SDG implementation.
By Dr. Joseph Roise, professor, Department of Forestry and Environmental Services, North Carolina State University
Wildfires have devastated Western North Carolina in the past few months, only recently having been quelled by the work of hundreds of firefighters and well-timed rainfall. These disasters, which are often caused by humans but sometimes occur naturally, for instance those caused by a lightning strike, can have lasting implications ranging from the endangerment of flora, fauna, and human lives to the crippling of local economies that rely on tourism, to the devastating effects of erosion on newly exposed soils often resulting in floods and through loss of timber for industry and consumers. Despite the often-unpredictable path of these fires, much can be done to help prevent them. Through proactive sustainable management and maintenance of forests, foresters and partnerships between private landowners and the forestry industry play a crucial role to help reduce the risk of wildfires.Partnerships between private landowners and the forestry industry play a crucial role to help reduce the risk of wildfires
Mangrove forests that incorporate local communities into their management fare better, a new study finds. Recognizing the importance of gender and community rights in mangrove use and planning prevents the deterioration of these fragile ecosystems.
These are some of the conclusions of a new global study on mangrove governance from The Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) released today, on World Wetlands Day. Scientists conducted a review of international literature as well as case studies in Indonesia and Tanzania.
According to the study, mangrove forests are overwhelmingly managed by government institutions. They often fall under the jurisdiction of multiple ministries, from the Ministry of Forestry to the Ministry of Fishery, creating a maze of vague responsibilities that deliver little protection on the ground.
Typically, mangroves are classified as protected areas, but officials often lack the resources needed to effectively protect them. Compounding this challenge are local communities who continue to be active users of mangrove forests, but who do not have clear or documented rights and incentives to sustainably use or protect them for the long term.
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.
A group of conservation scientists and policy makers led by University of Adelaide researchers are calling for global action to combat the illegal timber trade.
They say governments and organisations responsible for protecting wildlife and forests around the world and certification schemes need to “catch up with the science” and put in place policies and frameworks to ensure the legality of timber being logged and traded around the world.
Consumers, too, need to play their part in demanding verification of the origin and legality of the timber items they buy, they say.
Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2016-11-global-action-illegal-timber.html#jCp