EU researchers aim to halve CO2 footprint of carbon fiber production

Researchers from across Europe, led by University of Limerick (UL), Ireland, have begun a project to produce carbon fiber from forestry by-products.

Carbon fiber is a reinforcement which when added to plastic improves its mechanical properties thereby forming a composite material. Composites are used in many products including automotive parts and wind-turbine blades. However, carbon fiber is currently produced from petroleum which is expensive and detrimental to the environment.
The LIBRE project, led by Dr Maurice Collins of the Stokes Labs, Bernal Institute at UL, aims to create carbon fiber materials in a cost-effective and more environmentally friendly way, by producing them from a naturally derived wood product called ‘lignin’.
“The production of carbon fiber from lignin will allow us to move away from the reliance on fossil fuel,” Dr Collins explained.

Source: EU researchers aim to halve CO2 footprint of carbon fiber production – Phys.org, 2017-03-06

Government of Canada Announces Task Force on Softwood Lumber

Canada’s forest sector is vital to a strong Canadian economy. Enhanced collaboration between federal and provincial governments will help to keep our forest sector, and the workers and communities that depend on it, strong and resilient.

Today, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, the Honourable Jim Carr, announced the creation of the Federal–Provincial Task Force on Softwood Lumber, which will share information and analysis to understand potential impacts and assess how to address the needs of affected workers and communities. Minister Carr will chair the domestic task force, while Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, leads softwood engagement with the United States.

There has been ongoing engagement with the provinces, territories and industry over the past two years as the Government of Canada has sought to negotiate a new deal with the U.S. on softwood lumber. This is the next step in our strategic approach to this issue, which strengthens our ongoing efforts on a priority file for the Government. Canada believes that a negotiated agreement that brings predictability and stability to industry on both sides of the border is the best possible outcome. The Government will continue to work closely with provinces, territories and the softwood lumber industry to vigorously defend the interests of the middle-class Canadians who depend on the industry. This work will continue outside of the task force.

The new Federal–Provincial Task Force on Softwood Lumber will assess current federal and provincial programming and ensure coordination of government initiatives to promote innovation, market diversification and transformation of the forest sector.  

The forest sector is an important part of Canada’s economy. It directly employs more than 200,000 people across Canada. Softwood lumber exports were valued at $8.6 billion in 2015 — close to 70 percent of which was exported to the U.S.

Source: Government of Canada Announces Task Force on Softwood Lumber  – Canada.ca, 2017-02-22

New study finds timber harvesting in Madagascar out of control

a combination of political instability, government mismanagement, a lack of forest operation controls and a failure to impose punitive penalties on well-known traffickers contributed to what was effectively zero control over the management of precious timber resources in Madagascar between March 2010 to March 2015, according to a new TRAFFIC study released today.

At least 350,000 trees were illegally felled inside protected areas and at least 150,000 tonnes of logs illegally exported to destinations including China, Malaysia and Mauritius over the five-year period, according to the study: Timber Island: The Rosewood and Ebony Trade of Madagascar.

The lack of regulation was compounded by additional factors including widespread poverty, corruption, poor species identification skills at point of harvest and deficient knowledge about timber resources and led to rampant, unregulated felling of precious timber species.

Source: New study finds timber harvesting in Madagascar out of control – TRAFFIC. 2017-02-14

China Posts Record High Imports of Softwood Lumber and Logs in 2016

Contact Hakan Ekstrom, Wood Resources International LLC
China imported record-high volumes of softwood lumber in 2016 and softwood log imports reached their second highest level on record. Despite relatively pessimistic forecasts for wood demand early in 2016, China’s need for imported wood picked up during the summer and fall with import volumes of both logs and lumber being up about 20% in the 4Q/16 as compared to the 4Q/15. Total importation of logs and lumber (in roundwood equivalents) reached almost 76 million m3 in 2016, which was up 17% from 2015, and almost 38% higher than five years ago, according to the Wood Resource Quarterly (WRQ).

Over the past decade, the importation of softwood lumber has grown much faster than that of softwood logs. From 2006 to 2016, lumber imports were up from just over two million m3 to over 21 million m3, while log import volumes were up from 20 million m3 to 34 million m3 during the same period.

From 2015 to 2016, Russia has increased its shipments of lumber to China by over three million to a total of 11.6 million m3 (this includes logs that have been canted to avoid log export taxes). With lumber markets in the Middle East and Northern Africa (the MENA countries) and Europe having been relatively weak the past few years, many sawmills in the Nordic countries have increased their presence in the Chinese market with shipments being up over 35% in 2016 from the previous year. Although lumber supply from Finland and Sweden still account for only six percent of the total lumber imports, the share can be expected to increase in the coming years because of more intense marketing of predominantly higher-quality spruce lumber for the Chinese furniture, millwork and construction industries.

Source: Strong Demand for Wood in China in the Second Half of 2016 Resulted in Both Record High Imports of Softwood Lumber and Logs – MarketWatch, 2017-01-30

Involving communities in mangrove management makes them more sustainable

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.

Source: Study shows that involving communities in mangrove management makes them more sustainable – Center for International Forestry Research, 2017-02-03

AF&PA Elects New Chair, Announces Officers

Contact: Barbara Riley/Chuck Fuqua
The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) announced the election of Clearwater Paper Corporation President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Linda Massman as the new AF&PA Board Chair and released the 2017 slate of AF&PA Board officers. Top industry leaders participated in the association’s Winter Board of Directors Meeting in Washington on January 26.

“The American Forest & Paper Association Board represents preeminent industry talent and vision, and I am honored to lead our members in accomplishing our key advocacy priorities for the coming year,” said Massman. “Our agenda targets regulatory reform, comprehensive tax reform, transportation efficiency measures and trade policy. On all, we will provide ideas for forward-thinking policy improvements that allow our businesses to compete at home and around the globe.”

Source: AF&PA Elects New Chair, Announces Officers at Winter Board of Directors Meeting – afandpa.org, 2017-01-27

Forest technology building better renewable resources

Contact Jennifer Boon, Communications Manager, Sectors
Genome BC
Spruce trees are Canada’s most significant forest resource because they grow in almost every region across the country and are the largest species by the number. Spruce trees also produce high quality wood and fibre that is widely used in the industry. With roughly 400 million seedlings planted per year, spruce are the most reforested trees in Canada. Climate change and unpredictable forest product markets require innovative new tools and technologies for tree breeding programs to deliver reliable spruce stock for future seed and seedling production.

A $10.5-million research project, Spruce-Up: Advanced spruce genomics for productive and resilient forests (Spruce-Up) is estimated to more than double the net economic output value of spruce forests, increasing the value of new trees and reducing losses due to environmental disturbances. This investment, made in part by Genome BC, is being led by Dr. Joerg Bohlmann at the University of British Columbia (UBC) and Dr. Jean Bousquet from l’Université Laval. The team will accelerate the development and deployment of genomics-improved spruce seedlings that could be more resistant to insects and drought, has enhanced nutrient use efficiency and results in improved wood quality and productivity.

Source: Forest technology building better renewable resources- MarketWired, 2017-01-24

Ducks Unlimited Canada and forestry leaders launch innovative collaboration on boreal forest wetland conservation

Wetlands and waterfowl in Canada’s boreal forest will be the beneficiaries of a new program launched by Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) and forestry sector leaders. The partnership is a visionary approach to sharing knowledge and resources to advance sustainable forest management and wetland stewardship in the boreal forest, an area that offers one of the greatest conservation opportunities in the world.

Under the ‘Forest Management and Wetland Stewardship Initiative’, the partners will work collaboratively on priority projects that integrate wetland and waterfowl conservation into ongoing forest management planning and field operations. The coalition will establish wetland conservation guiding principles and best management practices. These will support companies in achieving their forest management objectives and help them meet the criteria for forest certification programs.

Source: Ducks Unlimited Canada and forestry leaders launch innovative collaboration on boreal forest wetland conservation — Ducks Unlimited Canada2017-01-12

American Loggers Council Outlines Priorities for New President, Congress

By Daniel Drucktor
The American Loggers Council (ALC) today outlined key priorities for the 115th United States Congress and the Trump Administration’s first two years. As the national organization representing America’s professional timber harvesters, ALC believes the new Congress and President should take advantage of an historic opportunity to protect and create family-wage jobs.

“Voters sent a clear message that it’s time to put Americans back to work, and strengthening the forest products industry is one way to accomplish that goal in communities across the country,” said Daniel Dructor, ALC Executive Vice President. “Professional timber harvesters provide the raw materials that supports manufacturing jobs in many sectors, from lumber to renewable energy. Many logging companies are small, family-owned businesses. To keep American loggers working in the woods, President Trump and Congress should pursue reforms in federal regulations and land management, as well as labor, transportation and energy policies.”

Source: American Loggers Council Outlines Priorities for New President, Congress – PRWeb, 2017-01-20

AF&PA Announces 2017 Advocacy Priorities

Contact Barbara Riley/Chuck Fuqua
The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) announced 2017 advocacy priorities that include smarter regulations to unleash economic growth, comprehensive tax reform, efficient transportation, and trade policies that advance U.S. competitiveness. The association will pursue these over the coming year to support the paper and wood product manufacturing industry’s ability to create jobs and grow the economy.

AF&PA’s top advocacy priorities for the coming year:

Smarter Regulations to Grow the Economy: The cost, complexity, and volume of regulations disproportionately affects manufacturers. Regulations must be designed to provide net benefits based on the best scientific and technical information through a transparent and accountable rulemaking process, with due consideration of the cumulative regulatory burden. A top focus remains resolving the regulatory treatment of biomass carbon. In addition, we will work to stem the tide of overreach on air and water regulations affecting the industry, including modernizing the cumbersome air permit process and ensuring reasonable, science-based human health water quality criteria.

Comprehensive Tax Reform: Comprehensive reform of our tax system will improve economic growth, job opportunity, capital investment and the competitiveness of U.S.-based businesses and is critical. Lower tax rates are needed for all businesses, and reforms should support investment in US manufacturing while recognizing the complex global supply chains that make robust US manufacturing possible.
Transportation Efficiency: Our industry’s shipping functions must be globally competitive. Safely increasing truck weight limits on federal interstate highways and freight rail system rate and service improvements are necessary and have our support.

Trade: U.S. paper and wood product manufacturers need unrestricted access to international markets and a level playing field among international competitors through the elimination of both tariff and non-tariff barriers. Trade agreements that generate substantive economic benefit to U.S. forest products manufacturers and their workers should be maintained. Enforcement of trade agreements and laws that ensure all nations play by the rules so that trade flow are not arbitrarily distorted is essential.

Source: AF&PA Targets Regulations, Taxes, Transportation, Trade Among Top 2017 Advocacy Priorities – Yahoo Finance, 2017-01-10