The government of France is set to require that all new public buildings must be made at least 50% from wood or other sustainable materials from 2022 as it pushes for sustainable urban development.
The local government in Paris had already pledged a greater use of natural materials such as wood, straw and hemp, and any buildings higher than eight storeys built for the 2024 Paris Olympics must be made entirely of timber.
“If it is possible for the Olympics, it should be possible for ordinary buildings,” said Julien Denormandie, minister for cities and housing, on 5 February. “I am imposing on all public bodies that manage development to construct their buildings with material that is at least 50% wood or other bio-sourced material.”
The minister also called for the creation of 100 urban farms, with the first 30 to be selected by this summer. “As a father, I prefer that what is on my children’s plates come from the local area, rather than being imported on a plane,” he said.
Finally, he announced the objective of low-carbon cities that can adapt to heat waves and floods. This will involve the building of 90 “eco-neighbourhoods”, to be organised by the a new body called “France Ville Durable”, chaired by Patrice Vergriete, mayor of Dunkirk.
In 2016, it was announced that the city of Bordeaux would acquire France’s first timber towers. The Hyperion towers (pictured), will be 50m and 57m in height. They are being developed by Bordeaux Euratlantique, a public body involved in modernising the city. The project is due to be completed later this year.
Photo: Image: A rendering of Bordeaux’s Hyperion project (Jean-Paul Viguier & Associés)
The 57m high timber construction Hyperion building in Bordeaux
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Deakin University has announced it will pioneer an Australian first Hydrogen Transition Centre to help fuel cleaner, low emissions trucks in Victoria. The centre to be established at Deakin’s Warrnambool campus in the state’s southwest, will partner with industry on the AU$20 million research and industry testing site according to Deakin Vice-Chancellor Professor Iain Martin.
“Freight trucking continues to grow here and overseas, and trucks are driving further, with heavier loads; all big challenges. The centre confirms Deakin’s commitment to the Warrnambool campus and the broader region, and when the HyceL@Warrnambool project is fully established it will create up to 200 full-time jobs,” he said. With AU$2 million in Federal Government research funding allocated to it, the Hydrogen Transition Centre will develop hydrogen fuel cells to work in tandem with electric vehicle technologies as part of the fast growing multi-billion-dollar hydrogen market.
“The Federal Government investment will see our researchers’ partner with Australia’s leading truck manufacturer, Kenworth, as well as with industry leaders in hydrogen fuel-cells, electric vehicles and gas distribution,” said Martin. It is understood PACCAR is poised to partner on HyceL@Warrnambool in which fuel-cells can create electricity from hydrogen and oxygen with water vapour the predominant emission.
An electric truck, using this technology, can create power while driving, to dispense with the frequent stops currently required of battery charging infrastructure. “If successful, the enhanced technologies could be used by Kenworth trucks made here in Australia, as well as those made internationally by Kenworth’s parent company PACCAR – a US Fortune 500 company. The technologies can also be applied to other heavy vehicles, such as buses, including those operated by Warrnambool Bus Lines,” Martin said.
According to Deakin the Hydrogen Transition Centre will put Victoria’s southwest at the heart of Australia’s work in hydrogen fuel-cell innovation and position the region well, to cash-in as new markets for hydrogen technologies emerge in the international push for cleaner transport. The global fuel-cell market is predicted to be worth more than AU$71 billion.
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Russia has surpassed Canada to become the world’s largest exporter of softwood lumber, and was on track to ship almost 32 million m3 of lumber in 2019 (23% of globally traded lumber in 2019), reports the Wood Resource Quarterly in its latest issue.
Global trade of softwood lumber slowed in the 3Q/19 but was still on pace to be higher than in 2018. Russia, Belarus, Germany and Finland have boosted their lumber sales the most this year, reports the WRQ. An excerpt from the newly released market report Wood Resource Quarterly reads.
Global Softwood Lumber Trade
- Russia has surpassed Canada to become the world’s largest exporter of softwood lumber, and was on track to ship almost 32 million m3 of lumber in 2019 (23% of globally traded lumber this year). Despite slowing economies in North America, Europe and Asia, lumber imports to these markets were higher in 2019 than in 2018.
- Volume traded during the first nine months of 2019 represented the second lowest y-o-y increase for the period in eight years, according to the WRQ. Of the world’s ten leading exporting countries, Russia, Belarus, Germany and Finland have boosted their lumber sales the most this year.
Lumber Market – North America
- Lumber production has fallen in both the US and Canada in 2019 because of disappointingly low activity in the US housing market and meagre demand for North American lumber in overseas markets. From January to September in 2019, lumber exports from Canada were down 5% y-o-y, while US shipments fell as much as 23%.
- All the major lumber-producing companies in British Columbia have taken downtime this fall, causing production to plummet 19% in 2019.
- Prices for softwood lumber were quite stable during the summer and fall in three of the four major lumber-producing regions of North America. Only in the US Northwest, where log supply has been tight and demand for lumber along the US west coast has stayed healthy, did lumber prices move up from their lower prices early in the year.
Lumber markets – China
- China imported 15% more softwood lumber in the first nine months of 2019 than during the same period in 2018. Importation has trended upward for over five years.
- Russia supplied 60% of the import volume to China in the 3Q/19, a slight decline from the 3Q/18. Imports from Canada rose 18% y-o-y and import volumes more than doubled from a few smaller suppliers this past year, including Germany, Ukraine and Belarus. Lumber import prices have fallen for three consecutive quarters to average $174/m3 in the 3Q/19, the lowest level since 2016.
Source: Wood Resources International, www.WoodPrices.com
New Zealand log exporters are bracing themselves for supply chain problems in China due to the outbreak of coronavirus. Some forest owners are already reducing their harvesting rate. Regrettably this will have an immediate effect on harvesting crew employment.
The New Zealand Forest Owners Association says that the extended Lunar New Year public holiday makes it difficult to know what is going to happen when sawmills in China restart. Association President Peter Weir says he understands that log ships continue to be unloaded, but he says we need to wait to determine what the offtake volume of logs might be after the traditional New Year break. There is industry concern that if the virus were to infect more people in coastal towns and cities then access to Chinese ports could be restricted with little warning.
China is by far the largest and most important market for New Zealand’s export logs and by value New Zealand earns half its export income from China. The coronavirus outbreak comes on top of new supplies of softwood into China, due to the salvage of insect and windstorm damaged spruce forests in Central and Eastern Europe. Warmer winters and longer summers have led to very high rates of spruce beetle infestation with large areas of forests being clear-felled and salvage logs railed and shipped to China.
In the coming year, exports of bushfire damaged pine logs from Australia also have the potential to increase the softwood supply to China. Peter Weir says, “We know from our embassy in Beijing that the Chinese central government authorities are doing an excellent job of both trying to protect people from the spread of coronavirus and at the same time ensuring economic activity is sustained. But nobody knows how long and widespread the coronavirus outbreak will be and what effect that will have on any medium-term trade.”
“We are most concerned about the effect on the harvesting workforce in many regions of New Zealand which depend on log exports. Forest owner capacity and circumstances vary hugely. Those owners who supply domestic sawmills will be largely unaffected, but the domestic market can only take less than half the current annual harvest and not all log grades.”
“Stockpiling logs is not a good option, because the logs deteriorate, especially at this time of the year, and unrestrained supply from here is a market threat. I should say that it is possible that the disruption will turn out to be brief, as it was in mid-2019. It is entirely possible that the Chinese timber processing and construction industry will return to normal and the inventory stored at ports will diminish over the next few months as it normally does.”
“In the meantime, we hope that our valued sawmilling industry customers, often small family businesses, in and around port cities in China, are not impacted by the virus. Peter Weir says the industry leadership is closely working with MPI and Te Uru Rākau, supported by the New Zealand embassy in Beijing on the rapidly evolving situation.
The CEO for the Forest Industry Contractors Association, Prue Younger is confirming that contractors being told to halt felling trees has come as a complete surprise. “The industry is reeling a bit as you would expect,” Prue Younger says. “Although market prices were on their way down again, the coronavirus impact has made this a very complex situation. It’s important that we’ll be working with forest owners daily and ascertain the extent of this fallout and how long our crews might expect to be out of work.”
“There are risks for everyone in this scenario and like all primary industries the ripples may be extensive.”
Source: FOA, FICA
“It is a difficult time and no one knows how this is going to play out. At this stage we are trying to gather facts. China is trying to keep trade open and as far as we are aware are still unloading ships. However, inventories are at the high end of what is normal at China ports so what happens next depends on whether the Chinese sawmills come back on line after the end of the extended New Year. We are seeing some but not all companies taking a precautionary approach to try to avoid an excessive build-up of inventory in China and the subsequent downside impact on log prices”.
- The situation is very fluid but has the potential to become very serious. More time and information will be needed before we know.
- The port inventory level in China is very high (5-6 million m3) and growing as supply exceeds demand.
- The impact of the Coronavirus is coming on top of market disruption caused by the significant increase in supply of wood (larch) from Europe as a result of the beetle infestation. Supply and demand have also been affected by the Chinese New Year being extended (9 February).
- The Chinese ports are currently open despite some rumours to the contrary. Ship crews are being quarantined while they work. The Chinese government has an obvious interest in keeping the port trade functioning and that extends well beyond forestry.
- Some parties have already taken action. All forest owners are prepared to cut back production at some point. Some have already reached that point. Others are monitoring but still trading and with contingency plans. PFP has advised they will not be accepting any more wood. This has affected Gisborne and Southland ports in particular. On the back of this a number of corporate members have ceased harvesting in the Gisborne region immediately. This adds to the cutback already taken by smaller and medium sized players and means the reduction in supply will be significant.
- The domestic market will also be impacted. Reduction in export logs will also mean a reduction in domestic logs. Furthermore, the export market for processed product, particularly pulp, may compound the issue.
- The end of the extended Chinese New Year period (Sunday, 9 February) may provide some greater clarity as workers officially return to work. Further virus spread and/or on-going travel restrictions are likely to mean that not all businesses will be operating as normal.
- Industry leadership is closely working with MPI and Te Uru Rākau, supported by the New Zealand embassy in Beijing on the rapidly evolving situation.
Source: Forest Owners Association
As recovery gets underway for the Tumbarumba region, NSW, the Hyne Timber Mill is back up and running, despatching truckloads of timber, thanks to the many volunteers and emergency services who protected it throughout the bushfire crisis. A number of team members from Queensland have been deployed to Tumbarumba to assist with the Mill’s recommencement and enable impacted team members more time to recover personally where required.
Employing approximately 230 people directly, the Mill is part of a circular economy worth AU$2 billion every year to the South West Slopes region and supporting almost 5000 jobs in total. Hyne Timber CEO, Jon Kleinschmidt said Hyne Timber’s Tumbarumba Mill is categorised as critical infrastructure and was protected accordingly by qualified strike teams.”
“Last week, I had the opportunity to meet with the Fire and Rescue strike team to understand the reassuring fire prevention measures and readiness they had in place. I also met with many Rural Fire Service volunteers and emergency services, many of whom are our own team members, who continued to fight bushfires, put in containment lines and help the broader community.” Mr Kleinschmidt said.
Today, the town is busy rebuilding and Hyne Timber remains focused on supporting the community through the long-term operations at the Mill. “Once small volumes of existing log yard stocks have been processed, we will be prioritising the processing of salvaged burnt log which we have done before. Once we remove the burnt bark, the structural grade timber is the same quality our customers value and we appreciate their ongoing support.”
Hyne Timber, Visy Pulp and Paper and AKD Softwoods are the three largest employers within the region’s industry, collectively employing over 750 people directly across Tumbarumba and Tumut. Collectively, and with the support of the Softwood Working Group, the companies are engaging constructively with all levels of Government.”
“We have welcomed preliminary meetings with the NSW Deputy Premier, the Hon. John Barilaro who has also been appointed the Minister for Disaster Recovery. I look forward to continued dialogue and support from all levels of Government to secure ongoing log supply and longer distance freight support, amongst other challenges, for the industry moving forward.
“As with support for individuals and wildlife, Government support for the industry and associated economy will be critical as part of the ongoing recovery efforts.” Mr Kleinschmidt concluded. Hyne Timber thanks all those who supported team members, the community and the mill, including the emergency services, volunteers, staff and many others.
Source: Hyne Timber
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Late last year, New Zealand log prices in China were improving, restoring a little confidence to the sector.
But the virus outbreak has again seen logs start to pile up on Chinese wharves as economic activity looks certain to slow in response to the outbreak, which has killed at least 426 people.
A sudden increase in imports from Europe saw “A” grade log prices slump to US$105 per JAS metre last July after hitting a record US$140/metre a year earlier, thereby ending a five-year strengthening trend.
• NZ logging contractors feel the pinch after price slump
• NZ log export prices bottom out after slump
• NZ log export trade could take 6 months to recover after price slump
• NZ log prices plummet as China demand suddenly dries up
Today, with so many players absent from the market, it’s difficult to even establish a price.
“There is a lot of uncertainty as to where things are going,” ANZ agriculture economist Susan Kilsby said.
“Prices are definitely heading south, but to actually quantify that is pretty difficult at the moment,” she said.
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Metsä Fibre, part of Metsä Group, is renewing its sawn timber product brand. The previously used Nordic Timber name will be replaced by Metsä brand in all sawn timber products, and at the same time, the company is renewing its sawn timber shipping marks and packaging to respond to the brand update.
“We want to continuously improve our operations and create more added value for our customers, and that’s why our customer promise is Exceeding Expectations – a commitment that reflects our strategic aim and ambition,” says Ari Harmaala, SVP Sales and Customership, Metsä Fibre.
As of January 1st, 2020, Metsä Fibre is also responsible for the all operations related to sales, order handling and delivery. The only exception to this is the sales in England, Wales and Scotland that will be handled through Metsä Wood sales organisation.
Metsä Fibre is a leading producer of bioproducts, biochemicals and bioenergy. Metsä Fibre is the world’s leading producer of bleached softwood pulp and a major producer of sawn timber. Metsä Fibre is part of Metsä Group.
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Excess heat from the industrial processes at Stora Enso’s Maxau paper mill in Germany, will be used to provide renewable, biomass-based district heating for the city of Karlsruhe.
A new, approximately two-kilometre-long connection pipeline will transfer the heat from the mill to an existing pipeline that links up the local refinery with the municipal heating grid. The local district heating supplier Stadtwerke Karlsruhe will start the construction of the pipeline in late 2020, aiming for completion by the end of 2022.
More than 80% of the fuel used at Maxau Mill is biomass-based. In addition, a new steam turbine, to be taken into use at the mill during 2020, will further increase the potential of combined heat and power production at the mill. Thanks to these factors, the city of Karlsruhe and Maxau Mill expect to cut 10,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually.
Roughly 40,000 households and a large number of businesses in Karlsruhe currently use district heating. More than 90% of the heat is sourced from industrial processes and from the excess heat generated in combined heat and power production. The excess heat from Maxau Mill will add to current local sources of heat – an oil refinery and a power plant of an energy supplier. This expansion contributes to the German energy transition and is one of the biggest climate protection projects in the state of Baden-Württemberg.
Photo: Maxau paper mill / storaenso.com
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A proposed large-scale wind farm project in the Wide Bay region of Queensland, valued at up to AU$2 billion, is moving forward thanks to facilitation support provided by the Palaszczuk Government. Minister for State Development Cameron Dick said the Forest Wind project could create around 440 construction jobs and boost renewables supply for Queensland’s future energy needs.
“This would be one the largest grid-connected wind farms in the southern hemisphere,” Mr Dick said. “The wind farm would generate approximately 1200 megawatts at capacity, which will power more than 550,000 homes. This could increase Queensland’s installed power generation capacity by approximately nine per cent. The project will now move into the detailed assessment stage, which will also include the assessment of its development application.”
Mr Dick said the proposed wind farm would be located within state forest land between Gympie and Maryborough. “It would co-exist with established southern pine timber plantations that support our forestry industry,” he said.
Forest Wind Holdings, a joint venture between Queensland-based renewables firm CleanSight and Siemens Financial Services, has proposed to locate up to 226 wind turbines across the sites. The plantations are owned and managed by HQPlantations on land under licence from the state.
“Locating the wind farm on plantation licence areas would be a first for Queensland. It’s a great example of private enterprise thinking outside the box to help boost renewable energy generation in our state.” Forest Wind Holdings has confirmed that subject to receiving all relevant approvals, construction of the wind farm could commence as early as fourth-quarter 2020.
HQPlantations CEO Jeremy Callachor said he was excited about the possibility of supporting the Queensland Government’s long-term renewable energy targets in a material way. “We will work closely with Forest Wind Holdings to leverage complementary opportunities for improvements in fire protection and road access in the estate, and to ensure there is minimal impact on timber production,” Mr Callachor said.
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Timberlink CEO Ian Tyson, last Tuesday welcomed Guy Barnett, Tasmanian Minister for Resources, to Timberlink’s Bell Bay mill to see recent investments in technology and safety upgrades in action. Timberlink enters the new decade strongly positioned for growth supported by the investments in upgrading the Bell Bay Mill.
The installation of new state of the art Contra Flow Kilns (CFK), will cut down waiting times for drying timber, whilst decreasing heat power usage by 30%. A new Lucidyne grade scanner that uses state of the art AI technology to measure for strength, quality and defects in every piece of timber in real time has been installed in the planer mill. The system’s software learns with every photo that it takes, scanning up to two boards per second. This ensures that every piece of engineered structural timber meets the stringent Australian standards requirements whilst removing the need for manual intervention, creating a safer workplace for our people.
Minister Barnett was impressed with the efficiency gains provided by the new CFK and Lucidyne grade scanner, the first of its type in Australia. “This is a great example of Australian manufacturing in the 21st century, in Tasmania delivering improvements in energy usage and safety through technology”, Minister Barnett said.
A new automated packaging line that robotically places bearers under packs of timber has also been installed, which Ian Tyson explained will alleviate a bottleneck to improve efficiency and output. In addition, there have been upgrades to the roads network to separate heavy plant equipment from smaller vehicles. “This is a great outcome for improved safety, so our people go home safe, every day”, said Mr Tyson.
The latest round of investment in upgrading the Bell Bay mill created 90 jobs in the construction phase and crucially 6 new permanent full-time jobs. The investments also support the long-term future of the mill and the estimated 650 jobs that directly and indirectly rely on the mill. “This is a terrific investment in technology and equipment in regional Tasmania here at Bell Bay, in a facility which is state of the art, that is value adding, downstream processing, creating jobs and it’s sustainable” said Minister Barnett.
Mr Tyson added, “Timberlink has continuously invested in this mill to ensure it remains internationally competitive since taking ownership in 2013, while growing and securing employment within the Northern Tasmanian region. We are well positioned for continued growth and look forward to further investments in 2020.”
Photo: Tasmanian Resources Minister Guy Barnett with Timberlink CEO Ian Tyson
Bell Bay mill showcased
Two privately held Texas-based companies, Angelina Forest Products (AFP), Lufkin, Texas and McCoy’s Building Supply, San Marcos, Texas celebrate the initial production of southern yellow pine dimension lumber from AFP’s new Angelina County, Texas sawmill. First shipment of pine dimension lumber goes to McCoy’s Building Supply.
Angelina Forest Products state-of-the-art greenfield sawmill began construction in the fall of 2018. The new facility with two shifts, will employ over 135 direct employee jobs and many more indirect jobs that will supply and support the operation. The mill will produce southern yellow pine dimension lumber which includes 2×4 through 2×12 lengths 8’ to 20’. Angelina Forest Products (AFP) will be one of the largest sawmills in the South.
Angelina Forest Product’s Lufkin sawmill has a design capacity of over 300 million board feet annually and will provide products for single and multi-family dwellings, outdoor living, repair & remodeling and industrial end-users.
McCoy’s is one of the nation’s largest privately held building supply retailers.
Wagner Meters has announced the addition of Jason Wright to the sales team as a Business Development Specialist for New Products. Wright brings more than 32 years of flooring experience specializing in Hardwood Flooring.
Starting in 1986 with a small sundry distributor in Medford, Oregon, Jason moved on to ascend through positions in Product Development, Support, and Marketing programs for several flooring companies to become the National Sales Manager for Tarkett Group, a global flooring solutions provider.
He brings a wealth of experience from starting new companies to supporting the flooring industry within the wholesale and retail sectors. Jason may be contacted by email at email@example.com.
He will also be representing Wagner Meters at two upcoming 2020 Las Vegas exhibitions: The International Surfaces Event (TISE) at booth #4019 in January and World of Concrete (WOC) at booth #S12555 in February.
About Wagner Meters
In business since 1965, Wagner Meters provides field-proven moisture measurement technology to help flooring professionals improve their profits and reputations with tools to assist with eliminating wood and concrete moisture-related problems. Wagner’s line of trusted products includes versatile and accurate Orion® hand-held wood moisture meters as well as the Rapid RH® L6 concrete relative humidity testing system, which gives you official and actionable test results 48 hours faster than other test methods. For more information, click here.
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Figures have been released by Te Uru Rakau (Forestry New Zealand) that show 228 grant applications were received for funding under the Government’s One Billion Trees Programme in 2019, a total of NZ$42.55 million being allocated across 42 projects.
Te Uru Rakau acting deputy director-general Sam Keenan said NZ$22.2 million of that had been approved across 10,758.4 hectares of new planting. “To date approximately 17,056,165 trees comprised of 9,785,067 native and 7,271,098 exotic trees have been funded.”
Mr Keenan said a key aspect of many of the billion trees project was “reliable science”, with NZ $499,321 of funding going to AUT’s Living Laboratories Project for research about integrating native canopy tree species such as rimu within agricultural landscapes. Another NZ $376,850 had gone to Manaaki Whenua — Landcare Research to build understanding about how New Zealanders perceive forestry.
Tane’s Tree Trust has received NZ $165,863 to devise ways of upscaling cost-effective planting and native forest reversion, while New Zealand Plant Producers Inc received NZ$100,000 to develop industry standards around the risk of spreading pests and pathogens through plant product systems.
A further NZ$39,500 was allocated to the New Zealand Nursery Practice Guidelines Project, which allows experienced nurserymen and scientists to share their expertise. One Billion Trees Programme grants and partnership funding of NZ$800,000 has also been allocated to the Waikato Regional Council to expand its riparian restoration project programme, which is working to improve the region’s water quality by integrating trees into farm settings.
The Tararua District Council received NZ$145,000 for its decision-support tool that gives landowners information about planting options on farms, and to strategically plan future forestry in the area. An additional NZ$95,000 went towards laying the foundations for Rotary’s 100 Forests of Peace and Remembrance Project.
Source: Te Uru Rakau
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Establishing wood processors close to forestry allows wood processing and forestry residues to be used as an energy source, with any surplus able to be used by other nearby industries. Other primary processing (such dairy and meat processing) could also benefit from this strategy, and there is potential for a shared energy plant to service multiple factories.
This strategy of clustering industries around an energy source and utilising production waste streams is called industrial symbiosis. Applied in regional New Zealand it could create jobs, increase GDP and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Researchers have mapped New Zealand’s forestry, energy resources and fossil energy-using industries to identify regions where clusters of wood processing operations could be co-located with meat and dairy processing, for example. Gisborne, Hawkes Bay, Northland and Southland/Clutha are well suited to industrial symbiosis. Each is forecast to have a long-term supply of surplus logs, forestry and other woody waste to contribute.
If each of these clusters were established, the increase in onshore processing would provide an additional ~1000 jobs in each region, add a total of NZ$2 billion to New Zealand’s bottom line and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 67,000 tonnes a year by replacing fossil fuels with biomass.
Data produced by this project has now been supplied to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority for their continued analysis. New opportunities for wood processing clusters in these regions were identified using the WoodScape model and predictions of future log availability to calculate the best return on capital investment.
Gisborne, Hawkes Bay, Northland and Southland/Clutha regions have unique future wood processing options and the flow on opportunities to co-locate with other industries differ between regions.
Industrial symbiosis in Gisborne would be focused on standalone wood-processing powered by forestry and processing residues. In Ngāwha, Northland, the availability of geothermal energy frees up residues for secondary manufacturing. In Hawkes Bay and Southland, residues from wood processing clusters could be used to replace coal or gas used by other nearby industries.
Further opportunities for full industrial symbiosis have been identified around the Marsden Point oil refinery and Golden Bay Cement/Portland Cement in Northland. There is also potential to fuel industrial heat with biomass in the central North Island, Blenheim, Tasman/Nelson, Hokitika, Greymouth and Canterbury.
The new wood processes with the highest return on capital investment include sawmills, Optimised Engineering Lumber (OEL™), plywood, oriented strand board, cross-laminated timber and remanufactured timber. Where geothermal heat is available the range of options expands and includes bio-chemical recovery and manufacture of solid biofuels from wood processing residues that might otherwise have been used to provide process or drying heat.
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Europe has rapidly become a major supplier of softwood logs to China’s log market, while Russia and North America have lost market shares in 2019, reports the Wood Resource Quarterly. New Zealand continues to expand its market share in China, supplying 39% of the total import volume in the 3Q/19, up from 32% five years earlier. Russia and North America suffered the largest declines in the Chinese market share from 2015 to 2019, with Russia’s share falling from 28% to 12%, and North America from 21% to 13% during the same period.
In the 3Q/19, log imports from Russia were at their lowest levels in almost 20 years. The only other major change in the Chinese market over the past few years has been an increase in pine log shipments from Uruguay.
These have increased from just a few thousand cubic meters in 2016 to almost 2.5 million m3 last year, making Uruguay the fifth largest log supplier to China in 2018. Startlingly, shipments from Uruguay to China fell to less than 200,000 m3 in the 3Q/19, when prices for logs plummeted to the point where it no longer made financial sense for Uruguayan exporters to ship logs.
Interestingly, a number of countries in Europe, although some still small suppliers, have begun to expand their presence in the Chinese market over the past 12 months, reports the WRQ. This can be attributed to an oversupply of logs in their domestic markets. In the 3Q/19, the European supply of softwood logs totalled over two million m3.
Supplying countries included Germany, Czech, Poland and France (in descending order), all countries impacted by storms and insects in 2018 and 2019. The European share of imported softwood logs has increased from just three percent in the 3Q/18 to as much as 20% in the 3Q/19.
Source: Wood Resources International, www.WoodPrices.com
The WWF estimates we’re losing 27 football fields of forest every minute due to deforestation
- UK company Dendra plans to plant 500 billion trees by 2060 – using AI and drones.
- The drones can plant 120 seedpods per minute.
- The WWF estimates we’re losing 27 football fields of forest every minute due to deforestation.
A drone can plant two trees per second, according to UK tech company Dendra, which is aiming to “re-green” the planet. Dendra estimates it would take just 400 teams of two drone operators, with 10 drones per team, to plant 10 billion trees each year – and at a much lower cost than the traditional method of planting by hand. The target is to plant 500 billion trees by 2060, in often hard-to-reach places.
Susan Graham, CEO of Dendra Systems, says, “The challenge that we’re tackling is a complex one and working with a team of passionate engineers, plant scientists, drone operators, we came up with this idea to use automation and digital intelligence to plant billions of trees.”
So, how does it work? First, the replanting areas are identified using a combination of satellite images and drone-collected data. Specialized planting drones take to the skies loaded with seedpods containing a germinated seed and nutrients.
Once in position, the drones use pressurized air to fire the seeds into the ground – at 120 pods per minute. The seedpods penetrate the earth and start to grow once activated by water. Dendra estimates its technology – combining speed and accuracy – would enable governments to restore forests 150 times faster than planting by hand, and up to 10 times cheaper. Graham says it represents a new “step-change” in how we think about global ecosystem restoration.
“We need to use technology to scale up our restoration efforts, and the scale we’re talking about is tens of billions of trees every year. We’ll be able to see the ecosystems that we’ve restored from space. “There’s a saying that goes that the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, and the second-best time is today,” says Graham. “We have this opportunity now, and we need to act today.”
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Resource Management Service, LLC (RMS) has announced that it has successfully completed the sale of its Tasmanian hardwood plantations to investment funds advised by Global Forest Partners LP (GFP) of Lebanon, New Hampshire.
The transaction included total productive area of 21,000 hectares on 36,500 hectares of freehold land. The assets consist of two operating units spread across the northwest, northeast and southern regions of Tasmania, and were acquired by RMS from receivers in 2014 and 2015 with a strategy of generating near-term cash yields and long-term asset appreciation for the firm’s institutional investment clients.
Funds “Our decision to monetize these assets on behalf of our clients was driven by our assessment that market conditions were attractive for a sale. We expected the market would fully value the significant work RMS has undertaken to restructure and improve the portfolio of assets”, said Craig Blair, President and CEO of RMS.
The plantations are largely stocked with Eucalyptus nitens and are located in close proximity to processing plants and ports. The output from the plantations can be sold as hardwood logs for solid wood processing and as hardwood chips. The timber grown on the properties is sold into Asian export markets, which has a strong appetite for hardwood timber products. According to Blair, selling the two Australian estates together enhanced the overall value of the offering by providing a competitive level of scale in the Tasmanian hardwood industry.
“We are pleased to have taken these plantations through a value-enhancing investment cycle for our investors,” said Blair. “Australia is an attractive destination for sophisticated institutional investors, like our clients, because it offers excellent global diversification for their forest portfolios.
The country has a robust and growing forest industry and its primary timber cultivation regions, including Tasmania, provide outstanding access to high-growth global markets. For all of these reasons, we expect to be active participants in the region’s forest investment and ownership community in the years ahead.”
The recent bushfires are a fresh blow to Victoria’s timber industry, coming just weeks after the state Labor government announced the end of all native forest logging within 10 years. Sawmills in the east of the state, which had already been struggling to secure enough logs to keep their machines running, said the government’s move would put thousands of workers out of their jobs and put the future of Victoria’s timber towns in doubt.
VicForests said it could not confirm numbers but that it had lost a significant amount of its logging coupes in the area, and would be unable to assess the damage while the fires were still burning. “The East Gippsland fires have had a significant impact on VicForests’ coupes,” a spokesman said. “While the fires are ongoing, we are unable to fully assess the impact. Our current focus is on fully supporting the efforts to manage the bushfires, deploying all available VicForests staff and contractors to the region.”
Construction Forestry Mining and Energy National Secretary Michael O’Connor said the destruction of East Gippsland forest in the blazes put the state government’s transition plan into doubt. “Clearly there’s been significant damage to the resources in East Gippsland and the union will be very concerned about the consequences for employment and the viability of some mills,” Mr O’Connor said. “There will certainly be concerns for the viability of the already flawed transitions plan.”
The industry’s national lobby group, the Australian Forest Products Association, said that some of the plantation trees currently burning, those used for building products, would take 30 years to regrow. “So, when the fires are finally contained, it will be like a slow-motion train crash as the full downstream consequences are felt,” the association’s chief executive Ross Hampton said.
“Large areas of our plantation forest estate in key forestry regions in NSW, Victoria and South Australia are on fire and the downstream consequences for rural communities will be severe.”
A spokesman for Victorian Agriculture Minister Jaclyn Symes said the government was aware of significant loss of logging coupes in East Gippsland but that its immediate focus was on “extinguishing the fires and protecting life”. The Victorian timber industry group VAFI said the full extent of the damage could not yet be assessed.
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