Industry News

Forest stakeholders call for a stronger EU Forest Strategy to reach UN and Paris Agreement goals

Last December, the European Commission published a progress report on the implementation of the EU Forest Strategy, discussed by the European Parliament in January.

This report comes at a time when forests and the forestbased sector are recognised as essential players in responding to major societal and environmental challenges.

In a round table organised on 4th February, the European forest-based sector conveyed a joint and clear message: an updated and stronger EU Forest Strategy is needed to ensure that in the coming decades forestrelated EU policies are better coordinated and endorse sustainable forest management and the multifunctional role of forests in a consistent way.

Forests and the forest-based sector are increasingly expected to deliver on recent and coming horizontal and sectoral EU policies (e.g: the Renewable Energy Directive; the updated EU Bioeconomy Strategy; the LULUCF Regulation; the future Common Agricultural Policy; Sustainable Investments).

A coalition of forest and forest-based sector associations - including CEI-Bois, CEPF, CEPI, COPA COGECA, EUSTAFOR, UEF and FECOF - have brought together around 60 representatives from EU institutions, the Romanian Presidency of the Council, research and stakeholders to exchange views on the future of the EU Forest Strategy and explore possible ways forward to strengthen sustainable forest management in EU forest-related policies.

During the discussion, several stakeholders highlighted that the Commission progress report refrains from making concrete recommendations for the post 2020 period and reiterated their call for an updated and stronger EU Forest Strategy to provide consistency among EU policies.

Mr Ionel Popa, a representative of the Romanian Presidency, indicated that the Council is working on its conclusions on the progress report that will also cover the role of the EU Forest Strategy beyond 2020. Ms Jytte Guteland, Member of the European Parliament, stated that “the EU Forest Strategy should help to develop common ideas on sustainable forest management in order to ensure consistency when working on EU policies dealing with forests”. Mr Nils Torvalds, Member of the European Parliament commented: “Forestry can play a great role in achieving climate change objectives, but it can’t do this alone.”

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/forest-stakeholders-call-stronger-eu-forest-strategy-reach-united-nations-and-paris]

Tree Farm Token project aims to combine technology and forestry investment

The Dominican company Tree Farm Token has launched an international investment project to develop, manage and commercialize a plantation of 2,600,000 mahogany trees on a 2,000-hectare site in the Dominican Republic.

Currently on initial fundraising phase, Tree Farm Token project aims at combining digitalization and forestry. Tree Farm Token commits to grow the trees following an intensive tree management plan, controlled by external auditors and addressed to maximize the commercial wood volume per tree.

In details, the land is planned to be split into 20 self-sufficient farms, managed individually. Tree Farm Token investors buy the trees at an early stage, paying the sowing price. Investors pay no maintenance costs, as the operation is self-financing.

"After 10 years, once mahoganies have reach adult age and cutting size, they will be commercialized in the wood market for a total approx. value of 1,8 billion euros, in a realistic scenario," explain the Tree Farm Token Team. 

Tree Farm Token will manage the sale of adult mahoganies to international wood trading companies, addressing the full profit to pay the investors (owners of the tokens). Tree owners can also sell their trees in regulated online markets before the plants reach maturity.

"Most trees take several years to grow. The long term required for trees to reach maturity and be commercialized is a barrier for some potential investors," says Tree Farm Token CTO Alexis Texeiro. "A new market player aims at demolishing this barrier by digitalizing the trees and trading them in online platforms. This solution brings a liquidity tool for those investors whom would like to make their profits before the trees are sold."

Beyond the commercial implications of the operation, Tree Farm Token project should also bring social and environmental benefits to local communities. "Besides creating around 500 jobs, we have agreed with the Dominican Government to contribute to the their reforestation policies by creating a forest of more than 2 million trees," underlines Mr Texeiro.

"Furthermore, in Tree Farm Token we have also agreed to create Bigotes Blancos, a social action association with the objective that no children in the region starts their day without having breakfast."

Speaking about the environmental impact of the project Mr Texeiro adds: "Each mahogany tree can offset 47kg CO2 per year. 2,6 million mahogany trees can offset the total CO2 emissions of a tourist enclave like Punta Cana."

For more information, visit www.treefarmtoken.io

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/tree-farm-token-project-aims-combine-technology-and-forestry-investment]

Bidwells' Winter 2018 Report shows stabilising prices of UK coniferous timber

Property Consultants Bidwells have released their Winter 2018 Timber Price Database which looks at the standing conifer timber prices achieved six months to December 2018.

According to the report, prices in the UK Timber Market has stabilised following major increases over the previous half year. 

Returns from the sale of 776,970 cubic metres of private sector coniferous timber grown in Scotland, Northern England and a small amount in Wales with a total standing value to the grower of £29.8 million suggest that the meteoric rise in timber prices experienced in the half year between October 2017 and March 2018 has levelled off.

Data submitted from 121 coniferous transactions suggests that prices have risen slightly between April and September 2018, though it is more accurate to say that values have been maintained at their previously high levels.

Continued weakness of sterling remains a major factor in UK grown timber prices, but high global demand and tightness of supply suggests no reason why the big picture will change in the foreseeable future.

Raymond Henderson, Forestry Partner at Bidwells commented: “It is always difficult to predict the future, given the influence which global demand and exchange rates have on domestic timber values, but the overall macro-economic situation of increasing demand and tightening supplies suggests no reason to suspect a weakening of prices over the short term.

“We do of course live in strange times where informed projections are apt to be overtaken by events and the ongoing uncertainties created by the unfolding drama of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU – or possibly not as the case may be – make crystal ball gazing murkier and less certain than ever.  That said, the fundamentals of timber sales should not alter too drastically regardless of our membership of the European club.”

Reports are produced on a sixth monthly basis and new contributors are welcome. All information is treated in the strictest confidence.

To view the full insights and research, click on the report here

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/bidwells-winter-2018-report-shows-stabilising-prices-uk-coniferous-timber]

Proper management of tropical forests could be an asset for the planet, says ATIBT

On the first anniversary of its Fair&Precious brand, the International Tropical Timber Technical Association (ATIBT) underlines some of the lesser-known facts about forest management while remaining committed to promoting a sustainable tropical timber industry.

Sustainable forest management protects against deforestation

When we talk about the exploitation of tropical forests, many people associate it with deforestation. They imagine thousands of hectares of virgin forests destroyed, century-old trees burned to the ground and nature disfigured forever – all for the sole purpose of creating agricultural land or grazing to obtain land. Yet there is a major difference between deforestation and sustainable forest management.

Robert Hunink, President of ATIBT explains: “European consumers misunderstand the role of forest managers in attributing tropical deforestation, mainly due to the "mining" of forest soil fertility for agriculture or firewood. Through the Fair&Precious brand, they will learn that the actors of our ecosystem do not plunder, but on the contrary only pick one or two trees per hectare, on the same plot, once every thirty years."

To date, only companies certified in legal and sustainable forest management (certifications are issued by FSC or PEFC and controlled by certifying bodies such as Bureau Veritas, SGS Quailfor or Rainforest Alliance) can benefit from the Fair&Precious brand. In addition to these certification standards, they must comply with the country’s applicable forest code (after validation of control procedures and obtaining legal certifications). The certification is then valid for a period of five years.

The ratio of trees harvested is far lower than those left to grow naturally

At present, the vast majority of tropical timber comes directly from the virgin forest (without harvesting control) or from large plantations which are gradually replacing virgin forests. The first is simply illegal poaching, while the second is a monoculture of exotic tree varieties that degrade the soil, threaten biodiversity and accelerate climate change. 

The Fair&Precious programme offers a sustainable alternative: preserving forest resources by harvesting less than its natural increase. Young trees, as well as seed trees, are systematically left standing, since they contribute to the renewal of the forest.

Forest managers create real local economic and social development

Unlike many unscrupulous players, Fair&Precious members are committed to working for local economic and social development by contributing to generate income for people and by providing them with access to services such as education, medical care and housing. Local processing is thus favoured and training in various forestry and wood trades is provided by the network’s member concession holders. By providing employment and resources to local populations, they are fighting against exodus and urban concentration.

The mission of forest managers is also to fight poaching

With its sustainable approach, the Fair&Precious brand also aims to protect fauna and flora, by ensuring that animals’ habitats are made safe. In blocking the illegal trafficking of forest products, they are also able to develop programmes to combat poaching and restock endangered species.

Tropical wood is in fact the most environmentally friendly material available

Today, in the absence of a guarantee, consumers often turn away from tropical wood and choose materials with a much lower environmental performance record. Fair&Precious aims to restore confidence among tropical wood users and to promote the acquisition of products from sustainably managed tropical forests. The exceptional technical performance of tropical woods and their durability properties are highlighted. Indeed, these materials have excellent resistance to external environmental factors and require no chemical treatment. 

Tropical wood is particularly useful and efficient in the construction of garden decking, interior and exterior furniture, shipbuilding, etc. Fair&Precious’ objective is not to massively increase volume sales, given its commitment to preserving the forests, but to enable these “precious" woods to regain their true place on the market. 

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/proper-management-tropical-forests-could-be-asset-planet-says-atibt]

TRADA’s response to the Government’s proposed ban which has implications for CLT

Cross-laminated timber (CLT) and other forms of structural timber construction are not only here to stay but are actually set to increase in popularity. After all, CLT attracts architects, contractors, clients and more for a multitude of distinct reasons. Some are aesthetic, others include cost reduction and programme savings – and, for those concerned about climate change, CLT sequesters carbon and stores it for the life of the building.

For these reasons TRADA believes that, whilst its understanding of the Government’s conclusion to the consultation suggests that CLT will therefore be prevented from being used in certain situations, this does not have to be of detriment to the structural timber market. The vast majority of CLT projects delivered in the UK to date are six-storeys and under – which will not be impacted upon by these restrictions. Important markets currently utilising the material, such as schools, will therefore remain unaffected.

What this proposed ban does mean, however, is a necessity for creativity if we are to continue making the best use of timber as a structural material. We must, as an industry, determine methods by which we can build above six-storeys using structural timber – but not on the outer walls. Glulam post and beam is already one potential solution to this challenge.

The Government’s report remains fairly vague as to the use of BS 8414 as a method of proving compliance. TRADA will therefore seek to establish the exact situation with regards to this.

In general, TRADA believes that the consultation was ambiguously worded, particularly in regards to whether the consultation questions related to cladding only or to the entire wall assembly. Due to this, we found it very difficult to know how to answer many of the questions – and we believe this ambiguity will have caused difficulty for others too.

Read the document Government Response to the Consultation on Banning the Use of Combustible Materials in the External Walls of High-Rise Residential Buildings here

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/trada%E2%80%99s-response-government%E2%80%99s-proposed-ban-which-has-implications-clt]

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