Industry News

African Development Bank and private investors fund US$ 24M reforestation scheme in Ghana

As reported by the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), the African Development Bank (AfDB) is joining with private sector investors to restore degraded forest reserves and double the area of sustainable forest plantations in Ghana.

The agreement is a first-of-its-kind Public-Private Partnership (PPP) in its forest sector and is backed by a US$10 million concessional loan from the Climate Investment Funds' Forest Investment Program (CIF FIP). It is also supplemented by US$14 million in co-financing from the AfDB.

The Ghana reforestation project will establish a forest plantation in areas that used to be productive semideciduous forest reserves but that have been severely degraded.
AfDB Director for Private Sector Development, Kodeidja Diallo, said: “This project is the Bank’s first direct intervention in forestry through a private sector window and will serve as a pilot in setting the pace for engaging the private sector in sustainable forest plantation development."

Paul Hol, Executive Director of Form International, added: “This is a breakthrough for private investments in forestry on the continent. I believe that this project and collaboration between AfDB and Form Ghana Ltd can be a very important step to enable the expansion of large scale reforestation and landscape restoration projects in Africa. In this way it can be an important front running project for the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative (AFR100) from the World Resources Institute (WRI) and NEPAD which aims at restoring 100 million ha of land in Africa by the year 2030."


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Discovering how water flows in wood - video experiment by Gervais Sawyer


In this new, funny experiment, Gervais Sawyer, wood consultant and former member of the Wood Technology Society, shows how water constantly flows in wood.

Mr Sawyer is very active in schools outreach, promoting the wonders of wood to schoolchildren everywhere.


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Wood Recyclers Association appoints new Executive Director

The Wood Recyclers Association (WRA) has recently appointed Julia Turner as its new Executive Director.

Julia joins the WRA from WRAP, the Waste and Resources Action Programme, where she has worked for 12 years in a variety of roles, more recently focusing on bringing in significant alternative funding streams and developing European partnerships in her roles as Senior Business Development Manager and Head of New Programmes. Previously she specialised in Energy from Waste and Wood as a Sector Advisor and Market Development Manager for the recycling industry.

Andy Hill, Chair of the WRA, said: “Julia brings a wealth of experience to the WRA from her time working at WRAP where she has facilitated the development of end markets for the wood sector, realised new funding opportunities and managed key stakeholder relationships.

“We are delighted she has joined us, especially at a time when the WRA is growing. Julia will play a key role in helping us to develop the Association going forward and in continuing our on-going work, including talking to the Environment Agency about its FPP guidance on behalf of our members.”


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Newborn EHIA seeks Timber Industry views on hardwood innovation and research

The European Hardwoods Innovation Alliance (EHIA) is seeking views on what innovation and research is needed for hardwoods in Europe.  

Respondents to the online questionnaire  - open until 13 October 2016 - can share their innovative ideas on a variety of themes that cover both forestry and wood-based value chains.

EHIA is promoted by InnovaWood and the European Forest Institute and aims to create a focused alliance dedicated to hardwood species as a complementary potential field for innovations.

The new organization will also coordinate research and educational projects and will create new qualified employment in smart rural regions within Europe. The initiative has been accepted already as a commitment under the European Innovation Partnership for Raw Materials (EIP RM – ID 669).

Further information about the EHIA is avaialble here.


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TTF questions WWF timber supply crunch scenario

The Timber Trade Federation (TTF) has released a note questioning the scenario of a future depletion of global tropical hardwood timber supplies in the next 30 years, as prospected by WWF in the report '100% Sustainable Timber Markets’ .

The WWF report - published in in July 2016 and downloadable here - warned that primary forest areas are being depleted at an alarming rate worldwide posing a direct threat to the viability of sawmills and other primary processors in the UK and other importing countries. The publication also addressed ways in which UK business could go about improving the future sustainability and security of timber supplies from exporter countries.

In its note, the TTF explains that the greatest share of the UK timber trade consists of softwood produced and imported from well managed and sustainable forest sources mainly from Scandinavia and Baltic countries. On the other hand, only 4.6% of UK timber imports are hardwood of which tropical hardwoods make up just a small percentage.

Nonetheless, the TTF recognises the need for increasing action on responsible timber sourcing as highlighted by TTF Head of Sustainability Mike Worrell: “The TTF has a continued priority to improve standards in responsible and sustainable sourcing policies across its membership. In line with this, we are working on a revised and improved version of our Due Diligence system, the Responsible Purchasing Policy (RPP). We have also recently been awarded a grant from the Department for International Development (DfID) to begin work on a project to promote better environmental and trade relations between UK importers and timber suppliers in China, Ghana and Cameroon. This very much falls in line with the suggestions of this WWF report and we look forward to our members leading the process through their engagement.”      

The TTF also notes that - with the EUTR now having been in place for the past 3 years and Indonesia scheduled to be the first country to issue FLEGT licenses in November - the issue of timber legality is set to represent a high priority for the UK and the EU.

"As more tropical timber exporting countries adopt FLEGT licensing and the EU maintains links with VPA countries, it is hoped that sustainable as well as legal forestry practises will become the norm. Ultimately, if tropical forests are not managed in a sustainable fashion, the global availability of tropical timber will collapse along with the business of their trade."

"Increased investment in sustainable forestry governance and management for timber production is one of the best ways to ensure the long term survival of tropical forests."


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