Quick Six - July

What’s better?  A vertical forest or a concrete jungle

This 27-storey high rise in Milan, Italy contains 700 trees, 5,000 shrubs and 15,000 climbers and perennials spread over every floor of the two towers. The architect Stefano Boeriarchitetti describes the appropriately named Vertical Forest building as a “model for sustainable residential building.’  Stefano built his first prototype four years ago and didn’t copyright the design because he wanted other architect to take up further develop the concept.




Woodlots being reconsidered for NZ ETS
The NZ Government has confirmed it is considering extending the eligibility of woodlots eligible for carbon sequestration to include areas such as riparian planting and shelter belts, enabling farmers to offset their emissions or earn NZ Units, which they can trade. The commission found in the past that not only was the financial viability questionable, non-ETS land would sequester less than 2m tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent a year. Forests that qualify for the ETS are currently sequestering 24m tonnes of CO2 a year. It did not look at forestry woodlots or indigenous forests, something BLNZ is seeking to have included, given 2.8m ha of native forests, grassland, shrubland and wetland is on NZ sheep and beef farms.

Source:Farmers Weekly

Female forestry training programme receives PGF boost 

The Government is supporting a primarily female training programme in Northland that will help address labour shortages in the male-dominated forestry industry, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Employment Minister Willie Jackson announced on Monday.

The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF), through the He Poutama Rangatahi (HPR) programme, will invest $421,050 in Wahine Toa, a five-month intensive pilot initiative to prepare mostly young women for training and employment in the forestry sector. The initiative launches today in Kaikohe.

“Investing in skills and training is a clear priority for this Government and I’m pleased to see both HPR and the PGF’s other employment scheme, Te Ara Mahi, already making a difference to people’s lives up and down the country,” Shane Jones said.

“As Forestry Minister, I know labour shortages are a significant concern for the sector so initiatives like Wahine Toa are a great investment. The industry is also trying to encourage more women into forestry so this programme ticks both boxes.”

“We know that supporting young people into long-term jobs delivers benefits for the whole community,” Willie Jackson said.

The programme will be predominantly women, but has a small cohort of men who will be in a separate crew.

“It’s great to see programmes aimed at encouraging more women into the male- dominated forestry industry and I wish the participants every success.

“Wahine Toa is modelled on the Eco Toa (Ecological Warrior) initiative, another HPR programme funded through the PGF that was announced in March this year. The initiatives focus on rangatahi aged between 16 and 24 who not in education, employment or training (NEET). Through training, individualised pastoral care and financial support, both programmes help young women get onto a path to sustained employment.

“The success of programmes like Eco Toa shows that when Government partners with local people, we can make a real difference in the lives of young people who are at- risk of long-term unemployment.

“Projects like these are all part of the Government’s wider efforts to tackle youth unemployment in the regions,” Willie Jackson said.

Click below to hear a short interview with Jack Johnson, who runs the programme, who spoke to RNZ's Susie Ferguson.



Global trade of wood pellets up 21 percent

Global trade of wood pellets jumped more than 21% year-over-year in 2018 when a new record of 22.3 million tons was shipped, according to the North American Wood Fiber Review. The five major pellet exporting countries (the US, Canada, Vietnam, Latvia, and Russia) have remained the top exporters for over five years. They accounted for about 69% of the world’s export volume in 2018. 

Following the “big five” in 2018 were Estonia, Austria, Malaysia, Denmark and Germany, in descending order. Pellet production in the US South continued at record pace in, driven by a European move away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy. From the 1Q/18 to the 4Q/18, exports from the region were up almost 50%, further manifesting US’s role as the world’s largest producer and exporter of wood pellets, reports the NAWFR. The United States ships practically all its pellets to three countries: the United Kingdom, Belgium and Denmark. Only a small share of the pellet production in the US is consumed domestically. 

Demand for imported pellets in Japan and South Korea continued a three-year growth trend in the 4Q/18 when import volumes reached new record highs of 339,000 tons and 993,000 tons, respectively. In 2018, the total annual import volume for the two countries was just over 4.5 million tons, more than doubling in just two years. With the increased trade, prices for pellets landed in both Japan and South Korea have moved upward over the past three years. 

In the 4Q/18, the price for pellets imported to Japan averaged $182/ton, up almost six percent from the 4Q/17. Pellet import prices to South Korea, which were nominally lower than those in Japan, rose almost 25 percent during the same period. The lower average cost for South Korea can be explained by that country’s reliance on pellets from low-cost countries in nearby Vietnam and Malaysia. This is unlike Japan, whose major pellet supplier is British Columbia, a more expensive producer of high-quality FSC and SFI certified pellets. 

Source:Friday Offcuts

China recognises wood framing in new standard

Wood Frame Construction Technology (WFC) has officially been recognized for the first time by China’s Green Building Evaluation Standard as a viable solution for the country’s green building credit rating. This is another milestone for WFC in China on the government regulations front after a series of prefabrication policies favourable to wood has been published in the past few years.

The newly revised standard, printed in May and scheduled to be implemented in August 2019, includes WFC as one of the three building solutions along with concrete and steel systems. It also awards credits to wood frame solutions for being an innovative construction technology. The new standard also introduces the entry Certified Level, making it aligned with the LEED certification system and offering more accessible eligibility. This also means that green building standard is likely to be implemented as de-facto compulsory measures in the future.

In 2006, the Chinese Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development (MOHURD) released its first Evaluation Standard for Green Building, otherwise known as the Three Star System. Different from LEED’s total points rating system, the Chinese system requires that a building must obtain a certain number of points in all rating categories to qualify for a star rating.

Based on the 2006 Evaluation Standard for Green Building, MOHURD further revised the document the standard in 2015, vowing that 30% of all newly constructed buildings will be green by 2020. However, the 2015 revision still did not specify whether WFC was considered a green building solution.

In recent years, unremitting lobbying efforts by Canada Wood China contributed to the official recognition of WFC in a series of policies and industrialised construction standards. MOHURD realized that WFC should also be a part of green building policies and standards, and started working on revising the Three Star System again in 2018, merely three years after its second iteration.

The standard is expected to be revised again in 2020. Canada Wood China will maintain close communications with MOHURD to ensure the inclusion of WFC content in the revised standard.

Source:Friday Offcuts

Scientists alarmed by bark beetle boom

Bark beetles are currently responsible for killing an unprecedented number of trees in forests across Europe and North America. In 2018, the beetles were responsible for ruining around 40 million cubic metres of wood just in Central Europe. Why the beetle populations first explode to decline naturally after a few years is largely unknown. Researchers are therefore urging to step up research into the dynamics of bark beetle populations. They believe that more needs to be done also in view of climate change.