Industry News

FLEGT VPA has not stopped illegal logging in Congo, says environmental NGO Fern

Systemic illegalities persist in the Republic of Congo’s (RoC) forest sector, despite the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (FLEGT VPA) signed with the EU to combat illegal timber trade, claims the environmental NGO Fern.

In fact, according to the RoC’s Independent Monitor of the implementation of forest law and governance, six new logging permits were awarded in January 2016 to several companies in violation of the country’s laws and regulations.

"Local civil society organisations, including Fern’s partner Forum pour le Gouvernance et les Droits Humains, believe that this is a serious breach of the VPA and a setback for the ongoing reforms intended to increase transparency and accountability in the management of the country’s vast forests", Fern spokespeople say.

Fern has joined these groups in calling on the Congolese government to work closely with the EU to implement the VPA and to end impunity in the forest sector.

The NGO has also asked the EU and Member States, in accordance with the EU Timber Regulation, to be diligent in ensuring that no illegally harvested timber and forest products from the RoC enter the EU market.


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Head of Centre for Wood Science and Technology Dan Ridley-Ellis wins 2016 Woodland Hero Award

Dan Ridley-Ellis, Associate Professor at Edinburgh Napier University has been awarded the 2016 Woodland Hero Prize.

The award - designed and promoted by Grown in Britain - aims to raise awareness on the importance of getting Britain’s woodlands back into management.

By showcasing the stories and people behind British woods, Grown in Britain hopes to inspire others to get the 42% of the UK’s currently unmanaged woodlands working again.

Woodland Hero 2016 winner Mr Ridley-Ellis is Head of the Centre for Wood Science and Technology at Edinburgh Napier University. His research focuses on understanding the growth and utilisation of domestically grown timber including how this may be affected by our changing environment.

During the award ceremony hosted by BRE, Dougal Driver CEO of  Grown in Britain said: “Dan and his team have carried out vital research on the properties of timber grown in the British Isles and in particular the factors that affect the quality of sawn timber for construction. He is a world expert on timber grading, resource assessment and segregation of timber into the most appropriate markets and we are fortunate to have him on The GiB ‘team’ and leading the charge for homegrown timber”

“The Woodland Hero award is aimed at the people who make things happen whether in the public gaze or more hidden in the vital work behind the scenes. Dan’s work on standards, grading and British Standards is largely unseen, and we want to change that as he is a true Grown in Britain Woodland Hero”

Mr Ridley-Ellis commented: ” I am part of a great team with fantastic support from numerous partners, growers and sawmills in the UK. It is great to get this recognition from Grown in Britain who are creating more and more demand for homegrown timber which makes our work ever more important and rewarding.”


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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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