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]

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]

EFI study analyses contribution of wood products to climate change mitigation

A new science-policy report from the European Forest Institute (EFI) demonstrates that using wood-based products to substitute greenhouse gas intensive-materials can have important climate benefits.

The authors reviewed 51 existing studies to provide an up-to-date synthesis of scientific knowledge on the greenhouse gas emissions of products made from wood and from alternative materials, over their entire lifetime.

While the positive role of forests in climate change mitigation is generally well perceived, the contribution of wood products to mitigation is much less known and understood. Current reporting on greenhouse gas emissions to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and related processes does not attribute the substitution benefits of wood-based products directly to the forest sector. However, this information is important when developing optimal strategies on how forests and the forest sector can maximise their contribution to climate change mitigation. 

The study concludes that for each ton of C in wood products that substitute non-wood products, average emissions are reduced by approximately 1.2 ton C. Expressed in a different unit, this corresponds to about 2.2 ton of CO2 emissions reduction per ton of wood product. The substitution effects vary significantly, depending on the wood product and technology that is considered and the methods used to estimate emissions.

The study coordinator, Pekka Leskinen, said: “It is also crucial to remember that the greenhouse gas substitution impact of wood products is only one component in climate change mitigation. The substitution factor alone should not form the basis of policies, since the overall climate impacts of forests depend also on forest carbon sinks, forest soil and carbon stored in wood products.”

The study also identifies limitations and important research gaps that should be covered to have a better understanding of the substitution effects – for example there is a lack of knowledge on the climate impacts of emerging wood-based products like textiles and biochemicals.

Download the study here.

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/efi-study-analyses-contribution-wood-products-climate-change-mitigation]

Fair&Precious, the collective label for legal and eco-certified African timber celebrates its first anniversary

To mark the first anniversary of the international Fair&Precious label, created by the ATIBT (International Tropical Timber Technical Association) whose mission is to promote the development of a sustainable, ethical and legal tropical timber sector, the time has come to take stock of the label's missions and to open up new perspectives.

Created in November 2017, the Fair & Precious collective label aims to persuade European consumers to purchase products that use ecological and responsibly-sourced materials. By allowing the final consumer to clearly identify African timber and guaranteeing that it does not come from illegal distributors but from logging producers that are managed sustainably and responsibly, Fair&Precious has become a real landmark.

"Whether promoters or prescribers of the label, F&P members believe in the emergence of a more humane economy, protecting both humans and nature in a relocated economy," explains ATIBT spokesperson. "Beyond the environmental dimension of its commitment, F&P puts all its energy into defending social and societal causes such as respect for local populations, their education and their health."

In order for a forest concession holder to benefit from the Fair&Precious label, they must both be a member of ATIBT and use a control procedure approved by the ATIBT Board of Directors, such as FSC or PEFC sustainable forest management certification. These labels are controlled by certification bodies such as Bureau Veritas and are there to guarantee the application of strict rules to ensure the traceability of the material from the forest to the finished product.

"In 2016, only 30%* of the products made in the European Union with tropical wood were certified as being produced in a sustainable way. If the Netherlands (63% in 2016), the United Kingdom (49%), Germany (20%), France (12%), Belgium (12%), Italy (5%) and Spain (4%) committed to a 100% Fair&Precious target, this would represent 85.6% of all EU purchases and especially 5.3 million additional protected hectares," underlines ATIBT.

Benoit Jobbé Duval, Director of ATIBT commented: "We are very proud to have brought together so many prestigious partners around our project, all of whom are fighting the same battle, to guarantee the future of tropical forests, to participate in their sustainable management and above all to make citizens aware of their missions and their importance.”

Fair&Precious' 10 commitments through its manifesto

  • Manage and protect forests to combat climate change
  • Preserve forest resources by harvesting less than naturally grows
  • Develop knowledge on biodiversity to facilitate the restocking of species
  • Ensure the maintenance of the wildlife's living space
  • Implement programmes to combat environmental crime against fauna and flora
  • Contribute to the well-being of populations by facilitating their access to education, health care and housing
  • Stimulate the economies of producing countries by enhancing the value of forests and promoting local wood processing
  • Set up training courses in forestry and woodworking professions
  • Provide technical knowledge on the diversity of tropical species and their uses
  • Promote the responsible purchase of an exceptional material

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/fairprecious-collective-label-legal-and-eco-certified-african-timber-celebrates-its-first]

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