Friday Offcuts – 18 November 2022

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This week the first leg of the annual ForestTECH 2022 series ran in Rotorua, New Zealand. The subject material (technologies and recent adoptions by forestry companies with remote sensing, data capture, inventory management, tree crop management and mechanised silviculture) obviously struck a real chord with local and international foresters. We had a full house. In addition to local businesses, forestry companies from across Australia, Japan, China, Indonesia, Malaysia. Brazil, Chile, USA, Canada, Sweden, Finland and Latvia participated remotely, again reinforcing the international standing that the annual forestry technology series has.

The technology advancements that have been made and learnings from the rapid integration into day-to-day forest operations is really testament to the close co-operation existing between leading forestry companies, researchers and key tech providers in this part of the world. Next week, the Australian leg of the series, after three years of Covid disruptions, will be running in Melbourne for local forestry companies. In total, over 300 foresters will have participated live in the technology series this year.

In keeping with the tree planting theme, we’ve built in another story this week on replanting from the air. It looks though at some of the very early efforts – with some of the first records of aerial reforestation able to be traced back to Hawaii in the 1930s, when airplanes were used in an attempt to plant trees in hard- to-reach mountainous regions of Honolulu that had been ravaged by wildfires. In the 1950’s there were experiments of putting tree seedlings into plastic "bullets" and then in the late 1990’s, firing these from a plane.

In Kenya, in an attempt to encourage reforestation, researchers a couple of years ago were handing out seed balls to pilots, paragliders, hot air balloonists and even herders to use their slingshots to disperse seed. The article then looks more closely at another drone tree-planting company, a Canadian reforestation company, Flash Forest. Like other recent start-ups, they’re using swarms of automated drones to reseed areas devastated by recent wildfires. Seed pods are fired from under the drones, five per second, travelling at over 165 kilometres per hour and are being buried around 2.5 centimetres into the soil. Further details can be read below.

And finally, further updates on how Russia's war in Ukraine continues to shake up European wood pellet markets. The inability to secure natural gas and oil supplies for the upcoming winter has meant prices for wood pellets and firewood have climbed to unprecedented levels. In some markets, professional firewood companies and pellet producers are now paying more for small-diameter logs than pulp-mill and panel manufacturers. As well as major changes to supplies and pricing for wood pellets in Europe, the other significant change is the rapid growth in demand coming out of Asia, with Japan and South Korea now having become the second and fourth largest wood pellet markets in the world. And, that’s it for this week.

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53 NZ firefighters honoured

A total of 53 firefighters throughout New Zealand have been honoured for their service in helping battle massive Australian bushfires in 2019 and 2020.

Among those who were honoured by the Australian Government with the Australia National Emergency Medal today, 38 are from Fire and Emergency New Zealand (Fenz), two from the New Zealand Army, eight from the New Zealand Air Force, two from the Department of Conservation and three from forestry company partners.

Last Friday’s ceremony in Auckland (Tāmaki Makaurau) was the last of the four hosted by the High Commissioner, with the previous events being held at the Australian High Commission in Wellington, NZ Defence Force Base Ohakea and in Christchurch. In a statement, Fenz said the majority of the contingent personally received their Australia National Emergency Medal with a “Bushfires 19/20″ clasp at one of four official ceremonies across the country, hosted by Australian High Commissioner Harinder Sidhu.

Fenz group manager in Auckland Dave Woon was among those honoured today and described it as “extremely humbling” to hear Sidhu say “once again the Kiwis came when asked. It is extremely humbling because Kiwis don’t usually get acknowledged or want acknowledgment for what they do ... everyone that went were fantastic ambassadors for New Zealand in doing what they did very humbly,” Woon said.

Woon, who has previously been deployed to Britsh Columbia and Canada, told the Herald he went to Australia as the lowest-ranked firefighter, despite working for Fenz for 38 years. “Most of the people who went to Australia, as with any of these deployments, were on very short notice so we had to drop everything, go overseas for 2-3 weeks and work pretty hard alongside a whole lot of people but we just go and do our job to the best of our ability,” Woon said.

Fenz national commander Russell Wood said the Australia National Emergency Medal, for which service must be considered extraordinary, has never been awarded to members of Fenz before. “This is a very rare and special honour that the Australian Government has extended to us ... It reflects the closeness between our countries, that when faced with extreme adversity, we will do everything we can to help each other,” Wood said.

“The bushfires in Australia in 2019 and 2020 were catastrophic, and we were glad we could be there to help them.” The New Zealand contingent of 208 firefighters who travelled to Australia in the summer of 2019/20 included people from Fenz, the Department of Conservation, forestry company partners, and members of the New Zealand Defence Force.

Source: NZ Herald

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Pine conspiracy needs reality check

New Zealand Farm Foresters are saying journalists and commentators need to educate themselves about the reality of plantation forestry. The FFA President, Graham West says ‘Frequent anti-pine rants on Newstalk ZB and in print media repeat the same misinformation about pines that is simply not true.’

‘This climate of emotional dogma against carbon sequestration jeopardises New Zealand’s ability to make any real change to how our greenhouse gas emissions are heating the planet. Surely, they should have enough common sense to check statements, or at least give these emotion filled opinions a quick logic test,’ Graham West says.

‘The most recent one is a rehash of the completely untrue fable that pine stops growing at age 30 years and then rots. After 60 years of forest research in Rotorua by hundreds of scientists, there is a mountain of evidence that shows this is not true. These statements are at best lazy and at worst malicious.’

‘Everyone has seen very old pine trees in parks and paddocks. Many go back to the first introduction of pines nearly 150 years ago. They are ancient and haven’t suddenly developed rot. We have many measured stands of pine that are now well over 100 years old. We have examples of individual radiata pine in the Wellington Botanic Garden that are still standing after 152 years.’

‘While forest fire risk may increase with droughts, with modern forest management practices, the risk is very low. Kaingaroa forest is 190,000ha and has had very few fires in its 100-year history.’ Graham West cites a FENZ report which showed last summer there was nearly four times the number of wildfires on hill country farmland than there were in plantation forests.

‘Furthermore, wood is now being used for thousands of products. Bioplastics, biofuel, heat energy, earthquake resilient structures, are just a few. Wood is used in food as a filler, and to add fibre, in many parts of the world. It doesn’t require fertiliser on most sites. It doesn’t emit nitrates, and doesn’t need milking twice a day.’

‘Without much tending it grows for at least 70 years and silently absorbs large amounts of carbon dioxide. Global warming from carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide is the real issue. The physics of gases reflecting the radiated heat back to earth has been known for more than 50 years. It’s complex and we have been slow to react.’

‘Meanwhile, alarmist comments of the country covered in pine trees have proliferated. This is despite factual information, such as Beef + Lamb NZ’s recent independent (Orme) report that gives the real estate records of farms sold to forestry related companies’

‘Orme reports the area bought for afforestation last year was 52,000 ha. Yes, this is an increase from the previous year total of 38,278 ha. But before giving alarm to this rising total, consider how much of New Zealand is in pasture. Pasture covers approximately 10 million ha, which is about one third of the land area. So, the conversion rate last year can be calculated at about 0.5% per year. At this rate it will take 20 years to convert 10% of farmland to forest.’

‘I suggest at the current rate of climate warming, if we don’t act with some urgency, the change in climate may have reduced pastural production by much more than 10% in 20 years. This is conjecture but the current pattern of extreme weather events, flooding, erosion, droughts, and wind, doesn’t look promising for shallow rooted crops like pasture.’

Graham West says the important question for the public is ‘At what level of global warming will we decide to seriously address the issue with the technologies in hand? Our grandchildren will ask us an even harder question “How do we reverse climate change?”


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FEA update: China softwood log inventories

China’s Softwood Log Inventories at Ocean Ports -- FEA industry sources in China report that softwood log inventories at the country’s main ocean ports totalled 3.72 million m3 on October 29th, 2022, a slight decline of 2% (-70,000 m3) from late September, as follows:

• Radiata pine log inventory volumes from New Zealand and South America amounted to 2.82 million m3, a decline of 2% from a month earlier and comprising nearly 76% of overall log inventories.

• North American Douglas-fir and hemlock log volumes totalled 400,000 m3, remaining unchanged from the previous month and accounting for 11% of overall log inventories.

• European spruce logs totalled 254,000 m3, a growth of 27% from a month earlier and comprising 7% of log inventories (versus 5% in late September).

• Softwood log inventories from other countries (including Japanese Sugi, European red pine logs, etc) amounted to 247,000 m3 (-19%).

In October, inventory levels continued the downward trend with a slight decline of radiata pine logs while notable growth of European logs. The average daily sales at ocean ports were estimated at 66,000 m3 in October, compared with 86,833 m3 in October 2021.

Moreover, the log wholesale market prices showed a downward trend in October, reflecting a decline of RMB 20-40/m3 in Taicang and RMB 30-60/m3 in Lanshan (given the COVID outbreaks in the Shandong region). Those companies who hold big stocks were not optimistic about the market demands in the coming months, therefore, they offered lower prices for their old stocks, resulting in an overall price reduction in the wholesale market.

For more information on FEA’s China Bulletin where this data is reported monthly, please click here or contact Dave Battaglia at

Source: FEA

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How drones are replanting B.C.'s burned forests

With promises to rejuvenate forests from the air, tree-planting start-ups are looking to supplement shovels and long days of labour with swarms of seed-bearing aerial drones. A growing target: B.C.'s burnt forests.

The charred remains of Douglas fir and Lodgepole pine forests once sent their seeds fluttering through the air — often in the belly or beak of a bird — but not like this. When the six rotors of these heavy-lift drones hum to life, they each propel over 1,500 seeds into an automated swarm that some hope marks the start of a revolution in tree planting.

“Reforestation is arguably the best solution we have for pulling carbon out of the air,” said Bryce Jones, co-founder and CEO of Flash Forest, a Canadian drone tree-planting company with a growing footprint in British Columbia.

“But there’s no technology. It’s literally people with bags and shovels. It’s been the same method for 100 years.” In their short history, aerial drones have transformed our skies — in some cases delivering stunning images or medicine, in others, raining terror on soldiers and civilians alike.

Now, a handful of companies are looking to re-purpose unmanned vehicles. Their goal: germinate landscapes scarred by wildfire, and in so doing, reforest a planet that by one estimate has lost half its trees. Today, a confluence of logging, blight and wildfires is largely to blame for that loss, a deadly mix that in 2021 wiped out enough forest to cover all of New Zealand.

The growing promise of planting from the sky

Aerial planting has long captured the imaginations of people trying to rejuvenate forests. Early records of aerial reforestation can be traced back to Hawaii in the 1930s, when airplanes were used in an attempt to plant trees in hard-to-reach mountainous regions of Honolulu ravaged by wildfire. By many metrics, it failed: the seeds didn't hit the ground fast enough to take root; loose on the surface, research has found it may have even contributed to an infestation of rodents on the island.

After the Second World War, former Royal Air Force pilot Jack Walters came to the University of British Columbia to study forests. In 1953, he was the first man to put seedlings into plastic "bullets" and fire them into the ground. The seedlings struggled to send their roots through the plastic sheath, but the experiments eventually gave rise to a plug system deployed by tree planters on the ground today.

Decades later, in a paper, he floated the idea of firing the seed bullets from an airplane. Little came of it, until the late 1990s, when U.S. manufacturer Lockheed Martin Aerospace told a reporter from The Guardian it had adapted Walters's idea. At the time, a company spokesperson said it could plant 900,000 trees per day with equipment originally designed to plant fields of landmines.

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Source: timescolonist

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Tighter controls on forestry being called for

The Environmental Defence Society and Pure Advantage have joined forces to draft a submission on the review of New Zealand’s National Environmental Standards for Plantation Forestry (the Standards). The submission seeks significant tightening of the rules governing exotic forest management in Aotearoa New Zealand.

“Our submission starts with the premise that forest practices here are out of step with the rest of the developed world. There are inadequate controls over sediment, slash and soil stability and the sector needs to lift its environmental performance across all of its activities,” said EDS COO Shay Schlaepfer.

“With that in the mind, the scope of the current review, which is focused on permanent exotic carbon forests, is too narrow and we are calling on Government to undertake a fundamental reset of the regulations.

“Our submission points to the following key problems with the present Standards:

- It fails to effectively address adverse environmental outcomes associated with plantation forestry activities

- It is unjustifiably and unlawfully permissive for such high-risk activities, particularly with regard to afforestation on highly erodible land and clear fell harvesting

- It fails to adequately recognise and encourage the wider and longer-term intergenerational climate resilience, biodiversity, social, cultural, and economic opportunities associated with indigenous forests

- It is insufficiently aligned with national objectives and direction in relation to freshwater, coastal, and indigenous biodiversity protection and long-term carbon sequestration.

“Put in simple terms, the current Standards are failing to address significant adverse environmental effects associated with where trees are planted,what trees are planted, and how forests are managed and harvested. These effects need to be managed for both new so-called permanent carbon forests and plantation forests.

“We contend that the presumption in the current Standards that forestry activities are “permitted” is unworkable, inappropriate, and ineffective at securing environmental protection.

Their draft submission can be read here.

Source: The Environmental Defence Society, Pure Advantage

And in response, the President of the Forest Owners Association says that once again the commercial forest industry is having to point to its science based environmental credentials to organisations such as the Environmental Defence Society. Grant Dodson says that they should know better. “The EDS submission is way off the mark about the current regulations for plantation forestry and their statements about the current National Environmental Standard for commercial plantations being ‘ultra vires’ is just delusional.” Read the full release from FOA here.

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Environmental Monitoring - remote sensing review

Remote sensing data is often applied to assist with environmental monitoring. However, the pace of development makes it challenging to decipher if the new sensor or technique can be used successfully beyond a small study area. A key requirement of many agencies is to monitor or report progress against environmental baselines and assist with the prioritisation of monitoring efforts.

This article presents a review of remotely sensed technologies and how they can be applied to support the requirements for environmental monitoring under New Zealand's Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA). The project was commissioned by the Northland Regional Council (NRC) and involved experts from GNS Science and Indufor. The same team also collaborated on the EnviroSatTools initiative - a project working with Regional Councils to develop remotely sensed monitoring applications.

The aim was to highlight new developments in remote sensing and processing techniques and identify their potential for streamlining monitoring processes. Like many councils, NRC recognises that the current monitoring obligations represent a substantial challenge. Improving the efficiency of monitoring workflows that result in beneficial environmental outcomes is a key area of interest for Regional Councils.

The review was divided into four key environmental domains: land, freshwater, ocean/coastal, and climate/air. The freshwater, air and coastal domains, which included topics such as water quality measurement, flood extent mapping, sea level rise and air pollution, respectively, were collated by the domain experts at GNS Science.

GNS designed a wiki page to allow the review findings to be accessed. This was circulated by NRC to other regional councils. The review provided the opportunity to highlight internally developed solutions and emerging monitoring techniques.

For each domain area, current and potential future applications were explored, with commentary on the appropriateness of the given technique. At the same time, any benefits or potential limitations were documented. In addition, a review of available satellite imaging platforms, both open access and commercial, was undertaken.

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Source: Indufor

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Industrial robot installations hit record high

With more than 500,000 new units put in place last year – topping the half-million mark for the first time – the IFR reported that annual robot installations have more than doubled worldwide in the past five years.

A global market summary by the International Federation of Robotics reports that 517,000 industrial robots were put in place worldwide during 2021, a +31.0% increase from 2020, and the highest number in history for that statistic. IFR also concluded that the industrial-robot segment has seen a consolidated annual growth rate of +11.0% during the five-year period concluding with 2021.

According to the summary, there are now 3.5 million industrial robots installed worldwide, +15.0% from the previous year, and completing a five-year (2016-2021) CAGR of +14.0%.

Worldwide installations of industrial robots, 2011-2021, thousands of units.

The report also revealed that installation of collaborative robots (as a portion of all industrial robots) rose by 50.0% to 39,000 units worldwide in 2021, according to IFR.

“The use of robotics and automation is growing at a breath-taking speed,” stated Marina Bill, president of the International Federation of Robotics. “Within six years, annual robot installations in factories around the world more than doubled. According to our latest statistics, installations grew strongly in 2021, although supply chain disruptions as well as different local or regional headwinds hampered production.”

Industrial robot installations grew in all geographic markets, but particularly in the Asia/Australia region where 381,000 new robots were installed. In Europe the total was 84,000, while in the Americas the total was 51,000 new robots installed during 2021.

In the U.S., new installations of industrial robots rose 14.0% year-over-year in 2021, with 34,987 put in place – “the second most successful year in history for the robotics industry in the U.S.,” according to IFR – exceeding the pre-pandemic level of 33,378 units installed in 2019.

International Federation of Robotics Worldwide, among industrial sectors, during 2021 the highest number of new robots installed was 137,0000 put in place by electrical and electronics manufacturers, +24.0% more than in 2020. The global automotive sector installed 119,000 robots last year (+42.0%), and metal/machinery manufacturing businesses installed 64,000 robots (+45%).

Robot installations by U.S. metal/machinery manufacturing businesses increased by 66.0% year-over-year for 2021, or 3,814 units. It is the second highest sector for robot demand in the U.S., according to IFR.

Source: americanmachinist

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OneFortyOne’s woodchips set sail for Japan

In New Zealand, OneFortyOne’s Kaituna Sawmill and its partners celebrated its first export shipment of woodchip out of Port Marlborough last week, as part of a new export initiative with partner Marusumi Whangarei Co Ltd.

Woodchip has been accumulating at Shakespeare Bay over the last three months, in preparation for the loading of the Southern Star Vessel which docked on Monday 9am and departed Wednesday 6pm. Another vessel is planned for the new year of which woodchip is now being accumulated.

Port Marlborough has been a critical partner in providing logistical support for the trial operation, including 4,000m2 (0.4 ha) in the port’s Shakespeare Bay log yard currently for the operation. Tracy Goss, General Manager Kaituna Sawmill said this initiative has been four years in the making. “It is part of our growth strategy and an exciting opportunity for us to diversify our wood residues market.”

“It also happened to be very beneficial when SH6/SH63 roads to Nelson were closed during the flooding events in August. Without this alternative growth market, the Kaituna Mill more than likely would need to cease production during the road closures.”

“The woodchip is a by-product generated during timber production. This new export initiative complements our existing market in New Zealand, and we now have access to a growth market in Japan where woodchip is used in next generation cellulose nanofiber (CNF)”.

OneFortyOne Kaituna Sawmill signed an agreement with Marusumi Whangarei Co to manage the export initiative. Marusumi has been exporting both softwood and hardwood chip from Marsden point since 1995, predominantly to its parent company Marusumi Paper Co. Ltd, and other end users in Japan and China.

Source: OneFortyOne

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Pellet supply shock in Europe

FutureMetrics has published a new white paper explaining how reduced pellet supplies in Western Europe and the U.K. resulting from sanctions on Russia has produced a supply shock that has vastly increased prices.

In the paper, FutureMetrics President William Strauss explains that supply shock occurs when a significant portion of a good or service is no longer available in the market and substitutes are scarce or non-existent. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the resulting sanctions placed on Russia have created a supply shock in the European heating pellet market.

According to Strauss, the global pellet supply has been, on average, sufficient to meet demand. Local seasonal shortages have occurred during unusually long, cold winters, but aggregate supply has been sufficient to meet aggregate demand. During the previous decade, markets have not experienced any medium- or long-term supply shocks. 2022, however, has not been a typical year.

Strauss explains that the conflict in Ukraine and the resulting sanctions have significantly impacted the pellet sector. Last year, Russia, Belarus and Ukraine produced 15 percent of global trade in wood pellets. A significant portion of those pellets were destined for heating markets in Western Europe. With Russian sanctions now in place, a significant portion of the 3.5 million metric tons of wood pellets exported from these regions last year are no longer entering European markets.

Strauss points out that Russia was still exporting wood pellets as of the third quarter. Those pellets, however, are increasingly being supplied to the South Korean market. Due to the resulting supply shock in Europe, prices for pellet fuel have risen to previously unseen levels in every country that uses pellet fuels for heat and/or power generation. Strauss cites data showing that industrial pellets are trading on the spot market at more than $453 per metric ton. The price for heating pellets has risen even higher in many European markets in recent months, with the German bulk price surpassing $760 per ton earlier this fall.

Prior to this supply shock, estimates showed that demand for pellet fuel could exceed 75 million metric tons per year by 2030. If sanctions on Russia are no longer in place, Strauss estimates more than 28 million metric tons of new capacity would need to be built to fill that demand. Additional capacity would be needed if Russian sanctions continue. The uncertainty over the need for capacity to fill the gap from the loss of supply from Russia, Belarus and Ukraine is likely to put a chill on new investments made specifically to fill that gap, Strauss explains.

The white paper also discusses the potential to alleviate heating pellet shortages via reduced pellet consumption by industrial users. While the concept has strong moral merit, Strauss cautions there are significant technological and economic hurdles that would need to be addressed.

A full copy of the white paper can be downloaded from the FutureMetrics website.


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World trucking experience to be changed forever!

Tesla Semi Hitting the Market. The Tesla Semi Truck is a fully electric vehicle that features an "autopilot" mode to help with semi-autonomous driving. This truck is soon to change the whole trucking experience. Elon Musk twitted that he is very excited to start production of the Tesla Semi Truck with deliveries to Pepsi on 1st December 2022.

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Yamaha's unmanned helicopter carrying up to 50 kg

Yamaha has introduced an upgraded version of its Fazer R G2 unmanned helicopter, or drone, equipping it with more thrust and greater payload capacity. This should make it more suitable for carrying out aerial deliveries, which the company expects to help cut labour costs and construction times, among other uses.

We've looked at various iterations of Yamaha's so-called unmanned helicopter over the years, including the R-Bat developed with Northrop Grumman and the agriculturally-minded Fazer R G2. We also saw this model used in seafood delivery trials with Japan Airlines in 2020.

The latest addition to the stable is basically a reimagined Fazer R G2, and is simply dubbed the Fazer R G2 Delivery Model. Yamaha has fitted the aircraft with a larger and redesigned main rotor measuring 1.8 m (70 in) long, up from the 1.56 m (61 in) of the original.

This generates more thrust and works with a lighter camera system and battery, along with an optimized fuel tank capacity, to offer a significantly higher payload of 50 kg (110 lb), up from the 35 kg (77 lb) of the original. As Yamaha points out, this means it could transport a ton of material in 20 trips, compared to the 29 required by the original model.

Put to work on construction sites, this could save time and reduce labour costs. For spraying operations, this means a greater load carrying capacity. It could also broaden the scope of what the aircraft can deliver to homes in mountainous regions, for example.

Source: NewAtlas

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How forestry has become a popular topic in tech

Forests are getting more investment as they are being viewed as a carbon removal technology.

Angeline Chen, president of the coral reef-nonprofit Global Coralition, ended the keynotes at the recent GreenBiz’s VERGE 22 event by asking everyone to take two deep breaths. "The first one came from the oceans and the second came from the forests," she said.

It’s unusual for land, forestry and agriculture to be top of mind at a tech conference, yet nature can be as powerful a tool as engineered technology in the fight against climate change. However, the methodologies have been lacking in terms of guidance and investment in this particular type of tech, derived from natural systems.

"Part of the difficulty is that this is actually the [forestry, land and agriculture] sector that needs to go to net zero the fastest," said Martha Stevenson, senior director of forestry research and strategy at the World Wildlife Fund, during a panel talk on science-based targets for food, ag and forestry.

"Land use change and forestry emissions need to go to zero by around 2030 if we want to keep 1.5 [degrees Celsius of warming] on the table. And then this is also the sector which is the last to get the guidance on how to do the accounting."

Stevenson was referring to the recently released Forest, Land and Agriculture (FLAG) Science Based Target Setting Guidance set by the Science-Based Targets Initiative. This sector contributes to 22 percent of global emissions each year, which corporations have had a hard time incorporating into their climate strategies and goals because they are not strictly "climate," she said.

According to the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), the major drivers of nature loss are land use change, pollution, invasive species, climate change and direct exploitation of the natural resources. Climate is not a clear link to four out the five, with climate change as the outlier.

The FLAG guidance was created to help sustainability experts inside companies translate how land use is integral to climate change to their executives, so that companies can better account for the good work they are doing on forestry or regenerative agriculture programs.

According to Christa Anderson, director of climate science and carbon metrics at WWF, the FLAG guidance includes an Excel modelling tool for companies to account for their emissions and set a target, as well as background guidance on how to reduce emissions to meet that target, and a methodology section to understand how the guidance and accounting was created.

Anderson outlined the three big buckets of emissions created by WWF: land management such as fertilizer production, flooding soil for rice, transport of biomass; carbon removals and storage; and land use change such as deforestation and forest degradation. The FLAG guidance also requires companies to commit to zero deforestation from commodities with a target date no later than 2025. The FLAG guidance is bullish on forestry for a succinct and clear reason:

"Twenty percent of the global forests are respiring more than they are sequestering for at least three months out of the year," Stevenson said. "When you breathe out more than you breathe in, what does that mean? You are dying."

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Wood pellet market dynamics changing

The international trade of wood pellets has increased yearly for over ten years thanks to growing demand in Europe and Asia. Although shipments in the first half of 2022 were practically unchanged from the same period in 2021, an anticipated increase in demand in Europe in the second half of the year is likely to make 2022 another record year of close to 30 million tons shipped worldwide.

The most significant change is the rising demand in Asia, with Japan and South Korea having become the second and fourth largest markets in the world, respectively. The United Kingdom, Denmark, the Netherlands, Italy, and Belgium continue to be the major import markets in Europe.

Russia's war in Ukraine has shaken up the European wood pellet market. Pre-war shipments from Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine totalled about 3.5 million tons in 2021, about 30% of total imports to the continent or just over 10% of the total consumption, reports the Wood Resource Quarterly.

In 2021, these three countries shipped their largest volumes to Denmark, Belgium, and Poland. With expected natural gas and oil availability reductions in the coming winter, many European countries are struggling to secure energy sources to meet demand in the near term.

One consequence is that prices for wood pellets and firewood have increased to unprecedented levels. In some markets, professional firewood companies and pellet producers pay more for small-diameter logs than pulpmill and panel manufacturers. The increase in energy wood coincides with pulpmills running at high operating rates to take advantage of record-high prices for market pulp.

The tumultuous energy market in Europe brought wood pellet prices in the second and third quarters to levels never seen before. In Austria and Germany, residential prices were nearly three times as much as in August 2021. It is rare to see price jumps during summer, so this year's increases are highly unusual.

Typically, pellet prices in Central Europe decline in the 2Q and stay flat in the 3Q. However, in 2022, they were up about 10% in the second quarter and another 50% in the third quarter, all because of the uncertainty of energy supply and pricing this coming winter.

Source: Wood Resources International,

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Buy and Sell

... and one to end the week on ... getting old

At a retirement village, a group of senior citizens were sitting around talking about their aches and pains.

“My arms are so weak I can hardly lift this cup of coffee,” said one. “I know what you mean. My cataracts are so bad I can’t even see my coffee,” replied another.

“I can’t turn my head because of the arthritis in my neck,” said a third, to which several nodded weakly in agreement.

“My blood pressure pills make me dizzy,” another contributed. “I guess that’s the price we pay for getting old,” winced an old man as he slowly shook his head.

Then there was a short moment of silence.

“Well, it’s not that bad,” said one woman cheerfully. “Thank God we can all still drive.”

On that note, enjoy your weekend. Cheers.

Brent Apthorp
Editor, Friday Offcuts
PO Box 904, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand
Tel: +64 3 470 1902
Mob: +64 21 227 5177


John Stulen
Editor, (coming in Jan'23)
PO Box 1230, Rotorua, 3040
Tel: +64 7 921 1381
Mob: +64 27 275 8011

This week's extended issue, along with back issues, can be viewed at

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