Save on tax and save the planet: put some money in forestry

In turbulent political and economic times, many investors are attracted to physical, tangible assets that promise some sort of protection against inflation, upheaval in the financial system, or political change (or often, all three at once). Gold is one such “real asset”; property is another. But while most of us probably have some exposure to property, and many readers will already own gold, there’s one “real” asset you perhaps haven’t considered forestry. Investing in woodland might sound like a hassle (it can be), or only for those who are aiming to pass their wealth to the next generation (it certainly has its uses on that front). But if you are looking to diversify your portfolio and plan to invest for the long run, it’s an asset class that you shouldn’t ignore.

Woodland covers around 13% of the UK, according to government statistics the best part of 3.2 million hectares. It’s also attracting growing interest from institutional investors. These include the Church Commissioners, which manages the Church of England’s investments, and has on its behalf built a portfolio of forestry worth around £250m. Forestry can provide both long-term income and capital growth. The income is generated by the sale of the timber felled each year the biggest customers come from the construction industry, but the paper and packaging business is a significant source of demand too. Growth, meanwhile, is driven by the rising capital value of the asset over time as timber prices rise, so do the value of the forests producing it. Continue reading “Save on tax and save the planet: put some money in forestry”

Tree planting ‘has mind-blowing potential’ to tackle climate crisis

Research shows a trillion trees could be planted to capture huge amount of carbon dioxide.

Planting billions of trees across the world is by far the biggest and cheapest way to tackle the climate crisis, according to scientists, who have made the first calculation of how many more trees could be planted without encroaching on crop land or urban areas.

As trees grow, they absorb and store the carbon dioxide emissions that are driving global heating. New research estimates that a worldwide planting programme could remove two-thirds of all the emissions that have been pumped into the atmosphere by human activities, a figure the scientists describe as “mind-blowing”.

The analysis found there are 1.7bn hectares of treeless land on which 1.2tn native tree saplings would naturally grow. That area is about 11% of all land and equivalent to the size of the US and China combined. Tropical areas could have 100% tree cover, while others would be more sparsely covered, meaning that on average about half the area would be under tree canopy. Continue reading “Tree planting ‘has mind-blowing potential’ to tackle climate crisis”

To halt deforestation, researchers say we must listen to the forests

Image: World Bank Photo Collection, CC BY-SA 2.0 via IFPRI Flickr

Conservationists and palm oil companies tackling deforestation and forest fires must rely less on satellite imagery and instead start listening to the sounds of the forests, according to a report published on Friday.

The use of “bioacoustics” to record, monitor and log background sounds – like animals, insects and human activity – provides data needed for more effective conservation, researchers said in a paper published by the journal Science.

“You can look at a primary forest, map the soundscapes to see what is normal and then do the same at a logging concession, plantation or hunting area,” said co-author Rhett Butler.

“With a camera trap, you’re at risk of a hunter or poacher coming in and destroying it. But audio equipment you can mount up to 30 metres up a tree and nobody will see them.” Continue reading “To halt deforestation, researchers say we must listen to the forests”

National forest logging on upward track, official says

The volume of timber cut from Northwest national forests is increasing due to collaborative planning and growing state involvement in logging projects, according to an Oregon forest supervisor.

For example, the Willamette National Forest — Oregon’s foremost timber producer and a regular top contender nationally — aims to generate 100 million board-feet in 2020, up from about 75 million to 80 million board-feet in 2018, said Tracy Beck, the forest’s supervisor.

Last year, 66 million board-feet were harvested from the forest, according to federal statistics.

Contrary to the common belief that federal logging projects are being tied up in litigation, lawsuits have only been a filed against a handful of the hundreds of projects in the area, Beck said at a recent timber industry tour in Corvallis, Ore.

“We’re winning most of those cases,” he said. “I really feel like collaboration has helped keep us out of court.” Continue reading “National forest logging on upward track, official says”

Finnish pilot develops a new solution for sustainable forestry

Finnish pilot develops a new solution for sustainable forestry New unique mobile application puts forest Big Data to more efficient use .

The whole of Europe is feverishly looking for new ways to use farm, forest and fishery resources more responsibly and sustainably and to promote the production of the best possible raw materials in order to increase the availability of food, energy and biomaterials. VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd, the Finnish Forest Centre and MHG Systems Oy Ltd are among the organisations that have joined forces to accelerate European bioeconomy with the help of big data technologies based on aerial and satellite images and on open forest data provided by Finnish Forest Centre. The Finnish partners have developed, among other innovations, a unique mobile application that puts forest data to more efficient use.
Continue reading “Finnish pilot develops a new solution for sustainable forestry”

Farmers told to plant more forestry to help achieve renewable energy targets

Farmers need to plant more forestry the President of the Irish Bioenergy Association has said.

At the launch of a report, which calls on the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Denis Naughten to set a target of 70pc of electricity to be generated from renewables by 2030, Des O’Toole said farmers should plant more forestry.

He said that 740,000 ha on the island of Ireland are already devoted to forestry, 10.5pc of Ireland’s land mass, but more needs to be planted.

The amount of timber on the market is set to double within the next 10 years, according to Des, as “all the forestry that was planted 15 to 20 years ago, it’ll all be coming to the market within the next 10 years.”

“We support the call for a 70pc target for renewable electricity by 2030 and we believe that the bioenergy sector will play a crucial role in delivering on this ambitious target.

Continue reading “Farmers told to plant more forestry to help achieve renewable energy targets”

Estimate of carbon in indigenous lands rises five-fold

A sherman in Colombia Copyright: Wikipedia

Land managed by indigenous people holds vastly more carbon than previously thought, according to a report that calls for an urgent strengthening of their land rights to avoid its release into the atmosphere.

The legalisation of indigenous people’s rights to forested land is one way of supporting sustainable forest management that keeps carbon locked-in, contributing to climate change mitigation.

But while communities have succeeded in securing governmental recognition of their forest rights for 15 per cent of forests globally, the pace of recognition since 2008 has decreased, according to the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI), the organisation behind a second report.

This leaves their stewardship on precarious ground, they say, with forests more vulnerable to national-level decisions which may turn land over to logging, commercial agriculture or infrastructure projects that release carbon into the atmosphere.

Both documents were released today, prior to the Climate Action Summit in the US city of San Francisco (September 12-14). Continue reading “Estimate of carbon in indigenous lands rises five-fold”

European Investment Bank backs first project to encourage Continuous Cover Forestry in Ireland

New investment in sustainable forestry across Ireland will be supported by the latest operation under the Natural Capital Financing Facility.

The facility launched by the European Investment Bank three years ago is a €400m initiative intended to better protect Europe’s natural capital.

Irish commercial forests are amongst the most productive in the world and a new scheme will enable institutional investors to support a more sustainable forestry model.

The European Investment Bank will to work with SLM Silva Fund to improve sustainable practices in Irish forests.

Continue reading “European Investment Bank backs first project to encourage Continuous Cover Forestry in Ireland”

Growing need for urban forests as urban land expands

Credit: Photo by Sjana Schanning, USDA Forest Service

A new USDA Forest Service study projects that urban land in Lower 48 states will more than double between 2010 and 2060, which will affect forest and agricultural lands that are being converted to urban uses as well as expand the importance of urban forests in relation to environmental quality and human well-being.

A USDA Forest Service study published in the Journal of Forestry, “U.S. Urban Forest Statistics, Values and Projections,” estimates change in urban land on a national level and state-by-state, and also updates data on the value of the nation’s urban forests.

Urban land increased from 2.6 percent (58 million acres) in 2000 to 3 percent (68 million acres) in 2010; states with the greatest amount of urban growth were in the South/Southeast (Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Georgia and South Carolina). Researchers anticipate that between 2010 and 2060, urban land will increase 95.5 million acres to 163 million acres (8.6 percent), an area roughly the size of Montana. Eighteen states are projected to have an increase of over 2 million acres of urban land. Continue reading “Growing need for urban forests as urban land expands”

World first ground-breaking research announced for forestry industry

A world-first scientific breakthrough that could revolutionise the forestry industry was announced at the Forest Growers Research Conference in Christchurch.

Scion scientists revealed at the conference on Tuesday that they have completed a “draft assembly” of the radiata pine genome which will mark the beginning of “a new era of precision forestry for a critically important species.”

A genome is an organism’s complete set of DNA, including all of its genes. Each genome contains all of the information needed to build and maintain that organism.

Science leader of the Scion research team Heidi Dungey, right, and senior research officer, forest genetics, Nathalie Graham after announcing their successful “draft assembly” of the radiata pine genome at the Forest Growers Research Conference.

With the new knowledge, the forestry industry could breed trees with desired characteristics, doing away with selective breeding which can take decades to produce superior trees, said molecular breeding scientist Emily Telfer.

Continue reading “World first ground-breaking research announced for forestry industry”