Forestry Management
Aug. 14, 2018 - Trees are growing more rapidly due to climate change. This sounds like good news. After all, this means that trees are storing more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in their wood and hence taking away the key ingredient in global warming. But is it that simple? A team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) analyzed wood samples from the oldest existing experimental areas spanning a period of 150 years — and reached a surprising conclusion.

The team led by Hans Pretzsch, professor of forest growth and yield science at the TUM, examined wood samples from several hundred trees and analyzed every single annual ring using a high-tech procedure — a total of 30,000 of them. "The heart of the lignostation is a high-frequency probe which scans each sample in steps of a hundredth of a millimeter," says Pretzsch, explaining the analysis procedure. "By doing so, we measure the specific weight of the wood with an accuracy and resolution which until recently was unthinkable." 

The wood samples come from the oldest experimental forest plots in Europe which were created at the same time the TU Munich was founded 150 years ago. The samples were taken from common European tree species such as spruces, pines, beeches, and oaks. "We have detailed knowledge of the history of every single plot and tree," says Pretzsch. "This allows us to rule out the possibility that our findings could result from the forest being managed differently now as compared to a hundred years ago." 

Climate change is making the wood lighter 
With the combination of wood samples from the 1870s to the present day coupled with the latest measurement technology, the team at the School of Life Sciences Weihenstephan were able to demonstrate that the annually growing wood has gradually become lighter since observations began — by up to eight to 12 per cent since 1900. Within the same period, the volume growth of the trees in central Europe has accelerated by 29 to 100 per cent. 

In other words, even though a greater volume of wood is being produced today, it now contains less material than just a few decades ago. However, the explanation which immediately comes to mind does not apply. "Some people might now surmise that the more rapid growth could itself be the cause for our observations," says Dr. Peter Biber, co-author of the study. "In some tree species, it is in fact the case that wider annual rings also tend to have lighter wood. But we have taken this effect into account. The decrease in wood density we are talking about is due to other factors."

Instead, Pretzsch and his team see the causes as being the long-term increase in temperature due to climate change and the resulting lengthening of the vegetation period. But the nitrogen input from agriculture, traffic, and industry also play a part. A number of details lead experts to surmise this, such as the decrease in the density of late wood and the increase in the percentage of early wood in the annual rings. 

Lighter wood — What's the problem?
Lighter wood is less solid and it has a lower calorific value. This is crucial for numerous application scenarios ranging from wood construction to energy production. Less solid wood in living trees also increases the risk of damage events such as breakage due to wind and snow in forests. 

But the most important finding for practical and political aspects is that the current climate-relevant carbon sequestration of the forests is being overestimated as long as it is calculated with established but outdated wood densities. "The accelerated growth is still resulting in surplus carbon sequestration," says Pretzsch. "But scaling up for the forests of central Europe, the traditional estimate would be to high by about 10 million metric tons of carbon per year."

More Information:
The research group at the Chair for Forest Growth and Yield Science at the TUM School of Life Sciences Weihenstephan led by Hans Pretzsch investigates the effect of climate change on the growth, stability, and vitality of trees. An important basis for this research are the experimental plots of the Chair, on which the dynamics of forests have been measured since 1879 to answer ecological and economic questions. In the study reported here, they contribute to measuring the human footprint in forest ecosystems.

Publications:
Pretzsch, H., Biber, P., Schütze, G., Kemmerer, J. and Uhl, E.: Wood density reduced while wood volume growth accelerated in Central European forests since 1870, Forest Ecology and Management, Volume 429/2018. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2018.07.045

Pretzsch, H., Biber, P., Uhl, E., Dahlhausen, J., Schütze, G., Perkins, D., Rötzer, T., Caldentey, J., Koike, T., van Con, T., Chavanne, A., du Toit, B., Foster, K., Lefer, B.: Climate change accelerates growth of urban trees in metropolises worldwide. Scientific Reports 7/ 2017. DOI:10.1038/s41598-017-14831-w.

Pretzsch, H., Biber, P., Schütze, G., Uhl, E., Rötzer, T.: Forest stand growth dynamics in Central Europe have accelerated since 1870. Nature Communications 5/ 2014.

Contact:
Prof. Dr. Hans Pretzsch
Technical University of Munich
Chair for Forest Growth
Phone: +49 (8161) 71 - 4710
Mail:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it



The Technical University of Munich (TUM) is one of Europe's leading research universities, with around 550 professors, 41,000 students, and 10,000 academic and non-academic staff. Its focus areas are the engineering sciences, natural sciences, life sciences and medicine, combined with economic and social sciences. TUM acts as an entrepreneurial university that promotes talents and creates value for society. In that it profits from having strong partners in science and industry. It is represented worldwide with the TUM Asia campus in Singapore as well as offices in Beijing, Brussels, Cairo, Mumbai, San Francisco, and São Paulo. Nobel Prize winners and inventors such as Rudolf Diesel, Carl von Linde, and Rudolf Mößbauer have done research at TUM. In 2006 and 2012 it won recognition as a German "Excellence University." In international rankings, TUM regularly places among the best universities in Germany.
Aug. 9, 2018 - Ontario's Ford government has committed an additional $100 million to fight forest fires across the province.

Since April 1, Ontario has experienced an escalated fire situation, with approximately 120 wildfires currently burning in parts of central and northern Ontario.

"This money will pay for continued fire response efforts, which includes supplies and equipment used to suppress the fire and the work of support personnel and MNRF fire rangers," Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry Jeff Yurek said. "It will also fund further assistance from our out-of-province and international partners so we can continue to fight the fires aggressively on the ground and in the air."

Almost 1,000 firefighters from Ontario are currently being assisted by about 480 firefighters and support staff, as well as aircraft and other equipment, from other provinces, Parks Canada, American states, and Mexico.

"Our number one priority is the safety of the public and the protection of communities and private property," Yurek said.

Ontario is an internationally recognized leader in wildland fire management. Annually, the government provides base funding of almost $70 million to deliver front-line operations for forest fires.

Ontario will continue to dedicate as many resources as necessary to fight the wildfires across the province and help ensure the safety and protection of communities and private property, during one of the worst fire seasons in over a decade.

For more information on the wildfires, please visit ontario.ca/forestfire.
Aug. 9, 2018 - Maritime Innovation Limited — J.D. Irving Limited’s (JDI) research lab in Sussex, N.B. — is one of only three places in the world that applies genetic science to grow softwood trees to sustain healthy forests and related forest products jobs. That means growing taller, straighter and more disease-resistant trees faster than they’re being harvested. The original seed sources are from local parent trees selected from forests across the region.
Aug. 8, 2018 - Field Surveys are an important part of sustainable forest management. Most of the forest departments across Canada have been using traditional paper-based surveys. However, Manitoba Forestry and Peatlands Branch digitalized their survey workflow using mobile geospatial technology. Tony Viveiros and Marianne Porteous at Manitoba Sustainable Development elaborate more on their use of geographic information system (GIS) technology to increase efficiency and collaboration across the department.
Aug. 2, 2018 - TimberWest is once again a classroom to a group of excited summer students, eager to further their knowledge of the forest industry.
July 27, 2018 - Effective July 25, 2018, the allowable annual cut for Western Forest Products’ Tree Farm Licence 37 is 847,000 cubic metres.

This new cut level includes a partition, so that no more than 770,200 cubic metres per year can be harvested from areas suitable for ground-based harvesting systems.

“After reviewing all of the factors involved, consulting with First Nations and considering information provided by the licensee, I am satisfied that the new allowable annual cut reflects government’s objectives for all forest resources within Tree Farm Licence 37, and will sustain the timber supply over the next 10 years,” said Shane Berg, deputy chief forester.

The cut level is about a five per cent reduction from the previous allowable annual cut of 889,415 cubic metres set in 2009, when 18,351 hectares were removed from Tree Farm Licence 37 to form a portion of the Pacific Timber Supply Area.

The reduction is consistent with a previously projected decline in the harvest level. It will ensure there is no disruption in the timber supply over the next decade, as harvesting in the tree farm licence gradually transitions from old-growth to second-growth timber.

Located in the Nimpkish Valley on the northern half of Vancouver Island, Tree Farm Licence 37 covers nearly 160,000 hectares, with approximately 86,000 hectares available for timber harvesting. It includes the communities of Port McNeill, Sayward and Woss.

The new allowable annual cut takes into consideration biodiversity, old-growth forest management and wildlife habitat protection, as well as social, cultural heritage and economic factors in the region.

The dominant tree species are western hemlock, mountain hemlock, western red cedar, balsam, Douglas fir and yellow cedar.

The deputy chief forester’s allowable annual cut determination is an independent, professional judgment based on information ranging from technical forestry reports, First Nations and public input to the government’s social and economic objectives.

Under the Forest Act, the chief forester must determine the allowable annual cut in each of the province’s 37 timber supply areas and 34 tree farm licences at least once every 10 years.
July 23, 2018 - An additional 980.5 hectares of the Coastal Douglas-fir ecosystem has been protected in 19 land parcels near the communities of Bowser, Qualicum Beach, Nanoose Bay and Cedar on Vancouver Island, and on Galiano and Salt Spring islands.

The Coastal Douglas-fir ecosystem is ranked both globally and provincially as a high priority for preservation, and is home to many endangered plant communities. Of the global range of Coastal Douglas-fir ecosystems, 80 per cent occur in the southern Strait of Georgia area. Of the 256,800 hectares in British Columbia, only nine per cent, or 23,500 hectares, is provincially owned.

The province consulted with 19 First Nations regarding the proposal to protect additional lands. In addition, the proposal was advertised for public review and comment from November 2017 to January 2018. Over 1,078 submissions were received, with 98 per cent supportive of the proposal.

The final set of approved parcels was based on the results of public review and First Nations consultation. Some of the parcels are of interest to First Nations.  

The area of Coastal Douglas-fir ecosystem protected from logging now totals over 11,000 hectares. The protection has legal authority by way of amendment to the Coastal Douglas-fir Order under the Land Act. Under the Coastal Douglas-fir land-use order, the protected lands are managed for enhanced stewardship and conservation.
July 20, 2018 - The Cascade Lower Canyon Community Forest (CLCCF), a community forest organization based in Hope, B.C., saw a strong year in 2017. 
July 19, 2018 - Canadian youth are being encouraged to find and keep green jobs with a number of paid positions being offered over the next year.

July 18, 2018 - An audit of forestry activities on seven woodlots, in the Nadina Natural Resource District, has found all seven had some type of non-compliance with the Forest and Range Practices Act and/or the Wildfire Act, according to the audit reports.

“The auditors found that woodlot licensees did not meet obligations related to reforesting previously logged sites on three woodlots, and did not meet requirements for reporting their activities to government on four woodlots,” said Bruce Larson, vice-chair, Forest Practices Board.

On three woodlots, the licensees did not meet requirements for preparing fire-hazard assessments, although they did abate fire hazards by piling and burning logging debris. One woodlot licensee neither assessed nor abated fire hazards, and failed to meet the requirements of the Wildfire Act.

“Assessing fire hazard is a legal requirement, and must be completed at required intervals after harvest has started,” said Larson. “Any identified hazards must be abated to reduce the risks of a forest fire starting or spreading.”

The audit found that all of the woodlot licensees met requirements of the Forest and Range Practices Act for operational planning and timber harvesting, as well as road and bridge construction and maintenance. All activities carried out between October 2015 and October 2017 were examined.

The board audited a total of 11 woodlots in the district. Reports on the results for the other four woodlots can be found on the board’s website.

The Forest Practices Board is B.C.’s independent watchdog for sound forest and range practices, reporting its findings and recommendations directly to the public and government. The board audits forest and range practices on public lands and appropriateness of government enforcement. It can also make recommendations for improvement to practices and legislation.
July 17, 2018 - The Forest Practices Board will examine the activities of Western Forest Products Inc. on tree farm licence 39, in the Campbell River Natural Resource District, during the week of July 23, 2018.

Auditors will examine whether harvesting, roads, silviculture, fire protection and associated planning, carried out between July 1, 2017, and July 27, 2018, met the requirements of the Forest and Range Practices Act and the Wildfire Act.

Tree farm licence 39 is made up of four geographical areas called blocks. This audit will examine activities in blocks 2 and 5. Block 2 is located northwest of Campbell River, near the community of Sayward, and Block 5 is located about 65 kilometres north of Campbell River, on the mainland coast.

In the past year, Western Forest Products Inc. has harvested approximately one million cubic metres of timber from Block 2. While there has been no recent harvesting in Block 5, auditors will examine roads and silviculture.

Once the audit work is complete, a report will be prepared, and any party that may be adversely affected by the audit findings will have a chance to respond. The board’s final report and recommendations then will be released to the public and government.

The Forest Practices Board is B.C.’s independent watchdog for sound forest and range practices, reporting its findings and recommendations directly to the public and government. The board audits forest and range practices on public land, as well as appropriateness of government enforcement.
July 6, 2018 - The Forest Practices Board has released its 2017-18 annual report, which summarizes the board’s work over the past fiscal year and highlights its current projects.

During the year, the board published 18 reports: eight complaint investigations, six audits, two special reports and one special investigation. Part of the board’s role is to receive concerns from the public about matters pertaining to the Forest and Range Practices Act and the Wildfire Act. This year, the board received 83 concerns, eight of which are now complaints under investigation.

A variety of topics were reported on this year, including the management of at-risk plant communities, grizzly bear habitat, and biodiversity at the landscape level. Other examples include potential impacts from forestry on water quality and supply, road construction on steep slopes and the efficacy of government initiatives.

The annual report also highlights responses from both government and industry to recommendations made by the board in reports published in the past couple of years.

The Forest Practices Board is B.C.’s independent watchdog for sound forest and range practices, reporting its findings and recommendations directly to the public and government. The board audits forest and range practices on public lands and appropriateness of government enforcement. It can also make recommendations for improvement to practices and legislation.

Read the full report here.
July 4, 2018 - The Forest Practices Board will examine the activities of A&A Trading Ltd. (A&A) and Terminal Forest Products Ltd. (Terminal) on forest licence A19229, in the Sunshine Coast Natural Resource District, during the week of July 9, 2018.

Auditors will examine whether harvesting, roads, silviculture, fire protection and associated planning, carried out by A&A and Terminal between July 1, 2016, and July 13, 2018, met the requirements of the Forest and Range Practices Act and the Wildfire Act.

The audit area is located near Sechelt and Powell River, in the Sunshine Coast Timber Supply Area (TSA). Forest licence A19229 has an allowable annual cut of 125,966 cubic metres per year, and is located on rugged and remote terrain, accessible only by helicopter and boat. The TSA is home to several species at risk, including the marbled murrelet and the northern goshawk.

Once the audit work is complete, a report will be prepared, and any party that may be adversely affected by the audit findings will have a chance to respond. The board’s final report and recommendations then will be released to the public and government.

The Forest Practices Board is B.C.’s independent watchdog for sound forest and range practices, reporting its findings and recommendations directly to the public and government. The board audits forest and range practices on public land, as well as appropriateness of government enforcement.
July 3, 2018 - A stretch of boreal forest along the Manitoba-Ontario border has been declared a UNESCO world heritage site. 

Pimachiowin Aki (“The Land That Gives Life”) is a forest landscape crossed by rivers and studded with lakes, wetlands, and boreal forest. It forms part of the ancestral home of the Anishinaabeg, an indigenous people living from fishing, hunting and gathering. 

The area encompasses the traditional lands of four Anishinaabeg communities (Bloodvein River, Little Grand Rapids, Pauingassi and Poplar River). It is an exceptional example of the cultural tradition of Ji-ganawendamang Gidakiiminaan (“keeping the land”), UNESCO stated, which consists of honouring the gifts of the Creator, respecting all forms of life and maintaining harmonious relations with others. A complex network of livelihood sites, habitation sites, travel routes and ceremonial sites, often linked by waterways, embodies this tradition.
June 28, 2018 - At the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, we believe forests are the answer to many of our local, national and global challenges.
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