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The EuroForest Portal news service covers items of direct interest to the forest and forest products sector, and also items of more general environmental interest. The geographic scope for news items is generally the European (or sub-region of Europe) level, but items of global, national and sub-national interest may also be noticed. In general, announcements of events are not noticed (exceptions are made for events of international importance).

GFIS - Global Forest Information Service. GFIS is a collaborative initiative that allows sharing of forest-related information through a single gateway. The information resources accessible through GFIS are freely available, and provide direct access to the original information.

EFI press releases - News items about European forest research related issues and about EFI activities.

EFI events calendar - Information on upcoming and past events of EFI and other organisations, and links to other forest-related event calendars.



Forest Leaders Agree on Principles for Sustainable Forestry Management to Address Climate Change
Sep 19, 2008

Global Forest Leaders Forum on Forests and Climate Change - 16-17 September 2008 - Washington, DC, USA

A two-day meeting in Washington, organized by The Forests Dialogue (TFD) in conjunction with the World Bank, covered a wide range of issues. These included how to deal with the drivers of deforestation, and supporting local processes that clarify and strengthen land tenure, property and carbon rights. Together, the six agreed principles help reinforce the message that sustainable forest management is central to combating climate change and needs to be reflected more fully in the on-going global climate change policy discussions. Participants recommended, however, sharpening the principles to make them more action-oriented and client-focused.

A final statement which encapsulates the principles will be launched at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Barcelona in October 2008, and presented to the 14th session of the Conference of the Parties to the Climate Change Convention in Poznan, Poland, in December.

The Washington meeting was the culmination of seven months of global dialogue, led by TFD, with a wide range of stakeholder groups. That dialogue refined a multi-stakeholder vision for the role forests should play in future climate change arrangements. The Washington meeting was called to obtain support of that vision from the leaders of organizations and groups active in the conservation and management of forests.

The meeting was attended by over 100 leaders and participants from governments, international institutions, the conservation community, indigenous peoples’ groups, forest owners’ associations, research agencies, and the private sector.

Beyond REDD: The Role of Forests in Climate Change

World Bank Press Release

The Forests Dialogue

 
New project develops innovative sustainable wood-based composite materials using nanotechnology
Sep 19, 2008

The European Commission has decided to invest €6.5 million Euro into a large-scale project dealing with the development of sustainable wood-based composite materials for a wide range of applications.

SustainComp aims at introducing several families of new advanced nanostructured wood-based biocomposites for a number of commercial sectors in society, such as the transportation and packaging sectors. The production of these new materials can integrate today’s large enterprises on the raw material and end-use sides (e.g. pulp mills and packaging manufacturers), and small- and medium-sized enterprises on the composite processing side (e.g. compounders and composite manufacturers). This will generate opportunities for the existing wood-based industry to conquer new markets and also create openings for new companies, business models and areas. For the existing wood-based industry, it is also a step towards the transformation into a modernized industry, by fostering new concepts and materials in a broad and innovative perspective.

The SustainComp project will run for 4 years with a total budget of 9.5 million Euros, of which the EU contribution is 6.5 million Euros. SustainComp involves 17 European organizations and is coordinated by the Swedish R&D company Innventia AB (previously STFI-Packforsk).

SustainComp

 
Old-growth forests as global carbon sinks
Sep 11, 2008

Luyssaert et al. conducted a search of literature and databases for forest carbon-flux estimates. They found that in forests between 15 and 800 years of age, net ecosystem productivity (the net carbon balance of the forest including soils) is usually positive. Contrary to the long-standing view that old-growth forests are carbon neutral, the results demonstrate that old-growth forests can continue to accumulate carbon.

Over 30% of the global forest area is unmanaged primary forest, and this area contains the remaining old-growth forests. Half of the primary forests (6×108 hectares) are located in the boreal and temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. On the basis of the analysis, these forests alone sequester about 1.3 ± 0.5 gigatonnes of carbon per year.

Nature

 
Third Call of the EU's 7th Framework Programme for Research
Sep 05, 2008

The European Commission has published a number of calls for proposals under the specific programmes Cooperation and Capacities of the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7).

Under the Cooperation programme the areas addressed include: Environment; Food, agriculture and fisheries, and biotechnology (=KBBE); Energy; and Biorefineries.

Under the Capacities programme the areas addressed include: Research for the benefit of SMEs; Activities of international cooperation; Science in society; and Regions of knowledge.

The deadlines vary, please consult the individual calls.

CORDIS News

 
Ghana-EU ‘Trade and Aid’ Deal on Forests Guarantees Legal Timber Exports to European Market
Sep 04, 2008

The European Union and the Government of Ghana have announced a groundbreaking trade agreement that would stop imports of illegal timber into Europe from Ghana, and offer European consumers a credible guarantee that Ghanaian timber products have been obtained in a manner that protects Ghana’s remaining forests and benefits local forest communities.

The deal is the first of a series of legally-binding bilateral agreements, known as Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs), envisioned between the EU and individual timber-producing countries. VPAs are part of a package of measures set out in the European Commission’s 2003 Action Plan on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT), which recognises the EU’s responsibility to tackle its own demand for high-risk imported wood. The deal commits the Government of Ghana to developing transparent systems for collecting timber taxes and ensuring legal compliance in their forest sector; and the EU to establishing border measures to exclude unlicensed Ghanaian wood from the European market.

European and Member State development assistance has also been made available to the Government of Ghana for investment in enforcement and auditing systems for their export sector. “For many years, Europe has talked the talk of saving the world’s forests but demanded increasing volumes of cheap wood imports, providing profitable markets for illegal wood from very poor countries,” said Dr. Ralph Ridder, EFI FLEGT Team Coordinator. “Now European consumers are increasingly sensitive to global deforestation, so the EU has responded by seeking to turn around this dynamic through the VPA mechanism and this agreement.”

EFI Press Release

 
EFI Policy Brief 2: "Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade – the European Union approach"
Aug 29, 2008

Illegal logging and its environmental effects as well as its impacts on people, such as the fuelling of corruption and exacerbation of poverty, are among the reasons why the European Commission published the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan in 2003. The Action Plan sets out different measures available to the European Union and its Member States to tackle illegal logging.

EFI Policy Brief 2 introduces the Action Plan’s main aims and methods to develop markets in Europe for legal products. The Plan focuses on the EU trade policies by developing partnerships with producer countries; by developing legislation to encourage importers to take responsibility for the provenance of the wood they buy and by promoting responsible purchasing by governments and timber importers in Member States.

EFI press release

EFI Policy Brief 2 [Available in English and French]

 
Annual European Community greenhouse gas inventory 1990 - 2006 and inventory report 2008
Aug 28, 2008

This report was published on the EEA web-pages on 18 June 2008. It is the annual submission of the greenhouse gas inventory of the European Community to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol. It presents greenhouse gas emissions between 1990 and 2006 for EU-27, EU-15, individual Member States and economic sectors. Between 2005 and 2006 emissions within the EU-27 fell by 0.3%, and now stand 7.7% below 1990 levels. Emissions in the 15 pre-2004 Member States (EU-15) decreased by 0.8% and now stand 2.7% below their levels in the base year (1990 in most cases).

EEA Technical report No 6/2008

 
Forest-based industries in the EU-27
Aug 18, 2008

Statistics In Focus Issue number 74/2008 provides an analysis of the forest products industry for the year 2005. The EU-27’s forest-based industries included around 350 000 enterprises employing almost 3 million persons. Generating turnover of €380 billion, they produced value added of €116 billion. The publication analyses the structure, performance and evolution of the forest based industries: Manufacturing of wood and wood products, Pulp, paper and paper products, and Printing and services related to printing. It includes a separate section focussed on the related activity of furniture manufacturing.

Eurostat Statistics in Focus

 
UNECE/FAO Forest Products Annual Market Review, 2007-2008
Aug 08, 2008

The UNECE/FAO Forest Products Annual Market Review, 2007-2008 provides general and statistical information on forest products markets and related policies in the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe region (Europe, North America and the Commonwealth of Independent States). The Review begins with an overview chapter, followed by a description of Government and industry policies affecting forest products markets. After a description of the economic situation and construction-related demand in the region, five chapters based on annual country-supplied statistics, describe: wood raw materials, sawn softwood, sawn hardwood, wood-based panels, and paper, paperboard and woodpulp. Additional chapters discuss markets for wood energy, certified forest products, value-added wood products and tropical timber.

UNECE/FAO press release

Forest Products Annual Market Review 2007-2008

Previous Reviews  

The study’s main findings are:

  • In 2006 and early 2007, United States house construction fell sharply; however, stronger European and CIS markets pushed UNECE region consumption of wood and paper products to record volumes of 1.4 billion m3.
  • Responding to climate change and energy security concerns, government policies in Europe and North America are accelerating woodfuel demand to meet targets for renewable energy.
  • Rising demand for wood energy, in addition to the wood and paper industry’s increasing demand for wood raw materials, necessitates mobilizing more wood, which is reshaping the entire forest sector, with long-term opportunities and short-term consequences.
  • Approximately half of the 472 million m3 harvested in Europe, and the 679 million m3 harvested in North America, is sooner or later used for energy.
  • Certified forest area reached 292 million hectares worldwide by mid-2007, with most in the UNECE region, where in addition to wood, other products are being certified, including woodfuel and non-wood forest products.
  • China now leads the world in both roundwood imports and furniture exports, which has stimulated imports of roundwood and sawnwood from the UNECE region, and is an existential threat for some of the region’s furniture manufacturers.
  • China’s forest products output was $140 billion in 2006, increasing by over 25% from 2005; primary products imports increased by 14% to $17 billion, and exports increasing by 26% to $7 billion in the same period.
  • Half of China’s furniture exports are wooden, rising rapidly over the last decade, including by 39% from 2005 to 2006, to reach $8.8 billion.
  • In Europe, strong growth in both production (by 4.7% to 110.5 million m3) and consumption (by 4.0% to 102.1 million m3) (i.e. strengthening net exporter) of sawn softwood occurred in 2006, rising with increased prices for sawlogs and sawnwood; conversely, North American prices and markets fell (production by 3.9% to 122.6 million m3 and consumption by 5.0% to 122.2 million m3).
  • Investments in European wood processing capacity, at times with EU assistance and at times by multi-national companies, have created greater demand for industrial roundwood and more production of wood products for both domestic and export markets.
  • Russia implemented a far-reaching Forest Code to improve the whole sector, and then initiated rising export taxes on roundwood in mid-2007; however, there were numerous start-up complications. A longstanding US-Canada Softwood Lumber Agreement was resolved with a new seven-year trade agreement in 2006, but it remains controversial.
  • Germany became Europe’s largest sawnwood producer in 2004, and its production of sawn softwood escalated again in 2006, by 12%, reaching 23.2 million m3; together with higher demand for wood for energy and other wood products, Germany’s roundwood removals continued their rapid climb in 2006, by over 9.4%, reaching 62.3 million m3.
 
OneGeology map available via Web
Aug 06, 2008
The OneGeology Portal was launched at the 33rd International Geological Congress in Oslo on 6 August 2008. OneGeology makes geological map data available using Web Map Service technology. It is planned as a distributed map service – i.e. the geological map data are served mostly on a national basis by individual geological surveys and other bodies (e.g. the polar and marine surveys and research bodies) to a web portal and as such will be frequently updated and improved by them and reflect the most up-to-date data available. Some 94 nations around the world are currently participating in OneGeology. Each nation is represented by its Geological Survey. OneGeology is supported by UNESCO and six other international umbrella bodies: International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS), International Consortium of Geological Surveys (ICOGS), EuroGeoSurveys, Commission for the Geological Map of the World (CGMW), International Steering Committee for Global Mapping (ISCGM), International Lithosphere Program.

OneGeology Website (information about the OneGeology project)

OneGeology Portal (access to the service)
 
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