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Communities in Mexico are trying to protect an endangered fir forest


For 20 years, the Colima fir tree has been the cause of many disputes. The future of this tree rests upon whether the area's avocado crops will expand and whether neighbouring communities will unite to protect it.


The Colima fir tree distribution has been reduced to the area surrounding the Nevado de Colima volcano. In 2019, Mexican authorities included the tree on a list of endangered species. According to biologist José Villa Castillo, it is imperative to stop the commercialization of the tree's timber and to create policies that conserve the forests in which it lives. Villa Castillo acknowledged the enormous challenge of conserving this tree, and he said the expansion of the nearby avocado industry also threatens its survival.

Researchers claim the tree's future prospects are further complicated by its slow growth rate, its degree of erosion and the effects of climate change. Villa Castillo, an expert in pine genetics and reproduction, said the Colima fir tree has never been successfully reproduced in nurseries, which would likely make it impossible to conduct reforestation efforts to help repopulate the species. Since 2013, the forests around the Nevado de Colima volcano have lost nearly 6,600 hectares due to illegal logging, livestock rearing and intentionally set fires.

Despite the strong pressure for land use changes brought by the avocado agroindustry and fostered by the high level of impunity that often prevails in rural areas, local communities and many of the area's landowners continue to search for a model in which their forests can remain standing.

"Many neighbours say that we are foolish for not wanting to sell this beautiful forest that we have, but that money only lasts for a short time," said José Avalo Lino, a farmer in San José del Carmen. "We are so certain of preventing logging that, long before the declaration of the natural protected area, our community assembly had already decided to save this forest. We will continue to be 'foolish' in this decision."

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Portugal: Worten new campaign contributes to strengthening the brand forest


The third edition of the initiative has launched in all Worten stores.


In 2017, the Oliveira do Hospital area was one of the regions most affected by the fires. For this reason, Worten came through with a new adventure and initiative that consists of the brand's commitment to rebuilding the homes of the populations directly affected by the fires and helping to reforest the region.

For each purchase of an A ++ or A +++ equipment in Worten in which an end of life device is also delivered, the brand undertakes to plant a tree. The third edition of the “Efficient Exchange” initiative has already started, in force in all Worten stores and aims to raise awareness of the recycling of electrical and electronic equipment while contributing to reforesting Portugal.

«Although almost three years have passed, the devastation caused by the fires in the Central region of the country, in October 2017, remained in the collective memory. From the first moment that, in solidarity with this national tragedy, we mobilized our internal resources and also our customers ”, says Inês Drummond Borges, Marketing Director at Worten.

Following the first campaign, in 2018, Worten managed to plant a total of 3,700 trees. Last year, 15,000 trees were planted in the same region.

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Entrepreneurship and its power on promoting development amongst forest communities


Investing in innovative solutions is the key to preserving the Congo Basin.


Located in the northern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), there is the land of Yangambi - once a lush tropical forest landscape, home to wildlife and abundant resources that provided reliable livelihoods to the communities living in the area. However, decades of land overexploitation, economic fragility and population growth have taken a toll, resulting in a fragmented landscape that is struggling to cope with high demand for food, energy and other resources.

Two junior experts - Neville Mapenzi and Georges Mumbere - with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) are working together with local communities to break a vicious cycle: “Currently people cut down trees in natural areas to produce charcoal and food crops,” Mumbere claimed. “When the fertility of the soil has been nearly exhausted, they move on to another patch and start all over again, eating away at the forest and forcing themselves to walk further and further to obtain food and fuel.” These unsustainable activities in the Yangambi landscape represent a big problem.

The strategy has been split into two parts, Mapenzi explained: “We are promoting agroforestry systems to increase soil fertility, agriculture productivity, and wood fuel availability as an alternative to slash-and-burn, itinerant agriculture; and at the same time, we are helping develop new livelihood activities that can increase the local availability of nutritious food and provide households with an additional income, for example, fish farming."

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NC Forest Service opens annual tree seedling sale


The North Carolina Forest Service (WLOS)  is accepting tree seedling orders as part of its annual sale.


Every year, the NCFS Nursery Program produces millions of quality seedlings for nearly 50 species of conifers, hardwoods and native plants, including eastern and Carolina hemlock seedlings, as well as a prominent selection of genetically improved third cycle loblolly pine seedlings. Genetically improved plants are also available in longleaf pine, shortleaf pine, white pine and many other species. These seedlings offer better volume growth, form, disease resistance, straightness, and other characteristics needed to produce high-quality forest products.

“Trees are one of our greatest renewable resources, and these tree seedlings help keep North Carolina beautiful and economically viable,” said North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner, Steve Troxler. “Tree seedlings and understory plants are available to the public and private entities and landowners. Demand for tree seedlings is up, so anyone interested in buying trees is encouraged to order early.” Hardwoods are sold in quantities as low as 10 and conifers in quantities as low as 50. For those wishing to submit larger orders, the nursery sells tree seedlings in larger quantities.

Distribution of tree seedlings will occur from December through mid-April, depending on climatic conditions. Seedling orders can be shipped to one of 12 distribution centres statewide for a small fee or via UPS for a charge. Seedling orders are also available for pickup from the NCFS Claridge Nursery in Goldsboro or the Linville River Nursery, near Crossnore.

The forest sector contributes around $33.6 billion annually to the economy and supports more than 150,000 jobs for locals.

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Ecotourism: 2020’s new trend?


Many industries have been hit by the pandemic, with tourism remaining the most affected one. New solutions arise.



No one expected that the virus that originated from the wildlife market in the capital of China’s Hubei province, Wuhan, would spread all over the globe. As of now, the virus has already infected more than 8 million people. Before the pandemic, the tourism industry was at its peak, with more people travelling than ever before. However, with all of the tourism operations postponed, there are barely any tourists to be seen. Restricted mobility was announced by experts from the very beginning, especially international travel would be the prime step in the fight against COVID-19.


Amid the global pandemic, which requires being constantly alert while practising social distancing, waves of mass tourism are practically impossible. A growing number of national governments are recommending their citizens to spend their time travelling inside their countries, instead of making international holidays. This advice remains regardless of whether the borders open or not. This could be one of the best solutions to the problem we are facing now as rural areas and regions in almost all countries are usually far behind major urban centres in terms of wealth and development.


Ecotourism implies visiting rural areas, national parks, and wildlife sanctuaries without damaging any of its properties. The main goal is to leave as little footprint as possible. That is why ecotourists usually go through areas that are not visited by others frequently. This type of tourism provides an opportunity to enjoy nature, relax, and explore something new without risking anyone’s life and the environment. People visiting those areas would be spending money at local businesses, contributing to regional economic development.


It is expected that ecotourism will rise predominantly in Europe, America, and Australia. Countries in those areas offer lots of astonishing places, while people are comparably more responsible with nature. The concept of ecotourism has already been quite popular across Europe during the last few years. Having no borders across 27 nations, citizens of the European Union will be able to enjoy a whole variety of wildlife, environment, and rural sites.





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Communities all around the world are planting tiny forests in order to fight climate change


Known as 'Miyawaki' forests, the trees were planted using a method invented by a Japanese botanist in the 1970s.


The method is based on the work of Akira Miyawaki, a Japanese botanist. He discovered that protected areas around temples in Japan contained a huge variety of vegetation that co-existed in order to produce resilient and diverse ecosystems. Eventually, his work developed into the Miyawaki method – an approach that prioritizes the natural development of forests using native species. Miyawaki forests can grow into mature ecosystems in just 20 years – extremely fast when compared to the 200 years it can take a forest to regenerate on its own.

The popularity of Miyawaki forests is growing with global initiatives - in India, the Amazon, and Europe. Projects like Urban Forests in Belgium and France, and Tiny Forest in the Netherlands, are bringing together volunteers to transform small pieces of wasteland. Urban forests bring many benefits to communities beyond their impact on biodiversity. Green spaces can help to improve people’s mental health, reduce the bad effects of air pollution, and even reduce the phenomenon of heat islands in cities, where expanses of concrete and asphalt raise temperatures unnaturally high.

The potential to combat climate change is what makes Miyawaki forests a particularly attractive option for many environmentalists. Reforestation is a key part of strategies to limit the rise in global temperatures to 1.5ºC. It’s estimated that new or restored forests could remove up to 10 gigatons of C2O equivalent by 2050. However, not all forests are equally effective in absorbing carbon. Mature forests of native trees soak up much more CO2 than the monoculture plantations that make up many reforestation projects.

Conservation groups point that Miyawaki forests should not be seen as an alternative to protecting existing native forests. Small, unconnected wooded areas can never replace the large portions of natural land that are vital to so many species.

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Georgia receives a new rolling mill from China


Chinese company CFL Flooring will invest in the North American market and increase the reach of the market, partners and distributors. The new industry will be placed in Calhoun, Georgia.


In addition to the factory, new showrooms will be opened throughout the city. China CFL Flooring is specialist in laminates, wood and LVT and expects this expansion to create 300 new jobs. Tom Van Poyer, CFL's CEO believes that "being able to supply products produced in the United States will allow us not only to sustain our leadership position in product design and product innovation but also create a platform allowing second-to-none service through reduced delivery times."

The investment is expected to exceed US$70 million. CFL is already located in a newly built 252,000 square feet facility in Calhoun and the plan is to build another 250,000 as soon as possible. The project meets the international positioning objectives of the company, which is already the largest exporter of wooden floors in the Asian market.

Creative Flooring Solutions is known for the manufacture of luxury laminates, wood and vinyl and the spaces available to be filled will be essentially for professional and qualified artisans, operators and also workers. However, management positions will also be assigned. Founded in the city of Shanghai in 2004, CFL currently employs 3,500 people in its three factories, several offices and distribution centers around the world.

These particularities make the company the largest exporter of floors in Asia. Thomas Baert, co-owner of CFL says that “this marks a next step in our plan to become a global company, and we are looking forward to contributing to the economic wellbeing of the community in Calhoun, Gordon County, and Georgia.”

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How the sustainable use of wood leads to climate benefits


Forests and forest-based industries play a crucial role in strengthening the low-carbon circular bio-economy.


The circular bio-economy provides sustainable alternatives to fossil materials and energy, helping to break up economic growth from resource depletion and environmental impact. The overall climate benefits of forests and harvested wood products include detachment of CO2 by forest growth thanks to sustainable forest management; the carbon storage effect of harvested circular forest-based products; the substitution effects of replacing carbon-intensive and fossil-based materials and fuels with forest-based resources. On a system level, this is the most efficient carbon emission reduction system we have nowadays.

The side streams of production and chemical compounds of wood are in focus to be used as raw materials for new forest-based products. A wood-based compound called lignin is in the centre stage for developing new solutions ranging from pharmaceuticals and cosmetics to packaging and energy solutions. It is even possible to process lignin into a carbon intermediate for electrode materials used in cell phone batteries and other daily electric appliances.

The key success of the forest-based industry is innovative cooperation across the value chain. Starting from sustainable forest management to products that can be recycled or reused, the forest-based sector needs to work together to get the best value out of wood resources.

The reorientation towards a fossil-free, bio-based economy, moving away from the fossil-based economy, is crucial. The forest-based sector actors, including European forest owners, are ready to become the most competitive, innovative and sustainable providers of net-zero carbon solutions for a climate-neutral Europe.



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Birch sap has medicinal properties and contributes to well-being and detoxification


Trees and plants are more than oxygen sources, ecosystem houses and the basis of wood and forestry sectors. In France there has been a strong bet on the exploration of birch.


The birch has a very special sap. Currently, this component is consumed as a cure to regain tone and vitality. It’s also a great source of vitamins and trace elements. Birch is considered by many, including experts, an elixir of well-being. The exploration of this sap for medicinal purposes is currently growing in France, where many forest properties are already being acquired in order to develop the production of this substance.

One of the potentials that most highlights this sap is its detoxifying property. The results have been frankly proven recently, although the benefits are not new in countries like Russia or Alaska. Known as "forest water", the substance is extracted from birches and there are already many other products derived from it.

The birch plant, whose scientific name is Betula pubescens or Betula pendula, is also called birch tree. This plant of the Betulaceae family, has Eurasian origin and is found mainly in temperate zones of Asia and North America. However, for thousands of years it has been explored and used in the northern hemisphere of the globe.

As a rule, this special sap is found in regions such as Russia, the Scandinavian countries or Canada, but it can also be extracted from the forests of Australia, New Zealand, as well as Eastern Europe and France. It usually sprouts on poorer soils, generally siliceous, acidic and moist. The season of the birch is between the months of April and May, developing up to 2000 meters above sea level.

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A global perspective on sustainable forest management


New initiatives and certification schemes are being launched in order to ensure the responsible and sustainable management of forests worldwide.


The word 'sustainable' is overused these days and it can be interpreted in many ways - especially when it comes to forest management. A sustainable way of management may involve sustaining forests for commercial timber production or sustaining wildlife conservation or even for leisure use. Not using resources is not an option, for either we use them or lose them. Either way, it is necessary to recognize the value of the forests in our life or risk conversion to agriculture, mining, urban development, etcetera.

In order to demonstrate sustainable management, companies have been acquiring multiple forest certifications although it still represents only 10% of the world's forests. The reasons are complex and attributable to poor forest governance and practices in some parts of the world. Technical constraints to certification and lack of demand and incentives is another issue that governments must tackle. Although many forests may be sustainably managed, the best proof of this is through impartial and credible third-party accredited certification. Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) promotes this independent certification to demonstrate to consumers that the wood used in their products comes from sustainably managed forests.

In some countries, sustainable management has been achieved and supervised for decades. In the United States, for example, there are said to be more trained graduate foresters than anywhere else in the world. In Scandinavia forestry is considered a noble profession respected by everyone. Forestry practices in Asia were established in colonial times and have formed the foundations of sustainable management ever since - in Malaysia, for example.

The answer to sustainable management is undoubtedly complex and the keyword is ‘responsibility’. This concept is essential, right through the chain from forest to the logger, to the manufacturer, to the trader and finally to the customer. The responsibility for sustainable management depends on all.

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