Farmers warned felling licences taking a year to process – IFA

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Forestry felling licenses are taking up to a year to process farmers are being warned by the IFA. National Farm Forestry Chairman, Pat Collins said that the latest IFA Timber Price report shows that palletwood prices have increased by up to 15pc since February, while average sawlog prices are in excess of €85/tonne. Pat Collins said, “With demand for timber predicted to remain high at a domestic and global level, it is a good time to consider forestry. There are several options available under the Afforestation and Woodland Creation scheme to suit the soil, size, location and management objectives”.

He said that the size of a viable forest from a timber perspective is very location specific, for example a small forest that is near a road and easy to work can generate comparable timber incomes per hectare as a larger forests, particularly if managed as part of a harvesting cluster. “For those who have already planted, but who have not managed the forest or have timber in hard-to-access locations – now is the time to have your asset valued and look at realising a good price”. A farmer is legally required to apply to the Forest Service for a felling license before they can fell a tree in his plantation. If you are planning to apply for a felling licence, approvals can take up to 12 months to issue.

“Farmers are very concerned with the delays in getting felling licence approval”, said Mr. Collins. “The introduction of a single 10 year felling licence and the new public consultation process, although welcomed, is causing further delays”. He said that the Department must work to reduce the turnaround time for felling licence approvals so farmers can avail of the strong timber prices.

https://www.independent.ie/business/farming/forestry-enviro/forestry/farmers-warned-felling-licences-taking-a-year-to-process-ifa-36945543.html

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Finnish experience in co-operative partnerships in small forest-based local heating energy businesses – outcomes from the MADIE project

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The MADIE project published a booklet which highlights the economics and organizational aspects of small local heating energy supply schemes set up in rural regions as a market-driven business by their owners for earning them a profit and, apart from private self-interests, for promoting the social claims of their stakeholders.

The booklet tells about the Finnish experience in co-operative partnerships, especially in small forest-based local heating energy businesses. Start-up entrepreneurs and their partners need inspiration and guidance in how to establish and operate their business successfully. Besides technical and market information, for starting and organizing a business, multifaceted upfront information is needed. Here, decisions as to the legal form, ownership, liabilities, participation rights and selecting the right partners, are crucial for the continuity of the business. There is a need for arguments that help persuade stakeholders about the legitimacy of the business and related social benefits.

The booklet addresses, among others, forest owners, rural entrepreneurs and their public stakeholders. Policy makers have been attracted by a business model that meets the triple bottom line: by offering an attractive return to investment, providing support to renewable energy transition, and creating jobs and income in rural economies. Co-operatives have been able to demonstrate to be a convenient participatory model of organizing joint business activities.

The booklet, with its focus on renewable energy co-operatives, contributes to the outcomes of the MADIE-project, an initiative supported by the European Union’s Erasmus programme, which offers a comprehensive range of views on multifunctional agriculture as a driver for innovation in rural Europe.

MADIE is funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union and coordinated by the German Starkmacher e.V. with partners Natural Resources Institute Finland (LUKE, Finland), County Governor of Hordaland (Norway), NAK Nonprofit Kft. (Hungary) and Terre di loppiano srl (Italy).

The booklet “Co-operatives and forest-based heating entrepreneurship in a rural setting – the Finnish experience” can be found from here or from the library at https://www.ruralacademy.org/contents

The booklet is available in English and also in Finnish (as summary report from the English version).

Information gained during the MADIE project are beneficial also for the GREBE project and are supporting the activity towards a guideline supporting enterprises in introducing new to market energy solutions.

Ireland’s forestry cover now at 10% of land area

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One in every 10 hectares of land is now planted in forestry, according to the latest figures. The Government’s Forestry Statistics paint a picture of the country’s afforested grounds amid increasing pressure to up volume of lands under trees due to greenhouse gas emissions targets. Despite Ireland falling far short of planting targets, the area of forest is estimated to stand at 731,650ha or 10.5% of the total land area of the country. Around 53% or 389,356ha is in public ownership, mainly Coillte.

The forested area acts as a carbon reservoir, amounting to 381 million tonnes of carbon in 2012 and between 2008 and 2012 it removed 16Mt of CO2 and offset 5% of all national emissions. There have been major concerns raised in western counties, particularly Leitrim, over the level of forestry planting in the region. Farmers account for 83% of private lands afforested between 1980 and 2016, with the average size of private grant-aided plantations around 8.8ha since 1980. It states farmer planting has dominated afforestation since 1993. With farmers and non-farmers now eligible for the same rate of grants and premium payments, the number of non-farmers planting has increased to 35% of the areas afforested in 2016. It points out that ‘non-farmers’ include retired farmers, sons and daughters of farmers and other relatives who may have inherited land.

Forestry and its role in carbon sequestration is an obvious part of any solution to the problem of emissions produced by agriculture. In 2016, Cork had the highest afforestation area at 608ha, followed by Clare at 552ha, Roscommon at 435ha, Leitrim at 434ha and Mayo at 429. There were 34 ‘non-farmers’ who accounted for 254ha in Cork in 2016, while 33 accounted for 238ha in Clare, 26 for 212ha in Cavan and 28 for 195ha in Leitrim. Efforts have been made recently to increase the volume of broadleaves planted by the Agriculture Department, with increased grant incentives, as the forest estate is made up of three quarters conifers and one quarter broadleaves. Sitka spruce is the most common species, accounting for 52% of the forest area. The report warns tree diseases impacting species such as larch and Chalara fraxinea or ash dieback may influence diversity into the future.

Source: https://www.independent.ie/business/farming/forestry-enviro/forestry/forestry-cover-now-at-10pc-of-land-area-36697235.html

Use of data and technology to grow and harvest more wood

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TECH4EFFECT is a collaborative research project to increase access to wood resources. Data and knowledge based management will enable more efficient silviculture and harvesting, but also reduction of soil and environmental impact from forest operations with the TECH4EFFECT benchmarking system.

The strategic objective of TECH4EFFECT is to improve the efficiency of European forest management by enabling a data-driven knowledge-based revolution of the European forest sector while also providing key incremental improvements in technology. The TECH4EFFECT (Knowledge and Technologies for Effective Wood Procurement) project recently published a new animation video: https://youtu.be/54DDLTon7rg

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The TECH4EFFECT project has received funding under the Horizon2020 BBI (Bio-Based-Industries) programme by the European Union. The TECH4EFFECT project objectives are relevant also for the Northern Periphery regions and GREBE partner countries.

More information about the project can be found under http://www.tech4effect.eu/

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Towards a more effective wood procurement – TECH4EFFECT conducted field trials with cut-to-length machines

The TECH4EFFECT (Knowledge and Technologies for Effective Wood Procurement) project successfully conducted field trials near Jyväskylä, Finland, on the efficiency of cut-to-length harvesting machines during last week. The field tests were conducted by the project partners Luke, CNR-IVALSA and Ponsse in cooperation with a contractor and their operators.

The project focuses on increasing access to wood resources through more efficient silviculture and a better understanding of the business models governing the procurement of forest operations services. The project further considers increasing efficiency in forest harvesting and collection, and the reduction of soil impact from forest operations, and puts forward ways of making this a measurable and integrated part of operational efficiency. TECH4EFFECT offers the potential to revolutionize forest operations with a state-of-the-art knowledge-based efficiency development system, providing easily accessible decision support exploiting the large amount of data available in modern industrial forest management. The ambition of TECH4EFFECT is to implement such as management tool, enhanced through 4 years of intensive R&D in close cooperation with the end-users of the Efficiency Portal in 5 participating countries. It is the project’s hope that implementation will result in such obvious benefits amongst the industrial partners that its application will become widespread within the European forest sector.

The conducted study provides information aiming at reducing fuel consumption in timber harvesting and extraction. The aim of this activity and task was to map the potential fuel saving measures in cut-to-length harvester operation.

The TECH4EFFECT project has received funding under the Horizon2020 BBI (Bio-Based-Industries) programme by the European Union. The project is led by the Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NIBIO) and has partners from Italy, Austria, Denmark, Germany, Norway, Poland and Finland. GREBE partner Luke is leading the working package “Increasing access to wood resources“ and involved in other working packages. The total budget of the project is 5.3 million euros.

The TECH4EFFECT project objectives are relevant also for the Northern Periphery regions and GREBE partner countries.

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This project has received funding from the Bio Based Industries Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 720757.

Another record in Finland: “Record-high consumption of wood fuels last year”

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Photo: Erkki Oksanen / Luke

Another record in Finland: “Record-high consumption of wood fuels last year”

“In 2016, heating and power plants consumed a total of 19.3 million solid cubic metres of solid fuelwoods, representing an increase of 6 per cent from the previous year, and more than ever before. The total consumption of wood fuels reached an all-time record as well.

In 2016, wood fuels were the most important source of energy in Finland, accounting for 26 per cent of the total energy consumption.

Forest chips used as in the previous year

The most significant solid wood fuel used by heating and power plants was forest chips, the consumption of which increased by one per cent year-on-year to 7.4 million cubic metres.

The use of forest chips in the combined production of heat and power continued to decrease, shrinking by 6 per cent year-on-year to 4.5 million cubic metres, says Senior Statistician Esa Ylitalo of Natural Resources Institute Finland.

However, the use of forest chips in the generation of heat only increased by 14 per cent, to 2.9 million cubic metres. Together with the forest chips burned in small-scale housing, total consumption reached 8.1 million cubic metres.

Small-sized trees the most significant raw material of forest chips

More than half, or 3.9 million cubic metres, of the forest chips consumed by the plants were manufactured from small-sized trees, i.e. pruned small-diameter stems and unpruned small-sized trees. The second most common source, 2.5 million cubic metres, was logging residues. The use of stumps as raw material for forest chips came to 0.8 million cubic metres, and that of large-sized timber, not suitable for the manufacturing of forest industry products, to 0.3 million cubic metres.

The use of solid by-products for energy generation on the rise

Plants consumed 8 per cent more forest industry by-products and wood residues than in the previous year, a total of 10.9 million cubic metres. The main material used in burning was bark, accounting for almost 70 per cent, or 7.3 million cubic metres, of by-product wood. The use of nearly all types of solid wood fuels increased from the previous year. Proportionally, the greatest increase (+31%) was seen in the consumption of wood pellets and briquettes, and recycled wood (+29%).

The consumption of solid wood fuels was highest in the Central Finland region, while most forest chips were burned in Uusimaa and most forest industry by-products and wood residues in South Karelia.

Record-high amounts of wood used in energy generation in 2016

Based on preliminary data by Statistics Finland, the consumption of wood fuels in energy generation was record-high in 2016, a total of 96 terawatt-hours (TWh). Of the total consumption of wood fuels, solid wood fuels of heating and power plants covered 37 TWh, the combustion of black liquor 41 TWh, the small-scale combustion of wood 17 TWh and other wood fuels 2 TWh. Wood fuels were the most important source of energy, accounting for 26 per cent of the total energy consumption.” (Luke News)

The Original news article can be found from Luke´s news section under:

https://www.luke.fi/en/news/record-high-consumption-wood-fuels-last-year/

Finnish roundwood harvests to a record level in 2016

 

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Photo: Erkki Oksanen / Luke

The total amount of roundwood removed from Finnish forests for the forest industry or energy production was 70 million cubic metres in 2016. The figure was a new record and more than two million cubic metres higher than during the previous year.

According to statistics by the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), a total of 62.1 million cubic metres of roundwood were harvested for export or for the production of forest industry products. Of this volume, sawlogs accounted for 26.3 million cubic metres and pulpwood for 35.8 million cubic metres. The total volume increased by 3.3 million cubic metres or six per cent on the previous year. The industrial roundwood removals exceeded the annual average of the previous ten-year period by 9 million cubic metres or 17%.

A total of 8.2 million cubic metres of stemwood were harvested to be used as wood chips in heat and power plants or as fuelwood in residential housing. The volume decreased by 11% on the previous year, but was eight per cent higher than the average of the previous ten-year period. In addition to stemwood, logging residues and stumps were harvested from forests for energy production, totalling slightly less than three million cubic metres.

Volumes of wood to be used as wood chips are now recorded in the statistics on the basis of information reported by harvesting organisations, while in previous years the statistics were based on consumption volumes. This means that the information relating to the area where the forests are located and the right time, similarly to industrial roundwood, says Senior Statistician Jukka Torvelainen of the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke).

Total roundwood removals 70 million cubic metres, more than 85% of the maximum sustainable felling potential

The forest land used for wood production has close to 2,200 million cubic metres of roundwood. Luke estimates based on the results of the National Forest Inventory 11 that 81 million cubic metres of stemwood can be harvested in a sustainable way annually in this decade. Of this volume, 70 million cubic metres or approximately 87% were harvested in 2016. However, there was considerable regional variation in the utilisation rate of felling potential. Roundwood removals exceeded the estimated annual felling potential in many regions in Southeast Finland and in Häme. The utilisation rate for spruce was higher than that for other tree species, says Torvelainen.

Roundwood drain increased to 86 million cubic metres

The total annual drain is the combination of roundwood removals, logging residue left in the forest and naturally dead trees left in the forest. In 2016, the latter two totalled just over 15 million cubic metres, causing the annual drain to reach almost 86 million cubic metres. The volume was four per cent higher than during the previous year.

The annual increment of growing stock totals approximately 110 million cubic metres. It thus exceeded removals and natural drain by almost 25 million cubic metres even last year.” (Luke News)

The Original news article can be found from Luke´s news section under:

https://www.luke.fi/en/news/finnish-roundwood-harvests-record-level-2016/