There’s been news of late regarding the need for control regulations on the operation of drones and here now some other some ‘drone’ news reference the Timber b iz and how drones can indeed play a part aiding our environment!
www.weforum.org reports how with a net loss of six billion trees a year and with hand planting being so slow and expensive – a whole new way to go seems needed – and it could ‘the drone’
To keep pace with the tractors and bulldozers clearing vast areas of land, we need an industrial-scale solution reports www.weforum.org – and would you believe that drones that can plant up to 100,000 – yes 100,000 trees a day could be a key answer!
www.BioCarbon Engineering, a UK-based company backed by drone manufacturer Parrot, explains how it has come up with a ‘drone’ method of planting trees that is very quickly and cheap too!
These drones can also get trees can get trees planted in areas that are both difficult to access or otherwise unviable.
so how does it work?
First a drone scans the topography to create a 3D map. Then the most efficient planting pattern for that area is calculated using algorithms. Then a drone loaded with germinated seeds fires pods into the ground at a rate of one per second, or about 100,000 a day on all the required targeted locations.
Scale this up and 60 drone teams could plant 1 billion trees a year. The system’s engineers estimate that their method is about 10 times faster and only 20% of the cost of hand planting.
hard to reach areas
And because there is no heavy machinery involved, it’s possible to plant in hard-to-reach areas that have no roads or and are a steep, inaccessible terrain. The BioCarbon team has tested its technology in various locations and recently trialled re-seeding historic mining sites in Dungog, Australia.
Elsewhere, a similar idea is being used by Oregon start-up Drone Seed. They are attempting to create a new era of “precision forestry” with the use of drones to plant trees as well as spray fertilizer and herbicides.
At the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos this year, Norway announced a $400 million fund to kick-start investments in deforestation-free agriculture in countries that are working to reduce their forest and peat degradation. It is estimated that the world loses between 74,000 and 95,000 square miles of forest a year – that’s an area the size of 48 football fields lost every minute.
Image: REUTERS/Feisal Omar
Weighing up tactical effective timber purchasing sustainably
A fundamental of our industry is surely the successful environmentally aware sourcing of timber and as we do so there are, for sure, numerous considerations to weigh up.
With this in mind, here is an impressive presentation from www.woodforgood.com which emerged very recently. – This offered some considered thoughts prompted from expert Julia Young, Global Forest & Trade Network Manager UK.
thoughts to ponder
There were for sure many issues to ponder -What are the most important questions to ask when procuring timber? What are typical procurement mistakes and how to avoid them? How to distinguish between sustainably sourced timber and potentially non-sustainable sources? Check out this goodwood.com read – assured and offering much food for thought ….
Most important questions to ask when procuring timber
First – keep it simple: you want to buy sustainably, and all main timber merchants in the UK are capable of supplying either FSC or PEFC timber, for virtually all types of timber that you may need. They will understand why you want to specify certified timber, and be able to provide an invoice with chain of custody clearly shown.
So check your merchant – if they can’t readily confirm that they can fulfil your order with certified timber, then move on to another supplier who can. Once you have got your supplier – make it crystal clear on your order that you want certified timber, and for the chain of custody to be clear on the invoice.
But remember – it is up to you to ask, and then to make sure that you get what you asked for, so that you know you are achieving compliance against your own sourcing policy and sustainability commitments.
Do’s and don’ts
Especially for tropical hard-woods, as soon as you know that you might be using them in some way start looking for a supplier who can provide FSC timber. FSC is more prevalent in tropical countries than PEFC, and in WWF’s view, a more robust and credible scheme.
This is high value timber in a lot of cases and heavily exploited for several species – so don’t accept tropical timber that you know nothing about where it came from – it could be illegal if the timber supplier hasn’t done their homework on its origins.
If you need larger volumes – for example, for marine works, then you may have a longer lead time to get the timber you need for your project, so the sooner you start looking for the right sources, the better.
Even if a contractor or supplier pushes you to accept timber that they have in stock, because they claim a project might be delayed if you wait for the timber you want (certified!), don’t accept it if they don’t have good evidence of its origins .
You could be taking a real risk.
Also don’t be put off by initial claims that buying certified timber will be automatically more expensive, as for a lot of timber, this is not going to be the case. If you are told buying sustainably is going to cost you 30% more – don’t believe it without asking for credible evidence as to why the timber is more pricey.
There may be some premiums for certified timber in some cases – but the likelihood is it shouldn’t cost tens of percent more than uncertified. Investigate prices with suppliers, and make sure someone isn’t taking your sustainability journey as an easy profiteering opportunity, because that money certainly isn’t going back to the forest or covering the investment in better forest management.
Typical procurement mistakes ….and how to avoid them
The main mistake I see is that buyers see that a supplier holds a chain of custody for either PEFC or FSC, and then assumes that because they have seen or been sent this certificate, it means all the timber they have bought from the supplier is certified.
completing the chain
It is only by the supplier having this chain of custody, and then supplying certified timber which is confirmed by identifying it as such in compliance with the respective COC requirements on a delivery note or invoice, that you have completed the chain.
If you don’t at least do some compliance checks, you can’t guarantee you got certified. Once again – it comes down to making sure you ask, and checking you get the certified timber you ask for. Your supplier is there to help you with that – but it is up to you to make sure it happens.
How to distinguish sustainably sourced timber from potentially non-sustainable products
The simplest way is to ask for certified timber first. This loops you into systems that are set up to do the checks that the forest is well managed, and the timber is making its way through the supply chain without being mixed with other potentially unwanted timber sources.
Potentially non sustainable sources are perhaps best looked at by timber or product type. Sourcing plywood? Where does it come from? Scandinavia – or China? There is a lot of public information about Chinese plywood for example, and sustainability issues and risks.
Sourcing tropical timber? For decades now we heard about illegal logging and clearance of natural forest in tropical countries – so make sure that you are thinking about where the timber could be coming from, and therefore what kind of evidence you could expect to need to make sure you aren’t buying from illegal or non-sustainable sources.
Does a product seem suspiciously cheap for a high value timber – teak, oak, sapele? And where is it coming from? It is by being vigilant and thinking through the product and its source, and checking easily via online info, that you can get an idea. Greenpeace for example, has tool which can help you check timber species, and whether there is any risk of sourcing it. Other tools show risk ratings for countries.
The Global Forest & Trade Network
The Global Forest & Trade Network (GFTN) links more than 300 companies, communities, NGOs and entrepreneurs in more than 30 countries around the world.
re-frame the way
Probably the biggest impact the GFTN programme has had over its history, is to help re-frame the way we think about wood and timber – taking it from being, well – timber, to a much more differentiated global market – illegal timber, controversial timber, high risk, limited knowledge of source, known legally sourced timber, verified source timber, certified timber, in progress to certification, and credibly certified.
This has helped drive broader narratives among stakeholders about improving forest governance, pushing for better forest management by business, improving supply chains for timber worldwide, setting legality as a baseline through market regulations, and so on.
We really encourage businesses investing in sustainable supply to show off that they can deliver certified timber to the market, and we definitely want buyers to help by asking for this, so they play their part in more sustainable future for global forests.