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Canada: Home prices jump as lumber costs rise


Shortages for lumber and building materials are driving up construction costs.


Canadian new home prices recorded their biggest one-month gain in three years with higher demand and rising costs for lumber and building materials.

Prices rose 0.5% in August. That’s the biggest increase since May 2017. Gains were recorded in most of the country’s big metropolitan centres.

The data are consistent with other indicators showing Canada’s housing market hitting new all-time highs in recent months as huge demand for homes combines with tight inventory levels and historically low interest rates.

The statistics agency said shortages for lumber and other building materials are driving up construction costs this year, a situation that might persist.

Vancouver recorded a 1% gain in August, while Toronto was up 0,3%. From a year earlier, new house prices have increased 2.1%, the largest year-over-year gain since March 2018.

The new housing price index measures the change in the sale price of new single, semi-detached and row houses, but excludes condos.



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Shinrin-Yoku: the japanese practice that you can do at a forest


Shinrin-yoku means "forest bath" in japanese.


Japanese researchers found in the forests a way of preventing diseases related to the modern lifestyle.

Shinrin-yoku means absorbing the forest through our senses. The list of scientific papers that support this concept is wide. In the last decade there have been new studies that demonstrate the benefits of contact with nature: a boost in the immunitary system, reduction of blood pressure and improvement of sleep.

In a 2009 study, the investigators measured the cellular activity of "natural killer" (NK) cells in the immune system, before and after contact with nature. This cells play an important role in fighting viral infections and cancer cells.

The participants reported an increase in the NK cells activity after being in contact with the forest and the positive effects can last up to a month. "These effects can be attributed to the quantity of essential oils that the trees and plants liberate in order to protect themselves from bugs and germs. The inhalation of these components is beneficial to the immunitary system", you can read it on the paper.

According to a report from the European Enviornment Agency (EEA), those who live near trees and green spaces have less probability of being obese, inactive or taking medication like antidepressives.

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UK: Pandemic pressures pallet industry


Covid-19 recovery to cause strain on wood availability.


The Timber Packaging & Pallet Confederation (Timcon) has raised concerns about the mounting pressure on the availability of wood which is likely to impact prices.

The organisation said several factors in the post-lockdown market were putting significant pressure on the cost of wood from many origins, including the UK.

Wood prices rose due to a reduction in mill operations and closures, combined with an upswing in domestic home improvements and DIY projects during the lockdown period.

These increases have been further fuelled by the relaxation of restrictions during the summer, which caused increasing demand as construction projects have resumed quickly.

“We are expecting timber availability to tighten, which of course has the potential to effect prices," claimed Stuart Hex, secretary general of Timcon. "Although demand for pallets and packaging remains moderate, we anticipate a knock-on effect of the current shortages in construction and fencing, where we have already seen record high prices and shortages. Our sector often has to compete with fencing for core and sideboards."



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Portugal: Parliament rejects project with control measures of eucalyptus trees


The Portuguese parliament denied the necessity of presenting an annual report of this species occupation on national territory.


The diploma was rejected with objection from the political parties PS, CDS-PP, the abstention of PSD, Chega, and Iniciativa Liberal. The remaining political forces demonstrate their support to the bill.

The Portuguese green party defended in the bill that the Instituto da Conservação da Natureza e das Florestas (ICNF) should present a yearly report and consider the new law "insufficient".

The deputy Mariana Silva explained that there is no direct problem with the already existing law, however, she reminded that "no measures were taken after the fires so that the unmeasured growing of this species is controlled."

"After the wildfires in 2017, there was a spontaneous growth of this species. Currently, there are trees with 4/5 meters and that is a great concern. Some of these trees grow on places where they shouldn't, like rural paths”, she alerts.

Consequently, the Green Party defends that "On-the-field surveillance and control assume a crucial role."



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Russia: Wood exportation made more than 11 million tons


During January-July 2020 Russia’s export of sawn goods made more than 11.1 million tons, down 4.8% year-on-year.


According to the RF Federal Customs Service’s statistics, in terms of value, sawn goods export was down 5% making over $2.5 billion.

Logs export decreased by 10.5% year-on-year down to some 8 million cbm worth $550.6 million, down 16.7% year-on-year.

Plywood export increased by 2.4% year-on-year to make 1.6 million cbm worth $660.8 million, down 4.3% year-on-year.

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Nicaragua: Forests and indigenous communities face threats


Deforestation due to local conflict is one of the pointed issues.


In the past 30 years, pieces of Nicaragua’s vast Caribbean forests have been destroyed by settlers clearing land for agriculture, ranchers pasturing cattle, and loggers harvesting precious wood.

The waters have been contaminated by gold mining and damaging fishing practices. The transformation has intensified in recent years, according to the Global Forest Watch initiative of the World Resources Institute, a sustainability-focused nonprofit research organization.

Nicaragua’s forests and Indigenous and Afro-descendant communities are currently without independent oversight at a time when poverty and population growth, as well as government policies, are driving migration to Indigenous and protected forest regions. These forests are increasingly vulnerable.

Woodlands are crucial segments of the increasingly fragmented Mesoamerican biological corridor, which connects habitats in North and South America, allowing the migration of animals and providing critical refuge for rare and endangered species.

Rafael Reyna-Hurtado, a wildlife ecologist at Mexico’s College of the Southern Border, says the Mesoamerican forests are “stepping stones” for animal migration, ensuring genetic diversity and resiliency in the event of threats like disease or hurricanes. “We are concerned that these big pieces of forests that are still remaining are losing connectivity,” he says.



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USA: Unprecedented firestorms on Sierra Nevada are still active


Some point to the 150 million dead trees on this territory as the cause.


Two years ago scientists warned that a massive tree die-off in the Sierra Nevada could set the stage for forest conflagrations similar to World War II firebombings.

The Creek fire, which forced the dramatic helicopter evacuations of more than 200 campers over Labor Day weekend in California, may be a hint of far worse to come in the upcoming years.

The Sierra National Forest is well aware of its problem with fire. The forest had launched thinning projects around communities, conducted controlled burns on an annual average of 2,000 to 4,000 acres, and developed plans to ramp that up to 10,000 acres and eventually as much as 50,000 acres a year.

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India: Importation of Teak down by 50% and furniture prices shoot up


Wooden furniture prices are quite high due to a reduction in the importation of teak.


Teak is one of the raw materials most commonly used in the furniture industry. Kutch’s timber, India’s biggest timber production hub is facing a severe shortage of teak wood after it resumed operations since the unlock. Their imports have been halved owing to the non-availability of this particular wood in the countries exporting it. Consequently, prices went down by 10 to 15%.

The president of Kandla timber association, Navneet Gajjar, claimed: “Generally we used to import 5,000 containers of teak every month. This has now reduced to 2,500 containers for the past three to four months (...)”.

With the lockdown in India due to the pandemic, the demand for teakwood had reduced considerably but has now picked up since last month after construction work was resumed.

Teak wood is used in the manufacture of doors, window frames, and other household materials. It’s preferred as the base material for furniture owing to its strength and low stiffness.




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Deforestation rates in the Amazon drop 21% in August


Deforestation rates drop 21% in comparison to last year's August. However, the numbers remain high.


According to the Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais (INPE), connected to the Brazilian Government, 1.359 km2 of deforested areas in the Amazon were registered in August. Last year 1.714km2 were the numbers available for the same period.

Data is currently obtained via satellite images that emit alerts when alterations in the flora are noticed. In the first eight months of this year, the deforestation alerts diminished by 4,94% in comparison to the same period in 2019.

Environmental organizations all over the world sent an alert in order to remind that even though a decline was detected "the destruction happening in the Amazon forest is still very alarming."

The non-governmental organization World Wide Fund for Nature Brasil (WWF-Brasil) made an announcement that the most recent numbers "are not enough to reverse the tendency of the growing fires."

Amazon registered 29.307 fires in the previous month and 30.900 fires a year ago in the same period. This situation had big repercussions on the media and it was considered a disaster that had global repercussions.

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China's demand for luxury wood furniture ‘fuels’ West Africa’s deforestation


China’s enormous craving for products such as rosewood has made it a major destination for timber,  sourced from protected areas in Africa.


The global forest products industry has been making headlines since the COVID-19 pandemic struck at the beginning of 2020. First, the pulp & paper sector was the main talk during the widespread run on toilet paper that took place since March, and the lumber sector has been front-page news in recent weeks as prices for timber have set new records.

But the huge impacts related to the COVID-induced shutdown of the American economy continue to unfold. Forest2Market was recently commissioned by the American Loggers Council (ALC) to identify just how significant the impacts have been to America’s forest products supply chain.

Forest2Market research shows that wood raw material consumption between January-July 2020 was 6.7% lower than the same period in 2019.

To help highlight the impacts of COVID-19 on the US wood products supply chain, the ALC created as an outlet that features testimonial stories from those who have experienced difficult circumstances.



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