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On the surface, the U.N. Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) has not been kind to the logging industry.
It banned logging in most of its 34 member countries in 2008.
Now, however, CITES has shifted to its third ban, meaning the U,S., and many other countries are now banned from exporting logs to CITes member countries, where the industry is based.
This means that the U., the U.-S., Australia, Brazil, Chile, India, Japan, Peru, and other countries will not be able to import any log products into those countries.
“Logging is a commodity in itself and therefore it is not a commodity subject to CETA,” said Chris Ehrlich, CETA project director for the U-S.
Department of Agriculture.
“It is the subject of a number of trade agreements.
This is not something that we have agreed to.”
So, how has the industry responded to the CETA ban?
With a bang.
Since the ban was announced in March, the industry has made massive changes to its operations.
Companies now log nearly 2 billion tons of timber each year, with the U pulling in almost 70% of the total.
More than half of all U.T. wood is used in logging projects, and the industry’s biggest industry competitor, pulp and paper, employs just under 2% of U.C. Berkeley students.
The industry has also started to diversify into areas that are not subject to the first CETA prohibition, like agroforestry, wood products, and wood products for biofuel production.
“I would say the biggest driver is not so much a CETA issue, but the fact that the government has moved to ban it,” said Dan Poulton, the managing director of timber consultancy company Treehouse.
“That has had a big impact on our ability to get our product out to markets.”
In addition, U.K.-based CITAS, the treaty’s executive director, is now calling on the United States to take an active role in negotiations on the future of the CEA.
“We think the U S is really the leading actor on the CEE and in the international trade in CEA timber,” said Poulson.
“If the U is a party to this treaty and is able to help us to get this done, then we will get it done.
It is going to be a really good outcome for us.”
A new kind of logging industry?
The industry is still developing, but many are seeing the potential of the new technologies that are emerging.
“A lot of the companies are now really trying to use cutting-edge technology to reduce the environmental impact of logging and that is something we have been doing for a number for decades,” said Ehrles.
“In the last few years we have seen a lot of big advances in cutting-out trees, and there is an interest in the future.”
Some companies are using technology that has been developed by a British company called Bewildering Woodworks.
“Wood cutting is one of the ways we’re able to reduce our carbon footprint, but it’s not a whole new process,” said Joe Tabor, the co-founder and CTO of BewILDING Woodworks, in a statement.
“There are a lot more innovative solutions in the pipeline that are actually much more efficient than what is available today.”
In the last two years, BewINDING Woodwork has worked with some of the world’s largest companies, including Facebook, Starbucks, Google, and eBay, to develop cutting-tool technology that could be used to cut trees and other biomass products without harming the environment.
Companies are now starting to look at the technology and its benefits for the environment, but there are also big challenges to overcome.
“You have to do something that is really innovative to get to that future, because the future is going from a lot less to a lot, a lot higher,” said Mike Bick, the president and CEO of U-K.
based Woodstock Industries, in an interview with CTV News.
“With the cutting tool, you have to make sure that you are using the right tools and not damaging the forest.
And that’s not just wood, it’s other species, as well.”
This article was originally published in the November/December 2016 issue of Newsweek magazine.