December 15, 2022

DHA eNews - Legislators Push For Commonsense Regulation

This Week's Insights

As the current Congress and 2022 come to an end, key Republican leaders in the House of Representatives are attempting to cut the funding to list the northern long-eared bat as endangered in the end-of-year funding package. Although the effort is unlikely to be successful, it does draw attention to the challenges the listing could pose for forest products producers and the thousands of communities and families that depend on them. Early next year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is expected to approve the Lake States Region Bat Habitat Conservation Plans (see story below). Hopefully, these plans will provide regulatory certainty and a commonsense approach that allows timber harvest—which is not what threatens the bat population.

If not, raw material supplies could be further reduced at a time when we are also seeing more forestland restricted from harvest due to carbon offsets. A multinational financial corporation, Manulife, has announced plans to enter the forest carbon-offset market. This big announcement follows recent announcements by a global investment firm, Oak Hill Advisors, which recently paid $1.8 billion for 1.7 million acres of hardwood forests where it plans to harvest offsets instead of allowing the harvest of timber.

If you have questions or comments, contact me. I look forward to hearing from you.

I hope you enjoy the holidays. Here's to a happy and successful New Year!

Keith A. Christman, President
Decorative Hardwoods Association


Photo © J. Scott Altenbach

Legislators Push For Commonsense Regulation

As reported in our last eNews, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently reclassified the northern long-eared bat as an endangered species. Last week, more than 20 members of Congress, including the ranking member of the House Committee on Natural Resources, officially requested that no funds be allocated to enable the reclassification of the bat from threatened to endangered.

In addition, we have learned that USFWS is likely to approve the Lake States Region Bat Habitat Conservation Plans in January. These plans allow incidental take permits for state and private landowners, meaning that those who opt into the conservation plans, which are designed to minimize the impact on the bat, could conduct forest management activities.

Global Financial Firm Moves Into Forest Carbon-Offset Market

Another investment firm will be entering the carbon-offset market with the likely goal of reducing timber harvests. Manulife, the largest timberland investment management organization in the world, will raise a $500 million fund for this project. Manulife already manages about 6 million acres of forestland. 

EU Agrees On Law To Fight Deforestation

A new law to combat deforestation has been agreed upon by the European Parliament and Council of the European Union. Once adopted and applied, the new law is designed to ensure that goods that enter the EU market will no longer contribute to deforestation and forest degradation in the EU and elsewhere in the world. However, the law would require unworkable geolocation that the American Hardwood Export Council and others have opposed.

Kitchen Cabinet Sales Stay Strong

Kitchen cabinet sales are still up by 17.3% year-to-date vs. last year, although October sales were down by 6.7% vs. September.

5 Predictions For The 2023 Housing Market

A few of Zillow's predictions for the 2023 housing market: affordability will improve, the Midwest will become a hot market, more families and even friends will combine resources to buy homes, more new rentals will be built, and people who bought second homes during the pandemic may now become landlords.

Experts Share Insights Into Furniture Market

September furniture orders fell by 26% vs. last September, with year-to-date orders down by 29%. Shipments of furniture, however, continued to grow as companies worked to fill large backlogs. Jobs and employment are still stable. 

New CITES Listing Includes African Mahogany

The November action by CITES, the Center on International Trade in Endangered Species, includes a set of new requirements for Khaya, also known as African mahogany. The changes will go into effect on February 23 and require re-export documentation to be sent from the country of origin.

Are European Furniture Retailers Selling The Product Of Forced Labor?

Earthsight investigators say that they have connected the use of forced prison labor to furniture sold at nearly every major furniture retail chain in Europe, including IKEA, BUT, and XXXLutz, and that IKEA furniture linked to forced labor has been sold in the U.S.

Forest Service Announces Northwest Forest Plan Advisory Committee

The U.S. Forest Service will form a new federal advisory board to provide input on the Northwest Forest Plan, which covers Northern California, Oregon, and Washington. Nominations for the advisory committee must be submitted by January 17. The group will consist of 20 diverse members from all three states, including scientists, organizations with an interest in the forests, and government, tribal, and public groups.

Plan To Cut Old Trees In Green Mountains Causes Controversy

The U.S. Forest Service may submit a plan to cut trees on about 11,000 acres of Vermont's Green Mountain National Forest. The plan is already causing friction between climate advocates and federal officials. Climate advocates are protesting the plan, while federal officials argue that logging will benefit the forest.

Drones Will Help Reduce Carbon Emissions

Resolute Forest Products of Canada has further expanded the use of drones to include mapping and aerial seeding in Ontario. The company says that they are just scratching the surface of what the forestry industry can accomplish with drones.

USDA Proposal For Genetically Engineered Chestnut Tree Draws Opposition

In the 1900s, billions of U.S. chestnut trees died from a fungus introduced by Japanese chestnut stock. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has released a proposal that will allow the planting of blight-tolerant genetically engineered chestnut trees, which is drawing opposition.

Fire Plan To Cut 2.4 Million Trees Sparks Debate

A project to prevent catastrophic wildfires in the Bass River State Forest, a federally protected forest in New Jersey, would involve cutting down up to 2.4 million trees.

SFI Accused Of Greenwashing

Eight Canadian environmental groups have filed an official complaint claiming that the SFI, the Sustainable Forestry Initiative certification organization, has made "false and misleading" claims about sustainability. The executive director of an environmental law firm states that SFI doesn't "confirm sustainability."

Pending Home Sales Fall By 4.6%
Home Prices Continue To Decline
After Double-Digit Growth, European Hardwood Producers Brace For A 3% Decline
Fed's Fight Against Inflation Could Last Into 2024
Canadian Housing Starts Drop By 11%
Housing Market In Correction Mode Across Canada
Construction Employment Grows In 27 States
Mortgage Rates Remain Primary Obstacle To Housing Sentiment
Forest Quiz: Test Your Knowledge

What is the fastest-growing hardwood tree in the world?

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