IRG Documents Database and Compendium

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Methane emission by termites, Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki
1995 - IRG/WP 95-10099
Association of methanogenic bacteria only with the smallest-sized symbiotic protozoa Spirotrichonympha leidyi Koidzumi was evidenced by epifluorescence microscopic observations. Workers, which were collected from a laboratory colony and placed in a test container with water supply emitted methane at a relatively constant rate with a peak of 0.76 nmol/termite/hr within the first 72 hrs after the initiation of measurement. Soldiers, as expected, produced less methane with a maximum rate of 0.019 nmol/termite/hr. Although methane formation is considered important to termites in order to keep physiological balance, that undesirably contributes to global warming.
K Tsunoda, W Ohmura, M Tokoro, T Yoshimura

The impact of global warming on the UK distribution of house longhorn beetle Hylotrupes bajulus (L)
2001 - IRG/WP 01-10414
This paper reviews the effects of global warming on insect populations and distribution. The affects of global warming on the spread of Hylotrupes is predicted through a review of research related to the influence of temperature on its life-cycle and flight. Records of Hylotrupes distribution were obtained from published surveys, entomologists and museum collections and were plotted for the UK. The UKCIP98 model for climate change was then used to present the average maximum daily temperatures over the emergence period at present, and in the future. The model predicts a 3°C rise in annual temperature by the 2080's. This increase may enable mated females to fly on a greater number of days and over a greater area. The discussion highlights gaps in knowledge concerning the UK population that makes rate of spread difficult to predict at present.
P Oevering, A J Pitman

Wood protection, a tool for climate change mitigation?
2008 - IRG/WP 08-50257
In the context of global warming and the search for possible strategies to mitigate climate change, forest and forest products have important advantages. Sustainable management makes forest a carbon sink, wood products have the potential to be a carbon sink as well, and their low carbon intensity is a potential for reducing CO2 emissions by substitution to competing materials. After describing these assets of wood products, this paper analyses how wood protection can reinforce them. This reinforcement effect is probably important, but still needs to be quantified.
G Deroubaix

Impact of climate change on wood deterioration - Challenges and solutions for cultural heritage
2010 - IRG/WP 10-20441
Deterioration of wood in cultural assets follows the same physiological mechanisms as in modern structures. Therefore rules and data for prediction of service life derived from old wooden structures can be used to model the service life of recent wooden structures and vice versa. The latter is done in this paper: From experimental test set ups in the field spread over Europe, climatic data, wood temperature, wood moisture content, and decay rates recorded for several years were correlated and used for mathematic modelling of decay. On that data basis a first attempt is made to quantify the influence of global warming on wood decay rates for different regions and scenarios, valid for both: wood in modern and historic structures. Against this background conservation of cultural heritage is increasingly challenging and methods are sought to allow historic structures to survive without severe modifications in design, but also with limited use of preservatives. How moisture monitoring can contribute to this purpose is shown on the example of the Echo pavilion in Maksimir Park, Zagreb, Croatia.
C Brischke, A O Rapp, M Hasan, R Despot

Towards designing eco-friendly buildings with in-built termite protection
2010 - IRG/WP 10-50273
The increase in greenhouse gases, leading to global warming, is considered by a consistent scientific worldview not due to natural variation, but due to the growing concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and other atmospheric pollutants. Global emissions of carbon dioxide from fossil fuel combustion and cement production rose from 22.6 billion tons in 1990 to an estimated 31.2 billion tons in 2007 – a staggering 37 percent increase. This is 85 million tons of carbon dioxide spilled into the atmosphere each day – or 13 kg on average per person. The realisation that saving the global climate and protecting ecosystems, now and in future, in a warming world, affects everyone. So, how are the IRG members and IRG as an institution, which include the building, chemical, academic, and pest control industries dealing with the challenge of global warming in sustaining their businesses? Can we advise these industries to make choices to minimise the impact of global warming and minimise their carbon footprints? Can IRG convey to the world at large the profound long-term consequences of the ‘experiment’ we are now conducting with Earth’s atmosphere, with emphasis on a sustainable wood protection industries. Furthermore, on the biological level, we have scant data on the effects of climate change to the distribution, ecology, biology and control of wood-destroying insects and wood-decay bacteria and fungi. Preliminary field tests were carried out against Coptotermes species at Caloundra in Queensland (Qld) and Nhulunbuy in Northern Territory (NT). The test samples were exposed to active above ground mound colonies of Coptotermes lacteus in Caloundra and Coptotermes acinaciformis in Nhulunbuy and there was no visible evidence of feeding or tunnelling into the Hemcrete® samples. In this paper, with global warming in mind, we offer suggestions to the timber, building, chemical, and pest control industries to consider the advent and utilisation of bio-composite, carbon negative products, such as, Hemcrete®. We consider this product meets the challenge of an eco-friendly building product that is termite resistant.
J R J French, B M Ahmed Shiday, B Maggiolo, D Maggiolo

Guideline for Environmental Product Declaration for Thermally Modified Timber
2012 - IRG/WP 12-50287
Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) intend to enable the comparison of the environmental attributes of products that meet equivalent functional requirements. This guideline describes the proceedings of EPD for thermally modified timber (TMT). The main objective is the general survey on requirements on EPD which are based on European and international standards.Up to now only a few EPDs for natural sawn-timber and timber-products have been issued, e.g. for Norway-spruce (Picea abies Karst.), Scots pine (Pinus sylvetsris, L.) and beech (Fagus sylvatica). This guideline is applicable for the declaration of modified timber of various heat treatment processes. The documentation of EPD proceedings covers the aspects of identification, inventory, analysis and the transmission of process data into the environmental performance of TMT. Therefore the purpose of this IRG-document is to support scientists who perform the inventory of thermal-treatment-processes with the goal of providing data for an EPD.
L Clauder

The Environmental Impact of Timber Products Compared to other Building Materials - A Survey of Published Environmental Product Declarations
2016 - IRG/WP 16-50314
One of the positive aspects of using wood in construction is the environmental benefits that this can potentially bring. However, manufacturers of all construction products and materials make claims about the ‘environmental friendliness’ of their products, making it exceedingly difficult for the end user to make informed choices about the advisability of using one product over another. This study presents an analysis of the published environmental product declarations (EPDs) of timber products (fibreboard, particleboard, oriented strandboard, glulam/laminated veneer lumber, sawn and dried timber) and compares this data with that published in the widely available and quoted University of Bath Inventory of Carbon and Energy (ICE) database. Comparison is also made with some common non-biogenic building materials (concrete, brick, cement and steel).
C Hill, J Dibdiakova

Building with wood in the Arctic
2018 - IRG/WP 18-50335
During the last five years there has been a significant increase in interest in Canada in the Arctic, with research on the Franklin exploration of the mid19th century searching for the North West Passage, which coupled with the impact of Global warming on the loss of sea ice has rendered the North West Passage now navigable during the summer months. Building with wood in the Arctic has proved extremely effective even with untreated timbers. However, significant improvement in service life of structural components can be made with moderate preservative retentions. Evidence suggests that the Use Category System greatly overestimates the biological hazard faced by building timbers in the Arctic. Since the Arctic is a sensitive environment for the use of chemicals it is suggested that the UCS in Canada be modified for timbers to be used in the Arctic. Global warming has resulted in a lowering of the permafrost increasing the depth of the active layer. Since fundamental building strategies in delta areas of the Arctic have depended on fastening piles into the permafrost, data is needed in order to predict the depths needed for long term building life. Alternative strategies have been developed which seek to either permanently freeze the active layer, or replace the active layer with a thermally inert insulating material, and which can therefore form a base for building construction. The emergence of new building technologies and materials, requires assessment for their use under Arctic conditions. It is recommended that a data base on treated timber performance in the Arctic is developed, to support future treated wood use in the Arctic.
J N R Ruddick

Development of a Standard for Preservative Treated Wood to be used in the Arctic
2019 - IRG/WP 19-20677
There is ongoing interest in the Arctic with political, environmental and recreational developments almost daily. The impact of global warming on loss of permafrost and sea ice is widely reported. In the last three years several cruise ships have traversed the North West Passage. This increased activity has resulted in the recognition of the need for an increased infrastructure. Historically, the material of choice has been untreated wood., although some buildings with treated wood piling has been built. In 2007 Canada like many other countries adopted the International Standard Organization (ISO) based approach to standardizing treated wood. While this standard has achieved more widespread use and understanding of preservative treated wood, it is flawed when the use of treated wood in the Arctic is considered, since the impact of temperature is concerned. This paper explores an approach to the development of a Use Category for preservative treated wood to be used in the Arctic.
J N R Ruddick

Framework document for an international code of good practices for wood preservation and wood protection (anti-sapstain) facilities
1992 - IRG/WP 92-3683
At the Kyoto meeting, the Health & Safety committee agreed to form a task force to prepare a global plan for writing a code of good practices (Code) for wood protection and preservation facilities (Doc. No. IRG/WP/3681). The Canadian document had been presented to the IRG group earlier (Doc. No. IRG/WP/3447) and similar documents were solicited from other countries for preparing a framework document to assist in the task. Documents were received from Germany, France, UK, and Sweden. These documents provided information on similar efforts toward establishing a Code in those countries. The guiding principles for preparing the Code will be to reduce or eliminate the releases of preservative/anti-sapstain chemicals in the environment and to minimize the workers' exposure to these chemicals for their health and safety. The recommended practices should be based on the current knowledge of existing technology and the physical, chemical, and biological properties of the chemicals. Cooperation of all stakeholders, that is, industry, chemical supliers, regulatory bodies, workers, and other interest groups, in the preparation and approval of the Code should be sought to increase its credibility, usefulness, and effeness. It is proposed to develop a model Code which can be adopted in whole or with modifications in any country, reflecting the site-specific conditions, legislation, and the state of technological sophistication in the industry. The work to date has been conducted ad hoc with the cooperation of Dr. Peek (Germany), Monsieur Ozanne (France), and Dr. Chris Coggins (UK), and the authors acknowledge their assistance in supplying the documents. Based on the available information, it is suggested that the enclosed table of contents be used in the preparation of the framework document for the Code. A task force will be formed to prepare and present the final Code at the next meeting.
V N P Mathur, G Das

A status report on code of good practices
1991 - IRG/WP 3679
Code of Good Practices - Anti Sapstain documents, presented to IRG meetings in the past, are the basic documents for health and safety of the workers and the environment in Canada. The BC Ministry of Environnment has now issued regulations in the area of effluent discharge. While Pentachlorophenols (PCP) are not used by the industry, the documents are still used as a guideline document for the other anti sapstain chemicals. New chemicals suppliers are adhering to the same format in preparing similar documents, for example, Kop-Cote has issued a Code of Good Practices document on the use of NP-1. In Eastern Canada, Environment Canada and the Atlantic Provinces have now set up a task group to develop a chemical management guidance document for the regional wood protection industry. In the near future, it is expected that a generic code of good practices will be developed based on the chemical management guidance document. The generic code shall be used by all anti sapstain facilities in Canada, irrespective of the chemical used. Code of Good Practices - Wood Preservation documents were published and reported to IRG in earlier meetings. An assessment of effectiveness and use of these documents is nearly complete. Forestry Canada will support other federal departments in setting up a task force to update these documents in 1992. Through a contract, a video has been prepared to increase the awareness among the plant personnel on the Code of Good Practices for oil-borne preservatives. We expect that the IRG Health and Safety Committee will create a dialogue among all the members from different countries so as to increase the awareness of health and safety of workers in the wood preservation industry and the safety of the environment. Information should be exchanged regarding the actual studies, proposed plan etc., so that all can benefit from the work done by others, rather than duplicating the work already done by somebody else. The Committee should set up a task group to prepare a global plan for writing a Code of Good Practices for wood protection and preservation facilities.
V N P Mathur, G Das

Role of Global Cooperation in Wood Protection for Conserving Forest Resources
2007 - IRG/WP 07-50249
The current uses of treated wood are discussed along with the emerging concerns for continued use of these products. The issues of new chemicals, treatments for wood based composites, migration of chemicals from treated wood, and the disposal of these products at the end of their useful life are all outlined. The potential for the IRG to serve as the focus for research discussion as well as collaborative projects to help enhance wood performance are discussed.
J J Morrell, G Deroubaix

The uses of Molecular techniques in studying Australian subterranean termites Genus Coptotermes
2008 - IRG/WP 08-10669
This study focuses on applying molecular tools in studying the phylogeny of the Coptotermes, especially from the Australian region, by using a combined data set of three mitochondrial genes, viz. 16S, COII, COI, comprising a total of about 2000 base pairs. This study will address these following specific questions: i. Does molecular phylogenetics reveal any new species and show any previously unknown inter-country introductions of Coptotermes? ii. Do the Australian Coptotermes from a monophyletic group? iii. How did Coptotermes radiate in Australia (geographically and ecologically)? In order to achieve these objectives, phylogenetic studies will be developed using phylogenetic models implemented in different analyses, employ sequences of several genes to be analysed using maximum parsimony, maximum likelihood and Bayesian analysis. The study provided a well resolved toplogy of Australian species and the relation of Australian Coptotermes within the global Coptotermes view, moreover the study reveals interesting aspects of the geographic distribution of this genus in Australia, especially the species C. acinaciformis.
H M Badawi, B M Ahmed (Shiday), J R J French, M P Schwarz

Effects of global climate change on mould growth - Interactions of concern
2010 - IRG/WP 10-50270
An evident change in climate the last decades has been recorded, and combined effects of increased CO2, elevated temperature and altered precipitation regimes have been observed to represent a change to the fundamental drivers within ecosystems. Growth of moulds, both in nature and on man-made constructions and objects, will most likely increase due to changes in the climate. The survival, the reproduction, the dispersal and the geographic distribution of moulds are decided by both direct and indirect effects of climate change. Not only the moulds, but also their hosts and substrates, possible competitors and enemies will be affected by climate change. It is essential to understand the interactions between the members in these ecosystems to be able to control and predict future development of moulds. The effect of introducing new building directives, environmental friendly materials and products which are meant to oblige the demand for more climate friendly buildings and houses, is an aspect that may generate unexpected and unintended mould growth on man-made constructions and objects. Future research should focus on the interaction between the moulds, the hosts, the substrates and the climatic factors, and what implications future changes in building directives and housing policy will have on mould growth.
L Ross Gobakken

Global survey on durability variation – on the effect of the reference species
2016 - IRG/WP 16-20573
Climate change due to anthropogenic emissions is the largest environmental challenge of our time. Forest-based value chains play an important role in reducing the accumulation of CO2 in the atmosphere. Maximizing the use of wood to tackle climate change requires improved understanding of the service life of timber products. This information can best be obtained from field testing and while there is an abundance of field performance data from sites all over the world, most of the data are not available in a form that can be utilised for service life models. The IRG Durability Database aims to improve the usability of existing performance data and create added value for durability research and service life prediction. The present paper takes the first steps in comparing global field test performance data from the IRG Durability Database for non-durable reference species. Data were obtained from six species above ground and ground contact field tests from 36 sites around the world. For each dataset, decay rates and service life (where applicable) were calculated. Datasets were then grouped together based on test method and species. Decay rate was faster and more uniform in ground contact than above ground. In ground contact, beech decayed most rapidly, followed by Norway spruce and Scots pine sapwood. All appeared to be suitable for use as reference species, however slow-grown spruce should be avoided. There were no statistically significant correlations between ground contact decay rate and the Scheffer Climate Index (SCI). In above ground tests, differences in decay rate were largely related to differences in moisture dynamics. Species with the greatest absorption and retention of water decayed most rapidly. Test methods that absorbed and retained the most moisture (e.g. painted L-joints) resulted in more rapid decay. Above ground decay rate and SCI were significantly correlated in two data sets that had a wide range of SCI values. Correlations were not significant when only European test sites were included. Estimating decay rate from field testing results in highly variable data. Comparing data from global test sites is made more difficult by the absence of common field testing standards.
R Stirling, G Alfredsen, C Brischke, I De Windt, L P Francis, E Frühwald Hansson, M Humar, J Jermer, M Klamer, M Kutnik, P Laks, I Le Bayon, S Metsä-Kortelainen, L Meyer-Veltrup, P I Morris, J Norton, T Singh, J Van Acker, J Van den Bulcke, T M Venås, H Viitanen, A H H Wong

Pest and pathogens threaten the sustainability of plantation forestry: Global research collaboration will define the future
2018 - IRG/WP 18-50341
Global plantation forestry is dominated by intensively managed stands of Pinus, Populus, Acacia and Eucalyptus species. The greater proportion of these plantations has been established in areas where the trees are non-native and have thus been separated from their natural enemies. In all documented cases, these plantations have initially been free of serious pest and disease problems. But as time has passed, their health has been increasingly damaged by such agents. In some cases, disease and pest problems have led entire plantation failure, the closure of major business ventures and timber shortages. Pest and disease problems affecting planation forestry can have one of two conceptually different origins. They are either accidentally introduced into the areas where the non-native trees have been established or they are themselves native to these plantation areas. In the former case, the pests and pathogens arise through breaches in plant quarantine. They have become uncomfortably common and are closely linked to global trade in wood and plant products. The adaptation of native insect pests and pathogens to feed on non-native trees is complex and includes opportunistic organisms typically with wide host ranges as well as highly specialized, host specific insects and pathogens. The latter group have typically undergone host shifts to infect/ infest trees on which they would not naturally occur. The genetic basis of these changes in poorly understood and deserves more intensive study. Looking to the future, all indications are that pest and disease problems will increasingly affect the health and sustainability of plantation forestry. This will be driven by increased movement of people and products globally as well as growing complexity to control the movement of small and difficult to detect organisms that move in concert with trade and travel. While quarantine efforts must be encouraged and reinforced, the likely future of plantation forestry will lie squarely in innovative research that will make it possible to grow healthy trees. Tools relating to the genetic improvement of trees and those linked to computerization and information technologies will increasingly be required to enable sustainable forestry. In this regard, there is an urgent need for education and support of researchers able to meet the challenges posed by forest pests and diseases. Global collaboration, particularly including research across scientific disciplines will define successful and sustainable forest industries. International research networks such as the International Union of Forest Research Organisations (IUFRO; will surely play an important role in reaching the challenges posed by the ever increasing threats to forests due to pests and diseases.
M Wingfield