Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: July 25, 2014

Opinion / Editorial

US Housing Starts—In The Tank for Seven Years and Counting…

ERA Forest Products Research
July 25, 2014
Category: Opinion / Editorial

David Elstone, RPF, Analyst—U.S. housing starts for June were disappointing, with the seasonally adjusted total down 9.3% m/m to 893,000 starts, and 6.3% below the average year-to-date pace. Unadjusted starts in June tend to be the second-highest for the year, and there was optimism that this June’s data point would be above both April and May, given the slow beginning to the construction season. Instead, it appears that April was this year’s peak. Typically, the trend for housing starts is downhill for the remainder of the year (upper chart), dashing hopes for acceleration in the housing recovery this year, and adding doubt to next year.

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Froggy Foibles

World’s Largest Wooden Sculpture Is Carved Out Of An Entire Tree

Aplus.com
July 25, 2014
Category: Froggy Foibles

The sculpture, crafted by Zheng Chunhui, is 40 feet long. It is based on “Along the River During the Qingming Festival” a 17 foot long scroll dating to the Song Dynasty. It took four years to complete. The detail is breathtaking: nothing has escaped the artist’s attention…From the layout of the brickwork to the weave of the villagers’ hats…

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Business & Politics

Pulp mills get break to save energy

Alberni Valley News
July 24, 2014
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Struggling B.C. pulp mills are being offered $100 million in energy conservation subsidies that Energy Minister Bill Bennett says will pay off through power savings and a stabilized industry. The three-year initiative will benefit seven thermo-mechanical pulp mills run by Catalyst Paper, Canfor, West Fraser and Paper Excellence, which can get 75 per cent funding for energy-saving projects approved under the new PowerSmart program for industry. The companies are huge power users, consuming 10 per cent of the electricity BC Hydro sells, and had warned rate increases of 28 per cent over the next five years could threaten their operations and cost local jobs.

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Power fund will help coastal pulp mills

By Les Leyne
TimesColonist
July 25, 2014
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

It has been a long time coming, but B.C.’s pulp and paper mills might have a chance to get some breathing room on cost pressures with an electricity announcement expected today. Energy Minister Bill Bennett and B.C. Hydro CEO Jessica McDonald have scheduled a news conference this morning at which $100 million will be earmarked for a fund available to mills attempting to curb energy costs. The companies will have to pay to play, by spending millions to curb energy consumption. But if they do, up to 75 per cent of the costs could be covered by the fund… Over the last 13 years in power, it’s the closest the B.C. Liberals have come to a direct subsidy for business. Previous NDP governments had no problem subsidizing companies and industries to preserve jobs, but the Liberals turned the taps off in 2001.

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Domtar under pressure as it can’t put through second round of paper price hikes

The Canadian Press
July 24, 2014
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

MONTREAL – Increased imports to North America are limiting Domtar’s ability to push through higher paper prices, the Montreal-based company’s chief executive said Thursday. That creates a slightly more competitive environment so we don’t have that expectation (of price increases) at this point,” said Domtar CEO John Williams. Domtar successfully increased prices by at least US$40 per ton or about four per cent to US$1,010 last November.

Domtar misses forecasts, still swings to $40-million profit from the Globe and Mail
How adult diapers became paper-giant Domtar;s future (because they’re also yours)

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British softwood lumber imports on the rise

The Timber Network
July 25, 2014
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

The United Kingdom is now in a kind of economic boom in the middle of a struggling Europe. Growth jumped 0.8% in the first quarter of this year, and forecasts are even more positive estimating a +3% rise in GDP for the whole 2014. Also, the construction sector returned to the pre-crisis level of 2008 and is expected to further grow this year. Lumber consumption (8.4 million per year, 90% softwood) has increased by 4.3% in 2013, and will increase even stronger in 2014. Imports also follow this rise. The UK consumes 57% foreign wood, nearly 5 million m³ per year- the first lumber importing country in the European Union. 

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

National Geographic adds recycled fiber to magazines

Game-changer for the publishing industry
Pulp and Paper News
July 25, 2014
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, United States

In a major step forward for the use of recycled paper in the magazine industry, the National Geographic Society has begun incorporating recycled fiber in all the pages of National Geographic Magazine, National Geographic Kids, and National Geographic Little Kids. The shift clearly demonstrates the viability of using recycled paper for high quality photographic reproduction… For large publishers that have been slow to adopt recycled fiber for their publications, the latest move by National Geographic—one of the most widely read and admired publications in the world—sends an important signal to the industry.

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Novel Cost Effective Process to Transform Unwanted Forest Trees into Structural Building Material

An estimated 56 million acres of national forests are critically under-managed according to the Forest Products Laboratory of the USDA
Azom.com
July 25, 2014
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States

Without management of natural waste such as fallen timbers too small to be milled, forests risk insect and disease infestation and high concentrations of fuel buildup or fire. Current international economic conditions deter such management due to low market values for small trees. WholeTrees® Architecture & Structures, an emerging Madison, Wisconsin-based products and technology company, provides an incentive for healthy forest management by taking what would otherwise be forest waste and transforming it into a highly valued construction material. WholeTrees has developed a proprietary manufacturing process with patent-pending structural components based on research conducted with the USDA Forest Products Laboratory.

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British firm and Swedish forestry giant unveil ‘sustainable’ alternative to plastic

Edie.net
July 25, 2014
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

A British paper and technical fibres company and a Swedish forestry giant have unveiled a sustainable alternative to plastic which they claim is strong enough to carry the weight of an adult and can be composted within 100 days. DuraPulp was developed by James Cropper in partnership with Södra, a Swedish forestry cooperative. The bio-composite material is made from pulp and a renewable polymer which, after additional processing, becomes moisture resistant, rigid and strong enough to carry the weight of an adult… Södra, which will licence the product, aims to establish its viability in premium markets such as luxury fashion, cosmetics, automotive and interior design. 

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Is there a timber revolution in Australia?

Architecture and Design
July 25, 2014
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Over the past month or so, Architecture & Design has released a series of articles about building with timber. We noted that mass timber construction (MTC) is nothing new, but that the industry has become more aware of this method in recent years. Backed up with reasons for the potential and various benefits of structural timber, we said that Australia is poised to build timber buildings bigger and better. After all, there are an increasing number of examples that can stand and testify for MTC.

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Forestry

Gambier Island logging plans may meet legal action

The Georgia Straight
July 23, 2014
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Residents are sounding the alarm on the B.C. government’s plans to earmark 25 percent of Gambier Island for logging. Peter Snell, a director of the Gambier Island Conservancy, told the Georgia Straight the Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations has been “ignoring the public entirely” concerning the proposed establishment of two neighbouring woodlots covering 1,326 hectares of Crown land. “It’s a huge chunk,” the lawyer, who has a summer home on the island, said by phone. “Gambier, we call it the wild heart of Howe Sound because it is one of the last remaining areas of wilderness that is this close to Metro Vancouver.”

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BC enviro minister wrong on Park Amendment Act

The Tyee
July 22, 2014
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Last weekend, people across B.C. gathered in our provincial parks to celebrate Parks Day and to send a strong message to the B.C. government — the fight to keep these special places protected from industry is far from over. There are already more than 167,000 people who have demanded that the government repeal the Park Amendment Act, which threatens the integrity of our provincial parks and protected areas by allowing industrial research. Instead of responding to these legitimate concerns, the provincial environment minister has opted to dismiss them as unfounded in a release issued in response to the Parks Day of Action. This release contains misleading statements that demand correction.

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Parternship brings groups closer to more employment

Nanaimo Daily News
July 24, 2014
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

A partnership between the District of Ucluelet and the Toquaht First Nation is inching closer to bringing employment and educational opportunities to the region. The neighbours have joined to form a community forest that will allow them to manage the sustainability of local forests while reaping economic benefits traditionally reserved for private companies. Ucluelet Mayor Bill Irving said a community forest has been on Ucluelet’s docket since his first Mayoral tenure in the mid-1990s and he is excited to see the long slog finally reach a conclusion

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The cost of America’s forest fires has more than quintupled in the past 20 years

The U.S. government now spends 624% more than it did 20 years ago
Washington Post
July 25, 2014
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

Wildfires are scorching the earth and burning through the United States’ bank account. More than 1.5 million acres of American forest have been burned to the ground so far this year, and that isn’t even all that much. Last year, nearly 4.5 million acres were scorched; the year before, almost 9.5 million. Forest fires have destroyed some 143 million acres since 1985, or roughly 5 million acres a year, on average. But we aren’t paying for them in forestry alone. The U.S. government now shells out some $2 billion a year just to stop them, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. The total price, which includes wildlife preservation and land rehabilitation, is likely $1 billion to $2 billion more than that, according to estimates by research firm Headwaters Economics.

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Northwest wildfires: Firefighters make progress but warm, dry weather moves in

OregonLive.com
July 25, 2014
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Firefighters in the Northwest have made progress, with no new starts in the past 24 hours. But warmer, drier weather is sweeping the region, with thunderstorms and lightning in the forecast starting Sunday. “We will have the potential for new fire starts when the lightning comes through the area,” said Carol Connolly, spokeswoman for the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center. “If we get new starts, things could prove to be more complex on the ground.” Firefighters are up against 17 wildfires or sets of blazes in the Northwest, 13 in Oregon covering nearly 620,000 acres and four in Washington that have charred about 290,000 acres. Nearly 10,000 firefighters and support personnel are assigned to the region.

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Fire season in western states short of expectations

Associated Press
July 24, 2014
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

GRANTS PASS, Ore.— Widespread drought across the West had forecasters expecting an above-average wildfire season this summer, which so far has not lived up to expectations. U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell said Wednesday that the hot windy weather known as “red flag” days have not lined up with the lighting strikes that start most fires, particularly in drought-parched California. The result has been that while the number of fires to date is about 70 percent of the 10-year average, the area burned is less than half.

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Northwest wildfires: Lightning triggers 92 fires with six turning into large blazes in Oregon

The Oregonian
July 24, 2014
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

The thunderstorms that moved through the Northwest over the past 24 hours brought some relief to crews battling large blazes but also triggered new fires as lightning pummeled the region. Among 92 new starts in Oregon and Washington, six turned into large blazes. All of them are in eastern Oregon which did not benefit from wet weather. But rain elsewhere helped crews make progress and contain three large fires — two in Washington state and one in Oregon. …”We’ll have a short relief with the cooling temperatures and rain, but we will have strong winds and beginning on Sunday another increased threat with the thunderstorm activity,” Connolly said.

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Bark beetles killing Columbia River Gorge pines

Associated Press
July 24, 2014
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

VANCOUVER, Wash.— With wildfires sweeping across Central Washington, researchers just south in the Columbia River Gorge are taking a close look at a tiny insect that tends to devour healthy pines after the flames die down. Every year since 2010, they’ve watched one outbreak after another of the California fivespined ips, a little brown bark beetle that likes to feast on ailing pine trees. Scientists believe the insect is native to California and Oregon but that it’s recently begun to thrive in Washington.

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Think twice before chopping down dead trees

Tallahassee Democrat
July 24, 2014
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

What is the most important tree in the forest? Tallahasseean Jim Stevenson, former chief naturalist of Florida State Parks and chief of the Office of Resource Management, would say it is any dead one. Living trees obviously provide food, shelter and places to rear the next generation of wildlife. Dead trees do all of that and more. In terms of food, a dead tree is prime habitat for insects and fungi that help return the tree to the soil, recycling the nutrients in the limbs, trunk and roots… The dead tree is an entire ecosystem in its own right.

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Deadly fungus spreads in Everglades, killing trees

Washington Post
July 25, 2014
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

MIAMI — A fungus carried by an invasive beetle from southeast Asia is felling trees across the Everglades, and experts have not found a way to stop the blight from spreading. Then there’s a bigger problem — the damage may be leaving Florida’s fragile wetlands open to even more of an incursion from exotic plants threatening to choke the unique Everglades and undermine billions of dollars’ worth of restoration projects. …The same fungus also plagues commercial avocado trees and redbay trees elsewhere in Florida and the Southeast. While the state has been working with the avocado industry to mitigate the damage, there’s been no way to contain it in swamp bay or redbay trees. Experts say the best defense would be stopping invasive pests from crossing U.S. borders in the first place.

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‘Boris bikes’ for New Forest to be discussed

A public cycle hire scheme, similar to “Boris bikes” in London, could be introduced in the New Forest.
BBC News
July 25, 2014
Category: Forestry
Region: International

The New Forest National Park Authority is to consider introducing about 20 cycle docking stations and up to 250 bikes in the east of the forest. The group said the forest would be one of the first rural places to introduce the scheme… District and county councillor David Harrison said: “I think it would be hugely beneficial. It’s a great form of transport and it gets people more likely to explore the forest and enjoy the wonderful environment in a healthy manner. It’s non-polluting and I think it’s generally exciting for residents and visitors, should it go ahead.”

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Forest law has mixed results for Bolivian indigenous community

Global Landscapes Forum
July 25, 2014
Category: Forestry
Region: International

IMA, Peru — Legislation aimed at giving Bolivia’s Indigenous communities the right to extract resources from their forests has solidified land tenure, but conflicts with long-standing forest-management practices, according to a study of the Yuracaré people. Under land and forest reforms passed in 1996, the Yuracaré, who live in the Amazon Basin lowlands in the Chapare River watershed, secured improved rights to their land, but some of their traditional practices and organizational structures were undermined, researchers said. By creating a timber-management structure more suited to large-scale, commercial production, the law made it difficult for Yuracaré families to harvest just a few trees to sell when they needed cash. 

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Western Inferno: Climate Change Worsening Wildfire Risk

Environment News Service
July 24, 2014
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

U.S. Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon is worried. “We’ve got 13 fires burning across Oregon, over 600,00 acres ablaze right now,” he told reporters on a conference call Wednesday. “We started to see the fire season kick in this winter, and the wildfire season is two-and-half months longer than it used to be,” said Senator Wyden during the conference call hosted by the Union of Concerned Scientists to introduce their new report, “Playing With Fire.” Climate change is producing hotter, drier conditions across the American West, which contribute to more large wildfires and longer wildfire seasons, the report states.

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Concerns over carbon emissions from burning wood

BBC News
July 24, 2014
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Burning wood to fuel power stations can create as many harmful carbon emissions as burning coal, according to a government report. UK taxpayers subsidise energy firms to burn wood to meet EU renewables targets. But the report from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) shows sometimes much bigger carbon savings would be achieved by leaving the wood in the forests. This suggests power firms may be winning subsidies for inadvertently making climate change even worse. 

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UK Biomass Calculator, A Valuable Tool for the U.S. Industrial Wood Pellet Industry

Energy Trend
July 25, 2014
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

The U.S. Industrial Pellet Association welcomes the release of the UK’s Bioenergy and Counterfactuals Model (BEaC) as an instrument for calculating biomass emissions. This calculator can demonstrate biomass produced from sawmill residues, thinnings, and other low-value fiber. The biomass can significantly reduce greenhouse gas and carbon emissions and will remain a valuable energy resource in mitigating climate change. The UK’s biomass emissions calculator is a tool in the UK’s arsenal to promote the sustainability and carbon benefits of using biomass in place of coal. 

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Private Sector and Civil Society Declaration on Tackling Deforestation and Forest Degradation

Global Canopy Program (Press Release)
July 25, 2014
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Tackling deforestation must be a key component of an effective and comprehensive global agreement if dangerous climate change is to be avoided and global warming kept below 2 degrees Celsius. Supporting the sustainable use of forests is also a key component of securing livelihoods and value chains for communities and corporations worldwide, and is vital for global efforts to protect biodiversity and maintain ecosystem services… In order to mobilise sustained private sector participation and investment in REDD+ two things are critical: policy signals which clearly outline the intention to create a regulated market for REDD+ as part of a broader climate change agreement; and interim incentives to stimulate financing for REDD+ activities during the critical 2015 – 2020 period.

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