Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: June 16, 2015

Froggy Foibles

SEE IT: Hundreds of goats stampede to stamp out forest fires in California

New York Daily News
June 15, 2015
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: United States, US West

Only this goat stampede can prevent forest fires in California. Hundreds of the animals were filmed being released into the Berkeley Hills on Friday, reports KGO. They brought traffic to a standstill and kicked up clouds of dust as they scampered down a slope and along a road. The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory said it rented the goats to reduce the risk of forest fires, which has risen due to the statewide drought. “We utilize goats at the lab in order to keep our grasses short and reduce fire hazards,” said a statement on the Berkeley Lab’s Facebook page.

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Business & Politics

Bill to set preference for Calif. wood products irks Canada

The Capital Press
June 15, 2015
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

A bill in the California Legislature requiring state contractors to set a preference for locally grown wood products has sparked a complaint from Canadian trade officials. A noncontroversial bill in the Legislature encouraging state contractors to buy local lumber has become the source of a budding international trade dispute. The bill by Assemblyman Brian Dahle, R-Bieber, would require that contractors building state road signs, guard rails and other projects procure their wood from California sources when prices and quality are equal. …The bill “sends the wrong message to businesses and investors” considering that Canada purchases 10 percent of California’s foreign-bound goods, Cassie Doyle, the Canadian consul general in San Francisco, told the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee in a June 8 letter.

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Prices for softwood lumber prices have fallen sharply in key markets around the world

IHB The Timber Network
June 16, 2015
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, International

Lumber prices have fallen throughout a majority of the main softwood lumber markets in the world during the 1Q/15. The biggest declines have occurred in the US, Canada and the Nordic countries, while the drop in import prices to China and Japan has been more modest. So far in 2015, the lumber market in the US has not improved as much as some market observers predicted (or hoped) last year. US housing starts during the four first months have ranged between 900,000 (February) and 1.13 million (April) starts on a seasonally adjusted annual rate. Despite housing starts being lower in the 1Q/15 than in the 4Q/14, lumber production in the US and Canada has increased slightly.

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Western Forest Products upgrades Vancouver island sawmills

IHB The Timber Network
June 15, 2015
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Western Forest Products announced investments of CAD$30 million in three of its British Columbia sawmills.  Of the CAD$30 million, CAD$28 million will be invested in Western Forest Products’ Duke Point sawmill to modernize the sawmill, planer mill and install new autograding technology to improve productivity and reduce production costs. The company is investing the remaining CAD$2 million in its Chemainus and Ladysmith sawmills. These investments are part of the company’s CAD$125-million capital strategic investment program, which Western expects to improve its competitiveness and gain access to new markets. 

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Editorial: Adding up B.C. resource revenue realities

Business in Vancouver
June 16, 2015
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Pacific NorthWest LNG’s decision to proceed with its $36 billion liquefied natural gas project moves B.C.’s LNG ambitions closer to reality. However, questions from investors over government regulatory and project development approvals remain, as do questions from other LNG proponents over residents’ appetite for natural gas development in the province. Evidence that their appetite is limited in some quarters, regardless of a proposal’s upside, is underscored by opposition to Pacific Oil and Gas’ Woodfibre LNG project… Green aspirations are admirable. But the economic foundation upon which B.C. communities are built and maintained still requires dirt-under-fingernail pursuits. Many small towns in the province’s hinterland now face uncertain futures in the wake of the pine beetle infestation that has destroyed area forests and eliminated the raw material for local job creation.

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Interfor Corporation: A Proxy For U.S. Housing Market Recovery

Seeking Alpha
June 16, 2015
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

The eventual improvement in U.S. housing starts will boost Interfor’s revenues. Interfor boast a low cost economic moat for its U.S. South operations, particularly Georgia where is the market leader. M&A and strategic capital investments will drive Interfor’s future growth. Diverse lumber mix and reasonable financial leverage mitigate the risk of industry cyclicality. Target price implies 30% upside based on 8 times forward EV/EBITDA.

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Lumber Liquidators intergrates leadership of marketing and merchandising departments

Military Technologies
June 15, 2015
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

Lumber Liquidators, the largest specialty retailer of hardwood flooring in North America, today announced that it is integrating the leadership of its merchandising and marketing departments. Marco Q. Pescara, the Company’s Chief Marketing Officer since 2006, has been promoted to serve as the Company’s Chief Merchandising and Marketing Officer effective June 19, 2015. As the Company’s Chief Marketing Officer, Mr. Pescara developed the brand and customer strategy to communicate and deliver the Company’s core value proposition through all areas of marketing. In his new position, Mr. Pescara will lead the Company’s marketing and merchandising functions to provide a cohesive message and product assortment to the Company’s customers.

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The Global Forest Industry in the 1Q/2015

Wood Resource Quarterly
PaperAdvance.com
June 16, 2015
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

Sawlog prices inched up in the local currencies but fell in US dollar terms throughout the world in the 1Q/15. The Global Sawlog Price Index (GSPI) fell by 8.2%, to its lowest level since the 3Q/09. Global trade of sawlogs slowed in early 2015, with the biggest declines in importation occurring in China and Japan. Japan has for many decades been a major importer of logs, but over the past few years the country has also started to export logs thanks to the weak yen… The stronger dollar, together with no or modest downward price adjustments of both chips and pulplogs in the local currencies, resulted in lower wood costs in US dollar terms in practically all major wood markets around the world.

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UPM to further improve efficiency and competitiveness of Kaukas pulp mill

Global Newswire
June 16, 2015
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

PM will invest EUR 50 million in its Kaukas pulp mill in Lappeenranta, Finland, to further strengthen the mill’s efficiency, competitiveness and optimisation. The investment will go towards modernising both pulp drying machines and installing a new baling line. Assembly will take place during a planned shutdown in autumn 2016 and start-up is scheduled for the end of 2016. The investment will benefit the entire Kaukas biorefining mill integrate through increased resource efficiency and operational flexibility.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

New Scarborough library a “green respite”

Daily Commercial News
June 16, 2015
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada East, Canada

A public library designed to transcend its primary role as a local community hub has opened its doors at the Scarborough Civic Centre in Toronto. Designed by LGA Architectural Partners and Phillip H. Carter Architect in a joint venture… the new library was also conceived as a green respite within the local urban context. …James said the black spruce roof structure is designed to not only bring warmth to the space “but also to create an expressive structure that is enjoyable to spend time in as the light shifts throughout the day. “We (the architectural team) also like the relatively low carbon footprint of wood as a structural solution.” The supplier was Nordic Structures.

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Timber buildings – evidence of lower costs emerge

The Fifth Estate
June 16, 2015
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

New research appears to prove the case and the timber development sector is educating the rest of the industry. Timely too, as the National Building Code has proposed that timber buildings up to eight storeys could fall under the deemed to satisfy provisions. …A seminar series touring the country is comparing detailed designs of four commercial building types that show building in timber costs less than conventional materials. …Chief executive of the Timber Development Association Andrew Dunn, who authored the work and undertook a significant part of the research, said the analysis showed that timber buildings would be 10-15 per cent more cost effective to construct across many building types.

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Forestry

N.W.T. fires at almost triple the average number so far this year

CBC News
June 15, 2015
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

There have been almost triple the number of forest fires in N.W.T. so far this season compared to the 20-year average.  The Department of Environment and Natural Resources says there have already been 65 forest fires this year, 48 of which are still burning. Based on the 20-year average, the typical number of forest fires for this time of year sits around 24.  Mike Gravel, ENR’s manager of Forest Management Services, says dry conditions are to blame.  “[The dryness is] in a little bit of a wider area that includes the Dehcho and a bigger portion of the South Slave. So environmentally we’re dealing with those kind of conditions,” he told reporters Monday.

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BC forests can’t beat the summer heat

The Peak
June 15, 2015
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

An SFU professor explains that British Columbians need to be aware of the looming danger from the extraordinarily dry spring we have experienced: an elevated risk of forest fires. With several fires burning in BC already, including the Dunedin River Fire and the Little Bobtail Lake Fire, the upcoming fire season is predicted to be record–breaking. Experts are stating that there is a high possibility that BC will experience an increase in forest fires from previous years. According to SFU professor and member of the Landscape and Conservation Science Research Group Meg Krawchuk, this elevated risk is due to a low snowpack in southern and central BC, high temperatures, and low amounts of precipitation in April and May.

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Squamish filled with smoke due to forest fire

Squamish Chief
June 15, 2015
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Squamish was filled with smoke Monday due to a forest fire burning 67 kilometres west of Pemberton. Due to the smoke, the air quality in Squamish was up to a 6 by 10:30 a.m. and an 8 by noon and a 9 by the end of the lunch hour. …The smoke had started to dissipate later in the day and was at a 4 by late afternoon, meaning there was no need for the average person to modify outdoor activities. The Elaho forest fire started Sunday morning and according to Marg Drysdale of the Coastal Fire Centre it was human caused, not industrial. The exact cause of the fire is under investigation, she said.

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Baby deer rescued after northern Sask. forest fire

CBC News
June 15, 2015
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

A forest fire can mean a painful death for many animals, but there’s one little deer that has escaped such a terrible fate. Fire fighting crews in the La Loche, Sask., area recently found a fawn in an area scorched by fire. It was suffering from burns but was alive. The mother was nowhere in sight. …”The poor thing was found in the burnt area laying down curled into a little ball.” The fawn, named David after a fire in the area, got a ride in a helicopter and was taken by a conservation officer to Healing Haven Wildlife Rescue Inc. in Dorintosh, Sask., where it’s being treated.

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Montana wildlife group seeks to stop sheep grazing

Helena Independent Record
June 15, 2015
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A wildlife group on Monday asked a federal judge in Montana to stop domestic sheep grazing that it says is a threat to wildlife on U.S. National Forest lands in the Gravelly Mountains. The Gallatin Wildlife Association claims the government’s authorization for the Helle family of Dillon to graze almost 8,000 sheep on public lands is harming endangered grizzly bears. It also says the presence of the domestic sheep is preventing wild bighorn sheep from returning to the Gravelly range, an area just north of the Idaho border that’s largely within the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest.

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Forest of dead trees dangerous for firefighters

Associated Press
June 15, 2015
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

PORTLAND, Ore. — Crews mobilizing to fight the Buckskin fire in southwestern Oregon face a danger left over from a major fire 13 years ago: dead, standing trees that could fall on them. Those dead trees are called snags, always a danger for fire crews working in the woods. The extensive Biscuit Fire of 2002 left behind what fire spokeswoman Pam Sichting described Saturday as “a multitude of snags.” Some of them will have to be cut down before crews can safely dig containment lines around the new fire, she said.

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Alaska wildfire destroys dozens of homes, menaces highway

Bangor Daily News
June 16, 2015
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

JUNEAU, Alaska — A fast-spreading Alaska wildfire has destroyed up to 45 homes and forced authorities to restrict traffic on a major highway connecting two of the state’s largest cities, state officials said Monday. As many as 200 firefighters have been battling the 6,500-acre fire with more specially trained teams en route from the Lower 48 states, Alaska Forestry Division spokesman Sam Harrel said. Crews have been attacking the fire on the ground and by air, getting help from the three Alaska National Guard Blackhawk helicopters, according to state reports.

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Predicting Forest Mortality

A National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis working group study analyzes a variety of factors contributing to forest die-offs
Ecology Today
June 16, 2015
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

A combination of drought, heat and insects is responsible for the death of more than 12 million trees in California, according to a new study from UC Santa Barbara’s National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS). Members of the NCEAS working group studying environmental factors contributing to tree mortality expect this number to increase with climate change. The study is the first of its kind to examine the wide spectrum of interactions between drought and insects. Lead author William Anderegg, a postdoctoral researcher at the Princeton Environmental Institute, and his coauthors first devised a framework to look at the effects that each stressor can have on tree mortality and then examined interactions among them.

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Wildfire rages in heart of Alaska’s sled-dog community; 2nd blaze drives many from homes

Associated Press
June 16, 2015
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

HOUSTON – Fire crews are battling two serious wildfires in Alaska that are threatening hundreds of residences and have forced numerous evacuations. The most recent fire erupted Monday and burned six structures and prompted hundreds of residents to flee homes on the Kenai Peninsula, roughly 150 miles south of major wildfire that started a day earlier near Willow in the heart of the state’s sled-dog community. The Willow-area blaze prompted volunteers to join in making sure that both people and their sled dogs as well as other animals were safely evacuated. The fire is raging near a far-flung community of about 2,000 people living along a 20-mile swath along the Parks Highway, a major road connecting Anchorage and Fairbanks.

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Buckskin Fire Grows To 2,000 Acres

Oregon Public Broadcasting
June 15, 2015
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

A fire in Southwest Oregon near Cave Junction has grown to 2,000 acres. The fire is currently zero percent contained.  Forest officials say the Buckskin Fire was started by a lightning strike on June 11th. The fire is burning in the same terrain as the Biscuit Fire, a blaze that burned nearly 500,000 acres in 2002. The burned area contains several large, dead trees or snags, that can threaten ground crews. The Forest Service is working to suppress the fire with helicopters, engine crews, and hand crews. 

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Connect with Us NEWS High fire risk endangers Terrace and area

Terrace Standard
June 16, 2015
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

The high fire danger in the area has led the Wildfire Management Branch to urge the public in Terrace, Kitimat and surrounding areas to use caution when participating in recreational activities in the backcountry or using any open flame. The fire danger rating in the Skeena Fire Zone currently ranges from “moderate” to “extreme”. A fire danger rating of “high” or “extreme” indicates that forest fuels are very dry and the fire risk is serious. New wildfires will start easily, spread rapidly and challenge suppression efforts. Since the beginning of May, all six wildfires in the Skeena Fire Zone (encompassing Terrace, Kitimat, the Nass Valley and surrounding areas) have been human-caused.

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CRISPR gene editing used to genetically modify trees to protect their health

Genetic Literacy Project
June 15, 2015
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

Researchers at the University of Georgia have used a gene editing tool known as CRISPR/Cas9 to modify the genome of a tree species for the first time. Their research, published recently in the early online edition of the journal New Phytologist, opens the door to more rapid and reliable gene editing of plants. By mutating specific genes in Populus—a genus of deciduous trees that includes poplar, aspen and cottonwood—the researchers reduced the concentrations of two naturally occurring plant polymers. One is called lignin, which traps sugars and starches used for biofuel production inside the tree’s sturdy cell walls. 

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Conservation officials plant over 2K trees to improve habitat, water quality

VT Digger
June 15, 2015
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

CAANAN, Vt. – The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, in partnership with other conservation organizations, recently planted two thousand trees along the upper Connecticut River in Essex County in an effort to restore floodplain forests. The trees were planted on six acres of the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department’s Johnson Farm Wildlife Management Area, along with adjacent privately-owned lands managed in partnership with the Vermont Land Trust. In addition to tree species native to floodplain forests like silver maple, basswood and red maple, American elms that have been specifically bred to be resistant to Dutch elm disease were also planted. 

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Minister defends trade in kauri swamp logs

Radio New Zealand News
June 15, 2015
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Northland conservationists say the logs are being illegally exported under the guise of carvings and the Government is doing nothing about it. The Far North Protection Society said that, despite their complaints, its members were still seeing massive logs dug from ancient wetlands, heading south on trucks to be sold overseas. It said both the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) and Customs were ignoring a cynical abuse of the law. Minister Nathan Guy said he was aware of their concerns but his ministry was keeping a close watch.

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When a forest is burned, what comes back may not resemble what was lost

Science /AAAS
June 15, 2015
Category: Forestry
Region: International

When a fire sweeps through a forest, or a lumber company strips an area of all of its trees, the greenery will eventually grow back. Or so many forestry researchers thought. But a new study in the tropics suggests that these second-growth forests can look very different from what they replaced—a finding that may cause biologists to wonder what biodiversity will be restored and forestry experts to reconsider how much they should or can intervene in the regrowth. “There’s a high degree of random effects” in what comes back, says Jefferson Hall, a forest ecologist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama who was not involved with the work. “It’s a very important study.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Groups related to the biomass industry band together to challenge press coverage

E&E Publishing LLC
June 15, 2015
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States

Frustrated by what they see as skewed news coverage of biomass, a coalition of forest industry groups is attacking media outlets, charging that reporters are giving free rein to environmentalists’ critiques of wood-fired power generation while ignoring evidence that the cultivation, harvest and burning of trees and wood waste to generate electricity does not exacerbate climate warming. By writing letters complaining to editors and launching a new website called Biomass101.org, four national trade groups say they are working to “correct the record” of false and misleading claims appearing in newspapers and online media about biomass and the carbon cycle, including recent stories in The Washington Post, The New York Times and ClimateWire.

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Finally we see wood for the trees in action on climate change

By Andrew Whitehead
Birmingham Post
June 16, 2015
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

According to UN scientists, deforestation accounts for 10% of global GHG emissions, and is a particular issue in developing countries where land degradation for development, and so-called “slash and burn agriculture”, is on the rise… But there was one area where substantive progress in Bonn was achieved, and that is deforestation. Forests act as carbon “sinks”, extracting from the atmosphere and holding huge stores of carbon. According to UN scientists, deforestation accounts for 10% of global GHG emissions, and is a particular issue in developing countries where land degradation for development, and so-called “slash and burn agriculture’, is on the rise.

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Finland: Horse manure plan to heat homes

BBC News
June 16, 2015
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Finland’s government wants the country to turn away from fossil fuels and look towards horse manure to heat its homes instead, it’s reported. The new coalition’s manifesto sets out plans for the large-scale use of horse dung as a renewable source of energy, the national broadcaster Yle reports. One energy company is already trying out a biofuel made by mixing horse manure with a wood-based litter, which is then burned to create power. The Fortum group says the annual waste created by three horses would be enough to heat a family home for a year. And with about 77,000 horses in Finland, there’s the potential for more than 20,000 homes to become completely manure-warmed.

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