Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: January 5, 2016

Business & Politics

Millar Western can’t save Boyle sawmill from shut down

Woodworking Network
January 3, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

EDMONTON, Alberta – Millar Western Forest Products says it sold its Boyle sawmill operations to Northland Forest Products, effective December 22, 2015, for $30 million plus working capital.  The Boyle sawmill was already scheduled for a shut down next month and severance notices were issued to its employees in November 2015. The sale, however, does not mean the workers will keep their jobs, because no timber supply was scheduled for the plant. 

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Assessed home values drop in B.C. resource communities

Collapse of copper and coal prices leads to layoffs and mine closures
Vancouver Sun
January 4, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

The value of homes in communities dependent on resource extraction has taken a beating in 2015, the sour note in a general rise of residential real estate assessments. …Communities across northern Vancouver Island have experienced steep multi-year declines in the assessed value of homes, but none steeper that Tahsis, where residential real estate dropped by more than 11 per cent in 2015. …The closure of the sawmills in Tahsis more than a decade ago triggered a long decline, but the picturesque west coast village is hardly alone. Port Alice has seen values drop by nearly 20 per cent over two years. The local economy was devastated earlier this year by the temporary closure of the Neucel Specialty Cellulose pulp mill, which has no firm plans to reopen.

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Softwood industry needs louder B.C. voice

by Bruce Ralston, MLA (Surrey-Whalley), NDP
Northeast News
December 29, 2015
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

When Christy Clark said she would make a new softwood lumber agreement with the United States her top priority with a new federal government, New Democrats voiced support. …Unfortunately, either Premier Clark forgot to mention it, wasn’t very forceful in making the case for softwood lumber, or the new prime minister simply ignored her. There’s no evidence that trade consequences ?for the softwood lumber industry have registered with the federal government. …Christy Clark’s B.C. Liberal government’s record has been to the detriment of forest-dependent communities, with the closure of more than 200 mills and the loss of more than 25,000 jobs.

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Fire at Canfor sawmill

Alberta Daily Herald Tribune
January 4, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

The Grande Prairie Fire Department was called to a fire at the Canfor mill on Wapiti Road (108 Street) at about 10 a.m. on Monday. When crews arrived, Canfor employees were evacuating the building and indicated there was a fire in the sawmill. Crews found moderate smoke conditions and a smoldering fire being controlled by the sprinkler systems in the sawmill. Firefighters worked to extinguish spot fires and a concealed fire that had extended into the wall space. The fire was extinguished by 12:45 p.m. The fire was caused by a seized/overheated bearing in the machinery, say officials. Canfor officials estimate the fire damage to be between $25,000-$50,000. END OF STORY

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U.S. Lumber Revival After a 5-Year Low?

Spend Matters
January 4, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States

U.S. lumber prices have started to climb after reaching a 5-year low in September, although they remain around 20% lower compared with last year. The expiry of the Softwood Lumber Agreement (SLA) between the U.S. and Canada in October, and lack of news on whether it will be renewed, has brought uncertainty to the market. Last year, difficult winter weather conditions affected both the demand and distribution of wood, pushing U.S. prices down. The price increases seen toward the middle of 2015 were fueled by a rise in demand for exported lumber and good performance of the housing and construction market. New housing starts increased by around 30% from February to April this year and have stayed at relatively high levels since then.

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Shortage of logs shuts down Usk mill

The Spokesman-Review
December 30, 2015
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

Vaagen Brothers Lumber has shut down its sawmill in Usk, Washington, as a result of a sluggish national housing market and a wildfire season that created a shortage of logs. About 50 workers are affected by the mill’s closure. Company officials say they will restart when market conditions improve. “We remain optimistic … that we cannot only turn the mill back on but invest in it in the future,” said Russ Vaagen, company president. At the current time, however, “we made the tough decision to take the Usk mill down.” The mill produces studs, which are used in home construction. Currently, log prices are too high compared to the price of studs for the Usk operation to be profitable, Vaagen said.

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Millard Lumber’s “More Than Lumber” Marketing Campaign

Omaha World-Herald
January 4, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

Millard Lumber Inc. has received a merit award for Best Marketing Campaign in the 2015 ProSales Excellence Awards for its More Than Lumber branding, marketing campaign and website. The ProSales Excellence Awards program celebrates business leaders whose creativity and ingenuity have not only improved and reinvigorated their own companies but have also set new benchmarks for service in the entire industry. Millard Lumber is one of six companies nationwide to be recognized. “For years, Millard Lumber has ranked among the nation’s leading building material distributors for its use of technology to serve customers and make sales,” said Craig Webb, ProSales’ editor-in-chief.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Some Types of Wood Contain Natural Chemicals that Are Toxic to Termites

Entomology Today
January 4, 2016
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States

By some estimates, termites cause about $40 billion per year in damage globally, and they destroy parts of more than 600,000 homes in the United States alone. The amount of wood a single colony destroys depends on the type of termite and the type and condition of the wood. For example, the heartwood of some trees contains allelochemicals, which can act as repellents and toxicants to termites. But which types of wood actually contain enough of these chemicals to have a real impact against termites? In order to find out, entomologists from the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service tested Formosan subterranean termites (Coptotermes formosanus) on a diet of commercial lumber from 10 different species of wood…

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SHoP proposes New York’s tallest timber-framed building

Dezeen Magazine
December 30, 2015
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

SHoP Architects has designed a 10-storey residential tower in Manhattan that is set to become the city’s tallest building constructed from structural timber. “To celebrate the unique nature of the project, the timber structure will be exposed where appropriate, exhibiting its natural beauty and strength,” said the New York-based firm, which has also designed super-tall towers for Manhattan and Brooklyn. “The extensive use of other wood products throughout will help set ambitious sustainability targets in design, construction and operation.” …Wood is taking over from steel and concrete as the architectural wonder material of the 21st century, with new types of engineered timber allowing architects to build bigger and higher.

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Forestry

Protest against logging Walbran Valley old growth forest

Chek News
January 4, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Dozens of protesters gathered outside the Victoria Law Courts on Monday, calling for a ban on the logging of Walbran Valley old growth forest. The protest was due to the fact lawyers for Teal Jones, the company legally permitted to log a parcel of the Central Walbran, were in BC Supreme Court to apply for the extension of an injunction that would place limits on protests. The initial injunction — which was set to expire Monday — had been in place since mid-December. It allows protests, but prevents demonstrators from interfering with Walbran logging operations. Environmental groups say the company is trying to keep the law-abiding public away.

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Walbran logging buffer-zone injunction extended

By Cindy Harnett and Andrew Duffy
Victoria Times Colonist
January 4, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Logging company Teal Cedar Products has been granted an extension of an injunction that will keep environmental activists at bay as the company continues to log in the Walbran Valley. In a decision delivered Monday, the B.C. Supreme Court ordered that until the end of March, the Western Canada Wilderness Committee and other environmental activists must allow the company to carry on its work unimpeded and maintain a 50-metre safety zone from any motor vehicle engaged in active logging. Teal Cedar Products is part of Surrey-based Teal-Jones Group. The ruling came as a major blow to the Wilderness Committee, with organizer Torrance Coste saying the result could be permanent damage to the ecosystem.

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Logging firm seeks extended injunction for Walbran as foes protest

Victoria Times Colonist
January 4, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

About 40 people opposed to logging of old-growth trees in the Walbran Valley protested outside B.C. Supreme Court in Victoria this morning as forestry company Teal Jones was inside seeking to extend an injunction to limit blockades of its operation. Teal-Jones Group, a Surrey-based logging company, gained a permit in September from the province to log cutblock No. 4424, a 3.2-hectare area of Crown land in the Central Walbran, for pulp, paper and solid wood products. “It’s a forest unlike any other on the planet,” with intact 1,000-year-old trees, said Torrance Coste, a campaigner for the Wilderness Committee. The cutblock contains ‘Castle Grove,’ a densely packed group of old-growth western red cedars.

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Regina researchers use tree rings to explain past, predict future

Dave Sauchyn says trees show a long period of drought could be in the Prairies future
CBC News
January 4, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

It’s hard to predict the weather, but University of Regina researchers are using trees to trace weather patterns from the past and give insight into what Saskatchewan’s climate might look like in the future. Dave Sauchyn, senior research scientist at the Prairie Adaptation Research Collaborative, said prairies trees have plenty of lights, carbon dioxide, good soil, and nutrients. What varies year-to-year is water. “The amount of tree growth each year depends on how much water was in the soil,” he said on CBC’s Afternoon Edition. “There are trees that are hundreds, even thousands of years old,” Sauchyn said. “So by measuring the growth every year, we can figure out how much water has been in the soil, the lakes, and the rivers over the past 1,000 years.”

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Council concerned with land in Victoria County

Cape Breton Post
January 4, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

BADDECK – About 40 per cent of Victoria County has been designated by the province as protected wilderness area. “The message we want to get out from Victoria County to the province is please stop,” said District 2 Coun. Athol Grant. The recent designation of more than 100 properties as wilderness areas, nature reserves and parks means that 12.26 per cent of Nova Scotia’s landmass is now protected, which meets the province’s goal under the Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act to protect at least 12 per cent by 2015. …With a limited commercial base, council is concerned that the loss of land will hamper potential economic growth in the county.

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Helena, Lewis & Clark national forests formally become one

Helena Independent Record
January 4, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

The Helena and Lewis & Clark national forests have officially consolidated into the Helena-Lewis & Clark National Forest. The consolidation was signed in mid-December by Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell and USDA Undersecretary Robert Bonnie. The announcement comes after several years of combining positions and sharing resources across both forests, most notably in leadership with a shared supervisor and deputy supervisor. The public should notice little difference following the announcement and no additional offices will be closed or relocated, said Forest Supervisor Bill Avey.

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How Science Can Help to Halt The Western Bark Beetle Plague

Yale Environment 360
January 4, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Entomologist Diana Six is focused on the beetle infestation that is wiping out conifer forests in western North America. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, she explains why the key to combating this climate-related scourge is deciphering the trees’ genetic ability to adapt. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, Six explains the root causes of the beetle infestations, discusses why U.S. Forest Service policies may be making the problem worse, and describes why the best hope for Western forests will come from the trees’ capacity to genetically adapt to a new climate regime. Science, she says, can help support this natural process of evolution by mapping genetic markers in trees that survive the insects, so forest managers can breed trees that are better able to cope with future beetle onslaughts.

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Nevada experiments with ‘biochar’ to improve health of forests

Review-Journal Capital Bureau
January 4, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

CARSON CITY — State land stewards are experimenting with an ancient method to improve the health of Nevada forests and make use of the renewable resource — baking tree trunks and limbs in a slow cooker to turn them into charcoal. The technique is as old as the ages and was commonly used by Nevada pioneers and early miners to create an energy source for warmth and smelting. Today there is a new focus: using “biochar” to improve soil nutrients and water retention. Eric Roussel, a biomass and seed bank coordinator with the Nevada Division of Forestry, has been toying with the idea for several years. “The idea really came out of pinyon and juniper utilization,” Roussel said.

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Nez Perce Tribe opposes forest rehabilitation plan

Associated Press in The Washington Post
January 4, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

LEWISTON, Idaho  – A large-scale timber sale and rehabilitation project recently approved by the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest still faces opposition from the Nez Perce Tribe over environmental concerns. The 44,000-acre Clear Creek Integrated Restoration Project is backed by members of the Clearwater Basin Collaborative, made up of county commissioners, loggers and environmentalists, according to The Lewiston Tribune (http://bit.ly/1OEaKKm). The project would be implemented over several years and its goals include harvesting 85 million board feet of timber and improving fish and wildlife habitat.

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Volunteers can replant small part of Rim fire area

The Modesto Bee
January 3, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

SONORA People who would like to replant part of the Rim fire area can get details at one of four meetings this month. The Stanislaus National Forest seeks volunteers to plant about 90,000 seedlings this spring. They are a tiny part of the reforestation effort, which mainly will involve paid crews laying millions of new trees on the charred land. The U.S. Forest Service is hosting the meetings along with the Tuolumne River Trust, which works on behalf of a watershed badly scarred by the 2013 fire. The blaze, the largest ever recorded in the Sierra Nevada, burned at varying intensity across 257,314 acres of the forest, Yosemite National Park and private timberland.

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New maps show spread and impact of drought on California forests

LA Times
December 30, 2015
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

California’s forests have already lost millions of trees in recent years due to rising temperatures, the drought and a plague of bark beetle infestations. But if the drought persists, millions of more trees throughout the state could die, according to a study published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The researchers used an airplane, remote sensing technology and satellite imagery to produce the first maps that show how much water the state’s trees have lost. Virtually every forest has been affected in some way, said study leader Greg Asner, an ecologist at the Carnegie Institution for Science at Stanford University.

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Letter: Dead zones vulnerable to wildfires

By Ted Stubblefield, Ridgefield
The Columbian
January 4, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

The Washington Post story “Imaging shows drought’s effects on California trees” that was published in the Dec. 29 Columbian is useful information as far as it goes, but here’s the “rest of the story.” Most definitely, drought directly affects trees, thus making mass numbers of such a greater risk for wildfire as their needles and leaves begin to thin out and they gradually die. But, what the story does not explain is the other half of the equation; that being, with the loss of water comes a decrease in sap flow, which is what the trees use to repel boring insects, such as the pine bark beetle and others.

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Guest columnists: Stakeholders forum for the Nantahala and Pisgah Plan revision

Asheville Citizen-Times
December 31, 2015
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

The Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests plan revision process has come a long way in the past year. For those following the plan revision process, 2015 included public meetings, news releases, milestones, and challenges. Shortly after hitting reset on forest planning in early 2015, then-Forest Supervisor Kristin Bail described a new approach with hope that the next steps would “be marked by collaboration, rather than by controversy…” Taking those words to heart, the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests hired the National Forest Foundation (NFF) to mediate longstanding divisions between key forest stakeholders.

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Better forest management can help prevent bushfire disasters

Fuel reduction in the vast forests behind the communities along the Great Ocean Road have been neglected for decades.
The Age, Australia
January 5, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Sep and Wye were sitting ducks if the forest beyond was not properly managed. No amount of platitudes or hair-splitting about attaining a target of 9000 hectares of fuel reduction in the past year can make up for decades of neglect of an estate of hundreds of thousands of hectares. I know – and I mean I know – that for more than a quarter of a century there had been no serious fuel reduction within cooee of Sep and Wye. Sure, there had been the odd cosmetic burn along the Ocean Road, but the serious fuels to the north and west – the quarters from where the big risks would come with hot dry winds — were ignored. Easier by far to declare the forests a national park and then let nature take care of itself.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

In BC, politicians ignore environment at their peril

By Mario Canseco
Vancouver Sun
January 4, 2016
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

For many Canadians, 2015 will be remembered as a banner year for the environmental movement. In the past three months, there was a new global agreement on greenhouse gas emissions and a new government in Ottawa that ordered a ministry revamp — it is now called Department of the Environment and Climate Change — to hammer home the point that Canada is serious about the challenges ahead. The shift toward new environmental policies was evident in the 2015 federal election. In British Columbia, the share of the vote for the Conservative party fell drastically, from 45.5 per cent in 2011 to 30 per cent in 2015. A third of voters abandoned the former ruling party, four years after its majority mandate.

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