Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: April 7, 2016

Special Feature

Susan Yurkovich Kicks Off COFI Conference

Council of Forest Industries
April 6, 2016
Category: Special Feature
Region: Canada, Canada West

Kelowna — Susan Yurkovich, CEO of the Council of Forest industries, welcomed delegates to the opening social of COFI’s 2016 Conference. The who’s who of the forest industry–over 400 attendees–will be in Kelowna starting today for this year’s annual event. The convention will feature a number of thought-provoking panels focused on the current and future competitiveness of the industry, regionally, continentally and globally. What is the economic outlook for the industry? How will fibre be managed going forward? What are some of the key land-based issues facing the industry? Where are the key opportunities for the forest industry to develop and diversify? Check here for daily highlights as the Tree Frog News is reporting and tweeting live from the conference.

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Business & Politics

One company’s resolute defense to activists

Pork Network
April 6, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

…But what happens when companies fight back? The Wall Street Journal recently editorialized about the case of Resolute Forest Products, a Canadian company that has taken Greenpeace to court. According to the Journal: “In 2012 Greenpeace claimed that Resolute was violating forestry practices that the company had agreed to follow. Resolute threatened legal action and so Greenpeace retracted its claims. But Resolute says that even after the retraction, the environmental outfit kept publishing and broadcasting the same false claims, along with some new ones. According to the company, one Greenpeace tactic is to show video footage of trees damaged by an insect outbreak hundreds of miles away but pretend it is the forest harvested by Resolute. Greenpeace denies this.”

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Trudeau to visit resource-rich northern Ontario to talk infrastructure

Canadian Press in the Chronicle Herald
April 7, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

SUDBURY, Ont. — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau heads to northern Ontario today as he continues to talk up his government’s infrastructure spending plans. …His government’s first budget last month included $87.2 million for a wide range of research projects in forestry, mining and minerals, earth sciences and mapping, and innovation in energy technology. ….But the budget has been criticized by some — including some of the Liberal government’s own members, sources say — for a lack of support for the forestry sector.

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State: Trio of issues lead to unsold timber

Sequim Gazette
April 5, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

Call it the big three of arrearage. The marbled murrelet, riparian zones and staffing levels are the main reasons why the state Department of Natural Resources failed to sell 92 million board feet of timber that was supposed to be sold in Clallam County from 2005-2014, a top DNR official told the Clallam County Trust Lands Advisory Committee on March 25. The 20-member panel is gathering information to determine whether Clallam County should reclaim management of 92,525 acres of DNR-managed forest lands in the county. Kyle Blum, DNR deputy supervisor for state uplands, explained the nuances of arrearage from the agency’s point of view in a four-hour, 40-minute meeting at the county courthouse.

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Lumber company Rosboro in Springfield considering selling

Register Guard
April 6, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

SPRINGFIELD — Rosboro’s board of directors is considering putting the Springfield-based lumber company up for sale. The privately held company’s shareholders are widely dispersed geographically and a sale could make sense, the company said. “What was once an organization owned by just a few of the original leaders of the company today has 60 owner-­families throughout the country,” Rosboro Chief Executive Officer Scott Nelson said in a statement Wednesday. Given that dispersed ownership, the company’s strong financial position and a robust market for mergers and acquisitions, Rosboro’s board has determined it would be “prudent to undertake a review of strategic alternatives to maximize shareholder value,” Nelson said.

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Microsoft PA Exec Evans Decamps for Weyerhaeuser

Odwyerpr.com
April 6, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

Jack Evans, a communications director for public affairs at Microsoft, is stepping down for the VP, comms. and PA, slot at timber and wood products titan Weyerhaeuser this month. Evans spent the last decade at Microsoft, heading a comms. unit in its legal and corporate affairs department, including competition, antitrust and other litigation issues. He previously managed media relations for the US airline trade group Airlines for America after a stint in corporate comms. with Alaska Airlines. He moved to PR in the early 1990s with AAA Washington after posts at the Orange County Register, New York Times and Dallas Morning News.

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Biomass subsidies, long-term energy contracts aren’t good ways to help Maine loggers

Bangor Daily News
April 6, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

On its face, it seems like a simple solution: If Maine electricity users pay a bit more each month, Maine loggers can keep their jobs. It’s not that simple, of course, which is why lawmakers are struggling with a bill that would prop up the state’s biomass plants in the hopes of protecting logging jobs. After a public hearing where dozens of people associated with the timber industry testified in support of the proposal, members of the Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee narrowly rejected it last week. Lawmakers’ skepticism is well placed. Asking electricity customers to pay higher rates to subsidize inefficient, and polluting, biomass generation is an indirect and inefficient way to provide help to Maine’s loggers and timber industry. Worse, there are no guarantees the biomass plants will remain open and, therefore, buying wood.

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Loggers, Biomass Plants seek lawmakers help to stop job losses

WCSH6
April 6, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

AUGUSTA, Maine — Since last August, three paper mills have closed, a fourth is in bankruptcy, four wood pellet plants have had temporary shutdowns, and two biomass electricity plants are shuttering their doors. Those are some of the sobering statistics that Dana Doran, Executive Director of Professional Logging Contractors of Maine cited at a press conference at the Statehouse Wednesday morning.  The ripple effects are far reaching. According to Doran, Maine’s logging industry could see a 20 percent reduction in its workforce by summer. “From our perspective from landowners, mills, truckers, equipment dealers and the entire forest products value chain, this is a natural disaster,” Doran said.

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Rail service returns to Horry County for first time since 2011 [The Sun News

Bloomberg News
April 6, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

CONWAY — The blast of a train whistle doesn’t bother Angela Younts. That’s a good trait for the owner of Dukes Recovery to have, as her business sits beside Canfor Southern Pine, the first Horry County company to use local rail service in five years. …But on Wednesday, a train made its first trip to Canfor to pick up an old rail car, said Bill Henderson, Corman’s vice president of sales and marketing. It means another step to our goals of more economic development, more jobs for our area. It’s just one piece of the entire puzzle. …Symons said the restoration of rail service will allow Canfor to serve markets in the Midwest and Northeast. Reaching those areas hasn’t been economically feasible in recent years because of the high cost of trucking.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Innovative Alberta pulp mill to recover wood byproduct for transformation into green bioproducts

Canada Newswire press release
April 6, 2016
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

EDMONTON – Alberta is home to the first commercial-scale plant in Canada to extract a natural substance in trees called lignin for the development of sustainable new value-added products. West Fraser, a diversified forest products company with operations across Western Canada, has built the new plant at its pulp mill in Hinton, Alta. The state-of-the art facility will recover lignin from the pulping operation using a novel technology, and transform this wood byproduct into useful, environmentally friendly bioproducts. The $30-million plant – made possible through joint funding by industry and government – began production in March. Alberta Innovates Bio Solutions (AI Bio) awarded West Fraser a $3-million innovation grant.

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West Fraser opens $30M lignin recovery plant in Hinton, Alta.

Canadian Manufacturing
April 7, 2016
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

EDMONTON— The first commercial-scale plant of its kind in Canada, facility will extract lignin from trees for use in sustainable value-added products. The West Fraser Timber Co.’s pulp mill in central Alberta has begun making more than just wood pulp for paper. The forest products company has completed work on Canada’s first commercial-scale lignin recovery plant, which is designed to extract a natural wood byproduct called lignin and repurpose it for use in a range of new value-added products. “Foresters have long been searching for ways to put lignin to better use,” Steve Price, CEO of one of the project’s funders, Alberta Innovates Bio Solutions, said. “The ability to recover lignin and transform it into green bioproducts will add more value to an abundant Alberta biomass and contribute to the provincial economy in a sustainable way,”

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Look inside Quebec’s eco-neighborhood

The Climate Group
April 7, 2016
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada East, Canada

The Government of Québec writes about its demonstration projects which are showcasing how low carbon buildings can reduce emissions and create affordable homes for communities. ….Half of the building containing the housing units was built with cross-laminated timber (CLT), while the other half was designed using light wood framing – and all of it reduces energy consumption. The building was designed under a technical cooperation agreement between the SHQ and the Istituto Trentino Edilizia Abitativa, which is building wooden social and community housing in both Italy and Quebec. In Trento, Italy, two five-storey timber buildings have already been built, each with 14 social housing units.

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Redstone’s timber-constructed hotel awaits guests

The Redstone Rocket
April 6, 2016
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

Cross laminated facility represents first in U.S. The uniquely constructed Candlewood Suites on Redstone Arsenal is open for business. …The hotel, a 62,688 square foot structure, took 10 working weeks to construct and included 1,200 wall panels and 200,000 fasteners. It is the first hotel in the United States made completely with cross laminated timber or CLT. “This is certainly not traditional construction,” Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary of the Army for installations, energy and environment, said during last week’s ceremony. “It takes a committed talented team to try something different.”

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This Swedish Scientist’s Transparent Wood Could Transform Architecture Co.Design

Co.Design
April 6, 2016
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

You don’t have to shop at Ikea to see that Sweden is obsessed with wood. Over 57% of the country is covered in upwards of 51 billion trees, and lumber and paper products are one of the country’s biggest exports. So leave it to Swedish researchers to figure out a whole new use for all that wood: they’ve made it transparent. In the future, this emerging material could be used as a stronger, more environmentally sustainable replacement for plastic or glass—in everything from wooden windows to wooden Coca-Cola bottles. Lars Berglund is a researcher at Sweden’s KTH Royal Institute of Technology. With a background in creating strong, light-weight carbon fiber composites for the aerospace industry, Berglund has a history of tweaking materials to exhibit new properties. 

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Forestry

FPAC Applauds Expanded U.S. Recognition of Forest Certification

Canada Newswire press release
April 6, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada

OTTAWA – The Forest Products Association of Canada applauds today’s news that the U.S. Green Building Council will now recognize wood and paper products certified by a variety of authorities. The USGBC has previously recognized only sustainable forest management certification from a single standard. But the USGBC says builders and architects can now get credit for the use of wood and paper products certified by a number of standards authorities. For Canadian forest products companies, this change will mean increased market access for some products, wider recognition of the value of some Canadian forest products, and, potentially, increased revenue and employment for the forest products sector.

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LEED Green Building Credit Closes Illegal Wood Loophole

Environmental Leader
April 6, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, United States

The US Green Building Council (USGBC) has updated the LEED green building rating system in an attempt to stop illegal logging. “Today, it is possible to achieve the LEED wood credit and still have illegal wood in a LEED certified project,” said Scot Horst, USGBC chief product officer. “This is because LEED projects receive credit for a percentage of the wood on the project, rather than on all wood used.” The new pilot Alternative Compliance Path (ACP) credit, which is in the LEED quarterly addenda, aims to advance environmentally responsible forest management by rewarding project teams that proactively verify that the wood they are using is legal. USGBC says it may use the credit as a model for other building materials in the supply chain.

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USGBC Announces New Pathway to Encourage Environmentally Responsible Forest Management in LEED

Canada Newswire press release
April 6, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, United States

WASHINGTON — The range of legal and responsible forest products available for a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) credit has grown in a positive direction. This is welcome news for architects, builders and consumers seeking legal, responsibly sourced and certified forest products from well-managed forests… “We applaud leaders from the U.S. Green Building Council as this change across all LEED rating tools takes a stance against illegal wood and reinforces the value of certified and responsibly sourced forest products,” said Kathy Abusow, President and CEO of SFI Inc. “SFI employs rigorous standards that ensure not only a responsibly managed forest, but also that only legal sources of fiber are brought into SFI-certified supply chains.”

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Minister Carr Highlights Commitment to Sustainable Natural Resource Development

Government of Canada
April 6, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada

The Honourable Jim Carr, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, today delivered a keynote address at the inaugural Ontario Natural Resources Forum in Toronto, where he emphasized the importance of developing natural resources — in Ontario and throughout the country — in a responsible and sustainable way both in Canada and abroad. …He also emphasized the critical role of the forest industry — and its contribution to carbon mitigation — in Canada’s transition to a low-carbon future, as well as the significance of the mining industry in Ontario and Canadian mining leadership globally.

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Warm spring forecast not good news for N.W.T. firefighters

Weather expert says territory would need extra rain this spring to balance soil moisture
CBC News
April 6, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Environment Canada is predicting a warmer-than-average spring for the Northwest Territories, and that coming on the heels of a warm winter could mean yet another bad fire season this summer — the territory’s third in a row. Senior Climatologist David Phillips says the territory is coming off a warm winter thanks to El Niño, and moisture levels in the soil are low. “Our models are suggesting across the Northwest Territories, for the last part of April and into May and then following it, we look like warmer-than-normal conditions. Which is probably not good news for forest firefighters,” he said. The territory had a normal amount of snowfall this winter, but the warm temperatures caused more snow to evaporate.

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Saskatoon looks to beat bark beetle and save urban forest

CBC News
April 6, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The pruning ban is in effect and the warnings are out as Saskatoon prepares to keep the elm bark beetle out of the urban forest this summer. Elm pruning ban starts today across Saskatchewan The tree killing beetle brought the first confirmed case of Dutch elm disease to the city last year. “The case that we had last summer may be an isolated case,” said Michelle Chartier, Superintendent of Urban Forestry and Pest Management in an interview with CBC Radio’s Saskatoon Morning. “We are going to step up our surveillance this year and hopefully people will be vigilant.”

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UBC professor examines impact of reforestation on carbon and water

UBC Okanagan News
April 6, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

A four-year UBC study will look at current forest management practices to determine how harvesting, and natural disturbances—such as wildfires and pest infestations—are affecting the natural balance between carbon and water. UBC researchers are teaming up with Kelowna-based engineering and environmental consulting firm ECORA and the BC Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations to work on the project. “Water availability and management is one of the greatest challenges facing the world this century,” says principal investigator Adam Wei, who teaches in the Earth and Environmental Sciences department at UBC’s Okanagan campus. “Understanding how forest management affects forest carbon and water resources is important for protecting ecological functions and for mitigating climate change impacts.”

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Logger training provides gainful employment outcomes

Arrow Lakes News
April 6, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The inaugural Logger Training Program in the West Kootenay was successfully completed at the end of February, opening up opportunities for employment in the regional forestry sector for the graduates. The objective of the training was to introduce individuals to the logging industry – preparing the participants to begin a career as a logger. The Logger Training Program was developed through a partnership with Selkirk College, the Nakusp and Area Community Forest (NACFOR), the Kaslo and District Community Forest Society (KDCFS), and local logging contractors and forest industry employers. “Before we moved ahead with the program, we met with many of the local logging contractors from the Nelson, Nakusp and Kaslo area,” says Gregg Neelin, the manager of Selkirk College’s Community Education & Workplace Training.

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Province, Lake Babine Nation sign reconciliation plan

Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation
BC Government
April 6, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

An agreement between the Province and Lake Babine Nation will help to guide collaboration on natural resource management and economic development opportunities across the First Nation’s traditional territory. Under the Reconciliation Framework Agreement, the Province will provide $550,000 for Lake Babine Nation to implement the agreement over the next two years. This funding will help Lake Babine Nation to fully and efficiently engage with natural resource sector proponents and increase economic opportunity. …It sets out a framework to guide negotiation of a reconciliation agreement, and commitments to engage in collaborative work to seek new forestry tenure opportunities for Lake Babine.

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The boreal caribou: Quebec must prioritize rural workers rather than environmentalist lobby groups

Canada Newswire press release
April 6, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

MONTREAL – The implementation of a more restrictive plan to protect the boreal caribou could cost thousands of jobs in affected regions, reminds the MEI. On Tuesday, the Quebec government promised to put in place an action plan—without providing any details—to favour better habitat protection for the boreal caribou, a species that is said to be directly threatened by the forestry industry. “The absence of details accentuates the climate of uncertainty that has reigned for too long in the industry, discouraging investment. Although the Minister is trying to be reassuring, it is unlikely that that the implementation of a more restrictive plan will be compatible with the electoral promise not to sacrifice one job over the caribou question,” says Alexandre Moreau, Public Policy Analyst at the MEI.

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Race to the bottom

Letter by Tom Miller
Chronicle Herald
April 6, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

Re: Paper use driving clear-cuts (April 5), Gary Saunders has it right about biomass harvesting for power. Against good local advice, the Dexter government went ahead with this forestry disaster and there seems no end in sight. Science shows it to be worse than coal. Papermaking in the northeast of North America has run the gamut. It’s no longer economic without serious concessions from the people and our forest. First, we the people are required to make this business viable with our tax dollars. No reputable bank will finance pulp mills, so we have to. We continually prop up these outdated over-users of our forest. As one of our largest contractors said to me, “We need a forest industry, but we don’t need the pulp mills.”

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Bid to stop logging north of Sudbury fails

The Sudbury Star
April 7, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

A Superior Court Justice has dismissed an injunction to stop logging around the Highway 144 community of Benny, northwest of Greater Sudbury. “The applicants have made impassioned and effective submissions,” Justice Edward Gareau wrote in his three-page decision. “I have reflected on the information provided by them to the court, but do not conclude that the facts of this case or the jurisprudence, including the test of interlocutory injunction, supports the granting of an interlocutory injunction. …They want to stop tree-cutting and defoliant spraying by Eacom Timber Corporation, Northshore Forest Inc. and Vermilion Forest Management Company Limited in the forest area north of Cartier.

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Local Metis chapters get on the same page about forestry and mining development

MBC Radio
April 6, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

Some Metis chapters in the north feel their concerns about activity on their traditional lands are not being heard by the big companies involved in forestry and mining development in the area. They hope to change that with an informational meeting in Ile-a-la-Crosse next Tuesday where northern leaders as well as commercial fishers, trappers and local village councils are being invited to learn about their rights. The meeting is being put on by the Beauval comanagement board and the Ile-a-la Crosse board. The vice president of the Beauval board, Nick Daigneault, says it is important to be united in their stance….Daigneault says the local Metis chapters are not trying to stop the development, they simply want their concerns to be heard and to be part of the discussion process on how the logging operations should be conducted.

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Montreal says it’s winning the war against the emerald ash borer, but critics disagree

Montreal Gazette
April 5, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

The city of Montreal cut down 4,349 trees infected with the emerald ash borer in 2015 and expects to fell another 3,406 this year, but the city councillor responsible for the environment maintains Montreal is winning the war against the pesky beetle that has killed thousands of trees over the past few years. …But the opposition at city hall maintains that the Coderre administration is being too optimistic, pointing out that 931 infected trees were discovered last fall, up from 572 in the fall of 2014. …Emmanuel Rondia, a spokesperson for the Conseil régional l’environnement de Montréal, said he thinks Ménard is being “a bit optimistic” by saying the war against the emerald ash borer is being won. “If you look at the other cities in the U.S., the problem remains for many years,” he said.

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U.S. Green Building Council pilots a new credit designed to eliminate illegal logging

TreeHugger
April 6, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

TreeHugger has followed the evolution of the LEED green building certification system from the beginning. Run by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), it is a system based on getting credits for choosing green materials, saving energy, and building healthier buildings. It’s also a changing system, addressing new environmental problems as knowledge and understanding of them increases. One problem is increasing demand for lumber, particularly as more and more buildings are made of it in an attempt to use renewable resources. So the USGBC is introducing a new credit advancing environmentally responsible forest management. It is designed to reduce illegal logging and reward projects where the designers verify that the wood they are using is legally harvested. .

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Editorial: The long road to resiliency

Wallowa Chieftain
April 5, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

…Wallowa-Whitman Supervisor Thomas Montoya, who was in attendance, said he expects implementation of the project to begin in spring 2018 at the earliest. Meanwhile, Ed Sparks of Wallowa is doing exactly the kind of restoration work on private land that the Forest Resiliency Project potentially has in store for federal land. Sparks was featured in a March 30 article by Chieftain reporter Kathleen Ellyn about his success in finding a profitable route back into our forests. …So while we wait at least two years for the USFS to launch its 15-year project in baby steps on public land, it’s great to see proactive approaches on private land. And Williams isn’t alone. Sparks has been contacted by other private landowners interested in low-cost restoration, and he says he already has enough work lined up to last him until retirement.

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A virtual view of the forest

AZ Daily Sun
April 6, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Imagine yourself standing against a sheer wall of Picture Canyon, examining petroglyphs etched onto the rocks, watching water slip down through the narrow crack in the earth. Now, imagine doing that from your computer screen. That’s possible thanks to Kaibab National Forest archaeologist Neil Weintraub, who, last fall, began using nothing more than his smartphone to take 360-degree pictures of some of the region’s most intriguing archaeological and historical sites. Using the camera function in Google’s Street View smartphone app, Weintraub stands at a certain point and takes 41 photographs of the site from different angles that the app automatically stitches together to create what Google has termed a photo sphere. The finished product allows the user rotate and zoom in and out on the image almost as if they were standing in the spot themselves. It’s just like what users can do on many city streets thanks to Google Street View.

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Montana Senator Daines Advocates For Increasing Active Forest Management

KGVO.com
April 6, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Montana Senator Steve Daines spoke at an Appropriations Subcommittee to discuss the U.S. Forest Service’s Fiscal Year 2017 budget. Daines is pleased with the progress of the 2014 Farm Bill, but he voiced his concern that it’s not being completed at an adequate pace. “We’ve identified in Montana about five million acres with dead or dying trees and that’s something we have been communicating to Montanans back home,” said Daines. “These are dead and dying trees, five million acres, you take 6,200 acres of projects that have been identified so far, do the quick math, its about .1% that is currently on the slate to address dead and dying trees which of course present a wildfire risk.” Daines also pressed the Forest Service to prioritize tribal forestry projects.

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Let’s Look for Collaborative Solutions to Land and Wildlife Management Issues

Lesley Robinson is a 4th generation Montana rancher, a Phillips County Commissioner, and a candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Montana.
Fairfield Sun Times
April 5, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

…When it comes to the transfer of federal public lands to state ownership, we are opposed. However, we do think that there are ideas worth looking at that would involve greater local control over public land. There is currently a proposed pilot project in the Kootenai National Forest that would have the federal government contract with Lincoln County for management of part of the forest. These are the kinds of innovative ideas that we should be looking at for solving land management issues. Under this proposal, the forest sees greater local management, yet very much remains public land. Cleary, much of our public land is not well managed. Our forests suffer from beetle kill and we are subject to massive wildfires every summer.

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OSU study: Forest thinning affects martens’ use, movement

KTVZ News
April 6, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Corvallis, Oregon – Scientists who for the first time used global positioning system telemetry to monitor the movements of reclusive Pacific martens have discovered that these fierce, tiny mammals tend to avoid open stands of trees resulting from forest thinning. Scientists who for the first time used global positioning system telemetry to monitor the movements of reclusive Pacific martens have discovered that these fierce, tiny mammals tend to avoid open stands of trees resulting from forest thinning. That could put conservation efforts to protect martens at odds with modern forest management, but the researchers say there is a prescription that may work for both interests: maintaining forest thinning at lower elevations, which are less favored by martens, and preserve more high-elevation forests – which are at less risk for catastrophic wildfire – as complex, marten-friendly stands.

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Montana senators grill Forest Service chief on wildfire, trails funding

Helena Independent Record
April 6, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Montana’s senators questioned U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell Wednesday on challenges to forest management reform, wildfire funding and declining trail budgets. Tidwell testified before the Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, which counts both Republican Steve Daines and Democrat Jon Tester among its members. The hearing focused on the Forest Service’s $4.8 billion budget request for the next fiscal year, including a small increase for Land and Water Conservation Fund and increased fuels reduction spending authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill. The budget “represents some really tough choices and where we can prioritize our limited funding,” Tidwell said, pointing to a nearly 40 percent cut in nonfire staffing and continually increasing firefighting costs.

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Baseball Bats Threatened by Invasive Beetle

Climate change may also imperil the sport
Scientific American
April 5, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

When St. Louis Cardinals third baseman Matt Carpenter picked up a bat for the 2016 baseball season opener Sunday against the Pittsburgh Pirates, he selected one made of maple. These days, maple is the bat material of choice for most pros, and it has been ever since San Francisco Giants left fielder Barry Bonds broke the record for the number of home runs hit in a season. But scientists say that if ballplayers like Carpenter ever want to go back to traditional ash bats, they might not have that chance. The supply of ash in the United States is under threat, and with it, the iconic Louisville Slugger. The culprit: an invasive beetle called the emerald ash borer. “It is the most destructive invasive insect to have ever entered North America,” said Therese Poland, a research entomologist with the U.S. Forest Service Northern Research Station.

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A bleak future for the U.S. ‘wood basket’? Southern forests under threat

Despite a drop in lumber mills, logging of southern U.S. forests looks to be on the rise.
Mongabay
April 6, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

The forests in the southern U.S. have been hotbeds of logging over the past two centuries, and currently supply 12 percent of the world’s wood products and 19 percent of its pulp and paper. A new interactive storymap produced by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) shows the number of active processing mills in the region has been trending downward over the past decades. But conservationists who work in the region say logging is still decimating the once-vast forests of the South. …The storymap shows that mill activity in all southeastern states has been declining over the past decades. Tennessee has seen the steepest drop, from around 1,300 mills in operation in 1960 to fewer than 300 in 2011. …Yet, this drop in processing mills doesn’t necessarily mean a drop in timber harvesting.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Nova Scotia Power biomass plant not burning high quality wood

Department of Natural Resources bureaucrats say Port Hawkesbury plant not to blame for lack of wood
CBC News
April 6, 2016
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada East, Canada

Two top bureaucrats in the Department of Natural Resources told a legislature committee Wednesday that high quality hardwood is not being burned in Nova Scotia Power’s Port Hawkesbury biomass plant. Deputy minister Frank Dunn said it wouldn’t be good business for any woodlot owner to sell valuable hardwood to the generating station. You can get more for firewood than you can for biomass,” he told the all-party committee. “So if you allow the market to drive the process, private landowners should sell the material that can be firewood, as firewood.”…. “Concerns that they are the reason for many of the things, whether it’s a firewood shortage, whether it’s the closure of hardwood flooring facilities, the cause for all of this is the biomass plant — it’s simply not true.”

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Carbon market opportunities could benefit Oregon’s private timberland owners

Portland Business Journal
April 5, 2016
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

…In Oregon, nearly half of the state — 29 million acres — is considered forestland, with approximately 10.3 million acres privately held. These forestlands can productively grow commercial grade timber, as opposed to areas where logging is restricted, such as congressionally designated wilderness areas or national parks. …The most immediate opportunity for Oregon forestland owners is through the sale of forest carbon credits that qualify under the regulated cap and trade program in California. Forest carbon offsets can be sold to California-based companies mandated to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by law. Carbon offsets are generated through such activities as extending the period of time between timber harvests or protecting forestland with a conservation easement — activities that sequester greater amounts of carbon dioxide than under a business-as-usual scenario.

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Should Maine’s Biomass Industry Receive Subsidies?

Maine’s Public Radio
April 6, 2016
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

Lawmakers in Augusta are considering a bill that seeks to bail out the state’s ailing biomass industry by requiring consumers to purchase higher-priced power from those plants. Supporters say the measure is needed to protect an important industry, but opponents say the market should prevail. Both sides took their case to the State House today. The majority of the Legislature’s Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee has already voted against the legislation, but supporters are hoping to convince lawmakers to pass it, or some version of it. Logger Tom Cushman says the forestry industry is struggling and needs help to survive.

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