Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: December 12, 2016

Today’s Takeaway

Change and uncertainty are the only constants

December 12, 2016
Category: Today's Takeaway

A story in the Victoria Times Colonist pretty much sums it up; “Uncertainly stalks BC’s lumber industry”, although we would add, it no doubt applies equally to the rest of Canada and much of the US as well. Citing beetles, log supply and politics (mostly SLA related), the article concludes that “change and uncertainty are the only constants that our forest-dependant communities can depend on”.

And speaking of change, sawmills in Alaska will have to retool for smaller logs if a proposal to shift harvests in the Tongass National Forest to younger, second-growth wood is implemented. The proposed shift comes after US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack pressed for a “faster transition away from old-growth as a way to preserve a viable timber industry”. Further south, the public have encouraged Montana’s Lewis and Clark National Forest to change their management approach from man-made activity areas to a strategy based on natural geographic boundaries.

Finally, bioproducts are gaining market share and consumer approval in two very different applications. Research from the University of Washington found that consumers are willing to pay more for biofuels – up to eleven percent over conventional fuel. They are also willing to swap out petrochemicals for wood in another application – fat free mayonnaise! As nanocellulose and lignin become more available, exciting new applications are being found. 

— Tree Frog Editors

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Business & Politics

Canadian forest industry a ‘win-win-win’

By Tamar Atik
Wood Business
December 11, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada

Dec. 9, 2016 – During a project aimed at gathering innovative ideas on how to use technology in Canada’s natural resource sector, Natural Resources Canada asked industry leaders to talk about what clean technology means to them. CEO of the Forest Products Association of Canada, Derek Nighbor spoke about what Canada’s forest industry is contributing to clean technology on a global scale. In a video posted by Natural Resources Canada, Nighbor said, “It’s really a win-win-win across the value chain, and that’s the message we’re going to continue to bring to Canadians and to the world because Canada can be a global leader.” 

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Time to Replace Out-of-Touch Government, John Horgan Says

By Andrew MacLeod
The Tyee
December 12, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

…[AM] What about forestry? Do you see opportunity? [JH] Huge. I’ve been meeting with industry leaders, I’ve been meeting with unions, I’ve been meeting with truck loggers just last week, and I am extremely concerned the potential consequences of the lack of success on the softwood file will lead to significant disruption in the industry and loss of jobs. I’m also concerned about our managing of the resources over the past number of years. It seems to me the BC Liberals have done everything they can to make sure that those who provide political contributions are getting what they need on a quarterly basis in terms of their profit margins, but that’s not benefiting the sustainability of our public forests over the long term. Raw log exports is the symbol of that.

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Canfor Pulp project wins council’s support

By Mark Nielsen
Prince George Citizen
December 9, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Canfor Pulp’s bid to build a water treatment plant and decanting pond on the north shore of the Nechako River won city council’s approval on Monday night, when a rezoning bylaw to allow the project to go ahead passed third reading following a public hearing. Slated for the same plot of land on PG Pulpmill Road where a pump house is in place and just east of a groundwater well owned by Canfor Pulp, it will separate silt from water extracted from the river and discharge it into the pond. The fresh water, in turn, would be sent along to the company’s pulp mills as well as the Husky refinery, Canfor Pulp production manager Jason Korolek told council during a presentation. “Every spring we deal with a massive amount of spring runoff and if you can imagine what silty, dirty water does with pumps, equipment, fire systems, it’s very detrimental for our company,” Korolek said.

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Human resource professional named rising star

Vernon Morningstar
December 11, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

A Vernon human resources professional has just been recognized as one of the industry’s rising stars. Catherine Bariesheff, of Tolko Industries, has been included in HRD Canada magazine’s Rising Stars list, recognizing 31 young professionals who are leading HR into 2017 and beyond. …In terms of Bariesheff, HRD Canada indicates that her role in recruitment at Tolko is crucial. “She has developed recruitment training modules to improve hiring competencies. Her expertise in the hiring and training of foreign workers has been invaluable, particularly in processing the required labour market impact assessments,” says the article.

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Uncertainty stalks BC’s lumber industry

By Monique Keiran
Victoria Times Colonist
December 11, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

The 203 employees of Merritt’s Tolko sawmill report for their last week at the mill Monday. The workers ran the last logs through the mill last week and now are shutting down the site. The mill closes this Friday, with no reopening scheduled. Some employees have worked at the mill for decades. Some are retiring. Some are transferring to Tolko mills in Armstrong, Vernon, Quesnel, Williams Lake and elsewhere. Others will be looking for work. However, with decreasing log supplies in the B.C. Interior and soft foreign markets for B.C. softwood lumber, an uncertain future looms for many B.C. sawmill workers. When Tolko announced the shutdown last September, it cited a timber-supply shortage.

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New Brunswick tax breaks: Who gets what

By Robert Jones
CBC News
December 12, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

…Tax break: Timberland—Amount: $7.5 million—The method: Assessment freezeProperty taxes on forest properties were first set under its current method in 1966, with a universal tax of 25 cents per acre. Adjusting for inflation and metric land measurements, that amount is equivalent to a 2016 tax of $4.55 per hectare. Because of assessment freezes over the years, actual taxes on forest properties in New Brunswick are currently less than half of that, an average of about $1.90 per hectare.  Acadian Timber paid as little as $1.82 per hectare this year on a forest block it owns in the Saint Jacques local service district in Madawaska County.

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McMorris Rodgers expected to be Trump’s pick for Interior secretary

The Spokesman Review
December 11, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers is expected to be named interior secretary by President-elect Donald Trump… McMorris Rodgers represents Eastern Washington’s 5th Congressional District, which contains large sections of land owned and managed by the federal government. She has been a longtime advocate of increased use of federal land, including expanded timber harvests and more drilling for oil and gas… Donna Harman, president and chief executive officer of the American Forest and Paper Association, said the group welcomes the prospect that she would use her knowledge to bring responsible stewardship to public lands: “That foundation is critical to future policy that impacts our member companies that manufacture the forest and paper products Americans use every day.”

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LP Announces Changes in Executive Leadership

LP Press Release
Business Wire
December 11, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

NASHVILLE, Tenn.– LP announced today changes to its executive management team. The organizational changes will be effective Jan. 1, 2017… The changes include: Oriented Strand Board (OSB) Sales and Marketing Vice President Jason Ringblom will become executive vice president and general manager of the OSB business. The OSB business has been under the leadership of Brad Southern who became LP’s Chief Operating Officer last month. Engineered Wood Products Senior Vice President Neil Sherman will become executive vice president and general manager of the Siding business, replacing Brian Luoma, who is leaving LP to pursue other opportunities.

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Timber industry urges tariff on Canadian imports

By Sam Wilson
Daily Inter Lake
December 10, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

For the first time in more than a decade, the U.S. lumber industry is again pushing to impose trade tariffs on Canada over alleged timber subsidies. The petition to the federal Department of Commerce and the U.S. International Trade Commission was filed Nov. 25 by the U.S. Lumber Coalition, the trade group representing the nation’s softwood lumber producers. The move to establish duties on Canadian wood products comes a little more than a year following the expiration of the 2006 Softwood Lumber Agreement between the two countries, which for nine years had established a lumber-products pricing system that ended decades of trade disputes between the neighboring countries. State-side timber interests have long complained that Canadian provinces subsidize their stumpage prices, or the cost of logs cut from public lands, allegedly allowing their neighbors to the north to under-cut domestic wood products manufacturers.

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IdaPine Mills opens in Meridian, where housing market is hot

By Holly Beech
Idaho Press-Tribune News
December 10, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

A board of lumber can be processed at the new IdaPine Mills in Meridian and hardly touch a human hand. An automated planer uses new technology from Finland to smooth out the boards’ rough edges. Machines then sort and stack the lumber, while cameras check for defects. Three super computers in a back room are the brains of the operation. …IdaPine has been getting ready to put its lumber on the market since last year, when it moved into the former Plum Creek mill on West Taylor Avenue in Meridian. Plum Creek closed in 2015 after losing a key customer, laying off 61 people. At full capacity, IdaPine hopes to have a staff of 30, Krogh said. Krogh’s family has been in the Idaho lumber industry for three generations. He and his dad and two brothers own and operate saw mill and energy companies in the small Idaho communities of New Meadows and Kooskia. About 40 percent of the lumber produced company-wide is sold in Idaho, Krogh said.

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Trump’s get-tough trade plan could benefit Maine forest industry

By Colin Woodard
Portland Press Herald
December 11, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

Maine sawmills and timber harvesters could benefit if President-elect Donald Trump goes through with a draft plan to aggressively renegotiate trade terms for competing softwood lumber imported from Canada. A Trump transition team memo obtained by CNN last month calls for the United States to renegotiate or withdraw entirely from the North American Free Trade Agreement, which fosters trade with Canada and Mexico. The memo has raised fears in Canada that hefty U.S. duties may be slapped on Canadian timber exports early next year, hammering an industry that exports 70 percent of its production to the United States. The lumber – boards, beams, planks, and framing made from spruce, fir, pine and other softwood trees – is primarily used in home and building construction, and could become more costly for U.S. consumers if duties were imposed.

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Timber mill to undergo $20 million transformation by Sydney veneer exporters

By Sarah Maunder
ABC News Australia
December 12, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

A south-east South Australian mill will be transformed into a $20 million timber veneer plant by Sydney company Shield Formply, creating around 80 new jobs, Wattle Range Council has announced. Pending council approval of the planning application, construction will begin at the current Kalangadoo mill site in 2017. Once complete, the plant will utilise locally grown blue-gum and pine to produce 100,000 cubic metres of veneer annually for export to make formply for the construction industry.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Could mayonnaise soon contain tree pulp? Scientists think so

Nanocellulose and lignin are on the verge of becoming available in large quantities
Global News
December 11, 2016
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada

Companies around the world are working to produce nanocellulose in commercial quantities, paving the way to a vast array of products based on materials derived from trees, as they attempt to end our dependence on petrochemicals. “I think it will give us the opportunity to produce, for example, fat free mayonnaise based on forest products that we don’t believe in today,” said Mikael Hannus, head of research and innovation at Finnish pulp mill operator Stora Enso. “I think nanocellulose, microcellulose will end up in many, many different applications as an enhancement or experience improvement agent.”

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Develop local wood products

By Steve Siebert – University of Montana College of Forestry and Conservation.
The Missoulian
December 12, 2016
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

Local food is all the rage in Missoula. We have the farmers market, the University of Montana’s nationally recognized Farm to College program, not to mention all that tasty beer. Yet while local food is praised, there is little interest in, indeed often significant opposition to, local wood. The rationale in support of local food is the same for local wood: employment, income that remains in the local economy, sustainable land/resource stewardship, high potential productivity/abundant resources, and a desire to reduce dependence on large corporations that have no interest in our home or values. The need for and potential benefits from nurturing local wood production are tremendous. Missoula is in the midst of a building boom, yet that construction uses little locally produced timber.

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How Maine’s rural votes can power the urban plyscraper economy

By Michael Cianchette
Bangor Daily News
December 11, 2016
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

… The fact is we remain the most heavily forested state in the union. Paper mills once drove economic growth outside the cities; the woods might again… But there are other opportunities. We have significant stands of Norway spruce, recently certified for use in construction for the first time ever in the United States. Engineered wood products are becoming more and more commonplace in construction, enabling carbon-sequestering, economical green building. While Europe is at the forefront, the regulatory environment of the United States is beginning to allow “plyscrapers” — high-rise structures made from wood products — in its building codes… If we want to see new investment providing for Maine’s next forest economy, we need a tax and regulatory environment that doesn’t penalize or prevent its establishment.

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New research will lead to better design of sustainable wooden buildings

By Annika Sand
Phys Org
December 12, 2016
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

The annual rings of a tree not just tell us how old it is, they are also vital to the strength and stiffness of wood. A new project from Linnaeus University (Sweden) has received SEK 3 million from Formas to study the mechanical properties of wood using both computer models and advanced experiments. The results will provide important scientific bases for the use of cross-laminated wood in buildings. …“We want to contribute to the development of design criteria for cross-laminated timber through research that increases the scientific knowledge base. Specifically, we will examine how the material properties affect the performance of the products when used in timber structures,” says Thomas Bader, Senior Lecturer at the Department of Building Technology and Project Manager.

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Forestry

Pine Beetle Strategy In Banff National Park Can Do More Harm Than Good, Research Shows

National Parks Traveler
December 12, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

One strategy to control the spread of mountain pine beetles in Banff National Park sometimes does the opposite, a study by a University of British Columbia researcher shows. While pheromone baiting followed by tree removal — purposefully attracting the pests to a tree, which is then cut down in winter when the larvae are trapped inside — can be successful where there is a dense population of beetles, the strategy can increase the number of beetles in some areas of the Canadian Rockies, according to mathematical modeling led by Rebecca Tyson, an associate professor of mathematics at UBC’s Okanagan campus. “What our study found is that where the beetle population is low, the pheromone is actually attracting more beetles and thus helping the beetle population increase,” said Ms. Tyson, whose research was recently published in ScienceDirect.

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Behest of the West: Coast prepares for a pipeline fight

Tofino-Ucluelet Westerly News
December 11, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Trudeau approved Kinder Morgan on Tuesday… The Friends of Clayoquot Sound are rallying as well. “The strategies of movement building and peaceful direct action, that we utilized in the massive Clayoquot protests, will help to ensure the Kinder Morgan pipeline is never built,” said Friends campaigner Jeh Custerra. I get the romance of the Clayoquot Summer reference but this isn’t that. The logging jobs those protestors destroyed were our own. The winners of 1993 are the ones whose stories are told but the losers were locals too. That was a brutal us-versus-us, Coast-eat-Coast, fight but the jobs aren’t ours this time. Protesting this expansion doesn’t mean protesting our neighbours’ paycheques. We won’t be driving the tankers traveling 50 kilometres off our Coast and, for reasons that can only be attributed to governmental nonsense, we’re not in the spill response zone.

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UBC Science genomics research in natural resource, environmental and health sectors gets $18 million boost

UBC Science
December 9, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

UBC Science researchers are leading three large-scale genomics projects addressing key challenges in Canada’s natural resource, environmental and health sectors, Genome Canada announced today. Genome British Columbia will be the lead genome centre for the three projects, worth a total of $18 million. …Joerg Bohlmann will lead a $10.5 million research effort to accelerate the development and deployment of genomics-improved spruce stock that is more resistant to insects and drought. …Spruce trees are Canada’s most significant forest resource. The Spruce-Up project, led by Joerg Bohlmann of the University of British Columbia and Jean Bousquet of Université Laval, will accelerate the development and deployment of genomics-improved spruce stock that is more resistant to insects and drought, uses nutrients efficiently and results in improved wood quality and productivity. 

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Community forests in the Peace get good audit results

BC Forest Practices Board
December 10, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

VICTORIA – Audits of the Tumbler Ridge and Little Prairie community forests, in the Peace Resource District, found compliance with B.C.’s forestry legislation, according to the audit reports released today. “We are pleased to see that both of these community forests carried out good forest practices and fully met the requirements of the Forest and Range Practices Act and the Wildfire Act,” said Tim Ryan, board chair. “Both community forests carried out extensive timber harvesting to recover trees killed by the mountain pine beetle epidemic and both did a good job on behalf of their communities.” Community Forest Agreement (CFA) K2O is held by the Tumbler Ridge Community Forest Corp.

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Eldee man fined by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry

By Aaron Mahoney
My North Bay Now
December 9, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

An Eldee man has been fined $4,000 for an offence under the Crown Forest Sustainability Act. Brandon Illerbrun pleaded guilty to unlawfully removing Crown wood from a forestry operation on Crown land. In addition to the fine, Illerbrun was given two years of probation. In November 2014, an employee of a local forestry company saw Illerbrun at a logging operation in Poitras Township. Illerbrun was cutting and removing wood from a pile that was harvested by the forestry company, but he didn’t have permission to remove the wood.

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Natural Resources Canada scientist working to keep Christmas trees in tip-top shape

CTV News Atlantic
December 11, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

A scientist with Natural Resources Canada has been working year-round to make sure the Maritimes’ multi-million dollar Christmas tree industry continues to prosper. Rob Johns says much of his research is used to inform tree growers of what insects or diseases could be lurking. “They want to know which ones to look out for, because the next step for them is planning on how do we monitor and how do we actually manage this if it comes into my stand?” said Johns. This year there was some worry over one nasty pest in particular. “The biggest conversation in New Brunswick is around spruce budworm,” said Johns. “So (tree growers) wondering about are these going to defoliate our Christmas trees?”

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Pine Versus Plastic: The Numbers Behind U.S. Christmas Tree Sales

By Niall McCarthy
Forbes
December 12, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

For many American families, the ritual of going out to buy the perfect Christmas tree is an essential part of the holiday season. …Even though real trees consistently outsell fake ones every year, many consumers consider the latter a more long-term investment. Last year, 25.9 million real trees were sold in the U.S. compared to 12.5 million fakes, according to the National Christmas Tree Association. Sales of both variations reached their peak in 2013 when 33 million real trees were sold, along with 14.7 million fakes.

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Utah had worst wildfire season since 2012

By Courtney Tanner
The Salt-Lake Tribune
December 12, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

One wildfire in Utah this season consumed twice as many acres as the total amount of land burned across the entire state last year. Though that’s more of a testament to how quiet the 2015 season was — its sum of 10,000 acres burned was the smallest in Utah since at least 2001 — this year brought a handful of large blazes, including the 20,600-acre Broad Mouth Fire in Box Elder County. There was also a return to average fire levels. After four years of minimal wildfire activity, the 2016 season had more than 99,000 acres of burn, making it the worst since 2012 (when 415,300 acres burned). But the fires were tolerable and, in some places, healthy, scorching a total land mass the size of Detroit.

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Review of Whitefish Range forest project completed

Daily Interlake
December 9, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

The Flathead National Forest has completed its environmental review for a proposed fuels-reduction project north of Whitefish, spanning 1,114 acres above the Haskill Basin. The Tally Lake Ranger District’s Whitefish Municipal Watershed Fuel Reduction project would include a mix of prescribed burns on 756 acres, understory thinning on 103 acres and commercial thinning on 58 acres. The project was developed through a collaborative process with the goal of increasing resilience to insect infestation, reducing tree mortality, increasing wildfire resiliency, reducing hazardous fuels and protecting Whitefish’s municipal watershed.

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Mountain ranges kept whole in forest plan

By Karl Puckett
Great Falls Tribune
December 9, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

HELENA—Lewis and Clark National Forest will be managed based on its natural geographic boundaries, rather than smaller man-made management areas based on forest activities, under a draft forest plan now out for public comment. It’s a holistic approach to forest management that’s rare in the nation, according to Bill Avey, the forest’s supervisor. “The public has asked us to look at the forest by geographic areas or by mountain range,” Avey said.

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Tongass Forest Plan Amendment supports sustainable communities and viable economies

Your Alaska Link
December 9, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

KETCHIKAN, AK – The Forest Supervisor for the Tongass National Forest, Alaska Region, M. Earl Stewart, has signed the final Record of Decision for the amended Tongass National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan. The amended plan focuses on transition to young growth harvest and renewable energy development. The Tongass Forest Plan Amendment will become effective in 30 days and will focuses on accelerating the transition from old-growth timber harvest to young-growth while maintaining opportunities for a viable timber industry in Southeast Alaska.

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Idaho Senator Introduces Scotchman Peaks Wilderness Bill

Public News Service
December 12, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

SANDPOINT, Idaho — Idaho Sen. Jim Risch has introduced a bill in Congress to create the Scotchman Peaks Wilderness Area in northern Idaho, which would encompass nearly 14,000 acres of national forest land in Bonner County.  Wilderness designation for the area has garnered widespread support in Idaho, including from the timber industry. Bob Boeh, vice president of government affairs the timber company Idaho Forest Group, said the movement for wilderness designation has helped educate the community on Scotchman Peaks, bringing in support from diverse interests. “It’s just a special place, and the highest and best use, I think, is to keep it wild as it is,” Boeh said. “And a wilderness designation would ensure that that happens, permanently.” Boeh said the Scotchman Peaks area isn’t an economically viable place for the timber industry to operate. 

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Remembering Merlo

Ketchikan Daily News
December 9, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Although late, we’d be remiss if we failed to note the passing of Harry Merlo, who died on Oct. 24, 2016, at the age of 91. Most longtime Ketchikan residents of a certain age will recall Merlo as the high-profile CEO of Louisiana-Pacific, the corporate parent of Ketchikan pulp mill operator Ketchikan Pulp Co. Ketchikan Pulp was but a portion of Louisiana-Pacific’s portfolio of timber and wood products businesses during Merlo’s tenure from 1973 through the mid 1990s. By the time he resigned under pressure in 1995, Louisiana-Pacific employed about 13,000 people in its 46 sawmills, three pulp mills and other entities, producing nearly $3 billion in annual sales. “He became arguably the most important and successful timber executive in the country during the industry’s heyday,” said Oregon Historical Society Kerry Tymchuk, quoted in the Merlo obituary penned by Jeff Manning in The Oregonian.

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Tongass National Forest Plan Moves to Young-Growth Timber

By Becky Bohrer
Associated Press in ABC News
December 11, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Plans for managing the nation’s largest national forest call for changes in timber harvests that one critic says will be “the demise of the timber industry as we know it right now.” The Tongass National Forest released a management plan update Friday that it says will emphasize young-growth timber sales in the forest, which covers much of southeast Alaska, and allow for a logging rate that it says will meet projected timber demand. This stems from a 2013 memo from U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, directing Tongass managers to speed the transition from old-growth harvests toward a wood-products industry that mainly uses young-growth timber. The move was to be done in a way that preserves a viable timber industry. 

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Montana congressmen seek to undo court’s halt on logging projects over Canada lynx

By Michael Wright 
The Bozeman Daily Chronicle
December 9, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Montana’s congressional delegation has introduced a bill to undo a court precedent that has halted several federal government-proposed logging projects in the state over their potential impact to Canada lynx. Called the Litigation Relief for Forest Management Projects Act, the bill seeks to undo a court decision that requires the U.S. Forest Service to revisit its management guidelines for lynx because the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service added more land to its designation of critical habitat for the cat after the Forest Service adopted its guidelines. Canada lynx are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

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Public asked to weigh in on state forest plan

By Ivy Ashe
Hawaii Tribune Herald
December 9, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources is seeking public input regarding the latest overview of forest lands throughout the islands. Expanding on a document produced more than five years ago, the Hawaii Forest Action Plan pulls together assessments from state agencies, watershed and conservation groups, and other DLNR partners. “I think it really does a good job of explaining the state of forest resources,” said Rob Hauff, forest health coordinator with the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife. About 40 percent of the state is covered by forest. Of that, 60 percent is considered productive and healthy, according to the draft. Hawaii Island has the most forest of any island because of its comparative size.

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State Can’t Log in National Forest Without Federal OK

By Victoria Prieskop
Courthouse News
December 12, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

ALBUQUERQUE  – The 10th Circuit upheld a ruling that neither New Mexico nor one of its counties has the right to cut down trees in National Forests without federal permission. Otero County responded to high-risk fire conditions in 2011 by declaring a state of emergency and passing a resolution claiming the right to “remove or log fire-damaged trees within the area of disaster,” which included 60,000 acres in Lincoln National Forest. Otero County, east of Las Cruces on the Texas border, an arid 6,628 square miles, has its seat in Alamogordo. The U.S. Forest Service refused to approve the logging, and when the Otero County Board of Commissioners declared it would do it anyway, the United States sued the county and state.

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We must be more proactive on wildfire prevention

By Sen. Thom Tillis
The Citizen Times
December 12, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

For weeks, wildfires have spread throughout southeastern Appalachia, destroying more than 76,000 acres of land in Western North Carolina, and tragically taking the lives of 14 of our neighbors in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. The heroic and tireless work of first responders, coupled with the deliverance of rainfall, have undoubtedly played a role in saving property and lives. As local, state and federal officials begin to assess the damage, it’s critical that we reflect on ways to improve our capacity to prevent and contain wildfires moving forward.

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‘Forestry returns have the potential to enhance farm financial fitness’

By Amy Forde
Agriland Farming Portal
December 10, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Possible forestry returns have the potential to enhance financial fitness on the farm, according to Fianna Fail TD Timmy Dooley. …“Returns from forestry are strongly competitive compared with many other farm enterprises. We have seen the fluctuation in beef and milk prices over the past two years. Along with positive interactions with key farm schemes, potential forestry returns have the potential to enhance financial fitness on the farm, he said. To support the continued development of forestry Fianna Fail proposes the retention of the tax-free status of forestry income and suggests that it be spread over a number of years, Dooley said. “In addition to this, development of a biomass and bio-diesel market and accompanying supply chain should also play a key role in Ireland’s low-carbon development.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Biomass project gets government funds

Northern Ontario Business
December 9, 2016
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada East, Canada

The Northern Ontario Bioeconomy Strategy is moving forward, after the federal and provincial governments awarded funding to biomass proponents. The governments jointly awarded $216,792 — matching contributions of $108,396 — to the Biomass North Development Centre and the Union of Ontario Indians to implement the strategy, which was developed in consultation with stakeholders in 2015. A key part of the implementation will include establishing 13 demonstration facilities across the region to showcase the efficiency and effectiveness of various biomass initiatives.

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Guest Opinion: Biomass plants run on byproducts, not trees

By Todd Hansen, forester and the fuel manager for Biomass One, a local woody biomass-fueled power plant
Mail Tribune
December 11, 2016
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

Regarding the guest opinion in the Mail Tribune on Dec. 4 by Alan Journet about woody biomass not being carbon neutral: If the premise for an opinion is flawed to begin with, the conclusion will be wrong. If one assumes that live trees are harvested as feedstock for biomass power plants, his argument might hold merit. However, this is simply untrue. Biomass power plants are fueled by the byproduct of forest product primary and secondary manufacturing (bark, chips, sawdust, plytrim), tree and shrub trimmings, recovered clean construction and demolition wood, and the byproduct of forest operations, also called slash piles. There is a market-driven hierarchy of forest products relative to manufacturing logs from a forest operation. If it’s of sawlog or veneer quality, it’s sold to the sawmill or veneer plant. If it’ll make chips, it’s sold to a chipping contractor or a pulp and paper operation. 

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Study finds people are willing to pay more for new biofuels

By Scott Weybright, Washington State University
Biomass Magazine
December 9, 2016
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

When it comes to second generation biofuels, Washington State University research shows that consumers are willing to pay a premium of approximately 11 percent over conventional fuel. “We were surprised the premium was that significant,” said Jill McCluskey, WSU professor in the School of Economic Sciences. “We wanted to study people in different regions of the country, to make sure we weren’t just getting a local result, and people in all three cities we studied said they would pay more for these fuels.” The paper, “Consumer Preferences for Second-Generation Bioethanol,” was published in November in the journal Energy Economics.

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When green energy isn’t

William Schlesinger, emeritus dean of the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University
Virginian-Pilot
December 10, 2016
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

THE JOBS IN COAL MINES may be gone forever, but President-elect Donald Trump will surely like what he hears about the wood pellet industry. Biomass-powered utility plants in Europe are asking for the delivery of more than 5 million tons of wood pellets annually to generate electricity. From forests in southern Virginia and northeast North Carolina, Enviva exports 1.35 million dry tons of pellets each year through the port in Chesapeake. Those pellets come from at least 2.7 million green tons of forest biomass, requiring the annual cutting of 17 square miles of hardwood forests. In the urge to fulfill its commitment to reducing carbon dioxide emissions to the atmosphere, the European Union counts all biomass-energy as carbon-neutral. 

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