Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: December 15, 2016

Today’s Takeaway

The Who and Why of California’s 102 million dead trees

Tree Frog Forestry News
December 14, 2016
Category: Today's Takeaway

The LA Times has an interesting spread (with several videos) on the broad swaths of timber land that officials call a “wildfire and public safety risk“. Declaring a state of emergency last fall when the count stood at 40 million, Gov. Jerry Brown ordered state agencies to clear the hazards, and the “work is bringing in crews from as far away as Louisiana and Florida“.

In their effort to conserve the world’s “threatened forests”, the nonprofit environmental organization ‘Canopy’ is using a Sesame Street tactic to convince printing company executives that when it comes to old growth and second growth forests, “One of These Things is Not Like the Other“.
Sunset on TOLKO? That unflattering headline was used by the Merritt Herald in their update on Tolko’s sawmill closure in Merritt and in particular the company’s refusal to “extend the benefits for workers set to be laid off“.

Lloyd Alter of TreeHugger shows us the latest testing that Cross-Laminated Timber has undergone and how well it did – the video includes explosions!

— Tree Frog Editors

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Business & Politics

Tolko operations shift in Lavington

By Jennifer Smith
The Vernon Morning Star
December 14, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Time is running out for anyone wanting to air their concerns over an air discharge permit at Lavington’s Tolko sawmill. The draft permit will be posted until the end of Tuesday, Dec. 20. Questions and/or comments during this period should be sent to both environment@tolko.com and authorizations.south@gov.bc.ca But the short time line has raised some concerns. “The draft permit should be open to broad public review, including a public open house,” said Tom Coape-Arnold, of Lavington LIFE. “The consultation report, as required by MOE (Ministry of Environment), should also be released for public information.”

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Tolko gets draft permit

By Kate Bouey
Castanet Kelowna
December 14, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

The Ministry of Environment has issued a draft air discharge permit to Tolko Industries for its Lavington sawmill. A Tolko spokesperson assured the ministry in a June, 2015 letter that changes – including a fugitive dust mitigation plan – represented a significant reduction in the total emissions from the facility. The draft permit has been posted to the company’s website until end of day, Dec. 20. Interested parties can ask questions or comment on the draft permit until that time. “The draft permit was prepared to reflect updates to the authorized air discharges and emission limits, and additional operating, monitoring and reporting requirements,” said Safwan Soufan, environmental protection officer with the Ministry of Environment.

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Tolko gives cold shoulder to benefits extension

By Michael Potestio
Merritt Herald
December 14, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Benefits will not be extended for workers set to be laid off when the Tolko mill closes on Dec. 16. “The company is refusing to do anything that’s not required by the contract,” said United Steelworkers (USW) Local 1-147 president, Marty Gibbons. Full-time union employees will receive severance packages of 10 days of pay for every year of work, however casual workers will not receive severance packages, Gibbons told the Herald. Gibbons said USW represents about 160 employees at the mill and estimates there are less than 10 casual employees at Tolko. He said the union asked Tolko to continue providing extended health care benefits to union workers for six months to aid their transition, but the company refused.

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EIA begins monthly reporting of wood pellet data

By Erin Voegele
Biomass Magazine
December 14, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States

The U.S. Energy Information Administration has published the initial results of a new survey launched in January 2016 to gather information on wood pellets and other densified biomass production, sales and inventory. The survey gathers data from operating pellet plants in the U.S. Facilities with an annual capacity of 10,000 or more tons report data monthly, while smaller facilities file annual reports… The data shows the U.S. currently has 11.52 million metric tons of existing pellet production capacity, with an additional 2.74 million metric tons planned or under construction.

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Two-alarm fire sparks in Biomass One power plant

By Nick Morgan
The Mail Tribune
December 14, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

A two-alarm fire in Biomass One’s power plant in White City today forced an evacuation and closed Avenue G, but no injuries were reported after fast action by firefighters and Biomass One staff. The fire broke out in a concrete room on the second floor of the building at 2350 Avenue G just before 12:30 p.m. Jackson County Fire District 3 crews arrived within minutes because of the station’s close proximity to Biomass One, according to Jackson County Fire District 3 spokeswoman Ashley Lara. The fire closed Avenue G for about an hour while fire crews worked with Pacific Power and Biomass One staff.

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Grant to help laid off Weyerhaeuser lumber mill workers

By Ariana Lake
KPAX
December 13, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West


The U.S. Department of Labor approved a National Dislocated Worker Grant award to help Columbia Falls workers affected by Weyerhaeuser lumber mill closing in August. The $225,000 grant will go to the Montana Department of Labor and Industry Workforce Services Division to provide reemployment services to Weyerhaeuser workers and will serve approximately 50 former employees. Affected workers will receive a comprehensive program of assessment, case management, work readiness services, job development, and job placement. The training services will include work-based learning, as well as skill training leading to industry-recognized credentials.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

FPAC CEO blogs on Forestry Asia Trade Mission

By Derek Nighbor 
Forest Products Association of Canada
December 14, 2016
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

In China, the National Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development is a critical department of interest to Canada’s forest products sector. It is this Chinese government department that oversees all details related to building – including codes, working with municipalities and building infrastructure throughout the country…This visit has left a lasting impression on me about not only the importance of growing markets for our Canadian wood, pulp and paper products in Asia and around the world, but just how critical sustained support for export market development is. Change happens so fast. Global market competition is fierce. If we continue to do things the way we have in the past, we are doomed to fail.

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Cross-Laminated Timber gets blasted (Video! Explosions!)

By Lloyd Alter
Treehugger
December 14, 2016
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States

Wood is being used in all kinds of innovative new ways these days as architects turn to help reduce the carbon footprint of buildings. Cross-Laminated Timber, or CLT, is a relatively new technology, so it is being subjected to all kinds of tests. The American Department of Defense wanted to know how it holds up under blast testing, so the US Forest Service, the Softwood Lumber Board and Woodworks built two-story structures of different grades of CLT and then went to work, setting off explosions of TNT that are quite dramatic. Three shots were performed to demonstrate the effectiveness of CLT over a spectrum of blast loads.

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Treated sawdust may help sop up, burn off Arctic oil spills

By Dan Joling
Associated Press in The Washington Post
December 14, 2016
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Federal researchers looking for ways to contain petroleum spills in frigid Arctic waters are investigating whether a powder form of humble sawdust can provide a solution. Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory are testing chemically modified wood flour to determine whether it can enhance the burning of crude oil after a spill. Tests of small batches treated with components of vegetable oil indicate the material will grab onto crude oil and help keep it near the surface. PNNL senior research scientist George Bonheyo, who is also a research professor of bioengineering at Washington State University, calls the material “incredibly buoyant, ice repelling and water-repelling.”

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Vancouver-based MGA and DLR Group design largest mass timber building in United States

Canadian Architect
December 14, 2016
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

Designed by Vancouver-based Michael Green Architecture (MGA) in conjunction with Architect-of-Record DLR Group, the seven storey office building in Minneapolis’ North Loop neighbourhood is the largest mass timber building in the United States. When Hines approached MGA with this project, they envisioned T3 as a unique model of new-office building; an opportunity to offer a modern interpretation of the robust character of historic wood, brick, stone, and steel buildings with the additional benefits of state of the art amenities, environmental performance, and technical capability. The project is an investment in both the past and future of Minneapolis and in the Warehouse District’s rich history. T3, which stands for ‘Timber, Technology, Transit’, offers 224,000 square feet of office and retail space. 

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As timber towers rise, so do calls for ISO standards on wood and timber

By Clare Naden
WoodWorking Network
December 14, 2016
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

With the diversity of types of wood and the fact that not every country produces every type of wood, the global trade of timber is a huge and necessary business. But not all wood – nor import policy – is alike, making cross-border trade somewhat of a challenge. A range of ISO standards aim to help… But international trade of lumber has its difficulties due to a lack of classification systems that are universal to all. And so the ISO technical committee on timber structures (ISO/TC 165), drawing on the input of experts from over 60 countries, for the most part in timber-producing and -consuming regions, developed a suite of International Standards that help reduce these barriers to trade by producing standardized frameworks and ways of working that can be used by everyone.

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Forestry

Canada was grown on trees for the last 150 years and needs the forest sector now more than ever

By Derek Nighbor, Forest Products Association of Canada
Wood Business
December 14, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada

For the better part of Canada’s storied 150-year history, forestry has been a dominant industry providing our country with the most jobs, the most exports and the highest Gross National Product. Today, we are leaner and greener, and still a driving force in the Canadian economy.  Across Canada, the forest sector puts 230,000 men and women to work every day in more than 200 communities, from small rural towns to our largest urban centres. We are a $65-billion industry and despite trade uncertainty with our friends south of the border, we still expect to hire more skilled workers in the coming years. Furthermore, we are on the leading edge of innovative research and technology that is using wood fibre to develop everything from clean-energy to airplane parts to high-rise wood building structures that will fuel the next chapter of Canada’s green economy.

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One of These Things Is Not Like the Other

By Catherine Stewart, corporate campaigner with Canopy
Printing Impressions World
December 14, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

“The light! The light is incredible!” Words uttered in awe by a senior printing company executive as we walked with him into the depths of the ancient temperate rainforest on Canada’s west coast… Our printing industry guest couldn’t resist — he hugged a tree. Just joking, of course, but there was no doubt the spell cast by the old growth forest had touched something in him. It touches us all. Then we went to look at a second growth forest. The difference is stark. When an ancient forest is cut and the land replanted, the trees that grow are all the same age, growing at about the same rate. The result is an even-aged canopy that closes in as the tops of virtually all the trees mesh, blocking out the sunlight.

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New forestry deal signed by local First Nations

By Justin Goulet
My Comox Valley Now
December 14, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Members of the K’ómoks and Qualicum First Nations now have an enhanced voice in local forest stewardship after the signing of a new forestry agreement. K’ómoks Chief Rob Everson says that 75% of all future revenue coming out of the Rosewall Creek area will be split evenly between the two First Nations. He notes that the new license covers nearly 8300 hectares of Crown land near Courtenay and will allow First Nations the chance to harvest 32,000 cubic metres of timber per year.

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Province, K’ómoks and Qualicum First Nations partner with forestry agreements

By The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations
Government of BC
December 14, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Members of the K’ómoks and Qualicum First Nations have an enhanced voice in local forest stewardship and greater opportunity for economic development through forestry agreements signed with the Province today, moving British Columbia and the First Nations further down the path of reconciliation. Among the agreements signed, a 25-year First Nations woodland licence will provide the First Nations with the opportunity to sustainably harvest 32,000 cubic metres of timber per year. The licence covers nearly 8,300 hectares of Crown land near Courtenay. While the Province awards forest tenure opportunity to the First Nations, a portion will be provided to BC Timber Sales to put up for auction to support B.C.’s market pricing system.

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Magone Lake Project moves forward

By Rylan Boggs
Blue Mountain Eagle
December 13, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

The Magone Lake Project is moving forward, and the Forest Service is preparing to accept another round of comments on the project. The Forest Service received roughly 300 comments about the project, which were taken into account to make the current draft of the plan. The plan encompasses multiple aspects of the area, including roads, trails, silviculture, forest health and impact on wildlife. The project will yield approximately 16 million board feet, create 164 jobs for two years and will create a direct, indirect and induced income of about $4,500,000. There will be roughly 28,500 acres of prescribed burning as part of the project. “It’s a critical component of managing our forests, and we’re trying to get a handle on it so we don’t have the catastrophic wildfires we’ve seen here,” Malheur National Forest Supervisor Steve Beverlin said of the Magone project.

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Counties sue to stop BLM planning rule

December 15, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

SALT LAKE CITY — Six Western counties and a soil and water conservation district filed a lawsuit in federal court Dec. 12 seeking to nullify a new rule governing Bureau of Land Management decision-making. Litigants include Kane County, Utah; Big Horn County, Wyo.; Chaves County, N.M.; Custer County, Idaho; Garfield County, Colo.; Modoc County, Calif.; and New Mexico’s Dona Ana Soil and Water Conservation District. American Stewards of Liberty — a private property rights organization that helps local governments coordinate with federal agencies — will manage the lawsuit, alleging the new rule improperly excludes local governments from BLM planning, affecting 175 million acres in 11 Western states.

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Spotted Bear ranger named Forester of Year

Daily Inter Lake
December 14, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

The Flathead Chapter of the Society of American Foresters has honored Deb Mucklow with the 2016 Field Forester of the Year award. Mucklow has worked for the Flathead National Forest since 1988 and became the district ranger at Spotted Bear in 1999. The Field Forester of the Year Award recognizes excellence in the field, application of forestry, an understanding of forest science and the adaptive management process to achieve landowner objectives and insure forest sustainability.

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The 102 million dead trees in California’s forests are turning tree cutters into millionaires

By Thomas Curwen
Los Angeles Times
December 14, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

A low gargle echoes against granite cliffs and resounds in the wooded canyons. Each pull of a starter handle and squeeze of a throttle is punctuated by the crack of splintering wood as another dead tree falls in a forest that’s changing all too rapidly. Niles Kant stands at the base of a red fir. Its crown, a thatch of brown needles, rises nearly 175 feet above a collection of cabins in the national forest. The fir, partially cut at its base and tethered to a rope that will direct its fall, is one of nearly 20 trees that Kant and his crew will drop today, a volume that can never keep pace with the need. Estimates by the U.S. Forest Service put the number of dead trees in California forests at 102 million, broad swaths that officials call a wildfire and public safety risk. 

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Alternative plans sought for Oregon’s oldest state forest

By Andrew Selsky
Associated Press in the Yamhill Valley News Register
December 14, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

KEIZER — In a public meeting that exposed deep concerns about global warming and deforestation, Oregon’s top elected state leaders on Tuesday postponed a decision on the proposed sale of the Elliott State Forest to a timber company, instead making a pitch for alternatives that would maintain public ownership of the state’s first public forest. Speaker after speaker came from cities, towns and farms to pack the meeting room in the Keizer Community Center, north of Salem. They beseeched their leaders to reject the sale of the 82,500-acre forest in the Coastal Range to Lone Rock Timber Co. and its tribal partners. They said a line must be drawn to preserve public lands, expressing fear that a Trump presidency would try to sell some of the lands to enrich a few, and that the next administration would also ignore the threat of global warming.

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Grizzly strategy clears committee, but delisting decision remains unfinished

by Rob Chaney
The Missoulian
December 15, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Plans to manage Yellowstone-area grizzly bears when they lose federal Endangered Species Act protection got approved on Wednesday, but removing the bears from the list remains months away. The Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee unanimously passed its Yellowstone Ecosystem conservation strategy at the end of its two-day meeting in Missoula. The strategy commits state and federal land managers to keeping a stable population of the keystone predators, sets rules for possible hunting seasons, and establishes standards for protecting key bear habitat. But the conservation strategy stands separate from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s process for delisting the bears, according to FWS office supervisor Jodi Bush. 

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Conservatives seek ally in Trump in Western land disputes

By John Flesher and Brady McCombs
Associated Press in The Idaho Statesman
December 14, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Conservatives who have long complained about the government’s control of vast Western lands hope they will have a new ally in Donald Trump, who has sent mixed signals about how he might manage land and whether he would relinquish federal authority over millions of acres. The president-elect has pledged to honor Theodore Roosevelt’s tradition of conservation in the West, with its expansive deserts, snow-capped mountain ranges and red rock canyons. But he has also said he will “unleash” energy production there and has railed against “faceless, nameless bureaucrats” in land-management agencies. Dozens of demands for land handovers have surfaced in Western state legislatures in recent years, and more are sure to be offered in Congress during the Trump administration.

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Brown proposes paying school fund as alternative to selling forest

By Claire Withycombe
Blue Mountain Eagle
December 14, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

KEIZER — As an alternative to a plan to sell a large chunk of coastal state forest, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown proposed Tuesday that the state use up to $100 million of its bonding authority to pay into the Common School Fund and relieve a portion of the Elliott State Forest of some of its fiduciary responsibility to the fund. The Common School Fund has long provided revenues from state trust lands such as the Elliott State Forest for K-12 education. The state says that the Elliott has, due to the recent imposition of increased timber harvesting restrictions, become a liability to the fund instead of an asset.

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Much more to timber stories

By Larry Campbell, forest activist, Friends of the Bitterroot and other grassroots forest defense groups
The Missoulian
December 14, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Rob Chaney’s “Timber Wars” articles are well researched and give readers a glimpse at the “bigger picture” of the history and current condition of the timber industry in Montana. But readers deserve a chance to consider what’s left out since those omissions skew views of what is at stake in the real-world “timber wars,” including our life support system, our precious water supplies, native wildlife, and our own critical human habitat. The “Timber Wars” series makes it clear that forests, not timber corporations, are losing the war. Sustainable logging is good in theory, but in practice, as the series points out, it is mostly wishful thinking and not the actual history of the logging industry in Montana. The articles look at forest economics simply in terms of board feet and dollars, which reinforces a commodity view of complex living forests. 

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Counties sue to stop BLM planning rule

December 15, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

SALT LAKE CITY — Six Western counties and a soil and water conservation district filed a lawsuit in federal court Dec. 12 seeking to nullify a new rule governing Bureau of Land Management decision-making. Litigants include Kane County, Utah; Big Horn County, Wyo.; Chaves County, N.M.; Custer County, Idaho; Garfield County, Colo.; Modoc County, Calif.; and New Mexico’s Dona Ana Soil and Water Conservation District. American Stewards of Liberty — a private property rights organization that helps local governments coordinate with federal agencies — will manage the lawsuit, alleging the new rule improperly excludes local governments from BLM planning, affecting 175 million acres in 11 Western states.

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Roger Tory Peterson Institute’s forest pest citizen scientist training set for tonight

Observer Today
December 14, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

JAMESTOWN — Throughout the months of January and February, representatives from the Roger Tory Peterson Institute, Jamestown Community College and Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy will collaboratively survey a number of sites within the area for the presence of an invasive forest pest, the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid. Organizers are looking for volunteer “Citizen Scientists” to contribute to these important efforts. Prior to the first survey, Roger Tory Peterson Institute will host a Hemlock Woolly Adelgid Citizen Scientist training at their headquarters

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After the fires: Rethinking Western North Carolina ecosystems after catastrophic blazes

By Jack Igelman
Carolina Public Press
December 13, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

In the wake of fires that burned 55,531 acres throughout Western North Carolina, conservation and forestry experts are trying to apply what they’ve learned from years of studying the area’s ecology to attempt to sort out the near and long-term effects of the blazes. “Our area has some of the largest relatively unfragmented swaths of forest land on the east coast, but there are certain forest types that are ecologically out of whack,” Megan Sutton, the Southern Blue Ridge Program Director of the NC Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, told Carolina Public Press. For instance, non-native species now account for roughly 15 percent of the flora of the 1.1 million acres of national forest in Western North Carolina and there is a lack of early successional habitat – or young trees – across the landscape. The number one reason: Decades of fire suppression, Sutton said.

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As Investors Push Climate Risk Into Limelight, Deforestation Follows

By Steve Zwick
Ecosystem Marketplace
December 14, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Anne Simpson isn’t impressed with the climate-science deniers that US President-elect Donald Trump is nominating for his cabinet. “You can deny the science,” she said on a media call arranged by nonprofit sustainability organization Ceres. “You can’t deny the economics.”  …“The way these directives are framed, each sector looks at the major material risk for their companies,” she said. “Deforestation is a big one.” “Just asking for disclosure on supply chain is already a way to assess the risk and to make people accountable, whether or not they are taking into account the risk of deforestation,” said Philippe Desfosses, CEO of French pension fund ERAFP. “Then, afterward, you can engage with those companies, as we’re starting to do with companies like Ferrero.”

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Forest certification to be a key tool for Russian economy

Ben Gunneberg, CEO of PEFC International
PEFC
December 14, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: International

“In a world where the demand for timber is going to increase as populations grow, it is very interesting to see that there are ways to allow the Russian economy to develop further, particularly in rural areas, in a way that benefits both biodiversity and local communities,” said Ben Gunneberg, CEO of PEFC International, following his participation at the II International Conference of the Russian Pulp & Paper Industry last week.

 

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Hong Kong faces new rules on illegal timber flooding China

By Farah Master
Reuters
December 15, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Campaigners say new global rules to protect endangered tree species will be a test for Hong Kong, already grappling to deal with its role as a conduit for illegal timber flooding into China to meet demand for fancy furniture. Hong Kong’s location on China’s southern coast has long made the port a main transit point for ivory, other endangered animal products and for large volumes of wood in an international illegal timber trade worth up to $100 billion. China and Hong Kong have until Jan. 2 to implement a U.N. Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) rule set in October requiring a permit for the vast majority of international rosewood species.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

EIA releases new monthly report on US wood pellet production

Bioenergy Insight Magazine
December 15, 2016
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States

The US Energy Information Administration has published the results of a new survey collecting data from manufacturers of densified biomass fuels, primarily wood pellets. The survey began collection in January 2016 with data from about 120 planned and operational densified biomass manufacturing facilities in the US. These facilities have the capacity to produce a total of 11.4 million tonnes of densified biomass annually. During the first half of 2016, US manufacturers produced approximately 3.3 million tonnes of wood pellets and sold 3.1 million tonnes, mostly to foreign markets, according to EIA’s newly released Densified Biomass Fuel Report. About 85% of raw materials for biomass pellets come from wood waste streams such as logging residues, sawmill residues, and wood product manufacturing residue.

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Reforestation delivers world’s first carbon-neutral hydropower project in Georgia

By Lucia Sconosciuto
The Financial
December 15, 2016
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

Georgia is rich in high mountains and over 25,000 rivers. Sensibly, the country is capitalising on this geographical advantage to gain more energy security and increase its renewable energy output. Investing in hydroelectric power plants is a priority, since the untapped potential of this clean energy source, once developed, could rid Georgia of its dependence on fossil fuel imports and could boost its energy exports to neighbouring countries and Europe. …But what makes this project even more remarkable is the launch of a reforestation programme which aims to capture CO2 and balance the lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions associated with the plant’s construction and operation. This will be the world’s first carbon neutral hydropower plant. This is achieved by planting and growing a forest – or carbon sink, as it’s called due to its function – in the river basin that feeds the hydropower scheme.

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Biomass bailout to restart former Covanta plants, boost Aroostook generators

By Darren Fishell
Bangor Daily News
December 13, 2016
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

PORTLAND, Maine — Maine regulators on Tuesday approved splitting $13.4 million in subsidies across four biomass facilities, including two shuttered by Covanta in Penobscot and Washington counties. The Maine Public Utilities Commission voted unanimously to accept bids from Stored Solar, a subsidiary of the French energy firm Capergy that bought the Covanta plants, and ReEnergy Holdings. Stored Solar on Nov. 17 notified federal regulators that it closed the purchase of the former Covanta plants on Oct. 18, in an application seeking to restart operations and sell into the regional wholesale market as

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