Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: December 19, 2016

Today’s Takeaway

Wishful Thinking by the Metal Industry?

Tree Frog Forestry News
December 19, 2016
Category: Today's Takeaway

Last week the MetalMiner—an online resource for metal-buyers—wrote a tongue-in-cheek Star Wars story about how “wood-framed skyscrapers were helping solve climate change and making buildings carbon neutral”. Given their editorial this week, “Tall Wood buildings, Will Building Codes Allow them”, we’re guessing they took some heat from the steel industry. Although we understand why they’d want to pose the question, their arguments sound more like wishful thinking than a serious barrier for wood.

On the trade file, Wood Resources International reports that “global demand for softwood lumber will increase about 14% in 2016”, driven by higher wood demand in China and the US. Not surprisingly, the influx of Canadian lumber into the US is also the basis of a story supporting the imposition on duties on Canadian lumber in the Bangor Daily News.

Finally, in the spirit of Christmas, Dovetail reminds us why “real trees are better than artificial” and if you “ever wonder how that big, beautiful Christmas tree ends up in Edmonton’s Churchill Square”, Global News and Millar Western have it on video.

— Tree Frog Editors

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Business & Politics

Value of Canada’s natural resources sees steep decline

Total resource value was down 73 per cent in one year
CBC News
December 16, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada

The value of Canada’s natural resources saw a steep decline in 2015, largely due to lower crude bitumen prices, according to Statistics Canada. Statistics show the value of natural resource assets in Canada was $287 billion in 2015, down 73 per cent from 2014. Oil prices saw a steep decline in 2015, with the value of coal, crude bitumen, crude oil and natural gas at $56 billion, a 93 per cent decrease from 2014. Both drops followed large increases the year before, with oil and gas reserves seeing a 49 per cent increase from 2013 to 2014. Total natural resources, including timber and minerals, saw a 28 per cent increase in that time period. …Timber resources saw a small decline as well, dropping one per cent in 2015 following a nine per cent increase in 2014.

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International Paper mill manager speaks at Rotary

By Svjetlana Mlinarevic
Daily Herald Tribune
December 18, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

The deal between Weyerhauser and International Paper has been finalized and mill manager Michael Morgan spoke to the Grande Prairie Rotary Club on Friday sharing what it will mean for the area. “International Paper was already into the fluff business to a small degree and when the Weyerhaeuser assets came up for sale – they’re good quality assets with good people and good results – and International paper made the decision for them to stay in this business… The $2.2 billion deal between Weyerhaeuser and International Paper was finalized on Dec. 1, where Weyerhaeuser sold its five cellulose fibers mills and two modified fibre mills to International Paper. Grande Prairie is the only Canadian-based pulp mill for the company and it’s estimated that more than 300 people are employed there. 

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Merritt’s horrible day

by Kate Bouey
Castanet
December 16, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Operations at Tolko Industries’ Merritt sawmill close Friday, levelling a devastating blow to the town. “It’s a horrible day,” said Mayor Neil Menard. “My heart goes out to the employees and to my community, which will suffer.” Tolko Industries announced in September that it would permanently close its Nicola Valley operation on Dec. 16. “Making the decision to close an operation is never easy,” said Brad Thorlakson, Tolko’s president, in a press release. …Menard said the city has had a number of meetings with Tolko Industries in an effort to keep the mill open. “We had lots of meetings. Our view was it shouldn’t close down.”

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Canadian wood imports are up 20 percent this year

By Darren Fishell
Bangor Daily News
December 16, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

The influx of Canadian timber in the United States continues to add fuel to a trade dispute with big implications for Maine’s forest products industry. Federal trade statistics bear out that concern, showing that Canadian wood imports are up about 20 percent this year. The subset of sawn lumber imports are up about 25 percent, through October, according to federal trade statistics.The trend has continued to put pressure on domestic producers, who have petitioned government officials to impose a tariff on those imports, alleging that Canadian harvesters are getting sweetheart rates to harvest on government land.The Canadian dollar also remains at historic lows against the U.S. dollar, making Canadian timber even cheaper just as U.S. home construction is on the rise.

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Buoyant housing demand elevates structural log prices

By Tina Morrison
Scoop.co.nz
December 19, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

Buoyant residential building activity has pushed up the average price for top structural logs this year rise to the highest in more than two decades. The average price for structural S1 logs in the domestic market held at $117 a tonne in December, the highest level since June 2014, according to AgriHQ’s monthly survey of exporters, forest owners and saw millers. S1 logs averaged $113/t this year, the highest level since 1994 when it averaged $118/t, AgriHQ said. Record high net migration and low interest rates are putting pressure on the nation’s housing market, driving up prices and spurring construction activity. Data released by Statistics NZ today showed residential building consents passed 30,000 for the first time in 11 years in the 12 months through October.

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Global Trade of Softwood Lumber Forecasted to Increase by Almost 14% in 2016, Driven by Higher Wood Demand in China and the US

By Wood Resources International LLC
BusinessWire press release
December 18, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

The World Trade Organization (WTO) reported in September that world trade will expand by only 1.7% in 2016, a downward revision from earlier this year and the slowest pace since the global financial crisis in 2009. This gloomy forecast cannot be extrapolated to the global trade of softwood lumber. Rather, global demand for lumber has increased in 2015 and 2016, resulting in a rise in trade by 10.2% in 2015, and Wood Resources International estimates that the increase will be as much as 13.6% in 2016. The major markets that have been driving this surge in trade are the US and China.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Editorial: Apartment fires show the need for balcony sprinklers

Editorial Board
Vancouver Sun
December 16, 2016
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

Call 2016 the Year of the Apartment Fire. Six major blazes displaced hundreds of tenants across Metro Vancouver. Burnaby, White Rock, Surrey, Coquitlam, North Vancouver and Langley all experienced such fires. B.C.’s fire chiefs advocate changes to building codes. They want balcony sprinklers required for all wood-frame apartments, particularly since changes to the national building regulations successfully lobbied for by B.C. now permit wood-frame structures up to six storeys. Sprinklers are required for balconies and attic spaces in five- and six-storey wood-frame structures, but haven’t been mandatory for smaller buildings. Yet, following fires during the construction phase for large wood-frame buildings five years ago, fire chiefs have been warning that building codes are not sufficiently stringent for smaller buildings, either.

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Tall Wooden Buildings, Will Building Codes Allow Them?

by Jeff Yoders
MetalMiner
December 19, 2016
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States

Last week, we took a first step into the world of tall wooden buildings by comparing the living tree towers of the Wookiee homeworld Kashyyyk to the wood-framed skyscrapers many architects and engineers say can be the key to solving climate change and making buildings carbon neutral. But even if all skyscrapers were designed using wood instead of steel and concrete, would any major city allow them to be built? Building codes are sets of regulations governing the design, construction, alteration and maintenance of structures. They specify the minimum requirements to adequately safeguard the health, safety and welfare of building occupants.

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Skyscrapers made of wood? National Building Museum show argues for alternative to steel, concrete.

By Mark Jenkins
The Washington Post
December 16, 2016
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States

Anyone who looks up while walking Washington’s streets can reckon what the building material of the future is. Most new structures feature glass walls, which have turned downtown into a giant peep show. Stone and concrete facades are being stripped and replaced with even more of the tempered, transparent material. “Timber City,” an illuminating if not see-through exhibition at the National Building Museum, proposes an alternative. Tomorrow’s buildings will — or should — be constructed of wood. Structures of prefabricated wooden panels can be erected faster than steel-and-concrete ones and could substantially reduce global carbon dioxide emissions. Wooden buildings are lighter, and thus require much smaller foundations.

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Producing monster quartersawn boards at Graf Brothers flooring

By Robert Dalheim
Woodworking Network
December 16, 2016
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States


At its 70-acre lumber mill in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in Kentucky, Graf Brothers produces 125,000 board feet of lumber and 35,000 square feet of flooring daily. One of the world’s largest suppliers of wide-width, rift, and quartersawn products, Graf is known for its precision-cut “monster” quartersawn boards, which measure up to 24 inches wide. “These board widths are unheard of in the industry, but we pride ourselves on being at the forefront,” says the company. Graf Brothers purchases large-diameter white oak logs from 10-state area surrounding its Kentucky mill on a daily basis. The company’s 14 kilns allow it to dry over two million feet of hardwood lumber per month. The company sells around half of its lumber to distribution yards, flooring and millwork producers, and the other half goes to its own flooring production. Lumber is shipped to over 55 countries around the world.

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Forestry

Video shows how Edmonton’s Christmas tree goes from forest to Churchill Square

By Jennifer Ivanov
Global News
December 18, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

It’s one of the magical sights of the holiday season in Edmonton. The giant Christmas tree that stands in the middle of Churchill Square makes anyone who sees it smile. Now the company responsible for finding the tree, Millar Western Forest Products, has put together a video entitled “The Gift” describing the process of how it goes from the forest to Churchill Square. “Ever wonder how that big, beautiful Christmas tree ends up in Edmonton’s Churchill Square each year? We’re proud to deliver it!” the video explains.

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Canada and B.C. invest in new Centre of Excellence in Sustainability at NVIT

By the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development
Government of BC
December 17, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Canadians will be better equipped for the well-paying middle-class jobs of today and tomorrow as a result of a federal-provincial investment of $8.9 million in a new Centre of Excellence in Sustainability at the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology (NVIT). …The project will support a new culinary arts program, as well as expand upon current and new activities within NVIT’s trades, environmental resources technology, and law enforcement preparation programs.

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Mountain Pine Beetles Still Beating The Cold In K-Country

By Morgan Patterson
Okotoks Online
December 18, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

It’s supposed to be a long, cold and nasty winter this year if you believe the Farmer’s Almanac. That’s just what Alberta Forestry officials are hoping for. The battle against Mountain Pine Beetle has been a long one. Our mild winters over the past few years have allowed the Mountain Pine Beetle population in the province to rise and become harder to manage. Mountain Pine Beetle is a species of Bark Beetles, that unlike the rest of their creepy-crawly family, target healthy trees in our forests and have damaging effects on overall forest health.

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La Ronge, Sask. gets new emergency service resources after 2015 forest fires

Communities voiced concerns about government’s communications during evacuations
CBC News
December 17, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

La Ronge, Sask. has a new emergency service officer, following concerns raised about the provincial government’s communications during major forest fires in 2015. The 2015 wildfire season, which lasted 28 consecutive days, resulted in the evacuation of more than 50 communities. In a government survey, people from those communities voiced concerns about the government’s communication. Duane McKay, the executive director of the Ministry of Emergency Management and Fire Safety, said a new emergency service officer had since been placed in a new office at La Ronge. He said the officer would attempt to build relationships with community leaders.

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Canada-B.C. partnership to train British Columbians for cooking and forestry careers

Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training
BC Government
December 16, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Up to 52 British Columbians from Prince George, Fort St. James and Kelowna are getting the training they need to become cooks and professional log truck operators, thanks to a federal-provincial partnership under the Canada-B.C. Job Fund Agreement. Approximately $650,000 in total was provided to the Métis Nation of British Columbia and the Canadian Vocational Training Centre (CVTC) for two training projects. Today, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour Shirley Bond, and Prince George-Mackenzie MLA Mike Morris, along with project partners, visited students and staff in the Professional Log Truck Operator program in Prince George.

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New Brunswick forestry practices impact bird populations, says researcher

By Terrence McEachern
CBC News
December 18, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

A university researcher in Quebec warns forestry practices that cause landscape changes in New Brunswick can have a big impact on bird populations. “My students and I have been looking at the effects of landscape change on biodiversity, with a focus on birds as indicators,” Marc-André Villard of Université du Québec à Rimouski explained Friday on Shift N.B. In particular, Villard is interested in the impact of clear-cutting and new plantations on birds’ mobility as well as their ability to find food and establish a habitat. When a mixed forest of red spruce and different species of deciduous trees is replaced with a spruce plantation, “you will have a major reduction in the population of a number of species that are associated with larger trees and deadwood,” he said.

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Forestry sector raises concerns at pre-budget talks

by Rocco Frangione
My North Bay Now
December 19, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

Forestry companies in the north have expressed concerns to an all-party committee working on the next provincial budget. Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli is a member of that committee and he’s hearing how environmental priorities are endangering the forestry sector. At issue is some companies shutting down over the summer so turtles crossing forestry roads aren’t run over during their mating season. Fedeli says putting one concern over another is not the way to go. He says what needs to be addressed are financial, social and environmental concerns. He says the province can’t just consider environmental factors because that’s putting thousands of forestry jobs at risk.

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The Right Chemistry: The yew tree has been a valuable weapon

December 19, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

…It is true that all parts of the English yew, except the fleshy part of its berries, are poisonous, and there are cases where cattle and sheep have succumbed after dining on yew clippings that had been dumped on grazing land. The toxins, collectively known as “taxine,” are so poisonous that consuming just 50-100 grams of leaves will kill a person or an animal, although, interestingly, whitetail deer are immune. …Taxine alkaloids interfere with the passage of calcium into cells, such as those found in heart tissue. As a result, the heartbeat slows, blood pressure drops, irregular beats develop and the force of contraction of the heart is reduced. … And it is of critical importance, since it can be converted through some clever chemistry into paclitaxel, commonly known as Taxol, one of the most widely used drugs in the treatment of breast, ovarian, lung and pancreatic cancers.

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Umpqua National Forest sells excess timber to reduce hazards

by EMILY HOARD
The News-Review
December 16, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

DIAMOND LAKE—At the crest of the Cascades, crews are working through the snowy conditions to remove hazardous timber at risk of wildfire in the Diamond Lake Ranger District of the Umpqua National Forest. In the area near Diamond Lake and Lemolo Lake, a mountain pine beetle epidemic had killed several thousand acres of trees, largely lodgepole pines, so the UNF took on the D-Bug Hazard Reduction Timber Sale Project to sell the dead or dying trees before they became hazardous fuel. In this congested tourist area that sees about 700,000 visitors traveling Highway 138 each year, the project is also meant to provide a safe opportunity for evacuation in case of fire. A Healthy Forest Restoration Act, the D-Bug Project began in 2007 and includes the current Lagoon Timber Sale that travelers can see as they drive by.

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Nominations sought for Missouri forestry awards

By Ashley Szatala
The Herald-Whig
December 16, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

The Missouri Department of Conservation and Missouri Community Forestry Council are seeking nominations for 2017’s Missouri Arbor Award of Excellence. The award recognizes good tree stewardship. The Missouri Department of Conservation’s website says any significant program, project or event that cares for or maintains trees can qualify for the award. There are four award categories: Municipalities/governments, Organization, Individual, Business/institution. …The department’s website says multiple awards in each category might be presented. The deadline for submitting applications is Jan. 6.

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Wildfire prevention requires problem solving, not politic-ing

Letter by Brent Martin
Asheville Citizen-Times
December 19, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

In the wake of a serious wildfire season, everyone can agree at least with the headline of Sen. Thom Tillis’ guest column, “We must be more proactive on wildfire prevention,” Dec. 12. But a political proposal designed to cut the public out of forest decisions and promote indiscriminate logging is no solution. Yet that’s what Sen. Tillis endorses when he says that the answer is the misnamed bill, the “Resilient Federal Forests Act,” H.R. 2647. Unfortunately, this bill would undermine programs to improve forest health. It short-circuits the environmental reviews, suppresses input from the public and even requires that citizens post cash bonds to challenge government actions.

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Forest stewardship initiative targets private landowners

by Virginia Daffron
Mountain Xpress
December 18, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

“When I first bought this property in 1979, I didn’t plan to ever cut one single tree,” says Gary McCurry, who owns Fox Gap Farms in Morganton. These days, McCurry’s commitment to caring for the 110-acre forested tract is as strong as ever, but he’s learned along the way that conservation and responsible use aren’t necessarily opposed. …Following N.C. Forest Service recommendations, he uses controlled burns to reduce underbrush and encourage tree regeneration in the wooded areas. Down the line, McCurry does envision selling some timber but says the selective harvest will be done with an eye toward improving forest health and protecting water quality.

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Indonesia’s forestry ministry takes Greenpeace to court over freedom of information request

By Basten Gokkon
Mongabay
December 18, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: International

JAKARTA — The Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry is going to court over a successful freedom of information request by Greenpeace, setting the stage for a protracted legal battle over a form of data NGOs say they need if they are to play a monitoring role in the world’s third-largest democracy. Greenpeace Indonesia on Oct. 24 won its yearlong suit submitted to the Central Information Commission (KIP) against the ministry demanding access to seven different geospatial maps of Indonesia, including those showing oil palm, timber, and mining concessions as well as the archipelago country’s land cover. The group argued its case under the 2008 Freedom of Public Information Law, which established the KIP. 

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Real vs. Artificial Christmas Trees – An Environmental Perspective

By Katherine Fernholz
Dovetail Partners
December 18, 2016
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, United States

For those that celebrate Christmas, an important decision is choosing a tree. This includes deciding if it will be a real or artificial Christmas tree… Research has shown that locally-sourced natural trees have less environmental impact than artificial ones. An independent Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) study released by the Montreal firm Elliposos determined that real trees have less overall impact in terms of distribution, disposal, and average carbon emissions than their artificial counterparts… When it comes to artificial trees, the key to achieving environmental gains lies in the amount of time they are kept and reused. Average households replace an artificial tree about every six years. Evidence shows that, in general, artificial trees need to be reused for at least 20 years if they are to compare favorably with natural trees. 

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EPA’s biomass climate mess

By Janaki Alavalapati, Dean of the School of Forestry Wildlife Services at Auburn University
The Hill
December 19, 2016
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States

…Yet despite the success of the global consensus as a greenhouse gas mitigation strategy, in 2010, without warning or offering a scientific basis, EPA announced that it would regulate forest-derived biomass no differently than coal, oil, and natural gas. It had previously counted the fuel as carbon neutral. It may have been the first time that any government backtracked on a key element of the sustainability agenda. …Soon EPA backtracked, suspended its decision, and committed to a revision by July 2014. But the revised policy never materialized. This year, an official Scientific Advisory Board on the subject failed to finalize a report under development since 2011. A sense of limbo now hangs over forest-related industries.

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General

The Right Chemistry: The yew tree has been a valuable weapon

December 19, 2016
Category: Uncategorised

…It is true that all parts of the English yew, except the fleshy part of its berries, are poisonous, and there are cases where cattle and sheep have succumbed after dining on yew clippings that had been dumped on grazing land. The toxins, collectively known as “taxine,” are so poisonous that consuming just 50-100 grams of leaves will kill a person or an animal, although, interestingly, whitetail deer are immune. …Taxine alkaloids interfere with the passage of calcium into cells, such as those found in heart tissue. As a result, the heartbeat slows, blood pressure drops, irregular beats develop and the force of contraction of the heart is reduced. … And it is of critical importance, since it can be converted through some clever chemistry into paclitaxel, commonly known as Taxol, one of the most widely used drugs in the treatment of breast, ovarian, lung and pancreatic cancers.

Read More