Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: February 28, 2017

Today’s Takeaway

Unions, environmentalists call for log export ban

Tree Frog Forestry News
February 28, 2017
Category: Today's Takeaway

Backed by “major forest-sector unions and environmental groups”, a report by Ben Parfitt (policy analyst for the CCPA – Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives), is calling for a ban of “log exports from old-growth forests”, increased taxes for the “export of second-growth logs” and policies to “increase value-added manufacturing” in BC. The premise: “growing log exports” means associated “job losses”.

The problem is—as conveyed by Rick Jeffery, president of the Coast Forest Products Association, “the reverse is true”. “Log exports are a very important part of the economics of the coast, ensuring that we can harvest the entire profile of the allowable cut, and that means getting into some of the harder, more economically challenged areas into the lower quality stands,” Jeffery said.

Not discussed in today’s coverage but noteworthy is how Canadian log export policies play into the Softwood Lumber dispute. The US Coalition claims that “log export restrictions have the effect of insulating lumber mills from world market prices for logs” which [in their view] is a subsidy because it “suppresses the price for domestic logs”. According to 250 News, “there is some irony in all of these claims” given that the US South “has the highest profit margins in North America“.

Also ironic is the fact that Unifor—a sponsor of CCPA’s “ban log exports” story—is in today’s news “preparing for the softwood lumber battle” with the US, in partnership with lumber producers. According to national spokesman Steve Boon, “it is now more important then ever that our federal government stand up and fight for free and fair access to the U.S. market”

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Forestry

Fears that logging will threaten water sources

By Cam Fortems
Kamloops This Week
February 27, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West


Proposed logging by Canfor Corp. in the Upper Clearwater Valley threatens neighbouring Wells Grey Park and endangers water sources, a long-time property owner charged. “They just keep coming back for more and more,” said Roland Neave, a Kamloops businessman and author of a guidebook on the park. The debate over logging in the valley between Clearwater and Wells Grey Park dates back decades, to the late 1970s. …Neave said residents have held meetings with the Ministry of Forests and Canfor for four years to come up with a solution. “We were stunned in December when the Ministry of Forests issued the first permit,” he said. “Now there’s a lot more.” …Phone calls and email messages to Canfor were not returned by KTW press deadline yesterday.

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Trees to be lasting legacy of Montreal’s 375th

By Allison Hanes
Montreal Gazette
February 27, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

Of the many legacy projects launched to celebrate Montreal’s 375th birthday, the effort to plant 375,000 trees in the city and region is a breath of fresh air. Expanding the tree canopy by three per cent will, quite literally, improve air quality as well as the health and well-being of Montrealers. But the plan, which is being spearheaded by Jour de la Terre Québec, is funded by donations from non-profit organizations, companies and individuals. That’s also a novel approach to commemorative projects, instead of using public money to build walkways and light up bridges. To top it off, the program will pilot an innovative strategy to ensure the trees survive and thrive for generations to come — which could end up being the most significant result of this celebratory initiative.

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Canada’s forest industry papers over threat to the boreal

By Susan Casey-Lefkowitz
Natural Resources Defense Council
February 27, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

“The Broadback is basically our last intact forest. All of the traditional and cultural activities that we practice out there on the land, that’s who we are. That’s us.” So explains Youth Chief Melanie Neeposh, one of the voices of the Waswanipi Cree featured in a video calling for the protection of the Broadback River valley, which contains some of the last intact boreal forest landscapes remaining in territory they’ve called home for millennia. This call for boreal forest protection has come under attack by Canadian forest industry trade organizations in recent weeks. A recent letter from the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC), the Quebec Forest Industry Council (QFIC) and the Ontario Forest Industry Council (OFIC) suggest they want to see logging in this region continue. They specifically attack NRDC for our partnership with the Waswanipi Cree. 

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California court expands endangered-species removal powers

By Sudhin Thanawala
Associated Press in The Idaho Statesman
February 27, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

SAN FRANCISCO The California Supreme Court on Monday said petitioners seeking to remove a subset of coho salmon from the state’s endangered species list could present new evidence to argue the listing was wrong. In a unanimous ruling, the court overturned a lower court decision that said efforts to remove the salmon and other species could only argue that the listing was no longer necessary. The high court decision came in a lawsuit by Big Creek Lumber Co. and the Central Coast Forest Association, which includes forest landowners. They filed a petition to remove a subset of coho salmon from the state’s endangered species list, arguing that the listing was wrong because the fish were not native to the area and were introduced and maintained there artificially using hatcheries.

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Jobs warning over Tasmanian Government logging plan, as Labor flags no vote

By Richard Baines
ABC News, Australia
February 28, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: International

The plan to reopen land for logging to stimulate the Tasmanian timber products industry could backfire and cost jobs, an independent Upper House MP says. …Ruth Forrest, the Member for Murchison in the state’s north-west, said the feedback she had received had not been positive. “What I’ve heard unequivocally from major timber employers is that they don’t need the timber and that they don’t want it opened up because of fears it will create a ruckus in the forest again. “Their markets and their customers may steer away from their product because of that.” The plan has so-far garnered little support, with a potential major customer James Neville-Smith stating he would not buy the wood unless it was certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.

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Macra under fire on forestry ‘bubble’ claim

By Claire Mc Cormack
Irish Independent
February 28, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Macra na Feirme claims that the current national forestry policy is creating a “bubble” that will damage young farmers’ prospects have been dismissed by the main farming organisations and forestry interests. Last week, the rural youth organisation launched its afforestation policy and challenged the current forestry strategy which it claims is being “bullishly” implemented by the Government. Although Macra does not oppose forestry, national president, Seán Finan, said levels of grant aid and premiums available are in “direct competition” with the interests of young farmers nationwide. He called for the current forestry programme to be re-examined.

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Company & Business News

New report says raw logs exports at record levels

By Kendall Hanson
CHEK News
February 27, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, Canada West

A new report shows the number of raw logs being exported from BC are at record levels. But those who depend on the forestry industry say those exported logs represent an opportunity lost… The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives is calling for a ban on the export of raw logs from old growth forests… “The concern that our organization has, and several environmental organizations, and labour organizations is that that’s a tremendous lost opportunity in terms of creating jobs here in British Columbia.”… The Catalyst mill, in Port Alberni, started a three day shutdown today. The company blames a shortage of wood chips due to winter weather curtailing logging. But the Union representing pulp mill workers says the export of raw logs also plays a role.

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B.C. should focus on forestry, not LNG dream

Guest Editorial: Scott Doherty, Ben Parfitt and Jens Wieting
The Province
February 27, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, Canada West

With the B.C. government’s promise of tens of thousands of jobs in a new liquefied natural gas industry in tatters, the province’s long-neglected forest industry has the potential to help close the widening employment gap between heavily populated areas like the Lower Mainland and the rest of the province. The provincial government regulates this industry, but for the past four years it has offered no substantive policies to stimulate job growth in the sector that has historically been the economic backbone of many rural communities in B.C. The most visible consequence of this laissez-faire approach is the rising wave of raw, unprocessed logs that leave the province annually, resulting in an ever- shrinking number of jobs per trees cut… It’s beyond time that the provincial government ended years of policies that remove value from our forests. 

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New report calls for curb on B.C. log exports

By Derrick Penner
Vancouver Sun
February 27, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, Canada West

If the amount of logs exported by B.C. forest companies in 2016 were milled into lumber, it would have been enough to build 134,000 single-family homes, according to a new report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. The centre threw that statistic into a report to illustrate their argument about the impact of log exports, a hot-button political issue for B.C.’s coastal communities that have suffered the decline of lumber manufacturing over the last decade-and-a-half while exports of unprocessed timber has soared. “The troubling reality is that since 2003, the door has been wide open for companies to close mills and export logs instead,” said Ben Parfitt… Forest Minister Steve Thomson said the report is “misguided” for not recognizing the role that exports play in maintaining timber flows and employment in logging communities.“Obviously, we’d like to see as large a percentage of logs manufactured here in B.C. as possible,” Thomson said, adding that the province is co-operating with the industry on a strategy to keep the sector competitive.

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Softwood Lumber – Trump admin to further squeeze Canadian manufacturing?

By Peter Ewart
250 News
February 27, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, Canada West

Are the current softwood lumber trade negotiations between Canada and the US just another predictable chapter in the long history of softwood disputes? Or is there more going on here? Certainly, the election of Donald Trump as US president has added some new features to the dispute in which the US side claims (despite being repeatedly overruled by NAFTA and WTO panels) that Canada is subsidizing its lumber exports. …Thus, it is imperative, if and when, a new Softwood Lumber Agreement is signed, that Canada does not agree to any US imposed limitations on Canadian government (both federal and provincial) investment in forest stewardship, science, technology, and innovation or to changes in our system of forest ownership, management and log pricing that hurt us. To do so will be to surrender our sovereignty as a country. Today, more than ever, we need our own path forward.

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Raw Logs and Lost Jobs: How the BC Government Has Sacrificed Forest Communities

By Ben Parfitt
The Tyee
February 27, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, Canada West

Its members include the most powerful players in the province’s forest industry, companies that do the vast majority of logging on British Columbia’s coast. Its website boasts of “innovative, high-tech” companies whose workers turn out “a growing array of forest and wood products.” But in truth, members of the Coast Forest Products Association are far from the job creators they could be. While forest industry manufacturing on B.C.’s coast stagnates, CFPA member companies, including the huge corporations TimberWest, Western Forest Products and Interfor, collectively ship millions of cubic metres of raw, unprocessed logs out of the province each year — a practice the association claims will increase profits, which may one day lead to investments in new sawmills. Included in the export mix are logs from old-growth trees harvested on Vancouver Island and Haida Gwaii, the Nass Valley in northern B.C. and up and down the province’s coast, including in the Great Bear Rainforest, B.C.’s much-touted showcase for coastal forest conservation and “ecosystem-based” logging.

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Mercury still leaking into river upstream from Grassy Narrows First Nation, suggests report

CBC News
February 28, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada East, Canada

An old chemical plant in Dryden, Ont., is still leaking mercury and contaminating the Wabigoon-English River system near the Grassy Narrows First Nation in northwestern Ontario, suggests a new report from a group of scientists. Last summer the team sampled the mud at the bottom of the river as it passed the old paper mill site where paper was bleached and from two lakes upstream. According to the report released to CBC News ahead of a news conference in Toronto on Tuesday, the team found that mercury levels in the mud are low until the river passes the plant site. “Then it goes to super-high, about 130 times higher than background (normal) levels as it passes by the old plant site,” reads the document. “These findings are strong evidence that the old plant is still leaking old mercury into the river.”

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NB Power faces searing critique from J.D. Irving Ltd., as rate hearing ends

By Robert Jones
CBC News
February 27, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada East, Canada

NB Power endured a searing critique from its largest customer toward the end of its five-day rate hearing in Fredericton last week, but with no party seriously opposing the utility’s need for a rate hike, it seems likely a jump in costs is on the way. The utility appeared in front of the Energy and Utilities Board last week to defend its request for a two per cent overall rate hike beginning April 1, which includes a 2.3 per cent increase for residential customers… NB Power witnesses at rate-hike hearing challenged about executive pay raises Eight hearing participants either actively supported or did not oppose NB Power’s request for increased rates during closing arguments.However, Christopher Stewart, a lawyer for J.D. Irving Ltd., ripped the utility for not taking enough responsibility for causing its own financial problems or helping to fix them.

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Unions, exporters prepare for softwood lumber battle

By Mike Aiken
Kenora Online
February 27, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada East, Canada

Softwood lumber workers and producers are rallying their supporters. Unifor national spokesman Steve Boon says they’ll be meeting with MPs in Ottawa next month. “We have finally seen a rebound, since the forestry collapse in 2008-09 and just locally we have seen 100s of well-paying jobs restored at Kenora Forest Products and EACOM’s Ear Falls sawmill over the last two years. It is now more important then ever that our federal government stand up and fight for free and fair access to the U.S. market,” Boon said, in an email. Federal and provincial governments are preparing for a new round of tariffs from the American government. The last softwood lumber agreement expired in 2015.

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Northern Softwood Lumber Bureau Merges Into NELMA

Miller Wood Trade Publications
February 24, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: US East, United States

Cumberland, ME–Recently it was announced that the Northern Softwood Lumber Bureau (NSLB) has merged into the Northeastern Lumber Manufacturers Association (NELMA), headquartered here. The decision to start the merging process was finalized at an August 2016 NSLB board of directors meeting. The NELMA name will remain in place.
The merger marks the first time two grade rules writing agencies have merged in North America; there are now six grade rules writing agencies. “We are very excited to join forces with the Northern Softwood Lumber Bureau and welcome their members into NELMA, and we look forward to working with them to extend NELMA programs across the Great Lakes area,” said
Jeff Easterling, president of NELMA. “To address specific needs of our new members, a Red Pine Committee will be added to the NELMA structure, with a kick-off meeting scheduled for first quarter 2017.”

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European sawmills gain market share in East Asia

Lesprom
February 27, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: International

Over the past year, European sawmills have continued to take market share in China, Japan and other countries in East Asia. It has become a natural focus as continued low activity in European construction reduced the lumber consumption there. In China, Europe’s (excl. Russia) market share increased to a record level in 2016, reaching 9% compared to 8% in 2015. Russia’s market share increased from 49% to 55%. The large increase for Russia corresponds to a volume increase of 3.1 million m³ (+37%). Finland and Sweden also had significant increases in volume percentage (+57% resp. + 35%), according to an analysis by Woodstat who specializes in market analysis for the lumber industry.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Canfor Continues Focus on Bio-Fuel Development

By Elaine Macdonald-Meisner
250 News
February 27, 2017
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

Prince George, B.C.- It has been nearly a year since Canfor went public with its exploration of creating bio-crude from pulp operation waste streams. “We are continuing to develop the project from a demonstration plant level to a commercial level” says Martin Pudlas, Vice President of Operations for Canfor Pulp. That’s a huge step in the development of a sustainable fuel. “It’s a very big step, if it was easy, someone would have done it already.” Pudlas says full time resources have been allocated to the project which is being done in partnership with Licella Fibre Fuels of Australia. ” We continue to work with a number of companies that have come forward, interested in the off take, which demonstrates that once we make this product it’s going to have very good value in the marketplace.”

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Forests to provide a quarter of Paris Agreement’s pledged mitigation

By Dr. Jo House and Dr. Giacomo Grassi
Carbon Brief
February 27, 2017
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

The Paris Agreement on climate change set new targets for the world. Notably, it called for warming to be limited to “well below” 2C and for carbon neutrality (“net zero”) by the second half of this century. Forests play a major role in the pledges made by countries towards meeting the Paris targets. Our analysis, published today in Nature Climate Change, shows that countries expect the land sector to provide a quarter of their pledged mitigation efforts up to 2030. Accurately measuring the role of the land sector in achieving the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement relies on consistency between the data submitted by individual countries and independent scientific assessments. If these numbers don’t match, it can undermine confidence in assessing progress toward the “below 2C” target.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Wood technology investment in forestry sector

By the New Zealand Government
Scoop.co.nz
February 28, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges and Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith today announced $2 million funding for a wood-processing facility which uses automation and robotics to turn low-value pine trees into high-value wood products. This is just one of the local initiatives announced at the release of the Tair?whiti Economic Action Plan in Gisborne. “Forestry is a major employer in the region and this funding accelerates research and development in this sector. This technology from Wood Engineering Technology Ltd ensures that even low value ‘pulp’ logs, or forestry blocks on remote sites, can become economically viable,” says Mr Bridges.

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General

Unions, environmentalists call for log export ban

By Nelson Bennett 
Business in Vancouver
February 27, 2017
Category: Uncategorised

One of the planks in NDP Leader John Horgan’s election platform is made from raw logs (he wants their export “curtailed”), and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives is helping him hammer it down. Horgan has criticized a sharp increase of raw logs from coastal forests over the past decade and has promised to curtail those exports, if the NDP forms government, although he has stopped short of promising an outright ban. The CCPA published a report Monday February 27 that says one out of every three trees cut on the B.C. coast were sold as logs to export markets in 2016 – 6.6 million cubic metres, which is slightly short of the 6.9 million cubic metres record in 2013. This is at a time when the Interior forest sector is facing a long-term shortage of timber, thanks to the Mountain pine beetle epidemic that wiped out half of the merchantable timber in B.C.’s interior… Rick Jeffery, president of the Coast Forest Products Association, says the reverse is true. “Log exports are very important part of the economics of the coast, ensuring that we can harvest the entire profile of the allowable cut, and that means getting into some of the harder, more economically challenged area into the lower quality stands,” Jeffery said. “Log exports help you do that and they help you do that in a manner that puts logs in front of domestic mills.”

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