Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: May 1, 2017

Special Feature

US proposals designed to seed division, soften Canada up for the inevitable negotiations

By Kelly McCloskey
Tree Frog Forestry News
April 28, 2017
Category: Special Feature
Region: Canada, United States

The North American Wholesale Lumber Association held its Vancouver Regional Meeting on April 27th to a sold-out crowd of 260 lumber manufacturers, wholesalers and related service providers. Given the US government’s preliminary determination of duties against Canadian softwood lumber and the expert panel assembled—the standing room only event was no surprise.

Leading off the discussion with some history on the lumber issue was Susan Yurkovich, CEO of the Council of Forest Industries and President of the BC Lumber Trade Council. After reminding the audience how important the forest sector is to the province in the form of jobs, trade and future growth, Yurkovich said—despite what you read in the news—“the managed trade relationship that has existed between Canada and the US for the vast majority of the past 30 years, has worked well”.

Asked about possible solutions, Yurkovich noted that “BC opposes quotas because they are divisive (north-south and east-west), difficult to allocate and disruptive as a market force”. And like most of what the US has said to date, she believes “these proposals are designed to seed division, play into national and regional politics and soften Canada up for the inevitable negotiations”.

On NAFTA and the disputed settlement panels, Yurkovich is not surprised the US wants to avoid an unbiased panel looking at the facts and ruling on their legality. “Given their lack of fair play”, Yurkovich believes that “Canada needs to strengthen the dispute safeguards that exist in NAFTA”.

Yurkovich took some solace in the fact that “lumber prices are up, mill and growth capacity in the US is limited, and duties will hurt US home builders and consumers first and foremost”. The National Association of Home Builders is already speaking out and other businesses (like Home Depot and Lowes), and consumer groups are expected to follow suit. 

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Froggy Foibles

Annual effort to stymie the stink of ginkgo fruit set to begin in D.C.

By Martin Weil
The Washington Post
April 29, 2017
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: US East, United States

Forget for a moment Washington’s so-called “swamp” and those who talk of draining it. The city has a big stink, and on Monday, the District government will begin its annual effort to squelch it. The putrid odor comes from the fruit, or seed pod, of the ginkgo tree — much admired for the brilliant color of its fan-shaped leaves in autumn. But autumn is also when the female ginkgo drops its fruit on the ground. Burst open or trodden underfoot, the fruit releases an odor that has little parallel in the annals of urban noxiousness. For years, the District Department of Transportation, which has jurisdiction over street-side trees, has used spraying to curb the ginkgo’s assault on the olfactory senses.

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Business & Politics

How Canada is expanding its softwood lumber markets: Carr

By James Carr – Minister of Natural Resources Canada and MP for Winnipeg South Centre
Toronto Star
April 28, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

The softwood lumber dispute between Canada and the United States is back with a vengeance. Canadians who work in this industry, or who live in communities that rely on it, are worried. Many are fed up, and rightly so. But let’s remember that we’ve seen this movie before, more than once. It starts with the powerful U.S. Lumber Coalition pressing for punitive duties on Canadian softwood imports as a way to raise its own prices and increase its profits. Typically, the story ends with a negotiated softwood lumber agreement between our two countries that keeps the U.S. lumber industry’s protectionism at bay until the deal expires, when the whole cycle begins anew. We now have the 2017 sequel. …But it’s time to change this movie script.

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What does Trump’s 20% tariff hike on Canadian softwoods mean for architecture?

By Julia Ingalls
Architect News
April 29, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

What will higher timber prices as a result of Trump’s new tarriff mean for architecture? Dr. Warren Mabee, who is the Canada Research Chair in Renewable Energy Development and Implementation at Queen’s University, told me over the phone that it will likely halt or significantly alter the design and construction of formerly ubiquitous wood-frame residences. “I think one of the big things you’re going to see, particularly in the U.S., is that introducing this type of tariff or countervailing duty, is that it will drive up the price of lumber. What that will mean is that for architects who are specializing particularly in residential construction, where there is a lot of wood and wood frame that goes into it, they may find themselves limited in what they can do. So if you’re building something that’s on a budget or something that’s going to use a lot of wood, you may find yourself in a position where the costs are now going to be substantively higher than prior to the tariff being introduced.”

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Common interest will ensure Canada-U.S. trade conflicts get solved

By Chris Hall
CBC News
April 29, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

Canada remains confident a deal can be reached with the United States on softwood lumber without repeating the drawn-out trade litigation of the past. Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr says reaching a new long-term deal is the best option, even as he repeats his warning that jobs will be lost in Canada as a result of the U.S. lumber industry’s lobbying for new duties on Canadian imports. …”We weren’t prepared to sign a bad deal. We won’t sign a bad deal. If we have to wait it out we will,” said Carr. “And we’ll use all the options available to us, but I don’t think that’s in the interests of either Canada or the United States.” …Laura Dawson, director of the Canada Institute at the Wilson Centre in Washington, D.C., said Trump’s rhetoric this week claiming NAFTA has been horrible for the U.S. and a disaster doesn’t match the reality that the trade deal “has been pretty darn good” for the U.S.

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Editorial: Time to include lumber in NAFTA

By the Vancouver Sun Editorial Board
Vancouver Sun
April 28, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

Despite talk of diversification and the paradigm shift from goods to services, the forest industry remains a mainstay of British Columbia’s economy. It contributes about $12 billion to gross domestic products and 140 communities depend on it for their livelihood. One out of four jobs in manufacturing is in the forest industry. Nearly a quarter of all rail traffic in B.C. is forest products. Forest products, principally lumber and pulp and paper, account for 35 per cent of all exports from B.C. Our province represents half of Canada’s softwood lumber production. And roughly half of B.C. softwood lumber exports are destined for the United States. So this week’s action by the U.S. Department of Commerce to slap countervailing duties averaging 20 per cent on Canadian lumber exports on the dubious charge that they are subsidized is a serious matter that demands quick resolution. Unfortunately, the resolution process through the World Trade Organization, the North American Free Trade Agreement settlement mechanism and/or litigation is anything but quick.

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Trudeau has ‘window’ to settle softwood dispute before NAFTA talks: Raymond Chrétien

By Catharine Tunney
CBC News
April 28, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

According to former Canadian ambassador to the U.S. Raymond Chrétien, the Trudeau government has a small window to settle the softwood lumber dispute out of court before U.S. President Donald Trump kicks off his renegotiation of the ?North America Free Trade Agreement. …But Chrétien, who is also Quebec’s lead negotiator on the softwood lumber file, told CBC Radio’s The House host Chris Hall that the dispute doesn’t have to get that far. “I’m confident that there’s a window, perhaps for a negotiated settlement for the following reason: Mr. Trump has indicated that he wanted a quick … renegotiation of NAFTA, but this is not possible in my view,” he said. “So why not solve the lumber dispute before you tackle the more comprehensive, complicated NAFTA negotiations?” Chrétien said in an interview airing Saturday. “So hopefully there’s a small window there and I’m sure that in Ottawa they would welcome a softwood lumber deal.”

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Trump’s softwood tariff makes him Canada’s most effective environmentalist

By Lawrence Solomon, policy director, Toronto-based Environment Probe
Financial Post
April 28, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

Move over, David Suzuki. Thanks to Donald Trump’s newly imposed tariffs on our exports of softwood lumber to the U.S., the greatest protector of Canada’s environment is now Donald Trump. Cold, hard numbers can’t measure an environment’s value, but they can demonstrate the extent to which an environment can be cheapened by its owner, when its owner is a government whose currency is votes and whose planning horizon extends no farther than the next election. …Last year, B.C. fetched that 25-cent rate on one-third of its total harvest of 21.2-million cubic metres. In exchange for that levelling of provincial forest, the B.C. treasury obtained a paltry $5.3 million. …Why would politicians sell so much forest for such a pittance? Political contributions from the forestry industry explain part of the motivation, but rural jobs explain most of it.

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Tariff puts WA lumber company’s plans on hold

By Dan Wheat
Capital Press
April 28, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

OROVILLE, Wash. — A 20-percent U.S. tariff on softwood lumber imported from Canada will cause a drop in trade and a pause in Canadian lumber planning, says the manager of a lumber re-manufacturing company in this U.S.-Canadian border town. “We were looking to expand and now those decisions are on hold,” said Will Verner, operations manager of Oroville Reman & Reload which is part of Gorman Brothers Lumber, West Bank, B.C. Oroville Reman & Reload and other Canadian lumber companies, some also looking to expand U.S. operations, will begin looking at markets other than the U.S., Verner said. The company finished 73 million board feet of lumber in 2016, making it a large company, and plans to be at that level again this year despite the tariff, Verner said.

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Moody’s: Canadian lumber tariff may take up to 6 months to impact U.S. homebuilders

By Brena Swanson
Housing Wire
April 28, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

It may take homebuilders up to six months to feel the financial impact of the Trump administration’s recently announced tariff on Canadian softwood lumber imported into the U.S. Canadian lumber producers, however, don’t share the same timeline and will feel an impact immediately, but since many U.S. homebuilders lock in lumber prices months in advance, they will only have to reckon with higher prices when these forward contracts expire, according to a report from Moody’s Investors Service. …Now more than a quarter into 2017, homebuilders have already felt, or will soon feel, the impact of higher softwood lumber prices, and the additional cost impact of a 20% tariff may range from negligible (in accordance with the old Wall Street adage of ‘buy on the rumor; sell on the news’) to as high as 20%, Moody’s stated.

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Open letter to B.C. Steelworkers

By Leo Gerard, international president, United Steelworks of America
The Georgia Straight
April 27, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

To: All B.C. Steelworkers, No matter what side of the border I work on, more and more I hear from right-wing politicians who don’t really have any ideas of their own so they just make things up. Apparently this B.C. election is no different. BC Liberal leader Christy Clark has falsely claimed that my meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump was about softwood lumber—she just made that up—in fact it was about protecting our members’ jobs in the steel industry in both the U.S. and in Canada. Clark even claimed she’s been to Washington, D.C. to defend B.C.’s lumber industry—she made that up too. Again, in fact, I have been to Washington, D.C., to defend our members in Canada’s forest industry and I’ll go again and again and again until we get a fair deal that protects our members’ livelihoods and Canadian forest communities.

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Trump: U.S. has been on ‘wrong side’ of NAFTA for many years

Canadian Press in The Toronto Sun
April 29, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

HARRISBURG, Pa. — President Donald Trump has again raised the spectre of the U.S. pulling out of the North American Free Trade Agreement, saying America has been on the “wrong side” of the trade pact for “many, many years.” Trump told a rally in Harrisburg, Pa., on Saturday night that he’ll try to renegotiate the agreement with Canada and Mexico, but will terminate NAFTA if a “fair deal” for the U.S. can’t be reached. Trump also noted that his administration has ordered the collection of “billions and billions of dollars” in duties on imports from countries he says “break the rules.” The U.S. has already imposed tariffs of up to 24 per cent on Canadian softwood timber and is investigating whether steel and aluminum imports pose a threat to national security. Trump told the crowd he was prepared to announce a few days ago that the U.S. was leaving NAFTA until he got calls from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto asking to negotiate.

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No immediate job impact from softwood tariffs

By Cam Fortems
Kamloops this Week
April 28, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

B.C. lumber officials acknowledged they don’t expect job losses in the short term from imposition of punishing duties by the United States. Susan Yurkovich, president of the B.C. Lumber Trade Council, said in a conference call that current prices, well over $400 for a thousand board feet, will support jobs. …Since the last softwood dispute with the United States, Kamloops’ economy has diversified away from its dependence on lumber. There are no longer any sawmills in the city, but the region is home to supermills in Adams Lake and Chase. Venture Kamloops CEO Jim Anderson said he agrees with industry opinions that current high prices will shield mills from job loss, but noted it could hurt the regional economy in the long term as litigation can take years to sort out.

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Next Government Must Understand – and Support Forestry Competitiveness

By Rick Jeffery, President & CEO, Coast Forest Products Association
Coast Forest Products Association
April 28, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Competitiveness directs and determines the pathway to the future. Now that the writ is dropped and the campaign for the next British Columbian provincial election is in full swing, it is crucial that the candidates who speak on the issues which affect the competitiveness of the coastal forestry sector do so from an informed place. This month, coastal forestry in BC is faced with newly imposed and unwarranted countervailing duties of 20% on softwood lumber exports to the US, with anti-dumping duties anticipated to follow. This is all in the context of increasing global competition, widespread uncertainty regarding free trade and market access in jurisdictions across the world, and a myriad of domestic factors that have the potential to weaken our competitive position in global markets.

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‘Everything is on the table’: Alberta communities react to U.S. softwood lumber tariffs

By Stuart Thomson
Edmonton Journal
May 1, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Alberta’s forestry communities are in an impossible spot after new tariffs were imposed by the United States on softwood lumber exports. With job losses looming, municipalities that rely on the forestry industry are crying out for support — but that support could be seen as further subsidies and invite more trade actions. Agriculture Minister Oneil Carlier said he spoke to his federal and provincial colleagues on Thursday and the response is a work in progress. “We’re making sure we don’t give any particular tools in the Americans’ tool box that they can use against us,” said Carlier. “We really have to be quite careful about whatever support we do.” Woodlands County Mayor Jim Rennie said about one-fifth of his community is employed by one of the three big lumber mills in the area and estimates that another one-fifth of the community is employed indirectly by the industry. …University of Calgary economist Trevor Tombe said the government can’t support the lumber companies directly but can find creative ways to support the workers.

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B.C. softwood lumber envoy distances himself from Christy Clark’s threats

By Justine Hunter
The Globe and Mail
April 28, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

British Columbia’s special envoy on the Canada-U.S. softwood lumber dispute is distancing himself from Premier Christy Clark’s threats of trade retaliation. Former international trade minister David Emerson, who was appointed in February to represent the province in Washington, said in an interview he was not consulted on Ms. Clark’s bid to block shipments of thermal coal in a tit-for-tat measure in response to the new punitive softwood lumber tariffs imposed on Canada’s softwood exports to the United States. “I have not participated in searching for retaliation measures,” he said Friday. “I’ve been aware of the thinking going on, but candidly I got a call this week that indicated it was a go.” …Mr. Emerson said both sides in this dispute will need to be cautious about inflaming public opinion on either side of the border.

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Threat of economic turmoil over softwood tariff becomes B.C. election issue

By Dirk Meissner
Canadian Press in Victoria Times Colonist
April 30, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

VICTORIA — A hefty American tariff on Canadian softwood could be devastating for British Columbia’s economy, but it may also be advantageous for political leaders on the campaign trail who are looking to cement or build their images with voters, says a former premier. The imposition of tariffs as high as 24 per cent on Canadian softwood exports shot the issue to the top of B.C.’s election campaign, with Liberal Leader Christy Clark and John Horgan, leader of the New Democrats, quickly portraying themselves as towers of strength ready to shoulder tough times ahead. …”[Clark]’s obviously trying to present herself as a calm, experienced leader,” said Ujjal Dosanjh, a former B.C. New Democrat premier and federal Liberal member of Parliament. “Whether she succeeds or not remains to be seen.” …”It’s fascinating to watch a provincial leader position herself as a peer of, and as a dialogue partner with, a national leader,” [David Black] said. “Things don’t usually work that way.”

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New Brunswick Government working to protect forestry export industry

By Intergovernmental Affairs, Energy and Resource Development
Government of New Brunswick
April 28, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

FREDERICTON — The provincial government has announced actions aimed at protecting and promoting New Brunswick’s forestry industry in light of the decision by the United States government to levy duties against New Brunswick exporters. Treasury Board President Roger Melanson, who is the minister responsible for Trade Policy, and Energy and Resource Development Minister Rick Doucet visited Devon Lumber, a Fredericton-based sawmill, today. The business is one of many affected by the preliminary decision of the U.S. Department of Commerce to impose countervailing duties on softwood lumber from Canada. “This duty is unfair, particularly to the employees, families and communities caught in the middle,” said Melanson. “The reality is that nothing has changed regarding the circumstances that have sustained our historic 35-year exemption. We are working hard to ensure an exclusion in support of New Brunswick’s interest, side by side with our partners in the federal government.”

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Ottawa called on to push for renewed softwood exclusion in U.S.

By Jacques Poitras
CBC News
April 28, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

New Brunswick sawmills could be facing an all-or-nothing gamble in the softwood lumber case with the United States. The Gallant government repeated its call Friday for Ottawa to negotiate the restoration of an exclusion for Maritime mills from American tariffs. “That’s where we want to put all of our effort and our energy,” Trade Minister Roger Melanson said of the call for an absolute exclusion of all mills from the U.S. tariffs. …Melanson said the province will soon appoint its own “senior negotiator” to represent New Brunswick’s interests in Washington and Ottawa. An expedited review could only take place after the U.S. releases its final decision on the tariffs later this year. There’s no way for mills to avoid paying it or to get the rate changed between now and then, according to Washington trade lawyer Yohai Baisburd.

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Sawmills in Quebec and Ontario are running at record high levels, resulting in difficulty finding outlets for generated residuals

By Wood Resources International
News Cision
April 28, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

Sawmills in Eastern Canada have been running at record high levels in 2016, with production reaching levels almost ten percent higher than in 2015 and almost 40 percent higher than five years ago. This has been very good news to the forest industry, with sawmills running at 97% operating rates in late 2016, according to the WWPA. However, there are also worrisome developments regarding the large volumes of residual chips that are being generated and where the chips can be sold. The pulp sector has been the key consumer of residuals in the past, but with a shrinking pulp industry in both Ontario and Quebec, there are concerns that sawmills in the region might be forced to limit production levels because it may be difficult to sell off the large volumes of chips that are being produced.

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Dairy and softwood bluster is pure Trump posturing

By Dan Leger
Chronicle Herald
May 1, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

All that is old becomes new again and all that is new becomes old. Such is the rhythm of Canada’s economic relationship with a self-absorbed United States. … The lumber and dairy disputes were so sensitive that both required special treatment in the trade deals of 1988 and 1994. So it’s an old story with a new twist, President Donald Trump. He got elected railing against foreign trade and now claims Canadian cows and trees pose a dire threat to the U.S.A….This is typical Trump: all bluster and baloney. He needs to validate his longstanding claims that trade agreements don’t work, so he’s trying to make NAFTA unmanageable. …The truth is smashing trade agreements and raising tariffs will damage Trump’s own constituency. The cost of new homes, renovations and furniture will rise and American jobs will be lost if duties make lumber more costly.

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Trump Just Created a New Enemy for America’s Housing Market

By Granger MacDonald – chairman of the National Association of Home Builders
Fortune Magazine
April 27, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States

Americans of all political persuasions and economic strata can agree that policies that support affordable homeownership and housing are laudable and worth pursuing. So every citizen should be deeply concerned about the U.S. Department of Commerce’s recently announced plan to impose countervailing duties averaging 20% on Canadian softwood lumber. This unjustified tax will raise the cost of housing for millions of American households. …Americans of all political persuasions and economic strata can agree that policies that support affordable homeownership and housing are laudable and worth pursuing. So every citizen should be deeply concerned about the U.S. Department of Commerce’s recently announced plan to impose countervailing duties averaging 20% on Canadian softwood lumber. This unjustified tax will raise the cost of housing for millions of American households.

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On lumber and dairy, Trump is right to blame Canada

Letter by C. Arnold McClure, Shirleysburg, PA, owner McClure Mills Farms.
The Washington Post
April 28, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States

Regarding the April 26 Economy & Business article “Fear of trade war with Canada grows”: … In the lumber business, Canadian government subsidies lowered the price of Canadian lumber to the point that sawmills in the Northwest were forced to shut down. Note how the proposed tariffs on Canadian lumber were welcomed publicly by Democratic Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken of Minnesota.

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Northwest lumber companies cheer new tariffs against wood imports from Canada

By Tom Adams
KVAL
April 28, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West


EUGENE, Ore.—Northwest lumber companies are cheering for the new tariffs that have gone into effect against wood imports from Canada and a Eugene company that was part of the big push to enact the new tariffs. …“The market share is ranged from, say, high 20% to even 35% of the market in the US,” said Random Lengths publisher Jon Anderson. “That means one in three boards being utilized in the United States was coming out of Canada,” said
Seneca Sawmill CEO Todd Payne. Payne’s Seneca Sawmill Company of Eugene was part of the coalition that pushed the commerce department to do something. …Payne says all he wants is a level playing field. “It’s going to allow us as domestic manufacturers to invest and grow in a more natural state, which is going to be great for jobs,” said Payne.

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Would you pay more for a house to save a lumber job?

By Jonathan Lansner
Orange County Register
April 30, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

To me, one of the grand economic questions is just how much will the typical American pay to save another American’s job? While it’s great to talk about “America First” … what if American-made doesn’t offer the best value or top quality? Prime example: Tariffs on Canadian lumber. The Trump administration is slapping a 20 percent tariff on certain imported wood from Canada, the type of lumber typically used in new residential construction. The beef? Canadian lumber makers get an unfair cost advantage vs. U.S. competitors due to Canadian government subsidies. Not only do Canadians disagree about the alleged trade trickery, they are threatening their own brand of retaliation. Yes, cheap foreign wood — fairly created, or not — costs certain American workers their jobs and U.S. manufacturers’ profits. Yet other stakeholders — U.S. lumber users and indirectly U.S. homebuyers — enjoy the lower-cost materials. Roughly one-third of homebuilding lumber is imported with 95 percent of that supply coming from Canada.

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Many Maine sawmill owners are not cheering Trump’s lumber tariff

By Darren Fishell
Bangor Daily News
April 29, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

PORTLAND, Maine — The 3-mile haul into Maine from Fontaine Lumber’s Woburn, Quebec, mill just got a lot more expensive. Each load of rough-cut and dried spruce and fir will get hit with a new 20 percent tariff at the end of Route 161, as the wood enters Coburn Gore and heads for finishing at the company’s Maine mill in Stratton. About half of the Stratton mill’s supply of rough-cut wood comes across the border. The rest is dried and milled in Maine. “For us, it’s not good news,” Nicolas Fontaine, president of Fontaine Lumber and Stratton Lumber, said. Fontaine’s operation is one of three with mills on both sides of the Maine-Quebec border, turning out lumber mostly from spruce and fir. Much of it comes from Maine woodlots. The complex cross-border ties mean the preliminary tariff from the U.S. Department of Commerce is getting mixed reviews.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Wood-frame buildings could fill real-estate market’s ‘missing middle’

By George Carras, president of RealStrategies Inc.
The Toronto Star
April 29, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada East, Canada


It’s great to see that all three levels of government are finally starting a dialogue on the Toronto housing market and contemplating a co-ordinated introduction of new policies to help solve problems in the market — many of which arose from policy conflicts. …One of the areas of greatest need in the Toronto housing market has been dubbed the “missing middle”: gentle density that’s between three and 11 storeys, located in transit-friendly areas that can deliver affordable housing for families (or between 2.32 and 2.88 people per unit). With 162 kilometres of avenues in the city of Toronto approved for wood-frame projects, this innovative form of development could create a supply of family housing in an affordable form for approximately 500,000 people over the next two decades.

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Oregon pushes for wooden skyscrapers to revive timber industry

By Elliot Njus and Molly Harbarger
The Oregonian
April 30, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

It’s rare that a governor shows up to celebrate a new condo tower. But this one’s made of wood, and that’s a bigger deal than it seems. Gov. Kate Brown was on hand the day Carbon12 in North Portland reached its full eight stories and became the nation’s tallest wood building.  …But even as CLT presents an opportunity for the state, the nation’s building codes are slow to endorse new materials, and industries that could lose sales to CLT aren’t giving up market share without a fight. …Thomas Maness, dean of OSU’s forestry school, wanted a “value-added product” to reorient the school around—something that makes the existing harvest more lucrative. He doubts the state’s timber harvest will ever increase significantly, so students must learn new technical skills to boost their wages in the timber industry. “I think it makes practicing forestry a higher value profession,” Maness said.

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No foul play suspected in largest fire in Lynnwood’s history

By Rikki King
Everett Daily Herald
April 30, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

LYNNWOOD — Plans have started to rebuild The Reserve senior apartments that burned Jan. 25 near Scriber Lake. …Investigators recently closed the case on the fire, the largest in city history. There was too much damage to determine the cause, detective Brian Jorgensen said. …The 296-unit building had a wood frame and incomplete drywall. Construction was about 60 percent done, too early to add fire protection sprinklers. A city inspector had been there hours earlier and found no code violations. …The unfinished drywall was a factor in how quickly the fire spread. Once flames got to the fifth floor, they were “able to travel virtually unimpeded throughout the structure,” the ATF report said.

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‘Wood’ you like to have a different building?

By Pavitra Sriprakash
The New Indian Express
April 28, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Wood is among the top sustainable building materials in my country,” said Japanese architect Yasuki while commencing his lecture at a local architecture college. Students looked aghast at my friend since wooden buildings are non-existent in urban India. The reason for this soon became obvious: almost 100% of forests in our country are protected, but 80% of the forests in Japan are managed for commercial use, that includes applications in the building industry. …Consumption of Indian made materials have by and large increased, but stringent green rating conditions in buildings dissuades use of wood products. The amount of certified wood needed to attain a LEED point remains significant, and the building industry perforce imports to meet demand. …If you think wood is a wonderful material, then support forestry and nurture more trees. After all, two thirds of Japan’s land area is forest!

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Australia’s first cross-laminated timber office built in only a year

Architecture and Design
May 1, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Australia’s first engineered timber office building has opened its doors at Sydney’s Barangaroo, just one year after construction began on site. Developed by Lend Lease as the ‘front door’ to Barangaroo South, International House Sydney is built entirely of the industry’s ‘rising stars’ – Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) and Glue-Laminated Timber (Glulam). Project architects at Sydney practice Tzannes say the design and construction of the building, as well as the choice of building materials, were born from a big picture and first principles analysis – the project’s siting in the masterplan meant it had to demonstrate leadership in environmentally sustainable design and foster wellbeing for users.

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Forestry

Ahousaht Land Use Vision Is Best News for Vancouver Island in Decades

By Jens Wieting, forest and climate campaigner, Sierra Club B.C.
The Tyee
April 29, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Too much of Vancouver Island’s old-growth rainforest has been clear cut with little to no regard, involvement or benefit for the Indigenous people who call the area home. But a plan put forward this January by the Ahousaht First Nation in Clayoquot Sound seeks to chart a new course for ancient forests and long-term prosperity. Gathering in Tofino, Ahousaht chiefs announced the Ahousaht Land Use Vision, a culmination of two years of planning within the community. The vision outlines a way forward for Indigenous stewardship in Vancouver Island’s most intact tracts of old-growth forest. Next up? Pulling together government support and the necessary funds to make the plan a reality. The land use vision is significant in several ways: it gives priority to low-impact economic development and calls for an end to industrial logging and mining activities.

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Cutting to the core

By Bryce Borlick
Revelstoke Mountaineer
April 30, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

…Macpherson will be clear-cut again — this time to deal with a rapidly-growing infestation of Douglas fir bark beetles. “Under the Forest Health Strategy for the district, all licensees … are obligated to deal with forest pests,” said Practices Forester Rob Mohr, speaking on behalf of BC Timber Sales at a recent Revelstoke City Council meeting. Over the last year, the BCTS has been monitoring beetle activity in a three-hectare patch of forest that contains sections of the Berm Donor and Super Happy Fun trails, and its conclusions are that the area should be harvested before the trees die and timber value is lost. 

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Logging like a wildfire

By Arthur White-Crummey
Prince Albert Herald
April 29, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Wildfires conjure up feelings of terror: fear of property damage, habitat loss, even death. But fire can also be our friend, and Dave Stevenson doesn’t think we’re having enough of them. “When you hear in the news, in the media, that a forest was destroyed by fire, that’s garbage,” he told a forestry symposium organized by the Prince Albert Model Forest on Tuesday. Stevenson works for the forest service, a branch of the provincial Ministry of Environment. Fire, he said, is part of the natural forest cycle. It regenerates aging growth and creates habitat for a diverse range of species. “Species have evolved with fire in their landscape,” he said. “Boreal forest is a fire driven ecosystem. Fire is what drives the change and the rebirth of the forest.”

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Canadians chop to the top

By Kerry Gillespie
The Toronto Star
April 30, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

Growing up in Maple Ridge, B.C., with a father and grandfather who thought chopping wood and climbing trees against the clock was fun, meant that getting an axe was no different than a pair of hockey skates or a football. …Hart is the overall Canadian champion and world record-holder in one of the six men’s events in Stihl Timbersports, a touring series with national and international stops. …Carroll played hockey, soccer and baseball before discovering timber sports at agricultural college and she was hooked. Men have been swinging axes competitively in Canada since the 1800s, when rival logging camps battled for bragging rights, and for the last three decades as part of the Stihl Timbersports series. But women have only been competing on that tour for three years. It still surprises people.

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Court rules against immediate protections for whitebark pine

Associated Press in The Idaho Statesman
April 28, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West


HELENA, Mont. – An appeals court has ruled that U.S. government officials don’t have to take immediate action to protect a pine tree that is a source of food for threatened grizzly bears. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals wrote in its order Friday that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s ability to protect species through the federal Endangered Species Act is limited by “practical realities,” such as scarce funds and limited staff. The whitebark pine is in decline amid threats of disease, the mountain pine beetle, wildfire and climate change. The Fish and Wildlife Service in 2011 said that protections for the high-elevation tree were warranted, but precluded by other priorities.

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The technology behind growing trees

By Emily Hoard
The News-Review
April 29, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

This is the first in a four-part series about technology used in the timber industry. The wood products industry has implemented technological advances into each step of the process, from growing seedlings to monitoring tree health, and from milling to creating finished boards. “With forestry, our technology is amazing because it’s always changing,” said Casey Roscoe, senior vice president of public relations for Seneca Jones Timber Company. “We are always trying to figure out the best way to do things, whether it’s the technology that helps rivers thrive or technology that helps foresters do their jobs.” …Researchers do not alter the genetics of the trees, but test them to find which are the heartiest growers of the bunch.

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4FRI contractor goes for commercial composting

By Emery Cowan
Arizona Daily Sun
April 28, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West


The company that holds the largest contract on the 2.4 million-acre Four Forest Restoration Initiative is moving forward with a commercial composting operation that will help use up the massive amounts of woody biomass produced from its tree thinning work. The move comes nearly two years after contractor Good Earth Power AZ first took steps to pursue composting tree limbs, needles, tops and small trunks — collectively called biomass or slash — by entering into a partnership with Flagstaff-based Roots Composting. After facing zoning ordinance roadblocks on its initial plan to produce commercial compost on a property in Williams, Good Earth received approval from the Coconino County Planning and Zoning Commission on Wednesday to start up such an operation on a 40-acre site in Valle, just to the east of Highway 64.

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Groups sue to halt Crazy Mountains logging project

By Brett French
The Billings Gazette
April 28, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West


Two Montana-based groups filed suit in a Missoula federal court this week for a preliminary injunction and to permanently halt a proposed logging project in the Crazy Mountains. The Native Ecosystems Council and Alliance for the Wild Rockies filed the lawsuit on April 27 seeking judicial review based on concerns about removal of hiding cover for elk, effects on pine marten and loss of habitat for Canada lynx, among other issues. The proposed Smith Shields Project would log about 1,600 acres across a 19,000-acre project area to reduce the threat of wildlife to nearby homes and recreational residences by removing dead and dying trees, according to Marna Daley, spokeswoman for the Custer Gallatin National Forest.

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Forestry has $21B impact on South Carolina’s economy, study finds

By Andrew Moore
Upstate Business Journal
April 28, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

South Carolina’s forests contribute over $21 billion annually to the state’s economy and provide more than 84,000 jobs, according to a study recently published by Clemson University. The figures were announced by the S.C. Forestry Commission earlier this week during a “Forest Day” press conference on the State House grounds celebrating the commission’s 90th anniversary. The study, which was commissioned by a group of forestry organizations, was conducted by the university’s Department of Forestry and Environmental Conservation. It’s a culmination of a nearly decade-long initiative, according to Gene Kodama, director of the Forestry Commission.

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