Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: June 7, 2017

Today’s Takeaway

The tallest wood high-rise structure in the US is approved

Tree Frog News
June 7, 2017
Category: Today's Takeaway

The 11-storey Framework Project (in Portland, Oregon) received its building permit yesterday and when constructed, it “will be the tallest wood high-rise structure in the US”. Great news for sure but behind the pack, according to Architecture and Design, which is featuring “six plyscraper projects that push the boundaries of sustainability and engineered timber construction even further” – up to 40 storeys!

The National Association of Manufacturers presented the “only licensed forester in Congress at this time”, US Rep. Bruce Westerman, a legislative excellence award in a ceremony hosted by Domtar in Ashdown. Not that we should get excited, but who knew there was a forester in DC?

Softwood and NAFTA headlines include:

  • Canada Seeks Business Input on NAFTA Renegotiation Priorities (Bloomberg)
  • Premier McNeil on trade mission to Washington (Chronicle Herald)
  • Riskier than doing nothing: Softwood lumber package may hurt Canada’s case with US (CBC)
  • It’s too early to tell how much help Northern Ontario softwood producers will glean from federal package (Sault Star)

And proof positive that you can’t keep a good owl down [or at least out of the headlines], an Oregon environmental group is taking the federal government to court over its “controversial experiment to kill barred owls that take over the spotted owl’s habitat”.

— Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Forestry

Merritt Secondary School students get simulated experience with forestry equipment

Merritt Herald
June 6, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Students at Merritt Secondary School (MSS) are getting a feel of what it’s like to operate heavy machinery used in the forestry and mining industries this week — without ever having to leave the school grounds. MSS has brought in simulators from Vancouver Island University for two days this week, allowing students to practice driving four different types of machines —a dangle head processor, feller bunches, live heel log loader and an excavator — MSS vice principal Kevin McGifford told the Herald.

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Board to audit BC Timber Sales operations

Parksville Qualicum Beach News
June 6, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The Forest Practices Board announced last week it will examine the activities of the BC Timber Sales program and timber sale licence holders in the South Island Natural Resource District portion of the Strait of Georgia Business Area, including some operations near Bowser. The audit will take place from May 29 to June 2. Auditors will examine harvesting, roads, bridges, silviculture, fire protection activities and associated planning for compliance with the Forest and Range Practices Act and the Wildfire Act. The audit includes all forestry activities carried out from June 2015 to June 2017. In addition to the operations near Bowser, the audit area includes the communities of Port Alberni, Port Renfrew and Lake Cowichan.

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Near McKenzie Bridge, Eco-Activists Stand Their (Very High) Ground

By Brian Bull
KLCC.org
June 5, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

A sit-in protest is being staged in the Goose Timber sale area around McKenzie Bridge, east of Eugene. As KLCC’s Brian Bull reports, environmentalists want to keep the timber from being harvested. It’s easy to overlook the sit-in, unless you know to look up. Way up. “I’m 110 feet up, in a Douglas Fir tree,” says Sunshine Forest, a member of Cascadia Forest Defenders. She uses that alias because using her real name could lead to her arrest. She’s been sitting, sleeping, and eating on a platform for a week now. …The Cascadia Forest Defenders launched the tree sit late last month, to protest planned logging of 1,000 acres in the goose timber sale area. Forest says her group’s concerned over what could follow. “Habitat loss, soil erosion, and the soil going into the creeks and killing off the fish. We need these trees to breathe and to keep our forests healthy.”

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Forest Service becoming irrelevant

By Frank Carroll
Rapid City Journal
June 6, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Our new Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue of Georgia, came to town recently to start to get a feel for the massive department he now oversees. He met with the timber industry and other interested people in various venues and spent a lot of time with Airmen at Ellsworth Air Force Base. …The Forest Service is Perdue’s biggest single agency with the biggest budget by far — just short of $6 billion a year — and the largest workforce at more than 35,000 strong. …After a half century of controversy and chaos, the agency is “out of business” in the words of author Stephen Pyne. Many private industry professionals agree. From ski areas to timber companies and even for major environmental groups, the Forest Service has become increasingly irrelevant. …Some have suggested combining the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management under one agency in the Department of Interior. That is not the answer. Let’s hope Mr. Perdue can sort things out.

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Feds Kill One Owl Species to Try to Save Another

By Nick McCann
Courthouse News Service
June 6, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

EUGENE, Ore. — Habitat of the Northern spotted owl continues to be imperiled by logging in Oregon because of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s inaction, an environmental group claims in a federal complaint. The Northern spotted owl has been listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act since 1990. Two years later, Fish and Wildlife designated almost 6.9 million acres of critical habitat for the owl, which nests in old-growth forests threatened by logging. …In its June 2 lawsuit, Friends of Animals takes issue with Fish and Wildlife’s Enhancement of Survival Permits, which allow timber companies and the Oregon Department of Forestry to kill or harass Northern spotted owls. The permits are issued through safe harbor agreements, which require property owners to help increase a threatened species’ population, or enhance or restore its habitat.

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Bozeman forestry dept. seeks funding for invasive species

By Judith Retana
NBC Montana
June 6, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

BOZEMAN, Mont. – The emerald ash tree makes up more than half of all trees in Bozeman. The city’s forestry department is asking for additional funding to protect it from the emerald ash borer, an invasive species moving across the country. The pest has already killed trees from the midwest to the east coast. Bozeman’s city forester, Alex Nordquest, says if the emerald ash borer arrives, it could be devastating. …Nordquest is asking city commissioners for a 15-percent increase in its budget to develop a management plan to prepare for this pest. That increase would be funded by increased tax dollars for property owners.

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Pines at risk of infestation

By Ernest Herndon
Enterprise-Journal
June 5, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

The latest Southern pine beetle outbreak couldn’t have hit at a better time — for the bugs, that is. The tree-killing insects are swooping across parts of southwest Mississippi at the exact time that budget cuts are sweeping through the Mississippi?Forestry Commission — the agency that helps landowners fight beetles. Recent aerial surveys by the U.S. Forest Service have identified patches of timber throughout the Homochitto National?Forest affected by beetles, said Mississippi?Forestry Commission Forest Health Coordinator Randy Chapin. Make that former forest health coordinator, as Chapin was among some 75 forestry commission personnel just laid off in the wake of massive budget cuts and restructuring. “The problem is, we’re going through a reorganization again,”?Chapin said Thursday, a day after he was laid off.

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‘A great friend to all of us because he gets it’ : Rep. Westerman receives award at Domtar in Ashdown

By Greg Bischoff
Texarkana Gazette
June 6, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

ASHDOWN, Ark.—At one point in his life, U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman was both an engineer and forester—and his constituents showed him Monday that both occupations served him well. The National Association of Manufactures presented the GOP representative for Arkansas’ Fourth Congressional District with its Manufacturing Legislative Excellence Award during an awards ceremony hosted by Domtar Industries paper mill. “Congressman Westerman is continuing a long tradition of supporting our natural resource based industries, including the forest products industry that much of our district is so dependent upon,” said Bob Grygotis, mill manager at Domtar in Ashdown. …It’s great to see someone out here supporting jobs and supporting Southwest Arkansas. He is the only licensed forester in Congress at this time, and he’s been a great friend to all of us because he gets it—and he knows what’s going on.”

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Bid to use forensic science to tackle wildlife crime

BBC News
June 6, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: International

The Scottish government is to join Edinburgh University on a new programme to employ forensic science in fighting wildlife crime. The move comes ahead of an international event on the issue being held in the city. The Wildlife Forensics Development Programme will boost research into greater use of forensic techniques. It comes after the case against two gamekeepers was dropped because video footage was ruled inadmissible. …The event, being held outside the US for the first time, focuses on how scientists can best support wildlife crime investigations, from illegal timber logging and fisheries, to illegal wildlife trade and persecution on both national and international levels.

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Forest Fires

Wood Buffalo National Park fire destroys cabin, threatens others

By David Thurton
CBC News
June 6, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

A wildfire that continues to burn out of control in Wood Buffalo National Park has destroyed one cabin and threatens at least 15 others. The 26,089-hectare fire is about four times the size of Fort McMurray but is so far north that no communities are at risk. Parks Canada’s fire crews and a helicopter are attacking the fire from the ground and the air, said spokesperson Mike Keizer. Embers from the fire blew back into an area that had already burned and destroyed a cabin owned by a band member of the Mikisew Cree First Nation, Keizer? said. Traditional use cabins are commonly used as homes in the park. They offer band members easy access for fishing, hunting, trapping and Indigenous spiritual and healing practices.

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Wildfire season begins across northern Arizona

By Wendy Howell
Williams News
June 6, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

A lightning-caused fire and three human-caused fires over Memorial Day weekend ushered in wildfire season in northern Arizona. The Snake Ridge fire, a lightning-caused fire northwest of Clint’s Well on Coconino National Forest, was called in by the Baker Butte Lookout May 19 and is now being managed by firefighters and allowed to burn. A Type 3 Incident Management Team was assigned to the fire with approximately 90 firefighters involved. A fire on Mars Hill near Flagstaff was believed to be human-caused and another fire, near Mountainaire was, found to be caused by an abandoned campfire, one of 77 abandoned campfire reported by Coconino National Forest officials over the Memorial Day weekend.

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Fire code changes proposed

By Alexis Bechman
Payson Roundup
June 6, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

After years of talk and months of working through revisions, the Payson Town Council looks ready to adopt a Firewise code. The council last week held a first public hearing on changes to the fire code, which mostly deal with landscaping. The proposed changes would make only minor changes in the building codes. Under the proposed changes, many residents would have to reduce the number of trees and the amount of brush in their yards to help prevent the spread of wildfire through the town. …The council has also previously discussed whether to adopt ordinances that would make it possible to force people to thin brush and trees on overgrown properties that posed a danger to the neighborhoods.

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Siberian forest fires subside to 3,700 hectares

TASS Russian News Agency
June 7, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International


KRASNOYARSK – The area engulfed by wildfires in Siberia has ebbed by more than 2,000 hectares to 3,700 hectares in the past 24 hours, Russia’s federal aerial forest protection service said in a statement on Wednesday. “The area of forest fires in Siberia has shrunk by more than 2,000 hectares to 3,700 hectares,” the statement reads. According to the local emergencies agencies, windy weather is complicating firefighting efforts in the the Tuva Region. Meanwhile, the Khabarovsk Region’s Forestry Department said that ten fires covering 11,400 hectares had been detected in a remote area, which were yet to be tackled.

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Company & Business News

Canada Seeks Business Input on NAFTA Renegotiation Priorities

By Peter Menyasz
Bloomberg North America
June 6, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada

Canada is seeking input from companies and the public on the positions it should take in renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement. The consultations are intended to help the government develop its negotiating positions on whether to maintain existing provisions or seek new concessions for Canada. Given the possibility of trade-offs in various areas of the agreement, the consultations are critical in setting the government’s priorities, a trade lawyer says. …“We’re advising our clients that they need to have their voices heard,” Dattu, a partner with Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP, told Bloomberg BNA.

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Premier McNeil on trade mission to Washington

By Fran /Dinsaw
Chronicle Herald
June 6, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada

Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil is in Washington, D.C., this week to talk trade with U.S. government and business leaders. Joining seven fellow Canadian premiers, McNeil will discuss trade, softwood lumber, energy, agriculture and border issues for the Council of the Federation mission from June 6-8. …McNeil is scheduled to meet with members of the Trump administration, congressional leaders and the Canadian ambassador to the United States, David MacNaughton. The premier will also meet with American and Mexican business leaders to promote Nova Scotia’s business advantages. …Joining McNeil is Ontario’s Kathleen Wynne, Newfoundland and Labrador’s Dwight Ball, New Brunswick’s Brian Gallant, Prince Edward Island’s Wade MacLauchlan, Manitoba’s Brian Pallister, the Northwest Territories’ Bob McLeod and Yukon’s Sandy Silver, who is leading the mission.

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‘Riskier than doing nothing’: Softwood lumber package may hurt Canada’s case with U.S.

By Janyce McGregor
CBC News
June 7, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, United States

When the federal government sets out to bolster a sector already under fire for getting too much of a boost, it has to tread carefully. Last week, Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr tried to explain how his softwood lumber action plan was an “appropriate response” to U.S. countervailing duties. Right on cue, the U.S. lobby driving the new levies called it a “new government subsidy” that “further tilts the trade scale.” . …Coming forward with an assistance package is “riskier than doing nothing,” said Meredith Lilly, a former trade adviser to Stephen Harper who’s now at Carleton University. But after both Quebec and Ontario called for federal help, ministers were compelled to do something. “They’re kind of in a difficult position,” she said. …Lilly doesn’t think it’s a subsidy that’s vulnerable to trade litigation. The loans and loan guarantees, for example, are “on commercial terms.”

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Labour Minister Patty Hajdu says it’s too early to tell how much help Northern Ontario softwood producers will glean from federal package to help industry hit by U.S. duties

By Jeffrey Ougler
Sault Star
June 6, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada East, Canada

NORTHERN ONTARIO – It’s premature to peg exactly how much help Northern Ontario softwood producers will glean from a federal package designed to help the industry hit by U.S. duties, says the national labour minister. Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour Patty Hajdu says there will be no “specific allocation geographically,” adding the onus will, essentially, be on businesses and others affected to present cases to the federal government for review. “It’s hard to say how much each region will get,” Hajdu told The Sault Star in a telephone interview from Ottawa Monday afternoon. “It will really depend on the needs of the companies and whether they want to reach into that service and what their plans are for it. So, it’s really hard to say.”

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Ministry of Environment issues order for Domtar to monitor for mercury contamination

By Kathleen Charlebois
Kenora Daily Minor and News
June 6, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada East, Canada

A legal battle may be brewing between the provincial government and pulp and paper company Domtar over who is responsible for the mercury cleanup of the Wabigoon River. The Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) issued a draft director’s order on Monday, May 29 to determine if the Dryden mill site is an ongoing source of mercury contamination. Ministry spokesperson Gary Wheeler said the MOECC is proposing to order Domtar, as the current property owner, to prepare and implement a detailed work plan to determine if the mill site is a contamination source. …During Question Period in the Ontario legislature on Wednesday, May 31, Kenora-Rainy River MPP Sarah Campbell said the order was a “cynical ploy” and a “stalling tactic” to delay action on the mercury cleanup.

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Timber REITs – Tepid Timber Markets

By Paul Quinn
RBC Capital Markets
June 6, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: United States

According to RISI’s latest Timberland Markets report, market activity continues to be fairly quiet. We have identified seven relatively small transactions in key US timberland markets (namely the US South and West). While some of RISI’s contacts expect market activity will pick up in H217, there has been little indication of higher transaction volume coming (notwithstanding some of the larger previously announced transactions). With a lack of buyers on the market (combined with the potential overhang from rising interest rates), we are watching for signs of compressing timberland valuations. …Potentially reigniting interest in Southern timberlands, pine log exports in Q1 were nearly double the previous Q1 peak in 2015. Exports are being driven by Chinese demand, which may help to soak up some of the region’s excess supply.

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Athens company aided by ‘thriving’ forestry industry

By Adam Smith
The News Courier
June 6, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: US East, United States

An Athens company was one of dozens that directly benefited from the state’s forestry industry in 2016, officials announced recently. Triad Packaging Co. announced it would hire seven employees as part of a $1.456 million expansion of its Durham Drive manufacturing plant. The company, which employs about 57 people, manufactures corrugated containers from raw wood products. Alabama’s forestry industry accounted for 50 projects in 2016 with $1.197 billion in new capital investments and 1,005 direct jobs created, according to the “2016 New & Expanding Industry Report” released by Gov. Kay Ivey and Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield. Those figures represent 28.5 percent of total capital investments in Alabama for the year and 6.8 percent of total jobs created, the report said.

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LePage in Finland on forest products trade mission

By Kevin Miller
Portland Press Herald
June 6, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: US East, United States

AUGUSTA — Gov. Paul LePage is in Finland this week as part of a Maine trade mission focused on the forest products industry. According to LePage’s communications office, the governor is participating in a trip organized by the Maine International Trade Center along with George Gervais, commissioner of the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development. On Monday, LePage met with members of the Finnish Forest Industries Federation in Helsinki and planned to meet Tuesday with executives of several pulp and paper companies. The companies include Metsä Group, Stora Enso, Andritz Oy, Huhtamaki and Atol Avion. The latter two companies, Huhtamaki and Atol Avion, have operations in Waterville and Brunswick, respectively.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Climate exit deal could hit US pellet exports

By Argus Media
Canadian Biomass
June 6, 2017
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States

President Donald Trump’s plan to withdraw from the Paris climate accord could have huge consequences for the U.S. wood pellet exporting industry post-2020. The U.S. not being part of the Paris agreement will make it difficult for wood pellet producers to export to E.U. markets after 2020, if the E.U.’s proposed renewable energy directive is passed in its current form. The directive proposes that if forest biomass is to contribute to a E.U. member state’s renewable energy targets then it must come from countries which have ratified the Paris agreement. The requirement is part of the directive’s proposal to develop sustainability criteria for forest biomass under the land use and land use change and forestry (LULUCF) sector, which accounts for the greenhouse gas inventory of forests.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Let’s talk mass timber

By Maria Church
Wood Business in Canadian Forest Industries
June 6, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada

You can’t go to an industry conference today without hearing about the mass timber movement, and more specifically about cross-laminated timber – the wood panels that make up the 18-storey UBC Brock Commons building, the world’s tallest wood building to date. Both the pre-fabricated CLT panels and the glulam pillars used in the hybrid building were made at Structurlam’s Okanagan Falls, B.C., facility. …The biggest stumbling block preventing mass timber from taking off in high-rise construction is the high cost of the engineered timber. That begins with the cost of lumber from mills that are challenged to cut to specifications. Why cut to specifications when there’s a strong market for 2x4s? This is a good time to think about that question. 

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Could this building signal a reboot of Oregon’s timber industry?

KOBI-TV NBC5 / KOTI-TV NBC2
June 6, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

Portland, Ore. – Rural Oregon counties have been struggling financially for years due to a lack of forestry jobs and federal timber revenue. Now, a recently approved building could herald a new age for the Northwest timber industry. It all centers around a relatively new building solution called “cross laminated timber”, or CLT. …Washington Senator Maria Cantwell recently sent a letter to President Donald Trump addressing the benefits of CLT. “Scientists have found that using forest products in building construction could help markedly lower carbon in the atmosphere because of how sequestered carbon is stored for decades in wooden buildings,” Sen. Cantwell wrote. “Fortunately, slowing carbon emissions can go hand in hand with creating jobs in rural areas that need them.” …A bi-partisan group of politicians recently introduced the Timber Innovation Act. The bill would help drive innovation, research and development to advance tall wood building in the United States, as CLT has the potential to replace steel in high-rise buildings. 

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Timber high-rise planned in Pearl District gets construction permit

By Elliot Njus
The Oregonian
June 6, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

An 11-story timber high-rise planned in Portland’s Pearl District has been approved for construction, its developers said Tuesday, a milestone for wood technology that could allow for even taller timber buildings. At 148 feet, the Framework building will be the nation’s first high-rise building made of wood. It will house offices for Albina Community Bank and its parent, Beneficial State Bank, as well as subsidized apartments. …Oregon officials have high hopes for the wood technologies used in the building. They hope it can bring new jobs to the state’s flagging timber industry.

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Tallest Mass-Timber Building in U.S. Receives Approval for Construction

By Miriam Sitz
Architectural Record
June 6, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

Today, the Framework Project has received approval for a building permit, allowing construction to begin on the tallest wood high-rise structure in the United States. Portland-based LEVER Architecture designed the 145-foot-tall tower, which Portland mayor Ted Wheeler called “a true technological and entrepreneurial achievement.” The mixed-use building will contain office space, street level retail, and sixty units of affordable housing. …The 12-story tower was one of two projects that split the $3 million U.S. Tall Wood Building Prize, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Softwood Lumber Board, and the Binational Softwood Lumber Council. The building permit was approved following a series of stringent fire, acoustic, and structural tests that validated the resilient structural design meets fire life-safety standards.

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6 wooden ‘plyscrapers’ around the world that push sustainability boundaries

By Geraldine Chua
Architecture and Design
June 7, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

The wheels of the engineered timber revolution, three years ago just in their infancy, are now well into maturity. While Lendlease’s Forte in Melbourne once claimed the title of the tallest timber apartment building in the world, more and more architects, engineers, builders and developers are starting to experiment with large-scale mass timber residences. Below, we explore six wooden ‘plyscraper’ projects from around the world that push the boundaries of sustainability and engineered timber construction. …The developers at PortLiving are billing Pritzker Prize winner Shigeru Ban’s first Canadian project as the tallest hybrid timber structure in the world. Currently, this title is held by the University of British Columbia’s Brock Commons student residence; the first mass wood, steel and concrete hybrid project in the world to have reached 18 storeys in height.

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