Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: August 16, 2017

Today’s Takeaway

Softwood lumber talks to run parallel to NAFTA

Tree Frog Forestry News
August 16, 2017
Category: Today's Takeaway

Saying they’re “not close to completing a quota deal” ahead of NAFTA, US and Canadian officials plan to “keep the negotiations going on a parallel track“. Thanks to high lumber prices, “BC’s forestry giants continue to post strong earnings”, says BIV’s Nelson Bennett but “failure to resolve the dispute will take its toll, especially on smaller mill operators”. Meanwhile, the NAHB reports that “US builder confidence rose with rising demand in the new home market“.

In forestry news, Jim Petersen of Evergreen Magazine reports a “sea change in how US federal judges view forest decline” and the need for forest restoration projects to proceed. JD Irving’s plan to spray glyphosate to control undergrowth is facing protests in Parkindale, New Brunswick and a public meeting has been rescheduled to accommodate a larger group.

Headlines on the forest fire front:

Finally, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection plans to award $21 million in grants to “help the state reduce greenhouse gas emissions and sequester carbon”, while researchers at Stanford claim California’s carbon offset program has “valuable environmental benefits beyond just offsetting greenhouse gases“.

— Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Forestry

Blame BC Liberal Neglect, Not Climate Change, for Year of Fires

By Bill Tieleman – former NDP strategist
The Tyee
August 15, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

“Prevention [of forest fires] is always more productive and cost-effective than responding afterwards.” — B.C. Forest Practices Board, 2015. Climate change is not responsible for British Columbia’s terrible wildfire situation — former BC Liberal premier Christy Clark is. Clark’s government — and that of her predecessor Gordon Campbell — shamefully and negligently refused to take the necessary steps to prevent out of control interface fires that have devastated or threatened B.C. communities. They ignored key recommendations of the Firestorm 2003 review by ex-Manitoba premier Gary Filmon, refusing to take necessary steps to remove dangerous forest fuels that cause infernos.

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New Brunswick protesters gather outside village hall in hopes of preventing glyphosate spraying near homes

Bay Sean Previl
Global News
August 15, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

Liz Mallett says when she was notified a few weeks ago that JD Irving would be spraying a controversial herbicide called glyphosate on Crown land near her home in Parkindale, she was instantly fearful. “It is considered a carcinogenic in many countries and, in fact, California has banned it as a carcinogenic,” Mallett said. As a member of the group Stop Spraying New Brunswick, Mallett said local clear-cutting has already caused silt to build up and choke off the brook near her home. She said she’s fearful that continued spraying of glyphosate will kill the few fish left in the waters. …In June, New Brunswick’s acting medical officer of health said the province will continue to monitor the use of glyphosate in the province, but that decision is not good enough for this group that wants the spraying to stop now.

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New Brunswick group protests use of controversial herbicide spray program

By Laura Brown
CTV Atlantic
August 15, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

A meeting between J.D. Irving and a New Brunswick village council concerned about the use of a controversial herbicide has been delayed after the company found out many members of the public were showing up as well. For several years, thousands of New Brunswickers have protested the spraying of glyphosate. It’s used by industry to control undergrowth around things such as power polls. Last year, New Brunswick Public Health determined there was no increased health risk for those exposed to it. But the World Health Organization has ruled the herbicide a “probable carcinogen.” Petitcodiac Mayor Gerry Gogan had a special council meeting scheduled Tuesday with JDI, but was asked by the company for it to be rescheduled.

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A Sea Change In How Federal Judges View Collaborative Forest Restoration Projects

By Jim Petersen
Evergreen Magazine
August 15, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

A sea change in how federal judges view collaborative forest restoration projects is underway. It is plainly visible in rulings issued in two cases brought before the courts by the Alliance for the Wild Rockies. First among three significant changes: federal judges are becoming more comfortable with the congressionally-blessed collaborative process that encourages diverse citizen-stakeholder groups to partner with the Forest Service in identifying, designing and monitoring forest restoration projects intended to restore natural resiliency in forests that hold too many trees for the carrying capacity of the land. Second: their rulings reflect a welcome sensitivity to and appreciation for the demanding and difficult work these all-volunteer groups are doing, as well as a much-improved understanding of observable forest decline and, likewise, a willingness to apply case law in ways that allow collaborative forest restoration projects to proceed.

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Forest Service officials say there’s too many conifer trees in aspen stands near Almo. Here’s how they plan to fix it.

By Laurie Welch
Magic Valley
August 16, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

ALMO — Lack of wildfire has changed the ecosystem in some parts of the Sawtooth National Forest in southeast Cassia County. The U.S. Forest Service is working to establish a program that will treat nearly 4,200 acres to reduce sub-alpine fir and restore healthy aspen stands, but some people who live nearby aren’t happy with the plan. “If we didn’t put out every fire these areas would have burned by now,” said Stacy Smith, U.S. Forest Service fuels planner. The project will include lop and scatter, cut and hand pile and prescribed fire treatments to reduce the conifer and trigger aspen regeneration from burning. Aspen is one of the key species in the ecosystem that contributes to plant diversity and the abundance of animals and it has to be disturbed occasionally to regenerate, Smith said.

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Mammal numbers high in logged tropical forests, study finds

By John C. Cannon
Mongabay
August 16, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Logged tropical forests have a bit of a bad reputation in the conservation community. They’re often seen as sub-standard habitats for animals, especially when compared with the robust and varied ecosystem in an old-growth forest. But a new study published this month in the journal Biological Conservation adds to the evidence demonstrating that these “degraded” forests are worth protecting from further damage. “As ecologists, we’ve known for a long time that these areas, despite being ugly to look at, actually have the potential to sustain large populations of lots of different mammal species, as long as hunting levels are low,” said Oliver Wearn of the Zoological Society of London in an email. “Pigs and deer find more food, small mammals might find more insects and fruit, and the predators of all of these species find a moving buffet.”

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Forest Fires

BC Wildfire season approaching 2009 record

By Tom Fletcher
BC Local News in Nanaimo News Bulletin
August 15, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

After weekend winds spread B.C. Interior wildfires further, 2017 is shaping up to be the largest area burned on record, B.C. Wildfire Service estimates show. The current estimate is 8,450 square kilometres affected, chief fire information officer Kevin Skrepnek said in his daily briefing Tuesday. Costs to the provincial service have exceeded $300 million, compared to $382 million for the full 2009 forest fire season. The Hanceville-Riske Creek fire is currently the largest, estimated at 2,120 square kilometres. The Elephant Hill fire remains more than 50 km away from Kamloops and has not grown significantly since the weekend, Skrepnek said.

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8,450 square kilometres burned as B.C. nears worst wildfire season

Canadian Press in CTV News
August 15, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

KAMLOOPS, B.C. — British Columbia is poised to face its worst wildfire season as flames scorch thousands of hectares of land and costs rise to deal with the devastation. BC Wildfire Service spokesman Kevin Skrepnek said an estimated 8,450 square kilometres of forest, brush and grassland has been burned since the start of the wildfire season on April 1. That compares with a record loss of 8,550 square kilometres in 1958. “(It’s) safe to say we are on track for this to be the worst season on record for that area burned,” Skrepnek said. He said 154 wildfires are burning across the province and the firefighting price tag has reached $309 million, though that figure does not include costs for the loss for 71 homes and 118 outbuildings. The largest wildfire, in Hanceville, southwest of Williams Lake, now covers 2,120 square kilometres, Skrepnek said.

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Fire smoke in northwest Ontario prompts evacuation of First Nation members

Canadian Press in The Cape Breton Post
August 15, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada East, Canada

Smoke from a growing number of forest fires in northwestern Ontario has prompted the evacuation of community members from a First Nation in the region. Ontario’s Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services says members of the Nibinamik First Nation requested the evacuation after declaring an emergency on Saturday. Deb MacLean, a fire information officer with the province’s forest fire fighting centre in Dryden, Ont., says a power outage in the community also contributed to the decision to ask for an evacuation. MacLean says there are 155 fires burning in the region but she notes that there aren’t any communities that are imminently threatened by the fires.

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Helicopters, waterbombers attack Nipigon-area forest fire

TB Newswatch
August 15, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada East, Canada

NIPIGON, Ont. — The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has deployed a large fleet of aircraft and additional ground attack crews at a blaze burning northeast of Nipigon. Nipigon District Fire 099, in the Kama Hill area, grew from 400 hectares to 650 hectares between Sunday evening and Monday evening. The wildfire was ignited by a lightning strike on Saturday. Despite aggressive suppression efforts the flames spread over rocky terrain in what the MNRF describes as extremely dry conditions. The ministry has assigned four helicopters, with two larger helicopters dedicated to water bombing. Two CL-415 heavy waterbombers have also in action over the fire.

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U.S. Forest Service researcher studies firefighting decisions as costs escalate

By Diane Banegas, U.S. Forest Service
Treesource
August 14, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States

In 1995, the U.S. Forest Service spent 16 percent of its total budget on fighting fires. Today, it’s 52 percent and growing. What’s changed? “Everything,” said Matthew Thompson, a research forester who works at the agency’s Rocky Mountain Research Station in Fort Collins, Colorado. “The length of the fire season, more people on the landscape to start fires or to be impacted by them, more community interest in the relation between managing fires and protecting lives, property, and natural resources, and more media interest partly because there is so much more media today, including social media.” What hasn’t changed is the agency’s key role in managing wildland fires that threaten local communities and natural resources and its desire to manage them as safely and cost-effectively as possible.

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Updated: Blue Bay fire grows above Flathead Lake; Glacier’s Sperry Chalet still closed

By Perry Backus
The Missoulian
August 15, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

POLSON — A stubborn fire burning on steep terrain on the east side of Flathead Lake grew to 48 acres over the weekend. And in Glacier National Park, the iconic Sperry Chalet remained closed Monday due to fire activity near the main trail into the popular attraction. Started by lightning strike Thursday evening, the Blue Bay fire is about 10 percent contained despite being hit hard for past three days both from the ground and air, said C.T. Camel, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribe fire prevention specialist. The Blue Bay fire is burning in ground that is “steep and pretty nasty,” Camel said. “We’ve had the line compromised a few times by blocks rolling down the hill or from falling trees. … It’s like much of the Mission Mountains. It’s tough terrain and primed to burn.”

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11 new wildfires prompt closure of 266,891 acres in Three Sisters Wilderness

By Zach Urness
Statesman Journal
August 15, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

Eleven different wildfires burning in the Central Cascade Range prompted officials to close the western half of the Three Sisters Wilderness effective today. The closure covers 266,891 acres — or 417 square miles — and includes the majority of trails south of McKenzie Pass Highway 242 and some north of Cascade Lakes Highway 46 near Bend. Popular areas impacted by the closure include Obsidian Trail, Sisters Mirror Lake and around 30 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail. The fires, which range in size from a few acres to the 100-acre Separation Fire, were sparked by lightning strikes last Thursday and Friday. The 862-acre Rebel Fire, also in the Three Sisters, started Aug. 4 but its cause remains under investigation.

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Greenland Is Still Burning, But The Smoke May Be The Real Problem

By Heather Hersher
Oregon Public Broadcasting
August 15, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International

More than two weeks after they were first spotted, wildfires on the west coast of Greenland are still burning, worrying local residents and drawing the attention of scientists. The fires are roughly 90 miles northeast of the second-largest Greenlandic town, Sisimiut, as we previously reported. …Satellite data suggests that a campfire or a cigarette likely started the fires. …The wind direction has largely blown smoke toward the island’s ice sheet … says Jessica McCarty, an assistant professor of geography at Miami University in Ohio. “The [thing] that I’m concerned about for Greenland is the black carbon,” she says, “You can think of it as the part of smoke that’s black. The soot. And when black carbon deposits on ice — something that’s very dark in color on something that’s very white — that then speeds up the melting of the Greenland ice sheet.”

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Company & Business News

With no U.S.-Canada deal, lumber talks to run parallel to NAFTA

By David Lawder
Reuters
August 15, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, United States

WASHINGTON – The United States and Canada have failed to settle a festering trade dispute on softwood lumber ahead of talks to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), but will keep the lumber negotiations on a separate, parallel track, officials from both countries said. U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross had been pushing for a lumber deal before Wednesday’s start to NAFTA talks to avoid complications from the decades-old dispute. But both U.S. lumber producers and Canadian officials say they are not close to completing a quota deal that would limit Canadian lumber mills to a specific percentage of the U.S. market. “We’re still a ways apart. I think the NAFTA is going to go ahead and get started without us,” Joe Patton, vice president of Westervelt Lumber in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, told Reuters.

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B.C. forestry giants post strong earnings, despite duties

By Nelson Bennett
Business in Vancouver
August 15, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, Canada West

Failure to resolve the softwood lumber dispute will eventually take its toll on B.C.’s forestry sector, especially smaller mill operators. But to date, B.C.’s big three publicly traded forestry companies have absorbed preliminary countervailing and anti-dumping duties through strong earnings, thanks to high lumber prices.  The cost of preliminary American duties against Canadian softwood lumber showed up in second-quarter financial reports of B.C.’s largest forestry companies recently. In its most recent Q2 report, Canfor Corp. reported that it has now placed $34.8 million on deposit to cover preliminary countervailing and anti-dumping duties. West Fraser Timber reports duties totalling $34 million for the second quarter, as well. Interfor Corp. calculates the duties it might have to pay at $14.4 million. But all three companies posted strong earnings for 2017’s first half. 

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No salaries over $75,000 at Chinook Community Forest

BC Local News
August 16, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, Canada West

The board of directors of Burns Lake’s newest community forest – Chinook Community Forest – considered its first year of operations a “success.” From April 1, 2016 to March 31, 2017, Chinook generated a net profit of over $1.6 million. The Chinook board has decided to distribute 35 per cent of the net profit to its shareholders. “The company needs to retain earnings and liabilities that go along with holding a forest licence,” explained Ken Nielsen, Chinook’s interim general manager. This means that each of the six local First Nations received approximately $80,000, while the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako received about $50,000 and the Village of Burns Lake received roughly $33,000. No salaries exceeded $75,000 in the first year of Chinook’s operations.

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US builder confidence springs back with jump in August

By The National Association of Home Builders
Wood Business – Canadian Forest Industries
August 15, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: United States
Builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes rose four points in August to a level of 68 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI).  “Our members are encouraged by rising demand in the new-home market,” said NAHB Chairman Granger MacDonald, a home builder and developer from Kerrville, Texas. “This is due to ongoing job and economic growth, attractive mortgage rates, and growing consumer confidence.”  “The fact that builder confidence has returned to the healthy levels we saw this spring is consistent with our forecast for a gradual strengthening in the housing market,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Carbon offsets have wide-ranging environmental benefits

By Rob Jordan
Phys.org
August 15, 2017
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

You can’t grow money on trees, but you can earn money for letting trees grow. Or at least you can through a pioneering California program that allows forest owners around the United States to sell carbon credits to companies required by the state to reduce emissions. Researchers at Stanford analyzed the program and found that the initiative has valuable environmental benefits beyond just offsetting greenhouse gases.  “Many developing countries with large forests are interested in similar programs to avoid deforestation,” said lead author Christa Anderson, a graduate student in the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources at Stanford’s School of Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences. “California provides the first proof of concept with a government program that credits standing forests.”

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Sierra National Forest Receives $5 Million as CAL FIRE Announces Forest Health Grants to Reduce Greenhouse Gases

By CAL FIRE
Sierra Sun Times
August 15, 2017
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US West

Sacramento – The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) today announced that the department will award over $21 million in grants to local groups across California that will help the state reduce greenhouse gas emissions and sequester carbon.  Three of the six grants announced today fall under CAL FIRE’s Forest Legacy Program. These grants enable the purchase of conservation easements on properties in Mendocino, San Bernardino and Siskiyou counties, protecting the land from being used in ways that would increase greenhouse gas emissions – such as urban or agricultural development – and harnessing the ability of trees to “sink” or sequester carbon from the atmosphere. Landowners will retain ownership of their land and will not be restricted from using it for activities such as timber harvest, hunting, fishing and hiking. These grants will protect more than 28,285 acres of forests from development.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Decision-Making Science: One Woman’s Method for Creating an Industry Sea Change

By Mark DeAndrea, VP Domtar
Sustainable Brands
August 16, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada East, Canada

Dr. Shabnam Sanaei

There was the agrarian revolution, followed by the industrial revolution and now the digital revolution. …It’s no secret that the digital revolution has impacted the paper industry as a whole. …So Domtar is working to expand its traditional product offerings with an acute interest in biomaterials, which use wood pulp and its remnants to engineer more sustainable products. But with hundreds of complex options to consider, the right solutions sometimes seem indistinguishable. Enter Shabnam Sanaei, a 37-year-old native of Iran, project manager in Domtar’s biomaterials division. …Here, she sheds light on what fuels her optimism for the future of Domtar, and the industry at large.

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Floating Off-Grid Micro-Cabin Built to Withstand Extreme Temperatures

BuildingOnline
August 15, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

A new prototype from Russia’s BIO Architects is bringing a new meaning to cabin by the lake. The DD16 is a floating micro-cabin that’s designed to be used in remote locations and withstand extreme temperatures and can run off-the-grid with solar power, reports New Atlas writer Adam Williams. …”The frame is made of laminated wood with a milled ports,” explains BIO Architects. “The ports helped to decrease the weight and cold bridges and gaps. …DD16 is currently being used as a rental unit while it undergoes further testing and seems like it could be a good fit for those looking for a prefabricated cabin in isolated areas – assuming the price is right if and when it reaches production.

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