Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: September 21, 2017

Today’s Takeaway

Forestry under fire as National Forest Week nears

Tree Frog Forestry News
September 21, 2017
Category: Today's Takeaway

The first of many National Forest Week [Sept 24-30] stories celebrating the benefits of sustainable forest management in Canada is overshadowed by stories of doom and gloom in the sectorThe disaster headlines include:

The despairing headlines include:

On a positive note: all wildfire evacuation orders and alerts have been lifted in BC, California is restoring forest health – one fire at a time, and mechanization is driving positive change in logging practices in West Virginia.

In other news, Puerto Rico’s building code requires homes to withstand a Category 3 storm but Hurricane Maria–which struck early this morning—was a Category 5. And wood frame construction in Massachusetts is taking heat due to another fire in a nearly-completed condo complex.

— Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor 

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Forestry

2017 fire season ‘mild’ for northwest

By Carmen Weld & Ragnar Haagen
Houston Today
September 20, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Although B.C.’s 2017 wildfire season is now considered the worst on record, Houston residents can consider themselves lucky. In fact, fire activity in the Northwest Fire Centre was significantly below the 10-year average in 2017. While the 10-year average is 86 wildfires up until Sept. 11, the region saw 39 wildfires during the same period in 2017. In 2016, 75 wildfires occurred in the region during the same period. …Last week Nechako Lakes MLA John Rustad said he was disappointed that forests minister Doug Donaldson “refused to answer” how the NDPgovernment plans to fill in the void left behind by seasonal firefighters in the first question period of the legislative session.

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Rural/urban divide leads to sub-par medical emergency response

Bridge River Lillooet News
September 20, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Roger Harris says there is something fundamentally wrong with the way B.C.’s Air Ambulance Service deploys helicopters to respond to medical emergencies. …He said there are no technical or infrastructure barriers to delivering helicopter emergency medical services within the critical first hour “for each and every resident of B.C.,” no matter where they live. “The decision by government not to provide those services is their choice,” stated Harris. …He cited several alarming examples, including the case of a logger who broke his leg while working in a remote area of Haida Gwaii. …Harris told council that the two loggers who lost their legs will cost the health care system a fortune, will never work again and will be in rehab “forever. …He continued on to say that the rural/urban divide is the “most disturbing” aspect of how B.C. deals with medical emergencies.

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B.C. begins recovery as all wildfire alerts, evacuation orders lifted

Canadian Press in The Globe and Mail
September 20, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

For the first time in nearly three months, all wildfire evacuation orders and alerts have been lifted in British Columbia as the province begins to recover from its worst wildfire season on record. The Cariboo Regional District and Thompson-Nicola Regional District say final alerts affecting southern Interior properties have been rescinded. The alerts were lifted as the BC Wildfire Service reported a 1,900-square kilometre blaze that broke out near Ashcroft on July 6 and burned almost 100 kilometres northward is 85 per cent contained. A news release from the Cariboo Regional District says with the entire region deemed “all clear,” its emergency operations centre will close, effective at noon.

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Councillor Courchesne calls for inquiry into forest fire practices

By Wendy Fraser
Bridge River Lillooet News
September 20, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Councillor John Courchesne isn’t going to the UBCM convention, but he hopes his council colleague will pass along his concerns about “poor leadership” on the part of the BC Wildfire Service this fire season. “I hear horror stories from contractors on the fires and on the front lines about confusion and not knowing what to do from the higher-ups…Personally, I’d like us (District of Lillooet) to recommend that there’s some sort of inquiry into how the Ministry (of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development) fights fires in B.C.”  He said the ministry made “huge errors that have cost farmers and ranchers animals and property. It’s not us, but I know there are other licensees who had blocks laid out that they were ready to log that were burned in back burns gone bad.

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Tourism fettered while forestry strategy shelved

By Darlene Grant Fiander, president, Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia
The Chronicle Herald
September 21, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

In 2016, tourism in Nova Scotia generated $2.6 billion. This translates to almost $300 million in tax revenue for all levels of government. …Nova Scotia is blessed with incredible natural beauty and our enviable location by the sea makes it a much-sought-after destination. In 2011, tourism operators in Nova Scotia were pleased with the provincial government’s release of a Natural Resource Strategy — “The Path We Share.” …It is extremely disappointing that little progress has been made on the commitments from the 2011 strategy. …Tourism has been challenged to double revenues to $4 billion annually; how we manage our natural resources will play a critical role in reaching that goal. The time for action is now!

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National Forest Week highlights the sustainable management of BC’s forests

By The Association of BC Forest Professionals
Canada Newswire
September 20, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

VANCOUVER – National Forest Week, held September 24-30 this year, is a time to reflect on and learn more about the importance of forests. …”National Forest Week provides BC families with opportunities to learn more about our forests. Whether it’s a walk in the woods, a talk in the classroom, or a showcase of the critters that live in the forest, adults and children alike can see how registered forest professionals are managing BC’s forests for a wide range of uses including recreation, wildlife habitat, timber harvesting, and other values of importance to British Columbians.” said Bill Bourgeois of the National Forest Week BC Coalition. ...National Forest Week events happen in communities across BC. A partial listing of events is available on the Canadian Forestry Association website.

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Animal group takes natural resources minister to court over endangered species

Canadian Press in CBC News
September 21, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

An animal rights group is taking an Ontario minister to court in what it calls an attempt to protect endangered and threatened species in the province, including the mountain lion and a bird known as the whippoorwill. Animal Justice contends the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, Kathryn McGarry, is failing to comply with the Endangered Species Act by not issuing recovery strategies for 37 species in the province. “All we’re doing is asking the court to make an order saying that the minister and government have to abide by this legislation,” said Nick Wright, a director with Animal Justice.  The organization filed an application in divisional court Tuesday seeking a judicial review of the Endangered Species Act legislation. McGarry said in a statement that her ministry received notice of the legal action on Wednesday and will be reviewing it.

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The American West is burning

By Steve Daines, US Senator (Montana)
The Washington Post
September 20, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

US Senator Steve Daines

Hurricanes such as Harvey, Irma and Maria are unstoppable. They rip at our coastlines and tear at our hearts. …But if you could, return to the weather map, zoom out for a moment and scroll up about 2,000 miles northwest. You won’t see torrential rain or hurricane force winds. You will see red — fire red — and it’s on the move. Searing wildfires have transformed national parks, dense forests, grazing pastures and homes into blistered, smoldering wastelands. …We must do these things to reduce the severity of wildfires, mitigate the risk to our nation’s firefighters, protect more communities, bring loggers back to work and save our public lands from becoming charred shadows of once-beautiful landscapes.

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Post-beetle timber analysis underway in Black Hills

By Seth Tupper
Rapid City Journal
September 21, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

More timber is cut annually in the Black Hills National Forest than any other national forest, but timber management in the Black Hills is at a crossroads following the recently ended mountain pine beetle epidemic. Now, the Forest Service is scurrying to complete in two years an analysis of available timber that would typically take up to 10 years to compile. Black Hills National Forest Supervisor Mark Van Every explained the project Wednesday during a meeting of the Black Hills National Forest Advisory Board at the Mystic District Ranger Office in Rapid City. “We need to think about, what does the long-term timber program look like in the Black Hills National Forest after the pine-bark-beetle epidemic?” Van Every said. In March, forest officials revealed aerial survey results that indicated the end of a 20-year pine-beetle epidemic.

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Metro receives 249-acre donation from The Nature Conservancy

By Cory Eldridge
Metro
September 20, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

This summer, Metro received a donation from The Nature Conservancy of 249 acres of forest along the Sandy River upstream from Oxbow Regional Park. The donation included 10 plots of land in both Multnomah and Clackamas counties, ranging from just under two acres to more than 100. The Nature Conservancy had owned and cared for some of these lands since 1970. After more than 40 years of management by the conservation group, the properties are high-quality habitat. “These definitely rank among the best we’ve ever acquired,” said Metro natural resource scientist Kate Holleran. “They’re large blocks of older forest habitat that has all those cool things we like: large old live trees, large old dead trees, deadwood on the ground, a lot of complexity.”

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Beetles, drought and fire, Oh My!

By Aimee Eaton – assistant state forester
Crested Butte News
September 20, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

While the upper valley has largely been spared the fires that ravaged hundreds of thousands of acres of western forests this summer, it has not been without its own threats, and this fall fire remains one of them. Spruce beetles, bark beetles, Sudden Aspen Decline (SAD) and wildfire have all impacted the state’s forestlands and how they are managed, said Gunnison-based Colorado State Forest Service assistant district forester Sam Pankratz. “Spruce beetle has been a major concern, and the most destructive agent for the southwest part of the state,” said Pankratz. “Since the early 2000s we’ve seen 1.8 million acres in Colorado affected and we’re seeing it moving into the valley. Monarch Pass is really showing signs of spruce beetle.”

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Early results from new study increase concern about spread of chronic wasting disease to humans

By Christine Peterson
Casper Star-Tribune
September 20, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Justin Binfet, Game & Fish

Early results from a chronic wasting disease study raise the possibility that the lethal and incurable disease in elk, deer and moose could pose a risk to people who consume infected meat, the Centers for Disease Control recently announced. Researchers with the Canadian Food and Inspection Agency fed CWD-infected deer meat to macaques, a monkey with some genetic similarities to humans. The macaques then contracted the disease. The findings, which have not been peer reviewed, don’t change the standing recommendation from the Wyoming Game and Fish Department that people throw away any meat testing positive for the disease. But some say the department should do more to warn people.

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Logging is a cure worse than disease

By Sean Stevens, executive director, Oregon Wild
Pamplin Media Group
September 20, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

As Oregonians who cherish our public lands watch the Columbia Gorge fires, it is natural to fear the worst. Scenic viewpoints and beloved hiking trails are like old-friends, places we return to year after year to reconnect with the natural world. Will Eagle Creek, Oneonta Gorge, and Wahclella Falls ever be the same? Will our old-growth forests, wildlife, and wild places survive? … Some in the logging industry are promoting the idea that the Gorge has been lost, exploiting the fire to advocate for more “active management” of our public lands. Their argument is twisted — to save our forests, they say we must cut them down. This cynical public relations campaign is as wrong as throwing fireworks off the Eagle Creek Trail. We already have enough logging in our national forests. A mix of beneficial restoration thinning and destructive “salvage” logging and clearcutting still occur on tens of thousands of acres of our national forests every year.

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Restoring forest health, one fire at a time

By Ken R. Wells
Lake Country Record Bee
September 20, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

UPPER LAKE — For thousands of years, fire has been a natural part of the ecosystem of the Mendocino National Forest (MNF) in Mendocino and Lake counties. That is, until civilization intruded and humans decided to aggressively fight each wildfire as soon as one breaks out. Now, the federal government is taking a cue from Mother Nature and wants to set fire — without the wild part — to thousands of acres of dense forest undergrowth in an effort to regenerate and renew forest health. The undergrowth would not be burned all at once but in dozens of small, prescribed burns over many years, even several decades. If the draft plan is finalized, the forest service could burn no more than 570 acres per year.

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Mechanization Driving Change in Logging Practices

By Jean Snedegar
West Virginia Public Broadcasting
September 21, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

Most of the state’s trees are harvested by small-scale logging operations, using chainsaws, but a growing number of logging companies use large, mechanized logging machines that can do much more, faster. Jean Snedegar joined veteran logger Jerry Huffman on Knobley Mountain, in Grant County. “We’re about 5 or 6 miles from Maysville, about 15 miles from Petersburg,” Huffman said.  Huffman owns three businesses related to logging – based just outside Petersburg – which employ more than 40 people. He’s been in the business more than 60 years. …Huffman sends out four or five teams of loggers every work day – some conventional crews using chainsaws and others using huge logging machines. … He said that while he has to cut a lot of timber for the machine to pay for itself, there is another consideration. “It’s the safety factor with these machines.”

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Adirondack Park Agency takes field trip to clear-cut forest

The Adirondack Daily Enterprise
September 20, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

PIERCEFIELD — Members of the state Adirondack Park Agency [APA] board and the public took a field trip to Piercefield Thursday to observe a property recently clear-cut by a timber company. The visit was in an effort to cultivate a closer relationship between environmental groups and timber harvesting companies in the Adirondack Park. …While clear-cutting is often viewed as harmful to an ecosystem and exploitative of natural resources, representatives from Lyme Timber Company, the APA, the state Department of Environmental Conservation and local environmentalists discussed responsible wood harvesting methods and possible benefits of clear-cutting forests.

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Report: Vermont losing 1,500 acres of forest every year

Vermont Business Magazine
September 21, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

Forests and conservation funding is in decline across New England. The region has been losing forestland to development at a rate of 65 acres per day—and Vermont is losing 1,500 acres of forest every year—according to a new report released today by the Harvard Forest and a team of authors from across the region including two scientists at the University of Vermont. …“Over the last decade, Vermont lost about one percent of its forest cover due mostly to suburban and rural residential sprawl, reversing a 150-year trend of forest recovery and expansion,” says co-author Bill Keeton (link is external), professor of forestry & forest ecology and Gund Fellow (link is external) at the University of Vermont. Conversion to development is the biggest near-term threat to forests, bigger even than climate change, the scientists report.

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Forestry gets favour in environmental stakes: Environment Southland

By Evan Harding
Stuff.co.nz
September 20, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Nicol Horrell, chairman of Environment Southland

Environment Southland has expressed concern that forestry operators will be allowed to operate at lower environmental standards than others, under new government rules. A report to an Environment Southland meeting on Wednesday says a national environmental standard for plantation forestry was enacted in July and will come into force next May. The national standard covers all activities relating to plantation forestry including earthworks, river crossings and mechanical land preparation. …The national forestry regulations also limited Environment Southland’s ability to take compliance action against forestry operators when adverse effects were reported.

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Forest Fires

76 days later, devastating Elephant Hill fire no longer a threat

By Michelle Ghoussoub
CBC News
September 20, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

For 76 days, the Elephant Hill wildfire stoked fear and dread in B.C. residents. Now, it is no longer considered a threat to any properties, according to a statement from the Thompson-Nicola Regional District. “All Evacuation Alerts in place have been lifted and the area is now considered “All Clear,'” the statement said in part. The words “all clear” will have thousands of B.C. residents breathing a deep sigh of relief. The Elephant Hill fire, which eventually grew to more than 192,000 hectares in size, was one of the most devastating in a record-breaking wildfire season for B.C.

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Company & Business News

$697 air pollution fine levied — then withdrawn — against Northern Pulp last year

By Paul Withers
CBC News
September 20, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada East, Canada

Nova Scotia Environment imposed — and then retracted — a $697 fine on Northern Pulp last year for violating air pollution limits. The short-lived summary offence ticket was the lone punishment levied against the Pictou County mill for exceeding allowed air-contaminant emissions from its power boiler over the past three years. “And even then they couldn’t make it stick,” says critic Matt Gunning, a member of the Clean the Mill watchdog group. The pulp mill has struggled to meet limits contained in its 2015 Nova Scotia Environment Department industrial approval. The $697.50 summary offence ticket was issued after emissions from its power boiler exceeded limits in June 2016.

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Email accused Wynne’s office of trying to ‘assist Greenpeace’

By Trish Audette-Longo
National Observer
September 20, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada East, Canada

Late in the afternoon of Sept. 13, 2015, a forestry industry executive dispatched an email to mayors across northern Ontario. He alleged that the office of Premier Kathleen Wynne had engaged in behind-the-scenes discussions with environmental groups such as Greenpeace Canada to help activists spread false information about his company. The message speculated that two senior employees in the premier’s office were close to the activist movement and working with environmental non-government organizations (ENGOs) against his Quebec-based multinational, Resolute Forest Products. …The Resolute executive’s email, released to Greenpeace by a municipality under freedom of information legislation and reviewed by National Observer, reveals fresh insight about a major lobbying and public relations battle between the titans of industry and the environmental movement.

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Canadian subsidized softwood lumber harming Montanans

By Chuck Roady, Stoltze Lumber
Montana Standard
September 21, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: United States, US West

Chuck Roady

Recently, the International Trade Commission heard about the very real harm that subsidized Canadian softwood lumber does to U.S. industry. As vice president and general manager of the oldest privately owned lumber company in Montana, I joined others to share my firsthand account of how the unfair trade has impacted Montanans and our local industry and economy. I want to especially thank U.S. Sens. Jon Tester and Steve Daines for taking the time out of their hectic schedules to provide testimony on behalf of Montana’s forest products industry. …We, the U.S. industry, are not asking for a handout or a leg up; we simply want to earn our business — fairly.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Tallwood House stands out from the crowd

By Sara Harowitz
University Affairs
September 20, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

While British Columbia’s worst wildfire season in decades raged across the province this past summer, the University of British Columbia put wood in the spotlight for a different reason: in July, it opened the world’s tallest contemporary hybrid mass timber building. …The hybrid wood-concrete structure is made up of concrete elevator cores, cross-laminated timber floor plates, and glue-laminated wood columns. The wood was prefabricated by Structurlam in Penticton, B.C. Each slab of wood was labeled with a serial number and loaded onto a flatbed truck in the order that it would be added to the edifice. “It was like putting together a Lego building in a way,” Mr. Metras says. It also made for an incredibly efficient building process. The university had budgeted for 16 weeks to assemble the wood structure, but it took a little under 10.

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Buildings on Puerto Rico unable to withstand Category 5 storms: Expert

By Erin Dooley
ABC News
September 20, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States

With Hurricane Maria bearing down, residents in Puerto Rico are hunkering down, preparing for 175 mph winds, 6- to 9-foot storm surge and up to 25 inches of rain. Unfortunately, most of the homes in Puerto Rico are built to withstand just 125 mph winds. With current gusts reaching 175 mph or more, the Category 5 storm… is expected to wreak havoc on the island. …Puerto Rico adopted the “International Building Code” in 2011, which requires residences withstand 140 mph winds, characteristic of a Category 3 storm. When it comes to wind worthiness, these building codes are similar to the ones that govern mainland U.S. cities like Miami, an engineer at the Insurance Institute of Business & Home Safety tells ABC News.

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Alarming Trend Continues with Weymouth Condo Fire

JD Supra Business Advisor
September 20, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

Yet another under-construction residential complex nearing completion has been ravaged by fire, this time in the South Shore community of Weymouth, Massachusetts. …The four-story, 50-unit building was 90 percent completed and set to welcome occupants in about a month. At the time of the fire, the building’s sprinkler system had been installed, but was not yet operational. Early reports indicate that the building, which was an all-wood construction, is a total loss. …The Weymouth fire follows close on the heels of similar blazes in Dorchester and Waltham over the summer. …While these materials are attractive from an economic perspective, their susceptibility to fire — particularly while a structure is under construction — is an issue that has sparked serious concern. In the wake of the Waltham fire, the city’s mayor, Jeannette McCarthy, went on record calling wood frame construction “idiotic” and “insane.”

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