Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: October 25, 2017

Today’s Takeaway

West Fraser CEO warns of long impasse in softwood dispute

The Tree Frog Forestry News
October 25, 2017
Category: Today's Takeaway

West Fraser’s Ted Seraphim sees a long impasse on softwood lumber given that the US lumber lobby is “ultimately the decision maker” and is “unwilling to compromise”. Seraphim doesn’t think NAFTA will help but adds, “given that we’ve been able to pass along most of the duties, patience will be a virtue in the long run”. According to Business Insider, Trump’s plan to rip up NAFTA “could cause a big setback in the US housing market”.

In company news:

David Suzuki says “government action and industry tactics are increasing caribou risks”; Tom Fletcher comments on the Auditor General’s report that habitat loss is the greatest threat to BC’s grizzlies; Senator Murkowski of Alaska is pondering a repeal of Obama’s effort to limit industrial activity in the Tongass; and the Forest Stewardship Council is considering whether to certify plantation forestry.

Finally, if you want a real Christmas tree this year, you better shop early, as tree shortages are anticipated in both the Northwest and the Northeast.

— Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Forestry

David Suzuki: Government inaction, industry tactics increase caribou risks

By David Suzuki
The Georgia Straight
October 24, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada

October 5 came and went, and Canada’s boreal woodland caribou are still in trouble. That was the deadline the federal government gave provinces and territories five years ago to come up with caribou range plans for the iconic animals. Not one met the deadline. Why should we care about caribou? Beyond the fact that we should care about all animals that play important roles in the ecological makeup of this “super natural” country, caribou are indicators of forest health.   …In response to the obvious need for immediate action to protect and restore caribou habitat to reverse the creatures’ decline across the country, the Forest Products Association of Canada has done its part to stall the necessary changes. …Caribou don’t have time to wait, and the science is clear.

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Board audit of forestry operations near Lillooet proceeding

BC Forest Practices Board
October 24, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

VICTORIA – The Forest Practices Board will examine the activities of 0866740 B.C. Ltd., held by Aspen Planers Ltd., on forest licence A18700 during the week of Oct. 30 to Nov. 3, 2017. Originally scheduled for early July, the audit was postponed due to the forest fire situation at that time. Auditors will examine whether harvesting, roads, silviculture, fire protection and associated planning, carried out between July 2015 and October 2017, met the requirements of the Forest and Range Practices Act and the Wildfire Act. …Once the audit work is complete, a report will be prepared. Any party that may be adversely affected by the audit findings will have a chance to respond. The board’s final report and recommendations then will be released to the public and government.

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Habitat loss greatest threat to B.C. grizzly bears

By Tom Fletcher
BC Local News
October 24, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Degradation of habitat from forestry, oil and gas development and human settlement is the greatest risk to B.C.’s grizzly bear population, Auditor-General Carole Bellringer says. While Forests Minister Doug Donaldson has concentrated on ending the grizzly bear trophy hunt and enacting new regulations to enforce it, a new audit of the ministry’s management of the bear population has uncovered more serious problems. Donaldson has announced that the B.C. government will put an end to trophy hunting of grizzlies after this fall’s hunting season. …The conflicts are a result of increasing calls about grizzlies to the B.C. Conservation Officer Service. The audit revised its procedures to evaluate conflict and not automatically assume the bear should be destroyed, for example if it has entered someone’s yard to eat fruit left on trees. “An increase in resource roads – 600,000 kms existing and more added every year – also leads to more human-bear conflict, and ultimately grizzly bear deaths,” Bellringer said.

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Mayor, Chief Administrative Officer meet with province about beetle situation

By John Hopkins-Hill
Hinton Parklander
October 24, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

In what will surely be one of his last official acts, Mayor Rob Mackin and new Chief Administrative Officer at Town of Hinton, Stephane Labonne traveled to Edmonton on Oct. 16 to meet with representatives from the province about the Mountain Pine Beetle. The meeting gave the town an opportunity to voice their concerns about the spread of the beetle and the effect it could have on the local economy. …Mackin credits the province for coming to the table so quickly after the release of this year’s data. “I was very pleased with the quick turnaround,” said Mackin. “They were very receptive. They heard me loud and clear that this is potentially a natural disaster and that we need the province to step up and help out financially.”

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BC auditor takes aim at inadequate management of grizzly populations

By Dirk Meissner
Canadian Press in The Chronicle Herald
October 24, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

VICTORIA — Hunters in British Columbia kill up to 300 grizzly bears every year, but it is habitat loss that is actually the greatest threat to the imposing predators, says auditor general Carol Bellringer in a report. Growing communities, roads created to expand the forest industry, and oil and gas development in remote areas pose larger dangers to the overall health and growth of the species, says the report released Tuesday. Bellringer’s audit of the B.C. government’s grizzly management plan found an absence of provincial monitoring and inventory strategies, and incomplete commitments to save grizzly populations, estimated at 15,000 provincewide.

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After years of struggle, Christmas tree growers see light on horizon

By Aaron Beswick
The Chronicle Herald
October 25, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

…About 1,200 farmers cut just over a million Christmas trees each year in this province. Most go to the United States or the Caribbean. While total production has been static over the past decade, the number of growers has declined with retirements of ageing farmers and consolidation amongst those who remain. … “There’s been an increase in demand such that we may run short of supply,” said Angus Bonnyman, executive director for the Christmas Tree Council of Nova Scotia. Prices paid to growers started climbing two years ago after a glut of faster-growing Fraser fir trees from the southern end of the Appalachian Mountains made their way through the market. Combine that with the effects of industry rationalization and the slow payoff of advertising campaigns and you have light on the horizon for a significant industry in rural Nova Scotia.

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Buy Your Christmas Tree Early: There’s A Shortage In The Northwest

By Anna King
Oregon Public Broadcasting
October 24, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

…Northwest tree farmers are sharpening their blades to cut and bale your Christmas tree. But be warned: you might not get that noble fir of your dreams this year due to a Christmas tree crunch in the Northwest. It takes about seven to eight years to grow a good tree. And back then there was the double whammy of a nationwide recession and a glut of trees. So a lot of tree growers got out of the game and not many trees were planted. And now we’ve flipped into a shortage.

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Nonprofit journalism group sponsors forum on impacts of 2017 fire season

By Dennis Bragg
KPAX-TV
October 24, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

MISSOULA – A new nonprofit journalism group is bringing a panel of fire managers and experts together to discuss lessons we learned about “living with fire” in the wake of Montana’s vicious 2017 fire season. While the just concluded fire season didn’t have the intensity of the fierce fires Montana experienced in 2000, it was still the most impactful in a decade, with more than a million acres torched statewide. Tuesday night, the new online magazine “Treesource” is assembling a panel of experts for a public forum to discuss this past fire season, and what it forecasts for the future. 

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Loggers wait while activists stand firm at roadblock in Willamette National Forest near McKenzie Bridge

By Dylan Darling
The Register-Guard
October 25, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

McKENZIE BRIDGE — Environmental activists blocked a U.S. Forest Service road near McKenzie Bridge for the second day Tuesday, preventing access to a controversial timber sale. A tree sitter remained high up in a tree on a suspended platform that would drop him to the ground if a rope affixed to the roadblock was freed. The platform hung more than 80 feet above the ground. The protester has been up there since Monday morning. …Throughout the day Tuesday, U.S. Forest Service law enforcement officers kept watch on the roadblock installed overnight Sunday by the Eugene-­based Cascadia Forest Defenders. … The group has held tree sits near McKenzie Bridge since this summer. The 2,452-acre project has been debated at public meetings and in court for more than five years. Currently, the Forest Service has a legal green light for the logging.

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Lisa Murkowski ponders repeal of Obama’s last-minute changes to Alaskan forest plan

By John Siciliano
The Washington Examiner
October 24, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Lisa Murkowski

Sen. Lisa Murkowski said Tuesday she could begin rolling back another of the Obama administration’s midnight regulations that sought to limit industrial activity and renewable energy development in the Tongass National Forest in Alaska. Murkowski, who is the Republican chairwoman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, had asked the Government Accountability Office, the government’s federal watchdog group, to determine if the Obama administration’s amendment to the Tongass federal management plan could be defined as a regulation and thereby subject to congressional repeal. The GAO confirmed to Murkowski late Monday that the amendment is indeed a rulemaking and subject to the Congressional Review Act. …”Every sector of the Southeast Alaska economy needs greater access to the Tongass, but this rule failed to provide it,” she said.

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$1.4 million in grants announced to fight bat disease

Associate Press in The Idaho Statesman
October 24, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

A public-private partnership is granting nearly $1.4 million to test treatments to halt a disease threatening the nation’s bat population. The white-nose syndrome fungus, first detected in New York state in 2006, has spread to 31 states and five Canadian provinces. Texas and Nebraska are the most recent states infected. The grants announced Tuesday in Houston include more than $320,000 to Texas Tech University and Bat Conservation International to assess whether specific microclimate conditions can be manipulated to minimize the disease. It attacks hibernating bats and is responsible for killing more than 6 million bats over the past decade.

 

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Forest Stewardship Council mulls rule change to allow certification for recent deforesters

By John C. Cannon
Mongabay.com
October 24, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: International

The certification organization Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) took a step toward allowing timber companies that have cut down forests since 1994 to apply for the organization’s stamp of approval. Since its inception 23 years ago, the FSC has refused to certify any company that has deforested areas in order to convert them to timber plantations. While the passage of Motion 7 at the General Assembly meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia, on Oct. 13 does not change this, its approval by the organization’s membership – comprising private companies, individuals and conservation NGOs – indicates that the council’s requirements could change. Proponents argue that the measure would increase access to certification in developing economies. But some question how effective certification actually is and say that changing the cutoff date could increase the destruction of forests.

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World’s oldest tree grew in a totally different way to trees today

By Jen Mills
Metro.co.uk
October 24, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: International

The world’s oldest tree has been discovered, and it’s confusing scientists because it looks quite different to trees today. At 374 million years old, the the fossilised remains tell us a lot about how plant life has evolved over the millions of years since. Strangely, it seems a lot more complicated than trees now. As anyone who went to primary school will remember, you can tell the age of a tree by counting the rings in the trunk. But not this tree – which has an interconnected web of woody strands within the trunk instead. The remains, discovered in Xinjiang, China, seems much more intricate than your common or garden oak or elm. The discovery could also provide new insights into climate change, by examining the amount of carbon they were able to soak up from the atmosphere.

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Company & Business News

Trump’s plan to rip up NAFTA could cause a big setback in the housing market

Akin Oyedele
Business Insider
October 25, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, United States

The North America Free Trade Agreement is intact, for now, following threats by President Donald Trump to withdraw from it. But the back-and-forth between the US and its neighbors is already shaking up a key component of the housing market, with more disruptions possible. …Concerns that the US would withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement have contributed to a jump in lumber prices since early this year. …”Given that lumber accounts for a relatively small share of overall construction costs, on its own that development will have a minimal impact on homebuilding activity,” said Matthew Pointon, a property economist at Capital Economics, in a note on Tuesday. “But, combined with labor and land shortages, it will only add to the pressure on builders to protect margins by focussing on the higher end of the housing market.”

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The Home Depot Strengthens Forestry Protection in 2017 Responsibility Report

By The Home Depot
Canada Newswire
October 25, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, United States

ATLANTA — The Home Depot® is increasing its protection of High Conservation Value Forests and tropical Intact Forest Landscapes (IFLs) by not accepting any wood products from The Amazon (South America) and Congo (Africa) Basins, unless Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified. Although less than one percent of the company’s existing wood products come from the Amazon and Congo Basins, The Home Depot announced today that it will require that any wood products coming from these areas be FSC certified.  The company has given preference to FSC certified wood products since 1999. The company announced the updated policy in its 2017 Responsibility Report. …The report also unveils newly strengthened chemical oversight practices in five product categories, including paint, carpet, vinyl and laminate flooring, and insulation.

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Canfor Corp. Predicts Steady Lumber Prices Through Rest of 2017

By Paul Ploumis
Scrap Monster
October 23, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, United States

Lumber major Canfor Corp. has announced results for the third quarter of 2017. The company reported shareholder net income of $66.2 million or $0.51 per share during the quarter, slightly lower when matched with the net income of $81.3 million or $0.61 per share during the quarter prior to that. The operating income declined from $131.0 million in second quarter to $105.4 million during the third quarter of 2017. …Looking ahead, Canfor expects the North American lumber prices to remain steady. It forecasts the demand to remain solid through Q4 this year, with seasonally slower activity during December. The demand from key offshore markets is anticipated to remain solid through Q4 2017 and into 2018, the company noted.

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West Fraser CEO warns of long impasse in softwood dispute

By Brent Jang
Globe and Mail
October 24, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, United States

Ted Seraphim

The U.S. lumber lobby is unwilling to compromise in the Canada-U.S. softwood dispute, a stand that points to a long impasse in the trade battle, says the head of Canada’s largest forestry company. …A breakthrough to strike a new softwood pact has proven to be elusive. “We would not be optimistic about a settlement in the short term, and I don’t think NAFTA helps at all in that regard at this point,” Mr. Seraphim said. …”The real question at the end of the day here is the coalition ultimately is the decision-maker, at least at this point in time in the U.S., and they haven’t shown a willingness to effectively negotiate.”…”Frankly, given that we’ve been able to pass along most of the duties, I think patience on the Canadian side will be a virtue in the long run,” Mr. Seraphim said. …Looming large is the Commerce Department’s deadline to make a final determination on punitive duties on Nov. 13 – less than three weeks away.

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Donaldson says forest tenure in Fort Nelson area could be made available if new mill owners come forward

By Chris Newton
Energetic City
October 23, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, Canada West

Dan Davies, MLA

FORT NELSON, B.C. — B.C. Forests, Lands, Natural Resources and Rural Development Minister Doug Donaldson says that arrangements can be made for local timber rights to help the struggling economy in the Fort Nelson area. Peace River North MLA Dan Davies questioned Donaldson in the Legislature on Tuesday about his meetings with Davies and officials from the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality during the Union of B.C. Municipalities conference in Vancouver at the end of September. Davies asked Donaldson specifically about the situation regarding timber rights in the Fort Nelson area, specifically those that have been under-utilized.

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Help wanted in Campbell River as economy booms

CBC News
October 23, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, Canada West

Career fair highlights shortage of skilled workers as film, forestry, mining rebound. A labour shortage on north Vancouver Island has businesses scrambling to find qualified employees. In a region long accustomed to news about job losses and resource industry shutdowns, the reopening of the mine at Myra Falls and new facilities for the film industry are now getting the headlines. …Callanan said, since 2015, job growth in the area has increased by 1,000 positions. “We can see that all sectors are up,” Callanan told On the Island host Gregor Craigie. He said the job growth includes resource sectors such as forestry and aquaculture, as well as film and technology. 

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SmartLam’s Meteoric Rise

By Dillon Tabish
Flathead Beacon
October 25, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: United States, US West

Casey Malmquist

Columbia Falls — The shuttered lumber mill on the western edge of town, once brimming with activity and helping power the local economy and the region’s mighty wood products industry, sits in silent abandonment. Dust and pigeon sign occupy the sprawling facility that stretches more than 3 acres and is mostly shrouded in darkness from fading light bulbs. It once illuminated the historic heart of a timber empire but now represents a bitter reminder of a diminished dynasty. Casey Malmquist sees a brighter future. The revival is underway. Malmquist, president and general manager of SmartLam Technologies Group, is preparing to relocate and expand his wood products company at the former lumber mill site.

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Asia Pacific Resources can resume Indonesian forestry operations: environment ministry

By Bernadette Christina Munthe
Reuters
October 24, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: International

JAKARTA – Asia Pacific Resources International Ltd (APRIL) can resume forestry operations at its Indonesian pulp and paper subsidiary, government officials said on Tuesday, amid a dispute over environmental rules. APRIL halted forestry operations at PT Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper (RAPP) and said thousands of jobs were at risk after the Indonesian environment ministry rejected its long-term work plan. …“(RAPP) was never forbidden from operating,” Environment and Forestry Ministry Secretary General Bambang Hendroyono told reporters, referring to discussions on the company’s work plans that had been under review since May. “That was just their interpretation.” Hendryono added that the company has until October 30 to resubmit its 10-year work plan, including plans for peatland areas.

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Drax sells wood pellet business

By Joshua Hammond
Insider Media
October 25, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: International

Energy giant Drax has agreed the sale of one of its subsidiaries, a wood pellet distributor, for £2m to an AIM-listed energy company. Billington Bioenergy (BBE), a distributor of wood pellets in the UK heating market, has been acquired by Aggregated Micro Power Holdings (AMPH). AMPH is an AIM-listed energy company specialising in the sale of wood fuels and the development of distributed energy assets, including biomass boilers and battery storage. Billingtons supplies circa 40,000 tonnes of premium wood pellet to commercial customers per annum, has four depots, a head office in Liverpool and employs 34 staff. The deal is worth £2m, comprised of £1.6m worth of shares in AMPH and £400,000 in cash. Through its shareholding in AMPH, Drax will retain an interest in the UK heating market, while gaining exposure to the development of small-scale distributed energy assets.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

The burning question of bioenergy’s green pedigree

By Nelson Bennett
Business in Vancouver
October 24, 2017
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

If the City of Vancouver is serious about becoming 100% carbon-free by 2050, it might need to rethink its plans to replace natural gas with bioenergy for heating. …One alternative to natural gas for heating is biomass (wood waste energy). The city and Creative Energy have tried to get approval for a district energy system that would use wood waste instead of natural gas to produce heat for buildings. The BC Utilities Commission has repeatedly rejected it because it would be a monopoly that would not be in the public interest. …But is burning wood to generate heat better for the environment than burning natural gas? Not according to 65 American scientists who wrote a letter last year to the U.S. Senate to oppose a plan to designate wood energy as a carbon-neutral energy source on par with solar power.

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New Zealand Aims to Go Green With Electricity, Tree Planting

Associated Press in The New York Times
October 24, 2017
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Jacinda Ardern

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — New Zealand’s incoming government is hoping to make the nation greener by planting 100 million trees each year, ensuring the electricity grid runs entirely from renewable energy, and spending more money on cycle ways and rail transport. Jacinda Ardern, who takes over as prime minister this week, on Tuesday outlined agreements her Labour Party reached with other political parties joining them in the new government. …Ardern’s plan is for New Zealand to reduce its net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by the year 2050. …She said the country will need to double the amount of trees it plants each year, a goal she said was “absolutely achievable” by using land that was marginal for farming animals. 

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