Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: November 1, 2017

Today’s Takeaway

Caribou herds and habitat continue to decline, federal report says

Tree Frog Forestry News
November 1, 2017
Category: Today's Takeaway

Caribou herds and their habitat continue to decline five years after the provinces took action to preserve them, a federal study has concluded. Although progress is reported, the parliamentary secretary to the minister says “it clearly is not enough.”

In response, a Globe and Mail commentary explains “what’s at stake and what the government might do next”; while a Hill Times headline reads “sacrificing caribou to save forestry is a fool’s errand—it’s time we stop playing the fool”. Derek Neighbour (FPAC) takes a more measured approach, noting that these are complex problems that require, science-based solutions.”

In the US, The Hill has two stories on the wildfire bills before the House and Senate. This includes: “GOP sees smooth sailing for Forest Management Bill“; and the “National forests deserve better than House and Senate’s wildfire bills“, by two ecology professors. Elsewhere, a Forest Service ecologist proposes ways to “help curb the rising Era of Megafires“.

In forest product news: cargo containers are gaining steam in housing; a Vancouver company wants to replace wood framing with technology that can “print” steel beams; and the mid-rise learning curve for wood has two developers switching to steel and concrete.

— Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Forestry

Working together using science to support caribou recovery

Derek Neighbour, FPAC
Cowichan Valley Citizen
October 31, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada

Derek Neighbour

Many in the forest sector read with interest the recent opinion editorial by David Suzuki regarding caribou. Like all Canadians, those of us in the natural resource sector want to ensure that all reasonable measures are taken to help caribou recovery and, like many environmental organizations, believe decisions must be based on sound science and the most recent research. …Although caribou are commonly referred to as “indicator” or “umbrella” species due to their large range requirements, there is little scientific evidence in support of caribou being an effective indicator of biodiversity. Caution should be exercised as factors influencing population dynamics are numerous and complex. You would not conclude that environmental conditions are worsening based one indicator. …These are complex problems that require, science-based solutions that also consider the potential impacts on other species in the forest, as well as the thousands of workers and their families in Ontario and across Canada who could be impacted.

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The Government of Canada releases five-year report on the progress of recovery-strategy implementation for boreal caribou

By the Department of Environment and Climate Change Canada
Canada Newswire
October 31, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada

OTTAWA – In the boreal forest, the environment and the economy are linked: all stakeholders have a part in protecting it. Our government is committed to conserving wildlife habitat and protecting species at risk in this vast swath of Canadian forest. Today, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, released the Report on the Progress of the Recovery-Strategy Implementation for the Woodland Caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou), Boreal Population in Canada, for the Period 2012 to 2017. The report highlights federal, provincial, and territorial progress in implementing the 2012 recovery strategy. It includes assessments of population and habitat conditions and  identifies where further protection and recovery efforts are required. Overall, the report shows that some progress was made by governments and industry, in the past five years. However, caribou populations continue to decline and habitat disturbance continues to increase.

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Provinces haven’t stopped boreal caribou’s decline, and Ottawa may have to intervene, report says

By Shawn McCarthy and Ivan Semeniuk
The Globe and Mail
October 31, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada

A five-year plan hasn’t done enough to save threatened herds, Environment Canada warns. Shawn McCarthy and Ivan Semeniuk examine what’s at stake and what the Trudeau government might do next. Canada’s iconic boreal caribou population faces a troubled future, and the federal government is vowing to act unilaterally if provinces fail to agree on a credible effort to protect the threatened species. In a report Tuesday, Environment and Climate Change Canada said the 51 separate herds across the country remain under pressure from human and natural disturbances to their habitat more than five years after the federal and provincial governments concluded a protection agreement.

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Sacrificing caribou to save forestry is a fool’s errand—it’s time we stop playing the fool

By Bruce Lourie
The Hill Times
October 31, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada

Canada’s boreal forest is a place where jobs and wildlife protection, the economy and the environment, rise or fall together. …Earlier this month provincial governments missed their deadline to deliver boreal woodland caribou protection plans under the federal Species At Risk Act. …What’s getting in the way of governments acting to protect the last of these iconic Canadian animals? It’s fear. Fear of being criticized for hitting the forestry industry when it’s down. But the fact is, failing to protect caribou won’t help the forestry sector one bit. Structural changes in Canada’s logging industry are devastating boreal forest communities and work forces. …Five years after Tembec committed to protect the 350 woodland caribou in its harvest areas in Quebec and Ontario, environmentalists are hailing the company’s decision to protect large swaths of the nearly 3.7 million hectares under its control.

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Caribou herds and habitat continue to decline, federal report says

By Rob Weber
Canadian Press in the Toronto Star
October 31, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada

Canada’s woodland caribou herds and the habitat they need continue to decline five years after the provinces agreed to develop strategies to preserve them, a federal study has concluded. And all provinces and territories are on a six-month deadline to lay out plans showing how they will keep the animal that’s featured on the back of the quarter on the land. They have already missed one deadline. “A number of provinces and territories have taken action,” said Liberal MP Jonathan Wilkinson, parliamentary secretary to the environment minister. …But a forestry industry representative said not enough is known about the changing boreal forest to make rules on how much needs to be saved for caribou. “We can’t be cutting corners to the point where it might be doing nothing for caribou and putting thousands of people out of work,” said Derek Nighbor of the Forest Products Association of Canada. 

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Six wildfires reported on South Island

By Kevin Liard
Victoria News
October 31, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Firefighters are battling six wildfires that have occurred on the South Island over the last few days. All caused by controlled burns at logging sites. …No structures are at risk, but the fire is causing smoke that can be seen from Victoria, said fire information officer Donna MacPherson. …All the fires were started from controlled burns where forest companies burn slash, branches and other forest debris in a designated area, said MacPherson. The wildfires went beyond the perimeters of the provincially-approved fire plan. The fires are used to reduce wildfire risk in the summer. This week’s fire were likely caused by a “weird weather event,” said MacPherson.

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House GOP Sees Smooth Sailing for Forest Management Bill

By Iulia Gheorghiu
The Hill
October 31, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

Bruce Westerman

House Republicans expect to pass a bipartisan bill tackling forest resilience on Wednesday, with further action likely in the Senate, as California’s wildfires add urgency to finding a comprehensive solution. But many Democrats, and almost half of California’s delegation in the House, support competing legislation, which has more than four times as many co-sponsors, that’s focused solely on funding and doesn’t try to roll back environmental regulations that limit logging. The bill introduced by Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) that’s scheduled for a Wednesday floor vote would reduce the risk of wildfire by offering different options to the U.S. Forest Service to fund fire suppression, without changing funding levels, and by creating access for loggers to thin overgrown forests.

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National forests deserve better than House and Senate’s wildfire bills

By Norm Christensen and Jerry Franklin
The Hill
October 31, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

This week the House is considering the Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017, a misguided bill that would seriously damage our national forests and reduce Americans’ ability to have a say in how these forests are managed. In the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, related legislation is also under consideration. The House and Senate bills purport to solve the growing problem of wildfires, yet both bills are troubling in their approach to forest and wildfire management. …Where we differ is in our approach to the forests’ care and protection, and that difference has considerable consequences for our national forests and the people who live, work, and recreate on them. …Management of our national forests must not fall victim to political posturing.

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Forest Service ecologist proposes ways to help curb rising ‘Era of Megafires’

By Mori Kessler
Associated Press in St. George News
October 31, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Paul Hessburg

ST. GEORGE – Offering possible solutions instead of assigning blame, Dr. Paul Hessburg, a research ecologist with the U.S. Forest Service, has traveled across the West to share the result of 30 years of research into wildfires and what might be done to prevent them. Hessburg, who lived through wildfires in his home of Wanatchee, Washington, in 2015, stopped at Southern Utah University Oct. 18 during a run through Utah with his “Era of Megafires” presentation. …“We’re trying to take all the research we’ve published in journals and written in books and get it to the people in the community so they can understand why we’re having these big fires,” Hessburg said. Hessburg… said the way the Forest Service has treated fire suppression, among other factors, has unwittingly helped turn western forests into timber boxes.

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Elmendorf named Joseph E. Ibberson Chair in Urban and Community Forestry

Penn State News
October 31, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

William Emendorf

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — William Elmendorf, professor and extension specialist in urban forestry in the College of Agricultural Sciences, has been named the first holder of the Joseph E. Ibberson Chair in Urban and Community Forestry. The endowed chair was made possible by a gift from the late Joseph E. Ibberson, a 1947 forestry graduate of Penn State who retired in 1977 from the Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry as chief of forest advisory services. …The purpose of the chair is to enhance the University’s commitment to the Commonwealth by providing a distinguished faculty member in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management the opportunity to advance scholarly excellence through contributions to instruction, research and public service.

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Prepare for life after native logging, VicForests inquiry recommends

By Kath Sullivan
The Weekly Times, Australia
October 31, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: International

VICTORIA must develop a transition plan to help its timber industry move from native logging to plantation timber, a group of state MPs has recommended. The Inquiry into VicForests by a group of cross party MPs made seven recommendations to the State Government, including the call for it to establish an industry transition plan and work with VicForests, and the Forest Industry Taskforce to consider “supporting innovative industry players (and) …. how current forestry-dependent communities can be actively supported through any transition plans”. Nationals MP Luke O’Sullivan was the only MP on the committee to vote against the recommendation for a transition plan. The report also recommended calling on the Government to explain the Forest Industry Taskforce and deliver tighter oversight of VicForests, and the way it manages the resource.

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Is the Forest Stewardship Council going to stay ‘fit for purpose’ for this century?

By Grant Rosoman, Global Forests Solutions Senior Advisor, Greenpeace International
Mongabay
October 31, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Grant Rosman

Held every three years, the General Assembly (GA) is supposed to be the top Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) platform for decision-making. The idea is that members of the three FSC chambers — social, environmental, and economic — come together to shape the future of the certification system by discussing and voting on motions that fundamentally affect the way FSC is run. But is that really still the case? Reflecting on the recent General Assembly in Vancouver, held earlier this month, has me questioning whether FSC is going to stay fit for purpose for this century, or whether it is going to be held back by misguided economic self-interest.

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Forestry ministers highlight measures for illegal logging, job creation at APEC forum

By Julie Kim Jackson
Korea Herald
October 31, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Kim Jae-hyun & Ha song Tuan

Ministers from across the Asia-Pacific region have gathered in Seoul this week to discuss the varying social, economic and environmental issues related to forestry management, during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation’s fourth annual Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Forestry. …The ministers meeting highlighted its member countries’ varying illegal timber trade restriction systems; trade promotion policies on legal forest products; and efforts and cooperation methods utilized by other international organizations in order to prevent illegal logging. …“The international community sees illegal logging as a major cause of deforestation and damage to fair trade practices, which is why the international community adopted the ‘Forest Action Plan’ in 1998. 

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‘Extreme step’: conservationists halt old-growth logging in far east Gippsland

ABC News, Australia
October 31, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Legal action has forced state logging agency VicForests to suspend logging in the Kuark forest in far east Gippsland for at least a month. The environment group Flora and Fauna Research Collective sought an injunction in the Supreme Court to prevent logging in the Princess Cut coupe north of Orbost. The group was asked to put forward a detailed case for protection of the old growth forest at a court hearing next month. VicForests maintained the logging program complied with regulations.

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Company & Business News

B.C.’s lumber trade suffers in wake of vicious summer wildfire season

By Derrick Penner
Vancouver Sun
October 31, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, Canada West

Damage that the worst forest-fire season in B.C. has done to the province’s forest industry is showing up in trade statistics that show overall exports down 14 per cent to the end of August, according to B.C. Stats. …“This is almost unprecedented,” said Peter Hall, vice-president and chief economist for Export Development Canada. However, he views the damage as a temporary hit on B.C.’s trade and that… the province’s exports will rebound in line with a recovering U.S. housing-construction market. …On balance, however, Export Development Canada sees zero growth in exports from B.C. in 2018 after experiencing a robust eight-per-cent increase in export trade by the end of this year. …Susan Yurkovich, CEO of the Council of Forest Industries, said there were other factors affecting lumber exports besides the fires, such as punitive duties by the U.S. Commerce Department and a slowdown in American construction due to hurricanes and floods in the southern states.

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Boise Cascade Company Reports 2017 Third Quarter Net Income of $31.7 Million on Sales of $1.23 Billion

Boise Cascade Company
Nasdaq
October 31, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: United States, US West

BOISE, Idaho – Boise Cascade Company (NYSE:BCC) today reported net income of $31.7 million, or $0.81 per share, on sales of $1.23 billion for the third quarter ended September 30, 2017. …”Distribution posted an exceptional quarter, with excellent execution and tailwinds from a strong commodity price environment. Improved results in Wood Products were driven by strong plywood prices and the impact of previously announced EWP price increases. The catastrophic storms in the southern U.S. created incremental plywood demand, and our sales and operations teams did a great job of responding to customer needs,” commented Tom Corrick, CEO. 

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Natural solutions vital to fighting climate change

By Mary Guiden
Colorado State University
October 31, 2017
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

Improving the way people manage land could play a bigger role in fighting climate change than previously thought, according to a new study of how greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced and stored in forests, farmland, grasslands and wetlands. …The study, led by scientists from The Nature Conservancy, Colorado State University and 14 other institutions, was published Oct. 16 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. …The research team identified 20 natural solutions that increase carbon storage and reduce greenhouse gas emissions across forests, wetlands, grasslands and farmlands. Solutions include restocking forests that have been depleted; avoiding the removal of forests for other needs, including agriculture; and using biochar, a charcoal, to help fortify soil. They also assessed the costs of the different options.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

3D-printed steel touted as the future of B.C. home construction

By Chuck Chiang
Business in Vancouver
October 31, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

A Vancouver company is hoping to disrupt the local construction framing industry with new technology that can “print” steel beams and accelerate the building process. LifeTec Construction Group Inc., has already caught the attention of some local upscale homebuilders and has taken on a number of small, private projects. The company said the plan is to move eventually into construction of mid-rise and commercial/industrial structures traditionally built from wood. LifeTec founder and president Krishna Jolliffe said 3D-printed steel’s advantages over wood include durability, resistance to mould and warping, environmental friendliness and shorter construction time. …“If we can work with the developer early enough, we can show up right when the foundation is complete, and it’s three to five days from there to assemble the house – as opposed to three to five weeks for building it from wood”.

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Wood-framed multi-storey projects face ‘knotty’ questions

By Ian Harvey
Daily Commercial News
November 1, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada East, Canada

Two high profile wood-framed condominium projects following changes to the Ontario Building code have flipped over to steel and concrete as the learning curve with lumber raises the bar. Heartwood The Beach, …and Cabin Toronto …were both touted for their innovative plans to use wood when they were announced in Spring 2016, following code changes in January 2015 allowing six storey wood framed buildings. The latest hiccup for wood isn’t as much about its vulnerability to fire, it’s the steep learning curve, states Steven Street, a technical advisor to the Canadian Wood Council. He says …there’s a critical need to “educate, educate, educate.” …Having options is the goal, not replacing steel or concrete, say wood proponents. “Not everything perceived as going wood will become wood,” says Street. “The point is that it makes a developer and builder consider alternatives to steel and wood. We’re going to win some and lose some.”

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Cargo containers gain steam as building blocks of new homes

By Katherine Roth
Associated Press in the National Post
October 31, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada East, Canada

Cargo containers, long a staple of international trade, are designed to be affordable, sturdy and water-tight. …What’s new is that the enormous Corten steel boxes are now gaining mainstream popularity as building blocks for affordable homes in a variety of sizes and types. …“Once you do all the work involved in designing and building a container home that meets building code requirements, the cost is actually about the same as for building a comparable traditional home,” she says, estimating the final cost to be around $150 per square foot. …And because the containers were meant to withstand marine conditions, they have plywood flooring heavily treated with formaldehyde. The flooring must be removed and replaced to avoid off-gassing once the structure has been insulated and sealed for use as a home, Strauss explains.

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Recent Amendments to EPA’s Formaldehyde Emissions Final Rule Affect Furniture Industry

Alexandra B. Cunningham & Elizabeth Reese
Lexology
October 31, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States

Alexandra Cunningham

Elizabeth Reese

In a move affecting manufacturers, distributors and retailers in the furniture and other wood-based industries, the Environmental Protection Agency recently issued a series of amendments to its Final Rule implementing the Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products Act, which added Title VI to the Toxic Substances Control Act. The Formaldehyde Final Rule, 40 CFR Part 770, sets formaldehyde emissions standards for composite wood products and includes requirements for the testing, third-party certification, import certification and labeling of covered products by manufacturers of those products. …now [companies] will have to comply with the new formaldehyde emissions standards in every state in which they do business – not just California. A brief overview of the Formaldehyde Final Rule’s key provisions is below.

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Cradle to Cradle Certified Products Added to Home Depot Eco Options Program

Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute
PR Newswire
October 31, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States

OAKLAND, CA — Cradle to Cradle Certified products have been added to the list of third party certifications recognized under The Home Depot’s expanded Eco Options program. Established by The Home Depot in 2007, Eco Options is a voluntary program that recognizes products that have less of an environmental impact than comparable products in five categories: energy efficiency, water conservation, healthy home, clean air and sustainable forestry. The program allows Home Depot to track environmental product improvements and promote environmentally preferred products to store associates and customers. …“We recognize the role we play in the value chain for home improvement products, especially lumber and manufactured goods,” said Ron Jarvis, vice president of environmental innovation for The Home Depot.

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