Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: November 13, 2017

Today’s Takeaway

Donaldson leads biggest ever forestry-related trade mission to Asia

The Tree Frog Forestry News
November 13, 2017
Category: Today's Takeaway

BC Forests Minister Doug Donaldson is leading the largest ever trade mission to China and Japan this week with the goals of conveying the message that BC “has lots of forest resources” despite the devastating fire season, boosting exports of higher-value wood products, and diversifying BC’s reliance on the US market. Speaking of softwood lumber, Federal and Provincial Ministers met Friday to discuss the economic effects of the dispute.

In other news, a Domtar report says the Ontario government knew their mill site was contaminated with mercury long before they purchased it from Reed Paper; the Nature Conservancy wants to raise capital to protect New England’s forests; COP 23 is raising the profile of forests in meeting climate goals; and Canberra’s cork oak plantation is celebrating its 100 year birthday. 

Finally, the Frogs are delighted to welcome Hunter Litigation Chambers as our newest sponsor. The nineteen-lawyer boutique firm is based in Vancouver and their forestry law practice is headed by Mark Oulton. 

— Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

Read More

Forestry

Fixing Colorado’s forests with the help of ‘citizen science’

by Jack Queen
The Durango Herald
November 12, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

FRISCO – The pine beetle came to Summit County in 2005, turning scores of trees red and creeping higher up the mountainsides each year. Twelve years later, nearly every stand of lodgepole pines has been affected, and they stand in gray, dead clusters, creating headaches for firefighters, forest managers and concerned residents. It’s been the same story through most of the high country. More than 30 representatives from forestry groups across the state gathered in Frisco last month for the annual Colorado Forest Collaboratives Summit to share how they are still trying to heal their damaged forests. It’s an uphill battle, and will likely remain so for at least a generation. But if there’s a silver lining, attendees said, it’s the level of engagement and cooperation that the beetle scourge has inspired among diverse groups across the high country.

Read More

Senate action needed on wildfire prevention

By Nick Smith, executive director, Healthy Forests, Healthy Communities
The Mail Tribune
November 12, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Nick Smith

A recent study by Climate Central found wildfires in the Western United States are undermining progress in reducing air pollution from tailpipes and industrial sources. …Forest fires contain particulate matter that is linked to health problems such as asthma, heart disease and even premature birth — health effects significantly associated with poverty and income equality.  …America’s federally owned forests are overstocked, impacted by insect infestations and vulnerable to unnaturally severe wildfire. …With this vote the U.S. House has now passed comprehensive federal forest reforms for the fifth year in a row. Yet after countless committee hearings and years of deliberation, the U.S. Senate has yet to pass a wildfire funding solution or reforms that meaningfully increase the pace and scale of management activities on federal forest lands.

Read More

USDA official: Fire science conference limits based on budget, not topic

By Rob Chaney
The Missoulian
November 11, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Department of Agriculture officials say a decision to limit the number of federal scientists attending a major fire conference was an exercise in good management, not information control. “What it really comes down to is the agency managers at the research-station level are using critical thinking skills about who are the best people to send to these conferences,” USDA spokesman Mike Illenberg said.  …Association for Fire Ecology President and University of Idaho professor Leda Kobziar wrote Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke and Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue that more than 100 USDA and DOI scientists and managers weren’t approved for attending the conference. …“As taxpayers, our members share the goal of avoiding wasteful government spending, but restricting fire managers and scientists from meeting at conferences is a case of being penny-wise, pound-foolish,” Kobziar wrote. 

Read More

Fertile soil: The growing world of forest conservation finance

By Spencer Meyer
GreenBiz.com
November 13, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

Have you seen the brilliant crimson and amber of fall foliage in New England? …But our vibrant forests are at risk. New Englanders are losing 65 acres of forest per day, or 24,000 acres per year, to dispersed and fragmented residential and commercial development. …In September, Harvard Forest, Highstead and New England Forestry Foundation published a new report: Wildlands and Woodlands, Farmlands and Communities: Broadening the Vision for New England. …At its core, the vision is about maintaining the natural infrastructure that provides us with the critical goods and services we need in our communities. These include clean air and water, outdoor recreation, wood products and local food. Fortunately, we can choose to protect these assets and use Smart Growth principles to grow our economic base without sacrificing our farms and forests.

Read More

Land for Maine’s Future board proves that conservation program has integrity

By The Editorial Board
The Press Herald
November 13, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

Gov. LePage has never been a big fan of Land for Maine’s Future. …“It’s the culture of status quo,” the governor told the hosts of the morning show on WVOM. “You rub my back, I’ll rub your back and we’ll make some money.” So when one of his campaign contributors applied for $1.25 million for the development rights to a 23,000-acre commercial maple sugar forest along the Quebec border, a lot of people worried that LePage might be right. …But last week the board put all those worries to rest. It turned down funding for the Big Six project. Although its deliberations are held in executive session, it was clear that board members were not impressed with the project, and did not list it among the 15 projects that received preliminary approval. 

Read More

Division going too far with logging

Letter by Tom Hougham
Daily Journal
November 11, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

The Division of Forestry is going too far. As a fifth generation Johnson County resident, I am disturbed by the rate of logging. This is especially true for some of the more unique nearly old growth forests like are found in the Yellowwood State Forest Backcountry. Scientists from the Indiana Academy of Sciences have found that this forest, due to less logging over the past few decades, has species that have been found nowhere else in Indiana. The Division of Forestry is going to change this by logging in the most pristine areas of the state forests. While the division of forestry is mandated to log in state forests, legislation also calls for protection of wildlife habitat, watershed resources and recreational activities.

Read More

Mapping functional diversity of forests with remote sensing

University of Zurich
Phys.org
November 13, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Productivity and stability of forest ecosystems strongly depend on the functional diversity of plant communities. University of Zurich researchers have developed a new method to measure and map functional diversity of forests at different scales—from individual trees to whole communities—using remote sensing by aircraft. Their work paves the way for future airborne and satellite missions to monitor global plant functional diversity. Ecological studies have demonstrated positive relationships between plant diversity and ecosystem functioning. Forests with higher functional diversity are generally more productive and stable over long timescales than less diverse forests. Diverse plant communities show increased resource use efficiency and utilization, enhanced ecosystem productivity and stability and can better cope with changing environmental conditions – an insurance effect of biodiversity.

Read More

COP23 Special: How land and forests can help meet global goals on climate

By Manuel Guariguata
Center for International Forestry Research
November 13, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: International

There is much political will to meet ambitious goals on forest restoration – just think of the commitment and cooperation achieved in initiating the Aichi Targets, Bonn Challenge and New York Declaration on Forests. …The numbers may be big, but their implications for the global potential for climate change mitigation are unclear. Above all, they depend on the way the multiplicity of restorative strategies are implemented, for which reason and for how long. Many restoration initiatives tend to be area- or project-focused, while a better approach would be to implement a more comprehensive approach to forest landscape restoration. …For climate change mitigation, forest landscape restoration is also just one among many possible management alternatives, but it is one that is thought to have large carbon sink potentials.

Read More

See inside Canberra’s 100-year-old cork oak forest

By Hannah Walmsley
ABC News, Australia
November 12, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Hidden at the northern end of the National Arboretum is one of Canberra’s lesser known gems — a 100-year-old cork oak plantation. Walking into the forest is like walking into a cathedral, with sunlight peeping through the lines of cork oak trees planted in rectangular patterns. The forest was planted in 1917, many years before the National Arboretum was established.  At the time, city planner Walter Burley Griffin and Charles Weston, the officer in charge of forestry for Canberra, were looking to trial different tree species for the capital. Mr Griffin saw the potential for growing cork oaks in Canberra’s dry climate, and sourced the initial acorns from the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne. 

Read More

Conservation scientists ‘shocked’ at logging of endangered swift parrot nesting site

By Harriet Aird
ABC News, Australia
November 12, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Scientists working to save a critically endangered species say they are shocked and frustrated about the logging of a known swift parrot nesting site in southern Tasmania. Dr Dejan Stojanovic, a conservation biologist at the Australian National University, said he and his research team had been monitoring the habitat at Tyler’s Hill for a decade. Last week he visited the site to plan for the installation of predator-proof nest boxes, used to protect the birds from sugar gliders. Upon arrival he found the area had been felled. “It was pretty shocking to be honest,” Dr Stojanovic said. “I went there with this really positive headspace of ‘we’re going to improve this habitat and make it a better place for swift parrots to breed’.” “On arrival this whole patch of bush where these birds had nested for over 10 years of our monitoring, just gone.

Read More

In Vietnam, small farmers and timber magnates forge uneasy alliance

By Zoe Osborne
Mongabay
November 10, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: International

HO CHI MINH CITY – In a bid to address the history of poor management that has ravaged its forests and the quality of its timber, Vietnam is embracing a more sustainable approach to its smallholder-driven forestry sector. …Since the majority of the country’s plantation land is divided into small family plots, focusing on improving smallholders’ ability to produce quality timber could be paramount to meeting these goals. As a key player in the global timber trade, Vietnam exports manufactured wood products to over 120 countries worldwide. But quality remains low: only 20 percent of the country’s domestic output is of high enough quality to be used for furniture exports, according to the NGO Forest Trends. …Smallholders currently lack the capacity to farm high-quality wood, but a WWF initiative to train them in FSC-standard timber production could change their situation.

Read More

Company & Business News

Federal, Provincial Ministers Discuss Ongoing Softwood Lumber Dispute With U.S. and Its Economic Effects

Natural Resources Canada
PR Newswire
November 10, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada

Jim Carr

OTTAWA – Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, the Honourable Jim Carr, and his provincial counterparts today discussed final determinations by the U.S. Department of Commerce in the countervailing and anti-dumping duty investigations into imports of certain softwood lumber products from Canada. Minister Carr and the other members of the Federal–Provincial Task Force on Softwood Lumber denounced the unfair and punitive duties on Canadian softwood lumber imports that threaten the livelihoods of workers and communities that depend on the forest industry across our country. The ministers and the Task Force… declared their continuing commitment to helping the industry transform and use wood in new ways, by selling to new international markets and continuing to lead as a major player in the low-carbon and bioeconomy.

Read More

Forests Minister pins hopes on higher-value lumber exports to Asia

By Derrick Penner
The Vancouver Sun
November 12, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, Canada West

Doug Donaldson

Forests Minister Doug Donaldson is leading a trade mission to China and Japan with hopes of boosting exports of higher-value wood products to the Pacific Rim at a time B.C. will be challenged to maintain timber supplies at home. After building China into B.C.’s second biggest export market, replacing Japan, lumber producers have seen sales to both countries slide, which makes the mission all the more important considering Canada’s trade dispute with the U.S. over softwood lumber. “I’m not overly concerned,” Donaldson said of B.C.’s wavering trade numbers with China and Japan, “But I’m glad the focus is going to be on (selling) those higher-value products, including engineered wood products.” …One message, Donaldson said, is to convey that despite the devastating fire season this year, B.C. “has lots of forest resources,” that haven’t been damaged.

Read More

B.C. forests minister off to China on trade mission

By Nelson Bennett
Business in Vancouver
November 10, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, Canada West

B.C. Forests Minister Doug Donaldson left today, November 10, on what is being billed as the “largest-ever” trade mission to China, with the hope of expanding B.C.’s growing share of the Chinese lumber market. Donaldson is leading a mission of 30 forest company executives to both China and Japan. From November 12 to 17 they will meet Chinese government and business leaders in Shanghai, Nanjing and Tokyo. Although he did not mention the dispute Canada is having with the U.S. over both softwood lumber duties and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), it’s clear the mission is intended to reduce B.C.’s reliance on the U.S., which is still the largest market for Canadian wood products. … Asked if his government is contemplating new restrictions on log exports, Donaldson seemed to suggest it is considering at least reducing the volume of logs exported.

Read More

Ontario knew about Grassy Narrows mercury site for decades, but kept it secret

By David Bruser and Jayme PoissonI
The Toronto Star
November 11, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada East, Canada

Government officials knew in the 1990s that mercury was visible in soil under the paper mill upstream from Grassy Narrows First Nation, but the people there did not find out until this week, the Star has learned. During the intervening years, as the residents of Grassy Narrows and scientists sounded the alarm that the neurotoxin was poisoning the fish and the people who eat it, government official after government official kept repeating that there was no ongoing source of mercury in the Wabigoon River that is the lifeblood of Grassy Narrows. …A confidential report, commissioned by the current owner of the mill, Domtar, and prepared in 2016 by an environmental consulting firm, tells a different story: the province knew decades ago that the site of the mill was contaminated with mercury. Today, the report says, it likely still is.

Read More

Breaking records

By Rick Sohn
Oregon Natural Resources Report
November 13, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: United States, US West

Extreme weather is credited with a near-term reduction of new homes, but otherwise statistics remain quite strong, with a 12-year October record for studs and a seasonal record for logs. Recent trends of lumber, logs, home construction, and housing markets, are compared. The Stud price of $405 is the highest since 2005. …Housing starts and building permits, while disappointing are widely reported to have been affected by the postponement of projects in hurricane- and fire-ravaged areas. As discussed previously, an ongoing demand for wood products, not only for new construction but also repair and remodel, will continue for some time following these major events. The good news is that the USA has been spared additional hurricanes.

Read More

Hancock Lumber upgrades power supply

Sun Journal
November 12, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: US East, United States

BETHEL — During the past 10 years, Hancock Lumber has worked hard to successfully reduce its consumption of electricity by installing energy efficient LED lighting and high efficiency electrical motors. As of Saturday, Oct. 21, Hancock Lumber’s Bethel sawmill began generating most of its own power with a newly installed steam turbine generator. The system is creating electricity from otherwise wasted steam to provide heat for the dry kilns where eastern white pine boards will be dried for seven to 10 days. Therefore, the steam is used twice — once to generate power and a second time to heat the dry kilns. The system converts the steam into energy that will power nearly a third of the entire Bethel facility.

Read More

It’s been ten years since the painful demise of one of Tasmania’s most contentious industrial projects

By Peter Henning
News.com.au
November 13, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: International

ABOUT this time a decade ago, Gunns thought it was at the top of its game, at the peak of its power and influence. During 2007 it had shown it had control over the two major political parties in Tasmania and that it was able to exert that power by having favourable legislation enacted in their interest to build the Tamar Valley pulp mill. In effect, Gunns controlled both houses of parliament in 2007, and was the dominant force in Tasmania’s business establishment. …So, with Gunns at the acme of its economic power and political influence, what could possibly go wrong? …A major blunder was its decision in late 2006 to launch a SLAPP suit against a diverse range of critics — the Gunns 20 — just before announcing its intention to build the mill in the Tamar Valley.

Read More

Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Smog warning issued for Greater Montreal, Quebec City areas

CBC News
November 12, 2017
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada East, Canada

As the colder weather sets in across southern Quebec, wood heating is being blamed for a smog warning in the Greater Montreal area and parts of the Laurentians, Montérégie, Lanaudière, Mauricie and Quebec City regions. …”High concentrations of fine particulates are expected and will result in poor air quality,” the warning says.  Wood heating is the main source of those fine particles that contribute to smog in the winter — more even than industrial activities and transportation, according to Environment Canada. “Montreal residents — stop using your wood-burning stove or fireplace until the smog warning has been lifted,” the warning reads. It’s a bylaw in Montreal to do so. 

Read More

Unique Portland system converts wood waste into energy

By Rick Arnett
Daily Journal of Commerce
November 10, 2017
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

Richard DeWolf’s Portland-based company, Versatile Wood Products, specializes in the restoration and remodel of historical doors, windows and cabinetry. In the course of a single year, that work produces a significant amount of wood waste and sawdust, to the tune of about 100 total tons per year. DeWolf wanted to find a sustainable way to get rid of those excess materials. So he teamed up with another Portland firm, Wisewood Energy, to design and install a biomass boiler system that takes what would have been dumped in a landfill and turns it into fuel to heat Versatile Wood Products’ 40,000-square-foot facility in North Portland. …The system is expected to conserve 11,600 therms of natural gas and 8,600 kilowatt-hours of electricity annually.

Read More

Wood, Paper & Green Building

Quebec wood building component firm Lamco debuts fire-mitigation technology

By Bill Esler
Woodworking Network
November 11, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada East, Canada
SAINT-FÉLICIEN, Quebec  – Lamco Forest Products Inc. of St Felicien, Quebec entered into an agreement with Intelligent Wood Systems Ltd. of Perth, Scotland to bring the UK firm’s wood construction fire mitigation system to North America. The application is important to builders of mass wood structures, as it allays fears of fire in wood construction during the building phase. The IWS system is designed for structural timbers and plywood formulated to provide robust resistance to job site fires.  Intelligent Wood Systems Ltd. was incorporated in 2009 as an R & D company to find methods of improving existing building systems.

Read More

World Forest Center hosts display on cross-laminated timber

By Steve Law
Portland Tribune
November 12, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

Portland’s World Forestry Center has a new exhibit about cross-laminated timber and other newer forms of mass timber, showing now through next summer. The exhibit, called The Future of Tall, tells of the strength, versatility, construction and installation of mass timber products, which are increasingly being used to build multi-story buildings that are cost-competitive, carbon-efficient, sustainable, and reliable. The Future of Tall is on display in the museum’s first-floor Special Exhibits Gallery. It incorporates visual display panels, videos and hands-on pieces. There also is a 13-foot mass timber bench that was formerly displayed at the Portland Art Museum.

Read More

Bright blue trekking tents are designed to pop up with speed in Iceland

By Lucy Wang
Inhabitat
November 13, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

As if Iceland’s gorgeous waterfall-studded landscape wasn’t enough to draw the eye, Stockholm-based Utopia Arkitekter has designed a bright blue cabin for installation along the country’s most famous trekking trails. …Skýli was designed for high visibility with its four triangular gables and steel cladding …The cabin accommodates 15 people. Four triangular triple-glazed windows let in natural light and frame views, while the inner shell and furnishings are made from light-colored cross-laminated timber.

Read More

Tzannes reveals designs for a second engineered timber office in Barangaroo

By Nicholas Rider
Architecture and Design
November 13, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Lendlease has lodged a planning application for yet another engineered timber office building at Sydney’s Barangaroo South. The seven-storey building proposed has been positioned as the ‘sister building’ of the Tzannes-designed International House Sydney, an office built entirely of cross-laminated timber (CLT) and glue-laminated timber (Glulam). This second building, also designed by Tzannes, would be constructed of the same materials – for instance, concrete, charcoal face bricks and a glass façade. …the structure has been designed in two parts. A two-storey base includes the colonnade and responds to the scale of the public environment, while the unified, upper five-storey form has been expressed as a “clean, simple glazed envelope”. This allows the interior timber elements to be visible from the outside and celebrated as the “hero” of the design.

Read More

Japanese firms find profits in going green

The Japan Times
November 13, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Faced with rising costs or difficult market conditions, many Japanese companies have improved their prospects by adopting environmentally friendly business strategies, with some going as far as moving into entirely new industry sectors. …New Tech Shinsei Inc., a precision equipment maker in Yonezawa, Yamagata Prefecture, has been producing wooden blocks for children’s toys since 2011, using local trees cut for forest thinning. New Tech Shinsei… used to be a subcontractor …producing precision equipment such as print circuit boards for TVs, mobile phones and notebook PCs. …At its factory, a computer-controlled cutting machine automatically carves out pieces of wood into blocks, accurate to one hundredth of a millimeter. …“Compared with plastic blocks ours are actually expensive, but the purely wooden products are very popular,” Kuwabara said.

Read More

Vitsœ completes “intentionally unfinished” cross-laminated timber headquarters

By Alyn Griffiths
Dezeen Magazine
November 12, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

British furniture brand Vitsœ has opened a new headquarters and production facility in the English town of Royal Leamington Spa, featuring a saw-toothed roof and modular construction that means it can be easily updated. …The firm developed the new building as an extension of its “system-thinking” approach, which focuses on products that are flexible, modular, and can combine to form larger systems.  …”Intentionally the building will be unfinished – and it is unlikely that it will ever be finished – because it is alive and learning as it responds to an ever-changing world.” …The company claims the facility is the first in the UK to feature a framework made from beech laminate-veneer lumber (LVL).

Read More

Lendlease says timber to Barangaroo South

By Carolyn Cummins
Sydney Morning Herald
November 11, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Lendlease has expanded its presence in the engineered timber building sector after lodging a planning application with the Department of Planning and Environment for a second office property at Barangaroo South. The application, which is subject to the department’s approval following public exhibition, proposes a “sister building” to International House Sydney. …Lendlease has embraced the use of cross laminated timber (CLT) and glue laminated timber (Glulam). Constructed with wood, CLT has a lower carbon footprint than other building materials, the production process produces zero waste, and timbers are sourced from certified sustainably managed forests.

Read More