Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: November 21, 2017

Today’s Takeaway

Wood pellets can reduce GHG emissions by more than half

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

Using wood pellets for home heating fuel reduces greenhouse gas emissions by more than half, according to new research at the University of New Hampshire. The potential of wood residues is also making news in Australia, while researchers at the University of Toronto say they are one step closer to creating artificial photosynthesis.

In Forestry news: the Edmonton Journal speaks to their mountain pine beetle problem (apparently beetles don’t respect borders); the new chair of BC’s Cariboo Regional District is talking about how to rebuild after the wildfires; and West Fraser and Tolko say we have to move quickly to salvage the burnt timber.

In Business news: Tom Fletcher says China is a better partner than the US; New Brunswick residents are left wondering if and when Irving will upgrade its Doaktown mill; and Canfor announces plans to expand its Moultrie, Georgia mill.

Finally, is mass timber really sustainable? According to the Architect’s Newspaper, the answer is yes but “we like to blame a lot of things for climate change—namely coal and cow farts—but if we were to search for a worthy scapegoat, architects might end up looking in the mirror”.

— Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Forestry

Firestorm: Fort McMurray wildfire is a warning, book claims

CBC News
November 20, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The wildfire that enveloped Fort McMurray in the spring of 2016 is a harbinger of things to come, Edmonton journalist Ed Struzik concludes in his new book, Firestorm: How Wildfire Will Shape our Future. Megafires like the one that burned out of control in the northern Alberta community for two months in Canada’s costliest natural disaster, could soon become commonplace across North America, Struzik said. These natural disasters are becoming the new normal, said the writer and photographer, who paints an apocalyptic picture of what will happen if we continue “business as usual.”

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Beetles don’t respect borders

Editorial Board
Edmonton Journal
November 21, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Brooks Horne

One problem — among the many — with mountain pine beetles is they don’t respect borders. …In 2006, swarms of wind-borne beetles flew eastward into west-central Alberta. Since that initial invasion, Alberta’s government, along with forestry companies, have engaged in an aggressive counterattack. Alberta has become Canada’s beetle battleground as the province tries to do what B.C. failed to do and stop the beetles from marching into fresh territory. One estimate puts the cost of the fight from 2004 to 2016 in Alberta at $484 million. …There are assertions that Parks Canada failed to do enough to control the infestation when it appeared a few years ago. If so, letting the beetles turn the park into a ravaged beachhead for a renewed onslaught on Alberta is irresponsible and unforgivable. It is likely too late to close the barn door but Parks Canada must do much more to remediate the infestation, and quickly.

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Industry talks timber losses during Cariboo Regional District meeting

By Greg Fry
CFJC Today Kamloops
November 20, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

KAMLOOPS — Area directors in the Cariboo Regional District were given a briefing on the estimated timber losses industry is facing in light of this summer’s devastating wildfire season. Jeff Mycock, chief forester with West Fraser Mills and Tolko Industries manager Tom Hoffman estimated that the fires impacted close to one year of the provincial annual allowable cut (AAC) and up to 6-10 years of the AAC in Cariboo management units. Hoffman told CFJC Today about 24 per cent of the burned timber in the Cariboo is salvageable though. …”As you can appreciate some trees were burnt very badly, some trees were just scorched. So, depending on the severity of burn, we’re anywhere from two to a maximum of four years before the trees won’t be viable to produce lumber.”

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New Cariboo Regional District chair to take over wildfire recovery in the region

CBC News
November 20, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Margo Wagner

The new chair of the Cariboo Regional District is wasting no time when it comes to taking on the challenge of helping the region rebuild from this summer’s wildfires. Margo Wagner, representative for Canim Lake-Forest Grove, was voted in as the new chair on Friday after former chair Al Richmond turned down the nomination. …Wagner plans on meeting with the Minister of Forest, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Doug Donaldson. She says she has heard from companies like Tolko and West Fraser Mills that they want to get back into the forests to start harvesting salvage timber because fire-damage wood needs to be logged within 18 months in order to still be usable. … “We can’t really get on with the recovery mentally until we get rid of the burnt logs,” Wagner said.

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Forestry Coalition Asks Government to Support Sector

The Ontario Forestry Coalition
November 20, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

A coalition of municipal and Indigenous leaders, chambers of commerce, unions, and forest professionals are coming to Queen’s Park on Wednesday, November 22nd to dispel misinformation about Ontario’s forest sector and to urge the Government to avoid unintended consequences from rushed species at risk policy. Recently, a co-ordinated effort by groups opposed to forestry has attempted to label Ontario’s forest sector as unsustainable. On October 25th an opinion piece in the Toronto Star, authored by the David Suzuki Foundation and Environmental Defense, asked, “will anyone act to save the caribou? Ontario is not.” Similar comments were made by CPAWS Wildlands League and the American activist group Natural Resources Defence Council. In response, FONOM President and Mayor of Kapuskasing, Al Spacek, said, “To claim Ontario has not acted to save caribou is conveniently ignoring over 20 years of work, 600 tracked animals and $11 million dollars of government research.”

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Artificial photosynthesis gets big boost from new catalyst

University of Toronto Engineering
November 20, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

Xueli Zheng and Bo Zhang

A new catalyst created by U of T Engineering researchers brings them one step closer to artificial photosynthesis — a system that, just like plants, would use renewable energy to convert carbon dioxide (CO2) into stored chemical energy. By both capturing carbon emissions and storing energy from solar or wind power, the invention provides a one-two punch in the fight against climate change.“Carbon capture and renewable energy are two promising technologies, but there are problems,” says Phil De Luna (MSE PhD Candidate). …De Luna and his co-lead authors Xueli Zheng and Bo Zhang aim to address both challenges at once, and… are designing an artificial system that mimics how plants and other photosynthetic organisms use sunlight to convert CO2 and water into molecules that humans can later use for fuel.

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Deadwood selected for wildfire risk reduction program

By Jaci Conrad Pearson
Black Hills Pioneer
November 20, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

DEADWOOD — The city of Deadwood is one of only eight new communities across the country selected to receive technical assistance in 2018 under a national program that helps reduce the impacts from wildfires, including risks and costs. The Community Planning Assistance for Wildfire (CPAW) program offers support at the local level, as more cities and counties across the country experience the effects of devastating wildfires. Through CPAW, Deadwood will collaborate with a team of consultants, including land use planners, foresters, and risk mapping experts, to help communities identify and implement local planning measures, such as improved policies to reduce wildfire risk to future development. 

 

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Fighting wildfires is a greater test of endurance as warm weather lingers

By Ann Cameron Siegal
The Washington Post
November 20, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Since 2015, wildland firefighter and forester ­Patrick Haggerty of Wenatchee, Washington, has taken 900 local middle school students to explore the surrounding mountains, learning about wildfire risks. The Northwest is a fire-prone area, so Haggerty asks the students, “How many of you have ever been evacuated from home because of wildfires?” He always has several from each class raising their hands. During a hike, students view two kinds of forests. One is lush, with abundant trees towering over thriving shrubs and grasses. The other is patchy, with minimal ground vegetation and wide spaces between trees. “Which is healthier?” he asks. Thick greenery usually gets the nod. It’s often the reverse. Why? Consider the “fire triangle” of fuel, oxygen and heat. Remove any one of these, and the fire dies.

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Trees ‘grow up to 25% faster in cities than in countryside’

By Gavin McEwan
Horticulture Week
November 21, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Trees in cities worldwide grow faster than those in surrounding areas due to the urban heat island effect, but trees everywhere are growing faster than 50 years ago, according to an international team of researchers.  Led by the Technical University of Munich (TUM), the team took heartwood samples from almost 1,400 mostly mature trees in and around Munich, Berlin, Paris, Brisbane, Cape Town, Hanoi, Houston, Prince George (British Columbia) and Santiago de Chile, in order to cover a range different climate zones from boreal to subtropical. TUM chair of forest growth and yield science Professor Hans Pretzsch said: “While the effects of climate change on tree growth in forests have been extensively studied, there is little information available so far for urban trees. “We can show that urban trees of the same age are larger on average than rural trees because urban trees grow faster.”

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New South Wales Government divided on reclassifying River Red Gum national parks as state forest

By Oliver Jacques
The Daily Advertiser
November 20, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: International

The NSW Government said on Monday there are no plans to change the status of the Murray Valley National Park, despite Nationals’ member for Murray Austin Evan’s promise to introduce a bill to parliament to reclassify River Red Gum national parks as state forests. Just before the Murray by-election, Mr Evans committed to drafting a Private Members’ Bill that would allow the timber industry to resume logging of river red gums – large, single stemmed eucalypt trees located along the Murray river. …Nationals party leader and deputy premier John Barilaro on Monday threw his support behind Mr Evans going ahead with the bill – highlighting the division within the NSW Government on the Red River Gums issue. “As it currently stands, the Murray Valley National Park is a failure of policy”.

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Company & Business News

Improving markets around the world generate strong global earnings at softwood sawmills in 2017

WOOD MARKETS (FEA-Canada)
November 20, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada

WOOD MARKETS’ (FEA-Canada) 8th biennial global benchmarking survey has once again placed the U.S. South at the top. The U.S. South was the highest margin sawmill region in North America – a place it has held since 2008 – as well as the top global earner again in 2016 and for the second quarter of 2017. All regions covered in the global sawmilling industry in 2016 and in 2017 showed good results… The fortunes of most regions improved significantly in 2017-Q2 from higher global lumber prices. The North American economy has been stable, boosting lumber demand and prices and the European economy improved in 2016 and especially in 2017 as many mills (and countries) had their best results in five years.

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China a better partner than U.S.

By Tom Fletcher
BC Local News
November 20, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, Canada West

B.C. Forests Minister Doug Donaldson is back from his first wood industry trade mission to China and Japan, an annual journey I was fortunate to go on last year. … Nanjing is the commercial centre of Jiangsu province, where the Chinese central government has ordered a pilot project to phase in wood and engineered wood, starting with roof trusses and pre-fabricated infill walls for concrete buildings. They’re working with B.C.-developed wood construction because “it’s energy efficient, it’s green, it’s light, it’s fast,” says Rick Jeffery, chair of the national industry group Canada Wood and a veteran of Asia trade. This is important in a vast country that is not only choked with pollution, it’s running low on limestone, a key component of concrete.  …In a phone call from the Tokyo stop last week, Donaldson said once the government decides on an action, “things happen quickly in China.” 

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Doaktown residents left wondering if and when Irving will build mill

By Jacques Poitras
CBC News
November 20, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada East, Canada

A war of words between the local MLA and the province’s largest forestry company has people in the Miramichi Valley wondering what’s next for the local economy. People in Doaktown say they hope J.D. Irving Ltd. will eventually go ahead with a $25 million replacement for its aging sawmill in the village. But there’s less consensus on Progressive Conservative MLA Jake Stewart’s call for the Liberal government to “stick it” to Irving and force the company to start the project.   … Irving said last week it was postponing the project because of “market conditions” and the recent imposition of U.S. duties on Canadian softwood. Stewart, the MLA for Southwest Miramich-Bay du Vin, was furious. He said Premier Brian Gallant should force Irving to honour its 2014 commitment.

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Power failure triggers oil fire at mill

The Chronicle Journal
November 21, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada East, Canada

A power failure at the Resolute saw mill in Thunder Bay on Monday resulted in oil from a boiler to catch fire. The fire, about 3:30 p.m., involved the heating system for the lumber drying kilns. As a result of the power outage, the circulating pump for the hot oil from the boiler stopped functioning, which led to the circulating system being over-pressured and the oil catching fire, said Platoon Chief Shawn Merrifield, of the Thunder Bay Fire Rescue service, in a news release on Monday evening. He said the sprinkler system activated and extinguished the flames but the system remained pressurized and overheated. After conferring with onsite staff, a plan was formulated to not interfere with the heating system and to let it cool naturally.

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Loggers and truckers sue Xcel Energy over proposed shutdowns of plants

By Tom Meersman
Minneapolis Star Tribune
November 21, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: United States, US West

A group of loggers in Minnesota is using an environmental law to sue Xcel Energy about three biomass plants in the state that burn wood waste or turkey manure to produce electricity. The Associated Contract Loggers & Truckers of Minnesota filed the lawsuit last week in state court to stop Xcel from buying and shutting down one plant and ending contracts with two others. The move, the group said, would eliminate 100 direct jobs and hundreds of indirect jobs. “In addition to devastating many hardworking families and businesses across greater Minnesota who depend on these facilities, Xcel’s plan would also be terrible for the environment,” said Scott Dane, the association’s executive director.

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A manufacturer complained about its tax bill. Now an SC school district will lose $1M

By Amanda Harris
The State
November 20, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: US East, United States

The Rock Hill school district is looking at a tax revenue loss of more than $1.2 million this year. The district’s largest taxpayer, the former Bowater plant that is now owned by Resolute Forest Products, recently filed an appeal with the S.C. Department of Revenue over its assessed property value for tax years 2015, 2016 and 2017, said Terri Smith, chief finance officer for the district. The appeal has resulted in a loss of $1.2 million in tax revenue to the school district this year, and a loss of $530,000 in revenue annually, Smith said.  …The manufacturer claimed the tax assessments were excessive due to economic challenges facing the paper industry, said Bonnie Swingle, spokesperson with the S.C. Department of Revenue. A settlement reduced Resolute’s taxable real property.

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Canfor announces $28 million expansion

By Dwain Walden
Moultrie Observer
November 20, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: US East, United States

MOULTRIE — Canfor Southern Pine announced today that it will make a $28 million expansion to its Moultrie facility.  Formerly Beadles Lumber Co., Canfor, a Canadian-based firm,  purchased 50 percent of the Beadles operation in Moultrie and Thomasville in 2014 and now owns 100 percent. Cantor chose Moultrie for its expansion and has already begun installing new equipment. Beadles Lumber Co. was a longtime business cornerstone of the community, with its stock totally family-held until the Canfor purchase. Darrell Moore, president of the Colquitt County Economic Development Authority, said the investment will mean 10 new jobs directly at the sawmill and will create another 30 jobs in supporting roles. As well, Moore said some 60 construction jobs would result from this project. 

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Research finds wood pellets cut home heating GHGs in half

By Lori Wright
Biomass Magazine
November 20, 2017
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

Using wood pellets for home heating fuel reduces greenhouse gas emissions by more than half over fossil fuels and natural gas, according to new research from the NH Agricultural Experiment Station at the University of New Hampshire. The research was conducted by John Gunn, research assistant professor of forest management and researcher with the NH Agricultural Experiment Station, and colleagues with the Spatial Informatics Group – Natural Assets Laboratory in Pleasanton, California. It is presented in “Greenhouse gas emissions of local wood pellet heat from northeastern U.S. forests”in the journal Energy.

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North Coast forests offer untapped bioenergy opportunity

Great Lakes Advocate
November 21, 2017
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

AUSTRALIA — Sustainably managed forests and sawmills on the north coast could power more than 200,000 local homes per year, new research suggests. The news forms part of a recent report by the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI), which found more than one million tonnes of forestry residues – small trees, branches, tops and unsellable wood – from harvesting operations could be used for bioenergy, with no adverse environmental impacts. DPI research scientist Fabiano Ximenes, who is presenting findings at the Bioenergy2017 conference in Sydney on November 22, said the two-and-a-half-year project analysed the production forests surrounding regional hubs Grafton, Kempsey and Bulahdelah. 

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Horizon North to build homeless units in BC

By Jean Sorensen
Journal of Commerce
November 20, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

The first 78 modular units built for the City of Vancouver’s homeless and supplied by Horizon North will be B.C.-made using B.C. materials and labour, according to president and CEO Rod Graham. …Rao said it was a open call to all interested parties to build the units. As such, there is no requirement that the units be built in B.C. or use B.C. labour or materials such as wood. “While it is not a requirement of the RFQ, B.C. Housing supports the B.C. Wood First Initiative,” he said. BC Housing is currently seeking an expression of interest from companies who can design and manufacture 1,400 housing units for distribution throughout B.C. The other 600 units have been allocated to Vancouver, with Horizon North supplying the units. …Horizon North is a modular home builder that has traditionally served the oil and gas sector but since Graham’s appoint three years ago as chief executive officer, it has deepened its path into other forms of modular construction…

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Is mass timber really sustainable?

By Olivia Martin
The Architect’s Newspaper
November 20, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States

We like to blame a lot of things for climate change—namely coal and cow farts—but if we were to search for a worthy scapegoat, architects might end up looking in the mirror. The building sector is responsible for 44.6 percent of U.S. carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. …many environmental experts, architects, and scientists are looking to mass-built timber as a reliable way to reduce carbon and fossil fuel output. …However, thanks in part to innovative wood products, including CLT, nail laminated timber (NLT), and glue laminated timber (glulam), wood construction can be used in buildings as tall as 40 stories. A study by … Poyry and the New England Forestry Foundation shows that the greatest potential for timber-built is in mid-rise (six to 14 story) buildings, as it also tends to be more economical to build with timber at that scale.

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