Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: December 8, 2017

Today’s Takeaway

Softwood lumber ruling emphasizes need for new NAFTA deal

The Tree Frog Forestry News
December 8, 2017
Category: Today's Takeaway

The US International Trade Commission ruled that the American lumber industry has been harmed by Canadian softwood imports, locking in the interim duties. Here is a smattering of responses:

In other news: a Nova Scotia MLA says cancelling the mill book signing infringes on free speech, although the author is benefiting from the headlines; and New Jersey lawmakers are reluctant to curtail wood use after the 2015 Edgewood apartment fire.

Finally, Michael Green explains why wood is the way we need to build in the future and how online education can spur the transformation.

— Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Special Feature

Timber Online Education

DBR | Design Build Research
You Tube
September 27, 2017
Category: Special Feature
Region: Canada, Canada West

Well known BC architect Michael Green announces Timber Online Education—a global resource for teaching sustainable wood design, construction, fabrication, development, policy and environmental education. The program is run by DBR | Design Build Research, a Vancouver not-for-profit institute focused on global design and construction education. The TOE program is in its introductory phase and seeking funding to help provide essential knowledge to build wood buildings and especially advanced urban-scale wood buildings in a safe, economical, and sustainable manner.

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Forestry

Forests are the key to fresh water

By the University of British Columbia
Phys.org
December 7, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Freshwater resources are critical to both human civilization and natural ecosystems, but UBC researchers have discovered that changes to ground vegetation can have as much of an impact on global water resources as climate change. … Using several decades worth of data, their work examined how water resources are responsive to vegetation ground cover and climate change.”As we urbanize land and continue to convert forests for other uses, our water regimes change,” says Wei. “We end up with the systems we do not design for, and entire watersheds are being affected.”Forested areas are critically important water resources, explains Li. But as land is developed or the green vegetation is destroyed, watersheds are irreversibly damaged.

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Shíshálh Nation and Interfor sign historic relationship agreement

By Sophie Woodroofe
Sunshine Coast Reporter
December 7, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Chief Warren Paull

The shíshálh Nation and Interfor Corporation announced they have signed a five-year agreement that will guide how the two entities work together to log the Nation’s traditional swiya (territory). “This is 20 years in the making – we’re just lucky enough to be the ones signing the agreement,” said Chief Warren Paull. Interfor has tenures that cover 179,000 ha, located within the shíshálh Nation’s swiya. The genesis of the agreement dates back to the early 2000s, said Paull, when the Nation undertook a traditional land use study that allowed them to identify areas of cultural significance. …The ultimate goal, Paull said, is for shíshálh to be the largest logging entity within its own territory. “It may not happen in my lifetime, but at the same time you’ve got to have a goal. It’s been the long-term vision.”

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Christmas tree shortage means few Nobles for Maple Ridge tree farm

By Colleen Flanagan
BC Local News
December 7, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

There’s an industry-wide shortage of Christmas trees this year. Not if you are in the market for a 5-foot Fraser fir. But there are very few large trees or Noble firs, considered the best of the best in the Christmas tree business. “There are simply less and less growers in the market right now. There’s fewer family tree farms that are wanting to carry on because frankly it’s not a huge money maker in most cases,” said Wes Robinson, co-owner of the Alouette Tree Farm in Maple Ridge. …The turn-around for a Noble fir takes 8-10 years in comparison to the three to six years it takes for the turnaround of a Douglas fir or a grand fir, most common in the province. …In British Columbia, though, there are more trees imported from the United States than is grown domestically. …The fact is that growers that supply Western Canada are growing fewer trees.

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Rights of logging companies and water users are unbalanced

Letter by Al Waters
BC Local News
December 7, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Re: “Logging in watersheds — Nelson area logging companies weigh in” (Nov. 29). This piece demonstrates the large gap between forest companies’ views and those of residents who depend on local watersheds for domestic water. With due respect, I think this piece does a disservice to area residents, and to the forest companies themselves — not least, because it helps perpetuate a lack of understanding of fundamental conflicts we all face. The issue is not whether forest professionals are “passionate advocates” for healthy forests, and “live, work and play in the same forests” as we do. Indeed, all the forest professionals I’ve met have been well-meaning. That doesn’t remove the risk inequality, particularly under current provincial legislation that favours forest company interests over those of water users. 

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West Bend restoration project wins top Forest Service award

KTVZ.COM
December 7, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

BEND, Ore. – The West Bend Vegetation Management Project has received the 2017 Forest Service’s Chief’s Honor Award, the highest award given by the Forest Service.  The Chief’s Honor Award publicly recognizes outstanding accomplishments that contribute to the Forest Service’s strategic goals. The prestigious honor was given to the West Bend Project in the category of “Sustaining Our Nation’s Forests and Grasslands” for the ambitious 26,000-acre restoration project immediately adjacent to the city of Bend. Forest Service Deputy Chief Leslie Weldon said, “The Deschutes National Forest worked directly with the Deschutes Collaborative Forest Project (DCFP), a group of 19 volunteer community stakeholders representing interests from environment to industry, to undertake a very ambitious project in an area where people love to recreate. “

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Logging doesn’t need to expand

By Michael Cole, Alaska Fly Fishing Goods
Juneau Empire
December 8, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Late last year, the U.S. Forest Service finalized the latest amendment to the Tongass Land and Resource Management Plan (TLMP.) One of the focuses of that amendment is to conserve critical salmon spawning and rearing habitat in the Tongass National Forest by eliminating the extraction of old growth forest in select watersheds. To accommodate the logging industry, the USFS is surveying second growth forest that are now coming of harvestable age. …I’m not against having a viable logging industry in Southeast. In fact, I think there is ample room for one. But it is time to get the focus off old growth and transition harvest efforts to second growth. The infrastructure/roads are already in place for that. Bringing some existing logging roads back to usable condition is doable under the Tongass Roadless Rule and would cost far less than building new roads.

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‘Let’s bring back timber!’

By Jeff Golden, former Jackson County commissioner
Ashland Daily Tidings
December 8, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Jeff Golden

Donald Trump has just carried out his threat to shrink some national monuments. …Which takes us to the second vital point: the push to gut the Cascade Siskiyou National Monument is an assault on Southern Oregon’s economy. …It’s very much like Trump’s promise to “bring back Coal!” and get all those displaced miners back to work. What a cruel hoax. …This is the same thing: let’s “bring back timber!” Never mind the fact that logging and milling have been automated to the point that they employ tiny numbers of people these days, even in the largest operations. …But that’s no reason to hurt them again with fairy tales about returning to logging’s glory days, and hurt all the rest of us by dismantling one of our region’s most precious assets.

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Oregon should fight for an untouched Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument

By the Editorial Board
Statesman Journal
December 7, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

At a time when more Oregonians and visitors are taking to the outdoors to relax and recreate, the federal government is planning to reduce some of the space available to them. …The reduction recommendations are being rolled out under the Antiquities Act umbrella, which was enacted to prevent looting of Native American artifacts. The reductions are expected to benefit the timber industry, ranchers, mining interests, oil and gas exploration officials, and other commercial developers. We’ve seen no support from the folks who use the land for recreation, which is probably why so many Oregonians are torqued by the recommendations.  The Department of the Interior received almost 3 million comments on Zinke’s review in advance of his recommendations, and the majority said all of the monuments should remain as they are.

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Controlled burns limited severity of Rim Fire

By Matthew Carroll
Penn State News
December 8, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Controlled burning of forestland helped limit the severity of one of California’s largest wildfires, according to Penn State geographers. The researchers studying the Rim Fire, which in 2013 burned nearly 400 square miles of forest in the Sierra Nevadas, found the blaze was less severe in areas recently treated with controlled burns. Forest managers use controlled or prescribed fires under favorable weather conditions in an effort to reduce underbrush and fuel in forests, which can build up over time and cause more intense wildfires. “We found prescribed burns really reduced the severity of the Rim Fire,” said Alan Taylor, professor of geography and associate in the Earth and Environmental Systems Institute at Penn State.

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Sierra Nevada forests rely on nutrients from windborne dust

By University of Wyoming
YubaNet
December 7, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Trees growing atop the Bald Mountain Granite in the southern Sierra Nevada rely on nutrients from windblown atmospheric dust — more than 50 percent — compared to nutrients provided from underlying bedrock. University of Wyoming researchers led a study that found this surprising result by measuring the isotopes of neodymium in the bedrock, soil, dust and pine needles in living trees. Using this well-constrained system, the group was able to combine worldwide data to show that this phenomenon is not limited to the Sierra Nevada, and that foreign dust likely fertilizes plants in many locations worldwide. “Trees in the Sierra Nevada are using the dust for nutrients,” says Cliff Riebe, an associate professor in UW’s Department of Geology and Geophysics. “This is a novel finding.”

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Daines bill would release wilderness study areas for other uses

By Rob Chaney
The Missoulian
December 7, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Steve Daines

Five wilderness study areas left in legislative limbo for 35 years would be released to multiple use planning under a proposed bill by Sen. Steve Daines, R-Montana. The 449,500 acres of wild country include the Blue Joint and Sapphire WSAs south and east of Hamilton, the Big Snowies WSA near Lewistown, the Middle Fork Judith WSA south of Stanford and the West Pioneer WSA east of Wisdom. “These lands were to be studied for five years and the findings reported to the president,” Daines said in a conference call to reporters on Thursday. “We are now 35 years past due on the deadline set by Congress, and action has not been taken. It’s paralysis in Washington that has frozen Montanans’ access and use of their public lands.” …“This is not about whether you are for wilderness or against wilderness,” Daines said.

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Company & Business News

U.S. finds Canada lumber harms U.S. producers, duties to remain

By Eric Walsh and Leah Schnurr
Reuters
December 7, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, United States

WASHINGTON / OTTAWA  – The U.S. International Trade Commission said on Thursday it made a final finding that exports of softwood lumber from Canada injure U.S. producers, virtually ensuring that hefty duties on imports of the building material will remain in place for five years. …The U.S. Lumber Coalition, an industry lobby group that petitioned the U.S. Commerce Department last year to open a dumping and subsidy investigation, lauded the decision. “The massive subsidies that the Canadian government provides to its lumber industry and the dumping of lumber products into the U.S. market by Canadian companies cause real harm to U.S. producers and workers,” Coalition Co-Chair Jason Brochu said in a statement. …The Lumber Trade Council of British Columbia … said it was confident the decision would be overturned, calling it “completely without merit.”

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Softwood lumber ruling proves new NAFTA deal is necessary

By Bill Kelly
Global News
December 7, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, United States

Canadian trade officials are rallying behind Canada’s softwood lumber industry after getting stung with a ruling that our softwood lumber exports to the United States are hurting the American economy. But before we get too worked up with the ruling, let’s consider the source, namely the United States International Trade Commission. Of course, an all-American commission is going to favour American industry lobbyists over the Canadians, it would be folly to expect anything else. One of the controversial sticking points of the stalled NAFTA negotiations is that Canada wants all trade disputes adjudicated  by an independent international panel. …This softwood lumber ruling is a pretty good indicator of how the system would work if the Americans get their way. …Canada has to draw a line in the sand and this softwood lumber ruling is as good a time as any to do so.

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Canada vows to aggressively defend lumber sector after duties confirmed by U.S.

By Ross Marowits
Canadian Press in the National Post
December 7, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada

Jim Carr

The federal government vowed to aggressively defend Canada’s softwood lumber industry after the U.S. International Trade Commission unanimously voted that American producers have been harmed by imports of subsidized Canadian lumber. “We will stand shoulder to shoulder with the forestry sector in Canada,” Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr told reporters in Ottawa. Carr called the duties unnecessary and said Canada has already launched challenges under both the North American Free Trade Agreement and at the World Trade Organization. The NAFTA dispute panel has to make a ruling by next fall. The WTO process could take years. “We have fought them before and we’ll continue to defend Canada’s interests,” Carr said.

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US locks in duties on Canada’s softwood lumber industry

By Vicki Needham
The Hill
December 8, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, United States

A U.S. trade panel on Thursday unanimously ruled to uphold hefty duties on Canada’s softwood lumber industry saying the U.S. industry has been harmed by unfair practices. …”The evidence presented to the ITC was clear — the massive subsidies that the Canadian government provides to its lumber industry and the dumping of lumber products into the U.S. market by Canadian companies cause real harm to U.S. producers and workers,” said Jason Brochu, U.S. Lumber’s co-chairman in a statement. …U.S. home builders, who are in disagreement with the lumber industry over the softwood issue, said they were disappointed by the ruling and “believe this is a protectionist measure designed to safeguard the interests of major domestic lumber producers at the expense of American consumers.” NAHB estimates that the tariffs will increase the price of an average single-family home built in 2018 by $1,360. 

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Canadian producers to appeal softwood ruling, expect to pass the costs to U.S. consumers

By Geoffrey Morgan
The National Post
December 8, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, United States

CALGARY – Lumber producers in British Columbia are already working on an appeal after the U.S. International Trade Commission ruled Thursday that Canadian softwood imports have hurt American companies. “I’m quite stunned that there’s a decision that says the industry is injured because the industry in the U.S. is experiencing and enjoying record levels of operating profitability. …“I went to the hearing and listened to the U.S. industry talk about how they were injured. Then, we had their same companies crowing on their analyst calls that the future looked very bright and demand was fantastic and profitability hadn’t been so good since 2004,” Yurkovich said. …“Right now prices are high enough, and we think they’ll continue to be high enough, that we think the majority of Canadian producers are going to keep going,” Kevin Mason [ERA] said. “We’re going to have record-breaking fourth-quarter (earnings) numbers coming out.”

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Trade agency rules Canadian lumber shipments hurting U.S. producers

Sean Kilpatrick
The Canadian Press in The Globe and Mail
December 7, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, United States

Canada’s shipments of softwood lumber south of the border are injuring American producers, the U.S. International Trade Commission has ruled in its final determination. The ITC’s final vote, in a 4-0 decision on Thursday in favour of the United States, comes amid deadlocked talks to overhaul the North American free-trade agreement, adding one more strain to the already tense relationship between Ottawa and the Trump administration. “The ITC is down to four commissioners, with two more to complete the panel nominated but not yet confirmed,” Resolute Forest Products Inc. spokesman Seth Kursman said in a statement. “This vote is designed to apply more political pressure on Canada to settle on adverse terms. We won’t do that.”… “The U.S. Lumber Coalition fully supports the enforcement of America’s trade laws”… coalition co-chairman Jason Brochu said in a release on Thursday.

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U.S. panel ruling on softwood lumber completely without merit

Susan Yurkovich
BC Lumber Trade Council
December 7, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, United States

Susan Yurkovich

VANCOUVER – Susan Yurkovich, President of the BC Lumber Trade Council made the following statement today on the affirmative injury decision issued today by the U.S. International Trade Commission [ITC] on softwood lumber. “The ruling today, while not unexpected, is completely without merit. The ITC finding of ‘injury’, despite the current record-setting profitability of the U.S. lumber industry, makes it very clear that this was not an objective evaluation of the facts. There can be no doubt that this process is biased in favour of the U.S. industry. To our knowledge, the ITC has never before reached an affirmative decision of injury when an industry was enjoying the most profitable period in its history, which is the case today for the U.S. lumber industry. 

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U.S. trade body rules Canadian softwood hurts U.S. industry

CBC News
December 7, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, United States

The U.S. International Trade Commission has unanimously voted that the American lumber industry has been harmed by Canadian softwood lumber imports. In a 4-0 vote Thursday, the agency sided with the U.S. lumber coalition that it was materially injured by imports from Canada. …Reasons supporting the vote are expected to be released in two weeks. Canada’s softwood lumber exports to the U.S. have fallen since the Americans first imposed new duties earlier this year, but near-record wood prices have meant there has been less pain to the industry than expected. …Canada is challenging the duties under both the North American Free Trade Agreement and at the World Trade Organization. The NAFTA dispute panel has to make a ruling by next fall. The WTO process could take years.

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Forest companies cancel Alberni council appearance

By Elena Rardon
Alberni Valley News
December 7, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, Canada West

Local forest companies will not be making an appearance at the city of Port Alberni’s next council meeting as planned, citing safety concerns. “For safety reasons, they have withdrawn as a delegation,” said Alicia Puusepp, manager of communications, on Thursday, Dec. 7. Following concern about locked gates and back road access around the Alberni Valley, the city announced at an Oct. 23 meeting of council that they would be inviting Island Timberlands and TimberWest to a future meeting to discuss the policies of the two companies and to hear public complaints. …Puusepp said that the city is still in discussions with Island Timberlands and TimberWest to see how they can most effectively work with citizens. A meeting between the city, the forest companies and the public is not completely off the table, but it may not happen in a council chamber setting.

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Cancelling book signing infringes on free speech: Nova Scotia MLA

The Canadian Press in the Bay Today
December 7, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada East, Canada

HALIFAX — A Nova Scotia MLA is raising freedom-of-speech concerns after a Toronto-based retail chain cancelled a local book signing amid controversy over the book’s portrayal of an area pulp mill. Pictou West MLA Karla MacFarlane says the decision to cancel the Dec. 2 book signing at the Coles bookstore in New Glasgow, N.S., was the “wrong move.” “I feel like freedom of speech has been infringed upon here. If there was a book written pro-mill, I would want that to be sold too,” she said Wednesday. Joan Baxter’s book, “The Mill: Fifty Years of Pulp and Protest,” explores the impact of the Northern Pulp mill near Pictou in northern Nova Scotia.

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Author’s book on Northern Pulp mill benefits from cancellation

By Sam Macdonald
The New Glasgow News
December 7, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada East, Canada

The author of The Mill: Fifty Years of Pulp and Protest is benefiting more from a cancelled book signing than if it had gone off at the New Glasgow Coles store without a hitch. “Although the book signing (protest) was meant to suppress the book, it couldn’t have backfired in a bigger way. This book would have never made national headlines, if there hadn’t been attempt after attempt made to suppress the book signing,” said Joan Baxter. … Baxter said she is also happy to reschedule a book signing originally planned to take place at Coles, after the company proposed an event at an alternate location.  This proposition from Indigo, the company that owns Coles, comes after a letter writing campaign from mill workers and retirees threatened to boycott Coles if it held the event at its location at the Highland Square Mall.

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Sheridan wood-preserving plant again fined for water pollution

By Tracy Loew
Statesman Journal
December 7, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: United States, US West

A Washington company has been fined a second time for discharging pentachlorophenol into the South Yamhill River above permitted levels at its Sheridan wood preserving facility.The chemical is toxic to fish and other aquatic organisms. Tacoma-based McFarland Cascade Holdings purchased Sheridan’s Pacific Wood Preserving of Oregon in 2013. McFarland Cascade Holdings is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Stella-Jones Inc., a Canadian company with 37 wood preserving operations in North America and sales of $1.84 billion in 2016. It produces railway ties, utility poles, residential lumber and industrial products. …“We’re looking into the allegations. As always, we hope to resolve it amicably,” VP Human Resources Marcell Driessen said. “McFarland Cascade Holdings takes environmental compliance extremely seriously.”

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Power struggle: A Maryland paper mill burns a polluting sludge called black liquor. The state calls it clean energy.

By Scott Dance
The Baltimore Sun
December 7, 2017
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States

The paper mill hulks over a bend in the Potomac River Valley, a castle of pale blue metal between steep green slopes. Clouds of steam billow from its towers. …Even as other factories in this stretch of Western Maryland have closed down, this mill has managed to survive. That’s in part because the 10-story-high boiler deep inside the mill burns a sludge known as black liquor. The substance, a mix of caustic chemicals and wood waste left over from the papermaking process, was once pollution, a byproduct that fouled the rocky banks of the Potomac. Now, Maryland calls it green energy. It’s not a particularly clean form of energy. Burning black liquor releases carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas that causes climate change. But because it’s a waste product that’s being used to generate power, state legislators declared it a renewable energy source.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Timber condos to start at $3 million

By Frank O’Brien
Business in Vancouver
December 7, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

Lowly Douglas fir from the Kootenays and rockstar architect Shigeru Ban of Japan created a wood luxury condo tower at Coal Harbour, where the starting price for the 20 units is a stratospheric average of $3 million, according to a company press release. Terrace House, at 1250 West Hastings, “is the pinnacle of modern development and will stand among some of the greatest residential buildings in the world,” said Macario Reyes, founder and CEO of developer PortLiving. Half of the condominiums cover an entire floor of the 19-storey tower. The average 2,200-square-feet unit could be priced at or near $5.5 million, among the most expensive condos ever built in the city. The project is the first in Canada for Pritzker Prize-winning Ban and is the tallest hybrid timber structure in the world.

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Law to prevent repeat of Edgewater fire unlikely this legislative session

By Nicholas Pugliese
NorthJersey.com
December 8, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

Nearly three years after a fire devastated an Edgewater apartment complex and left hundreds of residents without homes, key lawmakers remain reluctant to rewrite state building codes, saying they need more time to study the issue. A fire safety bill backed by firefighters and Bergen County officials is moving through the Assembly, but Senate President Stephen Sweeney, D-Gloucester, said Thursday that there are currently no plans in the Legislature’s upper house to vote on the measure before the end of the legislative session next month. The lack of momentum in the Senate means that any effort to better protect New Jersey residents living in apartment buildings made from so-called “lightweight” wood, a popular type of construction in the state, will likely have to begin anew next year.

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Swimming pool in London is built out of wooden portal frames and Cross Laminated Timber

By Lloyd Alter
Treehugger
December 7, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Portal frame construction is therefore typically seen in warehouses, barns and other places where large, open spaces are required at low cost and a pitched roof is acceptable.” …When the Portal Frames are made of glue-laminated wood (Glulam) they are anything but utilitarian; they are gorgeous. …Portal frames work because they have very strong, rigid joints that transfer the bending moment from the rafters to the columns, which are often deep at the top and tapered as they get closer to the ground. …Their depth does wonders for the quality of light, as does the white stain on the wood on the columns, rafters and the CLT roof. Wooden portal frames have been used for pools before; they stand up better to the moisture than steel does. 

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A national forest research centre for hardwood projects to be established in Tasmania

By Matt Maloney
The Advocate
December 8, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Launceston will be soon home to a new national products innovation hub, Resources Minister Guy Barnett says. The announcement on the National Institute of Forest Products Innovation was made during the last day of government business enterprise hearings on Friday. The federal and state governments will pitch in $2 million each to create the centre with additional support expected to come from the industry. The project has been developed over 12 months and will be housed within the University of Tasmania’s Inveresk development. Mr Barnett said a board of key forestry representatives would oversee the institute which will focus on research on hardwood products. …“This (project) is consistent with the government’s policy to double the value of wood and wood fibre by 2036,” Mr Barnett said. He said industry would be expected to match funds for particular projects.

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