Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: December 19, 2017

Today’s Takeaway

US newsprint duties could be worse that softwood lumber

The Tree Frog Forestry News
December 19, 2017
Category: Today's Takeaway

Canada could be hit by duties on newsprint exports to the US that are “worse than softwood lumber”, according to FPAC’s Derek Nighbor, but US newspaper publishers plan to oppose them. Calling this “silly time” as far as Canada-US trade goes, Nighbor adds that he’s not expecting either a softwood or NAFTA deal anytime soon. Fortunately, US housing starts are up again keeping demand for lumber high.

Is burning wood for energy green? The answer is no – according to a story on the “loophole in carbon-accounting rules” in Europe, but yes (according to the Guardian) if instead of coal, waste wood is being burned.

In other news, Jim Bowyer’s new book The Irresponsible Pursuit of Paradise is featured; the BC government has ended the trophy hunting of grizzly bears; and the province’s spruce beetle infestation doubled in 2017.

Finally, a story on how “vomiting fungi” could be a viable solution to the problem with plastics; and how tannins from tree bark can serve as battery materials.

— Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Froggy Foibles

Vomiting fungi could be viable solution to world’s plastics dilemma, scientist says

By Kylie Bartholomew
ABC News Australia
December 18, 2017
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: International

Dr. Sandra Tuszynska

The humble fungi could hold the key to eradicating much of the world’s waste as it has the ability to both replace and decompose plastics, a Queensland scientist says. Mycologist Dr Sandra Tuszynska hopes the material could one day replace plastics, bricks and even metals. She said the mycelium — the white, furry, web-like growth off a fungus — was a tough, water repellent and fire retardant material. …Dr Tuszynska said the vomiting or spitting out of enzymes occurred when the mycelium decomposed or digested wood or other matter. “Once moisture gets into the drop down wood, other organic matter, dead insects or animals, the fungi do their work by penetrating through the matter and decompose it by vomiting up enzymes onto the substance it’s decomposing.” Dr Tuszynska, who works as an environmental projects officer at Woodfordia, said international research had found that fungi could decompose plastics.

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Forestry

2017 SFI Annual Conference Video Released

Sustainable Forestry Initiative
December 13, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada

Nearly 350 people attended the 2017 SFI Annual Conference for three days of discussions, workshops, presentations and networking in Ottawa, Ontario. The conference theme was – Forests. A Way of Life. – and attendees left inspired to go back to their communities and continue their work on responsible forest management. Watch this recap of the diverse and educational celebration of forests and Canada’s 150th birthday.

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Spruce beetle infestation nearly doubles in B.C.

Terrace Standard
December 18, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The spruce beetle, a forest pest that is native to spruce forests and attacks the inner bark of these trees, continues to be a growing concern in B.C. According to the province’s latest areal overview survey, the total infested area in B.C. has nearly doubled this year – from 283,083 hectares in 2016 to 501,873 hectares in 2017. Over 8100 hectares of forests have been damaged by spruce beetle in the Lakes timber supply area (TSA) – a significant increase from 2016, when 1200 hectares had been damaged, and from the 58 hectares damaged in 2014. While the situation has gotten worse in the Lakes TSA, the Morice TSA has remained fairly stable. Over 2900 hectares were affected in 2017 – similar to 2014. The situation is much more severe in the Prince George TSA, where 275,108 hectares were affected in 2017 – almost double than the 142,837 hectares affected in 2016.

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NDP government does ‘right thing’ and kills food hunt of B.C. grizzly bears

By Larry Pynn
Vancouver Sun
December 18, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

George Heyman

The hunting of grizzly bears for trophies and food is banned effective immediately across B.C., the NDP government announced Monday in a major policy shift. “Protecting this iconic species is simply the right thing to do,” Minister of Environment George Heyman told a news conference in Vancouver. …Environmentalists still reeling from the government’s decision last week to proceed with the Site C hydroelectric dam … are understandably ecstatic to see the grizzly hunt end. “I think it’s tremendous news,” said Joe Foy of the Wilderness Committee. “I’m over the moon. It’s a pretty great Christmas present. It’s been a long time coming. People in B.C. do not want the grizzly bear hunt.”  …Doug Donaldson [forests minister] emphasized the government remains committed to upholding B.C.’s hunting tradition despite taking the grizzly bear off the list of species one can hunt.

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Grizzly bear trophy hunting over in BC

Tom Fletcher
BC Local News
December 18, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

BC Forests Minister Doug Donaldson has confirmed the NDP government has ended the trophy hunting of grizzly bears. The fall grizzly hunting season ended Nov. 30, with new rules taking effect that allow hunters to take bear meat but not the head, paws or hide of bears that are prized as trophies. Donald said Monday the scheduled spring 2018 hunt for grizzly bears is cancelled. Donaldson said all grizzly hunting has ended, except for Indigenous hunting for food, social and ceremonial purposes. …An October 2017 report on the hunt by B.C. Auditor General Carole Bellringer found that hunting is not the biggest threat to bears. The greatest risk to B.C.’s grizzly bear population is not hunting but degradation of habitat from forestry, oil and gas development and human settlement, Bellringer concluded. The audit also found that from 2006 to 2015, there were 389 bears killed as a result of human-bear conflicts.

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Book Review: The Irresponsible Pursuit of Paradise

By Leon Vlieger
The Inquisitive Biologist
December 18, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

The Irresponsible Pursuit of Paradise [by Jim Bowyer] lays bare a conundrum of our times. How is it that so many of us loathe resource extraction (e.g. the cutting down of trees for timber, or the mining of ores to produce metals), yet we absolutely adore the products that are subsequently made from these resources? We are up in arms when our forests are under threat, or companies want to start fracking in protected areas, and when we successfully halt these things, the results are invariably hailed as a victory for the environment. Except that they aren’t. Bowyer contends that most of our environmental policies and decisions are as short-sighted as they are hypocritical. And unfortunately, many environmental organisations fall victim to a parochial, not-in-my-backyard attitude. Rarely, if ever, are decisions regarding resource extraction coupled to consumption patterns. The Irresponsible Pursuit of Paradise is an eye-opener in that sense. 

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Congress must pass funding solution for fighting wildfires

By Will Whelan, Idaho chapter, The Nature Conservancy
Capital Press
December 18, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Bill Whelan


There is currently no dedicated source of funding to fight wildfires. Instead the funding comes from the same budgets meant to care for our forests and deserts. We’re approaching the end of December and the West is still burning. Today, the fires continue to threaten lives, destroy homes and force evacuations of communities in California. Not too long ago the blazes and smoky skies were here at home in Idaho. Tomorrow, fires will impact us again and our neighbors.  …With these trends comes another worrisome fact, the cost of fighting fires continues to grow.  …Yet, there is no dedicated source of funding to fight these fires. While we may have little control over some factors in dealing with wildfires, we can fix this ever growing and deteriorating funding problem. The solution lies with Congress.

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Our View: When trees become the enemy, fix the forest

By the Editorial Board
AZ Central
December 19, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

In Arizona, the trees have become the enemy of the forest. No. Not the towering Ponderosa pines you associate with a healthy forest. It’s the masses of spindly, young trees that crowd the forest floor and become tinder for destructive forest fires. Those fires threaten watersheds, rural communities and the forest itself. In a healthy forest of decades past, there would have been 40 to 50 trees per acre, says Pat Graham, Arizona director of the Nature Conservancy. Today, there are 500 to 1,000 trees per acre in some forests. More trees do not make better forests. They make bigger fires that kill the big trees. “If we do nothing,” he says, “we lose the forests.” A new way of thinking could turn this around. It starts with an odd-couple cooperation between industry and conservationists that is designed to benefit another couple that is often at odds: rural economies and the environment.

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Department of Conservation earns sustainable forestry certification

By Yutong Yuan
The Missourian
December 18, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

More than 650,000 acres of Missouri state land have earned the Sustainable Forestry Initiative certification, the Missouri Department of Conservation announced in a news release. “We are extremely proud to achieve this certification, which means we have outside validation that we are properly managing our forest resources to assure their health and sustainability,” state forester Lisa Allen said in the release. To maintain the certification, the department must undergo annual audits by independent and accredited certification bodies. A full re-certification audit is required every five years.

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Ash dieback consultation to scale back tree disease response

BBC News
December 18, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Forestry staff have proposed a scaled down response to the tree disease known as ash dieback in Northern Ireland, in favour of more cost effective measures. Ash dieback is a fungal infection which leads to leaf loss and lesions on the bark of ash trees, and in many cases it will eventually kill infected plants. More than 100,000 of trees have been cut down and about £500,000 has been spent in a bid to contain the disease. But it is still spreading and staff say that approach is no longer practicable. Stormont’s Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has launched a public consultation on proposals to change their approach to tackling the disease. It suggests that when plants are found to have been affected by ash dieback, DAERA would no longer issue “statutory notices” saying they must be destroyed.

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Company & Business News

U.S. publishers lobby lawmakers to stop duties on Canadian paper

By Brent Jang
The Globe and Mail
December 18, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada

U.S. newspaper publishers say they are mounting grassroots political campaigns in hopes that the Department of Commerce will refrain from imposing duties in January on Canadian newsprint. “Our member newspapers are very worried about countervailing and anti-dumping duty petitions regarding Canadian imports of uncoated groundwood paper, which includes newsprint used by newspapers,” the New York News Publishers Association said in a letter on Friday to U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer. …A national group, yet to be named, representing more than 1,100 small and mid-sized newspapers across the US warns that punitive duties on Canadian newsprint would have a devastating impact. “If Canadian imports of uncoated groundwood paper are subject to duties, prices in the whole newsprint market will be shocked and our supply chains will suffer,” according to the group’s letter to U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

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Forest industry braces for latest U.S. trade war

By Carl Meyer
National Observer
December 18, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada

Derek Nighbor

Canada could be hit in the next few weeks by new duties on billions of dollars of newsprint exports to the United States, the lumber industry warned on Monday. Derek Nighbor, CEO of the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC), said in an interview that he’s anticipating that Washington will slap preliminary countervailing duties and anti-dumping duties on Canadian newsprint exports “in early to mid-January.” “This kind of protectionist, silly time we’re in, as far as Canada-U.S. trade goes — it’s pretty frustrating,” said Nighbor at the FPAC office in Ottawa on Dec. 18. …“It stands to have impacts that we think could be worse than softwood lumber,” he added. “Being hit with preliminary duties in January on newsprint could be a really big blow, directly and indirectly, to about 25 mills in Canada…softwood lumber’s a concern, [but] this is something we didn’t anticipate on the newsprint side.”

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Forecast: jobs potential with risk of protests

By Nelson Bennett
Business in Vancouver
December 19, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, Canada West

Will 2018 be the year that British Columbia’s second environmental intifada erupts The biggest story in 2018 for the resource and energy sectors in B.C. will likely be the $7.4 billion Trans Mountain pipeline twinning project …But First Nations and environmental activists have threatened civil disobedience against the pipeline project on a scale not seen in B.C. since the 1990s War in the Woods over clear-cutting in Clayoquot Sound. …As for B.C.’s forestry sector, it is enjoying a period of prosperity, despite new duties of approximately 20% slapped on softwood lumber exports to the U.S. …“Fortunately, prices have been fairly robust and markets have been pretty good for the lumber in the U.S.,” said Susan Yurkovich, CEO of the Council of Forest Industries. “So that has really insulated us a bit from these additional duties.” 

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US housing starts total 1.297 million in Nov, vs 1.25 million starts expected

CNBC
December 19, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: United States

U.S. homebuilding unexpectedly rose in November, with the construction of single-family housing units surging to a 10-year high, but revisions to the prior month’s data indicated the sector was continuing to struggle with supply constraints. Housing starts increased 3.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.297 million units, the Commerce Department said on Tuesday. That was the highest level since October 2016. But October’s sales pace was revised down to 1.256 million units from the previously reported 1.290 million units. …Homebuilding has weakened this year, reflecting supply bottlenecks. Demand for housing, however, remains robust amid a labor market that is near full employment. Builders have struggled with land and labor shortages as well as more expensive lumber. Activity also took a hit from recent hurricanes that devastated parts of the heavily-populated South.

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Cox Industries sells residential lumber division

By Gene Zaleski
The Times and Democrat
December 18, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: US East, United States

Cox Industries, the Orangeburg maker of treated wood products, announced Monday it is selling its residential lumber division assets. Cox is selling the division to Virginia-based Culpeper Wood Preservers, a wood treater with a similar focus on residential lumber. Included in the sale are Cox manufacturing plants located in Orangeburg and Branchville, as well as plants in Coleridge and Cove City, North Carolina. The transition of the Cox residential business to Culpeper is expected to be complete by the end of the year. “Culpeper will continue to manufacture residential products at both the Orangeburg and Branchville plants and the same Cox employees will continue to be responsible for their manufacture,” Cox Industries Vice President of Marketing Keith Harris said.

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Long-term employee to lead century-old timber company

By Alex Paul
The Albany Democrat-Herald
December 18, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: US East, United States

Milt Moran and Dave Furtwangler

SWEET HOME — Representatives of the 100-year-old Hill Family Trust based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, didn’t have to look far when it came time to select a new president of Cascade Timber Consulting, which manages the family’s 145,000 acres of timberland in east Linn County. In fact, their new leader will only have to move his office a few yards down the hallway of their Sweet Home office building. Linn County native Milt Moran, 64, has worked for Cascade Timber Consulting and its predecessors for 45 years, ever since the Lebanon High School graduate earned an associate’s degree in forest management at Central Oregon Community College in 1973. Beginning March 1, Moran will succeed David Furtwangler, 64, who has worked for the Hill family since 1985 and has been president of CTC for the last 13 years.

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Timber Trade Federation releases Statistical Review 2017

Timber Trade Federation
December 19, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: International

The Timber Trade Federation (TTF) has issued its Statistical Review 2017. The publication shows that growth in the consumption of wood products in the UK resumed in 2016, following a small drop in volume the previous year. A near 3% volume increase resulted in the volume of wood products consumed rising to over 16 million m3 for the first time since before the recession of 2008. Regarding the origin of timber and panel products imported to the UK, Europe remains the single largest source of supply in 2016 by both volume and value. In details, mainland European (including Russia) and UK produced timber and panel products continue to dominate the supply chain in the UK and continue to account for around 91% of all supply.

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Heyfield timber mill: Taxpayers slugged $60m

By Kath Sullivan
The Weekly Times
December 19, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: International

TAXPAYERS have forked out more than $60 million to buy the Heyfield timber mill, it has been revealed. The Victorian Government’s midyear budget update showed it paid $50.6 million to buy the Australian Sustainable Hardwoods timber mill from the Hermal Group — and a further $11.5 million was spent on costs associated with the sale and business restructure. The Weekly Times understands the figure included up to $20 million of debt owed by Hermal Group. The Government bought ASH in September after Hermal Group threatened to close the mill because it said VicForests would not provide enough timber to make a profit. Under Hermal Group, whichbought the mill assets from Gunns in 2012 for $28 million, more than 220 workers were employed at Heyfield. Nationals leader Peter Walsh said the Government had “blown” taxpayers money.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Carbon Loophole: Why Is Wood Burning Counted as Green Energy?

By Fred Pearce
Yale Environment 360
December 19, 2017
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

A loophole in carbon-accounting rules is spurring a boom in burning wood pellets in European power plants. The result has been a surge in logging, particularly in the U.S. South, and new doubts about whether Europe can meet its commitments under the Paris accord. …There is one problem. Ecologists say that the claims of carbon neutrality, which are accepted by the European Union and the British government — do not stand up to scrutiny. The forests of North Carolina, Louisiana, and Mississippi — as well as those in Europe — are being destroyed to sustain a European fantasy about renewable energy. And with many power plants in Europe and elsewhere starting to replace coal with wood, the question of who is right is becoming ever more important.

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Cheap, sustainable battery made from tree bark tannins

By Lisa Zyga
Phys.Org
December 18, 2017
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

Tannins may be best known for their presence in red wine and tea, but in a new study researchers have demonstrated for the first time that tannins from tree bark can also serve as battery cathode materials. As tree bark is approximately 15% tannins by weight, tannins are naturally abundant, which is one factor that makes them a promising material for designing sustainable, low-cost, metal-free, high-performance batteries. …Due to tannin’s significant low molecular weight and extremely high phenolic hydroxyl content, the interpenetrating network of tannins and polypyrrole shows an outstanding electrochemical performance. We think tannin is the new champion of naturally occurring redox-active biopolymers.

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Burning wood instead of coal in power stations makes sense if it’s waste wood

By Tony Juniper
The Guardian
December 19, 2017
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Last week, a group of respected scientists wrote to the Guardian to argue that using wood to generate electricity in place of coal is not a solution to climate change. Their critique pointed to a “carbon debt” arising from the years between using a tree for fuel and new one growing. They gave the impression that forests are being cleared wholesale to be shovelled into power stations. Reality on the ground is, however, somewhat different. …There are many questions about biomass (and indeed all energy choices), but in the case of biomass I fear that some advocates have gone from questions to opposition rather too quickly. I stand by the policy I backed a decade ago and would encourage a discussion that seeks to make biomass as a good as it can be, rather than to stop it.

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China’s largest state-owned forest earns first carbon cash

Xinhua
December 18, 2017
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

HOHHOT — China’s largest forest zone earned 400,000 yuan (60,000 U.S. dollars) from its first sale of carbon offset credits Monday. The Chuo’er forestry bureau of the Greater Hinggan Mountain forest in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region said it sold 40,000 tonnes of the forest zone’s total 1.39 million tonnes of offset credits to an investment management firm in Zhejiang Province. Yu Shiping, an official with the Chuo’er forestry bureau, said carbon offset trade has created a bright future for maintaining and growing the forest.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Canada’s first funicular makes Edmonton’s largest greenspace more accessible

By David Malone
Building Design + Construction
December 18, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

The 100 Street Funicular and Frederick G. Todd Lookout, the first funicular in Canada, opened in downtown Edmonton in early December. The $24 million cable-mechanized incline elevator can transport mobility aids, bikes, and strollers to make Edmonton’s river valley more accessible. A staircase runs parallel to the funicular. The staircase features built-in concrete block seating and a special path for runners. The staircase features about 170 steps made out of Kebony wood, an eco-friendly wood known for its durability – it lasts six times longer than pressure-treated wood. The staircase and incline elevator both lead to a connected promenade and raised lookout. …The Kebony wood stairs visually connect to the Kebony wood used on the boardwalk and architectural cladding.

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Fire Testing on Full-Scale Mass Timber Building Will Inform Code Changes

By Carl Baldassarra and Kenneth Bland
The Society of Fire Protection Engineers
December 19, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States

 These new [mass timber] structural systems in wood represent the first serious challenges to traditional high-rise construction in more than a century. The main barriers to broader acceptance in the United States are current height and number of story limitations set by the International Building Code (IBC): 85 feet and six stories tall, respectively. …the International Code Council (ICC) formed the Ad-hoc Committee on Tall Wood Buildings (TWB) in 2016 to “explore the building science of tall wood buildings …and take action on developing code changes for tall wood buildings.” …the American Wood Council and U.S. Forest Service Forest Products Laboratory collaborated with the TWB to conduct research and testing necessary to understand the performance and validate the fire safety of mass timber buildings.

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Mississippi State University students propose innovative designs for metro area forestry and wildlife outreach center

By Sasha Steinberg
Mississippi State University
December 18, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

STARKVILLE, Miss.— Eighteen architecture students in Mississippi State University’s College of Architecture, Art and Design recently presented master plan and building proposals for a forestry and wildlife outreach center in Mississippi’s largest urban natural area. The student projects were part of MSU Assistant Professor Jacob A. “Jake” Gines’s fall-semester introduction to mass timber studio course supported by the Mississippi Forestry Foundation, the fundraising arm of the Mississippi Forestry Association. …In their project proposals, students were required to use mass timber building technologies as the primary structural system. Water management, energy and forestry conservation, and promotion of physical wellness in terms of outdoor activity also were top design priorities.

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