Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: December 21, 2017

Today’s Takeaway

First day of winter solstice – so why the lag to the coldest day of the year?

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

First day of winter solstice – so why the lag between the shortest day of the year and the lowest average daily temperature of the year? According to the Farmer’s Almanac, it’s because the Earth’s thermal mass still retains heat from the summer and cools gradually. The coldest day of winter doesn’t occur for another month and a half.

Three stories of note in today’s news. First, Vancouver’s Terrace House received approval to use mass timber in the top 7-storeys of a 19-storey building; second, Workplace Safety North says substance abuse is a major concern for Ontario’s sawmill industry; and finally, Rome’s mangy Christmas tree is front and centre in the New York Times.

Finally, an early Christmas greeting to all our readers and please note – tomorrow’s Tree Frog News is the last of 2017, barring any breaking news over the holiday. 

— Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Forestry

Changes needed to B.C.’s forest practices legislation

Quesnel Cariboo Observer
December 20, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Tim Ryan

In a new report released on Dec. 4, the Forest Practices Board is recommending the provincial government make a number of improvements to the Forest and Range Practices Act (FRPA). These improvements all have been recommended in previous board reports, but government has never implemented the recommendations, according to the report. “The board believes these changes are necessary to improve stewardship of B.C.’s forest and range resources and to maintain public confidence in their management,” says board chair Tim Ryan.“We urge government to move quickly to address these priorities.”

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FPInnovations collaborative research leads to a Winter Weight Premium extension of 8 days in Alberta

FPInnovations
December 19, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Following FPInnovations and Laval University’s industrial NSERC Chair recommendations, Alberta Transportation recently changed its Winter Weight Premium (WWP) policy allowing an estimated average of 8 days of WWP extension. In Alberta, one of five Canadian provinces to allow premium weights for log hauling and equipment transport (heavy hauling) during the winter, the onset of the WWP season traditionally started when local frost depths reach 1.0 m. Thanks to the recent policy change, it will now start at a frost depth of 0.750 m and end at a thaw depth of 25 cm. This change will also result in more than $2.0 million in savings for the forest sector annually alone.

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Logging plans discussed with Muir Creek environmental group

By Dawn Gibson
Goldstream News Gazette
December 20, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

TimberWest intends to harvest a second-growth forest, located in the upper parts of Muir Creek west of Sooke, but the company is willing to discuss its plans with a local environmental group. Monica Bailey, spokesperson for TimberWest, said the forest company recently built a service road off Anderson Road near Muir Creek, to join a reactived TimberWest logging road. This new road and surveyed land had the Muir Creek Preservation Group concerned, fearing that the trees along Muir Creek were going to be logged….However, Bailey said the company does not plan on logging the area of trees that MCPG is concerned with, and the new road was only built because an area of land that intersected with TimberWest’s main line was sold by a third-party.

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High wages cannot sustain sawmills, says writer

Letter by Joe Sawchuk
Alberni Valley News
December 20, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The recent protest meeting about the future of the Somass sawmill was a huge waste of time and did not prove anything, mainly because of ignoring the facts and reality on the subject. Canada is No. 1 in the world in exporting lumber, but over the years, competition has set in. In order of importance next to Canada being No. 1, the United States, Sweden, Finland, Germany, Russia, Brazil, Austria, and Chile, have come on board in the exercise of lumber exports. With all of these countries now in the field of exporting lumber, facts and reality set in on the future of the Somass Mill. If the mill is to re-open, and to stay open, the No. 1 important factor is that the hourly rates of pay for the various jobs in the mill have to be lowered.

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Will fall prey to wolves if not removed quickly, province warned

By Ruth Fletcher
Sault Star
December 20, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

MONTREAL RIVER HARBOUR – Recent data from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry suggest that plans to rescue some of the threatened caribou herd from Michipicoten Island might have to be revamped, an official argues. Following a Dec. 14 phone call with Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry personnel in Thunder Bay and Peterborough, Ont., Leo LaPiano, Michipicoten First Nation Lands and Resources conservation officer, realized that the herd is even more depleted than originally thought.  As a result, he later contacted the ministry via email, warning officials they do not have until the end of January if  the Lake Superior herd is to be preserved. This week, the ministry told LaPiano that the earliest date personnel could go to Michipicoten Island, on the northeastern part of Lake Superior, about 175 kilometres northwest of Sault Ste. Marie, to transport caribou would be the second week in January, as MNRF must follow protocol, currently being written.

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Substance abuse top health and safety concern for sawmill industry

By Robin De Angelis
CBC News
December 21, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

Substance abuse might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of workplace health and safety, but workers, and managers in the sawmill industry say it’s one of their biggest concerns. Workplace Safety North recently held a risk assessment workshop with experts in the industry. They examined 86 health and safety concerns. A survey of workers and managers determined that substance abuse — including alcohol, recreational drugs and prescriptions drugs — was the number one safety risk. Tom Welton, industrial director at Workplace Safety North, was surprised by the results — even though he had personally encountered substance use when he worked as a logging supervisor in northern Ontario. Substance use isn’t tracked the way other workplace risks like slips and falls are Welton says.

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McNeil sits down to talk health care, environment, forestry

By John McPhee
Canadian Press in the Chronicle Herald
December 21, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

…The premier was also asked about the province’s handling of the Boat Harbour cleanup in Pictou County. The harbour has been polluted by decades of effluents from the nearby pulp mill, now owned by Northern Pulp, and one plan is to pipe the effluent away from the harbour. …“We’re committed to doing it, we’re going to clean it up but it was never our intent — nor will it be — to move it and pollute somewhere’s else, and to affect what is the backbone of much of our rural communities, which is the fisheries,” he said. …Also on the environment, McNeil said he intended to implement the recommendations in a forestry review expected in February.  …“I asked him to do this work because I need a path forward so his report will be accepted. Without seeing it, it’s hard to (say for certain) but my intention is to implement the recommendations he puts forward.”

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Log trucks once again rolling out of Bitterroot west side

By Michael Howell
Bitterroot Star
December 20, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Brian Henderson

The logging trucks are rolling out of some west side drainages as work on the Westside Collaborative Vegetation Management Project has begun. The project is one in a long line of projects on the Bitterroot National Forest that since 2007 have treated more than 30,000 acres of National Forest lands that border private property in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI). This project involves treating another 2,000 acres stretching from Roaring Lion south to Lost Horse. The purpose of the project is to improve forest health and reduce forest fuels and lower crown fire hazards while also restoring wildlife and native plant habitat and diversity. The project includes 1,200 acres of commercial timber harvest and 978 acres of non-commercial thinning to reduce fire fuels.

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Daines, Tester, Gianforte ask forest service to support effort to conserve private land in NW Montana

Associated Press in Helena Independent Record
December 20, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Daines, Tester, and Gianforte

Montana’s congressional delegation is asking U.S. Forest Service Chief Tony Tooke to support a conservation easement on 22,275-acres of private land near the Kootenai National Forest. Members of the delegation said Wednesday that approval of the Kootenai Forestland Project in northwest Montana would sustain timber industry jobs and protect hunting, fishing and hiking access. It also would block residential development. U.S. Sens. Jon Tester and Steve Daines and Rep. Greg Gianforte asked Tooke to make the project a 2019 funding priority.

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Forest Society of Maine names new executive director

By Kevin Miller
Portland Press Herald
December 20, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

Karin Tilberg

The Forest Society of Maine has named Karin Tilberg as its new executive director. Tilberg joined the Bangor-based nonprofit in 2011 after working as the deputy commissioner at the Maine Department of Conservation during the Baldacci administration. She has served as the interim head of the Forest Society of Maine since the sudden death in August of Alan Hutchinson, a well-respected figure in national conservation circles who helped build the organization into one of Maine’s most influential and effective land trusts. “I am very grateful to be named the new executive director of Forest Society of Maine,” Tilberg said in a statement, “I am dedicated to building on the strong foundation created by my predecessor and inspiring conservation leader, Alan Hutchinson. “

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We need to grow more trees – how about a Chief Forester to make it happen?

By Stuart Goodall
The Scotsman
December 21, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Stuart Goodall

It is rare for a draft Bill to secure cross-chamber ­support, but that’s just what happened last month with the first stage of the ­Forestry and Land ­Management (Scotland) Bill. The support is testament to efforts by all parties at Holyrood to deliver a positive future for the £1 billion ­forestry and wood processing sector in Scotland, the 25,000-plus jobs it provides and the rural communities it supports. …There are a variety of reasons for greater tree planting. As head of the sector’s trade body, representing more than 600 forestry and wood-using businesses across Scotland, I understand the need for confidence in future wood supply. …It is crucial that the Bill recognises the need for continued expertise and one way of promoting this would be through the creation of a new role of Chief Forester.

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Rome’s ‘Mangy’ Christmas Tree Is a Sorry Sight: ‘It Has Clearly Been Traumatized’

By Elisabetta Povoledo
The New York Times
December 20, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: International

ROME — No sooner had workers hoisted a 72-foot tall Norway spruce in Rome’s central Piazza Venezia this month than the mocking began. The tree was quickly nicknamed Spelacchio, or Mangy, because so many of its dead needles were dropping off, leaving the tree looking a bit bare. Chatter spread quickly on social media where Romans traded jokes about the spruce and criticized its sad appearance. Insults quickly turned to intrigue as the Italian media plumbed the tree’s costs, questioned how it had been transported to the city and analyzed its state of health. “It has clearly been traumatized,” one expert declared.

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Country diary: venerable beech hosts a swarm of microscopic life

By Phil Gates
The Guardian
December 21, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: International

The beech that stands at the end of the stepping stones across Waskerley beck is an elephantine presence, dwarfing surrounding trees. The scarred grey bark of its bole has the colour and texture of pachyderm skin. Its moss-covered surface roots seem to be melting into the earth under the massive burden they support. Over decades they have grown and coalesced, creating hollows between them that retain water, fed by rivulets of rainwater trickling down the trunk. There is a name for these mini-ponds that form on the surface of plants and are habitats for small aquatic organisms: phytotelmata, which translates from the Greek root as “plant ponds”. …Beech root phytotelmata rarely host anything larger than fly larvae, but the microscopic organisms that live in them all year round are no less remarkable.

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Company & Business News

Opposition pressing for legal action against effluent from Pictou pulp mill

The Journal Pioneer
December 20, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada East, Canada

An opposition MLA is pressing the province to take legal action to prevent a Pictou pulp mill from constructing a treatment plant that would pump treated effluent into the Northumberland Strait. Souris-Elmira PC MLA Colin Lavie also pushed the province to request a full federal environment review of the Northern Pulp Mill, which has seen criticism from both P.E.I. and Nova Scotia fishermen for the proposed treatment plant.  Lavie said fishermen are alarmed by the plans. “Will this government take legal action to protect our seafood industry and our environment?,” asked Lavie, who noted the mill was fined earlier this fall when it was discovered it was emitting practical matter above the allowable limit.

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Forestry remains steady despite 2017 challenges

By Susan Collins-Smith
The Meridian Star
December 20, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: US East, United States

Despite a slow housing market and other lingering effects of the recession, Mississippi’s forests remain the state’s second most valuable agricultural commodity for 2017. John Auel, an assistant Extension professor of forestry at Mississippi State University, estimates the value of forest products is $1.4 billion, which is a decrease of 8.6 percent from 2016. However, 2017 numbers are almost 40 percent higher than they were in 2009, when the industry experienced its lowest valued harvest of the 2007-2009 recession. “All timber categories, except oak sawtimber, have seen a decrease in price. …Randy Rousseau, an MSU Extension and research professor, said the condition of the industry depends on which area of the state landowners occupy. While the entire state has a surplus of timber, markets vary north and south of Interstate 20.

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Pulp giant stirs new conflicts with Indonesian villagers

By Stephen Wright
Associated Press in the Washington Post
December 20, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: International

AIR MENDUYUNG, Indonesia — Less than five years after it pledged to end dozens of disputes over land and gain local consent for new plantations in Indonesia, one of the world’s largest paper companies is backsliding on those vows. At issue: its dealings with a supplier that has been a butt of community opposition. Asia Pulp & Paper denies it controls the little-known plantation company it wants as a supplier. But an Associated Press investigation reveals the paper giant has had close ties to the company, as it does with more than two dozen other suppliers it characterizes as independent. Through the supplier, Asia Pulp & Paper is pressing ahead with plans to exploit 66,000 hectares (163,000 acres) of state land in the Bangka Belitung island chain off Sumatra despite resistance from 40 affected villages that some 100,000 people call home. 

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Colorado State University study finds link between climate change, reduced forest resilience

By Jacy Marmaduke
The Coloradoan
December 20, 2017
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

A new Colorado State University-led study unearthed unhappy news for the resilience of Rocky Mountain forests. The study examined nearly 1,500 sites in five states — Colorado, Wyoming, Washington, Idaho and Montana — and found a link between Earth’s changing climate and significant decreases in post-fire tree regeneration, according to a Colorado State University press release. Regeneration is an important factor for forest health. Researchers measured more than 63,000 seedlings in a region where 52 wildfires have burned during the past 30 years. They found decreases in regeneration after early 21st century wildfires, when conditions were hotter and drier than in previous years. …The results of the study mean it could take forests longer to return after they’re destroyed by wildfires, if they return at all… Sites that saw the least regeneration were also the warmest and driest sites, where fires burned especially severely. 

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Tasmania’s Forico wins first plantation carbon credits contract

ABC News, Australia
December 20, 2017
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Bryan Hayes

Tasmanian company Forico has become the first forest manager in Australia to win a contract to sell carbon credits to the Federal Government. Forico has been approved for a 10-year contract under the Federal Government’s Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF). It will sell credits to the (ERF) through a 630 hectare plantation project in the state’s north-east. The Federal Government has so far committed more than $2.28 billion under the ERF in efforts to tackle climate change. Forico’s chief executive Bryan Hayes said winning the contract was a significant achievement. He said the company had changed its practices as part of the agreement to tackle climate change. “What we’ve agreed to do, and the project is all about, taking a short rotation eucalypt pulp wood plantation and agreeing to convert that to a long rotation softwood plantation.” 

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Report: Water, energy, forestry, the sustainable development goals and the circular economy

By Devon Edwards
Carbon Disclosure Project in Green Biz
December 21, 2017
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

A Carbon Disclosure Report finds that 87 percent of companies that disclose to CDP have identified business risks related to deforestation, and 32 percent of these companies already experience impacts from these risks. However, only 13 percent of companies analyzed have made a time-bound commitment to zero deforestation to date. Other key findings include:

  • An estimated $941 billion of turnover in publicly listed companies is dependent on commodities linked to deforestation, up from $906 billion in 2016.
  • More than a third of companies have not assigned their boards with responsibility for addressing deforestation.
  • 77 percent of companies are failing to disclose how these risks impact their business, leaving investors with unanswered questions about the risk to their portfolios. 

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Terrace House, Vancouver’s Most Exclusive Waterfront Condominium, Receives Tallest Approval for Hybrid Wood Structure in North America

By PortLiving
EconoTimes
December 20, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

Vancouver, BC — Terrace House, the highly anticipated development by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Shigeru Ban, with its highest point sitting at 232’ above ground level, has received official approval to use exposed mass timber in the top 7-storeys of this 19-storey building.  The issuance of the Building Permit required approval of an “Alternative Solution” to demonstrate compliance with Vancouver’s Building Code, thereby allowing the use of mass timber in the construction of a high-rise building.  This approval from the Chief Building Official’s Office is significant as Terrace House is the tallest hybrid wood structure approved for construction in North America. …The approval is a milestone for Terrace House and the City of Vancouver. It was achieved through a process of performance-based fire and structural engineering tests supported by analysis of fire risks including risk of fire after earthquake.

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