Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: January 5, 2018

Today’s Takeaway

Bombogenesis or Bomb Cyclone hits the northeast

The Tree Frog Forestry News
January 5, 2018
Category: Today's Takeaway

Brrr!

For all our readers NOT on the east coast: “Bomb cyclones” or “weather bombs” are wicked winter storms that can rival the strength of hurricanes, and are so called because of the process that creates them: bombogenesis. Bomb cyclones tend to carry hurricane-force winds and cause coastal flooding and heavy snow. And for you easterners – stay safe!

In Biomass and Climate news: Canada’s National Energy Board reports that biomass capacity and generation are up; Arizona regulators want to increase the use of forest biomass for power; Washington’s Public Lands Commissioner wants to implement a carbon policy to deal with climate change; and good news from researchers at the California Institute of Technology who discovered that methane emissions from forest fires decreased by almost twice as much as previous calculations. 

Elsewhere: new evidence on the western spruce budworm’s fireproofing effect; the grim scope of California’s 2017 wildfire season; and a caribou pen is being employed to protect calves from predators.

Finally, Europe and Canada are at the forefront in mass timber design; Vancouver gives the go ahead for the tallest hybrid wood structure in North America; and the largest share of door and window growth is projected to go vinyl.

— Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Froggy Foibles

Would you feel safer wearing a cycle helmet made from paper?

Bio-Based World News
November 24, 2017
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: International

There are more than a billion bicycles used on roads worldwide. …However, a new start-up for alternative recyclable helmets EcoHelmet, reports that nearly 90% of bike users choose not to wear one. For many people, the traditional polystyrene bike helmets are heavy, awkward and bad for storage. The New York designer Isis Shiffer, an enthusiast for design and cycling developed EcoHelmet so that more bicycle users could feel confident to travel safely in cities. …Manufactured from water-resistant recycled paper, the EcoHelmet folds flat and one size fits all. They have a biodegradable coating that makes it waterproof for up to three hours. 

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Forestry

Endangered south Selkirk caribou to get pen protection in West Kootenay

Canadian Press in Vancouver Sun
January 4, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

VICTORIA — Indigenous groups on both sides of the Canadian and U.S. border are working with the B.C. government and others to save a critically endangered species of woodland caribou. The Kalispel Tribe in Washington state is among those leading a project building a caribou maternal pen on land owned by the Nature Conservancy of Canada in the mountains of B.C.’s West Kootenay. Tribe spokesman Mike Lithgow says the eight-hectare pen is being built where it’s expected about six south Selkirk mountain caribou will give birth later this year. The pen is 4.57 metres high, has electric fencing on its exterior and is covered with a fabric that acts as a visual barrier for predators. Lithgow says the cows will be caught using a net gun from a helicopter and then relocated to the pen to protect them from predators that have killed as many as three-quarters of the offspring in the past.

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New approach needed to managing forests

BC Local News
January 4, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

On Nov. 22 author Ed Struzik was interviewed in the media recently about his new book (Firestorm, How Wild Fires Will Shape our Future). He concludes we need to have a radically different approach to managing our forests to reduce the impact of future wildfires and he suggests we learn from the traditional first nations approach to using periodic fires to reduce fuel accumulations and enhance timber, wild life and recreation values. During the interview he describes how the mega fires have become much more frequent and behave in ways never witnessed before. The intense heat from the dry timber are creating smoke that extends much higher into the atmosphere and travels around the world similar to the volcanic smoke and ash.

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More evidence of the ‘fireproofing effect’ of insect outbreaks in a forest

By Bill Gabbert
Wildfire Today
January 4, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

There is no dispute that severe outbreaks of western spruce budworm (WSB) and mountain pine beetle (MPB) in a forest have huge visual impacts. Many land managers have worried about more, larger wildfiresand politicians have used it as an excuse for more logging. But the commonly held belief that the effects will lead to higher intensity, more rapidly spreading wildfires has been disproven many times in the last eight years by scientists. …The WSB and MPB attack trees very differently. The WSB defoliates the tree, consuming the needles, relatively quickly removing fuel from the canopy. The MPB kills the tree from the inside, leaving the dying “red” needles on the tree until they fall off in one to two years. 

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The grim scope of 2017’s California wildfire season is now clear. The danger’s not over.

By Lauren Tierney
The Washington Post
January 4, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

The wildfires that raced across California in 2017 caused historic levels of death and destruction. Nearly 9,000 wildfires tore through the state, burning 1.2 million acres of land (an area the size of Delaware or the Larsen C iceberg), destroying more than 10,800 structures and killing at least 46 people. Fires have erupted as far north as the Klamath National Forest, on the Oregon border, and as far south as San Diego. They also have ravaged forests along the Sierra Nevada mountains. …California may not see a reprieve this winter. The National Interagency Fire Center’s Predictive Outlook for 2018 for the first time is forecasting above normal large fire potential due to the persistence of dry fuels, frequent offshore winds and generally unfavorable weather.

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Arkansas Forestry Commission shares wildfire outlook for 2018

The Booneville Democrat
January 4, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

LITTLE ROCK – In 2017, 1,566 wildfires burned 27,549 acres in Arkansas. This is the highest wildfire frequency year since 2012 when 2,148 wildfires burned 34,434 acres. …The 2018 wildfire outlook, provided by the National Interagency Coordination Center, predicts higher than normal Arkansas wildfire activity from February – April in Northwest Arkansas counties based on predicted drought conditions and forecasts for dry air over the region.

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Can Gene Editing Save the World’s Chocolate?

By Laura Geggel
Live Science
January 4, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Fungi and viruses are poised to doom chocolate, which is why scientists are racing to save cacao — the tree that sprouts the colorful, football-size pods containing beans used to make chocolate — with the gene-editing tool known as CRISPR-Cas9, according to a new report. Cacao trees (Theobroma cacao) grow in tropical environments, within about 20 degrees north and 20 degrees south of the equator. Unfortunately for chocolate lovers, fungi also flourish in tropical conditions and can easily infect entire cacao tree farms …Their main tool is CRISPR-Cas9, a pair of molecular scissors that can precisely cut out chunks of DNA and replace them with new stretches of DNA. …CRISPR-Cas9 will likely help researchers find fungi- and virus-resistant trees sooner than cross pollinating plants the old-fashioned way. 

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China to create new forests covering area size of Ireland

Reuters
January 4, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Wu Lihong

SHANGHAI – China will plant new forests covering an area roughly the size of Ireland this year as it aims to increase forest coverage to 23 percent of its total landmass by the end of the decade, China Daily reported on Friday. Planting trees has become a key part of China’s efforts to improve its environment and tackle climate change, and the government has pledged to raise total coverage from 21.7 percent to 23 percent over the 2016-2020 period, said the China Daily, citing the country’s top forestry official. Zhang Jianlong, head of the State Forestry Administration, said at a meeting on Thursday that China would aim to grow at least 6.66 million hectares of new forest this year.

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Forestry industry growing in appeal to young women

By Megumi Lizuka
Kyodo News
January 4, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: International

The lure of nature and a slower pace of life are attracting a growing number of young women to Japan’s traditionally male-dominated forestry business, and their participation may help it cope with an aging workforce and a shortage of manpower. Junko Iizuka, a 33-year-old graduate of the prestigious University of Tokyo, quit her job as an international trade fair organizer to join lumber company Tokyo Chainsaws in the village of Hinohara in western Tokyo about four years ago. What impressed her about the company was that it not only logs and sells trees but also leads initiatives to protect forests and get the public interested in them. …Female students, architects, educators, and designers among many others have formed more than 20 groups called “forestry girls” across Japan since the first one was launched in Kyoto about eight years ago.

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Company & Business News

Burton Saw and Supply Announces Merger with Simonds International

Business Wire
January 4, 2018
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, United States

EUGENE, Ore.–Today Burton Saw and Simonds International announced the merger of the companies in a transaction that will create the leading producer and marketer of cutting tools and related equipment for the primary wood fiber industry. The combined entity will continue to operate in the United States and Canada with 12 facilities located in the major wood fiber regions of North America. …Craig Tompkins, President and Chief Executive Officer of Burton Saw said: “…The products and services offered by the merger will enable both companies to go beyond current offerings and bring a complete solution through products, services and equipment that reflect the needs of the marketplace.”

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Anatomy of Nova Scotia’s value-added forest industry

By Earle Miller
The Chronicle Herald
January 4, 2018
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada East, Canada

As I write this article, I realize how long I have been involved in our forest industry and how many changes I have seen along the way. I’m sure all Nova Scotians, connected or not to our industry, believe that adding value to our forestry products creates more jobs and wealth for the province. Value-adding comes in many forms and products. Crafters… play an important role. …Many Nova Scotians don’t realize we have two wood siding plants. …Sawmills: The largest forestry employers have the greatest impact on Nova Scotia’s gross domestic product. …Two pellet mills currently exist in Nova Scotia. …There are a number of pallet manufacturers in Nova Scotia that use low-grade softwood and hardwood lumber from larger sawmills.

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Atikokan pellet plant stays open as Rentech goes bankrupt

Thunder Bay News Watch
January 4, 2018
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada East, Canada

ATIKOKAN, Ont. — The future of an important player in Atikokan’s economy appears secure despite the bankruptcy of U.S.- based Rentech Inc. The company struck a deal in December to sell its Atikokan wood pellet mill, just before filing for bankruptcy. If the transaction is completed, the new operator will be an affiliate of True North Timber, a forest resource company with operations in the Chapleau area. …”There’s a market for this product and they certainly have space to produce a lot more. Maybe with a new company coming in, they’ll have access to a new market and they’ll be able to add more jobs here,” he said. The mill currently employs about two dozen people.

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Door and Window Demand to Grow Through 2021

Door & Window Market Magazine
January 4, 2018
Category: Company & Business News
Region: United States

Global demand for doors and windows is projected to grow 4.5 percent per year by 2021, rising from $172 billion to $214 billion during that time, according to a new study from The Freedonia Group, a Cleveland-based industry research firm. The U.S. and China will account for 65 percent of the global sales growth during this period. …New residential construction accounted for the largest share of door and window demand in 2016. …In terms of window products, vinyl will represent the largest share of overall sales growth by 2021. The cost and performance advantages of PVC products, especially in developing regions where market penetration has not advanced as far as in higher-income areas, will spur this growth. Improvements to the aesthetics of vinyl products will boost sales as well, as suppliers introduce more colors and textures that more closely resemble wood.

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Fire destroys large building at Springfield lumber mill

By Mike Cherry
WMUR
January 4, 2018
Category: Company & Business News
Region: US East, United States

SPRINGFIELD, N.H. —Dozens of firefighters from multiple towns responded Wednesday night to a massive fire at a lumber mill in Springfield. The planer mill at the Durgin and Crowell Lumber Co. was engulfed in flames about 7 p.m. Wednesday. “Once we started to establish a water supply and get things going, we realized we needed to go to a third alarm because of the volume of fire,” Springfield Fire Chief Peter Lacaillade said. More than 75 firefighters from 20 towns responded to the fire. No injuries were reported. …Investigators said they might know where the fire started, but they still don’t know why. “We weren’t able to determine the cause as of yet,” Lacaillade said. “And due to the damage, we may not ever know exactly what the cause of it was.”

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Canada increases biomass capacity, generation

By Erin Voegele
Biomass Magazine
January 4, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada

A report issued by Canada’s National Energy Board shows that the country’s non-hydro renewable power capacity grew by more than 8 percent in 2016, adding nearly 1,300 MW of solar, biomass and wind-generated power. According to the NEB’s report, Canada’s electricity generation was 66 percent renewable in 2016, with non-hydro renewables accounting for 7.2 percent and hydro accounting for 58.8 percent. Canadian biomass capacity increased by 288 MW between 2015 and 2016, reaching 2,702 MW and accounting for 1.8 percent of total capacity in the country. …In British Columbia, biomass was the second largest source of electricity, mainly consuming wood waste from the forestry, pulp and paper industries.

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Breakthrough Study Clarifies the Sources of Increased Atmospheric Methane

By Elizabeth Howell
Seeker
January 4, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States

A better calculation of forest fires will help scientists better understand just how much methane is contributing to climate change. Methane levels have shot up since 2006, but scientists for years weren’t clear about why. Calculations of methane’s various sources didn’t match what was observed in the atmosphere. …That changed with a study published Dec. 20 in the journal Nature Communications. Researchers examined forest fires worldwide because the area burned by these events dropped 12 per cent between the early 2000s and the period 2007-2014, according to satellite measurements from NASA’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer instrument. …The new methane emission calculations from forest fires perfectly added up with other sources of methane to match the observed increase of this molecule in the atmosphere.

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Pellet Fuels Institute welcomes Tim Portz as executive director

Pellet Fuels Institute Release
Biomass Magazine
January 4, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States

Tim Portz

Pellet Fuels Institute recently announced that it has hired Tim Portz to serve as the organization’s executive director. Portz, based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, joins PFI with a wealth of industry knowledge from his previous role as longtime executive editor of Biomass Magazine and Pellet Mill Magazine. “We are thrilled to welcome Tim Portz to lead Pellet Fuels Institute as the domestic pellet fuels industry continues to grow and evolve,” said Stan Elliot, chairman of PFI’s board of directors. …Tim Portz has been a renewable industry observer, reporter, and commentator for nearly a decade.

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With biomass energy, weighing forest restoration and carbon emissions

By Emery Cowan
Arizona Daily Sun
January 5, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

When state utility regulators held a workshop last month about increasing the use of forest biomass for power, one topic did not make it into the discussion: the emissions produced from burning small trees, branches and treetops hauled from Arizona’s forests. Compared to coal, burning biomass emits lower amounts of key pollutants like sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, but it generally equals or surpasses coal in the amount of carbon dioxide it emits per unit of heat. Bioenergy supporters, and many government agencies, have deemed the energy source carbon neutral …The Sierra Club would rather see the forest slash used to make wood products that would sequester, or store, carbon rather than having it be burned, said the nonprofit’s Arizona director Sandy Bahr. 

 

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Lands chief urges carbon policy to focus on climate change

The Associated Press in the Idaho Statesman
January 4, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

Hilary Franz

As the legislative session begins Monday, Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz is urging state lawmakers to adopt a carbon policy that will prepare state lands, forests, waters and local communities that depend on natural resources to better deal with climate change. “The threats to our healthy and productive lands are real, we are already late in responding, and we cannot afford to wait for others to bring leadership to this challenge,” she wrote to legislative leaders. Gov. Jay Inslee… told reporters Thursday that he wants to use state reserves to help pay for education, and backfill that reserve withdrawal with about $1 billion in carbon tax revenues. Inslee said the Legislature is the place to get a carbon measure passed and he’ll encourage lawmakers to get it done.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Learning from Europe and Canada’s timber industry

By Antonio Pacheco
The Architects Newspaper
January 4, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, United States

If the steady stream of newly announced mass wood projects is any indication, mass timber building technologies are poised to take the American construction and design industries by storm over the next few years. As products… begin to make their way into widespread use, designers, engineers, and builders alike are searching for the best—and sometimes, most extreme—applications for mass timber technologies. But rather than reinvent the wheel, American designers can look to experienced mass timber designers in Europeand Canada for key lessons as they begin to test the limits of these materials in the United States. European and Canadian architects and researchers have long been at the forefront of mass timber design, starting with early experiments in the 1970s. 

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Shigeru Ban’s mass timber tower in Vancouver gets city approval

By Earle Miller
Building Design + Construction
January 4, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

Terrace House, designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Shigeru Ban, with its highest point sitting at 232 feet above ground level, has received official approval to use exposed mass timber in the top seven stories of the 19-story building, according to the project’s developer, PortLiving. 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 makes Terrace House the tallest hybrid wood structure approved for construction in North America. Prior to the official approval of Terrace House, the use of exposed mass timber in a hybrid wood structure of this height had never been permitted in either Canada or the U.S.

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