Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: January 16, 2018

Today’s Takeaway

Ottawa set to introduce carbon-tax legislation with breaks for industry

January 16, 2018
Category: Today's Takeaway

Ottawa is set to introduce carbon-tax legislation that will give breaks to industrial emitters and “avoid driving industry out of the country to jurisdictions that have no carbon pricing”. In other Business news: the US National Association of Home Builders reports on rising prices for lumber, OSB and gypsum; and BC’s special envoy on softwood lumber (David Emerson) is out of a job.

In Forestry News: Saskatchewan moves to address the threat to ash trees: BC Minister Donaldson meets residents over logging plans near Seven Sisters Provincial Park; and forestry and community reps raise concerns during Ontario’s pre-budget consultations.

Finally: Whistler’s art museum wins 2018 AIA award; a UK consumer poll says says fibre based packaging is preferred for its environmental-friendliness; and meet the Colorado company that’s building houses with hemp.

— Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Business & Politics

NAFTA’s Chapter 11 dispute mechanism too costly for Canada at $314M, says report

The Canadian Press in The Chronicle Journal
January 16, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

A progressive group says it’s baffled that the Canadian government has worked at the NAFTA negotiating table to protect a dispute resolution system that allows companies to sue governments, estimating it has cost Canadian taxpayers $314 million. The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives says in a report to be published Tuesday that Chapter 11 provisions in the North American Free Trade Agreement have cost Canada $95 million in unrecoverable legal fees, calculated based on data it obtained through an access to information request. …The CCPA says Canada has been the target of more claims under Chapter 11 than its Mexican and American partners and the trend is getting worse as Canada has been sued over twice as many times as Mexico and the U.S. combined since 2010.

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Emerson’s role as B.C. softwood envoy ends, with no lumber trade deal in sight

The Canadian Press in the Victoria Times Colonist
January 15, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

David Emerson

VICTORIA — David Emerson’s appointment as British Columbia’s special envoy to the United States on softwood lumber is coming to an end. Premier John Horgan said Emerson’s experience has been invaluable but the need for his expertise has been reduced as the trade issue appears headed for a court battle. …”While his role as special envoy is coming to an end, I am pleased Mr. Emerson will continue to provide advice and counsel on critical trade matters as needed,” Horgan said in a statement Monday. …”I know from my own past experience that B.C. and Canada will prevail through litigation and remain confident that a deal can be reached when the time is right,” Emerson said in a statement. “I’m willing to continue to provide my services to support B.C., as required.”

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Softwood Lumber, OSB, and Gypsum Lead 2017 Price Increases

By David Logan
NAHB – Eye on Housing
January 11, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States

Prices paid for OSB (-13.0%), softwood lumber (-1.0%), and inputs to residential construction (-0.1%), all decreased in December, according to the latest Producer Price Index (PPI) release by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The index for gypsum products advanced (+1.6%). Over the course of 2017, the price paid for every major input to construction NAHB tracks has increased. The following is a list of price increases by commodity since the start of the year: +13.4%: Softwood lumber; +13.2%: OSB; +7.4%: Gypsum products; +3.7%: Inputs to residential construction (less labor and capital investment); +2.9%: Ready-mix concrete. The steep decline in OSB prices in December comes one month after the commodity posted a 15.3% gain. Even with the price decrease, the PPI for OSB remains 13.2% higher than it stood in January 2017 and 37.4% higher than it began 2016.

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Canfor invests US$28m in Southern Yellow Pine sawmill in Moultrie

EUWID Wood Products and Panels
January 15, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

By the end of 2018, Canadian Canfor intends to invest US$28m in the expansion of the Southern Yellow Pine sawmill in Moultrie, Georgia. The investment measures include, for example, the installation of a new cross-cut system and planing mill, and an increase in the drying capacity. According to Canfor, once the investment package has been completed, the production capacity of the plant is to increase significantly and the number of employees will rise from 90 to almost 100. Canfor has not disclosed an absolute figure on the current or future production capacity. [END]

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Patkau’s Audain Art Museum wins 2018 AIA Award

Canadian Architect
January 15, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, United States

In Whistler, British Columbia, Patkau Architects’ sculptural Audain Art Museum has added another major award to its impressive list of honours. Already the recipient of the 2017 AIBC Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia Medal in Architecture, as well a Canadian Wood Council Design Award, John and Patricia Patkau’s project was named one of only eight winners at the 2018 American Institute of Architects (AIA) Awards. …According to the AIA, “the museum responds to these challenges by projecting a volume of public spaces and galleries into a natural void in the forest. The building’s form and its siting work together with the trees to exaggerate the embrace of the reclaimed meadow. 

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Mid-rise wood-frame construction gets innovative

By Jim Taggart
Construction Canada
January 15, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

Jim Taggart

In the nine years since the British Columbia Building Code (BCBC) was revised to permit six-storey residential wood construction, architects, engineers, municipal authorities, and local fire departments have become familiar with the basic parameters of this new building type. Over the same period, market conditions and technological advances in wood products and building systems have continued to evolve, creating new challenges and opportunities. …There is also a desire to explore hybrid wood construction in anticipation of impending code changes that will permit six-storey wood construction for some Group D occupancies. This article looks at three six-storey wood-frame projects in the Vancouver area that are addressing these emerging changes on the country’s urban development landscape.

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Reclaimed wood: Bringing the old back to life

By James Niehaus
Woodworking Network
January 15, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States

Unless you have been trapped under a rock for the past decade, anyone interested in woodworking is already well aware of the meteoric rise that reclaimed wood has seen. Reclaimed wood offers a number of benefits for both the modern woodworker as well as the old-schooler, which means the market boom for this material shows no signs of slowing down. But what kind of wood should you use when making a woodworking project using reclaimed wood? …Technically, most kinds of wood can be used for reclaimed wood projects, but… dense woods will be able to withstand far longer and rougher periods of exposure while still being suitable for reclaimed wood projects than softer woods would be. That said, even softer woods like pine can be used so long as their exposure has been less intense.

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Meet the Colorado Company Building Houses with Hemp

By Cori Anderson
303 Magazine
January 16, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

Colorado is home to an impressive number of hemp farms that span thousands of acres and the burgeoning question for those farmers and other interested parties are what to do with their product. There is no shortage of possibilities when it comes to using industrial hemp — paper, clothing, food, building material and more. One Colorado company is taking big strides to construct homes using hemp and will be the first one in the state to do so. Left Hand Hemp—composed of founder and CEO Kelly Thornton and hemp-event coordinator Alli Cloyd— is paving the way for hempcrete as a legitimate and common building material and want to prove just how sustainable it can be. …Unlike concrete, hempcrete does not expand and contract in a way that requires expansion joints, though it breathes as an insulator so the house is cool in summer and warm in winter. It does not bear the weight of a building but rather is put between load-bearing studs and wooden frames. 

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Consumer survey identifies trend towards fiber-based packaging

Labels and Labeling
January 15, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

A snap poll of UK consumers has identified a preference for paper and cardboard packaging. The poll, conducted by industry body Two Sides and international research agency Toluna, has identified paper and cardboard to be the most preferred packaging material for environmental-friendliness, recyclability and practicality. Respondents were asked which packaging material – glass, metal, paper and cardboard, or plastic – they prefer based on a number of different reasons. Paper and cardboard received the highest score for being better for the environment and easier to recycle and, in terms of practicality, easier to open and close, easier to store, lighter weight, more practical and safer to use. …Martyn Eustace, managing director at Two Sides, commented: ‘In the current packaging climate, it is great to see paper and cardboard packaging recognized by consumers for its excellent environmental attributes.

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Forestry

Natural Resources Forum Underway This Week

By Cheryl Jahn
Prince George Today
January 15, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

PRINCE GEORGE — Crews are busy getting the Conference and Civic Centre ready for the 15th annual Natural Resources forum. It gets underway tomorrow evening, with federal Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr giving the keynote address at a dinner. Other notable speakers include Premier John Horgan on Wednesday and MLA Ellis Ross on Thursday. More than any other part forum, this has a much more national feel to it. “We’ve gone national,” says Keven Brown, one of the event’s organizers. “We have more nationally-affiliated speakers than ever before.” That includes Minister Carr, the Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, Perry Bellegarde, CEO of the Conference Board of Canada Dr. Daniel Muzyka, and the President and CEO of the World Wildlife Fund, Megan Leslie.

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Saskatchewan moves to nip invasive insect threat to ash trees in bud

Canadian Press in Calgary Herald
January 15, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

REGINA — Saskatchewan is taking steps to try to halt the spread of an insect pest that poses a major threat to ash trees in Manitoba. The emerald ash borer — originally from China — was detected in Winnipeg last year but hasn’t gone any farther. The Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment says in a release that it’s now listed the beetle as a designated insect pest because of the danger it presents to provincial forests. The department says it will take necessary control measures on all land south of the 55th parallel, including prohibiting the transportation of firewood and wood products into Saskatchewan from infested areas. …They’re so prevalent that scientists fear some species of ash could be wiped out. The International Union for Conservation of Nature has said the toll may eventually reach eight billion trees.

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Doug Donaldson meets with Friends of Seven Sisters on logging plan

By Michael Grace-Dacosta
The Interior News
January 15, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Doug Donaldson

Friends of Seven Sisters met with Forests Minister and Stikine MLA, Doug Donaldson, on Jan. 9 to discuss their concerns over the planned logging adjacent to Seven Sisters Provincial Park. ..“The whole tone of the meeting was very, very, positive,” said spokesperson for the group Rod Major. “He was very open to see if changes could be made to what was going on. …Donaldson committed to sending the forest district manager who’s responsible for that area to follow up with the Friends of the Seven Sisters for a field visit in the near future. “I think it’s a chance for the district manager, who is influential in the application of forest stewardship plans, to hear directly from the Friends of the Seven Sisters,” said Donaldson.

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Union Bay residents concerned about logging within Langley Lake watershed

By Scott Fraser
Comox Valley Record
January 15, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Forestry company Island Timberlands gave notice to the Union Bay Improvement District (UBID) last year that the company intends to conduct industrial activity near the southwest corner of Langley Lake for the 2018 timber harvest. Langley Lake is the drinking water source for the roughly 1,200 people in Union Bay. But Island Timberlands owns the land the lake is situated on and has conducted logging there in the past. In their November 2017 news update to landowners, UBID chief administrative officer Gord Mason and board chair Peter Jacques wrote that the situation is “of great concern to the UBID trustees.” “…should it be allowed to happen, there is little doubt this logging will do irreparable harm to our watershed and water system,” they wrote.

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Forestry takes centre stage during pre-budget consultation

By Doug Diaczuk
Thunder Bay News Watch
January 15, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

Dennis Brown

THUNDER BAY – Municipal leaders and forestry sector representatives say there is an abundance of harvestable wood in Northern Ontario forests, but they are worried changes to policies will make that wood inaccessible and threaten jobs throughout the region. The Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs held a pre-budget consultation meeting in Thunder Bay on Monday. …Jamie Lim, president of the Ontario Forest Industries Association, said she hopes the committee understands that forests are a renewable resource and with the right policies, the sector can grow and create even more jobs in the region. …Atikokan mayor, Dennis Brown, added that there is a lot of uncertainty in small communities throughout the north when it comes to the future of the sector and the availability of wood to feed mills if companies no longer operate under the Crown Forest Sustainability Act.

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By 2025, all of McDonald’s Packaging to Come from Renewable, Recycled or Certified Sources; Goal to Have Recycling Available in All Restaurants

By McDonald’s Restaurants
Business Insider
January 16, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

OAK BROOK, Ill. — Today, McDonald’s announces goals to improve its packaging and help significantly reduce waste to positively impact the communities the company serves around the world.  By 2025, 100 percent of McDonald’s guest packaging will come from renewable, recycled, or certified sources with a preference for Forest Stewardship Council certification. Also by 2025, the company has set a goal to recycle guest packaging in 100 percent of McDonald’s restaurants. …“McDonald’s global preference for Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified materials demonstrates their far-reaching commitment to source packaging that benefits people and forests around the world,” said Kim Carstensen, director general of the Forest Stewardship Council. “The partnership between McDonald’s and FSC – the world’s most trusted certification of forests and forest products – also creates a uniquely powerful opportunity for McDonald’s to engage customers about simple ways to protect forests,” he added.

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State tree-cutting rules eased for wildfire victims

The Press Democrat
January 15, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Michael Wagner doesn’t like the idea of cutting down trees on his 71-acre Santa Rosa ranch, blackened by October wildfires. …Under a proposal that could benefit Wagner and other fire victims, the state Board of Forestry and Fire Protection has agreed to waive its requirement that residents file costly timber harvest plans before removing scorched trees to be sold for lumber. The waiver would apply to stands within 300 feet of damaged or destroyed structures and would be in place for at least six months, speeding recovery and saving land owners up to $40,000 for the cost of timber plans. Matt Dias said it was adopted after fire victims in Sonoma, Mendocino and Napa counties complained the existing rules were a limiting factor in their ability to rebuild.

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Congress must ensure healthy forest and secure watersheds

By Andy Mueller, GM, Colorado River District
Summit Daily
January 15, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Andy Mueller

…Ongoing drought cycles and the overgrown condition of our forests leave Colorado and the entire American West at risk of even more destructive and costly fire seasons in the days and years ahead. The federal government is the single largest landowner in Colorado and the majority of those lands are managed by the U.S. Forest Service. In fact, federal agencies own and manage more than a 35 percent of the land in Colorado, and in some Western Slope counties that percentage is north of 90 percent. Now consider that most of the water used in our homes and businesses, and to irrigate our crops in Colorado, originates on federal lands. This means the federal government has a major responsibility for the management and health of our forests and watersheds.

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Australia’s most dangerous industries revealed

By Brooke Gibbs
Sydney Morning Herald
January 16, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: International

If you work in agriculture, forestry and fishing, then you’re working in Australia’s most dangerous industry, a study has found. A recent analysis by Finder Insights has found agriculture, forestry and fishing the most hazardous industry for the third year in a row, with 44 fatalities and 3510 serious injuries in 2016 alone. The most common cause of injury being sheep, beef cattle and grain farming. The analysis of the latest Safe Work Australia data scaled compensation claims for serious industries against fatalities per industry. …”Although other industries may have more of a reputation, agriculture, forestry and fishing saw the highest proportion of fatalities and compensation claims in 2016, for the third year running,” Mr Cooke said.

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Ethiopia: Nation to Restore Over 20 Mln Ha Forest Landscape

By Genet Fekade
The Ethiopian Herald
January 15, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: International

ADDIS ABABA— Ethiopia has planned ambitious programs of forest landscape restoration to resuscitate more than 20 million hectares of degraded forest landscapes within the next 20 years, The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change disclosed. In an exclusive interview with The Ethiopian Herald, Dr. Yitebitu Moges, Manager for REDD+ program under the Ministry, said that the forest coverage of the country will leap to 20 percent by 2030 from its three percent status it was in two decades ago.  A plan is set to develop seven million hectares of forestland by the end of the strategic year, as there is a conducive environment to achieve the target.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Ottawa prepares to relax carbon-pricing measures to aid industry competitiveness

By Shawn McCarthy
The Globe and Mail
January 15, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada

The Liberal government is set to introduce carbon-tax legislation that will give breaks to industrial emitters as Ottawa seeks to limit the economic impact of an ambitious environmental agenda to be enacted this year. Environment Minister Catherine McKenna and Finance Minister Bill Morneau released a draft legislative proposal outlining key elements of the “carbon price backstop” that will apply only in provinces that do not have their own levy or have one that fails to meet federal standards. …Ms. McKenna said “we know a price on pollution is the best way to fight climate change and also get clean innovation. But of course, competitiveness is a key part of it.” …The system is designed to avoid driving industry out of the country to jurisdictions that have no carbon pricing, which would both cost Canadians jobs and result in no environmental benefit for the planet, the minister said.

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Logging surge threatens a quarter of Estonia’s forest, warn conservationists

By Arthur Neslen
Climate Home News
January 15, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

A quarter of Estonia’s forestland is at imminent risk from a major logging increase, aided by “flexibilities” in EU rules that the Baltic state championed. That is the warning from conservationists, as the scars of clear-cutting show commercial demand for wood is already changing the landscape. Estonia’s logging volumes have almost tripled in the past decade. The European Commission expects Estonia’s forests to become a net carbon source by 2030, rather than a sink, as they are today. Asko Lohmus, a conservation biologist at Tartu University, fears dramatic results. “I think that 25% of our forest is immediately at risk, according to the current legal regulations,” he told Climate Home News.

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Should we burn trees for energy?

By Catriona Croft-Cusworth
Center for International Forestry Research
January 16, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

As the European Union Parliament debates changes to a directive on renewable energy, more than 650 scientists have signed a letter demanding an amendment to the directive’s definition of forest biomass. Under the current definition, nations and industries can count as ‘renewable’ the energy sourced from burning trees that were cut down just for that purpose. The letter from scientists states that only the forest biomass from residues and waste left by trees cut down for other purposes should count toward the EU target of at least 20 percent renewable energy by 2020. The signatories warn that a failure to make this change will continue to put global climate goals, and the world’s forests, at risk. Robert Nasi, Director General of CIFOR, agrees in principle with the letter, but says the reality of forest biomass supply chains and carbon dynamics is even more complex than the letter’s argument makes out.

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Replacing wood burning energy for coal will worsen climate, claim Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Energy Voice
January 16, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Researchers from MIT Sloan School of Management have found that wood pellets burned in European and UK power plants, such as the Drax facility in North Yorkshire – which has transitioned some of its coal power generation capacity to wood pellets with the support of UK government subsidies – actually emit more CO2 per kilowatt hour than that generated by coal. This is because wood is both less efficient at the point of combustion and has larger processing and supply chain emissions than coal. Their research shows that using wood instead of coal in power generation increases the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, worsening climate change until–and only if–the harvested forests regrow. US forests are a main source for EU wood pellet imports, which have been rising as demand has grown. These forests grow back slowly, so it takes a long time to repay the initial “carbon debt” incurred by burning wood instead of coal.

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