Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: February 19, 2018

Today’s Takeaway

Softwood prices continue to rise, longer-term view positive despite duties

The Tree Frog Forestry News
February 19, 2018
Category: Today's Takeaway

Softwood lumber prices continue to rise as strong demand and tight supply are expected to keep prices high throughout 2018. Ken Shields (Conifex) believes growth in demand will outstrip supply through 2020, Ted Seraphim says West Fraser’s “longer-term outlook is really positive”, and Don Demens has renewed Western’s capital investment plans.

In Business news: Norpac continues to “draw the ire of US publishers” over tariffs; the Canadian government [via FPInnovations] is helping small business in Northern Ontario; SmartLam is the second CLT company to expand to Maine; and Brexit’s impact on the timber sector is being debated in the UK.

In other news: a Q&A with Michael Green; yet another “world’s largest timber tower“; how tree rings reveal our past and future; and a biofuel breakthrough in the UK.

Finally, if you’re in Victoria BC, check out the ABCFP’s free public lecture on the “Future of Wildfire in BC” and what we can learn from the California experience. 

— Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

Read More

Special Feature

The Future of Wildfire in BC

The Association of BC Forest Professionals
February 19, 2018
Category: Special Feature
Region: Canada, Canada West

Scott Stephens

What can we learn from California? The summer of 2017 brought the worst wildfire season in BC history. It was the same story in California where the Golden State experienced five of its 20 most destructive wildland-urban interface fires in just one year. Is this the new normal? Join Scott Stephens, professor of fire science at the University California, Berkeley, for a free public lecture on the future of wildfire in BC and what we can learn from California’s experience. The lecture is presented in conjunction with the Association of BC Forest Professionals’ annual conference.

Scott Stephens, PhD Director, University of California, Berkeley Center for Fire Research Outreach and co-director of the UC Center for Forestry Introduced by Tim Sheldan, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations & Rural Development

Free Public Lecture – 6:30—7:30 PM Wednesday February 21st
Victoria Conference Centre
Lower Pavilion—Lecture Hall

Sponsored by Natural Resources Canada

Read More

Business & Politics

U.S. demand for Canadian softwood lumber expected to remain high

By Ross Marowits
The Canadian Press in CBC News
February 19, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada

Softwood lumber duties aren’t dampening the spirits of Canadian lumber producers as strong demand from rising U.S. housing starts and tight supply are expected to keep prices high throughout 2018. The number of U.S. housing starts beat expectations by surpassing 1.33 million in January on a seasonally adjusted basis, with single family starts increasing 7.6 per cent. Housing permits approached 1.4 million. Conifex Timber Inc. chairman and CEO Kenneth Shields said last week he also expects repair and remodelling markets will remain robust. …West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd. CEO Ted Seraphim said North American lumber demand should grow by two billion board feet per year, while U.S. production will only modestly increase by the 750 million to one billion board foot range annually. …Don Demens, CEO of Western Forest Products Inc., said [he] has reversed plans to cut back on capital investments because of uncertainty in the softwood dispute.

Read More

Life was so much better when U.S. presidents ignored Canada

By Barrie McKenna
The Globe and Mail
February 16, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

Barrie McKenna

In the good old days, U.S. presidents rarely mentioned Canada, outside of official visits. Now, Donald Trump won’t shut up about us. Twice this week Mr. Trump brought up Canada, and not in a friendly way. Canada “does not treat us right in terms of the farming and the crossing the borders,” Mr. Trump grumbled in typically awkward grammar on Monday. On Tuesday… “Canada has treated us very unfairly on timber and lumber,” he complained to members of Congress. Surely, Mr. Trump must have other nations to obsess about. Some of them even have nuclear warheads pointed his way, rather than two-by-fours. …The best hope for Canada is that Mr. Trump eventually loses interest and softens his NAFTA stand, bowing to push-back from Congress, the U.S. business community and many state officials.

Read More

Agriculture Secretary Announces Softwood Lumber Board Appointments

US Dept of Agriculture
February 16, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

WASHINGTON –Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue today announced the appointment of eight members to serve on the Softwood Lumber Board. Seven members newly appointed to serve three year terms are: Fritz R. Mason, Peachtree City, Ga. (U.S. South), Caroline M. Dauzat, Miramar Beach, Fla. (U.S. South), Adrian Blocker, Seattle, Wash. (U.S. West), Eric J. Cremers, Spokane, Wash. (U.S. West), Ted Seraphim, B.C. Canada (Canada West), Don Demens, B.C. Canada (Canada West), and Hugues Simon, Quebec, Canada (Canada East). One member was appointed to fill a vacancy for the term ending in December 2018: Jack P. Jordan, Sr., Mt. Gilead, N.C. (U.S. South). More information about the board is available on the Softwood Lumber Board page on the AMS website and on the Softwood Lumber Board website.

Read More

Norpac draws ire of publishing industry over paper tariffs

By Zack Hale
The Longview Daily News
February 16, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

The U.S. Commerce Department’s decision last month to slap tariffs on Canadian papermakers has thrust Norpac’s Longview paper mill into the national spotlight. The mill — and its New York-based hedge fund owners — have drawn the ire of publishers throughout the country who have traditionally relied upon uncoated groundwood paper from Canada. …Late last month, a coalition of publishers formed the STOPP Coalition (Stop Tariffs on Print and Publishers), a group dedicated to fighting the tariffs.  Lawmakers also noted that the American Forest and Paper Association — the national trade association for the paper industry — opposes Norpac’s petition. …Commerce is expected to release its decision on additional anti-dumping duties in early March, and… its final determination in its countervailing duties investigation in late May.

Read More

Its full production for Domtar pulp mill employees

By Gia Patil
Sudbury.com
February 17, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

Approximately 150 workers who were laid off at the Espanola pulp mill are back at work, as production at the facility recommenced Friday night. Unifor Local 74 President Joanne Lamothe confirmed the workers were back on the job. The mill, owned and operated by Domtar, had begun laying off workers at 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday night in response to a shortage of trained staff. …Unifor said the shutdown was necessary because a lack shortage of trained and qualified operators made it impossible to perform many operations safely. “This temporary shutdown was a manpower issue, which has been resolved,” Lamothe said. …Neither side explained how the issue has been resolved so quickly.

Read More

Federal funding to support Northern forestry business

Northern Ontario Business
February 16, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

The federal government is providing FPInnovations with $780,000 to implement its Ontario Forest Sector Road Map initiative. The three-year program will help connect small and medium-sized businesses with FPInnovations’ Northern Ontario Industry Advisor Network, a group of forestry experts with offices in Mattawa, Timmins, Walford, Kenora and Thunder Bay. The project will assist companies to increase efficiencies, implement clean-energy solutions, and manufacture advanced building systems to meet the increased demand created by Ontario’s new building codes. “FPInnovations is grateful to FedNor for this financial contribution which, along with funds from the OMNRF, will help our industry advisors to promote innovation and carry out technology transfer” said Stéphane Renou, FPInnovations’ president and CEO.

Read More

Enviva completes Colombo acquisition

By Adam Benson
Index-Journal
February 17, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

A Maryland-based biomass company has formally acquired the former Colombo Energy wood pellet plant on Highway 246 in Greenwood County, and has plans to dramatically ramp annual production, officials said in a press release. “Enviva intends to make investments in the Greenwood plant to improve operational efficiency and add additional emissions control equipment at the company expects will increase its production capacity to 600,000 metric tons of wood pellets per year by 2019, subject to receiving the necessary permits,” Enviva said in a statement. That level of output is more than three times the 172,000 tons per year that the facility was generating under Colombo’s ownership.

Read More

SmartLam becomes second CLT company to locate in Maine

By James McCarthy
Maine Biz
February 16, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

SmartLam, a Montana-based company that is the first manufacturer of Cross-Laminated Timber in the United States, announced Thursday it plans to expand its operations to the East Coast by opening a new manufacturing facility in Maine. Located in Columbia Falls, Mont., SmartLam is among the six companies the Maine Technology Institute announced Thursday would receive collectively $10.5 million through the Maine Technology Asset Fund 2.0 program. …MTI awarded SmartLam $3 million toward a $23.5 million project to build a CLT manufacturing facility in Maine that is expected to create 100 direct jobs and 200 indirect jobs. …On Tuesday, LignaCLT Maine LLC announced it plans to build a 300,000-square-foot manufacturing plant on 35 acres of the 1,400-acre site now owned by Our Katahdin LLC. 

Read More

Brexit debate underway in timber sector, UK traders told

Timber Trades Journal
February 19, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

Government departments are in contact with timber industry representative bodies about the effects of Brexit, a gathering of more than 200 UK traders has been told. Timber Trade Federation managing director David Hopkins told a lively annual dinner of the Western Timber Association in Bristol on February 16 that a very real debate surrounding Brexit and how it may affect the industry was ramping up. “There are a lot of things in there that affect our business and we are trying to make sure the timber industry is represented in the debate,” he said. “Government departments are asking us questions.”  Mr Hopkins said the recent Confederation of Timber Industries parliamentary reception at Westminster saw the first public UK government assurance that the EU Timber Regulation would continue in UK law post-Brexit,

 

Read More

Wood, Paper & Green Building

Why This Bold Architect Loves Building Skyscrapers Made of Wood

By Elizabeth Stinson
Architectural Digest
February 16, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, United States

Michael Green

Vancouver-based architect Michael Green speaks with Architectural Digest about the role of wood in architecture and why the US is poised for a big movement in sustainable building. Select quotes from his interview include:

  • “The big step forward right now is scale. The big change is height. We’re now talking about transitioning to ten stories and being able to really do what mass timber is meant to do—which is demonstrate how it works in the new world of engineering.”
  • “The other factor is that the building codes are changing in the U.S. That’s still an ongoing conversation, but there’s a goal to allow buildings potentially up to 20 stories tall, if the code passes in 2021 to allow it.”
  • “Currently, [wood] is not cheaper, but probably equivalent. In the near future it will absolutely be cheaper. And with new technologies with how we’re making buildings.”

Read More

Yet another “World’s tallest timber tower” going up in Norway

By Lloyd Alter
Treehugger
February 16, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

It may be treesonous of me to say this, but we should stop this silly competition to be tallest. …Here is the latest- an 18 story building in Brumunddal, a small town in Norway. …the first thing you might wonder is- why does anyone need an 18 story building here, especially one that is pushing the edge of the technical envelope like this? The second thing you might wonder is, what happened to Brock Commons at 18 stories, isn’t it the world’s tallest timber tower? Well, no, because… it has a concrete core of elevators and fire exits instead of being 100 percent wood. It’s not pure enough. I am wondering if perhaps we are at the point where this competition to be the tallest timber tower is just getting silly. …Andrew Waugh’s is thinking more in terms of 10-15 storey buildings, which many believe to be the comfortable height for human beings.

Read More

Forestry

Governments of Canada and British Columbia to collaborate with First Nations on recovery of Southern Mountain Caribou

By Environment and Climate Change Canada
Cision Newswire
February 15, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

VICTORIA – The herds that form the Central Group of Southern Mountain Caribou are critically important to First Nations in northeast British Columbia. Habitat loss and fragmentation have already contributed to the extirpation of one of the sub-populations of the Central Group – the Burnt Pine herd. Other caribou populations in the region continue to be seriously threatened. Those populations are either declining or have been stabilized at very low numbers that are unlikely to be sustainable in the absence of meaningful and effective action by the federal and provincial governments.   The federal Species at Risk Act authorizes the federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change to enter into conservation agreements with other governments to benefit species at risk and enhance the survival of those species in the wild. 

Read More

Along the Fraser: Ready to fight fire at Maple Ridge research forest

By Jack Emberly, retired teacher
BC Local News
February 17, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Paul Lawson

Paul Lawson is the director of the Malcolm Knapp UBC Research Forest in Maple Ridge and the Alex Fraser Research Forest near Williams Lake. For him, the worst fire season in B.C. history last year was “a life-altering experience.” It began July 6. Lawson’s Maple Ridge office got an emergency call from Alex Fraser. Fires had forced the evacuation of the town and closed Highway 7 north from 100 Mile House. Now, Malcolm Knapp’s sister forest had seven fires of its own. …“B.C. Wildfire [Services] were overwhelmed,” he explains, “focused on built-up areas, such as the town of Williams Lake and the airport; not able to attend our fires initially, nor provide resources at the start. …Watkins credits the support of Alex Fraser staff, logging contractors, neighbors and “even strangers who wanted to help.” Lawson agrees.

Read More

Logging near Langley Lake postponed until 2019, according to Union Bay Improvement District

BC Local News
February 16, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Union Bay residents’ efforts to prevent logging in their local watershed might have just done the trick — for now. At its Feb. 15 board meeting, Union Bay Improvement District (UBID) board chair Peter Jacques said UBID has received a “verbal agreement” from forestry company Island Timberlands to postpone logging near Langley Lake until summer 2019. Island Timberlands had previously given notice to UBID that the company intended to log within 20 meters of the lake’s shoreline for the 2018 timber harvest. …Jacques also said at the Feb. 15 meeting that Island Timberlands intends to commission an independent third-party study on the effects of logging on the watershed.

Read More

A Haida Gwaii Community Forest has no need for a provincial partner

By Mark Walsh, Village of Queen Charlotte
BC Local News
February 16, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The current community forest proposal for Haida Gwaii is a very bad deal for all permanent islands residents. Unlike the more than 80 community forests throughout BC where each community has complete control over managing their forests themselves (and reaping 100 per cent of the profit from their labour), this scheme will have the provincial government controlling all sales, then taking 50 per cent of whatever is left after expenses. …We really have no need for the B.C. government to be a partner in our community forests. In every way imaginable we will be better off for generations to come if the people of Haida Gwaii manage their community forests themselves.

Read More

Determining how many trees can be logged

By Jim Cooperman
BC Local News
February 16, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Jim Cooperman

There is an important public consultation underway. …At stake is the amount of timber that forest companies will be able to log over the next 10 years in the Okanagan Timber Supply Area, which includes most of the Shuswap watershed. …The data package shows that only 20 per cent of the potentially unstable land is off limits to logging, that is why Tolko has the right to proceed with its plans to log on the steep hillsides above Swansea Point at Mara Lake, where there already have been two massive slides. …Given the number of jobs being created now in adventure tourism and the increase in damage caused by logging on steep slopes, it would be prudent to focus more on non-timber values when making the decision on how many trees will be logged in the future.

Read More

Tree rings reveal our past — and our future

By Sidney Stevens
Mother Nature Network
February 16, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

Trees are timekeepers. Count the concentric growth rings circling the heartwood of a chopped log and you’ll know a tree’s age. It’s a fun fact, for sure, but tree-ring dating (technically known as dendrochronology) goes far beyond determining how old a tree is. Trees are also meticulous record keepers of climatic conditions. By unraveling the rich data stored in tree rings, scientists can do everything from dating archaeological sites and preventing forest fires to documenting planetary history and offering a crystal ball into our environmental future. “Trees are natural archives of information,” says Ronald Towner, an associate professor of dendrochronology and anthropology at the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research at the University of Arizona in Tucson. …According to tree-ring chronologies across the globe, 540 was a catastrophic year. 

Read More

Forest Service transforms how it will use, manage fires in Southwest Colorado

By Jonathan Romeo
The Durango Herald
February 17, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Hon Schlapfer

To prevent a catastrophic wildfire in Southwest Colorado, the U.S. Forest Service intends to – literally – fight fire with fire. “For the first 100 years of the Forest Service, we’ve had a very aggressive fire-suppression philosophy,” said Matt Janowiak, district ranger for the Forest Service’s Columbine District, which manages nearly 700,000 acres of the San Juan National Forest. “As a result, we wound up with a lot of hazardous fuel buildup. Now, we’re trying to rebalance things out in the forest and let fire play its natural role in the ecosystem.” This spring, the U.S. Forest Service will finalize a plan two years in the making that seeks to completely revamp the way forest managers prevent wildfires, keying in on 80,000 acres between Vallecito Reservoir and the Piedra River.

Read More

Nevada wildfire danger high even though it’s winter

Nevada Appeal
February 16, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

RENO — Since Dec. 1, approximately 2,400 acres have been burned by 11 wildfires across the state on BLM managed lands, the Bureau of Land Management reported. “Although the fires remain under investigation, they were all human caused,” said Paul Petersen, fire management officer with the Bureau of Land Management. “During the summer fire season, most people are aware of the fire danger and take steps to reduce the risk of wildfires but they also need to be reminded the danger exists year round.” Nevada has received less than 50 percent of its average precipitation between October and January. Temperatures were also above normal for January as well. Snowpack across the state is reported to be less than 50 percent of normal.

Read More

More logging will do economic, environmental harm

Letter by Sara Johnson
The Bozeman Daily Chronicle
February 17, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Why do our politicians and the Forest Service continue to push for more logging projects in spite of economic and environmental harm? Recent examples include Daines’s proposal to strip protections from half a million acres of wilderness study areas, and the Forest Service’s proposed North Bridgers logging project. …Logging also makes no sense for Montana’s economy. …Science indicates we cannot log our way out of forest fires. Science also indicates that we can’t log our way out of beetle infestations. Logging to stop fires and beetles is nothing more than a ruse to benefit the timber industry.

Read More

Fighting fire with fire: Auburn University’s Dixon Center chosen for national Wildland Firefighter Apprenticeship Program

By Jamie Anderson
Opelika Auburn News
February 19, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

For the first time in its history, the national Wildland Firefighter Apprenticeship Program is providing training in the eastern United States, and it is doing so at the Auburn University Solon Dixon Forestry Education Center in Andalusia. The training course, also known as WFAP, dates back to 1989 and is traditionally held in Sacramento, California. WFAP has trained more than 2,000 apprentices in wildland firefighting and prepared them for a future as fire managers. Wildland firefighters are dispatched to fight wildfires in national forests throughout the nation, including Alabama’s four national forests—Bankhead, Conecuh, Talladega and Tuskegee.

Read More

How much are Georgia’s trees worth? Try $67 billion

By Mary Landers
Savannah Morning News
February 18, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

Trees are often valued by the price they fetch for lumber or fuel when forests are logged. The Dogwood Alliance is looking at the South’s wetland forests in a different way, asking what its 35 million acres of cypress, tupelo, longleaf pine and other wetland forests are worth when they’re left alone. Its answer for Georgia is $67.3 billion, the third highest total after Florida ($80.8 billion) and Louisiana ($79 billion) among the 14 Southern states examined in the recently released study by the Asheville-based nonprofit. …The study used GIS analysis to identify Southern wetland forests. Researchers then used an ecological economics method called “benefits transfer” — similar to the way appraisers value homes — to estimate the value of forest services such as flood protection, drinking water filtration and recreation. Overall the value over six categories came to more that $500 billion in the 14-state region stretching from Virginia to Texas. 

Read More

Despite legislative setback, advocates hopeful for logging limits

By Christopher Stephens
The Herald Bulletin
February 17, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

INDIANAPOLIS – Despite a failed bipartisan push to limit logging, environmental advocates are hopeful for the future of legislation to protect Hoosier wild forests. Two bills to protect some of the state’s old-growth forests were defeated in the Legislature early this year. …Jeff Stant, executive director of the Indiana Forest Alliance, said he was encouraged that 22 Democrats and 13 Republicans voted in favor, demonstrating the possibility of bipartisan cooperation to protect areas of the state’s forests.

Read More

Logging in parks bill sparks debate

Sarah Goodrich
The Intermountain
February 18, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

BUCKHANNON – A bill that would allow logging in West Virginia State Parks has state officials and local environmentalists debating the merits of tampering with nature. Senate Bill 270 would ultimately authorize the state Division of Natural Resources to implement silvicultural management for state parks. The proposed bill was introduced Jan. 15 and is sponsored by Senate President Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson, and Senate Minority Leader Roman Prezioso, D-Marion. Mature forests, which cover the state, do not provide an environment for food or nesting material on the forest floor, explained Steve McDaniel, director of the Division of Natural Resources. …And this, he says, is a challenge to increasing tourism in the state and its parks, a task he has been assigned by Gov. Jim Justice.

Read More

Disease-resistant English elms planted in Sheffield

By Sheffield & Rotherham Wildlife Trust
BBC News
February 19, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Disease-resistant English elms are being planted in Sheffield as part of a national trial to combat the effects of Dutch elm disease. The fungal disease has killed more than 60 million trees in the UK since it arrived in the 1920s. Experts say outside a cordon sanitaire in Edinburgh and Bristol there are fewer than 1,000 old elms in the UK. The Sheffield initiative will see 24 disease-resistant saplings planted at Greno Woods nature reserve. They will be grown in a small area of ancient woodland provided by Sheffield & Rotherham Wildlife Trust following the first planting on Monday.

Read More

Poland spares forest to win EU favor, but damage already done

By Agnieszka Barteczko
Reuters
February 19, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: International

BIALOWIEZA, Poland – When Poland sought to ease tensions with the European Union by declaring a halt to logging in the ancient Bialowieza forest, it did not announce how many trees it had already cut down. In fact, logging quotas to 2021 had already been reached and in one part of the forest an expanded quota, declared illegal by the European Commission, had been more than half fulfilled despite an injunction, official forestry data shows. State Forests, the state-run body in charge of harvesting timber and protecting woodland, also confirmed that the forest’s two remaining administrative units were aiming to increase the quota of wood that they can harvest by 2021. …Environmentalists said the announcement came too late to prevent irreparable damage, albeit to a limited area.

Read More

Environment groups walk away from NSW forestry negotiations

By Greg White
Coffs Coast Advocate
February 18, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Good working relationships stretching back more than two decades between the NSW Government and two key environment groups are on the point of collapse. The NSW Nature Conservation Council (NCC) and NSW National Parks Association (NPA) have both walked away from stakeholder consultations on the extension of the state’s three Regional Forest Agreements (RFA). These agreements were struck in the late 1990s and early 2000s and delivered a fragile peace in the forests wars that had raged for decades through the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. NCC chief executive Kate Smolski said the relationship now teeters on the edge as her organisation and the NPA walk away. “The government is putting threatened forest wildlife and an historic 20-year peace deal at risk by pushing ahead with a sham consultation process designed to lock in unsustainable logging indefinitely,” she said.

Read More

Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Nova Scotia sets emissions reporting requirements for cap and trade regime

By Keith Doucette
The Canadian Press in the National Post
February 16, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada East, Canada

HALIFAX — Nova Scotia will require industrial facilities generating 50,000 tonnes or more of greenhouse gas emissions per year to report emissions under its proposed cap and trade regime, although key details such as the actual caps and their effect on consumers are yet to be released. Environment Minister Iain Rankin said Friday that regulations are being developed that would make participation mandatory for about 20 large industrial emitters including Nova Scotia Power, Northern Pulp, Lafarge, and large oil and gasoline companies such as ExxonMobil, Imperial and Irving. “The next round we will have our caps set in place,” said Rankin. “We have some discussions we have to do… but the important part of that is that they will be declining caps year over year.” …The province says its cap and trade program is slated to begin next January.

Read More

A Renewed Focus on Forestry

By Matt Hongoltz-Hetling
Valley News
February 17, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

Hartland — Every landowner with a timber stand knows how to raise money by cutting trees down. But what if they could raise money by leaving their trees standing? “A lot of foresters are thinking about it more and more,” said A.J. Follensbee, a Windsor County forester with the Vermont Department of Forest, Parks and Recreation. “They’re writing it into their appraisal plans, thinking about carbon sequestration. It’s on a lot of landowners’ radar, because they care about climate change.” Follensbee is talking about “carbon farming,” an emerging theory of forest management touted by area foresters and environmental groups who say it has the potential to transform Vermont — 78 percent of which is covered by forest — into a giant carbon trap that could offset a significant chunk of the emissions from Vermont that contribute to global warming.

Read More

Oregon’s forests unmatched in power to store carbon

By Fergus McLean
The Register-Guard
February 17, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

Fergus McLean

Readers not already exhausted by their frustrating daily efforts to separate meaningful information from “fake news” might take a moment to ponder why it is that what might be the best news ever about Oregon’s economy is being kept secret from the 2018 Legislature. That good news comes from the Oregon Global Warming Commission’s Forest Carbon Task Force, which finds that every year, Oregon’s forests overall take in, or sequester, 30 million tons of carbon dioxide. …Brand-new scientific data from regionwide U.S. Forest Service research plots in the Forest Inventory Analysis program reveal that Oregon is truly the timber capital of the world, as our forests — far from being carbon-neutral — absorb half of what the Global Warming Commission has previously considered to be Oregon’s total carbon footprint of 60 million tons a year.

Read More

Biofuel breakthrough by scientists at University of York

By Mike Laycock
The Press
February 18, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

SCIENTISTS from the University of York are part of a team of researchers which has discovered enzymes in fungi capable of breaking down one of the main components of wood. The enzymes could now potentially be used to sustainably convert wood biomass into valuable chemical commodities such as biofuels. A university spokeswoman said that as an alternative to coal and oil, wood was increasingly one of the more promising sources of advanced biofuels but despite its potential, it was a difficult material to break down. … Prof Gideon Davies, also from the Department of Chemistry, said: “This discovery unlocks the key scientific challenge of how biorefineries can convert wood into biofuel in an environmental and cost-effective way, bringing us a step closer to a sustainable 21st Century.”

Read More