Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: March 2, 2018

Today’s Takeaway

Steel tariffs, trade wars and a softwood lumber setback (on log exports)

The Tree Frog Forestry News
March 2, 2018
Category: Today's Takeaway

Unhappy with President Trump’s plan to impose steep tariffs on steel and aluminum, Canada, Asia and the EU are up in arms and vowing to retaliate. In other trade news: a WTO decision on log restrictions in Indonesia is a blow to Canada’s softwood lumber defence; and a Wall Street Journal feature on how trade restrictions et al have resulted in lumber shortages and record prices.

Meanwhile, FPAC CEO Derek Nighbor supports MP Richard Canning’s Bill requiring the Canadian government to consider wood; OFIA’s Jamie Lim wants to maximize wood’s potential in Ontario; and Wood for Good and Trada will feature a Timber district at this year’s Ecobuild in the UK.

In Forestry news: Oregon ENGOs call Oregon the “Home of the Clear Cut“; the Tokyo Olympics are criticized for using Asian rainforest timber; South Korea mulls planting forests razed for the Pyeongchang Games; and forestry is the issue that “dare not speak its name” in the Tasmanian election

Finally, Congressman Jared Huffman wants to save California’s redwood country – by logging some of it.

— Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Business & Politics

Unhappy Canada vows to retaliate against any U.S. steel tariffs

By Leah Schnurr, Andrea Hopkins
Reuters
March 1, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

Chrystia Freeland

OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada will retaliate against any U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum products, officials said on Thursday, as Ottawa faced what could be one of the biggest economic threats since Donald Trump became president. …“Should restrictions be imposed on Canadian steel and aluminum products, Canada will take responsive measures to defend its trade interests and workers,” Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said in a statement, calling any trade restrictions“absolutely unacceptable.” …The Trump administration – which Freeland generally describes as the most protectionist since the 1930s – has sought to impose tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber and aircraft over the last year.

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Softwood Lumber Update: WTO Affirms US Methodology in Determining the Benefit Attributable to Log Export Restrictions in Indonesia Paper as a Countervailable Subsidy

Lexology
March 1, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

Canada’s efforts to defend its controversial restrictions on the export of logs from BC took a recent blow, as a World Trade Organization (WTO) panel affirmed the US Department of Commerce’s (DoC) methodology in calculating the countervailing duties (CVDs) on coated paper from Indonesia on account of Indonesia’s log export ban.1 Under US domestic trade policy, DoC has historically and consistently treated export restrictions on inputs as financial contributions that confer a benefit to the end product. …With its ongoing war on foreign subsidies, the US will no doubt feel further emboldened by this recent WTO win. …As expected, Canada is appealing the individual CVD determinations… this issue will most certainly be decided sooner under the NAFTA with the Chapter 19 panel… scheduled to hear the matter and render a decision later this year… that is, as long as there is a NAFTA.

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‘Trade wars are good, and easy to win’: Trump’s tariff threat sends shock waves around world

By Jonathan Stearns and Thomas Biesheuvel
Bloomberg News in the National Post
March 1, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

After President Donald Trump said the U.S. plans to impose 25 per cent tariffs on steel imports and 10 per cent on aluminum, the shock waves are being felt around the world. Asia’s up in arms, the European Union and Canada are pushing back, and there are plenty of forecasts that U.S. consumers are set to pay a whole bunch more for all sorts of purchases. While the exact form of the curbs remains unclear — especially whether U.S. allies will win exemptions — the reaction on Friday from outside the world’s biggest economy has been largely negative. Beyond metals, the biggest risk is a tit-for-tat trade war, which draws in other products. …Moody’s Investors Service is weighing in, and it picks out Canada and Bahrain as the top losers.

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With Lumber in Short Supply, Record Costs Set to Juice Home Prices

By Benjamin Parkin
The Wall Street Journal in MSN
March 1, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

A lumber shortage has pushed prices to record highs as builders stock up for what is expected to be one of the busiest construction seasons in years. …Lumber prices started rising last year after fires destroyed prime forests and a trade dispute between the U.S. and Canada restricted supplies. Now a shortage of railcars and trucks is forcing builders to pay even more. “We are in a lumber supply crisis,” said Stinson Dean, a broker in Kansas City… None of us have experienced a market like this.” …Marc Towne of Classic Homes [Colorado] said he is spending $8,500 more on lumber for a typical home than a year ago, an increase of almost 40%. …Material prices now rival labor shortages as builders’ main concerns [NAHB survey]. …Canfor said lumber shipments fell almost 10% in the final quarter of 2017, partly due to bad weather in western Canada. The transportation bottlenecks have caused weeks of delays, frustrating customers already paying record prices. …“People are screaming for their wood,” said Russell Taylor… of Forest Economic Advisors LLC.

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Mill workers get pay hikes in new collective agreement

Thunder Bay News Watch
March 2, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

Workers at a northwestern Ontario oriented strand board mill are now working under a new collective agreement. About 135 Unifor members at the Norbord mill in Barwick, near Fort Frances, on Wednesday night ratified a 5-year deal with the company. Retroactive to August 1, 2017, it includes wage increases of 2 per cent in each of the first four years, and 2.5 per cent in the final year. By the end of the agreement licensed trades workers will receive $41.58/hr, and the top production rate will rise to $36.40/hr. According to the union, in addition to other improvements, a new and “highly lucrative” profit-sharing plan provides for an annual bonus of up to $10,000 for each employee. Unifor spokesperson Stephen Boon says the union and the company have developed “a solid working relationship,” and the improvements achieved in the deal reflect that relationship, along with an improved market for wood products in North America.

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Central Nova MP satisfied to see forestry investments in federal budget

The New Glasgow News
March 1, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

The federal government made a number of investments in Tuesday’s budget that would directly affect how people live and do business in Atlantic Canada. Central Nova MP Sean Fraser is lauding one of those investments as one that will help preserve Nova Scotia’s forests. That initiative is to protect Nova Scotia’s forests from the spruce budworm. The federal government has invested $74.75 million in the protection of Atlantic forest land – specifically against the destructive spruce budworm. This is an investment that will begin in the 2018-19 fiscal year, and be implemented over the course of five years. “The spruce budworm previously decimated east coast forests, and took a chunk out of Quebec’s forests that was equivalent in size to New Brunswick,” said Fraser in a call with the News.

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Major players in Newfoundland and Labrador’s forestry industry have formed a new association

By Gary Kean
The Western Star
March 1, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

Bill Dawson

The Newfoundland and Labrador Forest Industry Association is brand new, but Bill Dawson is hoping for big things from it. The association’s executive director attended the Forestry Innovation Day workshop held in Corner Brook Thursday, which was the first event in which the fledgling association has participated. The organization currently is made up of four entities which account for 96 per cent of the forestry industry in Newfoundland and Labrador. …“We’re looking forward to finding common ground amongst ourselves on how we can move this industry forward to be more economically viable for ourselves and for the province,” said Dawson.

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Call for Nominations Softwood Lumber Board Seeks Candidates

Softwood Lumber Board
March 1, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States

The Softwood Lumber Board (SLB) seeks nominations of softwood lumber manufacturers and importers interested in candidacy for Board seats coming open in January 2019.  Each Director will serve a three-year term, which may be renewed once.  The deadline for nominations is April 20th, 2018. The 19-member Board will hold elections to fill six seats for Directors whose terms expire on Dec. 31, 2018. …To be eligible, nominees operating within the regions named above must manufacture and ship within the United States, or import, at least 15 million board feet of softwood lumber annually. Ballots will be provided to eligible companies in each region and votes will be tabulated by region. The two candidates for each position receiving the most votes will be submitted to the Secretary of Agriculture who will then appoint members from the pool of candidates.

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Tokyo 2020 face criticism for reported use of rainforest timber

By Thomas Giles
Insidethegames.biz
March 1, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

The Organising Committee for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games have reportedly confirmed that 87 per cent of the plywood panels used on the new Olympic Stadium in the Japanese capital will come from southeast Asian rainforests. It has led to environmentalists criticising the Games for “a lack of sustainability” while the legality of the timber used has been questioned. Tokyo 2020’s admission follows a request in December 2016 from 44 non-governmental organisations who were seeking assurances that timber used on Olympic projects would not be illegal, unsustainable or linked to human rights violations. …The plywood used on the Olympic constructions is said to be used for “formwork or moulds”, which environmentalists see as a wasteful use of tropical wood. Tokyo 2020’s sustainable sourcing code requires that timber used on Olympic constructions is legal and considerate towards ecosystems. This includes indigenous people and workers.

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Biomass Market Suffers from Low Gas & Oil Prices, But a Few Bright Spots Reported

By Rick LeBlanc
The Pallet Enterprise
March 1, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

While specific biomass opportunities, such as pellets, remain strong, the overall biomass market remains soft, according to Tim Gammell, editor of the North American Wood Fiber Review. A few bright spots on the horizon include the anticipated growth of the Japanese market in the next few years and proposed legislation in the United States which would provide grants for the wood heating systems in public institutions. Overall, however, the biomass market in the United States has been hindered by the low price of gas. Gammell said… “A lot of pulp mills and even sawmills have said, good grief, we can’t ignore the fact we can get natural gas as a way to fire our dry kilns as opposed to investing more money in woody biomass.

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Tasmanian election: on all sides, forestry is the issue that dare not speak its name

By Adam Morton
The Guardian
March 2, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

AUSTRALIA — Labor doesn’t want to remind people of its government with the Greens, and the Liberals are shy about a policy even the timber industry doesn’t want. The contrast could hardly be greater. In 2014, as Will Hodgman returned the Liberal party to power in Tasmania after 16 years in the political wilderness, central to his pitch was a bold promise: he would tear up a forestry peace deal and immediately convene meetings to rebuild the industry. It was a remarkable and effective stance. …Four years on, for the first time in more than a generation, native forestry is missing-in-action as a political issue. …What happened? Political observers say there are obvious reasons neither major party wants to talk about native forestry

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

FPAC lends support to private member’s bill aimed at making wood the building material of choice for federally procured projects

Forest Products Association of Canada
March 1, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada

Forest Products Association of Canada CEO Derek Nighbor addressed the Standing Committee on Natural Resources today in support of South Okanagan–West Kootenay MP Richard Cannings’ private members Bill C-354 that would require the federal government to make wood the building material of choice for government projects. “In passing this bill, the government will send a clear signal that governments around the world have already recognized — that wood is a safe, durable and high-performing material that fares well against competing materials in building construction,” said Nighbor, adding that the Bill will also help government achieve its’ greenhouse gas emission reduction targets committed under the Paris Climate Agreement. “If Canada wants to make real headway in reducing GHGs, a procurement strategy focused on reducing the carbon footprint of construction materials represents a real opportunity.”

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More support for wood bill

By Chelsea Powrie
Castanet
March 1, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada

Richard Cannings

A bill from South Okanagan-West Kootenay MP Richard Cannings that would require the federal government to consider wood for all infrastructure projects has gained support from the private sector. On Thursday, Forest Products Association of Canada CEO Derek Nighbor addressed the Standing Committee on Natural Resources in Ottawa to express his support. …MP Cannings has spearheaded the bill, which he believes will help bolster the Canadian wood industry, a feeling Nighbor shares. …He also made a case that the bill will help Canada meet its targets under the Paris Climate Agreement for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. …The bill recently passed Second Reading in the House of Commons by a vote of 217-75, and is now undergoing review by the Standing Committee on Natural Resources. 

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Maximizing wood’s potential

By Tamar Atik
Wood Business – Canadian Forest Industries
March 1, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada East, Canada

…the Ontario Forest Industry Association (OFIA) is confident in a bright future for forestry in Ontario, and Canada as a whole. “In these uncertain times I am certain that forestry is in our future,” Jamie Lim, OFIA president says at the association’s 75th convention at One King West Hotel and Residence in downtown Toronto. “Let’s ensure that Ontario leads the way; let’s keep working together.” One way in which Ontario, and the country, are making some headway is in wood construction. …The 2020 National Building Code of Canada (NBCC) will have provisions for 12-storey mass timber buildings. Until then, Cory Zurell, principal engineer at Blackwell Structural Engineers says it’s important to harness creativity and find solutions to move forward in building with wood and be more sustainable overall. “There are many options open to us for exceeding what the code allows, and we just have to use it to our advantage,” he says.

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Woodlot owners relieved by building code exemptions

CBC News
March 1, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada East, Canada

P.E.I. woodlot owners say they are pleased that some buildings, such as barns and fishermen’s huts, are going to be exempt from the national building code. The province is currently drafting new regulations, as it prepares to adopt the national building code province-wide. The P.E.I. Woodlot Owners Association met with provincial officials in recent weeks to express its concerns — and to ask for exemptions. …The national building code will require buildings to be made from lumber that has been kiln- or air-dried, and stamped for approval by an inspector. Only one lumber mill on P.E.I. currently meets those requirements.

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Master Builders taps Weyerhaeuser VP as executive director

By Jim Davis
The Herald Net
March 1, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

Kathleen Sims

BELLEVUE — A former Weyerhaeuser vice president has been hired as the new executive director for Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties. Kathleen (Kat) Sims is the first woman to lead the association in its 109-year history. She’s a former vice president of environmental affairs, sustainability and corporate responsibility at the Weyerhaeuser Company. …Sims is an attorney specializing in real estate law. Sims had worked as vice president of government affairs at Plum Creek Timber Company Inc., which merged with Weyerhaeuser in 2016. …The Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties is an advocacy organization for the building industry.

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New approach to retrofitting

By James Day
Corvallis Gazette Times
March 1, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

How do you protect older downtown Corvallis buildings from a catastrophic earthquake? How do you do the retrofit without destroying the historical integrity of the building? Is there a way to do the work using new technology such as cross-laminated timber? And how can a success here be replicated somewhere else? That’s what a team of engineers, architects, contractors, preservationists and Oregon State University faculty and students is trying to figure out. …the group is targeting the Harding Building at the corner of Southwest Madison Avenue and Third Street — the home of the Footwise shoe store. …The team also discussed whether mass plywood panels, another new engineered-wood product, could play a role. Both mass plywood panels and cross-laminated timber  have received a strong boost from research and partnerships involving OSU.

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Durable wood carbon sponge could be the future of wearable sensors, pollutant treatment

By University of Maryland
EurekAlert
March 1, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

Engineers at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMD) have for the first time demonstrated that wood can be directly converted into a carbon sponge capable of enduring repeated compression and other extreme mechanical conditions. The UMD engineers’ wood carbon sponge overcomes several limiting factors of other lightweight, compressible carbon sponges because it is simpler, less expensive, and more sustainable to produce. The new sponge can be used in various applications such as energy storage (e.g., batteries), pollutant treatment, and electronic devices and sensors. …the UMD researchers use a simple chemical process to transform balsa wood, a choice biomass-based material that is both renewable and abundant. …The researchers believe that the wood carbon sponge could also be incorporated into water purification devices and energy storage and conversation technologies, such as supercapacitors and rechargeable batteries.

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Ecobuild UK – March 2018

Ecobuild
Premier Construction News
March 1, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

LONDON — Ecobuild is returning to the ExCeL London in March 2018 and under the new ownership of Futurebuild Events Ltd, things are set to be very different. The event is being designed and built around the industry, giving construction professionals the chance to experience the latest products and debate and discuss changes to government legislation. …New for 2018 is the Timber district, in association with the Structural Timber Association and supported by Wood for Good and TRADA. This will be a showcase for the latest technological innovations and systems, alongside the Timber Talks seminar programme.

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Forestry

Legal action launched against logging operation in Kananaskis Country

CBC News
March 1, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Legal action has been launched against the Alberta government and Spray Lake Sawmills over a proposed clearcut logging operation in Kananaskis Country, southwest of Calgary. The operation is to start early next year in the Mustang Hills area. Ken Anderson of Higgerty Law says wild horses and bighorn sheep live there. …Anderson believes the province did not properly consult with residents or recreational users of the area. For some, their first inkling of the project was seeing flags on trees in the area.

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Echo Lake’s old-growth forests near Agassiz still at risk, conservation advocate

By Nina Grossman
Agassiz-Harrison Observer
March 2, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The B.C. Ancient Forest Alliance (AFA) says the B.C. NDP’s new budget, released last week, neglects to address the need for old-growth-forest conservation. In 2013, the then-Liberal provincial government protected roughly half of the old-growth forest around Echo Lake, an area rich with extremely rare, lowland old-growth forest located northwest of Harrison Mills. …“The fate of B.C.’s old-growth forests has been one of the most pervasive and endearing large-scale public concerns in British Columbia’s history, since the early 1980s,” said AFA executive director Ken Wu. …spokesperson for the Ministry of Forests Vivian Thomas said … “over 500,000 hectares have been set aside to manage for wildlife, biodiversity and other values, including 1,000 hectares designated last year as the Lhá:lt Harrison-Chehalis Wildlife Management Area. By comparison, only 250,405 hectares is available for timber harvesting.”

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The BC Interior Forestry Museum receives Columbia Basin Trust grant to build trail network

By Jake Sherman
Revelstoke Review
March 1, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

There aren’t very many walking trails around Revelstoke that are accessible to seniors or families with young children until the late summer, but the BC Interior Forestry Museum wants to change that. The museum received verbal confirmation from Columbia Basin Trust this week that their grant application for their Riverside Forest Walk project was successful. The approximately $23K of CBT funding will support the development of a network of trails … near Columbia View Park. …“The stars of our shows right now are loggers and logging equipment and the other star of the show is the forest itself. The North Columbia forest ecosystem is a unique working forest and trying to find ways to bring that forest alive for people is an interesting challenge.”

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New technology to detect living pinewood nematode in wood

By Isabel Leal – Pacific Forestry Centre
Natural Resources Canada
February 27, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Dr. Isabel Leal

Canada is the fourth largest forest products exporter in the world, in 2016 exports increased by 5.3% to $34.4 billion. International trade in wood products brings the risk of the movement of tree pests, which can cause ecosystem and economic damage.  Pinewood nematode (PWN), the causal agent of pine wilt disease, has resulted in pine tree mortality in countries such as Japan, Korea, Taiwan, China, Portugal and Spain. The PWN nematode is native to North America pine tree species, but pine wilt disease is not present in Canadian forests. However, trade in pine wood commodities such as logs, untreated wood products, and wood packaging material are potential pathways for the international spread of PWN when its vector, pine sawyer beetles, are also present. 

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Aerial spray program to reduce gypsy moths starts late May

CBC News
March 2, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

An aerial spray program is coming for the gypsy moths starting late May, after the City of Hamilton approved a vendor on Wednesday night’s council meeting. The program will run until early June, when a biopesticide will be sprayed in parts of west Hamilton, Ancaster, Dundas and Flamborough. The city says the pesticide does not harm humans, pets, other animals and bees. In fall 2017, forestry crews with the city saw that gypsy moth populations have grown to “require control.” However, while the spray will control the numbers, it will not eradicate the species from the area. The cityhas budgeted $2.5 million to fight gypsy moth infestations, with roughly $1,950,000 used to do the spraying this year.

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Students get behind the scenes look at forestry industry

By Maija Hoggett
Timmins Today
March 1, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

High school students are getting a glimpse into the forestry sector this week. Today, students from the area took a woodland tour and saw the harvesting machines in action, said EACOM public affairs director Christine Leduc. Now that they’ve seen the how the forests are harvested, she said they’ll be at the EACOM sawmill tomorrow to see how they’re processed. The day will also include a stop at Millsons Forestry Service. The tours are part of the Forests Ontario’s Forestry Connects educational program. The non-profit group hosts the program to give high school students the chance to see a behind the scenes look at Ontario forestry operations. This year’s program is sponsored by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), Ontario Wood, EACOM and Millsons.

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Rep. Jared Huffman wants to save California’s redwood country – by logging some of it

By Jane Braxton Little
Sacramento Bee
March 1, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

California’s northwest corner is home to some of the world’s most stunning landscapes: towering stands of redwoods shrouded in fog; the craggy snow-capped peaks of the Trinity Alps; rushing rivers that pause in limpid pools. U.S. Rep. Jared Huffman wants to protect all this. A former staff attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council, he has crafted a bill that has the enthusiastic support of environmental and backcountry recreation groups. It will, however, need more than that to pass. Huffman’s Northern California Conservation and Recreation Act, which he plans to introduce this spring, would increase wilderness areas by 363,000 acres and add 480 miles of designated wild and scenic rivers. …This wilderness bill proposes logging and reintroducing fire in the area surrounding the Mad and South Fork of the Trinity rivers. Although remote and hard to access, the place is anything but pristine. 

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Minnesota plans to increase annual forest harvest, but less than industry sought

By Josephine Marcotty
Minneapolis Star Tribune
March 1, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Minnesota timber available for harvest on state-owned lands will increase from 800,000 to 900,000 cords annually in the next decade under a long-awaited plan with the delicate goal of balancing forest ecology with the demands of the forest industry. State-owned forests can tolerate a harvest of 900,000 cords per year, but not the 1 million cords industry leaders requested, state Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Landwehr said during a news conference Thursday. In the next five years, Landwehr said, about 30,000 of the additional cords will come from stands of tamarack and black ash that are increasingly vulnerable to insect infestations.

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Enviro group calls Oregon ‘Home of the Clear-Cut’ in TriMet ad

By Andrew Theen
The Oregonian
March 2, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

A nonprofit advocacy group is running an advertisement on a TriMet train that says, ‘Welcome to Oregon, Home of the Clear-Cut.”  Oregon Wild… launched [the campaign] on one MAX train along with a separate ad on buses that says, “clear cuts = climate change.” Environmental groups plan a rally Monday… Steve Pedery, Oregon Wild’s conservation director, said they timed the ad to coincide with the March 20-22 Mass Timber Conference and a summit starting Thursday among western states’ governors designed to discuss wildfires. …Pedery said the group also wanted to draw attention to Oregon timber groups which are lobbying hard for the state’s cross-laminated timber (CLT) industry. Portland is investing public dollars in an all-timber high-rise downtown, and state officials are considering incentivizing use of the timber product in taxpayer-funded projects at Oregon State University and the University of Oregon. Pedery likened the industry to Oregon’s version of “clean coal.”

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Long process of revising plans for national forests nears crucial point

By Jack Igelman
Carolina Public Press
March 2, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

In November 2012, the U.S. Forest Service began work on a comprehensive revision of the Land Management Plan for North Carolina’s Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests. It reasonably might have been expected to end in 2016. Instead, the politically complicated process remains underway with some crucial stages just ahead. …Kevin Colburn, stewardship director of American Whitewater, points out that the length and complexity of the revision of the Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest Land Management Plan may have discouraged engagement from people other than professionals or users with a direct stake or economic interest. Nevertheless, Colburn said that in the coming months, public participation and interest may be more important than ever. …The overall strategies outlined in the plan may have broad implications, including which acres and rivers are recommended for greater protection. 

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Lincoln to host 2020 environmental Olympics for high school students

By Peter Salter
Lincoln Journal Star
March 1, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

Nearly 300 high school students from across the country — and around the globe — will gather in Lincoln in 2020 to compete in a series of environmental challenges. The National Conservation Foundation Envirothon, hosted by the state’s natural resources districts, will draw five-person teams from most U.S. states, Canada and China that will be tested in several conservation-related fields. They’ll spend six days identifying animals, testing water quality, measuring trees, evaluating soil suitability and getting their hands dirty. …With written tests and hands-on challenges, the students at the national event compete in five areas: wildlife, soils and land use, forestry, aquatic ecology and a current environmental issue.

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After Olympics, South Korea Mulls Reviving Bulldozed Forest

Associated Press in The New York Times
March 1, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: International

JEONGSEON, South Korea — …With the Pyeongchang Games just concluded, South Korea walks into a future with questions about the long-term environmental consequences of hosting an expensive sports event in one of its poorest, oldest and most underpopulated areas. …One major issue: the future of the scenic Jeongseon Alpine Center, which was built after some 60,000 trees were razed in a forest on the 1,560-meter (5,118 foot)-high Mount Gariwang. The area had been protected by the government in the past because of its old trees and botanical diversity. The course was supposed to be demolished after the Olympics and restored to its natural state. Fierce criticism by environmentalists over the venue being built on a pristine forest caused construction delays that nearly forced pre-Olympic test events to be postponed. …”This had been such a core area for biodiversity,” Seo said. “But it’s destroyed.”

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Are Black Pellets Ready to Compete with White Pellets?

By William Strauss and Lauren Schmidt
Biomass Magazine
March 1, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Renewable energy and carbon emissions reduction policies in Japan, South Korea, Canada, Western Europe, and other nations support the use of pellet fuel as a substitute for coal in power stations. To date, investments in pellet conversions have been focused on regular, industrial wood pellets, sometimes called white pellets. Advanced wood pellets, often called black pellets due to their appearance after thermal treatment, have long been touted as a superior fuel to conventional white wood pellets. Black pellets are supposed to address some of the potential shortcomings associated with white wood pellets for use as a substitute for coal in pulverized coal power plants. 

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Health & Safety

Critical Condition: Reports support claims of sub-par care in B.C.

By Betsy Kline
The Columbia Valley Pioneer
March 1, 2018
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

CASTLEGAR, B.C. — Among those who have been critical of ambulance services in the province are the B.C Auditor General and the B.C. Forest Safety Ombudsman. They have published reports that are critical of the British Columbia Ambulance Service (BCAS) — the branch of the British Columbia Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) in charge of pre-hospital care. …BCEHS states that their goal is to provide the best possible care to patients no matter where they are in B.C., using the closest, most appropriate, available resource. But a 2017 report prepared by the BC Forest Safety Ombudsman Roger Harris contradicts that statement stating that there is a rural/urban divide resulting in a lack of services provided to rural B.C. …“The availability and level of emergency medical services in B.C. is distinctly split down urban and rural lines.”

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