Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: March 5, 2018

Today’s Takeaway

Trump: No break for Canada on steel tariffs unless fair NAFTA deal struck

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

Undeterred by a storm of criticism, Trump doubles down on his announced tariffs on steel and aluminum by tying exemptions for Canada and Mexico to concessions on NAFTA. Even the Wall Street Journal was critical, noting wryly:” the [steel] tariffs will whack that menace to world peace known as Canada”. The housing market says tariffs will “drive up home prices“; and “couldn’t have come at a worst time“.

In Wildfire news; despite the snow Alberta’s wildfire season has already begun; the 2018 season will come early in the US west; Montana wants to end fire borrowingUS drones can reduce firefighting costs; the US Forest Service is dealing with charges of sexual harassment; and researchers say small trees are a greater risk to cities because they “throw embers further and more efficiently“.

Finally: Sandy Springs continues to resist wood-framed buildings; the future of housing in New Zealand is “prefabs and tiny homes“; and wildlife ecologist Anthony Sebastian [FSC’s International Board Chair] says “in order to save trees, you need to use paper“. 

–Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Business & Politics

No break for Canada on tariffs unless ‘fair’ NAFTA struck, Trump warns

By Adrian Morrow and Bill Curry
The Globe and Mail
March 5, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

U.S. President Donald Trump is threatening to hit Canada and Mexico with hefty tariffs on steel and aluminum until the two countries agree to a renegotiated NAFTA. On the final day of the seventh round of contentious North American free-trade agreement talks in Mexico City Monday, Mr. Trump took to Twitter to blame the pact for taking away jobs in the U.S. and give his negotiating partners an ultimatum. …According to the U.S.’s own figures, the U.S. actually has a trade surplus of $12.5-billion with Canada, meaning the country sells more goods and services to Canada than it buys. Tying the tariffs to NAFTA cranks up the pressure in already tense negotiations – and explicitly links Mr. Trump’s protectionist attack in NAFTA to his threatened global trade war on the two metals. 

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The Finance 202: Trump protectionist flank sells trade agenda

By Tory Newmyer
The Washington Post
March 5, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

President Trump is barreling through a storm of criticism unchastened and undeterred as he prepares to impose sweeping tariffs on imports of aluminum and steel. That was the message Trump and two of his top trade hawks sent over the weekend… Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said the president won’t be carving out any countries, despite howls of protest from allies including Canada, the United Kingdom, the European Union, Japan and others. …[Trump tweet] “We have large trade deficits with Mexico and Canada. NAFTA, which is under renegotiation right now, has been a bad deal for U.S.A. Massive relocation of companies & jobs. Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum will only come off if new & fair NAFTA agreement is signed. Also, Canada must treat our farmers much better.”

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Canada’s lobby for tariff relief: from Ottawa, to DC, practically to outer space

By Alexander Panetta
The Canadian Press in The Chronicle Herald
March 2, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

WASHINGTON — The lobby effort to spare Canada from incoming tariffs has been quietly unfolding for a year and has included Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, senior members of the Trump administration, the Pentagon and the business community — and this week it even touched the doorstep of outer space. …”I essentially voiced the position of the government of Canada… that we did not see any reason to include Canada in this,” Garneau said in an interview Friday. …Numerous Americans have also argued Canada’s case. … That includes the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal. Normally a Trump cheering corner, the opinion section of the pro-business newspaper ran an editorial titled, “Trump’s tariff folly: his tax on aluminum and steel will hurt the economy and his voters.” …”The tariffs will whack that menace to world peace known as Canada, which supplies 16 per cent (of U.S. steel imports),” said the paper.

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Trump’s tariffs ‘could not have come at a worse time’ for anyone planning to buy a home

By Akin Oyedele
Business Insider
March 3, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

The US housing industry is in the crosshairs of President Donald Trump’s planned tariffs on steel and aluminum. The National Association of Homebuilders was among several trade organizations that spoke out against the tariffs, or import taxes, announced on Thursday. That’s because higher steel costs would raise construction costs for its members, which could eventually could be passed on to homebuyers. The construction industry is no stranger to tariffs. In April 2017, Trump slapped the first tariffs of his presidency on five Canadian lumber companies, ranging from between 3% to 24%. The tariffs were in response to Canada’s restrictions on the import of US dairy products. Lumber prices have gained 31% since then, according to Bloomberg data. And now, homebuilders may have to add higher steel costs to the mix.

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Trump’s Tariff Is Forcing Homebuilders to Cut Costs

By Jen Skerritt
Bloomberg
March 5, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

…About 40 percent of the Texas homebuilder Eddie Martin’s framing lumber comes from Canada. …[Punitive tariffs on Canadian lumber] have driven lumber prices to near record highs. Tilson Home Corp., where Martin is president, has so far refrained from passing on the added costs to homebuyers. To do that, it’s cut back the number of home plans it offers and is considering swapping pricier fir for cheaper Southern yellow pine, even though its tendency to bow in the Texas humidity makes it more difficult for construction crews to work with. …Builders are trying to find as many efficiencies as they can to reduce costs, including changing the design of roof systems, wall panels, and floors to use the least amount of material possible while still meeting building codes, says Barbes of 84 Lumber. They’re also shifting to smaller starter homes with simpler floor plans and multifamily dwellings to save money, he said.

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New Homes Could Get More Expensive Thanks to New Steel, Lumber Tariffs

By Clare Trapasso
Realtor.com
March 2, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

An influx of new construction at all price points could save us from the current housing crunch, but the hefty new tariffs on imported steel announced this week by President Donald Trump, on top of a tariff on Canadian lumber imposed late last year, could make the crunch even worse—and drive up home prices. The planned tariffs would tack on 25% to the cost of steel, used in home foundations, floors, and high-rise construction, and 10% for aluminum from foreign suppliers. …The administration is already levying tariffs of more than 20% against Canadian soft lumber producers. About a third of the softwood lumber used in new-home construction comes from Canada. …”Tariffs could measurably raise the cost of building materials and hinder home construction of affordable homes,” Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors®.

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Domtar received 42 odour complaints in 2017, but pulp mill did not exceed discharge limits

By Jessica Wallace
Kamloops This Week
March 3, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

The Domtar pulp mill was the subject of 42 odour complaints last year, with about a quarter of them resulting from an incident last February that led to a stench being reported throughout the city. On Feb. 18, 2017, reduced sulfur gases were “vented into the atmosphere”… In its annual air report, Domtar said…it received 10 complaints stemming from the incident. …The remaining 32 complaints came in warmer months, when southwest winds pushed odour from the mill to the North Shore and into the downtown core. Despite the complaints, mill stack odour was reportedly slightly down from 2016, as part of what the report calls a “step-wise improvement in facility odorous emissions that begin in 2013.”

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‘The smell of money’ from Domtar not as strong as it once was

By James Peters
KFJC Today
March 3, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

KAMLOOPS — It’s referred to by some as “the smell of money,” and the city’s lone pulp mill promises there will be less of it in the years to come. The Kamloops Domtar pulp mill says it made progress reducing odour in 2017. According to a report submitted to Kamloops council, Domtar says its instruments have recorded a 70 per cent reduction in sulfur odour since 2012, and it remains well within its permitted limits. The company says it received 42 odour complaints last year.

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Papers: Access to Resources Fueled Monument Reviews

The Associated Press in the New York Times
March 2, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States

Access to fossil fuels and other natural resources played an early role in a Trump administration review that resulted in size reductions at two Utah national monuments, according to internal documents released following a public records lawsuit. Interior Department officials focused on how much oil and gas, coal, grazing lands and timber had been placed off-limits when the monuments were created, the documents show. President Donald Trump in December ordered drastic reductions to Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments following a months-long review. He said they were part of a “massive federal land grab” by previous administrations and that local authority needed to be restored. Those comments stand in contrast to internal administration deliberations and correspondence with Congress emphasizing the monuments’ economic potential.

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Estonian lumber exports to Australia increase by 80%

EUWID Wood Products and Panels
March 5, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

Estonian exports of rough-sawn and planed softwood lumber to non-EU countries increased by 28% in the fourth quarter of 2017 vis à vis the comparative quarter of the preceding year to 67,325m³. According to preliminary information from Eurostat, at 35,724m³, almost half the total volume was delivered to customers in Australia which corresponds to an increase of 80%. Exports to EU countries, at 97,466m³, fell short of the preceding year’s volume by 21%. With regard to the the entire period of 2017, exports declined by 15% to 579,226m³. 

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Going paperless: Not as green as you may think

By Elena Koshy
The New Straits Times
March 3, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, International

Anthony Sebastian

“I THINK it’s bollocks!” growls Anthony Sebastian… We’d been talking about those pithy green phrases people usually add as part of their email signature, ‘Save a tree, don’t print this email’ or ‘Please consider the environment before printing’. …“That’s so wrong. It doesn’t work that way anymore,” he protests, before adding glibly: “Because in order to save trees, you need to use paper!” …“We can’t avoid the use of wood products. It’s an integral part of our daily lives” he says bluntly. “What we need to do is to find a way of producing this resource sustainably and in plentiful supply.” …“If you use paper, there’s a reason for the plantation industry to exist. And as long as the plantation industry exists, the pressure on the forest will go. The more you fight the plantation industry and take its grounding away, the more we face the risk of losing our precious natural heritage”.

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Sandy Springs plans to stop state bill nullifying part of building code

By Everett Catts
The Northside Neighbour
March 4, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

Bob Glowinski

The city of Sandy Springs is drawing a line in the sand in its battle with the state over a bill that would nullify a provision in the city’s building code if passed into law. In August 2016 Sandy Springs amended its code to require all new buildings more than three stories or 100,000 square feet to be constructed with concrete or other nonflammable material and not wood. But House Bill 876, which was approved by the House Feb. 22, would make it legal again to use wood there, reverting back to the state’s minimum standards for construction and the Georgia fire code. …Robert Glowinski, president and CEO of the Washington-based American Wood Council, said the code was amended “under the guise of building safety, but it had everything to do with limiting development.”

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House bill targets Sandy Springs ban on wood-framed buildings

By Mitchell Northam
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
March 2, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

Rusty Paul

Rusty Paul comes from a family of tree farmers, so the Mayor of Sandy Springs is approaching a fight against a Georgia House bill from an interesting perspective. …If it passes, it would prohibit local governments — cities and counties — from banning the use of wood products as construction material. …aSupports say the bill would help Georgia’s sawmill industry; oppoents like Paul say this is a local issue, and also argue wood isn’t as safe a building material as steel. …Dunwoody and Tucker have similar city ordinances in place, and this bill would also undo those codes. On Friday, Sandy Springs hosted a press conference where Paul, city fire chief Keith Sanders and state Senator John Albers, R-Roswell,  opposed the bill and said they would fight it. …The press conference was organized by “Build With Strength,” a coalition of the national ready mixed concrete association. 

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Setra invests in CLT factory in Långshyttan

By Setra Group
Cision Newswire
February 22, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Wood products company Setra is investing in a CLT factory in Långshyttan. The investment aims to meet the great demand for CLT, above all in the Swedish, Norwegian and UK markets. …Wood products company Setra is investing in a new factory for CLT in Långshyttan. CLT is a technique appropriate for constructions that require a high degree of strength and bearing capacity while being fire-resistant and relatively light. It also has major environmental advantages, as wood is a renewable material. …The raw material for the new CLT factory will be taken from Setra’s own sawmills in Bergslagen and is perfect for this type of industry. Production volume for the CLT factory will be around 55 000 m3 in two shifts. The CLT factory in Långshyttan is due to be commissioned in the first half of 2020.

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The future of New Zealand housing is prefabs, and 180,000 ‘tiny’ homes

By Rob Stock
Stuff.co.nz
March 4, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

To make the government’s Kiwibuild plan work, New Zealand will have to embrace factory-made homes that can be trucked in pieces to building sites and erected in a matter of days. On Thursday, Prefab NZ, an industry association of housing prefabricators, will release a report into the industry’s capacity to turn out houses for Kiwibuild. It will also launch a nationwide competition seeking a design for a tiny one to two bedroom house plan… which homeowners with big enough gardens could simply parachute onto their land. …Housing Minister Phil Twyford needs prefab housing if he is going to deliver the affordable housing Auckland needs. Gary Caulfield, chief executive of XLam, a high-tech prefabricator based in Nelson, said guarantees of volume were needed… XLam’s cross laminated timber (CLT) panels were already used in Housing New Zealand new builds.

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Forestry

Heavily logged land in Haida Gwaii to be restored and protected

By Tiffany Crawford
Vancouver Sun
March 5, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

An old-growth forest destroyed by logging in Haida Gwaii will be restored after the Nature Conservancy of Canada and Haida Nation acquired the land. Two parcels of land totalling 67 hectares near Port Clements, a village at the east end of Masset Inlet, were the last unprotected areas along the Kumdis Estuary. Now the Conservancy, a national not-for-profit charity, has acquired both and will co-own the lands with the Haida Nation. One of the sites, which is home to old-growth Sitka spruce and red cedar trees, was purchased from a private landowner by Conservancy with money raised through donations and $209,000 from the federal Department of Environment and Climate Change. The intent is the protect the land and old-growth forest.

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Wildfire season begins in Alberta

By Joshua Santos
Alberta Daily Herald Tribune
March 4, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Wildfire season has begun in the province despite the continuous snow fall. Hazards are high going into March but this year has been an exception.  “Right now we have more snow than we had in the past five years, that’s for sure, but all that doesn’t matter if we get a lot of rain and high winds. Conditions can change really quickly,” said Kelly Burke, wildfire information officer for the Grande Prairie Forest Area. The additional snow gives crews more time to train in Edmonton while they continue to hire seasonal employees.  “For new recruits, it’s really important to have that extra time so that we’re training everyone properly for safety reasons,” said Burke. The forest protection area for Burke’s crew extends south to Grande Cache, towards Peace River and Smoky River and then to the British Columbia border. 

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Community Forest finishes in the black, despite lower harvest volume

By Sean Eckford
The Coast Reporter
March 2, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Despite sending much less timber to market than forecast, the Sunshine Coast Community Forest finished 2017 in the black. Glen Bonderud of Sechelt Community Projects (SCPI), the district-owned company that manages the forest, gave his fourth-quarter update to Sechelt council Feb. 21. Bonderud’s report shows the final volume harvested was 28,542 cubic metres – well below the 43,600 cubic metres SCPI was planning for at the beginning of 2017.  …“The average of $117 [per cubic metre] was better than we thought it would be… prices have gone up, demand has gone up”… Bonderud told councillors. “As long as the U.S. housing market stays steady, I think we have a good year ahead of us,” Bonderud said.

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Program connects students to opportunities in forestry industry

By Maija Hoggett
Timmins Today
March 3, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

Jake Davis… was one of more than 30 students from Englehart, Iroquois Falls and Matachewan First Nation to take part in the Forestry Connects program in Timmins this week. The two-day program brought the youth to an EACOM woodland area west of town on Malette Road, and took them on tours of the EACOM sawmill and Millsons Forestry. …For EACOM, public affairs director Christine Leduc said initiatives like this are important to show the community how the company is managing the forests, which are a public resource. …“I think the contractors are struggling with succession planning and recruitment just as much as we are, so it’s in all of our interests that we take some time and connect with the next generation and show them what the opportunities are,” said Leduc.

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Department of Natural Resources visits 1 in 10 sites before harvesting takes place

By Aaron Beswick
The Truro Daily News
March 5, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

Scott Cook

Department of Natural Resources staff did not visit an area of old hardwood in Guysborough County before it was harvested by Port Hawkesbury Paper. They are only mandated to visit 10 per cent of sites in eastern Nova Scotia before a cut takes place and then assess about 25 per cent of cuts afterwards. After allegations by local harvester Danny George that the mill was cutting old-growth stands to supply the Nova Scotia Power biomass plant located next to Port Hawkesbury Paper, the department sent its old forest specialist to assess the area that was cut. “We don’t believe (it was old growth), nothing indicated it initially,” said Ryan McIntyre, manager of forest management planning for the provincial department, on Friday. 

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Forester says old-growth trees cut on Crown land in violation of policy

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

Nova Scotia’s Department of Natural Resources is investigating after a veteran logger says old-growth forest is being cut on Crown land near Guysborough. Daniel George, who harvests wood in the forests, said the stand of trees is about 10 kilometres west of the town of Guysborough, southwest of Eight Mile Lake. The stand consists of shade-tolerant hardwood species such as yellow birch and hard maple, and many of the trees are hundreds of years old, George said. He showed CBC News hundreds of immature yellow birch and hard maple trees that had been razed. …Nova Scotia’s Department of Natural Resources is investigating after a veteran logger says old-growth forest is being cut on Crown land near Guysborough.

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Not your typical clear-cut: Mangled trees on Highway 2 cut for airport safety

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

It’s not unusual to see patches of clear-cut forest while driving along New Brunswick highways, but two patches of trees along Highway 2 near Moncton stand out. The mostly spruce and birch trees north of the Greater International Airport, east of the junction with Route 15, aren’t cut at the base of the trunk but look cracked in half, as if attacked from above. According to Julie Pondant, corporate communications specialist at the Greater Moncton International Airport Authority, the trees aren’t the victim of a rogue aircraft or a crazed lumberjack but the result of a rush job to keep the sight lines clear for pilots approaching the runway. “It’s for them to be able to visually see and for clearance underneath the aircraft.”

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Canadians hypocrites when it comes to our forests

Letter by Gary Saunders
The Chronicle Herald
March 2, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

Re: “Clearcutting forests adds much to climate-change fire” (Dec. 29 Business commentary). Recently on these pages, armchair forester Peter Ritchie of the Healthy Forest Coalition did some high school math to discover that living forests are mostly stored CO2 (true), therefore less harvesting would curb global warming. Well, duh. What he failed or forgot to say was that when uncut trees die — as they will — they rot and out-gas most of that CO2. …What to do? Ironically, one way to slow this out-gassing is to convert living trees into durable products like buildings, dinner tables, even cardboard and paper.

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The Energy 202: The next wildfire season starts soon. The government wants to use drones to fight it.

By Dino Grandoni
The Washington Post
March 5, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

…The BLM, a division within Interior, later estimated the early detection of the fire by the drone saved $50 million in land and infrastructure value that could have otherwise been lost….Interior currently only oversees its own drones. But last month, the department solicited bids for companies to fly drones over forest fires for longer-term data collection. Right now, Interior is not replacing human pilots with drones, said Bathrick, instead providing “enhanced situational awareness that just didn’t exist in the past.” But he added drones generally allow missions to be done “in one-seventh the time and at about one-tenth the cost.” The falling cost of drone technology come just as the federal government faces shortfalls in funds for fighting forest fires.

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Logging doesn’t restore the forest

By George Wuerthner
The Bend Bulletin
March 4, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

…The Forest Service and the Deschutes Collaborative suggest they are “thinning” the forest to preclude large wildfires and to “restore it.” (The collaborative is a working group of various stakeholders who advise the Forest Service about management issues.) Neither of these assertions is accurate. What they are creating is tree plantations of largely even-aged trees — all done in the name of “fixing” the forest. The first myth they are selling to the public is that logging can preclude large wildfires. There is a host of research — much by Forest Service’s own fire researchers as well as other ecologists — that concludes that under “extreme fire weather” nothing stops a wildfire. …When it appears that a fire break has stopped a blaze, check again. Almost always, the weather has changed. It is weather change, not firefighting, that allows humans to stop large wildfires.

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Could wildfire season come earlier? What 2017’s fire season tells us

King 5 News
March 2, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

The 2017 wildfire season in Washington and Oregon won’t be remembered for a record number of acres burned, there were plenty, but instead it’s more evidence for what we will face in the future. 2017’s fire season will be known for how long it lasted, nearly three weeks longer than the last record season in 2015, a season that lasted well into the fall. According to the U.S. Forest Service, part of the Department of Agriculture, there was a record set; the record was the 40 days that wildland firefighters had to remain at a level 5, the highest level of preparedness, as much of the region experienced hair trigger fire conditions. …Climate change, declining forest health, the buildup of brush, small trees and other debris on the forest floor. With growing frequencies, these issues have been cited for decades.

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Idaho auctions federal timber in deal with Forest Service

The Associated Press in the Idaho Statesman
March 3, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Idaho officials have auctioned timber on federal land as part of an agreement with the U.S. Forest Service intended to increase logging and reduce the severity of wildfires. The Jasper II West timber sale on the Idaho Panhandle National Forests in northern Idaho is the third timber sale sold by the Idaho Department of Lands under the federal Good Neighbor Authority program. Stimson Lumber Company on Thursday submitted the winning bid of $1.47 million to log 306 acres north of Priest River. The Idaho Department of Lands says the company will be removing dead and dying timber. Money from the sale will reimburse the state, and leftover money will be used for restoration projects on the forest. [END]

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Research: Small trees produce most embers

By Peter Aleshire
Payson Roundup
March 2, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Little trees with thin branches like those crowding the forests of Rim Country throw burning, fire-spreading embers much further and more efficiently when a big fire comes along. The research came out of sobering studies in both a fire laboratory and in the field and underscored the grave threat a thick, overgrown forest poses to towns like Payson. The researchers found that something called “bending stress” causes small, burning branches to bend, curl then snap — throwing a burning chunk of wood up into the air. The fierce updraft from the fire catches that ember, fans the ember and can cast it two miles from the fire front. …The research demonstrated the extreme danger facing communities like Payson, Show Low, Pine, Springerville and others from a rain of embers falling to earth miles from the actual fire line.

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Montana senators want to end ‘fire borrowing’ to ensure enough money is available to fight fires

By Chris Cioffi
The Billings Gazette
March 3, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

The 2017 wildfire season was the most expensive ever, and many members of Congress want to ensure money is always accessible for the U.S. Forest Service to fight blazes. Montana Republican U.S. Sen. Steve Daines hopes to change the Forest Service funding mechanism of “fire borrowing.” The senator wants to package funding reform with policy changes, but some say the shifts could weaken environmental protections. When the Forest Service dips into other funds to pay for firefighting, it takes away money from forest management and other projects, the agency said in a statement. “We end up having to hoard all of the money that is intended for fire prevention,” U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said. In Montana, at least 1.3 million acres burned during the 2017 fire season. 

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Cloning sweeter maple trees may lead to cheaper syrup

By Max Kalnitz
WBFO Buffalo’s NPR News Station
March 5, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

Real maple syrup is a sweet treat, but it often comes with a hefty price tag. This is why researchers are working to develop a new method to produce syrup. The process involves cloning. Funded by a grant from the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program, scientists are working to clone sweeter maple trees that produce more sugar sap. The cloning itself doesn’t cause trees to have more sap; it all depends on the original tree that’s being cloned. …“The general principle is that if you can plant trees that produce twice the amount of sugar than the average tree, that’s going to save a lot of money in the production process and energy cost, and net the producers more profits,” Cornell University plant pathologist Keith Perry said. “And it will be overall an environmentally more sustainable process.” 

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How University of Kentucky hopes to make millions from its 15,000-acre forest without mining or logging

By Linda Blackford
Lexington Herald Leader
March 2, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

For decades, people have sparred over the University of Kentucky’s Robinson Forest… Since 1923, when timber magnate E.O. Robinson handed over the clear-cut land, people have argued about whether UK should benefit from its rich resources. Either the coal seams below or timber harvests above could yield significant new revenue for Kentucky’s financially-strained flagship university. …UK is exploring a partnership with The Nature Conservancy to implement a program that could pay UK millions for allowing the forest to offset environmental pollution elsewhere [with carbon offsets]. It’s part of the conservancy’s new Working Woodlands program, in which local landowners certify their forests are being conserved and maintained using sustainable practices.

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One-fifth of Europe’s wood beetles at risk of extinction as ancient trees decline

By Arthur Neslen
The Guardian
March 5, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Almost one-fifth of Europe’s wood beetles are at risk of extinction due to a widespread decline in ancient trees, according to a new report which suggests their demise could have devastating knock-on effects for other species. The study says 18% of saproxylic beetles – which depend on dead and decaying wood for some of their lifecycle – now exist on a conservation plane between “vulnerable” and “critically endangered”. Another 13% of the insects are considered “near threatened” and their disappearance could have a disastrous impact on biodiversity and ecosystems, according to the new red list released by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Wood beetles are a key food source for small mammals, bats and for birds such as woodpeckers, nut hatchers and treecreepers. Some species are also pollinators.

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Dutch scientists use DNA testing to identify illegally logged wood

DutchNews.nl
March 5, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Researchers at Wageningen University are using DNA testing to help identify tropical hardwood which has been cut down illegally. Around 30 to 90% of all tropical hardwood is logged illegally, and checks on the origin of wood, however thorough, are not particularly effective because documentation may be fraudulent, the university says. The new method identifies the wood’s DNA and is precise enough to differentiate between trees cut down in places that are practically next door to each other. This is important because position can mark the difference between legal and illegally logged wood. ‘The fact that we can accurately differentiate the origin of timber down to a 14 km radius is new,’ says lead author Mart Vlam.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

MLA raises concerns over pellet mill emissions in N.W.T. Legislative Assembly

By Jimmy Thomson
CBC News
March 5, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

An N.W.T. MLA is raising alarm over environmental impacts that could stem from a new pellet mill planned for Enterprise, N.W.T.  “Aurora Wood Pellets’ operation in Enterprise is expected to create many jobs at its mills and jobs for wood cutters from two First Nation communities. This is a very good thing,” said Nahendeh MLA Shane Thompson in a statement to the N.W.T. Legislative Assembly on Feb. 26. “What is much less clear is whether cutting virgin forest in the N.W.T and then burning it as wood pellets is an environmentally sound thing to do.” The Aurora Wood Pellets project is in the early stages of construction, with harvesting contracts planned for finalization in mid-April, according to the company’s owner, Brad Mapes.

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Research raises questions about trees’ reaction to climate change

By Steve Patterson
Florida Times-Union
March 5, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

Heat waves that are expected more often in coming decades could disrupt one of earth’s most reliable defenses against climate change… The scientists … found that trees that normally suck up carbon in the atmosphere, dampening climate change, slow down or stop their absorption when temperatures rise too much. …But the scientists’ report, published by the journal Global Change Biology … said the heat wave created inside the trees’ enclosures “reduced midday canopy photosynthesis to near zero.” …On the good side, if plants that were expected to wither or die in heat waves can survive until the heat breaks, they’ll still be able to load up carbon sinks and moderate potentially climate-altering changes.

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Health & Safety

PBS reports on sexual harassment among firefighters in the U.S. Forest Service

By Bill Gabbert
Wildfire Today
March 2, 2018
Category: Health & Safety
Region: United States, US West

The PBS program Newshour aired a story Thursday night reporting on interviews with dozens of U.S. Forest Service female employees, many of them firefighters. The women gave numerous examples of gender discrimination, bullying, sexual harassment, and assault by crew members and supervisors. Three women said they were raped by fellow employees. … The statement below was issued by Dan Jiron, the Department of Agriculture’s Acting Deputy Undersecretary of Natural Resources and the Environment:The stories the Forest Service employees shared during the PBS NewsHour piece are important to hear, difficult and heart-wrenching as they may be.  Stories like these, which have come to light over the past few years, have underscored that there are elements of sexual harassment in the Forest Service that have existed and continue today.  While we have taken significant actions over the past several years to address sexual harassment in the Forest Service, we acknowledge that we have more work to do. 

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