Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: March 12, 2018

Today’s Takeaway

Satellites and artificial intelligence can predict where and when lightning will strike

The Tree Frog Forestry News
March 12, 2018
Category: Today's Takeaway

In today’s news: wildfire researchers at the University of Calgary suggest it’s possible to predict where and when lightning will strike; a US ecologist recommends prescribed burning to prevent mega fires in BC; and thinning of beetle devastated forests commences in Jasper National Park. Meanwhile, the Quebec government will allow a small herd of caribou to die off; and Ontario’s rural communities push back on an American activist group’s lobbying efforts. 

In Business news; an opinion writer in Maine suggests Gov. Paul Lepage’s bleak take on forest industry jobs is influenced by his pro-Canadian position on lumber tariffs; while a Toronto Star writer suggest’s Trump’s bully-boy tactics exposes Canada’s US-focused trade policies. Meanwhile, Southern Oregon’s log prices broke last month’s 25-year record.

Finally, researchers at the University of Maryland have done it again. Last month wood was shown to be stronger than steel. This month, wood is the new styrofoam, outperforming just about all existing insulators.

–Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

Read More

Business & Politics

LePage’s bleak take on Maine forest industry jobs doesn’t add up

The Bangor Daily News
March 12, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

Paul LePage

Paul LePage was in Washington, D.C., to meet with U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in February and something he’s attributed as saying there is puzzling people who watch Maine’s forest industry closely. A summary of that meeting, also attended by New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant and his staff, cites the governor as saying Maine has 500 people “going on the unemployment rolls each week” partly because of new tariffs on Canadian softwood that LePage has fought. But Maine only has about 4,000 loggers and industry watchers say they don’t know how the governor got his figures. …There are broader issues at play here, including the tariffs and a war of words between the governor and two brothers who own four Maine mills. Canadians fighting the tariffs from President Donald Trump count LePage as a key ally and Maine’s forest industry is dominated by cross-border companies such as J.D. Irving, a Canadian behemoth.

Read More

Trump exposes free trade as a failed policy for Canada

By Thomas Walkom
The Toronto Star
March 12, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

There’s one upside to Donald Trump’s use of bully-boy tactics against Canada. They may force us to rethink our failed trade strategy with the U.S. Since the first Canada-U. S. free trade deal of 1988, this country has concentrated on integrating itself seamlessly into the American economy. …Every Canadian government policy, including those dealing with national security and defence, focused on keeping the border open so that goods and parts could traverse North America effortlessly. …The assumption behind this drastic restructuring of Canada’s political economy was that America would keep its word — that it would grant special status to Canada. …And with some notable exceptions, such as softwood lumber, America did keep its word. But Trump has changed all of that. …In effect, he’s telling Ottawa that if it doesn’t cave in, he will do dire damage to Canada’s steel and aluminum industries.

Read More

Premier John Horgan to Address COFI Convention

Council of Forest Industries
March 9, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Vancouver, B.C. – The BC Council of Forest Industries [COFI] is pleased to welcome Premier John Horgan as a keynote speaker at its 2018 Annual Convention, to be held in Prince George, B.C. on April 4-6, 2018. The Premier will address delegates at 9:00am on Friday, April 6th. “We are very pleased that Premier John Horgan will be attending this year’s COFI convention,” said Susan Yurkovich, President & CEO of COFI. “The Premier is committed to a strong, vibrant and diverse forest industry, and understands the importance of forestry to B.C.’s economy and the families who depend on it in communities throughout our province. We look forward to hearing the Premier’s address to delegates this year in Prince George.” More than 500 delegates will gather in the heart of the B.C. interior forest industry to discuss topics critical to the industry.

Read More

Ontario Supporting Plywood Mill in North Eastern Ontario

By the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
Government of Ontario
March 9, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

Ontario is supporting Columbia Forest Products to expand its plywood mill in Hearst and Rutherglen, helping to create and maintain almost 350 jobs and boost economic growth. Columbia Forest Products is one of North America’s largest manufacturers of hardwood plywood and hardwood veneer products. Columbia’s decorative interior veneers and panels are used in high-end cabinetry, fine furniture, architectural millwork and commercial fixtures. With support from Ontario’s Jobs and Prosperity Fund, the company will be able to grow its business and increase efficiency by modernizing its infrastructure and purchasing new equipment to maximize production capacity, increase competitiveness and expand into new markets, while ensuring resources are managed sustainably.

Read More

Exports of U.S. hardwood lumber and veneer to the Middle East and North Africa region reach $96.74mln in 2017

By The American Hardwood Export Council
Thomson Reuters Zawya
March 12, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States

Total exports of U.S. hardwood lumber and veneer to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region including Pakistan reached USD 96.74 million for the year 2017, according to a statement issued by the American Hardwood Export Council, the leading international trade association for the American hardwood industry. The statistics, which have been compiled from the latest data released from the United States Department of Agriculture, reveal a 7 percent overall increase over 2016 figures. The announcement was made at the opening of the Dubai WoodShow, which is due to run until March 14 at the Dubai International Exhibition and Convention Center. According to the data released, exports of American hardwood lumber reached a value of USD 75.46 million and a volume of 92,273 cubic meters, marking an increase of 20 percent and 17 percent respectively over 2016.

Read More

US forests reach new heights with wood exports

By Robert Wallack
American Journal of Transportation
March 12, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States

The booming housing economy and furniture manufacturing, and even demand for whiskey are all affecting the surge in hardwood exports to North Asia markets. One in three boards coming off the production line is destined for the People’s Republic of China. Companies nationwide are supplying a variety of hardwood species to customers in China, Korea and Japan. …In 2017, the U.S. value of industry shipments of wood was $95 billion. Asia markets are depending on a sustainable source of temperate hardwood (ash, cherry, maple, oak, walnut) and the U.S. can increase exports because of careful management of its forests. In fact, the U.S. grows more hardwood each year than it harvests for reliable supplies, according to United Kingdom based International Timber. Moreover, the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) confirmed to the AJOT that the U.S. surpassed Russia as the top temperate hardwood exporter to China.

Read More

Destined to fail: Oregon officials missed taxpayer-backed mill project’s red flags

B Hillary Borrud and Gordon R. Friedman
The Oregonian
March 10, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

When state and federal officials approved $8 million in taxpayer financing for a Southern Oregon sawmill project, they did so on the premise the investment would bring back jobs. But officials greenlighted the project despite warning signs the plan to retool the mothballed mill was likely doomed to fail. Sure enough, even with the expensive taxpayer-provided upgrades, the reopened Rough & Ready mill operated for less than 20 months before shutting down for good. Its equipment has been auctioned off, the land sold and the promised jobs only briefly delivered. The failed project was overseen by Portland environmental nonprofit Ecotrust. Taxpayers ultimately poured more than $12 million into the small-scale family-owned mill. On the day the land was sold, only $5 million of it remained. The other $7 million had been spent for naught.

Read More

Timber Industry Report for March 11

By Rick Sohn
The News-Review
March 10, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

Rick Sohn

Southern Oregon log prices broke last month’s 25-year record. Stud lumber prices adjusted upward this month, but mills are way below capacity due to shortages of logs and labor. Mortgage rates are up. Recent trends of lumber, logs, home construction, and housing markets, are compared in this month’s timber report. …The price of Lumber has jumped into near-record territory at $410 in response to recent log price increases. Still, studs as reported here lag behind many other solid wood lumber products. Random Lengths Composite Framing Lumber price is $509 this week. …Log prices also continue to rise dramatically, in near-term record territory. For comparison, the January 2017 price of $720 is a more typical high price. T

Read More

Stalwart McRobbie wins Confor award

Confor
February 28, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

George McRobbie, Managing Director of Tilhill Forestry – and also a Confor Board member and Forestry Commissioner – was presented with the award by Cabinet Secretary Fergus Ewing at Confor’s annual dinner in Edinburgh. …Stuart Goodall, Chief Executive of Confor, said: “George McRobbie has been a significant figure in the modern forestry industry. He has stepped up to the mark to serve the sector time and time again – and always brings a wide range of skills to the table. He has enormous knowledge of forestry and valuable attributes, including integrity, diligence and tremendous common sense.” Mr McRobbie has been Managing Director of Tilhill Forestry since 2012, a Board member of Confor since 2013 and a Forestry Commissioner since 2015. He is also a former President of the Institute of Chartered Foresters.

Read More

Wood, Paper & Green Building

Taxpayers to lose $4.5 million in Forest Centre sale to University of Saskatchewan

By Alex MacPherson and Thia James
The Star Phoenix
March 11, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

Saskatchewan taxpayers are set to lose $4.5 million when the provincial government sells a controversial Prince Albert building once regarded by some as a “celebration of progress in the forest sector” to the University of Saskatchewan. The Forest Centre in downtown Prince Albert cost $12.7 million to build and opened in 2005. …The Forest Centre began attracting controversy years before it was built. Its supporters said it would boost the province’s forestry sector by housing research projects, while its detractors panned it as unnecessary and a re-election ploy. 

Read More

Eco-friendly nanowood is a super strong and recyclable Styrofoam

By Andy Coghlan
New Scientist
March 9, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

Wood is the new Styrofoam. By stripping away all the filler material in wood, leaving just bare fibres, researchers have shown that the resulting “nanowood” material outperforms just about all existing insulators. Liangbing Hu of the University of Maryland in College Park, led the team that developed nanowood. To make it, they expose wood to cheap, simple chemicals – sodium hydroxide, sodium sulphite and hydrogen peroxide. Together, these strip out the cell walls in wood, made up of lignin and hemicellulose, leaving just the skeletal nanofibres of cellulose. It is the parallel arrangement of these surviving nanofibers that gives nanowood its unusual properties. …“This really shows that nature has outperformed humankind, once again,” says Jeff Youngblood of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Illinois, whose work also focuses on producing industrially useful products derived from wood. “We just have to unlock her secrets.”

Read More

New guide for timber design and construction in aged care

Wood Solutions
Architect and Design
March 12, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

WoodSolutions has introduced a new resource to provide design guidance on the use of timber building systems during the construction of aged care facilities. The increase in Australia’s ageing population is driving demand for new aged care accommodation. The Aged Care Financing Authority reported that “an additional 74,000 new beds will be required over the coming decade to meet the needs of an ageing Australia”. …According to Eileen Newbury, WoodSolutions Program Manager, Guides 42 and 28 Rethinking Aged Care Construction – Consider Timber represent an essential toolbox… how building in timber translates into time, cost and sustainability efficiencies as well as health benefits.

Read More

Soaring wooden watchtower hovers over 17th century Dutch fortress

By Nicole Jewell
Inhabitat
March 9, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Dutch firm RO&AD Architecten recently built a massive timber tower that looks out from the historic Fort De Roovere in Halsteren, Netherlands. The Pompejus watchtower and open-air theater rises 100 feet off the ground.  …Named after the first commander of the fortress, Pompejus de Roovere, the tower hovers over the West Brabant Water Defense Line. The West Brabantes Water Defense Line, which was built in 1627, was an important shipping routes that faced attacks from Spanish and French forces.  …The tower’s leaning frame is made out of steel, but its facade is comprised of a series of asymmetrical timber panels interspersed with various openings. The large cutouts allow natural ventilation and light to enter the wide wooden stairwell that leads to the top of the tower.

Read More

Forestry

New method can predict where lightning will spark wildfires: Calgary study

By Bill Graveland
Canadian Press in CTV News
March 11, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

CALGARY — Apparently lightning can strike the same place twice after all. A study by researchers at the University of Calgary’s Schulich School of Engineering suggests it’s possible to predict where lightning will strike and how often. They say satellite data and artificial intelligence can help foresee where lightning poses a greater risk to spark wildfires. “That will give us a more precise description about the patterns happening in the lightning and the wildfire hazard,” said Dr. Xin Wang, one of three researchers involved in the study. “It also can be used for the future predictions about those hazards. “Those events don’t just randomly happen. They also have spatial and temporal patterns.” Lightning-caused wildfires are a growing problem in Western Canada and have been stretching fire resources to their limits.

Read More

U.S. ecologist’s megafires message timely for planning Cariboo Chilcotin’s future

By Monica Lamb-Yorski
BC Local News
March 9, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Paul Hessburg

Smokey Bear is in need of an upgrade, said Dr. Paul Hessburg as a photograph of the famous fire-prevention icon came up on the screen during his “era of the megafires,” presentation in Williams Lake Wednesday. He was referring to the fact that in his presentation Smokey was wielding a gas can and assisting with a prescribed burn, which the U.S. Forest Service ecologist said is one of the tools in the tool box that can help create fire-resilient landscapes. “If we don’t change a handful of our fire management habits we are going to lose many more of these landscapes and some of them are not going to recover in our lifetime, our kids’ lifetime or my grandkids lifetime, ” Hessburg said, noting as a father and a scientist, he’s deeply concerned about what he’s leaving behind.

Read More

Thinning of trees infested by pine beetles begins Monday in Jasper National Park

By Lydia Neufeld
CBC News
March 9, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Parks Canada will use machinery to thin forests in Jasper National Park devastated by pine beetles in an effort to reduce the risks of wildfires this summer. The work is scheduled to begin Monday. The equipment is being brought into the Pyramid Bench area west of Jasper townsite, to remove dead lodgepole pine trees and trees affected by mountain pine beetles, said Alan Fehr, field unit supervisor for Jasper National Park. “It’s a means of reducing the danger of wildfire to visitors and the townsite,” Fehr told Edmonton AM on Friday. The work will continue until April 15 as long as the ground remains frozen. The remainder of the project area will be completed between November 2018 and April 2019. Prescribed burns are the preferred method to help manage the risk of wildfire because of the ecological benefits, said Fehr.

Read More

Chemainus resident receives TLA scholarship

By Don Bodger
Chemainus Valley Courier
March 10, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Trevor Foldy of Chemainus and Trevor Pinckney from Cassidy each accepted $5,000 Truck Loggers Association & Parkland Refining Awards at the Truck Loggers Association’s 75th Conference & Trade Show in Victoria. Both Trevors earned the awards through their success in the Heavy Equipment Operator certificate program at Vancouver Island University. “TLA members are struggling to find enough skilled workers to get the wood out and we are pleased to see young people choosing forestry,” noted David Elstone, TLA executive director. “These scholarships are part of the TLA’s broader advocacy around the skilled labour shortage that is impacting our membership.” Doug Donaldson, the Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, attended to meet the scholarship winners.

Read More

Quebec producers tap into maple water as competition grows abroad

CBC News
March 12, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

Quebec may lead the maple syrup industry, but as competition grows south of the border, it’s tapping into another product: maple water.  Last year, the Quebec Maple Syrup Federation announced it was adding two million taps in the province in an effort to increase production.  Now, it’s working to diversify its offer by encouraging producers to join the growing market for the sweet liquid that comes straight from the tree. The once-exclusive drink… is going big and it’s going designer. A number of Quebec companies are touting the product as a trendy new health drink, boasting its antioxidant content and other nutrients it contains. …But its health benefits may be more marketing than remarkable. Bernard Lavallée, a Montreal-based nutritionist, says maple water is no superfood. “I’m sorry to burst your bubble,” he said. “Just about any product that comes from plants contains [antioxidants].”

Read More

Deer Lake’s Erin Pearson one of two Canadians selected for bursary, U.K. exchange program

The Western Star
March 11, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

Erin Pearson

Erin Pearson’s love for forestry and protecting our natural resources has been growing for some time, and it’s this deeply rooted passion that has led to her selection as one of only two Canadian recipients of a major bursary award from the Canadian Institute of Forestry. …The Deer Lake native is in her final year of study in the Forest Resources Technician program at College of the North Atlantic’s Corner Brook campus. Now in its fourth year, the award program is fully endorsed by Charles, the Prince of Wales and is formed through a U.K.-Canada partnership between The Prince of Wales’ Duchy of Cornwall, the Institute of Chartered Foresters in the U.K., and CIF-IFC in Canada. The program’s funding is sponsored by The Prince of Wales’s Charitable Foundation.

Read More

Quebec government to let threatened woodland caribou herd die off

Canadian Press in Cape Breton Post
March 10, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

MONTREAL — Quebec’s decision to allow a small herd of caribou to die off because it would be too expensive to save them amounts to an abandonment of its responsibility to protect wildlife, environmental activists said Friday. The criticism came a day after Forests and Wildlife Minister Luc Blanchette announced it would be too costly to try to save the Val-d’Or caribou herd, whose habitat in northwestern Quebec has been decimated by logging and human activity. In a video capsule published on his Facebook page, Blanchette estimated it would cost $76 million over 50 years to try to save the herd, which numbered only 18 animals when it was last counted in 2016. …”The situation is sad, but we have to be reasonable. We believe it is better to put our efforts on the other 7,000 caribou of Quebec, where we still have good chances of success.”

Read More

“Natural Resources Defense Council does not speak for us”: The Alliance

By The Alliance
Ontario Forest Industries Association
March 9, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

“Why is NRDC [Natural Resources Defense Council], an American activist group, lobbying our provincial government and attempting to frustrate consultation and accommodation with First Nations communities and impacted municipalities?” said Wendy Landry, president of the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association and Mayor of Shuniah. “NRDC does not speak for us or the harmonious relationship we have with our natural resources. We are respectfully asking that they stop these one-sided and misinformed attacks that end up harming our natural resources and join us in support of the positive announcement from the MNRF [Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry].” …“Prohibiting human activities, combined with the suppression of natural disturbances, will be detrimental to the sustainability of our managed Crown forests,” said president of the Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities and Mayor of Kapuskasing Al Spacek. 

Read More

Can an environmentalist be pro-business?

By Margaret Gorski
The Ravalli Republic
March 11, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Can an environmentalist be pro-business too? I spent much of my adult life working with people fighting over what is left of the original America that Lewis and Clark explored a short 200 years ago. I learned that successful resolution of environmental issues only happened after everyone asked: “How can I protect what I value while protecting what my opponent values?” It requires accepting that we can’t have everything we want and the only way forward is compromise. …We must stop assuming that someone who is an environmentalist is automatically anti-business. In the same vein we also need to stop assuming that someone who is pro-business is opposed to protecting the environment. 

Read More

The future of the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests is in jeopardy

By Brett Haverstick, education/outreach director, Friends of the Clearwater
The Spokesman-Review
March 10, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Brett Haverstick

An informal public comment period just ended regarding the development of alternatives for the new forest plan on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests in north central Idaho. The plan will provide management direction for these forests over the next 10-30 years. …The Forest Service indicated in its initial proposed action (2014) that it wants to increase logging on these forests from current annual levels of 40-50 million board feet to 150 million board feet! In order to triple the cut, the new forest plan would not contain any of the measurable and enforceable standards mentioned above, and instead would allow the development of some of the best fish and wildlife habitat in the Lower 48.

Read More

Theni forest fire: 65 trapped in Kurangani hills, deaths feared

By Arun Janardhanan
The Indian Express
March 12, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: International

At least 65 trekkers, many of them believed to be college students, IT employees and families with children from Chennai, Coimbatore and Tirupur, were trapped Sunday in a fire that swept through the Theni forest in Tamil Nadu, bordering Kerala. Five persons were confirmed to have suffered serious burn injuries, and police and forest officers engaged in rescue operations said they feared at least three others may have been killed. The five seriously injured were among 15 who were rescued late evening by local residents in the area. At least 24 of those trapped are from Chennai, said officials. Speaking to The Indian Express late Sunday night, a state government official camping in the area said: “We have not been able to physically verify the reports of deaths. 

Read More

A humble tree native to Middle East holds strong anti-colon cancer properties, find Abu Dhabi researchers

By Daniel Bardsley
The National
March 11, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: International

The tree Rhus coriaria, which grows in parts of the Arab world including Jordan, has long proved useful to people in this region. …UAE research has now highlighted properties that could be more significant than all of these: extracts of the plant have strong anti-cancer properties. In a new study in the journal Scientific Reports, Dr Rabah Iratni, an associate professor at UAE University in Al Ain, and a number of co-researchers have found that these extracts can kill colon cancer cells. In their paper, the researchers say that the extracts “significantly inhibited the viability and colony growth of colon cancer cells”. Through their influence on biochemical pathways, the extracts also induced processes called autophagy and apoptosis, which both involve cell death.

Read More

The Price Of Protest: Choosing Between Forests Or Freedom

By Mick Daley
The New Matilda
March 12, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: International

AUSTRALIA — In the 1980s and 1990s, a vibrant environmental movement took the fight to the government to save some of NSW’s most iconic forests. The price for that fight is the same today, but with logging growing, the stakes are even higher. Mick Daley looks back on almost four decades of activism, and what’s needed today. 25 years ago, early on 18 November 1992 a group of some 30 activists invaded the NSW Forestry Commission’s head office in Pennant Hills, Sydney. A film crew documented the five-hour drama that followed. Calling themselves the People’s Commission for Forests, they barricaded themselves into the building while spokesman John Corkill briefed journalists on the Commissioner’s phone.

Read More

Ireland’s forest cover is estimated to be at its highest level in over 350 years

By Ciaran Moran
Irish Independent
March 9, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Ireland’s forest cover is estimated to be at its highest level in over 350 years, according to the Department of Agriculture’s 2017 forest statistics report. The area of forest is estimated to be 731,650 ha or 10.5pc of the total land area of Ireland.Over one quarter of the forest estate contains broadleaves. The Government has ambitious plans to increase afforestation in Ireland. However, last year it missed its target of planting over 7,000ha by over 20pc.Meanwhile in some parts of the country there has been severe criticism of the Governments approach to forestry.In Leitrim, county councillors have unanimously agreed to amend their County Development Plan in a bid to curb the level of afforestation in the county.

Read More