Tree Frog Forestry News

Monthly Archives: April 2018

Today’s Takeaway

Mass timber to make its debut on Vancouver Island

Tree Frog Forestry News
April 25, 2018
Category: Today's Takeaway

Just over a month away, the Canadian Bioeconomy Conference and Exhibition (the largest event of its kind in Canada) is showcasing an impressive list of presenters and exhibitors. The BC Community Forest Association is hosting their 2018 AGM at the site of BC’s first community forest – Burns Lake; and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative says “Forests are the Answer” – find out why at their annual conference in Colorado. 

Headline highlights:

–Sandy McKellar, Tree Frog Editor

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US Environmental Protection Agency declares forest biomass is carbon neutral

The Tree Frog Forestry News
April 24, 2018
Category: Today's Takeaway

Controversial EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt declared that burning trees is carbon neutral “when used for energy production at stationary sources”. Perspectives include:

  • Reflects long-standing scientific principles and Congressional Direction (AF&PA)
  • Encourages  landowners to keep their land in trees (Georgia Forestry Assoc.)
  • The notion is contentious among scientists (Washington Post)
  • Burning trees will exacerbate climate change and harm public health (Sierra Club)

In other news: CN Rail’s new boss is moving quickly to ease congestion; Halifax is considering restricting flyer delivery; and Treehugger has Michael Green’s presentation at the opening of StructureCraft’s new Dowel Laminated Timber plant in BC. 

Finally, flashback to Caddyshack! An attempt to burn a woodchuck out of a hole leads to a forest fire in Maine. 

–Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Special Feature

Look who’s attending Canada’s largest bioeconomy conference in Prince George

The Canadian Bioeconomy Conference and Exhibition
April 25, 2018
Category: Special Feature
Region: Canada, Canada West

The Canadian Bioeconomy Conference and Exhibition—formerly the International Bioenergy Conference and Exhibition—is only six weeks away. Held every two years in Prince George, BC, the conference is the largest and longest running event of its kind in Canada. …The bioenergy industry in Canada has grown and matured since the conference was founded in 2004. The conference’s board of directors felt it was important that the event reflect the diversification in the use of woody biomass across the full value chain of bioproducts. Program highlights include: a community energy workshop, wood products safety summit, industry-leading speakers program and an inside look at Canada’s larges pellet operations. Here are just a few of the organizations already confirmed to attend.

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Froggy Foibles

Brush fires rage from one end of Maine to the other. The woodchuck got away.

By Beth Brogan
The Bangor Daily News
April 23, 2018
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: US East, United States

A string of wildfires starting on Saturday and culminating with 13 reported fires before 4 p.m. Monday have area fire chiefs encouraging residents to be cautions with outdoor burns. A fire started by a farm employee attempting to burn a woodchuck out of a hole in the ground at Cooper Farms grew to nearly two acres Saturday, Monmouth Fire Chief Dan Roy said Monday. “Did you ever see the movie ‘Caddyshack’?” Roy asked. The department called in mutual aid from Leeds and Wales, drawing about 30 firefighters in total before the blaze was extinguished. But, Roy said, “The woodchuck apparently got away.”

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Business & Politics

Lumber producers add their voice to concerns over potential CP Rail strike

By Tom Vernon
Global TV News
April 24, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Alberta’s forestry sector, already facing challenges from softwood tariffs imposed by the United States and the growing threat of the mountain pine beetle, fears a labour disruption at CP Rail could make a tough situation even worse. “We have a challenge in getting rail cars at the moment — the rail system in Canada is maxed out,” said Paul Whittaker, the CEO of the Alberta Forest Products Association. Lumber producers have been hit by the same backlog of rail cars as the agriculture sector, leading to large stockpiles at sawmills and lost profits. …A potential strike was averted over the weekend after the federal government ordered CP Rail’s two main unions to vote on the company’s final contract offer. The unions are urging their members to reject the deal.

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Skeena Sawmills modernization delayed due to building condition

By Jackie Lieuwen
The Terrace Standard
April 24, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

The $10-million Skeena Sawmills canter line upgrade has been delayed due to the poor condition of a number of old sawmill buildings, exposed during last winter’s periods of heavy snowfall. Operations vice president Roger Keery said the mill is re-engineering its plans and has structural upgrades in mind for the existing sawmill building, which will take place before the mill moves forward with its modernization. “We had some problems with old buildings over the winter,” said Keery. “With the snow we had, some of the weaknesses in our older buildings became obvious. Our original plan was to use the existing buildings, but we are rethinking that now.”

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Mackenzie Pulp Mill pays consequences after 2014 incidents

By Matt Fetinko
MY PG NOW
April 24, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

The Mackenzie Pulp Mill Corporation has been fined $900,000.  This comes following two instances in 2014 that saw the mill’s treatment system overwhelmed, causing toxic effluent exceedance in Williston Lake where the mill sits. “Beyond the fine which was agreed to [April 19th, 2018], the company was also ordered to complete an independent audit of its operations at the mill, paying particular attention to the effluent that comes from the mill,” explains Environmental Enforcement Directorate Regional Director Marko Goluza. …The payout will not be going to waste, so to speak. Goluza says it will help out with a specific cause in the province. “The $900,000 core penalty will be directed to the Environmental Damages Fund and, in this case, it was actually flagged to be used for conservation of fish and fish habitat in the Omineca region of British Columbia specifically.”

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Canfor Pulp Products Inc. Announces First Quarter 2018 Results and Quarterly Dividend

Cision Newswire
April 24, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

VANCOUVER – Canfor Pulp Products Inc. today reported first quarter 2018 results and quarterly dividend. The Company reported operating income of $85.1 million for the first quarter of 2018, an increase of $18.3 million from the $66.8 million reported in the fourth quarter of 2017 as the benefit of near-record high US-dollar pricing for Northern Bleached Softwood Kraft pulp and improved productivity in the latter part of the quarter more than offset challenges presented by severe winter weather in Western Canada earlier in the period, and the effects of major transportation disruptions to all the Company’s operations through the quarter.

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Canfor Reports Results for First Quarter of 2018

By Canfor Corporation
Cision Newswire
April 24, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

VANCOUVER – Canfor Corporation today reported first quarter 2018 results.  The Company reported operating income of $203.8 million for the first quarter of 2018, down $10.4 million from reported operating income of $214.2 million for the fourth quarter of 2017, as lower operating earnings for the lumber segment were offset in part by record-high operating earnings for the pulp and paper segment.  Reported results in the first quarter of 2018 include a net duty expense of $34.9 million, at a combined effective countervailing duty (CVD) and anti-dumping duty (ADD) rate of 14.34%.  This compares to a net duty recovery of $23.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2017 reflecting the year-to-date true-up of preliminary CVD and ADD rates to current rates following final determinations announced by the US Department of Commerce and US International Trade Commission.

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Lumber producers add their voice to concerns over potential CP Rail strike

By Tom Vernon
Global News
April 24, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Alberta’s forestry sector, already facing challenges from softwood tariffs imposed by the United States and the growing threat of the mountain pine beetle, fears a labour disruption at CP Rail could make a tough situation even worse. “We have a challenge in getting rail cars at the moment — the rail system in Canada is maxed out,” said Paul Whittaker, the CEO of the Alberta Forest Products Association. Lumber producers have been hit by the same backlog of rail cars as the agriculture sector, leading to large stockpiles at sawmills and lost profits. “Only about half the number of rail cars we are seeking are arriving at the mills,” Whittaker said. A potential strike was averted over the weekend after the federal government ordered CP Rail’s two main unions to vote on the company’s final contract offer. The unions are urging their members to reject the deal.

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West Fraser lumber appoints new CEO

By Robert Dalheim
Woodworking Network
April 24, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West
VANCOUVER, B.C. Canadian lumber giant West Fraser has appointed Ray Ferris, the company’s executive VP and chief operating officer, as its new CEO – effective when current CEO Ted Seraphim retires at the end of 2019. “This is an important step in the implementation of our CEO succession plan. Ray has worked closely with Ted for many years and has demonstrated tremendous leadership in executing our operating and capital plans,” Hank Ketcham, chairman of West Fraser’s board of directors said. “His leadership, experience and proven commitment to people, safety, operational excellence and maintaining our culture will continue to drive our company forward. I know that I speak on behalf of all our employees in saying how pleased we are that Ray will be our next CEO,” Seraphim added. 

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Skeena Sawmills modernization delayed due to building condition

By Jackie Lieuwen
Terrace Standard
April 24, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

The $10-million Skeena Sawmills canter line upgrade has been delayed due to the poor condition of a number of old sawmill buildings, exposed during last winter’s periods of heavy snowfall. Operations vice president Roger Keery said the mill is re-engineering its plans and has structural upgrades in mind for the existing sawmill building, which will take place before the mill moves forward with its modernization. “We had some problems with old buildings over the winter,” said Keery. “With the snow we had, some of the weaknesses in our older buildings became obvious. Our original plan was to use the existing buildings, but we are rethinking that now.” Engineers from McElhanney Consulting Services are meeting with Keery to look at re-engineering the project — deciding how to proceed.

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CN Rail’s New CEO Speeds Spending in Rush to Ease Congestion

By Frederic Tomesco
Bloomberg Markets
April 23, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Jean-Jacques Ruest

Canadian National Railway Co.’s new boss is moving quickly to overcome service shortcomings that have curtailed profit and angered customers.  The company is weighing the purchase of 500 “centerbeam” cars to accommodate rising lumber shipments and more than 500 hopper cars to renew the grain-hauling fleet starting next year, said interim Chief Executive Officer Jean-Jacques Ruest. Canada’s largest railroad is also in talks with General Electric Co. to speed locomotive deliveries and potentially exercise an option for 60 more. Ruest, who took over as CEO last month after the surprise exit of Luc Jobin, is rushing to cope with a surge in freight traffic that has slowed operations and prompted complaints from customers such as farmers and oil producers. “What we are doing is rebuilding capacity that’s needed to address a very strong economy, especially in Western Canada,” Ruest said.

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One year since new softwood duties, Canadian industry doing just fine

By Mia Rabson
The Canadian Press in the Toronto City News
April 25, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

OTTAWA – One year after the United States imposed stiff import duties on Canadian softwood, strong demand for wood and record market prices mean American consumers and not Canadian producers are feeling the pinch. Unlike the last softwood dispute with the U.S., which led to the loss of 20,000 forestry jobs and saw an estimated 400 sawmills close in Canada, this time the industry in Canada is holding up just fine so far. …“We haven’t seen any (mill) closures linked to the trade dispute to this point,” said Derek Nighbor, president of the Forest Products Association of Canada. …Nighbor said it’s true the negotiations to settle the dispute have gone quiet, overshadowed by the bigger NAFTA negotiations. But he said even though companies are doing well now, that is predicated on U.S. demand staying high. In the long-term, companies still want a settlement before things start to go south.

 

 

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Demand for Oregon timber continues to rise

KVAL 13 Oregon
April 24, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

OREGON – The Oregon timber industry is continuing to see an increase in demand for their products, and experts say that the steady increase is thanks to construction for new homes across the country. The housing market has fluctuated over the years, affecting one local commodity found everywhere: Timber. Jon Anderson, president of Eugene-based trade publication, Random Lengths, tracks the market activity for timber products in North America. Anderson says construction of new homes across the country is back at a steady rate since the housing bubble burst in 2008. “That recovery, along with some other things, have resulted in some very strong prices in market activity in market place for saw wood products.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Esquimalt council green-lights first mass-timber building on Vancouver Island

By Kristyn Anthony
Victoria News
April 24, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

Esquimalt has approved rezoning to allow for the Island’s first mass-timber building to be constructed in the municipality, overlooking CFB Esquimalt. The 12-storey, 83-unit prefabricated Corvette Landing project is targeted to be built on three properties along Admirals Road and Constance Avenue, north of Astle Street. “This is an innovative project that is going to serve to really bring focus to Esquimalt as a municipality that does innovative and exciting things,” said project manager Troy Grant of Standing Stone Developments. A former Canadian Armed Forces member, Grant chose the location adjacent to CFB Esquimalt because of the diverse demographic of the Township and its desire to keep military families living there. “Esquimalt has a housing crisis just like everybody else,” he said. “And, Esquimalt has an aging population, but it’s also got a growing young population.”

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Mass Timber is in for massive change

By Lloyd Alter
Treehugger
April 24, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

Mass Timber is all the rage in the construction industry … in fact, people have been building with mass timber for centuries; just about every funky old warehouse in North America is mass timber, built of 2x8s or 2x10s on 2 inch spacing, nailed one to another. That’s now known as NLT or nail laminated timber. …StructureCraft recently opened a new factory in Abbotsford, British Columbia to make a different mass timber product, Dowel Laminated Timber (DLT). …The DLT is impressive stuff; it can be milled to a number of different profiles with different architectural properties, depending on aesthetics or acoustics. …DLT is the new NLT; it is not as labor intensive to make, it can be milled on a CNC machine and recycled more easily because there are no nails in it. But DLT is not intended to replace CLT – rather it is just another option in the mass timber toolbox.

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Tall wood buildings on government’s agenda

The Bay Today
April 25, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada East, Canada

The Ontario Forestry Revitalization Act would amend the Ontario Building Code to allow for wood frame construction to be used in mid-rise buildings up to 14 stories. In 2015, Ontario made changes to its Building Code related to the use of wood-frame construction in mid-rise construction of up to six stories. Meanwhile, the government is touting what it calls the new Mass Timber Program as part of Ontario’s Climate Change Action Plan. The use of wood in infrastructure can help address climate change by storing carbon in buildings and by avoiding greenhouse gas pollution associated with other carbon-intensive materials.

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Toronto will be home to Canada’s first tall wood research institute

By Angel Kipfer
Woodworking Network
April 23, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada East, Canada

TORONTO George Brown College in Toronto, Ontario has revealed plans for what it says to be the province’s first tall wood, low-carbon institutional building. …the college has selected Moriyama & Teshima Architects + Acton Ostry Architects. …The building design also offers … a “Made in Canada” approach using nationally sourced mass wood components. …The Arbour will serve as a living laboratory both during its construction and once complete, where students and researchers will learn to design, construct, operate, and monitor climate-friendly buildings. Once complete, The Arbour will host Canada’s first tall wood research institute, allowing students and researchers to generate innovative ideas and research in low-carbon, mass timber construction. It will also become home to the college’s School of Computer Technology, and a new child care facility.

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Smart Wood: Bio-Engineering Trees For Specific Purposes

By Stephen Hanley
PlanetSave
April 24, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

Wood can do some marvelous things. …Scientists at North Carolina State University have devoted the last 10 years studying the biological triggers that determine the characteristics of trees as they grow. They have determined that there are 21 pathway genes that control the amount of lignin a tree produces. Lignin is the stuff that gives timber its strength and density — desirable characteristics for structural uses but not so desirable for making biofuels, paper, or pulp. …“Having a model such as this, which allows us to say if you want this type of wood, here are the genes that you need to modify, is very beneficial, especially when you have an enormous number of possible combinations with 21 pathway genes,” Wang says. …“We are also looking at this integrative analysis to generate trees specifically tailored for production of nanocellulose fibers to replace petroleum-based materials such as plastic.”

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Forestry

Forests are the answer

Sustainable Forestry Initiative
April 25, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, United States

When it comes to providing supply chain assurances, producing conservation outcomes, and supporting education and community engagement – Forests are the Answer. The 2018 SFI Annual Conference will engage you in a discussion focused on why Forests are the Answer to so many of our conservation, community, and supply chain challenges. The SFI Annual Conference brings together thought leaders and influencers: forest sector representatives, conservation and community partners, and Indigenous leaders as well as some of the most engaged forest product customers in North America.

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Industry looks to limit impact on migratory birds

By Glacier Media
Kamloops Matters
April 24, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Migratory bird counts in Canada’s boreal forests continue to drop, but industry is taking on efforts to limit their impact on the declines being seen in Northeast B.C. …For its part, Encana takes a stepwise approach, and uses habitat models for 15 selected species. The company has mapped where birds are likely to nest — for example, the rusty blackbird nests in boggy areas. …He compared Encana’s measures to a B.C. Council of Forest Industries (COFI) management tool, which delays logging until nesting is complete, avoids blocks with trees likely to have nests, and has procedures for active nest encounters. He noted pros and cons to both strategies, but was critical of the COFI approach, saying there is much variation in how companies apply it. 

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Draft plan for Union Bay coal hills remediation to be submitted this spring

By Scott Strasser
Comox Valley Record
April 25, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

A draft plan for the remediation of the contaminated Union Bay coal hills should be submitted to the province this June, and the information could be public by the fall, according to a representative from West Fraser Mills. …Duncan Williams, the executive director of crown land opportunities for the Ministry of Forests… said his department will review West Fraser’s draft plan when it is submitted later this spring. If happy with it, he said they will send the plan to the Ministry of Environment — the regulator — for further scrutiny. “It’s not until [Ministry of Environment] signs off on it and improves on it that we’ll know what the final design is,” he said. …Pending the regulator’s approval, the forestry company plans to supply an engineered membrane that will cover the entire contaminated site.

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Northern Gateway Public Schools board gets presentation on caribou plan

By Taryn Brandell
Whitecourt Star
April 23, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Whitecourt Town Coun. Ray Hilts attended Northern Gateway’s school board meeting on April 17 to discuss the Caribou Range Plan and its potential negative effect on the school system. Hilts is not only councillor in Whitecourt, but an activist for the forest industry and founder of Alberta Forest Alliance. He explained how important the forest industry is to the province of Alberta for not only the construction of buildings, but also for the hundreds of employment opportunities to residents within rural communities. He added that the Government of Alberta has good regulatory controls and good forest management compared to other provinces. “We don’t go cut trees down for the sake of cutting trees,” said Hilts. “We have a marketplace demand and that’s provincial, that’s Canadian, that’s global for wood products.”

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Province partnering with Yellowhead County to combat mountain pine beetle

RD News Now
April 24, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The mountain pine beetle threatens six million hectares of Alberta’s pine forest and affects the activities of more than half of the major forest companies operating in the province. In order to protect Alberta’s crucial forestry industry, the province is providing Yellowhead County with $150,000 for the control, suppression and eradication of mountain pine beetle on municipal and private lands. “Our best chance to combat the mountain pine beetle infestation is if our government partners with local municipalities on aggressive and proactive detection and control programs.  This funding will help us work with the Town of Hinton to do that.” Oneil Carlier, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry said “This grant will help the residents of Yellowhead County control trees on their land that have been infested with the mountain pine beetle. By each of us doing our part, we can slow the spread of the beetle as it moves easterly.”

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Industry looks to limit impact on migratory birds

By Amy von Stackelberg
Alaska Highway News
April 24, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Migratory bird counts in Canada’s boreal forests continue to drop, but industry is taking on efforts to limit their impact on the declines being seen in Northeast B.C. …The Breeding Bird Survey has been done Canada-wide along the same routes each year since 1966. It sees researchers or volunteers stop at selected points to look and listen for three minutes, then record the number of birds of each species. …In the Peace, industry is the primary threat to the boreal forest migrating birds depend on, Mark Phinney, a Dawson Creek forester at Encana said. Though cutlines regenerate relatively quickly, “oil and gas development will not be put back to its natural state for decades,” he said. …For its part, Encana takes a stepwise approach, and uses habitat models for 15 selected species. …He compared Encana’s measures to a BC Council of Forest Industries management tool, which delays logging until nesting is complete…

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Forest resiliency focus moving forward in the Cariboo Chilcotin

By Monica Lamb-Yorski
Williams Lake Tribune
April 24, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Rodger Stewart

Creating resilient forests while recovering and rebuilding from last year’s wildfires is a challenge Rodger Stewart will face in his new position as director of regional initiatives for the ministry of forests in the Cariboo Chilcotin region. Stewart says the plan is for the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNRO) to work with First Nations governments, communities, the forest sector, landholders and stakeholders to rebuild the forest estate and enhance forest resiliency. “Having communities directly involved in the recovery of the landscape and their forests could be the silver lining in what was once a dark cloud of smoke,” Stewart said. Earlier this month, Forest Enhancement Society of B.C. (FESBC) announced it is investing $134 million and that $99 million of that amount was going into the Cariboo Chilcotin.

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New Student Ranger Program to start this summer

By Linda Horsting
Goldstream News Gazette
April 23, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

George Heyman

A new program is being opened to youth to work as park rangers beginning this summer. The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy… said in a statement it has opened the new program from the proceeds that were generated from the specialty B.C. Parks licence plate sales. “We are giving young adults a chance to gain important job skills in some of the most beautiful parks and protected areas British Columbia has to offer,” said George Heyman, minister of the environment and climate change strategy in a statement.  The program is funded by the provincial and federal governments, and will provide training and employment opportunities for 48 young adults in B.C.’s parks and protected areas.

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Water Quality Best Management Practices: What Can be Learned from the Forest Sector

By Kathryn Fernholz
Dovetail Partners
April 12, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

Kathryn Fernholz

Declining water quality is a pressing environmental challenge and a landscape scale issue, affecting public and private landowners and many aspects of society. The need to protect water resources has prompted both government and individual involvement in finding solutions. …The use of Best Management Practices (BMP) and other strategies have been shown to mitigate water quality impacts from land use activities and can help to ensure healthy water systems. …This report includes information and lessons learned from the forest sector, where BMPs for water quality protection are widely used on private and public lands and have been effective in reducing and mitigating impacts associated with forest management activities.

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National Forest Foundation launches ambitious effort to plant 50 million trees

By The National Forest Foundation
Cision Newswire
April 23, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

MISSOULA, Mont. — On Earth Day, April 22, the National Forest Foundation (NFF) launched an ambitious campaign to plant 50 million trees on America’s National Forests. The NFF initiated this effort to address the increasing reforestation needs on our National Forests. Many Americans are unaware that an estimated one million acres of National Forests need reforestation. Every year, wildfire, insects and disease take their toll on these treasured public lands. The campaign calls attention to this issue and invites Americans to make a difference. …Working in partnership with the USDA Forest Service, corporate partners, small businesses and individual supporters, the NFF will direct its support to National Forests that need it most. The Forest Service only plants native trees, chosen specifically for each site. For every dollar contributed, the agency invests two additional dollars in these reforestation projects.   

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Air Guard, Reserve wings kickoff annual MAFFS training with the USDA Forest Service

Defense Visual Info Distribution Service
April 23, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

As temperatures heated up this week in northern California, aerial firefighters from four C-130 airlift wings operating the U.S.D.A. Forest Service’s Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System started a weeklong training here today in anticipation of summer blazes. The year’s training, sponsored by the U.S.D.A. Forest Service at McClellan Reload Base in Sacramento, includes four military airlift wings that make up the Air Expeditionary Group: three Air National Guard units from California, Nevada and Wyoming, and one U.S. Air Force Reserve unit from Colorado.

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Billions of gallons of water saved by thinning forests

The National Science Foundation
April 23, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

There are too many trees in Sierra Nevada forests, say scientists affiliated with the National Science Foundation Southern Sierra Critical Zone Observatory. …trees use lots of water to carry out basic biological tasks. In addition, they act as forest steam stacks, raking up water stored in the ground and expelling it as vapor into the atmosphere …New research published this week in the journal Ecohydrology shows that water loss from evapotranspiration has decreased significantly over the past three decades. That’s due in large part to wildfire-driven forest thinning — a finding with important implications for forest and water management. …Forest thinning has increased in recent decades in an effort to stave off disastrous wildfires fueled by dense forests. This study shows that restoring forests through mechanical thinning or wildfire can also save California billions of gallons of water each year.

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Storm damage to forests costs billions – here’s how artificial intelligence can help

By Emma Hart and Barry Gardiner
The Independent
April 25, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: International

High-intensity storms cause billions of pounds of damage every year, and climate change is set to make this worse in future. We already appear to be seeing more frequent and intense windstorms. …Every year across Europe, the number of trees that commercial forests lose to storms is equivalent to the annual amount of timber felled in Poland. …Researchers use various modelling techniques to help forest managers predict which trees are at risk of damage, but none are sufficiently accurate. Artificial intelligence has the potential to make a big difference, however. We have built a system that we believe points the way towards protecting the forestry industry more effectively in future. …We have been able to show that computers can use machine learning to devise a model that can predict damage to individual trees very accurately.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Sicamous takes a look at wood-waste energy

By Jim Elliot
Salmon Arm Observer
April 24, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

Sicamous is looking into using wood waste to heat buildings and maybe even generate electricity. At their meeting on April 11, the Sicamous council adopted a bioenergy opportunity report and directed district staff to look into federal funding through the clean energy for remote and rural communities program. …Wood heating pellets and other sources would be an affordable fuel source that the report says are plentiful in the area due to the active forestry operations in the region. Three bulk suppliers of heating pellets located within 100 kilometres of Sicamous are identified in the report: Tolko Industry Ltd. in Kamloops, Pinnacle Pellet’s Armstrong facility and the Adams Lake sawmill. …The district will seek funding for a biomass project through the clean energy for rural and remote communities program.

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Sicamous takes a look at wood-waste energy

By Jim Elliot
BC Local News
April 24, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

Sicamous is looking into using wood waste to heat buildings and maybe even generate electricity. At their meeting on April 11, the Sicamous council adopted a bioenergy opportunity report and directed district staff to look into federal funding through the clean energy for remote and rural communities program. …Wood heating pellets and other sources would be an affordable fuel source that the report says are plentiful in the area due to the active forestry operations in the region. Three bulk suppliers of heating pellets located within 100 kilometres of Sicamous are identified in the report: Tolko Industry Ltd. in Kamloops, Pinnacle Pellet’s Armstrong facility and the Adams Lake sawmill. It acknowledged there may be other smaller suppliers as well.

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The Energy 202: Why Scott Pruitt’s decision on burning wood is so high stakes

By Dino Grandoni
The Washington Post
April 24, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States

Scott Pruitt

Here is a reminder that Scott Pruitt is still charging forward… The EPA chief declared Monday that the burning of biomass — such as trees — for energy will be considered “carbon neutral” by the agency in many cases. …“Today’s announcement grants America’s foresters much-needed certainty and clarity with respect to the carbon neutrality of forest biomass,” Pruitt said at an event with forest industry leaders in Georgia. But the notion that biomass is carbon neutral is contentious among scientists. They fear that once forests are cleared so that their wood can be used for energy, they may not grow back as planned. …The EPA’s own Science Advisory Board had not completed deliberations on the matter, and.. the board had determined in 2012 that “it is not scientifically valid to assume that all biogenic feedstocks are carbon neutral.” 

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EPA declares forest biomass carbon neutral

By Sandra Cowherd
Agri Pulse
April 23, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States

Forest biomass is carbon neutral, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt said today, announcing a decision that cheered private forest owners but inflamed environmentalists. …EPA says forestry biomass promotes carbon sequestration, improves soil and water quality and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. …But some groups are speaking against the policy, saying the decision promotes air pollution. “Biomass is not carbon neutral and never will be. Burning trees for energy will only worsen pollution, exacerbate climate change, and harm public health,” said Sierra Club Climate Policy Director Liz Perera. The agency’s biogenic carbon dioxide policy statement calls the approach pragmatic, but states that it “is not a scientific determination.” Sami Yassa, senior scientist for the Natural Resources Defense Council… “This will lead to more destruction of our treasured forests and more dangerous carbon pollution.”

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The curious link between coal and the future of energy

By Christine Lepisto
Treehugger
April 24, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

Coal launched the industrial revolution. The amazing black fuel burns hotter and provides more energy than the prevailing prior fuel, wood. Coal actually owes its energy to wood, compressed by geological forces for millennia. …The white rot fungi are now believed to have been a major influence in limiting coal reserves, as they could break dead trees down before they could be turned into coal. The evolution of fungi that eat trees was the beginning of the end for coal. …That is why scientists are now trying to understand the tricks that fungi use to break down lignin. Just as the plastic-eating microbes are under study to find super-enzymes that can be of use in plastic recycling processes, the many evolutionary tricks of tree-eating fungi will inspire scientists looking for answers to how we can fuel the future.

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Benefits of wood heating discussed at Senate hearing

By Erin Voegele
Biomass Magazine
April 24, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

Robert Venables

Wood energy was among the topics discussed during an April 19 hearing held by the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources that examined rural energy challenges and opportunities. Robert Venables, executive director of Southeast Conference, discussed the use of wood heating in Alaska during his testimony. Southeast Conference is a federally recognized economic development district for southeast Alaska. The organization aims to develop strong economies, healthy communities and a quality environment in southeast Alaska. “Our vision for southeast Alaska is to reduce, to the maximum extent possible, the use of imported diesel as a primary fuel source for the generation of electricity, space heat and transportation,” Venables explained in his written testimony.

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Georgia Forestry Association Applauds EPA Administrator for Recognizing Carbon Benefits of Woody Biomass

By the Georgia Forestry Association
Benzinga
April 23, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

Andres Villegas

COCHRAN, Ga. — In celebration of Earth Day, Scott Pruitt, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), made a landmark announcement for the agency recognizing that forest biomass is a carbon neutral renewable energy source. The Georgia Forestry Association applauds Pruitt for taking this decisive action. Biomass energy markets strengthen the economic viability, health and sustainability of Georgia’s 22 million acres of privately-owned working forests and the communities that depend on them. “Pruitt’s announcement today reflects the clear scientific consensus on forest biomass,” said Andres Villegas, president and CEO of the Georgia Forestry Association. “The Agency’s recognition of biomass as a renewable, carbon neutral source of energy will maintain and enhance markets for small-diameter trees, which encourages landowners to invest in forest health, and ultimately, to keep their land in trees.”

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