Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: April 3, 2018

Today’s Takeaway

High demand, soaring prices turn down volume on Canada/US softwood dispute

The Tree Frog Forestry News
April 3, 2018
Category: Today's Takeaway

Although high lumber demand and prices have “turned down the volume on the softwood dispute“, it exposes the US industry claim of injury as “preposterous”, according to Susan Yurkovich of the BC Lumber Trade Council. In related news: The high cost of low-grade lumber is creating havoc for pallet manufacturers; and a western publisher speaks to the “weak argument for newsprint tariffs“.

In Health & Safety news: how Canada’s national public alert system will work for wildfire and biological threats; how noisy forestry jobs impact hearing loss in the US; and how forest safety certification is working in New Zealand. 

Finally: Arbor Day celebrations (America’s oldest environmental holiday) are announced; Project Learning Tree is creating green jobs in Canada; and a new App for invasive species is tested in Illinois.

If you were off searching for eggs yesterday, you may also want to check out yesterday’s full-house of news.

–Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Froggy Foibles

Century-old wooden paver blocks exposed on Vancouver street

By Naoibh O’Connor
Vancouver Courier
April 3, 2018
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: Canada, Canada West

…Patrick Gunn of the Heritage Vancouver Society came across some old wooden paver blocks partially exposed in the 200 block of East Georgia Street, which was formerly known as Harris Street. He said they’re about 118 years old. A few patches are now exposed in the immediate area. …Gunn said wooden pavers were apparently economical at the time, they were easier on horses’ feet than stone paver blocks and they were quieter. He believes fir was used and soaked in creosote to expand their lifespan, but wooden pavers went out of popularity around 1910. …Gunn, meanwhile, dug up a news item from the Vancouver Daily World, dated Nov. 12, 1909, which pointed out wooden paving blocks were being stolen for fuel.

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Business & Politics

Market Update: Competing Demand, Weather, and Exports Push Low-grade Lumber to Historic Prices

By Rick Henretty
The Pallet Enterprise
April 2, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

A variety of factors has led to strong price pressure and increases for both hardwood and softwood lumber. Pallet companies are passing along many of these increases as regional lumber is hitting new highs. …Since last year the hardwood and softwood lumber markets have been in frenzied whirlwind. With the failed Softwood Lumber Agreement, unusually wet climate in many regions, including warmer than usual winters, new trucking regulations, an increasingly difficult labor situation, and an increase in aggressive buying of low-grade materials from railroad and road/crane mat industries, pallet manufacturers around the country are doing everything they can to survive the current state of affairs. …And recent indicators from contacts around the country are not showing any signs of relief in sight. …“it’s the perfect storm” of the wood industry.

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High lumber demand, soaring prices turn down volume on Canada/U.S. softwood dispute

By Derrick Penner
The Vancouver Sun
April 2, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

Susan Yurkovich

British Columbia’s major lumber producers continue to book substantial profits on near record lumber prices almost a year after the U.S. Department of Commerce first hit Canadian producers with punishing duties. The benchmark price for 1,000 board-feet of top-quality western Canadian two-by-fours hit US$540 about a month ago… compared with US$315 at the start of 2017 before U.S. interests re-ignited the ongoing trade dispute. Bottlenecks in rail transportation are one reason lumber prices have spiked so high, but solid demand has also allowed producers to simply pass the price of tariffs along to consumers in prices, said Susan Yurkovich, president of the B.C. Lumber Trade Council. “Who knows how long these prices will hold, but for now (they are) mitigating the impact of duties for Canadian producers,” said Yurkovich. …“It just reminds everyone that the fact the U.S. industry is claiming it has been injured is just preposterous,” Yurkovich said.

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The weak argument for newsprint tariffs

Editorial Board
The East Oregonian
April 2, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

American newspapers are under attack — from a Pacific Northwest paper company and the U.S. government. It’s an odd and unfortunate situation that will drive up costs for newspapers, including this one, unless the government reverses itself. …We have no desire to reduce our services and our local community coverage. But a paper mill in Longview, Washington, is taking a different tack: It’s crying foul, claiming foreign competitors don’t play fairly. …It’s mind-boggling that the Commerce Department accepted such a weak argument. …The tariffs, or duties, are opposed by the majority of U.S. newsprint manufacturers; by their trade association, the American Forest and Paper Association; and by newspapers and their trade groups.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

George Brown unveils four finalists in tall-wood Arbour competition

The Daily Construction News
April 2, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada East, Canada

TORONTO — George Brown College of Toronto unveiled the four finalists in its design competition to select the winning concept for its new tall-wood, net-positive building at a public event March 27. At 12 storeys, the new campus structure to be constructed on Toronto’s east bayfront will be the city’s first tall-wood building, said a media statement. The building, to be known as the Arbour, will house a tall-wood building research institute, George Brown’s School of Computer Technology and a new child care facility. The finalists are Moriyama & Teshima Architects + Acton Ostry Architects; Patkau Architects + MJMA; Provencher Roy + Turner Fleischer; and Shigeru Ban + Brook McIlroy.

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Architecture students use cross-laminated timber to build tiny classroom in Oregon forest

By Jenna McKnight
Dezeen Magazine
April 3, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

Prefabricated panels of cross-laminated timber were used to construct this micro cabinin the Pacific Northwest, designed and built by architecture students at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The Emerge cabin is located near Eugene, a small Oregon city that is surrounded by forests and farmland. The compact structure was created in three weeks by 13 studentsin a design-build programme called PLAIN, led by professor Jason Griffiths at UNL’s College of Architecture. Encompassing 80 square feet (seven square metres), the cabin is used as a classroom for visitors to the Bauman Tree Farm… that promotes forest stewardship and education. …Walls and flooring are made of cross-laminated timber (CLT) panels that were fabricated off-site. For the shingled roof, the team used CLT, along with glu-laminated timber and dimensional lumber.

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The problem of existing building stock

By Craig Ross
MEConstruction News
April 2, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

A noticeable shift in trend in the construction sector during 2017 has been a growing awareness among clients and consultants of the ageing building stock in the region. Words like refurbishment, retrofit and re-use have become commonplace in meetings, conferences and debates, and the existing building problem is the elephant in the room that is conveniently avoided when looking at the (over) supply of new builds. …Let’s consider the most challenging requirement of a truly smart city: sustainability. …However, we must appreciate that new buildings only account for around 2% of building stock, and as a relatively young country, compulsory green building regulations have been introduced at a late stage, with the vast majority of buildings constructed with little regard to energy efficiency.

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Forestry

Green summer jobs for Canadian youth

By Tamar Atik
Wood Business – Canadian Forest Industries
April 3, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada

Jess Kaknevicius

Project Learning Tree Canada (PLT) will be placing 1,600 youth in green jobs through partnerships with the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) and the Canadian Parks Council (CPC).  PLT has received approximately $11 million in funding from the Canadian federal government to provide the youth with jobs in the summers of 2018 and 2019. “We’re just trying to give youth some professional experience so that they might consider a green job in the future…” Jessica Kaknevicius, the PLT’s project lead on the Green Jobs Initiative tells CFI. …Kaknevicius says the goal is to grow forest and conservation leaders by providing students with opportunities and careers in conservation and forest management across the country, as well as provide wage-matching to employers to provide more opportunities for youth to enter into green jobs.

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Tall timber: Rural communities rally around threatened trees

By Lorraine Stevenson
The Manitoba Co-operator
April 2, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The spectre of tree-destroying insects like emerald ash borer spreading in rural Manitoba underscores the urgency to begin to see trees as ‘green infrastructure’ and key community assets, say workshop speakers. Allan Derhak doesn’t want to think what his hometown would look like stripped of trees. …But Derhak, a public works employee in Neepawa, knows many of those trees’ days may be numbered — if emerald ash borer (EAB) hits. …Steps are being taken to contain it but there is a high risk of its spread across more of Manitoba due to the high numbers of green ash trees in shelterbelts, natural areas and communities.

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Death from the sky in northern B.C.

By Peter Ewart
The Prince George Daily News
March 31, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

…In photo #2 — the same wetland gripped by a grey death after being sprayed from helicopters with the herbicide glyphosate.  Most of the vegetation (except for a few coniferous trees) is now dead and the insects and other animals gone. …Such were some of the graphic images shown at a … meeting … organized by Stop The Spray BC, featuring forestry activists James Steidle and Herb Martin as presenters.  The title of the meeting was “Starving moose, burning forests and contaminated blueberries: a case for broadleaves and a new paradigm in Central British Columbia.” As the presenters explained, the group is circulating a petition calling upon the B.C. government to stop spraying the province’s forests with herbicide. …As opposition to spraying from foresters, scientists, ranchers, trappers, residents and communities grows in our region and across the province, how long will such an irrational, environmentally-destructive practice continue?

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Northern Ontario First Nations sign Ogoki forest management deal

By Heather Kitching
CBC News
April 3, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

Three First Nations in northern Ontario have signed an agreement with the provincial government to manage the Ogoki Forest. The Agoke Development Corporation, a partnership between Eabametoong, Aroland and Marten Falls First Nations, has obtained an interim agreement known as a forest resource license that it hopes will pave the way for a long-term agreement. “What we look at today is a major milestone for our communities in the Ogoki,” said Jason Rasevych, the economic development manager and adviser for Matawa First Nations Management and the interim general manager for the Agoke Development Corporation. …The short-term agreement allows Agoke to build relationships with sawmills such as AV Terrace Bay, investigate a possible relaunch of the Nakina mill, and see if it can create sustainable partnerships, he said.

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Using the outdoors as a classroom: Forest School approach being explored in Kenora

By Cathy Alex
CBC News
April 3, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

Starting in September 2018, students at Keewatin Public School will be doing much of their learning outside, as the elementary school in Kenora, Ont., works to gain its accreditation as a Forest School. Forest Schools offer an internationally-recognized approach to education, which fosters the natural curiosity of children… Students will follow the provincial curriculum but, as often as possible, the outdoor environment will serve as their classroom, said Heather Mutch, the school’s principal. …”Our hope is that by engaging and connecting with nature, they will develop a love for our wonderful environment and grow up learning to take care of it.” …Being outdoors also has many mental health benefits, Mutch said, citing research which shows “when we’re connected with nature, we’re calmer, we have a chance to move and to breathe, and it just makes us happier beings.”

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Nationwide Celebrations and Tree Planting Opportunities Announced for Arbor Day, America’s Oldest Environmental Holiday

By Arbor Day Foundation
Cision Newswire
April 2, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

LINCOLN, Neb. — April 27, 2018 marks the 146th celebration of Arbor Day. A holiday established in 1872 in Nebraska City to inspire people to plant trees, it became a national holiday in 1972. To help people across the country get more easily involved in celebrating the country’s first environmental holiday, the Arbor Day Foundation has launched celebratearborday.com. People can visit the website to see what’s going on in their local communities as well as to get information on how to plant trees and plan their own Arbor Day celebrations. …Procter & Gamble Family Care is a major buyer of wood pulp used to make many of their familiar brands, with all of this material adhering to Forest Stewardship Council or Sustainable Forestry Initiative certifications.

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Logging proposed on more than 13,000 acres in Little Belt Mountains

The Billings Gazette
April 2, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

A combination of logging and prescribed burning is being proposed on about 13,410 acres in the Little Belt Mountains on the Belt Creek White Sulphur Springs Ranger District. The public is being asked to submit comments for further analysis by April 26. …Due to a combination of fire suppression and, more recently, insect infestation of mountain pine beetle and spruce budworm in the project area, forest specialists completed a landscape assessment to evaluate what management activities could be undertaken. …The project would reduce the potential for intense wildfires as well as improve the overall forest structure and diversity, re-establishing a meadow-type ecosystem, and restoring populations of whitebark pine and aspen, according to the Forest Service.

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Illinois Forestry Groups Test Information-Sharing App

By Janis Esch
Associated Press in the Pantagraph
April 2, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

SIMPSON, Ill. — Southern Illinois conservation partners are testing a new information-sharing system using their smartphones. The state Department of Natural Resources and the Nature Conservancy are two of several forestry groups testing the database and cloud-based mapping system to track invasive species, prescribed fires and forest management data, The Southern Illinoisan reported Researchers with the University of Illinois at the Dixon Springs Agricultural Center in Pope County have been working with the forestry agencies to design and create the database. The new system allows researchers to view data while they’re in the field and see information other agencies have collected.

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Japan’s Forests: From Lumber Source to Beloved Resource

By Ishi Hiroyuki
Nippon News
April 3, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: International

There was a sharp decline in demand for firewood and charcoal from the mid-1950s as energy needs were increasingly met by fossil fuels. At the same time, demand for construction materials, including pulp lumber, soared as the Japanese economy rapidly expanded. To cope with this, the Forestry Agency launched a massive forest-expansion campaign to clear-cut buna forests and replant them with fast-growing conifers like Japanese cedar and cypress, which would provide more economical lumber for building. This policy, it was believed, would ensure future supplies of lumber. …Needless to say, the campaign was an utter failure. …The Forestry Agency’s expanded forest-planting campaign was in fact a government-authorized program of forest destruction. 

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Electric bills: Paying for biomass subsidies

The Union Leader
April 2, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

Burgess BioPower

Timber! Normally that word is associated with falling trees. But in New Hampshire, it means rising electric rates. The Legislature’s attempt to prop up the timber industry is costing New Hampshire ratepayers more than $100 million. In 2011, lawmakers mandated that Eversource purchase power from Burgess BioPower in Berlin. This provides a market for North Country timber harvesters to sell their scrap wood, but also forces Eversource to pass on the above-market rates it pays to consumers. The mandate included a cap on the cost to ratepayers of $100 million. That was supposed to take 20 years, but that cap is about to be reached. …We sympathize with efforts to support New Hampshire’s timber industry. Hampering our overall economic performance is a bad way to go about it.

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Your wood stove affects the climate more than you might think

By the Norwegian University of Science and Technology
EurekAlert
April 3, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

…According to figures from Statistics Norway (SSB), 1.2 million Norwegian households heat with wood. They burned 1.1 million tonnes of firewood in 2016, which provided 5.34 TWh of direct heat — and that might have affected the climate more than you might think. …Anders Arvesen and Francesco Cherubini were co-authors of a major study on climate impacts in Norway published in Scientific Reports. …Nevertheless, “it’s still better to heat with wood than to burn fossil fuels,” says Cherubini. He emphasizes that more technological possibilities are being developed that will result in new and better wood stoves and furnaces. Until they come on the market, people can reduce particle emissions by replacing their old stoves. …Old woodstoves emit more black carbon than new ones. And if the positive development continues, woodstove emissions should drop to the same level as pellet stoves in the near future. 

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Health & Safety

How will Canada’s national public alert system work? An explainer

By Michelle McQuigge
Canadian Press in the Victoria Times Colonist
April 2, 2018
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada

Canadians seeking updates on public emergencies will soon have to look no further than their mobile phones. Later this week, telecom providers will become part of the National Public Alerting System and will push emergency notifications out to users on their networks. …The Alert Ready website says alerts sent to wireless devices will be “geo-targeted,” meaning alerts will only be sent out to people likely to be impacted by the emergency event. …The broad categories are: fire (such as widespread industrial blazes or forest fires), natural (including earthquakes and severe weather), biological (such as major air or water contamination), terrorist threat, or civil emergency (such as a danger posed by an animal or an Amber Alert for a missing child). Alerts may also be issued if there’s a disruption or outage for 911 services.

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Study Finds 36% of Forestry Workers with Noisy Jobs Suffer Hearing Loss

Insurance Journal
April 3, 2018
Category: Health & Safety
Region: United States

About 15 percent of noise-exposed workers in the agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting (AFFH) sector experience hearing loss, according to a new NIOSH hearing loss study published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine. While the 15 percent figure is below that found in other sectors, the prevalence of hearing loss is higher — as high as 36 percent— in particular industries including forestry within the AFFH sector. …NIOSH researchers identified the AFFH industries with the highest number of noise-exposed workers who have hearing loss and an elevated risk of hearing loss: Forest Nurseries and Gathering of Forest Products (36%), which entails growing trees for reforestation or gathering barks, gums, fibers, etc. from trees; Timber Tract Operations (22%), which entails harvesting standing trees to make timber; and Fishing (19%), this study sample comprised workers fishing for finfish such as tuna, salmon, trout, etc.

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Nelson contractors lead way to improved forestry safety

Stuff.co.nz
April 3, 2018
Category: Health & Safety
Region: International

Three Nelson men are leading the way to improving safety in forestry. Mechanised Cable Harvesting (MCH) – run by Nelson locals Ross Wood, Hamish Matthews and Nathan Taylor – is the first in New Zealand to become a certified forestry contractor. Set up just over four years ago, the company uses machinery to harvest the trees, which Taylor said was much safer than harvesting using chainsaws. “Putting a guy in the cab of a machine is a lot safer than putting him in a hard-hat.” …National Safety Director of the Forest Industry Safety Council  Fiona Ewing said that MCH’s certification meant it now had an industry-wide stamp of approval for its safety practices. Most contractors have to comply with safety standards set by forest owners and managers and pass safety audits. But until now there was no single certification system that applied across the industry.

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