Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: April 24, 2018

Today’s Takeaway

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

Read More

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.”

Read More

Business & Politics

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

Highland timber plant’s £95 million expansion protects thousands of forestry jobs nationwide

By Alistair Munro
The Press and Journal
April 24, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

SCOTLAND — Thousands of jobs in the £1 billion-a-year forestry industry have been secured for at least 25 years following a £95 million expansion of the Norbord [OSB] mill on the outskirts of Inverness. The massive investment at the new plant – officially opened yesterday by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon – has nearly doubled the size of the wood panel-making site in Dalcross. Mill bosses said the expansion would not only secure its own long-term future – and the jobs of 130 employees – but would also support the country’s forestry industry which employs around 25,000 people and adds £1 billion a year to the country’s economy.

Read More

Wood, Paper & Green Building

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

Halifax looks at restricting flyer delivery

By Alex Cooke
Canadian Press in CBC News
April 23, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada East, Canada

Halifax is considering restricting flyer and ad mail delivery, potentially joining other Canadian cities that give residents the option of vetoing the uninvited paper clogging up their recycling bins. …Similar bylaws restricting flyer delivery have been passed in other cities including Calgary, Ottawa and Montreal. …Conor Tapp, executive director of the Green Calgary environmental charity, said the group estimates the average home in that city receives roughly 31 kilograms of junk mail per year. “When we look at the energy, and the water, and the paper and everything that goes into manufacturing and distributing flyers … I mean, this is a huge environmental issue,” he said. …”Part of the issues with the flyers is what happens to them,” said Ottawa’s Duncan Bury. “They end up being a municipal responsibility, but shouldn’t the people who put these flyers out be helping to pay for the cost associated with recycling these flyers?”

Read More

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.”

Read More

Forestry

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.

Read More

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.   

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

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.” 

Read More

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.”

Read More

Pruitt declares that burning wood is carbon neutral

By Miranda Green
The Hill
April 23, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) declared Monday that burning trees is carbon neutral. The announcement, made by EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt during a meeting with Georgia forestry leaders, signals an administrative policy shift that will treat all burning of biomass as carbon-neutral “when used for energy production at stationary sources,” according to an EPA statement. The administration likened the new policy decision to a clarification, saying it will help streamline regulations for forest and paper industries. “Today’s announcement grants America’s foresters much-needed certainty and clarity with respect to the carbon neutrality of forest biomass,” Pruitt said in a statement. …Donna Harman, president of the American Forest and Paper Association, said the policy decision reflects “long-standing scientific principles and Congressional direction.”

Read More

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.

Read More

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.”

Read More