Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: May 15, 2018

Today’s Takeaway

Fighting fire with fire — the way we prepare must change

The Tree Frog Forestry News
May 15, 2018
Category: Today's Takeaway

With forest fire season in full bloom, the way we prepare for and fight wildfires is making news across the continent. The headlines include:

  • Above normal fire risk is forecast across Canada (NRCan)
  • The way we prepare for fires must change (BC’s George Abbott)
  • Nova Scotia’s largest controlled burn planned for Highlands (Parks Canada)
  • Senators look to expand thinning for forest health and fire resistance (Oregon)
  • Fire experts warn we have to change our way of thinking (Missoula’s Rob Chaney)

In Business news: US Homebuilders highlight the folly of Trump’s protectionism (in The Hill); the Ontario Alliance questions who will stand up for forestry across the province; an Austrian jet interior maker opens a wood-veneer plant in Quebec; and the Southern Forest Products Association honours Canfor and Weyerhaeuser for their outstanding safety records.

Finally, Ontario receives federal assistance for mass timber demonstration projects; US WoodWorks highlights its blast tests on mass timber’s strength; and Denver gets a wake-up call on the dangers of construction fires.

–Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Business & Politics

Results from lumber tariffs highlight folly of protectionism

By Randy Noel, NAHB Chairman
The Hill
May 14, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

As the Trump administration weighs imposing steel and aluminum tariffs on U.S. allies, most mainstream economists are warning that such protectionist trade policies will result in harsh negative repercussions for the domestic economy. …A real-life tariff situation that my organization has monitored closely that has been flying under the radar for more than a year provides a clear answer. …The punitive tariffs slapped on Canadian lumber exports into the U.S. exacerbate market volatility and put upward pressure on lumber prices. But most important, the tariffs have steeply increased domestic lumber producers’ profits. …Adding insult to injury, even as American lumber producers seek relief from alleged unfair trade practices by our neighbors to the north, they have boosted profits by exporting increasing amounts of lumber. At the very least, these U.S. exports should be discouraged when there is a critical need at home.

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The Alliance Questions Who Will Stand Up for Forestry in Ontario?

By The Alliance
Ontario Forest Industries Association
May 15, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

…Ontario’s forestry community is deeply rooted in every region of the province. Today, Ontario’s forest products sector provides well-paying jobs for 57,000 … in over 260 communities across the province. …With workable public policy that fundamentally supports this renewable sector, Ontario can lead the way in forestry. President of NOMA and Mayor of Shuniah, Wendy Landry, stated, “We need government to acknowledge the vital role that forestry plays in our communities across Ontario and for those hardworking families that are directly impacted by the sector.” Landry continued, “…We look forward to receiving meaningful responses from the parties on how they will help make Ontario’s forest sector stronger.” …Key issues are outlined in The Alliance’s 2018 election commitment letters to all three parties. …The letter outlines how Ontario can develop a Provincial Forest Strategy that accepts and embraces the sustainable use of Ontario’s forests.

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Lumber Continues To Astound

By Andrew Hecht
Seeking Alpha
May 15, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States

Summary: Lumber has tripled since September 2015. Demand continues to grow. NAFTA and trade policy have caused supply concerns. The lumber market is thin. Wood is due for a correction. Lumber is an essential ingredient when it comes to construction. Lumber is one of many industrial commodities that reflect economic conditions, and the price of wood can be highly volatile. While many speculators trade other raw materials in liquid futures markets, lumber is another story. While lumber is not a popular trading market in the world of futures, the price is a significant barometer for the strength of industrial commodities. Over recent years, the price action in the wood market has been signaling that economic growth is rising and the demand for raw materials and the building blocks of construction is booming. 

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Sawmill Safety Awards Announced

Southern Forest Products Association
May 15, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

Six Southern Forest Product Association member sawmills are recipients of the Sawmill Safety Award, recognizing outstanding safety records during 2017. …Safety performance is judged by how each mill’s safety record stacks up against facilities with comparable lumber output throughout the year. …The six sawmills being honored this year:

  • Division I: Weyerhaeuser Company – Zwolle, La
  • Division II: Canfor Southern Pine – Urbana, AR; Graham, NC
    Weyerhaeuser Company – Millport, AL; Holden, LA
  • Division III: Weyerhaeuser Company – Bruce, MS

We commend these companies for their effort throughout 2017,” said SFPA Executive Director Tami Kessler.

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Rayonier AM earnings below forecast

By Mark Basch
The Daily Record
May 14, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

Rayonier Advanced Materials Inc. last week reported first-quarter earnings of 38 cents a share, well above last year’s earnings of 15 cents, after the company’s late 2017 acquisition of Tembec Inc. “Our first quarter results demonstrate the benefit scale and diversification resulting from our acquisition of Tembec,” CEO Paul Boynton said. While earnings rose, they came in below analysts’ forecasts which ranged from 39 cents to 51 cents. Rayonier AM’s stock fell $1.80 to $18.49 Tuesday after the earnings report. …“We admit that we were disappointed by Rayonier Advanced Materials’ first-quarter soft showing. However, we exit the quarter with an increased confidence in the company’s earnings outlook following a more comprehensive review of its operations post-Tembec”. [Scroll down in link for story]

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Austrian jet interior maker looks to hire up to 100 for new Laval facility

Canadian Press in Montreal Gazette
May 15, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada East, Canada

MONTREAL — Austrian jet interior maker F. List Gmbh officially inaugurated a new production facility in Laval, Que., today and says it will hire up to 100 people within the next two years. The Laval location is the high-end manufacturer’s first plant outside Thomasberg, Austria, where it is headquartered. The nearly 5,500-square-metre (or 59,000-square-foot) plant will provide wood veneers for business and executive jet interiors, finish and assemble interior components, and refurbish interiors, among other things. The company will invest more than $20 million in the facility, including $10 million by the end of the year. CEO Katharina List-Nagl says in a statement that investing in Canada is very important to the company’s future growth and success in aerospace.

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Wood experiencing a renaissance

By Lindsay Kelly
Northern Ontario Business
May 15, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada East, Canada

Marianne Berube

Recently announced funding for Ontario’s Mass Timber Program will lay the foundational blocks for innovative, new building techniques using wood, according to Ontario Wood WORKS!, the provincial voice of wood construction advocacy. Marianne Berube, the organization’s executive director, noted that, while Natural Resources Canada has dallied in grants for mass timber developments, this is the first time the province has offered assistance for mass timber demonstration projects. “It’s something new,” she said. “It’s innovation; it’s pushing the limits, and that’s what this funding’s for.” …Now, the popularity of wood-frame construction has risen to the point that Wood WORKS! is tracking the progress of 125 projects across Ontario. …The next cycle of building code changes is scheduled to take effect in 2020, and, if approved, they’ll allow for mass timber construction up to 12 storeys, Berube said.

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WoodWorks blast testing shows mass timber strength

US WoodWorks
The Construction Specifier
May 14, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States

Following a promising previous round of testing, WoodWorks, in cooperation with the USDA Forest Service Forest Products Lab and Softwood Lumber Board, conducted a second series of blast tests on three existing two-story, single-bay cross-laminated timber structures at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida. The council reported positive observations from the blast site, with all structures remaining intact under significant explosive loading. “Last year, we tested the structures under their own self-weight,” said Bill Parsons. “Those tests were successful and, this year, we built on that effort by testing whether the design methods established as a result of those initial tests needed to be adjusted when the buildings carried typical gravity loads and included different connection configurations, increased panel thickness, and alternate mass timber wall systems.”

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Recent three-alarm fires in Denver — the first since 2013 — a wake-up call about dangers at construction sites

By Joe Rubino
The Denver Post
May 14, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

Prior to a deadly fire that broke out at an apartment building construction site in March, the Denver Fire Department had not responded to a three-alarm fire since 2013, officials say. Little more than two months later, the department is sifting through the ashes of another three-alarm blaze. …The causes of the two recent fires remain under investigation, but officials say the incidents are a wake-up call about heightened fire danger at construction sites. …Firefighting and construction industry professionals say wood-frame buildings are largely fire safe once completed thanks to measures like sprinkler systems, but when those systems are either not yet in place or not yet operational, wood remains highly combustible. Major trade organizations in Colorado, already on high alert following the Emerson fire, are now moving quickly to roll out additional education and training opportunities centered on best practices for job-site fire safety.

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Metsä Wood Launches a Groundbreaking Platform for Open Source Wood

By Metsä Wood
Cision Newswire
May 15, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

The Open Source Wood initiative was launched in June 2017 by Metsä Wood in order to accelerate growth in urban wood construction. The new opensourcewood.com offers a platform for knowledge sharing and collaboration. The service is free and welcomes all organisations and individuals. The Open Source Wood initiative aims to speed up the growth of modular wood construction by making innovative ideas freely available for all. Only a fraction of urban construction today is wood, partly because the knowledge about using wood in construction has been difficult to find. Open Source Wood gathers innovations in modular wood construction from all corners of the world and makes them available for all, free of charge.

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Stora Enso launches biocomposites as a renewable replacement for plastics

By Stora Enso
Chicago Evening Post
May 15, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Stora Enso is launching its wood-based biocomposites, DuraSense™ by Stora Enso. This is another major step on the group’s journey to replacing fossil-based materials with renewable solutions. DuraSense is available to companies seeking high performance and a sustainable, bio-based alternative to plastics. DuraSense enables the use of renewable fibres, such as wood, to substitute for a large portion of fossil-based plastic. …“Reducing the amount of plastic and replacing it with renewable and traceable materials is a gradual process. With DuraSense, we can offer customers a wood fibre-based alternative which improves sustainability performance and, depending on the product, significantly reduces the carbon footprint – all the way up to 80%,” says Jari Suominen, Head of Wood Products at Stora Enso.

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Forestry

Above Normal Fire Risk says Natural Resources Canada

By Natural Resources Canada
The Sault Star
May 14, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada

The 2018 fire season in Canada has begun, and Natural Resources Canada’s wildland fire researchers are forecasting much of Canada having above normal fire risk. Multiple climate models suggest most of the nation will have above normal temperatures, with some regions also experiencing drier than normal conditions. They stress, however, that while conditions in these areas may be conducive to widespread or intense fire behaviour, fire events depend on lightning or human ignitions occurring and under suitable conditions. Dry winter conditions in southern Manitoba have lead to spring fire activity. A rapid change from winter to summerlike conditions in the remainder of the Prairie Provinces and western Ontario may cause a gradual increase in fire danger before summer arrives.

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Canada recognizes Leon Koerner as Person of National Historical Signficance

By Zak Vescera
The Ubyssey
May 15, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Leon J. Koerner

Forestry magnate and UBC benefactor Leon Joseph Koerner has been recognized by the federal government as a Person of National Historic Significance. The May 14 ceremony took place in the penthouse of the Thea Koerner House — Leon’s former home and one of the many campus buildings and scholarships to bear the family’s name. …A Czech Jew, Leon arrived to Canada in 1939 after fleeing Nazi expansion the year before. A successful forestry executive in his home country, he recognized the potential of British Columbia’s timber reserves during a visit here. He was particularly taken with hemlock … which Leon made usable through European drying techniques. Rebranding it as “Alaska Pine”, Leon started a company and quickly became one of the province’s most successful entrepreneurs, distinguishing himself for ethical environmental and labour practices that went beyond the standard of the time.

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The way we prepare for fires and floods must change

By Mel Rothenburger
CFJC Today
May 14, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

KAMLOOPS — The report on the review of last year’s floods and wildfires has been released, right in the middle of a brand new flood season and on the brink of a new wildfire season that might rival 2017. …It’s the first major examination of disaster response in B.C. since the Filmon report on wildfires in 2003. Abbott and Chapman conclude that B.C. has made “disappointingly little progress” on enhancing community safety since then. They conclude there’s been a lot of planning but not nearly enough action. The excuse they heard was that local governments are too bogged down with spending on infrastructure to direct money toward flood and fire prevention. Clearly, the report shows, something has to change.

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Nova Scotia’s largest-ever controlled burn planned for Highlands

By Aaron Beswick
The Chronicle Herald
May 14, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

Jed Cochrane starts forest fires. But he’s not an arsonist — the government pays him to do it. On Monday the Parks Canada forest ecologist was preparing to burn 50 hectares of Cape Breton Highlands National Park. “In terms of dropping the match and starting the ignition, it could be tonight, maybe tomorrow,” said Cochrane. “You’re closely watching the weather for how hot, how windy, how dry it will be.” The controlled burn — the largest conducted in Nova Scotia and perhaps the Maritime provinces — is meant to counter the effect of our habit of putting out fires. …Parks Canada’s goal is to start a fire that burns hot enough to kill off the young spruce and fir along with the leaf litter on the forest floor, open up some holes for sunlight in the canopy, and allow the pine and red oak seedlings to out-compete the shorter-lived boreal forest species.

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Senators Look To Expand Thinning Work In National Forests

By Tony Schick
Oregon Public Broadcasting
May 14, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

A group of senators from western states want to expand a national effort to boost timber production and restore natural conditions on overstocked forests using thinning and other restoration work. Legislation sponsored by Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon, and Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, would extend the Forest Service’s expiring Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program for the next 10 years and double its annual budget to $80 million. “It makes our forests healthier, more fire resistant. It creates jobs, creates saw logs. This is a really valuable program,” Merkley said. The projects under this program pairs timber companies with local communities to do work in forests that became overstocked after decades of suppressing natural fires. …The bill has the backing of a wide array of environmental and timber groups.

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Fire experts warn flames won’t go away

By Rob Chaney
The Missoulian
May 14, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Before we can stop having catastrophic summer wildfires, fire experts warn we have to change our way of thinking about them. “This has been a choice society has made to have fire under the most extreme conditions,” Mark Finney, a research forester for the U.S. Forest Service Fire Sciences Lab. “There are alternatives if we choose to use them, instead of waiting for fires to start and then responding to them.” …But after a century of aggressively extinguishing forest fires, that fuel buildup has increased the probability of catastrophic fires in the worst possible weather conditions. …“It comes down, for me, to the lack of realization by the public that we don’t have a choice about having fire,” Finney said. “We have a choice of when to have it and what kind to have, but not whether to have it.”

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Forest: Yan Wang Preston’s photographs of transplanted trees in fast-changing China

By Laura Collinson
Creative Boom
May 14, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Surrounded by city high-rises and paved concrete streets, a group of young trees burgeon straight upward toward the sky. Elsewhere, a mammoth three-hundred-year-old tree stands with branches supported in front of the skeleton of a hotel complex under construction. The tree trunk is enveloped in plastic, which is wrapped around the wood like a bandage protecting an injured body part. Both observations can be found in the photographs by the artist Yan Wang Preston, who has spent several years documenting how individual trees in rural regions of China are being replanted to make way for urban developments. She discovered a flourishing trade in transplanting nature and confronted the question of to what extent the uprooting and replanting of trees reflect a general image of society.

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Forest Fires

Northwest Territories-Alberta highway reopens after forest fire

By Oille Williams
Cabin Radio
May 14, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

While the Northwest Territories’ wildfire season has yet to officially begin, residents are already being affected. The highway connecting Alberta and the NWT was closed on Saturday, May 12, as a forest fire jumped the road – forcing a state of emergency for the Alberta community of High Level. …“The increased danger is due to large areas of dead, dry grass and gusty winds. These areas will ignite easily and spread quickly, creating erratic, hard to control wildfire; please use extreme caution,” warned Alberta’s government. …Imaging from NASA’s MODIS satellite program suggests there have yet to be any wildfires north of the Alberta border in the 2018 season.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Dismal Western Snowpack Is a Climate “Warning Sign”

By Chelsea Harvey
Scientific American
May 14, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

The potential for drought and large wildfires looms over the summer. It’s only May, and it’s already shaping up to be a stressful summer for many western states. Low mountain snowpack is a big part of the problem. …Meanwhile, states across the Southwest are bracing for what may well turn out to be an above-average fire season, due to dry conditions and an early start to the summer blazes. At least 10 major wildfires have already burned tens of thousands of acres in the western states, with the Arizona Tinder Fire…claiming more than 16,000 acres alone. …Studies show that snowpack has been declining throughout the western United States for decades. And climate change is expected to worsen the problem in the coming years.

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University of Montana study: Losing the world’s largest trees would degrade forests and carbon capture

Missoula Current
May 14, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

The largest 1 percent of trees in mature forests make up 50 percent of the planet’s forest biomass, and losing those trees could degrade the world’s forests and their carbon-scrubbing power, according to research conducted by a team of international scientists, including the University of Montana. “These big trees store a disproportionately large amount of the carbon in the forest,” said UM forest ecology professor Andrew Larson Larson. “They’re the elites, and because of their age and size, they’re very difficult to replace.” The team of 98 scientists from 21 countries and territories collected data from 48 large forest plots around the world to complete the study, “Global importance of large-diameter trees.”

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