Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: June 6, 2018

Today’s Takeaway

Steel tariffs give GOP the shakes, Unifor seeks support for Canadian newsprint

The Tree Frog Forestry News
June 6, 2018
Category: Today's Takeaway

President Trump’s trade practices are giving economists hives and Republicans the shakes, according to a former auto-industry czar. Meanwhile, Unifor’s Jerry Dias says its time for Canada to bolster it’s newsprint industry, as it did earlier with softwood lumber. 

Companies in the headlines include:

  • EACOM’s CEO is pleased with PC’s plans to keep Huron Central Railway running
  • Tolko gets burned timber harvest permits on BC Crown land
  • Mercer announces expansion plans for its lumber mill in Germany
  • Domtar to face Alberta appeal board in effort to avoid mill site cleanup costs
  • Port Hawkesbury Paper receives notice that it can keep its special power rate 
  • Columbia Pulp tax breaks catch Columbia Country officials by surprise

In other news: U of New Hampshire researchers are improving our ability to measure CO2 by satellite, the U of Delaware has discovered how to make tape from lignin; and the U of Melbourne is using advanced microsope technology to see how wood is formed in real-time.

Finally, a Dutch company plans to build the world’s first habitable 3D printed houses.

–Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Business & Politics

Trump tariffs turn into policy and political nightmares for GOP

By Jennifer Rubin
The Washington Post
June 5, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

Steve Rattner

President Trump’s trade practices are giving economists hives and Republicans the shakes. …Former auto-industry czar Steven Rattner writes… “The lesson of our past efforts to use tariffs to reduce imports is that this strategy almost always ends in tears.” He makes several key points. First, tariffs don’t really work. …Second, tariffs in one area don’t contain the ensuing trade war, often with more serious consequences for more workers. …Third, the consumer is the real victim. “Last November, President Trump imposed a 21% tariff on Canadian lumber imports… The National Association of Home Builders has estimated that the tariffs will result in about 9,400 construction jobs lost, while raising the price of the average single-family home by $1,360.” [The association says that figure is now $9,000.]

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It’s Time For Less Talk, More Action, Against Trump’s Trade War

By Jerry Dias, Unifor
The Huffington Post
June 5, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

Jerry Dias

Five Canadian pulp mills are poised to close down as a direct result of tariffs imposed by the United States Department of Commerce earlier this year. …The Americans claim that Catalyst and Kruger are dumping newsprint products into the U.S., charging prices that are too low. They also claim that Canadian producers are unfairly subsidized by government. Both are entirely untrue. The truth, in fact, is more troubling. The U.S. tariffs have one goal in mind: to weaken Canadian paper manufactures for the benefit of U.S. producers. The impact on the communities will be severe. …It’s time for Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr to take notice and take action. During similar U.S. trade aggression in the softwood lumber industry, the federal government moved swiftly to bolster the industry in many ways. …Similar supports must be shown for the newsprint industry.

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Mercer Announces Proposed Expansion and Optimization of Friesau Facility

By Mercer International
Global Newswire
June 5, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, International

NEW YORK — Mercer International today announced that it has determined to proceed with a Phase II expansion and optimization project at its Friesau sawmill , in Friesau Germany. The project is designed to…increase annual lumber production capacity by approximately 200 million board feet to an aggregate of approximately 750 million board feet, through the addition of two new sorting lines and the completion of expansions to existing sorting lines. …The Company currently estimates that capital expenditures will total approximately €37.5 million (approximately US$41.6 million) and that the project will be completed in or about the second quarter of 2020.

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Substantial increases in wood costs for pulpmills in Western US and Canada in the 1Q/18

By Hakan Ekstrom
Wood Resources International
June 6, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

There were substantial increases in wood costs for pulpmills in Western US and Canada in the 1Q/18, while wood fiber prices fell to record lows in Eastern Canada, reports the North American Wood Fiber Review Price movements for wood fiber throughout North America were mixed in the 1Q/18 with substantial increases seen in the Western US and Western Canada, while prices for softwood chips fell substantially in Eastern Canada, according to the North American Wood Fiber Review. The only region where wood prices remained practically unchanged was in the US South, where the pulp industry continues to have some of the lowest fiber costs on the continent.

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Enviro hearing set for dispute over state of north Edmonton Domtar site

By Keith Gerein
The Edmonton Journal
June 5, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

The Environmental Appeals Board has set aside two weeks in July and August to hear arguments in a dispute over former industrial lands in northeast Edmonton. Cherokee Canada and Domtar are fighting enforcement orders from Alberta Environment to conduct extensive soil sampling and clean up any contamination on property north of Yellowhead Trail near 44 Street. The site in question served as a Domtar wood-treatment operation from 1924 to 1987. Cherokee bought the property in 2010 with the intention of building a residential subdivision. …Alberta Environment has demanded the companies conduct additional soil sampling, develop plans to remove contaminants and assess the risks to human health.

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PCs are the only party with real plan to enhance forestry and manufacturing: Romano

The Soo Today
June 5, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

Ross Romano MPP


Kevin Edgson, EACOM’s president and CEO, met with Romano to discuss Friday’s Doug Ford Huron Central (HRC) Railway announcement. …Last week, Doug Ford was in Sault Ste. Marie and he made a commitment to support HCR through this difficult time using the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation. This investment will ensure HCR’s future operations and sustainability. It is essential to maintain and enhance the few competitive advantages we have in Northern Ontario and the HCR is one of those advantages. Algoma, Domtar and EACOM rely on HCR to keep their production and distribution costs competitive.

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Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board approves continuation of Port Hawkesbury Paper’s power rate

By Nancy King
The Cape Breton Post
June 5, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

POINT TUPPER, N.S. — The Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board has issued a decision letter approving the continuance of the special power rate paid by Port Hawkesbury Paper. When the mill reopened in 2012 after a yearlong sales process, new owners Pacific West Commercial Corp. received a special load retention tariff for the electricity that it uses. …The rate was to be in effect for 7.5 years, but there was a provision that if the mill had not made a $20-million contribution to NSP’s fixed costs in the first five years of the arrangement. …“The board is satisfied that the $4/MWh cap should remain in effect during the final two years of the (rate), conditional upon PHP’s undertaking to contribute any return of countervailing duties towards fixed costs.

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Columbia County caught by surprise with pulp mill tax breaks

By Andrew Schwartz
The Union Bulletin
June 5, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

DAYTON — Somewhere communication has broken down between the state and Columbia County officials. Columbia County commissioners were dismayed — and surprised — to learn in recent weeks that the cash-strapped jurisdiction will not receive anytime soon the significant sales and use taxes it was expecting from the Columbia Pulp plant construction project near Starbuck. In fact, according to the state Department of Revenue, Columbia Pulp may never have to pay any sales or use tax on the project at all. County commissioners learned at their Monday meeting that, unbeknownst to them, the state had approved the project for a tax deferral via the Tax Deferrals for High Unemployment County program Sept. 4, 2014.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Sticky situation: New process turns wood scraps into tape

By University of Delaware
Phys.org
June 6, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

Whether you’re wrapping a gift or bandaging a wound, you rely on an adhesive to get the job done. These sticky substances often are made from petroleum-derived materials, but what if there was a more sustainable way to make them? Now, a team of engineers at the University of Delaware has developed a novel process to make tape out of a major component of trees and plants called lignin—a substance that paper manufacturers typically throw away. What’s more, their invention performs just as well as at least two commercially available products. The researchers recently described their results in ACS Central Science, and they are working on more ways to upcycle scrap wood and plants into “designer materials” for consumer use.

 

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Netherlands to build world’s first habitable 3D printed houses

By Daniel Boffey
The Guardian
June 6, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

The Dutch city of Eindhoven is to be the first in the world to have habitable homes made by a 3D printer, in an innovation its backers believe will revolutionise the construction industry. …Known as Project Milestone, the development is said by the Dutch construction company Van Wijnen to offer a solution to a shortage of skilled bricklayers in the Netherlands. …The 3D printer being used is essentially a huge robotic arm with a nozzle that squirts out a specially formulated cement, said to have the texture of whipped cream. The cement is “printed” according to an architect’s design, adding layer upon layer to create a wall, and increase its strength. …Alongside, bricks and the use of timber, this will be a third way, which will look like stucco [plastered] houses, which people like.”

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Lucideon Publishes New Testing Guide for Cross Laminated Timber in Offsite Buildings

Lucideon
June 6, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Lucideon has released a new testing guide for manufacturers of cross-laminated timber (CLT) in offsite buildings. …Design using cross-laminated timber panels falls within the timber code EC 5 but is often considered by many to fall between timber and masonry design; panels act as solid planes and there is no need for an infill. Design by standard will often give a much more conventional answer than design by testing. …Author of the guide, Joanne Booth, business manager – construction at Lucideon, said: “This is the third guide in a series we’re creating for offsite and modular building product manufacturers. “The guide is designed to help manufacturers launch new products into the market by detailing test requirements to understand the structural integrity and physical performance of both panels and the full composite system.”

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Finding the building blocks of wood

By Dr Daryl Holland, University of Melbourne
Pursuit
June 5, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Scientists are looking inside plant cells to learn how wood is formed and how that process can help develop materials for the future. …advances in microscope technology and molecular biology are allowing researchers to see exactly how xylem or wood is formed, in real-time, at the cellular level. Professor Staffan Persson… says this brings the potential to manipulate the wood formation process and, as a result, develop new materials with a raft of useful properties. The process being studied centres on an organic molecule called cellulose which consists of chains of sugars. Though small, it is one of the most abundant organic substances on Earth and is a major building block for wood. …Wood, typically forms deep within the plant tissue, making it difficult to see with a microscope. …they overcame this by forcing other plant cells to produce wood, too.

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Forestry

Tolko gets burned timber harvest permits on Crown land

By Monica Lamb-Yorski
Williams Lake Tribune
June 6, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Tolko Industries Ltd. will begin logging burnt timber on Crown Land in the Cariboo region now that it has received permits from the government. Up until now, the company has been working with the Williams Lake Indian Band and private landowners on fire salvage operations, said Tolko woodlands manager Kevin Sytsma. “Recently we’ve actually received several cutting permits from the Ministry of Forests in the Wildwood fire area.” Work will commence in and around the Williams Lake Airport in the near future, Sytsma said, noting it was a large fire, running from 150 Mile all the way through to Xat’sull First Nation. …The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations confirmed Tuesday that stumpage rates for fire-salvage timber range from $12 to $30 per cubic metre, depending on location, development costs and species type.

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Federal government’s mountain caribou ‘imminent threat’ declaration stokes Revelstoke socio-economic concerns

By Aaron Orlando
Revelstoke Mountaineer
June 6, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

After a decade on the backburner, the issue of threatened southern mountain caribou populations in B.C. is heating up and headed for a rolling boil in the coming months. In early May, federal Minister of Environment Catherine McKenna declared southern mountain caribou were facing “imminent threat” and issued an order to government to take action on the issue. The declaration could have very serious implications for the forestry sector… The federal move has intensified focus on the provincial government’s Draft Caribou Recovery Program, which is in draft form and open to online public feedback until June 15. The document is a roadmap for mountain caribou recovery, and its success or failure will be critical. The crux of the debate is about what measures should be taken to aid in mountain caribou recovery, and where the money will come from to do it.

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Wahnapitae First Nation airs concerns over forest harvesting plans

By Karen McKinley
Northern Ontario Business
June 5, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

Mark Lockhart

Lack of information over history, use of herbicides dominate talks at first of five meetings over 2020-2030 Sudbury Forest Management plan. Talks over the next decade-long Sudbury Forest Management plan have just begun with the Wahnapitae First Nation, but many are concerned over the community’s lack of knowledge over their own forest and the benefits they are getting. A meeting in the community on May 31 brought out around 20 people to the community’s Maan Doosh Gamig gathering place, as well as many more watching on a live feed, to hear what Vermilion Forest Management and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry had to say about the upcoming 2020-2030 strategy.

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Officials approve first thinning project under landmark forest agreement

By Alex Maclean
The Union Democrat
June 5, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Tuolumne County is already seeing progress from a much-hyped “master stewardship agreement” with the U.S. Forest Service that elected officials approved in late December to boost the pace and scale of tree-thinning projects in the Stanislaus National Forest. The county Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved the first project through the agreement that aims to remove 5 million board feet of commercial timber and 50,000 tons of biomass across nearly 1,000 acres of the forest. To put the numbers in perspective, the amount of biomass proposed to be removed is roughly equivalent to the average weight of a U.S. Navy battleship. Five million board feet of timber would produce enough lumber to build about 310 homes. …“This is not replacing the Forest Service’s annual timber program,” he said. “This is additional.”

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Plan emerging from Forest Service could undo Southeast Alaska logging limits

By Erica Martinson
Anchorage Daily News
June 5, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration has agreed to write a new regulation that could undo limits to logging in the Tongass National Forest, the head of the Forest Service testified Tuesday. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue plans to craft an Alaska-specific “roadless rule” that could allow more logging in Southeast, with the help of Alaska Gov. Bill Walker, Interim Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen said in a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing chaired by Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski. A new regulation could be a major win for the timber industry and politicians who have spent nearly two decades fighting to exempt Alaska from the federal environmental regulation and a setback for environmentalists and others who have supported the roadless restrictions.

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Kilauea eruption kills up to half of Big Isle forest reserve

Honolulu Star Advertiser
June 4, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Forestry managers on Hawaii island reported that one-third to one-half of the Malama Ki Forest Reserve in Puna has been impacted by the volcanic eruption, according to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources. DLNR said that Malama Ki, a relatively small reserve of 1,514 acres, is home to a young ohia-dominated forest which serves as a habitat for native forest birds including the Hawaii amakihi and apapane — the Hawaiian hawk and the Hawaiian hoary bat. A unique subpopulation of Hawaii amakihi that have been documented as uniquely tolerant to avian disease lives at Malama Ki. …Site visits conducted so far, said DLNR, show a lot of the vegetation downwind of the eruption plume is dead. In addition, more than 200 acres of Malama Ki Forest Reserve have been damaged by wildland fires sparked by the lava flows.

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Sage grouse DNA study maps crucial mating grounds in US West

By Keith Ridler
The Associated Press in the T&D.com
June 5, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

BOISE, Idaho — Sage grouse have a vast network of mating grounds in the U.S. West akin to interconnected regional airport hubs that the imperiled species is using to maintain genetic diversity across its entire range, a DNA study has revealed. The 19-page report by the U.S. Forest Service involved nearly 6,000 sage grouse samples collected from 2005 to 2015 and maps of some 1,200 mating sites in 10 western states and the Canadian province of Saskatchewan. Scientists say identifying mating sites that are the most critical hubs can help land managers avoid decisions that could cut the genetic exchange sage grouse need to remain a viable species.

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Improving federal forest management still key to helping rural Oregon

By Nick Smith, executive director Healthy Forests, Healthy Communities
The Bend Bulletin
June 5, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

…Oregon can become a global leader in the development and manufacture of mass timber products. …U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley are working to advance legislation promoting new wood technologies. But to fully seize this opportunity…we also need to increase the pace and scale of active forest management on federal lands, which would offer many additional benefits to our environment and economy. …An additional roadblock is the lack of wood supply in Oregon, which is what manufacturers truly need to invest in new technologies, equipment and workers. Yet the federal government owns most of the forests east of the Cascades and hasn’t contributed enough wood to sustain our forest products infrastructure. …A modest and sustainable increase in timber harvesting and thinning on federal lands can reduce the risks of catastrophic wildfire and improve forest health, [and] supply the wood fiber necessary for … boosting Oregon’s emerging advanced wood-products industry.

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Forest Service preps for another summer of devastating wildfires across much of the country

By Michael Collins
USA Today
June 5, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

WASHINGTON — Forecasters at the National Interagency Fire Center are predicting that warmer and drier-than-normal conditions have put large portions of the Western United States at above-average risk for significant wildfires between now and September. This year’s wildfire season could rival last year’s, which was one of the most devastating on record, said Vicki Christiansen, interim chief of the U.S. Forest Service. …The government spent a record $2.9 billion to suppress last year’s fires, Christiansen told the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Tuesday. “Early predictions indicate that 2018 will likely be another challenging wildfire year,” she said. Already this year, nearly 24,000 wildfires have burned 1.7 million acres across the country, said Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, chairwoman of the committee. …The Forest Service and its partners have more than 10,000 firefighters, 900 engines and hundreds of aircraft available to manage the fires, Christiansen told senators. 

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Demonstration shows modern forestry advances

By Aliya Hall
The Capital Press
June 5, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

PHILOMATH, Ore. — Simon Babcock, forestry teacher at Philomath High School, compared the thinning of Downing Forest to Christmas morning. …On June 1, the Forestry and Natural Resources Club organized a demonstration with Miller Timber Services to thin half of the 10-acre certified forest behind Philomath Middle School. Using a Ponsse harvester, Miller Timber Services had thinned 5 acres by the end of the day. “Forest thinning is the process of taking trees out to make the forest healthier,” Katelin Walker, forestry instructor and FFA adviser, said. “They’re cutting down dead and diseased trees that aren’t quality timber.” This method is more environmentally sustainable than clear cutting, which is more commonly criticized, Walker said.

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Florida Forest Service Announces Long Leaf Pine Program for Landowners

Southeast AgNet
June 5, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

The Florida Forest Service announced that the Longleaf Pine Landowner Incentive Program is now accepting applications from eligible, non-industrial private forest landowners. Applications will be accepted now through Friday, July 13, 2018. The goal of the program is to increase the acreage of healthy Longleaf pine ecosystems in Florida by helping non-industrial private forest landowners make the long-term investment required to establish and maintain this valuable ecosystem. The program offers incentive payments for completion of timber stand improvement, invasive species control, prescribed burning, planting Longleaf pine, native plant understory establishment and mechanical underbrush treatments. The program is offered for private lands in Florida counties located west of the Aucilla River and several counties near the Ocala National Forest.

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Forestry projects get Government boost

By Bayley Moor
Stuff.co.nz
June 6, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Northland forestry projects which will create jobs and sustainable developments have been given a helping hand by the Government. Te Uru Rākau (Forestry New Zealand) and the Ngāti Hine Forestry Trust have signed a joint venture agreement to plant and manage around 3,600 hectares of pine trees on the trust’s land. Up to 465 hectares of mānuka will also be planted, which would provide work experience for young people. Ministers, including Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and Forestry Minister Shane Jones, and MP Willow-Jean Prime planted a pine tree to acknowledge the announcement on May 31, which marked the first joint venture in the Government’s plan to plant one billion trees. 

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Researchers shine a light on more accurate way to estimate climate change

University of New Hampshire
Science Daily
June 5, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

It doesn’t matter if it’s a forest, a soybean field, or a prairie, all plants take up carbon dioxide during photosynthesis — the process where they use sunlight to convert water and carbon dioxide into food. During this changeover, the plants emit an energy “glow” that is not visible to the human eye, but can be detected by satellites in space. Now, researchers at the University of New Hampshire have taken that one step further. By using satellite data from different major land-based ecosystems around the globe, they have found that the photosynthesis glow is the same across all vegetation, no matter the location. This first-of-its-kind global analysis could have significance in providing more accurate data for scientists working to model carbon cycle and eventually help better project climate change.

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Where REDD+ money goes – and doesn’t go

By Christi Hang
CIFOR Forest News
June 6, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Bonn – REDD+ financing’s annual average of USD 323 million might sound like a lot on its own, but… it’s just a drop in the bucket. This is one of many findings elucidated in a forthcoming study on funding for reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+). …The team studied REDD+ funding from 2008–2015 to see where it went and how it was spent. A preview was given at Does money go to trees?: Assessing finance flows to maximize the impact of REDD+, an official side event at the recent Bonn Climate Change Conference. …Many developing countries with high emissions reduction potential but low capacity not only rely on funding for readiness and implementation, but also need support that is tailored to their needs, and that balances effectiveness and equity.

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