Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: June 25, 2018

Today’s Takeaway

Wildfires destroy buildings, cause thousands to flee in Northern California

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

Wind-driven wildfires destroyed buildings and threatened hundreds of residents in rural Northern California. Meanwhile, BC fire crews got a a bit of a scare over the weekend as lightning  storms resulted in about 100 new fires.

In other news: Edmonton rehabilitates its wooden trestle bridges; Australia’s Lendlease commits to timber in all its major precincts; New Zealand seeks to address its housing crisis with more off-site manufacturing and CLT; and more of the same on Trump’s trade fight with Canada, and its implication on US home ownership.

Finally, 10,000 wooden water tanks—a venerable part of New York’s skyline—are a vestige of the past that endures

–Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Froggy Foibles

On NY’s rooftops, old-style wooden water tanks hang tough

By Thomas Urbain
Agence-France Presse in Yahoo
June 25, 2018
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: US East, United States

They are part of New York’s skyline and millions of people unknowingly depend on them: behold, the venerable rooftop water tank, made of plain old wood. And forget about technology and innovation and all that. …Here, any building higher than six stories must be fitted to pump water to the roof for the higher floors, where it is stored in a tank. …The Isseks Brothers [are] one of three companies that share the rooftop water tank market in the most populous American city. In total, there are around 10,000 tanks. The tools they use have evolved a bit, but for the most part, a water tank is set up today the same way it was in 1890, when the Isseks brothers, immigrants from Poland, founded their company. …Wooden water tanks … have lots of advantages over tanks made from other materials… Jack Hillman says he is confident that wood tanks have a future, as wood is in fashion these days.

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Business & Politics

Trump’s Trade Fight With Canada Highlights Two Approaches To Capitalism

By Robert Kuttner, professor at Brandeis University
The Huffington Post
June 24, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

President Donald Trump’s savaging of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has gotten a good deal of attention for its sheer weirdness. …Trade friction between the two nations is nothing new, and the North American Free Trade Agreement did not put an end to them. …Another bone of contention is Canadian exports of lumber. This is a classic case where the theory of free trade applies. Canada is blessed with abundant forests. It makes sense that Canada should be the low-cost producer and exporter. …American timber interests, however, have argued that Canada’s system for managing its national forests gives Canadian lumber exporters too good a deal and that the price is therefore too cheap. Sorry, but Canada has the better of that argument. …Both nations have forms of managed capitalism; neither practices laissez faire. But Canada’s, by design, serves ordinary people more equitably.

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Trump’s lumber tariffs make home ownership too expensive for more than a million Americans

By Katie Simpson
CBC News
June 22, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

One of Donald Trump’s protectionist “America first” policies is partly to blame for making home ownership too costly for more than one million Americans. According to the U.S.-based National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), American tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber have caused housing prices in the United States to jump by an average of $9,000 per home, making it impossible for some low- and middle-income Americans to get into the housing market. “I don’t think it’s fair,” Jerry Howard, CEO of the NAHB, told CBC News in Washington, D.C. “For every $1,000 increase in the price of a house, 150,000 people are priced out of the market. This is having a serious impact on housing affordability, and it is having a serious impact on the home building sector as an economic force.” Members of the NAHB met with U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on Tuesday, hoping to convince him to end the tariffs.

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Billions of dollars in limbo as Doug Ford nixes Ontario’s cap and trade system

By David Paddon
Canadian Press in the Globe and Mail
June 24, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

Doug Ford

The cancellation of Ontario’s cap-and-trade system will leave billions of dollars in carbon credits in limbo and consumers on the hook for pricey home upgrades that were expected to be part of a rebate program. Incoming premier Doug Ford has vowed to immediately dismantle cap and trade, but has offered few details on how the system will be wound down, and how or if participating companies will be reimbursed. …Under the Ontario Liberal government, which was defeated in the June 7 election, the rebates were funded by proceeds from auctions that collected nearly $2.9 billion from companies that bought tradable carbon emission allowances through six auctions in 2017 and 2018. …“It certainly has the potential to create a class of stranded assets,” lawyer Lisa DeMarco said. She said the Ontario accounts …may include emission allowances auctioned off by California and Quebec but no longer tradable because they’re in Ontario-registered accounts.

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Tariffs, other costs raise home building prices Demand strong, Waukesha County builders say

By Mary Reardon
Greater Milwaukee Today
June 24, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

WAUKESHA – Builders around the country and in Wisconsin say lumber and steel tariffs imposed by the Trump administration are adding to the cost of new home building. …“If we don’t re-think the way we deliver housing in Waukesha County, I don’t think we will be able to deliver housing below $400,000,” said Steve DeCleene, president of Pewaukee-based Neumann Developments. …Despite higher prices, demand for new homes has been strong since the beginning of the year, Belman said. He attributes the demand to low housing inventory. …“As builders we are disappointed in the tariffs and urge our legislators to open up negotiations with Canada as well as continue to explore more domestic production to help support more affordable new homes,” Belman said. Around 80 percent of the lumber area builders use comes from Canada, Belman said.

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China has imported 64% more sawn softwood from Europe

EUWID Wood Products and Panels
June 25, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

With a total of 3.088 m m³, China imported 64% more softwood from Europe last year than in the previous year. According to Chinese Customs figures, the main supplier was Finland, as in the previous year, where purchases rose by 84% to 1.683 m m³. This means that Finland accounts for 54.5% of all Chinese imports of sawn softwood from Europe, five percentage points more than in 2016, and China has also become the most important export market for the Finnish sawmill industry. The development of imports from Sweden and Germany was below average with +31 % to 896,000 m³ and +15 % to 205,000 m³ respectively. In contrast, the Ukraine (+284% to 123,000 m³), Latvia (+124% to 94,000 m³) and Austria (+164% to 87,000 (33,000 m³) achieved well above average percentage increases.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Mill Creek footbridges reopen — four months ahead of schedule

By Hina Alam
Edmonton Journal
June 22, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

Mill Creek’s footbridges are back in action. The network of pedestrian bridges that criss-cross the south-side ravine officially reopened Friday, about five per cent under budget and four months ahead of schedule, said Sam El Mohtar, city director of transportation infrastructure delivery. Crews worked through the winter to ensure the bridges were open for the summer, he said. “And they faced a lot of challenges with the steep embankments and this winter was one of the harshest in 10 years,” he said. “They did it safely and with the highest quality.” The $7.7-million rehabilitation project involved repairing two trestle bridges and two glue-laminated timber bridges using Douglas fir. Nearly one-quarter of the wood used for the trestle bridges is from the original structures and can be seen in the pier and underneath the bridges.

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Timber! Lendlease’s commitment to innovative green building solutions

By Geraldine Chua
Architecture and Design
June 24, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Six years after the completion of its inaugural timber structure in Australia, Lendlease has committed to timber buildings in all of its new development precincts. “We are looking for opportunities to showcase timber at all of our major precincts around Australia,” building chief Dale Connor told the Australian Financial Review. “We have been progressing our knowledge of the timber product. We feel what timber brings to a commercial product—for both ownership and tenant—is the way of the future. …And the multinational group is poised to deliver. It recently announced that planning approval had been granted for a second engineered timber office building in Sydney’s Barangaroo South precinct. …In just 12 months, the Bates Smart-designed project has already delivered six out of nine floors.

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New Zealand to invite proposals on off-site construction factories for KiwiBuild homes, Twyford says

By Margareet Dietz
Newsroom Pro New Zealand
June 25, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

New Zealand’s government will invite companies, both domestic and overseas, to express their interest in setting up or expanding off-site manufacturing factories for KiwiBuild homes, a government construction program aimed at alleviating the nation’s dire housing crisis. …The use of locally sourced and manufactured cross-laminated timber by Housing New Zealand, the government’s social housing agency, has cut the construction time of their houses to as few as four months, down from at least 14 months, according to Twyford. PrefabNZ, an industry body lobbying for greater use of prefabricated buildings, said earlier this year that off-site factory-built houses and apartments could see more than 7,000 additional homes built every year from 2020, Twyford noted. “Off-site manufacturing will be a game changer for New Zealand housing,” Twyford said.

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Japanese researchers hope to be the first to turn wood into booze

South China Morning Post
June 23, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Researchers in Japan have developed a technique for making alcohol by fermenting wood, paving the way for the creation of the world’s first wood liquor. The safety of the product, which carries the distinctive aroma of the type of wood it is made from, as a drink is yet to be confirmed, but the Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute hopes people will be toasting with it soon. While bioethanol, also an alcohol made from wood, has long existed as a fuel, it is made using heat and sulphuric acid, making the product unsuitable for drinking. The technique developed by the institute does not require the use of such a harmful substance or heating, which takes away the unique scent of the wood used. 

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Forestry

Changes coming as Community Forest directors resign

By Sean Eckford
Coast Reporter
June 23, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Tom Pinfold & Glen Bonderud

The District of Sechelt has announced plans to kick off “an extensive discussion about the Sunshine Coast Community Forest” early next month. The announcement comes on the heels of the resignations of the Community Forest’s chair and vice-chair as well as a third member of the volunteer board, and a BC Supreme Court challenge of how the organization handled community consultation before logging a controversial cutblock. The court found the Community Forest and its district-owned operating company Sechelt Community Projects Inc. (SCPI) did everything that was required before harvesting EW23, also known as the Chanterelle Forest. … In an interview earlier this week, Bonderud and Pinfold said several issues led to their resignations, including a move to limit the terms of board members.

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Regional District of Central Kootenay wants province to regulate private land logging

By Bill Metcalfe
Nelson Star
June 22, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK) is calling on the provincial government to regulate private land logging. The RDCK voted on Thursday to take a resolution to the September conference of the Union of BC Municipalities, asking that body to lobby the forest ministry to develop regulations for the harvesting areas of private land measuring more than four hectares. Ramona Faust, the regional director for Area E, told the Star that the initiative springs from private land logging by the Nelson Land Corporation near Cottonwood Lake and near Wynndell. In the case of Cottonwood Lake, she said the logging threatens a regional public investment. … Faust also suggested that non-regulated private land logging competes unfairly with regular crown land logging.

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‘Stop the Spray BC’ hoping to sit down with Forest Minister

By Jeff Slack
My Prince George Now
June 21, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The organization Stop the Spray BC has reached 42,518 signatures for their petition on ending herbicide spraying. Two local activists are concerned about the negative impacts forests face when companies spray glyphosate to eliminate broadleaf species like aspen and birch. Back on March 28th, Both Herb Martin and James Steidle held a public session at UNBC explaining their cause to the community. Since then, their petition has “exploded” with signatures coming in from across the nation. Steidle says they have been trying to sit down with Forest Minister Doug Donaldson to relay their issues. “We are trying to get an audience with Minister Doug Donaldson and we have left messages and have called the ministerial assistant. No one has returned our call.” He says this spraying has a direct impact on the moose population because it eliminates food for the animal, which also results in a loss in the hunting industry.

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N. Idaho park hit by beetles

By Brian Walker
Bonner County Daily Bee
June 24, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

POST FALLS — Western pine bark beetles have a ticket to ride right out of Corbin Park, but not before the pests have had their way with ponderosa pines. Preston Hill, Post Falls’ urban forester, said the city will shut down the western side of the 25-acre park near the entrance sometime in July while the dead or damaged trees are removed. Corbin Park is popular with disc golfers and recreation activity on the Spokane River during the summer. “We estimate that we’ll remove 10 loads of logs,” Hill said. “The reason we’re doing it now is that we have to eliminate the hazard of dead trees and this portion of the park is heavily used. As the trees get more brittle, we need to take care of the problem as soon as possible.”

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Endangered baby frogs bred in zoo find new life in San Bernardino Mountains

By Steve Scauzillo
The San Bernardino County Sun
June 24, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

The population of a near-extinct Southern California frog took a leap forward this week. Scientists liberated 250 baby southern mountain yellow-legged frogs bred in captivity into a stream in the San Bernardino National Forest, the U.S. Forest Service reported. On Tuesda, biologists from the San Diego Zoo Global moved the froglets from the breeding laboratory into familiar habitat.  They used both slow releases in which the frogs were kept for a week in acclimation cages submerged in the waterway, and hard-releases in which the frogs were immediately introduced into the stream or pond. …The team will release more frogs into the San Gabriel and San Jacinto mountains later this summer, said Zach Behrens, spokesman for the San Bernardino National Forest.

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Workshops share traditional knowledge of ‘cultural burns’ as fire management

By Jennifer Ingall
ABC News Australia
June 24, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Ancient traditions of land management by fire have been handed down to generations of Aboriginal people. But as with some Indigenous languages, there is a fear that knowledge will be lost. Victor Steffensen wants to make sure that doesn’t happen. “I find myself following on from those old people who have passed and continuing the journey of educating and teaching the younger people just like I was taught,” said Mr Steffensen an Indigenous fire practitioner from Cape York. “My big dream is to see the culture of fire in Australia change, where everyone knows the country and knows fire properly and that we are looking after the landscape again.” Mr Steffensen works with a group called the Firesticks Alliance, an Indigenous organisation that runs programs with communities across Australia to build recognition of cultural fire management, and to reintroduce it onto lands owned and run by Aboriginal people.

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Benefit-sharing mechanisms: Barking up the wrong tree?

By Monica Evans
Forests News, Center for International Forestry Research
June 25, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: International

As the quest to protect and restore forests advances and evolves, the age-old question of “who gets what?” seems as pertinent – and complex – as ever. In recent years, a range of benefit-sharing mechanisms has emerged under REDD+ – a UN-backed program to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and promote restoration – most of which seek to incentivize communities to change their forest management practices in the forests they depend on for their livelihoods. “This is not quite as simple as it sounds, however, as communities’ use and management of forests are often not just about economics,” says Grace Wong, former Senior Scientist at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and current researcher and project lead at the Stockholm Resilience Centre.

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Australia failing to protect Great Barrier Reef ― activists

By Tracey Ferrier
The Associated Press in the New Daily
June 24, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: International

The United Nations has been asked to investigate the Australian government after green groups claimed it had failed to protect the reef from the effects of land clearing. Four groups have written to the UN environmental arm, UNESCO, accusing the government of breaking promises made when the Great Barrier Reef was at risk of being listed as a World Heritage site “in danger”. The Australian Conservation Foundation, Australian Marine Conservation Society, WWF Australia and Wilderness Society say 36,600 hectares of old-growth forest have been earmarked to be bulldozed in reef catchments. …Runoff from denuded land carries more sediment out to sea, where it can settle on reefs and block the light corals need to survive.

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Forest Fires

Lightning sparks nearly 100 wildfires in BC as crews prepare for busy season

By Sonia Aslam
News 1130
June 21, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

KELOWNA – Following a heatwave that covered most of the province, you may be wondering where our wildfire danger rating sits right now, especially compared to last year’s record-setting season. The BC Wildfire Service confirms in the early part of this week, the province saw significant lightning activity which resulted in nearly 100 new fires. Chief Fire Information Officer Kevin Skrepnek says crews got a bit of a scare on Wednesday when lightning storms swept across many areas of the Interior and Vancouver Island. It was a similar set-up that launched last year’s record fire season. “As I said, most of them never made it and [were] a small size. We’ve been able to get on them before they’ve had a chance to grow into anything of huge concern.”

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Thousands Flee as Flames Race Across Dry Rural California

The Associated Press in Bloomberg
June 24, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

Clearlake Oaks, California — Wind-driven wildfires destroyed buildings and threatened hundreds of others as they raced across dry brush in rural Northern California. The Pawnee Fire, which broke out Saturday near the community of Clearlake Oaks, has destroyed 12 buildings and threatened an additional 600. As of Sunday, there was no containment and it burned across about 12 square miles. Authorities ordered people to evacuate all homes in the Spring Valley area, where about 3,000 people live. …Farther north, a fire spanning about three-quarters of a mile in Tehama County destroyed “multiple residential and commercial buildings,” Cal Fire said. …A second fire in Tehama County consumed 5.5 square miles but no buildings were reported burned. …It was 10 percent contained. A fire in neighboring Shasta County grew to 1.6 square miles and was 20 percent contained.

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