Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: June 26, 2018

Today’s Takeaway

2017 wildfires cited for record lumber prices, but not all stocks are doing well

The Tree Frog Forestry News
June 26, 2018
Category: Today's Takeaway

Of all the factors pushing lumber prices up, the historic 2017 wildfire season tops beetles and tariffs—according to Ben Foldy (Financial Times). And while most lumber stocks have enjoyed a good run, Stephen Simpson (Seeking Alpha) says the under-performers suggest prices may weaken significantly. In related news: housing sales rebound in the US South; BC Premier Horgan says US consumers are bearing the brunt of softwood tariffs; and NZ log prices to China hit a 25 year high.

In other news: UNESCO says Canada’s Wood Buffalo national park is being threatened by development; a new book examines the closure of Sturgeon Falls paper mill in 2002; timber sales in Washington may be a good thing, and UK city parks are significant carbon stores.

Finally, an Ontario firefighter and international instructor says the trend in mid-rise wood construction increases firefighter danger.

–Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Business & Politics

Lumber producers profit from record prices

By Ben Foldy
The Financial Times
June 25, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

What do forest fires, wood-eating beetles and US President Donald Trump have in common? They have all helped push the price of lumber to historic heights, leading to record share prices for lumber producers and higher prices for US homebuyers. …Analysts attribute the price spike to steadily increasing demand and a coincidence of supply shocks in British Columbia, one of the world’s largest producers of softwood lumber. “When you have a tight supply chain, as soon as one thing goes wrong, prices skyrocket,” said Brendan Lowney, principal and macroeconomist at Forest Economic Advisors. …With a new protectionist ally in the White House, the US Lumber Coalition filed trade remedy petitions in November 2016… But of the factors driving current prices, duties are only “number three on the list,” said Mr Lowney. More important was a historic 2017 wildfire season.

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Is The Market Missing The Forest For The Trees At Weyerhaeuser?

By Stephen Simpson
Seeking Alpha
June 25, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

Residential construction is healthy and the prices of building supplies like sawlogs, timber, and OSB are very healthy… and yet, Louisiana-Pacific and Weyerhaeuser have had lousy runs in the stock market this year and over the last twelve months. While Canadian companies like Canfor, Norbord, and West Fraser have all enjoyed good runs, Weyerhaeuser shares have gone nowhere fast. Lagging price realizations in OSB and still-lagging recoveries in Southern sawlogs are issues, and perhaps Weyerhaeuser is lagging because it’s not the “pure play” on some of these hot assets that other names are, but I find it interesting that the stock hasn’t responded more enthusiastically to the spiking prices in many of its end-markets. …Weyerhaeuser’s underperformance is puzzling to me, and only really makes sense if you believe housing activity and wood product prices are going to weaken significantly.

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Coleman Must Divulge What He Knows About TimberWest Sale

By Andrew MacLeod
The Tyee
June 25, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Rich Coleman

Former forests minister Rich Coleman will have to say under oath what he knows about TimberWest’s financial troubles and the company’s sale to a pair of public sector pension funds, a British Columbia Supreme Court judge ruled Friday. The application to examine Coleman was part of a civil lawsuit filed in 2013 alleging that TimberWest and its senior officials deliberately drove Ted LeRoy Trucking Ltd., a major contractor for the company, into bankruptcy as part of a plan to reduce costs and raise the value of TimberWest. None of the allegations have been tested or proven in court. …A statement from the B.C. pension fund said the decision to purchase TimberWest was made by the infrastructure team.

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‘What’s the deal, man?’ B.C. Premier Horgan blasts Trump over trade protectionism

Canadian Press in the National Post
June 25, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

John Horgan

VICTORIA — British Columbia Premier John Horgan says the American administration needs to “wake up” over trade tariffs on aluminum, pulp and softwood lumber. He says high demand for lumber south of the border has pushed up prices for Canadian products, and U.S. home builders are bearing the costs of softwood tariffs. Horgan says American protectionism is unacceptable and not how the two countries should work together in a consensus-oriented trade arrangement. The premier says he stands united with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as Canada levies retaliatory duties to say ‘enough is enough.’ ” U.S. President Donald Trump has said the tariffs on steel, aluminum and other products will put American companies and workers on a stronger footing by winding back globalization. [end]

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Northeast BC’s economic outlook hinges on resources

By Ben Sander, senior partner at Sander Rose Bone Grindle LLP
Alaska Highway News
June 25, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

With its strong reliance on the resource sector, Northeast B.C.’s economy remained subdued in 2017 and did not move in conjunction with that of southern B.C. Forestry remains a mainstay of our economic growth. Despite strong demand from increased U.S. construction activity, our lumber export volume declined last year. However, this did not impact the value of our lumber exports, which increased in 2017 due to ongoing demand, decline in supply, higher prices, and our currency value against the U.S. dollar. Looking forward, the expiry of the Softwood Lumber Agreement and the tariffs imposed by the U.S. creates an uncertain outlook for our lumber exporters. Although lumber prices are up due to tight supply, ongoing uncertainty around softwood lumber will continue to have an impact on our forestry sector. …a major energy project will need to move forward for our economy to fully rebound from the losses in recent years.

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Washington’s stake in trade negotiations

By Mike Richards
The Lens News
June 25, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

Another day, another…tariff? That seems to be the reality for the U.S. and its trade partners as trade wars continue to escalate, leaving American industries to watch closely and determine how to best weather the storm. …Washington’s trade stakeholders are advising the Trump Administration to be more transparent with its plans in the trade war, better consider the stake of a trade-dependent state like Washington and also to reach agreements as soon as possible to keep markets open for Washington products. …“Now we are seeing the negative impacts: orders are getting delayed or canceled, and it’s harmful for our economy. We are trying to keep a close eye on this… in those key industries that are central to Washington state.” Punke warns of the long-term effects brought on by a trade war.

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Rebound in South powers U.S. new home sales in May

By Lucia Mutikani
Reuters
June 25, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East

WASHINGTON – Sales of new U.S. single-family homes increased more than expected in May as sales in the South surged to their highest level in nearly 11 years. The Commerce Department said on Monday new home sales jumped 6.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 689,000 units last month, the highest level since November 2017. April’s sales pace was revised down to 646,000 units from the previously reported 662,000 units. …Last month’s surge in new home sales unwound April’s drop. …The median new house price fell 3.3 percent to $313,000 in May from a year ago. That was the lowest price in a year. The drop in new home prices is likely to be temporary. …Builders are struggling with higher lumber prices as well as labor and land shortages. 

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NZ structural log prices hit 25-year high

By Tina Morrison
Scoop Independent News
June 25, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

New Zealand structural log prices rose to the highest level for 25 years as local mills compete with the export market to secure supply for the domestic construction market amid strong demand from China. The average price for structural S1 logs increased to $135 a tonne this month, from $134 a tonne last month, and marking the highest level since 1993. …In New Zealand, sawmills are competing with the export market to source logs for local construction, at a time when demand in China has stepped up after Asia’s largest economy clamped down on the harvesting of its own forests and reduced tariffs on imported logs to meet demand in its local market. …”China’s appetite for NZ logs means it’s still the price-setter for sales into other countries.”

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Expanded Östrand Pulp Mill in Operation

By Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget SCA
Cision Newswire
June 25, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

STOCKHOLM — Production at the expanded Östrand pulp mill began according to plan during the midsummer holiday (i.e. this weekend). SCA is investing SEK 7.8bn in the operation and the project is on budget and schedule.  SCA decided in 2015 to invest in an increased production capacity at the Östrand pulp mill – from 430,000 tonnes to about 900,000 tonnes of bleached softwood kraft pulp (NBSK). Following an extended maintenance stop, which began in April of this year, the expanded pulp mill is now in operation.  Production capacity in the expanded pulp mill is expected to increase successively during 2018 and 2019. 2020 is therefore expected to be the first year with full production, corresponding to 900,000 tonnes.  “Just over 1,000 days after starting the project on August 28, 2015, after a great effort from all involved to deliver the project according to the plan, the new plant is in operation “, says Project Director Ingela Ekebro.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Coast Mountains School District runs mobile trades program

By Jackie Lieuwen
BC Local News
June 25, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

Doug Brewer

Terrace, BC — With trades a key part of the new B.C. curriculum, the Coast Mountains School District is running a mobile trades program in Northwest schools to engage elementary students with projects. With just under $122,000 in funding from the province and Industry Training Authority, the CMSD bought and equipped a trades van last September, which travels to schools in Terrace, Kitimat, Hazelton, Stewart, and beyond into the Iskut area, bringing tools and parts for kids’ carpentry projects. …Besides bringing wood-working projects to kids, Brewer organizes an annual Try-A-Trades Day for Grade 5 students, where welders, plumbers, mechanics, carpenters, masons, construction workers and cooks from Terrace teach about their trade.

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An increase in wood construction is a danger to firefighter safety

By Mark van der Feyst
Fire Chief
June 25, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States

The wood industry has succeeded in lobbying to increase the amount of wood product being used to erect buildings instead of steel. We are seeing an increase in the number of taller buildings being built entirely out of wood. It is not uncommon to see a five- or six-story building constructed out of lightweight wood products, and a few states are allowing even taller buildings to be built this way. While this is good for the lumber industry, it is bad for the fire service. Any introduction of heat to the lightweight wood product, and we have disaster occurring on our end. We have seen this type of situation unfold in New York, where a building collapse killed two firefighters, and that tragedy could be repeated in these new-construction, wood-only buildings. 

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Structural Engineered Wood Products Exempt from New EPA Formaldehyde Regulations

By Mary Salmonsen
Builder Magazine
June 25, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s new federal formaldehyde emissions regulations took effect on June 1st, 2018. As of this date all composite wood products must be certified as compliant with these regulations.The EPA defines composite wood products here as both domestic and imported particle board, medium density fiberboard (MDF), and hardwood (decorative) plywood. Structural engineered wood products made for construction applications are exempt from this regulation, including structural plywood, oriented strand board (OSB), wood I-joists, laminated veneer lumber, and glued-laminated timber. All of these products are manufactured with low-emitting, moisture-resistant adhesives in accordance with existing product standards and building codes, according to The Engineered Wood Association (APA).

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Forestry

Canada’s largest national park, UNESCO site threatened: environmental assessment

By Bob Weber
Canadian Press in National Post
June 26, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Federal documents echo earlier concerns that Canada’s largest national park faces long-term threats that have placed it on a list of endangered world heritage sites. An environmental assessment provided to UNESCO says oilsands activity, climate change and hydro development are fundamentally changing the environment of Wood Buffalo National Park in northern Alberta. The report’s executive summary suggests things are getting worse in the Peace-Athabasca Delta. “Desired outcomes for the world heritage values are not being met,” it says. Wood Buffalo covers almost 45,000 square kilometres of grasslands, wetlands and waterways — one of the world’s largest inland deltas. Billions of migratory birds from four continental flyways converge there to breed. …The report says hydroelectric development, oilsands, pulp and paper facilities, industrial mines, forestry and municipal development are all likely to affect the park in future.

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Japanese students learn about local forests near Tofino and Ucluelet

By Nora O’Malley
The Tofino-Ucluelet Westerly News
June 25, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

A group of Agricultural students from Tamagawa University in Japan were on the Coast from June 14-16 to learn about local trees and forestry practices. Their unique itinerary included a forest management workshop with Dr. Barb Beasley, a forest restoration workshop with Central Westcoast Forest Society, and a cultural themed session with Ahousaht First Nation Elder Moy Sutherland. …Michiko Nakatani is the program manager for Tamagawa University at their satellite office in Nanaimo. She said the students are on exchange for four months, studying horticulture and ESL at Vancouver Island University. “These students are all interested in ecology and B.C. plants and trees. 

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BC Parks reaches milestone for specialty licence plate sales

By The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy
Government of British Columbia
June 25, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

BC Parks has sold 100,000 specialty licence plates, generating $2.3 million toward protecting and preserving provincial parks. “British Columbians are passionate about our parks, and this passion has helped us far exceed sales expectations for our specialty licence plates, generating more revenue for our parks and protected areas in one year than was initially forecasted for five years ,” said George Heyman, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “I encourage B.C. motorists to continue to support the licence plate program, so we can keep investing in additional programs and projects that will preserve and improve our natural spaces.” Revenue from the sales of specialty licence plates is going to a number of diverse programs and projects related to conservation, community engagement and Indigenous relations. Two examples are the recently announced Student Ranger Program and the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation’s GO Grants Program.

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Program looks to reduce wildfire risk

The North Bay Nugget
June 25, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

The North Bay Fire department is hoping to lower the risk of dangerous or out-of-control wildfires through a public education campaign in partnership with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. The program, called FireSmart, seeks to reduce risk in three key “zones” around houses in rural or isolated areas: 10 metres away from the home, 10-30 metres, and 30-100 metres. …“We’re just trying to educate people,” said Jim Daly, a firefighter. As part of the program, Daly will be available to go on walk-arounds with North Bay homeowners to provide a fire risk assessment. It’s important that homeowners do their part to help mitigate the risks of fire, Daly said. Especially in the more isolated parts of North Bay’s municipal jurisdiction, it can be some time before the fire department can respond to a call. 

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Book examines closure of Sturgeon Falls paper mill

By Lindsay Kelly
Northern Ontario Business
June 25, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

Claude Lortie

Sixteen years after Weyerhaeuser permanently closed the corrugated paper mill in Sturgeon Falls, a new book is taking a comprehensive look at the myriad, complex ways in which the shutdown impacted the community. One Job Town: Work, Belonging and Betrayal in Northern Ontario is the culmination of years of in-depth research by Steven High, whose interviews with 55 former mill workers, managers, and superintendents form the heart of the book. “It began as a study on the mill closing, but it became a story of the mill itself throughout its lifetime, right from 1898 onwards,” said High, a researcher and history professor at Montréal’s Concordia University. “It’s a really interesting story that shows how important Northern Ontario resource development was, not only in terms of Ontario or Canadian history, but also in a wider history.”

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Family’s legendary grove of old-growth redwoods preserved

By Peter Fimrite
San Francisco Chronicle
June 26, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

A sprawling forest of ancient coastal redwoods in Sonoma County — a grove so magnificent it matches the majesty of Muir Woods National Monument — is being acquired under a land deal that will ensure its protection and allow the public to walk among the giants. For decades, there had been whisperings of the existence of an untouched swath of old-growth trees on privately held lands near Cazadero — a story that had taken on almost mythical proportions. Fable is becoming reality Tuesday: San Francisco’s Save the Redwoods League is announcing it is purchasing the grove, which, at 738 acres, is a third larger than Muir Woods and has 47 percent more old-growth trees. The transaction is complicated, involving a land swap and $9.6 million in payments, but it means the largest swath of unprotected old-growth redwoods in the world will be preserved.

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In Our View: Long Echo of Loggers’ Ax

The Columbian
June 25, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Can timber sales be a good thing? Two recent items in the news make us reconsider the question that divided the Northwest at the close of the 20th century. …Columbian reporter Dameon Pesanti looked at an agreement that conserves more than 20,000 acres of forest near Mount St. Helens [and later] wrote about the state Department of Natural Resources’ plan to log about 60 acres near Moulton Falls Regional Park. …But just saying “stop selling timber” is too simple. In the case of the agreement near Mount St. Helens, the sales will provide much-needed jobs to Skamania County residents …It’s hard to envision what these tracts of land will look like in … 50 years. …will forest managers and loggers be able to effectively work their plans and sustain healthy forests for future generations? We may never fully know the answer. It is up to our generation to trust, and future generations to verify.

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Merger forms University of Arkansas at Monticello College of Forestry, Agriculture, Natural Resources

By Jim Brewer
Pine Bluff Commercial
June 25, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

MONTICELLO — The University of Arkansas at Monticello is merging its academic programs in agriculture, forestry and natural resources. The School of Forestry and Natural Resources and the School of Agriculture will now be the College of Forestry, Agriculture and Natural Resources. The merger was formally approved recently by the UA System Board of Trustees. Philip Tappe, who will serve as dean of the newly-formed college, said the decision to merge will “strengthen both programs and allow us to share resources that will increase opportunities in agriculture, forestry and natural resources to best benefit our students.” …“Long term, we’ll be looking for ways to leverage our combined resources,” Tappe said. “There are many shared interests among the agriculture, forestry, and other natural resources disciplines, and this merger opens up new, exciting opportunities for enhancing student learning experiences.”

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Korea stands at forefront of forest welfare

By Shin Ji-hye
Korea Herald
June 25, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Yoon Young-kyoon

South Korea is taking the initiative in forest welfare, with the aim of maximizing economic value of forests for the public, according to the chief of the Korea Forest Welfare Institute. “The focus of Korea’s forests has transformed over the 40 years from simple afforestation to forest resources to sustainable forest management,” said Yoon Young-kyoon, president of the Korea Forest Welfare Institute, in an interview with The Korea Herald. “Now, the focus is on forest welfare, which means economic, social and emotional support to the public using forests, with the aim of improving the public welfare,” said Yoon who has been working in the forest industry for around 40 years.  He is the first leader of the Korea Forest Welfare Institute set up in April 2016 under the Korea Forest Service. The government agency is aimed at providing forest welfare services, a term coined by Korea.

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Forest Fires

Pawnee California Wildfire Update: ‘Out of Control’ Lake County Blaze Threatening Hundreds of Structures

By Ewan Palmer
Newsweek
June 25, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

Thousands of people have been told a massive wildfire burning through California, which has already forced mandatory evacuations, will continue to spread across the area. Firefighters warn that the blaze, which started in Pawnee in Lake County, California, is “out of control” and shows no sign of slowing down, reports CBS SF Bay Area. At least 10 houses have already been destroyed. Another 600 structures are currently under threat after the fire increased dramatically in size, encompassing more than 7,700 acres. It began around 5 p.m. on Saturday near the community of Clearlake Oaks. Thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes in the Spring Valley area as a result of the fire. Authorities said there have been no reports of any injuries or deaths as of yet.

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Eastpoint fire takes out 36 homes, leaving uncertainty for displaced residents

By Karl Etters
Tallahassee Democrat
June 25, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: US East, United States

EASTPOINT – Residents along Franklin County’s coastline got their first glimpses Monday at the damage caused by a raging wildfire that spread out of control less than 24 hours earlier and burned through the night. Houses were buried beneath ash, where only the wire bed frames and metal kitchen sinks remained. They sat next to others that were unscathed by the flames as the first few homeowners began to sift through their belongings or learn whether their house remained. Florida Forestry Service officials said 36 homes were lost, four were damaged and more than 950 acres were consumed in the fire, which was 95 percent contained Monday. …Officials could not confirm reports there was a controlled burn in the area prior to the fire’s spread on Sunday. An official determination on how the fire started has not been released

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

University pioneering urban biomass heating

By Lorraine Stevenson
Manitoba Co-operator
June 25, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

Brandyn Berg

The University of Winnipeg’s new biomass heating system will be a model for other institutions, 
say proponents of alternative energy sources. When school starts this fall, the University of Winnipeg will flip the switch on a novel way to keep downtown buildings heated — with boilers that burn wood pellets. Last fall the downtown university took delivery of two 100-kilowatt biomass boilers, to provide supplementary heating a steam plant now provides for its Ashdown, Manitoba and Lockhart Halls. The system, which became commissioned and operational this spring, is also intended as a demonstration project, to give a nudge to others considering switching to a bioenergy source. “We are going to be the first in Winnipeg to deploy a system such as this,” said Brandyn Berg, with controls, energy management and special projects at the university.

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City Parklands Can Be As Dense Carbon Stores As Tropical Rainforests

By Stephen Luntz
IFLScience
June 26, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

…The parklands of London store nearly as much carbon as tropical rainforests, making urban forests a much-overlooked frontline in the fight against global warming. Street trees and parks remove an astonishing amount of pollutants from the atmosphere, improving the health of the urban residents. …A typical tropical rainforest holds 190 tonnes of carbon per hectare (85 tons per acre). …Hampstead Heath, a large park in London, stores 178 t/ha. …The conclusion is drawn from a study published in Carbon Balance and Management of all 85,000 trees in Camden, the London Borough that includes Hampstead. “We were able to map the size and shape of every tree in Camden…,” said author Dr Phil Wilkes of University College London …The study [reveals] the differences in carbon storage that the trees display depending not just on species and size but location. The work may give pause to councils that sacrifice large numbers of trees for redevelopment.

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Health & Safety

Sensible solutions making forest safety seamless and smart

By Innovatek
Scoop Independent News
June 26, 2018
Category: Health & Safety
Region: International

Rotorua, NZ — A major national conference on forest safety practices is set to showcase how our forestry leaders have delivered both safety and productivity benefits for people across a range of workplaces. “Some of our most inspiring forestry leaders have developed safety improvements in both crew culture and harvesting technologies,” says Forest Industry Engineering Association spokesman, Gordon Thomson. …The summit is on 8th August in Rotorua at the Distinction Hotel. The following week – 15th March – it runs at the Bayview Eden Hotel in Melbourne.

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