Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: July 3, 2018

Today’s Takeaway

Stretch of Canadian boreal forest deemed a UNESCO world heritage site

The Tree Frog Forestry News
July 3, 2018
Category: Today's Takeaway

A stretch of boreal forest along the Manitoba-Ontario boundary has won international recognition as  a UNESCO world heritage site. Other Forestry headlines include:

  • The new normal: wildfires roar across the west again (New York Times)
  • Forest Service firefighting not aggressive enough (Vicki Christiansen)
  • Report calls for major fixes to oversight of BC’s natural resource sector (CBC)
  • Port Alberni sees decline in lumber, increase in raw log exports (Port Authority)
  • If an old-growth tree falls in a forest, does it make political hay? (Times-Colonist)
  • Forests may lose ability to protect against extremes of climate change (U of Montana)

Have Trump’s tariffs caused lumber prices to surge? Are they a mortal threat to US housing recovery? The LBM Journal says: 1) that ain’t necessarily so, and 2) that’s hogwash. 

Finally, judging by the outcome of meetings on proposed US code changes, it’s likely we’ll see more and taller mass timber buildings soon. 

–Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Business & Politics

Taiga announces acquisition of Exterior Wood, Inc. and expansion of wood treatment business

By Taiga Building Products Ltd.
Cision Newswire
July 3, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

BURNABY, BC – Taiga Building Products Ltd. is pleased to announce that it has entered, through a wholly owned subsidiary, into a share purchase agreement with Exterior Wood, Inc. and its shareholders, whereby Taiga will acquire all of the issued and outstanding common shares of Exterior Wood for a purchase price of US$42,000,000, subject to certain adjustments at closing of the acquisition in respect of working capital, cash and certain outstanding indebtedness. The acquisition has been structured to close on a cash free debt free basis. Exterior Wood has been operating a wood treatment facility and distribution centre in Washougal, Washington since 1977, and services retail building supply centers throughout the western United States and Canada with a wide array of pressure treated products. The acquisition will expand Taiga’s existing wood treatment operations at three facilities in Canada, with additional penetration into the United States market.

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Port Alberni Port Authority sees decline in lumber, increase in raw log exports

By Elena Rardon
Alberni Valley News
June 29, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

The Port Alberni Port Authority (PAPA) anticipates a “challenging” year with a lack of lumber leaving their ports. At PAPA’s annual general meeting on Wednesday, June 27, operations manager Ron Kyle confirmed that the total tonnage of lumber exported between 2016 and 2017 decreased by 16 percent. In 2018, the decrease is down by 100 percent so far, with zero metric tons of lumber leaving the port and more lumber travelling by truck. The number of vessel calls is also down so far this year, but the export of raw logs has increased by 18 percent. “This has been a hard one to swallow,” said Kyle. Zoran Knezevic, president and CEO, said he does not think the declining revenues will be a trend. With the lack of lumber, PAPA’s revenues and operations have been shifting towards other sources.

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Ontario’s Forest Sector Welcomes Premier Ford’s Cabinet

Ontario Forest Industries Association
June 29, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

The Ontario Forest Industries Association (OFIA) congratulates and welcomes Premier Ford’s cabinet Ministers. Ontario’s forest sector is looking forward to working with the new government, and Honourable Jeff Yurek, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, to make Ontario open for business, with a vision of hope and prosperity in every region of this province. …For over a year, OFIA has advocated for a Provincial forestry strategy aimed to increase the sustainable use of Ontario’s forests. With a majority government in place, Ontario’s forest sector will continue working collectively to find long-term solutions that provide opportunities to grow the sector and contribute to Ontario’s prosperity for the people of Ontario. Erik Holmstrom, Chair of OFIA and Ontario Timberlands Manager for Weyerhaeuser in Kenora, said,“We are eager to begin work with Premier Ford’s government and deliver on a commitment to attract investment and create good jobs in Northern and Rural Ontario.

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Agreement signed for First Nations to supply lumber to reopen Nakina mill

TB Newswatch
June 30, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

GREENSTONE, Ont. — A shuttered sawmill is on track to reopen following the signing of a partnership involving three First Nations communities. A joint venture agreement between Nakina Lumber Inc. and the Agoke Lumber Limited Partnership, representing Aroland, Eabametoong and Marten Falls First Nations, was officially inked on Friday and will lead to the resumption of the Nakina sawmill. “This (joint venture) agreement is part of an overarching Agoke strategy that will help us continue to ensure that local forest resources are protected, managed and developed for the mutual benefit of our First Nation partners and peoples. It will open up much needed employment opportunities in the Greenstone region, and add another revenue stream for oru First Nation partners,” Agoke partnership president Mark Bell said in a statement.

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No, the so-called Trump lumber tariffs will not threaten the U.S. housing recovery

By Brendan K. Lowney
LBM Journal
July 2, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States

We have received a slew of media inquiries recently from reporters who were pushing the following storylines: 1.Donald Trump’s tariffs on lumber have caused prices to surge from about $300 per thousand board feet (MBF) to more than $600 per MBF. 2. Surging building materials prices pose a potentially mortal threat to the U.S. housing recovery. Our short responses to these storylines are as follows 1) that ain’t necessarily so, and 2) that’s hogwash. Our more detailed responses are below. It is true that the U.S. imposed two kinds of trade restrictions on Canadian softwood lumber imports in the second quarter of 2017—a countervailing duty in April and an anti-dumping duty in June. These were not “Trump Tariffs” however. Rather, they were merely the latest round of a long-standing dispute concerning softwood lumber between the U.S. and Canada that goes back more than 35 years. 

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Market pulp producers saw higher profits in the 1Q/18 as pulp prices jump to record high levels, while production costs increased only slightly

By Hakan Ekstrom
Wood Resources International LLC
July 2, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

Market pulp producers saw higher profits in the 1Q/18 as pulp prices jump to record high levels, while production costs increased only slightly, reports the Wood Resource Quarterly. Pulp prices reached record highs in early 2018 following a 16-month period of increasing prices. Wood fiber costs, the largest cost component when manufacturing pulp, have gone up much more slowly than pulp prices during the past year, resulting in substantial increases in earnings for the international pulp industry.

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Catalyst Paper finalizes sale of Biron mill

By Michael Leischner
WSAU.com
June 29, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

VILLAGE OF BIRON, WI — Officials with Catalyst Paper have finalized the sale of their Biron facility to Hong Kong-based Nine Dragons paper for $175 million. Catalyst released a statement Friday thanking the employees of the Biron facility for their dedication and effort that led to a significant improvement in the performance of the mill, and to the community for their support of the company as well. Catalyst first announced the deal back in May. The Biron facility employs around 425 people and produces coated groundwood papers. A mill in Rumford, Maine and an operations center in Dayton, Ohio, which were also included in the sale.

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Forest-products companies accelerating digital investments to protect market share, competitive advantage

Enterprise Innovation
July 2, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

Forest-products companies plan to increase their investments in digital technologies over the next three years, in part to protect their market share and competitive advantage, according to a new report from Accenture. Based on a survey of 200 executives at forest-products companies in 10 countries, the report, “Forest Products: The shift to digital accelerates,” also found that cybersecurity remains a concern for these companies, with only a minority able to counter attacks effectively, thereby prompting data-security concerns.  The study focused on forest-products companies with global annual revenues greater than US$500 million and that currently leverage digital technologies and/or are pursuing digital transformation. The survey [2017] included executives from companies headquartered in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Finland, Indonesia, Malaysia, Norway, Singapore, Sweden and the US.

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Leitrim and Cork dominate forestry stakes, new figures show

By Margaret Donnelly
Irish Independent
July 2, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

New figures about the national forest estate show that the national forest estate is expanding and has now reached 11pc of the total land area.Key findings of the third National Forest Inventory completed in 2017 show that Leitrim is the county with the highest percentage of forest cover (18.9pc), while Cork has the largest forest area (90,020 ha). The national forest estate is still expanding and has now reached 11pc of the total land area, with a wide variety of forest types present. The total forest area has increased from 697,842 hectares (ha) in 2006 to 770,020 ha in 2017. The increase in area is a result of afforestation and the inclusion of pre-existing forests for the first time during the third NFI cycle. 

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Rembrand merger creates major player in UK timber industry

By Graham Huband
The Courier
July 2, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

Rembrand has come together with Grangemouth-based Thornbridge Sawmills in a move backed by private equity group Cairngorm Capital. The value of the deal has not been disclosed but is understood to run into the multi-millions. Cairngorm first became involved with Thornbridge late last year and followed up on its interest in the timber trade by investing in North Yorkshire Timber Limited in February. The addition of Rembrand into the mix creates a business with a network of 35 branches and significant manufacturing capabilities. Combined annual revenues are in excess of £100 million and the enlarged group will have over 600 staff. Companies House filings show Rembrand Timber Limited achieved sales of £37.3m in the year to September 30, which generated a pre-tax profit of £2.8m, a significant uplift from 2016’s £1.07m return.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Contemporary Canadian Wooden Architecture in Photos and Drawings

By Fernanda Castro
ArchDaily
July 1, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada

Today we celebrate Canada Day by paying a special tribute to timber construction and Canada’s close ties with wood–as evidenced by its maple tree leaf emblem. Canadian architects have excelled in timber design and architecture at various scales. These 15 examples of Canadian timber projects and their drawings range from temporary installations to an 8-story high-rise wooden structure building. With sustainability and precision in the details, wood continues, and will always remain, one of our favorite building materials.

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Mass timber comes of age: Code consideration, evolving supply chain promise new options for tall wood buildings

By Patricia Layton, Professor of Forestry, Clemson University
Building Design + Construction
July 2, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States

Judging by the outcome of the International Code Council (ICC) Group A Committee Action Hearing, April 15-23, in Columbus, Ohio, it’s likely that we will be seeing more and taller mass timber buildings across the country very soon. At that hearing, 14 code proposals related to new and taller types of mass timber construction were recommended for approval by the broader ICC membership this fall. The ICC’s move is historic. Though mass timber construction isn’t new to the building code community… the trend toward considerably taller wood buildings was so clear that the ICC moved in 2015 to keep the IBC relevant in the marketplace by updating the code. …How that future unfolds is unclear. But there can be little doubt that the emergence of tall mass timber buildings represents a paradigm shift for the construction community.

 

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Cheap and scalable: New wood material prints large 3D objects

By Robert Dalheim
Woodworking Network
July 2, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International
Researchers from the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) have developed a technique for printing large 3D objects using cellulose, one of the main components in wood. They believe it will revolutionize manufacturing – providing a cheap, renewable, and biodegradable alternative to plastic and creating conditions for a circular economy.  “We believe the results reported here represent a turning point for global manufacturing with a broader impact on multiple areas ranging from material science, environmental engineering, automation and the economy,” said Assistant Professor Stylianos Dritsas, team joint leader. “We are now at the stage of seeking industrial collaborators to bring this technology from the laboratory to the world.” The SUTD team combined cellulose with chitin, a polymer found in the cell walls of fungi.

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First stage of new Nelson Airport terminal to open in October

By Tim O’Connell
Stuff.co.nz
July 3, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Rob Evans

Stage one of Nelson’s new $32 million airport terminal is on schedule to open for use by airlines and the public by mid-October. Nelson Airport chief executive Rob Evans said the first half of 2018 had been the most exciting yet for the development. …Features of the building is its use of Nelson-processed Laminated veneer lumber (LVL) timber structure, natural ventilation using solar chimneys and the utilisation of natural light, Evans said. Large chevron style-awings are being fitted to the exterior of the building for sun protection as well as providing heat for the ventilation system, and ceiling-to-floor windows offer panoramic views of the Western Ranges.

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National conference on building technology disruption

By Innovatek
Scoop Independent News
July 3, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

With housing minister Phil Twyford last week publicly lamenting lack of productivity and innovation in the construction industry, it appears he or his officials are blind to the rapid disruption in timber building happening in Australia, USA and now here. Wood structures detailed with design software are now a key competitive advantage for commercial building in New Zealand as well. Meanwhile a national conference on engineered wood for commercial and multi-residential building is set to attract hundreds of early movers. Timber construction has advanced rapidly with new design modelling software known as “building information modelling” (BIM). It fits perfectly with manufacturing engineered wood structures using accurate computer machining technologies. …Stulen and his team at Innovatek say they are delighted to have a technical conference programme that’s 100% devoted to engineered wood projects in New Zealand.

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Timber Expo branches out this year with new workshops and awards for role models

Builders’ Merchants News
July 2, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

This year’s Timber Expo, the biggest timber event of the year, features new workshops and a role model competition to inspire the next generation. …Taking place between 9 and 11 October 2018, Timber Expo, supported by content partner TRADA, will join Build Show, Building Tech Live, Civils Expo, Energy 2018, Plant & Machinery Live, HVAC 2018 and the Surface & Materials Show to form  UK Construction Week, the UK’s largest trade show for the built environment. Nathan Garnett, UKCW Event Director, said… “The show covers a wide range of timber applications, from structural uses of timber frame, glulam, SIPs and CLT through to the joinery industry’s best products across timber cladding, stairs, doors and windows, mouldings, skirtings and flooring.

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Forestry

Stretch of Canadian boreal forest deemed a UNESCO world heritage site

Canadian Press in CTV News
July 1, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

MANAMA, Bahrain — A stretch of boreal forest along the Manitoba-Ontario boundary has won international recognition for its pristine environment and connection with Indigenous culture. Pimachiowin Aki — an Ojibwa phrase that means ‘the land that gives life’ — has been deemed a world heritage site by the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization, or UNESCO. The relatively untouched boreal forest is 29,000 square kilometres –more than half the size of Nova Scotia — and is home to four First Nations that continue to practise traditional land use. … The UNESCO designation is intended to ensure areas such as Pimachiowin Aki are protected from future development and to help boost tourism. The Manitoba government has spent more than $15 million over the last 13 years to support the UNESCO bid, while Ontario has put up about $1 million.

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‘It’s just devastating’: Searching for tree-eating bugs and other signs of life in B.C.’s charred forests

By Greg Rasmussen
CBC News
July 3, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

…Lori Daniels [University of British Columbia forestry professor] is cutting into the tree hunting for a tiny bug called the Douglas fir bark beetle that lives in the moist layer beneath the thick bark of dying trees. …Daniels’s work is part of an effort by government and universities to understand the impact of the destruction and figure out what can be done to help forests recover. An independent review of the wildfires prepared for the B.C. government suggests climate change is leading to “a new normal” where extreme fires will be much more frequent. Four of the province’s most destructive fire seasons have occurred in the past eight years. Researchers across the country say there’s an urgency to learn how our forests are adapting to climate change, and how it will impact both communities surrounded by forests, and the people who depend on healthy woodlands for their livelihoods.

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2018 Timberwest Campsite Photo Contest

TimberWest
June 29, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Nanaimo, BC — TimberWest is pleased to announce the 2018 TimberWest Campsite Photo Contest, on now until August 24th. Outdoor adventurers photographing their summer camping moments, have the chance to win one of two 14-day camping passes at any of the eight TimberWest campsites across Vancouver Island. “Last year we had hundreds of people enter our Campsite Photo Contest, and the photographs were breathtaking!” says, Jeff Zweig, President and CEO of TimberWest. “We are very excited to see what kind of camping memories and family adventures people will share this year.”

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Report calls for major fixes to oversight of B.C.’s natural resource sector

By Bethany Lindsay
CBC News
June 29, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The B.C. practice of requiring natural resource firms to hire their own consultants for environmental impact studies needs more oversight, a new report argues. The independent review, written by Forest Practices Board general counsel Mark Haddock, calls on the province to create a new provincial office that would oversee all of the professional organizations that regulate the experts who do that assessment work. That’s just of one of 121 recommendations in Haddock’s report, which has prompted backlash from industry groups, but is being praised by longtime critics of the system known as professional reliance. Professional reliance depends on people like foresters, biologists and engineers who are paid directly by industry to ensure that projects meet all requirements set out by the government. That work used to be the responsibility of civil servants, but it was outsourced by the B.C. Liberals early last decade as part of a core review of government services.

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City of Campbell River to request moratorium on logging in Snowden

By Mike Davies
BC Local News
June 29, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The City of Campbell River will officially ask the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development for a moratorium on logging activities within the Snowden Demonstration Forest. BC Timber Sales was set to begin field layout this summer for harvesting five blocks of timber with an expected yield of 20,000 cubic metres. …in a report received by council from the city’s long range planning and sustainability manager Amber Zirnhelt, it was recommended that the city write to minister Doug Donaldson requesting a minimum two-year moratorium on all logging activities so that planning can be completed “to help shape Snowden’s future prior to harvesting occurring that will take 60-80 years for regrowth.” “Without a long term management plan for Snowden its future is uncertain, and the overall impacts of future harvesting are unclear,” Zirnhelt’s report states.

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B.C. needs to restore ‘adequate public oversight’ to protect the environment

By Anthony Britneff, RPF (ret.)
Vancouver Sun
June 29, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

When a dam holding back a massive amount of highly toxic water gave way at the Mount Polley mine in August 2014, it triggered more than one of the worst environmental disasters in Canadian history. It exposed the dark underside of the B.C. government’s policy of drumming large numbers of public servants out of the business of protecting our environment and turning much of that work over, instead, to the private sector. …When things function properly, those decisions are effectively scrutinized by professional associations and by registered professionals working for the government, both there to protect the public interest. …The Watts case highlights another disturbing aspect of the “professional reliance” model, and that’s the degree to which senior public servants and professional associations may squelch the views of an outside expert or professional if those views cast doubt on how other professionals conduct themselves.

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If an old-growth tree falls in a forest, does it make political hay?

By Jack Knox
Victoria Times Colonist
June 29, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Two hundred and twenty three international scientists have just signed a letter saying it’s vitally important for the B.C. government to protect the last remaining bits of temperate rainforest on Vancouver Island RIGHT NOW. Good luck with that. That is, we’ve been hearing the same arguments for years, and nothing ever changes except the size of the Island’s old-growth forests, which environmentalists say are shrinking at the rate of two football fields an hour, 24 hours a day. … The government responds that it isn’t sitting on its hands. A statement issued by Forests Minister Doug Donaldson talks of spending $16 million over three years to modernize the land-use process and says “work is well under way on a more robust old-growth forests strategy.” …Nor will this reality: B.C.’s year-old NDP government, up to its ears in everything from housing affordability to money laundering, doesn’t have much room on an already-long to-do list.

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Trees are essential infrastructure in our towns and cities, say urban foresters

CBC News
June 29, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

There are more trees in Canada than in any other country on the planet, except for Russia. Most of​ our forests are in the wilderness, but we also enjoy — and depend on — the green canopies of our cities and towns. Urban forests clean our air, lower our stress levels, reduce our energy costs and mitigate the risk of floods. Little wonder that urban foresters are ​now ​promoting trees as​ a critical part of a city’s infrastructure, as essential as roads and sewers.​ ​ G​uest host Gillian Findlay ventured to the Mississauga campus of the University of Toronto to speak with three tree experts​, as they sat in the shadow of a nearby forest​.

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Provincial cabinet appointments applauded, panned by forestry, Indigenous leaders

Northern Ontario Business
June 29, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

Jeff Yurek

Two Northern Ontario MPPs will take up prominent positions in the new cabinet of Premier Doug Ford. Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli was sworn in June 29 as finance minister and cabinet chair. …The new Natural Resources and Forestry minister comes from southwestern Ontario in Elgin-Middlesex-London MPP Jeff Yurek. …In extending congratulations, the Ontario Forest Industries Association (OFIA) hopes Yurek will “make Ontario for open for business.” “We are eager to begin work with Premier Ford’s government and deliver on a commitment to attract investment and create good jobs in Northern and rural Ontario,” said OFIA chair Erik Holmstrom, the timberlands manager for Weyerhaeuser in Kenora, Rickford’s home riding. …OFIA president Jamie Lim believes that by working with the new government the industry’s competitive challenges can be addressed.

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‘The New Normal’: Wildfires Roar Across the West, Again

By Thomas Fuller and Julie Turkewitz
New York Times
July 2, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

…Wildfires are tearing across California, Colorado, New Mexico and other Western states this week, chewing up bone-dry mountainsides, scorching buildings and forcing hundreds of people to evacuate from their homes. The message across the West — just as plans for July 4 fireworks and camping trips get underway — is that after a record-breaking 2017 fire season, 2018 is likely to be brutal, too. …The National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho, is predicting that warmer and drier-than-average temperatures, combined with large amounts of grass, below-average snowpack and increased potential for lightning is likely to create “above average to extreme” wildfire activity this year. Complicating the challenge for firefighters in several states is that over the last few decades, population growth and suburban expansion have led more and more people to build homes tucked into the very forests that are likely to burn.

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Feds push deal for Admiralty Island land

The Juneau Empire
July 2, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

The U.S. Forest Service finalized a deal Thursday with Sitka urban Native corporation Shee Atiká, Incorporated, to return 6,077 acres of heavily-logged land on Admiralty Island to wilderness. The deal marks the completion of a third phase in the multi-phase land acquisition to return 22,000 acres of land back to wilderness in and around Cube Cove, which lies 30 miles south of Juneau and 20 miles north of Angoon. …When the purchase is complete, according to the U.S. Forest Service, it will be the largest transfer of lands from a private inholding back to the Forest Service.

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Mapping the genome of redwoods

By Mark Hudspeth
CBS News
July 1, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Deep in one of California’s few remaining old-growth forests sat an oddity, popular with tourists since the 1880s: a giant sequoia so giant a tunnel was carved in its trunk. Last year that tree toppled over during a storm. It was estimated to be around a thousand years old. It – and others redwoods like it – are a testament to how much we are fascinated by these ancient evergreen, but it’s also a reminder of how much we’ve abused them. “It looked like the redwoods were a limitless resource, that we could never possibly cut all of them down,” said Ranger Alex Tabone. “We needed those for houses and lumber camps, and mine shaft tunnel shore-up poles.” …”A hundred years ago the great original Redwood forest covered two million acres along the California coast,” Kuralt said, “but more than two-thirds of the virgin redwood trees are gone.”

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‘We can find common ground’: Forest projects in Jefferson County built on collaboration

By Ted McDermott
Montana Standard
July 1, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Leonard Wortman

JEFFERSON COUNTY — Jefferson County Commissioner Leonard Wortman leans against a stock trailer and laments the state of the timber on the National Forest land that surrounds him, in nearly every direction, on a recent morning.  …“And we used to go through the trees on a dead run on a horse, chasing them, because they were open. Now you can’t even ride a horse through some of that stuff, where you used to be able to go through it at a dead run. And that’s the way the forest is supposed to be.”While the national forests of Jefferson County will likely never be the way Wortman remembers them, Dave Sabo, district ranger for the Butte Ranger District of Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, says two projects — one recently completed and one seemingly on the verge of being approved — go some way toward getting things back to how Wortman and others want them.

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Forest Service firefighting not aggressive enough?: Guest opinion

By Vicki Christiansen, interim chief, U.S. Forest Service
The Oregonian
July 1, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Vicki Christiansen

People sometimes tell me that the U.S. Forest Service isn’t aggressive enough in fighting fires. As a wildland fire professional with more than 30 years of experience, I disagree. Historically, wildland fire shaped the American landscape. Fires were once common, revitalizing and reinvigorating forests and grasslands. …Today, our nation has more than a billion acres of vegetated landscapes, most naturally adapted to periodic wildfire. In a backcountry area such as a wilderness, we might decide to monitor and manage a fire, using it as a land management tool to reduce hazardous fuels and restore fire’s natural ecological role to the landscape. Our policy is to use every tool we have to improve landscape conditions, evaluating and managing the risks in conjunction with our state and other partners. Instead of waging a losing war on wildfire, we are learning to live with fire.

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Spotted lanternfly battle is on: Can Pennsylvania stop this invasive threat to trees and plants?

By Susan Phillips
The State Impact Pennsylvania
July 2, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

…The spotted lanternfly, a brightly colored red and black moth and one of the latest invaders, landed in Pennsylvania’s Berks County around 2012 and has munched its way across 13 counties, threatening grapes, orchards and hardwood trees. State and federal officials want to stop it, and they’ve spent about $20 million this year on research and eradication efforts. “We’ll go in with all of our force to try to eliminate that population before it can expand further and impact other businesses and industries outside of the region,” said Leo Donovall, the spotted lanternfly program director in Pennsylvania for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. …“The spotted lantern fly is unique because it has the potential to effect everybody in the state of Pennsylvania. I’ve never seen an insect situation like this before.”

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Researchers Found That the World’s Forests Formed From a Single Layer of Cells

By University of Melbourne
Laboratory Equipment
July 2, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: International

…new research has found the enormous trunks of these trees are all formed from a single layer of cells no wider than the tip of a needle. This discovery by the research team at the University of Melbourne’s Creswick Campus, brings opportunities to increase the growth potential of trees and possibly grow and produce more wood, faster. …Called the vascular cambium, these cells produce wood (xylem) towards the inside of a growing stem, and bark (phloem) towards the outside. …We’ve known for a long time that some cell layers in the vascular cambium consist of initials, but we didn’t know how many. To work this out, the researchers developed a unique process, called Induced Somatic Sector Analysis (ISSA). This technique places a genetic label on individual cells within the stems of poplar trees that then allow researcheres to follow a cell’s journey towards wood or bark formation.

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Forest Fires

The Latest: California wildfire threatens 700 buildings

The Associated Press in the Fresno Bee
July 1, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: US West

A wildfire that’s threatening 700 homes and buildings in rural Northern California continues to grow explosively as firefighters struggle in rough terrain to contain it. No homes have burned but the blaze is surging through sparsely populated areas of Yolo and Napa counties about 50 miles (80 kilometers) from the state capitol of Sacramento. As of Monday night, flames had devoured 60,000 acres of tinder-dry grass, brush and oak. That’s nearly 94 square miles — nearly the size of Sacramento. The so-called County Fire erupted Sunday and at times has grown by 1,000 acres an hour. Smoke and ash are contributing to poor air quality in the San Francisco Bay Area and California wine country. Hot, dry conditions are fueling blazes in several states in the U.S. West.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Washington voters likely to take up carbon fee initiative

By Phuong Le
The Associated Press in the Longview Daily News
July 2, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

Jay Inslee

SEATTLE — Washington state voters will likely decide in November whether to charge industrial emitters a fee for their carbon pollution, the latest effort yet to pass a carbon-pricing measure to fight climate change. A broad, diverse coalition of tribes, community, labor and environmental groups say they’ve gathered enough signatures to put a “carbon fee” measure on the ballot. It comes two years after voters in this state rejected a carbon tax that would have been the first in the nation. …Money raised from fees would be spent on strategies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including projects for renewable energy, forests and other natural resources. Critics warn that implementing a fee will raise gasoline and energy prices on consumers.

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Forests may lose ability to protect against extremes of climate change

By the University of Montana
Phys.org
June 29, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

Forests, one of the most dominate ecosystems on Earth, harbor significant biodiversity. Scientists have become increasingly interested in how this diversity is enhanced by the sheltering microclimates produced by trees. A recent University of Montana study suggests that a warming climate in the Pacific Northwest would lessen the capacity of many forest microclimates to moderate climate extremes in the future. The study was published in Ecography: A Journal of Space and Time in Ecology. “Forest canopies produce microclimates that are less variable and more stable than similar settings without forest cover,” said Kimberley Davis, a UM postdoctoral research associate and the lead author of the study. “Our work shows that the ability of forests to buffer climate extremes is dependent on canopy cover and local moisture availability – both of which are expected to change as the Earth warms.”

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Forests Comprise Large Part of Climate Solution But Receive Meagre Investment

By Fabiola Ortiz
In Depth News
July 2, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

OSLO – It has been a decade now that the mechanism for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation – known as REDD+ – has been included in climate negotiations, however investments have not been sufficient for bringing them down. “Even though science tells us that forests represent thirty percent of the solution to climate change in terms of the mitigation potential of greenhouse gas emission, we are only spending less than two percent of climate finance on forest,” according to senior fellow Frances Seymour of the World Resources Institute. Seymour was among the 500 participants that gathered in Norway at the Oslo Tropical Forest Forum (June 27-28) to debate the role forests play in achieving Paris Agreement goals to keep global temperatures below 2 degrees Celsius.

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The dirty little secret behind ‘clean energy’ wood pellets

By Tom Dart & Oliver Milman
The Guardian
June 30, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

It is touted as a smart way for Europe to reach its renewable energy goals. But try telling Lisa Sanchez thousands of miles away in America that burning wood chips is a form of clean energy. The bucolic charm of her rural home in the Piney Woods forest region of east Texas is undercut by the big German Pellets manufacturing plant just beyond the bottom of her garden. The German-owned plant is capable of producing 578,000 tons of wood pellets a year, which are destined to cross the Atlantic to satisfy a vibrant market for the product there. …But within a year, “I started having a lot of respiratory problems, I was getting sick all the time.”… …Burning forest biomass – essentially, wood – has been promoted by industry as a cleaner, more renewable energy alternative to coal and gas. 

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Health & Safety

SFPA Announces 2017 Sawmill Safety Awards

Southern Forest Products Association
June 29, 2018
Category: Health & Safety
Region: US East, United States

Six Southern Pine sawmills – all members of the Southern Forest Products Association (SFPA) – are recent recipients of the 2017 Sawmill Safety Award. SFPA lumber manufacturer members are considered for the award based on information submitted regarding occupational injuries and illnesses. A total of 52 sawmills participated in SFPA’s annual survey of safety records, representing nearly 19 million employee hours. Safety performance is judged by how each mill’s safety record stacks up against facilities with comparable lumber output throughout the year. Division I includes sawmills that produce 50 million board feet or less; Division II covers facilities that produce 51 to 150 million board feet; and Division III includes mills that produce more than 150 million board feet annually.

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120-foot tower in coastal forest adding to understanding of global climate change

By Steven Bradley
Clemson University Newsstand
July 2, 2018
Category: General
Region: US East, United States

GEORGETOWN — The pines and the climate are talking to each other on Hobcaw Barony, and Clemson University scientist Thomas O’Halloran is using a 120-foot tower to eavesdrop on their “conversations.” Eddy covariance, or eddy flux, is an atmospheric measuring technique and statistical method used to determine exchange rates of trace gases over natural ecosystems — in this case, the longleaf pine forest at Clemson’s Belle W. Baruch Institute of Coastal Ecology and Forest Sciences. “Everybody knows climate and weather make trees grow, but maybe it’s less obvious that what trees are doing also affects the climate — their growth determines how much carbon dioxide they take out of the atmosphere,” said O’Halloran, an assistant professor in the department of forestry and environmental conservation. “In turn, how much CO2 is in the atmosphere is affecting the climate. These things are coupled. They talk to each other.”

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