Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: July 12, 2018

Today’s Takeaway

Bank of Canada ignores trade uncertainty, ups interest rates in response to growth

The Tree Frog Forestry News
July 12, 2018
Category: Today's Takeaway

Noting the strength of Canada’s economy, the Bank of Canada raised the benchmark interest rate to its highest level in nine years, despite Trump’s trade hit being larger than forecast and Trump’s plan to impose more tariffs on China. In other headlines:

  • Ontario has imposed penalties in the fraud case involving Sino-Forest Corp.
  • CN Rail plans to spend in Ontario to meet the demand to move wood products
  • Window, door, homebuilder and lumber dealers urge more talks in softwood dispute
  • The perfect storm of tariff and labor woes may hit Arizona’s booming housing market

In Forestry and Climate news: US incentives encourage home building in harm’s way; Vermont’s red spruce is rebounding from acid rain; Canada’s changing climate is getting hard to ignore; and California meets its greenhouse gas reduction targets ahead of schedule.

Finally, the western toadlet migration is underway in BC. The distance—a two-minute walk for humans—is fraught with dangers.

–Kelly McCloskey, tree Frog Editor

Read More

Special Feature

Evans Lake Forest Education Society seeks architect to create new camp dining hall

Evans Lake Forest Education Society
July 12, 2018
Category: Special Feature
Region: Canada, Canada West
The Evans Lake Forest Education Society requires the services from qualified professional firm to provide full architectural, cost estimating and professional engineering services for the replacement of the Dining Hall located at Evans Lake Forest Education Centre, Squamish, BC. The project includes schematic design and feasibility, project costing, and preparation of construction drawings. As well, the selected Respondent will be required to provide tendering support and construction administration services in support of this project.  Evans Lake has been operating as a camp and outdoor education facility since 1960. The Centre is located 15 kilometres North of Squamish, BC on a picturesque mountain lake. Surrounded by forest, the Centre offers a feeling of wilderness seclusion while featuring all your basic amenities, accommodations and full catering. We are a not for profit charity, with the mandate to provide outdoor & forest education opportunities for children and youth.

Read More

Business & Politics

Bank of Canada raises rates as Poloz’s tale of recovery from Great Recession finally starts coming true

By Kevin Carmichael
The National Post
July 11, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada

Stephen Poloz

Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz’s tale about how the economy would recover from the Great Recession is finally coming true. The central bank ignored Donald Trump’s trade vandalism and raised its benchmark interest rate a quarter point to 1.5 per cent on July 11. It did so mostly because of an unexpected jump in business investment and exports this year. Canada is also on Trump’s hit list. The central bank now reckons the combination of U.S. duties on Canadian lumber, newsprint, aluminum, and steel — and the chilling effect of trade uncertainty on investment — will subtract two thirds of a per cent from gross domestic product by 2020, an increase from its previous estimate in April. That’s the equivalent of about $12 billion, so it’s not nothing. But the bigger story… is that most companies are responding to their order books rather than the headlines in the business pages.

Read More

Bank of Canada boosts benchmark rate to nearly nine-year high of 1.5%, says trade hit likely to be bigger than earlier forecast

By Barrie McKenna
The Globe and Mail
July 11, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada

The Bank of Canada is continuing to ratchet up interest rates in spite of the worsening tariff showdown between the United States and its main trading partners. The central bank increased its benchmark interest rate to 1.5 per cent from 1.25 per cent on Wednesday – a widely expected fourth hike in the past 12 months. …Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz made a strong case for pushing rates even higher in the months ahead. Even with the trade uncertainty, he insisted the economy is “in a good place,” with companies running at full tilt and inflation close to the bank’s two per cent target. …“Monetary policy by itself could not undo the long-term damage to jobs and income that could result from rising protectionism,” he added. …So far, the United States has imposed tariffs on newsprint, softwood lumber, steel and aluminum – representing 4.1 per cent of Canadian exports.›

Read More

Ontario Securities Commission orders Sino-Forest executives to pay more than $81-million in penalties

By Jaent McFarland
The Globe and Mail
July 11, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, International

The Ontario Securities Commission has imposed one of the largest penalties in its history in the fraud case involving failed timber company Sino-Forest Corp., ordering five former executives to make payments totalling more than $81-million. Founder and chief executive Allen Chan was ordered to pay $67-million of the total himself. …Sino-Forest, which had a market value of $6-billion at its peak, was exposed as one of the costliest corporate frauds in Canadian history after a short-seller published a report in 2011 calling the company a Ponzi scheme and alleging it did not own the timber resources it claimed in its financial statements. The OSC launched a complex and expensive international investigation as staff worked for years to collect evidence in China, where most of the accused were based.

Read More

CN Rail spending a bundle in Ontario

Northern Ontario Business
July 11, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

Canadian National Railway announced July 11 it’s spending $315 million on its 2,500-mile rail network in Ontario. Northwestern Ontario will see some of that investment with Sioux Lookout being the location for a new train passing siding on CN’s transcontinental corridor between Winnipeg and Toronto. Capital is earmarked for intermodal rail yard expansions to move containers into and out of the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, specifically at CN’s Brampton Intermodal Terminal. …CN is purchasing 350 new box cars and 350 new lumber cars from National Steel Car in Hamilton to meet the demand to move wood products and has 1,000 high-cube grain hopper cars on order over the next two years to replace its aging equipment.

Read More

Trade settlement allows Port Hawkesbury Paper to focus on future

By Nancy King
The Cape Breton Post
July 11, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

POINT TUPPER, N.S. — A member of the local management team at Port Hawkesbury Paper says it’s a relief to have a costly cross-border trade battle officially behind the mill. …“The Department of Commerce went through the process in what they call a changed circumstance review, which is completely separate from any NAFTA review panel or World Trade Organization processes,” Lock said. “This revocation comes directly from Verso’s non-interest letter.” … under the agreement Verso will not raise a similar complaint in the future. Verso produces 85 per cent of the supercalendered paper manufactured in the U.S. …The mill’s orders have been strong and it only recently completed a capital shutdown that allowed for upgrades to take place in some area.

Read More

US to impose tariffs on $200bn of Chinese imports

By Sam Fleming, Joe Rennison and Lucy Hornby
The Financial Times
July 11, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, International

Donald Trump

Donald Trump kicked off the process of imposing tariffs on a further $200bn of imports from China, as the trade war between the two economic powers rapidly escalated, posing a challenge to US corporations. The president has told the US trade representative Robert Lighthizer to begin preparations for levies of 10 per cent, the administration said, as it set out a list of products that could be targeted. The list takes aim at multinationals that source materials and components from China including automotive parts, food ingredients and construction. …After the announcement, China-focused stocks led a broad sell-off in Asia-Pacific equities and the renminbi slid. …New categories targeted include… Construction materials including stone, flooring, tiling, lumber, paint and carpeting.

Read More

Industry Groups Urge More Talks in Softwood Lumber Dispute

The Door & Window Market Magazine
July 11, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States

The recent focus of international trade disputes has been on aluminum and steel tariffs, which are affecting the door and window industry. However, another long-simmering trade controversy, the softwood lumber dispute between the U.S. and Canada, is taking a toll on residential construction as the housing market continues to shake off the effects of the Great Recession. …Both the Window and Door Manufacturers Association and the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) have urged the U.S. and Canada to negotiate an end to the softwood lumber dispute, which has boosted the cost of housing, as well as the price of moulding and millwork products. …NLBMDA is exploring next steps, including building support for a Senate letter asking the administration to return to the negotiating table with Canada. 

Read More

Is A Perfect Storm Headed For Arizona’s Booming Real Estate Industry?

By Paige Phelps
KJZZ Phoenix, Arizona
July 11, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

Phoenix-area home buyers know all too well that a hot housing market isn’t guaranteed to be a permanent fixture. While job numbers and housing starts are currently skyrocketing, there are signs a perfect storm is brewing. …The Trump administration’s tariffs have put Canadian lumber, aluminum and steel in the line of fire — all materials vital to the construction industry. …Add to that sweeping enforcement of immigration policy and a lack of skilled workers — it’s taken its toll. Belfiore said lack of able bodies on the job site has been a top concern for years — and that’s not just for new homes, but remodeling older ones, too. …So in terms of builders, are they worried about manpower? Or are they worried about tariffs? “I think they’re worried about both” Tamboer said. 

Read More

Timber shortage irks local builders

By Charlotte Varcoe
The Naracoorte Herald
July 12, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

Local builders and timber suppliers want to use local products but are finding that demand is exceeding supply. Naracoorte-based builder Paul Russell said there is a shortage of local timber in the region, believing it is caused by excessive exporting of logs from Portland. Builders and carpenters have had no choice but to use imported laminated timber from Europe, and despite it being the same quality, Mr Russell is disappointed it isn’t local.  “We went down to get some from one of our suppliers and all we wanted was 30 lengths of timber and we couldn’t get it,” Mr Russell explained.  “They just didn’t have the 30 lengths of timber and they are all back ordered.” An anonymous local supplier said it was an unusual situation, with local mills exporting logs, but businesses then importing timber back into the country due to a lack of availability. 

Read More

Wood, Paper & Green Building

Two Sides releases new “Print and Paper Myths and Facts” booklet for North America

Two Sides
July 12, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, United States

One of Two Sides’ key resources, the Print and Paper Myths and Facts booklet, has been updated with recent facts and references from the U.S. and Canada. Version 4 of the booklet includes six Myths and Facts related to the key environmental and social features of print and paper such as sustainable forest management, carbon footprint, electronic communications, recycling and more. Two Sides member companies can personalize and co-brand the booklet to describe their organization and approach to sustainability and the environment.

Read More

War on plastic waste boosts Composite Prime sales

Builders Merchants Journal
July 12, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Composite Prime says demand for its decking and fencing ranges made from the latest composite technology has soared as consumers shun plastic. The company’s  HD Deck Dual and HD Deck XS products combine Forest Stewardship Council FSC 100% certified hardwood timber from well managed, sustainable sources and recycled plastics, seen as a crucial consideration in the current global campaign to reduce plastic waste. …We recycle the equivalent of 280 plastic milk bottles, or 3,000 plastic bottle caps per square metre of decking. …Consumers are increasingly switching to composite materials instead of plastic and as global challenges around plastic waste and the ability to plant forests to meet future timber demands increase, composite provides a sustainable and genuine alternative to timber.

Read More

Timber buildings set to reach new heights

By Carley Rosengreen
Griffith University News
July 12, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Griffith University researchers are putting timber to the test to see if tall wooden buildings are the way forward for our cities.  Associate Professor Benoit Gilbert from Griffith’s School of Engineering and Built Environment is part of the team testing engineered solid wood products, such as Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL), Glue laminated timber (Glulam) and Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) and their capabilities in collapse resistance. Reaching timber building heights of five to six storeys has been made possible thanks to products such as these. …Associate Professor Gilbert said recent changes in legislation has prompted the rise in popularity for mid-rise buildings internationally. …The project will examine the progressive collapse behaviour of mass timber buildings with CLT floors.  

Read More

Forestry

B.C.’s environmental assessment process seeks public feedback

BC Local News
July 11, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

George Heyman

From now until July 30, British Columbians will have the unique opportunity to shape the future of how major environmental projects are assessed in B.C., according to a news release issued by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. British Columbians are encourage to provide feedback on recommended changes to B.C.’s environmental assessment (EA) process, which is focused on enhancing public confidence and meaningful participation and discourse and advancing reconciliation with First Nations, while protecting the environment while providing clear pathways to sustainable projects. These key outcomes, per information provided in the news release, are the direct result of three months of engagement and discussion with the newly formed Environmental Assessment Advisory Committee. …“Revitalizing the EA process will help advance reconciliation with First Nations and strengthen our ability to meet our climate targets,” said B.C. Green Party spokesperson Sonia Furstenau.

Read More

Conservationists struggle to save western toadlets making perilous migration in Chilliwack

By Larry Pynn
The Vancouver Sun
July 11, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

It is one of the greatest, if tiniest, terrestrial migrations in North America, an estimated 100,000 western toadlets making their annual, overland trek from the pond of their birth in Chilliwack, across a farm pasture, and into a bordering forest. The distance is only a two-minute walk for humans. But for the brown toadlets — about the size of your thumbnail — the journey is fraught with dangers. There is the unknown number of invasive bullfrogs lurking in the pond, the field grasses rustling with predatory garter snakes, and, worst of all, the fast-moving motor vehicles on two lanes of asphalt in their path. …To improve the odds, in 2015, conservationists created a tunnel under Elk View Road in the Ryder Lake area, and put up 350 metres of black plastic fencing. …In addition to motor vehicles, threats include logging, pollution, fungal disease, and climate change.

Read More

A true wildfire ‘fix’: End bad incentives that nudge people into harm’s way

By Tate Watkins, the Property and Environment Research Center
The Hill
July 11, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

…Since January, 3.2 million acres have burned nationwide, well above the 10-year average of 2.6 million acres by this time of year. And as more acres have burned, the costs of fighting fires have gone up as well. …Congress’ answer to the fire challenge came in the spring, when it passed what was widely praised as a “wildfire fix” in its omnibus spending bill. Effective in 2020, the legislative change will end the practice of “fire borrowing,” or the Forest Service’s penchant to raid its non-fire accounts to pay for firefighting.  While changes like that one could free up funds for the agency to use on much-needed forest management, Americans’ wildfire problem has as much to do with behavior as funding. …The Swiss Re report noted that since 1990, 60 percent of new homes have been built in the fire-prone “wildland-urban interface,” the areas where housing is close to forests and other vegetation.

Read More

Will Incoming Environmental Protection Agency Boss Andrew Wheeler Destroy The Restoration Economy?

By Steve Zwick
Forest Trends
July 11, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

US Environmental Protection Agency boss Scott Pruitt may be gone, but his replacement, Andrew Wheeler is just as friendly to the coal sector as Pruitt was – and just as unfriendly to the $25 billion “restoration economy” that directly employs 126,000 people and supports 95,000 other jobs. …The restoration economy evolved slowly over the past 40 years as states …realized it was often more efficient to restore natural systems that protect coasts and manage water than it was to build substitutes from concrete and steel. The city of New York, for example, has long saved money on water filtration costs by paying farmers in the Catskills to restore natural grasses that absorb farm runoff, while the city of Denver is funneling water utility fees into forests that store and filter water. Here are 10 things you need to know to understand the restoration economy:

Read More

Pollution controls help red spruce rebound from acid rain

The Canadian Press in the Telegram
July 11, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

Stowe, Vermont — The grey trunks of red spruce trees killed by acid rain once heavily scarred the mountain forests of the Northeast. Now those forests are mostly green… A main reason, scientists say, is a government-enforced reduction in the kind of air pollution that triggers acid rain. …In the 1960s through the 1980s, pollution — mostly from coal-powered plants in the Midwest and car emissions carried by the wind and deposited as acidic rain, snow and fog — devastated Northeast forests and lakes, leaching nutrients from soil and killing aquatic life. Red spruce are particularly sensitive to acid rain and, at the height of the die-off, some forests lost 50 per cent of them.

Read More

Sweden’s Electric Robo-Truck Is Made for Life in the Forest

By Jack Stewart
WIRED
July 12, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: International

IF A TREE falls in a forest and there’s nobody around, does the truck that comes in to pick it up make a noise? Not much of one, if it’s the latest offering from Swedish startup Einride, an all-electric autonomous semi looking to carve out a niche in an increasingly crowded (but not yet entirely real) market. The new truck, unveiled today at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in the UK, is the T-log. Like on the T-pod, the truck Einride unveiled last year, there’s no cab or engine, just a skinny, sculpted, white slab up front. At the back are upright supports to hold the logs in place. Company engineers have beefed up the suspension and strengthened the chassis to cope with the heavier load and rougher forest roads that a logging truck will see. For a utility vehicle, it manages to look adorable.

Read More

Recognising outstanding contributions to NZ forestry

By The New Zealand Institute of Forestry
Scoop Independent News
July 12, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: International

The NZ Institute of Forestry recognised the contribution of two of its outstanding leaders at its Annual Awards Dinner in Nelson last night. Peter Clark of Rotorua received the NZIF Forester of the Year award. The award recognises an Institute member who has made an outstanding contribution to either the forestry profession, or the forestry sector over the last 12 months. The award recognises leadership, excellence and personal integrity, particularly where this demonstrates the character and strength of the forestry profession, and it is one of the highest accolades the Institute can bestow. …Russell Dale (also of Rotorua) was awarded the Kirk Horn and medal. The Kirk Horn Flask is the most historically valuable award in all New Zealand science. The NZ Institute of Forestry awards the Kirk Horn every second year, to recognise outstanding contributions in the field of forestry in New Zealand.

Read More

New forestry scheme allows trainees to earn while they learn

By Annette Lambly
Stuff.co.nz
July 12, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: International

A new forestry training scheme which will enable youth to earn while they learn has been launched in Northland.  The scheme could be the answer to the shortage of forestry workers and youth unemployment in Northland. Associate Minister of Forestry Meka Whaitiri formally launched Tupu Ake, which could be replicated in other parts of Northland last Friday. This innovative project sees industry, training providers and iwi coming together to provide a new pathway into trades training. Tupu Ake aims to improve training and increase the number of youth in the forestry industry where currently there is a shortage of skilled workers. …Led by Forest Protection Services  the programme offers 15-24 year-olds keen on working in the forestry industry the chance to gain tertiary qualifications, life skills, and, at the end of the 12 month programme full time employment. 

Read More

Forest Fires

Firefighters battle more than 200 forest fires so far this season

By Elizabeth Fraser
CBC News
July 11, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada East, Canada

After more than 200 forest fires this year, New Brunswick’s fire prevention officer is hoping for rain and cooler temperatures to slow things down. Since April, fire crews have put out 208 fires across the province, including two fires earlier this week. A lighting strike ignited a blaze south of Mount Carleton Provincial Park that grew to three hectares, according to the Department of Energy and Resource Development spokesman.  The other fire, in Bantalor, about 35 kilometres west of Chipman, reached five hectares Monday. …”The drought has basically been building all spring,” Roger Collett said. “We’re getting there. It’s not terrible yet.” New Brunswick has sent a contingent of 42 firefighters, including 15 students, to Quebec to help fight large forest fires in the Baie Comeau area, more than 400 kilometres northeast of Quebec City.  They joined the more than 600  firefighters from across Canada and the northeastern United States.

Read More

Nibinamik First Nation-area fire doubles in size

The Thunder Bay News Watch
July 11, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada East, Canada

DRYDEN, Ont. — The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry reports that two lightning-caused forest fires near the Nibinamik First Nation continue to expand. The community, however, is under no immediate threat. The larger of the fires burned 3,000 more hectares between Monday afternoon and Tuesday afternoon, reaching a size of 6,600 hectares. …The fire is now burning 30 kilometres northeast of Nibinamik, and is still moving in a direction away from the community. …There are currently 53 active fires in the MNRF’s Northwest Region, but 43 of these are either under observation, being held or under control.

Read More

Colorado wildfire update: Firefighters armed with pine tree shredder, aided by monsoonal rains, keep wildfires in check

By Kirk Mitchell
The Denver Post
July 11, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

Fire incident commanders already rejoicing in Mother Nature’s contribution to wildfire emasculation — monsoonal rains — have armed fire crews with a pine tree-shredding machine called the “Masticator.” These industrial-sized mulchers that can shred a tall pine in 30 seconds are ideal for creating fire lines even in thick forests, said Jessica Borden, spokeswoman for the Spring Creek fire. The forest-menacing machines are the closest the U.S. Forest Service comes to Paul Bunyon. Still, the biggest foe to Colorado wildfires has been monsoonal rains, which are expected to take a heavy toll if not deliver a knockout punch Wednesday and Thursday to wildfires across the state in this year’s devastating fire season, one of the biggest in history. The following are updates on the largest and most active of Colorado’s 15 wildfires…

Read More

Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Canada in 2030: What on Earth is happening?

By Isabella O’Malley
The Weather Network
July 11, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada

Fatal heat waves, invasive alien species, shrinking forests, and struggling farmers – the reality of a changing climate in Canada is becoming harder to ignore, and the United Nations has stated that it is the biggest systematic threat to humanity. In Water, Fire, Earth, Air – a four-part series – we will look at how climate change will affect different regions in Canada by categorizing the regions by element to provide a unique and comprehensive understanding of how Canadian life could change, assuming our carbon dioxide emissions continue along a business as usual scenario. …Warming temperatures will upset the balance of forests, farms, and insects. Persistent high temperatures will alter soils and cause the top layer to become dry and susceptible to erosion by strong winds. Without moist soils vegetation will dry out and decay, which could increase flood risk

Read More

California meets greenhouse gas reduction goal years early

By Christopher Weber
The Associated Press
July 11, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

LOS ANGELES — California greenhouse gas emissions fell below 1990 levels, meeting an early target years ahead of schedule and putting the state well on its way toward reaching long-term goals to fight climate change, officials said Wednesday. The California Air Resources Board announced pollution levels were down 13 percent since their 2004 peak — as the economy grew 26 percent since that year. …The decrease is partly a result of California’s increased use of renewable power, the board said. Solar electricity generation from rooftop arrays and power plants jumped 33 percent in 2016, according to the new data. …California has a head start toward reaching the 2030 target because of its tailpipe emissions standards, which have exceed federal minimums for years, Jackson said.

Read More

Health & Safety

Wind drops tree on ute killing one near Bulls, as workers pack up to leave

By Laurel Stowell
New Zealand Herald
July 12, 2018
Category: Health & Safety
Region: International

A tree which fell on a work vehicle, killing one person and injuring others, was bowled over by a sudden squall of wind as contractors were about to leave. The accident happened about 2.15pm on Monday at a rural property in Pukehou Rd, near the Rangitīkei town of Bulls. Fire and Emergency staff were needed to remove people from the vehicle. …”The crew had decided to knock off for the day because of the weather risk and were in the ute, or loading the ute when a nasty squall came through and blew a tree down on them,” he said. He said people might assume someone was dropping trees in a dangerous manner in the forestry operation, and said that wasn’t the case. “I have spoken to the boss [of the contracting team]. He is a very safety conscious operator and he has taken this very hard.”

Read More