Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: July 25, 2018

Today’s Takeaway

Wildfires turn deadly in Greece; Steelworkers want to share in industry profits

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

Europe’s heatwave is setting temperature records and starting fires from Norway to Spain. The most tragic is the Mati wildfire in Greece which to date has killed 74 people. In related news: a Penn State study says forest fires are not a serious threat to spotted owls; a fire training facility is close to completion in Burns Lake BC; and Oregon’s air quality continues to deteriorate due to wildfire smoke.

In Business news: the union representing BC millworkers is seeking a strike mandate in part because “the employers are having one of the best economic years in decades and workers should share in this prosperity“. Elsewhere: Northern Pulp gets support from a fellow Pictou County employer; and Weyerhaeuser’s woodworkers reject their latest contract offer.

Finally, Dr. Seuss’ inspiration for The Lorax and Truffula trees may be Kenya’s patas and the whistling thorn acacia tree.

–Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Business & Politics

New model for land management takes shape with northern First Nation

By Vaughn Palmer
Vancouver Sun
July 24, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Vince Ready

VICTORIA — Back in April, the B.C. government was headed for yet another courtroom showdown in yet another dispute over land and resource use with yet another group of Indigenous people. Blueberry River, a First Nation of about 500 people in northeastern B.C., claimed infringement of treaty rights owing to the cumulative impact of timber harvesting, natural gas extraction, roads, pipelines and other development within its traditional territory. But then something unusual happened. Instead of proceeding along the usual route of a lengthy trial to be followed by protracted appeals all the way to the highest court in the land, the two sides agreed to put the litigation on hold and seek common ground away from the courtroom. …The talks remain on a short leash. …The immediate goal is to work out management of timber supply within the region… They have also agreed to new restrictions on developments in the petroleum sector…

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Steelworkers to take strike vote at Cariboo, northern B.C. mills

By Tom Fletcher
BC Local News in Parksville Qualicum Beach News
July 24, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

The union representing 1,500 mill workers across central and northern B.C. is taking a strike vote in negotiations with owners. The United Steelworkers Wood Council issued a statement Tuesday announcing the vote will be held at 23 forest products mills, whose owners are represented in bargaining by the Council on Northern Interior Forest Employment Relations.  “The employers are having one of the best economic years in decades and workers should share in this prosperity,” said Brian O’Rourke, president of USW Local 1-2017. Lumber prices have been high despite the imposition of U.S. import duties in February 2017, upheld by the U.S. Commerce Department in December at an average level of more than 20 per cent. Prices hit record levels in June, pushed by seasonal impact of the 2017 forest fires, severe winter weather and strong demand from the U.S. housing market.

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Environmental appeal on Domtar lands delayed after board chairman quits case

By Keith Gerein
The Edmonton Journal
July 24, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

An Environmental Appeals Board hearing to resolve a long dispute over the former Domtar industrial lands in northeast Edmonton has been delayed for at least one month to deal with issues stemming from the recusal of the board chairman. …The board has replaced MacWilliam on its three-member panel that will hear the appeal, but Alberta Environment and Parks is now arguing that MacWilliam’s past decisions on the case should be voided, Van Nes said. In particular, the provincial department is fighting a ruling that the board has jurisdiction to hear appeals on the type of enforcement order that was issued against Domtar and Cherokee. …Cherokee and Domtar are fighting enforcement orders issued in 2016 and earlier this year to conduct extensive soil sampling and clean up any contamination on property north of Yellowhead Trail near 44 Street.

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USW, Local 1-2017 Seeks Strike Mandate

By Cheryl Jahn
CKPG TV Prince George
July 24, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

PRINCE GEORGE – After meeting with the employer group five times, including yesterday, the United Steelworks Union says it has been forced into a corner. USW, Local 1-2017, represents 13 different work sites. …says the employer group, CONIFER, is unwilling to bend on even basic changes to the collective agreement, such as leave for members struggling with domestic violence, union representation and pension funding improvements. As such, the union is asking its 1,800 to seek a strike mandate.”…I don’t think the employer group is serious in wanting to negotiate anything and I think the only thing we’re hoping is going to make them sit back and realize is a strike mandate.” …The deal negotiated here will set the pattern bargaining for the rest of the province.

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Tolko, Canfor, West Fraser employees among those to hold strike vote

By Angie Mindus
The Quesnel Cariboo Observer
July 24, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

About 1,500 mill workers impacting 13 sites in northern B.C. are expected to take a strike vote sometime in the next week or so. The move could impact all of Tolko employees in the north, half of all of Canfor’s work force located in Fort St. John, Houston, Isle Pierre and Prince George, as well as the West Fraser planer in Williams Lake, to name a few, said United Steelworkers Wood Council Chair Bob Matters Tuesday. Matters also listed other northern sawmills which will see their employees take a strike vote… “The employees have been quite frustrated,” said Matters. …“The employers are having one of the best economic years in decades and workers should share in this prosperity,” said Brian O’Rourke, president of USW Local 1-2017.

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Northern Pulp not the only one to get funding

By Andy MacGregor – president and CEO of MacGregors Industrial Group
The Chronicle Herald
July 24, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

The Northern Pulp effluent pipe proposal has divided the community in Pictou County, to the point it may not recover. As a resident and an employer in the area, it is discouraging to see how this debate has unfolded. … in December of last year, the National Post published an article highlighting the opinions and concerns of Wes Surrett, manager of Pictou Lodge, and Joan Baxter, author of a book about the mill. …If the discussion were about handouts, let’s talk about Pictou Lodge. Pictou Lodge receives support through millions of dollars in promotion from Tourism Nova Scotia each and every year. …Surrett suggests we should concentrate on and nurture tourism — in other words worry about people from outside the area instead of helping the local residents. …When it comes to the well-being and future of Pictou County, we all have a stake in this. 

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Weyco workers in Oregon, Washington reject contract

By Zack Hale
The Columbian
July 24, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

LONGVIEW — Weyerhaeuser Co. woodworkers in Washington and Oregon voted overwhelmingly last week to reject the latest contract offer from the company, but labor talks are still continuing, according to a union source. About 1,200 Weyerhaeuser employees with the International Aerospace and Machinist/Woodworkers Local District W24 voted throughout the week, and the final vote was tallied on Saturday. …Union members rejected the offer by a wide margin, said the source, who spoke anonymously due to the ongoing nature of the negotiations. …The two sides have been bargaining for three months over Weyerhaeuser’s annual logging commitment levels. …Weyerhaeuser has gradually scaled back its company-run logging crews over the past three decades in favor of independent contract loggers.

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Astec shares plunge after company limits wood pellets business, but other operations boost profits in quarter

By dave Flessner
The Times Free Press
July 24, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

Astec Industries shed nearly 21 percent of its market value Tuesday after the Chattanooga-based equipment maker said it was scaling back investments in its wood pellet business and re-evaluating its approach to capital investments. …Astec, which has been working on developing new wood pellet production machines for the past decade, said it is giving up on its plans to engineer and develop any wood pellet plants. Brock said another pellet plan built by Astec in Hazelwood, Georgia is working, but the company was unable to meet the customer schedule for the Arkansas plant.

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Drax profits hit by biomass plant outages, shares fall

Reuters
July 24, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

LONDON – British power producer Drax Group reported a 16 percent fall in first-half earnings on Tuesday, partly related to outages at its biomass plants, sending its shares down more than 6 percent. Drax, which generates about 6 percent of Britain’s electricity, has converted three of its former coal-fired plants to biomass wood pellets, often made from compressed sawdust. Earnings were hit by two outages at some of the biomass facilities. A rail loading outage restricted deliveries of pellets at the beginning of the year cutting output at two of the plants, while one was also hit by a generation outage, the company said.

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Forestry

No forecasts developed yet for new AAC in Burns Lake area: ministry

BC Local News
July 25, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

As the provincial government collects information to make a new determination for the Lakes timber supply area’s (TSA) annual allowable cut (AAC), concerns have grown among community members. A public meeting in Burns Lake intended to review a new data package as part of the Lakes timber supply review had to change locations to accommodate its approximately 200 attendees earlier this month. But information circulating ahead of the meeting – stating that the current AAC of approximately 1.6 million cubic metres would be reduced to about 350,000 cubic metres – has not been confirmed. “I can’t confirm this number, but if this is accurate it doesn’t seem correct,” said John Rustad, MLA for Nechako Lakes. “When we undertook the review of supply before the rebuild of Babine Forest Products, we knew the AAC would decline; however, I believe it was determined that a worse case scenario would likely be between 680,000 and 820,000 cubic metres over time.”

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Fire training facility close to completion

BC Local News
July 24, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

A $10,000 cheque from Babine Forest Products was the latest donation toward the completion of a fire training facility in Burns Lake. According to Burns Lake Fire Chief Rob Krause, the fire training facility was delivered on June 21 and is now set up at the training grounds site on Babine Lake Road. “The burn building will allow the Burns Lake Fire and Rescue Department (BLFRD) and other fire departments in the region to practice firefighting skills in a controlled environment,” explained Krause, adding that the facility will soon be capable of hosting live-fire evolutions with temperatures reaching over 500 C. …The project was possible thanks to donations or in-kind assistance from the Burns Lake Community Forest, Nechako-Kitamaat Development Fund Society, TransCanada’s Coastal GasLink, Babine Forest Products, Decker Lake Forest Products, Village of Burns Lake, Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako, Lakes District Maintenance, DWB Consulting and Reg Blackwell.

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BC moves to protect forests ‘jam-packed’ with species at risk

By Tracy Sherlock
National Observer
July 24, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The B.C. government announced Friday that it is protecting nearly 1,000 acres of Coastal Douglas fir forests, a move lauded by the Ancient Forest Alliance. … “The Coastal Douglas Fir ecosystem is one of the top most endangered ecosystems in Canada and the remnants are scarce and endangered, so an extra 1,000 hectares is a big deal,” said Ken Wu, executive director of the Ancient Forest Alliance.  The new land use order applies to public lands in 19 different lots near Bowser, Qualicum Beach, Nanoose Bay and Cedar on Vancouver Island as well as forests on Galiano and Salt Spring islands. The areas are mostly second-growth, so would be less than 140 years old, but contain veteran old-growth trees, Wu said. …The Ancient Forest Alliance is also calling for the government to establish a $40-million annual land acquisition fund to buy up and protect more of B.C.’s endangered forests.

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First Nation Cultural Art Showcase immersive art experience to be featured at Royal BC Museum

TimberWest
July 23, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Vancouver, BC: TimberWest is pleased to announce the artists selected for the 2018 First Nation Cultural Art Showcase program. The artists will have the opportunity to engage the public in an immersive art experience [at] the Royal BC Museum for a week starting July 30th, and showcase their art work at a two-week art show event in September. …Jeff Zweig, President and CEO of TimberWest says, “It will be our privilege to showcase the selected artists’ work and share it broadly with the public.  Through these artists’ original works and witnessing the creative process, we will deepen our appreciation of their cultural perspectives and personal heritage.” “The Royal BC Museum as a venue for the TimberWest First Nation Cultural Art Showcase allows the public to interact, engage and learn from the artists in manner that allows for open discussion and reflection,” says Professor Jack Lohman CBE, Royal BC Museum CEO.

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MPP Clark welcomes review of Ontario Tree Seed Plant closure

Inside Ottawa Valley
July 23, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

On July 20, Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes MPP Steve Clark released the following statement regarding an announcement the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) will review the decision to close the Ontario Tree Seed Plant in Angus. “I’m pleased the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry will review the previous government’s decision to close the Ontario Tree Seed Plant in Angus. I have had an opportunity to discuss with the minister the negative impact the closure would have on operations at the Ferguson Forest Centre, including putting 13 full-time jobs and over $1 million in annual economic activity in jeopardy. …“After hearing concerns related to the closure of the Ontario Tree Seed Plant and consulting with my colleagues, I have directed my ministry to review the closure decision,” Natural Resources and Forestry Minister Jeff Yurek said.

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Lunenburg area woodlot owner wins award

The Chronicle Herald
July 24, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

Veinotte family

The 2018 Nova Scotia Woodland Owner of the Year, Veinotte and his family operate Out to Pasture Farm, a 162-hectare plot that combines their farm, forest and Christmas tree U-pick, and a recently added poultry processing plant in West Northfield, Lunenburg Co. The Veinottes enjoy trying new things and share their experience and knowledge with other woodlot owners, according to a government news release. The family carries on the tradition of living off the land and their livestock is sold at local farm markets. They work with forestry organizations to promote responsible ecosystem-based forest management, and have worked with Ducks Unlimited to establish duck ponds on their property. “The Veinottes are pushing the forestry industry forward with innovative and sustainable practices,” said Lands and Forestry Minister Iain Rankin. “This award gives them the well-deserved recognition for their continued efforts.”

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Wildfire management designed to protect spotted owls may be outdated

By Penn State University
EurekAlert
July 24, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

Forest fires are not a serious threat to populations of Spotted Owls, contrary to current perceptions and forest management strategies. According to a new study, mixed-severity fires actually are good for Spotted Owl populations, producing more benefits than costs to the species, which acts as an indicator of biological health to the old-growth forests where they live. The study, which analyzed all 21 published scientific studies about the effects of wildfires on Spotted Owls, appears July 24 in the journal Ecosphere and suggests that management strategies for this species are outdated. …Together, these results suggest that, contrary to current perceptions, forest fires do not appear to be a serious threat to owl populations, and may impart more benefits than costs for Spotted Owls. Therefore, fuel-reduction logging treatments intended to mitigate fire severity in Spotted Owl habitat may in fact do more harm than good.

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Paper suggests Kenyan monkey inspired Dr Seuss’ Lorax

The Associated Press
July 24, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

Concord, NH: The furry orange protagonist of The Lorax and the Truffula trees for which he spoke may have been inspired by specific monkeys and trees in Kenya… The 1971 book pits a short, mustachioed “sort of man” who “speaks for the trees” against the Once-ler, a greedy industrialist harvesting the trees into near extinction. …Some have speculated that Seuss was inspired by cypress trees near his California home. But anthropology professor Nathaniel Dominy suggests the whistling thorn acacia commonly found in Kenya makes more sense, given that Seuss wrote much of the book while visiting a safari club there. The region also is home to the patas monkey, which, like the Lorax, has orange fur and stands on two feet. 

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We Spend Millions To Prevent Wildfires On Projects We Know Aren’t Effective

By Tony Schick
Oregon Public Broadcasting
July 24, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

The West is way behind on reducing the buildup of hazardous fuels we created. And much of the work we do to reduce those fuels is missing the key ingredient: fire. …A century of aggressive fire suppression left forests dense with too many trees, too much brush and too many dried-out leaves, twigs and needles. Combined with hotter and drier weather, those overloaded forests stoked a new era of extreme fire. The timber industry and environmental groups alike recognize the need to rid the forest of those fuels before wildfire ignites them. As it stands, the Forest Service and Interior Department spend millions of dollars on hazardous fuels but treat a fraction of the acres needed each year to prevent the buildup from worsening. …The reality is both thinning and burning are going to need to increase dramatically if they’re going to make a noticeable difference during projected longer, hotter fire seasons. 

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Officials Keyed In On Cascade-Siskiyou Logging Benefits

By Courtney Flatt
Oregon Public Broadcasting
July 23, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

While deciding whether to shrink Oregon’s Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, Interior Department officials focused on the land’s logging potential.  The information was revealed in mistakenly-released documents. Conservation groups are frustrated by revelations in The Washington Post that Interior Department officials focused on the logging value in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument — and not the biological diversity the monument was designated to protect. Dave Willis is with the Soda Mountain Wilderness Council, a conservation group working to protect the monument. He said it’s a very important biological corridor, connecting three mountain ranges in Southern Oregon and Northern California. …Logging groups say President Obama should not have been able to expand the monument. Parts of the expansion included what are known as O&C lands, which were designated by Congress for timber production.

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IUFRO Report Finds Forests Essential to Water Supply

By An Maria Lebada
International Institute for Sustainable Development
July 24, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: International

A report released at the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development finds that sustainably managing the world’s forests will be key to ensuring safe and sustainable water supplies for all. The publication titled, ‘Forest and Water on a Changing Planet: Vulnerability, Adaptation and Governance Opportunities,’ presents a global assessment of scientific information on the interactions between forests and water. With 40% of the world’s population affected by water scarcity and climate change threatening to increase the frequency of both floods and droughts in vulnerable areas, the publication highlights that the role of forests in the water cycle is as important as their role in the carbon cycle, especially in the face of climate change. In addition to being the lungs of the planet, the authors write, they also act as kidneys.

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Forest Fires

Southern Oregon wildfires spark most hazardous air in U.S.

David Davis and Zack Urness
KGW8
July 24, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

The air quality in Southern Oregon was the worst in the nation Monday, and the rest of the week doesn’t look much better. Officials recommended wearing a mask outdoors and said sensitive populations, such as small children and pregnant women, might consider leaving town. Teams fighting wildfires received a little bit of help from Mother Nature Sunday.  Thunderstorms remained mostly in California and had little impact on Southern Oregon’s numerous wildfires, according to the National Weather Service in Medford. But the relief was short lived. Air quality across the region deteriorated Monday as little wind activity concentrated wildfire smoke over nearby cities.

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Greece’s ‘Pompeii’: At least 74 dead as wildfires rage

Reuters in CBC News
July 24, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International

Wildfires sweeping through a Greek resort town killed at least 74 people, including families with children found clasped in a last embrace as they tried to flee the flames. The inferno was by far Greece’s worst since fires devastated the southern Peloponnese peninsula in August 2007, killing dozens. It broke out in Mati late Monday afternoon and was still burning in some areas on Tuesday. …Coast guard vessels and other boats rescued almost 700 people who had managed to get to the shoreline and plucked another 19 survivors and four dead bodies from the sea, the coast guard said. …Wildfires are not uncommon in Greece, and a relatively dry winter helped create the current tinder-box conditions.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Europe burns as climate change fuels ‘forest fire danger extremes’

By Nick Miller
The Sydney Morning Herald
July 25, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

As the official death toll from Greece’s wildfires mounted on Tuesday, it became clear this was a national tragedy of a kind awfully familiar to Australians. …The fire is the latest, and most tragic, result of a heatwave that has baked Europe this summer, setting temperature records and starting fires from Norway to Spain. Sweden has lost an estimated 30,000 hectares of forest in wildfires across the country which were still burning on Tuesday. …Fires have also ravaged woods and grassland in northern Finland near the Russian border, Latvia has lost more than 800 hectares in fires that have raged for almost a week, and a Norwegian firefighter died last week trying to contain a wildfire. …An EU-commissioned report predicted new “forest fire danger extremes” due to climate change in Europe. …Another report said Mediterranean countries were already seeing more… droughts, lower crop yields, forest fires and heatwave deaths.

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