Tree Frog Forestry News

Monthly Archives: August 2018

Today’s Takeaway

As fires rage, so does the debate over the impact of logging and forest management

The Tree Frog Forestry News
August 13, 2018
Category: Today's Takeaway

As forest fires rage throughout the West, so does the debate over the role of logging and forest management. The headlines include: What will wildfires be like in western Canada in 2030 (The Weather Network); Two views on the real impact of forest management practices (Statesman Journal); California’s wildfires could be stopped if forests were logged (The Hill); Industrial forestry contributes to the wildfire crisis (Register-Guard); and the Nature Conservancy sees opportunity in Maine’s woodlands (Press Herald).

In other Forestry news: BC environmentalists say the NDP is destroying key forests, and that the province has yet to learn a lesson from the anti-logging protest at Clayoquot Sound; while residents seek clearer information on herbicide spraying in Nova Scotia.

Finally, cross-laminated timber remains hot despite hiccups; and tariffs are increasing the cost of rebuilding in California.

As mentioned, the Frogs are recharging their Lily Pads this week. Back next Monday.

–Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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TimberWest and Island Timberlands agree to share corporate services, coordinate forest planning

The Tree Frog Forestry News
August 10, 2018
Category: Today's Takeaway

TimberWest and Island Timberlands have signed an affiliation agreement to share corporate services and coordinate forest planning, while continuing as stand-alone companies. In other Business news: NAFTA shifts to Canada as the US and Mexico are close to a deal on autos; China proposes tariffs on US pulp from recycled paper; US construction costs hold steady in July; and FPAC makes its 2019 pre-budget pitch.

On the wildfire front: California, Oregon and Ontario say progress is being made; but BC reports that two northern fires have merged; new fires are popping up across south; and wildfire crews are bracing for a shift in the weather. 

Finally, an historic wooden church in Russia is destroyed by fire; and two Canadian experts say wildfires will only get worse unless we learn to live with them.

The Frogs will be here Monday only next week—unless there’s breaking news.

–Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Business & Politics

Reducing tariffs not enough

By the Editorial Board
The Daily Gazette
August 10, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

Say you get pulled over for speeding. The officer comes over to your car and reminds you that the fine for speeding is, say, $150. Then, as he’s writing the ticket, a miracle happens and he realizes he pulled over the wrong car. So he says you won’t have to pay the full fine. Just $75. Are you going to be happy paying even a percentage of a penalty when there was no reason for you to be penalized in the first place? Sure, being on the hook for half the the fine is better than the entire thing. But it’s still a penalty you didn’t deserve. So the print industry — which includes newspapers, magazines, book publishers and other users of uncoated groundwood paper from Canada — shouldn’t be happy with or settle for paying reduced tariffs on the Canadian paper they use. 

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Canada ready to show flexibility in NAFTA talks

By Shane McNeil
BNN Bloomberg
August 9, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

David MacNaughton

Canada’s ambassador to the United States said he doesn’t see any reason why a new North American Free Trade Agreement can’t be renegotiated quickly, as long as all sides want it to get done. …MacNaughton expressed optimism that negotiations could pick up steam if the U.S. and Mexico reach an agreement on automotive rules at their talks in Washington this week. Bloomberg News reported Wednesday that the two sides are targeting an agreement on cars by the end of this week. …However, MacNaughton reiterated that the contentious sunset clause proposal and the need for a dispute resolution mechanism remain Canada’s greatest concerns in reaching a new deal, flagging the former as a major driver for investor certainty. …MacNaughton also said that Canada’s diplomatic relationship with the United States remains strong, despite Trump’s recent tariff tactics.

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TimberWest and Island Timberlands sign affiliation agreement

The North Island Gazette
August 9, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Two forestry companies that control huge swaths of Vancouver Island have signed an affiliation agreement. TimberWest and Island Timberlands announced Thursday an agreement that will see them share roads and other infrastructure, align best practices and co-ordinate stewardship. According to identical press releases issued by the two parties, they will continue to be stand-alone companies with no change in ownership, but will share “corporate services.” TimberWest and Island Timberlands will share roads, sort yards and other infrastructure, “enhance forest health” by aligning stewardship and silviculture practices, and share a “best practice approach to watershed, ecosystem, species at risk and visual quality management.” The companies say the affiliation will also improve safety outcomes and expand recreation access and trail connections.

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California Wildfire Victims Face Higher Rebuilding Costs Because of President Trump’s Tariffs

By Geof Mulvihill & Jonathan J. Cooper
Associated Press in Time Magazine
August 11, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States

SANTA ROSA, Calif. — Add this to the challenges facing California wildfire victims: Tariffs. The import tariffs imposed by President Donald Trump are adding thousands of dollars to the cost of building homes. That especially squeezes homeowners who seek to rebuild quickly after losing their houses to natural disasters, such as the wildfires scorching parts of California. The Trump administration’s tariffs have raised the cost of imported lumber, drywall, nails and other key construction materials. One building association official said the tariffs could raise the price of a typical new home in California by up to $20,000, and it could be more for individual homes being custom-built on short order. That could be enough to keep some people with inadequate homeowners insurance from rebuilding or force them to consider a smaller house.

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Construction costs hold steady in July, but economists warn increases could easily come back

By Nate Beck
The Daily Reporter
August 9, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States

July brought a break in a year marked by fast-rising construction-materials prices, but economists warned trade disputes could cause costs to begin rising quickly again. An analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data found the cost of construction inputs was unchanged from June to July, but rose 8.1 percent year-over-year. Meanwhile, a separate analysis by the Associated Builders and Contractors …reach a similar conclusion. Both trade groups warn that, despite the current reprieve, strong demand for new projects coupled with the new tariffs on steel, aluminum and lumber could easily start pushing prices up quickly again. “Although price changes for construction materials in July were mixed, contractors are likely to be hit with additional cost increases as new tariffs take hold and stocks of items purchased before the tariffs are used up,” said Ken Simonson, AGC chief economist. Diesel fuel, metals and wood products were the biggest contributors to the large year-over-year cost increases…

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Recycled paper pulp facing tariff threat

By Colin Staub
Resource Recycling
August 8, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, International

China is proposing tariffs on U.S. pulp made from recycled paper, a material that has received recent attention as a potential export to China to replace recovered paper bales. The Chinese Ministry of Commerce last week proposed new tariffs on roughly $60 billion in imports from the U.S. The list includes more than 5,000 product codes, and a few have relevance for the recycling industry. …The new Chinese proposal contains four lists with tariffs levied at different levels, from 5 percent to 25 percent. The list of products to be hit with a 20 percent tariff includes “fiber pulp extracted from recycled paper or cardboard.” Multiple industry experts said that would cover any pulp produced from a recycled paper mill. …Fiber consultant Bill Moore told Resource Recycling recycled pulp shipments from the U.S. to China have been negligible in the past.

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Boxboard Markets in Americas to Show Impact of US/China Trade Tensions

By RISI
Cision Newswire
August 9, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, International

BOSTON — The Americas’ boxboard sector is being jolted by China’s ongoing waste-paper import restrictions. These policies have created a fiber deficit of at least 6 million tonnes for China’s boxboard producers – a shortfall expected to sharply reduce Chinese exports. The ripple effects of these disruptions on markets throughout the Americas are explored by the World Boxboard Study: Americas, a study published today by RISI, the leading information provider for the global forest products industry. “China’s boxboard industry has been heavily dependent on waste paper imports from the US,” said Abdulla Zaid, RISI Economist for North American Packaging and co-author of the new study. “Much of its output was then exported back to the US market, but going forward, we forecast that China’s fiber deficit will reduce its market share. Also, much of the waste paper that would have been sent to China is now available for US producers, lowering their production costs,” continued Zaid.

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Wood processing to become spearhead in production: Prime Minister

Saigon Online
August 9, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

Wood processing and forestry export must become a spearhead in Vietnam’s production and exports in the next ten years, making the country become the world’s leading forestry production and export hub, said Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc. … the Prime Minister said that the sector should make tireless efforts to fulfill the target of 9 billion USD in export turnover in 2018, 10-11 billion USD by 2019, 12-13 billion by 2020, and 18-20 billion USD by 2015. It is necessary to draw up support policies for wood processing and forestry production establishments so as to realise the set goals and create more jobs in mountainous and rural areas. The Government leader laid stress on the sound implementation of the 2017 Law on Forestry, regarding forestry as a special technical economic sector in the value chain of forestry products from management, protection and development to forest utilisation, processing and trade of forest products.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Problems at Peavy: Faulty timber panels raise stakes for promising new Oregon market

By Jeff Manning
The Oregonian
August 12, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

CORVALLIS — When Oregon State University leaders decided in 2014 it was time to replace the aging home of its forestry school, they wanted more than a new building. They wanted a statement. The new Peavy Hall would symbolize the rebirth of the state’s timber industry by showcasing its signature innovation: cross-laminated timber. With its ambitious use of wood that’s been fortified to rival steel, Peavy Hall would underscore Oregon’s place at the forefront of a revitalized forest products market. But the general contractor saw significant risks in using an untested CLT manufacturer, like the one hired to supply the Corvallis project, and wanted financial cover, documents obtained by The Oregonian/OregonLive show. School officials, instead, moved forward with a new builder in December 2016. …Peavy Hall made a statement all right: about the risks of new technologies and getting caught up in the enthusiasm of the next big thing.

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Cross-laminated timber remains hot with developers despite hiccups

By Jeff Manning
The Oregonian
August 11, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

Developers and designers are starting to embrace cross-laminated timber, which is showing up in new buildings throughout the Portland area. First Tech Federal Credit Union began moving into its new corporate office in Hillsboro last month. At five stories and 156,000 square feet, it’s the nation’s largest structure built with the new technology. But perhaps not for long. Across the river, the Vancouver School District plans to incorporate the massive wood panels into its Marshall Elementary and McLoughlin Middle School rebuilds. At a combined 175,000 square feet, the schools would surpass First Tech as the largest CLT installation in the country. “It’s a nice, natural, very Northwest look,” said Todd Horenstein, district assistant superintendent for capital planning. Plus, it was slightly less expensive than steel, he said.

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Oregon State Univ. gets $500,000 to study mass timber moisture effects

By Robert Dalheim
Woodworking Network
August 9, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West
CORVALLIS, Ore.The USDA will give Oregon State University nearly $500,000 to study the effects of moisture accumulation in mass timber and cross-laminated timber (CLT) buildings. The grant is an effect of the Timber Innovation Act, recently included in the 2018 Farm Bill. The Timber Innovation Act creates research and development programs under the USDA for mass timber, which includes CLT, glue-laminated beams, and laminated veneer lumber. The goal is to get mass timber to become an official construction material in U.S. building codes. Being absent in U.S. building codes leaves mass timber without a standard rating system for quality and safety.

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Collins and Turner’s Barangaroo House is surrounded by curving timber-clad balconies

By Alyn Griffiths
Dezeen
August 13, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Tiered balconies clad in charred timber dowels enclose restaurants designed “in the round” to provide views across Sydney’s redeveloped Barangaroo South precinct. The Barangoo House building is situated at the southern entry point to the large urban regeneration project… designed by the London-based firm. Australian architecture studio Collins and Turner designed the Barangaroo House project in response to a competition organised by developer Lendlease and the Barangaroo Delivery Authority. …The balconies are clad in a curving facade system comprising concentric timber dowels, which were individually steam bent and laminated into a series of predetermined curves before being fixed to aluminium brackets to ensure even spacing across the structure. The dowels, which utilise a robust engineered hardwood called Accoya, were charred using the traditional Japanese Shou Sugi Ban technique. This creates a dark finish that enhances the wood’s weatherproof properties so it requires little maintenance.

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Historic wooden church in northwest Russia destroyed by fire

The Associated Press in the Times-Tribune
August 9, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

MOSCOW — An 18th-century church widely seen as a marvel of Russia’s wooden architecture has been destroyed by a fire. The blaze at the Dormition church in Kondopoga in Russia’s northwestern region of Karelia erupted Friday after a group of tourists visited the building. Local officials suspected some of them could have violated fire safety rules, but would not rule out arson. The fire quickly engulfed the church built exclusively from wood, and fire teams that arrived within minutes were unable to save it. The church, built in 1774 on the shores of Lake Onega, was broadly admired as one of the most remarkable examples of Northern Russia’s wooden architecture. Local authorities have promised to build a replica. [END]

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Forestry

Island Voices: NDP is destroying key forests

By Torrance Coste, the Wilderness Committee
Victoria Times Colonist
August 12, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

In the Schmidt Creek watershed on northeastern Vancouver Island… huge swaths of old-growth rainforest are slated for imminent clear-cutting. Farther south, in the Nahmint Valley near Port Alberni, the ninth-largest Douglas-fir tree in the country has just been cut down. … Which profit-driven logging corporation is behind all of this? None of them. This is the work of the government of British Columbia. More specifically, it’s the work of B.C. Timber Sales, a government agency within the Ministry of Forests… BCTS controls about 20 per cent of the cut on Crown lands… In theory, public control over a sector as important as forestry is a great thing. …Unfortunately, this isn’t playing out on the ground, and the minister in charge of forests, Doug Donaldson, is plundering important forests with as much disregard as any corporate CEO.

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B.C. government has yet to learn lesson from anti-logging protest at Clayoquot Sound, environmentalists say

By Wanyee Li
The Toronto Star
August 9, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

VANCOUVER—Valerie Langer remembers waking up at 4 a.m. at the protest camp. She and the other organizers drilled their fellow protesters about the strict code of non-violence at the logging-road blockade in Vancouver Island’s Clayoquot Sound. By the end of the day — Aug. 9, 1993 — a total of 300 environmentalists would be arrested.The protest became the largest demonstration of civil disobedience in Canadian history, acting as a template for environmental movements across the world.But the B.C. government did not learn its lesson from that saga 25 years ago, say environmentalists. Vancouver Island’s old growth rainforest is currently being logged at a rate of three square metres every second, according to the Sierra Club.And yet, the Clayoquot area has remained “an oasis in a sea of clear cuts,” said Langer in an interview Thursday.

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Ancient Forest Alliance plans visit to investigate tree in Powell River backcountry

By David Brindle
Powell River Peak
August 10, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

A giant Douglas fir in the Elred Valley has caught the interest of Ancient Forest Alliance (AFA) executive director Ken Wu. The tree is a one-hour and 45-minute drive northeast of Powell River and located at the base of the West Main Wall, the Eldred’s largest rock feature at 85 metres tall, according to local rock climber Evan Guilbault. Guilbault and climbing partner Zoe Manson said they have measured the circumference of the tree at approximately 7.9 metres. “Essentially, all of the forest beneath the main wall has been logged other than this little strip that runs along the base,” said Manson. “We thought this tree in particular was massive so we took out our cordelette, which is six metres long, and we wrapped it around almost twice.” A cordelette is a rope used in making rock climbing anchors. “It’s a big tree,” said Guilbault.

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Vancouver Island trees showing signs of stress due to drought and heat exposure

CBC News
August 9, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The recent drought and heat exposure in B.C. has caused some Vancouver Island trees to show signs of stress. B.C. Forest Health Officer Tim Ebata says that most trees on Vancouver Island are pretty tough. “They have evolved with this type of weather for as long as they’ve been around,” Ebata told On the Island guest host Jason D’Souza. “But there are some species that are more susceptible to drought. And what we are seeing are trees that are actually dying.” On Vancouver Island’s east end and on the Sunshine Coast, many people are expressing concern about red cedars in particular, says Ebata. The tops of some trees are dying due to lack of moisture. Tree species that like wetter soils are susceptible to drying out, says Ebata. People can spot if a tree is responding to the drought. 

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Residents seek clearer information from province on herbicide spraying

By Mairin Prentiss
CBC News
August 12, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

While the province says herbicide approvals for the forestry industry are posted online in the interest of public transparency, some residents say there isn’t enough available information. In legal approval documents posted on the Department of Environment website, information about the herbicides companies are permitted to use has decreased in the past two years. The reason for herbicide use, the size of individual application areas and whether it will be applied on the ground or through the air is no longer in the public documents. They were in 2016. Last week, the department signed off on six requests from three companies — J.D. Irving Ltd., Andrew MacMullin Forestry and Century Forestry — to spray herbicides covering more than 1,300 hectares across Nova Scotia. In an Aug. 3 press release, the department said more information could be found in the approval documents.

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Zinke takes forestry fight to fire-ravaged California

By Miranda Green
The Hill
August 12, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

Ryan Zinke

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is seizing on California’s wildfires to promote a policy long-supported by Republicans — that fires could be stopped if forests were logged. The former Montana congressman is poised to push the benefits of what’s known as forest management. …Galvanized by President Trump’s recent tweets on the issue and a looming farm bill vote in the House that carries a number of amendments that could open up logging, the new push is also a golden political opportunity, one that environmentalists are calling foul on. …Environmentalists say the House-passed provisions would significantly weaken protections for forest habitat, and that arguments in favor of logging to prevent forest fires are not wholly based in science, in addition to being economically driven by industry voices. …However, Glen MacDonald, a professor of geography at the University of California, Los Angeles, says that the argued benefits of logging are complicated and don’t always fall along party lines.

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Industrial forestry contributes to the West’s wildfire crisis

By Craig Patterson
The Register-Guard
August 12, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Imagine words so prophetic yet so misunderstood that agencies and science get sabotaged by ignorance and greed. The U.S, Forest Service refuses to admit that past management has had significant ongoing consequences and that we can’t solve a problem using the same thinking that created it. Case in point: the wildfires currently raging throughout the West. The Forest Service says we are experiencing these cataclysmic wildfires due to fire suppression and climate change, and that thinning the forests will reduce the danger. Now witness California, Oregon and worldwide, as wildfire records are broken yearly. Forty years ago, I remember the old bulls saying, “We don’t put out fires in the woods. Either the rains come or they run into an old growth forest and fall to the ground as a surface fire and go out.” Now, with 95 percent of the old growth gone, only the rains really help extinguish fires of any size and consequence.

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Two Views: Deciphering the best forest-management practices

Statesman Journal
August 10, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

There are nearly as many theories about the best forest-management practices in Oregon as there are trees. Despite claims to the contrary, a number of conservation practices are embraced by the timber industry because without them, soil and water resources would be lost, and there would be no way to maintain healthy, sustainable and productive forests for harvest. But that’s about where the similarities end. In a nutshell, the timber industry wants to harvest and environmental groups don’t.  With fires raging in the West for a second consecutive summer, we asked both sides of the issue to weigh in. We invited logging-centric experts from organizations such as the Oregon Forest Resources Council and environmental groups such as Oregon Wild, to share their thoughts.

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Don’t blame spotted owl for rural Oregonians’ distress

By Roy Keene, restoration forestry consultant
The Register-Guard
August 10, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Roy Keene

University of Oregon professor Steven Beda’s Aug. 5 Commentary essay, “Rural Americans unprotected by the Endangered Species Act,” tells only half the story and doesn’t get that half right. Beda speaks of environmentalists and loggers being “on the same side,” saying that timber workers “eagerly backed the Wilderness Act.” As someone who was ostracized as a pro-wilderness timber cruiser in Roseburg during the last big wilderness struggle, I can say from experience this is a myth. The timber industry polarized the wilderness conflict, demonizing environmentalists, and claiming wilderness withdrawals would shut down logging. Ironically, the five years that followed the passing of the million-acre 1984 Oregon Wilderness Act saw the biggest timber harvests since the early 1970s. The Bureau of Land Management alone cut an average of over a billion board feet a year, twice the 1937 O&C Act’s mandated sustained-yield rate of 500 million feet.

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Forest Service finishes study of C.C. Craigin thinning plan

By Peter Aleshire
Payson Roundup
August 9, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

The Forest Service has completed an innovative, fast-tracked environmental study to clear the way for the massive thinning of the 64,000-acre watershed of the C.C. Cragin Reservoir — the key to Rim Country’s water future. …The Forest Service doesn’t have the money to actually do the thinning itself — and has no contractor lined up to undertake the project for the sake of the wood the company can harvest. “Right now, we don’t have the money — and we don’t have a timeline for actually starting the thinning,” said George Jozens, deputy public affairs director for the Coconino National Forest. Nonetheless, the completion of the environmental study on the slopes that drain into the C.C. Cragin Reservoir represents a dramatic shift in the way the Forest Service operates when it comes to restoring forest health and protecting vital assets like reservoirs.

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‘Forestry is the biggest threat to rural life here’

By Ken Whelan
Irish Independent
August 12, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Shane McHugh

 … Shane is very matter of fact about all things agricultural, not least the inundation of the Leitrim countryside with forestry, especially of the unhelpful kind – i.e. Sitka spruce. “The biggest threat, not only to agriculture but also to rural life in Co Leitrim at the moment, is forestry and Sitka spruce. There will be just a blanket of green where once there was sunlight unless Minister [Michael] Creed and his colleague Andrew Doyle don’t do something soon to incentivise alternatives to Sitka spruce. “Native broadleaves would be an option, as would more attractive tax breaks or incentives for the landowners if they were to lease the land to active farmers,” adds Shane.

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Let’s rethink forestry

By Martin Williams, barrister, resource management law
New Zealand Herald
August 11, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Martin Williams

The June floods that swept a “tsunami” of slash into Tolaga Bay have forced a reset of our views on commercial forestry practices. Once seen as the solution to management of steep erodible land cleared of native forests by previous generations for farming, this event appeared to raise more questions for forestry than there are known available solutions, or tree species we can sensibly plant, to address them. …The forestry industry will quickly lose its social licence, and the overall benefits of forestry in minimising erosion over the full production cycle will soon be forgotten. Previous commentators to this paper have rightly pointed to what can be achieved through forestry in terms of improved climate change resilience and mitigation, as well as biodiversity.

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Forest Fires

Lightning sets hundreds of new forest fires in B.C. over the weekend

By Melanie Green
The Star Vancouver
August 13, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

VANCOUVER—Lightning strikes caused 145 new wildfires to ignite across the province on Saturday, according to the BC Wildfire Service, with an additional 17 fire starts by early Sunday afternoon. That brings the number of active blazes up to 595 in the province, said Kevin Skrepnek, chief fire information officer. “There were mostly small spot-sized fires,” he explained. “Given how widespread the fires are, all six of our fire centres are fully engaged.” There are 40 fires of note, including the 13,000-hectare Snowy Mountain fire near Keremeos and the 180-hectare Nanaimo Lakes fire 13 kilometres south of Nanaimo. One man was killed fighting the blaze earlier this week. The southern third of the province saw the “vast majority” of new wildfire starts.

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Quesnel residents on edge, some evacuated by helicopter as Cariboo wildfires rage on

Canadian Press in The Province
August 12, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

Helicopter evacuations were needed for at least four families on Saturday when the wildfire cut off access to a forestry service road. … more evacuation orders and alerts are in effect for an area of north-central B.C. nearly surrounded by forest fires. …However, Bill Miller said if the fires continue to burn eastward, it will begin to affect residents in Fort St. James, and they need to be prepared to leave immediately if the alert is upgraded… “The alert has expanded significantly to cover the community of Fort St. James and some other First Nations communities” said Miller. The wildfire burning near Shovel Lake that prompted the evacuation orders has grown to roughly 300 square kilometres and is one of the largest wildfires in the province …though the southern portion of the province did receive some rain over the weekend. The northern part of the province was not so lucky.

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Wildfires in northwestern B.C. prompt helicopter rescues, evacuation orders

Canadian Press in Prince George Citizen
August 11, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

QUESNEL, B.C. — Residents in and around the western edge of Quesnel, B.C., were prepared to leave at a moment’s notice as wildfires raged on nearby and flames from blazes northwest forced almost 90 people from their homes. Emily Epp of the Cariboo Regional District said helicopter evacuations were needed for at least four families on Saturday when the wildfire cut off access to a forestry service road. …later, a new evacuation alert was added for nearly 2,000 more residents in an area southeast of the existing order, about an hour’s drive west of Quesnel. Sylvain Gauthier, Quesnel’s fire chief, said 2,700 residents in western Quesnel are already under an alert as they prepare for a possible city-wide evacuation. …Epp said the majority of the wildfires in the area were caused by the massive, two-day lightning storm, which ignited fires west of Quesnel to as far as 300 kilometres west in Tweedsmuir South Provincial Park near the coast.

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Fighting Snowy Mountain wildfire becomes international effort

Pentiction Western News
August 12, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

The Snowy Mountain wildfire remains at an estimated 13,359 hectares as crews continue to work towards controlling the blaze. Fire information officer Noelle Kekula said along with lightning and winds, the storms Saturday also brought some rain. “I don’t know how much we got, but I do know we got a little bit, but not enough to give us what we were hoping for, that significant amount of rain we always pray for,” said Kekula. The winds were gusting high enough that the helicopter crew got grounded but the containment measures seemed to be working. “It still stayed within our objective areas,” said Kekula, noting that because of the steep rocky terrain, crews are using a variety of methods, including handguards and wet lines. 

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Wildfire crews brace for weather change as 39 new blazes recorded in B.C.

Canadian Press in the Globe and Mail
August 9, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

More wildfires are burning in British Columbia in 2018 than in past years but the total amount of timber burned is well below average, a wildfire official says. “It’s very difficult to directly compare one fire season to another just based on the statistics alone, because the stats only tell part of the full story,” said Ryan Turcot, spokesman for the BC Wildfire Service. Across the province, 476 wildfires were burning Thursday, including 39 new fires sparked the previous day, while 1,565 have been recorded so far this year, well above the average of 1,130 expected by this point in the season, Turcot said.  “In terms of area burned, we are still sitting at about 75 per cent of what the average would be for this time of year,” Turcot noted. … “But that doesn’t …factor in things like the human impact of wildfires, the proximity … to communities or to people and property,” Turcot said.

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More than 1,000 forest fires in Ontario this year; 116 still active

CTV News
August 12, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada East, Canada

New forest fires continue to be discovered in Ontario, even as some of the biggest and most threatening fires in the province slowly edge toward being extinguished. The province’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry said Saturday night that four new fires had been found that day in the province’s northwest. All of the fires were one hectare in size or smaller. Two of the four were considered to be out of control. Saturday’s new fires bring the total Ontario has seen this year to 1,028 – an 87 per cent increase over the usual number of fires in the province by mid-August, and more than double the tally recorded at this time last year. …There were 41 active forest fires in northeastern Ontario as of Sunday morning, five of which were considered to be out of control, while 75 fires – including three which were out of control – were burning in the province’s northwest.

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Cooler weather boosts crews fighting Southern California fire

Associated Press in the Los Vegas Review-Journal
August 12, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

LAKE ELSINORE, Calif. — Aided by slightly cooler temperatures, firefighters made steady progress Sunday in battling a wildfire that destroyed 16 structures as it raged through Southern California’s Cleveland National Forest. The Holy Fire was 41 percent contained Sunday afternoon after burning across 35.5 square miles of dry timber and brush, said Lynne Tolmachoff of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. “The weather out here in California seems to be cooling down today and over the next couple days, and that should hopefully help firefighters get even more containment,” Tolmachoff said. “They should make better progress over the next couple of days.” They’ll need to, with temperatures, expected to again reach 100 degrees or more by the end of the week.

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14,000 firefighters, inmates to foreigners, aid California

By Jonathan J. Cooper and Paul Elias
Associated Press in the Herald and News
August 9, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

UKIAH, Calif.— Firefighters said for the first time Wednesday that they have made good progress battling the state’s largest-ever wildfire but didn’t expect to have it fully under control until September. The blaze north of San Francisco has grown to the size of Los Angeles since it started two weeks ago, fueled by dry vegetation, high winds and rugged terrain that made it too dangerous for firefighters to directly attack the flames now spanning 470 square miles (1,217 square kilometers). Crews, including inmates and firefighters from overseas, have managed to cut lines around half the fire to contain the flames, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said. The blaze about 100 miles (160 kilometers) north of San Francisco around the resort region of Clear Lake has destroyed 116 homes and injured two firefighters.

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Southern Oregon fires: Crews halt rolling fire at key Taylor Creek Fire containment line

By David Davis and Zach Urness
Statesman Journal
August 9, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

Fire teams were able to hold a crucial fire line on the Taylor Creek Fire Wednesday despite fire and “debris rolling downhill” toward Bear Camp Road. The largest fire burning in Southern Oregon, northwest of Grants Pass, grew to about 42,996 acres with 38 percent containment. The fire continues to stay within containment lines, at least for the moment, which is good news for the long-term outlook of a blaze that’s contributed to unhealthy air throughout the area. The northern flank of the fire — on Bear Camp Road — was considered a crucial battlefield and stopping the fire from jumping the road would be a victory. “It has been quite the firefight,” fire spokesman Kale Casey said.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Canada in 2030: Playing with fire

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

West coast fires have dominated weather news lately… What will wildfires in western Canada be like in 2030 if we don’t effectively fight climate change? Wildfires are a critical function of healthy ecosystems and natural life cycles. …However, human life and property are significantly at risk from wildfires and in recent years fire activity in western Canada has cost billions and displaced thousands. Since climate change is making temperatures hotter, does that mean that the heat is making fires worse? Climate change affects wildfires in number of complex ways and scientific studies show that extreme heatwave patterns, declining forest resilience to warmer temperatures, and increased lightning are all aspects of climate change that are making wildfires more severe and burn for longer. By 2030 communities in western Canada will become increasingly strained by dramatically changing wildfire seasons, and national commitments for preventing climate change are falling behind schedule.

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Lakehead researcher investigates climate change impact on forests

Northern Ontario Business
August 11, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada East, Canada

The federal government is granting more than $440,000 to a Lakehead University researcher to study the impact of climate change on the boreal forest. Han Chen, a professor in natural resources management at the Thunder Bay school, will spend the next three years working with researchers from Lakehead, the University of Alberta and the University of Winnipeg to examine how climate change has affected western-central boreal forests in Canada over the last 60 years. The research funding comes from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. The team will train PhD students who will help explore strategies to mitigate climate change stresses and assess the consequences of climate change on future wood supply. …The research project will devise mitigation strategies for coping with these concerns.

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Nature Conservancy sees an opportunity to fight climate change – using Maine’s woodlands

By Kevin Miller
Press Herald
August 12, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

Deep in the commercial forests of northern Maine, trees are often valued for their lumber potential or for the ecological benefits they provide. But now a small and growing number of businesses from as far away as California may be investing in Maine’s woods as a way to address climate change. Trees absorb carbon dioxide – and larger trees means more of the greenhouse gas is locked away. In an effort to head off global warming, California and two Canadian provinces are requiring some companies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or purchase carbon “offsets” in order to comply with government limits. The Nature Conservancy, a nonprofit forest landowner, hopes to connect those companies with the vast Maine woods in a way that could benefit both.

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Climate change: Extreme fire risk may double

By Jamie Morton
New Zealand Herald
August 12, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

A warming New Zealand could help its pine forests grow – but not without extreme fire risk almost doubling by the end of the century. Scion researchers have modelled what climate change will mean for the country’s plantation forests, taking into account everything from growth gains to risk from pests, disease and wind. The modelling suggested changing climatic conditions – notably higher temperatures and changes in rainfall – would bring little gains in productivity for our main commercial forest species, radiata pine. But when the photosynthetic effects from increasing carbon dioxide were factored in, the researchers estimated productivity gains of around 10 per cent by 2040, and double that by 2090. …Under projected scenarios, which assumed several degrees of average temperature increase and stronger, more frequent westerly winds, firefighters could face not just more and larger fires, but those with extreme characteristics that can threaten crews.

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