Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: August 2, 2018

Today’s Takeaway

Wildfire and fury – the only thing fire scientists are sure of: this will get worse

The Tree Frog Forestry News
August 2, 2018
Category: Today's Takeaway

Wildfire and fury – the only thing fire scientists are sure of is this will get worse, according to Wired Magazine. Related headlines include: the link between climate change and wildfires in the US west is undeniable; US government actions make wildfires worse; BC’s past wildfires a reminder that fuels need to be cut; and air quality alerts issued in Ontario.

In other news: a new carbon accounting system may better account for forest practices; climate change is pushing US forests west not north; a court says Oregon should not have sold the Elliot State Forest; and animals and fungi are shown to enhance forest productivity in Germany.

Finally: US lumber tariffs continue to divide the construction industry; newsprint tariffs hurt the newspaper industry; and pulp prices put the squeeze on Charmin’s profits. No news yet on the USDA’s newsprint tariff decision but check back for Breaking News. 

–Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Breaking News

U.S. reduces tariffs on Canadian newsprint

By Brent Jang
The Globe and Mail
August 2, 2018
Category: Breaking News
Region: Canada, United States

The U.S. Department of Commerce has decreased tariffs against most Canadian newsprint in its final ruling. …the Commerce Department reduced the final tariffs to 20.26 per cent for Richmond, B.C.-based Catalyst Paper Corp. and 9.53 per cent for Montreal-based Kruger Inc. The preliminary duties on uncoated groundwood paper, including newsprint and book-grade paper, totalled 28.25 per cent Catalyst and 32.09 per cent for Kruger. Montreal-based Resolute Forest Products Inc. saw its final duties rise to 9.81 per cent, compared with 4.42 per cent. Other Canadian groundwood producers face paying final tariffs of 8.54 per cent, compared with 28.69 per cent in the preliminary determination earlier this year on shipments into the United States. …The Commerce Department continued to exempt Connecticut-based White Birch Paper Co., which has three Quebec paper mills through its Canadian unit, from paying duties on its groundwood sales into the United States.

 

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Business & Politics

Trump’s tariffs are hurting the already struggling newspaper industry

CBS News
August 1, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

The struggling U.S. newspaper industry is caught up in a costly trade dispute that’s pushing up its production costs. The Trump administration put a tariff on groundwood paper… Most groundwood paper comes from Canada and nearly 70 percent of newspapers in the U.S. rely on the product. On Thursday, the Commerce Department will announce whether it will end that tariff. …Nick D’Andrea, vice president of production at the New York Times, told CBS News’ Alex Wagner the tariff has made printing on paper that much harder. …Ken Doctor, a news industry analyst, says the tariff is a blow to a print industry already in decline. As a result, small newsrooms have had to make tough choices from laying off staff to cutting the number of pages they print.

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Trump’s timber tariffs divide the construction industry

By Sydney Franklin
The Architects Newspaper
August 1, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

Last November, the U.S. Department of Commerce under President Trump announced an average of 21 percent import duties on Canadian timber products entering the U.S. The announcement was greeted with mixed reactions within the construction industry; builders claimed that the tariffs would increase the cost of construction, and American suppliers argued that the domestic timber industry would benefit, expand, and keep wood prices low. …David Logan, director of tax and trade policy analysis at the NAHB, says that historically, the U.S. lumber field has never been able to support rapid housing growth. …This has always been the case. We can’t meet that need…not even close.” …The U.S. Lumber Coalition rejects these claims. “Since the duties were implemented, U.S. lumber shipments have increased by about 1.4 billion board feet, roughly filling the gap left by the decrease of Canadian imports.

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Acadian Timber Corp. Reports Second Quarter Results

Acadian Timber
Digital Journal
August 1, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

VANCOUVER — Acadian Timber today reported financial and operating results for the three months ended June 30, 2018. “Acadian’s second quarter benefited from favourable operating conditions and strong seasonal demand”, said Mark Bishop, Chief Executive Officer of Acadian. …posting Adjusted EBITDA1 of $2.6 million, in-line with the prior year period. Acadian benefited from a 4% increase in log sales volumes during the period, resulting from favourable operating conditions and strong seasonal demand, the benefits of which were offset by a decline in higher and better use land sales in Maine.

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Norbord Reports Record Second Quarter 2018 Results; Declares C $4.50 Per Share Dividend

By Norbord Inc.
Cision Newswire
August 2, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

TORONTO – Norbord Inc. today reported Adjusted EBITDA of $273 million for the second quarter of 2018 versus $165 million in the second quarter of 2017 and $170 million in the first quarter of 2018. …”Our second quarter results are the highest in the Company’s history,” said Peter Wijnbergen, Norbord’s President and CEO. “We generated $273 million in Adjusted EBITDA, a huge improvement over this time last year as our North American mills shipped 10% more OSB in a strong market environment. Our European business delivered $21 million of Adjusted EBITDA, its best result ever in local currency terms, as robust demand growth in our key markets supported strong prices.” “We expect that OSB demand will continue increasing and Norbord is investing in incremental future capacity through a number of capital projects.”

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Resolute Reports Preliminary Second Quarter 2018 Results

By Resolute Forest Products Inc.
Cision Newswire
August 2, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

MONTRÉAL – Resolute Forest Products Inc. today reported net income for the quarter ended June 30, 2018, of $72 million, or $0.77 per diluted share, compared to a net loss of $74 million, or $0.82 per share, in the same period in 2017. Sales were $976 million in the quarter, an increase of $118 million from the year-ago period. Excluding special items, the company reported net income of $66 million, or $0.71 per share, compared to a net loss, excluding special items, of $3 million, or $0.03 per share, in the second quarter of 2017. … “We are also very pleased that the countervailing duty order on supercalendered paper has recently been revoked, resulting in a $60 million refund of duty deposits over the coming months,” said Yves Laflamme, president and chief executive officer. A new four-year collective agreement was also ratified, shortly after the end of the second quarter, with the company’s largest Canadian union, Unifor, covering 1,000 employees at six of its sawmills. 

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Instead of you squeezing the Charmin, the Charmin may be squeezing you

By Richa Naidu and Martinne Geller
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
August 2, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States

CHICAGO — With toilet and tissue paper swept up in an escalating international trade fight, it’s not just Procter & Gamble’s Charmin that’s going to get the squeeze. Higher prices in the wake of possible tariffs would exacerbate what is already mounting pressure on consumer product company profits from soaring costs from pulp, a main ingredient in tissues, diapers and sanitary towels. P&G on Tuesday said it is rolling out an average 4 percent increase in Pampers prices in North America, and has begun notifying retailers of an average 5 percent price rise for Bounty, Charmin and Puffs tissue products. …The price of hardwood pulp, an ingredient in tissues and toilet paper, has surged by about 60 percent since late 2016, according to the Pulp and Paper Products Council, which tracks prices based on global customs data. The price of softwood pulp, used in diapers and sanitary pads, jumped by 21 percent during that period.

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Youngstown Thermal Not Out of Steam, Not Yet

By Dan O’Brian
The Business Journal
August 1, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

Joe Firmstone

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — A company based in Canada that produces fuel from wood waste is considering Youngstown as a site for a new production plant. But there’s a catch – a big one. In order for Ensyn Corp. to fully commit to building such a plant, the city would have to assume ownership of Ensyn’s largest customer in the area: Youngstown Thermal Cooling LLC. …The project could create as many as 200 jobs and provide an additional source of less expensive and renewable fuel for potentially more customers within a 100-mile radius in northeastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania, according to the report. …That’s assuming the city wants the responsibility of running a district heating and cooling system – a prospect that isn’t well received by Mayor Jamael Tito Brown.

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Australian firm buys forest land

By Simon Hartley
Otago Daily Times
August 2, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

The land beneath about 22,500ha of Otago forestry blocks has been sold to a specialist Australian forestry investment fund, for an undisclosed price, and the fund has also bought a 38% stake in Otago’s largest timber producer, Wenita Forest Products. The land ownership has moved from a United States-owned fund to an Australian fund. The Overseas Investment Office this week granted consent for the sale … to Australian ANZFF2 NZ Ltd, a subsidiary of New Forests Australia Forest Fund 2, of Sydney. The cutting and management rights both remain with Wenita Forest Products, which has had them since 1990, and the land area remains under its control. Wenita chief executive David Cormack said he expected few changes under the Australian governance, for either Wenita’s 14 staff or more than 110 contractors… Industry sources understood the complex deal had been under negotiation for the past two years and the sale price was potentially ”well over $100 million”

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

21st century home construction materials cause shorter escape times during house fires

By Brenna Burger
KLTV
July 31, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

SMITH COUNTY, TX – A recent fire dynamics study shows modern home construction may be decreasing the amount of time it takes a structure to become fully engulfed. “If there was a fire started in the same place on couches made today, versus 30 years ago, then it was basically showing the fire progression and how fast it progresses nowadays versus 30 years ago,” Smith County firefighter David Gerald says. Because of the way homes are built in the 21st century, Gerald says homeowners only have about three minutes to escape; simply based on construction materials and furniture. “Now it’s all synthetic fibers, and the synthetic fibers pose more of a risk with hotter and more lethal fires,” Gerald says. …Most homes nowadays are made up of particle board, a combination of wood chips and resin to glue it all together, a perfect formula for a devastating fire. 

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Melbourne-based developer submitted an application for an 11-storey tower in Yarra

The Urban Developer
August 2, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

The commercial building proposed for the 218-228 Hoddle Street Abbotsford site has an estimated construction cost of $34 million, spanning 11,500sq m of gross floor area. …Architectus is at the design helm of the commercial development, which proposes to use sustainable building material cross laminated timber in its construction. …Taking design cues from sites such as Brisbane’s 5 King St by Bates Smart, Architectus incorporate CLT in the proposal. “Exposed timber construction has the capacity to offer a structural and material honesty while also attending to the principles of good biophilic design.”

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Forestry

20 years later, destructive ‘98 B.C. wildfire a reminder that fire fuels need to be cut

By Barb Brouwer
BC Local News
August 1, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

As this week marks the 20-year anniversary of the destructive 1998 Silver Creek wildfire, fuel reduction continues to be an issue. And one local resident is willing to put his money where his mouth is when it comes to wildfire protection. Dave Martinuk believes the City of Salmon Arm could be doing more to mitigate wildfire risk by removing forest fuels and says he’d be willing to accept a small increase in taxes to help pay for it. …Fire Chief Brad Shirley says neither he nor council are ignoring the issue. …“Obviously we’re concerned about any type of fire in our community and the city has always shared the concern,” he says. “We weren’t keen on past programs and I know we’re not the only ones who shared that concern, so I think that is partially a reason why the province is coming out with a new program.”

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Burns Lake at significant risk of wildfire

BC Local News
August 1, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The communities of Burns Lake, Decker Lake, and surrounding rural areas are at significant risk of wildfire, according to Burns Lake Community Forest manager Frank Varga. “These communities are surrounded by dead pine stands in constrained areas,” he explained. “Make no mistake, it’s not an if statement… it’s a when… we have been lucky.” …According to B.C. Blackwell and Associates Ltd., Burns Lake is among the top five communities at risk in B.C., based on the percentage of area of hazardous fuels. …The province has experienced a series of catastrophic wildfire seasons over the past 10 years… Projections of future changes in climate suggest these trends are likely to continue, and future wildfire losses are likely to increase, according to Blackwell.

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One tree at a time

By Christine Hinzmann
The Prince George Citizen
August 1, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

PRINCE GEORGE BC — …Fluffy is Robyn Bennett’s favourite tree and her wish for the little spruce is for Fluffy to live long and prosper and that’s what she put on the copper tag that is now attached to the spruce seedling. …Last year’s forest fires came much too close to home for Robyn. “The fires burned up a lot of trees and we need them,” she said. Since 1972, Scouts Canada has had a program in place where Scouts are encouraged to plant trees every spring to focus on conservation and restoration. According to the Scoutrees website, more than 80 million trees have been planted in Canada at Scout camps like Robyn’s troop’s trees, in provincial parks, on Crown land and in conservation areas.

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National forests deserve better than House farm bill

Norman Christensen, Ph.D., Duke University and Jerry Franklin, Ph.D., University of Washington
The Hill
August 1, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

In June, the House and Senate passed farm bills with very different approaches to solving environmental problems in the national forests. As members of Congress negotiate the 2018 farm bill, they should avoid the House’s proposals, which would seriously damage our national forests and reduce Americans’ say in how these forests are managed. …Where opinions [on national forests] differ is in the care and protection of forests, and those differences have major consequences for our national forests and the people who live, work, and recreate on them. To its credit, Congress finally enacted long-overdue reform of the nation’s broken system of funding wildfire suppression… However, the House’s proposals in the farm bill would curtail tried and true democratic processes that help ensure national forest management projects are scientifically based and socially acceptable. …Congress must avoid measures that would reduce public support for badly needed active management on our national forests.

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Fire and fury: How government failures make wildfires even worse

Washington Examiner
August 2, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

…It’s hard for Easterners even to appreciate how dry the West is and how easy it is to start a massive fire. This year’s fires have so far burned more than 400,000 acres… The wreckage and smoke is so bad that it can be seen from space, and fires in California and Washington state can cloud the skies as far away as Idaho and Montana. Everyone is quick to blame global warming for this and all other natural disasters. But changes to local weather in this or that part of the country are by no means part of the same scientific consensus that climate change is real and caused in large part by human activity. Western droughts and forest fires have been around a long time, and so has climate change, but the fires have gotten much worse very recently, and government mismanagement of forests is part of the reason.

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Court: Oregon Should Not Have Sold Elliott State Forest Land

By Jes Burns
Oregon Public Broadcasting
August 2, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

The Oregon Court of Appeals has ruled the state should not have sold off a piece of the Elliott State Forest to a Eugene-based timber company four years ago. The state sold the land in 2014 after environmental groups successfully sued to halt several timber sales on the forest. “It’s our understanding that this will revert back into public ownership like it should be,” said Josh Laughlin of Cascadia Wildlands. The Elliott State Forest in southwestern Oregon was initially set aside to generate money for schools as part of the Common Schools Fund, but federal endangered species protections also apply. After timber sales were halted, the Oregon State Land Board decided to generate that money instead by selling an 800-acre parcel to Seneca Jones Timber Company.

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A glimmer of hope: August fires might not be so dire

By Kim Briggeman
The Missoulian
July 31, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Now comes August. While surrounding states burned hot in July, the mountains of Montana dried up but remained almost fire-free. It’s all but assumed that will change. July closed with barely a drop of rain all month. At .02 of an inch in Missoula on July 3 and a trace last week, it was the second-driest July on record, behind only last year. …Then again …Temperatures that had been predicted to reach the mid-90s on Tuesday topped out at 85 in Missoula under an insulating blanket of clouds and smoke from fires to the west. …Another hot spell could succeed that coming out of the weekend, but it’s not a certainty. “The long-range models have been jumping all around,” Henry said.

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The Only Thing Fire Scientists Are Sure of: This Will Get Worse

By Adam Rogers
Wired Magazine
August 1, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

…the argument marshaled by skeptics against global warming, assumes that scientists vastly overstate the consequences of pumping greenhouse gases into Earth’s atmosphere. …The sour irony of that muttonheaded resistance to data is that, after four decades of being wrong, those people are almost right. As of July 31, more than 25,000 firefighters are committed to 140 wildfires across the United States—over a million acres aflame. Eight people are dead in California, tens of thousands evacuated, smoke and pyroclastic clouds are visible from space. And all any fire scientist knows for sure is, it only gets worse from here. How much worse? Where? For whom? Experience can’t tell them. The scientists actually are uncertain. …“We can no longer use the observed past as a guide” says LeRoy Westerling, a management professor who studies wildfires at UC Merced.

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Senate enters the fray on roadless forests

By Matthew Preusch
The Oregonian
August 1, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Northwest lawmakers introduced a bill Thursday to permanently protect 58 million acres of undeveloped federal forests. The fight over so-called roadless forests has spanned three presidential administrations, and most recently it’s largely played out in the court system. U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., and U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee, D-Wash., filed bills in the Senate and House respectively to codify into law the Roadless Area Conservation Rule, which the Clinton administration created, the Bush administration weakened and the Obama administration has pledged to defend. The rule makes millions of acres of land managed by the U.S. government — including about 2 million acres in Oregon — off limits to logging and road-building.

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Forest & Bird closes kauri reserves to public

By Forest and Bird
Scoop Independent News
August 2, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Forest & Bird has announced it is closing all its reserves with wild kauri to the public, and is calling on the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) to provide communities and land owners with desperately needed national directions for managing the disease. Forest & Bird owns and manages seven reserves containing kauri, covering nearly 250 hectares. All these reserves are believed to be disease-free. “MPI’s leadership of the national programme is so dire and slow that it is being left up to conservation and community groups, local councils, and iwi to try and deal with a crisis situation,” says Forest & Bird Chief Executive Kevin Hague. …“At the rate this disease is spreading, all kauri forests including the plant and animal species that rely on kauri could collapse within our lifetime unless urgent action is taken.”

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Animals and fungi enhance the performance of forests

German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research
Science Daily
August 1, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: International

A new study shows that, in addition to the diversity of tree species, the variety of animal and fungus species also has a decisive influence on the performance of forests. Forest performance comprises many facets besides timber production, such as carbon storage and climate regulation. The study is based on ten years of research in species-rich subtropical forests. A team of researchers led by the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research and the Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg has published the results in the new issue of Nature Communications. They illustrate that biodiversity must be viewed as a whole in order to maintain the performance of forests. …”Our analyses show that the diversity of animal and fungal species affects numerous important processes — such as the availability of nutrients for tree growth,” said Dr Andreas Schuldt.

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Forest Fires

Lightning storms across B.C. raise tension as wildfire danger climbs

Beth Leighton
Canadian Press in CTV News
August 1, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

KAMLOOPS, B.C. — Lightning storms that swept across British Columbia are being blamed by the Wildfire Service for many of the blazes that started this week across the province including one that threatened Kootenay Park Lodge on Wednesday. Spokesman Ryan Turcot said more than 300 wildfires have started since Tuesday, with dozens recorded in the last few days in the Cariboo region, the area hard hit by last year’s record-breaking fire season. Unstable weather began Saturday but there were hundreds of lightning strikes Tuesday, said Turcot. Storms were expected to continue through the week. …The wildfire service listed 10 fires of note burning across five of B.C.’s six fire centres and Turcot urged extreme caution. “We are dealing with a lot of new lightning-driven activity. The last thing we need right now is human-caused fires to divert critical resources away from the fires we are responding to right now,” he said.

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Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry hopeful weather will ease Northeast fire situation

CBC News
August 1, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada East, Canada

104 wildfires were burning in the Northwest Region as of Wednesday afternoon, but Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry officials hope the region’s weather will provide wildfire relief in some areas. According to MNRF Fire Information Officer Chris Marchand, six of the new fires were reported on July 31, as of about 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, one more had begun to burn. However, cloud cover and cooler temperatures in much of the region were a good sign, as lower temperatures tend to be indicative of higher humidity​, and the higher the humidity, the less likely fuel is to ignite and fires to start or spread.

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Special air quality statements issued across northeastern Ontario due to forest fire

CBC News
August 1, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada East, Canada

Environment Canada has issued special air quality statements due to a massive forest fire burning south of Sudbury, Ont. Parry Sound 33 forest fire is currently 10,000 hectares in size and not under control. It started two weeks ago and officials now say it is less active due to high humidity levels and cloud cover. However, the smoke from the fire is causing poor air quality and reducing visibility, according to Environment Canada. …”Smoke plumes are over parts of the region from forest fires in the vicinity of Key River [and] air quality may deteriorate if the smoke descends to ground level,” Environment Canada states on its website.

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More than 1,000 homes torched in California wildfires

By Janie Har and Brian Skoloff
Associated Press in Herald and News
August 1, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

UPPER LAKE, Calif. — A massive wildfire in Northern California has torched more than 1,000 homes in and around the city of Redding, authorities said Wednesday as some evacuees were allowed to return home and new blazes exploded in what has become an endless summer of flame in the Golden State. “Whatever resources are needed, we’re putting them there,” Gov. Jerry Brown said at a news conference. “We’re being surprised. Every year is teaching the fire authorities new lessons. We’re in uncharted territory.” Just a month into the budget year, the state has already spent more than one-quarter of its annual fire budget, at least $125 million, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman Mike Mohler said. Cal Fire said another 440 buildings …have also been destroyed by the fire … which started July 23, [and] forced 38,000 people from their homes and killed six. 

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Warmer soil releasing more carbon, worsening climate change

By Seth Borenstein
Associated Press in WSPA News 7
August 1, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States

WASHINGTON – Even the dirt on the ground is making climate change worse, a new study finds. Plants capture massive amounts of carbon, pumping it into the soil where usually it stays for hundreds or thousands of years. Observations from across the globe show that as temperatures have warmed, bacteria and fungi in the soil are becoming more active. These turbo-charged microbes are feeding on dead leaves and plants, releasing more heat-trapping carbon dioxide into the air, according to a study in Wednesday’s journal Nature. Scientists call it a vicious cycle of warming. Burning of coal, oil and natural gas heats the air and soil, which worsens warming. This uncontrolled cycle speeds up and amplifies climate change, said Jerry Melillo of the Marine Biological Laboratory in Massachusetts

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Trees travelling west: How climate is changing our forests

By The Ecological Society of America
EurekAlert
August 1, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States

Many studies on the impacts of global temperature rise have suggested that the range of trees will migrate poleward and upward. However, research …suggests that more tree species have shifted westward than poleward. The effects of climate change on trees can be complicated – different combinations of changes in temperature and precipitation can result in different impacts, and different species can have different responses. As such, resource managers lack a comprehensive understanding of large-scale climate change impacts on forest ecosystems. Songlin Fei, Associate Professor at the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources at Purdue University, sought to provide some understanding to this problem. …He found that 73 percent of tree species have experienced a westward shift while 62 percent have experienced a poleward shift. It appears that the shifts are largely associated with changes in moisture availability. 

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The link between climate change and wildfires in America’s West

By Dan Glickman, vice president – Aspen Institute
The Hill
August 1, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

Each year seems to bring a stronger, more dangerous and more damaging series of wildfire’s in America’s West. Although the Congress has given greater resources and flexibility to agencies that fight wildfires, this country and its government must go one step further: preventing or mitigating natural disasters must get the same resources and attention as our national security. In large part the increased intensity and frequency of wildfires is due to climate change. Unless we get serious about mitigating wildfires and addressing their root cause, climate change, we will find more than just devastated homes in some states. …The impact of climate change, drought and extreme heat in particular, on wildfires is undeniable. …But in the longer term, we must collectively understand that this phenomenon is inextricably linked to climate change, and we must change our national and individual behavior and consumption patterns to reduce activity that is harmful to the environment.

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Arizona’s forests are being ravaged by climate change. How much can we save?

By Brandon Loomis
AZCentral
August 1, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

Arizona didn’t always burn this way. In the 1970s… people thought about forests and fire on a different scale. Wally Covington remembers the shock as high country residents watched the unprecedented sight of 500-acre crown fires… killing the mature pines. Only a few decades earlier no one in Arizona had ever seen a crown fire, let alone one in the hundreds of acres. “People couldn’t believe fires could get any bigger,” said Covington, a forestry professor and executive director of the university’s Ecological Restoration Institute. The fires did get bigger. At their most extreme they got a thousand times bigger. …Foresters in the 19th century unwittingly set this disaster in motion. 20th century fire suppression and warming made it worse, littering the landscape with “doghair thickets” …that burn like kindling. Without major ecological investments, Arizona risks losing its ponderosa forests in a generation.

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Surrounded by fire, California politicians question links to climate change

By Jason Wilson
The Guardian
August 1, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

At a public meeting not far from the California town of Redding last year, the US congressman Doug LaMalfa said that he “didn’t buy” human-made climate change. “I think there’s a lot of bad science behind what people are calling global warming,” he said on another occasion. …the outskirts of Redding have been ravaged by the Carr wildfire, and scientists have directly connected the blaze, which has claimed six lives and dozens of properties, to climate change. Yet LaMalfa sounds unswayed. …Can climate-driven natural disasters shift attitudes about climate change? In Redding, the weeks to come may provide a somber test case. …longtime resident, Ray Cutchen, dismissed any contribution of climate change to the fire. “I think it’s bull,” he said. “It’s just fire season. It’s hot. There’s more people living out further and further in the woods.” 

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Measuring climate impact of forests management — a groundbreaking approach

By the European Commission Joint Research Centre
EurekAlert
August 2, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

A Joint Research Centre-led group of forestry research experts has developed a rigorous new fact-based carbon accounting system that reflects how forest management practices can help mitigate greenhouse gas  emissions. This new system has been recently adopted by the EU as the scientific basis for integrating the land-use, land-use change and forestry sector in its climate strategy. While they are growing, trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through photosynthesis and store it as carbon in their wood. Through proper forest management, trees acting as “carbon sinks” can have a significant impact on carbon reduction. …The new science-based approach for credible accounting of mitigation in managed forests …sets reference levels based on documented historical forest management practices rather than on projected future policy impacts. In other words, it is based on factual evidence (what has actually happened) rather than projected future outcomes (which may never materialise).

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London’s urban ‘forests’ can store almost as much carbon as tropical rainforests

By Mathias Disney
City Metric
August 1, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Most people would never think of London as a forest – yet there are actually more trees in London than people. And now, new work by researchers at University College London shows that pockets of this urban jungle store as much carbon per hectare as tropical rainforests. More than half of the world’s population lives in cities, and urban trees are critical to human health and well-being. Trees provide shade, mitigate floods, absorb carbon dioxide (CO₂), filter air pollution and provide habitats for birds, mammals and other plants. The ecosystem services provided by London’s trees – that is, the benefits residents gain from the environment’s natural processes – were recently valued at £130m a year. …The UCL team use a combination of cutting-edge ground-based and airborne laser scanning techniques to measure the biomass of urban trees much more accurately. 

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Health & Safety

Renfrew paramedics on front lines with firefighters battling forest fires

CBC News
August 1, 2018
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada East, Canada

Mike Nolan

As firefighters continue to battle wildfires across the province, paramedics in Renfrew are taking a novel approach to keeping crews safe — working right alongside them. For weeks, dozens of fires have been raging across Ontario, with many still not under control, and a number of northeastern communities are on evacuation alert. “As I drove beyond Deep River you can see this heavy haze hanging in the air,” Mike Nolan, chief paramedic and director of emergency services for the County of Renfrew. …The severity of the situation is what prompted paramedics — a special team called “Sierra” that does work in remote areas — to stand shoulder to shoulder with firefighters to meet medical needs as they come up. …Nolan said they have had to fly out a number of firefighters, dealing with issues such as back injuries and knee injuries.

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