Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: August 29, 2018

Today’s Takeaway

Canada/US discussions underway on NAFTA, decision on newsprint duties today

The Tree Frog Forestry News
August 29, 2018
Category: Today's Takeaway

Canada and US negotiators are trying to reach a compromise on NAFTA amidst uncertainty over Canada’s do-or-die position on Chapter 19 and Trump’s threat to go-it-alone with Mexico. In other Business news, the US International Trade Commission will vote today on whether to uphold duties on Canadian newsprint; and US environmental groups launch a PR campaign against timber industry lawsuits.

In Forestry news: Ontario’s tree seed plant closure is described as short-sighted; Nova Scotia’s forestry review is called a vindication for environmentalists; Yellowstone’s lodgepole pine is the poster child of plant recovery; the future looks grim after two years of BC wildfires; and David Suzuki says until we address climate change we’re likely to see more smoke-clogged skies and devastated forests.

Finally; stories on responsibly sourced wood materials in Texas; rooftop modular wood homes in Berlin; and earthquake-resistant timber construction in Christchurch, NZ.

–Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Business & Politics

Canada and U.S. Meet as Trump Moves Ahead With Mexico Trade Deal

By Ana Swanson, Alan Rappeport and Emily Baumgaertner
The New York Times
August 28, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

Chrystia Freeland

WASHINGTON — A day after President Trump threatened to exclude Canada from a revised North American Free Trade Agreement, top Canadian officials raced to Washington and said they were moving “full steam ahead” to try to reach a compromise that could save the trilateral pact. …The last-ditch discussions come as Canada faces an ultimatum from the Trump administration, which has promised to ink a trade deal with Mexico in days and leave Canada from the pact. …Canada may have little choice but to sign onto the pact. In the nearly quarter century since Nafta went into effect, various industries like automakers and food suppliers have built coordinated supply chains across the continent. …Mr. Trump’s top trade advisers reiterated on Tuesday that the United States was prepared to notify Congress of its intent to complete a deal with Mexico on Friday unless Canada quickly got on board.

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Freeland has ‘constructive meeting’ with U.S. as Canada faces pressure to sign or face auto tariffs

By John Paul Tasker and Katie Simpson
CBC News
August 28, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland says conversations with the U.S. remain “constructive,” even as White House officials threaten to impose punitive tariffs on Canadian-made cars if Canada doesn’t sign on to a new North American Free Trade Agreement​ by Friday. …While the U.S. and Mexico had been expected to work through existing bilateral issues between the two countries over the summer, they also negotiated some aspects of the deal that are considered trilateral — without Canada at the table. …But, according to the source, Canada’s pressing concern is how Chapter 19 of the original NAFTA — the dispute settlement mechanism that can be used to challenge anti-dumping and countervailing duty cases, like what has been used by Canada in past on the softwood lumber file — has been renegotiated by the two countries. Chapter 19 has been a do-or-die issue for Canada as it is often relied on to fight punitive duties.

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Environmental groups fight back against corporate lawsuits designed to limit protests

By Blake Nicholson
Associated Press in The Globe and Mail
August 28, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

Twenty environmental and civil liberties groups are fighting back against lawsuits they believe are aimed at limiting free speech and silencing critics. The “Protect the Protest” task force announced Tuesday targets what are known as strategic lawsuits against public participation, or SLAPP, which use legal action and the threat of financial risk to deter people and groups from speaking out against something they oppose. … The effort is to include billboard advertisements, training sessions for journalists and nonprofits, panel discussions and rallies outside the corporate offices of companies the groups believe use such lawsuits. …Greenpeace USA Executive Director Annie Leonard on Tuesday said a US$300-million lawsuit filed against the group by the Canadian timber industry over its forest protection advocacy is another example of the type of lawsuits the task force hopes to battle.

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U.S. International Trade Commission expected to vote today on newsprint duties

The Canadian Press in the National Post
August 29, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

The U.S. International Trade Commission is expected to vote today on whether to uphold duties imposed on Canadian newsprint imports. The vote comes as U.S. newspapers have campaigned heavily to lift the duties that have pushed a core expense higher and forced layoffs at some papers. …It is the same argument made regarding Canada’s softwood industry, which led to the imposition of both countervailing and anti-dumping duties on most Canadian softwood exports to the United States. The U.S. says US$1.21 billion worth of uncoated groundwood paper used for newspapers, commercial printing and book publishing was imported from Canada last year.

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Cascades announces the optimization of its corrugated sheet plant capacity in Ontario

By Cascades Inc.
Cision Newswire
August 28, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

KINGSEY FALLS, QC – Cascades Inc., a leader in the recovery and manufacturing of green packaging and tissue products, announces plans to close two sheet plants in Barrie (Jellco) and Peterborough, Ontario, as part of its ongoing efforts to reorganize and optimize its corrugated packaging platform in Ontario. “We are announcing today that production from the Barrie and Peterborough plants will gradually be redeployed to our other facilities in Ontario. This decision will enable us to better align our existing production capacity and to improve service for our valued customers.” said Charles Malo, President and Chief Operating Officer of Cascades Containerboard Packaging. The two plants will be closed no later than December 31st 2018, affecting approximately 65 employees.  The Company is making this announcement well in advance of the anticipated closing date in order to minimize the impact on our employees

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Legislative panel advances California utility liability bill

By Jonathan Cooper
Associated Press in Plainview Daily Herald
August 28, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California utilities regulators would have the option of letting power companies charge their customers for some of the costs of lawsuits stemming from disastrous 2017 wildfires under legislation that will go before the Assembly and Senate this week. …It would allow utility ratepayers to be charged even if the utilities were found to be negligent or unreasonable in building, maintaining or operating their equipment. The provision would apply only to wildfires in 2017, which was the deadliest and most expensive fire season on record. Dozens of people were killed, and thousands of homes destroyed. California utilities are held entirely liable for fires sparked by their equipment, even if they followed all safety standards.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Wilsonart Escalates Commitment to Educate Architects and Designers about Endangered Woods and Protected Forests

By Wilsonart
The Corporate Social Responsibility Newswire
August 28, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

TEMPLE, Texas – A year after launching its educational initiative, Understanding Wood: Sourcing Against the Grain, Wilsonart announces a renewed commitment to help educate architects and designers (A&D) about using responsibly sourced wood materials. To further support the A&D community, Wilsonart is conducting a second National Day of Learning event, launching a cross country education tour, adding new content to its educational hub, and renewing its grant to Interlochen Arts Academy – reaching tomorrow’s designers, today. “We learned from our outreach last year that professionals in the industry are eager to be more informed about the materials they specify,” noted Tammy Weadock, Communications Manager at Wilsonart. …Overwhelmingly, the research revealed that professionals lack awareness about the rules and regulations surrounding protected forests and the logging that happens there. “We discovered that 42 percent of the professionals we surveyed did not know what makes a forest protected,” Weadock noted. 

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Rooftop modular wooden homes proposed for Berlin

By Lloyd Alter
Treehugger
August 28, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

The Jury is in on the Metsä Wood Plan B: The City above the City competition, where architects and students were challenged to “design a wooden extension to an existing urban building” using their fancy plywood on steroids, Kerto® LVL – laminated veneer lumber. …One project I really liked was Sigurd Larsen’s Dachkiez,Village On The Roof​, in Berlin. After the Second World War there was a lot of freshly available land for building new housing, and some interesting projects were built, including a concrete slab apartment building almost 900 feet long, with a very big roof. One notable feature about concrete is that it gets stronger as it ages; it takes decades for it to cure totally. Similarly, over time foundations can often carry more load as the ground under them compresses. 

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Canterbury technology behind the future of earthquake-resistant construction

By Jack Fletcher
Stuff.co.nz
August 28, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Cutting-edge timber technology developed in Christchurch could change the future of construction and how buildings react to earthquakes. The new Beatrice Tinsley building, at the University of Canterbury’s (UC) Ilam campus, is under construction utilising UC-patented technology. Pres-Lam has been developed for multi-storey timber construction. Civil and natural engineering professor Alessandro Palermo is one of three academics in the UC Engineering Department behind the technology making this type of construction possible. Palermo said buildings put together using Pres-Lam “will have minimal damage after an earthquake”. Part of the secret was replaceable elements of the build, as well as the structure’s ability to bounce back after any movement. Pres-Lam is the name given to the construction technique, or system…. When complete, it is said to be stronger than concrete.

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Singapore Management University expands city campus footprint with new sustainable development named Tahir Foundation Connexion

Sinapore Management University News
August 27, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Singapore Management University (SMU) held a ground-breaking ceremony today for its latest development – a five-storey green building in the heart of the city designed to support the University’s innovative SMU-X pedagogy, as well as cultivate innovation and entrepreneurship. …In line with SMU’s commitment towards developing a smart, green and sustainable campus, the Tahir Foundation Connexion is designed to meet the Building and Construction Authority Green Mark Platinum certification and the international WELL Building Standard.  Aside from being the city centre’s first large-scale Mass Engineered Timber development, the building is also its first On-site Net Zero Energy Building.

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Forestry

The future looks grim after 2 years of devastating BC wildfires

By Bethany Lindsay
CBC News
August 28, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

For decades, scientists have predicted that B.C. would experience longer, more intense wildfire seasons as the climate warms. But the destruction of the last two years is still a bit surprising. According to Chilliwack fire ecologist Robert Gray, the scale of the wildfire emergencies we’ve lived through in 2017 and 2018 wasn’t expected for decades. “What we thought was going to be an average condition in 2050, we’re starting to see those conditions coming a lot sooner,” Gray told CBC. “There’s been a lot of discussion in the scientific community about really changing what we think the future is going to look like.”  In all, more than 12,000 square kilometres of B.C. landscape went up in flames last year, making it the worst wildfire season on record. Any hope that was an anomaly has been blown away during the 2018 season, which is now the second worst on record.

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Wildfires; lightning, people . . . and climate change

By David Suzuki
The Nelson Daily
August 28, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

David Suzuki

Scientists, journalists, environmentalists and others who draw the connection between increasing wildfires and global warming often face a backlash. It’s not climate change; it’s lightning, careless smokers or campers, poor forestry management, industrial activity or sparks from vehicles, bad government… One doesn’t negate the other. Wildfires have many causes, and more than one factor is fuelling increases in the number and intensity of fires worldwide. But hotter, drier weather increases the risk. Forestry practices and urban development are among the contributors to wildfires. …We can do a lot to prevent fires: avoid campfires and other burning when risks are high, improve forestry practices, better manage buffers between urban and forested areas, maybe even let some smaller fires burn. But until we address climate change, we’re likely to see more smoke-clogged skies and devastated forests.

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Communities need more say in forest practices to reduce fire risk

Patricia Dunn, Peachland Watershed Protection Alliance and the B.C. Coalition for Forestry Reform
The Province
August 27, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Many experts agree that the forest fires devastating the west are due in part to poor forest management, from logging the largest, most fire-resistant trees and leaving susceptible young trees, to fire suppression and our unnatural monoculture of planted conifer forests. …One critical step that most experts agree would be to end the expansion of monoculture tree plantations. …In the Okanagan, the only risk-reduction option given communities is to clearcut and replant with a mono-crop of conifers. The privilege of being able to benefit financially from the harvesting of public forests should include the responsibility to work with wildfire experts accountable to local communities to develop and implement sustainable wildfire-risk reduction strategies that reflects community needs and values. …Today, we have a limited opportunity to change forestry legislation, specifically the self-governance model that lets resource companies hire consultants to approve their plans rather than government foresters. 

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Plan to close Ontario Tree Seed Plant is short-sighted

By Maria Percy
Niagara This Week
August 29, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

It’s been a sizzling hot summer in southern Ontario, but not nearly as sizzling as parts of northern Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia. …This was a mere anomaly, but imagine the stress of the people who are living close to the fires. …I read a letter to the editor about the potential closing by September 2018 of the Ontario Tree Seed Plant which since 1923 has been preserving biodiversity, protecting the environment, supporting forest products and wood manufacturing. …By supplying seeds from 50 native species to nursery operations, forestry companies and the public, it helps us to adapt to the effects of climate change and helps us to restore the endangered tree species, not to mention supporting thousands of jobs in the forestry industry. …Perhaps with a little nudge from the public he will reverse the previous Liberal government’s short-sighted plan.

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Report points to new direction for our forests

Letter by Lisa Roberts, NDP MLA for Halifax Needham
Cape Breton Post
August 28, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

Lisa Roberts

Bill Lahey’s Independent Forestry Review Report is a long-awaited vindication of what many woodlot owners, harvesters, and environmentalists have been saying for years: we need a forestry industry that leaves a significant portion of forest intact for the next year, the next decade, and the next generation. We have been exploiting our forest – with too much clear-cutting and planting of monocultures – in an unsustainable fashion. Lahey’s message is clear: the forests of Nova Scotia are important for economic, social, recreational and ecological reasons ‑— but without protecting the ecological underpinning of the forestry sector, we risk it all. Change must come and the government ‑— on most Crown land — should be a model of ecological forestry. We now need the McNeil government to get behind this. …Carefully tended forests can be harvested year after year, generation after generation, without ever being decimated. Let’s value the forest and the trees, and embrace change.

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Lake Nipigon-area First Nations demand say on resource management

Thunder Bay News Watch
August 27, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

Mel Hardy, Matt Dupuis, Wilfred King, Joe Ladouceur and Theresa Nelson

THUNDER BAY — Five First Nations in the Lake Nipigon region allege that the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has failed its duty to consult them prior to issuing permits to non-Indigenous resource users. In a joint statement issued Monday, the First Nations of Rocky Bay, Lake Helen, Gull Bay, Sand Point and Lake Nipigon announced they had formed a committee to push the province to recognize its legal obligations for consultation, accommodation and consent “on all permits they issue.” Chief Wilfred King of Gull Bay was appointed spokesperson for the group. King said the government is providing benefits to non-Indigenous individuals or industries such as tourism, mining and forestry because of “regional or provincial priorities” rather than ensuring consultation, access and inclusion by the First Nations “as is legally required.”

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The lodgepole pine is the poster child of Yellowstone’s plant recovery

By Brett French
The Billings Gazette
August 28, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

If there’s a plant-based poster child for wildland fire in the subalpine forests of Yellowstone National Park, it would be the cone of the lodgepole pine tree. “All of these forests evolved with fire after the last glacial retreat,” said Roy Renkin, a vegetation specialist for Yellowstone National Park. “Different species have evolved different mechanisms to deal with fire.” …Renkin is one of the few people still on staff at Yellowstone who was around when the 1988 fires swept across roughly one-third of the park, charring more than 793,000 acres. Since then, he’s been witness to the rebirth of the park’s vegetation following what many at the time thought would be a legacy of scorched earth and a slow rebound.

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The cost of a fire: Wildfire budgets increase as does talk about change

By Caroline Cabral
Herald and News
August 28, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

”There is a lot of complexity around the accounting for wildfire suppression costs,” said Jim Gersbach, public information officer for Oregon Department of Forestry. He explained that ODF has a $48 million budget for base level of fire protection which funds permanent seasonal firefighters, their equipment, supplies and training, and these resources fund initial attacks on fires. This is effective at putting out fires more than 90 percent of the time when they are under 10 acres. ODF also receives $5 million for statewide resources to fight fires. This funds the contracts to secure aircraft to help with fire suppression anywhere in the state. Beyond those costs are the costs to fight large fires that grow beyond 100 acres of timber or 300 acres of grassland. “So far in 2018, we are estimating our gross large-fire suppression costs at $88 million,” said Gersbach.

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Fire danger causes forest shutdown

By Mark Freeman
The Mail Tribune
August 28, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Extreme fire danger and ongoing wildfires in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest have triggered a shutdown of commercial activity on Forest Service lands throughout most of Jackson County. The forest issued an immediate shutdown Tuesday of operations for commercial contractors and all permit-holders in its High Cascades and Siskiyou Mountains ranger districts, forest spokeswoman Chamise Kramer said. …Tuesday’s announcement was anticipated by loggers and mill operators, who typically see operational shutdowns in Southern Oregon forests in late summer because of wildfire danger and extreme conditions. “We’ve been waiting for the other shoe to drop,” said David Schott, executive director of the Medford-based Southern Oregon Timber Industries Association. “Things are so dry. It’s just a tinder box out there.

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Research efforts are trying to bring back the American chestnut tree

By Betty Montgomery, master gardener and author
Spartanburg Herald Journal
August 28, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

Most of the U.S. population is too young to remember the American chestnut tree (castanea dentata). This majestic tree was once the predominant tree species along the Eastern seaboard, where there were an estimated 4 billion trees that spread their dense canopies from Maine to Florida and over to Mississippi. …They were considered the redwoods of the East Coast, with their awe-inspiring beauty. …The countryside was soon to change with the introduction of a blight that would decimate these imposing trees. The blight, caused by a fungus, was accidentally introduced from Asia. …The disease spread throughout the eastern forest at a rate of 24 or more miles per year. …Much work is being done to find a cure for the blight and bring the American chestnut tree back to once again forest our lands. …The work is slow and it takes time for the trees that they are testing to grow.

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4 killed in Indonesia forest fires; police arrest suspects

The Associated Press in the Montreal Gazette
August 28, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: International

PONTIANAK, Indonesia — Police in the Indonesian part of Borneo island have arrested more than a dozen people suspected of starting forest fires that have killed four people in the past month. West Kalimantan police chief Didi Haryono said Tuesday that two of the 27 people wanted by police died in blazes they started to clear land for planting. He said 14 people have been arrested so far. They could be prosecuted under an environmental protection law that allows a maximum 10-year prison sentence for setting fires to clear land. The national disaster agency says four people have died in West Kalimantan’s forest fires in the past month, including two suspects. Millions of hectares burned in Indonesia during annual dry season fires in 2015 that spread a health-damaging haze across the region for weeks.

 

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Australian Forestry Company Uses Drone to Spot Koalas Before Cutting Down Trees

By Marco Margaritoff
The Drive
August 27, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: International

The Latrobe Valley-based Hazelwood Forestry company in Victoria, Australia is using unmanned aerial vehicles to keep an eye on the local koala population. According to the Latrobe Valley Express, the implementation of camera drones is helping Eloise and Russel Cluning spot the animals amidst the thick foliage before felling any trees. This process saves time and manual labor while efficiently protecting the local wildlife.  Hazelwood Forestry harvests blue gum (eucalyptus) and pine trees from the Hancock Victoria Plantations in the Strzelecki Ranges of the Latrobe Valley. Koalas, which are naturally extremely fond of the blue gum trees, are thereby in danger of being killed during tree felling operations. What was once an arduous, lengthy manual process is being improved through the bird’s-eye views of modern aerial technologies.  “Koala spotting—we do it every day before that day’s harvest,” said Eloise Cluning.

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Forest Fires

Rain helps, but three wildfires in BC’s Similkameen region still burning out of control

By Doyle Potenteau
Global News
August 28, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

It’s two down and a lot more to go, regarding wildfires in B.C’s Southern Interior. The Mount Gottfriedsen and Darke Creek wildfires have been classified as being under control, and those fires have been taken off the B.C. Wildfire Service’s interactive map. Helping the cause was weekend rain, with 6.4 millimetres falling in the Central Okanagan. “Rain is beneficial and (firefighting conditions) have improved too, by the fact that we have cooler temperatures,” said B.C. Wildfire Service information officer Nicole Bonnett. “Those usually go hand-in-hand with reducing fire behaviour and fire intensity, which gives crews a bolster in their efforts.” …However, not all fires in the Kamloops Fire Region are close to being put out. In fact, three in the Similkameen region are still classified as being out of control.

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Cluster of fires on northern Vancouver Island is abnormal: climate scientist

By Scott Conningham
CTV Vancouver Island
August 27, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

Scott Cunningham

Parts of British Columbia normally guarded from large wildfires due to their wet climates are burning, and scientists are taking note. As smoke begins to clear above much of southern Vancouver Island, a dark and concerning cloud still hangs over the island’s northernmost reaches. According to the B.C. Wildfire Service, 67 blazes currently rage on the northern section of Vancouver Island. They include a 168-hectare fire near the small community of Zeballos that has threatened homes and prompted an evacuation alert. But what makes the dozens of hotspots so concerning to experts is the fact that this normally wet region is extraordinarily dry. “Forest fuels are drier than they have been in the past 40 years,” North Island fire information officer Shayne McCool told CTV News. …”We are seeing fires in places that typically don’t get wildfire,” said Faron Anslow, the lead climate scientist at the University of Victoria’s Pacific Climate Impact Consortium. 

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Growing Northern Nevada wildfire forces closure of 750k acres

By Henry Brean
Las Vegas Review-Journal
August 28, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

One of the largest active wildfires in the U.S. has forced the closure of more than 750,000 acres of national forest along the Nevada-Idaho border. Since it started Aug. 17, the lightning-caused South Sugarloaf Fire has burned more than 237,000 acres of grass and brush and a handful of outbuildings in sparsely populated northeastern Nevada, about 500 miles north of Las Vegas. The fire grew by about 10 percent on Sunday, prompting the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest to expand the closure area to include 754,448 acres of northern Elko County, including five campgrounds and four Nevada Department of Wildlife hunting areas. …“It moved 30,000 acres in one day. That’s a lot of acres,” said K.J. Pollock, spokeswoman for the federal inter-agency team fighting the fire.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Energy from wood is good for New Zealand and the climate

By Scion
Scoop Independent News
August 28, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Bioenergy production using wood from locally grown and sustainably managed forests can provide one of the lowest carbon energy options for New Zealand. New information from Scion explains the role of planted forests in the plant-driven carbon cycle where carbon dioxide is absorbed during growth, released by decay or burning, then reabsorbed by new generations of plants. The amount of carbon in the plant-driven carbon cycle remains constant. In contrast, when fossil fuels are burnt for energy, the total amount of carbon in the atmosphere increases and contributes to climate change. Harvesting and transporting wood uses energy too, but that amount is small compared with the potential energy contained in the biomass. “A typical logging truck load could be converted into around 2,200 litres of diesel,” says Dr Paul Bennett, Clean Technology Science Leader.

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