Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: August 30, 2018

Today’s Takeaway

Don’t stop the presses: US Commission overturns duties on Canadian newsprint

The Tree Frog Forestry News
August 30, 2018
Category: Today's Takeaway

Don’t stop the presses: US Trade Commission overturns duties on newsprint, ruling that Canadian imports do not injure the US industry. The vote was welcome news to Canadian exporters, the US newspaper industry, Catalyst and Kruger, while Norpac is disappointed and assessing their options.

In other Business news, Trump and Trudeau say a deal is possible on NAFTA by Friday as Dairy and Chapter 19 interests vie to be Canada’s hill to die on; Finning responds to Caterpillar’s plan to sell its forestry business; and Resolute is selling its West Virginia mill to Nine Dragons Paper. 

Finally, emotions run high in BC’s fire ravaged areas; a BC psychologist says wildfire smoke can trigger past wildfire traumas; and California’s cap and trade market is touted as a means to save the Amazon.

–Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Business & Politics

Government Mandate Letters a Recognition of Forest Product Sector’s Contribution, says FPAC

By Derek Nighbor
Forest Products Association of Canada
August 30, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada

Forest Products Association of Canada CEO Derek Nighbor issued the following statement in response to the release of new mandate letters that instruct the priorities of the federal Cabinet: “On behalf of Canada’s forest products sector and its workforce, FPAC engages every day with senior levels of government to call attention to issues of significant interest and concern in order to collectively advance opportunities for Canadian forestry and our workers across the country.  The new mandate letters released yesterday suggest the federal government is prepared to address a number of priority areas important to Canadians working in Canada’s forest sector – with the majority of these 230,000 family-supporting jobs being in communities across rural and northern Canada. 

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Don’t Stop the Presses: Committee Overturns Trump Tariffs on Canadian Newsprint

By Grace Dobush
Fortune Magazine
August 30, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

The U.S. International Trade Committee voted Wednesday to overturn President Donald J. Trump’s tariffs on Canadian uncoated groundwood paper—newsprint—in a major win for newspapers across the country. The committee said the import of Canadian newsprint does not harm U.S. paper producers. In fact, the tariffs actively harmed U.S. businesses, as their introduction in January caused prices to spike by as much as 30% and led newspapers to reduce page count and frequency and lay off workers. …But the newspaper industry was relieved by the decision. “The ITC’s decision will help to preserve the vitality of local newspapers and prevent additional job losses in the printing and publishing sectors,” David Chavern, the president of the News Media Alliance, said in a statement. …The damage done to the newspaper industry by the tariffs, sadly, may be irreversible.

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U.S. International Trade Commission overturns duties on Canadian newsprint

The Canadian Press in CBC News
August 29, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

The U.S. International Trade Commission has overturned duties imposed on Canadian newsprint by the U.S. Commerce Department earlier this year. The five commissioners voted unanimously Wednesday that imports from Canada of uncoated groundwood paper, used for newspapers, commercial printing and book publishing, do not injure the U.S. industry. The U.S. Commerce Department had imposed anti-dumping and countervailing duties of various levels on Canadian producers including Resolute, Catalyst, Kruger and White Birch Paper. The Commission’s vote overrules the findings of the Commerce Department. The vote was welcome news to Montreal-based Resolute, the largest newsprint producer in the world. …David Chavern, CEO of U.S. newspaper industry group News Media Alliance, applauded the ruling. …Craig Anneberg, CEO of North Pacific, said the company disagrees with the ruling and it will assess its options when the detailed written determination is released in a few weeks.

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NORPAC Statement on ITC Vote

North Pacific Paper Company
August 29, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

Longview, Wash. – Following the United States International Trade Commission decision on unfair trade of uncoated groundwood papers (UGW) from Canada, Craig Anneberg, CEO of the North Pacific Paper Company (NORPAC), issued the following statement: “We are very disappointed in the USITC’s negative determination, given that the record clearly shows that the domestic industry has been materially injured by dumped and subsidized imports from Canada. We intend to review the USITC’s written determination when it is issued in a few weeks, and we will assess our options at that time.”

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Catalyst Paper receives favourable ruling on newsprint duties from U.S. International Trade Commission

By Catalyst Paper
Cision Newswire
August 29, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

RICHMOND, BC – Catalyst Paper is pleased with today’s favourable ruling from the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) that found Canadian newsprint exports to the United States do not cause or threaten injury to U.S. newsprint producers. With the USITC’s negative determinations, no antidumping or countervailing duty orders will be issued on uncoated groundwood paper imports from Canada. “Catalyst is very pleased with the ruling from the U.S. International Trade Commission,” said Ned Dwyer, President and CEO of Catalyst Paper. “We are a global exporter of pulp and paper products and we play by the rules. The facts show that the petitioner’s allegation that Catalyst Paper has harmed the U.S. newsprint industry is false.” Today’s unanimous ruling of no injury by the USITC follows the U.S. Department of Commerce’s determination on August 2, 2018, that imposed a combined countervailing and antidumping duty of 20.26 per cent on Catalyst.  

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N.L., Corner Brook Pulp & Paper celebrates overturning of U.S. newsprint tariffs

By Stephanie Tobin
CBC News
August 29, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

Dwight Ball

The Newfoundland and Labrador government is celebrating a ruling that will see proposed U.S. tariffs on Corner Brook Pulp & Paper eliminated. …”It’s a great day for the forestry industry in the province,” Premier Dwight Ball told CBC News. “There’s 5000 people attached to the forestry industry in our province, so it’s a significant day, a big win for the team. …Corner Brook Mayor Jim Parsons is relieved that the tariff is gone. …Ball says that working closely with unions across the province, and with governors and senators in the United States, helped sway the decision in Washington, allowing for the commission’s ‘no injury’ decision.

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Trump, Trudeau say NAFTA deal possible by Friday

By Daniel Dale
The Toronto Star
August 29, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

WASHINGTON—Canada, the U.S. and Mexico might be able to make an agreement on trade by the U.S. deadline of Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Donald Trump both said on Wednesday in their most optimistic comments to date about the year-old negotiations. …Neither leader had previously suggested a deal could be imminent. The eruption of positivity came just two days after Trump announced a preliminary deal with Mexico alone and threatened to leave Canada out. A Canadian government official said the resolution of the negotiations would likely “come down to a trade”: Canada would give the U.S. some more access to its tightly protected dairy market, while the U.S. would agree to preserve NAFTA’s current exemption for cultural industries and the current “Chapter 19” system for resolving certain tariff disputes. …In another hint of progress, Trudeau scheduled a call with provincial premiers on Thursday to discuss the state of the negotiations.

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Why NAFTA’s Chapter 19 may not be the right hill to die on

By Janyce McGregor
CBC News
August 30, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

Susan Yurkovich

As Canadian trade negotiators pick through the positions on the NAFTA table, one of the trickiest is a dispute resolution system the U.S. wants to scrap. Chapter 19 allows companies that feel their products have been unfairly hit with anti-dumping or countervailing duties to request arbitration. …Negotiators now face a choice of whether they should fight to keep it or use it as a bargaining chip to get something else. It’s a system that has benefited Canada in the past, but it hasn’t always worked. Take Canada’s infamous battle with the U.S. over softwood lumber. …”I think you could argue it hasn’t really solved the problem they thought they had,” said Simon Lester… at Washington’s Cato Institute. …Few understand American tactics better than Susan Yurkovich, president and CEO of B.C.’s Council of Forest Industries. “A firm and well-articulated system is critically important for any trade deal you make,” she said.

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US and Canada Softwood Log Exports

By Keta Kosman
Madison’s Lumber Reporter
August 29, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

Further to Madison’s latest story, about the skyrocketing levels of US softwood lumber exports to China, is equally stunning increase of US coniferous log exports to China. At the same time that Canadian sawmills are being blamed for the stark rise in North American construction framing lumber prices, in large part due to punishing US softwood lumber duties, US timberland owners — the by far largest contributing group the the US Lumber Coalition lobby group in Washington DC — are exporting multiples of record-breaking raw log volumes. After a whopping +42% jump for our previous issue, the value of US coniferous log exports to China increased the growth rates seen in the year, improving by another +17.6%, in January – June 2018, at US$398 million, compared to US$328 million in full year 2017.

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Caterpillar Announces Plan to Sell the Purpose-Built Forestry Business

Caterpillar
August 29, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

LaGrange, GA – Caterpillar announced today that it has entered into a preliminary agreement with Weiler, Inc. to sell the Cat® purpose-built forestry business. The sale is subject to negotiation of a final agreement, the closing of which is expected by early 2019. …Caterpillar will continue to provide forestry excavators designed for log loading, processing and other forestry applications, in addition to supplying core Caterpillar equipment to the forestry industry. Weiler will design and manufacture purpose-built forestry products, which will be available through the Cat and Prentice dealer networks. …It is anticipated that approximately 270 employees supporting the purpose-built forestry business will retain employment with Weiler. A small number of Caterpillar employees will continue to support forestry excavators and the existing forest products field population.

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Finning to Work with Weiler to Expand Relationship as Distributor of Cat® Purpose-Built Forestry Products

By Finning International
Cision Newswire
August 29, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

VANCOUVER – Finning International today announced its intention to expand its dealer relationship with Weiler, following Caterpillar announcement that it has entered into a preliminary agreement to sell its Cat® purpose-built forestry business to Weiler. “Finning already has a productive and mutually beneficial relationship with Weiler and we look forward to growing that relationship through distributing this portfolio of machines for the forestry industry through our extensive dealer networks in Canada and South America,” said Juan Carlos Villegas, COO of Finning International. …”We will work with Caterpillar and Weiler during their transition to ensure a seamless customer experience.”

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City buys former Tembec lands

By Trevor Crawley
The Cranbrook Townsman
August 29, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

The City of Cranbrook has purchased over 100 acres of land formerly owned by Tembec in the industrial park. Bringing the land into the municipal fold will help bring strategic business and industrial opportunities to the city, according to a press release, which notes one of the biggest challenges to attracting industry is the availability of industrial zoned land. “The Tembec land purchase has been an important goal for Mayor Lee Pratt… The ongoing cooperation and assistance of Marcus Moeltner of Tembec and Tembec/Rayonier has been fundamental for the final transactions regarding the acquisition.”

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Resolute to Sell Fairmont, West Virginia, Recycled Pulp Mill

By Resolute Forest Products Inc.
Cision Newswire
August 30, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

MONTREAL – Resolute Forest Products Inc. today announced that it has entered into a definitive asset purchase agreement with ND Paper LLC, a subsidiary of Nine Dragons Paper (Holdings) Limited, for the sale of its Fairmont, West Virginia, recycled bleached kraft pulp mill, for $55 million plus certain elements of working capital, payable in cash. Nine Dragons is primarily engaged in the production and sale of a broad variety of packaging paperboard products, including linerboard, high-performance corrugating medium, coated duplex board, as well as recycled printing and writing paper and specialty paper.  In addition to nine paper mills operating in Asia, Nine Dragons, through its wholly-owned subsidiary ND Paper, also operates two U.S.-based facilities in Wisconsin and Maine. ND Paper has agreed to offer employment to Fairmont mill employees, effective upon closing of the transaction, which is expected within the next two months.   

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Decoding Africa’s Economy: Timber industry brings new opportunity to Central Africa

China Global Television Network
August 30, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

The rainforest in the Congo Basin is the second largest in the world after the Amazon Jungle. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), with the largest portion of the Congo forest in central Africa, reaps sizeable returns from its abundant natural resources. As home to the “lungs of the world,” the timber industry in DRC has provided a source of livelihood for many ordinary Congolese struggling to get jobs in the formal sector. …However, the timber industry has for long been grappling with illegal logging. The lack of transparency in the sector has also left small-scale traders with the short end of the stick. In the DRC, all forest land is owned by the state. …In order to restore more state control over an industry undermined by corruption, a forest code has been introduced. 

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

City causing ‘brain damage’ with costly delays in building permits

By David Staples
Edmonton Journal
August 29, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

City council often trumpets the lofty and oft-stated goal of building dense housing and commercial development up and down the LRT lines, but not one major project has been completed in four decades. …It’s with 300 West Block that the permitting issue came up, but only because the project is so different and innovative. It is the largest office building constructed out of glue-laminated timber (GLT) in Western Canada. The GLT ceilings, beams and columns are being left fully exposed to show off the wood. InHouse sees this look as a major selling point. …One tenant that signed up … is a daycare. But … GLT wasn’t on the City’s list of approved materials for day cares. At once the project got bogged down. The deal with the daycare client was put at risk. One solution was to put drywall over the exposed wood…

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Are Wooden Skyscrapers In Our Future?

By Scott Sowers
Builder Magazine
August 29, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

The state of Oregon recently became the first in the country to approve the use of science-based building code requirements for “tall mass timber buildings,” under its Statewide Alternate Method (SAM). The SAM approval lays a path for the state and perhaps the rest of the country to usher in an increase in the use of mass timber wood products in commercial and residential buildings. Prior to the ruling, structures of this type were limited to six stories in height. The types of lumber affected by the code change include cross laminated timber, structural composite lumber, and mass timber which is defined as structural elements made primarily from solid, built-up, panelized or engineered wood products. The new regulations were cheered by the American Wood Council (AWC). AWC President & CEO Robert Glowinski says, “Mass timber is a new category of wood products that will revolutionize how America builds and we’ve seen interest in it continue to grow over the last several years.

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Timber industry revival: Western Australia town unveils one of the biggest timber buildings in 80 years

By Aaron Fernandes
ABC News Australia
August 29, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

A tiny wheatbelt town has received the keys to the biggest civic timber construction in Western Australia in nearly 80 years, as the state’s timber industry shows signs of revival. The Shire of Pingelly decided to build its new Recreation and Cultural Centre entirely out of timber — and the result is without a modern-day rival. Not since the Merredin aircraft hangars of World War II has any public organisation built with timber on such a large scale. …Mr Mulroney said cost estimates for the timber design of the new building came in around the same as brickwork. “We decided we would have something really good, and we went for timber … the timber will make it a longer life and make it better looking than bricks and mortar, which can age over years,” he said.

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Forestry

Sudbury entrepreneur hopes new design will help protect camps during wildfire season

CBC News
August 29, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada

Ken Roy

A retired firefighter has gone from battling blazes on the ground to helping homeowners protect themselves against destructive fires. Sudbury’s Ken Roy, head of Firebug, has designed a portable sprinkler system that home and cottage owners can install around their properties to protect any structure. Now, he hopes to convince fire departments and provincial ministries that his invention is worth a look.The sprinkler system operates like a 4-port manifold or hub, which, once hooked up to a water source like a hydrant, pond, or lake, creates a “humidity bubble” around any structure. …Roy said he is currently working with the British Columbia Fire Service and the Ontario Fire Marshall on getting these devices to fire crews.

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Nanaimo sawmill supplies wood for helicopter landing pads in wildfire fight

By Chris Bush
Nanaimo News Bulletin
August 29, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

A private sawmill near Nanaimo is supplying wood to help to fight wildfires on the north Island. Gogo’s Sawmill and Christmas Tree Farm had to fill a rush order from the B.C. Wildfire Service last week for 32 23-by-23 centimetre by 4.9-metre-long timbers to build helicopter landing pads. Mike Gogo, mill owner, said the province placed the order at 4 p.m. Thursday and they were ready by lunchtime Friday after a 5 a.m. start. The order, which has been shipped to Woss camp, is enough timber to make four helicopter pads. “We’ve cut them for the last three years in a row. We are the successful bidder,” Gogo said.

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‘Lied to and let down’: Emotions run high in areas ravaged by B.C. wildfires

By Clare Hennig
CBC News
August 29, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Emotions are running high in areas ravaged by wildfires in Northern B.C., in what some are calling a breakdown of trust between people affected by the wildfires and fire officials. Dozens of wildfires continue to burn out of control in the Bulkley-Nechako district where, over the weekend, some residents of Burns Lake staged a protest in an attempt to prevent firefighting resources from leaving town. “We haven’t felt like we are getting the help or service over on the south side to help fight those fires,” said Ginger Moyah, a Lake District resident who organized the protest. “A lot of people feel like we’ve been lied to this whole time and let down.” Firefighters working for a Fort St. John-based company had offered sprinklers, pumps and hoses to fight fires on the Burns Lake fire’s south side, but the B.C. Wildfire Service turned them down, arguing the equipment wasn’t appropriate.  

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MP Report: Altering how we work in our forests

By Richard Cannings, South Okanagan-West Kootenay riding MP
Pentiction Western News
August 29, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

2018 has just become British Columbia’s second worst forest fire season in history …Some have called this the “new normal,” but unfortunately it’s only part of a trend — things will likely become more severe as the years go on. Luckily there are things we can and must do to reduce the impacts of climate change in both the short and long term. First, we can adapt to these changes by altering how we work in our forests. Most forestry activities in Canada are regulated by the provincial governments, but the federal government can become involved at higher levels with significant funding and research. …There are also the obvious long-term actions we need to take to reduce the extent and strength of global warming. These actions will not stop forest fires and floods in British Columbia right away — but they are necessary so that Canada can do its part in global climate action.

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New hunting restrictions for moose in the Chilcotin

By Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development
Government of British Columbia
August 29, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The Province is taking additional action to manage moose in the Chilcotin part of the Cariboo Region after a decade-long population decline, wildfire impacts and concerns from First Nations. Over the past 10 years, moose populations have decreased in the area from about 18,000 to 11,500 animals.  …These restrictions are the result of discussions between the Province and the Tsilhqot’in Nation, and aim to address concerns related to decreasing moose numbers and increased vulnerability of moose to hunting following last year’s wildfires. Changes to the landscape from wildfire can increase sightlines for hunters, potentially resulting in higher success rates and more moose killed. The restrictions will be in place for this year’s moose hunting season and will be re-evaluated after the season is over.

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Houston seeks support to expand Dungate Community Forest

Houston Today
August 29, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Houston council is seeking the support of the provincial government to expand the Dungate Community Forest. Council hopes to expand the land and timber volume for the community forest’s K2L Licence, which currently permits an annual allowable cut of 29,000 cubic metres… to 50,000 cubic metres. …Although district staff have contacted the ministry and Canfor staff to seek assistance in identifying additional volume, the process to pursue an expansion remains unclear, according to the district, adding that it currently relies on the willingness of existing licensees to relinquish timber rights. …In addition, the District of Houston will ask the province to reintroduce appurtenance rules… regulations and policies that permit timber licensees to harvest timber from one timber supply area and process it in another community.

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To save iconic American chestnut, researchers plan introduction of genetically engineered tree into the wild

By Gabriel Popkin
Science Magazine
August 29, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

SYRACUSE, NEW YORK—Two deer-fenced plots here contain some of the world’s most highly regulated trees. Each summer researchers double-bag every flower the trees produce. One bag, made of breathable plastic, keeps them from spreading pollen. The second, an aluminum mesh screen added a few weeks later, prevents squirrels from stealing the spiky green fruits that emerge from pollinated flowers. …These American chestnut trees (Castanea dentata) are under such tight security because they are genetically modified organisms, engineered to resist a deadly blight that has all but erased the once widespread species from North American forests. Now, Newhouse and his colleagues hope to use the GM chestnuts to restore the tree to its former home. In the coming weeks, they plan to formally ask U.S. regulators for approval to breed their trees with nonengineered relatives and plant them in forests.

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Researchers from three universities conducting study about how people perceive risks from beetle-killed forests

By Deepan Dutta
Glenwood Springs Post Independent
August 29, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

…Back in 2007, a study was done in nine communities — Breckenridge, Dillon, Frisco, Silverthorne, Granby, Kremmling, Steamboat Springs, Vail and Walden — to explore resident’s perceptions of the forest, attitudes toward forest management and changes in behavior influenced by the beetle outbreak. Eleven years later, researchers from the University of Colorado, University of Missouri and Utah State University are conducting a new study in those same communities to find out how perceptions have changed as the effects of the outbreak revealed themselves over time. The study’s findings may be used to understand better how humans perceive risk over time when it comes to the beetle outbreak and insect-related forest disturbances. The analysis may influence policy-making on forest management and messaging for wildfire mitigation.

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Will More Logging Save Western Forests From Wildfires?

By Kirk Siegler
GPB News
August 29, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

In Redding, California, where the Carr Fire burned more than 200,000 acres … there’s a feeling of desperation. Something has to be done … or the next fire will be even worse. …There was a time when logging and timber companies ruled Redding. …In response to California’s deadly wildfires, the Trump administration is calling for more ‘active’ logging in western forests … to reduce the fire risk but also revive rural, natural-resource dependent economies. …But out on the ground, foresters and even some timber industry leaders say what’s really needed to mitigate the wildfire threat is a lot more involved — and expensive. …So, even if more public land was opened back up to logging, retired Forest Service officials like Bill Oliver wonder whether there is enough industry left in the West to process the timber. Oliver, a wildfire scientist, says the forests are dangerously overgrown today due to prior forest management decisions.

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Judge OKs Oregon forest thinning project

Associated Press in the Idaho Statesman
August 29, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

A federal judge says a project to thin 2,000 acres (800 hectares) of timberland in northeastern Oregon’s Wallowa-Whitman National Forest can move forward. The Capital Press reports officials with the U.S. Forest Service have said the project aims to reduce wildfire and insect problems along roughly 11 miles (20 kilometers) of the Lostine River. The Greater Hells Canyon Council and Oregon Wild organizations sued over the plans last year, contending that the project was improperly excluded from environmental studies under the National Environmental Policy Act. A U.S. magistrate judge dismissed those claims. In a ruling handed down earlier this month, U.S. District Judge Michael Simon agreed with the lower court, dismissing the lawsuit.

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Fears that forestry is threatening to overwhelm Galway farmlands

By Briain Kelly
Galway Daily
August 29, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Rural life and agriculture in Galway are being overwhelmed by too many forestry developments Galway-Roscommon TD Eugene Murphy is warning. In Galway, 229 afforestation licences were granted between June 2016 and June this year according to Deputy Murphy, with only eight being refused. Afforestation involves creating an area of forest where previously there was no tree cover. An afforestation licence is required from the Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Maine for any forestry development larger than 0.10 hectares. …However other than that licensing process forestry operations are not governed by planning permission, leaving the Local Authority with little control over them. Deputy Murphy is warning that landowners are being crowded in by forestry, “Many rural areas have been inundated with forestry,” “In some cases homeowners and landowners have been hemmed in on all sides of their property and there is a serious issue with a lack of sunlight.”

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Are trees on farms the future for the timber industry?

By Nerissa Hannink, University of Melbourne
Phys.org
August 29, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: International

A multi-disciplinary research team is developing new models for growing trees on farms to help meet the needs of landholders, investors and the timber industry. Project leader Professor Rod Keenan said the need for wood is increasing to meet future timber demands of Australian housing. “The increasing use of wood in construction for design and environmental benefits will increase this demand as will the substantial push for renewable and sustainable products to replace plastics,” Prof Keenan said. “We are examining whether timber industry investment in trees on farms can provide their wood needs and also provide shade, shelter, carbon, water and biodiversity benefits. A survey mailed to selected owners and managers of land in south-west Victoria and Gippsland asks about current agricultural activities, views on planting trees for harvest in the future and the importance of different factors when considering integrating trees with other land uses.

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Forest Fires

2018 now worst fire season on record as B.C. extends state of emergency

By Bethany Lindsay
CBC News
August 29, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

The B.C. government has extended the provincial state of emergency because of wildfires that have now burned more area than any other season on record. As of Tuesday, more than 12,984 square kilometres of the province had burned, pushing past the previous record set just one year earlier. As 534 fires continued to burn on Wednesday morning, the province announced that it has extended the state of emergency through to the end of the day on Sept. 12. About 3,200 people have been removed because of the wildfires, and another 21,800 are on alert.  In the catastrophic wildfire season of 2017, which saw 65,000 people forced from their homes, 12,161 square kilometres of British Columbia went up in flames. Scientists suggest there are several reasons for the severity of the last two wildfire seasons in B.C., including a lack of controlled burning and aggressive firefighting efforts that have allowed potential fuels to build up across the province.

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Glenrosa fire evacuation routes unsafe, West Kelowna council told

By Ron Seymour
The Kelowna Daily Courier
August 29, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

Robert Mellalieu

Glenrosa residents fleeing a forest fire could be at risk if they use the two designated evacuation routes, West Kelowna city council has heard. The 40- and 50-kilometre routes present a challenging drive along narrow and poorly maintained forest service roads, says a representative of the Glenrosa Residents Association. “We’re very concerned about the safety of that thing,” Robert Mellalieu told council on Tuesday. “It’s too rough and dusty for 3,000 panicked Glenrosians to try to (use) if there’s a forest fire.” Two evacuation routes have been designated for Glenrosa, both of which extend off the northern end of Glenrosa Road near the site of the long-closed Crystal Mountain ski hill. …The residents association, he said, would like to see a bridge built across Powers Creek to connect Glenrosa with the Smith Creek neighbourhood, offering a faster and safer way out of the community if it were threatened by fire.

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Oregon wildfires: Poor conditions fuel Klondike Fire, Terwilliger Fire growth

By David Davis and Zach Urness
The Statesman Journal
August 29, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

While many of the wildfires burning across south and central Oregon are slowing down, two wildfires have continued to show active growth. Southern Oregon’s Klondike Fire continued to blaze to the west, threatening the small outpost of Agness while the Terwilliger Fire continues its growth around Cougar Reservoir east of Eugene. …The Terwilliger Fire burning east of Eugene around Cougar Reservoir continued its gradual growth, reaching 6,866 acres by Wednesday morning. …The Klondike Fire continued to roar to the west, threatening the small town of Agness while spouting smoke into the Southern Oregon Coast area. 

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

How California Can Save the Amazon

By Michael Oppenheimer and Steve Schwartzman
The New York Times
August 29, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

Next month, when Gov. Jerry Brown convenes the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, it will be a chance to mark the huge strides he has made on behalf of the climate, and measure how much remains to be done. …But Governor Brown has the opportunity to make his biggest impact yet by harnessing the power of forests to reduce carbon dioxide pollution, the principal cause of global warming. Without protecting these forests, the world can’t cut emissions quickly enough to avoid the most dangerous impacts of climate change. …Though California is far away from the world’s vast tropical rain forests, the state is in a position to protect these rich carbon storehouses through its cap and trade market. …California should create credits for saving whole forest landscapes, across entire states or nations.

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Health & Safety

Psychologist says wildfire smoke can spark trauma from past fires

By Melanie Eksal
The Kelowna Daily Courier
August 28, 2018
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

Forest fires have cast a smokescreen on mental health in the Okanagan. While most have been feeling the physical symptoms … for some, the smoke isn’t only affecting air quality. “When we look at smoke at a physical level, it’s the very same for mental health,” Dr. Heather McEachern of Kelowna Psychologists Group said Tuesday. “And there are groups of people highly affected in our communities.” It is unfortunate that a summer such as this brings back memories of 2003, when wildfires displaced tens of thousands of Okanagan residents from their homes and burned more than 230 buildings. “The smoke can be a trigger of past trauma,” McEachern said. …As McEachern sees it, employees in a male-dominated profession tend to seek less assistance from medical professionals than others. Embarrassment or shame seem to be a stigma that prevents employees from speaking up — a problem in the workplace that needs to change.

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Six Northland logging truck crashes a ‘very poor statistic’

By Imran Ali
New Zealand Herald
August 30, 2018
Category: Health & Safety
Region: International

Six road crashes involving just logging trucks in Northland since December is a “very poor” statistic which the trucking industry should take note of, the region’s transport committee chairman says. John Bain made the comments while responding to the number of logging truck crashes involving no other vehicles, saying any crash on Northland roads was of concern and more so when it involved vehicles carrying large loads. This month alone, there have been three logging truck crashes, and Bain said there would always be one or two drivers who would try to extend the number of trips and their qualified hours of work. …First Union, which represents logging truck drivers in Northland, blamed low pay, fatigue, and road condition among other things for the number of crashes. …Road Transport Forum chief executive Ken Shirley said suppliers should take responsibility by not always going with the cheaper options that may not be the safest.

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