Tree Frog Forestry News

Monthly Archives: October 2018

Today’s Takeaway

Marijuana legalization spurs awareness campaign on workplace impairment

The Tree Frog Forestry News
October 18, 2018
Category: Today's Takeaway

Is your workplace ready for legalized marijuana? WorkSafeBC launches campaign to raise awareness about impairment in the workplace.

Elsewhere: strike action ends at Tolko; the San Group adds a shift in Port Alberni; Burns Lake looks to mill poplar; two sawmills expand in Ontario; Weyerhaeuser opens mill in Arkansas; Irving’s plea deal is questioned; and Resolute wins award for reducing its carbon emissions.

Meanwhile: BC seeks better buildings; NJ considers wood safety reforms; controlled burns are promoted in BC; Utah’s trembling aspen giant is collapsing; Michigan’s history of forest clearing is panned; and the future of the Amazon lies in Brazil’s election.

Finally, US builder confidence rises and SFI awards go to Brian Kernohan (Conservation Leadership) and Bettina Ring (President’s Award).

–Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Business & Politics

San Group adds third shift to its Port Alberni mill

By Susie Quinn
The Alberni Valley News
October 17, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Suki Sanghera

The San Group will add a third shift to its operations at the Coulson Mill in the next two weeks, owner Suki Sanghera announced on Saturday. “We committed to doing more,” he said. The new shift will mean 40 to 50 more jobs, Sanghera added. …The San Group, a family-owned company based in Surrey, purchased the mill from Wayne Coulson in May 2017 and have said their intent is to grow the business in Port Alberni. At an event at the mill last December, Kamal Sanghera said the San Group ships 130,000 cubic metres of raw logs out of the Alberni Valley every month. They announced then that they would approach Western Forest Products… about buying their holdings… to keep more raw logs in Port Alberni mills instead of shipping them out of town.

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Burns Lake sawmills think outside the box to increase timber supply

Burns Lake Lakes District News
October 17, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

With local timber supply impacted by wildfires and a possible upcoming reduction to the region’s annual allowable cut (AAC), sawmills in the Burns Lake area are thinking outside the box to increase their timber supply. Hampton Lumber, which owns both Babine Forest Products and Decker Lake Forest Products, will attempt to mill a different type of timber next year – poplar (genus Populus). The province estimates that less than eight per cent of the total live timber volume in the Lakes Timber Supply Area (TSA) is from aspen stands, which is a species of this deciduous, hardwood tree. “There is no doubt that to keep both mills running at normal levels we need to reach farther outside the Lakes District for timber, and consider any species that can economically be milled,” said Steve Zika, Hampton Lumber’s chief executive officer.

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Steelworkers strike action concludes after one day in Williams Lake

By Monica Lamb-Yorski
Williams Lake Tribune
October 17, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Paul French

United Steelworker Union Local 1-2017 held a one-day legal strike Tuesday at the Tolko’s Lakeview Division in Williams Lake. The union’s vice-president Paul French said talks picket lines went down Tuesday evening and talks continue in Kelowna Wednesday morning with Interior Forest Labour Relation Association (IFLRA). “There is no intention to strike further at this time,” French told the TribuneWednesday. “”We made our point. A strike benefits nobody. We are trying to get the company to bargain in good faith with no concessions.”

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Log shortage from forest fires sparks sawmill closure in Ladysmith

By Skye Ryan
Check News
October 16, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

All is quiet at the usually buzzing Western Forest Products Sawmill in Ladysmith. It has been shut down since Sept. 21 when a log shortage sparked by this summer’s wildfires emptied out all of its booms out front. “Well anytime you have guys out of work it’s not a good thing,” said Glenn Calder with the Public and Private Workers of Canada Union. “So hopefully we can get some wood in the water and get some guys back to work.” The smaller trees the Ladysmith mill processes are harvested mainly from the North Island, where a massive shut down of forest operations happened due to the dry, hot weather and forest fires that ravaged that region for months this summer. Even as recently as Sunday, a flare up from the massive Zeballos area fire had to be doused, many weeks after fire crews left town.

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Two sawmills expand production

Thunder Bay News Watch
October 17, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

DRYDEN, ON — A spokesperson for a union representing forest industry workers says northwestern Ontario workers are benefiting from a rebound in softwood lumber prices. According to Dryden-based Unifor national representative Stephen Boon, Kenora Forest Products has confirmed it is hiring 15 to 20 new employees for a weekend production shift set to start next month. This comes on the heels of Eacom Timber hiring about a dozen workers in August when it expanded production from four to five days a week at its Ear Falls sawmill. Boon said the union is “extremely pleased” to see both mills expanding to take advantage of a low Canadian dollar and rebounding lumber prices.

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Proposed Irving plea deal would put money into Irving-controlled salmon group

By Connell Smith
CBC News
October 17, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

A plea deal awaiting approval by a Saint John judge would allow J.D. Irving Ltd. to pay part of its fine for pollution in the St. John River to CAST, an Atlantic salmon conservation company it controls. The Crown and lawyers for JDI are jointly recommending the plea deal, which would see Irving Pulp and Paper Ltd. plead guilty to three charges related to 15 instances of effluent discharges from its Saint John pulp mill. CAST, which stands for Collaboration for Atlantic Salmon Tomorrow, is a New Brunswick-registered company chaired by James Irving, the co-CEO of JDI, with Glenn Cooke of Cooke Aquaculture and Saint John businessman Brian Moore listed as fellow directors. …The proposal to direct the money to a Miramichi River project far away from the St. John River, where the pollution occurred, is galling to Fundy baykeeper Matthew Abbott.

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Global Pellet Inc. to launch pellet brokering platform

By Global Pellet Inc.
Biomass Magazine
October 17, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States

Global Pellet Inc. announced it has launched a website aimed at connecting buyers and sellers of wood pellets. Global Pellet Inc. is a Michigan-registered corporation focused on facilitating international trade within the energy industry, according to owner Karen Marciniak. On the new website, wood pellet producers will be able to register their businesses and products, and then will be matched with buy requests from registered buyers, Marciniak said. “Key players such as power plant procurement professionals and wholesale buyers from the energy industry will be offered this service as a tool in the procurement process.” GlobalJoule.com has an option to translate its content into over 100 different languages.

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Trump slams California wildfire steps, threatens funding halt

By Steve Holland
Reuters in Yahoo News
October 17, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

U.S. President Donald Trump Wednesday rekindled his criticism of California’s wildfire prevention steps and threatened to withhold billions of dollars of federal funding amid one of the most destructive fire seasons on record. “It’s hurting our budget, it’s hurting our country and they better get their act together,” Trump said at a Cabinet meeting about California’s forestry management. He did not specify the type of funding that could be withheld. The Republican president’s comments, which followed his criticism in August of California’s wildfire prevention efforts, were aimed at Democratic Governor Jerry Brown, whom he has frequently criticized over immigration and other policies.

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A local company gives back after losing one of its own to PTSD

ABC News 6
October 18, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

AUGUSTA,GA – A local company is giving back this morning after losing one of its own.  West Fraser Lumber Mill lost Dustin Corey, one of its supervisors to PTSD. Corey served with the Army during the Iraq War.  On Thursday, Oct. 18 workers at West Fraser will be donated a $50,000 check to the  Wounded Warrior Project at 2:30 p.m. in Corey’s honor.

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Did Trump’s lumber tariffs make your new house more expensive?

By Caitlin McCabe
Philly.com
October 17, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

With so many things that homeowners need to focus on when buying these days— the price, location, taxes, and more — it’s likely that most have never given much thought to the wood holding their house together. It’s probably time they start. The conversation surrounding lumber transitioned from an inside-baseball kind of topic to one far more mainstream this year as the price of lumber surged to its highest price on record. …But there’s also a reason why homeowners should care: Higher lumber prices means higher home prices, some argue. Today, the price of lumber has fallen far from its height of $639 in May, hovering instead Wednesday morning around $340. But the price of lumber remains volatile, the market shows, and recent events — wildfires, hurricanes, and a new trade deal under President Trump — suggest it could drastically change again.

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Resolute honored for environmental efforts

The Daily Post-Athenian
October 17, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

Resolute Forest Products Calhoun was recognized recently by TVA for significantly lowering its carbon emission rates in calendar year 2016. The location in Grenada, Miss., was also recognized by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). During a recent ceremony, TVA welcomed Resolute Calhoun into the Leadership Circle 2018, presenting them with the Carbon Reduction Award for efforts to reduce their carbon footprint. …Scott Palmer, general manager of the Resolute Calhoun operation, said the company challenges “all 550 employees to be mindful of the responsibility we have to the communities that surround us. Employees are expected to work safely and meet or exceed expectations for outstanding environmental performance, exhibited by the recognition we’re receiving from TVA.”

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Weyerhaeuser opens new sawmill in Dierks, Arkansas

KTBS News
October 17, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

A $190 million upgrade to a Southwest Arkansas sawmill is now complete. Federal and state leaders visited Dierks, Arkansas for the grand opening. …Governor Asa Hutchinson, U.S. Senator John Boozman, Congressman Bruce Westerman and other state and local leaders were on hand for the grand opening of the brand new Weyerhaeuser Lumber Mill. In 2015, the company announced plans to construct the upgraded facility to replace the former mill, which was originally built 100 years ago. Weyerhaeuser purchased the mill from the Dierks Forest Company in 1969. …The new mill has the capacity to produce about 380 million board feet of lumber per year.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Standpipes in Buildings Under Construction

By James Johnson, Firefighter
Fire Rescue Magazine
October 17, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada

When I look back on some of the events that occurred in the fire service during 2017, my mind immediately goes to the countless number of devastating fires that have occurred in large wood-frame buildings under construction, or as Fire Engineering Technical Editor Glenn Corbett likes to call them, “toothpick towers.” Buildings under construction are some of the most challenging fires we face and, depending on the amount of passive and active fire protection that has been installed or is operational, it can be a losing battle from the start. In this article, we are going to look at one aspect of fire protection that can directly affect our operations and tactics during fires in buildings under construction: the standpipe system.

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Innovate BC awards nearly $1 million to four research projects

BC Business
October 12, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

Crown agency Innovate BC has awarded a total of $944,600 to four projects shepherded by B.C. universities. The money is slated to help commercialize technologies in natural resources and applied sciences. Through its Ignite Awards program, Innovate BC seeks to commercialize technologies in the hope of solving problems in natural resources and applied sciences. To that end, the organization has given out $4.3 million in Ignite funding since the program launched in 2016. Highlighting the fifth edition of the biannual Ignite Awards were four projects promising innovations to ease B.C.’s consumption of natural resources. …Finally, UBC forestry professor Jack Saddler and Vancouver-headquartered Performance BioFilaments were awarded $103,100 in the forestry/biocomposites category for finding non-traditional applications for wood pulp products.

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Better Buildings BC incentive plan aims for zero

By Warren Frey
Journal of Commerce
October 17, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

A new incentive program is looking to help British Columbia’s construction industry step up to better buildings. The Better Buildings BC incentive program recognizes multi-family residential, commercial and institutional building projects that have achieved the highest level of performance in the BC Energy Step Code, a voluntary standard that establishes a series of performance based energy efficiency requirements that go beyond those prescribed by the BC Building Code. The new program, funded by the provincial government, Natural Resources Canada and Forestry Innovation Investment and managed by Integral Group, was launched at a seminar held at by the Urban Development Institute (UDI) on Oct. 10. …”What this program is designed to do is reward those design teams and developers who are getting ahead of the curve…” Westerhoff said. 

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Builder Confidence Rises One Point in October, Remains at Summer Levels

National Association of Home Builders
October 17, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States

Builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes rose one point to 68 in October on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI). Builder confidence levels have held in the high 60s since June. “Builders are motivated by solid housing demand, fueled by a growing economy and a generational low for unemployment,” said NAHB Chairman Randy Noel, a custom home builder from LaPlace, La. “Builders are also relieved that lumber prices have declined for three straight months from elevated levels earlier this summer, but they need to manage supply-side costs to keep home prices affordable.” “Favorable economic conditions and demographic tailwinds should continue to support demand, but housing affordability has become a challenge due to ongoing price and interest rate increases,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz.

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UMaine Composites Center receives $500,000 to help boatbuilders incorporate 3D printing technology

Wiscasset Newspaper
October 17, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

ORONO — The University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center (UMaine Composites Center) received $500,000 from the Maine Technology Institute to form a technology cluster to help Maine boatbuilders explore how large-scale 3D printing using economical, wood-filled plastics can provide the industry with a competitive advantage. The cluster brings together the expertise of UMaine researchers and marine industry leaders to further develop and commercialize 3D printing, or additive manufacturing, to benefit boatbuilders in the state. …To address the high cost of large-scale 3D printing, the UMaine Composites Center will develop a range of economical wood-filled materials for composite tooling applications. The use of the wood-based fillers significantly reduces the cost and increases the stiffness and toughness of the material, while reducing the environmental impact and improving recyclability.

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Yale architecture students built this innovative timber home for the formerly homeless

By Tanay Warerkar
Curbed
October 17, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

For the 2018 Jim Vlock Building Project at the Yale School of Architecture (YSoA)—an annual program that asks first year students to design and build a home for low-income families and individuals—students were challenged to work with cross-laminated timber (CLT), an innovative wood panel product typically used in mid-rise structures as well as increasingly popular tall timber buildings rising around the world. Earlier this week, students debuted the two-family home they completed on Button Street, in New Haven’s Hill neighborhood. Deborah Berke, dean of the Yale School of Architecture and a previous juror for Curbed’s Groundbreakers Awards said it was probably one of the first examples of CLT being used to build a house of this size. She also told Curbed she’s impressed by the scale of the house, saying it feels much larger than a typical two-family home in the area

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Bergen County Calls Upon Legislature to Support Fire Code Safety Reforms

By James Johnson, Firefighter
Insider NJ
October 17, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

Jim Tedesco

(Hackensack) –The Bergen County Board of Chosen Freeholders voted to approve Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco’s proposed resolution in support of state legislation to amend New Jersey’s fire code. Tedesco, an active duty Paramus firefighter for more than four decades, was among those responding to the devastating fire in Edgewater at the Avalon Bay apartment complex, just 20 days after becoming County Executive. …The adopted resolution supports Assembly Bill 135 and Senate Bill 1261, legislation that calls for the installation of an automatic sprinkler system in accordance with NFPA 13, measuring the number of stories from the grade plane, using noncombustible materials for construction, and installing a fire barrier with a fire resistance rating of at least two hours that extends from the foundation to the roof.

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Belgian forestry centre uses glass and wood to create an impressive visual presence

By WoodSolutions
Architecture and Design Australia
October 17, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

The Wallon Forestry Centre sits in the middle of the Ardennes Forest in Belgium, and stands out for its strong visual presence with a glass and wood palette. Designed by architects Samyn and Partners, the Wallon Forestry Centre is used to treat silviculture seeds. The building …features a dome-like structure. Since timber is an important element of the region’s economy, the building’s owner sought to include wood in the materials palette in a highly technical manner. The dome is made from small double-layered 6m long pieces of wood joined together with steel bolts to form one continuous structural element (called a gridshell). The wooden elements are covered in laminated glass tiles to provide a transparent cladding on the entire building while also successfully creating a strong visual presence for the structure against the surrounding landscape.

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Forestry

Fighting fire with fire: forestry experts call for more controlled burning in B.C.

By Doris Maria Bregolisse
Global News
October 16, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

After two record-breaking wildfire years in B.C., forestry experts are calling on the government to endorse more controlled burning, also known as prescribed fires, in the province’s forests to help protect communities and reduce firefighting costs. “We as a province cannot continue to spend upwards of half a billion dollars a year in suppression and response costs,” BC Wildfire Service executive director Ian Meier said. “We need to find a different way.” Meier was one of four forest fire professionals who participated in UBC Okanagan’s wildfire forum in Kelowna on Monday night. …Lowering the wildfire risk with controlled burns requires patience, according to University of California Berkeley fire science Prof. Scott Stephens. Forests build wildfire resiliency after three controlled burns completed over 20 years, he said. …“That’s why prescribed fires work so well because we’re consuming surface fuel,” Stephens said.

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Trees, please: A united effort in the woods

Victoria Times Colonist
October 17, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Trees are being planted in a wooded section of Pemberton Park — all that remains of an original estate assigned to Joseph Pemberton in the 1860s by the Hudson Bay Company. The City of Victoria has been working to remove invasive plants and restore this area within the park. Telus donated $3,000 to the cost of the native trees and shrubs that include Douglas fir, Pacific dogwood, big leaf maple, vine maple, cascara, evergreen huckleberry, red huckleberry, bunchberry, Oregon grape, Dully Oregon grape, Indian plum, salal, sword fern, deer fern twinflower and trumpet honeysuckle. Representatives from Tree Canada also joined the event.

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B.C. trails enhanced with new funding

By Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development
Government of British Columbia
October 17, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

A cash injection of almost $100,000 will be given to British Columbian outdoor clubs to improve trail riding conditions and promote rider safety. Eleven clubs are receiving funding under two different funding streams… The next intake of applications to the Off-Road Vehicle (ORV) Trail Fund will begin in early 2019, with at least $150,000 available to fund applicants. Representatives from the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, the British Columbia Snowmobile Federation, British Columbia Off-road Motorcycle Association and ATVBC evaluated 28 applications before making the final decisions. Established in 2017, the ORV Trail Fund is funded from a portion of registration fees collected under the Off Road Vehicle Act by ICBC. The fund is administered by the ministry’s Recreation Sites and Trails Branch.

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Timberlands offers to renew trail licence to Regional District of Nanaimo

By Michael Briones
Parksville Qualicum Beach News
October 17, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The Regional District of Nanaimo operates approximately 15 kilometres of the Trans Canada Trail on Island Timberlands forest lands. It has a non-exclusive licence to do so since it was first issued in 2004. It has been renewed several times and most recently expired in July. Island Timberlands offered to renew the licence until 2020. The cost to renew the two-year licence will be $1,000 plus GST. …The landowner involved supports use of the right of way for the trail and will conclude a land access agreement, subject to a separate staff report.

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Petersburg assembly votes down timber resolution

By Joe Viechnicki
KTOO Public Media
October 16, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

On Monday, Petersburg’s borough assembly voted down a resolution calling for a forensic audit of two Tongass National Forest timber sales. Back in May, the assembly also voted against sending a letter on lost revenue from the sales and the impact to Petersburg. The issue has been prompted by a 2016 review by staff in the U.S. Forest Service’s Washington office that noted timber companies were focusing on the more valuable trees. According to that review, the practice resulted in millions of dollars of lost value from the contracts for the Tonka sale on Kupreanof Island near Petersburg and Big Thorne on Prince of Wales Island. The sales are what are called Integrated Resource Contracts, meaning that money would have been kept in the Tongass to pay for stream restoration, culvert repair and other stewardship work.

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Thinning effort to restore ponderosa forests to their natural state inches forward

By Casey Kuhn
Cronkite News
October 17, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

FLAGSTAFF – On public land south of Mountainaire, nature lovers can enjoy a vista of thousands of lush ponderosa pines blanketing the base of the San Francisco Peaks. The dense forest is beautiful – and unnatural. It was sparse until humans changed the landscape in the late 19th century. And now, humans are trying to change it again. One way is through the Four Forest Restoration Initiative (4FRI), a partnership that includes the U.S. Forest Service, Arizona Game and Fish Department and the Grand Canyon Trust. The goal is to restore 2.4 million acres of ponderosa stretching across northern Arizona from the Grand Canyon to the New Mexico line. But the effort has been costly and slow. So far, the U.S. Forest Service has restored 186,000 acres of forest.

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Save the Redwoods League celebrates 100 years of forest activism

By Catherine Bigelow
The San Francisco Chronicle
October 17, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Like the mighty Sequoia sempervirens that can live for thousands of years, Save the Redwoods League has been in no rush to host black-tie, citified fundraisers. But now at the ripe-old age of 100, the league fluffed its fronds Oct. 13 with a sold-out centennial celebration atop Union Square Park. This was no newbie affair: 700 patrician preservationists and well-heeled hippies turned out in force to raise a whopping $1.9 million for league preservation and education efforts. It helped, too, that the Grateful Dead posted their special post-dinner concert at nearby August Hall on its website. During the organization’s 100 years, it has saved more than 200,000 forest acres of coastal redwoods and giant sequoias while establishing more than 66 parks and reserves along the Coast Range.

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The Pando aspen clone or ‘trembling giant’, the world’s largest organism, is collapsing

By Nick Kilvert
ABC News, Australia
October 17, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

UTAH — The largest living organism in the world isn’t a blue whale or a giant California redwood. It’s a huge underground singular root system that sends up tens of thousands of clone aspen trees, each one genetically identical to the next, over an area of more than 100 acres. Pando aspen clone, also known as “the trembling giant”, lives on a hillside in the Fishlake National Forest in central Utah. Literally translating from Latin as “I spread out”, Pando is collapsing; the forest is ageing, but there aren’t enough new recruits to replace the dying trees. Now research published in PLOS ONE today has found that browsing animals, such as deer and cattle, are most likely to blame, according to lead author Paul Rogers from Utah State University and the Western Aspen Alliance.

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Lake Serene Trail officially preserved

By Sarah Anne Lloyd
Curbed Seattle
October 17, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

INDEX, WA — Sustainability nonprofit Forterra has officially closed a sale on the last privately-owned portion of the popular Lake Serene Hiking Trail, ensuring its long-term preservation. The purchase comes after a $275,000 fundraising campaign last year, which allowed Forterra to enter a deal with timber company Weyerhaeuser to preserve and restore the trail. The trail, located near Index, Washington, included a 57-acre portion of a 190-acre property owned by Weyerhaeuser. The trail was shut down last year to prepare for logging and to make some trail improvements.

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Brian J. Kernohan’s Support for Forest Conservation Wins SFI Award for Conservation Leadership

Sustainable Forestry Initiative
October 18, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Westminster, CO — The Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc. (SFI) announced today that Brian J. Kernohan, Chief Sustainability Officer and Director of Policy at Hancock Natural Resource Group (HNRG) is the winner of the 2018 SFI Leadership in Conservation Award. This award, announced at the SFI Annual Conference, recognizes SFI Program Participants and individuals across the U.S. and Canada who drive conservation results through partnerships. “Some people are known for one singular, outstanding initiative and others are known for theirthoughtful, creative, solutions-oriented approach to solving conservation challenges and for bringing others along with them. Whether as a member or former chair of the SFI Resources Committee, the SFIEmerging Issues Task Force, or SFI’s Conservation Impact Sounding Board, Brian’s collaboration skills have helped advance SFI’s thinking in critical areas,” said Kathy Abusow, President and CEO of SFI Inc.

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Bettina Ring Receives SFI President’s Award

Sustainable Forestry Initiative
October 17, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Westminster, CO — The Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc. (SFI) announced the 2018 SFI President’sAward at the SFI Annual Conference today. Bettina Ring, Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry and an SFI board member, is this year’s winner. Ring is being recognized for her commitment to encouraging diversity in the forest sector and for her leadership in advancing sustainable forestry. As a senior executive, Ring inspires other women to take on leadership roles. She is well known for promoting diversity in the forest sector. Through the National Association of State Foresters (NASF) and SFI, Ring has championed the role of women for years. “I have always felt it is important that our organizations reflect the people in the communities we serve,” said Virginia’s Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Bettina Ring.

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From wilderness to wasteland: How the destruction of Michigan’s forests shaped our state

By Dustin Dwyer
Michigan Radio
October 17, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

This is part three of our series “An Idea on the Land.” Part one is here. Part two is hereIt’s the summer of 1831. A young French writer arrives in Michigan, hoping to get a glimpse of untouched American wilderness. He sets off from Detroit. “A mile out of town,” he writes, “the road goes into forest and never comes out of it. …Today, there’s only one place in Lower Michigan where you can see a forest like that. …“Unfortunately, today there’s only about 49 acres left,” says Pine. “For those that don’t know, most of Lower Michigan’s forests were clearcut during the logging era, and that was about 1850 to 1910.” This logging era got underway just as the Erie Canal opened, and just as white settlers gained control of the land of Michigan from its indigenous people. 

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Atlantic Coast Pipeline set to destroy rare Bath County old-growth forest

By Robert Whitescarver
Staunton News Leader
October 17, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

STAUNTON, VA — “At least 300 trees, older than this nation, will be destroyed if the Atlantic Coast Pipeline comes through this ridge on our property,” Bill Limpert lamented. We were walking his part of Jack Mountain in Bath County. I could smell the old-growth forest as we walked under the towering sugar maples, shagbark hickories and chestnut oaks. …“When this ridge leaves our property it gets even steeper,” Bill said. …The Atlantic Coast Pipeline, Dominion Energy’s 42-inch, fracked-gas pipeline, is planned to come up this ridge and cross Jack Mountain. …Construction of these pipelines have caused landslides, explosions and sediment filled streams and roads, violating Virginia’s water quality standards.

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What’s at Stake in Brazil’s Election? The Future of the Amazon

By Somini Sengupta
The New York Times
October 17, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Jair Bolsonaro

UNITED NATIONS — The presidential election in Brazil will not only shape the destiny of Latin America’s largest country. It is also a referendum on the fate of the Amazon: the world’s largest tropical forest, sometimes known as the lungs of the Earth. The stakes for the planet are huge. The front-runner for the presidency, Jair Bolsonaro… has promised to champion his country’s powerful agribusiness sector, which seeks to open up more forest to produce the beef and soy that the world demands. He has dangled the possibility of pulling out of the Paris climate agreement. …Mr. Bolsonaro has said he would scrap the Environment Ministry, which is mandated to protect the environment, and instead fold it into the Agriculture Ministry, which tends to favor the interests of those who would convert forests into farmland.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Canada Invests in Bioheat Conversion Technology for Indigenous Peoples

By Natural Resources Canada
Cision Newswire
October 17, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

KITIMAT, BC – The Government of Canada is committed to pursuing investments that use our resources — Canada’s natural advantage — to enhance economic competitiveness while protecting our environment. This includes investments in emerging technologies that tap into the vast potential of forest-based biomass and bioenergy. The Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, today announced over $686,000 in funding for an Indigenous bioheat project in Hazelton, British Columbia, as part of the Government’s commitments to creating good middle-class jobs and building a clean growth economy. Under the lead of Gitxsan Energy Inc., an Indigenous-owned business of the Gitxsan Nation, the funding will support the adoption of forest-based biomass heating for the Upper Skeena Recreational Centre.

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Power Workers’ Union urges Ontario Power Generation to reconsider decision to close Thunder Bay plant

By Erin Voegele
Biomass Magazine
October 17, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada East, Canada

The Canada-based Power Workers’ Union is speaking out against the recent decision by Ontario Power Generation to close its biomass-fired Thunder Bay Generation Station. The PWU called the decision “short-sighted” and called for more investment in the Thunder Bay region’s biomass innovation cluster. The Thunder Bay Generating Station was first placed into service in 1963 and is the oldest of OPG’s thermal electricity-generation stations. The formerly coal-fired facility was converted to use advanced biomass in early 2015. …PWU, however, is arguing that closure of the facility will harm the region’s biomass industry. “It will ultimately lead to the disappearance of the region’s established biomass innovation cluster and most importantly the significant economic, environmental and social benefits it provides,” said PWU President Mel Hyatt.  “We believe it’s time to grow these benefits, not kill them.”

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Torrefaction plant awaiting permitting

By Richard Hanners
Blue Mountain Eagle
October 16, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

While plans for a torrefaction plant in John Day are moving forward, with some new equipment already in John Day, the companies’ conditional-use zoning application must go before the Grant County Planning Commission after neighbors raised issues about emissions, traffic and noise. The torrefaction plant will be owned and operated by Restoration Fuels LLC, a subsidiary of the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities, a 501(c)3 public charity. The facility is expected to annually produce about 90,000 tons of torrefied wood briquettes for use as an alternative fuel for coal- or biomass-fired energy facilities. The raw material, small-diameter biomass produced by current forest health restoration projects and stewardship contracts, will be trucked to the facility and then heated and compressed into energy-dense coal-like briquettes.

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Health & Safety

WorkSafeBC raising awareness about impairment in the workplace

WorkSafeBC
October 16, 2018
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

Richmond, B.C. — WorkSafeBC is launching an awareness campaign to educate employers and workers about impairment in the workplace, as the legalization of recreational cannabis takes effect October 17. “Impairment in the workplace isn’t a new issue in B.C., but it’s become top of mind as cannabis becomes legal for recreational use,” said Tom Brocklehurst, Director of Prevention Practices and Quality for WorkSafeBC. “We’re reaching out to employers and workers to remind them that they share responsibility for managing impairment in the workplace.” …WorkSafeBC is advising employers to develop policies and procedures that address impairment in the workplace. To assist, WorkSafeBC has created a guide for managing workplace impairment and developing a policy. The need for an impairment policy is even more relevant with the legalization of recreational cannabis.

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Is Your Workplace Ready for Legalized Marijuana?

BC Forest Safety Council
June 15, 2018
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

The date for the legalization of marijuana in Canada is set for October 17, 2018. Employers may be concerned about the upcoming legalization of marijuana and how it is going to affect their business. Will it mean a big change for how forestry businesses run their operations? Not necessarily. Let’s look at six common questions and debunk some of the myths. 

  • Q: Does this mean that workers can now be impaired at work?
  • Q: My business already has a workplace alcohol and drug policy and procedures. Do I have to change anything?
  • Q: What about medical marijuana? Can an employee take marijuana at work if they have a prescription?
  • Q: Does removing the impaired worker mean that I can fire them?
  • Q: Is there a requirement to test workers for alcohol or drugs?
  • Q: What’s the bottom line here? How do I address legal marijuana at work without going broke?

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