Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: October 12, 2018

Today’s Takeaway

Hurricane Michael decimates older houses, insured losses estimated at $8 billion

The Tree Frog Forestry News
October 12, 2018
Category: Today's Takeaway

Hurricane Michael’s path of destruction decimated areas with older houses and mobile homes with insured loses estimated at eight billion. Elsewhere, BC’s pipeline explosion takes down a Tolko mill; Western Forest Products suspends its Ladysmith operation due to a log shortage; Boise Cascade purchases Arling Lumber; and Catalyst Paper’s sale to Paper Excellence gets union endorsement.

In Forestry news: a new documentary pans old growth logging in BC; the Sierra Club endorses proportional representation in BC referendum; salvage logging in Quesnel is deemed bad news for the endangered fisher; forest thinning is helping with Oregon’s wildfires; and Southern timber prices are more complicated than just “too many trees“.

Finally, Bill Dumont says Green MLA attacks on BC natural resource professionals are not in the public’s interest.

–Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Business & Politics

Ladysmith sawmill operations suspended due to log shortage

By Mike Gregory
The Ladysmith Chemainus Chronicle
October 11, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

The Western Forest Products Ladysmith sawmill division has been closed until further notice due to a log shortage resulting from this summer’s wildfires, the Chronicle has confirmed. The local plant ceased operations as of Sept. 21 through to mid-October, although no firm date for a reopening is known as of yet. Spokesperson Babita Khunkhun said the company’s goal is to “to minimize the downtime and replenish inventories as soon as possible.” “There are 80 employees who are impacted by this temporary suspension of operations,” said said Khunkhun. “We have been working to offer employees opportunities to fill shifts at our other mills where vacancies exist.” All other WFP facilities continue to operate as usual.

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Unifor members welcome Catalyst sale to Paper Excellence

BY Unifor
Cision Newswire
October 11, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

POWELL RIVER, BC – Unifor members at three B.C. paper mills are welcoming news that a major paper manufacturer has stepped in to purchase the troubled Catalyst Paper. “A vibrant forestry industry is pivotal to so many B.C. communities,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “B.C.’s pulp and paper industry is both environmentally sustainable and a source of good jobs.” All three Catalyst facilities in Crofton, Powell River, and Port Alberni will be sold to Paper Excellence, pending regulatory approval. A warehouse Richmond, B.C. is also part of the sale. Unifor says the NDP government was pivotal to keeping workers interests front-and-centre during the talks. “The John Horgan government deserves a lot of credit for making sure that this sale happened in the best interests of all parties, including workers,” said Mike Rumley, President of Unifor Local 76 in Powell River.

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Tolko mill at Heffley Creek shuts down due to northern B.C. pipeline explosion

By Ashley Legassic
CFJC Today
October 11, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

KAMLOOPS — Tolko mills across the Interior are being impacted by a natural gas pipeline explosion near Prince George, and the company’s Heffley Creek location has shut down until further notice. …“We have three operations in these communities that rely on natural gas for part or all of their production processes,” Troy Connolly, Solid Wood vice president says in the release. “As a result, our Heffley Creek plywood operation north of Kamloops has been shut down and our dry kilns at Soda Creek in Williams Lake and Quest Wood in Quesnel are offline until further notice. These two locations are still running, however, as neither the sawmill nor planer rely on natural gas.” …Different companies across B.C. have taken steps to limit their natural gas use after Tuesday night’s explosion, including Domtar’s Kamloops pulp mill location, which has decreased its production but there have been no impacts on staffing at this point.

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Boise Cascade Reaches Agreement to Acquire Arling Lumber

Nasdaq
October 11, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States

BOISE, Idaho – Boise Cascade announced today an agreement to acquire Arling Lumber, headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio. Arling is a third generation, family-owned and operated wholesale distributor of top quality lumber as well as plywood, OSB and engineered wood products. “Arling is an exceptional supplier of many forest products,” said Nick Stokes, executive vice president, Boise Cascade. …”Boise Cascade has been a valued supplier to Arling Lumber for over 45 years,” said P.J. Arling, president of Arling Lumber. “This is an ideal strategic and cultural fit that will allow the combined organization to grow and provide more value to our customers.” The acquisition is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter.

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Michael caused estimated $8B in insured losses

The Associated Press in the Longview Daily News
October 12, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

PANAMA CITY, Fla. — An insurance company that produces models for catastrophes is estimating Hurricane Michael caused about $8 billion in insured losses. Boston-based Karen Clark & Company released the estimate Thursday. It includes the privately insured wind and storm surge damage to residential, commercial and industrial properties and automobiles. The figure does not include losses covered by the National Flood Insurance Program. …KCC estimates that nearly half of insured loss from Michael occurred in Florida’s Bay and Gulf counties. Total damages from storm surge are estimated to be $3.7 billion, of which about ten percent will be insured.

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Hurricane Michael leaves path of destruction in Florida counties with older housing, mobile homes

USA Today
October 11, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

Hurricane Michael plowed a path Wednesday through parts of Florida’s Panhandle that include greater concentrations of older houses and mobile homes than the rest of the state, raising prospects that damage in the historic storm’s wake could be extensive. More than 145,000 homes in Michael’s path, or about three-fourths of all residences in the nine Panhandle counties hit hardest, were built before 2000, which was before Florida unveiled some of the nation’s toughest building codes, according to U.S. Census Bureau housing data. “Your older structures, prior to 2002, are not going to fare as well as the structures that were built since the Florida building codes went into effect,” said Jeremy Stewart, past president of the Florida Home Builders Association. More than 30,000 residences, or about 22 percent of all occupied dwellings, are mobile homes.

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Global Timber and Wood Products Market Update

By Haken Ekstrom
Wood Resources International LLC
October 12, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

Investments in the forest industry in Eastern Russia, driven by forest products demand in China, have resulted in higher timber harvests in the past few years, reports the Wood Resource Quarterly. Increased exports of softwood lumber from Russia to China the past decade have resulted in higher timber harvests in Eastern Russia, reports the Wood Resource Quarterly. In 2017, Russia’s total harvest reached an estimated 190 million m3, six percent higher than the previous year. Practically all of the increase was in Russia’s eastern provinces.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Mass engineered timber project

By Andy Brown
KHL International Construction
October 11, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

The latest building at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore will be built largely from Mass Engineered Timber. The building, which will be 40,000m² will be one of the largest wooden buildings in Asia upon completion in 2021. Global engineering and infrastructure company Aurecon will deliver civil and structural engineering services. …Mass Engineered Timber will be used to build the six-storey building by adopting a combination of Cross-Laminated Timber for slabs and Glued Laminated Timber for beams and columns. Construction is expected to be completed in 2021. The building will feature 25 smart classrooms equipped with the latest technologies.

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Forestry

B.C. forest company ordered to pay $80,000 in damages for cutting trees on private property in Nanaimo

By Keith Fraser
Vancouver Sun
October 11, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

A B.C. forest company has been ordered to pay almost $80,000 in damages after clear-cutting a portion of a Nanaimo-area property. On Dec. 19, 2014, 45 trees were felled in the span of 45 minutes on the property owned by James and Deborrah Avender. The couple had received no notice that a feller buncher machine was being brought in to cut timber on an adjacent property owned by Tamihi Logging Company Ltd., which has since changed its name to Western Canadian Timber Products Ltd. In addition to harvesting timber from the Tamihi property, the machine operator cut the trees on the Avender property. “On her return from her morning walk, Ms. Avender was shocked to see the large machine clear-cutting a portion of her property,” B.C. Supreme Court Justice Bruce Butler said in his ruling. The defendants initially denied that their operator had cut down the trees but several months later admitted they had done so.

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Vancouver Island company outfitting six Boeing 737s to fight wildfires

By Gordon McIntyre
Vancouver Sun
October 10, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

A half-dozen Boeing jets bought by a Port Alberni company last year will still be ferrying passengers after they’ve been retrofitted by the family-owned firm, but the planes will also be putting out wildfires. The Coulson Group, a three-generation business started in 1960 by Cliff Coulson as a forest products company, is keeping 50 employees busy outfitting the 737-300s in Port Alberni. Once they’re ready — and the first one will fly out in 10 days — the planes will head to the United States and Australia, a new weapon to combat increasingly severe wildfires. “We’re the first to convert 737s to fight wildfires,” Wayne Coulson, Cliff’s youngest son and the Coulson Group’s president and CEO, said. “They are the only plane in the world that can multi-purpose, they can transport 70 firefighters, drop them off, head to the retardant pit and load up, and off they go.”

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‘It’s hard work’: Sawmill training program brings skills to K’atl’odeeche First Nation

By Jamie Malbeuf
CBC News
October 11, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

A sawmill that has been sitting at K’atl’odeeche First Nation for more than four years is finally getting some use. Three community members are being trained to use the machine so they can start producing lumber in the community. “It’s hard work,” said trainer Murphy Pottage. “But it’s a skill that they can carry with them the rest of their lives.” The N.W.T.’s Department of Education, Culture and Employment, the Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy, Aurora College, and the K’atl’odeeche First Nation worked together to bring Pottage into the community, who is training residents for free. The First Nation bought the sawmill years ago, but this is the first time people will be trained to use the equipment.

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Coulson Aviation receives $3.4 million for FireLiner air tankers

By Elena Rardon
Alberni Valley News
October 11, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Carla Qualtrough and Wayne Coulson

A Vancouver Island Coulson Aviation has received a $3.4 million investment from the federal government for its ambitious work in the aerial firefighting industry. Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Public Works and Government Services, was at the Alberni Valley Regional Airport to announce this repayable investment in Coulson Aviation through the Strategic Innovation Fund. The family-owned company, based in Port Alberni, has been working on converting six Boeing 737 passenger airplanes into dual-purpose aerial firefighting tankers and passenger aircraft. The FireLiners include a 4,000-gallon capacity for water or retardant and 66 seats for moving fire personnel. This project, said Qualtrough, is putting Canada at the forefront of the aerial firefighting industry. “Port Albern is at the centre of Canada’s forest industry,” she said on Thursday. “With forests come the risk of forest fire. That means that Coulson is geographically well-situated to design, develop and manufacture the aerial firefighting technology of the future.”

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The future of forestry: Meet Jack Gardner

Wood Business – Canadian Forest Industries
October 10, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Jack Gardner, a log cutter/custom cutter at Teal-Jones Group in Surrey, B.C. …started working for his grandfather’s company, Teal-Jones Group based in Surrey, B.C., when he was just 10 years old and has held his fair share of the manual jobs, from shoveling sawdust to pulling off the green chain and grading lumber. Today the 23-year-old holds the position of log purchaser and custom cutter in Teal’s cedar division. …Today Jack can be found walking timber sales, inspecting log booms and overseeing the logs sawn into high-quality cedar lumber. …Jack’s goal is to run the family business — which employs over 1,200 people in Canada and the U.S. — and to continue the legacy that his great grandfather Jack Jones started more than 70 years ago.

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Ottawa, First Nations agree to protect N.W.T. area twice the size of Banff

By Bob Weber
Canadian Press in the National Post
October 11, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

FORT PROVIDENCE, N.W.T. — It’s where elders hunt and children hear their stories by the campfire. And after a deal signed Thursday between First Nations and the federal government it’s likely to stay that way. Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna and four Indigenous communities from the Dehcho region in the Northwest Territories have agreed to create Edehzhie, an area more than twice the size of Banff National Park where all industrial development will be banned. “It is a place our ancestors used from time immemorial,” said Dehcho Grand Chief Gladys Norwegian. Edehzhie will cover more than 14,000 square kilometres of forest, wetlands and lakes — a wilderness where birds fill the sky, fish teem in rivers and vast caribou herds roam the plains. …Local people will monitor activities on the land and keep an eye on things. It will be administered by a committee with federal representatives but dominated by the four communities.

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Anthropocene film captures a world of devastation

By Mike Devlin
The Times Colonist
October 11, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

A new documentary from a team that includes acclaimed director Jennifer Baichwal looks at the impact modern civilization has had on Earth over thousands of years, and the results aren’t pretty. …Terraforming, the act of altering Earth’s surface for human need, forms the framework for Baichwal’s Anthropocene: The Human Epoch. Among some of the film’s most shocking scenes — from the city of Norilsk, Russia’s most polluted city, to Chile’s Atacama Desert, one of the driest places on Earth — are shots of the heavily logged land just outside Port Renfrew. … to think there is less than 10 per cent of old-growth forests of Vancouver Island and less than five per cent on southern Vancouver Island is shocking.” Eighty-five per cent of the world’s forests have been degraded for human use, Baichwal said. In B.C., raw log exports have increased exponentially since 2014.

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Pro-rep governments look after the environment and the economy better

By Tim Pearson, Sierra Club BC
The Province
October 11, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Most British Columbians care deeply about the environment. …This fall, we can choose a new way of voting: proportional representation (PR). PR will allow the views of British Columbians to be more accurately reflected in who gets elected to make crucial decisions about our future. Evidence from around the world demonstrates that governments elected using PR score significantly higher on many measures of good environmental stewardship. Yale University’s Environmental Performance Index tracks the performance of countries with measures of environmental health, air quality, resource, management, biodiversity, forestry, fisheries, agriculture and climate change. On average, countries using PR scored six points higher than those using “first past the post”.

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Green Attacks on BC Natural Resource Professionals

By W.E. (Bill) Dumont, RPF
Tree Frog Editorial
October 12, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Bill Dumont

Green MLA Sonya Furstenau continues her relentless attacks and crusade in the media and elsewhere on the more than 10,000 natural resource professionals in BC. She claims the public and environment have suffered by relying on professional decision-making, and implies that I (a professional forester) and thousands of other resource professionals do not act in the public interest. Furstenau is driven by and remains personally annoyed that her complaint to the Engineers and Geoscientists BC over the Shawnigan Lake waste dump issues involving a professional engineer were investigated and found to have no validity. From this she has wrongly concluded that professional reliance doesn’t work and the public interest can’t be protected by natural resource professionals, without a new sledgehammer of excessive government control. 

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Regional District of Central Kootenay steps up rural FireSmart assessments

By Bill Metcalfe
The Nelson Star
October 11, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Jim Kyle… is a wildfire mitigation specialist for the Regional District of Central Kootenay. …The RDCK has had a hard time over the past few years getting the attention of rural landowners about the need to reduce wildfire fuel on their properties. But that’s starting to change. Especially this past summer, when the intense smoke added an apocalyptic tension to the fire season. …In the wildland/urban interface, where combustible forest fuels are found adjacent to homes, farm structures, and other outbuildings, Kyle accompanies people around their house and acreage, making recommendations about what to move, what to cut, how to store things, and what to consider. The most common misconception among property owners is that they have to cut down every tree on their property.

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B.C. board says logging beetle-killed wood bad for the fisher, a species at risk

The Kelowna Daily Courier
October 11, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

VICTORIA – An investigation by British Columbia’s forest practices watchdog has found the provincial government didn’t take steps to protect a local species at risk when it allowed for extensive logging in the central Interior. The Forest Practices Board says the investigation of a complaint by two trappers in the Nazko area has determined that the fisher is at a high risk of decline or elimination in the region. The forest in the area near Quesnel was devastated by the pine beetle and the government allowed extensive salvage harvesting between 2002 to 2017, but the trappers complained that impacted the fisher and other fur-bearing mammals. Board chairman Kevin Kriese says it found the government didn’t take steps to ensure the protection of fisher habitat, and while forestry firms did make some efforts, it wasn’t sufficient given the unprecedented scale of salvage.

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Dehcho First Nations and Government of Canada announce first of new Indigenous protected areas in Canada: Edéhzhíe Protected Area

By Environment and Climate Change Canada
Cision Newswire
October 11, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

FORT PROVIDENCE, NT – The insights and contributions of Indigenous Peoples are essential to understanding and protecting our natural environment. The Government of Canada is working with Indigenous communities across Canada in the spirit of reconciliation to increase the amount of nature protected from coast to coast to coast. The Dehcho First Nations Assembly has designated the Edéhzhíe Protected Area as an Indigenous protected area that will protect water, conserve biodiversity and wildlife habitat, and ensure that the Dehcho Dene relationship with the lands of Edéhzhíe is maintained for present and future generations through Dehcho-led stewardship, monitoring, and cultural activities. Today, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, and Grand Chief Gladys Norwegian welcomed the Edéhzhíe Protected Area designation in a ceremony held in Fort Providence, Northwest Territories. 

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Salvage logging near Quesnel has negative impacts on species at risk

BC Forest Practices Board
October 11, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

VICTORIA – An investigation of a complaint by two trappers has concluded that the population of fisher — a fur-bearing mammal that is a species at risk in B.C. — is at a high risk of decline or local elimination in the Nazko region, west of Quesnel. The Nazko area experienced widespread tree mortality from mountain pine beetles, which resulted in extensive salvage harvesting in the complainants’ trapping area between 2002 and 2017. The trappers complained to the board that logging significantly impacted habitat for fishers and other fur-bearing mammals. “Our investigation found that government did not take steps to ensure protection of fisher habitat,” said Kevin Kriese, board chair. …Additionally, the area was extensively damaged by forest fires in 2017. “The board is concerned that unplanned salvage of fire-damaged stands could make a grave situation even worse,” continued Kriese.

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Hundreds of trees being chopped down to make way for Quebec’s 1st Club Med

CBC News
October 11, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

A forest the size of 20 football fields — 10.25 hectares in all — is being clear-cut to make way for a new Club Med on the St. Lawrence River, northeast of Quebec City. The hundreds of trees being cut down at the foot of Le Massif ski hill in Quebec’s Charlevoix region aren’t just any trees, according to local resident François Lessard. They include maples that first emerged from the ground two centuries ago, said the forestry technician. The $120-million resort, announced last year, is being financed in part by a $26.3-million loan from the Quebec government and a $9.8-million loan from the federal government. Lessard questions why taxpayers’ money is going into destroying a unique ecosystem, and he says residents don’t know enough about Groupe le Massif’s plans.

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Assembly of First Nations National Chief backs Grassy Narrows land sovereignty declaration

By Gary Rinne
Thunder Bay News Watch
October 11, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

GRASSY NARROWS FIRST NATION, ON — Perry Bellegarde, the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, has pledged support for Grassy Narrows First Nation’s prohibition against all industrial logging within its traditional territory. The ban was announced Tuesday as community leaders declared their territory to be “an Indigenous Sovereignty and Protected Area,” and said they would henceforth make their own land use decisions. In a statement, the Grassy Narrows Chief and Council expressed concern that Premier Doug Ford’s government “has promised to open up the North to industry, and plans to next year begin writing a plan for another decade of industrial logging in the community’s forest.” It said logging in the past resulted in mercury being released from forest soil into lakes and rivers, exacerbating the mercury contamination caused in the 1960s by effluent discharges into the Wabigoon River from the paper mill at Dryden.

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The Hagenstein Lectures – Emerging Voices in Forestry

The World Forestry Center
October 9, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Welcome the new leaders working at the forefront of social, economic, and environmental change. Craft beer, wine, food, new friends, provocative ideas, great conversation. The Hagenstein Lectures is a new, exciting, high-profile public outreach initiative led by the World Forestry Center and the Society of American Foresters to honor the legacy and memory of professional forester William D. Hagenstein, who died in Portland at age 99 in 2014. The Hagenstein Lectures brings together influential young urban professionals who are deeply concerned about the future of the world’s forests with fascinating, forward-thinking guest speakers (under the age 45) who are working on the ground in forests around the world. By combining their “Emerging Voices,” we intend to create a robust and ongoing local-global conversation about real opportunities to advance sustainable forestry in the 21st century. The Hagenstein Lectures are intended to be a catalyst for action.

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Additional $55 million sought to fight fires in Washington state

By Luke Thompson
Yakima Herald-Republic
October 10, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

The 2018 wildfire season ended as the second-worst on record, with nearly 1,700 fires burning about 350,000 acres in Washington state. But Public Lands Commissioner Hillary Franz said improved firefighting techniques and more resources helped keep 95 percent of fires to less than 10 acres and avoided a repeat of 2015, when 1,750 fires burned 1 million acres across the state. Franz plans to ask the Legislature for an additional $55 million to fight catastrophic wildfire and restore forest health in the 2019-21 budget. An additional $38 million in operating funds would nearly double DNR’s existing wildfire allocation. The agency also will request $17 million from the capital budget to treat more than 32,000 acres of forest. “Our communities and our taxpayers cannot continue to sustain the losses that our forest health crisis is inflicting on Washington state,” Franz said during a news conference.

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Fire and Smoke: Where thinning is winning

By Mark Freeman
The Mail Tribune
October 11, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

ASHLAND — More than 3,000 lightning bolts all itching to pick a wildfire fight came crashing into Southern Oregon July 15, yet one of those bolts bound for the Ashland watershed never stood a chance. ..“Nothing became of it,” says Don Boucher, the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest’s stewardship coordinator. That’s because six years of commercial logging, brush-clearing and controlled underburning had removed woody debris and small trees from the ridge, robbing lightning of all it needed to create the devastating wildfire. …The Southern Oregon Forest Restoration Collaborative’s plan includes proposed commercial logging of 83 million board-feet of timber annually. …The promise isn’t that smoky summers will go away. Rather, the goal ultimately is to control when and how much smoke gets created and where it goes. This is Part 5 of a five-day series on devastating wildfires and their effects on Southern Oregon. Also see Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.

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Southern Timber Prices May Be Low, But It Is A Little More Complicated Than Too Many Trees

By Thomas J. Straka, forestry professor, Clemson University
The Daily Caller
October 11, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

Thomas Straka

Recent consternation and turmoil over lower timber prices in the South are justified for forest owners trying to sell timber in some markets across the region. The case made by The Daily Caller’s Tim Pearce and others… is that forest owners spent big bucks to plant trees decades ago with the idea that timber was a safe investment… When newspaper articles describe too few sawmills, they are actually describing a lack of lumber demand and, really, a lack of housing starts. In that long time horizon, market issues like international trade and tariffs come into play. When I built a house in South Carolina a few years ago, I noticed the contractor was using Canadian lumber. Forest owners are forced to add issues like that to their price expectations crystal ball. Certainly, part of the equation on current timber prices in the United States is the impact of President Trump’s punitive tariffs on Canadian softwood timber.

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State relents on controversial Erie Canal tree-cutting plan, for now

By David Andreatta
The Democrat & Chronicle
October 11, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

The state agencies behind the controversial clear-cutting of trees along sections of the Erie Canal will not appeal a temporary restraining order that halted the effort, a spokesman for the agencies said Wednesday. Instead, the spokesman for the New York Power Authority and the New York State Canal Corporation said, the agencies will conduct a “comprehensive environmental review of the program across the entire canal system” before seeking to restart the work. About 145 acres in 56 locations along the canal from Medina to Pittsford were to be deforested in what the state described as overdue preventative maintenance aimed at stabilizing the structural integrity of elevated embankments on the waterway.

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Health & Safety

Ford government to upgrade Ontario’s public safety radio network

By Shawn Jeffords
The Canadian Press in Global News
October 11, 2018
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada East, Canada

The Ontario government plans to rebuild the aging radio network first responders across the province rely on during emergencies, saying upgrades to the system are sorely needed. Premier Doug Ford said Thursday that the Public Safety Radio Network is prone to daily outages and must be modernized. The network covers 750,000 square kilometres across the province, including areas in the north where cellphone service is not available, and helps first responders communicate and co-ordinate during forest fires, police operations and medical emergencies. “You need modern, reliable equipment,” Ford said while speaking to a group of first responders near Alliston, Ont. “Sadly, Ontario’s public safety radio network is outdated. It’s falling apart.”

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