Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: October 30, 2018

Today’s Takeaway

Tall timber code proposals pass public comment hurdle, final ICC vote in Dec.

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

The American Wood Council’s tall timber code proposals were approved by more than 2:1 at the International Code Council’s public comment hearings. While architects celebrate the potential (in Treehugger) and states move forward regardless (i.e. Oregon), the December vote isn’t a shoe-in.

In other news: tensions escalate around Northern Pulp’s future in Nova Scotia; tariffs on China are causing new home prices to rise in Idaho; Oakland’s suspicious fires have developers bracing for higher insurance costs and considering switching to more expensive steel framing.

Finally, the WWF says 60% of the world’s wildlife has been wiped out since 1970 and Eastern Australia is deemed a deforestation front — the only location in the developed world to make the list. 

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Business & Politics

Tensions around Northern Pulp have local MP ‘deeply concerned’

By Michael Gorman
CBC News
October 29, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

Central Nova MP Sean Fraser says he’s “deeply concerned” about what could happen in his riding as tensions continue to escalate around the Northern Pulp mill in Pictou County, N.S. Last week, fishermen from the community confronted a survey boat contracted by the mill to gather data. Eventually the boat returned to shore. Fishermen have said they’d be monitoring the boat and prevent it from doing work. As the pulp mill prepares to submit its proposal to the Nova Scotia government for a new effluent treatment facility, one that would see treated wastewater find its way into the Northumberland Strait, divisions have deepened in the area as people pick sides between supporting the mill, its future and the corresponding jobs, and supporting the fishermen, Pictou Landing First Nation, the environment and tourism. Fraser said he gets calls to his office on a “near daily basis” from people on both sides of the issue.

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Chapleau is ground zero for gov’t funding

Northern Ontario Business
October 29, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

Amarjeet Sohi

Being clean and green helped Goldcorp land $5 million from federal Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi. …Sohi then delivered $743,000 to the Northeast Superior Regional Chiefs Forum to promote Indigenous participation in forestry-related business opportunities. According to a government news release, the regional chiefs’ Conservation Economy Strategy is a cornerstone for forest sector economic development in member communities, including Missanabie Cree, Brunswick House, Michipicoten and Pic Mobert First Nations. …Missanabie Cree First Nation Chief Jason Gauthier said the work they’ve done over the last three years is moving from an incubation phase toward “developing a conservation economy.”

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New home prices in the Treasure Valley are already high. Tariffs will add to the cost.

By John Sowell
The Idaho Statesman
October 29, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

Newhome prices in the Treasure Valley have risen 5.3 percent over the past 12 months, amid high demand and low supply. Now an outside force — tariffs imposed by President Donald Trump on Chinese imports — could boost prices even more and escalate costs for remodeling projects. The president recently imposed 10 percent tariffs on 6,000 items imported from China. …By the first of the year, the tariffs are scheduled to rise to 25 percent….Last year, U.S. home builders bought more than $21 billion in products from China. …The tariffs come on top of Trump tariffs on Canadian lumber that add an estimated $9,000 to the cost of a typical single-family home in the U.S., the home-builders association says.

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Could suspicious Oakland fires ignite housing prices?

By Marisa Kendall
The Mercury News
October 29, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

OAKLAND — …After a massive fire gutted the Ice House townhome project in West Oakland on Tuesday… developers and housing experts say the fallout could ultimately hit the pockets of Oaklanders already struggling to rent or own homes in the city. The fires have delayed the construction of hundreds of homes that advocates say are needed to help address the city’s housing shortage, and builders are tripling or quadrupling their security spending to protect against arsonists, bracing for higher insurance costs and considering switching to more expensive fire-resistant building materials. …Madison Park has started designing new projects with more expensive steel frames instead of the flammable wood frames typically used, and Protopappas expects other developers will follow suit. He estimates the metal framing will cost between $750,000 and $1 million more for a 50,000 square foot building.

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Weyerhaeuser adds $300 million to U.S. pension fund

By Rob Kozlowski
Pensions & Investments
October 29, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

Weyerhaeuser Co., Seattle, contributed $300 million to its U.S. pension plan during the third quarter, the company disclosed in its 10-Q filing with the SEC on Friday. The contribution was made to “maintain the U.S. qualified pension plan’s current funded status,” the filing said, in connection with previously announced derisking transactions. Those transactions, announced on Aug. 23, are a lump-sum offer planned for the fourth quarter to about 20,000 former employees vested in the plan who have yet to retire, and a group annuity contract purchase from an insurance company planned for 2019 to transfer U.S. pension plan liabilities. …As of Dec. 31, Weyerhaeuser’s U.S. and Canadian pension plan assets totaled $5.514 billion, while projected benefit obligations totaled $6.795 billion, for a funding ratio of 81.1%, according to the 10-K filing.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Federal and international organizations gather to advance transformative global movement on sustainable design and building

Wood WORKS!
October 29, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

 

 

VANCOUVER, BC   From November 5 – 9 at the Vancouver Convention Centre (East and West), the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe’s Committee on Forests and the Forest Industry (COFFI) (which includes North America), the Canadian Wood Council/Wood WORKS! BC, and Passive House Canada are collaborating on a week of events to drive forward solutions for the transformation of the global building sector. As the need to take climate action becomes an imminent global issue, more innovative steps are being taken to manage renewable resources and the development of high-performance buildings.  In Canada, policy initiatives such as the BC Energy Step Code and Build Smart – Canada’s National Building Strategy have moved to the front stage and become a guide post for the transformation of buildings in municipalities across Canada. 

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Tall Mass Timber code proposals approved at ICC public comment hearings

The American Wood Council
The Tree Frog Forestry News
October 24, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States

Ken Bland

LEESBURG, VA. – American Wood Council’s VP of Codes & Regulations Kenneth Bland, P.E., issued the following statement regarding the approval of the 14 tall mass timber code change proposals during the International Code Council (ICC) public comment hearings today in Richmond, Va. The proposals will now be subject to ICC’s online voting, which is scheduled to begin in November. The final outcome of the tall mass timber code change proposals is expected in December. The proposals create three new types of construction: Types IV-A, IV-B and IV-C. …“Other nations have already seen the benefits of tall wood construction – from the low carbon footprint, ease of construction and reduced construction time. The tremendous support of tall mass timber construction seen at the ICC public comment hearings, and the positive outcome, is one more important step toward advancement of tall wood in the United States.”

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Tall wood gets green light from building code

By Lloyd Alter
Treehugger
October 29, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States

The International Code Council approves mass timber up to 18 stories. Big wood, or heavy timber, has … long been limited in height to about six storeys. According to Michael Kilkelly of Architect Magazine, the International Code Council …has been looking at the issue of tall wood since 2015. …The proposed rules would allow buildings up to 18 storeys or 270 feet tall, with the building fully sprinklered and all the wood fire protected… In buildings up to 12 storeys, mass timber components could be exposed. Of course, the American Wood Council is excited about this; Kenneth Bland says in a press release: Other nations have already seen the benefits of tall wood construction… The tremendous support of tall mass timber construction seen at the ICC public comment hearings, and the positive outcome, is one more important step toward advancement of tall wood in the United States.

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The National Wood Flooring Association Defines “Real Wood”

By National Wood Flooring Association
Floor Focus
October 29, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States

St. Louis — The National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) is releasing a formal definition of wood flooring to help consumers and professionals identify the difference between real wood and wood-look flooring products. …A wood floor is any flooring product that contains real wood as the top-most, wearable surface of the floor. Wood flooring may be broken into three categories: 1. Solid wood flooring is a solid piece of wood from top to bottom. 2. Engineered wood flooring is real wood from top to bottom. …3. Composite engineered wood flooring contains real wood on the wearable surface only. …Now that the definition of wood flooring is approved, the work of promoting the definition, and the wood flooring that falls under the definition, will begin. 

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Oregon’s tall wood building industry moves forward despite setbacks

By Caleb Diehl
Oregon Business
October 30, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

Iain Macdonald

…Three years ago, Oregon’s embattled rural timber industry proclaimed it would rise again atop wooden skyscrapers. Now the dream is turning to reality as regulations lift, factories ramp up production and the nation’s premier mass-timber research arm expands its offerings. …An important part of the evolution of mass timber is the role of academia in propelling the sector forward. Oregon State University’s Tallwood Design Institute is planning a joint master’s degree on timber design with the University of Oregon architecture school, along with a more industry-oriented certificate program. …Oregon took a step ahead of the nation in August, when the state building codes division allowed 18-story mass-timber high-rises. …Unsurprisingly, concrete producers are waving red flags at the outpouring of public money for the Tallwood Institute and other mass-timber projects. …The safety record of tall wood buildings in Europe suggests critics’ concerns may be unfounded.

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Forestry

Chamber of Commerce calls for federal funding to stop pine beetle spread

Canadian Press in the Chronicle Herald
October 30, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada

OTTAWA — The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has asked for immediate federal funding to stop the spread of the destructive mountain pine beetle as it threatens to spread across the country. Chamber CEO Perrin Beatty says in a letter sent to Natural Resource Minister Amarjeet Sohi that warmer winters have allowed the beetle to spread east and that the threat is at a critical juncture. Beatty says the pine beetle will have a clear path to spread across the rest of Canada if it breaches the forests that border Alberta and Saskatchewan. He calls on the federal government to recognize that the infestation is of national significance and to provide funding to match the threat, starting with $100 million to help fund Alberta’s efforts. He says, in recent years, Alberta has been largely left to fund efforts to keep the beetle at bay, so far spending more than $500 million to control the beetle’s population.

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Here’s how investigators learn the science – and savvy – to solve wildfire mysteries

By Benjamin Spillman
The Reno Gazette Journal
October 29, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

…The Wildland Fire Origin and Cause Determination course, also known as FI-210, is how land management agencies increase the number of people qualified to investigate wildland fires using a systematic method that’s designed to produce evidence and information that can withstand scrutiny in any jurisdiction. Since 2002, nearly 350 people have gone through the course in western Nevada. …The course was organized through the Sierra Front Wildfire Cooperators, National Wildfire Coordinating Group and the International Association of Arson Investigators in Nevada. …Patrick Callahan, a fire prevention technician for the Plumas National Forest, said doing a thorough, systematic investigation can help win convictions in criminal cases or cost recovery in the case of negligence.

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Utah seeks to loosen road rules in forests to help protect against fires, but some fear it’s a ploy to bolster logging that would make blazes worse

By Brian Maffly
The Salt Lake Tribune
October 29, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

For years, county commissioners in rural Utah have complained the U.S. Forest Service’s Roadless Area Conservation Rule has thwarted sound forest management by unnecessarily complicating and even blocking projects that would promote forest health and sustain a timber industry. Crafted during the Clinton administration, the rule shields inventoried unroaded lands in national forests from some activities that would require new roads. …Now Gov. Gary Herbert is petitioning the U.S. Department of Agriculture to… give the state greater influence over national forests and expand “active management,” such as mechanical thinning, clearing out dead and downed trees, and prescribed burns. …Pushing back, environmentalists view the state’s effort as a ploy to open these lands to commercial logging and are vowing to put up a fight.

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As Eastern hemlock trees die off, an art installation creates space for reflection and mourning

By Savannah Christiansen
Public Radio International PRI
October 29, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

Eastern hemlock trees, conifers that were once the giants of the lumber business, are disappearing. A series of art installations along an interpretive trail in the 4,000-acre Harvard Forest in Petersham, Massachusetts, gives creative expression to this long and complicated story. “Hemlock Hospice” is a collaborative work by Harvard Forest senior ecologist Aaron Ellison and artist David Buckley Borden. The Harvard Forest is known as the “wired woods.” It’s a hotspot for scientific research on topics ranging from soil warming to atmospheric carbon exchange. …look more closely and you notice all the hemlock trees are dead or dying. Climate change is spurring the hemlock wooly adelgid (HWA), an invasive insect, to move further north. The insect kills hemlock trees by sucking out their sap. Spindly, bare branches are strewn about the ground and the decaying, gnarled trunks moan as they lean over one another.

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Animal species becoming extinct in Haiti as deforestation nearly complete

By Oregon State University
EurekAlert
October 29, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Species of reptiles, amphibians and other vertebrates are becoming extinct in Haiti as deforestation has claimed more than 99 percent of the country’s original wooded areas. A research collaboration that included two scientists affiliated with Oregon State University found that 42 of Haiti’s 50 largest mountains have lost all of their primary forest. Moreover, mountaintop surveys of vertebrates showed that species are disappearing along with the trees, highlighting the global threat to biodiversity by human causes. Along with the mass extinctions, the findings, published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggest that over the next two decades Haiti will lose all of its remaining primary forest cover.

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60% of world’s wildlife has been wiped out since 1970

By Emily Chung
CBC News
October 29, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Well over half the world’s population of vertebrates, from fish to birds to mammals, have been wiped out in the past four decades, says a new report from the World Wildlife Fund. Between 1970 and 2014, there was 60 per cent decline, on average, among 16,700 wildlife populations around the world according to the 2018 edition of the Living Planet Report released Monday. “We’ve had a loss of nearly two-thirds, on average, of our wild species,” said James Snider, vice-president of science, research and innovation for WWF-Canada.  “The magnitude of that should be eye opening… We really are reaching a point where we’re likely to see species go extinct. That’s true in Canada and abroad.” …Species in decline include Canadian species such as barren-ground caribou and North Atlantic right whales as well as many migratory species such as songbirds and monarch butterflies that breed in Canada.

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Australia’s east coast named as ‘deforestation front’ in WWF Living Planet report

By Ben Smee
The Guardian
October 30, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Australia’s east coast has been compared to the Amazon as a “deforestation front” in a new global report by the World Wide Fund for Nature that underscores the threat to populations of koalas and other native species. The Living Planet report, produced by WWF every second year for the past 20 years, says global populations of vertebrate species have declined 60% since 1970. But koala numbers have disappeared at a much faster rate – more than 20% a decade – to the extent they could disappear from the wild in New South Wales by 2050. The report assessed 11 deforestation hotspots, where broadscale clearing had occurred at problematic levels since 2010, and where deforestation was expected to continue in the next decade. Eastern Australia was the only location in the developed world to make the list.

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As Brazil’s new president threatens the Amazon, Brazilian entrepreneurs create a device for large-scale forest restoration

By Peter Kotecki
Business Insider UK
October 29, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Forests are vital to fighting climate change, removing more than one-quarter of the carbon emissions added to the Earth’s atmosphere annually, scientists say. But the rate of deforestation has increased in much of the world in recent years. …The Ray C. Anderson Foundation and the Biomimicry Institute, for example, launched a competition this year to address solutions to climate change, and a team of Brazilian entrepreneurs won the $100,000 prize on October 20 for creating a device designed to protect seedlings from invasive grasses and leafcutter ants. The Nucleário, which gathers rainwater for the soil and tree roots, was designed to be deployed in parts of the Atlantic Forest. The device’s inventors — Bruno Rutman, Pedro Rutman, and Bruno Ferrari — say it allows for more reforestation in less time, as field workers don’t need to focus on seedling maintenance and can plant more trees instead.

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Billion tree project helped grow forest in DI Khan: Aslam

Pakistan Today
October 29, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: International

ISLAMABAD: The saplings planted under Billion Tree Tsunami project in Paharpur, Kulachi Dera Ismail Khan (DIK) have transformed the landscape of the area and a fully grown forest is now visible. Advisor to the Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam said in a statement issued here that the campaign in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa afforestation campaign had entered into the next level. He said that the project has given a new image to Pakistan on the International Forums International Organisations and media houses are praising the project of PTI government. “Over 6.3% increase recorded in the land covered by Forest in KP in just 3 years,” he informed.

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