Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: November 1, 2018

Today’s Takeaway

Halloween-infused news competes with tall timber in today’s headlines

The Tree Frog Forestry News
November 1, 2018
Category: Today's Takeaway

With the fire performance of mass timber on demonstration in BC; and the US Code Council set to vote on mass timber; it’s no surprise that tall timber developments are already making headway in Toronto. Equally unsurprising is the Halloween-infused news on building code changes proposed by the Standing Committee on Paranormal Phenomena and the US National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grants to The Bats to the Future Fund.

In Forestry news: new research says deforestation is still occurring but has slowed worldwide; Canada and the US are said to be key to the remaining wilderness; the damage reports to timber from hurricane Michael are in; and Brazil’s new president creates concern about the future of the Amazon.

Finally; Ontario’s wildfire season was one of the busiest ever; while BC and California look to prescribed burns to reduce future risks.

–Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Special Feature

Fire Performance Demonstration Workshop 2.0, hosted by Wood WORKS! BC and the Canadian Wood Council

By Maureen McLaughlin
Wood WORKS! BC
November 1, 2018
Category: Special Feature
Region: Canada

Nearly 200 architectural, structural and fire engineering and service professionals, as well as building and insurance officials, developers, builders and installers gathered at the Surrey Fire Department Training Facility on Tuesday, October 16 for the Fire Performance Demonstration Workshop 2.0, hosted by Wood WORKS! BC and the Canadian Wood Council. This workshop provided essential information about wood building fire requirements in the upcoming revised buildings codes. The event opened with a classroom format featuring 10 speakers and three “roll up your sleeves” interactive sessions. After lunch a live burn commenced that showcased side-by-side fire comparisons of three large (8’ x 8’) demonstration boxes; a CLT cube, a steel cube, and a course-of-construction cube, each built to code.

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Froggy Foibles

National Building Code could see paranormal provisions for 2025 update

By Peter Kenter
Daily Commercial News
October 31, 2018
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: Canada

A rash of paranormal outbreaks in Canada and around the world could see some revisions to the National Building Code as early as 2025. The Standing Committee on Paranormal Phenomena, which reports to the Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes is preparing a policy position paper, Long-Term Paranormal Codes Development. Among the recommendations being considered: While it’s well-known that supernatural entities can pass through solid matter, the committee is looking at the use of specially coloured lights and pentagrams (five-pointed stars) as part of ceramic, concrete, wood or engineered wood flooring. Such patterns could also be incorporated into low-emission carpeting design at low cost. …Wooden stakes provide excellent protection against vampire assaults. The use of these hardwood stakes dovetails with “Wood First” construction policies adopted across Canada. Exposed wood beams could feature “breakaway” stakes to be used by building occupants to defend themselves. 

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Business & Politics

Norbord Reports Third Quarter 2018 Results; Declares Quarterly Dividend

By Norbord Inc.
Cision Newswire
November 1, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

TORONTO – Norbord Inc. today reported Adjusted EBITDA of $211 million for the third quarter of 2018 versus $200 million in the third quarter of 2017 and $273 million in the second quarter of 2018. The year-over-year improvement is primarily due to higher European panel prices and North American shipment volumes, while the quarter-over-quarter decrease is due to lower North American oriented strand board (OSB) prices. North American operations generated Adjusted EBITDA of $190 million compared to $184 million in the same quarter last year and $256 million in the prior quarter. European operations delivered Adjusted EBITDA of $23 million versus $14 millionin same quarter last year and $21 million in the prior quarter. “Our third quarter results reflect another excellent quarter for Norbord,” said Peter Wijnbergen, Norbord’s President and CEO.

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Resolute Reports Record Preliminary Third Quarter 2018 Results and Declares Special Dividend

By Resolute Forest Products Inc.
Cision Newswire
November 1, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

MONTRÉAL – Resolute Forest Products Inc. today reported net income for the quarter ended September 30, 2018, of $117 million, or $1.25 per diluted share, compared to $24 million, or $0.26per share, in the same period in 2017. Sales were $974 million in the quarter, an increase of $89 million from the year-ago period. Excluding special items, the company reported net income of $96 million, or $1.03 per share, compared to $31 million, or $0.34 per share, in the third quarter of 2017. “Our best pulp quarter combined with continued positive market dynamics for paper helped offset the effects of a weaker lumber market, leading to another quarter of record results and a further reduction in leverage. Our continued focus on improving operational performance also resulted in a notable increase in the profitability of our specialty papers business,” said Yves Laflamme, president and chief executive officer.

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Our farmers are our future

By Rep. Bradley Byrne
The Atmore Advance
October 31, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

Bradley Byrne

ALABAMA — I had the pleasure of visiting many fine farmers and foresters throughout Southwest Alabama. …I was pleased to learn more about how the people at Canfor Southern Pine carry on the forestry tradition to this day. Not only are they the largest employer in Jackson, Canfor produces high-quality lumber products that are used all throughout the Eastern United States. …To produce this much material, they rely on the sustainable harvesting of private timberlands throughout our region. I had a chance to tour some of these private timberlands and learn more about ways owners are working with the Fish and Wildlife Service to protect endangered and threatened species. It is important that we find solutions that work for both our environment and for those trying to make a living through sustainable practices.

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Finland: Log prices on the rise in September

IHB – The Timber Network
October 31, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

In September, the stumpage price for pine logs in Finland was EUR 61.6 per cubic metre, and the price for spruce logs was EUR 65.4 per cubic metre. The real stumpage price level of logs was six percent higher compared to the previous years average, says Luke (Natural Resource Institute Finland) in a report. The stumpage price for pine pulpwood in Finland was EUR 17.7 per cubic metre, while the price for spruce pulpwood was EUR 19.7 per cubic metre. In September, the real stumpage price level of pulpwood was five percent higher than the average in year 2017, Luke reports. …In September, the Finnish forest industry procured 3.85 million cubic metres roundwood from non-industrial, private forests. [Access to full story may require a subscription to IHB]

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

‘Tall timber’ developments take a star turn in Toronto

By John Lorinc
The Globe and Mail
October 29, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada East, Canada

On a site tour earlier this month of Toronto’s first substantial “tall timber” project, the developer, Jeff Hull of Hullmark Developments, good-naturedly encouraged visitors to hug the columns – should they feel so inclined. …It’s not difficult to see why: After years of eager hype… Hullmark, with partner Bentall Kennedy, has become the first Toronto developer to hack through the regulatory and commercial underbrush to produce a building constructed with these materials. …This project hides all the building systems between the floors, which means all those huggable wooden beams and columns will be fully visible, Mr. Witt says. …Despite Canada’s vast forests, only a handful of mills produce these kinds of wood products, which means developers and subcontractors such as Timmerman need very long lead times to secure their supply. …What’s more… there aren’t many structural engineers and architects in the Toronto region with the necessary experience and expertise.

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Tall Mass Timber Code Proposals Pass by Large Margins

By Softwood Lumber Board
Global Newswire
October 31, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States

Cees de Jager

Washington, DC — On Wednesday, Oct. 24, all 14 proposals from the Ad Hoc Committee on Tall Wood Buildings were approved by large margins at the International Code Council public comment hearings in Richmond, Va. …Approval of these proposals will allow three new mass timber building types to be constructed in the United States: Type IV-A – Wood buildings up to 20 stories tall; Type IV-B – Wood buildings up to 12 stories tall; Type IV-C – Wood buildings up to 9 stories tall. …SLB’s Cees de Jager noted that “while formal adoption of these code changes won’t take place until well into the next decade, jurisdictions have the opportunity to incorporate the tall wood building provisions into their current code. …These proposals will now head to the online government consensus vote for final approval, which is scheduled to begin in November. 

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Forestry

Handful of nations hold fate of world’s vanishing wilderness

The Japan Times
November 1, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, United States

PARIS – More than 70 percent of Earth’s last untouched wilderness lies in the territories of just five countries, scientists said Wednesday — mostly nations that alarm environmentalists with their lukewarm response to climate change. True wild spaces — land and sea areas mostly unaffected by mankind’s explosive expansion and insatiable appetite for food and natural resources — now cover just a quarter of the planet. They form vital refuges for thousands of endangered species threatened by deforestation and overfishing, and provide some of our best defenses against the devastating weather events brought about by climate change. New research published in the journal Nature found that nearly three-quarters of the wilderness that is left belongs to Australia, Brazil, Canada, Russia and the U.S.

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Overhunting cuts moose population, observers say

By Blair McBride
Houston Today
October 31, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Most Houston residents …say there are fewer moose than before. Several causes are raised to explain the decline, including excessive hunting, train collisions and habitat loss. …the moose population has declined by 13 per cent from 2012-2018 in an area of the Bulkley Valley included in a recent study, [said] Jeremy Uppenborn, …Ministry of Forests …A report covering 2012-2018 “Determining factors affecting moose population change in British Columbia” …found that the animals’ decline “happened concurrently with a Mountain Pine Beetle outbreak that killed a large proportion of mature pine trees and resulted in increased salvage logging and road building.” …That in turn made the ungulates more vulnerable to hunters, predators and environmental conditions. …The main cause of the lower moose population is not just over hunting, but more intensive hunting enabled by more effective guns, more road construction and hunters’ faster vehicles that have raised the hunt success rate to 90 per cent, from 59 per cent a decade ago.

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BC looks to prescribed burns to fight wildfires, regenerate ecosystems

By Dirk Meissner
Canadian Press in Globe and Mail
October 31, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

…The provincial government is endorsing the expanded use of prescribed burns as a firefighting tool and will work to amend laws and regulations that govern them, he said Wednesday. The Forests Ministry says prescribed burns involve the planned and controlled application of fire to a specific land area to improve public safety and the management of forest land. “Communities, when they see smoke, they have concerns but if they know that smoke is in a controlled way rather than haphazard throughout the year, that’s a lot better for people,” Donaldson said. Changes to the Environmental Management Act, he said, are meant “to make sure that people know that smoke will be in their communities more often but at least in a planned way.”

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Concerned about the rate of timber harvesting

Letter by Rick McKelvey
Pentiction Western News
October 31, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

I applaud the efforts of those working to find an alternative to the proposed logging in the Carmi area. I have been similarly concerned about the rate of timber harvesting on the Apex Plateau for some years as well. …The previous Liberal government seems to have turned forest management regulation over to the forest companies. The result has been massive clear-cuts (I measured one at over 350 hectares), logging in riparian areas, destruction of long-used hiking/biking/snowshoe routes, little or no apparent regard for ungulate winter range, impact to view scapes and important natural areas, and the list goes on. …In the long run, there is as much to be gained economically from managing for at least some recreational use of the forests as there is from forest harvesting, the latter of which mostly benefits foreign owned companies in any event.

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Government takes action on Abbott/Chapman report

By Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development
Government of British Columbia
October 31, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The Province has released its action plan in response to the government-commissioned, independent Abbott/Chapman report on the unprecedented 2017 wildfire and flood seasons in British Columbia. The plan outlines actions taken and underway, and identifies next steps to address the report’s 108 recommendations. It also considers recommendations from other recent reports, such as the auditor general’s report, Managing Climate Change Risks, and the federal House of Commons June 2018 report, From the Ashes: Reimagining Fire Safety and Emergency Management in Indigenous Communities. …The Province continues to work to address the impacts of the 2017 and 2018 wildfires and floods and assist in the recovery of affected communities. The action plan supports the development of comprehensive integrated policy, programs and protocols to manage all phases of disaster from prevention and preparedness through response and recovery, now and in the future. The goal is to reduce disaster risk and increase community resiliency in B.C.

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Salmon Arm and Neskonlith partner for wildfire protection funding

By Lachlan Labere
The Vernon Morning Star
October 31, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The Neskonlith Band and the City of Salmon Arm are partnering on provincial funding applications to help diminish the risk of wildfires. On Monday, Oct. 22, Salmon Arm council gave unanimous support to a lengthy resolution that marks the first steps in “a community-to-community approach to addressing wildfire risks in the area.” These steps include having the Neskonlith proceed with separate applications for the band and for the city for funding through the Community Resiliency Investment program, followed by a joint application for funding through the Forest Enhancement Society’s Wildfire Risk Reduction program.

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Ontario just finished one of the most active wildfire seasons in province history

By Ainsley Smith
Daily Hive
October 31, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

Ontario Forest Fires has confirmed that there are no longer any active forest fires in the province, bringing an end to this year’s wildfire season — a season unlike anything Ontario has experienced in over a decade. According to the province, there were more than 1,325 wildfires in central and northern Ontario this year, making 2018 one of the “busiest fire seasons” in the province’s history. In 2017, there were only 776 forest fires. To successfully combat the blazes and ensure the safety of Ontarians, the provincial government provided an additional $100 million in funding. “We recognized the real threat these fires posed to the public, and to the communities and private property in the affected areas, and we took action to respond immediately,” said Jeff Yurek, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry.

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Start-up Blue Forest secures funding for first privately financed forest fire bond

By James Rufus Koren
Los Angeles Times
November 1, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

In a remote corner of the Sierra Nevada, a financial experiment is about to begin. Once this winter’s snow melts, workers will cut down small trees and burn off undergrowth across 5,000 acres of the Tahoe National Forest. But those workers won’t be paid by the U.S. Forest Service or any other public agency that typically funds forestry projects. Instead, the roughly $4 million will come from two foundations, an investment firm and an insurance company — which hope to make money on the deal. The project is the first forestry project financed with a so-called “forest-resilience bond” created by the nonprofit World Resources Institute and start-up Blue Forest Conservation. The San Francisco firm was founded by a group of Berkeley business school graduates with the goal of persuading profit-seeking investors to pay for work that reduces the risk of costly wildfires and potentially eases the risk of drought. 

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Pent up fuel: State and federal agencies focus on increasing prescribed burns for wildfire prevention, but environmental groups say that’s not the answer

By Camillia Lanham
The Santa Maria Sun
October 31, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

An estimated 129 million trees in California are dead. It sounds apocalyptic, but it’s true. …Most of the die-off has occurred in the Sierra Nevada, but forests on the Central Coast have lost their own share of oak, pine, and fir stands. The U.S. Forest Service surveyed 4.2 million acres of national forest land between Monterey and Los Angeles counties in 2015, estimating that 2 million trees had died from pest infestations, sudden oak death, and drought. The U.S. Forest Service… has teamed up with Cal Fire and 80 other federal, state, and local agencies and private utility companies to address “forest health,” remove trees, increase the use of prescribed fire on public lands, and change the way fire suppression is funded. …Prescribed burns aren’t the answer, though, said Jeff Kuyper, director of Los Padres ForestWatch. 

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Georgia Forestry Commission’s latest damage assessment, $762 million loss

By Jeremy Spencer
All On Georgia
October 31, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

Hurricane Michael’s damage assessment continues throughout the state. The hurricane has changed the landscape of southwest Georgia and much of Georgia’s agribusiness industry which has taken over a $2 billion hit. Many foresters met with the Georgia Forestry Commission last week to evaluate the damage to the industry. Hurricane Michael delivered over 125-150 mph winds to the area from all over southwest Georgia. A combination of geospatial analysis, aerial, and field examinations show damage to more than two million acres of forestland impacted by Hurricane Michael. Georgia Agricultural Commissioner Gary Black released the following update on Tuesday: “We knew that the damage estimates from Hurricane Michael would be fluid and difficult to pinpoint. That has certainly been the case regarding the forestry numbers, with the latest estimates from the Georgia Forestry Commission establishing timbers losses well over $762 million.”

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Virginia’s state forests earn environmental certifications

CBS19 News
October 31, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — All of the state forests in Virginia are now certified to the Sustainable Forestry Initiative and American Tree Farm System standards. The Virginia Department of Forestry says that covers more than 68,000 acres across the Commonwealth. The state forest system gets no general funds from the state government, so it is supported by timber sales. DOF says this certification demonstrates for private landowners how certification can be part of land management efforts while also having sustainable working forests. “The commitment to sustainability within Virginia State Forests began in 1919 with the gift of 588 acres of land in Prince Edward County from Emmett D. Gallion for the purpose of advancing the cause of forestry in Virginia,” said State Forests Manager Gary Heiser.

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Federal Government Announces More Than $1.1 Million in Grants to Help Bats

All on Georgia
November 1, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

On the eve of Halloween, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation announced more than $1.1 million in grants to combat white-nose syndrome and promote the survival of bats in North America. …“The Bats to the Future Fund has been a game-changer for advancing research on potential solutions to help bats survive the devastating impacts of white-nose syndrome.  Bat Conservation International is working to test novel solutions and assess the efficacy and feasibility of delivering solutions to bats in need, ” said Dr. Winifred Frick, Chief Scientist at Bat Conservation International. …The projects will test four different environmental treatments, as well as further develop a vaccine test to help manage the disease and improve survival and recovery of affected bat populations. In addition to Birmingham, experimental treatments will be deployed in Arkansas, Colorado, Minnesota, Texas, Wisconsin and Ontario, Canada.

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Forest report points to opportunity for recovery

By Jennifer Rigby
Mongabay
October 31, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: International

When it released its “State of the World’s Forests 2018” report in July, the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) seemed to have taken to heart that old corporate PR rule of thumb that in times of crisis you should say “opportunity” rather than “problem.” …“Seventy years ago, FAO completed its first assessment of the world’s forest resources,” José Graziano da Silva, the organization’s director-general, said in the report’s foreword. …The report says forests can help the world achieve at least 10 (and possibly more) of the 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) the international community signed up to at a historic U.N. summit in 2015.  …While deforestation is still happening, it has slowed, and in some areas of the world, has begun to reverse. The FAO’s Global Forests Resource Assessment found that the world’s forest area decreased from 31.6 percent of total land area to 30.6 percent between 1990 and 2015.

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Brazil’s new leader promised to exploit the Amazon—but can he?

By Scott Wallace
National Geographic
October 31, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: International

The victory of hard-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil’s presidential election Sunday has set off alarm bells among indigenous communities and environmentalists over the fate of the Amazon rain forest. Activists and native leaders are particularly concerned by Bolsonaro’s campaign pledges to rollback protections of the rain forest and indigenous rights. Yet some experts say there are limits to how far Bolsonaro will be able to go on his promises, perhaps suggesting a more moderate future. …Reports are circulating that Balsonaro’s victory has already bolstered a sense of impunity among criminal groups that traffic in timber, exotic species, and other riches pilfered from indigenous land. …Not all environmental experts view Bolsonaro’s victory as an outright catastrophe. 

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

I-1631 is rural Washington’s great green hope

By Frances Charles and Ron Allen
The Peninsula Daily News
October 31, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

The fight to safeguard Washington state from serious impacts of climate change will not be won in Washington, D.C., or in Olympia, but in rural communities like Port Angeles, Sequim and Forks. That’s a foundational principle embodied in Initiative 1631, the ballot initiative co-authored and co-managed by Washington’s tribes. When passed, I-1631 will enact the largest-ever investment in our state’s lands and ecosystems in order to counter the negative impacts of climate change on Washington. …While some segments of the environmental community still view the forest products industry as an “enemy” given opposition to certain logging practices or even the concept of harvesting trees, it’s undeniable that managed tree farms that are harvested and replanted play a key role in both sequestering carbon and protecting forests from development, parasites, outbreaks and wildfire.

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Climate change looms over future of Finnish forestry industry

Svenska Yle News
October 31, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Forestry is a big industry in Finland and its seedling farms play a major role in keeping the sector alive because the small plants are the replacements for millions of trees felled every year. Dagsmark is home to one of Finland’s biggest tree seedling farms, Mellanå Plant. …But the busy farm has had to deal with unusual turns in the weather, particularly this year’s extremely dry summer. …The region’s recent milder – and nearly-snowless – winters also cause problems because the trees’ root systems are very sensitive to cold temperatures. …Climate change affects the forest and the forestry industry in many ways. It causes a lengthening of growth seasons but also causes a long list of major problems like forest fires, severe storms, heavy snow that tears apart trees and damaging insect infestations.

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Health & Safety

Combustible Dust Fires and Explosions: Recent Data and Lessons Learned

By Chris Cloney
Chemical Engineering
November 1, 2018
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada

Fires and explosions in facilities that handle combustible dust remain an ongoing focus of process safety efforts across many areas of the chemical process industries (CPI). But how many dust-related safety incidents occur each year? This question is a major driver behind the formation of the Combustible Dust Incident Database. Created in 2016, the CDID features a twice-yearly report on fires and explosions having to do with combustible dusts….The information collected… is now helping to determine trends and tendencies in the materials, industries and equipment involved with these hazards. …The CSB report shows an increasing trend in the number of combustible-dust incidents, injuries and fatalities, with the numbers almost doubling during the 20-year period from 1980 to 2001.

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