Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: November 13, 2018

Today’s Takeaway

As the death toll rises and California scrambles to contain wildfires, the blame game intensifies

The Tree Frog Forestry News
November 13, 2018
Category: Today's Takeaway

As the death toll rises and California scrambles to contain wildfires at both ends of the state—with some help from Oregon and Montana—the blame game intensifies. Key headlines include:

  • Wind, drought worsen fires, not bad management
  • California fires: what is happening and is climate change to blame?
  • Don’t debate forestry management in the middle of disastrous wildfires
  • Megafires more frequent because of climate change and forest management
  • California fire destroys Neil Young’s home

In other news: BC’s never-ending struggle over ancient trees; Ontario’s beech trees face slow demise; the EU calls for tough action on deforestation; and Pat Bell’s view of Proportional Representation.

Finally, its going to be a green Christmas after all, as Millennials opt for pine over plastic.

Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Business & Politics

Canfor Corp. Signs Agreement to Acquire Elliott Sawmilling Co.

By Paul Ploumis
Scrap Monster
November 12, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

SEATTLE — Canfor Corporation announced that it has reached an agreement to purchase Estill, South Carolina-based Elliott Sawmilling Co., for a price of $110 million. The transaction is subject to completion of certain transaction documents and other customary closing conditions. The company press release noted that the purchase deal is expected to close during the first half of 2019. Upon closing, Canfor aims to acquire 49% on closing, whereas the remaining 51% will be acquired during the second phase, after a year. …Elliot’s high tech southern yellow pine mill, which consists of both large and small log lines, has a capacity to saw 200 million board feet per year. The company offers nearly 180 well-paid jobs in the region. 

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Babine mill workers suspend strike

BC Local News
November 12, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Workers at the Babine Forest Products Mill in Burns Lake have suspended their strike as their union the United Steelworkers Local 1-2017 prepares to enter mediation with management. “We have stopped our overtime and rotating strikes while we’re in mediation with the Interior Forest Labour Relations Association,” Brian O’Rourke, President of Local 1-2017 told Lakes District News on Nov. 5. The mediation is scheduled to happen Nov. 14-16 in Kelowna. …Local 1-2017 Vice-President Paul French pointed out that “the union’s 72-hour strike notice is still in effect. We’re in a legal position to call a strike if need be. We’re trying to avoid a strike [but we’re] also showing the seriousness of the situation. We’re not giving away things for free.” “Ideally we would like to have a fair collective agreement that our membership can accept without any concessions on the table,” O’Rourke said.

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Proportional Representation is bad for Resource Development

By Pat Bell, BC’s Forest Minister 2008-2011
November 2, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Pat Bell

There has been much discussion about the referendum on proportional representation over the last few months but we’ve not heard anything through the lens of those that work in the forestry, mining and energy sectors. How would a change in voting system impact those that work on the land base? This should be an important element of how we all vote. Proportional Representation is, by nature intended to provide more diversity in our political representation. The system proposed by the current government would provide for room in our legislature for any party which receives at least 5% of the province wide vote. …In the resource sector we rely on a stable decision making environment. Regardless of the size of your investment you need to know that land use decisions with be fact based and consistent with government policy. …The problem with having very small interest groups in government is that these groups will hold the balance of power in a minority government and minority governments will occur much more frequently in a Proportional system of voting. 

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500 forestry workers to vote on new collective agreement

Thunder Bay News Watch
November 12, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

DRYDEN, ON — The ratification process begins this week for a proposed collective agreement for members of Unifor who work in Domtar’s pulp mill at Dryden and in the woodlands operations. The tentative agreement with the company affects 500 employees and three Unifor locals. Union national representative Stephen Boon says details will be released after voting is complete next week, but adds that the contract does “achieve Unifor’s Eastern Canada Pulp and Paper Pattern.” The pattern was established in May with a new four-year collective agreement between Unifor and Resolute Forest Products. …Final voting on the agreement will take place on Nov. 20. The union’s last contract with Domtar expired on August 31, 2018.

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AF&PA presents six sustainability awards

By Megan Smalley
Recycling Today
November 12, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States

The American Forest & Paper Association presented its 2018 Better Practices, Better Planet 2020 Sustainability Awards at its annual meeting on Nov. 9 in Dallas. …AF&PA’s annual awards are given based on the merit of entries received across multiple categories as a way to recognize exemplary sustainability programs in the paper and wood products manufacturing industry, the association reports.

  • Energy Efficiency/Greenhouse Gas Reduction – Clearwater Paper: Lewiston Pulp Optimization Project
  • Paper Recovery for Recycling – WestRock Co: Advancing Foodservice Packaging Recycling
  • Safety (Large) – Resolute Forest Products: Proactive Approach to Workplace Safety
  • Safety (Small) – American Eagle Paper Mills: Shifting to a Culture of Safety
  • Water – Domtar: Hawesville Water Conservation Project
  • Innovation in Sustainability – WestRock Company: TechniFlute

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

335 Leading Corporations Remove Misleading ‘Go Green’ Claims

Two Sides
November 13, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, International

LONDON, UK  – At the annual meeting of Two Sides’ Country Managers in London on November 5, 2018, representatives from Australia, Europe, New Zealand, North America, South America and South Africa determined to continue efforts to stop organizations from making misleading, anti-print and paper claims in their customer communications. Since its inception, Two Sides’ anti-greenwash campaign has investigated 921 organizations worldwide. Of these, over two-thirds were found to be using unsubstantiated claims regarding paper’s impact on the environment, usually in breach of local advertising regulations. After being challenged by Two Sides, a total of 335 organizations have now removed or changed their messaging.

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Tokyo Olympics 2020 organisers deny accusations of illegally sourced wood usage

By Walter Sim
The Straight Times
November 12, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

TOKYO – The organisers of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics have vehemently denied an accusation by an environmental group that several of the new Games venues are being built by wood that has been purportedly obtained through illegal logging. The US-based Rainforest Action Network (RAN) said on Monday that the use of wood from Malaysia and Indonesia to build new Games venues “flies in the face” of Tokyo’s commitment to realise the United Nations’ sustainable development goals. … This is due to the “illegal logging, human rights abuses, and high deforestation rates that have been widely documented in both the Malaysian and Indonesian forestry sectors and given what is known of Tokyo 2020’s plywood suppliers”. But Tokyo 2020 spokesman Masa Takaya told The Straits Times: “It is a matter of fact that all timber currently used in construction for the Tokyo 2020 Games has complied with its sustainable sourcing code for timber.”

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Forestry

Canada Promotes Indigenous Participation in Quebec’s Forest Sector

By Natural Resources Canada
Cision Newswire
November 12, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada

WASWANIPI, QC – Canada’s forest sector continues to be an important generator of good jobs in communities across the country, including rural, remote and Indigenous communities. The Government of Canada is working with Indigenous peoples to ensure that they participate in — and benefit from — natural resource projects. Paul Lefebvre, Parliamentary Secretary to the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, today announced a $330,000 investment for two forestry projects in Waswanipi, Quebec, that will create jobs and boost the local economy. The first investment of $300,000 is for the Cree First Nation of Waswanipi to support business planning and equipment reconditioning for the Nabakatuk Forest Products facility. This funding will enable the reopening of the facility so that it can provide mill-finished lumber for retail markets. Support for this community-industry partnership is a promising model, which will foster stronger relationships with Indigenous peoples and competitiveness in Canada’s forest economy.

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Money trees The struggle over what’s ancient, giant, valuable and dwindling in B.C.’s coastal forests

By Chad Pawson
CBC News
November 13, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

For the past seven years, environmentalists in B.C. have been looking for… big, ancient trees that erupt out of the ground and make people standing beside them look miniscule and insignificant. …In May, an hour’s drive southwest from the Vancouver Island logging town of Port Alberni, a group found one — a giant Douglas fir measuring 66 metres tall and three metres in diameter at chest height. …But two weeks later, the giant fir was cut down by loggers who say it was rotten in its core and worth more being turned into products like wooden beams than living out its life in the forest. …The tree is — or was — a symbol of the latest iteration of B.C’s War in the Woods where, on one side, environmentalists want all old-growth trees off limits to cutting because of the role they play in preserving biodiversity and keeping climate change from advancing.

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Ontario’s beech trees are facing a slow demise. Here’s why

CBC News
November 12, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

Ontario’s beech trees are slowly being consumed by a disease that’s been on a steady march through the province for decades, experts say. Beech bark disease comes as a two-part attack. First, a small insect burrows into the tree. Then a fungus takes over, slowly rotting the tree and causing it to die. ​”After the insect has moved through, then the fungus will follow and cause the cankers on the tree,” said Sylvia Greifenhagen, a research forester with Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. “When you get enough of these killing cankers in the bark, the tree will die.” The disease has been relatively slow moving, arriving in Canada in the 1890s and gradually spreading through the Maritimes, Quebec and now Ontario. Greifenhagen said the ministry has research plots across the province to track the disease’s movement. In some cases, it’s already taken a considerable number of trees.

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Millennials are giving American tree growers a green Christmas

By Jen Skerritt
Bloomberg
November 13, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

It’s going to be a green Christmas for U.S. tree growers thanks to millennials who are opting for pines over plastic. Prices for the iconic holiday trees have surged 17 per cent in the past two years, driven by younger consumers who are increasingly seeking locally grown, natural trees, according to a new report from the National Christmas Tree Association and Square Inc. Demand for Christmas trees had previously waned as baby boomers sought artificial trees as their kids moved out of the house, according to the report. Average prices for the natural trees rose to $73 (U.S.) in 2017 from $64 in 2015, and costs are expected to hold steady in 2018, the report said.

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Megafires More Frequent Because Of Climate Change And Forest Management

By Christopher Joyce & Ashley Westerman
Georgia Public Broadcasting
November 12, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

Strong, dry winds are expected to continue through the early part of this week in California as the state battles several wildfires. The Camp Fire in Northern California … is the state’s most destructive fire ever… In Southern California, officials say the Woolsey Fire, which also started Thursday, has killed at least two people and burned more than 91,000 acres. Over the weekend President Trump twice tweeted that the fires were the result of poor forest management, threatening to withhold federal aid if the problem wasn’t remedied. California Gov. Jerry Brown, who has asked the White House for a “major disaster declaration,” hit back at the president on Sunday during a news conference. He said forest management is only one element of preventing forest fires. …Scientists who study fire agree and say both a changing climate as well as how people have managed forests has created a new environment for big fires to thrive.

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Scientists: Wind, drought worsen fires, not bad management

By Seth Borenstein
Phys.org
November 11, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

Both nature and humans share blame for California’s devastating wildfires, but forest management did not play a major role, despite President Donald Trump’s claims, fire scientists say. Nature provides the dangerous winds that have whipped the fires, and human-caused climate change over the long haul is killing and drying the shrubs and trees that provide the fuel, experts say. “Natural factors and human-caused global warming effects fatally collude” in these fires, said wildfire expert Kristen Thornicke of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany. Multiple reasons explain the fires’ severity, but “forest management wasn’t one of them,” University of Utah fire scientist Philip Dennison said. Trump tweeted on Saturday: “There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor. Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests.”

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California fires: what is happening and is climate change to blame?

By Oliver Milman
The Guardian
November 12, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

Both ends of California are aflame, with a trio of disastrous wildfires resulting in at least 31 deaths and thousands of lost homes and businesses. In the northern reaches of the state, a conflagration called the Camp fire is now the most destructive and joint most deadly in California’s history. …Further south, the Woolsey fire has menaced the Los Angeles area, burning 83,000 acres. …Large wildfires require a cocktail of conditions, such as favourable wind speed and direction, fuel, terrain and, of course, ignition, which can be as simple as a trailer throwing up sparks by scraping on a road. Broadly speaking, however, climate change is making conditions more favourable for wildfires in the American west. Of the 20 largest wildfires in California’s recorded history, 15 have occurred since 2000, at a time when forests have become drier and warmer.

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Neil Young blasts Trump as ‘unfit’ after California fire destroys Canadian’s home

By Josh Elliott
Global News
November 12, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Canadian singer Neil Young attacked U.S. President Donald Trump as an “unfit leader” and climate-change denier on Sunday, after California’s raging wildfires wiped out the rocker’s home in Malibu. Young accused Trump of ignoring climate change and playing politics with the wildfires in California, where 31 people have been killed, 150,000 have been displaced and more than 1,040 square kilometres have been scorched by massive wildfires. “It really is time for a reckoning with this unfit leader,” Young wrote in a blog poston his website Sunday. “California is vulnerable — not because of poor forest management as DT (our so-called president) would have us think,” Young wrote. The rocker accused Trump of denying climate change and ignoring scientific evidence in favour of “his own, convenient opinion.” Young appeared to be responding to a series of tweets Trump issued over the weekend, in which the president blamed “forest management” for the deadly blazes.

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Don’t debate forestry management in the middle of disastrous wildfires

By Michael Brown, former FEMA Director
The Hill
November 12, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

…CAL FIRE, the state’s Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, is coordinating California’s firefighting efforts in-and-around Los Angeles and other areas. …But CAL Fire is also responsible for the management of California forests. …This includes reviewing 500 to 1,400 plans to harvest timber on private lands and 6,500 site inspections — plans submitted by private landowners and logging companies who want to harvest the trees. “Controlled burns” to manage vegetation involve foresters, firefighters, landowners, and the local communities. …The failure to properly manage forests is a serious issue. …Debating what is proper forestry management is an appropriate debate. …We have a responsibility to enter into those debates before and after first responders are putting their lives at risk. …Until then the focus should be on stopping the spread of these fires, saving lives and protecting property.  

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Death toll rises in California wildfire, matching deadliest in state history; 228 still missing

By Gillian Flaccus and Andrew Selsky
The Missoulian
November 11, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

PARADISE, Calif. — As relatives desperately searched shelters for missing loved ones on Sunday, crews searching the smoking ruins of Paradise and outlying areas found six more bodies, raising the death toll to 29, matching the deadliest wildfire in California history. …Gov. Jerry Brown said California is requesting aid from the Trump administration. President Donald Trump has blamed “poor” forest management for the fires. Brown told a press briefing that federal and state governments must do more forest management but said that’s not the source of the problem. “Managing all the forests everywhere we can does not stop climate change,” Brown said. “And those who deny that are definitely contributing to the tragedies that we’re now witnessing, and will continue to witness in the coming years.”

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Planes from Missoula-based Neptune Aviation on hand to fight California fires

By Rob Chaney
The Helene Independent Record
November 12, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

As Montana’s firefighting ground troops head south to help with California’s home-wrecking forest fires, its homegrown air force is already on scene. “We started sending aircraft down there Thursday morning last week,” Neptune Aviation Chief Executive Officer Ron Hooper said on Monday. “We have three on the Paradise fire and three on the fire near Malibu. It was really strange scraping ice off the aircraft last week.” Neptune’s Bae-146 retardant bombers had just finished a busy regular fire season and were back at their Missoula base when the Camp fire and Woolsey fire roared to national prominence. …“The governor in California was quoted saying it’s no longer fire season, but fire year,” Hooper said. “They’ve had a drought for so long, and they’ve got 50- to 60-mph winds on both fires.”

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Oregon strike teams battle deadly Camp Fire wildfire in northern California

By Virginia Barreda
The Statesman Journal
November 12, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

The Oregon Department of Forestry deployed two strike teams Sunday to help battle wildfires in California that have claimed more than 30 lives. While on route, the Oregon teams received orders to help suppress the 111,000-acre Camp Fire near Chico in northern California.  California officials originally requested the Oregonians come to the southern portion of the state. …At the time of arrival, the Camp Fire was reported at 25 percent containment, according Oregon forestry officials. …An estimated 29 people have died in the Camp Fire. An additional 230 are missing, according to California fire officials. About 6,453 residences have been destroyed and an additional 15,000 structures threatened.

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Hurricane Michael Caused $1.5 Billion in Agriculture Losses, Mostly in Forestry, Timber

Florida Daily
November 12, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

Florida suffered almost $1.5 billion in agriculture losses due to Hurricane Michael hitting the Panhandle last month, a new report from the state government finds. On Friday, outgoing state Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam announced that the timber industry suffered the overwhelming majority of agriculture losses from the hurricane as that sector lost $1.3 billion while other agriculture industries suffered almost $200 million.  According to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ preliminary report, the losses are as follows:

  • Total Florida agriculture: $1,481,843,193
  • Forestry: $1,289,023,465

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EU states call for tough action on deforestation to meet 2020 UN goal

By Arthur Neslen
The Guardian
November 12, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: International

The UK, France and Germany have called on the European commission to launch tough new action to halt deforestation by the end of the year. A long-delayed EU action plan should be brought forward “as soon as possible”, says a letter to the commission sent by the Amsterdam Declarationgroup of countries, which also includes Italy, the Netherlands and Norway. …Actions should be taken to align “economic opportunities” with “responsible management of global supply chains”, says the letter signed by Denmark’s environment minister, Jakob Ellemann-Jensen. Up to 80% of global forest loss is driven by agribusiness, even though research shows that better forest stewardship and natural climate solutions could provide more than a third of the climate mitigation needed by 2030.

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It’s not trails that disturb forest birds, but the people on them

By Frontiers
EurekAlert
November 12, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: International

The first study to disentangle the effect of forest trails from the presence of humans shows the number of birds, as well as bird species, is lower when trails are used on a more regular basis. This is also the case when trails have been used for many years, suggesting that forest birds do not get used to this recreational activity. Published in Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, the finding suggests the physical presence of trails has less of an impact on forest birds than how frequently these recreational paths are used by people. To minimize the impact on these forest creatures, people should avoid roaming from designated pathways. “We show that forest birds are quite distinctly affected by people and that this avoidance behavior did not disappear even after years of use by humans. This suggests not all birds habituate to humans and that a long-lasting effect remains,” says Dr Yves Bötsch.

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