Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: November 29, 2018

Today’s Takeaway

No end in sight to debate over the role of forest management in climate change

The Tree Frog Forestry News
November 29, 2018
Category: Today's Takeaway

There appears to be no end in sight to the debate over the role of forests and forest management in climate change. Here are the headlines that make the point:

  • Forestry provisions are the latest snag in US farm bill negotiations
  • House Caucus says Democrats obstructing active management of forests
  • Fast-tracking logging on federal lands may not lessen wildfire risk
  • Three years after Paris talks, the world braces for Poland
  • Brazil withdraws offer to host UN climate change conference
  • In Lebanon, climate change devours ancient cedar trees

In Business news: US home sales dropped 9% in October; BC looks to Asia as US market cools; China loses tariff appeal on wood flooring; and how those same tariffs are hurting US companies. Companies in the news include: Mercer’s investment offering; Westervelt’s new mill; Timberwest’s scholarships for indigenous students; and Weyerhaeuser’s triumph over the Dusky Gopher Frog.

Finally, why South Park’s zero-sum view of the world doesn’t work with climate change.

Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Froggy Foibles

Why ‘South Park’ doesn’t understand climate change

By Ilana Strauss
Treehugger
November 28, 2018
Category: Froggy Foibles

“South Park” just ran a couple episodes about climate change. The show gets a lot right about the history of the problem, but it screws up a key factor of human nature in the process, one that could completely flip the future. …”South Park” sees the world as zero-sum: my win is your loss. In a zero-sum world, no one would ever sacrifice soy sauce to save the planet, or money to build roads. But climate change isn’t a zero-sum problem. Instead, it might be what economists call a “collaboration problem.” …This isn’t to say that government, or other groups, actually will take the steps necessary to end climate change. Just that we could.

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Business & Politics

Mercer International Inc. Announces Plans to Issue $350 Million of Senior Notes in Private Offering

By Mercer International
Global Newswire
November 28, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, International

NEW YORK — Mercer International announced that it intends to offer for sale $350 million in aggregate principal amount of senior notes due 2025. The net proceeds of the Offering, together with cash on hand, will be used to finance the purchase price under the previously announced acquisition of all of the outstanding shares of Daishowa-Marubeni International Ltd. and to pay fees and expenses. The Offering is not conditioned upon the completion of the Acquisition.  

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B.C.’s forest sector turns to Asia as U.S. market cools

By Chuck Chiang
Business in Vancouver
November 29, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

One year after leading the province’s largest-ever forestry-sector delegation to Asia, B.C. Forests Minister Doug Donaldson is taking an even larger group to three key Asian countries this winter in a push to expand exports beyond the suddenly slowing U.S. market. Donaldson… will visit South Korea, Japan and China December 5-15 with officials from more than 40 companies, research institutions, unions and trade associations. …China, Japan and South Korea are B.C.’s second-, third- and fifth-largest wood-product export markets, respectively. The three markets combine to make up about 29% of B.C.’s current wood-product exports, although each presents a distinct opportunity for local companies, officials said.

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The American Casualties of Trump’s Trade War

By Guy Lawson
New York Times
November 28, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States

Tariffs on Chinese imports have endangered small business around the United States — a growing nightmare that critics say the president could have avoided. Sam Cobb was surprised to see so many people lined up for a hearing at the International Trade Commission in Washington on Aug. 20. The chief executive of Real Wood Floors, Cobb was a veteran of such proceedings… In the preceding weeks, the Trump administration had floated a proposal to place punitive import tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods, and the politics of global trade had suddenly burst into the headlines. …For Cobb and the 247 employees of Real Wood’s affiliated companies, the stakes were high. Their business is exporting hardwood … Missouri to their partners in China, who mill it into… designer flooring. …Real Wood [then] sells it to high-end builders from coast to coast — an ocean-spanning supply chain that nevertheless keeps costs down.

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New Home Sales Drop 8.9 Percent in October as Affordability Challenges Persist

National Association of Home Builders
November 28, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States

Sales of newly built, single-family homes fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 544,000 units in October after an upwardly revised September report, according to newly released data by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau. This is the lowest sales pace since December 2016. However, on a year-to-date basis, sales are up 2.8 percent from this time in 2017. “The November reading is consistent with reports from our builders, who say that the job market and demographic tailwinds bode well for housing demand but rising interest rates and home prices are forcing customers to take a pause,” said Randy Noel, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a custom home builder from LaPlace, La. “Policymakers should see this drop in sales as an indicator that housing affordability will continue to slow down the market.”

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Chinese Exporters of Flooring Lose Challenge Against Tariffs

Floor Daily
November 28, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States

Washington, DC – A group of Chinese producers and exporters of multilayered wood flooring lost their legal challenge November 26 to U.S. antidumping duties on their products, reports Bloomberg Law. “The ruling by the Court of International Trade maintains a duty rate of 17.37% on most Chinese flooring that entered the U.S. between December 2013 and November 2014. The plaintiffs took issue with several aspects of how the Commerce Department calculated the duties, including the department’s use of surrogate data.

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Westervelt’s new lumber mill to create over 100 jobs in Alabama

By Angel Kipfer
Woodworking Network
November 28, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Westervelt Company, a lumber producer of primarily Southern Yellow Pine, has announced that the location for its new lumber mill will be in Thomasville, Alabama. With construction set to begin mid-2019, the new mill will complement Westervelt’s existing lumber mill in Moundville, Alabama, which the company says is the second-largest production facility of Southern Yellow Pine in the U.S. … The facility is expected to create 125 new jobs and produce around 250 million board feet of lumber annually. The expansion will take advantage of the proximity of the company’s timberland and other facilities, as well as workforce and existing customer bases.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Government of Canada offers latest edition of the National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings for free

By National Research Council Canada
Cision Newswire
November 28, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada

OTTAWA – Improving the energy efficiency of buildings is one of the most cost-effective ways to reduce our carbon footprint. At the same time, providing free codes to the construction industry has been linked to strong gains in productivity and the economy in other countries. That’s why the National Research Council of Canada and Natural Resources Canada are providing Canadians with free online access to the 2017 edition of the National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings (NECB 2017). The NECB 2017 builds on Canada’s commitment to work closely with the provinces and territories on the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change to meet emissions reduction targets, grow the economy, and build resilience to a changing climate. Provinces and territories may adopt the National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings, or adapt it to create a regulation that meets their specific regional needs.

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Forestry

Canadians invited to celebrate our forests in international contest

Forest Products Association of Canada
November 28, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada

The forest products sector is inviting Canadians to show their appreciation of trees and forests by taking part in a United Nations-sponsored contest highlighting International Day of Forests 2019. The Food And Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has established “Forests and Education” as the theme to mark the occasion and in doing so, the international body is inviting teachers and non-teachers across the globe to prepare a short video that shows how they educate children about the importance of trees and forests for our planet’s future. …Derek Nighbor, CEO of the Forest Products Association of Canada, “This is an opportunity for teachers or parents to express on the world stage, how they are teaching children about the value of our forests in combatting climate change, our global leadership in sustainable forest management.” …The deadline for video submissions is December 15

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Fraser islands deforestation Canada’s most urgent rivers issue

By Randy Shore
Vancouver Sun
November 27, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Deforestation of three islands in the heart of the Fraser River is the most pressing rivers issue in the country for the coming year, according to the Outdoor Recreation Council. Herrling, Carey and Strawberry Islands — nestled mid-river between Hope and Mission — are all being cleared of trees to varying degrees, activity that could damage the most biologically productive part of the Fraser, said ORC rivers chair Mark Angelo. This stretch of river is a spawning site for threatened white sturgeon, a rearing area for chinook salmon… The largest of the three islands, Herrling is being clear-cut as it transitions from a cottonwood tree farm to field crops by Klaassen Farms, the new owner. Fisheries and Oceans Canada confirmed it has an open investigation into the work being done on Herrling Island. …Klaassen Farms intends to grow blueberries, corn and forage crops …and requires a bridge for year-round vehicle access…

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Sunshine Coast Regional District to ask province to stop sale of cutblock DL 1313

By Sophie Woodrooffe
The Coast Reporter
November 28, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

With a month left until the licence to harvest District Lot 1313 goes up for auction, Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) directors are once more writing to the province in an effort to protect the forest from logging. The move came following a delegation that appeared before the SCRD board on Nov. 22, headed up by Gayle Neilson, an Elphinstone Community Association board member. …Neilson reminded the board… that the area is targeted for park and recreation use in the Elphinstone Official Community Plan, that the forest protects sensitive species, and addressed neighbour concerns about possible mudslides and other risks associated with logging near residential areas. 

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Timberwest and Indspire announce new post-secondary Indigenous Forestry Education award

TimberWest
November 28, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Nanaimo — TimberWest is pleased to announce a $50,000 post-secondary scholarship program for Indigenous students enrolled in forest management studies. TimberWest provided $25,000 through the Indspire Building Brighter Futures: Bursaries, Scholarships and Awards program for a five-year period that started this year and is running until 2022. Indspire has received matching funding from the Government of Canada, raising the scholarship to a total of $50,000. “TimberWest is proud to support forestry-related education opportunities for Indigenous students”, said President & CEO Jeff Zweig. “We strongly believe that education is an important contributor to increasing indigenous participation in the forest economy.”

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Tree seed plant in Angus closing

By Roger Klein
CTV News Barrie
November 27, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

“I am absolutely flabbergasted.” Despite faint hopes of a last-minute reprieve, the Ontario Tree Seed plant in Angus will permanently close. Susan Antler with the Friends of Utopia Mill says, “If you want to save the Ontario Tree Seed facility, if you are concerned about the health and future of your forests, you better get involved because we are moving down a road I never expected.” The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry is hosting a series of transition workshops as the province exits to tree seed business. The plant has been extracting, processing and storing tree seeds for reforestation programs since 1923.  Samples of the tree seeds will be stored at The Ontario Forest Research Institute in Sault Ste. Marie. 

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Forest fires add snag to getting farm bill passed

The Watertown Daily Times
November 28, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

WASHINGTON — Forestry provisions have emerged as the latest snag in farm bill negotiations, sending the issue to congressional leaders for talks to break the impasse. The forestry provisions in the House-passed version of the farm bill say the proposed changes to federal forest management policies would prevent forest fires — an issue that is now at the forefront after the deadly California fires. Opponents say the proposed changes would ease federal oversight and safeguards needed to limit logging on public lands that could destroy forests habitats and reduce protections for endangered wildlife. “The big, big question right now is this debate on forestry,” Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan told reporters Monday night. “Last-minute provisions can be the death of any complicated bill.

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Battle Over Forestry – Western House Caucus Angry at Senate Democrats Over Forestry Conflict in Farm Bill

By Jerry Hagstrom
The Progressive Farmer
November 28, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The farm bill continues to be bogged down with conflicts over forestry programs that the Trump Administration is insisting on to deal with forest fires. As congressional leaders were expected to consider how to handle forestry policy in the farm bill conference report this week, members of the Congressional Western Caucus on Tuesday urged farm bill conferees to include the forestry provisions of the House farm bill and condemned Senate Democrats for obstructing active management of the nation’s forests. But the press release was a sign that the campaign to allow changes to forest management policy is not faring well. …Schumer told reporters Tuesday that forestry is the only major farm-bill issue left and that Democrats “hope we can get a farm bill this year.”

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Fast-Tracking Logging On Federal Lands May Not Lessen Wildfire Risk

By Kirk Siegler
National Public Radio
November 28, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

It’s looking like the House and Senate could be finally coming to agreement on the sweeping Farm Bill. One of the latest big sticking points has been a provision that would limit public review and environmental analysis of forest projects on federal public land. …Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said on Monday that some of the disaster could have been mitigated if there had been more active forest management. “When we looked at areas up there that had been treated for fire, thinned, those were the lines of defense that the firefighters were using,” Zinke said… Wildfire scientists will study that question for years: Would more thinning of dense stands of trees on federal forest land have made a difference…? But in an op-ed for CNN, Zinke said more active forest management — from thinning to prescribed burns — needs to happen now.

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Endangered Dusky Gopher Frog Suffers Setback In Supreme Court Ruling

By Lawrence Hurley
Reuters in the Huffington Post Environment
November 28, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday handed a victory to timber company Weyerhaeuser Co and other landowners seeking to limit the federal government’s power to designate private land as protected habitat for endangered species in a property rights case involving a warty amphibian called the dusky gopher frog. The court, in a 8-0 decision written by Chief Justice John Roberts, threw out a 2016 ruling by the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that had favored the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, finding the lower court gave the government too much leeway. …Roberts wrote that the appeals court’s broad definition of what can be defined as “critical habitat” under the Endangered Species Act was incorrect, with chief justice making clear that there are limits on the scope of government authority to make such determinations.

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Brazil loses ‘one million football pitches’ worth of forest

Associated Free Press in The Straits Times
November 28, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: International

SAO PAULO – Deforestation in Brazil has reached such epic proportions that an area equivalent to one million football pitches was lost in just one year, Greenpeace said. Between August 2017 and July 2018, deforestation increased by almost 14 per cent, with an area of 7,900 square kilometres of forest cleared, according to the governmental institution of special investigations. “It’s more or less one million football fields of deforestation in just one year,” Mr Marcio Astrini, the public policies coordinator for Greenpeace Brazil, told AFP.  “Every year we have this news that forest is being criminally deforested.” Mr Astrini said things could get even worse if president-elect Jair Bolsonaro carries out his threats to loosen environmental protection rules. His appointment of Ms Tereza Cristina as Agriculture Minister also caused concerns as she … is a supporter of clearing more forested area to make way for pasture land and agriculture.

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In Lebanon, climate change devours ancient cedar trees

By Tony Gamal-Gabriel
Phys.Org
November 28, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: International

High up in Lebanon’s mountains, the lifeless grey trunks of dead cedar trees stand stark in the deep green forest, witnesses of the climate change that has ravaged them. Often dubbed “Cedars of God”, the tall evergreens hark back millenia and are a source of great pride and a national icon in the small Mediterranean country. The cedar tree, with its majestic horizontal branches, graces the nation’s flag and its bank notes. But as temperatures rise, and rain and snowfall decrease, Lebanon’s graceful cedars are increasingly under attack by a tiny green grub that feed off the youngest trees. …As the ground becomes less cold and humid in winter, sawflies are now springing out of the earth every year, and in larger numbers. Their preferred victims are young cedar trees, aged 20 to 100 years old.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Forest fires, typhoons and droughts: Three years after Paris talks, the world braces for Poland

By Frank Jordans and Monika Scislowska
Associated Press in the National Post
November 28, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

KATOWICE, Poland — Three years after sealing a landmark global climate deal in Paris, world leaders are gathering again to agree on the fine print. The euphoria of 2015 has given way to sober realization that getting an agreement among almost 200 countries, each with their own political and economic demands, will be challenging — as evidenced by President Donald Trump’s decision to pull the United States out of the Paris accord, citing his “America First” mantra. Top of the agenda will be finalizing the so-called Paris rulebook, which determines how countries have to count their greenhouse gas emissions, transparently report them to the rest of the world and reveal what they are doing to reduce them.

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Brazil withdraws offer to host UN climate change conference

By Diane Jeantet
The Associated Press in the Missoulian
November 28, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazil has withdrawn its offer to host a large U.N. conference on climate change next year, the foreign ministry said Wednesday, leading environmental groups to question the government’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions. Brazil pulled its offer to host the 2019 climate change conference because of “the current fiscal and budget constraints” the foreign ministry said. Environmental groups interpreted the decision as a nod to President-elect Jair Bolsonaro, who promised during his campaign to pull Brazil out of the Paris accord on climate change. …Bolsonaro, who takes office Jan. 1, vowed during the campaign to help mining and agribusiness companies expand their activities in protected areas, including Amazonian forests.

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