Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: February 13, 2019

Today’s Takeaway

Housing starts, transportation problems and slowing economic growth

The Tree Frog Forestry News
February 13, 2019
Category: Today's Takeaway

The rebound of  softwood lumber prices (Madison’s) is being hampered by rail transportation and difficult weather conditions (West Fraser), as well as US-China trade tensions and slowing economic growth (Wall Street Journal).  

In Wood Product news: structural timber is in the midst of a US renaissance; wood’s evolving role in US apartment construction; the UK wood cladding ban means rethinking CLT; and Australia’s eco-building materials include bamboo, hempcrete and recycled plastic.

Finally: the recent cold snap won’t eradicate Alberta’s pine beetles; ENGO’s sue in support of Montana grizzlies; and California tree mortality is fuel for future wildfires.

Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Business & Politics

Softwood Lumber Prices Continue Rising As Transportation Problems Hamper Sawmill Deliveries

Madison’s Lumber Reporter
February 11, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

The spectacular rebound of North American construction framing dimension softwood lumber prices in the first week of February continued last week as prices rose yet further in response to transportation problems, mostly on the Canadian railways. Severe weather hit many parts of Canada and the US, causing delays of shipments from softwood lumber suppliers. Customers, already low on inventory as they had been waiting for prices to come down, were forced to buy specific items for immediate fill-in needs. Sawmills responded by raising prices and by going off-the-market on the most popular items, because they didn’t want to quote too far into the future in case prices rise more. Wholesaler prices for benchmark lumber… commodity price is now down $96, or -19%, from one year ago’s level of US$518 mfbm.

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West Fraser Timber results miss analyst expectations in tough fourth quarter

BNN Bloomberg
February 12, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

VANCOUVER – West Fraser says it had a challenging fourth quarter as it grappled with falling prices, difficult weather conditions, production curtailments and unplanned downtime. The Vancouver-based company says the combined effects led to earnings of $29 million or 42 cents per share for the quarter ending Dec. 31, compared with earnings of $238 million of $3.25 per share for the same quarter a year earlier. Adjusted earnings came in at $43 million or 63 cents per share, well below analyst expectations of $101.2 million or $1.40 per share according to Thomson Reuters Eikon. …West Fraser reported full-year adjusted earnings of $945 million or $12.70 per share, up from $659 million or $8.44 per share for 2017.

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West Fraser Announces 2018 Annual and Fourth Quarter Results

By West Fraser Timber
Cision Newswire
February 12, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

VANCOUVER – West Fraser today reported results for the fourth quarter and full year of 2018.  Ted Seraphim, CEO of West Fraser stated, “The fourth quarter was challenging on a number of fronts including soft lumber markets, difficult weather conditions in the U.S. South, production curtailments in British Columbia as well as planned and unplanned downtime. In spite of these challenges, in 2018 we reported the highest level of EBITDA in company history, continued deploying capital to our mills with a number of high return projects completed and maintained our balanced capital allocation strategy. We increased our dividend twice and executed $675 million of share buybacks while maintaining significant financial flexibility.  

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Western Forest Products Announces Board of Directors Leadership Transition

By Western Forest Products
Globe Newswire
February 12, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

VANCOUVER — Western Forest Products announced today the implementation of its planned Board of Directors leadership transition. …Michael Waites has been appointed as Chair of the Board and has concurrently stepped down as Vice-Chair of the Audit Committee and Chair of the Environmental, Health and Safety Committee. …Lee Doney has been appointed as Chair of the Environmental, Health and Safety Committee and has stepped down from the Chair of the Board position. …Jim Arthurs has stepped down as Chair of the Audit Committee and continues to serve as an independent member of the Company’s Audit Committee, Environmental, Health and Safety Committee, and Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee. …Daniel Nocente has been appointed as Chair of the Audit Committee. 

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Resolute ‘legal letter’ prompts Fort Frances town council to defer resolution

By Gary Rinne
Thunder Bay News Watch
February 12, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

FORT FRANCES, ON — A letter from Resolute Forest Products late Monday derailed consideration by Fort Frances town council of a resolution concerning the company’s idled paper mill. Councillor Douglas Judson had prepared a resolution critical of Resolute’s handling of the disposition of the mill, saying its “prior representations of any intent to sell the mill to a new operator have been insincere.” The resolution would have been forwarded to provincial and regional elected leaders. It was drawn up after Resolute informed the town it had signed a “backstop” agreement to sell the mill to a company which, it said, specializes in “the integrated revitalization of distressed industrial properties.” …According to Judson, consideration of his resolution was deferred Monday evening because “Resolute threatened legal action against the town.” Company Vice-President Seth Kursman told Tbnewswatch “it was a legal letter…we are certainly going to protect our interests.”

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America’s in a Forest Slump and New Zealand Log Prices Are on a Roll

By Lucy Craymer
The Wall Street Journal
February 13, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, International

The U.S. lumber industry is in a rut, but halfway across the world, wood is still a hot commodity. Forestry prices in New Zealand… are near record highs, thanks largely to strong Chinese demand for logs. A-grade logs for export were recently selling for 140 New Zealand dollars (US$95) a metric ton, up around 14% from September. In contrast, U.S. futures contracts for lumber fell sharply in the second half of last year. That drop was the result of a cooling U.S. housing market, slower construction activity as well as sharply lower U.S. wood exports to China. U.S. lumber prices have ticked higher this year, but are still down about 25% from May 2018. …U.S.-China trade tensions over the past year also contributed to China’s increased appetite for New Zealand’s logs. …Some analysts are warning, however, that the good times may not last for long as China’s economic growth is slowing. [Digital subscription required to read full story]

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Mass Timber: Shattering the Myth of Code Exceptions

By Lindsey Leardi
Arch Daily
February 12, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, United States

Structural timber is in the midst of a renaissance; an ironic trend given that timber is arguably the most ancient of building materials. But new innovations in structural timber design have inspired a range of boundary-pushing plans for the age-old material, including everything from bridges to skyscrapers. Even more crucially, these designs are on the path to realization, acceding to building codes that many (mistakenly) view as restrictive to the point of impossibility. The timber structures of today aren’t just breaking records – they’re doing it without breaking the rules. Among the spate of notable new timber structures is MGA | Michael Green Architecture (Design Architect) with DLR Group (Architect of Record) T3 (Timber, Transit, Technology) mass-timber structure in Minneapolis, completed in 2016. …Architects, engineers, and other industry professionals can get help designing and building safe, high-performing wood structures from The Think Wood Research Library online database with over 1,000 research documents on topics

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New charity project creating guitars from centuries-old Hamilton building

CBC News
February 12, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada East, Canada

Music lovers now have the chance to own a piece of Hamilton’s history. A group of local arts businesses are coming together to celebrate their anniversaries with a limited edition run of 25 guitars, crafted from centuries-old wood from a historic building in downtown Hamilton. It’s called the 99 James North project, named after the building where the wood was recovered before restoration — namely, Douglas fir beams from a four-storey Victorian on James Street North that was built in 1872.  “It’s a really unique chance to have something actually made from Hamilton,” said luthier Jay Jillard, who is building the guitars as part of Jillard Guitars’ tenth anniversary. “It’s a celebration of our individual histories, as well as a celebration of Hamilton’s history.” …Mark Milne [who bought the building] made sure to save some of the old wooden beams that were pulled out of the building as it was renovated.

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WoodWorks Partners With ULI Greenprint to Help Developers Reduce the Carbon Footprint of Their Buildings

By Woodworks
Cision Newswire
February 13, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States

Jennifer Cover

WASHINGTON — A partnership announced today between the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Greenprint Center for Building Performance (Greenprint) and WoodWorks – Wood Products Council will support developers exploring the use of wood structure as a means to cost-effectively improve the carbon footprint of their buildings. A non-profit organization staffed with expert architects and structural engineers, WoodWorks provides free project support and resources related to the design, engineering and construction of commercial and multi-family wood buildings across the U.S. ULI is a global real estate organization whose work is driven by 40,000-plus members dedicated to responsible land use and the creation of thriving, sustainable communities. “Wood’s benefits from a carbon perspective are closely aligned with ULI’s support of Architecture 2030, the mission of which is to transform the built environment from a major contributor to the climate crisis to one of its solutions,” said Jennifer Cover, WoodWorks’ President and CEO. 

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Bamboo, hempcrete, recycled plastic and aggregates: welcome to the new eco-building materials

By David Thorpe
The Fifth Estate Australia
February 12, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

The market for environmentally sound building materials is changing. If you think bamboo can just be used to grow beans up in your garden, think again. Pandas aren’t the only animals that like bamboo – builders are making it popular too, as an alternative to hardwood panels. This is because the panels offer superior quality, they’re easy to install and have very low toxicity because they don’t use much glue. …Thermally modified wood is another product gaining in popularity, again because of its greater longevity than traditional products. …The same is true of acetylated and polymer modified timber. …While not yet hitting the mainstream, hempcrete and ashcrete are also becoming more commonly used, at least in Europe and North America… There is also a rising awareness of and therefore a demand for the use of recycled building materials by contractors. 

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CF Møller rethinks CLT use for Robin Hood Gardens replacement scheme

By Ella Jessel
The Architects’ Journal
February 13, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

LONDON — CF Møller is rethinking the use of engineered timber for its scheme to replace Robin Hood Gardens following the government’s ban on combustible cladding materials for tall buildings. …Early designs for the 330-home scheme, half of which will be affordable, have been designed in outline using cross-laminated timber construction. …The new legislation, which came into effect last December, prohibits all materials with a European fire rating of less than A1 or A2 on residential blocks, schools, care homes and hospitals above 18m in height. …Asked about the wider implications of the ban, Pearce said: ’We think it’s unfortunate, as we believe that CLT performs really well under fire load and it got caught by a ban that wasn’t specifically targeting CLT as a material.’

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Why America’s New Apartment Buildings All Look the Same

By Justin Fox
Bloomberg Businessweek
February 13, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building

These buildings are in almost every U.S. city. They range from three to seven stories tall and can stretch for blocks. …These structures’ proliferation is one of the most dramatic changes to the country’s built environment in decades. …The method traces to 1830s Chicago, a boomtown with vast forests nearby. Nailing together thin, precut wooden boards into a “balloon frame” allowed for the rapid construction of “a simple cage”. …They’re also comfortable with wood. …If supplies run out, adds Kenneth Bland, a vice president at the trade group American Wood Council, builders “know they can run to the nearest big box and get what they need.” …The advance of the mid-rise stick building has come with less fanfare, and left local officials and even some in the building industry surprised and unsettled. “It’s a plague, and it happened when no one was watching,” says Steven Zirinsky.

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Forestry

Alberni Valley Community Forest presents city with $150,000

Alberni Valley News
February 13, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Jim Sears and Sharie Minions

The Alberni Valley Community Forest Corporation (AVCF) continues to pay dividends for the City of Port Alberni. Jim Sears, chair for the AVCF board of directors, was in council on Monday, Feb. 11 to present the city with a cheque for $150,000 from the forest’s 2017 fiscal operations. Dividend funds from the community forest are placed in a reserve fund, to be used for projects benefitting the Alberni Valley as a whole. The money cannot be used for city operations. …The AVCF hopes to begin logging again late this spring.

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To curtail harvesting in municipal forest would squander resource

By Robert Beard, retired professional forester
The Cowichan Valley Citizen
February 12, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

NORTH COWICHAN, BC — I am writing to express my concern regarding the cessation of harvesting proposal put forward by the WhereDoWeStand group for the municipal forest reserve. I strongly disagree with their position and proposal. …The municipal forest reserve is an excellent forest management model that needs to be fully understood and appreciated by all members of council! Most importantly, members of council need to find time to personally see and appreciate forest management as it is practiced in the municipal forest reserve. It is particularly important before considering any decision regarding cessation of harvesting, albeit temporary or otherwise, that council fully understand facts related to the municipal forest reserve. 

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Cold snap likely killing mountain pipe beetle in central Alberta – but not all of them

By Mamta Lulla
The Red Deer Advocate
February 12, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

…As the bitter cold is getting to central Albertans, it is also likely getting to the invasive, tree-killing mountain pine beetles. Ken Fry, an Olds College instructor at the School of Animal Science and Horticulture, said the deep freeze has an impact on the insect, but not a significant one. This means the cold will kill off some beetles, but it won’t eradicate them. The creatures were found in forests just outside Rocky Mountain House last year. They were also discovered in Clearwater County in traps set by the Sundre branch of the West Fraser logging company. …Tom Daniels, Sundre forestry superintendent for West Fraser.. said the slow progression buys more time, which is good news.

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Grizzly rules prompt lawsuit threat to Flathead forest plan

By Rob Chaney
The Missoulian
February 12, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Two conservation organizations plan to sue the Flathead National Forest, arguing a new forest management plan fails to protect threatened and endangered species in the northern Rocky Mountains. “The plan allows a huge amount of new road building to the detriment of grizzly bears and bull trout,” said Earthjustice attorney Josh Purtle, who represents Swan View Coalition and Friends of the Wild Swan. “It essentially says we’re going to change the requirements where you can build a road and how many miles you can build while maintaining the 2011 habitat conditions to protect grizzlies. But the plan doesn’t actually do that.” The two groups filed their notice of intent to sue in federal court on Friday. Proceedings may begin in 60 days. The 2,000-page Flathead Forest Plan guides how Flathead National Forest staff direct projects and value resources on 2.4 million acres of public land.

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California lost 18 million trees in 2018, adding fuel to future wildfires

By James Rainey
NBC News
February 12, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

It’s a measure of how severe the tree die-off in California has been in recent years that when the state announced Monday it lost another 18 million trees in 2018, a top forestry official pronounced the result “encouraging.” That’s because California lost far more trees in the three prior years…due to a combination of drought and bark beetle infestation. With rain and snow in the state increasing over the last two winters, experts proclaimed an end to the seven-year drought. But the state still faces a heightened fire danger after more than 147 million trees were lost over the last nine years. “It is encouraging that the rate of mortality slowed in 2018. However, 18 million trees are an indication that the forests of California are still under significant stress,” said Thom Porter, director of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. 

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The DNA of ancient giant trees could possibly save our forests

By Karen Graham
Digital Journal
February 12, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

What if we could revive giant creatures that once roamed the Earth? Well, that’s what arborists are doing today, only they’re cloning saplings from the stumps of the world’s largest, strongest, and longest-lived trees, the giant redwoods. …Working with the experts, Archangel has perfected the technique of extracting DNA from these long, lost trees. While examining some old, presumably dead, redwood tree stumps, Milarch and his son Jake discovered living tissue growing from the trees’ roots, a material known as baseless or stump sprouts. According to Yale Environment 360, The Milarchs collected DNA from the stumps of five giant coast redwoods, all larger than the largest tree living today. These included a giant sequoia known as General Sherman with a 25-foot diameter.

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How do you put a dollar value on forest (except for the value of cutting it down)?

By David Brooks
The Concord Monitor
February 12, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

The first-ever inventory of community-owned forests in New Hampshire that was released last week included an interesting number: $146 million. This was the “economic value” researchers put on the 180,439 acres. …Of that, $92 million was from “forest-related industries” like logging and maple sugaring, and $54 million from “recreational uses.” Those are nice exact numbers, but where do they come from, particularly the latter? I can see knowing the dollar value of timber sales and wood pulp production and biomass energy, but how do you quantify the dollar value of a section of a hiking trail on a piece of land owned by a town or city or school district, or the value of a parcel that protects a stream feeding into the water supply, or some property that preserves cottontail habitat or a scenic view?

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Tasman fire costing forestry industry $2m a day

Otago Daily Times
February 13, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Shane Jones

A total fire and equipment ban in the Nelson area has put up to 240 forestry contract workers out of jobs and closed two sawmills, with more closures threatened. Forestry Minister Shane Jones said today that industry sources estimate the cost to the sector of lost production and earnings is $2 million a day. About 1900ha of plantation forest is within the fire perimeter and expected to have been affected by fire. Jones was expecting to have more information about the exact area, age and condition of the forest by Friday. The fire and equipment ban is preventing forestry crews from working in forests outside the fire perimeter, he said. “The impact is on the whole forestry supply chain as logging and silviculture are halted, affecting sawmills, wood processors and log exports. This affects around 1500 people across the region,” Jones said.

 

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Prince Harry and Meghan attend Darwin play in aid of forest conservation

Reuters
February 12, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

LONDON – Prince Harry and his wife Meghan attended a play on Tuesday evening about the young Charles Darwin’s 19th Century expedition on HMS Beagle, in aid of forest conservation. The Duke and Duchess Sussex were guests of honour at a gala performance of “The Wider Earth,” staged at London’s Natural History Museum in support of the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust and the production’s charitable partner, The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy. Harry is president of the Trust. …The Canopy is a network of forest conservation initiatives that marks his grandmother Queen Elizabeth’s service to the Commonwealth. …“Planting trees and conserving forests helps us in so many ways,” Harry said. “It is a simple, but effective way to restore and repair our environment.”

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National Forest Uprising protest in Coffs Harbour

Bellingen Courier Sun
February 13, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

For the third time in four years, environmentalists have protested outside the Forestry Corporation of NSW office in Coffs Harbour. Today they rebranded that office as the National Centre for Koala Conservation. “In doing so we are freeing the staff from the onerous, unsociable, uneconomical and environmental devastating  tasks of converting the most diverse tall eucalypt forests in the world into mechanised tree farms for biomass, based on short rotations of tiny logs of predominantly a single species,” Bellingen Environment Centre spokesperson Ashley Love said. “The supporters of the Great Koala National Park believe in a just transition for forest workers and that the park will create hundreds more jobs than exist in the current declining hardwood  forest industry.”

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Health & Safety

Despite safety improvements, wood pellet plants still face risk of explosions Social Sharing

By Alexandra Zabjek
CBC News
February 13, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

Gordon Murray

The investigation into an explosion this week at a wood pellet plant in Entwistle, Alta. has put the spotlight on a facility that is less than a year old and has touted its use of cutting-edge safety technology. …A 2014 report by WorkSafeBC found numerous plants in British Columbia failed to adequately address wood dust concerns. The report was commissioned, in part, after fatal explosions at sawmills in B.C highlighted the need to better manage combustible dust.  “Our industry came up short, for sure,” Gordon Murray, executive director of Wood Pellet Association of Canada, told CBC News Tuesday. “We were not managing the dust properly and so WorkSafe sat us down and pretty much told us that we need to get more serious about managing dust so we put a large focus on that.”  A “cultural shift” resulted after the meeting, Murray said. The association broadened to include a safety mandate.

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Log trailer breaks off truck on Terrace overpass

By Natalia Balcerzak
Terrace Standard
February 12, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

A detached logging trailer caused traffic delays at the Sande Overpass in Terrace Tuesday morning after blocking the left-turning lane going west on Hwy 16 for three hours. At approximately 7:10 a.m., a truck from Main Logging Ltd. was hauling a trailer of timber over the bridge when the driver noticed the hitch had broken off the truck turning onto the overpass. Nathan Voogd, roads area manager from the BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure says that the incident is uncommon and that the driver made the right choice to stop. “He did a good job of actually preventing it from getting worse, he noticed it right away and put the trailer breaks on before anything happened,” says Voogd.

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Workers raised concerns about Entwistle wood-pellet plant before explosion

By Andrea Ross
CBC News
February 12, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

A wood-pellet plant in Entwistle where three people were injured in an explosion on Monday reported a fire six weeks ago and was recently inspected twice by the province after workers lodged complaints. A fire at the Pinnacle Renewable Energy plant was reported to Occupational Health and Safety on Jan. 2. No one was injured. OHS inspected the plant in December and again in January after workers complained. Those inspections resulted in an order being placed on the worksite regarding equipment safety. Monday’s explosion at the plant was so forceful that nearby residents say it rocked their houses and knocked pictures off their walls. …Occupational Health and Safety is at the scene and is investigating, said spokesman Gurshan Dhillon. Operations at the plant have been suspended, Pinnacle said in a statement. The cause of the explosion is not yet known.

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Tree bark ingredient could help treat patients of this deadly cancer

NBC
February 12, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: International

Researchers are determining whether a compound found in a rare tree bark may provide hope for pancreatic cancer patients. Pancreatic cancer is among the deadliest, most aggressive forms of cancer, with only about 7 percent of patients surviving five years after being diagnosed, according to the American Cancer Society. “We know that pancreatic cancer is going to be the second leading cause of death in the United States within the next 10 years, so we’re desperate for new treatments,” oncologist Dr. Christos Fountzilas said, WNDU-TV reported. According to a study published in October, a compound found in a rare Chinese tree bark can be used to treat pancreatic cancer that has been resistant to other forms of treatment, Medical News Today reported. …“It’s killing cancer cells and it’s helping our treatments be more effective in killing cancer cells, even if these cancer cells become resistant to treatment,” Fountzilas said.

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