Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: February 25, 2019

Today’s Takeaway

Capturing carbon via increased forest growth, negative-emissions technology

The Tree Frog Forestry News
February 25, 2019
Category: Today's Takeaway

Some positive news on capturing carbon: word that the world’s forests are taking up more of it, and combining energy production with carbon capture and sequestration could be a powerful negative-emissions technology. Elsewhere: Jeffrey Simpson on why no one wants to invest in Canada’s resources; and the Toronto Star on the NDP’s plan to revitalize the BC forest industry.

In Forestry news: Alberta’s forest industry is optimistic but guarded on the cold weather’s impact on the pine beetle; business interests clash with caribou survival in BC; and California foresters want more thinning, but hurdles abound despite the availability of funding.

Doing some reconnaissance? What goes around [often] comes around—and we have almost a decade worth of forestry news archived to prove it.

Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor 

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Business & Politics

It’s no wonder no one wants to invest in Canada’s resources

Macdonald Laurier Institute
February 24, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada

In the latest MLI commentary, long-time Globe and Mail columnist Jeffrey Simpson addresses the “Uncertainty and Confusion in Canada’s Natural Resource Development.” It is a powerful indictment. “If you believe that fossil fuels will be in demand here and abroad for a very long time,” writes Simpson, “then [Canada’s struggles to get pipelines built and LNG projects off the ground are] bad news for employment, government revenues, economic growth and the Canadian dollar.” Simpson makes the case that the review process for projects too often bogs down. …Simpson argues that governments should avoid using loose language and trying to please all parties completely. …Instead, governments must focus their efforts on actually delivering a consistent and reliable project review system. …Simpson concludes that, “until the debate is resolved – if it can be resolved – any company thinking of investing… must tread very warily.”

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Wood-pellet plant in Entwistle, Alta., to resume partial operations in March

CBC News
February 22, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

A wood-pellet production plant in Entwistle, Alta., which was rocked by a fire and explosion on Feb. 11, will reopen next month. Dry fibre production at Pinnacle Renewable Energy will resume in March, the company said in a press release issued Friday. Once the investigation into the incident is complete, the company will decide on a timeline to gear up to full production. The company also confirmed that 12 workers — six employees and six contractors — were injured in the incident at the plant, located about 100 kilometres west of Edmonton. Most of the injuries were minor, the news release said, but one of the contractors, identified as Kody Richter, is still in hospital in Edmonton’s Royal Alexandra Hospital. A stop work order was issued by Occupational Health and Safety following the incident, which caused damage to the dryer area of the plant. The investigation by OHS and Parkland County fire department is continuing.

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Port Hawkesbury Paper importing pulpwood

By Aaron Beswick
Truro Daily News
February 24, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

For woodlot owners and harvesters in southern New Brunswick, it’s a windfall. They’ll be getting $93.05 a tonne for spruce and fir pulpwood delivered to Port Hawkesbury Paper. “These are very good prices,” said Ray Webster, head of sales for the Southern New Brunswick Forest Products Marketing Board. …Meanwhile, the mill has also contracted to start bringing in barges of wood chips from Quebec for its own use and bark for Nova Scotia Power’s adjacent biomass boiler starting this spring. That’s all expensive wood. Particularly when private land contractors in northern Nova Scotia are getting the equivalent of about $60 per tonne for pulpwood delivered to the yard. “If they’re going to pay $93 a tonne to New Brunswick then why can’t they pay that locally,” said Cecil Blue, owner of C.D. Blue Forestry in Queensville.

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Blue gum plantation resurgence as investors capitalise on ‘Rolls Royce’ of woodchips

By Mark Bennett
ABC News, Australia
February 22, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

Blue gum tree plantations could play a vital role in Australia’s future carbon economy, according to forestry industry leaders, but they believe the Federal Government needs to change its current policies to recognise the hardwood’s potential for carbon capture. The managing director of forestry management company PF Olsen, Pat Groenhout, said the current lack of federal policy to recognise the capture and storage of carbon by the nation’s hardwood estate was a significant hurdle faced by foresters and investors. “I’m confident that the people who are responsible for making those decisions are increasingly recognising the important role that plantations are going to play in addressing climate change issues,” Mr Groenhout said. 

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Poachers targeting black walnut trees

By Greg Wagner, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
Lincoln Journal Star
February 24, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

All of us realize that wildlife-related crimes know no boundaries. …But now, valuable woodland habitat is at risk. There is a new kind of theft is occurring in Nebraska’s rural landscape and it is quickly becoming one of the more popular and lucrative crimes for acquiring quick cash. It is the cutting, killing and taking — the theft — of the black walnut tree. This slow-growing tree is primarily a pioneer species, a hardy species that is the first to colonize bare earth or where there has been a disturbance such as fire or flood. …Black walnut trees are being diced up for their prized wood… Superior quality, fresh-cut walnut logs sell for good prices at lumber mills these days, whether they are veneer, prime or lumber grade. In fact, the market is good for walnut wood right now, much more so than for scrap metal.

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Forestry

Logs and jobs are being shipped out of the province. B.C.’s new budget promises to help

By Alex McKeen
The Toronto Star
February 22, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

VANCOUVER—The NDP government’s 2019 budget had little to say on job creation, but dollars earmarked for “revitalizing the forest industry” show it’s gearing up to move on a long-standing commitment. Between 2004 and 2009, B.C. lost almost half of its direct and indirect forestry jobs, though the trend goes back as far as 1995. Worker representatives blame a shift in production: fewer and fewer trees harvested in B.C. are being processed here, turned into paper, cabinets and musical instruments. Instead, raw logs are being shipped abroad, primarily to the U.S., China and Hong Kong, where the work can be done for less. In Port Alberni, where sawmill closures have cost hundreds of jobs, a forestry union leader said he’s seen tankers go by carrying logs that could have been processed in the community as recently as two years ago.

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Alberta Forest Products Association spokesman guarded on mountain pine beetle mortality

By Edward Moore
Edson Leader
February 22, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The cold spell that hit the Edson-Hinton region for two weeks in February was thought to have dealt a fatal blow to mountain pine beetle populations but the director of communications for the Alberta Forest Products Association has taken a wait and see attitude. Pundits have forecast that the cold spell might have produced a 90 per cent mortality rate among beetle populations but Brock Mulligan is waiting until overwintering surveys are done in the spring. “I think there’s definitely some optimism that the cold spell might have made mortality higher than it ordinarily would be,” said Mulligan. The overwintering surveys would be done in the May or June timeframe and would be done by air and on the ground. Mountain pine beetles generate their own anti-freeze, so it takes temperatures of -30 Celsius for two or more weeks before any substantial die-off occurs.

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Business interests clash with caribou survival

BC Business
February 22, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

As conservation efforts for the province’s southern mountain mammal gathers steam, heli-skiing and forestry are just two of the industries feeling the squeeze. Ross Cloutier wants to help save B.C.’s southern mountain caribou—but not at any cost. Renewed efforts to protect the threatened animals could hit his $150-million industry hard, says the executive director of Helicat Canada, which represents the country’s heli-skiing and catskiing operators. “Things are happening very fast right now, and we have some real concerns that decisions are being made based more on opinion than science,” explains Kamloops-based Cloutier, whose group’s members include 30 companies in B.C. “I think all sectors have a part to play in mountain caribou, and our industry is definitely willing to be a partner.” There’s no time to waste.

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State faces hurdles in ‘aggressive’ forest thinning plans

By Damon Arthur
Redding Record Searchlight
February 24, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Tim Tate

Spurred on by the devastating wildfires of the past few years — including the Carr Fire and Camp Fire — state officials are pursuing ambitious plans to double the amount of wildland tree and brush thinning over the next five years. But they also acknowledge it is likely to be difficult to ramp up the process of clearing out the state’s overgrown and dangerous forests. The state Legislature set aside $1 billion to be spent over the next five years to double the amount of vegetation thinning on forests and wildlands throughout the state. That means the state will also need to increase the amount of forest acres treated annually from 250,000 to 500,000. However, state officials acknowledge it could be difficult to meet that goal. And even if the state hits the mark, it may not be enough to prevent more catastrophic wildfires, said Helge Eng, deputy director of resource management 

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All over Sierra, ‘there are towns just like Paradise’: Foresters want more tree thinning

By Damon Arthur
Redding Record Searchlight
February 22, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Now that the death and destruction from California’s wildfires in 2018 has captured the attention of state policy makers and forest managers, one group wants to do something about it. The California Society of American Foresters is meeting in Folsom this weekend to talk about forest management, climate change and what can be done to turn the tide against ever deadlier and larger wildland fires. “The Paradise fire — the Camp Fire —  that burned up the town of Paradise really got a lot of people’s attention, and so we’re trying to take advantage of having people’s attention to say these are some of the issues that contributed to that fire,” said John Kessler of Mount Shasta, who is also president of the state chapter of the Society of American Foresters.

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Forestry museum, lumbering hall of fame near reality in Rice Lake

By Heidi Clausen
The Leader Telegram
February 25, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

RICE LAKE WI — Evidence of northern Wisconsin’s proud lumbering heritage can be found throughout the region. Look no further than the street signs in the city of Rice Lake, many which bear the familiar surnames of prominent lumber barons such as Knapp, Stout, Tainter and Wilson. Indeed, few industries have played as big a role in developing communities here as the forestry and logging industries, yet the area has been sorely lacking a place to publicly and properly display this history. A small but ambitious group in Rice Lake is working to remedy that. For several years, they’ve been raising funds to open the Great Lakes Forestry Museum at the National Lumbering Hall of Fame Park in downtown Rice Lake.

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Maine maple sugar forest could still tap US conservation funds

By Kevin Miller
Press Herald
February 25, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

AUGUSTA — A 23,000-acre forest north of Jackman that yields 25 percent of the state’s maple syrup could still qualify for $3.8 million in federal funding despite being rejected by a state land conservation program. In November 2017, members of the Land for Maine’s Future board passed over the “Big Six Forest” project for funding after opponents raised concerns about the lack of public access to the remote parcel via road except through Quebec. …But the Big Six Forest had already qualified for $3.8 million from the federal Forest Legacy conservation program because of its status as one of the largest maple “sugarbushes” in the U.S. and its outsize contribution to Maine’s maple industry. More than 14 months later, the landowner is working with a conservation group and the state to finalize the deal in a way that doesn’t involve matching funds from the state.

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Wildfire destroys over 10,000 acres of Bandipur forest

The New Indian Express
February 25, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

MYSURU: A raging wild fire, which started about four days ago, has destroyed more than 10,000 acres of forest in the Bandipur national park. Though the major fire has been brought under control, some patches continue to burn. The fire has also spread to Mudumalai forest range in Tamil Nadu, causing damage in around 40 acres. The Tamil Nadu forest department has also swung into action to ensure that it does not spread further.  As the fire has spread to too many places in Bandipur forest, the forest department personnel have been on their toes over the last few days. The staff have deployed more than 10 fire tenders and volunteers too have joined them to put out the fire.

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Forestry service ‘breaking own rules and turning a blind eye in Leitrim’

By Sylvester Phelan
Agriland
February 22, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Forestry services have been called out for not practising what they preach in Leitrim by the county’s Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) chairman James Gallagher. Speaking to AgriLand, the Leitrim IFA chairman commented on a plantation that’s currently underway on bogland rich in biodiversity in the county. Gallagher had been raising issues he is concerned about in relation to the terms of reference of the study into the effects of forestry in the county that was announced last month. He said: “There’s a meeting taking place in Dublin Castle yesterday and today on biodiversity. There’s great emphasis on it and it’s getting great coverage in the media. “However, at the moment, there’s planting taking place on a farm in Leitrim which is bog and heather and it’s a complete disruption of a wildlife habitat – it wouldn’t be allowed to happen on a farm. 

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Forest soils take longer to recover from fires and logging than previously thought

By Mike Gaworecki
Mongabay.com
February 22, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

According to Elle Bowd, a researcher with Australian National University’s Fenner School of Environment and Society, there have been very few studies about the long-term impacts of disturbances like wildfires and logging on forest soils. Based on what research has been done, we know that post-fire ash can inject large amounts of nutrients that plants need for growth, like phosphorus and nitrogen, into forest soils immediately after a fire. “But [we] know little about what happens 8 or 34 years after logging or 8 to 167 years after a bush fire to soils, despite their ongoing functional roles,” Bowd told Mongabay. To fill this gap in our understanding of how long it takes forest soils to recover from disturbance, Bowd led a research team that collected 729 soil cores from 81 sites in the mountain ash forests of southeast Australia.

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Kew’s tree library leads hi-tech war on illegal logging

By Robin McKie
The Guardian UK
February 24, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

The wooden blinds that lie crumpled in Peter Gasson’s laboratory in Kew Gardens are chipped and forlorn-looking. Their manufacturers had claimed they were made of pine but customs officers were wary. And their suspicions were well-founded. Gasson, Kew’s research leader on wood and timber, found the blinds were not made of pine but ramin. “All ramin trees, which grow in south-east Asia, are endangered and trade in their wood is illegal,” said Gasson. “On this occasion, we got lucky and stopped people profiting from this trade.” But elsewhere, illegal logging threatens to overwhelm the timber trade. It is estimated that almost 30% of sales are made up of illicitly sourced timber. More than 20,000 square miles of forest are being chopped down illegally every year, according to WWF, the wildlife charity, to provide furniture and flooring for people’s homes.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Capturing carbon: Can it save us?

By Jeff Johnson
Chemical and Engineering News
February 25, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States

Time is not on our side. Catastrophic consequences of climate change are just steps away, according to a slew of reports released at the end of 2018. …Enter “negative-emissions technologies,” a term but a few years old. NETs are methods that physically and chemically remove CO2 or other gases from the atmosphere….C&EN examines some NET approaches that are just getting underway. …Combining energy production with carbon capture and sequestration could prove to be a powerful negative-emissions technology. So-called bioenergy systems use recently grown biomass as a feedstock to create energy in the forms of electricity and heat while permanently storing the resulting carbon dioxide underground, forever, explains Erica Belmont, a University of Wyoming mechanical engineering professor. …Improved coastal zone management, reforestation, and enhanced agricultural practices could increase carbon dioxide sequestration capacity while also benefiting the environment.

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Carbon capture technology used for the first time in Europe

By Lydia Carter
The Boar (U of Warwick, UK)
February 25, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

UK – A power station in North Yorkshire has become the first in Europe to capture carbon dioxide from wood burning. The Drax power station near Selby burns wood chips to provide electricity, a process that ordinarily would produce large amounts of carbon dioxide. …By capturing the carbon which is emitted in combustion, carbon dioxide is removed from the air through photosynthesis, but not released back into the atmosphere, giving a net negative carbon emission. The carbon dioxide is passed through a tube coated in a thin layer of a chemical which captures it – the carbon dioxide and ‘capture chemical’ can later be separated for reuse. …Carbon capture… with appropriately managed forestry and responsible decisions, could play an important part in the solution to the world’s energy requirements

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World’s forests increasingly taking up more carbon

By Cheryl Dybas
Phys.org
February 25, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

The world’s forests are increasingly taking up more carbon, partially offsetting the carbon being released by the burning of fossil fuels and by deforestation in the tropics, according to a new study. The findings, published in the journal Biogeosciences, suggest that forests are growing more vigorously, and therefore, locking away more carbon. Even so, the concentration of heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is still on the rise. …The increased plant growth in global forests could be due to several factors, including higher concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, warmer temperatures and increased availability of nitrogen. The new study also contributes to a mounting body of evidence that tropical forests might take up more carbon—and northern temperate forests might take up less carbon—than many scientists once thought. …The new study finds that… the carbon flux in the tropics is about zero.

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