Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: March 1, 2019

Today’s Takeaway

Neucel lays off remaining employees, unlikely to open again

The Tree Frog Forestry News
March 1, 2019
Category: Today's Takeaway

After four years of curtailed operations, Neucel Specialty Cellulose laid off its remaining BC employees–Minister Donaldson offers his regrets, Mayor says unlikely the mill will open again. In other Business news: an Alberta sawmill speaks out on carbon taxes; US cabinet manufacturers on tariffs and duties; and Pacific Gas and Electric says it likely caused the devastating Camp Fire in California. In company news: Coulson Aviation and US Lumber expand, Northern Pulp is criticized and Western Forest Products adds to their board.

In other news: an update from NRCan’s Deforestation Monitoring Group; wildfire season comes early to Alberta; the US Northwest Forest Plan fails to reverse declining bird populations; and mass timber is touted as a means to reduce Canada’s CO2 emissions, and as a cost effective way to meet Vancouver’s housing needs.

Finally, tree rings help Pacific Northwest scientists date earthquakes back to 400 AD.

Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Business & Politics

Battered Port Alice pulp mill suddenly lays off remaining workers

By Tyson Whitney
The Nanaimo News Bulletin
February 28, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Those few people still working at Port Alice’s long-dormant pulp mill have been dealt another blow. Neucel Specialty Cellulose sent them home yesterday, allegedly with no written notice. 514 Union President Don Vye… all the union employees still working at the North Island pulp mill — about 20 people tasked with maintaining the mill’s assets — received word of the layoffs verbally on Feb. 27. “All I know is… a fella who showed up here from China and everyone was sent home,” Vye said. ..Back in February 2015, Neucel Specialty Cellulose placed the mill into a “temporary” production curtailment following three consecutive years of unfavourable pulp prices, combined with the high cost of oil, energy energy consumption and operating chemicals, as well as an unfavourable low U.S. exchange rate. The mill has remained in curtailment ever since.

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Carbon tax costs add up for Slave Lake sawmill, owner says

By Clare Clancy
The Edmonton Journal
February 28, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

The owner of a Slave Lake sawmill says he paid nearly $500,000 in carbon taxes in 2018, one day after government staff questioned whether the number was legitimate. Ken Vanderwell, owner of Vanderwell Contractors said his Slave Lake sawmill absorbed the expenses in 2018 which totalled $488,207.10, through diesel, gasoline and natural gas bills. The company makes more than $60 million in sales per year and is one of the largest independent sawmills in the province, he said. …“The carbon tax basically affects our bottom line,” he said. “We have no way to pass that cost on to consumers. “You can’t increase the price of lumber because Saskatchewan would be cheaper than we would, or B.C. would.”

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Minister says BC Government will ensure ‘necessary supports’ for laid off pulp mill workers

By Troy landreville
My Campbell River Now
February 28, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Doug Donaldson

PORT ALICE, B.C. – After a mass layoff this week at the Neucel mill in Port Alice, B.C.’s forest minister is vowing to support the workers who are out of a job. All the employees at the Neucel mill received lay-off notices on Wednesday, and it’s unknown if the facility would have any staff maintained, according to Port Alice mayor Kevin Cameron. …Minister Doug Donaldson offered his sympathies to the workers, which made up 70 per cent of the community’s property tax revenues. …“my ministry’s regional economic officers will be reaching out to the Village and workers to ensure they have the necessary supports.” …Cameron, meanwhile, said that it’s unlikely the mill will open again.

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Province, First Nation consortium sign first-of-its-kind forestry pact

Winnipeg Sun
February 28, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Rochelle Squires

The province and four First Nations on the east side of Lake Winnipeg have entered into an agreement to explore Indigenous-led forest developments. Sustainable Development Minister Rochelle Squires announced the pact on Thursday at the Manitoba Legislature, calling it a first-of-its-kind agreement between provincial and Indigenous governments in the province. “This agreement has the potential to renew the area’s Crown forest and pursue economic development opportunities while adhering to our commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainable forest management,” Squires said. The two-year forest management option licence with Black River First Nation, Brokenhead Ojibway Nation, Hollow Water First Nation and Sagkeeng First Nation will investigate wood supply and suitability for commercial forestry…
[CBC News has their version of the story here]

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Western Forest Products Inc. Announces Appointment of Two New Independent Directors to Board

By Western Forest Products
Global Newswire
March 1, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

VANCOUVER, BC — Western Forest Products is pleased to announce the appointments of Laura Cillis and Cheri Phyfer to its Board of Directors. The addition of two new directors is consistent with Western’s planned Board renewal process, and brings the total Board to eight members, six of whom are independent. …Ms. Cillis serves on the boards of Crescent Point Energy and Solium Capital and… is a Chartered Professional Accountant. …Ms. Phyfer is President, Global Plumbing Group, and President, Moen US Businesses… holds a Bachelor of Science in Management and a Masters of Business Administration from Clemson University.

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Vancouver port traffic hits record high on Asian demand for grain and potash

The Canadian Press in the Vancouver Sun
February 28, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

VANCOUVER — The Vancouver port saw record cargo numbers in 2018, driven by hunger for grain and potash overseas and a thirst for consumer products in Canada. Cargo volume grew to a record 147 million tonnes last year. …The biggest grain terminal in the country is on track to launch at Port Metro Vancouver this year, the first new grain export terminal in the Vancouver area in more than four decades. …Loads of lumber, B.C. seafood and Prairie beef and pork all find their way into containers, he said. …The port authority warned that West Coast container ports could be overloaded within five years, highlighting what it called the “need” for a proposed new container terminal, now undergoing review by a federally appointed panel. Bulk forest products ended the year at 12.1 million tonnes, a 14.5 per cent increase from 2017.

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Environmental lawyer says correspondence inside Northern Pulp contradicts company claims to the public

By Brendan Ahern
The Chronicle Herald
February 28, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

Northern Pulp’s public statements about its new proposed effluent treatment plan appear to be at odds with statements made between the company’s technical manager, consultants and the province according to environmental lawyer, Jamie Simpson. “One of the key things that jumped out to me was the inconsistencies with what they’ve been saying publicly and specifically to fishermen in the three maritime provinces,” said Simpson who obtained thousands of internal correspondences through a freedom of information request. In an email between Northern Pulp’s technical manager and Dillon Consulting, a Toronto-based consulting firm, written on Nov. 29, 2017 the technical manager said in reference to the effluent coming from the proposed Northumberland Strait pipeline, “some say effluent quality will be worse than today because of all the polishing that is happening across the Boat Harbor basin—and they are correct to some extent.”

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Tariffs and import rules affecting U.S. cabinetry and remodel businesses longterm

By Bill Esler
The Woodworking Network
February 28, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States

SAN JOSE, Calif. – Countervailing duties on plywood and softwood, tariffs on steel and aluminum, and other panel product restrictions are having a profound impact on U.S. cabinetry manufacturers. …Longer-term anticipated results include: an estimated 7% increase in the cost of new home construction in the U.S., and surging profits for U.S. lumber producers, such as Georgia-Pacific. …The issue is still in flux, as the United States continues to bargain with China on trade. …However it is resolved, the effects transcend housing construction alone, with remodelers and manufacturers of flooring, cabinets, and related building and construction products purchased by both professionals and DIYers worried about the longer-term effects. …Not only wood is affected – but raw materials for hardware as well, as steel and aluminum tariffs also carry significant implications for the U.S fasteners industry.

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PG&E Says Its Equipment Likely Caused Camp Fire, As Investigation Continues

By Francesca Paris
National Public Radio
February 28, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

Pacific Gas and Electric says it’s “probable” that its equipment caused the Camp Fire in Northern California, the deadliest and most destructive in the state’s history. California has not finished its investigation into PG&E’s culpability in last November’s fire that killed at least 85 people, destroyed about 14,000 structures, displacing tens of thousands of people and destroying the town of Paradise. However, the state’s largest utility, which filed for bankruptcy last month, said Thursday it expects the investigation will find that its damaged infrastructure sparked the fire. The company faces billions of dollars in possible liabilities and nearly two dozen lawsuits from victims of the Camp Fire, including allegations of poor equipment maintenance. One lawsuit claims that the utility prioritized advertising spending over fire and public safety.

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Coulson and Unical Join Forces to form Coulson Unical, a joint venture to build and operate next generation CH-47 and UH-60 helicopters

By The Coulson Group of Companies
Cision Newswire
March 1, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

LOS ANGELES – Coulson Aviation USA, a member of the Coulson Group, and Unical Air, a new unit of the Unical Group of Companies, have joined forces to create a heavy lift helicopter joint venture company that will build and operate Boeing CH-47 and Sikorsky UH-60 Blackhawk aircraft for aerial firefighting and other markets. The joint venture will leverage Coulson’s unmatched strengths in aerial firefighting and night fire suppression with Unical’s industry leading supply chain, MRO, CRO capabilities to fight forest fires in the USA, Australia, and around the world. …Both aircraft will enable Coulson Unical to offer world class Helitanker firefighting performance at competitive pricing. …Han Tan, CEO of Unical Aviation stated “We wanted to partner our fleet of UH-60’s and CH-47’s with the best, most innovative aerial firefighting outfit we could find. Coulson was the clear choice, and we’re delighted to be teaming with them.”

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Sherwood Lumber Sells Northeast & Mid-Atlantic Engineered Lumber Business to U.S. Lumber Group

By Sherwood Lumber
Blue Book Services
February 28, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

Sherwood Lumber has sold substantially all of the assets comprising its Northeast & Mid-Atlantic Engineered Lumber Business to US LUMBER.  This deal will provide the supply channel with two powerful options when making their selection for purchases of Forest Products and Engineered Lumber. …This transaction is part of Sherwood’s plan to focus on its largest and most successful component,  the wholesale distribution of Forest Products.  Sherwood Lumber remains committed and is excited to continue to distribute LP commodity panels, Flameblock, Legacy, and WeatherLogic.  Sherwood Lumber has been in the lumber and panel business for over 65 years and this transaction puts them in a place to thrive with extreme focus.  

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Timber touted as building block of the future

By Neil Sharma
Canadian Real Estate Wealth
February 28, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada

Eric Andreasen

The cement sector is the second-largest industrial emitter of carbon dioxide, according to the International Energy Agency, and given the building boom that’s gripped the country’s largest cities, it is unlikely Canada will reduce emissions below 2030 targets. However, there could be a solution. Mass Timber technology is being touted as a solution that will reduce carbon emissions and save consumers money. According to Erik Andreasen, vice president of Adera Development… there are several benefits to constructing buildings with wood instead of concrete. “The homes are quieter than concrete and the homes are as solid as concrete homes, but they have better performance,” he said. “Even when it comes down to fire, our wood doesn’t burn. We perceive smart wood to be the building technology of the future and we can compete with concrete pound for pound, dollar for dollar, and there are a number of benefits for customers.”

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Mass-timber, modular laneway homes aim to fill a housing need

By Joannah Connolly
The Vancouver Courier
February 28, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

Prefabricated homes are seeing a resurgence, and this is also true in B.C.’s laneway home sector. …Enter modular construction. …Rockridge Fine Homes is taking things a step further by building its prefabricated laneway homes out of cross-laminated timber. …The company started building units out of shipping containers, but found that it was very challenging to achieve the necessary energy standards, so they switched to modular construction in mass timber. “What we found when meeting Vancouver’s building codes… it was very difficult to attain those with a shipping container. So we switched to CLT, which is a locally grown, sustainable resource. But we also wanted to create modules that we can lift and put into place like a shipping container, and to be able to crane them into tricky spots. …Rockridge uses Penticton firm Structurlam Mass Timber Corporation as its CLT supplier.

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C.F. Møller Architects Completes Sweden’s Tallest Timber Building

By Niall Patrick Walsh
Arch Daily
March 1, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

C.F. Møller Architects have completed Sweden’s tallest timber building, which is now accepting its first tenants. Situated in Västerås, one hour from Stockholm, the building is constructed from solid timber in order to radically reduce CO2 emissions, positively affect the indoor climate, and enhance the interior quality of life. The 8.5-story-high tower features an elevated ground floor and double-height top floor, with all walls, beams, balconies, lifts, and stairwells made from cross-laminated timber. The use of CNC-milled solid timber and glulam allows for an airtight, energy-efficient structure without the need for additional cladding. Each floor of the scheme has four flats, with each floor taking three craftsmen an average of three days to construct. The use of mechanical joints and screws allows for the future dismantling of the building, so as to allow for materials to be reused.

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Forestry

Learning from women in the forest sector

By Maria Church
Wood Business – Canadian Forest Industries
March 1, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada

In 1993, less than 30 years ago, an OSB mill in Canada simply did not hire women. It was in that year an order came down for the 10-year-old mill to hire females. …the first woman that mill was required to hire is now the production co-ordination manager for Interfor’s nine mills in the U.S. Southeast. This woman, Marlene Hall, was set on a career path in the forest industry and is now contributing to the success of one of Canada’s largest lumber producers because of an employment equity policy in the 90s. … I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with Marlene last month while doing a project for CFI’s website on women in the workforce. I interviewed 10 women in various roles and seniorities from forest product companies across Canada with the goal of sharing their stories, career advice, and management tips.

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In her blood: Q&A with West Fraser shift co-ordinator Jessica Williams

By Maria Church
Wood Business – Canadian Forest Industries
March 1, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Jessica Williams

Jessica Williams is a shift co-ordinator at West Fraser’s Williams Lake Plywood in Williams Lake, B.C. She has worked at the plywood plant for the past 10 years and in her current role as shift co-ordinator she operates as a relief supervisor and alternate safety resource. With encouragement from family in the forest industry, Jessica is embracing a career path in safety. … You might start out as an operator but then there are tons of opportunities if you are interested to progress through and do supervising and become a plant superintendent or a manager or go into safety or quality control. West Fraser is a really good company for that because they like to promote within. They do a lot to prepare their employees to progress if they show interest. I’ve been very fortunate working here, all the management is very supportive of me pursuing my education and have given me opportunities to get experience.

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Wildfire season begins for Grande Prairie Forest Area

By Peter Shokeir
Alberta Daily Herald Tribune
February 28, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Alberta Wildfire is reminding residents to get a fire permit before conducting burns in the Forest Protection Area as wildfire season begins Friday and lasts until Oct. 31. Kelly Burke, wildfire information officer, explained that the risk of wildfire was ever increasing due to changing climate and increased human activity in forests. “We have to become resilient and learn to live with wildfires,” Burke said. “Firesmarting principles are coming to a forefront and people really need to know how they can help and protect their property and if you live in the Forest Protection Area, you should take steps to protect your own property.” Fire permits are free and required during wildfire season for all burns, except campfires, in Alberta’s Forest Protection Area.

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City of Fernie to address logging concerns

BC Local News
February 28, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The Fernie Mayor will meet with CanWel executives in response to mounting community concern about clearcutting in the area. It follows a public forum hosted by Wildsight in Fernie on February 7, where hundreds of people gathered to discuss private land logging, with one-eighth of the Elk Valley in private hands. Mayor Ange Qualizza has joined forces with Fernie resident Sylvia Ayers, who suggested a stakeholder group at the forum as a way to improve community participation in logging plans. They have scheduled an initial meeting with CanWel Vice President Jake Blackmore and Chief Forester Steve Williams, which Qualizza hopes will lead to greater trust and understanding between the two parties, and eventually a resolution. …At Monday’s regular meeting, council endorsed a UBCM resolution that calls on the Province to amend the Private Managed Forest Land (PMFL) Act and regulations to bring them in line with those on Crown forest land.

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Talking with Dave Belyea about FPInnovations’ commercial thinning workshops

FPInnovations Blog
February 27, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Dave Belyea

During the past year, FPInnovations presented commercial thinning workshops in British Columbia—in Prince George, Quesnel, Smithers, and Vernon. We met with Dave Belyea, FPInnovations’ Industry Advisor for the Northern Interior, to learn more about his experience and understand the challenges faced by the forests in the B.C. Interior. When asked how these workshops helped address challenges in BC’s Interior forests, Dave replied, “The wood supply is by far the biggest challenge. The allowable annual cut is expected to decrease by 5 to 10 million cubic metres per year for the next 25 to 30 years. The workshops focused on alternative logging systems such as commercial thinning in second-growth stands and partial cutting in older stands that have operating constraints. These strategies, once fully implemented, will help provide another source of fibre and mitigate the effects of mid-term fibre availability challenges such as shift reductions and mill closures.”

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Keeping an Eye on Canada’s Deforestation

By The Canadian Forest Service’s Deforestation Monitoring Group
Natural Resources Canada
March 1, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Canada considers it important to track deforestation in order to report internationally on human-induced changes to our forests. Deforestation is an issue of global importance. While human pressures call for more land for living space, food production and resource extraction, the conversion of forests to non-forest land uses contributes to the acceleration of climate change and biodiversity loss. The term “deforestation” is used to mean different things in different contexts. Sometimes, it is mistakenly used to refer to all forest cover losses.  The internationally agreed definition1 of deforestation is the direct human-induced conversion of forest to non-forest land. This means deforestation does not include temporary forest cover changes such as those caused by wildfire, insect damage or forest harvest, where the forest will regrow. Deforestation specifically refers to forest land-use conversion, such as for residential development, agriculture, mining, transportation or hydroelectric use, among others. 

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NW Forest Plan 25 years later: Wildfire losses up, bird populations down

By Steve Lundeberg, Oregon State University
The Chief
February 28, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Twenty-five years into a 100-year federal strategy to protect older forests in the Pacific Northwest, forest losses to wildfire are up and declines in bird populations have not been reversed, new research shows. The findings, published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, underscore the importance of continuing to prioritize the safeguarding of older forests, the scientists say – forests characterized by a complex structure that includes multiple canopy layers, large trees, downed wood and snags. The researchers stress it’s vital to remember that upon its adoption in 1994, the Northwest Forest Plan was conceived as a century-long plan, and was not expected to show significant positive impacts on biodiversity for 50 years. “Trees in the northwestern United States are some of the longest-lived and largest in the world,” said Matt Betts of Oregon State University. “…so it shouldn’t be surprising that it is hard to ‘restore’ this forest type, and that any plan to do so will take a long time.

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Firefighting data must be applied to where it was collected

Letter By Lois Olsen, retired US Forest Service ecologist
Helena Independent Record
February 28, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

…The question at hand is what do we do — should we wait until fire visits on its own terms, or should we be proactive and re-establish a more open, natural forest throughout the wildland urban interface (WUI) and the surrounding lands? Since the fires of 1910 in Montana, fire suppression has been our major land management policy. Fires used to occur frequently in lower elevations; many south and west facing slopes had a lot of grass and shrub with scattered trees. …The purpose of “fuel management” projects by land management agencies is to change fire behavior, not eliminate fire. If fire can be kept on the ground rather than in the trees it’s much safer and easier to confront. …Fire will continue to visit our forests with greater frequency and ferocity as our weather patterns continue to change and as the fuels around us build. The expense of fighting a wildfire dwarfs the expense of creating defensible areas where fire behavior can be changed, and hopefully survived. Doing something, now, is imperative.

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U.S. geological scientist unravels a “not-so-ancient geological crime”

By Alex Bruell
The Longview Daily News
March 1, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Red cedar “ghost forests,” a Japanese villager’s handwritten notes, and Native American oral histories: They all offered clues that led scientists to precisely date the last megaquake that rocked the Pacific Northwest. It occurred on Jan. 26, 1700.
Unraveling the clues was similar to being a detective investigating a “not-so-ancient geological crime,” U.S. Geological Survey scientist Brian Atwater said. …In the 1990s… a 9.0 earthquake that struck the Northwest Coast in January 1700. …The quake caused tidal and intertidal marshes and forests to sink several feet, allowing mud and saltwater to invade. The intrusion killed trees, leaving “ghost forests” behind. By counting the annual tree rings of both the dead and new trees that grow in their place, scientists can create a record of inundation related to the earthquakes. There are some places in Washington where, at low tide, dead trees from roughly 400 AD can be found, Atwater said.

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Judge rules against Bozeman logging opponents

By Michael Wright
The Bozeman Daily Chronicle
February 28, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

The auction of a timber sale alongside a deferral of the project southeast of Bozeman will go forward after a judge rejected logging opponents’ push to block it because they believe it’s unfair. Gallatin County District Judge Rienne McElyea signed an order Wednesday afternoon denying Save Our Gallatin Front’s push for an injunction stopping the state’s auction of the Limestone West Timber Sale, a 443-acre project proposed for state trust lands west of Mount Ellis the group says will harm important wildlife habitat. Up for bid alongside the timber sale is a conservation license that would block logging there for 25 years. The group sued the state over the terms of the license, arguing that the license price should be based on lost interest income to the state’s trust accounts and not the full stumpage value of the timber.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Forestry and wood playing vital role in meeting climate change target

By Stuart Goodall, Confor
The Scotsman
March 1, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Stuart Goodall

SCOTLAND — Reducing emissions is no longer enough to mitigate damaging climate change. That is the simple message from Lord Deben, chairman of the Committee on Climate Change. …Speaking at Confor’s All-Party Forestry Group at Westminster, Lord Deben laid down the plain facts; we have already seized the low-hanging fruit on emissions reduction and it is now also about removing carbon from the atmosphere. Lord Deben was addressing… how governments can deliver increased tree planting and greater use of home-grown wood, particularly in construction. Successive reports have highlighted the growing significance of forestry and wood in meeting climate change targets, describing tree planting and timber use as a “simple, low-cost option” to make a real impact. The good news is that in Scotland, we are doing well. …In England and Wales, the picture is not so bright.

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