Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: April 29, 2019

Today’s Takeaway

BC Gov’t opens new inquiry into 2012 mill explosions

The Tree Frog Forestry News
April 29, 2019
Category: Today's Takeaway

The BC Gov’t’s new inquiry into the 2012 mill explosions is focused on WorkSafeBC’s recommendations and its accountability. In other Business news: the US Commerce Dep’t is set to rule on whether New Brunswick’s property taxes are a softwood subsidy; and the Motley Fool says Canfor and West Fraser are recession-proof investments.

In Forestry/Climate news: BC’s forestry watchdog cites weaknesses in enforcement of logging laws; Ontario’s species at risk reforms is panned for its pay-to-slay provision; and a group of BC profs say time is short for species at risk. Offshore: Iran losses 12,000 ha forests annually; Brazil lost 1.3 million ha of forests in 2018; and Europe’s forests are being ravaged by bark beetles.

Finally, a fire broke out near AA Milne’s famed Hundred Acre Wood; BC’s Forest Discovery Centre is officially unveiled; and a BC breeder is about to hatch its first spotted owl.

Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor 

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Business & Politics

West Fraser Timber Company AGM in Quesnel highlighted challenges and successes

By Ronan O’Doherty
Quesnel Cariboo Observer
April 28, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

The largest board room in West Fraser’s Quesnel head office was standing-room-only on Tuesday morning (April 23) as shareholders, the board of directors and company employees gathered to hear about the forestry firm’s recent progress and its projections for the coming months. Outgoing CEO Ted Seraphim gave a brief introduction with some comments on the company, but he deferred to his soon-to-be replacement, Ray Ferris, for the bulk of the presentation. Seraphim drew attention to big results for the company in the last fiscal year. “When you look at our net earnings of over $800 million, that’s a record for the company. And we had sales of over $6 billion.” He made sure to address the giant sequoia in the room, however. “But when you look at that fourth quarter, it’s quite a stark contrast.” Net earnings in the last quarter of the year were a very small percentage of the year as a whole, down to $29 million altogether.

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2 Timber Stocks to Protect You From a Recession

By Amy Legate-Wolfe
The Motley Fool
April 28, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Materials stocks are a great option when looking for recession-proof investments. But while ETFs and other funds can plummet if an entire industry goes down, doing your research and finding a few stocks that could see their way through a recession unscathed could provide you with some large rewards. Take the lumber industry. While the entire industry might still be a bit hurt by a recession, there are a few companies out there that should remain strong. Take Canfor and West Fraser Timber. Both companies have historical performance of sailing through the Great Recession and are likely to do so again if things continue on the path they’re on. …With both stocks currently undervalued and set to increase at least a little in the next 12 months, now is the perfect opportunity to buy. They shouldn’t slump during a recession, and once a housing recovery happens, both are set to reach levels not seen in years.

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U.S. investigating whether N.B.’s cheap property taxes on forests break trade rules Social Sharing

By Robert Jones
CBC News
April 29, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

The U.S. Commerce Department in Washington is set to rule in June whether cheap property taxes charged by New Brunswick on privately owned forests in the province are a subsidy.  It’s a decision that could mean trouble for more than 40,000 New Brunswick landowners and force a hard look by Fredericton lawmakers at the way the majority of private property in the province is assessed and taxed. So far the New Brunswick government is not commenting on what will happen if the ruling goes poorly. “Our government is confident that our property tax policies do not constitute a countervailable subsidy,” said Robert Duguay, a spokesperson for the province’s Intergovernmental Affairs division, in a statement to CBC News late Sunday. “We continue to fight this unfair US trade action.” …lawyers for … U.S. lumber companies argued New Brunswick’s practice of assessing and taxing forest properties as though they are worth $100 per hectare is artificially low…

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Dempsey Wood adding equipment and jobs

By Bradley Harris
The Times and Democrat
April 28, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

ROWESVILLE – Dempsey Wood Products announced in December 2018 that it was expanding and creating 25 new jobs. Parker Dempsey, president of the company, said plans for the expansion date back several years. “It’s a project we’ve been planning for probably the last several years, and took a big step two years ago in the expansion we did there. That was kind of the first step of this project. This is finishing that part of it off,” Dempsey said. “There’s a big opportunity for us to improve our efficiency and productivity. So, we wanted to take advantage of that opportunity by installing state-of-the-art equipment and keeping up with today’s industry and sawmill industry,” he said. Orangeburg County Council approved tax incentives for the expansion of the family-owned lumber company.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Peter Busby designs a 40 storey timber tower proposed for Vancouver

By Lloyd Alter
Treehugger
April 26, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

There are just a few small problems standing in the way. TreeHugger loves tall wood construction, and we have always been big fans of Peter Busby of Perkins+Will. (See my interview of him here) Busby is now working for the Delta Group in Vancouver, proposing a 40 storey tall wood tower. …But there are issues; the building codes have just been revised to permit wood structures up to twelve storeys with wood elements exposed, like they are here, and up to 18 storeys when the wood is all enclosed in gypsum board, like it was at the Brock Commons towers. It took years of work to get the codes to this point. There are “peer review” processes that permit variances from the code, but I suspect that 40 storeys with exposed wood is a serious stretch. There are also zoning issues on this site; it has a height limit of 14 storeys.

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Forestry

Time is short for species at risk

Letter by forest conservation professors, UBC, UNBC, UVic,
Victoria Times Colonist
April 28, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

…B.C. has no species-at-risk legislation and instead relies on piecemeal, inadequate laws and policies to oversee wildlife protection. On election, Premier John Horgan’s government made the courageous decision to change this… As scientists at the forefront of endangered-species research in the province, we welcomed this announcement and have been working in consultation with the government to help frame this new law. Last week, Premier Horgan back-tracked on his promise… stating: “There’s no significant species-at-risk legislation on the docket for the foreseeable future here in B.C.” This sudden shift comes as a result of backlash from industry concerned about the implications of habitat protection for southern mountain caribou on its bottom line. Let’s be clear on what’s going on here: Particular industries that are highly invested in the status quo of habitat loss have managed to persuade cabinet that they will make job losses an election issue in retaliation for introducing strong legislation.

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Paper Excellence supports the Outland Youth Employment Program

Paper Excellence Canada
April 26, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

RICHMOND, BC – Paper Excellence Canada has contributed a $25,000 donation to BC’s Outland Youth Employment Program (OYEP). The donation supports the First Nations program which provides an opportunity for First Nations youth to gain skills and exposure to forest industry opportunities. “With many of our facilities neighbouring First Nations, we believe in establishing relationships that support First Nations as by working together our community’s prosper, benefitting all of us.” explains Brian Baarda, Paper Excellence Canada CEO. The Outland Youth Employment Program is a natural resource based community-driven initiative that works towards equity and opportunity for Indigenous youth through education, training and work experience. Participating youth gain work and life skills.

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Statement – Government of Canada supports ongoing public engagement on protecting at-risk caribou in northeastern British Columbia

By Environment and Climate Change Canada
Cision Newswire
April 26, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

PRINCE GEORGE, BC – Parliamentary Secretary Sean Fraser issued the following statement today on behalf of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna: “We are working with the Province of British Columbia, Indigenous leaders, communities and industry in the Peace River region to reach a constructive resolution that ensures the protection and recovery of the Southern Mountain Caribou, while also supporting local workers and communities dependent on resource development. Urgent action is needed to ensure this iconic species are not driven to extinction in northeastern B.C. The Government of Canada is also standing up for local jobs and sustainable economic development in the Peace River region. “This week, we heard directly from many people in the region who have serious concerns about how their jobs and communities could be affected by the proposed measures. We acknowledge and understand those concerns, and we are working closely with B.C. and all parties involved to proactively address those concerns in any measures to protect the caribou.

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B.C. lake named to honour community leader John Phare

By Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development
Government of British Columbia
April 28, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

John Phare

A remote lake in the Sunshine Coast area of British Columbia has been officially named Phare Lake to commemorate the late John Phare, who died in a tree-felling accident while working on the Old Sechelt Mine wildfire on July 5, 2015. John Phare (1954-2015) was a resident of Roberts Creek, a father of three and a certified danger tree faller and assessor. He was widely respected along the Sunshine Coast for his work in the logging industry, his contributions to the community and his willingness to help friends and neighbours whenever he could. “John Phare was an experienced logger who used his skills to help protect British Columbians from wildfires,” said Doug Donaldson, Minster of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “The naming of Phare Lake is a fitting tribute to his life and work, and the groundswell of support for this naming is a testament to his dedication and community spirit.”

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Courtenay Urban Forest Strategy seeking public input

Comox Valley Record
April 27, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

If you haven’t yet provided feedback to the City of Courtenay on urban forests in the community, it’s not too late. One year after beginning a comprehensive exploration and community consultation into Courtenay’s urban forest, the draft plan is now available for public feedback. This week begins the 30-day public consultation period which includes options to have your say through a short survey, a public open house or through written feedback to City staff. View the draft plan and take the survey online at www.courtenay.ca/urbanforest until Thursday, May 23. …An urban forest strategy is a planning tool that identifies opportunities and challenges for trees and forest stands on public and private land. Including voices from the community, the document has been written for a wide range of audiences.

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B.C. spotted owl breeders hoping for new chicks as fertile eggs ready to hatch

By Dirk Meissner
Canadian Press in The Daily Courier
April 28, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

It takes fake eggs, sterile incubators, some trickery and years of trial and error to breed Canada’s almost extinct northern spotted owl in captivity. Researchers at British Columbia’s Northern Spotted Owl Breeding Program centre in Langley say their fingers are crossed this spring as they delicately tend to at least one fertile egg, due to hatch within days. “We’ve learned a lot,” said spotted owl specialist Jasmine McCulligh, the centre’s program co-ordinator. “We’ve seen a lot of good behaviour from our (breeding) pairs. We’ve just had a really good season. I’m hoping it will be our best year ever.” Breeding success will boost survival chances for the owls that are listed as endangered and near extinction, said McCulligh. No northern spotted owls have been released since the breeding program’s inception in 2007.

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Wildsight to host public forum on private land logging

The Nelson Star
April 27, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Large clear-cuts in areas like Cottonwood Lake, above homes in Wynndel near Creston, and in the Elk Valley have Kootenay communities concerned about logging on private land. On Wednesday, May 1, Wildsight is hosting a public forum in Nelson to give people an opportunity to learn more about private land logging — and have a chance to speak up about the logging in their backyard. In the East and West Kootenay, local residents are up in arms over a lack of regulations and community input into private land logging, Wildsight said in a news release. Near Nelson, local residents were caught off guard after one landowner purchased over six square kilometres of land with plans to log nearly all of its remaining forest, much of it on steep slopes.

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B.C. forestry watchdog highlights ‘major weaknesses and gaps’ in report

By Maryse Zeidler
CBC News
April 28, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

British Columbia’s forestry watchdog says there are “major weaknesses and gaps” in the way the province enforces logging rules and protects its natural resources. Last week the B.C. Forest Practices Board issued a report that highlights the challenges regarding enforcement for the Forest and Range Practices Act and the Wildfire Act, which govern logging and other forestry activities in B.C. Kevin Kriese, the watchdog’s board chair, says one of his primary concerns is that natural resource officers, who are tasked with enforcing B.C. forestry laws, don’t have time to proactively monitor logging operations before a problem occurs. “Someone needs to check, particularly in remote areas,” Kriese said. Kriese said natural resource officers are stretched thin, especially during months when their priorities shift to preventing wildfires.

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West Chilcotin Forest Products undertakes fibre recovery program in Anahim Lake

BC Local News
April 26, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

West Chilcotin Forest Products (WCFP), a company owned by the Ulkatcho First Nation, is pleased to announce that work on a fibre recovery program is well underway thanks to the approval of funding by the Forest Enhancement Society of B.C. (FESBC).  “The West Chilcotin plateau lacks the infrastructure many other areas of our province take for granted,” said Stephen James, Executive Director of WCFP. “Given the distance to markets for our forest products, enhanced utilization of our forest fibre has always been a struggle. With funding from FESBC, we can now start to do our part to fight climate change while at the same time provide much needed employment for our band members.” The fibre recovery program is enabling WCFP to increase utilization of non-merchantable and undersize logs by providing economic support for the cost of harvesting and hauling of the pulp wood to Bella Coola to then ship to the Harmac Pacific pulp mill in Nanaimo.

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Forests Forever officially unveiled at Duncan’s BC Forest Discovery Centre

By Warren Goulding
Cowichan Valley Citizen
April 26, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The BC Forest Discovery Centre has played a vital role in showcasing the history of the forestry industry. …“Our mandate is to show the past, present and future and the newest (piece of equipment) we had was from 1978,” Gale explained at a gathering marking the official opening of the Centre’s Forests Forever exhibit. Joined by forestry industry leaders, politicians, investors and supporters of the $1.3 million project that has been more than two years in the development stage, Gale called the unveiling on Wednesday “a momentous event” as the Discovery Centre enters a new era. “We are updating and revitalizing our message and the new exhibit is just fantastic.” The exhibit area features new, immersive and interactive exhibits that follow the life cycle of a tree from seedling to finished product.

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Environment ‘taking a hit’ from province

By Michael Lee
The North Bay Nugget
April 27, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

The Ontario government’s cancellation of a long-running tree planting program will come at a cost for the environment and jobs, but may also present new opportunities, local forestry consultants say. Sarah and Steve Bros, registered professional foresters and partners of Merin Forest Management in North Bay, say the loss of the 50 Million Tree Program will have implications for firms in southern Ontario, but also raises questions about the use of taxpayer dollars to improve the properties of private landowners. …Forests Ontario CEO Rob Keen said… “of its $4.7-million budget, just over 80 per cent of the money went directly to its partners, he said. “So it really is somewhat of a shock to have found out it was cancelled and the impacts that that’s going to have on our tree planting activities in southern and central Ontario.”

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Pay-to-slay or long-overdue update: Ontario’s plan to reform the Endangered Species Act, 2007

By Mark Sabourin
Ecolog.com
April 26, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

Developers have complained that species at risk legislation, such as Ontario’s Endangered Species Act, 2007, imposes costly burdens on them. Defenders of biodiversity shrug in response, because that’s what the legislation is supposed to do. …To defenders of biodiversity, the plan is nothing short of a war on wildlife. …A species will be added to the endangered species list within 12 months of receipt of its assessment report, rather than three. Assessments would consider the health of the species outside of Ontario. …Habitat protection would no longer be automatic if a species is listed as endangered or threatened. Most notably, proponents would have the option of paying into a new Species at Risk Conservation Trust in lieu of completing certain on-the-ground activities… but critics of the planned changes have zeroed-in on this provision, labelling it pay-to-slay.

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Rickford aims to cut costs for forestry sector

By Ryan Forbes
DrydenNow
April 26, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

Greg Rickford

The provincial government is working to ease the burden of high electricity costs for the local forestry sector. Kenora Rainy-River MPP Greg Rickford, and Minster of Indigenous Affairs, Energy, and Northern Development and Mines, held a forestry consultation in Dryden…  representation from Domtar, Resolute, Norbord, Manitou Forest Products, Treasury Metals and more. …“We’re fixing the hydro mess we inherited from the previous government. That includes finding electricity pricing solutions that work for industry, to enable them to expand their operations, create jobs and remain competitive,” said Rickford. While the consultation surrounded electrical prices for the forestry sector, forestry representatives are also keeping a close eye on forestry restrictions. The restrictions call for a  25 per cent reduction in softwood logging in the Wabigoon Forest.

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First-of-its-kind study documents impacts of beetle-kill on Colorado forest wildlife

By Liz Forster
The Colorado Springs Gazette
April 28, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Colorado researchers have published the first comprehensive study of the effects the bark beetles’ devastating march through the state’s forests have had on woodland wildlife, and the results are mixed. “There is such a huge impact by the beetles in terms of sheer aerial extent,” said the study’s lead researcher Jake Ivan. “That in of itself is reason enough to make it a high priority to figure out impacts of beetle on wildlife in Colorado.” Since 1994, the U.S. Forest Service estimates that mountain pine and spruce beetles have invaded more than 4 million acres of the southern Rocky Mountains. …Using wool soaked in peanut butter to lure animals toward one of 300 cameras mounted on trees, Ivan and his team photographed forests between 8,500 and 12,000 feet between 2013 and 2014. The scientists then employed the …photos documenting 26 species to model how the severity of and years since the outbreak influenced animals that historically called those ecosystems home.

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Winter’s snowfall damage left Northern California at risk for wildfires

By Mike Chapman
Redding Record Searchlight
April 27, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

As if Shasta County residents haven’t gone through enough from last summer’s Carr Fire, a fresh hazard is lurking as a new fire season approaches. The new wildfire peril is apparent in neighborhoods, along tree-lined roads, in parks, greenbelts and other open spaces. It’s all the broken-off branches and trees that were damaged in the Feb. 12-13 snowstorm. “It’s a significant fire hazard — absolutely,” said Capt. Nick Wallingford of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. The heavy, wet snow uprooted innumerable trees and left branches cracked and dying. By summer, downed wood that hasn’t been cleared will add more fuel to any fire in its path. This more combustible landscape only adds to an already-pressing, overall need to clear fire-prone brush and thin out stands of trees for a defense against fire — a realization that’s hitting home with some but not all homeowners in a post-Carr Fire era.

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Lawyer fighting deforestation from palm oil to win environmental prize

By Michael Casey
CTV News
April 29, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Alfred Brownell

BOSTON — When Alfred Brownell arrived in a remote Liberian village, the surrounding tropical rainforest had been levelled by bulldozers. Burial grounds were uprooted, religious shrines were desecrated and a stream people depended upon for water was polluted. …Brownell on Monday was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize for exposing alleged abuse by the company and helping to prevent it from converting about 20 square miles of forest that is home to elephants, pygmy hippopotamuses and chimpanzees. He said he was forced to flee the country in 2016 after the government threatened to arrest him for his activism. …For his work saving forest lands, Brownell won the Goldman prize along with five others for grassroots environmental activism. The prize was created in 1989 by the late San Francisco philanthropists Richard and Rhoda Goldman. 

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Ashdown Forest: Fire breaks out in Winnie the Pooh wood

BBC News
April 29, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

A fire has been burning overnight near woods featured in AA Milne’s Winnie the Pooh stories. The blaze in Ashdown Forest was reported at 21:30 BST on Sunday, East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service said. Gorse and undergrowth was ablaze affecting an area of up to 50 acres, in the Kingstanding area. …The woods were the inspiration for Hundred Acre Wood – home to Pooh and his friends. Chris Sutton, an Ashdown Ranger forest ranger, said bracken in the area was “as dry as straw”, and ground-nesting birds would have seen eggs and nests destroyed. The forest is an important habitat for nightjars and Dartford warblers.

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Iran loses 12,000 ha of forests annually

Tehran Times
April 28, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

TEHRAN – Approximately 12,000 hectares of forests across the country is wiped out annually, an official with Forests, Range and Watershed Management Organization has said. While some 11,800 hectares will undergo reforestation again, however, the reforested land may not have the same biodiversity and vegetation as the original forest, ISNA quoted Reza Bayani as saying on Sunday. …Reforestation can be used to rectify or improve the quality of human life by soaking up pollution and dust from the air, rebuild natural habitats and ecosystems, mitigate global warming… Iran has a great share of valuable old-growth forests, some of which, especially in Zagros, age over 300-400 years, he highlighted, implying that these forests are not comparable to the young reforested areas. …Pointing out that some believe that the country’s forests will gradually disappear in future, Bayani added that the claim is unscientific and not precisely reliable, thus, there must be a scientific research on the issue to support it.

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Over 1.3 Million Hectares of Forests Disappeared in Brazil in 2018

By Lise Alves
Rio Times
April 28, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – About 12 million hectares of rainforests disappeared in 2018, according to data from Global Forest Watch (GFW), the equivalent to thirty football fields per minute. Brazil alone decimated 1.3 million hectares of forests, mostly in the Amazon region and specifically near or in indigenous territory. “Brazil’s primary forest loss in 2018 was lower than its 2016-2017 fire-related spike, but still more than it was from 2007-2015, when the country had reduced its deforestation rate by 70 percent,” stated the report. Primary, or old growth, tropical rainforests are a crucially important forest ecosystem, containing trees that are hundreds or even thousands of years old. They store more carbon than other forests and are irreplaceable when it comes to sustaining biodiversity, providing habitats for nearly extinct animals and plants.

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World Climate change to blame as bark beetles ravage central Europe’s forests

By Jan Lopatka
Reuters
April 26, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

PRAGUE – Hot, dry summers are fanning an unprecedented outbreak of bark beetles that are destroying vast swathes of central Europe’s spruce forests which define the region’s landscape.  Draught brought on by climate change has weakened trees’ natural defenses and helped spawn the insects, creating an infestation that has forced landowners to chop down broad patches of forest across the Czech Republic, northern Austria, Bavaria and Slovakia. While the bark beetle is natural to conifer forests and has a role in their ecosystem, climate change has helped it spread especially through single-variety spruce woods planted over the past two centuries. The Czech Republic has been worst hit. Last year, the beetle infested 18 million cubic meters of spruce, more than 10 times amounts seen in most previous years, according to Agriculture Ministry estimates.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

CO2 Solutions Successfully Completes Commissioning of it First Commercial Carbon Capture Unit

By CO2 Solutions Inc.
Cision Newswire
April 29, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada East, Canada

QUEBEC CITY — CO2 Solutions is pleased to report that, after only two weeks, it has successfully completed the commissioning of its first commercial carbon capture unit. The project, with Fibrek General Partnership, a subsidiary of Resolute Forest Products and Serres Toundra, involved the deployment of a 30-tonne per day CO2 capture unit and ancillary equipment at the RFP pulp mill in Saint-Félicien, Quebec and the commercial reuse of the captured CO2 by the adjacent Serres Toundra greenhouse facility. As part of the commissioning phase, the CO2 Solutions contracted Tetra Tech, an independent consulting engineering services firm, to review the Unit’s operational efficiency and deliver a performance audit report. …confirmed the… Unit and its components are accurately sized to produce at least 30 tonnes-CO2per day under normal operating conditions.

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The Loophole: How American forests fuel the EU’s appetite for ‘green’ energy

By Carson Vaughan
The Food & Environment Reporting Network
April 29, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, International

…At the end of the lane, a company called Enviva processes trees and scraps to make more than 500,000 metric tons of tiny, compressed wood pellets every year, nearly all of it trucked to its port facility in Chesapeake, Virginia, and bound for Europe. Once a merely residential product, wood pellets now power massive electric utilities in countries like the UK, where the government has subsidized the transition from coal and other fossil fuels to renewable energy sources. …According to the Rachel Carson Institute, Enviva alone — which currently owns and operates seven plants in the southeastern United States — is responsible for clearcutting 50 acres of southern forestland every day, much of it a mix of hardwoods critical for wildlife habitat and absorbing the carbon dioxide rapidly warming the planet. …Companies like Enviva push back, claiming that this argument ignores the reality of modern forestry.

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Navajo County, 4FRI support push for more biomass energy

By Peter Aleshire
White Mountain Independent
April 26, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

WHITE MOUNTAINS — Backers of sweeping efforts to restore millions of acres of fire-prone forest have mounted an all-out campaign to convince the Arizona Corporation Commission to create a market for biomass. Officials from the forested areas of the state menaced by the rising toll of megafires in the thickly overgrown forest have appealed to the ACC to require the utilities it regulates to buy at least 90 megawatts of energy annually generated from the slash, saplings and debris harvested by forest thinning projects.The 4-Forest Restoration Project (4FRI) has been stalled for close to a decade by the lack of a market for the millions of tons of biomass generated by thinning projects. The succession of 4FRI contractors have thinned only about 15,000 acres, in large measure for lack of markets that would make thinning projects profitable.

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UN biodiversity conference to lay groundwork for Nature rescue plan

The Associated Free Press in the Egypt Independent
April 29, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Diplomats from 130 nations gathered in Paris on Monday to validate a grim UN assessment of the state of Nature and lay the groundwork for a rescue plan for life on Earth. The destruction of Nature threatens humanity “at least as much as human-induced climate change,” UN biodiversity chief Robert Watson said as the five-day meeting began. …A 44-page draft “Summary for Policy Makers catalogues the 1001 ways in which our species has plundered the planet and damaged its capacity to renew the resources upon which we depend, starting with breathable air, drinkable water and productive soil. …Twenty 10-year targets adopted in 2010 under the United Nations’ biodiversity treaty — to expand protected areas, slow species and forest loss, and reduce pollution — will, with one or two exceptions, fail badly. …The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services document, once approved, will be released on May 6.

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Health & Safety

Man killed in northern B.C. logging accident

By Gerry Leibel
Victoria News
April 26, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

Kitimat RCMP have confirmed that a 46-year-old Terrace man died on Thursday, April 18, following a logging accident. RCMP media relations officer Cst. Kurt Fink said the accident occurred at a remote logging operation down the Douglas Channel near Eagle Bay. “The man appeared to have been struck by a tree and succumbed to his injuries. The location of the fatality was very remote and extremely difficult to access,” said Fink. He said the RCMP, BC Coroner’s Service and WorkSafe BC were on site on Thursday, adding that while the accident was still under investigation, the RCMP weren’t treating it as suspicious. “The RCMP would like to thank our partners, like Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue (RCM SAR) 63, who are volunteers, as well as the man’s co-workers for their efforts and professionalism.”

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B.C. government opens new inquiry into 2012 forestry mill explosions

By Justine Hunter
The Globe and Mail
April 28, 2019
Category: Health & Safety

Steve Hunt was never satisfied with how the agency responsible for protecting workers in BC conducted itself when two sawmills exploded in the span of months, killing four workers and seriously injuring dozens more. The province’s Criminal Justice Branch did not lay charges in the 2012 deaths because WorkSafeBC not only failed to warn the mills about the hazards of combustible dust that triggered the deadly explosions, but then bungled the subsequent investigations. …The BC Liberal government commissioned two reviews. In addition, both the WorkSafeBC and the B.C. Safety Authority investigated, and a coroner’s inquest was held. …Following the explosions, the industry led safety reforms and introduced a voluntary audit system. …The forest industry considered the matter largely resolved. But now, seven years after the explosions, Mr. Hunt has found a receptive ear in the NDP government that took power in 2017. …Ms. Helps is looking into all the events that led to the explosions – and criminal charges could yet be laid.

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