Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: May 2, 2019

Today’s Takeaway

Lumber woes linger, paper & other wood products fare better

The Tree Frog Forestry News
May 2, 2019
Category: Today's Takeaway

Lumber-price’s unseasonable slump continues while pulp & paper and other forest products fare better. The headlines include: sawmill profits fall as pine prices decline; temporary curtailments at Canfor, Interfor and Conifex; Tolko’s Williams Lake mill returns to operation; Q1 earnings are down at Western Forest Products, but up at Stella-Jones, Clearwater Paper and Domtar; and a deeper dive on the WTO’s softwood ruling on the use of “zeroing” in anti-dumping methodology.

In other news: Larry Pynn on the need for training for BC’s natural resource officers; Tree rings show the human effect on climate worldwide; EU forest cover increases but climate concerns persist; and industry says Australia’s billion tree planting program ‘can’t be done‘.

Finally, our sincere condolences to the family and friends of Dylan Montjoy, who died in a logging accident near Holberg BC over the weekend.

Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Business & Politics

Stella-Jones Reports 2019 First Quarter Results

Stella-Jones Inc.
Global Newswire
May 1, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

MONTREAL — Stella-Jones announced financial results for its first quarter ended March 31, 2019. “First quarter results demonstrated strong sales and profitability growth, which were primarily driven by the sales price and market demand increases in the utility pole and railway tie product categories, as well as acquisitions completed last year combined with the currency conversion effect. These factors were partially offset by lower lumber costs which impacted sales in the residential lumber and logs and lumber product categories. …Sales for the first quarter of 2019 reached $440.7 million, up 10.5% versus sales of $398.8 million for the corresponding period last year. …Excluding these factors [acquisitions and currency], sales increased approximately $11.7 million, or 2.9%.

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Lumber Prices Have Unseasonable Slump

By Ryan Dezember
The Wall Street Journal
May 2, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

Lumber prices typically rise in the spring as builders stock up for construction season. But this year, they are being hit hard by bad weather and a decline in home building. …Lumber futures settled 2% lower at $334.40 per 1,000 board feet on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange on Wednesday—down nearly half from the high of $639 reached on May 17, 2018. …Lumber producers are facing reduced residential construction, signs that remodeling work may slow and gains in output and efficiency at mills in the South. Two big Canadian mill owners— Canfor Corp. and Interfor Corp. —said last week that they would curtail output in their BC facilities… The announcements nudged lumber prices higher, but futures have since given up some of the gains. Nationwide, housing starts and building permits unexpectedly declined in March. …Executives with Weyerhaeuser… said they were optimistic that housing would rebound due to lower mortgage rates, strong job growth and better weather. [To access the full story you will need a WSJ subscription]

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Sawmill profits fall as pine prices decline

By Karl Forth
The Woodworking Network
May 2, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

SEATTLE  — Lumber prices in North America continued their decline from the third quarter of 2018 with substantial reductions reported. Average lumber prices for southern yellow pine were down 12 percent quarter-over-quarter in the third quarter, which was then followed by a reduction of 17 percent in the fourth quarter, according to the quarterly publication Wood Resource QuarterlyWith practically no change in log or chip prices, gross margins, and EBIDTAs have fallen in the Southern states. …However, the region’s sawmill margins were still well above their 10-year average margin. …Sawmills in British Columbia have also seen the prices for lumber in the U.S. market come down substantially. …Sawmills in Siberia continue to expand exports to China with fairly stable lumber export prices the past three years. 

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The WTO First-Instance Ruling, in Softwood Lumber, on the USA’s Methodology in Anti-Dumping

By Simon Potter
McCarthy Tetrault LLP
April 16, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

On April 9, 2019, the WTO Dispute Settlement Body issued its Panel Report regarding the US’s particular use of Differential Pricing Methodology in reaching its conclusion that the Canadian softwood lumber industry had been dumping into the United States. The Report has to do… with its finding that dumping can be found by applying a particular methodology. Canada announced… it will be filing an appeal to the WTO Appellate Body on what can be done with that methodology… this appeal might take some time. …Some have held the Panel decision out as a successful, from the US’s point of view, reversal of years and years of WTO rulings against the use of “zeroing”… this is, if not false, an ambitious overstatement. …This Panel Report does open a door to zeroing, but a narrow one and one which might well close again on appeal.

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Canfor, Interfor announce temporary curtailments at its B.C. lumber mills

By Doyle Potenteau
Global News
April 26, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Two major lumber companies in B.C. announced this week they will be temporarily trimming shifts this spring, citing low prices and high costs. Canfor said it will be temporarily curtailing operations at its B.C. sawmills, effective April 29. Interfor said it will be reducing operations at its three B.C. interior mills in May. Canfor blamed its curtailment on “low lumber prices and the high cost of fibre.” …Meanwhile, Interfor said it will “temporarily reduce production across its operating platform in the B.C. Interior during the month of May 2019 due to a combination of weak lumber prices and continuing high log costs.” …West Fraser announced that it would be curtailing production at three B.C. sawmills: Chasm, 100 Mile House and Chetwynd in the first quarter of 2019. …Also, Conifex said it would be curtailing operations at its Fort St. James sawmill for three weeks commencing Feb. 4 “due primarily to continued high log costs and lumber market conditions.”

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Conifex Temporarily Curtailing Fort St. James and Mackenzie Operations in Q2

Conifer Timber Inc.
Global Newswire
May 1, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

VANCOUVER, BC — Conifex Timber announced today that commencing May 6, 2019, it is temporarily curtailing operations at its Fort St. James, British Columbia sawmill for four weeks and its Mackenzie, British Columbia sawmill for three weeks, due primarily to continued high log costs and lumber market conditions.  The temporary curtailment is expected to reduce Conifex’s British Columbia lumber output by approximately 24 million board feet.

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Forestry minister attends event in Powell River

By Alexander Cosh
Powell River Peak
May 1, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Provincial minister of forests, lands, natural resource operations and rural development Doug Donaldson joined Powell River-Sunshine Coast MLA Nicholas Simons for an NDP-hosted event at Wildwood Public House on Wednesday, April 24, to speak about his ministry’s work. …Donaldson told attendees, “We can make a difference with legislation, regulations and with policy, and we’re doing that.” Donaldson explained that his ministry comprises a broad range of policy areas, and said that implementing all the changes his government wanted to make would take time. …“It was good the minister came to visit Powell River; we’re a forest-centred community and his willingness to meet with community members is one of the things that I find most refreshing about our new government,” said Simons in an interview after the event. “He had the opportunity to see how the FireSmart money is being spent. He got to talk to some workers from the mill who repeated their thanks for government’s efforts to keep it open with new owners.”

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Tolko’s Lakeview Division Returns To Full Operations

By Rebecca Dyok
My Cariboo Now
April 30, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

After a year-long rebuild and an in-depth restart process following a devastating fire, Tolko’s Lakeview Division in Williams Lake has returned to full operations. “This has been an awfully long time coming,” United Steelworkers 1-2017 First Vice President Paul French. …“When a fire devastated Tolko’s Lakeview division in November of 2017, we made a commitment to Lakeview employees and the people of Williams Lake,” Vice President of Solid Wood, Troy Connolly said in a news release. …BC Lumber General Manager Randy Chadney called the newly rebuilt sawmill a now world-class manufacturing facility and said the enhancements will improve competitiveness from a cost and productive perspective.

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Western Announces First Quarter 2019 Results

Western Forest Products Inc.
Global Newswire
May 1, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

VANCOUVER, BC — Western Forest Products reported adjusted EBITDA of $18.1 million in the first quarter of 2019. Results were impacted by challenging markets and difficult operating conditions which led to higher operating costs. Prolonged winter weather delayed typical spring lumber demand and led to operational downtime in both our mills and timberlands. …Western’s adjusted EBITDA result of $18.1 million in the first quarter of 2019 compared to adjusted EBITDA of $43.0 million in the first quarter of 2018, and $18.0 million reported in the fourth quarter of 2018. …The Company generated revenue of $275.7 million in the first quarter of 2019, as compared to $291.6 million in the first quarter of 2018, and $284.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2018.

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Forest Enhancement Society of B.C. Announces Appointment of Chris Stagg to the Board

Forest Enhancement Society of BC
May 2, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Chris Stag

KAMLOOPS, BC — The Forest Enhancement Society of B.C. (FESBC) is pleased to announce the appointment of Chris Stagg, RPF, to the Board of Directors. Chris is currently the Assistant Deputy Minister with the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. …“Chris brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to this new role with FESBC”, said Wayne Clogg, FESBC Board Chair. “His background in both government and industry will certainly strengthen our organization.” …“I am excited to join an organization that does such important work,” said Chris Stagg. “FESBC is a leader in funding projects which help fight climate change, reduce the risk of wildfires, enhance wildlife habitat, and build and ensure future timber supply. …I am pleased to join this team and look forward to contributing as a Director on the Board.”

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Paper sales climb for Domtar

The Financial Post
May 1, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States

FORT MILL, South Carolina — Domtar reported net earnings of $80 million for the first quarter of 2019 compared to net earnings of $87 million for the fourth quarter of 2018 and net earnings of $54 million for the first quarter of 2018. Sales for the first quarter of 2019 were $1.4 billion. …“We had a solid performance from Pulp and Paper despite a wood fiber shortage that negatively impacted costs and output,” said John D. Williams, President and CEO. “Price and volume momentum in paper continued in a favorable market environment, which led to strong productivity and a good cost performance. The pulp business was impacted by lower prices while higher internal pulp shipments due to wood fiber constraints negatively impacted our volumes.

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Clearwater Paper Co. posts profit

By Elaine Williams
The Lewiston Tribune
May 2, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

Clearwater Paper’s financial performance has rebounded, with the company earning money early this year after losing $144 million in 2018. The paperboard and tissue manufacturer, which is one of Lewiston’s largest employers, made a combined $3.8 million for the months of January, February and March, according to results reported Wednesday. “Both the paperboard and consumer businesses executed well and delivered solid results in the first quarter,” said company President and CEO Linda Massman.

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Georgia-Pacific to invest $120 million in Choctaw County mill

By Jerry Underwood
Made in Alabama
May 1, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

NAHEOLA, Alabama — Georgia-Pacific today announced plans to invest more than $120 million to add a new tissue machine and roll storage building at its mill in Choctaw County, the latest substantial investment in the facility. The new projects continue Atlanta-based Georgia-Pacific’s modernization of the Naheola mill, which includes ongoing construction of a new biomass boiler and woodyard. Georgia-Pacific said the modernization projects position the mill and its overall business to be competitive in the market. “This is one of many investments we are making at our operations across the State of Alabama, and it highlights the long history and great relationships we have in the state and in the communities where we operate,” said Christian Fischer, CEO and president of Georgia-Pacific. In the past five years, Georgia-Pacific’s capital investment at the Naheola mill has totaled more than $500 million, and its statewide investments have totaled approximately $1.6 billion.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Biophilic Design: Bringing the Outside In

By Marta Schantz
Urban Land
May 1, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States

Humans, on average, spend the vast majority of their time indoors. Yet scientific studies on human health conclude that spending time in and around nature, or even just looking at natural elements, can have wide-ranging benefits. The real estate industry is closing the gap between these conflicting concepts by bringing nature indoors with biophilic building design. Whether as a living wall, an indoor water feature, a green roof, wood building materials, or art that evokes nature, biophilia is growing in popularity. Biophilic design—the practice of connecting people and nature within built environments and communities—is making spaces more authentic and memorable in a meaningful way. …The U.S. Green Building Council began offering a biophilia pilot credit in April 2018 as part of its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system.

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Forestry

Tree rings show human effect on climate goes back more than a century

By Ivan Semeniuk
The Globe and Mail
May 1, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada

In 1896, Swedish chemist Svante Arrhenius made a prescient calculation that showed the vast quantities of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by burning coal and other fossil fuels would eventually cause the planet to get warmer. Little did he realize that the effect he described was … being dutifully recorded by … trees. Now, scientists have tapped into that record and demonstrated that the human effect on Earth’s climate can be traced back to the turn of the last century, when it began leaving its indelible mark on the growth patterns of tree rings. …John Pomeroy, a University of Saskatchewan hydrologist who directs Canada’s largest research program on water risk and climate change, said the NASA study does a good job of incorporating other climate records together with the tree-ring data and matches the occurrences of drought that were experienced in Western Canada around the time of the First World War and again in the 1930s.

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Gypsy moth spraying begins over Surrey

CBC News
May 1, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The first round of aerial spraying to kill off gypsy moths is set to begin in northern areas of Surrey, B.C., on Wednesday. The province said spraying will happen over homes as well as city land … as long as the weather stays clear. It is the same area that was sprayed by hand in 2017 and 2018. A statement from the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations said “it is now apparent” those sprays didn’t work, “likely due to limited site access.” Three separate spraying treatments will be done this spring, starting shortly after sunrise and finishing by 7:30 a.m. each time. …Residents in Surrey and Delta have previously petitioned to have the spraying cancelled out of concerns that Foray 48B could hurt people, but the ministry said there is no evidence the spray is harmful to humans or other wildlife.

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Forest practices hurt Cowichan River water

Letter by Bernhard H.J. Juurlink, Mill Bay
Victoria Times Colonist
May 1, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

…In the past, the intact forests held water in the spongy forest floors that would slowly enter the streams that fed the Cowichan River, while forested mountaintops held snow that slowly melted, feeding cool water to the Cowichan River well into the summer. Clear-cutting of mountaintops, mountain sides and valleys has completely disrupted this part of the normal water cycle. Clear-cutting also destroys the fish-friendly ecology of the streams. Rescuing the fish habitat of the Cowichan River requires addressing changes in forestry practices on private as well as Crown lands. Yet clear-cutting of forests, whether by pension fund-controlled private corporations or by the B.C. government, is rapidly depleting our still-intact forests, often for little benefit to local mills. Recently, B.C. Timber Sales has announced selling off yet another 109 hectares of old-growth forest near Juan de Fuca Provincial Park. 

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B.C.’s natural resource officers unequipped to deal with forestry and wildfire crimes: special investigation

By Larry Pynn
The Narwhal
May 1, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Imagine a complex forestry crime. … Now imagine the provincial law-enforcement officer assigned to investigate those violations of provincial laws has no training in how to gather evidence. …This is the state of affairs for natural resource officers in B.C., the individuals who patrol the province’s forests to enforce a broad suite of natural resource rules, covering everything from trail maintenance to fire bans to monitoring wildlife closures to inspecting logging operations.  According to a “special investigation” by the Forest Practices Board… the Forest and Range Practices Act and the Wildfire Act — is suffering due to major gaps at B.C.’s Compliance and Enforcement branch…The board report is troubling news to B.C.’s environmental movement. Joe Foy, co-executive director of the Vancouver-based Wilderness Committee, is not impressed that under-resourced, inadequately trained officers are tagged with protecting B.C.’s forests, water and wildlife from illegal acts.

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County unable to protect wildland area

By Richard Froese
The South Peace News
May 1, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

BIG LAKES, ALBERTA — A suggested plan to protect a forested area south of Faust has been nixed by Big Lakes County. …Area resident Roy New presented a proposal to council at its regular meeting Dec. 12. He suggested the county take steps to protect a forested area south of Faust about two miles wide and six miles long. New says he proposed the plan to protect wildlife and keep hunters and loggers out. “Council is unable to support the proposal,” writes Pat Olansky, director of planning and development. …West Fraser was asked to respond and does not support the proposal, Olansky says. “The proposed protected area would remove 1,772 hectares from West Fraser’s forest management agreement,” Olansky says.

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Tongass National Forest timber sale nearing completion

The Associated Press in the Washington Times
May 2, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

JUNEAU, Alaska – The first phase of the largest timber sale in Tongass National Forest in decades is moving ahead, and the U.S. Forest Service is asking for public comment through May 13. The Forest Service has confirmed it plans to offer about 225 million board feet of Tongass old growth timber over 15 years, CoastAlaska reported Monday. More than a fifth of that could be in the next year alone. But the federal agency insists this is much more than a timber sale. The agency prefers calling it a “landscape level analysis” because it’s folded into other work. That work includes stream restorations and culvert replacements. There’s also improved recreation like trail building and new public use cabins and shelters that has strong local support.

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A billion trees planted by 2030? It can’t be done, forestry industry says

By Kim Honan and Melissa Martin
ABC News Australia
May 2, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

In February this year, the Federal Government unveiled the ambitious target of planting one billion trees by 2030 to create growth and jobs in the sector, with the added benefit of absorbing millions of tonnes of greenhouse gases per year. But CEO of the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) Ross Hampton believed the Government would struggle to meet that target unless it removed barriers preventing the sector’s growth. The AFPA is calling on the Coalition to scrap the Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI), a voluntary carbon offsets scheme, ‘water rule’, to encourage new plantings across Australia. Mr Hampton said the rule restricted new plantations in areas of more than 600 millimetres of annual rainfall and 400mm for farm forestry from competing in the carbon market. …Forestry spokesperson Joel Fitzgibbon has called the rule ridiculous and said it prevented trees from being planted in regions with ideal conditions for growth.

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EU forest policy: Seeing the forest for the trees

The Brussels Times
May 1, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

An EU conference in Brussels last week on the future of forests underlined both the vulnerability of forests to the impacts of climate change such as droughts, fires and diseases and their decisive role in tackling climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide and providing products to replace emissions from fossil fuels and materials. …According to the Commission, forests and other wooded land have been steadily increasing and cover about 43% of the EU territory. …Asked if deforestation in EU is a problem, a Commission official told The Brussels Times that cases of forest degradation and illegal logging have become more prevalent in recent years. …There are concerns about the state of Europe’s forests concerning biodiversity and soil indicators, adds the Commission. 

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Health & Safety

Logger killed on the job identified as 46-year-old Quesnel man

By Katie DeRosa and Bill Cleverley
Victoria Times Colonist
May 1, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

A husband and father of six has been identified as the man who died in a logging accident on Northern Vancouver Island over the weekend. Dylan Montjoy, a 46-year-old Quesnel man, died Sunday while working near Nahwitti River near the remote village of Holberg, about 50 kilometres west of Port Hardy. …Madison Montjoy said it was a “freak accident” that took the life of her father, who had been working for Port McNeill-based Lemare Lake Logging for 10 years and in the woods as a faller since he was 14 years old. …The union said a representative from its emergency-response team will be in contact with the family to offer support. Anyone affected by the death will be able to access help and counselling through the Employee Family Assistance Program, it said. WorkSafe B.C. and the B.C. Coroners Service are investigating. Neither agency has released details on the cause of death.

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