Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: June 3, 2019

Today’s Takeaway

Forest companies brace for a crash as lumber industry struggles

The Tree Frog Forestry News
June 3, 2019
Category: Today's Takeaway

After record-breaking profits, forest companies are bracing for a crash as Canada’s lumber industry faces down trade disputes and climate change. In related news: Teal Jones halves its logging on Vancouver Island; and Stimson Lumber cuts jobs in Oregon. Elsewhere: John Brink to be named to the Order of BC; Frank Dottori to be honoured by Canadian Ecology Center; Forsite purchases Object Raku Technology; and EACOM and Ontario celebrate 100 years at the Timmins sawmill.

In Forestry/Climate news: FSC launches new forestry standard; how logging impacts BC’s watersheds; the Caribou deal is offensive to First Nations group; the Forest Practices Board says BC stewardship plans need work; Quebec battles a spruce budworm outbreak; and wildfires displace thousands in Alberta and the premier says ‘its complicated‘.

Finally, mass timber benefits and growth in Canada and Montana.

Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Business & Politics

Teal Jones shuts down logging, citing high log costs

By Nelson Bennett
Business in Vancouver
May 31, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Haniff Karmally

Teal Jones is shutting down second growth logging operations in its Honeymoon Bay operations on Vancouver Island, citing high stumpage prices. And that will inevitably translate into more curtailments at the company’s sawmills, said Teal Jones CFO Haniff Karmally. “It’s very significant for the mills,” Karmally said. Like most other forestry companies in B.C., Teal Jones has already taken several curtailments at its lumber mills in recent months, due to both falling lumber prices in the U.S. and rising stumpage costs, resulting in temporary layoffs. “We have taken more curtailment this year and over the last 12 months than we can recall ever taking,” Karmally said. “Our mills have been down for one month to the end of April already. So we’ve taken 25% curtailment this year in the mills.” About half of Teal Jones’ tree farm licence on Vancouver Island (TFL46) is old growth.

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Surrey event will focus on untapped potential of Fraser River

By Jennifer Saltman
The Vancouver Sun
June 2, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Where the Fraser River runs through Surrey, its shores are mostly given over to industry, from rail and ports, to forest products and metal recycling. It’s an area that the Surrey Board of Trade thinks isn’t being used to its full potential. “On the Surrey side we have been so behind in terms of creating good opportunities, whether it’s from an industrial focus or even a tourism focus,” said Anita Huberman, the board of trade’s chief executive officer….The event will have panelists from the Fraser River Discovery Centre, Fraser Surrey Docks and the City of New Westminster. Stephen Bruyneel said the discovery centre, where he is director of external relations and development, looks at everything to do with the river from social, environmental and economic perspectives.

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Forsite purchases Object Raku Technology to further solidify commitment to provide cutting-edge forest inventory products

Forsite
June 3, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Salmon Arm, BC Forsite has purchased Object Raku Technology, further solidifying Forsite’s commitment to providing cutting-edge forest inventory products (visit Forsite at www.forsite.ca). Object Raku has led the development of the Timber Species Identifier (TSI), a system of automated software components which analyze LiDAR data to determine the location and species of individual trees, as well as the Block Design Tool (BDT). The BDT is built on the ESRI ArcGIS engine and allows the forester to outline proposed harvest areas and determine potential profitability based on harvest cost and revenue parameters. These technologies are changing the way business is done in the forestry sector. The integration of Object Raku partners Mike Parlow and Trevor Hooper and their staff as well as their processes and intellectual property, will elevate Forsite’s ability to innovate and create world-leading forest inventory products. 

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Canfor Completes First Phase Purchase of Elliott Sawmilling Company Inc.

Cision Newswire
May 31, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

VANCOUVER, – Canfor Corporation, further to the Company’s news release dated November 9, 2018, announces that it has completed the first phase purchase of 49% of Elliott Sawmilling Co. Inc. The balance will be acquired in one year.

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Brink to be named to Order of British Columbia

By Mark Nielsen
The Prince George Citizen
May 31, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

John Brink

Prince George lumber manufacturer and philanthropist John Brink will be named to the Order of British Columbia. He is one of 15 upon who Lt. Gov. Janet Austin will bestow the honour at Government House in Victoria on June 28. Established 30 years ago, the OBC is the highest form of recognition the Province can extend to its citizens. Known as lumber industry leader and innovator, Brinks moved to Canada from the Netherlands in 1965 and, a decade later, started Brink Forest Products. Since then, he has grown the business into the largest secondary wood manufacturer in North America. Over that time, he pioneered finger-jointing in Canada, a process of gluing together shorter pieces of lumber, which were considered waste products. …In the 1980s, Brink went to B.C. Supreme Court and successfully argued that lumber grading rules were not being applied fairly across North America. 

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B.C.’s looming crisis: a forest industry in peril

By Gary Mason
The Globe and Mail
May 31, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

After a year of record-breaking profits, British Columbia’s forest companies are bracing for a hard crash. And many small towns in rural B.C., where economies rely on the sound of saws ripping through timber, could be on the precipice of extremely challenging times. “That keeps me up at night,” Premier John Horgan admitted to me in an interview this week in his office. The Council of Forest Industries (COFI) has publicly stated that between eight and 10 mills could close this summer, costing thousands of jobs and devastating small communities across the province. This looming disaster is the result of a confluence of factors. In recent years, the province incentivized companies to ramp up production and revamp mills to clear forest ravaged by the devastating pine beetle infestation. That work is pretty much done now, with the amount of timber that companies are allowed to cut annually reduced along with it.

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Teal Jones to halve logging, lay off workers in Vancouver Island operations

By Derrick Penner
Vancouver Sun
May 31, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Doug Donaldson

The Surrey-headquartered forestry firm Teal Jones Group has halted about half the logging in its operations on Vancouver Island blaming “excessive” cutting-rights fees that make second-growth timber unprofitable.   …“The stumpage rate is a very complicated calculation, but it is ultimately driven by market export premiums and speculative bidding,” said Kotze. “And of course the export price for logs would be far higher than the domestic price,” he added, so “from our perspective, we are bearing the brunt of those stumpage rates.” B.C. Forest Minister Doug Donaldson said in an emailed statement that he sympathizes with the workers and their families, but said stumpage rates have declined in recent months and should continue to do so in response to the collapse of commodity lumber prices.

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Softwood lumber industry facing tough conditions as tariffs and climate weigh

By Ian Bickis
Canadian Press in Burnaby Now
May 31, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Canada’s softwood lumber industry is struggling as it faces down two of the biggest challenges facing the country — trade disputes and climate change.  In B.C., where the industry is concentrated, companies have been cutting back shifts and closing mills as a lack of log supplies and low prices bite, with more closures expected to come. “It’s not a happy situation right now if you’re in the lumber business,” said Russ Taylor, managing director at Forest Economic Advisors Canada. The impact of high log costs in the province — brought on by a lack of supply from the lingering pine beetle outbreak and back-to-back record wildlife seasons — was tempered last year by record high lumber prices. But prices plunged last fall to usher in a wave of temporary mill shutdowns in B.C., and a second wave has been playing out in recent weeks as prices fail to recover.

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EACOM gifts lumber for new shelter for Mountjoy Farmers’ Market

By Jordan Horrobin
The Timmins Daily Press
May 31, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

Kevin Edgson

As EACOM gave a nod to its past on Friday, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Timmins sawmill, the company also made a contribution to the future by donating lumber to construct a new shelter for the Mountjoy Farmers’ Market. Kevin Edgson, the president and CEO of EACOM, called it a “legacy gift.” He also explained that the lumber given to the farmers’ market will come from what’s processed right here in Timmins. …Rock Whissell, a Ward 1 councillor who is also the president of the Porcupine District Agricultural Society, thanked EACOM for its donation and acknowledged that the company’s achievements have impacted the city.

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Ontario Celebrates 100th Anniversary of Timmins Sawmill

By Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
Government of Ontario
May 31, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

TIMMINS — Today John Yakabuski, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, highlighted next steps in the development of Ontario’s new forestry strategy while marking the 100th anniversary of EACOM Timber Corporation’s flagship sawmill. “Our government is making Ontario open for business and open for jobs. We are committed to ensuring the forestry industry can attract investment, innovate and create good-paying jobs,” said Yakabuski. “A sawmill that has been in operation for 100 years not only highlights the important role forestry has played in our past, but the important role it will continue to play in shaping the future of Ontario.” The Ontario government announced in November 2018 its plan to develop a provincial forestry strategy to unleash the potential of the sector. Since then, Minister Yakabuski has hosted several roundtables across Ontario and gathered feedback online on how we can open up the industry to jobs.  

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Forestry executive Dottori to be honoured Friday

North Bay Nugget
May 31, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

Frank Dottori

The Canadian Ecology Centre (CEC) in Samuel de Champlain Provincial Park will honour Frank Dottori during its 20th year celebration Friday. “It is because of Frank Dottori that the CEC is here today and we are pleased to have his name affixed to one of our main buildings,” says Bill Steer, the centre’s general manager. The CEC is a national, non-profit organization with charitable educational status. The environmental and outdoor education centre employs between 10 and 20 people on a full-, part-time and seasonal basis offering programming to students from the Near North and Nipissing Parry Sound Catholic district school boards, Canadore College and Nipissing University. “Our teachers’ mining and forestry tours are key to creating more awareness regarding our natural resource sector,” says Laura Kielpinksi, longtime operations and education programming manager.

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Affordable Housing Is Doable For Builders And Buyers, But Here’s The Problem

By Brenda Richardson
Forbes Magazine
June 2, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States

As home prices rise across the country, middle-class Americans and first-time home buyers often struggle to find housing within their budgets. …A new report, Attainable Housing: Challenges, Perceptions and Solutions… explores the shortage of housing affordable to moderate-income home buyers, including first-time buyers, and offers solutions to increase the supply. …Greg Ugalde, chairman of the NAHB, says, “A shortage of buildable and affordable lots is forcing builders to increasingly look further outside of suburban and metropolitan areas to find cheaper land that provides more building opportunities.” In a sign that housing affordability is becoming a growing issue nationwide, home buyers are expanding their searches beyond the suburbs to far-flung exurbs, which are outlying counties of large metro areas. …“The labor shortage is a cost driver…” said Ptomey. …Costs for materials have been increasing rapidly, particularly for steel and lumber.

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Stimson Lumber cuts 60 jobs, blames ‘cost of doing business in Oregon’

By Mike Rogowa
The Oregonian
May 31, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

Stimson Lumber Co. said Friday it will lay off 60 workers at its mill near Forest Grove, attributing the cuts to the rising “cost of doing business in Oregon.” “The environment in Oregon is becoming more challenging in a very competitive industry,” said Stimson CEO Andrew Miller. The cost of producing lumber products is 5% to 7% lower in Idaho and Montana, Miller said, which he blames on state policies – in particular the state’s 2015 clean fuels bill. He said the state’s pending business tax increase, which aims to raise $1 billion a year by taxing companies’ sales, makes the state less appealing to companies like his. “Oregon has become an urban state and urban voters and legislators set the agenda,” Miller said. Stimson Lumber employs 780 altogether, a little more than half of them in Oregon. Miller said the mill near Forest Grove employed 225 before Friday’s cuts.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Tall Wood Buildings And Mass Timber Show Growth In Canada’s Forest Product Industry

Canadian Architect
May 31, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada

Tall wood buildings and the expanded use of mass timber show significant potential in growing the market for Canada’s forest products industry, according to a new report from Branching Out: How Canada’s Forestry Products Sector is Reshaping its Future, by Eric Miller, C.D. Howe Institute. The report examines how the sector is responding to its challenges, and recommends key policies that will help expand its contribution to the Canadian economy. The recommendations include: Scale up the government contributions to FPInnovations… and other vehicles with a successful track record of commercialization; Consolidate the early product and process innovations supported by the federal government in partnership with the industry to make Canada a global leader in the emerging “tall wood building space.”; Endeavour to ensure “regulatory neutrality” for the use of emerging wood and wood-based products; Create a window supported by carbon tax revenues to drive local solutions to forest management, adaption and utilization…

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Wood Forum II coming to the Valley

By Sharon Vanhouwe
My Cowichan Valley Now
May 31, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

The Vancouver Island Economic Alliance is looking for a qualified industry professional to facilitate a pilot project focused on wood waste recovery and forest fire mitigation. The project will be officially launched at the Alliance’s Island Wood Industries Forum II on June 20th in the Cowichan Valley. Since the first forum, in March of 2018, the provincial government has begun a process of change and introduced the Coast Forest Sector Revitalization Strategy. Connected to this, the Alliance has been awarded funding to conduct a two-year pilot project on waste wood recovery and fire hazard mitigation in the Cowichan Region.

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Three 12-storey wooden towers proposed for Langford core

By Shalu Mehta
Victoria News
May 31, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

Langford’s downtown core might see some more growth upwards in the near future. Three 12-storey residential and commercial towers at the corner of Peatt Road and Goldstream Avenue are being recommended for approval by the city’s planning, zoning and affordable housing committee. The project would combine 10 parcels of land that run along Peatt Road between Goldstream and Hockley avenues, into three parcels. Most of those lots are currently residential with the exception of a consignment store on the corner of Peatt Road and Goldstream Avenue. The towers would have commercial space on the ground floor and residential units above. The unique thing about them, according to Langford Mayor Stew Young, is that they would be constructed out of wood. “It’s kind of groundbreaking,” Young said.

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Tall Mass Timber Buildings and Fire Service Concerns

By Raymond O’Brocki, American Wood Council
Fire Engineering
May 31, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States

Ray O’Brocki

Recently an article, Construction Concerns: IBC 2021 Heavy Timber Proposal, appeared in Fire Engineering that raised concerns regarding the now newly passed “Tall Mass Timber” code additions to the International Building Code (IBC) 2021 Edition. The article briefly outlined some of the central code changes that will permit tall mass timber buildings. A brief examination of all the Tall Mass Timber code provisions that will be included in the 2021 IBC will demonstrate that the fire safety protection required by the new code changes provides for the life safety of occupants and firefighters that will respond to emergencies in these buildings.

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Experts: New building material can combat climate change, cut wildfire and boost jobs

By David Erickson
The Missoulian
June 1, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

Tom DeLuca

A new and promising building style called mass timber construction could be the wave of the future by creating Montana jobs, cutting construction costs, combating climate change, reducing wildfires and healing the West’s overgrown forests. That’s according to a broad coalition of experts in a variety of industries in Missoula, from architects to foresters to builders. “Mass timber construction, combined with sustainable forest management on public and private lands, can make Montana a leader in achieving a more sustainable future,” said Tom DeLuca, the dean of the W.A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation at the University of Montana. …DeLuca said the forestry college hopes to build a new “state-of-the-art” headquarters facility on campus using the material. …The goal would be to make it deconstructable, so that when it outlives its life it doesn’t go to a landfill.

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Forestry

FSC launches new standard to address today’s most pressing issues facing Canadian forests

By the Forest Stewardship Council
Cision Newswire
June 3, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada

TORONTO — The Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) is proud to announce the launch of a comprehensive new standard for responsible forest management in Canada.  After five years of rigorous consultation with industry, environment, and social stakeholders and indigenous groups, the new standard targets the most pressing issues threatening Canadian forests today, including the woodland caribou crisis; the rights of indigenous peoples; workers’ rights including gender equity; conservation; and landscape management. …The updated standard consolidates FSC’s existing, four regional standards into one national standard that has been amended to strengthen Canadian forests and the people, flora and fauna that depend on them. The recommendations range from physical solutions – such as buffer zones around waterways to keep streams and rivers clean — to ones that thread our social fabric, such as indigenous involvement in forestry planning and gender equity throughout the industry.

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B.C. pilot project plans to fight forest fires at night

By Simon Druker
News 1130
June 2, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Wayne Coulson

VANCOUVER – Wildfire smoke has already caused some haze around Metro Vancouver as the season begins to grip several regions around the province. But there’s hope a provincial pilot project being introduced this year could reduce the damage. For the first time ever, the BC Wildfire Service is hiring helicopter operators trained, equipped and approved for night vision operations. Night vision goggles and the ability to fight fires once the sun goes down add up to a massive advantage, says Wayne Coulson, whose Port Alberni company has been fighting fires in Australia for the last three years. “We’ve always believed that the fire slows down at night because you lose the heat when the sun goes down,” he says “The relative humidity goes up, so the fire gets weaker at night,” he says. “And those two factors are very, very key. 

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Muddied waters: how clearcut logging is driving a water crisis in B.C.’s interior

By Ben Parfitt
The Narwhal
May 31, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Richard Smith… was impressed by the quality of the water that flowed out of the forested valleys behind the community and emptied into Okanagan Lake. …But during the past decade, the retired teacher says, his town’s water has turned perfectly awful. It is often murky and unsafe to drink for months on end. …A 2017 landslide downslope of a logging road, which temporarily blocked Peachland Creek, was an emphatic reminder to the town’s mayor and her fellow councillors that they must act. The slide caused the water’s turbidity, or cloudiness level, to jump far above the threshold that typically triggers boil-water orders. Sadly, all of this was avoidable, Smith and others say. The forests behind Peachland have been extensively logged, the land mined, cattle-grazed and crisscrossed with roads. Clear-cut logging, in particular, has accelerated in recent years, with potentially serious downstream consequences.

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Caribou deals offensive and vulnerable to court challenge, First Nation says

The Prince George Citizen
May 31, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Draft agreements to protect and recover endangered caribou populations in the South Peace carry an “offensive tone” and are “highly vulnerable” to a court challenge, a Northern B.C. First Nation says. The McLeod Lake Indian Band says both B.C. and Canada have failed to engage them in talks about two agreements drafted between the two governments, and the West Moberly and Saulteau First Nations. The agreements could potentially impact the band’s treaty rights, Chief Harley Chingee wrote in a May 23 letter. “Should the agreements be executed without the requisite engagement with MLIB, they will be highly vulnerable to legal challenge and termination,” Chingee wrote. The band met earlier this month with Blair Lekstrom, who was appointed by Premier John Horgan to be a community liaison after public outcry over the lack of transparency and public accountability surrounding the negotiations

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Demonstrators gather to demand a voice on North Cowichan municipal forest reserve

By Robert Barron
Cowichan Valley Citizen
May 31, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

With the growing impacts of climate change, forestry practices in North Cowichan’s municipal forest reserve must change, according to Chris Istace. Istace was one of numerous speakers to address an enthusiastic, placard-waving crowd of about 100 people that gathered at North Cowichan’s municipal hall on May 29 to protest council’s plan to harvest trees that blew down or were heavily damaged during last December’s windstorm in the 5,000-hectare municipal forest reserve. Of particular concern are plans for the harvesting of wood in the ecologically sensitive Stoney Hill area. Istace said the people gathered at the hall are not against North Cowichan’s council and staff on issues regarding the forest reserve, but are there for them as they make fundamental decisions regarding the community property. “We want to look at doing things differently and try to find the right balance in ensuring the reserve is dealt with in a sustainable manner,” Istace said.

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New forest stewardship plans still lacking: Forest Practices Board

By Darlene Oman
BC Forest Practices Board
May 31, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

A follow-up report on implementing recommendations to improve forest stewardship plans in B.C. has found some improvement in the quality of plans but concludes the recommendations have not yet been fully implemented.  In August 2015, the Forest Practices Board (FPB) published a special investigation report called Forest Stewardship Plans: Are They Meeting Expectations? That investigation found the quality of plans needs to improve as the plans did not include adequate content and were not useful to the public in providing input on proposed forestry activities, the FPB noted. …“We looked at 10 recently approved plans and found there is an improving trend in the content of FSPs, especially where targeted training and guidance have been provided, but overall they continue to have a low to moderate degree of conformity with the legal requirements,” said Kevin Kriese, FPB Chair. 

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Friends, colleagues look to continue Peter deMarsh’s legacy through education

By Laura Brown
CTV News
May 31, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

Few cared for forests as much as Peter deMarsh.  The Taymouth, N.B., man was on the Ethiopian Airlines jet heading to Nairobi for a conference on family-owned forests March 10, when the plane crashed shortly after takeoff. Investigations into the crash are still ongoing and the Boeing 737 Max 8 has been grounded in Canada until further notice. Peter was at the helm of several international and national organizations, including the International Family Forestry Alliance, and the Canadian Federation of Woodlot Owners.  Family, friends and colleagues are still trying to navigate life without Peter. …A group of friends and colleagues from across the country wanted to continue Peter’s legacy. They’ve started the Peter deMarsh Memorial Education Award, hoping to raise $100,000 and fund two of Peter’s passions: woodlots and developing rural communities through forestry.

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Easy flood response for Sudbury is to plant more trees

By Rob Keen, CEO Forests Ontario
Sudbury.com
June 2, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

Rob Keen

Rivers have surged over their banks this spring, flooding hundreds of homes, businesses and cottages. The Ottawa, Muskoka, French and Mattagami rivers have flooded – and the risk now extends to lakes as well. …In the 1920s and 1930s, flooding was commonplace in Ontario. Edmund Zavitz, Chief Forester of Ontario a century ago, traced the problem to deforestation. Settlers had cleared most of southern and eastern Ontario, leaving a bare-bones forest cover of about nine per cent. …Zavitz offered a simple solution; plant trees, he said. …Forests Ontario, the tree-planting and forest education charity, has planted large quantities of trees across the province in the past 12 years. …Government support through the 50 Million Tree Program has kept down the price of trees, encouraging private landowners to turn fields into forests. These afforestation programs benefit us all, because they reduce the risk of floods and erosion. 

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Quebec spends $33M to combat eastern spruce budworm outbreak

The Canadian Press in the Montreal Gazette
June 2, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

MONTREAL — The Quebec government is spending $33 million to control an insect outbreak that is wreaking havoc on the province’s fir and spruce forests. Some 456,000 hectares of forest in the Cote-Nord, Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Bas-Saint-Laurent and Gaspesie-Iles-de-la-Madeleine regions will be sprayed with aerial insecticides to contain the damage caused by the eastern spruce budworm. An entomologist with Quebec’s forest, wildlife and parks department says the insect attaches itself to trees and causes them to die. Pierre Therrien says the budworm is native to Quebec and its numbers tend to reach an epidemic state every 30 years or so. …He says the product that’s being sprayed is organic and isn’t harmful to humans or other mammals.

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Training day for First Nation harvesters

Northern Ontario Business
May 31, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

Agoke Development Corporation (ADC) staged a showcase event in northwestern Ontario to allow mechanical harvesting suppliers and manufacturers to view First Nation trainees at work in the bush. The corporation hosted Tigercat and Wajax Dealer representatives from Brantford, Hearst and Thunder Bay for a demonstration in the Ogoki Forest, 400 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay, May 28.  ADC is a forestry company owned by the three First Nation communities of Aroland, Eabametoong and Marten Falls. The training program is a capacity-building exercise run through Confederation College in Thunder Bay. In a May 29 corporation news release, 10 trainees from the communities showed off their skills on a feller buncher, skidder and harvesting processor. Trainer Brad Goliboski of Goliboski Contracting said the trainees have come a long way in a short period of time…. He believes First Nations provide the solution to chronic labour shortages.

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Can Washington thread the needle between endangered birds and endangered communities?

By James Drew
The News Tribune
May 31, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Washington state doesn’t have to choose between conserving a threatened species or helping timber communities in danger of losing state revenue and jobs, Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz said recently. The state can do both, even in an arena where business and environmental interests often battle each other, Franz said. As the state Board of Natural Resources approaches a decision on a long-term strategy to protect the marbled murrelet bird on state land, Franz is working with conservationists, businesses, economic development groups and local governments to find ways to help communities that will be affected. “In order to move forward, we have to reject the notion that we are stuck in a zero-sum game, one which forces us to choose between a species and ensuring critical services and opportunities in our communities” she said.

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Public Asked To Weigh In On University Plan To Use Elliott State Forest For Research

By Jes Burns
Oregon Public Broadcasting
May 31, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

A plan to transfer the Elliott State Forest to Oregon State University is slowly moving forward.  The university is developing a report outlining how it could take ownership of the timberland near Coos Bay and turn it into a research forest. Until a few years ago, the Elliott was logged to produce money for Oregon schools though the Common School Fund. That ended when courts shut down timber harvest because of endangered species concerns.  Ever since the state has been looking to offload the 91,000 acre forest. Oregon State University is the most recent suitor and its initial proposal to take ownership was lauded by the State Land Board, which wanted to see the forest remain in public ownership. …The university is holding a series of public meetings … to get input on how its idea to create a research forest meshes with how local communities want to use the land.

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How forest logging is destroying Australia’s environmental future

By Ann Jelinek
Independent Australia
June 2, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

While the current environmental catastrophes of drought, floods and fires are focused on the Murray Darling Basin, the Great Barrier Reef, rainforests and climate change, a similar but more subtle, yet equally significant, case of ecosystem collapse and biodiversity loss are occurring in intensively clear-felled logged native forests. This is especially felt in the highly restricted Mountain and Alpine Ash forests of the Central Highlands in Victoria. Clearly, with the recent release of yet another devastating Timber Release Plan, politicians and their policies are ignoring well-publicised scientific and economic advice. Consistent with the current Australia’s State of the Forests report, it has been reported that less than half of the respondents to a national survey agreed that Australia’s native forests are managed sustainably. A recently leaked Forest Wood and Products Australia commissioned by the University of Canberra Regional Wellbeing Survey similarly indicates little support for native forest logging. 

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

BC has entered the era of extreme old-growth logging. We must stop it.

By Jens Wieting
The National Observer
May 31, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

Clearcutting B.C.’s spectacular, globally rare old-growth forests was never a smart idea. Destroying the last of them in the midst of a climate and biodiversity emergency is extreme. As logging companies can no longer easily find big old-growth trees, they’re pushing into increasingly controversial areas. Many of these targeted ancient forests are extremely endangered. Others are areas where industrial logging causes extreme dangers like landslides, now worsened by climate change-induced extreme weather. Some of these areas hold irreplaceable cultural value for Indigenous nations and many have higher long term value left standing as part of a diverse economy, compared to short term profit from their destruction. All of them provide clean water, clean air and carbon storage.

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Forest Fires

Across Alberta, B.C. and northern Ontario, thousands displaced as wildfires rage

CBC News
May 31, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada

Forest fire season in Canada is already in full swing, with multiple communities under evacuation orders and thick smoke covering parts of Alberta, B.C. and northern Ontario. In northern Alberta, tinder-dry conditions and intense heat have led to an explosive growth in wildfires, forcing about 10,000 people from their homes. Trout Lake, Alta., a community about 300 km northeast of Grand Prairie, came under an evacuation order Friday morning. A 133,000-hectare fire is raging about 14 kilometres south of the community. …Similar conditions are hampering firefighting efforts in northern B.C. More than 230 blazes have been recorded since fire season in the province began on April 1 and of the 42 fires currently burning, nearly 65 per cent were caused by humans. …A 3,000-hectare blaze has caused a state of emergency on Pikangikum First Nation north of Thunder Bay, Ont. Hundreds of people are being evacuated from the community, officials said Friday.

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Years of fire suppression contributing to increasing Alberta wildfires: expert

By Heide Pearson
Global News
May 31, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

As wildfires continue to burn hundreds of acres of Alberta forest, one expert is warning that the worst is yet to come and the increase in fires may be due to the province’s long history of fire suppression. “We have done such a good job of suppressing fires for so long that we have a lot of trees in our forest. In the arboreal forest, those trees are born to burn,” said Edward Zruski with the Institute for Energy and Environment Policy at Queen’s University. “They can’t regrow unless there’s a fire there to open up their cones and throw out the seeds. “You drive from Jasper to Banff and you see stands of 80- to 100-year-old trees and they’re just waiting to burn and many of them are dead as well because of the mountain pine beetle.”

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10,000 people forced out, 16 homes destroyed by Alberta wildfires

By Colette Derworiz
Global BC
May 31, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

The Alberta government said hot, dry and windy conditions fueling the northern wildfires aren’t going away soon and will make fighting them difficult, so people need to prepare themselves. “This fight is going to be a tough one,” said Devin Dreeshen, Alberta’s minister of agriculture and forestry. “The weather is not co-operating for the long-distance forecast for the next two weeks. It’s more of the same.” “Albertans need to prepare themselves for this situation for the foreseeable future.” Federal Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale says Alberta has asked for Canadian Forces assistance and the federal government has accepted the request. Goodale says the military will be ready to help airlift evacuees as needed, as well as transport supplies and provide medical assistance.

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Climate change plays ‘major role’ in wildfires, study shows. But Alberta’s premier says it’s ‘complex’

By Jesse Ferreras
Global News
May 31, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

Jason Kenney

With 10,000 people displaced and 16 homes destroyed by Alberta’s wildfires so far this year, Premier Jason Kenney found himself answering questions Friday about his government’s decision to kill the carbon tax the day prior. With the tax gone, his government is still committed to a levy on major industrial emitters and a technology and research fund to focus on reducing emissions. Asked whether the wildfires can be linked to climate change, Kenney said: “I think the reason for any particular forest fire is often complex.” Kenney said climate change is real, and that it can “prolong the dry season and things like that,” though he also said that North America experienced “huge forest fires” before there was human activity. Such fires would “replace dead wood and fuel and old forests with regenerative forests,” he said. 

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Years of fire suppression contributing to increasing Alberta wildfires: expert

By Heide Pearson
Global News
May 31, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

As wildfires continue to burn hundreds of acres of Alberta forest, one expert is warning that the worst is yet to come and the increase in fires may be due to the province’s long history of fire suppression. “We have done such a good job of suppressing fires for so long that we have a lot of trees in our forest. In the arboreal forest, those trees are born to burn,” said Edward Zruski with the Institute for Energy and Environment Policy at Queen’s University.  “They can’t regrow unless there’s a fire there to open up their cones and throw out the seeds.  Sruzki said Alberta has seen a doubling in the number of wildfires since the 1970s and officials predict another doubling — possibly more — by mid-century. “Everything that the forecasters have been telling us, you know, 20 years ago, 10 years ago, is coming to fruition now,” Sruzki said.

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‘They’re terrified’: Pikangikum First Nation residents flee growing fire

CBC News
June 1, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada East, Canada

The evacuation of Pikangikum First Nation will continue Saturday as a 3,600-hectare forest fire burns just kilometres from the fly-in community. Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Deputy Grand Chief Derek Fox said more than 800 people have already left Pikangikum; they’ve been taken to other northwestern Ontario communities, including Thunder Bay. Some of those are being flown out on Canadian Armed Forces aircraft. Others have been able to use the community’s emergency exit route, which involves taking a half-hour boat ride through Taxi Bay, which offers access to Nungesser Road and Red Lake, Fox said. “There’s an escape route there,” he said. “But there’s still concern with the smoke and the fire compromising that.” About 3,800 people live in Pikangikum. Sol Mamakwa, MPP for Kiiwetinoong, the riding that includes Pikangikum, has said more than 1,000 of those are considered vulnerable.

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Is misinformation harming public understanding of wildfire?

Letter by Willam Simpson II
The Mail Tribune
June 2, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

In a guest opinion, Luke Ruediger promoted a laundry list of assertions as to why wilderness firefighting is inappropriate, yet offered no verifiable substantiation for his views. …Ruediger condemned the creation of ‘dozer lines’ that served as fire breaks and critical access routes for firefighters and equipment into several massive wildfires in Southern Oregon and northern California. …It’s important to note that dozer lines into the area were necessary because the BLM officials… had decommissioned numerous roads that previously served as access for both recreational enthusiasts and emergency firefighting. …It seems curious that there was no outcry from Ruediger or his associates when heavy equipment was used… to decommission roads, which likely did as much or more damage to flora and fauna, habitat. 

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