Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: June 27, 2019

Today’s Takeaway

Google’s ambitious plan for Toronto includes lots of wood

The Tree Frog Forestry News
June 27, 2019
Category: Today's Takeaway

Mass timber and high-tech companies meet in Sidewalk Labs’ vision for a wireless, timber-filled Toronto. In related news: how Toronto’s project can help tackle climate change; and create jobs for Northern Ontario.

In Business news: Stimson Lumber calls for a boycott of Oregon businesses; Steelworkers anticipate a strike vote at Western Forest Products; how Hampton Lumber avoids curtailments; U of Maine to help the forest economy; and Wood Resources on global trade in softwood lumber.

Finally, new studies suggest: Alberta’s seismic lines up methane emissions; pine forest restoration is good for birds; intact forests are on the decline; higher temps means lower seedling survival in the Sierras; and health risks rise with wildfire smoke.

Finally, despite the bug bites, the [planting] job is worth it.

Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Business & Politics

Tolko recognized with 2019 employer initiative of the year award

Tolko Release
June 26, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Tolko is pleased to announce that it has been recognized by the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion (CCDI) with the 2019 Employer Initiative of the Year Award (Western Canada) for its ‘Leadership Impact for Women’ program. …CCDI’s Awards of Success are designed to recognize significant contributions to diversity and inclusion in Canada. The Employer Initiative of the Year Award recognizes an employer for a specific initiative or practice that has had an impact on a diverse group. Tolko’s ‘Leadership Impact for Women’ program was started in 2017 and consists of four modules designed to give female employees at Tolko the skills and tools they need to become stronger leaders. 

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Hampton mills stand out for avoiding curtailments

BC Local News
June 26, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Steve Zika

More than a dozen sawmills shut down across the province in June amid industry difficulties but the two locals mills of Hampton Lumber are still running. …“Certainly Babine and Decker Lake are not immune to the challenges resulting from a weak lumber market and extremely high log costs,” said Steve Zika, Chief Executive Officer of Hampton Affiliates, which owns the two mills. The CEO pointed to a few factors that have helped the company avoid curtailments at its mills in B.C. “We believe the synergy between Babine and Decker, our strong sales group which is focused on market diversity, a focus on cost reduction and a commitment to continual improvement from everyone at the mill sites all adds up to help us better protect the mills from curtailments.” …Zika hopes the recent improvement in lumber prices will lift up the prospects for other mills in the province.

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Strike vote results from WFP mills pending

By Don Bodger
The Ladysmith Chronicle
June 26, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Results of a strike vote taken at Western Forest Products mills, including Chemainus, and logging operations in the region are expected to be known Friday. United Steelworkers Local 1-1937 and the company are far apart in negotiations for a new contract. WFP Ladysmith and WFP Value Added employees are represented by the Public and Private Workers of Canada and not involved in current negotiations. The issues are vast between the two sides, resulting in a stalemate at this stage of negotiations and precipitating the strike vote. “It was clear Western Forest Products was not going to respond to our proposals in a meaningful way,” said Local 1-1937 President Brian Butler. “They themselves tabled some massive concessions.” …“Hopefully, it doesn’t end up in a labour dispute. They’ll have time to respond to us after a vote and get things back on track.”

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Taxpayers could be on the hook for $10M repair bill after water bomber hits rock

CBC News
June 26, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

A mishap while fighting a forest fire last September could cost Newfoundland and Labrador millions of dollars — and going through insurance is not an option. Transportation Minister Steve Crocker told reporters on Wednesday that fixing the broken water bomber will cost about $10 million, after it struck a rock while fighting a fire on the Burin Peninsula. “One of the challenges we face with this is that there are no off-the-shelf parts,” he said. “So most every part that would need to be replaced would have to be actually manufactured for the aircraft.” When asked if the repairs would be covered by insurance, Crocker said no. “In this instance, the deductible is $10 million.” …The province lost a water bomber completely in 2013 when it crashed into Moosehead Lake in Labrador. Crocker said that crash had a major impact on the province’s insurance for its water bombers.

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Stimson Lumber Calls For Boycott of Oregon Businesses That Support Cap and Trade Bill

By Elise Herron
The Willamette Week
June 26, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

The carbon cap legislation that caused 11 Republican Senators to flee Salem this week is also stirring conflict among Oregon businesses. Despite the surprise announcement from Senate President Peter Courtney (D-Salem) June 25 that the bill does not have sufficient Democratic support to pass, Portland-based Stimson Lumber today called for a boycott of Oregon Business for Climate, a coalition of business that supported the legislation. …This isn’t the first time Stimson has used its economic clout to protest Oregon politics. In May, the company announced that it would lay off 40 percent of its workforce in Forest Grove, and move operations to Idaho and Montana. …Miller accused businesses in support of House Bill 2020 of not caring “if mills shut down or our families are impacted.” …Over 100 businesses support Oregon Business for Climate—including Adidas, the Portland Trail Blazers, Uber and Airbnb.

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UMaine gets $1 million grant to help strengthen state forest economy

By Greg Fish
The Sun Journal
June 26, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

Susan Collins & Andrew Moreira

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King announced the Northern Border Regional Commission will award $1 million  in grant funding to the University of Maine. The funding will help strengthen Maine’s forest economy and create jobs in rural Maine by increasing production of advanced bio-based products and support the purchasing of a former mill site. …The University of Maine will use the grant to build a demonstration scale nanocellulose plant to advance next generation bio-based products. …Last month… launch of a first in the nation large-scale bio-based additive manufacturing program. …In March… announcement… to initiate the Mass Timber University Grant Program. The projects… aim to diversify the state’s wood products businesses, attract investments, and develop greater economic prosperity for rural communities impacted by mill closures.

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Global trade of softwood lumber increased in Q1 2019

By Wood Resources International
Wood Business – Canadian Forest Industries
June 26, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

…Global trade of softwood lumber reached 120 million m3 in 2018, the second highest level on record. The uptick in demand for lumber continued in early 2019, with most of the major lumber-exporting countries increasing their shipments as compared to early 2018. …The free fall of lumber prices in the U.S. came to a halt in early 2019, when prices were close to a four-year low. …Oversea supply of softwood lumber… increased for six consecutive years and in 2018 reached their highest level seen in 11 years. …Softwood lumber exports from Canada were down six per cent year-over-year in 2018, with the biggest decline being in shipments to China. …For the first time in five years, Swedish exports of softwood lumber fell year-over-year in 2018. …Chinese lumber imports rose unexpectedly in the Q1/19 by as much as 14 per cent. …Russia increased exports of softwood lumber by seven per cent from 2017 to 2018 to reach almost 30 million m3. 

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

​Highlights from Google’s Ambitious Utopian Toronto Project

By Stephen Kanaval
Equities.com
June 26, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada East, Canada

In an attempt to persuade the city of Toronto and its suspicious residents, Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs released a 1,524 page plan to transform 12-acres of industrial waterfront east of the city center into the “most innovative district in the world.” …Toronto has been wary of the plan since its inception in 2017 as residents and city leaders have ultimately dismissed Sidewalk Lab’s plans as a power grab by …Google, an outsider. …Sidewalk Labs (via third-party analysis) says in the proposal that up to 93,000 jobs could be generated. …Sidewalk Labs has proposed building structures from mass timber. …Google has decided to build exclusively with the material… and have proposed investing significantly in a mass timber factory creating an additional 2,500 jobs by 2040. …It is these ideas that led Prime Minister Trudeau to say: “Today’s announcement is about creating a new type of neighbourhood that puts people first.”

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Tech companies are stepping back in time to fight climate crisis

By Matt McFarland
CNN Business
June 26, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada East, Canada

Washington, DC — Wood was thought to be ill-suited for constructing apartment buildings and office towers. But timber is enjoying a renaissance, thanks in part to climate change. Rather than building with concrete and steel, some tech companies are revisiting wood to help lower carbon emissions. Microsoft, for instance, is using timber as it renovates its Silicon Valley campus, and expects a carbon savings of more than 20%. Sidewalk Labs, the urban development arm of Google’s parent company Alphabet, plans to build an entire neighborhood in Toronto out of wooden buildings. It expects to set world records with timber structures 30 stories high, provided regulators are convinced the buildings are safe. …The technique, called cross-laminated timber, is so new to the United States, that environmental groups are only starting to take note and endorse it. Businesses focused on wood buildings are springing up around the country. 

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It’s time for Northern Conservatives to unite

By David Robinson
Northern Ontario Business
June 26, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada East, Canada

…Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen has announced a pilot project that he hopes will boost “dwindling economies” in Northern Ontario. …The problem is that it will do very little for the Northern economy. …The real challenge is to increase labour demand in Northern Ontario, not supply. …What does Northern Ontario have? One obvious answer is trees: lots of trees. But trees standing in the forest have pretty limited economic value. Someone has to cut them down, saw them up, maybe laminate or glue chunks together, and move the result to where it is needed. This adds economic value. …Unfortunately, with improved technology, we need fewer and fewer Northerners to ship out the wood. That is why our economy is “dwindling.” We won’t get a lot more trees to cut, so the one strategy remaining is to add more value to each tree. How? That is the key question for  Northern Ontario economic development.

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Mass timber and high-tech meet in Sidewalk Labs’ vision for Toronto

By Antonio Pacheco
The Archinect
June 25, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada East, Canada

Sidewalk Labs, Snøhetta, Michael Green Architecture, and Heatherwick Studio have unveiled a controversial $1.3 billion plan to reprogram a portion of Toronto’s industrial waterfront into a new smart city prototype that envisions a wireless, data-driven, and mass timber-filled future for the city. …The scheme also features a mass timber “library of parts” system developed by Sidewalk Labs that has been interpreted by the architectural teams into a series of design proposals. Michael Green Architecture, for example, has created a residential scheme that assembles the various mass timber modules into a series of interconnected housing towers. Snøhetta, on the other hand, proposes to arrange the components in a semi-circular configuration around a central courtyard with the housing components lifted above the plaza on a series of stilts. With characteristic flare, Thomas Heatherwick Studio envisions a series of mid-rise wooden towers marked by projecting circular balconies and ground-level gothic arches. 

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Mimicking the ultrastructure of wood with 3D-printing for green products

By Chalmers University of Technology
EurekAlert
June 27, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, have succeeded in 3D printing with a wood-based ink in a way that mimics the unique ‘ultrastructure’ of wood. ..Through emulating the natural cellular architecture of wood, they now present the ability to create green products derived from trees, with unique properties. …The way in which wood grows is controlled by its genetic code, which gives it unique properties in terms of porosity, toughness and torsional strength. …Unlike metals and plastics, it cannot be melted and easily reshaped, and instead must be sawn, planed or curved. …But the new technology now presented allows wood to be, in effect, grown into exactly the shape desired for the final product, through the medium of 3D printing.

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Forestry

Why sustainably managed forests mean green jobs

Resource Works
June 25, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada

Jessica Kaknevicius

Resource Works caught up with Jessica Kaknevicius, vice president of community engagement, Sustainable Forestry Initiative and Project Learning Tree Canada, to hear about innovation and new ideas in forestry. Project Learning Tree Canada (PLT Canada), an initiative of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), advances environmental education and career pathways using trees and forests as windows on the world. We strive to create a world that values and benefits from sustainably managed forests and the great outdoors. One of the ways in which we are achieving this is by supporting youth in the exploration of their career pathways, right now focused on the Government of Canada-funded “Green Jobs” initiative. This initiative provides wage-matching support for employers to place youth in rewarding work experiences in the great outdoors across Canada. Since 2018, we have helped to support over 2,000 youth in green jobs in the forest, conservation and parks sectors.

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Mosaic says Port Alberni can expect fewer logging trucks through town

By Mike Youds
Alberni Valley News
June 27, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Officials for the company that now manages Island Timberlands promise there will soon be fewer logging trucks travelling through town. Dom Iannidinardo, vice president, forest and sustainability with Mosaic, appeared before city council on Monday, June 24 to introduce the new corporate structure that resulted last year through an affiliation agreement between Island Timberlands and Timber West. Iannidinardo’s colleague, Mark Leitao, vice-president of operations, told council that the company intends to make use of the Shoemaker log dump on the west shore of Alberni Harbour. “That will immediately mean that 25 to 30 trucks a day are not running through Port Alberni,” Leitao said. The new trucking efficiency was welcomed by council.

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’98 percent’ of Jasper pine beetles froze this winter

The Fitzhugh
June 25, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Jasper’s plague of pine beetles is nearly over as 98 per cent of the tree-killing bugs were wiped out by our bitterly cold winter. And once the red needles drop, new green forest will naturally regenerate and we will soon see more growth of bushes, ferns, and wildflowers. A survey of pine beetle numbers was undertaken in May by Natural Resources Canada and the Canadian Forest Service, and the impressive results were sent to Parks Canada. “The results are better than expected,” said David Argument, a resource conservation manager for Parks. “The red forest is still on the landscape but there is an end in sight of the area impacted.” He said the Forest Service described the pine beetles as having a collapsing population. In late 2018, about 163,000 hectares of pine forest was affected by pine beetles – up from about 93,000 in 2017.

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Sharing our forests with the Lakes District Goshawk

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

The Northern Goshawk is a powerful raven-sized forest raptor that was once common in the Lakes District and across much of British Columbia. During the land use planning initiatives that took place some 15-20 years ago this bird was viewed as an umbrella species for ecosystem health. A healthy goshawk population was seen as indicative of a robust ecosystem, through the abundance of forest birds and mammals that they relied upon for food, and the old forest structure that provided for their nest sites. …But about five years ago we noticed fewer and fewer birds. Over the intervening years, at the request of licensees and the government, we systematically surveyed goshawk nests for any signs of recent occupation. In the 36 local areas surveyed, we found that nobody was home. Across the larger region (From Terrace to Fraser Lake) we have now resurveyed more than 100 known goshawk nest sites and 90 per cent are abandoned.

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Exciting new possibilities for the North Cowichan Municipal Forest

Letter by Rob Fullerton
Cowichan Valley Citizen
June 26, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

 

UBC Forestry, 3GreenTree Consulting and the Coastal Douglas-Fir Conservation Partnership presented some exciting new possibilities to the North Cowichan Forest Advisory Committee. Their presentation highlighted new ways to manage and maximize the value of our community forest using carbon credit offsets and scenario planning. 3GreenTree Consulting showed how we could generate substantial revenue through carbon credits if we removed some sections of the Municipal Forest from the operable logging inventory. …Some have expressed doubts about the value of carbon credits in reducing carbon. A positive example brought up in the meeting was a seaplane company buying carbon credits to cover the period before they convert to electric engines. These credits could be used to offset the loss of logging revenue for North Cowichan. …The highest and best use of the community forest might a combination of protected lands generating ongoing carbon credit revenue and harvesting zones generating logging revenue.

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Protected land added to two provincial parks

By Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy
Government of British Columbia
June 26, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The Government of BC is adding land to two provincial parks – Gladstone and Garibaldi – to protect ecologically sensitive areas, promote biodiversity and enhance recreation opportunities. …Valued at $1.74 million, the Province purchased two lots from a private vendor at the north end of Christina Lake for a six-hectare addition to Gladstone Provincial Park near Grand Forks. Featuring a natural beach/lake frontage, open forest and pockets of old growth, the properties were the last remaining private inholdings of the Sandner Creek drainage, which is used by 70% of the stream-spawning kokanee in Christina Lake. …The Province also purchased 5.6 hectares that were completely surrounded by Garibaldi Park near Squamish. Valued at $955,000, the property will help provide more opportunities for recreation in the Diamond Head area of the park.

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Collaborative Community Forest Project Leads to Unique Prescription Recommendations

Forest Enhancement Society of BC
June 26, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Logan Lake, B.C. — The management of wildfire risk is increasingly important to British Columbians. A collaborative planning project funded by the Forest Enhancement Society of B.C. (FESBC) in the Logan Lake Community Forest (LLCF) brought together First Nations, registered professional foresters, and key stakeholders to develop an implementation plan focusing on areas of highest risk to ensure work done is strategic and priority-based. “Thanks to a grant from FESBC, the Logan Lake Wildfire Risk Management Plan (WRMP) was initiated in January of 2018,” said Garnet Mierau, RPF, Senior Planning Forester with Forsite and Management of the LLCF. “The plan involved many steps [and] developing management strategies in response to the risks identified. The final report highlights the areas of most significant risk to wildfire, and we’ve already begun work on the ground to mitigate this risk to an incredibly important asset, our community forest.”

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Conservationist pushes to save one of Nova Scotia’s last patches of old-growth forest

CBC News
June 26, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

…Mike Lancaster, an arborist and conservationist, also knows where to find the most pristine patches of forest in Nova Scotia. One is just north of Highway 103 … about 40 kilometres west of downtown Halifax. This is the proposed Ingram River Wilderness Area, which is roughly 10,000 hectares encompassing some areas that are being harvested and smaller areas that are already protected. Lancaster is both the coordinator of the Healthy Forests Coalition and the stewardship coordinator of the St Margarets Bay Stewardship Association, and wants to see this whole area protected. He says this forested portion can’t survive if the area around it is harvested.  “We only have these pockets of old-growth forests, but the concern is that they’re not able to function as an ecosystem if they continue to be surrounded by clearcut,” Lancaster said. “So it will continue to be degraded if this type of forestry continues around here.”

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New Billboard Celebrates Northwestern Ontario Forest Sector

By Forests Ontario
Markets Insider
June 26, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

DRYDEN, ON – The newest billboard under the It Takes a Forest public awareness initiative was unveiled today in Northwestern Ontario. Representatives from local sponsors including the Central Canada SFI Implementation Committee (CCSIC), Domtar Inc., Resolute Forest Products, and Dryden Forest Management Company Ltd. joined Scott Jackson, Director of Indigenous and Stakeholder Relations from Forests Ontario at the billboard in celebration of the forest sector’s key role in supporting the province’s economic, social, and environmental well- being. Representing a collaborative effort of more than 40 organizations, the It Takes A Forest initiative promotes and increases awareness of Ontario’sworld-class forests and forest management practices. The initiative aims to reach Ontarians across the province with fact-based information and spread the message that forests are central to our lives.

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Pine woodland restoration creates haven for birds in Midwest

By the University of Missouri-Columbia
ScienceDaily
June 25, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

Millions of acres of pine woodlands once covered a large portion of the Midwest. But as humans logged these trees and suppressed natural fires, the woodlands gave way to dense forests with thick leaf litter and tree species that were less fire-resistant, leading to more intense and unpredictable fires as well as the loss of native bird habitats. Now, researchers from the University of Missouri have shown in a new study that restoration of pine woodlands, through the combined use of intentional, managed fires and strategic thinning of tree density, has a strikingly beneficial effect on a diverse array of birds, some of which are facing sharp declines from human-driven impacts like climate change and habitat loss.

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Virgin Forests All Around the World Are Disappearing Fast

By Abelardo Canelo
The Costa Rica News
June 26, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Between 2014 and 2016, the virgin forests of the world lost an area of 90,000 square kilometers per year. …Despite some efforts to combat deforestation, almost 10% of the world’s primary forests were parceled, degraded, or simply destroyed since 2000, according to satellite image analysis presented at a conference on intact forests in Oxford. On average, they are more than 200 square kilometers lost per day for 17 years. …The intact forest landscape, which includes wetlands and meadows, is defined by the absence of major human activity over an area of at least 500 square kilometers. …At the current rate, the primary forests will have disappeared by 2030 in Paraguay, Laos, and Equatorial Guinea, while by 2040 the same will happen in the Central African Republic, Nicaragua, Burma, Cambodia, and Angola. …The scientist also criticized the effectiveness of the system of certification of the sustainable development of the forest industry Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Seismic lines in Alberta’s boreal forest boost methane emissions

By Heath McCoy
University of Calgary
June 26, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

Vast networks of seismic lines that run through Alberta’s boreal forest boost emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, from the region’s wetlands, according to a newly published studyin the journal Nature Communications. These undocumented emissions would increase Canada’s national reporting of methane in the category of land use, land-use change and forestry by at least seven to eight per cent. …Seismic lines in the boreal forest have made an unexpected impact on the region’s peatlands, McDermid explains. Peatlands — wetlands that accumulate organic material — store about one-third of the planet’s soil carbon, more than twice as much as all the world’s forests combined. …In cutting seismic lines, the soil of these peatlands is compressed, creating wet conditions close to the surface. This leads to boosted emissions of methane, a greenhouse gas with 25 times the global warming potential of CO2.

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FutureMetrics criticizes treatment of biomass in EPA’s Affordable Clean Energy rule

By Erin Voegele
Biomass Magazine
June 24, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States

FutureMetrics has released a statement criticizing the U.S. EPA’s Affordable Clean Energy Program for its treatment of biomass and calling the program’s discussion of how to measure CO2 emissions “misguided.” …The program replaces the Obama-era Clean Power Plan and establishes emissions guidelines for states to use when developing plans to limit carbon dioxide at coal-fired power plants. While biomass co-firing was discussed as a potential compliance option in the proposed rule, the final rule specifies that biomass co-firing cannot be used to comply with the ACE program. …Within the final ACE rule, the EPA clarifies “that biomass does not qualify as a system of emission reduction that can be incorporated as part of, or in its entirely, as BSER,” noting that the “BSER determination must include systems of emission reduction that are achievable at the source.”

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Sierra Seedlings Illustrate Effects of Climate Change on Next Generation of Forests

By Lorena Anderson
University of California, Merced
June 24, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

Climate change is bad news for forests, and a new study by UC Merced Professor Emily Moran demonstrates one aspect of that news. Higher summer temperatures hurt tree seedlings’ growth and survival. But whether that is entirely bad depends on the degree of change in the number of young trees. “One of the reasons we’re so concerned about forest fires is because of forest density,” she said. “If there are somewhat fewer seedlings and saplings, there’s less fuel for big destructive fires. On the other hand, if there are too few seedlings there won’t be a next generation to replace adult trees when they die.” …Understanding how climate and other environmental factors such as shading from adults affects how seedlings survive and grow to maturity is the focus of a study …published in the journal Ecosphere this week.

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Health & Safety

‘It creates anxiety:’ Vancouver Island tourism operators dreading wildfire season

By Adam van der Zwan
CBC News
June 25, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

…The hiking company owner Ronda Murdock said the wildfire season on Vancouver Island last year disappointed her customers and many complained about the smoke. …Murdock (Pacific Rainforest Adventure Tours in Parksville) said customers told her last year they’d rerouted their trips because of the smoke, she’s now concerned about how this summer’s wildfires might impact business. “It’s not just the wildfires on the island,” she explained. “It’s the smoke from other areas as well.” …”Our fire danger rating is higher than pretty much everywhere else in the province,” Donna MacPherson, the Coastal Fire Centre’s information officer, told the CBC. …the region is on a high-to-extreme fire danger rating … Blake Johnson (Port Alberni Batstar Kayaking Adventure Tours) says he’s concerned that wildfires might hinder him from expanding his local sea kayaking company to include a cycling business. He said some of his customers have been concerned about their respiratory health. 

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Urban British Columbia No Longer Safe from Wildfire Threat

By Brandon Wei
The Tyee
June 27, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

…Fires like the blaze that closed lanes on the Sea to Sky Highway may be the new normal for urban dwellers. The consequences include property damage and health risks, particularly for the almost 10 per cent of people who suffer from serious respiratory diseases. The fire season is in its early stages, but the BC Wildfire Service already assesses the fire risk in southwestern B.C. as high to extreme. The District of Squamish teamed up with the Resort Municipality of Whistler this year to develop an evacuation plan as both regions rely on the Sea to Sky Highway as an exit route. Projections from the plan include a potential 13-hour southbound evacuation time on a peak day. That means the wildfire threat has increased for more densely populated — even urban areas — like North Vancouver, which is in the process of updating its evacuation plans. … Life in the wildfire interface zone today requires preparation — staying informed, having a grab-and-go bag and knowing the routes out of your community.

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Northern Ontario tree planter transformed by insect bites

CBC News
June 26, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada East, Canada

Eamon Cunningham Closs

At first glance, it looks like Eamon Cunningham Closs had been a victim of assault. “My face looks like it’s dirty but it’s all dried blood,” he said. “There’s a slight gleam in my ear because my ear was full of blood. There was a glob of blood in my ear.” The culprits? Swarms of blackflies and horseflies that couldn’t resist. Cunningham Closs, originally from Sudbury, plants trees near Atikokan in northwestern Ontario.  He says when he first started the job, he worked to keep the flies away. “Now I try to ignore them,” he said. “I think it’s better if I just get used to them on me. But it’s difficult with the deer flies because they’re very painful.” …Despite his experience with the flies, Cunningham Closs says the job is worth it. “You can get quite a bit of money,” he said. “You get paid per tree. Right now, we’re getting 12 cents per tree and it adds up.”

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Inquest into death at pellet plant hears of inexperience, inadequate supervision

CBC News
June 26, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada East, Canada

Wanny Pelletier

A coroner’s inquest into the death of teenager Wanny Pelletier at a Saint-Quentin wood pellet plant has resulted in three recommendations for improved safety. Presiding coroner Steve Gibson and five jurors heard testimony Monday and Tuesday about the circumstances under which Pelletier, 17, was fatally injured in December 2016. Pelletier was cleaning the Groupe Savoie plant when he got his leg stuck under a conveyor. It took two hours to free him and he died four days later in hospital of his injuries. The inquest heard that the conveyor had broken two times in the days preceding the accident. After the second repair job, a safety device had not been reinstalled. The equipment was not used as the manufacturer had designed it, said Éric Brideau, assistant director of investigations at WorkSafeNB. Other factors contributing to the death were a lack of communication, inadequate supervision and inexperience, the inquest heard.

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Scientists say health impact from smoke rises with more intense wildfires

By Matthew Brown
The Associated Press in the Peninsula Daily News
June 26, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: United States, US West

BILLINGS, Mont. — Climate change in the Western U.S. means more intense and frequent wildfires churning out waves of smoke that scientists have said will sweep across the continent to affect tens of millions of people and cause a spike in premature deaths, according to scientists. That emerging reality is prompting people in cities and rural areas alike to prepare for another summer of sooty skies along the West Coast and in the Rocky Mountains. …Even among wildfire experts, understanding of health impacts from smoke was elusive until recently. …With the 2019 fire season already heating up with fires from Southern California to Canada, authorities are scrambling to better protect the public before smoke again blankets cities and towns. Officials in Seattle recently announced plans to retrofit five public buildings as smoke-free shelters. Scientists from NASA and universities are refining satellite imagery to predict where smoke will travel and how intense it will be.

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