Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: July 16, 2019

Today’s Takeaway

US lumber coalition blocks duty relief for five Canadian companies

The Tree Frog Forestry News
July 16, 2019
Category: Today's Takeaway

A US Trade Court temporarily blocked the US Dept of Commerce from revoking duties on five Canadian lumber companies. In other Business news: Western Forest Product’s strike enters 3rd week; Stella-Jones’ CEO-change causes market unease; support and opposition for the Canfor/Interfor tenure sale; how the Weyerhaeuser dusky gopher frog decision complicates the US Endangered Species Act; and the BC Liberals outline their plan to support the forest sector.

In Forestry/Climate news: researchers say wolfs are not to blame for BC’s declining deer population; whole-tree harvesting could boost Michigan’s biomass production; and wood smuggling in Afghanistan turns a profit for the Islamic State.

Finally, stay tuned for a series of reader-driven enhancements to the Tree Frog News. First up, a company finance and market pricing section, separate from Business & Politics news.

Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Froggy Foibles

Elephants help forests store more carbon by destroying smaller plants

By Sam Wong
The New Scientist
July 15, 2019
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: International

Elephants do a lot of damage to plants as they stomp around the jungle, but, counterintuitively, this activity increases the biomass of the forest, letting it store more carbon. If elephants were to go extinct, the amount of carbon stored in central African rainforests could ultimately fall by 7 per cent, according to a new analysis. …Fabio Berzaghi at the Laboratory of Climate and Environmental Sciences in Gif-sur-Yvette, France… built a model of plant diversity and simulated the impact of elephants by increasing the mortality of smaller plants. …The model showed that elephants reduce the density of stems in the forest, but increase the average tree diameter and the total biomass. …These effects may also account for the differences between African and Amazonian rainforest. 

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Business & Politics

US Lumber Cos. Fight Duty Relief For Canadian Producers

By Craig Clough
Law 360
July 15, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

A US Court of International Trade judge temporarily blocked the US Dept of Commerce from revoking a countervailing duty on five Canadian lumber companies, in response to a suit by a group of American lumber companies that say the department unfairly let those companies off the hook. Judge Thomas J. Aquilino Jr. issued a restraining order shortly after American companies… filed a complaint. The companies say the Commerce Department exceeded its authority when it carried out an expedited review and lifted countervailing duties on…  Canada’s Les Produits Forestiers D&G Ltee, Marcel Lauzon Inc., North American Forest Products Ltd. and others. …“Section 103 does not provide the discretion for an agency to directly undertake perceived international treaty obligations, such as the WTO’s Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures, without prior authorization from Congress,” the American companies said in the complaint. “As such, Commerce’s findings in the final results are in excess of its statutory authority.” [to access the full story requires a Law 360 subscription]

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CN announces David Trent as Vice-President and Chief Digital Officer

By CN
Global Newswire
July 15, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

David Trent

MONTREAL — CN is pleased to announce that David Trent, a global IT leader with over 20 years of experience, will be joining the company as part of the railway’s objective of modernizing its scheduled railroading model. In his most recent role, David was appointed Vice-President, Technology and Digital at Canfor Corporation. …In his role, David will assume the overall responsibility to build a digitally agile organization and provide the best digital thinking and solutions to the business and CN’s customers. …Based in Montreal, David will report to Michael Foster, executive vice-president.

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Council Supports Interfor Timber Rights

By the Village of Chase
Chase Sunflower
July 12, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

As was reported in the Sunflower on June 28, representatives of Interfor, Adams Lake Division spoke to Council and those in the gallery at Council’s meeting of June 25, 2019. Interfor has applied to purchase timber rights from Canfor as a result of the closure of Canfor’s Vavenby mill. Some new rules recently implemented by the Province of BC require that transfers of tenure ownership must now be subjected to a ‘public interest test’ as determined by the Forest Minister. The Interfor representatives outlined the benefits of additional log supply for the Adams Lake mill, and all those people and businesses connected to it. Village Council then voted in support of a motion of community support for the transfer of the timber rights. The Adams Lake Lumber mill is within the boundary of the Village of Chase, and consequently pays annual property taxes to the Village. The rate for this tax is set by the Taxation (Rural Tax Area) Act which is an enactment of the Provincial government. In addition to paying annual taxes, the Adams Lake Lumber Mill employs a number of Chase residents who also pay taxes, and support the local economy by patronizing local business. Some employees also have children enrolled in the local schools.

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B.C. Liberals layout plan to support B.C. Forestry

By Adam Reaburn
Energetic City
July 15, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

VICTORIA, B.C. – The B.C. Liberals have outlined what they would do to support B.C. struggling forestry sector. On June 13, the Liberals sent a letter to Premier John Horgan that outlined suggestions from the Liberal Rural Caucus to immediately support communities affected by the recent downturn in the forestry sector. The four immediate actions include a program to match employment opportunities with displaced employees and increasing social services, including mental health for workers in each community. The Liberals also say a forest fire fuel mitigation program could employee workers immediately, and the Provincial Government must ask for Federal programs that support retirement bridging and work-sharing.

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As B.C. forestry strike enters 3rd week, concern grows over effect on community

By Bridgette Watson
CBC News
July 15, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Residents of Port Alberni, B.C., have seen hard times before. The forestry industry has been a significant employer in the Vancouver Island community for decades and the city has experienced a lot of booms and busts over the years. But as forestry workers enter a third week of strike action against Western Forest Products (WFP) and the sawmills sit silent, the town’s mayor is growing increasingly concerned about the impact on the local economy.  “We’ve been a one-industry town for a long time,” Mayor Sharie Minions told On The Island host Gregor Craigie. “Most families kind of plan to be able to survive maybe a few weeks off work but when it gets into that longer term … we’re really going to feel the impacts.” …Roughly 200 families that rely on a WFP paycheque live in Port Alberni.

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Canada Supports Indigenous Participation in Northern Quebec’s Forest Sector

By Natural Resources Canada
Cision Newswire
July 15, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

OUJÉ-BOUGOUMOU, QC,  – Canada’s forest sector continues to be an important generator of good jobs in communities across the country, including rural, remote and Indigenous communities in Quebec. The Government of Canada is working with Indigenous peoples to ensure that they not only participate in sustainable forestry projects but also benefit from initiatives created by their community, for their community. The Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue, on behalf of the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, today announced a $2.7-million investment to Oujé-Bougoumou Cree Nation for a sustainable forestry project that will create jobs, boost the local economy and displace diesel use in the remote community. The funding will be used to upgrade and expand an existing biomass district heating system — a cost-effective, renewable-energy fuelled system — for the community, while also providing a market for local sawmill waste.

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Canfor only bought the right to harvest; they do not own the trees in our area

Letter by Glen Small
Clearwater Times
July 15, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Glen Small

Canfor bought the right to harvest timber in this area from Slocan Forest Products, Canfor only bought the right to harvest; they do not own the trees. If Canfor closes down their mill at Vavenby then they lose the rights to the timber. The timber belongs to the people of the valley, not to any forest company. The reason that a lot of us are even here is because of the vast quantity of timber in this valley. The timber is the backbone of our employment opportunities right here, we should not allow Canfor to sell it off for huge profits to be manufactured somewhere else. Canfor should have realized that buying out a large mill operation already established in any community automatically takes on the responsibility expressed by the previous owner.

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Quebec lumber company Stella-Jones plunges as long-time CEO Brian McManus steps aside

By Nicolas Van Praet
The Globe and Mail
July 15, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

Brian McManus

An unexpected changing of the guard at Stella-Jones Inc. is stoking concern among investors as Brian McManus gets set to leave the Canadian wood-products manufacturer after an 18-year run as chief executive. …Stella shares fell 6 per cent to close at $44.03 on the Toronto Stock Exchange Monday. The CEO’s departure… “may be interpreted by some investors as a sign that the long-term growth prospects for Stella-Jones are dimming,” CIBC Capital Markets analyst Hamir Patel said. Since Mr. McManus joined Stella in 2001, the company’s share price has increased from $0.55 to $46.87, he noted. …The company pushed past $2-billion in annual revenue for the first time in 2018 but it has faced headwinds over the past two years. Mr. McManus… emphasized the management team he has assembled… and he rejected the suggestion that Stella’s best days are behind it. [to access the full story a Globe & Mail subscription is required]

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Wood products producer Stella-Jones says CEO Brian McManus to step down

The Canadian Press in the Prince George Citizen
July 15, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

MONTREAL — Wood-products producer Stella Jones Inc. says company president and CEO Brian McManus will step down later this year after 18 years at the company. The company’s share price was down almost seven per cent in midday trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange after announcing the news. Stella-Jones says McManus will leave his post on October 11 and will work with management on the leadership transition. The Montreal-based company says senior vice-president and chief financial officer Eric Vachon, who’s been with the company for 12 years, will serve as interim CEO until a permanent replacement is found.

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Afghanistan’s Forests Are Turning a Profit for the Islamic State

By Stefanie Glinski
Foreign Policy.com
July 15, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

AFGHANISTAN — …Small numbers of fighters for the Islamic State of Khorasan Province, the Afghan branch of the militant group, have been in Kunar since 2015. But the group’s new stronghold is in Kunar’s deep forests, inheriting a booming wood industry previously controlled by the Taliban that is now generating a growing income for Islamic State militants. Safi’s government outpost in Chawkay district is along one of the front lines for the war on the Islamic State. But it’s also a key entry point for smugglers bringing wood from the forests to other parts of Afghanistan or neighboring Pakistan. The provincial government banned the sale of wood in 2016, fearing increasing deforestation. …“After terrorism, wood smuggling is the second biggest problem here,” explained Kunar’s deputy police chief, Col. Mohammed Yousuf.

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Forestry

Wolves not to blame for declining deer populations, says researcher

By David Gordon Koch
Campbell River Mirror
July 15, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

A recent wolf sighting in Campbell River raised questions about the animal’s conservation status on Vancouver Island, and whether wolves are responsible for reduced numbers of animals including deer and marmots. Chris Darimont, a leading wolf expert and Raincoast Research Chair at the University of Victoria, says there’s no immediate threat to wolf populations on Vancouver Island, and forestry practices, not wolf populations, are to blame for a decline in animals such as deer. “They’re a convenient scapegoat,” Darimont said in an interview. “But decades of research… reveal very little evidence that wolves cause declines in prey populations.” …“The demise of marmots and the decline in deer share a common cause, and that is whole-scale conversion of ancient forests into a series of logging roads and tree plantations,” he said. “We should be reconsidering how forests are managed.”

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Endangered Deference

By Holly Doremus, University of California, Berkeley
The Regulatory Review
July 16, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

In Weyerhaeuser v. US Fish and Wildlife Service, a unanimous Supreme Court indicated that it is not inclined to defer to agency expertise. …The Weyerhaeuser decision is likely to complicate future implementation of at least the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and may further entrench the power of cost-benefit analysis in other areas of regulation too. …In identifying critical habitat, the Service must “take into consideration” the economic and other impacts of designation. …Critical habitat has limited direct impact on private land. …Nonetheless, designation is fiercely resisted, and it can reduce a property’s market value. …The Court… decision will add unnecessary administrative costs, as the Service elaborates on its explanations and lower courts review more intrusively. …But, if the Service and the lower courts do their jobs faithfully, it will in the end not alter many conservation decisions.

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Support for our forest products industry

Letter by Mike Leonard, Consulting forester, North Quabbin Forestry
Greenfield Recorder
July 15, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

Mike Leonard

Your editorial against the use of clean renewable biomass represents a minority view across the state. Thousands of homeowners, businesses, schools, and even hospitals utilize wood energy in the form of firewood, wood pellets, and wood chips. I have a BS degree in forestry from UMass and over 30 years’ experience practicing forestry. My son and I help landowners protect and manage thousands of acres across the state. We’re creating jobs, improving forest land, producing many different forest products we all use, and providing a source of clean locally produced real renewable energy. But forests in our state are in serious trouble due to a variety of insect, disease, and other agents. Tree mortality has greatly increased and millions of tons of timber are dying every year. The only way we can help restore the health and productivity of our forests is to support more markets for low grade timber and that means biomass.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Timber industry pushes more biomass power

Bioenergy Insight Magazine
July 16, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

From several stories up at Exelon’s Albany Green Energy plant, you can see a massive pile of chipped up wood, known as biomass. A long conveyor carries it up into the plant, where it’s fed into a boiler. The biomass burns to make electricity for Georgia Power. Around the corner from the wood pile, a long tube snakes off, carrying leftover steam to power a Proctor and Gamble plant. From the top of the power plant, you can also see trees: miles and miles of forest in every direction. But, “We’re not just going out and grabbing a tree, being able to use that tree,” said plant manager James Luckey. “Most of our fuel is coming from treetops, and mill residuals that come from paper mills or something like that.” They burn the stuff that can’t be made into lumber or paper products.

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Whole-tree harvesting could boost biomass production

by Kelley Christensen, Michigan Technological University
Phys.org
July 15, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

Making the shift to renewable energy sources requires biomass, too. This is a story of carbon choices: As societies around the world continue to move toward increased renewable energy portfolios, which energy sources do we choose? …Whole-tree aspen logging promotes renewable biomass energy from tops and branches, parts of the tree that are often left in the forest during logging in favor of the tree’s trunk, using the residual that remains after a sustainable harvest for logs. It has long been assumed that removing the leaves and branches of trees, rather than allowing them to decompose in the woods, will deplete the soil and lead to a weaker forest ecosystem. New research from Michigan Technological University’s School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science challenges that hypothesis.

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Forest Fires

Regional Chief asks communities to accept forest fire evacuees

By Rocco Frangione
My North Bay Now
July 15, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada East, Canada

As forest fires continue to affect more remote regions of Ontario, Ontario’s Regional Chief, RoseAnne Archibald, has a question about the evacuations. Archibald is trying to find out why members of the Pikangikum First Nation are being sent to Saskatchewan. Archibald is thanking the local leadership at PFN as well as the Canadian Rangers, Ontario Fire Marshall, Emergency Management Ontario, Indigenous Affairs Ontario and Indigenous Services Canada for all the work everyone has done to get people safely out of the community. However, Archibald is wondering why the community members are being evacuated to Saskatchewan. “There’s no good reason why we aren’t looking after our own here in Ontario,” Archibald says in a release. “We are requesting that municipalities open their doors to their northern neighbours during this crisis.”

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Castle Fire in Kaibab National Forest Allowed to Grow to Reduce Forest Fuels

Associated Press in KNAU Arizona Public Radio
July 16, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

The Kaibab National Forest is planning to allow the lightning-caused Castle Fire on the North Kaibab Ranger District to continue growing within a defined area. Officials said in a written statement the fire will be allowed to fulfill its natural role of reducing dense forest fuels and improving overall ecosystem health. While currently only about an acre in size, fire managers expect the Castle Fire to grow quickly this week given anticipated dry and windy weather conditions. The fire is located about 11 miles south of Jacob Lake.  It was first discovered on July 12. It’s burning in an area that has a significant amount of dead and down trees as well as heavy mixed conifer species. …The Castle Fire poses no danger to structures or other local infrastructure…but it may produce a lot of smoke.

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