Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: July 30, 2019

Today’s Takeaway

Arctic wildfires breaking records, in numbers and emissions

Tree Frog Forestry News
July 30, 2019
Category: Today's Takeaway

Scientists say the number of Arctic wildfires and related emissions are much higher in 2019. In related news: Alberta wildfires have burned more land this year than the past four decades; US issues massive RPF to clear out Arizona’s forests; and quantifying the cooling power of trees in urban areas.

In other news: Keith Baldrey says inaction by the BC Liberals helped create BC’s crisis; the United Way and District of Clearwater ask for more help for impacted communities; and more on Canfor’s Q2 results. Meanwhile, Resolute got relief on its Fort Frances mill grant; and Weyerhaeuser and Mosaic to allow public access on their private lands.

Finally, males who compete for their mates are more likely to survive habitat loss.

Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Business & Politics

United Way sends letter to government regarding financial help for forestry sector

By United Way
Energetic City
July 29, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

KAMLOOPS, B.C. – On behalf of B.C. United Ways, Danalee Baker, Executive Director of the United Way, Thompson/Nicola/Cariboo wrote a letter to Premier John Horgan to provide a financial safety net to help unemployed forestry sector workers. The United Way is encouraging the government and the Ministry of Forests to provide $200,000 investment into 15 communities totalling $3,000,000, where a sawmill has been either reduced in its capacity with plans for shutdown or shut down permanently to be funding as additional social and community supports. The letter shares, that United Ways are poised and ready in communities throughout the province. …The letter outlines need has already increased at the Clearwater Food Bank with the closure of the Canfor mill. In Vavenby, nearly 200 jobs were lost as the mill was the area’s largest employer.

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District encouraging residents to join letter-writing campaign to provincial government

BC Local News
July 29, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

The District of Clearwater (DOC) is putting out a call to residents to take part in a letter-writing campaign to make the provincial government aware of the hardships residents are facing after the Canfor mill closure in Vavenby as well as the potential hardships that would arise if Interfor gets cutting rights to Canfor’s forest tenure in the area. Mayor Merlin Blackwell had a talk with the deputy Minister of Forests recently where he strongly suggested the need for a direct line so the public can comment on the situation, with the government saying it’d likely open a web portal so residents can voice their opinions. “…I think it’s actually tilted into not being fair at this point for North Thompson Valley residents,” said Blackwell, noting Interfor has already gathered letters from the councils of Chase and Salmon Arm supporting the $60 million deal for Canfor’s local forest tenure.

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Canfor Corp. reported a $49.7-million operating loss for its second quarter

By Mark Nielsen
Business in Vancouver
July 29, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

The outcome was a $20.2-million improvement over its first quarter result and once duties, restructuring costs and reversal of inventory provision, the second-quarter loss was reduced to $5 million. In a news release, the company attributed the improvement “higher lumber segment earnings” that included a full quarter of the Vida Group of Sweden’s results following completion of the acquisition in the first quarter of 2019. But it left Canfor president and CEO Don Kayne with little to cheer about. “This was another difficult quarter for our Western SPF business with the ongoing challenging market conditions, combined with high log costs, which have resulted in the announcement to close of our Vavenby mill and curtail other B.C. operations. We deeply regret the impact these decisions are having on our employees and local communities,” he said.

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Ontario waived Resolute’s repayment of $23 million for Fort Frances mill project

By Gary Rinne
TB Newswatch
July 29, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

FORT FRANCES, ON — A town councillor in Fort Frances wants the provincial government to reveal the details of an agreement the previous Liberal government struck with Resolute Forest Products. Douglas Judson has written current Natural Resources Minister John Yakabuski requesting a copy of an agreement in June 2017 under which Resolute was no longer required to repay a $23 million grant. The money was offered a decade earlier on a conditional basis to help fund the construction of an electricity-producing turbine at the Fort Frances pulp and paper mill. The $90 million, 54-megawatt facility was completed in 2009, but Resolute shut down the mill in 2014. …Finally, on June 29, 2017, Resolute’s corporate filing states, an agreement was reached under which the company “will not be required to repay this amount.”

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Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District pursues back country agreement with Mosaic

By Elena Rardon
BC Local News
July 29, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

The Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District is hoping to meet with Mosaic Forest Management and the Province of British Columbia about drafting an agreement to provide public access to private lands. Rob Williams, general manager of environmental services for the ACRD, said during a board meeting on Wednesday, July 24 that ACRD staff met with Mosaic staff in March 2019 to discuss recreational access to Mosaic lands in the Alberni Valley. Mosaic is interested in having further dialogue, and the ACRD is interested in drafting a tri-partnership agreement with Mosaic and the province in order to provide public access. …Mosaic was formed in the fall of 2018 after TimberWest and Island Timberlands signed an affiliation agreement to share roads, co-ordinate safety and stewardship and align best practices. TimberWest and Island Timberlands continue to be stand-alone companies, but now share corporate services.

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Trade Court Keeps Duties off Canadian Lumber During Suit

Law 360
July 29, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States

The U.S. Court of International Trade has revived a U.S. Department of Commerce decision that lifted duties on five Canadian lumber companies, amid objections from a group of American counterparts claiming the department unfairly let the Canadian companies off the hook. [a Law 360 subscription is required to access the full story].

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NW Trail Alliance signs lease to manage 3,000-acre parcel north of Portland Poste

By Jonathan Maus, Publisher/Editor
Bike Portland
July 29, 2019
Category: Business & Politics

Portland-based nonprofit Northwest Trail Alliance has signed a lease agreement with Weyerhaeuser that allows them to manage nearly 3,000 acres of forested land between Highway 30 and Skyline Road just 15 miles north of Portland City Hall. …This historic agreement offers great new riding relatively close to Portland — something in very high demand given the lack of access in Forest Park and River View Natural Area. The lease also strengthens the relationship between the largest timberland owner and largest off-road bicycling organization in the region. As part of the agreement, NWTA will complete an inventory of existing trails and will have the ability to build new ones. They will also assume responsibility for maintenance of the trails and maintain a list of people authorized to use them.

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Finance & Economics

Negative Interest Rates: Someday The Bank May Pay You For Your Mortgage

By Daniel Tencer
The Huffington Post Business
July 29, 2019
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada

Central banks are desperate to keep the economy juiced through low interest rates. …Analysts at Bloomberg News recently put together a new index of housing bubble risk. …But it’s unlikely those negative rates will ever mean negative mortgage rates, right? Well, actually, it has happened.

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Possible dissent hangs over Fed’s first rate cut in a decade

By Ann Saphir and Trevor Hunnicutt
Reuters
July 30, 2019
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States

 US Federal Reserve policymakers will not surprise markets if they deliver on expectations and cut U.S. interest rates for the first time in a decade on Wednesday. Less clear is how Fed Chairman Jerome Powell will manage debate at the central bank about whether the stimulus is necessary. 

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Rice University’s Jesús Vassallo’s mass timber construction project wins Shepley Bulfinch Award

By Katherine Guimapang
Archinect
July 29, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Spanish architect, writer, and assistant professor at Rice University Jesús Vassallo was selected as the recipient of the Shepley Bulfinch Award. Founded in 1952, Shepley Bulfinch is an international architecture firm that focuses on sustainable design practices. Vassallo has committed much of his work towards design production and housing revolving around realism in architecture.  A licensed architect in Spain, Vassallo received his masters of architecture at Harvard GSD and his bachelors in architecture from Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de Madrid. His most recent project, titled “Tall Timber,” focuses on mass timber construction systems for housing developments. Vassallo’s research emphasizes the need for carbon reduction and awareness by focusing on mass timber construction as an alternative to steel or concrete systems. 

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Forestry

Big pines hit hard by little bug

Kamloops This Week
July 26, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Walking through a ponderosa pine stand in Kenna Cartwright Park, surrounded by red, dead trees, I was stunned by the intensity of the pine beetle attack. In Thompson Valley forests, more than 90 per cent of the trees have been killed, even those that are no more than head-high. And many of the beautiful large ponderosas with the orange bark that graced homes and parks are gone. Their foliage turned red within a month of the beetle attack and, last year, the valley looked like it had been sprayed by a graffiti artist. Now those trees are losing their needles and grey spires are all that remain. Most of the damage has been done by the mountain pine beetle, but western pine beetle and the turpentine beetle are also killing trees. Pine beetle epidemics in ponderosa pine are not new in North America or B.C.

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UBC Alumnus leads BC-based consulting firm

Branchlines UBC Faculty of Forestry
July 30, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Summer jobs don’t often get much attention. …But for alumnus John Drew, a summer job changed his academic focus completely, leading him to eventually establish one of BC’s most successful forest management companies. …However the summer before entering UBC John got a job working in forestry that changed his path completely. “I was doing timber development for cut blocks as well as some firefighting, and I loved it,” he says. “I switched out of commerce to science, because back then forestry students had to take first year sciences. I never attended a single business class!” …In 1987 John established Forsite along with two partners. …“When we started out we used our diverse skills and training to give clients the services they needed,” he says. …“Our success is tied very closely to our people,” he adds. 

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Inaction by BC Liberals helped create forestry disaster

By Keith Baldrey
Burnaby Now
July 29, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The BC NDP and BC Liberals are pointing fingers at each other over who knows best how to fix the rapidly deteriorating forest industry.  The BC Liberals are demanding Premier John Horgan oust Forests Minister Doug Donaldson, arguing he is incapable of fixing a mess that is costing hundreds of people their pay cheques. …In any event, there are no easy fixes to be had here and the BC Liberals know that. The reason they know that is their government was warned in clear terms four years ago that what is happening today was entirely predictable. A consultant’s report submitted to the forests ministry in July 2015 pinpointed the looming problems and accurately predicted the terrible result – the closure of at least seven and possibly 13 sawmills in the province’s Interior.

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Carrier Lumber to stop aerial spray of forest for 3 years

By And
Rocky Mountain Goat
July 29, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Carrier Lumber Ltd’s Chief Executive Officer Bill Kordyban has announced the company will no longer spray broadleaf herbicides from the air for a three year period in the Robson Valley Timber Supply Area. Kordyban thanked residents for numerous emails and letters and their respectful tone. The measure would begin this summer and last three years at which time the company would review things. “During this time, limited, targeted manual  application of herbicide will be used, but only where necessary for the control of herbaceous and broadleaf vegetation complexes,” he said. “Manual brushing will be the preferred means of treatment to meet our contractual obligations with government.” Kordyban said that the move would put Carrier at a competitive disadvantage and as such, asked for help. 

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Glyphosate views not a factor in firing of instructors: forestry college

CBC News
July 29, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

Rod Cumberland

The Maritime College of Forest Technology has reaffirmed that the dismissal of a well-known instructor was for misconduct and not his views on the controversial herbicide glyphosate. Tim Marshall, the college’s executive director, said Monday in a three-page statement to CBC News the firing of Rod Cumberland in June came as the result of the wildlife biologist’s “abuse of authority” and “disparaging remarks” about the Fredericton-based school and its administration. The statement from Marshall, who declined to be interviewed, was issued amid calls from provincial politicians for an independent inquiry into the dismissal of two of the publicly funded college’s longest-serving instructors. Cumberland was fired from his teaching role — a move that he said surprised and confused him — on June 20.

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In times of climate crisis, trees are crucial urban infrastructure

By Allison Hanes
Montreal Gazette
July 29, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

Heat records are tumbling like dominoes across western Europe, as cities … sizzle in temperatures over 40 C. The climate crisis is making life unbearable — and even dangerous — on a continent where only about five per cent of citizens have air conditioning. …A Concordia University biology professor set out to quantify the cooling power of trees in an urban environment. While doing her PhD in Madison, Wis., Carly Ziter used a bicycle-mounted unit to take temperature readings in different parts of the city with varying amounts of trees. Until now, research has focused on the temperature variations between urban areas and forested zones beyond city limits. But Ziter wanted to see if there were fluctuations between inner-city neighbourhoods as well. …She found that temperatures can be up to 5 C cooler during the day and 2 C cooler at night in parts of the city where there is significant tree coverage…

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U.S. Forest Service announces massive RFP to clear out Arizona forests

By Victoria Harker
AZ Big Media
July 29, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

The United States Forest Service took the first step to issue one of the largest RFPs in the history of the agency to attract industry to Arizona to clear out Arizona forests to reduce damage when wildfires erupt. In the contract is a call for much-needed biomass industries to remove and burn the massive amount of debris here, said Jeremy Kruger, chief executive of the Four Forest Restoration Initiative (4FRI) for the Forest Service. “We have a biomass bottleneck,” Kruger said. “Viable biomass utilization is currently the  biggest obstacle to accelerating the pace of mechanical forest restoration treatments.” With the longest contiguous pine forest in the world, northern Arizona is a prime location for reforestation industries as well as facilities that can burn woody forest debris – biomass – and transform it into energy for the electric grid. 

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Whole-tree harvesting could boost biomass production

By Michigan Technological University
Science Daily
July 29, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

In the first study, the researchers examined the effect of residue removal on understory plant communities rather than allowing the residue to decompose and theoretically provide nutrients to the herbaceous and shrubby vegetation underneath the tree canopy. In the second study, Premer, Froese and Vance delved deeper into an effect they noticed while the study was underway: “Cut to length” logging systems used intentionally to reduce soil compaction might not be effective in this regard, creating long-lasting patterns of reduced growth within regenerating stands. The third paper examines the persistence of residues and differences in carbon sequestration and macronutrients between sites where residues were removed and where they were retained. Collectively, the three papers address site impacts in Great Lakes aspen forests and demonstrate that residue removal has few effects on forest ecology in managed stands.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Belligerent beetles show that fighting for mates could help animals survive habitat loss

By Rob Knell
The Conversation UK
July 29, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Animals around the world are seeing their environments change. Climate change is causing changes to weather patterns…, and previously undisturbed habitats are being altered and degraded by human activities. If we want to understand how these changes will affect animals around the world, we need a better understanding of how their biology might determine how well they survive these changes. [Our] research demonstrates how important an animal’s mating system is to this. We found that species whose males compete for mates are more likely to survive damaging changes to their environment. In many species, males try to woo females with signals like calls, colouration or long tails, or they try to monopolise access to females by fighting other males with weaponry like horns or antlers. This competition for mates helps drive the evolution of these species, in a process called sexual selection. 

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Forest Fires

Richter Mountain wildfire in Similkameen now held

By Kristi Patton
BC Local News
July 29, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

The Richter Mountain wildfire is now considered held. More than 100 BC Wildfire crews remain on scene focusing on ground suppression efforts with less emphasis on air support. Crews are working in steep terrain with loose rock and site safety is a priority. An evacuation alert issued by the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen Emergency Operations Centre (RDOS EOC) on July 26 for 10 properties in Electoral Area “B” is rescinded. The properties are located in Cawston, west of Osoyoos in Electoral Area “B.” The Richter Mountain wildfire, 14 kilometres south of Cawston, is now estimated to be 403 hectares in size. According to BC Wildfire, the fire is showing a low level of activity and is primarily a smouldering ground fire that is not producing a lot of smoke. …Crews will continue to work 24 hours a day on the fire.

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Arctic wildfires breaking records, in numbers and emissions

By Kate Kyle
CBC News
July 30, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

Scientists are keeping their eyes on more than 100 fires burning in the Arctic, saying 2019 appears to be an unprecedented year for their numbers and emissions. It’s not unusual to see fires in Arctic regions, especially in sections with boreal forest. Their numbers and size fluctuate from year to year. But this year is notable, said Mark Parrington, a senior scientist at the European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecasts. “For sure, the emissions we can estimate, and the number of fires we can see, are much higher,” for June, he said when looking back at 16 years worth of data. Parrington said this year, between 250 and 300 fire detections, or “hot spots,” have been recorded north of the Arctic Circle each day.

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Massive wildfire season has Alberta seeking review of prevention, response strategies

By Jordan Omstead
CBC News
July 29, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

Wildfires in Alberta have burned more land in 2019 than any year in the past four decades, according to data from Alberta Wildfire. … A request for proposal, posted to the Alberta government’s tendering website on Thursday, states “The 2019 spring wildfires in Alberta had a severe impact on people, communities, forest industry, and forest habitat.” The posting states that the government wants to review its wildfire preparation and response. As well, it wants an external consultant to evaluate part of the Agriculture and Forestry Ministry’s wildfire management program. …”The intent of this review is to hear from stakeholders to identify actions we did well and things we could improve on. The review will look at our Ministry’s preparedness and response to this spring’s fire season. It will also look at the wildfire program itself, including what we’ve learned from past reviews carried out in 2015 and 2016.”

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‘Complicated’ Milepost 97 Fire Draws Hundreds To Community Meeting

By Emily Cureton
Oregon Public Broadcasting
July 29, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

What began as an illegal campfire exploded across Douglas County, Oregon, late last week, burning 11,000 acres in its first four days. People in the Oregon communities of Glendale and Azalea were preparing to evacuate Sunday night. …more than 500 people crowded into the Glendale High School gym Sunday — a huge turnout for a town with a population of 887. They came to listen to fire managers and ask how bad things might get. As of 10 p.m. Sunday, the Milepost 97 Fire threatened 586 structures and critical infrastructure. …“We have a major highway artery, Interstate 5, power lines that serve Medford and Grants Pass, and we have a natural gas pipeline through the heart of this fire. To the north are the communications that serve Douglas County’s southern end, the sheriff and the 911 system … [and] a water intake supply for the City of Canyonville,” explained Douglas Forest Protective Association District Manager Patrick Skrip. 

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