Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: July 31, 2019

Today’s Takeaway

BC Communities struggle as Tolko announces more downtime

The Tree Frog Forestry News
July 31, 2019
Category: Today's Takeaway

Tolko announced six weeks of downtime at its Kelowna BC mill, while the communities of Mackenzie, Houston, Clinton and Kelowna grapple with the fallout of mill closures. In related news: BC MLA Rustad calls for the replacement of Forest Minister Donaldson. 

In Forestry/Climate news: ENGOs criticize Trump’s choice to head public lands, thinning advocates pan Arizona’s biomass decision; researchers say longleaf pines depend on fire, but a warming climate means less Douglas-fir planting; and Norwegian researchers say climate change killed 200 reindeer

In wildfire news: Montana and Oregon fires cause smoke warnings and evacuations; dry lightning is causing havoc in Nova Scotia; and BC is rehabilitating its Cariboo forests and protecting its Okanagan watersheds.

Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

Read More

Business & Politics

Conservative MPs call for action in forestry sector

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

MP Todd Doherty

Conservative Members of Parliament Cathy McLeod (Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo), Bob Zimmer (Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies), Todd Doherty (Cariboo-Prince George), Dan Albas (Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola) and Shannon Stubbs (Lakeland), sent a letter to the minister of Natural Resources and the minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development last week, calling on them to take action in support of British Columbia’s forestry sector. The letter to Minister Amarjeet Sohi and Minister Navdeep Bains, sent July 22 and signed by all five MPs, reads: “In recent weeks, the closure and curtailment of softwood lumber mills has devastated communities across the British Columbia interior. The job losses are staggering. They will impact not just the employees and their families, but also countless people and businesses across the ridings we represent. The Liberal government has shown a complete lack of respect for these rural communities as this crisis has unfolded.

Read More

Rustad calls for replacement of forests minister

By Mark Nielsen
Prince George Citizen
July 30, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

John Rustad

Nechako-Lakes MLA John Rustad is calling on Premier John Horgan to replace Forests Minister Doug Donaldson rather than give him some help in the form of an NDP backbencher. On Friday, Horgan appointed Delta North MLA Ravi Kahlon parliamentary secretary to assist Donaldson “in working with communities and stakeholders in the Interior as the forest industry faces significant challenges.” In a statement issued the same day, Rustad, the B.C. Liberals’ critic for forests, lands, natural resource operations and rural development, had some sharp words. “John Horgan has assigned a former NDP political director to babysit his ineffective forestry minister just two weeks after demoting him by removing his responsibility for wildfire recovery,” said Rustad in reference to a July 11 Order in Council reassigning those duties and functions to the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. …”Forestry-dependent communities lost 6,600 direct jobs in 2018,” Rustad said Friday.

Read More

Tolko mill in Kelowna closing almost 6 weeks

By Steve MacNaull
The Kelowna Daily Courier
July 30, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Tolko Industries’ Kelowna lumber mill is a shadow of its former self. It used to be one of the city’s largest employers when the forestry sector was strong and the Kelowna mill had more than 500 employees working three shifts around the clock. Today, there’s one shift of 140, and even those workers face an uncertain future as it was announced Tuesday the Kelowna property will shut down from Aug. 6 to Sept. 15. Faced with six weeks of no work, Tolko employees have three choices. One is to use up as much paid holiday time as they have. Second, they can wait a week without pay before becoming eligible for employment insurance. …Third is a combination holiday and employment insurance. …Tolko is not alone. Canfor, Conifex, Louisiana-Pacific, Norbord and Aspen Planers are… closing mills, making shift reductions or laying off workers. A perfect storm of adverse conditions has hit the forestry sector.

Read More

Tolko shutters Kelowna operation temporarily

By Caitlin Clow
The Penticton Western News
July 31, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Tolko Industries is taking some “downtime” from Aug. 6 to Sept. 15, 2019. “The high cost of logs and weak market conditions are still impacting our operating footprint in British Columbia,” Solid Wood vice-president Troy Connolly said in a statement.” …Around 140 employees in Kelowna were notified of the decision today and managers are available to answer any questions they may have. …“We do not make these decisions without a lot of consideration… we’re seeing a lot of challenging industry conditions in B.C. right now, which could continue for some time.” Tolko marketing and sales vice-president Pino Pucci said the marketing team will continue to support its customers and minimize any impacts.

Read More

A community in crisis’: 400 workers off the job as 3 mills go down in Northern B.C. lumber town

By Betsy Trumpener
CBC News
July 30, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

More than 400 mill workers in Mackenzie, B.C., are out of work, after three mills closed in just one week in the lumber town north of Prince George. The  layoffs mean more than 10 per cent of locals are now unemployed, though some hope to be recalled within weeks. “We’re a community in crisis. There’s no other way to say it,” said Mayor Joan Atkinson. In addition to the hundreds of mill layoffs, many loggers and contractors are also out of work. …”I’m very worried … for the people in our community that need to have jobs. …Atkinson says hundreds more people could yet be laid off, if Mackenzie’s pulp mill goes down. That’s because the pulp mill depends on material from Mackenzie’s sawmills to operate. …However… Unlike other parts of the Interior, forests around Mackenzie haven’t been devastated by wildfire or pine beetles. 

Read More

Village of Clinton grappling with implications of Chasm mill closure

By Raven Nyman
The Ashcroft-Cache Creek Journal
July 30, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

West Fraser’s Chasm sawmill, located just north of the Village of Clinton, has been a substantial source of employment for local workers for decades past. Following the announcement of its closure in June, approximately 176 employees are slated to be affected by the shutdown. Many of those employees call Clinton home. …Clinton mayor Susan Swan… admitted that June was a trying month for everyone. “The 176 employees of the mill and their families have all had the rug pulled out from under them,” she said. “Mayor and council sympathize with what they are experiencing and want them to know that we are doing what we can to help.” …Swan advised that council held a special meeting with West Fraser’s management on June 20. …“West Fraser assured them that they will still be buying logs for their other mills.”

Read More

Houston concerned about timber availability

BC Local News
July 31, 2019
Category: Business & Politics

While the District of Houston is concerned about the state of the forest industry in B.C., Houston Mayor Shane Brienen said he believes the municipality will pull through. …“Although the AAC reduction will reduce the volume of timber that can be harvested in the Morice TSA, we remain confident that the local forest industry will continue to provide good jobs for our residents and continue contributing to the economic vitality of our community,” said Brienen. …Meanwhile the provincial government is also taking action. Provincial representatives held a meeting in Houston Monday as part of a series of engagement sessions in the Interior to gather feedback on a new approach to the forest sector. …Representatives from local governments, Aboriginal nations, forest industry and other groups affected by the forest sector have been invited to these meetings.

Read More

Finance & Economics

Acadian Timber sales and income up in Q2

By Acadian Timber Corp.
Global Newswire
July 30, 2019
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada East, Canada

Acadian Timber reported sales of $17.9 million during the second quarter, compared to $16.1 million in the prior year period. Adjusted EBITDA was $3.0, up from $2.6 million. Acadian benefited from favourable Northeast regional log markets dynamics as year-over-year log sales volumes increased 5%.

Read More

U.S. Pending Home Sales Increase by Most in Three Months

July 30, 2019
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States

Contract signings to purchase previously owned US homes rose in June by the most in three months, indicating demand may pick up with the help of lower mortgage rates and steady job growth. The index of pending home sales increased 2.8% from the previous month.

Read More

US consumer confidence rebounds sharply in July

By Paul Wiseman
The Associated Press
July 30, 2019
Category: Finance & Economics

American consumer confidence rebounded this month to the highest level since November after dropping in June. The Conference Board said that its consumer confidence index rose to 135.7 in July from 124.3 in June. The bounce back from last month’s drop was much stronger than economists expected.

Read More

Annual Home Price Gains Dip To 3.4%

July 31, 2019
Category: Finance & Economics

S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices, the leading measure of U.S. home prices… for May 2019 shows that the rate of home price increases across the U.S. has continued to slow. The National Home Price NSA Index reported a 3.4% annual gain, down from 3.5% in the previous month.

Read More

Wood, Paper & Green Building

New Domtar paper will replace some plastics

By Michael Erskine
The Manitoulin Expositor
July 31, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada East, Canada

ESPANOLA—With a deadline of 2021 looming for single-use plastics, the innovators at Domtar in Espanola have a plan to create a tough paper alternative for products as diverse as muffin cups and surgical equipment wrappers through its Stealth Fiber Technology—all while improving air and water quality and protecting jobs. To assist with those goals, the Canadian government is ponying up $28.8 million to help with the $57.5 million project, according to a government release. …Domtar’s project will involve commercializing its new Stealth Fiber Technology, which will produce stronger paper and allow for the production of innovative products that could replace single-use plastics when it comes to, for example, medical packaging and food wrap.

Read More

Forestry

Peachland calls for watershed assessment

By Barb Aguiar
The Kelowna Daily Courier
July 30, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Mayor Cindy Fortin

Peachland wants Forests Minister Doug Donaldson to order a pause in logging in the town’s watershed until a comprehensive assessment of the watershed has been conducted. “We are concerned that the cumulative effects of harvesting, droughts, fires and climate change are having negative effects on our water quality and quantity of flow in our watersheds,” Mayor Cindy Fortin wrote in the letter dated June 26. “We realize that to have a moratorium on it completely would probably not fly, but at least a pause, a cessation in granting any more clearcut permits until we can have a full assessment of our watershed to know what’s been logged and what’s left,” said Fortin last Thursday. Fortin also chairs the Peachland healthy watersheds committee, an advisory committee to council formed in 2018 that provides advice and support on matters affecting the water quality and quantity in the Peachland Creek and Trepanier Creek watersheds.

Read More

Useable timber should not be allowed to rot

Letter by Don Graham, Chemainus
Cowichan Valley Citizen
July 30, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Many areas in the Cowichan Valley suffered extensive blow down in last winter’s storm. An example is the Fuller Lake walking trail which was reopened by someone cutting the fallen trees. However there is a considerable amount of merchantable timber left beside the trail. This is a valuable resource that should be salvaged for several reasons. 1. Like any of the earth’s resources, that are increasingly in demand by a growing world population, useable timber should not be allowed to rot. 2. Wood salvage is an important form of recycling. 3. Many sawmills in B.C. are closing, in part due to a decreasing log supply. How can we let timber rot when it could support employment, our local economy and be converted into a product useful to mankind?

Read More

Okanagan watersheds protection plans aim to reduce wildfire risks

By Laryn Gilmour
The Penticton Western News
July 30, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Funding is coming to improve Okanagan watersheds and to mitigate the risk of wildfires. Four water purveyors in the Okanagan are proactively working together with Frontline Operations Group to utilize the $663,910 in funding granted by the Forest Enhancement Society (FESBC), to find long term solutions to protect watersheds in the Okanagan Basin. “We are incredibly grateful to FESBC for funding these projects as they may not have happened otherwise,” said John Davies, wildfire management specialist with FLO. …“Although these are separate watershed projects in the Okanagan, all work is collaborative because they are adjacent to one another and wildfires know no boundaries. …“These forest fire risk reduction projects for the Okanagan Basin watersheds take careful planning, collaboration and strategy,” said Dave Conly, operations manager with FESBC.

Read More

Rehabilitation of wildfire sites continues in Cariboo

By Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development
Government of British Columbia
July 30, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Wildfire rehabilitation and recovery activities are ongoing in the Cariboo region as staff from the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development and contractors repair damage to landscapes burned during the 2017 and 2018 wildfire seasons. Information about the progress made to date on wildfire-related land base recovery in the Cariboo region (including a factsheet) is available online. The rehabilitation activities undertaken since 2017 address slope instability, disruption of natural drainage patterns, erosion and potential fire hazards (e.g., piles of dead vegetation and wood debris) related to the construction of fireguards. During a wildfire event, fireguards may be established along the fire’s perimeter to slow its spread. This often includes the removal of trees and other vegetation to deprive the advancing fire of fuel.

Read More

Dry lightning Monday a cause for concern, Lands and forestry says

By Ian Fairclough
The Chronicle Herald
July 31, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

NOVA SCOTIA — The thunder cells that rolled through parts of the province Monday brought heat and humidity relief to some people, but is also a cause for concern because of what it didn’t bring to other areas. While online videos showed heavy rainfalls in some parts of the province, some places only had thunder and so called “dry lightning,” with no rainfall to go with it. “It’s pretty deceiving right now,” Kara McCurdy, the provincial Lands and Forestry Department’s fire prevention officer, said Tuesday. …“You could have 40 millimetres of rain at one weather station, but just down the road there was nothing.”

Read More

Should we be spraying glyphosate on our forests?

By Bruce Hyer, board member of Environment North
The Chronicle Journal
July 30, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

The forest industry has been aerial spraying the herbicide glyphosate  for decades. Glyphosate is a somewhat selective herbicide that kills many broad-leaved plants while having less effect on evergreens. The rationale is that after spruces and jack pines are cut, hardwoods like poplar and birch compete with young conifers for sunlight and nutrients. There are concerns with glyphosate. Environment North proposes that forestry companies seek alternatives to aerial spraying of glyphosate on Crown lands in Northern Ontario. About 50,000 hectares were sprayed in Ontario in 2015 and in 2016. The concerns with glyphosate fall into three areas: effects on non-human species, humans and economics. Non-human effects include wildlife (including moose) that are declining along with loss of biodiversity and critical habitats. Effects on humans include cultural, health and economics. Indigenous people and other harvesters of wild fruits, including blueberries, are concerned about the loss of food and commerce. 

Read More

Riding into town on wooden bicycles to promote green jobs for youth

By Linda Holmes
The Bay Today
July 30, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

Nick and Zac Wagman

Zac and Nick Wagman cycled into North Bay on wooden bicycles as part of a 4 month-long cross-country trip to promote green jobs for youth. “Green jobs are the future,” said Zac. “Forest and conservation jobs are on the rise, and it is thanks to employers in the sustainable forestry initiative network that we’re able to have such great success with our funding.” The brothers set out from Victoria, British Columbia on May 13th to raise awareness about the opportunities that exist for jobs related to the environment. Zac is Project Learning Tree’s Green Jobs Manager. “We’re calling it the Green Ride for Green Jobs. We’re promoting Project Learning Tree Canada’s Green Jobs and Green Spaces program. We provide employers with a 50 per cent wage match to help them hire more youth in the outdoors during the summer,” explained Zac 

Read More

William Perry Pendley, opponent of nation’s public lands, is picked to oversee them as acting head of BLM

By Ellen Knickmeyer and Brady McCombs
Associated Press in The Salt Lake Tribune
July 30, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

Washington—An ardent critic of the federal government who has argued for selling off almost all public lands has been named the Trump administration’s top steward over nearly a quarter-million federally controlled acres, raising new questions about the administration’s intentions for vast Western ranges and other lands roamed by hunters, hikers and wildlife. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt on Monday signed an order making Wyoming native William Perry Pendley acting head of the Bureau of Land Management. The bureau’s holdings are sweeping, with nearly one out of every 10 acres nationally, and 30% of minerals, under its dominion, mostly across the U.S. West. …Pendley’s “ascending to the top of BLM just as it is being reorganized strongly suggests the administration is positioning itself to liquidate our shared public lands,” said Phil Hanceford, conservation director for the Wilderness Society.

Read More

Idaho land managers plan timber sales of moth-damaged trees

By Keith Ridler
Associate Press in Seattle Times
July 30, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

BOISE, Idaho — Salvage logging of moth-killed Douglas fir and grand fir trees followed by replanting with a mix of species will improve the overall health and increase profitability of a western Idaho forest, state officials said Tuesday. State forester David Groeschl of the Idaho Department of Lands said logging practices last century removed ponderosa pine and other desired species, leaving Douglas fir and grand fir as the dominant species now being killed by tussock moths. “We will replant it and get forest recovery going as quickly as possible,” Groeschl said. “We tend to plant a mix because we believe that gives us some diversity and resilience.” Groeschl said the strategy offers the best chance at maximizing profit on the land over the long run …He said signs of a tussock moth problem were found in the form of egg masses in 2016 and 2017. 

Read More

Conservation groups help pick up the slack in forest thinning

By Peter Aleshire
White Mountain Independent
July 30, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

COCONINO NATIONAL FOREST — High hopes hit hard reality when the US Forest Service last year sought bidders for a 3,500-acre timber sale on the watershed of the C.C. Cragin Reservior watershed – a reservoir that supplies both Payson and Phoenix with drinking water. Blue Ridge District Head Ranger Linda Wadleigh said the Forest Service calculated the value of the saw timber at maybe $3.5 million. But mostly, forest managers wanted to get rid of the saplings, branches, brush and biomass that could carry a ground fire up into the tops of the centuries-old ponderosa pines and firs. The resulting crown fire could easily sear the soil, resulting in devastating floods that would fill the reservoir with mud. That’s exactly what happened to Denver, which spent hundreds of millions dredging a vital reservoir after post-fire mudflows. Only one catch: Not a single logging company put in a bid.

Read More

Disastrous biomass decision effects growing

By Peter Aleshire
Payson Roundup
July 30, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Forest health experts gathered in Payson last week expressed dismay at an Arizona Corporation Commission decision that has dealt a heavy blow to already lagging forest thinning efforts. The latest fear: The Corporation Commission decision could result in the eventual closure of Novo Power, the only power plant in the region that can turn millions of tons of slash from thinning projects into electricity. The Corporation Commission on a 3-2 vote recently reversed itself and decided not to give Arizona Public Service the go-ahead to convert one unit of Cholla Power Plant from coal to biomass. Without the conversion, the Joseph City plant is slated to close, putting 200 people out of work. But the decision could also force the closure of the 28 megawatt Novo BioPower Plant in Snowflake, said Novo Power president Brad Worsley at a conference on forest health in Payson last week. 

Read More

Study reveals unexpected fire role in longleaf pine forests

By Beth Gavrilles
The University of Georgia
July 30, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

The longleaf pine forests of the southeastern U.S. depend on frequent fire to maintain their structure and the diversity of plants and animals they support. New research from the University of Georgia has found that fire may be playing another, unexpected role: releasing excessive nitrogen that appears to have accumulated as a legacy of prior land use. The paper, “Nitrogen fixation does not balance fire-induced nitrogen losses in longleaf pine savannas,” was recently published in Ecology. “It was not what we were expecting,” said senior author Nina Wurzburger, an associate professor in the Odum School of Ecology. “We first were wondering whether there was enough nitrogen fixation to balance nitrogen losses from fire, and now our hypothesis is that fire might be necessary to remove excess nitrogen from these ecosystems. We basically turned the question on its head.”

Read More

Ethiopia says it planted 224 million trees in 1 day to break world record

Associated Press in CBC News
July 30, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Ethiopians planted more than 200 million trees on Monday, which officials stated will be a world record. The ambitious initiative of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed aims to help restore the country’s landscape, which experts say is fast being eroded by deforestation and climate change. The state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporate announced more than 224 million trees were planted on Monday, surpassing the initial goal of 200 million trees planted in one day. “Today Ethiopia is set in our attempt to break the world record together for a green legacy,” the prime minister’s office tweeted on Monday morning. Early Monday, Abiy planted trees in Ethiopia’s southern region. Ethiopia is in the midst of a tree planting campaign in which it aims to plant 4 billion trees between May and October. Agriculture officials stated that so far more than 2.6 billion trees have been planted in almost all parts of the East African nation.

Read More

Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

West Coast forest landowners will plant less Douglas-fir in warming climate, model shows

By Oregon State University
EurekAlert
July 30, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

CORVALLIS, Ore. – West Coast forest landowners are expected to adapt to climate change by gradually switching from Douglas-fir to other types of trees such as hardwoods and ponderosa pine, according to a new Oregon State University study. The study, the first to estimate an economic model of forest-planting choices by landowners as a function of climate, is published in the Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists. Natural science analyses of forests and climate find evidence that Douglas-fir will be less productive in the Pacific Northwest under a warming climate, but those analyses haven’t considered how landowners will respond, said David Lewis, an economist in OSU’s College of Agricultural Sciences and co-author on the study. Lewis co-authored the study with lead author Yukiko Hashida, a 2017 Ph.D. graduate from OSU who is now an assistant professor at the University of Georgia.

Read More

Researchers find more than 200 dead reindeer in the Norwegian Arctic

By Bianca Bharti
Vancouver Sun
July 30, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Scientists are blaming the deaths of more than 200 reindeer on the Arctic archipelago Svalbard to climate change, the Norwegian Polar Institute said. During an annual census of the wild reindeer population, which inhabits the islands situated about 1,200 km south of the North Pole, three researchers determined that hundreds of reindeer likely starved to death, the Guardian reported. Of the ones alive, many were underweight and showed signs of starvation. “Climate change is making it rain much more,” said Ashild Onvik Pedersen, the head of the census. “The rain falls on the snow and forms a layer of ice on the tundra, making grazing conditions very poor for animals,” she said. Usually, the reindeer are able to sustain themselves through Arctic winters by shuffling snow aside with their hooves to reach vegetation. However, Onvik Pedersen noted the rising temperatures create alternating freezing and thawing periods that form impenetrable ice.

Read More

Forest Fires

Tucker fire grows to 14,000 acres, becoming largest blaze in California this year

By Alexa Diaz
Los Angeles Times
July 30, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

The Tucker fire in Modoc County has burned more than 14,000 acres with 10% reported containment, making it the largest wildfire in California so far this year, officials said Tuesday. Officials with Cal Fire and the U.S. Forest Service said the fire started in rural northeastern California on Sunday afternoon off California Highway 139 and Tucker Butte Road, about six miles southwest of Clear Lake Reservoir. The fire, which is believed to have been caused unintentionally by humans, grew 10,000 acres in one day. The latest reported acreage of the blaze is 14,419 , making it the biggest active fire burning in the state and the largest in California so far in 2019. No homes are threatened and no evacuations have been ordered as of Tuesday afternoon, but affected residents in the County Road 114/202, Coyote Butte, Horse Mountain area have been issued a warning that they will be contacted if an evacuation is necessary.

Read More

Montana, Oregon wildfires prompt evacuations, smoke warnings

By Amy Beth Hanson and Sarah Zimmerman
Associated Press in The Longview Daily News
July 30, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

HELENA, Mont. — Hundreds of Montana residents who fled their homes because of a four-day wildfire were allowed back Tuesday to gather important belongings, as Oregon authorities warned of unhealthy air because of another blaze that sent smoke wafting over a key highway and drifting more than 50 miles to the state’s border with California. In Montana, fire officials expressed frustration that about half of the people told to leave 400 homes and two state campgrounds threatened by the fire did not heed the evacuation warning issued over the weekend. “We need to try to figure out the mindset of people,” said Mike DeGrosky, chief of the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation’s Fire Protection Bureau. “It wasn’t like they were soft-selling the issue, and we still didn’t get a good response.” …Law enforcement officers escorted people to their homes so they could retrieve essential items, like medication.

Read More