Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: August 22, 2019

Today’s Takeaway

Hotter, larger fires turning boreal forests into carbon source

The Tree Frog Forestry News
August 22, 2019
Category: Today's Takeaway

Hotter, larger fires in Canada’s north means the boreal forest is at its carbon tipping point. In related news: US insurers and utilities pay the price for costlier wildfires; and day becomes night due to Amazon smoke. Elsewhere: a new study says lodgepole pine sends out SOS when beetles attack; and ENGO’s sue Trump over his Endangered Species Act rollback.

In Business news: no end in sight for Western Forest Products strike, as dispute arises over who pays for interim benefits. Meanwhile: Mountain Equipment Co-op’s flagship Vancouver store is a showcase for engineered wood, and mass timber grants are awarded to seven US colleges.

Finally, a chainsaw juggler seeks world record, and poo-clues for moose fare.

Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Froggy Foibles

Chainsaw juggler to attempt new world record

By Lynn Curwin
The Chronicle Herald
August 21, 2019
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: Canada East, Canada

TRURO, N.S. —  Ian Stewart was practicing axe juggling but he got sidetracked by chainsaws. …“I beat the old record of 88, with 94 catches in 2011,” he said. “Last July a man in Finland (Janne Mustonen) set a record of 98 so now I’m hoping to be the first to crack 100. I only need two extra throws but it’s a challenge.” He’s practicing but being careful not to over practice, as it is hard on the body. “Most injuries are just from the fact that the chainsaws are so heavy,” he said. …Before performing the juggler has to demonstrate they’re sharp by cutting something and has to sign a paper acknowledging that the organizers recommend they not perform the stunt. …He said not many people juggle chainsaws. [They] cost about $700 each so it can be expensive if you have many drops.

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Business & Politics

As wildfires get costlier and deadlier, insurers and utilities pay the price

By Rob Bailey
GreenBiz
August 22, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

In 2018, the world seemed to catch fire. California suffered its most costly and deadly fire season to date. …British Columbia declared a state of emergency as its worst wildfire season in history burned 3.5 million acres of forest… and sent choking fumes across the border to Seattle. …Climate change is only part of increasing wildfire risk. As urban developments around the world creep further into wildlands, the number of people and value of assets exposed to fire-prone areas is increasing. …For businesses that operate in wildlands or on their margins, increasing wildfire activity implies increasing risk. Wildfire can damage assets, interrupt business operations and disrupt supply chains. …Insurers also need to adapt to a future of more wildfire risk. The fires of 2017 and 2018 cost the sector more than $15 billion each year … prompting the world’s largest reinsurer to raise the prospect of large numbers of homes becoming uninsurable. 

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Mackenzie holding rally Thursday

By Christine Hinzmann
The Prince George Citizen
August 21, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Mackenzie residents are gathering for an afternoon rally today, hoping political leaders invited to speak can offer hope to the troubled community north of Prince George. “We would like our logs to stop leaving the community, we would like our sawmills to be able to run and you know, the bottom line is we’d like them to change the legislation so logs have to stay in the community and be milled here,” Kim Guthrie, chair of the Mackenzie Matters rally, said. “We have a small community here that keeps shrinking and how do we keep towns like this surviving and thriving and being sustainable when we keep losing our ability to maintain,” she said. …One of the many speakers to attend Thursday’s rally is Nechako Lakes MLA John Rustad, who serves as the B.C. Liberals critic on Forest, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations.

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Western Forest Products strike sees both sides digging in

By Andrew Duffy
The Times Colonist
August 21, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

A strike that has sidelined thousands of forest industry workers on Vancouver Island for the last two months appears no closer to resolution, with one side ratcheting up the stakes and the other digging in its heels. …the United Steelworkers Union reiterated its position that until the company changed its tune on concessions, little progress could be made. …He said an attempt to get concessions on pension plans, security and a two-tiered wage structure are non-starters. …Butler characterized the letter about benefit premiums as an attempt to inflame the situation. …Susan Dolinski, Western’s vice-president, said the company has been funding the premium since the strike started despite not being obligated to do so under the labour code. …“As the strike approaches a third month, we are not in a position any longer to front the cost.”

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Western Forest Products cutting benefits for striking workers, USW disputes claim

By Twila Amato
My Campbell River Now
August 21, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Health benefits for striking union members will be cut off by September 1st. At least, that’s what Western Forest Products said in a memo released to employees this week.  But USW 1-1937 president Brian Butler says the union disputes the claim that WFP can just cut off employee benefits while they’re on strike.  He says WFP received inaccurate information from the industry side of the joint USW-Coastal Forest Industry Health & Welfare Plan. The plan is overseen by a board consisting of union and industry members. Butler says the union side of the board didn’t even have a say. “The union trustees have asked for an immediate meeting of the trustees because the memo that went out was not authorized by the union side of the trustees,” Butler said.

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Domtar shutdown to end in August

By Camilla White Kirkpatrick
The Mid-North Monitor
August 19, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

The shutdown at Espanola’s Domtar Mill is expected to end this month. The outage, which only affects the pulp mill, began in May and was only expected to last three weeks. According to Domtar Regional Public Affairs Manager Bonny Skene: “The Espanola mill underwent an extensive audit and inspection of major components during its planned maintenance outage in May. We have decided to extend the outage and take the opportunity to do some of the work that will prepare the mill for its revitalization plan.” During this time, the paper machines have continued to operate. In an email to the Mid North Monitor, Skene said: “Maintenance and repair work is being completed to prepare the mill for its revitalization plan.” …In July, the Espanola mill received $28.8 million from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada to assist Domtar with the modernization project.

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Fortress Global Enterprises Announces Strategic and Financial Initiative

Fortress Global Enterprises Inc.
August 21, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

Fortress Global Enterprises announced that, as a result of ongoing financial constraints impacting the Company primarily resulting from a 10-year low in dissolving pulp prices, the Board of Directors has formed a Strategic Committee to consider various strategic and financing alternatives potentially available to the Company, including a recapitalization, restructuring and/or business combination transaction. …While the Company has initiated this process, there is no certainty that any transaction or alternative will be undertaken or pursued. The Company has not set a definitive schedule to complete its evaluation.

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“The Mill” documentary to be shown on CBC

The New Glasgow News
August 21, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

The ongoing Northern Pulp saga is coming to a television near you. A documentary film “The Mill”, from Site Media filmmaker David W. Craig and award-winning producer Ann Bernier, explores the entangled history of the Northern Pulp mill in Pictou County, and its deeply rooted effects on the economy, the indigenous community and the traditional lifestyles of Pictou County. …The documentary will have its broadcast premier on CBC Docs POV on Aug. 29 at 10 p.m. AST. …“As the situation reaches the boiling point,” Craig explains, “I set out to make a film that not only highlights the conflict, but sets out the stakes for a community that wants to be optimistic about its future possibilities and opportunities.”

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Revenues soar in Russia’s timber processing sector

By Lesprom
The Timber Trade Journal
August 22, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

In 2018, total revenue of the largest timber companies in Russia included in Top 50 rating of the Forest Industry magazine, increased 37.2% to RUB650.7bn, according to Lesprom. In only eight companies in the rating, revenue for 2018 was below 1 billion rubles. …The threshold of entry increased to RUB622m from RUB385m in the previous year. Ilim Group took first place in the rating. Its revenue jumped 41% to RUB155.7bn, while net profit increased 88%. Mondi Syktyvkar Timber Industry was in second place. Its 2018 increased 19.8% to RUB65.8bn and net profit jumped 46%. …The top ten fastest growing companies included three pulp and paper companies and seven wood processing companies and, as last year, it is the wood processors that had the largest revenue growth.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

New Mountain Equipment Co-op Vancouver flagship store a showcase of wood construction

By Kenneth Chan
The Daily Hive
August 21, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

The finishing touches are now being made to the new MEC Vancouver flagship store in the Olympic Village district of Southeast False Creek — and it is certainly a showcase of what is possible with wood construction, specifically cross-laminated timber (CLT). While CLT is increasingly becoming more common with multi-family buildings and public buildings, the new MEC store is one of the largest applications of this environmentally-friendly methodology to date. This three-storey building is far from a conventional concrete and steel structure, as CLT replaces much of these traditional elements from the ground up. …This particular store is outfitted with three of the company’s mass timber components, with megaspines for the interior, Glulam beams, and Crosslam CLT panels.

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Mass Timber University Grant Program Projects Support Forest Health and Vibrant Communities

By US Forest Service
United States Department of Agriculture
August 20, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service awarded $1 million through the Mass Timber University Grant Program to 10 institutions in seven states. This cooperative partnership with the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities supports the construction of mass timber buildings on college campuses across the country and brings $136 million in university matching funds. This grant program showcases the architectural and commercial viability of mass timber in building construction.  …A thriving mass timber market helps maintain forest health and resiliency, supports employment opportunities in rural communities and advances sustainability of the built environment. By placing these buildings at institutions of higher education, the agency helps educate the next generation of decision-makers about the benefits of mass timber. The Forest Service is supporting this grant program as part of its ongoing efforts to promote the use of mass timber construction. 

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New forest products put Maine on right track

Editorial Board
The Press Herald
August 22, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

Three years ago, Madison Paper Industries locked the doors of its mill, putting more than 200 people out of work. It was the latest in a long string of mill closures that made Maine’s economic future look dark. But next year the Madison mill building is scheduled to reopen — not to make paper but a new product that has never been manufactured in the United States. This month GO Lab Inc., a Belfast-based company, finalized a deal that will allow it to manufacture insulation products out of wood fiber. …The future of Maine’s forest products industry may not be here yet, but we are starting to get a good idea of what it will look like.

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Does the Crewe care home fire bring timber frame construction back into the spotlight?

By Lucie Heath
InsideHousing UK
August 22, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

“I couldn’t believe how quickly it went up,” recalls Diane Anderson, a 75-year-old resident at the Beechmere retirement complex in Crewe. …Firefighters operating 16 fire engines worked throughout the night to tackle the blaze, which started in the roof but spread rapidly. By the time the fire was finally put out, what was left were largely charred remains. …how could a fire spread so quickly in a building that was home to 150 vulnerable people? …During construction, developer, Avantage told Place North West that 1,700 cubic metres of timber frame had been used and lauded the building as having the largest timber content of any on-site project in Europe. …Fire safety experts have also raised concerns. “The timber frame is the big problem,” says surveyor and fire safety expert Arnold Tarling. …Architect Sam Webb explains further: “What happens in a timber frame building, if you haven’t got sprinklers, is that you get flashover very quickly.” 

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Low carbon cement revolution – the options now and the challenges still ahead

By Poppy Johsston
The Fifth Estate Australia
August 22, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

In New Zealand, concrete… was recently identified alongside steel as the highest-emitting building materials to make and use in the country. A key takeaway in the report was the potential of low carbon cement alternatives. …The Fifth Estate checked in with high blend cements, geopolymer cement and a new technology used by LafargeHolcim that uses CO2 instead of water in the curing process. The technological solutions are already available to make the move to low carbon cement for construction, according to University of Melbourne zero carbon researcher Michael Lord. …A barrier is the legacy left by decades and centuries of using the standard Portland cement. Lord says there’s a perceived risk for taking on a novel material. …There’s also other materials that, where suitable, can replace concrete entirely. Engineered timber is one of them.

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Forestry

Hotter, larger fires turning boreal forest into carbon source: research

By Bob Weber
Canadian Press in the National Post
August 21, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada

Bigger, hotter wildfires are turning Canada’s vast boreal forest into a significant new source of climate-changing greenhouse gases, scientists say. The shift, which may have already happened, could force firefighters to change how they battle northern blazes, said Merritt Turetsky, an ecologist at the University of Guelph and co-author of a paper that appeared in the science journal Nature. “It’s making it much more difficult for us to target those reductions in human emissions because, all of a sudden, we have all these unaccounted-for sources.” …But with climate change, fires are becoming more frequent, larger and more intense. Researchers …wanted to see if that was affecting stored carbon. …The team found that even after the fires, older forests continued to preserve carbon where it was protected by a thick layer of organic soil. But the old carbon burned in nearly half of the younger stands where the soil wasn’t as thick. 

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Celebration marks expanded Chemainus Valley Museum space

By Don Bodger
The Chemainus Valley Courier
August 21, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Florence James, elder from the Penelakut Nation, with Amy Brophy, current president of the Chemainus Valley Historical Society and Museum, at the grand opening of the expanded museum facility. Amy Brophy, current president of the Chemainus Valley Historical Society and Museum, addresses the gathering at Saturday’s celebration. …Phil Dobson, former MacMillan Bloedel Chemainus sawmill manager; and Domenico Iannidinardo, vice president of forest & sustainability and chief forester, Mosaic Forest Management, successor to Island Timberlands and TimberWest.

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When beetles attack, lodgepole pines send chemical SOS to relatives, says U of A study

By Wallis Snowdon
CBC News
August 21, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Lodgepole pines can send distress signals warning nearby trees of an imminent attack from mountain pine beetles and urging them to get their defences in place, a new study from the University of Alberta found. The study, published in the journal Science of the Total Environment, demonstrates that trees under attack release volatile compounds that send a chemical SOS to neighbouring trees.  But not every tree gets the message, says U of A forest entomologist Nadir Erbilgin, who supervised the study on behalf of the lead researcher, PhD candidate Altaf Hussain. In a new spin on family trees, the chemical distress signals can only be understood by conifers that are closely related to each other.  Erbilgin said these “kinship” communication networks allow some conifers to survive attacks while their unrelated neighbours remain defenceless. …The study is the first to prove that lodgepole pines can communicate in this way, said Erbilgin. 

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Celebrating Ontario’s Conservation Officer of the Year

By Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
Government of Ontario
August 21, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

Conservation officer Marco Grigio has been named the Ontario Conservation Officer of the Year for 2019. Officer Grigio, a resident of Thunder Bay, has served the people of Ontario for more than 25 years. …John Yakabuski, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry said, “Marco’s vast experience in the field has provided valuable insight to help the ministry develop policies and procedures to help keep officers safe, while maintaining effective operations. His professionalism, honesty, integrity and tireless work ethic make him an excellent choice for the Ontario Conservation Officer of the Year.” …In addition to his regular field duties as a conservation officer, Grigio spent many years as a defensive tactics instructor and has been a leader in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and OPP Basic Marine Training program since 2009. 

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Close watch for spruce budworm in Newfoundland

By Ashley Fitzpatrick
The Telegram
August 22, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

To the spruce budworm, for much of its life, tree needles are tasty, and buds for new growth are particularly delicious. …It’s a serious concern for the forestry sector, given the loss of timber as a result. ….“We don’t fully understand yet how different forest stands or different climatic conditions might influence the survival of the local budworm populations. So we have a couple of experiments going on where we are studying budworm across different elevations,” said Joe Bowden, a research scientist with the Canadian Forest Service. As for predators, he said the researchers are working to better understand, as an example, the degree to which certain predators — species of spiders, wasps, flies — kill the budworm. Monitoring of spruce budworm populations is helped by community-based volunteers, citizen scientists. 

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Environmentalists sue over Endangered Species Act rollbacks

By Samantha Maldonado
Associated Press in The Globe and Mail
August 21, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

Donald Trump

Seven environmental and animal protection groups teamed up to file the first lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s rollback of the Endangered Species Act. The environmental law non-profit Earthjustice filed the lawsuit Wednesday on behalf of the Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defence Council, National Parks Conservation Association, WildEarth Guardians and the Humane Society of the United States. The lawsuit comes after the federal government earlier this month announced a series of changes to weaken the Endangered Species Act. In a filing, the groups argue that the Trump administration violated the National Environmental Policy Act by failing to analyze the effects of the new rules. They also charge that the administration unreasonably changed requirements to comply with part of the Endangered Species Act that would have prevented any changes that could threaten the existence or habitat of any listed species.

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Protesters: Herbicide spray landed on people, vehicles

By Brian McLean
Peninsula Daily News
August 21, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

PORT TOWNSEND — Demonstrators who held signs to protest aerial herbicide application say a helicopter passed overhead and sprayed them as well as vehicles traveling on state Highway 20. A Pope Resources official said they believe it didn’t happen. The incident allegedly took place late Monday afternoon as a contractor hired by Pope Resources made several passes over timberland just south of Anderson Lake Road, spraying a chemical compound that included glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup. “That helicopter, after about 45 minutes of spraying, crossed that ridge, flew straight toward us and dropped, twice,” Lissy Andrews of Port Townsend told City Council members later that night. “That was what we considered a direct threat to our safety and to make us shut up.” Adrian Miller of Pope Resources said the helicopter did not veer away from the permit authorized by the state Department of Agriculture.

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The Dept of Natural Resources is at war with itself over increased logging in Minnesota’s forests

By Hannah Jones
The City Pages
August 22, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

When you think about divided government, there are probably a million examples you’d picture before the Department of Natural Resources. But the Minnesota DNR is currently at war with itself over the fate of the state’s forests, with leadership on one side and a handful of wildlife managers on the other. It goes back to 2016, when the Dayton administration asked the department to figure out how many cords of wood a year could be sustainably harvested from DNR-managed forests to make up for declining logging on private land. …But the DNR’s wildlife managers – who spend a lot of time in those state forests – don’t necessarily agree. …The DNR …told other news outlets that they’re respectfully listening to their managers’ concerns, but that their differences may be irreconcilable.

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Poo clues: Even large moose can be picky eaters

By Brett French
Billings Gazette
August 22, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

Moose are big plant eaters. They eat willow trees, bushes, plants that grow in the water, and pine trees. An adult needs about 22 to 40 pounds of food a day. [A study found that moose do not] mow down every plant available. They are very picky eaters. By examining moose pellets (poo), the researchers could find out what they had eaten. …For example, if there are a lot of balsam fir trees, the moose seemed less likely to eat them. Instead, the big animals would look for more rare plants. Finding those less-common plants would help them have a more balanced diet. When they were more likely to be killed by wolves, however, the moose seemed to be less fussy about what they ate, especially in deep snow years when it was harder for the moose to walk around and find food.

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Forest Fires

Amazon rainforest is ablaze, turning day into night in Sao Paulo

By Andrew Freedman, Washington Post
The Oregonian
August 21, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International

Huge tracts of the Amazon…are ablaze. Smoke from the widespread fires has turned day into night in Sao Paulo, and intensified a controversy over the Brazilian government’s land use policies. The Brazilian Amazon has experienced 74,155 fires since January… The Brazilian Amazon has experienced 74,155 fires since January, according to data from Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research, known by the acronym INPE. That’s an 85 percent increase from last year…”There is nothing abnormal about the climate this year or the rainfall in the Amazon region, which is just a little below average,” INPE researcher Alberto Setzer told Reuters. Speaking of the fires, he said, “The dry season creates the favorable conditions for the use and spread of fire, but starting a fire is the work of humans, either deliberately or by accident.” …INPE tracks deforestation in Brazil, and its data has shown a huge increase in the Amazon this year. 

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