Tree Frog Forestry News

Monthly Archives: September 2019

Today’s Takeaway

Premier Horgan, journalists pontificate on BC’s forest crisis

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

At the Union of BC Municipalities conference in Vancouver, Premier John Horgan said it’s time to reduce log exports and add value to BC’s forest products. Other viewpoints include:

In Climate Change news: Ontario, the UN and Trudeau look to plant more trees, while architects consider switching from concrete to timber. Elsewhere: the threatened mountain caribou; and why BC’s forestry crisis looms over Alberta.

Finally, the Canadian Wood Council has as new President and CEO—Kevin McKinley.

Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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No shortage of opinions on BC’s forestry woes

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

No shortage of opinions on BC’s forestry woes in today’s news:

Meanwhile: Catalyst lays-off 70 at Crofton mill; another option for Northern Pulp and Boat Harbour; Pinnacle Pellet scrambles to secure fibre amid closures; LignaTerra announces CLT mill for Maine; Jimmy Pattison hordes cash as global trade tensions mount, and slower US economic growth will persist.

Finally, lots on the Climate Strikes, including how forests, and wood products can help; some firm push back on Tom Fletcher’s earlier column; and… sustainable coal?

Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Business & Politics

The Canadian Wood Council Welcomes Kevin McKinley as President & CEO

Canadian Wood Council
September 30, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada

Kevin McKinley

The CWC announced Kevin McKinley as President & CEO, effective September 30. Kevin is a highly experienced and well-regarded leader, with previous work experience at the Canadian Network of Agencies for Regulation, International Organization for Standardization (ISO), and the Standards Council of Canada.  Rick Jeffery, Interim President of the CWC, welcomed Kevin to his new role, “Kevin’s appointment will be an excellent fit with the strategic direction of the CWC and the Wood WORKS! Program.” Rick added, “I have thoroughly enjoyed my role as Interim President and cannot think of a better candidate to fill this leadership position.” …As President & CEO of the CWC, Kevin will be the primary liaison with stakeholders and will advocate for the positive benefits of using wood products in construction. 

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Good on truckers for going to Vancouver

By Max Winkelman
BC Local News
September 28, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

It’s said not to look a gift horse in the mouth. Well, apparently the $69 million in relief for forestry workers announced on Sept. 17 required some looking. Apparently, they took funding from the B.C. Rural Dividend fund, a $25 million provincial fund aimed at helping communities of 25,000 people or less to “strengthen and diversify their local economies.” For those struggling to read between the lines, they took money meant to help rural areas and repackaged it to help rural areas. One question that’s come up a couple of times is, “we had a very mild year for fires, why don’t we reallocate some of those funds?” The answer here is that there are no funds left there. …Good on the loggers and truckers for driving to Vancouver. My advice? They should see if the federal party leaders are having any campaign rallies in B.C. because they seem to need to hear it even more.

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Rural B.C. takes another hit from the NDP

By Tom Fletcher
BC Local News
September 29, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

The annual Union of B.C. Municipalities convention is usually a non-event for cosmopolitan Vancouver. …It’s usually a yawner for the city media too. …That changed briefly last week, as a convoy of hundreds of logging trucks descended on the downtown convention centre. …The forest industry crisis was the talk of the convention, as small-town mayors and councillors arrived knowing the province had suspended a $25 million “rural dividend” grant program to fund relief for Interior communities that have lost their mills. …Government’s response to a wave of sawmill and logging layoffs has been slow and clumsy, capped by Horgan’s comments. …The NDP government has looked desperate on the forest crisis, suspending its caribou protection plan, appointing an apologist MLA to go on yet another listening tour, and then this horribly short-sighted cancellation of a modest diversification program.

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Friday was last shift at Hammond Cedar for many

By Neil Corbett
Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Times
September 28, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Al Bieksa

The first round of layoffs at Hammond Cedar came Friday, as up to 50 employees worked their last shift. Union president Al Bieksa of United Steelworkers Local 2009 said between 40 and 50 workers were to be laid off, as the first major layoff as the mill begins to shut down permanently. Owner Interfor announced in September it will be closing the mill, which has operated at the site for more than a century. Interfor will be selling the 28-acre property located on the banks of the Fraser River near the Golden Ears Bridge. Bieksa said the mill’s planer will run for another week, and there will be shipping work for some employees for almost a month. There also needs to be cleanup work on the equipment. …He said the union and company are working to get employees jobs in the company, particularly those who need work in the forest industry for pension considerations.

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Amidst rural funding controversy, John Horgan turns to struggling forestry towns for support

By Andrew Kurjata
CBC News
September 28, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Facing criticism over the suspension of a $25-million grant program aimed at helping B.C.’s rural communities, Premier John Horgan said reporters should talk to mayors in Mackenzie and Fort St. James to find out what they think about the decision to redirect the money into a $69-million forest worker support package. “There is an emergency in communities in the Interior,” Horgan said last week in response to criticism from B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson. “I suggest you go talk to the mayor of Mackenzie, go talk to the mayor of Fort St. James, and ask them how they feel about repurposing resources to keep people in their town.” While those mayors have indeed said they appreciate the relief money, other communities in the B.C. Interior are still reeling from the news — and asking the government to reconsider — saying the crisis in forestry makes the Rural Dividend Fund even more critical.

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Pattison urges B.C. to do more for mill towns hit by forestry slump

By Brent Jang
The Globe and Mail
September 29, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Jim Pattison

B.C. billionaire Jim Pattison is calling on the province to provide more help to mill towns hurt by the downturn in the forestry industry. The chief executive officer of Jim Pattison Group, who owns 51 per cent of lumber producer Canfor Corp., said the softwood business in the B.C. Interior has been especially hard hit.  …Mr. Pattison praised Alberta’s system for setting stumpage rates. “It’s much better to be in Alberta than British Columbia,” he said. But B.C. Forests Minister Doug Donaldson said the government’s hands are tied when it comes to overhauling the stumpage system because changes might be perceived as political intervention in the long-running Canada-U.S. softwood dispute. …Daryl Swetlishoff… estimates that permanent curtailments announced so far across B.C. have slashed the province’s lumber production by 20 per cent, and temporary shutdowns have added to the pain. [a Globe and Mail subscription is required to access the full story]

 

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Premier Stand-up rolls out yuk-yuks, but no bucks for forestry support

By Vaughn Palmer
Vancouver Sun
September 27, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

John Horgan

VICTORIA — Did you hear the one about the premier who went to the convention of local government leaders and delivered his message mostly in jokes? It was that kind of day Friday, when Premier John Horgan addressed delegates at the annual convention of the Union of B.C. Municipalities in Vancouver. He teased newbie mayors and councillors about the inevitable letdowns from their first year in office: “The lights are so bright I can’t see the fading optimism in your eyes.” “You’re waiting for the goody bags to be handed out,” said empty-handed Horgan. “We are not doing that today.” Not only did the premier not come bearing gifts, he rejected the convention call for the New Democrats to revisit the recent decision to divert the $25 million rural dividend fund to help pay for a $69 million support package for displaced forest workers.

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We’re not the ‘town where the mill exploded,’ tourism helps forestry towns more than bailouts, say critics

By Ash Kelly
News 1130
September 28, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Outdoor recreation is a major contributor to overall GDP and employs tens of thousands of people in B.C., but is still being ignored in favour of “short-sighted” policies favouring the forestry industry, say critics. They agree with government funding transition programs for forestry workers but say it shouldn’t have come at the cost of the Rural Dividend Grants, which the province temporarily suspended this month. This year more than 6,000 British Columbians have lost their jobs as dozens of mills have closed, some indefinitely. But the grants have facilitated a big uptake in trail building and developing outdoor recreation tourism in rural B.C. and many say it is helping to stabilize and diversify the traditional boom and bust economies. Specifically, B.C. has become known for mountain biking and municipalities as well as non profits have been relying on RD grants to invest in that sector.

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B.C. premier says it’s time to add value to province’s forestry products

Canadian Press in Global News
September 28, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

John Horgan

Premier John Horgan says the government, lumber industry and communities in British Columbia need to refocus on getting more money out of provincial forests. Dozens of forest companies have closed or curtailed operations in B.C. over what Horgan says is dwindling supply and an operating model that moves timber to market without tending to a renewable resource. He told hundreds of delegates at the annual Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in Vancouver Friday that the forest industry has focused for too long on sending raw logs offshore without adding value. Earlier that day, convention delegates approved a motion asking the province to reconsider its decision to transfer $25 million in funding from an economic development program for rural communities to a support program for forest workers. The government announced a $69 million aid program last week for communities and workers hurt by the industry downturn.

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Who benefits from a free log market?

by Jim Hilton, professional agrologist and forester
Quesnel Cariboo Observer
September 29, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Jim Hilton

My initial impression about log exports was similar to others who equated log exports to loss of jobs with the main reason for exports being the major tenure holders making good profit from exporting logs relative to milling lumber. A number of reports and investigations has convinced me the log export phenomena is more complicated than my first impressions. An article by Peter Pearse titled “Restrictions on B.C. log exports don’t make a lot of sense” appeared in the Province on January 19, 2019. “Proponents of free trade in logs point out access to foreign markets hikes the demand and value of logs, which increases employment in forestry and timber production,” it states. …A study from the Fraser Institute in 2014 by Joel Wood titled “Log Export Policy for British Columbia” has similar conclusions to the article by Pearse.

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Billionaire Pattison hoards cash as global trade tensions mount

By Natalie Obiko Pearson
BNN Bloomberg
September 27, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Jimmy Pattison

Canadian billionaire Jimmy Pattison says his businesses are stockpiling cash in preparation for a possible downturn as rising U.S.-China tensions spur global uncertainty. “We are certainly watching our dollars maybe a little bit tighter than we were before,” Pattison said. The 90-year-old titan says his group began increasing its cash piles about six months ago. …The risk is particularly acute for lumber producer Canfor Corp., the biggest public holding in the Pattison Group’s $10.6 billion portfolio. Canfor’s two biggest markets in recent years have been the U.S. followed by China. …In such unpredictable times, Pattison’s tilt appears to be toward the U.S. “We just are concentrating on where we think the stability of what we have can continue,” he said. “In our case, we’re interested in investing more in the U.S.”

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Munis to retire from Idaho Forest Products Commission

By Brad Carlson
The Capital Press
September 26, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

Betty Munis

Betty Munis, founding director of the Idaho Forest Products Commission, plans to retire Nov. 15 after more than 27 years on the job. She is succeeded by Jennifer Okerlund, who started Sept. 23 after 16 years working as communications manager for the state Department of Parks and Recreation. “Betty has done a tremendous job for the forest sector, helping opinion leaders and the general public understand what we do,” Commission Chairman Jack Buell said. …Munis said the commission — which focuses on information and education and has grown since the Legislature created it in 1992 — is in excellent shape.

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Timber company dropping hotly contested Moosehead development plan

By Kevin Miller
Portland Press Herald
September 27, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

The timberland company Weyerhaeuser is asking to terminate a massive rezoning plan for the Moosehead Lake region that was the focus of years of debate and regulatory battles over development in Maine’s North Woods. In a filing this week submitted precisely 10 years after the original rezoning, Weyerhaeuser told the Land Use Planning Commission that the company wants to end the development and subdivision zoning rights for nearly 1,000 house lots and two resorts near Maine’s largest lake. The land was rezoned for development in September 2009 as part of the contentious Moosehead Region Concept Plan granted to Plum Creek Timber Company, which merged with Weyerhaeuser in 2016. “Unfortunately, the impact of the 2008-2009 recession forever changed the United States development landscape,” Weyerhaeuser senior asset manager Luke Muzzy wrote to the commission.

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Finance & Economics

Second-quarter U.S. GDP left at 2%, slower economic growth seen persisting

By Jeff Bartash
MarketWatch
September 26, 2019
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States

The U.S. economy grew more slowly in the second quarter, updated figures confirm, and this slow growth is expected to persist through the end of the year largely because of the festering trade fight with China. GDP, the official score card for the economy, grew at a 2% annual pace from April to June, the government said Thursday. That was unchanged from the previous estimate.

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No Housing Market Bubble

By Calafia Beach Pundit
Seeking Alpha
September 26, 2019
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States

Home prices appear to be consolidating after almost four years of gains. There are few, if any, signs of a housing bubble waiting to pop, or a mismatch between housing supply and demand. Housing construction is proceeding at a fairly modest pace, from an historical perspective, and new home sales are increasing.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

US Plywood Producers Claim Certifiers Giving Imports a Pass

The Merchant Magazine
September 30, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States

Ten domestic plywood producers have banded together as the “U.S. Structural Plywood Integrity Coalition” to file a Lanham Act claim of false labeling against three U.S. certification agencies: PFS TECO, Timber Products Inspection, and International Accreditation Service. The group claims that structural plywood panels produced in South America are being fraudulently certified and stamped as compliant with U.S. Product Standard PS1-09 for Structural Plywood, when the panels allegedly do not meet the country’s minimum structural requirements for stiffness and de-flection. The testing agencies are standing by their certifications of the products. …They say Brazilian structural plywood panels have flooded America’s domestic market over the last few years due to the strong U.S. dollar, lax environmental standards in the countries of origination, and a concerted effort by the Brazilian government to encourage wanton harvest.

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A sustainable market for coal, replacing wood?

Inside Composites
September 26, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded US$ 1.5 million to an Ohio University professor to develop engineered composite decking boards from coal. Industry partners are providing an additional US$ 500,000 in funding. Jason Trembly, Russ Professor of Mechanical Engineering and director of the Institute for Sustainable Energy and the Environment (ISEE)… aims to utilise coal in the manufacture of construction composite building materials in collaboration… …Manufacturing the coal-based composites requires less energy – and results in lower manufacturing costs and emissions – than manufacturing commercial wood plastic composites. Also more affordable to consumers, the materials provide a new, sustainable way of using coal. …Consol’s VP Dan Connell believes the initiative has the potential to open up an alternative, sustainable market for US coal. …Studies show the global plastic composite market… is expected to reach US$ 8.76 billion by 2023. 

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We may have to abandon concrete to fight climate change, architectural experts say

By Matt Davis
Big Think
September 29, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

A group of experts at the Architecture of Emergency climate summit in London have identified an unlikely source of greenhouse gas emissions: concrete. “If we invented concrete today, nobody would think it was a good idea,” said architectural engineer and panel member Michael Ramage. …The four billion tons of concrete produced for construction each year accounts for 8 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions. …Interestingly, one of the best candidates for replacing concrete in construction projects is something of an old-fashioned solution — timber. One might wonder if using timber is all that wise given the importance of forests in maintaining the health of our environment, this might seem counterintuitive. …As an example of this, architect Andrew Waugh described a building his firm built in North London.

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Wooden skyscrapers hold the key to green cities, says top Japan architect

Gulf Daily News Online
September 26, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Recent studies have shown the environmental benefits of timber residential developments and in future wooden skyscrapers could hold the key to more environmentally-friendly cities, said senior officials of top Japanese architect group Nikken Sekkei. They were addressing a key gathering on the opening day of Cityscape Global real estate expo in Dubai. One of the world’s largest architectural and engineering design firms, Nikken Sekkei employs over 2,770 professional staff in six group companies offering comprehensive design, engineering, management, consulting and R&D services. …Dr Fadi Jabri, Nikken’s Executive Officer…said: “There are far reaching benefits beyond reduced carbon emissions. In Japan for example, where W350 will be built, by engaging the use of wood for high-rise urban buildings and increasing demand for timber, there is an excellent opportunity to revitalise the country’s forestry industry and make it more sustainable.”

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Forestry

Alberni Valley students learn about the past and present of forest industry

By Elena Rardon
Alberni Valley News
September 30, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Hundreds of Alberni Valley students headed out to McLean Mill for National Forest Week to learn a bit about the forest industry. The event is led each year by the Alberni Professional Forest Network, a volunteer network of professional foresters. …McLean Mill hosted 320 Grade 5 and 6 students from schools across the Alberni Valley, with parents and volunteers bringing the number closer to 400 people. “This day is all funded by sponsors and volunteers, at no cost to the students,” explained Jim Proteau, acting district manager for the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources. “There are volunteers from all over the Island here today.” …“We’ve got the JJ Logging Show, and then we’ve got the drones,” he said. “It ties in where the whole industry has gone. It shows that forestry is all-encompassing.”

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Caribou versus resources and recreation threatens iconic Canadian species

By Peter Akman
CTV News
September 27, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

CHETWYND, B.C. – Nestled in a hard-to-reach, secret location, high in the alpine of British Columbia’s South Peace River region is what’s being called a last-ditch effort to save the local caribou herd because after decades of steep declines, they are on the brink of local extinction. Local industries like forestry and mining have taken their toll on the landscape and the caribou. Where there was once a continuous and lush forest there is now a carved up mishmash of clear cut patches, all joined together by a highway system of back-country access roads. The widespread changes to the land have meant that slow moving animals are no longer able to seek shelter up in the mountains from their main predator – the wolf. And so their populations have been decimated. …The fear is eventually, the only place you’ll be able to find a caribou is on the back of a quarter.

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B.C.’s forestry crisis looms over Alberta

By Jon Allan, Economic Development Officer, Sundre
Sundre Roundup
September 28, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Jon Allan

If you haven’t heard, B.C. is reeling from the shock of forestry mill closures. According to the B.C. government, more than 4,000 people in 27 forestry towns just like ours have lost their jobs this year due to the negative market conditions affecting their province’s forestry industry. With so much attention provided to other industries like oil and gas, you can be forgiven if you have not heard of the crisis unfolding in B.C. But you cannot afford to be unaware, because it will soon have major ramifications for Alberta’s own forestry industry. …It is imperative that Sundre — and Alberta — continue to be proactive in the fight against mountain pine beetle. The pine beetle is already present in northwestern Alberta’s eastern slopes, and if not properly managed will affect Sundre’s forest management area (FMA) within three to five years according to Bruce Alexander, general manager at West Fraser’s mill in Sundre.

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COFI Awards 13 Scholarships to Students Pursuing Forestry Careers

BC Council of Forest Industries
September 26, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Vancouver, B.C. – The BC Council of Forest Industries (COFI) is pleased to announce this year’s recipients of COFI’s Forestry Scholarships during the celebration of National Forest Week, September 22 to 28, 2019. “We’re proud to support the education of these talented students from around the province as they embark on their future careers in the B.C. forest sector,” said Susan Yurkovich, President & CEO of COFI. “Despite our current challenges, we continue to see a bright future for this important industry – a future where British Columbia can be a model for the world in product innovation, technological advances, and environmental care, supporting skilled jobs in communities throughout B.C.” …“British Columbia’s forestry sector is changing and I’m certain each of these students will be a big part of shaping what will be a bright future of forestry in B.C.,” said Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development Doug Donaldson.

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Local forests threatened more than ever amid political procrastination: Ontario Woodlot Association of SDG

Nation Valley News
September 26, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry (SDG) — Will the feller-bunchers and chainsaws fall silent only when every last local forest is slashed and burned off the map? The President of the SDG Chapter of the Ontario Woodlot Association (OWA), Elaine Kennedy, says, “Local politicians need to engage with the public to discuss the future of our forests.” With the provincial government downloading responsibility for forests onto local governments, Kennedy urges “a frank, respectful discussion about how important trees are, and what can we do about protecting them in a way that does not hurt the economic situation for the farmers.” Each municipality should form a group, “representing all people” to conduct those discussions, she says. …While municipalities had until March 1st of this year to file a notice with the province detailing how they are handling tree conservation, that deadline did not require them to commit to passing any sort of tree-cutting bylaw. 

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America’s forests can help fight climate change

By Tom Martin, American Forest Foundation
The Hill
September 26, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

Tom Martin

It’s been encouraging during Climate Week to hear the global conversation around climate focused on solutions. …I hope it has elevated the urgency for Congress to develop complementary legislation that will take our country’s emissions to where we want to be. …Policymakers should look to America’s forests as one of the most essential pieces of a climate solution that can be tapped into immediately in a cost-effective way. …However, this carbon benefit is not always guaranteed. Ongoing drought, catastrophic wildfires, devastating storms and hurricanes, insect epidemics and more are putting pressure on this forest sink, and could potentially harm its ability to continue, let alone, increase, its carbon intake. …With a narrow window to address the climate crisis, family-owned forests offer a cost-effective solution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions that goes hand in hand with continued economic growth for rural America.

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The Camp Fire started on federal land. This rule would make PG&E clean up its power lines

By Emily Cadei
The Sacramento Bee
September 30, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

The U.S. Forest Service is seeking to make it easier for utility companies to remove dry brush and other vegetation near power lines running through forests. …The agency announced a proposed regulation last week that would require utilities to specify their plans for clearing brush and other vegetation around power lines that run through national forests. The regulation also would demand that utilities provide a timeline for brush-clearing projects. The regulation would cut some of the bureaucratic red tape that can slow utilities’ ability to do that kind of forest management, experts say.  …That prompted members of Congress to add language to the 2018 Farm bill to encourage more aggressive management of so-called “utility corridors” — areas of the forest where utilities have been granted access to run power lines.

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Balancing wildlife and wildfire in revised forest plans

By Kendra Chamberlain
NMPolitical Report
September 30, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

NEW MEXICO — The U.S. Forest Service is in the middle of a major update to forest management plans. Four National Forests in New Mexico — the  Santa Fe, Carson, Cibola and Gila national forests — are now in various stages of the multi-year process to update management plans from the 1980s.  The Forest Service has the difficult task of balancing its management plan for a host of diverse uses, ranging from resource management, recreational use, wildlife conservation and wildfire management. There has been a recent push by conservation groups to protect wildlife corridors and habitat connectivity by designating more portions of the National Forest as wilderness. But the discussion… has shone a light on another important component of forest management — one that’s a bit more controversial among residents: wildfire.

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Wildfire response must include suppression

By the Editorial Board
Mail Tribune
September 29, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

After nine months of work that spanned a blessedly uneventful fire season, the Governor’s Council on Wildfire Response has recommended overhauling all facets of the state’s wildfire prevention, preparedness and response. …The $4 billion, multi-year price tag primarily stems from the need to reduce fuel loads in the forests, which is, again, no surprise to anyone who has been paying attention. Firefighting will also require more dollars, a reality that isn’t popular with environmentalists who argue that fire is a natural part of the forest ecosystem and should not be suppressed everywhere and in every case. Low-intensity fires that clear out underbrush and smaller trees while leaving older, larger timber standing are beneficial, but it will take time and a great deal of money to restore overgrown forests.

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Failing forestry: Oregon wanted to clearcut above their water supply. The plan’s on hold for now.

By Ted Sickinger
The Oregonian
September 28, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

The first Roger Neugebauer heard about the Norriston Heights timber sale was two days before the end of the public comment period, which closed May 2. A neighbor emailed him and described the Oregon Department of Forestry’s plan to clearcut the 77-acre forest plot. Neugebauer was stunned. The tract of timber sits directly across Highway 101 from his house in Arch Cape, just south of Cannon Beach. He hadn’t heard a peep from the agency. Neither had most of the owners of 20 neighboring homes, all of whom draw their water from gravity fed cisterns in the forest collecting groundwater under the trees slated for harvest. “They claimed they couldn’t inform us because it was too complicated,” Neugebauer said. “They could have printed 20 copies of a letter and hired a high school kid in Cannon Beach to put it in front of everyone’s door and they would have got the communication done. But they couldn’t figure that out.”

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Timber company dropping hotly contested Moosehead development plan

By Kevin Miller
The Press Herald
September 27, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

The timberland company Weyerhaeuser is asking to terminate a massive rezoning plan for the Moosehead Lake region that was the focus of years of debate and regulatory battles over development in Maine’s North Woods. In a filing this week submitted precisely 10 years after the original rezoning, Weyerhaeuser told the Land Use Planning Commission that the company wants to end the development and subdivision zoning rights for nearly 1,000 house lots and two resorts near Maine’s largest lake. …“Unfortunately, the impact of the 2008-2009 recession forever changed the US development landscape,” Weyerhaeuser manager Luke Muzzy wrote to the commission. …the company has no plans for development on the rezoned land.“This zoning will allow us to practice our usual, sustainable forest management on this land,” Fife said.

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‘Without Wood There Would Be Hardly Any Music’: Chuck Leavell Talks Forest Preservation

By Susan Bence
WUWM 89.7
September 26, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

Chuck Leavell plays keyboards with the Rolling Stones. But he’s also a passionate environmentalist and forester. “There was a personal connection for me. Where does that wonderful thing that’s given me so much joy and a great career come from? Of course, it comes from the resource of wood, as do many, many other musical instruments. Without wood there would be hardly any music, we’d just be singing acapella,” Leavell explains. He’s a longtime tree farmer and the co-founder of The Mother Nature Network. Leavell recently launched a show called America’s Forests with Chuck Leavell to draw more attention to their importance. Leavell was in Wisconsin last week, filming footage for an upcoming segment for America’s Forests. …The segment featuring Wisconsin, which includes Milwaukee’s urban forestry program as well as a stop to see Lynden Sculpture Garden’s magnificent trees, will air sometime in January.

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Indonesian forest fires put palm oil under scrutiny

The Asian Post
September 30, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

A brutal Indonesian forest fire season that left Southeast Asia choking in smog has renewed scrutiny of major palm oil and paper companies, with activists accusing them of breaking promises to halt logging. The monster blazes sent a pall of acrid smoke over the region for weeks, closing schools and airports and causing a spike in respiratory ailments. …Leading companies have in recent years pledged not to log any more pristine rainforest, not to use burning to clear land and to cut ties with smaller suppliers who don’t abide by their rules – but critics say such vows now ring hollow. …Industry players, however, insist they have gone to great lengths to stop burning and trees being cut down in their operations. …Production of palm oil… has been blamed by environmentalists for driving massive deforestation.

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‘Alarming’ extinction threat to Europe’s trees

By Helen Briggs
BBC News
September 27, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

The conker tree has been put on the official extinction list. Ravaged by moths and disease, the horse chestnut is now classified as vulnerable to extinction. The tree is among more than 400 native European tree species assessed for their risk of extinction by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). About half face disappearing from the natural landscape. …Experts are now turning their attention to plants, with an assessment of all 454 tree species native to the continent. The report found… 42% are threatened with extinction (assessed as Vulnerable, Endangered or Critically Endangered). Among endemic trees – those that don’t exist anywhere else on Earth – 58% are threatened. Species highlighted include the horse chestnut, which is declining across Europe, and most of almost 200 trees in the family that includes the rowan and mountain ash.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Missing the forest for the trees: In climate change fight, simplest solutions might be the most obvious

By Nazim Cicek
CBC News
September 29, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada

At a time when the news is awash with stories of the Amazon forest burning, Greenland ice melting, hurricanes intensifying, and global climate strikes spreading, it is easy to feel exhausted and helpless. Lost among this wave of pessimism and impending doom is the occasional positive story that inspires personal involvement. …The study by Swiss scientists, recently published in the prestigious journal Science, assessed the global potential for tree restoration using over 78,000 satellite photo measurements and artificial intelligence to generate predictive models. The results shocked even the scientists who conducted the work: without interfering with agricultural and urban lands, there was potential to add at least 0.9 billion hectares of forest to the globe — an area roughly the size of the United States. What this means in terms of the potential to store carbon is staggering. 

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Trudeau promises Liberals would plant 2 billion trees to fight climate change

Canadian Press in Montreal Gazette
September 27, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada

Greta Thunberg and Justin Trudeau

MONTREAL — Justin Trudeau promised Friday that a re-elected Liberal government would use revenues from the Trans Mountain pipeline to pay for a $3-billion plan to use nature to combat climate change, which includes planting two billion trees over the next decade. The promise is the latest plank in Trudeau’s plan to protect the environment, which he unveiled in pieces at campaign stops over the past week while defending his government’s controversial purchase of the pipeline. The promise follows new research that suggests trees could play a huge role in reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide and only a few months after the federal government stepped in to save a tree-planting program from budget cuts in Ontario.

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It takes a forest to fight climate change: How a made-in-Canada national tree planting strategy can help

By Rob Keen, CEO of Forests Ontario and Forest Recovery Canada
Forests Ontario
September 27, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada East, Canada

Good news is rare, though it seems like nearly every day for the past few weeks there have been new commitments by global leaders to fight climate change by planting huge numbers of trees. In my 38 years as a forester, I’ve never experienced enthusiasm for tree planting as powerful as what we’ve seen in 2019. The trigger? Climate change. So now, as Canadians, how do we harness and deploy large-scale tree planting on a national scale? Planting one trillion trees around the world may be one of the most effective ways to combat the impacts of climate change, according to a recent study by ETH Zurich University and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. The study determined that Canada has the third highest land potential to plant trees in the world – 117 billion trees over 78.4 million hectares, to be exact. 

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On climate change, humanity is not ‘evil’

By Bjorn Lomborg – president of the Copenhagen Consensus Center
Globe and Mail
September 26, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Bjorn Lomborg

Speaking at the United Nations, 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg said that if humanity really understands the science of climate change and still fails to act, we’re “evil.” This is because climate change means “people are dying.” Helpfully, she also told us what we must do to act correctly: …we must shut down everything running on fossil fuels by 2028. While this claim is not uncommon, it is fundamentally misguided. Yes, global warming is real and human-caused, but her vision of climate change as the end of the world is unsupported. …We don’t emit CO2 with malign intent. Indeed, it is a byproduct of giving humanity access to unprecedented amounts of energy. …Plentiful energy made better lives possible… Life expectancy doubled. …and has lifted more than a billion people out of poverty in just the past 25 years. That is not evil – it is quite the opposite.

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Health & Safety

Employer cleared for delaying employee’s return to safety-sensitive work in B.C.

By Jeffrey Smith
The Canadian HR Reporter
September 27, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

A BC employer acted reasonably when it delayed a worker’s return from medical leave an additional three weeks while it ensured it had sufficient medical information to clear the employee for work in a safety-sensitive position, an arbitrator has ruled.  Northgate/West Fraser Logistics and TC, Local 31 (Cherak) involved Northgate/West Fraser Logistics, which operates a lumberyard and warehouse in Delta, B.C. …The psychiatrist’s note stating Cherak could return to work on March 1, 2018, didn’t demonstrate any knowledge of the nature of Cherak’s work and “was insufficient to give the employer reasonable confidence was fit to return as a forklift driver in its lumberyard, even if exempted from car-moving work,” said the arbitrator. …The arbitrator determined that Northgate didn’t have sufficient medical information to return Cherak to his safety-sensitive position.

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