Tree Frog Forestry News

Monthly Archives: September 2019

Today’s Takeaway

US using attrition to disable WTO’s dispute mechanism

The Tree Frog Forestry News
September 20, 2019
Category: Today's Takeaway

The US is refusing to nominate replacement panelists, effectively disabling the WTO’s dispute settlement system, putting paper and softwood reviews on hold. In related news: the softwood dispute is blamed for Kenora, Ontario’s mill closure, and COFI outlines policy choices to renew BC’s forest sector—60 in all. Meanwhile, a former BC mayor suggests gov’t inaction on spruce beetles is deliberate (and caribou recovery related).

In Forestry/Climate news: Nova Scotia to consider forest carbon offsets; BC seeks more energy efficient construction; a Sierra Club call to action; Amazon guardians stalk illegal loggers; Malaysia’s forests are more sustainably managed that you thought; and past warnings and gov’t action on BC logging road with fatal bus crash. 

Finally, entrepreneur John Brink supports the future of BC’s forest sector with college donation.

Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Business & Politics

The U.S. May Strike a Fatal Blow to the WTO Sooner Than Expected

By Bryce Baschuk
Bloomberg Economics
September 19, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

A U.S. lawyer… may resign in December, a move that would cripple the global conflict settlement system. The voluntary departure of Thomas Graham… would accelerate the appellate body’s looming demise and force countries to fundamentally rethink their reliance on the WTO to settle the surging number of trade disputes. …President Donald Trump… and other U.S. critics argue that the WTO dispute settlement system threatens America’s sovereign rights. In response, the European Union, Canada and other member countries are discussing ways to reform the appellate body. …The Trump administration… has refused to consider nominees to replace the four vacancies on the panel. …“Tactically, the U.S. is getting what it wanted by disabling the appellate body.” About a dozen appeal cases are pending, including a dispute over EU restrictions on Russian natural-gas imports and a pair of U.S.-Canadian disputes over paper and softwood lumber.

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Q&A with BC Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson

by James Miller and Ron Seymour
The Kelowna Daily Courier
September 20, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Andrew Wilkinson

…Andrew Wilkinson: Question: Forestry is in crisis, with Kelowna’s mill just announcing an indefinite shutdown. What should the government be doing that it isn’t doing to help the industry? Wilkinson: This calendar year we’ve had 89 closures, shut-downs, or curtailments in forestry in B.C. All but two of them have been in B.C. LIberal ridings. The NDP have largely ignored the issue. When we had the softwood lumber dispute back in 2003, the BC Liberals went hard on the federal government. …The NDP seems to be neglecting this forestry crisis because it doesn’t really affect their key ridings. British Columbia now has the highest cost per log of any jurisdiction in North America. Under the BC Liberals, it had the lowest cost per log.

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Hammond Cedar workers can access retraining funds

By Neil Corbett
The Maple Ridge-Pitt meadows News
September 20, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Maple Ridge’s Hammond Cedar employees will be included in recently announced provincial funding for displaced forestry workers. …United Steelworkers Local 2009 president Al Bieksa said the union has lobbied to have the Maple Ridge employees able to access a $12 million fund for workers to access skills training, and for employer and community grants for training. …The union is in the process of negotiating a closure agreement with Interfor, and he expected it to be completed by the end of the week. …“They (the talks) have been tough, but Interfor has been fair in the negotiations,” he said. …Interfor has some opportunities at other locations. …He said none of the Hammond workers have been laid off, but by Oct. 25 or 26 the company estimates the wood at the site will have been milled and shipped.

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Susan Yurkovich: A path forward for B.C.’s forest products industry

By Susan Yurkovich, BC Council of Forest Industries
The Vancouver Sun
September 19, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Susan Yurkovich

Forestry has long been a cornerstone of the B.C. economy, supporting 140 communities and many thousands of families throughout the province. Today… that forestry is an industry in transition in BC. While we have always had to manage through market and price volatility, we are currently facing something of a “perfect storm” — an array of market and operating challenges, along with a structural shift in the cost and availability of fibre. …BC has become a high cost producer just at the time we are facing volatile market prices, punitive U.S. tariffs, and increasing global competition. As an industry, we have no choice but to make the difficult decision to rebalance our milling capacity to match the lower level of sustainable harvest. As we do so, workers and communities need to be supported. Then, we need to ensure that the facilities that remain have secure access to enough fibre to run consistently and efficiently. But there is much more that we can do. Smart choices, made now, can help attract the investment required to secure a bright future for our forest industry.

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COFI issues long-term plan to renew forest industry

By Mark Nielsen
The Prince George Citizen
September 19, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

The BC Council of Forest Industries is calling on government and industry to pursue a series of “policy choices”. …There are 60 in all… entitled “Smart Future: A Path Forward for B.C.’s Forest Products Industry.” “In addition to addressing today’s challenges, many people are asking what the future holds for forestry in BC, and where will we be once we have moved through this transition,” COFI president Susan Yurkovich said. …The proposals are divided among five themes that include steps to “double down on market and product diversification.” On that note, authors suggest an export tax credit for products shipped to non-U.S. markets and increasing the proportion of value-added manufacturing in the province to at least 20 per cent within five years. …The plan also calls for securing a land base for harvesting. …Specific proposals on that theme include salvaging timber within two years of a wildfire and switching a portion of forest licenses from volume-based to area based.

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Forests Minister “gets” COFI

By Cheryl Jahn
CKPG Today
September 19, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

PRINCE GEORGE – Forests Minister Doug Donaldson says he has thoroughly read a report completed by the Council of Forest Industries on the future of the industry. The report, entitled “SMART FUTURE: A path forward for B.C.’s forest products industry,” sets out some dramatic changes to the industry in the coming years, adding it is already a very efficient industry out necessity. It sets out 60 recommendations, with its Number One recommendation being to “define the working forest land base. Like conservation areas, designate the area that will be available for harvesting and lock in the commitment.” “Generally speaking, there are many of the recommendations that align with what we’re trying to do as a government, which is focusing on maximizing value rather than maximizing volume,” says Donaldson.

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Brink donates $1 million to College of New Caledonia

By Mark Nielsen
Prince George Citizen
September 19, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Saying he sees a viable future for the forest industry in northern B.C., Prince George lumber manufacturer John Brink committed $1 million to trades and technology training at the College of New Caledonia on Thursday. …Brink presented a giant cheque for the amount to the school’s interim president Tara Szerensci. …”Especially in light of all the things that are happening and all the things that government is trying to do, …we believe that we have to step up to the plate and try to assist in bringing us forward to a new industry,” Brink said. …The announcement comes 20 years after Brink …donated $500,000 to the school. …”The current challenges, although there are many of them, are temporary,” he said. “The industry is going to get smaller but I see still lots of opportunities.” Indeed, Brink said his company is in the process of expanding its operations in Prince George, Vanderhoof and Houston.

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Guns, taxes, climate change and more at North Okanagan forum

By Brendan Shykora
Penticton Western News
September 19, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

North Okanagan-Shuswap residents got their first side-by-side look at their riding’s federal candidates at the first All Candidates Forum of 2019. …B.C’s forestry industry was an early-mentioned concern, and candidates were eager to convey their support of the industry to a community that saw reductions announced at the Armstrong Tolko mill earlier that day. NDP candidate Harwinder Sandhu is from Mackenzie, a town that’s been rocked by recent mill shutdowns, and she spoke to her connection to this community. “My family relied on sawmills, and forestry was the backbone of many towns like Mackenzie and Terrace.” Sandhu pointed to a report with 60 recommendations put out by the B.C. Council of Forest Industries on Tuesday. “They align very well with the NDP platform,” she said. “I will be committed to working with (the council) because I know that for a lot of people forestry is bread and butter.”

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Pulp friction: Property taxes on large mills under review

By Robert Jones
CBC News
September 20, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

New Brunswick municipal politicians are hoping a property assessment review underway of the province’s six pulp and paper mills will restore some of the $5.9 million in property tax reductions won by the facilities five years ago that caused financial problems in several communities. …Edmundston lost just over $700,000 in annual tax revenue when the province slashed the assessed value of the Twin Rivers pulp mill by 58 per cent late in 2013 for the 2014 budget year. Twin Rivers was one of six New Brunswick pulp and/or paper mills that received significant property assessment reductions from the province during what were acknowledged to be difficult economic times in the industry. But international markets have generally improved since then, and …Service New Brunswick officials acknowledged they are re-looking at the value of the pulp and paper mills and will make changes in the assessments next year if warranted. 

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Northern College, EACOM sign partnership agreement

Northern Ontario Business
September 20, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

Northern College and EACOM Timber Corp. are partnering on a three-year initiative to provide enhanced learning, teaching and research opportunities in the forestry sector. Gathered at Northern’s Timmins campus on Sept. 20, parties from the two organizations signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that will encourage teaching partnerships, recruitment and employment initiatives, speaking engagement opportunities, applied research, co-op placements, curriculum support and scholarship offerings. The lumber company is also contributing $5,000 toward the purchase of a machine tool chip conveyor learning system for the college’s shop. It will help train students studying in the college’s industrial millwright, heavy equipment mechanic, and instrumentation technician programs.

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International trade dispute on softwood lumber strikes home

By Reg Clayton
The Kenora Daily Miner
September 19, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

The double edge sword of international trade struck home late last week. The announcement by Prendiville Industries of the temporary closure of the family-owned company’s Kenora Forest Products stud mill came as a shock to the community. The Prendivilles cited the soft market for softwood lumber both domestically and internationally as the reason for suspending operations as 95 percent of production is exported to the U.S. The loss of 115 mill jobs… will not only impact the company, it’s workers and their families but the city as well through the loss of tax revenue and spin-off benefits to the local economy in terms of jobs and related services. …Kenora MP Bob Nault… didn’t mince his words criticizing U.S. tariffs on Canadian lumber imports for imposing an unnecessary financial burden on domestic producers.

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Katerra opens $150 million manufacturing facility in Spokane Valley

By Amy Edelen
The Spokesman Review
September 21, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

California-based Katerra has opened its $150 million manufacturing plant in Spokane Valley where 100 workers are producing engineered wood products that could eventually replace concrete and steel in high-rise buildings. The 270,000-square-foot factory opened Friday near Interstate 90 and Barker Road. The owners claim it is the largest cross-laminated timber and glulam facility in the United States. …The timber used in Katerra’s facility is currently sourced from Canada, but that is expected to change as wood becomes available in the state, said Craig Curtis, head of architecture for Katerra. “Now it’s up to the mills in Washington to be able to produce the material that we are looking for at the factory,” he said. …Avista’s Catalyst Building in the University District will be the first office building in the state constructed with cross-laminated timber made in Spokane Valley.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Flooring 101 for first-time buyers

By Kathleen Freimond
The Vancouver Sun
September 20, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

As one of the largest surface areas in any home, flooring must be durable, look good and be at a price point that works for your budget – no easy ask. …Describing it as “a floor for a lifetime,” solid hardwood floors that have been in place for more than 100 years are still being refinished, says Kjell Nymark, VP of the BC Floor Covering Association. A solid hardwood floor probably provides the best value of any of the flooring options, says Nymark. …Engineered hardwood floors… can also be refinished a number of times, says Nymark. …“Laminate is a wood look-alike and even though the core is typically made of MDF, laminate is not considered wood flooring,” he says. Laminate is often a choice dictated by budget. …Vinyl is making a comeback.

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Timber is top of the class

By David Wylie
The Journal of Commerce
September 20, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

ABBOTSFORD, BC — Located 70 kilometres east of Vancouver in the Fraser Valley, Abbotsford Senior Secondary School features wood as part of a major rehabilitation and replacement project. Central to its design, and crowning the school’s three-storey structure, is an intricate and  impressive timber rotunda roof built of exposed  glue-laminated timber and wood decking. School  principal and educator Rob Comeau shares how  wood is making the school a place where students  feel at home. …”I think you definitely feel better once you’ve been in a space that incorporates wood. It  clears your head. We often have students that  just come to the rotunda to be there, enjoy the  space, and hang out. It’s open and the wood  beams are beautiful and inviting. I think it helps  with anxiety.”

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Tall buildings out of timber? In the face of climate change, Seattle encourages it

By Katherine Khashimova Long
The Seattle Times
September 22, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

…In the coming years, Ballard will be home to Seattle’s first tall building built almost entirely from wood. Rising eight stories from the current Ballard Blossom florist on Market Street will be a hotel built principally from cross-laminated timber. …Mark Wishnie, the director of global forestry at The Nature Conservancy, said he understands the whiplash that some feel about the environmental movement’s about-face on timber. One of the biggest challenges… the perception that logging equals deforestation. ….That doesn’t have to be the case, Wishnie said, if logging is managed well. But he emphasized that cross-laminated timber only makes sense if the wood comes from a forest that’s managed responsibly. …The huge environmental benefits of cross-laminated timber are its biggest draw. …“If cross-laminated timber is going to make a difference for climate, we’re going to need to rapidly scale it up,” The Nature Conservancy’s Wishnie said.

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Forestry

Extensive study finds number of North American birds has dropped by 3 billion since 1970

By Bob Weber
The Canadian Press in The Globe and Mail
September 19, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada

An extensive study of hundreds of bird species across decades worth of data has for the first time estimated how badly numbers of even the most common birds have shrunk. The paper… concludes the total number of North American birds has dropped by three billion since 1970 – about 30 per cent. Some of the most familiar species have been the hardest hit. “The species like pigeons and house sparrows and starlings…are in steep decline,” said Adam Smith, an Environment Canada scientist and the paper’s co-author. The study, conducted through nine universities and government agencies in Canada and the United States, looked at 529 different kinds of birds. …The current study doesn’t address reasons for the drops, but Mr. Smith said previous research points to probable causes. “Habitat loss and degradation… The loss of that ecological space is the primary driver of population decline for almost all of these birds.”

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Sierra Club memoir all about dedication

By Lindsay Kines
The Times-Colonist
September 19, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada

Elizabeth May says she experienced a “Frank Capra moment” while reading Diane Pinch’s new history of the Sierra Club in B.C. Just as Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life imagined …Canada’s Green Party leader began to wonder what BC might look like today if activists behind the Sierra Club had never existed. …May says she envisions walking through one bad development after another in a “dark place.” …That hasn’t happened, of course, as Pinch documents in her detailed history of the club. Instead, dozens of successful campaigns over the years… have helped preserve vast swaths of B.C.’s wilderness. …The book ends with a… call to action in a time of climate change, and Pinch admits it’s a “scary issue for most people these days, with all the changes going on with forest fires and extreme weather.”.

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Alex Fraser Research Forest gives students hands-on experience

By Patrick Davies
The Williams Lake Tribune
September 21, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

As mills continue to close and fears are raised about the sustainability of the B.C. Lumber industry, organizations like the Alex Fraser Research Forest are working to educate the next generation of foresters and environmental stewards with hands-on experience. The Alex Fraser Research Forest consists of 10,000 hectares of Crown forest that has been set aside for the purpose of research and education conducted by the Faculty of Forestry at the University of British Columbia. …Currently, the forest is managed by Stephanie Ewan. …Looking at ways to reduce the severity of fires through commercial thinning and examining the continuing impact of the Douglas Fir Beetle are also important ongoing projects right now, Ewan said. Silviculture, regeneration and wildlife habitat management are also common areas of interest and study. 

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Management of migratory buids act examined by forest industry

By Mauro Calabrese, West Fraser Timber
The Williams Lake Tribune
September 22, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Of the many species of animals out there that are managed for by professional foresters and biologists, the mobility of birds and their uses of habitats that cross numerous national and international boundaries makes managing for them quite challenging. Most species of birds are protected under the Migratory Birds Convention Act, a federal statute originally passed in 1917. …Until recently, it was generally accepted for forest activities in B.C. that birds were taken care of through the management of numerous other values in the province.  …A tool kit, with considerable input from West Fraser Professional Biologist Laura Trout, was developed to help forest managers incorporate information about migratory birds, their nesting habitats and migration into forest harvest planning and operations. …Armed with the results of the risk ranking system, field crews key in on highly ranked areas for habitat protection and disturbance avoidance of nesting birds.

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Debunking old-growth forest claims in British Columbia

By Jens Wieting, Sierra Club BC
The National Observer
September 20, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

That’s the gist of BC government MLAs’ responses when pressed on what the province of BC is doing about the ongoing destruction of its last, globally rare old-growth temperate rainforest. In the midst of the climate and species extinction emergencies, a growing number of concerned British Columbians are speaking out. In recent months, over 20,000 BC residents have sent messages to the provincial government demanding action to save ancient forests and improve forest management. …For decades, in the battle to save at least some of BC’s endangered old-growth forests, there’s been a severe gap between the pace of protection and the pace of destruction. When the government talks a good game and acts slowly while allowing forests to be clear cut rapidly, we call it “Talk and Log.” …But this government has so far failed to take meaningful steps.

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West Chilcotin forest industry turning a new leaf

By Monica lamb-Yorski
The Williams Lake Tribune
September 22, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

A forestry company owned by Ulkatcho (Anahim Lake) First Nation has embarked on a fibre recovery project made possible with funding from Forest Enhancement Society of B.C. The project will last for three years and kicked off in January 2019, said Stephen James, executive director of West Chilcotin Forest Products (WCFP). “The West Chilcotin plateau lacks the infrastructure many other areas of our province take for granted,” James said. “Given the distance to markets for our forest products, enhanced utilization of our forest fibre has always been a struggle.” …Pulp logs of lodgepole pine that would previously have been burned on cutblocks in the traditional territory of Ulkatcho First Nation, are being hauled to Bella Coola where they are loaded onto a barge and are then on to be chipped at Harmac Pacific Pulp mill in Nanaimo.

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Utilizing forest biomass

By Mark Runge, West Fraser Timber
The Williams Lake Tribune
September 22, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

There has been plenty of discouraging news from the forest industry recently regarding the temporary and permanent closure of sawmills in the interior of BC. A consequence of the reduced lumber production is the reduction in sawmill residual production. …The reduced supply of sawmill residuals has created increased demand especially for pulp chips. West Fraser has two pulp mills in Quesnel: Cariboo Pulp is a Kraft Chemical pulp mill, Quesnel River Pulp is a thermomechanical pulp mill. …West Fraser is currently delivering pulp logs from the Williams Lake area where haul distances to Quesnel are economical. We are also purchasing whole pulp logs from the Chilcotin where government programs to reduce carbon emissions have assisted with the vendor’s costs. …While not creating new jobs, this program maintains the forestry jobs we have especially during poor economic times for our sawmills.

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Canadian National Railway and Tree Canada Announce Major Investment to Support Winnipeg’s Tree Canopy

By Canadian National Railway
Globe News Wire
September 19, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

WINNIPEG — On the occasion of CN’s 100th anniversary, CN is announcing its participation in Mayor Brian Bowman’s Million Tree Challenge. This investment in Winnipeg’s greenspaces is being done with the support, partnership and expertise of Tree Canada, the leading national organization dedicated to improving the lives of Canadians by planting and nurturing trees. CN’s contribution to the Mayor’s Million Tree Challenge is part of CN’S multi-year commitment to Tree Canada to improve and expand urban canopies in major Canadian cities. Winnipeg was selected by CN and Tree Canada as the recipient of the 2020 donation.  The million dollar commitment will enable CN and Tree Canada to plant tens thousands of trees in Winnipeg. CN invites other Winnipeg based companies to join the cause.

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Mayor challenges Winnipeggers to plant 1 million new trees as canopy faces threats from disease, pests

CBC News
September 19, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Brian Bowman

As disease and pests threaten the future of Winnipeg’s tree canopy, Mayor Brian Bowman is asking Winnipeggers to get involved in saving one of the city’s defining features. The mayor issued a challenge to the city’s residents: plant one million trees over the next 20 years, or by the time Winnipeg’s population is expected to crack the seven-digit mark. …The mayor said threats like the emerald ash borer beetle and Dutch elm disease pose a serious risk to Winnipeg’s trees — affecting up to two-thirds of the city’s trees. …Bowman said the initiative will challenge individuals, non-profits and private businesses to help by planting trees on their property, volunteering to plant trees in other spaces or donating to Tree Canada who will support efforts to plant more trees in Winnipeg. The charity also received a $1-million donation from the Canadian National Railway to kick start the One Million Tree Challenge. 

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Northern Sask. residents want boreal forest off the chopping block

CBC News
September 19, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Sylvia McAdam

Sylvia McAdam remembers the medicine she once picked from the land near Big River, Sask. She can’t find it now — and says it never returned after the forested area was chopped. She described how the area has changed post-clearcut. More wind passes through the exposed land, but there is an absence of wildlife. The waterways have changed and the trees on the fringes of the cut are falling. There will be more tree-harvesting in the north, as Sakâw Askiy Management Inc. moves forward on its 20-year plan for the 3.3 million hectares of boreal forest north of Prince Albert. About 19,900 hectares per year are scheduled for harvest in the first decade, and 18,800 hectares in the second. Forestry follows mining as one of the biggest industries in the province.  “​I’m not going to see it come back in my lifetime, maybe my grandchildren, and it’s not going to come back the same way,” McAdam said. 

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How a new tree movement is taking root across Canada

By Mark and Ben Cullen
The Toronto Star
September 20, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

…Fortunately for all of us, the value of trees is coming into focus, and sharper than ever. Science has proven the many benefits of planting trees and maintaining mature trees. According to a report on the Toronto’s Parks, Forestry and Recreation website, there are 10.2 million trees in the city, which provide 18,000 hectares of canopy cover. …The city is investing in community-led tree planting and stewardship on private land to help reach the 40 per cent target. …To achieve the canopy-cover goal, the Toronto city budget included planting costs for 120,307 trees planted in 2017, with 120,000 more in 2018 and another 120,000 this year and next. …Six years ago, a new not-for-profit organization was born from this column in the Toronto Star. …The coalition is called Trees For Life.

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New approach – with the forest on the line

By Peter Aleshire
Payson Roundup
September 20, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

The U.S. Forest Service hopes to jump-start stalled forest restoration efforts with a whole new approach to finding contractors to thin 800,000 acres of dangerously overgrown forests. The Forest Service this week issued its latest “request for proposals” (RFP) for loggers, sawmills, biomass-burning plants and others to sign on for 20-year contracts to clear millions of tons of trees and biomass. The action comes after the Forest Service completely rewrote the rules for contracts to take advantage of the painful lessons of the past decade. …“This time we’re thinking more wide-open in allowing proponents to tell us what they can do. When it comes to adding resilience to the forest to support endangered species and the human communities nestled in the forest, this is the best proposal we have.”
 

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Who should be in charge of America’s ancient forests: industry or environmentalists?

By Jeff Glor
CBS News
September 21, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Twenty-five years ago, the Northwest Forest Plan was put in place. It protected more than 24 million acres of old-growth forest in northern California, Oregon and Washington. On the 25th anniversary of the law, the debate over what to do with America’s ancient forests has come under new scrutiny. Who should be in charge of the future: industry or environmentalists? Perhaps the best way to see what’s happening in Western Oregon is by air. …”You can see where there’s a few trees left here and there – that’s required by Oregon law,” said Chandra LeGue, for the group Oregon Wild.  When asked his appraisal of the Northwest Forest Plan, Todd Payne, CEO of Seneca Jones said… “I think it was a failure.” He believes the plan is choking growth and says the hands-off approach environmentalists advocate is leading to more wildfires because forests have been neglected.

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Court halts timber activity in Southwest over threatened owl

By Felicia Fonseca
Associated Press in Helena Independent Record
September 19, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Kathleen Ramsay

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — A U.S. judge has halted tree-cutting activities across 18,750 square miles of the Southwest until federal agencies can get a better handle on how to monitor the population of a threatened owl. The order issued by the U.S. District Court in Tucson, Arizona, covers all five New Mexico national forests and one in Arizona. It’s unclear exactly what activities will be sidelined. Forests across the Southwest are using a mix of logging, mechanical thinning and prescribed burns to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires that threaten the Mexican spotted owl and its habitat. …The Fish and Wildlife Service said …on a pilot project to evaluate trends in the owl population based on occupancy monitoring, but it doesn’t have a strategy or funding to do the work across the owl’s entire range. WildEarth Guardians had asked for an injunction on all 11 national forests in Arizona and New Mexico…

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There’s a new craft beer that aims to tackle climate change

By Danielle De Wolfe
Shortlist
September 20, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

If, however, you’re a beer drinker who enjoys nothing more than kicking back and cracking open a cold one, you can now do so safe in the knowledge that you’re doing your bit for the environment. Yes, one Glasgow-based brewery has created a ‘Reforestation’ craft beer that aims to actively fight climate change. Named Scorched Earth, the beer is the first of its kind in Europe and was born out of a collaboration between the Drygate Brewing Company and social carbon offsetting enterprise Offset.Earth. A limited-edition 11.5% ABV imperial stout, the new brew has been aged in Islay whisky barrels to create its unique taste. And when we say limited edition, we really do mean it. Yup, there are only 200 individually numbered bottles on offer. All proceeds from the sales of the beer will be donated to the Offset.Eath initiative, meaning that for every bottle sold, 50 trees are set to be planted. 

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Fighting fire with fire, Amazon ‘forest guardians’ stalk illegal loggers

By Leonardo Benassatto and Ueslei Marcelino
Reuters in the National Post
September 20, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

ARARIBOIA INDIGENOUS TERRITORY — Near midnight, a group of six Guajajara tribesmen with their faces painted for battle listen to the rumble of heavy trucks about 19 miles (30 km) from their village in the Amazon rainforest. They suspect a caravan of illegal loggers felling trees on their reservation. The police are not coming, but the natives have a plan to fight back. The “forest guardians,” as they call themselves, hurry to a choke point in the local network of rutted dirt roads and lay in wait, armed with rifles and handguns. As the trucks approach, they ready themselves to spring an ambush, apprehend the loggers and deliver the culprits, along with their equipment, to the nearest federal police station, hundreds of miles away. The men say they are among some 180 guardians patrolling their tribal land against loggers on night missions.

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Malaysia’s forests are sustainably managed

By Datuk Dr Freezailah Che Yeom
The New Straits Times
September 20, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

MALAYSIA — …In spite of what has been alleged by certain groups, Malaysia is still a green country with 54 per cent of its land area under forest cover, the bulk of which has been legally constituted as PRFs (permanent reserved forests) and TPAs (totally protected areas) to ensure forest cover. …To give effect to Malaysia’s commitment to sustainably manage its PRFs, a National Committee on Sustainable Forest Management was established in 1994 to operationalise the International Tropical Timber Organisation (ITTO) Criteria for Sustainable Management of Tropical Forest. …Globally, at the end of 2018, 24 per cent of non-tropical forests have been certified compared to a meagre 1.8 per cent of tropical forests. Malaysia can be proud as 35 per cent of our PRFs have been certified and our forest managers are doing their utmost to strengthen forest management so that other areas may also be certified.

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Spruce beetles chomping away at our forests

By Evan Saugstad, former mayor of Chetwynd, BC
The Alaska Highway News
September 19, 2019
Category: Forestry

 …If you have driven through the Pine Pass the past two summers, you will have noticed all the red trees between Mt. Lemoray and Mackenzie Junction. …Today, we have another pest, doing the same type of thing all over again, and it is called the spruce bark beetle. …What you don’t see, and likely won’t, is any government action to stop this invasion. And quite to the contrary, what you do see is government implementing polices that prevent anyone from doing anything about this. …They have a very simple strategy. It is called stall and wait. …Keep the loggers out and in a couple of years government will be able to announce that the forest industry has no real reason to go into these areas, as there are no commercially valuable trees left to harvest. …The problem is we are told these same spruce trees play an important role in caribou survival.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

During Climate Week, Companies Must Focus on Canada’s Boreal

Natural Resource Defense Council
September 20, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, United States

Next week is New York Climate Week, a major convening of policymakers, Indigenous leaders, NGOs, and the corporate sustainability world. …But as the fires in the Amazon rage on and youth take to the streets worldwide today to demand that adults do more to solve our climate emergency, it’s time for major companies like Procter & Gamble to step up to the plate to reduce their impact on intact forests–one of nature’s best climate solutions. …As part of Climate Week, we must turn our attention to the role American companies play in fueling the destruction of these forests, and we cannot overlook Canada’s intact boreal forest as a key part of the solution to the climate emergency. …It is the largest remaining intact forest in the world, and it is Earth’s largest land-based carbon sink. ..And it’s being clearcut…for toilet paper.

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British Columbia Communities are Unlocking a $3.3 Billion Energy Efficiency Opportunity

By Efficiency Canada
Cision Newswire
September 20, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

VANCOUVER — Many of BC’s fastest growing cities and towns are incentivizing and/or requiring higher levels of energy efficiency in new construction, spurring healthier, more comfortable, and more durable buildings. …The communities are using the BC Energy Step Code, a recently introduced provincial regulation that allows them to require their builders to exceed the code’s minimum legal energy-efficiency requirements. In doing so, they’re helping drive a $3.3 billion new market for high-efficiency building products, according to a recent Vancouver Economic Commission study. …The province has set a goal that all new buildings must reach an exceptionally high level of energy efficiency performance by 2032.

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Nova Scotia asking for input on carbon credit opportunities

By Stuart Peddle
The Telegram
September 19, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada East, Canada

Nova Scotia is looking for someone to study the potential in the province to generate carbon offset credits. …Jason Hollett… said the current cap and trade program covers about 80 per cent of all of the emissions in Nova Scotia in about 25 or 30 companies. “There’s potential to generate offsets that would… come from that 20 per cent,” Hollett said. …The RFP stipulates that a successful proponent’s study “will identify the sectors, project types, and protocols that are most viable in Nova Scotia, as well as identify risks and opportunities relating to offset projects.” …“One example you’ll often hear about is forestry,” said Meghan McMorris, community energy co-ordinator with the Ecology Action Centre. Planting trees instead of clearcutting works for carbon offset because large forests capture carbon as the trees grow.

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Federal Ruling On Biomass Subsidies Marks Double Defeat For Timber Sector

By Annie Ropeik
New Hampshire Public Radio
September 19, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

Federal regulators said that a state law passed last year to subsidize biomass power plants is invalid, marking the second big defeat in two days for New Hampshire’s forest products industry.  The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is siding with New Hampshire’s ratepayer advocate and a conservative lobbying group, which filed the petition against the 2018 subsidy law. That law requires utilities to buy electricity from six struggling wood-fired power plants in the state. It hasn’t taken effect yet – Eversource and the biomass plants couldn’t agree on contracts, and the state declined to step in. Now, FERC says the law would mean the state is setting an electric rate – something only federal regulators are empowered to do. It means FERC likely wouldn’t approve any contracts filed under the law, making it effectively void despite an ongoing state Supreme Court challenge. 

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Architects should give up concrete say experts at Architecture of Emergency climate summit

By India Block
Dezeen Magazine
September 20, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Experts and activists at the Architecture of Emergency climate summit in London have called upon architects to fight climate change by ditching concrete. “If you came here with the hope of one clear action for what you can do in the office tomorrow – stop it with the concrete,” said Maria Smith, founder of architecture studio Interrobang, who gave a keynote speech. …In order to meet the EU’s target of cutting emissions by 40 per cent for 2030, even sustainably-rated concrete buildings are hindering progress. The only material that has a lower embodied energy level is timber, which locks in the carbon it transforms into oxygen as the plant grows. Encouraging architects to switch to timber-framed buildings has rattled the cement and concrete industry, which has taken out adverts warning about the supposed dangers of timber buildings.

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Health & Safety

Huu-ay-aht encouraged by premier’s pledge to fix logging road

The Canadian Press in the Times-Colonist
September 20, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

Huu-ay-aht First Nations said they are pleased their call for action following a fatal crash on the Bamfield Main road has been answered. Premier John Horgan on Thursday promised upgrades to the gravel logging road where two University of Victoria students died in a bus crash last week. …Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis said his nation has long been seeking upgrades to the privately owned gravel road that is the only vehicle access between Port Alberni and Huu-ay-aht communities in Bamfield. Bamfield Main is a gravel logging road owned in part by forestry companies. It is also used by residents and tourists travelling between Bamfield and Port Alberni. The province provides annual funding, but the forestry companies are responsible for maintenance. Western Forest Products owns the stretch of road where the crash happened.

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