Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: September 3, 2019

Today’s Takeaway

BC forestry at a crossroads: Gordon Hamilton

The Tree Frog Forestry News
September 3, 2019
Category: Today's Takeaway

Longtime forestry journalist Gordon Hamilton on his search for solutions to BC’s forestry crisis. In related news: the Vancouver Sun’s Derrek Penner on BC’s forest pests; BC parliamentary secretary Ravi Kahlon visits hard-hit Clearwater; and Jim Hilton’s view on Interior forest tenure reform.

In other news: the NY Times on Trump’s move to open up the Tongass to logging;  Nova Scotia’s view is unchanged on Northern Pulp pipeline; New Brunswick logging threatens wilderness tourism; heroic intervention to save BC’s Cowichan River; and BC Timber Sales the target of ENGO outrage.

Finally, as the Amazon Burns, Canada’s Boreal faces similar threats.

Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Business & Politics

Parliamentary secretary visits Clearwater

BC Local News
September 1, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Ravi Kahlon

B.C.’s parliamentary secretary for Forest, lands, natural resources and rural development paid a visit to Clearwater last week to meet with local politicians and union representatives. Ravi Kahlon… said one of his first tasks was to travel to communities that have been hit with challenging times due to mill closures. …[They discussed] mental health support services for children, as the impact of the mill closures also has a significant impact on the youth in the area “…children also hear everything that’s going on and they have some challenges with that, especially as the school year starts,” Kahlon said. “We also talked about what the future of forestry looks like and how the region can attract some sort of value-added components, so there can employment around the waste in the forest, or how we can get more value out of what we have remaining.”

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Seeking a way to compete: British Columbia forestry at a crossroads

By Gordon Hamilton
Resource Works
August 28, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Communities throughout the British Columbia Interior are facing an economic crisis as the combined effects of beetle epidemics, forest fires and external market forces take their toll on what was once North America’s most robust forest industry. …The story unfolding in Mackenzie is not unique. Since the beginning of May, 38 Interior forest products operations have laid off workers through either permanent plant closures, reductions in shifts, indefinite curtailments or temporary curtailments. …This fall-down in the timber supply has been expected for some time. …Now, says Jim Girvan, a professional forester and industry consultant, the next phase of closures has begun. …The permanent closures are all a consequence of the dwindling fibre supply. Why it all seems to be hitting companies, workers and communities so hard this summer is due to a confluence of forces that are now at play in the B.C. forest industry. …COFI president Susan Yurkovich [says] COFI is currently gathering ideas and preparing a submission to the government’s Interior Forest Sector Renewal initiative. Regardless of who owns the resource, the industry needs access to timber at a competitive cost, Yurkovich says.

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Transportation minister says view on proposed effluent pipeline hasn’t changed

By Michael Gorman
CBC News
August 30, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

Lloyd Hines

Transportation Minister Lloyd Hines says his department’s opinion has not changed on where the proposed pipeline for a new effluent treatment facility for the Northern Pulp mill should go. When then-environment minister Margaret Miller ruled in March that the company’s proposal lacked sufficient information for her to make a decision, one of the concerns raised was that the pipeline would travel alongside Highway 106. At the time, the province’s chief engineer, Peter Hackett, said his department did not want the pipeline along the 100-series highway, preferring instead a route that would run along secondary roads. Hackett said the department tries to keep utilities out of the right of way for controlled-access highways so any required maintenance work doesn’t interfere with traffic flow.

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Tariffs stall timber sale negotiations in Haines

By Claire Stremple
KHNS.org
August 30, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

Negotiations between the University of Alaska Land office and a Chinese buyer ground to a halt this month as a result of an escalating trade war between the U.S. and China. The sale is on hold until there is a change in tariffs. Morgan Howard from the University of Alaska Land Management Office says the potential buyer is still interested in a timber contract. But not right now. Tariffs on American timber headed to China have put the University’s negotiations on hold. “The potential bidder for the timber sale does not see this time as a good time to engage with the tariffs being as high as they are,” said Howard. “So we’ll see what happens in the future, but we don’t see negotiations resuming until there is a change in the tariffs.” The current tariff on spruce logs exported to China is 25 percent.

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Study on forestry in Leitrim find over 30% of the forest owners non-resident

By Ciaran Moran
Irish Independent
September 2, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

A study on to assess the social and economic impacts of forestry in County Leitrim has found that just over 30% of the forest owners were not resident in the country. However, half of the non-resident owners were from neighbouring counties.The percentage of forest cover in Co. Leitrim in 2017 was 18.9%. This is the highest percentage forest cover among all counties and is substantially higher than the national level of 11.0%. Sitka spruce is the dominant species in the forests in the county, accounting for 61.3% of the total forest area. Just over two-thirds of owners of forests in Co. Leitrim had planted forests on their own land while twenty-six percent were investors (i.e. they bought land/forest purposely for investment).

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Finance & Economics

Canada’s GDP booms 3.7% in second quarter

By Paul Vieira
Market Watch (Wall Street Journal)
August 30, 2019
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada

The Canadian economy rebounded in the second quarter with its best performance in two years, as one of the strongest showings this decade from exports offset a decline in business investment. Canada’s gross domestic product, or the broadest measure of goods and services produced in an economy, rose at a 3.7% annualized rate in the second quarter. …In comparison, U.S. GDP advanced 2% in the second quarter. 

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Southern Yellow Pine Lumber Prices Lose Steam in August

By John Greene
Forest2Market
August 30, 2019
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: US East, United States

Southern yellow pine lumber prices gained some momentum in early July but have since meandered on a downward trend, illustrating the weakness seen in the new home construction market. Housing starts dropped 4% in July for the third straight month in a row, and the window for a temporary surge is quickly closing as we wave goodbye to the summer months—traditionally the busy building season.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Canada Invests in Clean Forest Sector Research at the University of Waterloo

Natural Resources Canada
August 30, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada East, Canada

The Honourable Bardish Chagger …on behalf of the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, announced an investment of $800,000 for the University of Waterloo for the development of thin structured wood-plastic composites for use in construction, automotive and packing applications. This investment will use recycled plastics, reduce burdens on landfills and reduce the cost of production, while providing new market opportunities for Canada’s forest sector. Converting forestry waste materials into wood-plastic composites can reduce the use of carbon and other rubber components in production, which will provide both energy and cost savings. This project is funded by Natural Resources Canada’s Clean Growth Program, which invests in clean technology research and developmental projects in Canada’s energy, mining and forest sectors.

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Sturdy, strong and sustainable: Oregon builders more frequently look to engineered wood for construction

By Adam Duvernay
The Register-Guard
September 3, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

Mass timber — also called engineered or composite wood — is increasingly popular in construction projects across the country, but especially in the Pacific Northwest. For a growing crop of revolutionary constructions in Oregon, wood is the new steel. The canopy of a redesigned Hayward Field is built from mass timber, a category of wood construction material that can replace steel and concrete for primary load-bearing functions. And the first deliveries of cross-laminated timber arrived a few weeks ago for construction at the University of Oregon’s Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact, where it will be used to build its mezzanines. …Mass timber — also called engineered or composite wood — is increasingly popular in construction projects across the country, but especially in the Pacific Northwest, where most of the product’s American research, manufacturing and building is concentrated.

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Rice University wins ‘mass timber’ funding from feds

Mirage News
August 31, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

Jesús Vassallo (left) and Albert Pope

HOUSTON, TEXAS — Rice University has won a share of $1 million in grants by the Department of Agriculture’s U.S. Forest Service to support the construction of mass timber buildings on college campuses. The $100,000 grant will help Rice navigate the planning and approval process for its first mass timber construction, replacement of the 1957 “new wing” of Hanszen College. The proposed five-story, 50,000-square-foot building would incorporate residential space with 165 beds as well as common areas. …The university has expertise through Rice Architecture professors Jesús Vassallo and Albert Pope, whose model of a timber skyscraper for Detroit was accepted to the 15th International Architecture Exhibition at the Venice Biennale in 2016. …The Department of Agriculture, through the U.S. Forest Service, awarded similar grants to nine other academic institutions.

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Appalachian Regional Commission awards more than $200,000 to state lumber industry

By Wendy Holdren
The Register-Herald
August 31, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

The Appalachian Regional Commission has awarded $219,978 to the West Virginia Division of Forestry for the certification of yellow poplar for cross-laminated timber (CLT) panels. “This is great news for our logging and milling industry,” said U.S. Congresswoman Carol Miller, R-W.Va., in a release. “Expanding West Virginia’s role as a national supplier of natural resources will create new jobs and grow our economy. “I am excited to see the benefits this certification will bring to our state.” …Upon the completion of the certification, the demand for yellow poplar is expected to increase and suppliers will expand their capacity to meet demand. 

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Forestry

As Amazon Burns, Canada’s Boreal Forest Also Faces Serious Threats

By Samantha Beattie
Huffington Post
August 31, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, International

Tens of thousands of fires are ripping through the Amazon this month, stunning the world and demonstrating the precarity of earth’s ecosystems. But Canadians need only look as far as our own expansive boreal forest to understand the damage humans can cause, experts say. If the Amazon is the lungs of the earth, the boreal is its circulation system. “On the one hand, the boreal forest biome is one of the most intact ecosystems on the planet … in the order of the size of the Amazon,” said Jeff Wells, boreal conservation vice-president at the National Audubon Society. …Canada’s boreal could be “one of the last great conservation efforts in our lifetime, but also one of the great opportunities for natural resource companies to make money,” said Wells, adding there’s still hope.

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Forestry Ink: What changes are needed in BC’s forest tenures?

By Jim Hilton
BC Local News
September 1, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Jim Hilton

As pointed out in the Engage discussion paper for the Interior Forest Sector Review, there are over a dozen forms of tenure, most focused on timber harvesting, but also associated activities like road building, each with their own specific administrative requirements. …As shown in the document, the majority of logs are harvested by a few large companies through volume-based replaceable forest licences. …In my opinion, all log volume associated with recent mill closures should be returned to the Crown to make up for anticipated deficits in the AAC. …Any future forest licences should have more flexibility, with at least some review periods to allow both sides to make changes. For example, the forest licence should have a timeframe related to the payoff period of the investment costs (usually about 15-plus years). …There should also be more area-based tenures like community forests, with the allowable annual cut calculated relative to the population of the community. 

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Nelson court grants injunction to logging company

By Bill Metcalfe
BC Local News
September 2, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The Supreme Court of BC granted a local timber company an injunction on Aug. 27 against people who had been blocking a logging road near Argenta since Aug. 16. Justice Joel Groves ruled that Jessica Ogden, Michael Grabowsky, Tom Prior, Brock Snyder and “persons unknown” must allow Cooper Creek Cedar’s employees free access to the road that leads to an area the company intends to log. The company applied to the court for the injunction after RCMP declined to attend the blockade without one, the company’s lawyer, Matthew Scheffelmeier, stated at the hearing in Nelson court. Groves said he would follow an accepted three-part legal test to determine whether an injunction should be granted. …Groves ruled that the company would be more inconvenienced by his not granting the injunction, than the defendants would be inconvenienced by granting it.

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Science looks beyond the pine beetle to a landscape of pests in B.C. forests

By Derrick Penner
The Vancouver Sun
September 3, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

While BC’s timber industry is occupied with the mountain-pine-beetle infestation’s aftermath, forest managers haven’t lost sight of other pest problems looming among the trees in a changing climate. …The province is closely watching an outbreak of spruce beetles chewing through trees across hundreds of square kilometres of forests to the north and east, Douglas fir beetles are wreaking havoc in Cariboo forests around Williams Lake and 100 Mile House along with other pests such as the spruce bud worm. “We wouldn’t expect (the infestation) to be at the same scale as the mountain pine beetle,” said entomologist Jeanne Robert. …In smaller-scale outbreaks, bark beetles attack the oldest and sickest trees first, Robert said, which helps open gaps in forest cover to allow for new trees to grow and increase a forest’s diversity of species.

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A B.C. Charity Raised $3 Million To Save A Gorgeous Natural Inlet From Development

By Lisa Belmonte
Narcity
September 1, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

A B.C. charity’s crowdfunding campaign has raised enough money to save a part of an inlet in the province from possible logging and development. In an amazing showing of generosity, $3 million dollars was raised to save the land. This is welcome news and a big win for part of Canada’s natural landscape. B.C. Parks Foundation is an independent charity and, with help from the public, was able to raise enough money to purchase 800 hectares of Princess Louisa Inlet and save it from private development. …”We knew that there had been a couple offers from forestry companies to buy that property and that’s why we got involved in the first place,” said Andrew Day, B.C. Parks Foundation CEO. …”It’s really a huge portion of the inlet and we’ll do our best to make sure that that area stays protected forever,” said Day.

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‘Heroic intervention’ saves Cowichan River, but future shaky

By Richard Watts
The Times-Colonist
September 3, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The Cowichan River… would be dead without the heroic intervention now underway, says a regional politician. On Thursday, massive pumps operated by Catalyst Crofton pulp and paper mill were turned on to pump water from Cowichan Lake directly into the adjoining Cowichan River. …Ian Morrison, chairman of the Cowichan Valley Regional District, said… it’s a desperate and unprecedented move to keep water flowing into the Cowichan River, now under threat of going dry after years of low precipitation. …River ecologists say snowfall in the surrounding high-altitude areas is also down, which has reduced the slow release of meltwater over spring and early summer into the watershed, resulting in low water levels in Cowichan Lake. …Water flow from the lake into the river is controlled by a weir built in 1956 and now operated by Catalyst. Morrison said the best long-term solution might be to raise the height of the weir. …[Joe] Saysell points to climate change and “irresponsible” logging.

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The old-growth logging showdown

By Judith Lavoie
Victoria Times Colonist
September 1, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The expanse of ragged stumps, stretching up a steep slope beside Schmidt Creek, on northeast Vancouver Island, serves as a graphic example of controversies over old-growth clearcuts approved by B.C. Timber Sales and a growing push-back from those who want better protection for intact forests.  The clearcut, above the world-famous Robson Bight orca-rubbing beaches, has drawn the ire of conservation groups, whale biologists and First Nations, provoking questions about how B.C. Timber Sales is assessing parcels of old growth for auction. B.C. Timber Sales, which was created in 2003 by the Liberal government, manages 20 per cent of the province’s annual allowable cut, making it the biggest tenure holder in B.C. This year, the government agency plans to auction off about 600 hectares more old-growth forest on Vancouver Island, an area about 1.5 times the size of Stanley Park.

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Why business owners feel stymied by mass forestry operations in northern N.B.

By Shane Fowler
CBC News
September 3, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

In 1993, a struggling sheep farmer in northern New Brunswick decided to put a few canoes on his front lawn and rent them out to people looking to explore the Restigouche River. Those six canoes grew to become a flotilla of 110. “It just went wild,” said Andre Arpin, founder of Arpin Canoe Restigouche.  Today, the business is the premier tourist destination in that part of the province, winning national awards and attracting people from around the globe. But after 26 years, Arpin said the wilderness that surrounds the business and the tourism it fosters is under threat from a forest industry that is only concerned about sustaining itself. …He said tourists are looking for the version of Canada they see on postcards, and northern New Brunswick is where they find it.  But as Arpin speaks his voice is drowned out by the roar of logging trucks from across the river.

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Trump to Miners, Loggers and Drillers: This Land Is Your Land

By The Editorial Board
New York Times
August 31, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

The tug-of-war over America’s public lands between those who would protect them for future generations and those who would exploit them for immediate commercial gain has a long history. The two Roosevelts, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton were mostly sympathetic to the cause of conservation, Ronald Reagan and the second George Bush decidedly less so. But for sheer hostility to environmental values, Donald Trump has no equal. … In the shadow of these big ticket items, Mr. Trump has presided over several less visible travesties. We offer three. One is his push to open the Tongass National Forest in Alaska to logging.  …The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that the president has ordered Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, who oversees the Forest Service, to draw up a plan that would wipe out protections for all of the 9.5 million acres of roadless forest protected nearly 20 years ago. 

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Focus on defensible space, not large scale logging

By Steven Krichbaum, Graduate Student, Ohio University
Billings Gazette
August 31, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Steven Krichbaum

It seems both major parties can be sadly misinformed about forests and fires. The president recently promoted logging as a way to curb fires even though studies have clearly shown it to be ineffective. Now two western Senators, Diane Feinstein, D-Calif., and Steve Daines, R-Mont., intend to introduce legislation to further Trump’s agenda.The most comprehensive scientific analysis conducted on the issue of forest management and fire intensity found that forests with the fewest environmental protections and the most logging actually tended to burn much more intensely, not less. For instance, the Camp Fire which destroyed the town of Paradise, Calif., began in an area that had burned a mere ten years before and was then salvage logged.

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4FRI works to open next phase of forest thinning

By Scott Buffon
AZ Daily Sun
September 1, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Arizona forest officials and partners have been working behind closed doors planning to offer one of the largest and longest opportunities to bid on forest thinning parcels in the country’s history. The official “Phase Two” of 4FRI includes a maximum of 818,000 acres and is made from parts of the Coconino, Kaibab, Apache-Sitgreaves and Tonto National Forests with contracts that will max out at 20 years. U.S. Forest Service officials overseeing the Four Forest Restoration Initiative (4FRI) offer say they hope to release the newest phase of 4FRI in early September, but are still holding back a large amount of details until its release. Officials hope this new phase will push them further toward their goal of increasing the amount of private logging interest in the project to completely revitalize the northern Arizona logging industry and better forest health.

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Judge allows Wendell State Forest logging to continue

By David McLellan
The Recorder
August 30, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

GREENFIELD — A Superior Court justice has denied protesters in their call to have logging at Wendell State Forest temporarily halted. Judge Michael Callan decided not to rule a “preliminary injunction” Friday, an action that would have forced the state Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) to stop the logging of a century-old, 80-acre oak stand, at least temporarily. “While we are disappointed with today’s decision, we will continue our lawsuit for injunctive relief over the course of the next two years,” said Gia Neswald, lead plaintiff in the case. “This will be an important vehicle for forcing transparency on an agency that states at every opportunity that it is exempt from statute and regulation.” The Wendell State Forest Alliance, the group of 29 co-plaintiffs who oppose the project, brought the state to court Aug. 21

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Forestry industry rejects ‘misinformation’ on commercial forests

By Kevin O’Sullivan
Irish Times
September 2, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

As the Government unveils plans to plant 22 million trees every year over the next two decades, Ireland’s forestry industry has rejected what it has called “misinformation” about the environmental impact of commercial sitka forests, citing new data which shows the extent to which they contribute to reducing carbon emissions. Mark McAuley, director of Ibec’s Forest Industries Ireland (FII), the main body representing the sector, says Ireland’s forests are absorbing millions of tonnes of CO2 and are helping to lead the way in the fight against climate change. They absorb the yearly CO2 equivalent to that emitted by 1.67 million cars or 655,000 homes on top of long-term carbon capture, according to FII analysis. He has also strongly defended the widespread growing of sitka spruce in Ireland, which he describes as the workhorse of the forestry sector.

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Institute of Forestry recognises outstanding contributions

By the NZ Institute of Forestry
Scoop Independent News
September 2, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

The NZ Institute of Forestry recognised the contribution of an outstanding leader at its Annual Awards Dinner in Christchurch last Monday night, when Dr John Wardle received the NZIF Forester of the Year award. The award recognises an Institute member who has made an outstanding contribution to either the forestry profession, or the forestry sector. The award recognises leadership, excellence and personal integrity, particularly where this demonstrates the character and strength of the forestry profession, and it is one of the highest accolades the Institute can bestow. “The Forester of the Year award is a fitting recognition of the contribution that Dr John Wardle has made to the sector over a large number of years”, said the President, David Evison. …The Institute also celebrated the election of James Treadwell and Mike Marren as Fellows of the NZ Institute of Forestry. 

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Forest Fires

Wildfires are changing – New satellite will help monitor wildfires from space

Wawa News
September 1, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada East, Canada

Currently, in Canada, wildfires are managed using an approach known as ‘initial attack’, in which fires are detected early and fought quickly and aggressively with the objective of full suppression. Though ‘initial attack’ is effective, firefighting crews can easily be overwhelmed if there is a large number of new fires. If crews cannot keep up, some of the fires escape and become large, dangerous and costly very quickly. Mix in some of the effects of climate change, like shorter winters, hotter summers and less precipitation, and the fire activity across the country is rapidly increasing. …Together with the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), and Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) is developing a new strategy aimed at reducing the impact of wildfires on the Canadian economy and improve the well-being of Canadians across the country through increased safety and security.

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