Tree Frog Forestry News

Monthly Archives: October 2019

Today’s Takeaway

Resolute, Norbord and Enviva Q3 results are down as expected

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

Resolute, Norbord and Enviva Partners reported third quarter results yesterday and as expected, earnings were down or non-existent. In other Business news: the Conifex-Hampton deal is okayed; Resolute extends Ignace, Ontario mill shutdown; and it will take more than lower mortgage rates to lift the US housing market.

In Forestry/Climate news: BC adds teeth to its Climate Change Accountability Act; Sudbury’s acid-damaged lakes are recovering well; and a new study says GHG emissions caused by damage to tropical forests are underestimated by a factor of six. Meanwhile: high winds are fueling wildfires in Oregon and California; but in an era of megafires is Canada learning from the US experience.

Finally, Fort St. John’s 8-meter-high lumberjack is felled by flames.

Have a happy and safe Halloween!

Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Wildfires batter California, exploding in size

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

Wildfires batter California and although scary, the images are look-worthy. In related news: what it’s like to live in a high risk fire zone; the US Forest Service has fire-suppression money left over; and BC looks at how firefighting affects the health of fire crews.

In Business/Finance news: although consumers continue to spend, the US GDP fell to 1.9% and the Fed is expected to cut interest rates. Meanwhile: Canfor’s privatization move faces some opposition; Resolute expands its liquidity; Roseburg opens an LVL plant in South Carolina; and panel prices soared last week while lumber rose slightly.

Finally, two rare white moose; an Arctic stump, and a wood showcase for the Tokyo Olympics.

Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Froggy Foibles

Alaska Highway’s 8-metre-high lumberjack landmark felled by flames

By Dominika Lirette
CBC News
October 30, 2019
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: International

A landmark statue has burned to the ground around the Mile 62 mark on the Alaska Highway in northern B.C. The enormous fibreglass lumberjack that used to stand just outside of the former Clarke Sawmill, about 25 kilometres north of Fort St. John, went up in flames late Sunday night, said Debbie Lee Clarke, whose father bought the statue in the late 1970s. …No one knows for certain what caused the fire, but Clarke thinks someone may have shot fireworks or a flare gun at the lumberjack. … For those outside of the Clarke household, the statue was a landmark that signalled how far people were from Fort St. John.

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Business & Politics

Norbord Reports Third Quarter 2019 Results; Declares Quarterly Dividend

By Norbord Inc.
Cision Newswire
October 30, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, International

TORONTO — Norbord reported Adjusted EBITDA of $33 million in the third quarter of 2019 compared to $36 million in the second quarter of 2019 and $211 million in the third quarter of 2018. The quarter-over-quarter decrease was driven by lower panel prices and shipments in Europe, which more than offset improved manufacturing costs in North America, while the year-over-year decrease was primarily due to lower North American OSB prices. North American operations generated Adjusted EBITDA of $24 millioncompared to $18 million in the prior quarter and $190 million in the same quarter last year. European operations delivered Adjusted EBITDA of $11 million, down from $21 million in the prior quarter and $23 million in the year-ago quarter. …”We have started to see improvement this past quarter,” said Peter Wijnbergen, Norbord’s President and CEO. 

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Canada’s Forestry Sector Supports Plan for Canada’s Future Growth

Forest Products Association of Canada
October 30, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada

Earlier today, the Business Council of Canada (BCC) issued a report that calls on the country’s newly elected MPs to come together and support a forward-thinking agenda that will improve the lives of Canadians.  Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) supports this forward-thinking and collaborative approach to securing Canada’s economic future. Developed by the Task Force on Canada’s Economic Future, the report is the result of a national consultation process that spanned a period of nine months. It presents six practical recommendations to expand Canada’s economic potential, spur investment and job creation, and ensure a better future for all citizens. …“As one of Canada’s largest employers and exporters operating in more than 600 communities, our sector understands the need for a national economic plan that reflects regional priorities and strengths,” noted FPAC President and CEO, Derek Nighbor. 

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Government okays Conifex-Hampton deal

BC Local News
October 30, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

The provincial government has approved the transfer of Conifex Timber’s forest license to Hampton Lumber. Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests… said the deal was given the green light on Oct. 25. …”I determined that this transfer is in the public interest and will benefit British Columbians.” As a condition of the transfer, Hampton has committed to build a new mill in Fort St. James that will be operational within 36 months of closing the transaction with Conifex.” …While FLNRORD has approved the transfer, the sale has not yet closed, said Steve Zika, CEO of Hampton Lumber. …The sawmill sale affected more than 220 employees of the Fort St. James facility. Once finalized, the deal with Conifex will expand Hampton’s activities in the region beyond its Babine and Decker Lake Forest Products mills.

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2020 to be tough for forestry, Rustad says

By Blair McBride
Houston Today
October 30, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

John Rustad

For the next year or two, forestry in northwestern BC is in for a rough ride. …Nechako Lakes MLA John Rustad spoke at a village meeting in Granisle but apologized that he had little good news to report on forestry. While there are many factors contributing to the sawmill curtailments and shutdowns, Rustad summed it up by saying, “The reality is pretty simple: we’re uncompetitive. We’re the highest cost jurisdiction in North America.” …The problem is about 60 per cent rooted in the stumpage fee system and about 40 per cent in government regulations and cost. …The MLA foresees there will be more curtailments in sawmills and that this winter and next year will be challenging for forestry in the north, unless lumber prices rise in the U.S. …As a solution, Rustad thinks the industry needs to change its thinking… farming trees instead of harvesting them. He used Sweden as an example.

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Shutdown of Ignace sawmill extended to next year

By Gary Rinne
Thunder Bay News Watch
October 30, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

IGNACE, Ont. — A prolonged shutdown of the Resolute Forest Products sawmill at Ignace will be extended through the winter. The town’s mayor and the Steelworkers union both say Resolute has indicated the mill will not resume operations before next spring. When a two-month shutdown began last April, the company said it was because of a shortage of logs that  resulted from wet conditions in the bush over a period of many months. In June, Resolute said an issue with the sawmill’s kilns and deteriorating market conditions would keep the mill closed until July, and the kilns out of service until September. However, the mill remained shut down through the summer and into the fall. …Market conditions have been blamed by other forestry companies for the shutdown of numerous mill and woodlands operations in British Columbia this year, affecting hundreds of workers.

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Resolute Reports Preliminary Third Quarter 2019 Results

Resolute Forest Products Inc.
October 30, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

MONTRÉAL — Resolute Forest Products reported a net loss for the quarter ended September 30, 2019, of $43 million, or $0.47 per share, compared to net income of $117 million, or $1.25per diluted share, in the same period in 2018. Sales were $705 million in the quarter, a decrease of $269 million from the year-ago period. The third quarter of 2018 included sales from the Catawba (South Carolina) and Fairmont (West Virginia) facilities, which were sold in the fourth quarter of 2018. Excluding special items, the company reported a net loss of $34 million, or $0.37 per share, compared to net income of $96 million, or $1.03 per diluted share, in the third quarter of 2018. “Ongoing weakness in market pulp pricing had a significant impact on our quarterly results,” said Yves Laflamme, president and chief executive officer.

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Enviva Partners, LP Reports Financial Results for Third Quarter 2019 and Announces Seventeenth Consecutive Distribution Increase

By Enviva Partners, LP
BusinessWire
October 30, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

BETHESDA, Md.–Enviva Partners, LP today reported financial and operating results for the third quarter of 2019. “As expected, our financial and operating performance for the third quarter was a significant step up from the second quarter, and with the ramp-up of the Hamlet plant, we continue to believe the fourth quarter will be a significant step up from the third,” said John Keppler, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Enviva. “We also are very excited that our sponsor has commenced construction of the fully contracted Lucedale production plant and the related Pascagoula terminal, part of the newest cluster of assets we expect to be made available to the Partnership, which should pave the way for the Partnership to double its expected 2019 adjusted EBITDA over the next few years.” 

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Nannup timber mill stripped of contract after on-selling logs from WA native forests

By Frances Bell and Jon Daly
ABC News Australia
October 30, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

Western Australia’s second largest timber mill has been stripped of a major native timber supply contract after it was exposed by a whistleblower on-selling more than 100 tonnes of marri logs overseas. Under its contract with the Forest Products Commission (FPC), Nannup Timber Processing is required to process all logs from state-owned native forests in WA. However an FPC investigation triggered by a whistleblower has found that in the first six months of this year, the Nannup mill on-sold at least 165 tonnes of state-sourced marri logs for export. WA Forestry Minister Dave Kelly described it as a serious breach of contract. The contractual requirement to locally process timber from state-owned native forests is aimed at protecting WA timber industry jobs and ensuring logs are processed into value-added products like furniture and flooring. “We’re about protecting the West Australian timber industry and local jobs,” Mr Kelly said.

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Finance & Economics

It Will Take More Than Lower Mortgage Rates for a Housing Rally

By Ben Casselman
The New York Times
October 31, 2019
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States

The Federal Reserve is hoping that its latest interest-rate cut will help keep the economy safely at cruising altitude. But don’t expect it to provide much of a lift to the housing market. …Interest rates still matter for housing. The Fed’s first two rate cuts this year helped stabilize the housing market, which had been heading for a major slump. …But few economists expect the housing market to take off, because rates aren’t what was holding back housing in the first place.

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The Fed Is Expected to Cut Rates for a Third Time. Its Next Move Is a Mystery

By Jeanna Smialek
The New York Times
October 30, 2019
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States

The Federal Reserve is widely expected to lower interest rates on Wednesday for a third, and potentially final, time this year. What comes next is less clear. …While officials have been less direct in signaling a cut this month than they were in arguing for those earlier moves, policymakers have done little to crush investors’ expectations for a quarter-point reduction at the current meeting. …The central question now is whether the economy will need further insulation going forward.

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U.S. slowdown deepens as economic growth slips to 1.9 percent pace in third quarter

By Heather Long and Andrew Van Dam
The Washington Post
October 30, 2019
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States

The U.S. economy cooled over the summer, growing at a 1.9 percent annualized pace from July through September, the latest sign that the slowdown is deepening. …Consumer spending continues to power the economy, but business investment has now contracted for six straight months, falling 3 percent in the third quarter, the biggest drop since the end of 2015. …Spending on both structures and equipment was deeply negative.

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US GDP rose a better-than-expected 1.9% in the third quarter as consumers continued to spend

By Thomas Franck
CNBC News
October 30, 2019
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States

Economic activity in the U.S. grew at an annualized rate of 1.9% in the third quarter, down slightly from the 2% pace in the second quarter. …Economists polled by Dow Jones had expected the first look at third-quarter growth to come in at 1.6%. …The better-than-expected data was the result of continued consumer spending as well as government expenditures, the Commerce Department says.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

WAN Awards 2019 Future Projects – Education goes to George Brown College Tall Wood Building

By Nav Pal
World Architecture News
October 30, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, International

TORONTO — The Arbour will be the home to the School of Technology and the Tall Wood Research Institute on George Brown College’s expanding Waterfront Campus. The opportunity to combine a learning institution within a developing urban neighbourhood sets fertile ground for Change, inspiring young minds to shape the future of the city. This 10-storey tall wood, low carbon building will be the first of its kind in Ontario, featuring ecological innovation across its entire life cycle and be a model for 21st century smart, sustainable, green building innovation throughout Canada. The project brings an innovative structural approach that revolutionizes the future of large span tall wood construction by fully taking advantage of the spanning capabilities of cross laminated timber structures.

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Canadian Wood Council launches woodSMART

Canadian Wood Council
October 30, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada

WoodSMART is a program of the Canadian Wood Council with the goal of supporting post-secondary institutions, students, and educators, to ensure future practitioners (architects, engineers, construction professionals) have the most up-to-date knowledge and skillset in the design & construction of advanced wood buildings. This program is being led by Reed Kelterborn, Education Manager at the CWC. Currently, most post-secondary design and construction curricula focuses on concrete and steel. More wood design content is needed so new graduates are familiar with the specialized knowledge of wood design and construction. This is important as Canada’s forests are one of our greatest carbon sequestration tools. CWC will collaborate with universities and colleges to help increase the availability, and content, of wood design courses.

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UBC-WMC Online Management Skills Training Courses

Wood Manufacturing Council
October 31, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

The UBC Centre for Advanced Wood Processing has released its On-line Management Skills Training schedule for Fall 2019. Two modules, Safety and Human Resources Management, as well as New Product Development, will be offered starting November 4 th , 2019. Each module has email and phone support from a tutor. The management training program is in the form of a set of 9 short, affordable online training courses for wood products manufacturers. Program development was undertaken by the Wood Manufacturing Council and it is open to all. Costs are $445 (6 week courses) and $495 (8 week courses). The modules each require approx. 35-45 hours of study over a six-week or eight-week period, (depending on the module). They are developed specifically for the wood products industry, and include numerous case studies and industry examples. Graphics and diagrams are used extensively.

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Tall wood building technologies, innovations and solutions in a new era of design and building among topics at Vancouver conference

Wood WORKS! BC
October 29, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

VANCOUVER ‐ The latest technologies, innovations and solutions in wood design and building, with a focus on a new generation of taller buildings globally, will be presented in Vancouver next week at the 2019 Wood Solutions Conference. Distinguished speakers from Canada and beyond, including the UK, Norway and the US, will inform and inspire BC’s architects, engineers and other building professionals with the latest information and expertise on wood design and building on Tuesday, November 5 at the Vancouver Convention Centre ‐ East. The annual one‐day conference is presented by Wood WORKS! BC and the Canadian Wood Council with support from Natural Resources Canada and Forestry Innovation Investment. Along with an exceptional lineup of national and international speakers, there will be an interactive trade show and many engagement opportunities with industry leaders, design innovators, product experts and project teams. 

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Multiple disciplines tackle mass timber’s challenges

By Don Procter
The Daily Commercial News
October 31, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada East, Canada

Marco Vandermaas

Leading proponents of mass timber engineering, architecture and construction recently held a workshop in downtown Toronto, examining problems and solutions to enclosures and structures in the fledgling mass timber field. Toronto architect Marco Vandermaas… Among the key points of designing mass timber projects is that the buildings have an identifiable base, middle and top. “Some of the challenges come from step-backs and how you deal with the envelope and the structure changing,” he told participants. …“Architecture is that place between science and art and that is where you can be extraordinary”. …David Moses, principal of Moses Structural Engineers… told workshop participants that while wood receives high marks for carbon sequestration, successful green designs pay attention to cladding systems as well.

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Work begins on mass timber office building at Pease

The New Hampshire Business Review
October 30, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

Ground has been broken on 90 Arboretum Drive, the first office building in New Hampshire to be built using mass timber construction. Developed by Manchester-based Farley White Interests, the 72,000-square-foot building at Pease International Tradeport was designed by SGA Architects of Boston. The building is the first Class A office building in New Hampshire to use mass timber, the developer said. ..According to Nordic Structures… wood production emits 30% less carbon dioxide than concrete or steel. …The project is being marketed by Cushman & Wakefield, whose Denis C.J. Dancoes II said… “the benefits of mass timber are becoming more and more evident to developers and office occupiers alike; healthier and more aesthetically pleasing buildings with a significantly smaller carbon footprint.”

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Södra’s Breakthrough Will Enable Large-scale Textile Recycling

By Södra Skogsägarna ekonomisk förening
Cision Newswire
October 29, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

VÄXJÖ, Sweden — “Only a negligible proportion of the global production of clothing and textiles is recycled today. Virtually everything is sent to landfill or incineration. But Swedish innovation …can now influence the game at a global level,” said Lars Idermark, President and CEO of Södra. One of the major obstacles to textile recycling is that the fabrics are often made from blended materials. Södra’s new technique can separate the cotton and polyester in polycotton blends… The pure cotton fibres are then added to our wood-derived textile pulp, which can then be used to make new textiles. “We are now …offering circular flows of textile fibres. A sweater can now become a sweater again. This will create added value for our customers, and especially the fashion industry. It’s a big day for us and an equally big day for the emerging circular bioeconomy,” said Johannes Bogren, President of Södra Cell Bioproducts. 

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The Car Is Made Of Wood

By Elizabeth Blackstock
Jalopnik
October 29, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Japan’s Ministry of the Environment has created an unprecedented supercar made entirely of wood. The entire car is composed of nano cellulose fibers, or plant-derived material (including agricultural waste) that’s one-fifth of the weight of—and five times as strong as—steel, the Ministry of the Environment notes. By using those fibers to compose most of the bodywork and part of the tub, the result is a car about half as light as your traditional one, with a ten percent overall reduction in mass. …There isn’t really any information at all out there about what kind of power source will be implemented, but the rumor is that it’ll be equipped with a hydrogen fuel cell and have a top speed of… 12 mph. So, yes, there’s some room for improvement in the powertrain.

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Olympics: Tokyo unveils 2020 venue inspired by Japanese architecture

Ahram Online
October 29, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Organisers of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics unveiled a custom-built $188 million gymnastics venue inspired by Japanese architecture that uses wood brought from around the country. The futuristic-looking Ariake Gymnastics Centre uses 2,300 cubic metres of wood and is intended to hark back to traditional building techniques that predated the use of modern materials. The structure features a gently undulating roof, with external walls constructed from lengths of cedar wood. …The building, one of a handful custom-built for the Games, “symbolises Japan’s wood culture and viewers can feel its simple beauty”, the organisers said. “We’re using a lot of wood,” venue general manager Koichi Fukui told reporters. “We can smell wood and feel the warmth of wood,” he said. Built at a cost of 20.5 billion yen, the venue features a domed ceiling constructed from Japanese larch with no steel framework and is among the largest of its kind in the world.

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Forestry

This mysterious Arctic tree stump could reveal ancient secrets

By Lindsay Jones
Maclean’s Magazine
October 29, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada

His hunting party had set out under a muted sky from Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, on the day Naikak Hakongak spotted something almost never seen on the Arctic tundra. …‘This is a tree stump!’” the 56-year-old recalls. “My first thought was ‘Wow, this is quite the strange find.’” Located on Victoria Island, Cambridge Bay is roughly 600 km above the treeline, the latitudes above which the climate is too cold for trees to survive. …Forests covered many parts of the Arctic millions of years ago, and pieces of fossilized wood have been found in Nunavut, on Bylot Island, Ellesmere Island and Axel Heiberg Island, that date back 45 million years. Robert Blanchette, a plant pathology professor at the University of Minnesota… “The wood is a link to the past, providing information about what the earth was like millions of years ago,” he said.

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Era of Megafires sparks Vernon discussion

By Jennifer Smith
Vernon Morning Star
October 30, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

British Columbia is facing severe wildfire conditions which means there is an immediate need to change how we address hazards associated with longer fire seasons and extreme conditions. …To help facilitate these discussions a free public presentation of Era of Megafires will be held at the Vernon Campus of Okanagan College Tuesday, Nov. 5 at 7 p.m. …Era of Megafires is a one hour video presentation, which will be followed by a discussion with Lind and Professor Barb Ramovs with the Department of Geography and Earth & Environmental Science at Okanagan College. “This is not just a conversation for emergency services responders and forestry professionals,” said Sue Saunders, Emergency Program Coordinator. “This is something that impacts every community member and all of us need to know the current state of our forests and how we can become resilient in the face of wildfire.”

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Okanagan College offering tuition-free training for log truck drivers

By Colin Dacre
Castanet Kelowna
October 31, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Okanagan College in Oliver is offering tuition-free training for log-truck drivers.  The professional log truck driver program will be offered at the OC Oliver campus starting Nov. 19 — a 16-week program consisting of 10 weeks of classroom training and six weeks on the road.  It’s being offered tuition-free for eligible students who: meet the definition of an “EI client”, are eligible for WorkBC Case Management and who have been referred by a WorkBC Case Manager, and who possess a valid driver’s license. “This program was designed by the BC Forest Safety Council in consultation with log truck and truck harvesting advisory group members across the province,” said Dennis Silvestrone, director of continuing studies and corporate training.

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Sudbury’s acid-damaged lakes have recovered faster than expected, experts say

By Colleen Romaniuk
Northern Ontario Business
October 30, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

Sudbury’s acid-damaged lakes have made a faster recovery than experts thought possible.  According to John Gunn, director of the Vale Living with Lakes Centre at Laurentian University, this is “proof positive that clean air produces clean water.” Since the U.S. Clean Air Act of 1990, a lot of research has been done on a national and international level on the recovery process of severely damaged lakes. Researchers have done a lot to investigate the different factors that go into that recovery. …Gunn and his team have also discovered that the recovering forest population has also positively impacted our bodies of water.  One of the reasons is that trees slow down the wind so the warm surface water doesn’t get mixed into the depths of the lake.  The forest also sheds leaves and branches around the lake. This debris creates what Gunn calls “forest tea” in the water. 

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‘Conservation is a priority,’ minister tells skeptics of land protection plan

By Shane Fowler
CBC News
October 30, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

Mike Holland

Conservation groups and environmentalists are applauding the provincial government’s plan to more than double the amount of protected land in New Brunswick, but the initiative has its skeptics. New Brunswick currently preserves around 4.6 per cent of its land, but plans to increase that to 10 per cent by the end of next year.  Despite recent calls for this exact policy, critics were caught off guard by the announcement, made Monday, and have been vocal about waiting for the other shoe to drop — specifically in the form of future concessions to major industrial forestry companies. …Mike Holland, minister of natural resources and energy development, said there’s no deal with industry to offset the conservation plan with any other kind of incentive. “This is a conservation announcement,” he said. “It was meant to enhance, improve, and increase the conservation footprint of the province of New Brunswick.”  

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Town hall shines spotlight on Roadless Rule

By Ari Snider
KCAW Raven Radio
October 30, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

More than 50 people turned out Tuesday night for a town hall meeting on the Roadless Rule organized by the Sitka Conservation Society. The Trump Administration has proposed exempting Alaska from the 2001 rule designed to protect large swaths of public land from further development and resource extraction.  Critics of the proposal believe that a full exemption would lead to increased old-growth logging on the Tongass National Forest. The town hall was designed to bring people up to speed on the current debate over the rule, answer questions about Forest Service land management practices, and demonstrate how to craft an effective public comment.  Everyone who spoke at the event was in favor of preserving the Roadless Rule in some form or another. Zach LaPerriere, a woodworker and small-scale logger, said he doesn’t support the current timber industry model of shipping unprocessed trees abroad.

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What Happens To Soil Microbes After Wildfire?

By Linh Anh Cat
Forbes Magazine
October 30, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

California’s fire season is in full force. …Many people are concerned about what happens to animals during a wildfire. What exactly happens to the microbes during wildfire? Soil microbes are key to maintaining soil health and these benefits can change the flora and fauna that recolonize the burn area after a fire. Here are three ways fires change the ecology of soil microbes and how this then impacts humans: Edible morel mushrooms thrive after fire. …However, if fires are extremely hot (due to fire suppression or drought), they will sterilize the top layer of soil. …Sometimes, microbes produce a highly toxic compound called methylmercury.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Will Canada ever learn from California’s wildfires?

By Glenn McGillivray, managing director, Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction
The Globe and Mail
October 30, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada

Large swaths of California are once again ablaze… an omen portending a future that will see bigger and faster-moving wildfires… And this, say fire experts, is a bad sign for Canada’s west, which has already seen a doubling of area burned since the early 1970s, and is projected to see another doubling – possibly a tripling – by the end of the century. …We are fortunate to have an organization called the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre (CIFFC), whose primary job is to coordinate the sharing of forest-fire-fighting resources among the provinces and, sometimes, between countries. The well-conceived and well-run service provided by CIFFC goes a long way to filling gaps that arise when provincial resources are pushed to the max by overly active wildfire seasons, such as those experienced in B.C. in 2017 and 2018 and Alberta this year. But much more will have to be done.

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Climate action gets new teeth with accountability act

By Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy
Government of British Columbia
October 30, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

Better accountability, transparency and more detailed targets for climate action will be mandated under a new Climate Change Accountability Act. “We’re committed to meeting our climate targets and making sure our CleanBC plan gets us to where we need to go – that means being honest and transparent about our progress to make sure people can determine we’re on the right track,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. …To make sure the Province is on track for long-term legislated emissions reductions, government will be required to set an interim emissions target on the path to the legislated 2030 target – which is 40% in greenhouse gas reductions below 2007 levels. Separate 2030 sectoral targets will also be established following engagement with stakeholders, Indigenous peoples and communities throughout the province. This will make sure carbon pollution is reduced effectively across B.C.’s economy, homes, workplaces and transportation choices.

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Saving the forest and the trees: Charity buys woman’s old-growth Acadian forest

By Tori Weldon
CBC News
October 31, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada East, Canada

NEW BRUNSWICK — A charity based in Sackville is buying an old-growth forest in Cambridge-Narrows that has been in environmentalist Robena Weatherly’s family for generations. Community Forest International bought the 350-acre property (about 141 hectares) through its carbon offset program. Weatherly still has the original land grant given to her great-great-great-grandfather, neatly written on yellowed paper. It’s dated 1812. …CFI is a non-profit that works to protect forests. It developed a carbon offsetting program that essentially sees businesses pay the group to preserve old-growth forests.

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John Day biomass plant preparing for production

By Rudy Diaz
The Bend Bulletin
October 28, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

New jobs are on the horizon with the completion of the torrefaction plant expected at the end of the year. Matt Krumenauer, CEO of Restoration Fuels, said the plant that will turn forest biomass into a product that can be burned for fuel plans to be in production in 2020. All of the equipment is in place. The boiler system will begin running by mid-November, Krumenauer said, and the rest of the system will be in production at the start of 2020. The first three months of 2020 will focus on startup and commissioning in preparation for the plant to work at one-third capacity for the rest of the year, a common process that assures production goes well when the plant works at full capacity in 2021, he said. At full capacity, the plant is expected to produce 80,000-90,000 tons of torrefied wood in a year.

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Climate emissions from tropical forest damage ‘underestimated by a factor of six’

By Graham Readfearn
The Guardian
October 31, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Greenhouse gas emissions caused by damage to tropical rainforests around the world are being underestimated by a factor of six, according to a new study. Research led by the University of Queensland finds the climate impact of selective logging, outright clearing and fire in tropical rainforests between 2000 and 2013 was underestimated by 6.53bn tonnes of CO2. The numbers are likely conservative, and also did not include emissions from other woodlands or the massive boreal forests in the high latitudes of the northern hemisphere. Study co-author professor James Watson said: “We have been treating forests as pretty one-dimensional, but we know degradation impacts carbon. The bottom line is that we knew the numbers would be big, but we were shocked at just how big.”

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Finland fights to keep control of forests away from EU

By Elana Sanchez Nicolas
The EU Observer
October 30, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Finland, which currently holds the EU’s presidency until the end of the year, is lobbying to keep forestry a national competency – undermining a key part of the EU’s climate efforts to reduce emissions. The EU considers land use and forestry two of the most important sectors for the bloc’s climate policy – as they include the use of soils, trees, plants, biomass, and timber. Bearing in mind the climate targets for 2030 and 2050, the European Union designed a regulation for land use and forestry, adopted in 2018, to ensure that the accounted total emissions in the sector do not exceed the ‘accounted sinks’ – also known as “no-debit” rule. However, the Finnish committees of agriculture and forestry, economy and environment, in agreement with the government in Helsinki, rejected this updated framework last week.

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Forest Fires

Wildfire erupts near Reagan library in Southern California

By Marcio Sanches and Gregory Bull
Associated Press in Herald and News
October 30, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States

SIMI VALLEY, Calif. — A new wildfire erupted Wednesday in wind-whipped Southern California, forcing the evacuation of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and nearby homes, as both ends of the state struggled with blazes, dangerously gusty weather and deliberate blackouts. The brush fire broke out just before dawn in the Simi Valley area north of Los Angeles and grew to more than 400 acres (162 hectares). They gave no immediate estimate of how many people were ordered to leave. …Meanwhile, frustration and anger mounted across Northern California as Pacific Gas & Electric Co., undertook its third round of sweeping blackouts in a week, hoping to prevent its electrical equipment from toppling or coming into contact with branches and sparking fires. …The National Weather Service issued an extreme red flag warning for high winds for much of Southern California through Thursday evening, with some gusts expected to reach 80 mph (130 kph). 

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22 Oregon wildfires sparked by dry winds and timber slash burns

By Zach Urness
Salem Statesman Journal
October 30, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

Twenty-two wildfires were sparked Tuesday and Wednesday by high winds and dry conditions across northern Oregon. Four of the wildfires grew to larger sizes, including blazes near Detroit, Gates, Molalla and Sheridan, according to the Oregon Department of Forestry.  Fire teams are actively fighting the blazes, but none have threatened structures or led to road closures at this time, officials said. The fires are officially under investigation, but the suspected cause in the majority of cases is that old slash burns — typically woody debris from logging operations — that were kicked up by the high and dry conditions.  “The majority would have been slash piles lit previously, sometimes weeks ago, when conditions were good for burning,” Oregon Department of Forestry spokeswoman Bobbi Doan said. “Burning slash piles wasn’t allowed yesterday and today.”

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Photos: Wildfires batter northern, southern California, exploding in size

The Missoulian
October 29, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

A wildfire on Los Angeles’ wealthy west side destroyed several homes and forced thousands to flee early Monday, while a blaze in Northern California wine country has exploded in size.

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