Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: October 16, 2019

Today’s Takeaway

Softwood production stable in US, drops sharply in Canada

The Tree Frog Forestry News
October 16, 2019
Category: Today's Takeaway

In the first seven months of 2019, softwood lumber production was stable in the US but down 10% in Canada (19% in BC). In related news: lumber prices lost ground last week, US building material costs were down in September, and Trump/China deal doesn’t do much for US hardwood producers.

In other Business news: Tolko’s Kelowna mill workers still in limbo; Structurlam a bright spot for BC forestry jobs; Vancouver Island forestry strike not as crippling as it used to be, EACOM makes railway contingency plans in Ontario, and Port Hawkesbury paper gets interim power rate from Nova Scotia’s regulator.

Finally, Trump expands logging in Alaska’s Tongass, and Canadian politicos voice their climate positions.

Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Business & Politics

Stable softwood lumber production in U.S.; Canadian output drops sharply

Global Wood Markets Info
October 14, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

U.S. sawmills produced 20.687 billion board ft. (bbf) of softwood lumber in the first seven months of 2019, edging down 0.1% from 20.705 bbf a year earlier. Western U.S. sawmills accounted for 8.416 bbf of the seven-month total, down 1.7% from 8.561 bbf in the same period of 2018, while sawmills in the southern U.S. contributed 11.298 bbf, up 1.2% from 11.169 bbf in the previous year. …In Canada, softwood lumber production in the first seven months was 14.720 bbf, a 10.1% year-over-year decline from 16.371 bbf. Of that total, sawmills in British Columbia contributed 6.104 bbf, an 18.9% decline from 7.523 bbf in the first seven months of last year. …In July alone, Canada’s softwood production was 1.871 bbf, down 14.2% from last year’s 2.180 bbf, and down 7.4% from 2.020 bbf in June 2019. …U.S. production as a percentage of practical capacity averaged 83% in the first seven months, down from the average in the same period last year of 86%, while the percentage in Canada dropped to 80% from 89%.

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Pellet plant noise mitigation moves forward

By Trevor Hewitt
The Interior News
October 16, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

After a number of complaints made against Pinnacle Pellet by residents who live near the wood pellet plant, the company is taking action. At the Oct. 8 Smithers council meeting, Coun. Casda Thomas said she had a chance to attend an Oct. 1 meeting held by the company and made open to residents. …Thomas said the meeting seemed respectful and like a productive session, adding she felt it was good Pinnacle had an opportunity to explain to concerned community members what they’ve been doing to mitigate excess noise coming from the property. …Pinnacle’s plant’s General Manager of Operations Jeff Johnston had previously told The Interior News the company is currently looking at both alternative grinder designs as well as ideal on-site locations with the overall goal of lowering volume for surrounding areas.

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Bright spot for forestry jobs – A South Okanagan mill is growing as others close, struggle

By Chelsea Powrie
Castanet News
October 16, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

A hard year of lumber mills closing and curtailing operations all around B.C.’s Interior has left hundreds without work, but the South Okanagan’s Structurlam is growing and hiring.  “We are welcoming those people when they do show up,” CEO Hardy Wentzel said of out-of-work millworkers.” …Wentzel says the call for manufactured wood products has skyrocketed in recent years, which is a switch from traditional lumber needs. “The supply and demand balance is more tilted toward us,” he said.  In March, premier John Horgan announced changes to the B.C. building code to allow mass timber buildings up to 12 storeys in height at the Structurlam facility in Okanagan Falls. Wentzel said that announcement has not yet translated into a spike in orders for their product, but he anticipates it soon will. 

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Gilbert Smith Forest Products Ltd. donate 669 year old cedar for Skeetchestn carving

By Jill Hayward
BC Local News
October 16, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Skeetchestn Indian Band, in cooperation with the Canadian Ministry for Women and Gender Equality have officially launched a significant sculpture project led by artist Vaughn Warren of Kamloops, BC …Gilbert Smith Forest Products of Barriere graciously donated a massive red cedar log for the sculpture. …GSFP President Greg Smith stated the wood is from the Adams River area near Tum Tum Lake and is a Western Red Cedar. Asked what he thought the value of the giant log would be, he replied “priceless”. …Nicole Huber and Aidan Coyles, took time after the presentation to count the rings on the log. The rings totaled an amazing 669 years!

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“Being in limbo is very tough”: Tolko mill workers describe impact of indefinite shutdown

By Klaudia Van Emmerik
Global News
October 15, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Dallas Rippel has worked at Tolko’s mill in Kelowna for more than 20 years. His friend and co-worker, Randy Doering, has worked there even longer. …The two are among dozens of workers now off the job due to the mill’s indefinite closure that was announced in mid-September. “Being in limbo is very tough to move on,” Rippel said. That’s because the closure is, at this point, indefinite — not permanent. “Finding another job and knowing we have to go back with 72-hour notice will be a tough one, especially trying to get on somewhere else then having to be called back if we do start up again,” Rippel said. “We want answers, we want to know what’s going to happen.” …“This is a catastrophe for our province,” Doering said.

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New book spotlights the Sikh pioneer who created B.C.’s largest independent lumber company

CBC News
October 14, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Asa Johal, a Sikh immigrant and former labourer, overcame many obstacles to find success in the B.C. forest industry, according to a new book.  Asa Johal and Terminal Forest Products, by Jinder Oujla-Chalmers, tells the story of the young man from the time he was brought to British Columbia from India as a toddler with his mother in 1924.  Johal, along with his parents and seven brothers and sisters, saw the hardships his father faced as one of the country’s early South Asian immigrants, Oujla-Chalmers told host Gloria Macarenko on CBC’s On The Coast. …Johal had to reckon with the predominately white-owned and white-run forestry giants of British Columbia, and logistical challenges like getting access to logs.  Oujla-Chalmers says it was a combination of entrepreneurial ability and timing that led Johal to finally creating the largest privately-owned and operated lumber manufacturing facility on Canada’s West Coast.

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North Island-Powell River, where people learn to live without

By Jack Knox
The Times-Colonist
October 15, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West
 

Sharon Batch

…Frankly, this has been a rough year at the top end of the Island. Dotting the highway north of Campbell River are the makeshift shelters where Western Forest Products workers huddle around picket-line campfires — 3,000 of them have been on strike since Canada Day. Forty years ago, a forestry strike would have paralyzed the Island, been front-page news every day. That was the era when a union leader like the thundering Jack Munro was as well known as any premier, and when forestry was so dominant that premiers felt obliged to wade into industry affairs.  …Even in Sayward, a forestry strike isn’t as crippling as it once would have been. The nature of the place has changed. …Port Alice has been reeling since the Neucel cellulose mill, which employed 400, went dormant in February 2015. Woss was already suffering when its logging railway was decommissioned.

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Forestry’s future focus of Conservation North meeting

By Dawn Hemingway, Stand for the North Committee
Prince George Daily News
October 14, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Michelle Connolly

Enough is Enough was the banner headline advertising a meeting on the future of forestry, forest renewal and community well-being, organized by Conservation North, in Prince George on October 10. … The first speaker of the evening was Stand Up for the North spokesperson, Peter Ewart, who highlighted the fact that we have “a talented and skilled workforce … as well as supportive communities and institutes of higher learning.” …James Steidle, known for his leadership role in Stop the Spray BC (organizing to bring attention to and stop indiscriminate glyphosate spraying on forests in the B.C. interior), spoke next. …The final speaker was Michelle Connolly from Conservation North who began by drawing attention to current efforts by big forest companies to gain access to public lands, including logging provincial parks as part of increasing their fibre supply. …Many participants also took advantage of the computers provided to send messages through to the government consultation process.

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The need for community control of our forests

By Peter Ewart
The Prince George Daily News
October 12, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Peter Ewart

As is well known, the state of the forest industry and the forests themselves in BC has deteriorated in the last 20 years, a culmination of longstanding bad policies and practices.  Big corporations have shut down dozens of mills devastating workers and communities across the province. …The forests are unhealthy, plagued by insect infestations, decimation of old growth trees, poor planting practices, environmental deregulation, and so on. …However, despite these serious problems, forestry in B.C. still has great potential. …The modern world needs renewable B.C. wood, not only for lumber, but also for the thousands of potential by-products and uses. …But control over the forests must shift from the near powerless state of communities today to one in which communities play the major role in decisions. …To accomplish these objectives, we need a new direction for forestry and new forms and mechanisms of democratic community governance. 

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Huron Central Railway – contingency plans – trucker shortage

By Rosalind Russell
My Espanola Now
October 15, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

Two local area companies that rely heavily on rail have contingency plans in place if the Huron Central Railway is shut down next year. Both Domtar in Espanola and EACOM in Nairn Centre rely on the spur for moving raw materials and finished products and both hope the parent company can find a long-term solution to rehabilitating the line with the help of governments. EACOM’s Director of Public Affairs, Christine Leduc says they will have to use trucks as an alternative, but there is a major problem with that since there is a shortage of truckers, not only in Canada but across North America. Meanwhile, Bonnie Skene of Domtar says… they are making every effort to ensure customers are not affected.

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Regulator sets dates for Port Hawkesbury Paper power rate hearing, gives interim approval to proposal

By Nancy King
The Cape Breton Post
October 15, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

SYDNEY, Nova Scotia — The provincial regulator has approved on an interim basis a proposed new power rate for Port Hawkesbury Paper and set dates for a hearing where a final determination on the tariff will be made. Port Hawkesbury Paper and Nova Scotia Power Inc. have filed an application with the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board for a new electricity rate for the mill, the utility’s largest single customer. …Because the current load retention rate paid by the papermaker is due to expire at the end of the year, the mill and utility asked the board to grant the new rate on an interim basis beginning Jan. 1. The board has granted that, pending a final decision being made. Under the proposed rate, NSPI would have more authority to scale back or ramp up the mill’s power usage.

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Trump and China reach verbal agreement; Oct. 15 tariffs off the table

By Robert Dalheim
Woodworking Network
October 15, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, International

WASHINGTON – Late last week, President Trump said a “phase one” trade agreement has been reached with China. That means the scheduled October 15 tariff hikes – which would have seen them raised from 25 to 30 percent – will no longer occur. In return, Trump said China says has agreed to buy up to $50 billion in U.S. agricultural goods. …U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said both parties have a “fundamental agreement on key issues.” Anonymous sources told Bloomberg however, that the $50 billion worth of agriculture products is unlikely to be met. Both sides are working on a deal for next month’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Chile. If a deal still can’t be reached, the planned December 15 tariff hike will happen. …U.S. exports of hardwood lumber to China have fallen 40 percent so far this year.

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The Cost of Building the American Dream

By Mike Albanese
The M Report
October 14, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reported that prices paid for materials used in residential construction fell 0.3% in September, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Producer Price Index (PPI).  Prices have fallen by an average of 0.1% per month over the last year, and the price of materials used to build homes has increased 1.7% in 2019—the slowest year-to-date growth through September since 2015. …The slowing of price growth for building materials could be seen as positive news, as a report by the NAHB earlier this year that increasing regulatory costs, the shortage of construction workers, tariffs on $10 billion worth of building materials, and concerns over housing finance have impacted housing affordability.

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NewLife Forest Products hosts official ground breaking for Windfall Mill

By Wendy Howell
Williams News
October 15, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

WILLIAMS, Ariz. — NewLife Forest Products, LLC held an official ground breaking ceremony for Windfall Sawmill, a new mill on Garland Prairie Road. According to officials with NewLife, the mill … will be one of the most technologically advanced mills in the Southwest. … Jason Rosamond, Adam Cooley, Tom Loushin and other New Life Forest Products employees gave an overview of the sawmill and answered questions from the attendees. …Cooley said the company wants to get the forest restoration moving along, but until the sawmill project is built the wood can’t be processed. …FEC Logging USA Holdings, LLC, owns NewLife Forest Products and Good Earth Power AZ, LLC. Good Earth Power AZ LLC holds the nation’s largest U.S. Forest Service stewardship contract to treat 300,000 acres as part of the Four Forest Restoration Initiative (4FRI).

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Trump administration proposes expanding logging in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest

By Juliet Eilperin
The Washington Post
October 15, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

The Trump administration Tuesday proposed allowing logging on more than half of Alaska’s 16.7 million-acre Tongass National Forest, the largest intact temperate rainforest in North America. President Trump instructed federal officials to reverse long-standing limits on tree cutting at the request of Alaska’s top elected officials, on the grounds that it will boost the local economy. But critics say that protections under the “roadless rule,” finalized just before President Bill Clinton left office in 2001, are critical to protecting the region’s lucrative salmon fishery and tourism operations. …The Forest Service had initially planned to make more-modest changes to nearly 9.5 million acres where roads are prohibited. Under the administration’s “preferred alternative,” that entire area would be open for development. Congress has designated another 5.7 million acres of the forest as wilderness, which must remain off limits to such activities under any circumstances.

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White House moves to undo ban on logging in Alaska forest

By Tim Ryan
The Missoula Current
October 15, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

WASHINGTON – Aiming to open up the country’s largest national forest to logging operations, the Trump administration on Tuesday announced plans to roll back federal protections on Alaska’s Tongass National Forest. …That proposal would designate some 185,000 acres of the Tongass National Forest as suitable for timber production and remove 9.2 million acres in total from the roadless rule’s protections. …Opponents of the rule as it currently exists say it locks off too much valuable land from development, limiting economic growth across a vast swath of the southeastern portion of the state. But environmental groups say the Tongass is a critical natural habitat and bulwark against climate change that must be protected from logging and other forms of development. …The proposal now faces a 60-day public comment period, after which time the administration will revise and publish a final version of the rule, an action.

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FOR/Maine Coalition Awarded $1.1M to Implement Ambitious Plan to Grow Maineʼs Forest Economy to $12B by 2025

By Shawn Cunningham
WAGM TV Maine
October 16, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

Washington DC– The U.S. Department of Commerce has awarded a $1.1-million Economic Development Administration grant to the University of Maine to continue to support the FOR/Maine coalition as they implement their ambitious plan to stabilize, diversify and grow Maine’s forest economy by 40% over the next 5 years. The grant will be matched with $499,000 in state funds and $278,608 in local funds. …Building on the nearly $1 billion of recent and announced capital investment in traditional wood products, Phase II of FOR/Maine will focus on sustaining that momentum, commercializing new uses of wood, and establishing Maine as a global center of wood technology innovation. 

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Finance & Economics

Benchmark softwood lumber price loses ground, specialty item prices tank

By Madison’s Lumber Reporter
Lesprom Network
October 15, 2019
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, United States

The price of benchmark construction framing dimension softwood lumber commodity Western Spruce-Pine-Fir KD 2×4 #2&Btr dropped another -$8 last week as customer reluctance to buy won over supplier stubbornness to keep prices higher. …Last week’s price is also -$8 less than it was one month ago. For their part, many specialty items like Douglas fir green, studs in Eastern Canada, and plywood dropped significantly

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Forestry

Wanted: 5,500 people who will plant trees to revitalize B.C. forests

By Travis Lupick
The Georgia Straight
October 15, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

It’s been a tough few years for B.C. forests. During the 2018 fiscal year, B.C. experienced 2,117 wildfires that collectively burned 1.4 million hectares. The year before, there were 1,353 wildfires in B.C. and 1.2 million hectares lost. Both 2017 and 2018 set records for hectares burned by significant margins. …Hoping to help our forests make a comeback, the Western Forestry Contractors’ Association (WFCA) has increased its annual goals for trees-planted and issued a call for more tree planters. “Going from this year’s 270-million seedlings to estimates as high as 318-million seedlings next year may be one of the largest volume leaps in the industry’s 50-year history,” says WRCA. …”It’s going to be a challenge for sure,” Timo Scheiber, CEO of Brinkman Reforestation, said quoted by CBC News. “A lot more trees coming to market this year than past years.” If you’re looking for a side hustle this year, why not plant trees?  contact WFCA for more information.

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Rural Dividend Program $25 million reallocation and cancellation impacts 330 applications

By monica Lamb-Yorski
The Williams Lake Tribune
October 15, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Donna Barnett

It is unacceptable the approximate 330 applications for this round of Rural Dividend Program funding have been cancelled, said MLA Donna Barnett. “This program was put in place when I was the Minister of State for Rural Development,” Barnett said. “The pine beetle coalitions at the time made a presentation to government at UBCM asking for a rural development ministry, strategy and funding for rural development. “We put this in place to help communities get projects going and help diversify economies. The program has been well received.” A spokesperson for the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development confirmed the plan is to reallocate $25 million from this year’s Rural Dividend Program intake to provide support to workers and families impacted by mill closures and curtailments.

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Telkwa talks about trees, upcoming events and enforcing bylaws

By Marisca Bakker
BC Local News
October 16, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

…A letter from the Wilderness Committee regarding the protection of old growth forests was sent to Telkwa Council. It called on municipal governments to influence public opinion and champion to save old growth forests…stating they are critical to Indigenous cultures, provide habitat … and anchor B.C.’s tourism industry. Mayor Brad Layton said he personally didn’t support this. “My concern, more than protecting ancient forests because we do have a lot tied up with The Great Bear Rainforest, TweedsMuir, and other national and provincial parks, there is a continual erosion on our working force. We are getting to the point where pretty soon we won’t have any of that left because we are turning everything into protection.” Councillor Rick Fuerst echoed his remarks. “We are seeing these groups rear their heads again…” he said. “It’s true, we have a significant amount of our old growth in protected areas now… I’m not willing to support this either.”

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3 Cowichan salmon projects get $7,400 grants

Cowichan Valley Citizen
October 15, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Pacific Salmon Foundation announced it contributed more than $7,400 for three wild salmon restoration projects in Duncan last summer. The funds came from the Foundation’s Community Salmon Program and were underwritten by Mosaic Forest Management, the timberland manager for TimberWest and Island Timberlands. “The volunteers and First Nations groups we support in Duncan have worked tirelessly to restore and protect the Cowichan and Koksilah — two important salmon rivers,” said Michael Meneer, president and CEO of the Foundation. …“Community-based groups, like the Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre are undertaking highly effective salmon conservation and habitat rehabilitation work. Together with the Pacific Salmon Foundation, we’re proud to support these groups to improve the health and vitality of our rivers and forests,” said Jeff Zweig, president and CEO of Mosaic Forest Management, which has contributed more than $1 million over the past two decades for salmon habitat conservation projects on Vancouver Island.

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DEMO International® 2020 Heads to the Nation’s Capital!

DEMO International
October 15, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

The Board of Directors of the Canadian Woodlands Forum is proud to officially announce that its flagship event, DEMO International®, will be held outside the Ottawa/Gatineau area, Canada, on September 24-26, 2020. SBC Cedar with sawmills in Quebec and New Brunswick will host the event on a property in Venosta, Quebec, located within a forty-five minute drive north along the Gatineau River. This world class event, occurring only every four years, will mark the 14th edition of DEMO International. During the course of its 50 year history, DEMO International has evolved into one of North America’s largest and unique ‘live, in-woods’ forestry equipment shows. 

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Conservationists seek protection of California Joshua trees

Associated Press in News 3 Los Vegas
October 16, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

LOS ANGELES — A conservation organization has petitioned for protection of the western Joshua tree under the California Endangered Species Act due to the effects of climate change and habitat destruction. The Center for Biological Diversity filed the petition with the state Fish and Game Commission on Tuesday. The request comes amid rising concern about the future of the distinctive trees with spikey leaves that have come to symbolize the Mojave Desert and draw throngs to Joshua Tree National park. The petition asks that the western Joshua tree be given “threatened” status under the act, meaning it is likely to become an endangered species in the foreseeable future in the absence of the special protection and management efforts. END

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Spanish coders harness tech to track health risks for firefighters

By Megan Rowling
Reuters in the Vancouver Sun
October 15, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

BARCELONA – As fires gobble up forests from California to the Amazon, a small team of volunteers based in Barcelona is hoping to deploy cutting-edge technology at home and further afield to protect the health of those on the frontline: the firefighters. After winning a global coding challenge backed by tech giant IBM in New York last weekend, they will … deploy more widely their open-source application, named Prometeo after the Greek god of fire Prometheus. The system uses artificial intelligence and the internet of things to help keep firefighters safe using a device the size of a smartphone that is strapped to their arms. It has sensors that monitor temperature, smoke concentration and humidity in real-time, and can send color-coded alerts via a Cloud platform to command centers. That information can then be used to pull firefighters out if the situation gets too dangerous, as well as tracking their long-term exposure.

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University of Canterbury professor wins award for carbon forestry research

By University of Canterbury
Scoop Independent News
October 16, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

The University of Canterbury’s Head of the School of Forestry, Professor Bruce Manley, has won a Forestry Science Award for his dedication to, and leadership within, forestry research, and his innovative work on carbon forestry. Professor Manley has led research groups responsible for the initial research on carbon capture by planted forests and analysis of commercial forest resource quality. Instrumental in the wider adoption of estate-modelling techniques for forest planning, he regularly advises government on policy related to his research interests. Forestry Minister Shane Jones presented the award to Professor Manley at Parliament at an event marking the State Forest Service’s centenary. …A career highlight has been research on the lifecycle of harvested wood products, Professor Manley says.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

ELECTION 2019: Climates strikes push environment to top of mind for federal leaders

By Katya Slepian
Black Press Media
October 16, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada

If elected, Justin Trudeau’s Liberals are promising a series of legally binding environmental regulations to bring in net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. …Looking far into the future, the party says it will put any money generated by the sale or construction of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion towards a transition to clean energy. …Andrew Scheer’s Conservatives have pledged to scrap the carbon tax, and instead bring in standards for major emitters. Companies will be required to invest “a set amount” for every excess tonne of greenhouse gas they emit, to go toward research for emissions reduction in their industry. …Jagmeet Singh’s NDP is vowing to reduce emissions by 450,000 megatonnes by 2030 and continue carbon pricing. …Elizabeth May’s Greens… vow to cut carbon emissions to 60 per cent by 2030 and hit net-zero by 2050, continue carbon pricing, and cancel the Trans Mountain expansion.

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