Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: October 17, 2019

Today’s Takeaway

US housing market firming amid low mortgage rates and steady demand

The Tree Frog Forestry News
October 17, 2019
Category: Today's Takeaway

US home construction data for September suggests the US housing market is firming amid low mortgage rates and steady demand. In related news: 93% of new homes built in 2018 were wood framed; and the potential US-China trade deal may be too late for hardwood producers. Meanwhile, Hazelton BC wants more information on the Gitxsan pellet plant proposal; and Smartlam reverses direction on CLT plans for Maine.

In Forestry news: BC calls for caribou habitat restoration projects; Montreal battles the emerald ash borer; BC’s approach to the spruce beetle panned; California’s blackouts called outrageous; Oregon’s forestry petition rejections puzzle; and critics speak in favour of Alaska’s roadless rule, as the USDA seeks comment on the propose changes.

Finally, trees that survived California drought may help with climate resilience.

Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Business & Politics

Proposed Pellet Plant by Gitxsan Development Corporation

Letter to the Editor
BC Local News
October 16, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

We have concerns regarding the proposed torrefied pellet plant for South Hazelton by Gitxsan Development Corp. We encourage local development and jobs, but question many unknowns. With only two community engagement sessions, not many people understand the scope of this project, its new and unproven technology, unprecedented scale, and 24 hours, 365 days operation. …We requested an extension to the comment period on the Environmental Protection Notice of Sept. 5, 2019. Also we requested an Environmental Assessment. The project plans to use wood waste, but whole logs are used by Smithers and other pellet plants. Clear cutting is not sustainable, and logging slash transport is costly. We need objective scientific studies, not assurances.

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Early-morning drier fire quickly extinguished in Quesnel

The Quesnel Cariboo Observer
October 16, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

An early-morning fire at West Fraser’s West Pine MDF Plant was extinguished without much difficulty on Wednesday. Quesnel Fire Department chief Sylvain Gauthier says the blaze started in one of the plant’s industrial driers. “It was confined to the drier itself,” he adds, “so it didn’t [spread] anywhere.” Gauthier says the plant’s sprinkler system took care of the fire within the drier, and the few flames that escaped were quickly put out by the plant’s personnel who were on the scene. The fire department responded with two fire engines.

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Candidates tackle forestry issue at recent forum in North Thompson

BC Local News
October 17, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo candidates tackled the issues surrounding the Interior’s forest industry at an All Candidates Forum in Clearwater last week. Though forestry is a provincial issue, candidates were asked if the federal government has a role to play in mitigating the impacts facing the hard-hit industry, with all those present agreeing both levels of government need to be at the table to address the situation. Iain Currie of the Green Party was the first to speak on the topic, noting the Greens are proposing a national forest strategy and said the way resources are viewed needs to change. …Conservative candidate, Cathy McLeod, noted the lack of response from the Liberal government on the issue and gave some suggestions on how to address the troubles in the industry. …Terry Lake of the Liberal Party mentioned a number of things that contributed to the situation facing the forest industry, including the pine beetle, extreme wildfire seasons and stumpage fees.

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U.S. hardwood industry disintegrates from trade war with China

By Jean Lotus
UPI.com
October 17, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, International

A possible trade deal with China announced last week might not be broad enough to save U.S. hardwood timber companies from layoffs, cutbacks and closings, industry sources say. Chinese tariffs slapped on exports of red oak, walnut and other hardwoods have cut almost 50 percent of the revenue in the industry since 2017. …Even if the trade dispute is close to resolution, as the White House announced Friday, the damage already might be done, the council’s Pryor said. Buyers in China are turning to Russian birch and aspen providers, as well as West African illegal exports, Pryor said. “Once [buyers] have those sources of hardwoods, they will be awfully hard to get back,” he said. …In 2018, after soybeans, hardwood lumber was the largest export product to China by value.

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Lumber Manufacturer Announces Alabama Facility, 100 New Jobs

ThomasNet News
October 17, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

Texas wood products manufacturer Conner Industries last week announced plans to open another new manufacturing plant next month. The newly announced facility in Montgomery, Alabama, is scheduled to open November 1 and slated to create more than 100 jobs over the next year. It will be the third new facility added to the company’s operations this year. …The Montgomery plant will integrate RoseMill’s packaging products, which include combinations of wood, corrugate, plastic, and foam materials. …Conner produces lumber, pallets, crates, and other packaging products. The company currently operates 12 facilities in the U.S., including its headquarters in Fort Worth.

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Boston Cedar and National Industrial Lumber Company now known as US Lumber

The LBM Journal
October 16, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

Boston Cedar and National Industrial Lumber Company (NILCO) locations are now known as U.S. Lumber. The change went into effect Oct. 1. Boston Cedar and U.S. Lumber announced a merger in the spring of 2016. NILCO was acquired by U.S. Lumber in Sept. 2017. U.S. Lumber itself was created by a merger of the Atlantic Trading Company and Bestwood Forest Products. The company is headquartered in the Atlanta, Georgia area. [END]

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A Montana firm pledged $22M to build a factory in Maine. It still hasn’t come through.

By Charles Eichacker
The Bangor Daily News
October 17, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

A Montana company has not followed through on its plans to build a $22 million factory in Maine that would produce a composite wood building material and create 100 jobs. In February 2018, SmartLam North America, announced that it was committed to building a factory in Maine within 18 months and had narrowed down its search for a site to two locations that it did not specify. …But in June, SmartLam informed the Maine Technology Institute that it could not go forward with the project as planned and was surrendering the grant funding, according to Brian Whitney, the institute’s president. The $3 million grant was not disbursed, and the institute now plans to seek new proposals for the funds in late 2019 or early 2020. …Now… LignaTerra Global LLC of North Carolina, is on pace to build the first such factory in Maine. 

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Finance & Economics

US housing market firming amid low mortgage rates and steady demand

By Reade Pickert
Bloomberg Economics
October 17, 2019
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, United States

US new-home construction in September pulled back from a 12-year high though the key single-family category was stable, signaling the housing market is firming amid low mortgage rates and steady demand. Residential starts fell 9.4% to a 1.26 million annualized rate on weakness in the multifamily category after an upwardly revised 1.39 million pace in the prior month. …Permits, a proxy for future construction, dropped 2.7% to a 1.39 million rate that exceeded estimates.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Framing Methods for Single-Family Homes: 2018

By Robert Dietz
NAHB – Eye on Housing
October 11, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States

Wood framing remains the most dominant construction method for single-family homes in the U.S., according to NAHB analysis of Census Bureau data. For 2018 completions, 93% of new homes were wood-framed. Another 7% were concrete homes, and less than half a percent were steel-framed. These shares have remained fairly stable over the last five years. In absolute terms, 778,000 single-family homes were completed in 2018 and had wood frames. Concrete homes totaled 59,000 in 2018.  This was down from 62,000 in 2017, but represented a 311% gain from the 2011 total of 19,000. Steel-framed homes totaled 3,000 in 2018. Non-wood based framing methods are primarily concentrated in the South due to resiliency requirements. For 2018, 98% of concrete framed homes were built in the South. Approximately two-thirds of steel framed homes built in 2018 were located in the South, with another one-third in the West. [END]

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Work Begins on Virginia’s Tallest Timber Building

By Gail Kalinoski
The Commercial Property Executive
October 16, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

Apex Clean Energy, a developer and operator of wind energy and solar power facilities across North America, will be the anchor tenant of a new eight-story office building in downtown Charlottesville, Va. The property will feature sustainable features including a mass timber structure and integrated renewable energy. When it is completed in mid-2021, it will be Virginia’s tallest timber building. The facility will also be the headquarters of Riverbend Development, Hourigan Development and William McDonough + Partners, the architecture firm that designed the project. …The sustainably harvested mass timber structure will realize a total potential carbon benefit of approximately 3,000 metric tons compared to a traditional concrete and steel structure.

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Forestry

B.C. calls for new caribou habitat restoration projects

By Tom Fletcher
BC Local News
October 16, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The B.C. government is taking applications for a $6.5 million fund to restore caribou habitat and protect the endangered animals from predators. Applications are being accepted until Nov. 1 from communities, first nations and non-profit groups by the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation’s caribou habitat restoration fund. Projects will include installing fences to block predators from using old roads to get access to caribou habitat, and planting native trees and plants that support the return of caribou habitat to its undisturbed state. …The foundation’s work was given an initial $2 million in the spring of 2018, as part of a lengthy effort by the province to respond to the decline of its 54 known herds.

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B.C. government provides $6.5 million to protect caribou habitat

By Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development
Government of British Columbia
October 16, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The Province is providing $6.5 million over three years for caribou habitat restoration in British Columbia. The funding will be administered to qualifying organizations through the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation’s (HCTF) Caribou Habitat Restoration Fund. Human influence on the landscape – including forestry, mining and roadbuilding – has altered caribou habitat. Projects pursued under the fund will focus on restoring habitat through both functional and ecological approaches. Examples of functional restoration activities include planting trees, spreading coarse woody debris and installing fences to disrupt linear thoroughfares that advantage predators. Ecological restoration activities include encouraging native plants and trees that support the return of caribou habitat to its undisturbed state. The Province granted an initial $2 million to HCTF in April 2018 to implement a caribou habitat restoration program, which aims to rehabilitate habitat in areas prioritized for recovery efforts. 

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‘Hundreds of hectares of moonscape’: B.C. spruce beetle infestation used to accelerate clear cuts

By Sarah Cox
The Narwhal
October 16, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

…You don’t have to venture far from Prince George to find evidence of the spruce beetle eruption that in 2018, according to the B.C. forests ministry, affected 340,000 hectares province-wide….  Forests are tinged with red. Stacks of spruce logs line mill yards. In the Anzac River Valley, habitat for endangered mountain caribou, fresh clear-cuts spiral out from logging roads lined with slash piles waiting to be burned.  The eruption is underway just as the supply of mountain pine beetle salvage wood dries up and forest-dependent communities struggle with job losses due to mill closures and curtailments. …But scientists say you can’t log your way out of a spruce beetle eruption. And the science-based group Conservation North is concerned that the spruce beetle outbreak is giving logging companies license to accelerate clear-cutting in increasingly rare old-growth spruce forests like those found in the Anzac, Hominka and Table watersheds.

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Former Nechako Valley Secondary School students receives COFI scholarship

By Aman Parhar
The Vanderhoof Omineca Express
October 16, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

VANDERHOOF, BC — …Zachary Whitecotton graduated from Nechako Valley Secondary School in June last year was told about the COFI scholarship by the counsellor at the school while he was applying for other bursaries and scholarships. He was one of 13 students selected out of all the applicants in the province for the scholarship. “Forestry just seems to fit my lifestyle,” says Whitecotton who is now pursuing a degree in Natural Resources and Forest Technology at the College of New Caledonia, Prince George campus. …As for the future, Whitecotton wants to remain in the field of Silviculture for some time. “It is a possibility that I will return to school to get my professional forester degree after a few years of work,” he said.

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COFI Launches Fourth Annual Forestry Photo Contest

Council of Forest Industries
October 16, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Vancouver, B.C. – The B.C. Council of Forest Industries (COFI), with media partner Canadian Forest Industries (CFI) Magazine, announced today the launch of their fourth annual photo contest calling for submissions that illustrate the benefits forestry provides for British Columbians. “B.C.’s forest industry has been the cornerstone of our province’s economy for over 100 years and today 140 communities across the province depend on forestry. We live, work, and play in the communities in which we operate, and through this photo contest we look forward to celebrating the countless benefits the forest industry provides to British Columbians.” said Susan Yurkovich, COFI President and CEO.

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40,000 trees will be chopped down in battle against emerald ash borer

By Marian Scott
Montreal Gazette
October 17, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

…work crews will start cutting down 40,000 ash trees affected by the emerald ash borer in Montreal nature parks. The main reason for the massive tree-cutting is that diseased trees pose a safety risk to the public, said Luc St-Hilaire, a forestry engineer at the city of Montreal… Crews will cut down all diseased trees within 30 metres of roads and paths in the nature parks, he said. St-Hilaire said the situation is under control in the war against the emerald ash borer on streets, in parks and in people’s private yards. But it’s another matter in wooded nature parks, where it’s not possible to treat all the trees because there are so many and the treatment has not been proven effective there, he said. “There is no treatment in forested areas,” St-Hilaire said. …The work can only be carried out between Sept. 1 and March 31 to avoid disrupting nesting birds, he said.

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Outgoing Nanang ‘extremely proud’ of forestry centre’s work

By Brian Kelly
The Sault Star
October 16, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

David Nanang

David Nanang leaves Great Lakes Forestry Centre fulfilled and keen to learn more as a public servant. He stepped down as director general in late September. Nanang started work at the Natural Resources Canada site in 2009 as director of forest ecology and productivity. “For me it was beyond just a job,” Nanang said in a recent interview. “It was about how I think about natural resource management and how my passion for sustainable resource development, and all that, coming together. This was both professionally and personally very fulfilling.” He has a degree in natural resources management, a master’s degree in forestry and a doctorate in forest and natural resources and environmental economics. Great Lakes Forestry Centre is one of five Canadian Forest Service research centres. Its mandate is to do research to support sustainable development of Canada’s forest resources and address global issues, including climate change.

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Green Bonds To Conserve Millions Of Acres Of At-Risk Forests, Like These

By Jeff Kart
Forbes
October 16, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

The Conservation Fund has a goal of conserving 5 million acres of at-risk forests in the next 15 years. They’ve announced the closing of unique 10-year green bonds totaling $150 million. What does that mean? Pictures can tell part of the story. The problem: Forests in America are being broken up and developed. In the last 30 years, 36 million acres have been lost. Another 37 million acres could be lost in coming decades if the situation is left unchecked, according to the fund, headquartered in Arlington, Virginia. And besides turning carbon dioxide into oxygen, offsetting as much as a fifth of the nation’s carbon emissions, forests support more than 8.5 million jobs, according to Larry Selzer, CEO of the fund. Selzer says the bonds are the first step in scaling up to a goal of conserving 5 million acres in the next 15 years.

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John Deere announces new forestry swing machine options

Lesprom Network
October 15, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States
John Deere is rolling out increased options on its G-Series forestry swing machines, to help lower daily operating costs, boost productivity, and increase uptime. The improved machine design includes changes to the boom and arm cylinder guards, hood, and underdecking, as the company says in the press release received by Lesprom Network.  Additionally, the larger undercarriage offered on the 3754G and 3756G swing machines is now available on the 3145G and 3156G models, increasing productivity. A new front sunshade increases operator comfort and visibility in sunny conditions. The inclusion of a deck handrail increases operator safety while traversing the upper deck, and the redesigned 7-inch tool tray improves access and security. Additionally, three previously optional features are now available as standard offerings. Available on all Final Tier 4 engine models, a standard pre-cleaner for engine air intake extends filter life and minimizes service frequency.

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The Roadless Rule is working for Southeast Alaska

By Elsa Sebastian
The Juneau Empire
October 16, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Last week, U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, published an op-ed in the Washington Post supporting the removal of “Roadless Rule” safeguards for the Tongass. By declaring that “every Alaska state-wide official” is in favor of exempting the Tongass from the Roadless Rule, the senator is using her national platform to offer a deceptive view of where Alaskans stand on the issue. As written and in-person public testimony from the 2018 scoping period make clear, the majority of Southeast Alaskans believe the opposite of Murkowski. …The fact is, the Roadless Rule is working for Southeast Alaska. Exemptions have been consistently granted when needed for community access, mining, and hydro-electric. And despite Murkoski’s eyebrow-raising assertion,” …the commercial fishing industry and tourism interests have made clear that the Roadless Rule is a positive for their businesses. 

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USDA Forest Service Seeks Public Comment on Draft Environmental Impact Statement, Alternatives to a Proposed Alaska Roadless Rule

US Department of Agriculture
October 15, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

JUNEAU, ALASKA – The U.S. Department of Agriculture is seeking public comment on a draft environmental impact statement offering a range of alternatives to roadless management and a proposed Alaska Roadless Rule. If adopted, the proposed rule would exempt the Tongass National Forest from the 2001 Roadless Rule. The USDA Forest Service will publish the documents in the Federal Register this week. The publication will begin a 60-day public comment period on the proposed rule, and on each alternative outlined in the draft environmental impact statement. The draft environmental impact statement, prepared under the National Environmental Policy Act, provides an analysis of six alternatives, which are options, choices, or courses of action related to roadless management in Alaska. The alternatives range from no action to the removal of the Tongass from the 2001 Roadless Rule. The Department has identified Alternative 6, which is a full exemption, as the preferred alternative at this time. 

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Initiative petition rejections puzzling

By the Editorial Board
The Mail Tribune
October 17, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Bev Clarno

OREGON — Secretary of State Bev Clarno has overstepped her authority in rejecting three initiative petitions seeking to change Oregon’s forestry laws. Sponsors of the petitions have filed suit, and it appears likely the petitions will be reinstated. Whether the changes in forestry practices are wise is beside the point; the initiatives should be allowed to proceed. Backed by environmental groups, Initiative Petitions 35, 36 and 36 seek to ban aerial pesticide spraying of forest land within 500 feet of water bodies, require notification before other spraying, prohibit clearcuts near forest water bodies and prohibit members of the State Board of Forestry who work in the timber industry from voting on rules that affect their companies. …All of this seems unnecessarily secretive for a process that is supposed to allow Oregonians to propose changes in state law.

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California’s deliberate blackouts were outrageous and harmful. They’re going to happen again.

By David Roberts
Vox
October 16, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

What California went through last week was absolutely bonkers. To avoid sparking wildfires during dry, windy weather conditions, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E)… shut off electrical service … to 2 million people. It was a planned, deliberate blackout unprecedented in the history of the nation’s electrical system. … Residents had little warning, in some cases less than 24 hours. Nursing homes, emergency rooms, police stations, and fire stations scrambled for backup generators. People with powered medical equipment or refrigerated drugs scrambled to find care at understaffed community centers, and 1,370 public schools lost power; 400 of them sent 135,000 students home to parents scrambling to cover jobs they had no way to get to. …As we’ve already seen, PG&E was criticized for not cutting off power before the Camp Fire, but it was also criticized for cutting it off last week. As terrible as PG&E is, there is no winning that game. 

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State forestry budget critical to state’s health

By Jeff Stant and Ray Moistner
The Greensburg Daily News
October 16, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

Jeff Stant

For the last several decades, the Indiana Hardwood Lumbermen’s Association and the Indiana Forest Alliance have disagreed and at times clashed over issues involving the management of our state forests, but recent joint meetings have revealed one very important area on which we can both agree. …Retirements and resignations combined with extended delays in refilling positions due to budget constraints limit the ability of the Division of Forestry to service private landowners and effectively manage the growing Classified Forest & Wildlands Program. …Over the past 15 years, the enrolled acreage in the Classified Forest and Wildlands Program has grown by 80%, from 450,000 acres to 825,000. …By contrast, the Division of Forestry’s budget has shrunk from $12.4 million in 2009 to $10.3 million in 2019. 

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FAO, Norway Collaborate to Improve Global Forest Data

By Catherine Benson Wahlen
IISD Reporting Services
October 16, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) and the Government of Norway are cooperating to improve global statistics on forest resources. The three-year project is part of the FAO’s wider Forest Resource Assessment (FRA), which collects official forest resource information on all aspects of sustainable forest management (SFM) from 236 countries and territories. Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI) is providing US$3 million to FAO to organize capacity development events that will focus on improving reporting on forest resources and making these data more complete, timely and easier to access. The trainings will also build the capacity of developing country participants to use satellite remote sensing to collect data on forest area, biomass and carbon stocks.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Trees That Survived California Drought May Hold Clue To Climate Resilience

By Lauren Sommer
National Public Radio
October 16, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

When California’s historic five-year drought finally relented a few years ago the tally of dead trees in the Sierra Nevada was higher than almost anyone expected: 129 million. …But some trees did survive the test of heat and drought. Now, scientists are racing to collect them, and other species around the globe, in the hope that these “climate survivors” have a natural advantage that will allow them to better cope with a warming world. On the north shore of Lake Tahoe, Patricia Maloney, a UC Davis forest and conservation biologist, hunts for these survivors. …Maloney studies sugar pines, a tree John Muir once called the “king” of conifers. …Inside a greenhouse at her Tahoe City field station, Maloney shows off a sea of young green trees in their own containers. …Over the next year, these young trees will be replanted around Lake Tahoe, both on national forest and private land.

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Restoring forests will counter climate change

By Fred Hain
Raleigh News & Observer
October 16, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

In N.C., the American chestnut, once dominant in the Appalachians, was lost 80 years ago to the chestnut blight. We are now losing hemlock to the hemlock woolly adelgid. Emerald ash borer has invaded the state and has already killed millions of ash trees to our north. Fraser fir stands, and the Christmas industry, are being threatened by the balsam woolly adelgid. In eastern NC, laurel wilt disease is killing redbay and sassafras trees, which has already wiped out half a billion redbay trees further south. These are just a few examples of invasive, exotic forest pests threatening the health of our forests. We are fast approaching an environmental threshold of devastating effects on our world ecosystem, economy and society. Of the environmental health issues impacting our planet, healthy forests are probably the most under appreciated. This summer, two important scientific reports reiterated the importance of maintaining and re-establishing healthy forests on a global scale.

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Forest Fires

Lebanon wildfires: Hellish scenes in mountains south of Beirut

By Timour Azhari
Aljazeera
October 15, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International

Beirut, Lebanon – Firefighters in Lebanon battled massive wildfires in several areas in the country, before moderate rains in the evening brought them under control in most affected areas. With more than 100 blazes erupting from north to south over the past two days, Raymond Khattar, the director-general of Lebanon’s Civil Defence, described the forest fires as the worst to have hit the country in decades. …The Lebanese Red Cross announced that they had treated more than 70 people at a field hospital in Damour… The areas most heavily affected were in the Chouf and Metn regions, in the lush Mount Lebanon mountain range east and southeast of the capital, Beirut. Aided by strong winds and unseasonably high temperatures, the fires ate their way through dense forest near the towns of Meshref and Damour in Chouf and swept into the residential areas overnight on Monday, leading many families to flee their homes.

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