Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: October 22, 2019

Today’s Takeaway

West Fraser shares up slightly despite $45M Q3 loss

The Tree Frog Forestry News
October 22, 2019
Category: Today's Takeaway

West Fraser Timber shares are expected to fare well, despite reporting $45M Q3 loss on lower lumber production. In other Business news: the Steelworkers say Western Forest Products is refusing to budge; a Longlac Ontario mill is running out of wood; Norbord curtails OSB production at Cordele, Georgia; and an update on the EU’s softwood challenges.

In Forestry/Climate news: BC’s search and destroy approach to pine beetles; California’s forest thinning effort in Lake Tahoe; Oregon’s wildfire cash flow challenge; Indonesia’s 2019 wildfires losses; and an Arizona study says high precipitation years won’t save trees from climate change.

Finally, UK scientists develop an artificial leaf inspired by photosynthesis.

Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Business & Politics

Stocks seeing action on Tuesday – and why

By David Leeder
The Globe and Mail
October 22, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

After releasing weaker-than-anticipated Q3 results after the bell on Monday, shares of West Fraser Timber were up 0.5 per cent in early trading. The Vancouver-based company said output was down 3 per cent compared to the second quarter. …Raymond James analyst Daryl Swetlishoff said: “In the wake of an unprecedented round of sawmill curtailments North American lumber shipments are poised to decline. At the same time, U.S. housing activity levels have normalized following 6+ months of interest rate easing. We expect these factors plus seasonal tailwinds to allow benchmark lumber pricing to melt up to at least B.C. AVC. As such, we expect West Fraser to perform well during this period, given the high correlation to lumber prices.” [END]

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West Fraser Announces Third Quarter Results

West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd.
October 21, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, International

Ray Ferris

VANCOUVER — West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd. reports third quarter 2019 results. …Ray Ferris, CEO stated, “Despite difficult forest product markets over the past several quarters, we remain committed to executing our strategy. …We are beginning to see the benefits of these investments and remain convinced of additional potential in our U.S. South operations.”

  • Completed closure of Chasm, BC  lumber facility sawmill 
  • Implemented variable production schedule at remaining BC lumber mills
  • US South lumber production improved by 7% over second quarter
  • NBSK production up 14% over prior quarter
  • Cash flow from operations of $116 million for the quarter
  • Lumber shipments exceed production by 179 million board feet year to date

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West Fraser records $45M Q3 loss on lower lumber production

The Canadian Press in Bloomberg
October 21, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

VANCOUVER – West Fraser Timber is reporting a third-quarter loss as higher production from its U.S. south division failed to make up for reduced output in Canada. The Vancouver-based company says it lost $45 million or 65 cents per share in the three months ended Sept. 30, compared with net earnings of $238 million or $3.25 per share in the year-earlier period. West Fraser reported lumber production was down three per cent compared to the second quarter as it completed the permanent closure of its Chasm, B.C., lumber mill and eliminated the third production shift at its 100 Mile House, B.C., operations. It says output in Alberta was affected by temporary weather-related log shortages. Sales totalled $1.19 billion, down from $1.65 billion in the third quarter of 2018.

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Union says Western Forest Products refuses to budge from ‘unreasonable concessions’

By Tyson Whitney
Nanaimo News Bulletin
October 21, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Talks between Western Forest Products (WFP) and the United Steel Workers Local 1-1937 (USW) have stalled once again. The USW issued a three-page press release on how negotiations went, stating that WFP “squandered an opportunity to reach a Collective Agreement… by refusing to move off its unreasonable, unwarranted and unacceptable concessions.” According to the release, both parties met on Oct. 16, 18, 19, and 20, but progress was only made on issues “that had no cost implications for WFP.” Black Press has reached out to WFP for comment on the negotiations and will update this story when the company responds.

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Longlac sawmill runs out of wood

Thunder Bay News Watch
October 21, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

LONGLAC (Greenstone), Ont. —  The mayor of Greenstone hopes the province will intervene somehow to get the sawmill in Longlac restarted. Renald Beaulieu says Longlac Lumber’s mill recently stopped operations because it wasn’t getting wood deliveries. “This is very sad news. The main reason the workers have been given is that there is no wood available to them… Apparently the pulp mill in Terrace Bay is requiring all the wood,” Beaulieu said. There has been no statement as yet either from management of the Longlac mill or from AV Terrace Bay Inc. Beaulieu said the wood supply issue needs to be addressed. “How can we be living in an area where logs can be cut from this region, and be sent to create jobs somewhere else? Right in our back yard, our people are not working,” he said. …Beaulieu’s concern about locally-cut logs being trucked to a distant mill echoes the situation in Fort Frances.

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Norbord Announces Indefinite Curtailment of Line 1 at Cordele, Georgia OSB Mill

By Norbord Inc.
Cision Newswire
October 21, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

TORONTO – Norbord Inc. today announced that effective mid-November, it will indefinitely curtail production on Line 1 of its two-line oriented strand board (OSB) mill in Cordele, Georgia until further notice. …The Cordele Line 1 indefinite curtailment is due to continued poor market conditions and lower-than-anticipated OSB demand to-date, particularly in the South East region. These conditions no longer support the economic operation of Line 1 at this time. The indefinite curtailment will ensure Norbord continues to only produce what the company can sell, in the most efficient and cost-effective manner. “This is a difficult decision and a very disappointing outcome, but it reflects the economic realities facing our business,” said Peter Wijnbergen, Norbord’s President & CEO.

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International Softwood Conference hears about market deceleration

The Timber Trades Journal
October 22, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

Market deceleration and long-term raw material challenges were key points shared at this year’s International Softwood Conference (ISC) in Antwerp. Around 180 delegates from across the world gathered to hear the latest softwood markets dynamics. …The conference heard markets had slowed down and the outlook for the coming months “seems to be challenging”, particularly due to multiple raw material challenges caused by forest related issues. …Sampsa Auvinen, president of the European Organization of the Sawmill Industries, said recent months had been progressively more challenging with export orders going down, stocks at sawmills rising and lumber prices decreasing. …Mr Von Möller stressed the construction sector seems to be doing comparatively better than other sectors. …Chinese wood consumption was reportedly healthy; Japan remains a reliable market. …European shipments to the US have also reached levels unseen since before the global financial crisis.

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Forestry

Collaboration Key to Unique Wetland Stewardship Initiative

By Franki Alo, Communications Specialist, Boreal Ducks Unlimited
National Boreal Program
October 21, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada

…But a changing climate and more human activity are putting pressure on Canada’s boreal wetlands. Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) has set ambitious goals of conserving enough boreal habitat to sustain 11 million ducks – 75 per cent of the boreal region’s total population – over the next 10 years. To be successful, it knew it needed to enlist the help of other forest users, including industry. The Forest Management Wetlands Stewardship Initiative (FMWSI) launched in 2016, a unique partnership between DUC and forward-thinking members of the forest products sector:  Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries Inc., Canfor, Forest Products Association of Canada, Millar Western Forest Products Ltd., Tolko Industries Ltd., West Fraser and Weyerhaeuser Company. …Its goal is to pool resources and expertise to advance wetland stewardship and sustainable forest management in Canada’s working forests, where industrial activity is permitted.

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Ministry to spend $100000 on pine beetle control

BC Local News
October 21, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

In another initiative focussed on beetle infestations, the government plans to do a “search and destroy” project targeting mountain pine beetles in parts of the Lakes District. The Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNRORD) is seeking tenders on BC Bid for the scheme that is estimated to cost $100,000 and must wrap up by March 15, 2020, FLNRORD spokesperson Dawn Makarowski told Lakes District News. The Morrison, Granisle, and Fulton Management Zones of the Nadina Natural Resource District will be covered under the project. The ministry of forests has been conducting search and destroy projects in the three zones for a few years. …The spokesperson incorrectly stated previously that timber infested with beetles would be cut and burned. It will in fact be taken to sawmills if it’s still merchantable. That program is estimated to cost $100,000 and will focus on about 1.5 million hectares of forest land. It is expected to be finished by Dec. 15.

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Province urged to revamp plans against wildfires

By Wayne Emde
Kelowna Daily Courier
October 18, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

David Lind

Following two smoky summers in the Okanagan Valley, 2019 was relatively clear, but speakers at a presentation Thursday in Vernon reminded those in attendance that British Columbia is experiencing severe wildfire conditions and said there is an immediate need to change how we address the hazards associated with longer fire seasons and extreme conditions. Hosted by Vernon Fire Rescue Services, the wildfire urban interface session provided information as to how communities and property owners can protect themselves against the threat of wildfire. Vernon Mayor Walter Cummings said fires were his No. 1 concern, one that keeps him awake at night after dealing with thousands of victims of fires in previous years. “It’s really important for everyone to understand fuel loads, the effects of climate change and the problems faced by people moving into interface areas,” Cummings said.

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Let’s conserve and restore our unique forests

By Josh Noseworthy, Nature Conservancy of Canada
The Saltwire Network
October 21, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

Conserving and restoring the Acadian forest isn’t just a nice idea; our future may very well depend on it. …The burning of the Brazilian rainforest is a wake-up call. …The Maritimes’ native forest — called the Acadian forest — is one of the most diverse forests in Canada. …Over the past 400 years, like many forests around the world, the Acadian forest has also experienced severe burning, unsustainable logging and conversion to agriculture. Sadly, less than five per cent of original Acadian forest remains, mainly restricted to small nature reserves and hard-to-reach areas like ravines. Although we have lost much of the rich Acadian forest that once blanketed the Maritimes, in the last few decades we have learned a great deal about its ecology and how to restore it, and those lessons are available to everyone.

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Tahoe Conservancy launches forest health project; to improve public access in South Lake Tahoe

Tahoe Daily Tribune
October 21, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

The California Tahoe Conservancy will launch a $1.06 million project to restore forest health and combat climate change on 260 acres in Placer County and also improve public access in South Lake Tahoe. “Together with nearby North Tahoe Fire Protect District and other Conservancy forest health projects, this will make a valuable difference in reducing the threat of catastrophic wildfire to north shore residents,” said Cindy Gustafson in a press release. Gustafson is a Placer County Supervisor and Conservancy Board member. At its meeting, the conservancy board authorized the conservancy to use crews to hand thin 260 acres of overly-dense understory trees and shrubs on the conservancy’s Dollar Creek property. This effort, to begin in 2020, complements the conservancy’s ongoing, adjacent forest health project using mechanical thinning on 152 acres elsewhere on the same property.

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Gov. Brown launches team to fix Oregon forestry department’s financial mess OregonLive.com

By Ted Sickinger
The Oregonian
October 21, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Gov. Kate Brown has appointed a financial oversight team and will hire an independent contractor to address a cash flow crisis caused by the Oregon Department of Forestry’s failure to promptly bill and collect money it is owed for wildfire costs. The 13-member team, chaired by the governor’s chief of staff, is tasked with identifying the structural changes needed to expedite and standardize how the agency processes financial transactions related to wildfires. It will also evaluate new ways for the agency to manage its seasonal borrowing needs. The cash flow problems, reported in an Oct. 6 story in The Oregonian/OregonLive, come as the agency is facing structural financial problems in its state forest program, and a $1.4 billion breach of contract by 14 counties that begins Thursday. 

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Environmentalists clash with feds, timber group over salvage logging

By Mateusz Perkowski
Capital Press
October 21, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

PORTLAND — Environmentalists want to reinstate an injunction against salvage logging on 1,800 acres in California’s Klamath National Forest while the federal government and a timber group argue the matter is moot. The convoluted lawsuit over harvesting burned trees recently landed before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which on Oct. 21 heard oral arguments over whether the Seiad-Horse Risk Reduction Project was lawfully approved — and whether the matter is even still worth debating. In 2017, a wildfire tore through about 10,800 acres of the national forest, which prompted the U.S. Forest Service to propose a project that included risk reduction salvage logging of 1,800 acres as well as hazard tree removal along 39 miles of roads.

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Oversight needed of state forest division

By the Editorial Board
The Bend Bulletin
October 21, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

You can be savoring an IPA along the Deschutes River after a long day at the BendFilm Festival or adventuring in Oregon’s forests and honestly wonder if things couldn’t get much better. But sometimes those charged with managing the state let us all down. State government is not a place brimming with simple problems with easy answers. Still, the Oregonian reported over the weekend the Oregon Department of Forestry’s state forest division is “failing on almost every front.” The division manages approximately 745,000 acres of forestlands across Oregon. It’s budget is a mess and getting worse. That’s because, in part, it is funded solely by timber sales that aren’t happening. That’s led to cuts in staff. Fewer staff, in turn, makes it harder for the division to solve its problems. On top of everything, the agency is facing a lawsuit from 14 Oregon counties who claim they have not been getting the revenue they are entitled to from timber sales.

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Trial to begin in $1.4B Oregon forestry management lawsuit

Associated Press in the San Luis Obispo Tribune
October 20, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

A trial in a $1.4 billion breach-of-contract lawsuit brought against the state of Oregon by 150 counties and other taxing districts over the issue of forest management is scheduled to begin Thursday. The lawsuit, filed nearly four years ago, claims the state has not managed forests for the most long-term, sustainable income as required in a decades-old contract, the Albany Democrat-Herald reported . “Your Honor, the state still believes this case is about state statute, but it’s not,” said attorney John DiLorenzo of the Portland law firm Davis Wright Tremaine at a recent hearing in Linn County Circuit Court. “It has always been about a breach of contract, pure and simple.” Attorney Scott Kaplan of the Oregon Department of Justice has said repeatedly that the state has the right and obligation to amend management of the state’s forests, especially when the environment and wildlife are at stake.

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After logging 420-year-old tree, Oregon State announces new protections for old growth

By Rob Davis
The Oregonian
October 21, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Oregon State University announced plans Monday to immediately reinstitute an abandoned 2005 management plan for its McDonald-Dunn research forest outside Corvallis, in a sign of continued fallout from national scorn the school earned for clearcutting a stand of ancient trees that included a 420-year-old giant. The leader of the university’s college of forestry also said he would add 36 acres of nearby old growth to protected reserves. Those trees were going to be cut until the furor erupted this summer over the old-growth clearcut, a 16-acre harvest known as the No Vacancy cut. The university had already temporarily paused logging of trees older than 160 years. In his Monday letter to the forestry school’s community, Anthony Davis, the interim dean, said the college’s decision-making around management of the McDonald-Dunn “has impaired our ability to lead by example, something that is a reasonable expectation of us, and we should expect of ourselves.”

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Oregon’s forest laws are outdated

By Kate Crump, Micha Elizabeth Gross & Vik Anantha
The Daily Astorian
October 22, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Oregon’s outdated forest laws are failing our communities and our environment. They threaten our water and degrade our land, exacerbating both droughts and floods. They pollute our drinking water with mud and toxic chemicals. They endanger salmon and wildlife habitat. Appeals to the state Department of Forestry have fallen on deaf ears and Oregon politicians have turned a blind eye, while at the same time filling their campaign coffers with more campaign cash from the logging industry per capita than any other state. That’s why we signed on as the chief petitioners for initiative petitions 35, 36 and 37.  We hope to qualify these initiatives for the November 2020 ballot so that we can bring protections for rivers and streams in Oregon’s forests up to the level of neighboring states to better safeguard clean water and rural communities.

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Scientists develop artificial leaf that can produce clean gas

By Virgil Andrei , Bertrand Reuillard and Erwin Reisner
University of Cambridge
October 21, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

A widely-used gas that is currently produced from fossil fuels can instead be made by an ‘artificial leaf’ that uses only sunlight, carbon dioxide and water, and which could eventually be used to develop a sustainable liquid fuel alternative to petrol. The carbon-neutral device sets a new benchmark in the field of solar fuels, after researchers at the University of Cambridge demonstrated that it can directly produce the gas — called syngas — in a sustainable and simple way. Rather than running on fossil fuels, the artificial leaf is powered by sunlight, although it still works efficiently on cloudy and overcast days. …The results are reported in the journal Nature Materials. “Being able to produce it sustainably would be a critical step in closing the global carbon cycle and establishing a sustainable chemical and fuel industry,” said senior author Professor Erwin Reisner.”

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Forest burned in 2019 Indonesia wildfires already exceeds 2018

Thomson Reuters Foundation in CBC News
October 21, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

The amount of land in Indonesia consumed by fires through September this year has exceeded the amount burned during all of 2018, according to data given by a government official on Monday. Raffles Panjaitan, forest fire management acting director at the Forestry and Environment Ministry, told reporters that by the end of September 2019 a total of 857,756 hectares (2.12 million acres) had been burned. (The area burned is 52 per cent larger than Prince Edward Island, which has a total area of 566,000 hectares.) That is more than the 529,267 hectares that burned in 2018, according to Indonesian government data. The fires have consumed the most land since 2015, when government data showed 2.6 million hectares burned. The area burned surged from 328,724 hectares that was consumed between January and August, Panjaitan said, and added that the size of the burned area is expected to continue expanding this month, although not “as drastic” as last month’s.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

High precipitation years won’t save trees from affects of climate change, study finds

By Gabriella Cobian
Arizona Daily Wildcat
October 21, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

A new study led by researchers at the University of Arizona found that the increase in rainfall in the western U.S. caused a decline in tree growth. Matt Dannenberg, assistant professor in the Department of Geographical and Sustainability Sciences at the University of Iowa and lead author on the study, explained the research process. “A warmer atmosphere can hold more water vapor, which intensifies our water cycle,” Dannenberg said in an email interview. “Based on precipitation data from 1901-present, year-to-year precipitation variability has increased quite substantially in many parts of the U.S., particularly in the Southwest.” …To conduct the study, researchers used tree ring widths from over 1,300 sites throughout the U.S. to observe the linear and nonlinear forms of the correlation among precipitation and growth. Researchers also observed the tree growth response particularly to exceedingly dry and wet years.

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International research community calls for recognition of forests’ role in human prosperity

By University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Phys.org
October 21, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

World leaders convened for the UN Climate Summit in September amid dire projections of climate instability. The problem is multifaceted, of course, but a recent IPCC report identifies deforestation as the main driver of land-based greenhouse gas emissions… What if more people around the world could be paid to keep forests healthy and intact? And what if doing so would not only curb the climate crisis, but also help people move out of poverty and toward broader prosperity? A new special issue of World Development examines this and many other ways forests serve to alleviate poverty around the world. The issue’s co-editor, Daniel Miller, also serves as Chair for the International Union of Forest Research Organizations’ (IUFRO) Global Forest Expert Panel (GFEP) on Forests and Poverty. The panel, which includes 21 other internationally recognized scientific experts, will compile a comprehensive report to be launched at the 75th session of the UN General Assembly in 2020.

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Scientists question mass tree planting as climate change panacea

By Michael Taylor
Reuters
October 22, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

KUALA LUMPUR  – The potential for a global tree-planting drive to curb climate-change risks has been overestimated, scientists warned, flagging issues with maps and data used in a recent study and urging greater efforts to cut heat-trapping emissions by other means. In July, researchers at the Crowther Lab, based at Swiss university ETH Zurich, published a study suggesting the best way to keep climate change in check would be to replant trees on destroyed forest areas the size of the United States. But in a response letter published in the same journal Science on Friday, scientists at the University of Bonn and Nairobi-based research centre World Agroforestry said there were limits on the number of trees that could be grown on lands included in the initial study.

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