Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: October 25, 2019

Today’s Takeaway

BC’s reconciliation legislation: increased certainty or a veto on development

The Tree Frog Forestry News
October 25, 2019
Category: Today's Takeaway

BC’s reconciliation legislation aims to create economic certainty while respecting Indigenous rights, but it sounds like a resource veto to some. In other Business news: diversification has helped Vancouver Island, but the forest crisis is downgrading growth; and the Truck Loggers express fears as Western Forest Products’ strike nears four-month mark. Meanwhile: US new-home sales fall and the home-improvement boom is forecast to fizzle.

In other news: Vancouver is pushing for zero emissions buildings; Canada needs provincial support on endangered-species; plans announced to update the SFI standard; who regulates Oregon’s logging industry?; and California wildfires worsen, residents fleeing.

Finally, International Bat Week ends October 31st (Halloween)… a coincidence?

Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog News

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Business & Politics

Why a buying opportunity is emerging in Canadian forestry stocks

By David Berman
The Globe and Mail
October 24, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada

Why do investors need to wait for rising demand for forestry products when production cutbacks seem to be doing the trick? Canada’s forestry sector has been curtailing production of lumber and oriented strand board amid low commodity prices, and the cutbacks have been igniting share prices in recent weeks. …Some observers believe industry curtailments are a bullish development for the forestry sector and a big part of the reason for scooping up forestry stocks while they’re still well below their highs from a year ago. …That curtailments work at all is remarkable. A company that removes capacity voluntarily could simply encourage its competitors to maintain – or even increase – their capacity. …But investors appear to be betting that the forestry sector is more disciplined in its approach to supply, and sector-wide curtailments support this view. What’s more, some observers expect that the demand side of the equation will likely pick up. (to access the full story a Globe and Mail subscription is required)

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Unravelling B.C.’s landmark legislation on Indigenous rights

By Carol Linnitt
The Narwhal
October 24, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

B.C. has become the first province in Canada to unveil legislation to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).  With a wavering voice, Premier John Horgan spoke to the historic moment as the landmark Bill 41 was introduced in the legislature on Thursday. …A major question about B.C.’s incorporation of UNDRIP centres around the question of “free, prior and informed consent” and whether or not it amounts to granting Indigenous peoples the power to veto projects that affect traditional territories.  “Nowhere in the act, nowhere in the declaration, do the words ‘veto’ ever come up. For the first part, it’s fear-mongering,” Alexander said. …Jack Woodward, an Aboriginal rights lawyer… pointed to the way old-growth forests are being managed by BC Timber Sales, saying it is a matter of policy, not legislation. 

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Supports program available for displaced Interior forestry workers

By Monica Lamb-Yorski
BC Local News
October 24, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Terry Tate

Displaced forestry workers who have not done so already are encouraged to contact the new support program put in place by the provincial government. Terry Tate, temporary business agent with United Steelworkers Union Local 1-2017, and Frank Everett, Prince George city councillor and former USW president, have been hired as consultants to help set up the Forestry Worker Support Program. “My role is to set up job placement co-ordination offices in Clearwater, 100 Mile House, Fort St. James, Fort St. John and Mackenzie,” said Tate, adding he worked closely with the government on bridging to retirement and skills training programs during the last major downturn of the forest industry in 2009. “What we are doing now mirrors what we did back then.”

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We’ll see, but consent to First Nations sounds like a veto: Palmer

By Vaughn Palmer
The Vancouver Sun
October 24, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Murray Sinclair

VICTORIA — The New Democrats will be trying to explain Thursday why guaranteeing free, prior and informed consent to First Nations is not the same as granting them a veto. The challenge arises because the government legislation… United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, or UNDRIP. The most contentious of the 46 articles in the UN declaration for B.C. reads in part: “States shall consult and cooperate in good faith with Indigenous peoples in order to obtain their free and informed consent prior to the approval of any project affecting their lands or territories and other resources.” Premier John Horgan has been struggling to explain why that is not the same as a veto since he endorsed UNDRIP without reservation three years ago. …While plenty of people are saying consent is not a veto, it may as well mean that for a project like a pipeline.

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Labour Dispute Nears Four-Month Mark

By Kyle Christensen
My Cowichan Valley Now
October 24, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

The labour dispute between the United Steelworkers Local 1-1937 and Western Forest Products hits the four-month mark on Monday. The two sides have resumed mediation with Vince Ready and Amanda Rogers, it’s the only thing they’ve been able to agree on. …The United Steelworkers 1-1937 are citing major concessions involving the elimination of most training agreements, the implementation of two-tiered wages, and an RSP plan that would replace the pension plan of workers as the major reasons for going on strike. …BC Federation of Labour President Larry Cronk was quick to point out that Western posted $70 million dollars in revenue last year and the CEO had an annual salary of two million dollars.

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Reconciliation legislation fosters greater economic certainty

The Office of the Premier
The Province of BC
October 24, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Legislation introduced by the provincial government will move the Province forward with a clear action plan for reconciliation, supporting predictability and economic opportunities, while respecting Indigenous human rights. The new legislation aims to create further certainty for investment and reaffirms B.C. as a world-class destination providing opportunities for business while creating a strong inclusive economy. It provides an additional tool for establishing rules, transparency and accountability when the Province works with Indigenous governing bodies, business and local government on decisions affecting Indigenous rights. Over time, as provincial laws are modified or built, they will be aligned with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Existing B.C. laws will not change immediately – bringing provincial laws into alignment with the UN Declaration will take time and will require consultation with Indigenous peoples and stakeholders including business, industry and local government.

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It’s imperative for the strike to end soon

By David Elstone, Truck Loggers Association
The North Island Gazette
October 24, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

David Elstone

Re: Open letter to Don Demens, Western Forest Products and Bryan Butler, United Steelworkers. The Truck Loggers Association… are very pleased to hear that your organizations will resume bargaining after four months of silence. …We are fearful of the spiraling consequences if this labour action extends much longer. While WFP’s contractors are required to employ USW workers, they have absolutely no voice at the bargaining table. …Without revenues, struck contractors are at an increased risk of exiting the coastal forest sector. …Another serious consequence is the thousands of highly skilled workers… many are leaving the coastal forest sector to find well-paying, stable employment elsewhere. …How will our sector remain competitive if skilled and trained workers are gone? …We acknowledge that there are important issues to be sorted out between the USW and WFP. However, time is ticking.

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Kootenay logging companies diversifying products amid challenging time in forest industry

BC Local News
October 24, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

For many months, issues in the logging industry have made headlines across the country. Companies continue to deal with high fibre costs, a recent increase in stumpage, low lumber prices, a declining annual allowable cut, oversupply in the market and punitive softwood lumber duties. Together these combine to create a challenging time across the B.C. forest industry. …Different parts of the province have been impacted by this in different ways. Even in the interior, central parts of the province are being affected in different ways compared to lumber companies in the East Kootenay. …“Those are all combining right now to really have an impact, and that’s why you’re seeing the curtailments, and that’s why you’re seeing the layoffs and that’s why you’ve seen a closure of four mills in B.C. over the last six months,” said Bromley.

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BCBC downgrades BC’s economic growth forecast

By Nelson Bennett
Business in Vancouver
October 24, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

“Economic growth is expected to remain sluggish over the remainder of the year, leading to a poor hand-off into 2020,” Ken Peacock, chief economist for the BCBC, said in a news release. “This will have a negative impact on the provincial government’s revenue forecast.” For the second time this year, the BCBC has had to adjust its economic growth projections for B.C.’s economy for 2019. …B.C.’s forest industry has been hammered by multiple sawmill closures and curtailments, due to falling lumber prices in the U.S., high stumpage costs and a decline in available timber. External factors affecting B.C.’s economy include cooling economic growth in the U.S. and uncertainties over international trade. A trade war between China and the U.S., and Britain’s pending departure from the European Union, all appear to be putting a drag on a global economy that, just a year ago, was still firing on a cylinders.

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Vancouver Island’s diversified economy expected to slow but not stall

By Greg Sakaki
The Cowichan Valley Citizen
October 24, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Susan Mowbray

No economy is recession-proof, but Vancouver Island is diversifying and becoming better-equipped to be able to stave off any slowdowns, says a senior economist. The annual State of the Island economic report was released Wednesday at the Vancouver Island Economic Summit in Nanaimo. …The report found that the Island’s tourism industry continued to perform well in 2018. …Conversely, the forestry industry had a “difficult year” in 2018 and challenges have continued or worsened in 2019. …“There’s still going to be a forest industry on Vancouver Island – it’s just going to be a lot smaller,” Mowbray said. “Now, if I’d said that 13 years ago at the first summit, it would have been cause for significant concern, and don’t get me wrong, it’s still certainly a cause for concern.” …It’s part of a shift toward a Vancouver Island economy that’s less dependent on any one industry, she said.

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5 Questions About The $1.4 Billion County Timber Lawsuit Against Oregon

By Jessica Burns
Oregon Public Broadcasting
October 24, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

Oregon counties say they’re missing out on millions each year because the state doesn’t log public forests like timber companies do on private land. And their lawsuit, set to begin Thursday in Linn County, gives 14 westside counties the chance to make their case against the state. The counties are seeking $1.4 billion in damages for a lack of logging revenue from publicly owned forests. …Why do the counties think the state owes them so much money? It comes down to how the ODF has been managing state forests over the past couple decades. Under Oregon law, about two-thirds of the income on most state forestlands goes back to the counties where the forests are located. …Linn County says the Oregon Department of Forestry is required by law to maximize timber harvest — and that means logging state forests like private timber companies log their land.

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Clearwater Paper presents ‘best and final’ offer to union

By Elaine Williams
The Lewiston Tribune
October 24, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

Linda Massman

Union members who work at Clearwater Paper’s Lewiston manufacturing complex are deciding this week if they will accept what the company’s top executive has described as its “best and final contract offer.” Clearwater Paper’s president and CEO, Linda Massman… “The company has presented its best and final contract offer to our Lewiston labor unions,” she said. “This week is when they are voting on the contract.” Massman and leadership of about 900 union members declined to share specifics about the proposed agreement. The results of the union’s vote may be available as early as today. Previously, union leaders indicated that medical insurance and wages are two of the key issues. Clearwater Paper, according to union officials, has proposed that new hires receive a high-deductible catastrophic health care plan and lower wages than existing employees.

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Finance & Economics

Housing market to recover in next 2 years, Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corp. expects

The Canadian Housing and Mortgage Corporation
CTV News
October 24, 2019
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada

Canada Mortgage and Housing said housing starts should come in at around 200,000 units in the next two years. That’s above the roughly 194,000 expected this year but still well below the decade-high of almost 220,000 units in 2017. Housing starts are projected to stabilize in 2020 and 2021 at levels in line with long-run averages. Ontario and BC are expected to lead in sales growth… while price growth will be strongest in Ontario and Quebec.

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Home-Improvement Boom Is Forecast to Fizzle

By Ryan Dezember
The Wall Street Journal in Mansion Global
October 24, 2019
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States

Renovation and maintenance spending are forecast to decline over the next year for the first time in a decade, according to the Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity, which was developed by Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. …Following years of 5% to 7% growth in spending since last decade’s housing crash, Harvard’s model has been predicting slower growth for the past year or so and an outright decline next year for the first time since 2010.

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US new-home sales fall in September despite favorable mortgage rates

US Dept of Housing and Urban Development
Housing Wire
October 24, 2019
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States

Sales of new homes slid 0.7% in September to an annualized rate of 701,000. The September pace, falling from August’s downwardly revised rate of 706,000, was 15.5% higher than September 2018 when it was 607,000. …While this data was not positive, it is not yet enough to suggest that consumer health is flagging, so as long as other indicators remain solid and consumer demand holds up.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Construction begins on new Mission seniors centre, housing project

BC Local News
October 24, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

It has been a long time coming, but Mission seniors will soon have a new activity centre and have access to more than 70 new affordable rental homes, with construction now underway on a new development in Mission. The Mission Association of Seniors Housing is receiving $7.4 million from the Province’s Building BC: Community Housing Fund and construction financing of up to $11.5 million to build 74 homes at 7682 Grand St. …Now, a new 11,000-square-foot seniors’ centre with 74 seniors’ housing units above it is being built. The project has been named the Boswyk Centre after Marilyn Boswyk, who left a bequest of funding for the seniors’ centre.

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How Vancouver is pushing to build a city of zero emissions buildings

By Sean Pander – green building manager, City of Vancouver
Fast Company
October 24, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

Like many global metropolitan cities, homes and buildings are the largest source of carbon pollution. Vancouver is no exception. Nearly 60% of Vancouver’s carbon pollution comes from the natural gas used for heating in our buildings. That’s a lot. We knew years ago that we needed bold regulation to curb these emissions and tackle climate change. We also knew that broad partnerships and industry consultation and buy-in were key to the success of any building emissions-reduction strategy. If we were to make a dent in carbon emissions quickly, we needed to fundamentally shift building practice in under 10 years. That wasn’t a lot of time. But we did just that. With support from the Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance’s Innovation Fund, we collaborated closely with the building industry and its partners, and, in 2016, Vancouver’s City Council approved a Zero Emissions Building (ZEB) plan. That plan launched a bold commitment to make near-zero emissions homes and buildings the new normal in Vancouver by 2030. Few cities had yet gone that far.

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2019 Wood Solutions Conference

Wood WORKS! BC
October 25, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

The Wood Solutions Conference is dedicated to design and construction with wood products and building systems, including mass timber. This one-day educational event will showcase wood uses in commercial, institutional, industrial and multi-unit residential construction through specifically designed seminar streams, featuring new and current topics and an interactive trade show. A keynote lunchtime speaker and an evening networking reception provide exciting networking opportunities with industry leaders and peers. Insights into wood – and ideas for you! The Wood Solutions Conference is tailored for architects, engineers, builders, contractors, building officials, technologists, firemen/women, planners and developers. More than 800 design and building professionals will come together to listen and learn; connect and collaborate. This is a conference you won’t want to miss!

2019 Nov 5 WSC Presentation Outlines and Speaker Bios

2019 Nov 5 WSC Seminar Schedule FINAL.

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Researchers map the molecular structure of wood in bid to make it more resilient

By Alexandru Micu
ZME Science
October 24, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

New research from the Cambridge University’s Department of Biochemistry aims to understand what makes wood strong so that we know how to make it even stronger. The team hopes that their findings can guide future forestry breeding programs towards producing stronger wood than ever before — and support the renewed interest wood is receiving as an alternative building material to steel and concrete. “It is the molecular architecture of wood that determines its strength, but until now we didn’t know the precise molecular arrangement of cylindrical structures called macrofibrils in the wood cells” says Dr Jan Lyczakowski, the paper’s first author from Cambridge University’s Department of Biochemistry. “This new technique has allowed us to see the composition of the macrofibrils, and how the molecular arrangement differs between plants, and it helps us understand how this might impact on wood density and strength.”

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Switching to timber could solve Dutch housing shortage and be “a chance for our climate”

By Marcus Fairs
Dezeen Magazine
October 24, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Marco Vermeulen

The Netherlands could build a million new homes from sustainably harvested local wood and save 100 megatons of carbon in the process, according to architect Marco Vermeulen. The Dutch architect has calculated that the country’s 140,000 hectares of harvestable woodlands could provide enough timber for 22,000 houses each year. This means the country’s entire shortfall of a million homes could be met within 45 years without using concrete or steel, which contribute to climate change. “Building a new house averagely needs 50 cubic-meters of wood,” said the architect… “You could grow 60 houses every day in those 140,000 hectares,” he said. “That means you can harvest every year 22,000 houses on Dutch soil. That means it would take about 45 years to build the whole million houses.” The timber would lock up 45 megatons of carbon dioxide but the total benefit would be 100 megatons, since building out of concrete and steel would lead to emissions of 55 megatons, he argued.

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Forestry

International bat week: Focus on myth busting, conservation, celebration

By Devon Bidal
The Cowichan Valley Citizen
October 25, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada

Whether you’re a bat enthusiast, a curious amateur or Batman is your favourite superhero, International Bat Week is the perfect opportunity to learn more about the nocturnal critters. Oct. 24 to 31 is a week dedicated to the annual celebration of bats and the role they play in nature. …There are a lot of common misconceptions about bats and myth busting is an important part of educating, Erickson noted. For example, “‘blind as a bat’ is just an old wives tale.” …However, many use echolocation rather than eyesight to find their food. Erickson pointed out that most bats eat insects and pests which helps folks in the agriculture and forestry industry save money. All bats in B.C. are insectivores. With 15 species, B.C. has the most bat species in Canada and 10 of them can be found on Vancouver Island.

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To save endangered species, the federal government needs the provinces’ help

By Sarah Otto, Brian Starzomski & Jeannette Whitton
The National Observer
October 24, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada

Canada’s most iconic treasure is its wilderness. Tourists flock from around the world to hike trails, experience the majesty of towering old-growth trees and the serenity of mountain lakes. …This week’s election might seem like good news for nature. If the Liberals, NDP and Greens work together, we may see improved action to protect biodiversity, reversing declines in many species at risk in this country. …While federal initiatives will help, the problems lie largely with the provinces. Land and wildlife management is generally a provincial and territorial affair, and many of the provinces are shirking their responsibilities. British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Prince Edward Island do not have laws to protect endangered species as they teeter on the brink of extinction.

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Elphinstone Logging Focus creates ‘forest with a thousand hearts’

Sunshine Coast Reporter
October 24, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The Elphinstone Logging Focus (ELF) campaign to stop the harvesting of the Clack Creek Forest, BCTS cutblock A93884, continued Oct. 19 when supporters placed more than 1,000 felt hearts on the trees in the cutblock. The block, which is on the slopes of Mt. Elphinstone off the B&K logging road, is also part of the area ELF would like to see added to Mt. Elphinstone Provincial Park. The group said it is calling on Forest Minister Doug Donaldson to offer the Squamish-based logging company that bid on the block a different area to log. It has also gone to court in an effort to stop the cutblock auction. “Our hope is that more residents of the Sunshine Coast and even visitors from Metro Vancouver will appreciate the beauty of this forest and the artistic effect of 1,000 hearts,” said ELF’s Hans Penner.

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Logging Fight Continues

By Jean Wilkinson, member of a group of citizens working to stop clear-cut logging on Salt Spring
Daily Commercial News
October 22, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Since our last update in April regarding efforts to stop clear-cutting on Salt Spring, our committee met a number of times, received a brush-off letter from the provincial government, wrote again to the premier and key cabinet ministers, (no response yet) made a presentation to Islands Trust Council’s quarterly meeting and gathered a lot more information.  A postcard campaign to Premier John Horgan, Opposition Leader Andrew Weaver and our MLA Adam Olsen called for an immediate suspension of clear-cutting and support for the Trust to carry out its “preserve and protect” mandate. While we continue to press the Local Trust Committee to find a way to stop the loss of our forests, we’ve realized this also requires changes to provincial legislation. …Therefore, we need the government of B.C. to institute forest practices legislation ensuring environmental protection on private land. 

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Who Regulates Oregon’s Logging Industry? Answer: The Logging Industry

Oregon Wild
October 24, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

When Secretary of State Bev Clarno and her deputy Richard Vial released their unprecedented decision to reject three initiative petitions to modernize Oregon’s logging rules, they made a pretty embarrassing mistake. Their press release claims that voters would be confused by the initiatives and “how the Oregon Forest Council manages forests.” The problem is there is no such thing as the “Oregon Forest Council”. State and private lands logging in Oregon is regulated by the Board of Forestry. There is, however, the Oregon Forest Industries Council, a lobbying group that represents large and most politically well-connected logging corporations in the state. …The Clearcut Kings write the rules. …And from the logging industry’s perspective, there aren’t consequences for not following the rules or living up to their own standards anyway. So maybe Bev Clarno and Richard Vial are right, the Oregon Forest (Industries) Council really is in charge of Oregon’s forests. 

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Evolution of the SFI Standards: SFI Launches Standard Revision Process

By The Sustainable Forestry Initiative
Globe Newswire
October 23, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

RICHMOND, Va.,– The Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc. (SFI) launched the process to revise and update the SFI standard requirements at the SFI Annual Conference today. …the official start of the revision process [includes] over 200 members of the SFI community taking part. “The SFI Standards are developed through an open and inclusive process involving the many different people and groups who know and care about our forests including forest sector representatives, conservation groups, academics, researchers, brand owners, resource professionals, landowners, educators, local communities, Indigenous Peoples, and governments,” said Kathy Abusow, President and CEO of SFI Inc. This diversity of stakeholders represents the users of the three SFI standards… Tens of millions more acres are positively influenced by the SFI Fiber Sourcing Standard. Finally, more than 2,300 company sites around the world use the SFI Chain-of-Custody Standard

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Forests & Climate Change: How Can Mainstreaming Forests Address Challenges of Climate Change and Development

The Bretton Woods Project
October 25, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

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Forest Fires

Firefighters boost containment of San Bernardino fire that sent residents fleeing

By Hannah Fry, Louis Sahagun and Cindy Carcamo
Los Angeles Times
October 24, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

Firefighters were working to gain the upper hand on a windblown brush fire that erupted early Thursday near the San Bernardino National Forest that quickly charred 75 acres, forced road closures and sent residents fleeing from neighborhoods. The Old Water fire ignited just after 2 a.m. near Old Waterman Canyon Road and Highway 18 and began rapidly chewing through dense brush along the hillside abutting neighborhoods. About an hour later, officials began evacuating neighborhoods amid concerns that gusty winds could send the fire moving toward homes at the base of the hillside, said Zach Behrens, a spokesperson for the San Bernardino National Forest. By late morning, roughly 400 firefighters battling the blaze had largely quelled the intense flames that hours earlier had threatened to overwhelm nearby neighborhoods, boosting containment of the fire to 30%.

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Hundreds told to flee, almost 200,000 without power in California wildfires

By Stephen Lan
Reuters in the Globe and Mail
October 24, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

A wind-driven wildfire that forced some 2,000 people to flee homes in Northern California’s wine country on Thursday erupted near the base of a damaged high-voltage transmission tower owned by Pacific Gas and Electric Co, utility and fire officials said. The company, a unit of bankrupt holding company PG&E Corp , acknowledged in an “electric safety incident” report to the California Public Utilities Commission that one of its power lines malfunctioned at about the time and location of the fire’s origin on Wednesday night. It said a PG&E technician inspecting the site on Thursday found the area taped off by state fire department personnel who brought to his attention “what appeared to be a broken jumper on the same tower”. …Neither PG&E nor the commission said whether the damaged tower or the malfunctioning transmission line attached to it were suspected of igniting the blaze, dubbed the Kincade fire, which has destroyed about a dozen homes and other structures.

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