Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: October 28, 2019

Today’s Takeaway

Forestry crisis pushes lumber prices up, BC trade down

The Tree Frog Forestry News
October 28, 2019
Category: Today's Takeaway

BC’s forestry crisis is showing up in worsening trade figures, as logging shifts to the US Southeast and lumber prices rise. In related news: Mackenzie, BC is hanging by a thread; BC log home builders’ fibre challenge; and strikers and families speak out on impact of Western Forest Products’ labour dispute. Elsewhere: time is running out to find a buyer for Ontario’s Fort Frances mill; and the US-China trade war is bad news for Pennsylvania’s hardwood industry.

In Forestry/Climate news: Jim Pattison’s pragmatic view on climate change; the US pellet industry touts wood energy; and a Stanford researcher casts doubt on the viability of carbon capture. Meanwhile: California declares statewide wildfire emergency; Alberta’s wildfires consume the second most amount of land in history; and Inca trees offer hope to Brazil’s devastated forests.

Finally, have you ever thought of being a poop fairy?

Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Froggy Foibles

Wolf conservation project looking for a few ‘poop fairies’

CBC News
October 27, 2019
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: Canada, Canada West

Have you ever thought of being a “poop fairy”? Workers at Pacific Rim National Park are hoping a few locals will step up to help them collect wolf scat as part of a wider study to understand the diet, ancestry and kinship of the local wolf population. …Todd Windle, the project manager with the Wild About Wolves project, says there is a lot of information to be gleaned from wolf scat, but because the wolves travel over long distances and move over a large area, it’s hard for the park reserve staff to collect it. Windle says anyone who is already out and about on the beaches, trails and logging roads in the reserve could be mobilized to collect the scat. …”And once you once you know what to look for, it’s actually quite a bit easier than you think,” he said. 

 

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Business & Politics

Canadian Mills’ Woes Drive Up Lumber Prices

By Ryan Dezember
The Wall Street Journal
October 25, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

Beetles, tariffs and mill closures have cut into Canada’s share of the U.S. lumber market, lifting prices by about a third over the past year and shifting even more logging to the U.S. Southeast. About two billion board feet of annual lumber production has been curtailed by mills in BC, much of it permanently. That equates to about 5% of North American lumber cutting capacity, according to Raymond James analysts. …There is also stiff competition from the U.S. South, the continent’s other major logging region, where a historic glut of ready-to-fell trees has depressed prices and prompted a surge in new saw mill construction. …Brooks Mendell, chief executive of Forisk Consulting… “Basically a quarter of Canada’s ability to produce softwood lumber has come off the market,” he said. “When Canada shrinks, it leaves more business for U.S. based producers.” Among the beneficiaries, he said, should be Weyerhaeuser Co.

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Conifex receives B.C. OK to sell Fort St. James sawmill

Stockwatch
October 28, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Steve Zika

The Honourable Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations, and Rural Development, has approved the sale of Conifex Timber Inc.’s Fort St. James sawmill and associated forest licence to Hampton Lumber. Ken Shields, Conifex’s Chair and CEO, stated: “We would like to thank the Minister and the Province of British Columbia for recognizing the positive benefits that the sale and planned rebuild by Hampton Lumber will provide to employees, the community and local First Nations who are dependent on a sustainable lumber manufacturing operation at the site.” Hampton Lumber CEO, Steve Zika commented: “We’re excited about the tenure transfer approval and will work diligently with Conifex to complete the acquisition process. …Closing is expected to be completed soon, subject to completion of remaining customary closing conditions.

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Striking forestry workers take to streets in Duncan

By Robert Barron
The Cowichan Valley Citizen
October 28, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Dan Gabrielson and Chris Walling are taking their message to the streets of Vancouver Island. The men are workers at Western Forest Product’s Saltair mill in Ladysmith and members of the striking United Steel Workers Local 1-1937. They said they have been sitting on picket lines in front of their mill since Canada Day and felt they would be more proactive on getting their message out to the public. …“It appears that WFP has not learned that no deal will be reached with their concessions on the table. It also suggests that WFP has no real interest in reaching a deal as they have publicly stated.” …A one-sentence statement from WFP said the forest company believes that “the best place for these discussions to occur is at the bargaining table.”

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Western Forest Products Strike is ‘devastating’ thousands of Vancouver Island families

Chek TV News
October 26, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

The Marsh family of North Cowichan is one of thousands stretching every drop in their savings, and hanging on by a thread financially right now. “There’s lots of us that are in the same position,” said Dianna Marsh, whose husband is a striking WFP worker. …The strike by 3,000 Western Forest Products workers will reach its four month mark on November 1st. …Hope is now running low that the strike will end even this year, so Dale Marsh had to tell his 13-year-old son he couldn’t afford to put him in his favourite sport, hockey this year. So the Marshes are pleading for both sides to come back to the table and provincial officials to act. “Somebody needs to step in, somebody needs to step up,” said Dianna Marsh. 

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Forestry crisis shows up with deepening decline in B.C.’s trade figures

By Derrick Penner
The Vancouver Sun
October 27, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

The crisis in British Columbia’s forestry sector that saw more than 20 sawmills close or curtail production over the summer… is showing up in worsening trade figures for the province. To the end of August, the cascading series of mill closures and production curtailments translated into an 11-per-cent drop in the volume of lumber exports… By value, the loss appears deeper with the $3.4 billion in export sales reported by the statistical agency representing a 25-per cent decline from the same eight months of 2018, which is also weighing on B.C.’s prospects for economic growth. And the decline in forestry shipments was the biggest reason driving a 5.3-per-cent decline in B.C.’s overall exports to the end of August. The business council… reduced its expectations for economic growth next year to 1.8 per cent from its earlier estimate of 2.2 per cent, with the crisis in forestry one of two main factors for the decline. 

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Forestry crisis has B.C. town hanging by a thread

By Greg Rasmussen
CBC News
October 27, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Cody Ross, left, Rachelle Dumoulin and Peter Merkley

It’s a cacophony inside the East Fraser Fiber Mill in Mackenzie, B.C., as a giant metal turnstile spits out bits and pieces of lumber. The wood tumbles onto a conveyor system where workers and robots grade it before sending it into whirling saw blades. The pieces are then glued together to create two-by-fours and other lumber destined for markets in the United States. Mill owner Pat Glazier isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty, walking the shop floor and talking to workers. “We’ve got the best employees in the world,” he says as he grabs a piece of scrap material off the production line. The problem is he’s running out of raw material needed to keep the plant north of Prince George running. “We were running three shifts, then it got down to two shifts and now down to one. We’re trying to keep our people employed,” he says.

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Canada’s forest products’ future with China

By Jim Hilton
Williams Lake Tribune
October 26, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

While we have 10 per cent of the U.S. population (our closest and largest trading partner) we have less than three per cent of the 1.4 billion people in China. According to a 2004 publication “Forestry in China, Policy, Consumption, and Production in Forestry’s Newest Superpower” China’s forest market is one of the largest in the world in terms of production, consumption, and imports of wood products. Its large, forest estate and massive population has meant that it has also for some time been a leading nation in terms of the number of processing plants, number of people employed in the forestry sector, the scope of its non-timber forest markets, and the overall level of contributions of forest enterprises and markets to local livelihoods. However, despite this importance the exact nature of China’s forest market has long been a mystery to the outside world, as well as to most Chinese.

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Clock ticks down as Fort Frances reaches out for buyers for paper mill

By Gary Rinne
TB Newswatch
October 25, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

FORT FRANCES, Ont.— The Town of Fort Frances faces a looming deadline while it works hard to find a buyer for the former Resolute paper mill. At the beginning of October it struck a deal with Riversedge Developments, the owner of the mill site, under which the company agreed to allow any potential qualified buyer to inspect the buildings and equipment, and to receive pertinent information about environmental issues. The agreement is in effect until the end of December. After reaching the accord with Riversedge, the town sent what Mayor June Caul describes as “an ad” to a number of companies it considers to be potential candidates to acquire the mill. So far, the results of that pitch have been disappointing. “We haven’t heard from anybody,” Caul told Tbnewswatch Friday.

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Weyerhaeuser reports third quarter results

By Weyerhaeuser Company
Cision Newswire
October 25, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

SEATTLE, — Weyerhaeuser Company today reported third quarter net earnings of $99 million, or 13 cents per diluted share, on net sales of $1.7 billion. This compares with net earnings of $255 million, or 34 cents per diluted share, on net sales of $1.9 billion for the same period last year. Excluding a net after-tax benefit of $40 million for special items, primarily relating to a product remediation insurance recovery, the company reported third quarter net earnings of $59 million, or eight cents per diluted share. This compares with net earnings before special items of $214 million for the same period last year and $123 million for the second quarter of 2019. Adjusted EBITDA for the third quarter of 2019 was $308 million compared with $505 million for the same period last year and $343 million for the second quarter of 2019.

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Pennsylvania’s hardwoods industry stands to lose in trade disputes

By Rachel McDevitt
With.org
October 25, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

Harrisburg — The commonwealth’s hardwoods industry stands to lose out in international trade disputes. Pennsylvania’s forest products industry… employs around 66-thousand people and directly contributes more than 21 billion dollars to the state’s economy each year, according to Wayne Bender, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Hardwoods Development Council. …“China has become the major market, and China in 2017 was buying 47 percent of the wood that we were exporting from the state of Pennsylvania,” Bender said. “That’s more than the entire EU and Canada combined.” Since the Trump Administration’s tariffs have gone into effect, Pennsylvania has seen a 30 percent decline in Chinese demand. Bender said that’s driven prices down. “And because of that, other markets are buying more of our lumber, so we actually in Pennsylvania have only decreased about nine percent in our hardwood exports,” he said.

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Domtar Corporation Reports Preliminary Third Quarter 2019 Financial Results

Domtar Corporation
Businesswire
October 25, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

FORT MILL, S.C. — Domtar Corporation reported net earnings of $20 million ($0.32 per share) for the third quarter of 2019 compared to net earnings of $18 million for the second quarter of 2019 and net earnings of $99 million ($1.57 per share) for the third quarter of 2018. Sales for the third quarter of 2019 were $1.3 billion. …The Company had earnings before items of $55 million for the third quarter of 2019 compared to earnings before items of $36 million for the second quarter of 2019 and earnings before items of $92 million for the third quarter of 2018. For the fourth quarter… Paper is expected to be negatively impacted in part by a seasonally unfavorable mix.

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Delegation to Japan building greater ties to grow Australian forest industries

The Australian Forest Products Association
October 28, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

An Australian forest industries delegation to Japan accompanying the Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries Senator Jonathan Duniam will build a stronger relationship and help expand the market for high-quality Australian forest products, Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) Ross Hampton said. …“Our industry sees real benefit in building stronger ties with Japan because a strong export market for our forest products industries complements the domestic manufacturing sector to create more local jobs and greater investment in our regional and rural communities,” Mr Hampton said. “Australia exports more than 2 million tonnes of hardwood woodchips to Japan annually, and a further 500,000 in softwood woodchips, worth more than 40 billion YEN combined, or around half a billion Australian dollars. “Japan’s growing bioenergy market presents significant opportunities for our industry and it is a market we would like to develop further.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

First tall wood building on Vancouver Island breaks ground in Langford

By Rick Stiebel
BC Local News
October 25, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

…Tallwood 1 at District 56 is part of a mixed use complex on Peatt Road that will include the first 12-storey tall wood building on Vancouver Island, said Mathew McKay, founder and director of development for Design Build Services, the company behind the project. …One of the benefits of this type of project is the environmental benefits because mass timber traps carbon in the building, Lahnsteiner noted. “It also allows us to get the buildings to market quicker.” Ron McDougall, mass timber specialist with Structurlam Mass Timber Corporation, called it a historic day for the city of Langford and Design Build Services. …“Cross-laminated timber is clean, safe, quiet construction that reduces carbon”.  Langford Mayor Stew Young said the project is in keeping with Langford’s forestry town roots, and the use of timber will help create more jobs in the forestry industry.

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Enderby log home builder says more investment needed in small log and timber sector

By Brendan Shykora
Vernon Morning Star
October 25, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

Greg Kyllo

The president of a log home building company in Enderby called for better support of B.C.’s log and timber sector in front of local politicians and industry representatives on Friday. Peter Sperlich has operated Canadian Pride Log and Timber for 30 years, and in that time the company has produced roughly 350 projects with over 100 sent to Germany and 170 to Japan. His company has no shortage of demand for Canadian-built log homes. The problem he’s facing is a lack of high-quality logs with which to build them. “Our production schedule is full for nearly a year in advance at this point, (but) I’m running behind because we are having an issue getting some of our wood,” said Sperlich at his production site in Enderby.

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Straw homes help fight wildfires, climate change

By Jared Aarons
10 News
October 25, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

VALLEY CENTER, Calif.  – As the dual-threat of wildfires and climate change grows, one company says an old method of home building could be the answer to both problems. Rebecca Tasker is the CEO of Simple Construct. Her company builds homes out of straw bales. …”These homes, once they’re plastered, are more fire-resistant than conventional homes,” she says. The secret is in the construction. Tasker uses high-grade straw bales that are packed solid. …like phone books, they smolder instead of igniting in flames. Plaster covering the walls is made from dirt, clay, and more straw. The mixture gives the homes a 1-2 hour fire-resistance rating. Most homes only get a 30-minute rating. “The oxygen can’t get in to burn,” Tasker says. …the homes are environmentally friendly. The thick bales provide a two-foot layer of natural insulation that keeps the warmth in during the winter and the heat out during the summer.

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Celebrating National Forest Products Week

By Rep. Bruce Westerman
Times Record
October 27, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

Bruce Westerman

…As a forester by trade, I always look forward to Forest Products Week each year, since it’s a dedicated time to celebrate the advancement of sustainable forestry from seed to sawmill. We use wood products every single day. Common household items like paper towels … to more elaborate items like an antique chest or family dinner table…, but we would rarely classify them as a “forest product.” Even rarer still do we think about wood as a source of renewable energy or an innovative product for building design. Yet each of these products — and many more — are the direct result of a vibrant timber industry. …If we want more trees, we should all be using more products made from trees. Timber companies are constituently using innovative techniques to make wood products more affordable and accessible, and I look forward to seeing how the industry develops in future years.

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Stefano Boeri unveils Smart Forest City covered in 7.5 million plants for Mexico

By Eleanor Gibson
Dezeen Magazine
October 25, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Italian architect Stefano Boeri has unveiled plans to create a forested smart city in Cancun, Mexico, that is designed to be a “pioneer” of more eco-efficient developments. Smart Forest City Cancun is intended to be built on a 557 hectare site near the Mexican city. According to the architect it will contain 7.5 million plants, including numerous species of trees, shrubs and bushes. “Smart Forest City Cancun is a Botanical Garden, within a contemporary city, based on Mayan heritage and in its relationship with the natural and sacred world,” said Stefano Boeri Architetti. “An urban ecosystem where nature and city are intertwined and act as one organism.” The project forms of part of Boeri’s Forest City concept – which will see cities made up of plant-covered skyscrapers rolled out across China’s urban areas – and the abundance of greenery is intended to depollute the surrounding environment. 

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Forestry

Skawahlook First Nation project stalled after province redirects funds

By Belle Puri
CBC News
October 28, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The Skawahlook First Nation in Agassiz, B.C. will not be able to expand trails in a local park — and it blames the B.C. government for pulling funds. Up to a dozen Indigenous youth were set to begin several months of trail building starting in early November but because the funds are gone, so are the jobs. It’s the latest fallout over the NDP government’s announcement in September to divert $25 million from the Rural Dividend Program to a $69-million program to support forestry workers impacted by recent mill closures and cutbacks. The Rural Dividend Program provides up to $25 million a year to help Indigenous and non-Indigenous rural communities diversify their economies. Skawahlook was set to receive $100,000 from that fund for trail building in the Syéxw Chó:leqw Adventure Park.

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Alberta just suffered one of its largest wildfire seasons, a ‘new reality:’ Officials

By Dylan Short
Edmonton Journal
October 27, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The 2019 Alberta wildfire season is on track to consume the second most amount of land in the history of the province, warn officials. The wildfire season will come to an end at the end of the month and as of last week, a total of 883,412.11 hectares had burned across the province. Matt Bell, provincial information officer with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, said that number could change as burning wildfires slow down throughout the winter months. …“Our five-year average is just above 245,000 hectares. So, we are above average.” This year trails only the record-setting 1981 wildfire season, when 1,357,305.98 hectares burned. …Mike Flannigan, a professor at the University of Alberta who researches wildfires, says this year could be an indicator of future seasons. Such large wildfire activity is a “new reality” for the province. …As temperatures rise, Flannigan said so does wildfire threat.

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Tree-planting plan sounds great, but could be knotty

By Monique Keiran
Victoria Times Colonist
October 27, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Victoria Mayor, Lisa Helps recently committed the City of Victoria to plant 5,000 trees by the end of 2020 as part of a global campaign launched by the United Nations. The UN launched the Plant for the Planet campaign in the mid-2000s. The initial target was a mere one billion trees, but by 2009, the program had overtopped seven billion trees. It now is reaching for one trillion trees. That puts the 5,000 Helps has promised into perspective. Spread over 10 years, her goal seems more reachable, working out to be less than two trees planted a day. The issue is space. To address that, the city is counting on getting property owners on side. …But maintaining a mature urban forest can conflict with other values. The data bear this out. …Ironically, Saanich — once reputed to worship trees — led the way, with 585 hectares of lost tree cover, beating out booming Langford (452 hectares) and Colwood (429 hectares).

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How an endangered tree may link Vikings to New Brunswick

By Jordan Gill
CBC News
October 26, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

Tim McLaughlin

An amateur historian believes an endangered New Brunswick tree species strongly indicates that Vikings once visited the province. The butternut tree is found along the lower St. John River Valley and was once quite bountiful before over-harvesting. This tree is found in New Brunswick, but not in Newfoundland. At L’Anse aux Meadows, the only confirmed Viking site in Canada, located in Newfoundland and Labrador, there is evidence of butternut tree logs. The logs were cut with European tools, which would seem to rule out their importation by Indigenous people.  The presence of foreign logs cut by European tools near a Viking settlement makes Tim McLaughlin, secretary of the New Brunswick Historical Society, believe that Vikings harvested the logs in New Brunswick. 

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Loggers, environmentalists can — and should — co-exist if we want Idaho forests to survive

By Scott McIntosh
The Idaho Statesman
October 28, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Before going on a tour hosted by the Idaho Forest Products Commission last month, my general attitude about logging was that it is a “necessary evil.” We all live in houses, we all use wood and forest products for various things, so we need logging, whether we like it or not. So we need to figure out how to let these “greedy” companies log as efficiently as possible. By the end of our tour, I came away with a more nuanced understanding, particularly on two key points. First, logging companies have come to the realization that forest regeneration is actually in their financial best interest long term. …Second, as we’ve suppressed forest fires over the past 70 years or so, some forests have become overgrown and present greater fire risk in the future. 

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Burned forests get help from pine cone collectors

The Associated Press in the Columbian
October 27, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

ALONG THE BURNT MESA TRAIL, N.M. — A crew outfitted with spurs, ropes and hard hats scaled hefty tree trunks and used long clippers to snip branches loaded with the prickly orbs. …The cones will be dried, their seeds cleaned, sorted and grown into seedlings that can be used to reforest fire-scarred hillsides. Similar work is ongoing in Colorado, South Dakota and other places in the U.S. West. … In a study published this month, Kyle Rodman and his colleagues found the absence of viable seeds can drastically hamper a forest’s ability to recover and that some burned areas were more vulnerable than others. …“The ability of trees to produce seed has a huge implication for natural recovery,” he said. “If the seed is not being produced, then it can’t get to the places that are disturbed, then the chances for the ecosystem to recover to that forested state are obviously pretty low.”

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Exempting the Tongass from the Roadless Rule would be a mistake

By John Schoen & Matt Kirchhoff, retired wildlife ecologists
Anchorage Daily News
October 26, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

The Trump and Dunleavy administrations’ plan to exempt Alaska’s Tongass National Forest from the national Roadless Rule is ecologically and economically unwise. The Tongass is our nation’s largest national forest and contains the greatest remaining area of old-growth temperate rainforest in North America. The Tongass provides critical habitat for fish and wildlife, including all five species of salmon, deer, bear and other species uniquely adapted to this rainforest ecosystem, such as the Alexander Archipelago Wolf, the Queen Charlotte Goshawk, the Prince of Wales Flying Squirrel, the Marbled Murrelet, and the Prince of Wales Spruce Grouse. Not only does the Tongass support vibrant tourism and fishing industries as well as local subsistence use of fish and wildlife, it also stores more carbon than any other national forest, and plays an important role in moderating climate change.

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Failing forestry: The $1 billion lawsuit that could decide the fate of Oregon’s state forests

By Ted Sickinger
The Oregonian
October 27, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Twelve people in Linn County are about to decide, for all Oregonians, how we value state forests. It’s not about selling them, but how the state balances the need for logging revenues against other social and environmental benefits the forests produce. In a trial that started Thursday, jurors are considering whether the state breached a contract it made with 15 rural counties in 1941, and if so, how much it owes them. Eighty years ago, counties began deeding 600,000 acres of burned, logged and unproductive forests to the state. In return, the state agreed to rehabilitate them, protect them from wildfire and share logging revenues. Today, the 15 “trust land counties” receive two-thirds of all state timber sale revenues – money they depend on to fund public services.

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As the West burns, how do we bring more light than heat in Idaho’s forest management debate?

By Scott McIntosh
Idaho Statesman
October 26, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

On a trip this summer to the Bighorn Crags in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness Area, I was struck by the sight of a few signs hanging from ranches’ front gates that read, “Environmentalists, you own this,” with an image of flames burning a forest. I wasn’t able to discern the rest of the message on these signs or the messenger, but the general message was pretty clear: Environmentalists who oppose logging forests are to blame for the massive wildfires we’ve been having.  Notwithstanding the president’s suggestion that we rake forest floors to mitigate wildfires, there is a serious argument that is being made that the larger and larger wildfires we are having could be averted if we did more logging, that the reason we have such large wildfires and more frequent wildfires is because, in part, our forests are “littered” with fuels – i.e., dead trees – therefore thinning the forests and reducing these fuels would reduce wildfires.

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Struggling Oregon county spent $43,000 traveling to D.C. to lobby. It wants $2,000 to hand over the receipts.

By Rob Davis
The Oregonian
October 25, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Tim Freeman

In the last four years, leaders of a struggling Oregon timber county have repeatedly traveled to Washington, D.C., to lobby President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and other top federal officials to increase timber harvests. Douglas County commissioners spent at least $43,000 on their lobbying trips using federal money awarded to the county. Yet after three formal requests and numerous questions from The Oregonian/OregonLive over the course of four months, the county has only accounted for how commissioners spent $579.57. County officials want to charge the newsroom more than $1,900 and spend nearly a full week’s worth of clerical time to find 170 pages they say itemize the other $42,500. The newsroom has appealed the costs to Douglas County district attorney Richard Wesenberg.

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Fire-spawned forest fungi hide out in other organisms, study finds

By Diana Yates, University of Illinois
Phys.org
October 25, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

When a wildfire obliterates a forest, the first life to rise from the ashes is usually a fungus—one of several species that cannot complete its life cycle in the absence of fire. Scientists have long argued about where and how such pyrophilous (fire-loving) fungi survive, sometimes for decades, between fires. A new study finds that some of these fungi hide out in the tissues of mosses and lichens. The findings appear in the journal Fungal Ecology. “We have this specific group of fungi that we see after a fire; they never occur before a fire,” said study co-author Andrew Miller, a mycologist with the Illinois Natural History Survey at the University of Illinois. “You’re only going to see the fruiting bodies—what most people recognize as a mushroom—after a fire.”

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Why not forestry?

By Calixto V. Chikiamco
Business World
October 27, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Yes, why not forestry as a driver of economic growth, together with tourism, mining, and agriculture, which are sources of jobs in the countryside? We used to export logs, lumber and other forestry products. Now, we are a net importer of forestry products. We import as much as 75% of our wood requirements. Really sad. There are several reasons why we should promote the forestry industry and make it a growth driver of jobs in the uplands. We have a competitive advantage in forestry production. The Philippines is in the tropical zone. Trees can reach full maturity in 10 to 15 years, depending on the specie, compared to 20 to 30 years in temperate zone countries. There’s no reason why the Philippines can’t produce forestry products and export again. According to Petteri Makitalo, Vice-President of the Nordic Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, the Philippines can be a superpower in forestry. 

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‘Green gold’ tree offers Brazil deforestation hope

By Mark Kinver
BBC News
October 28, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Trees that help keep soils fertile could slow or stop deforestation in Brazil’s “arc of destruction”. A project using inga trees hopes to show smallholders that they can earn a decent living from the land. Inga trees, known as ice-cream bean trees, fix nitrogen into the soil, boosting productivity levels. Scientists hope the scheme will convince smallholders not to sell their land to large agri-businesses and remain farmers in the Amazon. …Toby Pennington, professor at the University of Exeter, UK… “They can grow really fast on very, very poor soils, even soils where a rainforest has been cut down and have become very degraded.” …”More than that, these species have fruits that are edible and often have local markets right across Latin America.” The trees can also be coppiced, providing wood fuel, and the leaves are a good source of forage for cattle.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Electric cars and fewer fish: Pattison’s empire faces up to climate change

By Brent Jang
The Globe and Mail
October 27, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada

Jim Pattison

Jim Pattison… the 91-year-old B.C. billionaire is too busy working to indulge in nostalgia. He is looking to the future, trying to understand the impact of climate change on the numerous sectors in which his company operates. That impact is unlikely to be small. For businesses to survive and thrive, they must adapt to shifts in the marketplace, such as drivers who are increasingly adjusting their buying behaviour because of concerns about global warming, he said in an interview. …He expects zero-emission cars to eventually become the norm. …Through Great Pacific Capital Corp., he also owns 51 per cent of lumber-producer Canfor Corp. …“Wood is environmentally friendly,” he said, noting that Canfor plants tens of millions of tree seedlings annually to regenerate forests, helping to absorb carbon dioxide. [to access the full story, a G&M subscription is required]

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SaskPower to Build Wood Scrap Burning Power Plant in Meadow Lake

By Theresa Simon-Worobec
Discover Moose Jaw
October 27, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

The First Nations-owned Meadow Lake Tribal Council Bioenergy Centre will soon be the new home of a Saskatchewan energy first.  The First Nations-owned Meadow Lake Tribal Council Bioenergy Centre will soon be able to generate carbon-neutral power using sawmill residuals, or leftover sawdust and wood pieces. Last week, SaskPower and Meadow Lake Tribal Council signed a Power Purchase Agreement for up to eight megawatts of biomass power.  “It’s considered carbon-neutral because you’re taking wood that’s already been used and using that to generate electricity,” said Joel Cherry, SaskPower representative. “The forestry industry, in general, is renewable because you’re planting trees to replace the ones that you’re cutting down.” Cherry said the new plant will make use of scraps from the local sawmill. 

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Tree planting alone won’t solve the climate crisis, but it’s a start, says expert

CBC News
October 28, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada East, Canada

Frederik Vroom

Cities, provinces and people should consider planting more trees to help the climate crisis, although that won’t solve the entire problem, says a manager with a non-profit tree-planting organization visiting St. John’s this week. Frederik Vroom of Tree Canada is in Newfoundland and Labrador to address a provincial forestry conference, but his tree-planting message comes on the heels of both national and international strategies to incorporate silviculture into the fight to lower the planet’s carbon emissions. …”My main message is to really think clearly about where to put the trees, and what kind of trees where,'” he said. …Fast-growing trees, such as birches or poplars, capture more carbon than slow-growing varieties like spruce or oak. Vroom also recommended planting species native to the area to ensure they are as well adapted.

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Study casts doubt on carbon capture

By Stanford University
Phys.org
October 25, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States

One proposed method for reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the atmosphere—and reducing the risk of climate change—is to capture carbon from the air or prevent it from getting there in the first place. However, research from Mark Z. Jacobson at Stanford University, …suggests that carbon capture technologies can cause more harm than good. …However, this research finds that [capture] reduces only a small fraction of carbon emissions, and it usually increases air pollution,” said Jacobson, who is a professor of civil and environmental engineering. “Even if you have 100 percent capture from the capture equipment…carbon capture never reduces air pollution and always has a capture equipment cost.” …Jacobson maintains that the smarter investment is in options that are currently disconnected from the fossil fuel industry, such as reforestation—a natural version of air capture—and other forms of climate change solutions focused on eliminating other sources of emissions and pollution. 

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University scientists highlight carbon benefits of renewable wood energy; Call for policymakers to look at key science fundamentals

By US Industrial Pellet Association
Cision Newswire
October 25, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States

RICHMOND, Va. — The US Industrial Pellet Association (USIPA) today lauded a recent letter signed by more than 100 scientists from more than 50 colleges and universities citing the benefits of wood energy.  The letter…calls on policymakers to consider key fundamentals related to forest biomass. Emphasizing that research … dates back to the 1980s, the scientists noted that the “carbon benefits of sustainable forest biomass are well established.” The letter also cites a report from United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which notes: “In the long term, a sustainable forest management strategy aimed at maintaining or increasing forest carbon stocks, while producing an annual sustained yield of timber, fibre or energy from the forest, will generate the largest sustained mitigation benefit.” The scientists also emphasized research showing that “demand for wood helps keep land in forest and incentivizes investments in new and more productive forests, all of which have significant carbon benefits.”

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Chipping away

By Michael Kitch
New Hampshire Business Review
October 24, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

…The New Hampshire market for wood chips was rattled in August when Gov. Chris Sununu, for the second time in as many years, vetoed legislation extending subsidies to the biomass plants. Unlike a year ago, the Legislature upheld his veto. [This impacts] both the forestry industry and the forests themselves, because without a stable, buoyant market for low-grade wood, the incentive and capacity to harvest it diminishes, leaving foresters without their most effective means of generating healthy, productive, valuable and sustainable forests. Some 84% of the state is forested, and 76% of it is privately owned — 68% by individuals and families and 8% by commercial enterprises. The federal government owns 14% and the state owns 5%. …Between 70% and 80% of this growth is low-grade wood suited only for pulp, chips and firewood. “The best way to get quality timber is to maintain a strong market for low-quality wood,” said Dennis McKinney, a consulting forester. 

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Reforestation crucial to PHL efforts against climate change

Business Mirror
October 28, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

As countries around the world endeavor to prevent the global climate crisis…, reforestation remains a basic but vital strategy in mitigating climate change. A study by academic journal Science revealed that 1 billion hectares of forest could reduce 300 gigaton of carbon, or 25 percent, in the atmosphere. In the Philippines, restoring forest cover is not only a matter of climate solution but of environmental survival. According to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Forest Management Bureau (DENR-FMB), every year the country loses 47,000 hectares of forest cover. Around 1.2 million hectares … need to be rehabilitated by 2022… In the private sector, renewable-energy leader Energy Development Corp. (EDC) is … leveraging its flagship environmental program Binhi to reforest degraded lands, develop ecotourism areas and provide livelihood to local communities. Since its launch in 2011, EDC’s Binhi has successfully restored 9,500 hectares of forest land… This year, the program is expanding its scale to increase the Philippine’s forest cover.

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Forest Fires

California wildfire forces 180,000 evacuations as governor declares statewide emergency

The Associated Press in CBC News
October 27, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

With ferocious winds driving multiple wildfires through bone-dry vegetation and nearly 200,000 people ordered to leave their homes, California’s governor declared a statewide emergency Sunday. Meanwhile, millions of residents remained without power after the state’s largest utility cut electricity as a precaution to prevent more areas from igniting. Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement that officials were deploying “every resource available” to respond to the wildfires, including a large blaze in Northern California’s wine country powered by gusts that reached more than 164 km/h. California Fire officials said Sunday that the fire had grown to burn over 220 square kilometres. At least 94 structures have been destroyed. In the San Francisco Bay Area, two grass fires briefly halted traffic on an Interstate bridge. …In the south, a wildfire in the Santa Clarita area near Los Angeles destroyed 18 structures. 

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