Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: October 30, 2019

Today’s Takeaway

Wildfires batter California, exploding in size

The Tree Frog Forestry News
October 30, 2019
Category: Today's Takeaway

Wildfires batter California and although scary, the images are look-worthy. In related news: what it’s like to live in a high risk fire zone; the US Forest Service has fire-suppression money left over; and BC looks at how firefighting affects the health of fire crews.

In Business/Finance news: although consumers continue to spend, the US GDP fell to 1.9% and the Fed is expected to cut interest rates. Meanwhile: Canfor’s privatization move faces some opposition; Resolute expands its liquidity; Roseburg opens an LVL plant in South Carolina; and panel prices soared last week while lumber rose slightly.

Finally, two rare white moose; an Arctic stump, and a wood showcase for the Tokyo Olympics.

Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Business & Politics

2020 to be tough for forestry, Rustad says

By Blair McBride
Houston Today
October 30, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

John Rustad

For the next year or two, forestry in northwestern BC is in for a rough ride. …Nechako Lakes MLA John Rustad spoke at a village meeting in Granisle but apologized that he had little good news to report on forestry. While there are many factors contributing to the sawmill curtailments and shutdowns, Rustad summed it up by saying, “The reality is pretty simple: we’re uncompetitive. We’re the highest cost jurisdiction in North America.” …The problem is about 60 per cent rooted in the stumpage fee system and about 40 per cent in government regulations and cost. …The MLA foresees there will be more curtailments in sawmills and that this winter and next year will be challenging for forestry in the north, unless lumber prices rise in the U.S. …As a solution, Rustad thinks the industry needs to change its thinking… farming trees instead of harvesting them. He used Sweden as an example.

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Canfor board supports Jim Pattison’s bid to take company private, even as ‘momentum’ against deal builds

By Gabriel Friedman
The National Post
October 29, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

BC’s timber giant Canfor Corporation announced that it agreed to a $16 per share buyout by billionaire Jim Pattison’s Great Pacific Capital Corp., in what could set up a showdown with shareholders who think the offer is too low. …Great Pacific currently controls 51 per cent of the shares, but in order to proceed the transaction would require two-thirds of the overall shareholders’ support and a simple majority from minority shareholders. Last month, Montreal’s Letko, Brosseau & Associates, which said it manages 4.8 per cent of the outstanding shares, announced it would vote against the offer, calling it based on a “very depressed share price.” …Mark Wilde, a BMO analyst wrote of… “Canfor’s ‘intrinsic’ value of $23 per share.”…Paul Quinn, at RBC Capital Markets, values the company between $14.24 and $19.38. …Barbara Hislop, who owns around two per cent of the shares, is not prepared to support the deal, and it suggested certain unnamed executives were not either.

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Resolute Further Enhances Liquidity with Amended and Restated Senior Secured Credit Agreement

Resolute Forest Products
October 29, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

MONTREAL — Resolute Forest Products announced that it has entered into an amended and restated senior secured credit agreement for up to $360 million, replacing the company’s existing $185 million senior secured credit facility. The amended and restated credit agreement includes a term loan facility of up to $180 million and a six-year revolving credit facility of up to $180 million. …”This renewal and upsize gives us an additional $175 million of liquidity – for over $740 million in total – and at very competitive rates, flexible terms and maturities of up to 13 years… without pledging any additional collateral,” said Remi G. Lalonde, senior vice president and chief financial officer. 

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The Wood Product Manufacturers Association announces 2020 Board

By Karen Koenig
Woodworking Network
October 29, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States

SAVANNAH, Georgia — The Wood Products Manufacturers Association elected its 2020 Board of Directors during the group’s annual meeting, held Oct. 16-17 in Savannah, Georgia. WPMA’s slate of 2020 officers includes: Chris Moore, Graf Brothers, president: Sandra Ann Bean, J.M. Champeau, vice president; Terry Gross, Brown Wood, Inc., treasurer; and John Lentine, Boyce Highlands Inc., assistant treasurer. Philip Bibeau is WPMA executive director. …The WPMA acts as a clearinghouse for solving problems of mutual concern and assisting members in controlling costs. …Headquartered in Westminster, Massachusetts, the association traces back to 1929.

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Roseburg Forest Products holds grand opening for new South Carolina plant

KPIC News
October 29, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

CHESTER, South Carolina – Roseburg Forest Products held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the grand opening of its newly constructed Chester, S.C., engineered wood plant. S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster participated in the event, along with Roseburg President and CEO Grady Mulbery and Roseburg owner and Chairman Allyn Ford. The Chester Engineered Wood plant is the most technologically advanced manufacturing facility of its kind, and features the highest-capacity LVL press in the world. The project was first announced in summer 2017 and the construction team broke ground later that year. When fully operational, the plant will employ at least 145 people from the area. The Chester facility will produce laminated veneer lumber headers and beams used in residential and commercial construction.

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Finance & Economics

Panel prices recover magnificently, big changes at BC sawmill operators

By Madison’s Lumber Reporter
Wood Business – Canadian Forest Industries
October 30, 2019
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, United States

Last week, construction framing dimension softwood lumber prices rose slightly, while oriented strand board (OSB) and plywood prices absolutely soared. …The price of benchmark panel item Oriented Strand Board 7/16” Ontario shot up C$35, or +15%, last week, to C$275 msf, while that of Plywood 9.5 mm Toronto rose C$20, or +5%, to C$430 msf.

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The Fed Is Expected to Cut Rates for a Third Time. Its Next Move Is a Mystery

By Jeanna Smialek
The New York Times
October 30, 2019
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States

The Federal Reserve is widely expected to lower interest rates on Wednesday for a third, and potentially final, time this year. What comes next is less clear. …While officials have been less direct in signaling a cut this month than they were in arguing for those earlier moves, policymakers have done little to crush investors’ expectations for a quarter-point reduction at the current meeting. …The central question now is whether the economy will need further insulation going forward.

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U.S. slowdown deepens as economic growth slips to 1.9 percent pace in third quarter

By Heather Long and Andrew Van Dam
The Washington Post
October 30, 2019
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States

The U.S. economy cooled over the summer, growing at a 1.9 percent annualized pace from July through September, the latest sign that the slowdown is deepening. …Consumer spending continues to power the economy, but business investment has now contracted for six straight months, falling 3 percent in the third quarter, the biggest drop since the end of 2015. …Spending on both structures and equipment was deeply negative.

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US GDP rose a better-than-expected 1.9% in the third quarter as consumers continued to spend

By Thomas Franck
CNBC News
October 30, 2019
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States

Economic activity in the U.S. grew at an annualized rate of 1.9% in the third quarter, down slightly from the 2% pace in the second quarter. …Economists polled by Dow Jones had expected the first look at third-quarter growth to come in at 1.6%. …The better-than-expected data was the result of continued consumer spending as well as government expenditures, the Commerce Department says.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Canadian Wood Council launches woodSMART

Canadian Wood Council
October 30, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada

WoodSMART is a program of the Canadian Wood Council with the goal of supporting post-secondary institutions, students, and educators, to ensure future practitioners (architects, engineers, construction professionals) have the most up-to-date knowledge and skillset in the design & construction of advanced wood buildings. This program is being led by Reed Kelterborn, Education Manager at the CWC. Currently, most post-secondary design and construction curricula focuses on concrete and steel. More wood design content is needed so new graduates are familiar with the specialized knowledge of wood design and construction. This is important as Canada’s forests are one of our greatest carbon sequestration tools. CWC will collaborate with universities and colleges to help increase the availability, and content, of wood design courses.

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Tall wood building technologies, innovations and solutions in a new era of design and building among topics at Vancouver conference

Wood WORKS! BC
October 29, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

VANCOUVER ‐ The latest technologies, innovations and solutions in wood design and building, with a focus on a new generation of taller buildings globally, will be presented in Vancouver next week at the 2019 Wood Solutions Conference. Distinguished speakers from Canada and beyond, including the UK, Norway and the US, will inform and inspire BC’s architects, engineers and other building professionals with the latest information and expertise on wood design and building on Tuesday, November 5 at the Vancouver Convention Centre ‐ East. The annual one‐day conference is presented by Wood WORKS! BC and the Canadian Wood Council with support from Natural Resources Canada and Forestry Innovation Investment. Along with an exceptional lineup of national and international speakers, there will be an interactive trade show and many engagement opportunities with industry leaders, design innovators, product experts and project teams. 

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What it’s like to live in a natural disaster zone

By Erica Evans
The Deseret News
October 29, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

…Across the United States, the frequency and size of wildfires are increasing, along with the population in at-risk zones, according to Stephen Strader, professor of geography and the environment at Villanova University. …Martin Espinoza is a journalist who lives in Santa Rosa… He said the effects of varying levels of post-traumatic stress disorder can be seen among community members. …Deciding whether to rebuild or relocate when a home is damaged or destroyed by a natural disaster can be difficult when a person feels strong ties to their community.  For those who decide to stay in disaster-prone areas, there are ways to rebuild communities and make them stronger and safer. …According to Espinoza, some people in Sonoma County are rebuilding their homes smarter, using fire-resistant materials like concrete. But some are going back to the same old wood construction design.

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Södra’s Breakthrough Will Enable Large-scale Textile Recycling

By Södra Skogsägarna ekonomisk förening
Cision Newswire
October 29, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

VÄXJÖ, Sweden — “Only a negligible proportion of the global production of clothing and textiles is recycled today. Virtually everything is sent to landfill or incineration. But Swedish innovation …can now influence the game at a global level,” said Lars Idermark, President and CEO of Södra. One of the major obstacles to textile recycling is that the fabrics are often made from blended materials. Södra’s new technique can separate the cotton and polyester in polycotton blends… The pure cotton fibres are then added to our wood-derived textile pulp, which can then be used to make new textiles. “We are now …offering circular flows of textile fibres. A sweater can now become a sweater again. This will create added value for our customers, and especially the fashion industry. It’s a big day for us and an equally big day for the emerging circular bioeconomy,” said Johannes Bogren, President of Södra Cell Bioproducts. 

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The Car Is Made Of Wood

By Elizabeth Blackstock
Jalopnik
October 29, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Japan’s Ministry of the Environment has created an unprecedented supercar made entirely of wood. The entire car is composed of nano cellulose fibers, or plant-derived material (including agricultural waste) that’s one-fifth of the weight of—and five times as strong as—steel, the Ministry of the Environment notes. By using those fibers to compose most of the bodywork and part of the tub, the result is a car about half as light as your traditional one, with a ten percent overall reduction in mass. …There isn’t really any information at all out there about what kind of power source will be implemented, but the rumor is that it’ll be equipped with a hydrogen fuel cell and have a top speed of… 12 mph. So, yes, there’s some room for improvement in the powertrain.

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Olympics: Tokyo unveils 2020 venue inspired by Japanese architecture

Ahram Online
October 29, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Organisers of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics unveiled a custom-built $188 million gymnastics venue inspired by Japanese architecture that uses wood brought from around the country. The futuristic-looking Ariake Gymnastics Centre uses 2,300 cubic metres of wood and is intended to hark back to traditional building techniques that predated the use of modern materials. The structure features a gently undulating roof, with external walls constructed from lengths of cedar wood. …The building, one of a handful custom-built for the Games, “symbolises Japan’s wood culture and viewers can feel its simple beauty”, the organisers said. “We’re using a lot of wood,” venue general manager Koichi Fukui told reporters. “We can smell wood and feel the warmth of wood,” he said. Built at a cost of 20.5 billion yen, the venue features a domed ceiling constructed from Japanese larch with no steel framework and is among the largest of its kind in the world.

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Forestry

This mysterious Arctic tree stump could reveal ancient secrets

By Lindsay Jones
Maclean’s Magazine
October 29, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada

His hunting party had set out under a muted sky from Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, on the day Naikak Hakongak spotted something almost never seen on the Arctic tundra. …‘This is a tree stump!’” the 56-year-old recalls. “My first thought was ‘Wow, this is quite the strange find.’” Located on Victoria Island, Cambridge Bay is roughly 600 km above the treeline, the latitudes above which the climate is too cold for trees to survive. …Forests covered many parts of the Arctic millions of years ago, and pieces of fossilized wood have been found in Nunavut, on Bylot Island, Ellesmere Island and Axel Heiberg Island, that date back 45 million years. Robert Blanchette, a plant pathology professor at the University of Minnesota… “The wood is a link to the past, providing information about what the earth was like millions of years ago,” he said.

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Natural resource compliance and enforcement summary released

By Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy
Government of British Columbia
October 29, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The Province has released its quarterly natural resource compliance and enforcement summary for the first quarter of 2019. The summary outlines various compliance and enforcement actions taken by the provincial government, along with associated penalties and fines. In total, the Province issued 16 orders, 30 administrative sanctions, three administrative penalties, 419 violation tickets and 12 court convictions. These enforcement actions resulted in $177,207 in penalties. As part of the Province’s commitment to better protect environmentally sensitive habitats and wildlife from the effects of backcountry winter activities, conservation officers issued 171 tickets to those using off-road vehicles and snowmobiles unlawfully, totalling $32,286 in fines. Since 2006, over $16 million in penalties have been levied against companies and individuals for non-compliance

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‘Conservation is a priority,’ minister tells skeptics of land protection plan

By Shane Fowler
CBC News
October 30, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

Mike Holland

Conservation groups and environmentalists are applauding the provincial government’s plan to more than double the amount of protected land in New Brunswick, but the initiative has its skeptics. New Brunswick currently preserves around 4.6 per cent of its land, but plans to increase that to 10 per cent by the end of next year.  Despite recent calls for this exact policy, critics were caught off guard by the announcement, made Monday, and have been vocal about waiting for the other shoe to drop — specifically in the form of future concessions to major industrial forestry companies. …Mike Holland, minister of natural resources and energy development, said there’s no deal with industry to offset the conservation plan with any other kind of incentive. “This is a conservation announcement,” he said. “It was meant to enhance, improve, and increase the conservation footprint of the province of New Brunswick.”  

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Two rare white ‘spirit moose’ spotted together in Northern Ontario

By Josh Elliott
Global News
October 28, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

Two snow-white moose have been spotted crossing the highway in Northern Ontario, approximately one year after video of the same two animals captured international attention in 2018. Jackie Burns Loyer photographed the elusive creatures… while driving from Timmins to Chapleau, Ontario. …White moose are not albino, as they do not have red eyes. They also occasionally have some colouring on their bodies. …That would explain why there were two white moose, as the juvenile animal might have inherited the gene from its parent. …It is illegal to hunt a moose that’s more than 50 per cent white, according to the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. The ban applies to the area surrounding the communities of Timmins, Chapleau and Foleyet.

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New Brunswick plans to double amount of protected natural areas before 2021

CBC News
October 28, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

The New Brunswick government will more than double the amount of conserved land and freshwater within the next 14 months, the province announced Monday. About 4.6 per cent of the province, or 3,386 square kilometres, is already protected, but the government aims to reach 10 per cent by the end of 2020.  “The government understands the importance of conserving natural areas as part of an overall approach to meeting forest and land management objectives,” Mike Holland, minister for the newly renamed Department of Natural Resources and Energy Development, said in a release. “This includes adapting to climate change, protecting biodiversity, protecting wetlands and watersheds, and protecting species at risk. Roberta Clowater, of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, said… it’s a “first step” that brings the province more in line with its Canadian counterparts.”

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Money to burn: Forest Service wildfire fund ends its year in the black

By Kailey Broussard
KTAR News
October 29, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

WASHINGTON – For the first time in nine years, the U.S. Forest Service ended the fiscal year without depleting its fire suppression budget and having to borrow money from other projects to continue fighting wildfires. Experts credit cooler and wetter weather that helped suppress wildfires around the country this year, and said they expect coming years will again see more costly firefighting operations. But they also hope that the service may have turned a corner by ending this year in the black, just as a new funding formula takes effect that should prevent such “fire borrowing” in the future. “I think it’s good news from a lot of perspectives that they’re ending up in the black this year and didn’t have fire borrowing,” said Zander Evans, executive director of the nonprofit Forest Stewards Guild, before adding that any future fire season “is unlikely to be this good.” “In some ways, we got lucky,” he said.

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What Happens To Soil Microbes After Wildfire?

By Linh Anh Cat
Forbes Magazine
October 30, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

California’s fire season is in full force. …Many people are concerned about what happens to animals during a wildfire. What exactly happens to the microbes during wildfire? Soil microbes are key to maintaining soil health and these benefits can change the flora and fauna that recolonize the burn area after a fire. Here are three ways fires change the ecology of soil microbes and how this then impacts humans: Edible morel mushrooms thrive after fire. …However, if fires are extremely hot (due to fire suppression or drought), they will sterilize the top layer of soil. …Sometimes, microbes produce a highly toxic compound called methylmercury.

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4 ways technology and innovation contribute to greener, safer forests

The Washington Forest Protection Association
October 29, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Working forests are managed to provide a continuous supply of renewable, sustainable wood products for building materials, and at the same time protect fish, water and wildlife while growing trees. While trees generate oxygen, stabilize soils and provide homes to wildlife, they also sequester carbon and store that carbon in harvested wood products.  Forest landowners who manage these tree farms are continuously improving their operations by using science, technology and innovation to advance their knowledge, reduce waste and make the milling process safer. Here are four ways technology and innovation in forest management and wood production can help curb climate change, support sustainability, and help ensure the safety of those working in the mills.

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Forest Service offers sweeping plan to save endangered forest

By Peter Aleshire
Payson Roundup
October 29, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Wow. What a mess. And what a challenge. That’s what jumps out from the Forest Service’s study of the environmental impacts of a proposal to thin and burn 1.4 million acres in Rim Country and the White Mountains. Across that vast landscape, the trees are stunted; crown fires and mistletoe infestations threaten 75 percent of the forest; streams, springs and meadows have dried up; species face extinction; aspen are vanishing and forested towns face catastrophe, according to the just-released environmental impact statement on the forests surrounding Rim Country and White Mountains. The analysis focuses on the plan to log and thin 900,000 acres and reintroduce low-intensity, managed burns on about 1 million acres, with some of those categories overlapping. The Forest Service hopes to play God across a vast area, restoring the wildly out-of-balance ecosystems of a once stately, fire-adapted forest.

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Young Otago students encouraged to take on forestry careers

By New Zealand Government
Scoop Independent News
October 30, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF)’s skills and employment programme will help young Otago people into long-term forestry careers, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. Te Ara Mahi will invest $63,000 in the 2020 school year to support eight 17 and 18 year olds to enter careers in forestry. “Forestry is currently enjoying a renewed lease on life thanks to the One Billion Trees programme and the Government’s emphasis on the sector for both regional development and environmental outcomes,” Shane Jones said. The funding will see these young people trained, upskilled and supported into local full time employment.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

John Day biomass plant preparing for production

By Rudy Diaz
The Bend Bulletin
October 28, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

New jobs are on the horizon with the completion of the torrefaction plant expected at the end of the year. Matt Krumenauer, CEO of Restoration Fuels, said the plant that will turn forest biomass into a product that can be burned for fuel plans to be in production in 2020. All of the equipment is in place. The boiler system will begin running by mid-November, Krumenauer said, and the rest of the system will be in production at the start of 2020. The first three months of 2020 will focus on startup and commissioning in preparation for the plant to work at one-third capacity for the rest of the year, a common process that assures production goes well when the plant works at full capacity in 2021, he said. At full capacity, the plant is expected to produce 80,000-90,000 tons of torrefied wood in a year.

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Joint efforts needed to overcome effects of climate change on Idaho forests

By Scott McIntosh
The Idaho Statesman
October 29, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

One common thread in many if not all of our current environmental conundrums is climate change. …When it comes to forest health in Idaho and across the West, decades of fire suppression efforts, and limited logging and thinning, particularly on federal lands, have played a role in leaving our forest susceptible to wildfires, insects and disease. However, the role of climate change can’t be denied. “The overwhelming causes of wildfire are warmer and drier summers and warmer and drier climate in general in the Western United States,” said Jen Pierce, a professor of geology and wildfire expert at Boise State University. “While logging and thinning certainly can be an option for reducing hazards of wildfire around established communities for certain types of forests, it’s not logistically or economically feasible that logging and thinning would be able to reduce wildfires.” [fourth in a series of columns about Idaho’s forests]

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Finland fights to keep control of forests away from EU

By Elana Sanchez Nicolas
The EU Observer
October 30, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Finland, which currently holds the EU’s presidency until the end of the year, is lobbying to keep forestry a national competency – undermining a key part of the EU’s climate efforts to reduce emissions. The EU considers land use and forestry two of the most important sectors for the bloc’s climate policy – as they include the use of soils, trees, plants, biomass, and timber. Bearing in mind the climate targets for 2030 and 2050, the European Union designed a regulation for land use and forestry, adopted in 2018, to ensure that the accounted total emissions in the sector do not exceed the ‘accounted sinks’ – also known as “no-debit” rule. However, the Finnish committees of agriculture and forestry, economy and environment, in agreement with the government in Helsinki, rejected this updated framework last week.

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With looming loss of European subsidy, wood pellet industry faces turning point

By Elizabeth Ouzts
The Energy News Network
October 29, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

…North Carolina has emerged as the epicenter of the region’s fight over wood pellets, a popular substitute for coal in European power plants that critics say is making climate catastrophe worse, not better. Pressure from activists has garnered rhetorical gestures from Cooper against the international biomass trade, but state officials have continued to grant requests from Enviva, the world’s largest pellet maker, to expand production. North Carolina is now on track to surpass Georgia as the country’s largest exporter of the controversial fuel. Across the pond, however, the politics are starting to shift. The world’s largest pellet customer, the United Kingdom, plans to phase out the generous subsidies that caused the industry to balloon in the first place. The changes have inspired pellet foes to press for more urgent reforms — and the industry to look for new technology and new markets. 

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Health & Safety

Research into wildland firefighter health underway

By Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development
Government of British Columbia
October 29, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

Two research projects will benefit firefighters and associated personnel by looking into their health and wellness. The BC Wildfire Service has provided $305,000 to help fund the research projects. The University of Northern British Columbia and the University of Alberta are conducting the studies to learn more about how firefighting activities affect the health of fire crews. “Our firefighters have worked hard on the front lines to keep British Columbians safe during difficult and record-setting wildfire seasons,” said Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “These studies will help us support their long-term health and well-being.”

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Forest Fires

Photos: Wildfires batter northern, southern California, exploding in size

The Missoulian
October 29, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

A wildfire on Los Angeles’ wealthy west side destroyed several homes and forced thousands to flee early Monday, while a blaze in Northern California wine country has exploded in size.

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Wildfires and blackouts in California: The situation so far

The Globe and Mail
October 29, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

More than one million Californians were in the dark on Wednesday in the third wave of blackouts by Pacific Gas & Electric Corp., a utility facing rising public anger over its desperate efforts to prevent its equipment from triggering more fires. Some residents have been without electricity for four days due to a previous shutoff over the weekend. In the northern wine country, firefighters on Tuesday coped with gusts of 48 kilometres an hour while tackling the Kincade Fire, which has burned 189 homes and other structures and charred an area more than twice the size of San Francisco. Meanwhile, ferocious Santa Ana winds returned to Southern California, where a fire that erupted Monday in the tony Brentwood area of Los Angeles has destroyed a dozen homes.

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