Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: November 6, 2019

Today’s Takeaway

Forestry carbon offsets may be worse than nothing: Bennett

The Tree Frog Forestry News
November 6, 2019
Category: Today's Takeaway

Business in Vancouver’s Nelson Bennett revisits the history and image problem of forest carbon offsets and why some experts say they’re worse than nothing. In other news: BC’s mill layoffs are not being replicated in Ontario; Canfor’s mill closure results in a logging asset sale; IKEA reports strong sales growth in Canada; and the China-NZ trade agreement is lauded by NZ timber exporters.

In Wood Product news: Canadian’s are willing to pay for sustainable packaging; Domtar adds manmade fibres to its paper mix; an Oregon paper mill creates paper from straw; KFC tests bamboo packaging for its poutine; and a Dutch timber design seeks to demonstrate the concrete of the future.

Finally, Heavens to Betsy — the environmental toll of cremating the dead.

Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Froggy Foibles

The environmental toll of cremating the dead

By Becky Little
National Geographic
November 5, 2019
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: United States

Over the past four years, cremations have surpassed burials as the most popular end-of-life option in the United States. …Cremation—along with these creative ways to honor the dead—is often marketed as a more environmentally friendly option than traditional embalmment and casket burial. …But while it’s true that cremation is less harmful than pumping a body full of formaldehyde and burying it on top of concrete, there are still environmental effects to consider. Cremation requires a lot of fuel, and it results in millions of tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year—enough that some environmentalists are trying to rethink the process. …This year, Washington State became the first in the U.S. to legalize a type of corpse composting called natural organic reduction, or recomposition. 

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Business & Politics

IKEA Canada grows sales by 6.1 per cent to $2.53 billion

IKEA Canada
Cision Newswire
November 6, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada

BURLINGTON, ONTARIO — IKEA Canada announced sales of $2.53 billion for the financial year ending August 31, 2019, an increase of 6.1 per cent on the previous year. Detailed in the company’s 2019 Summary Report, the home furnishings retailer also reported strong digital engagement with 117.2 million visits to IKEA.ca, representing a 12 per cent lift and contributing to $261.2 million in ecommerce sales. In a rapidly-changing retail landscape IKEA grew in-store visitation to 31 million customers, an increase of 2.7 per cent. …With sustainability integrated throughout retail operations, IKEA Canada took key steps toward its commitments to be a circular and climate positive business by 2030. The retailer launched a new Sell-Back program, where gently-used products see a second-life in exchange for store credit.

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Layoffs at B.C. sawmills no cause for concern in northwestern Ontario

By Jeff Walters
CBC News
November 5, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada

Layoffs at sawmills across British Columbia are not an indicator of the health of Ontario’s forest industry, say two insiders with knowledge of Ontario’s sawmill operations. Three mills have temporarily closed in northwestern Ontario this year, one being closed since April. While access to wood supply is an issue in B.C., it’s U.S. softwood lumber tariffs causing problems for sawmills in Ontario, said Jamie Lim, the President and CEO of the Ontario Forest Industries Association. “If companies have large sums of money sitting at the border that they can’t use to run their operations, it may leave them with no choice,” said Lim, referring to the shutdowns in Ontario. Lim said she can’t predict what individual operations may do in the future, but said the concern in the industry is the millions of dollars tied up at the border, which is not being invested in sawmill operations, or staffing.

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Workers affected by Kelowna Tolko shutdown offered help

Infotel News
November 5, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Tolko employees affected by the recent Kelowna mill shutdown are the focus of a new WorkBC program. In an email sent out today, WorkBC said its staff are preparing services specifically tailored to help Tolko workers through the “difficult period.” “We’ll be offering special workshops to help you prepare for whatever comes next in your career,” reads the release. …WorkBC offers job seekers access to job search resources, workshops, employment counselling, training, assessments, work experience placements and more. Tolko Industries announced in September it would be shutting down its Kelowna mill indefinitely putting 127 people out of work immediately.

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Wadlegger Logging and Construction buys Clusko Loggings local assets

By Jaime Mateer
The North Thompson Star/Journal
November 6, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Hans Wadlegger

Wadlegger Logging and Construction Ltd recently bought Clusko Logging’s hard assets and harvesting rights in the Clearwater area. Hans Wadlegger, co-owner of the company, said the purchase has to do with the closing of Canfor’s Vavenby mill and the possible transfer of tenure from Canfor to Interfor. “In this environment, there’s going to be fewer trees being cut in this valley and Clusko is looking at some other opportunities, so we’ve made an agreement with them to buy their hard assets here in Clearwater,” he said. “We bought their shop, the land, and the camp, but what we were most interested in was their quota.” Wadlegger noted Clusko had the rights to harvest 43,000 cubic metres in the area.

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West Linn paper mill reopens as Willamette Falls Paper Co., with 125 employees

By Mike Rogoway
Associated Press in the Statesman Journal
November 5, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

A 130-year-old paper mill in West Linn is back open, two years after its sudden closure. The newly formed Willamette Falls Paper Co. quietly restarted two months ago and is now trying out new classes of paper made from pulp and agricultural waste instead of wood. The mill said Monday it plans to begin commercial production of coated and uncoated papers by the middle of the month. The plant closed in October 2017, citing “unforeseeable events” that reduced available pulp for making paper. The shutdown cost 250 millworkers their jobs. Earlier this year, though, Clark County investor Ken Peterson took an interest in the site and made a “multimillion-dollar” investment to get the mill up and running again. Peterson’s investment firm, Columbia Ventures, has an eclectic portfolio that ranges from Texas real estate to augmented reality technology. He hopes to demonstrate the viability of using wheat farmers’ waste straw to make paper.

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Florida Could See The Nation’s First USDA Block Grants For Timber Industry Recovery

By Ryan Dailey
WFSU Public Media
November 5, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

Florida Forest Service director Jim Karels  says there’s a good chance state block grants will be approved to help North Florida’s ailing timber industry. The subject-specific grants have never been given out for timber anywhere in the nation by the United States Department of Agriculture. Similar grants were approved to help the state’s citrus industry following Hurricane Irma… The Forest Service and other agencies are asking for $370 million dollars to offset timber production losses from Hurricane Michael. Karels says applying landowners will be categorized by acreage and type of timber grown. “Then as a landowner, that certain amount you would be written a production loss check per acres under that category,” Karels explained to the Senate Agriculture Committee Tuesday. “It won’t make a landowner whole. It’s really based on probably less than 50 percent of the value of what was there. But it will give them funding to help reforest, get the land cleaned up.”

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China Free Trade Agreement upgrade will assist processed timber exports

By the New Zealand Forest Owners Association
Scoop Independent News
November 6, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

The Forest Owners Association says the just announced phased reduction of tariffs for wood and paper exports to China will assist in a long term realigning of New Zealand exports into more further processed timber products. Association Chief Executive David Rhodes says Trade Minister, David Parker, has done a great job of removing much of the remaining obstacles for the processed timber export trade into China. …“Our industry is hugely reliant on China.  Our processed timber exports there are worth $509 million a year, but that value could be a whole lot more, if it were not for those residual tariffs discouraging exporters.  While the tariff removal on current exports is relatively small, it’s the potential for growth without the tariffs which is significant.”

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Finance & Economics

Softwood lumber prices pop higher as seasonal winter slowdown looms

By Madison’s Lumber Reporter
Wood Business – Canadian Forest Industries
November 5, 2019
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, United States

Continuing recent climbs, the price of benchmark construction framing dimension softwood lumber commodity SPF popped +$18, or +5%, last week to close at US$396 mfbm. Last week’s price is +$20, or +5%, more than it was one month ago. ..Buyers had little choice but to capitulate as their own depleted inventories forced them coming back to make orders frequently.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

KFC Canada to test bamboo packaging for poutine starting next year

By Aleksandra Sagan
Canadian Press in The Chronicle Journal
November 5, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada

KFC Canada wants to use bamboo buckets eventually, but the fast food chain will start next year with poutine… “We want our customers to feel that KFC is dedicated to…delivering [food] in a way that our guests can feel good about,” said Armando Carrillo, KFC Canada’s innovation manager. The company’s sustainability commitment, which includes sourcing all of its fibre-based packaging from certified or recycled sources by next year, will see it testing new, innovative materials. KFC Canada says bamboo buckets will be available at some of the company’s more than 600 Canadian restaurants starting in early 2020. …The move would replace its polypropylene poutine packages with bamboo ones. “I think they’re doing a great thing,” said Chunping Dai, an associate professor at the University of British Columbia’s department of wood science. …Companies are testing or already using bamboo in beauty products, furniture, sleep sets and other goods. “Bamboo is very sustainable,” he said.

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Majority of Canadians are willing to pay more for sustainably packaged food products

By Asia Pulp & Paper
Cision Newswire
November 6, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, International

TORONTO — Sustainably sourced packaged material is becoming a leading factor in Canadians’ purchasing decisions, with 62% of Canadians willing to pay more for such products. According to Asia Pulp & Paper’s third annual Attitudes Towards Sustainability report, 74% of Canadians consider sustainability an important factor when making purchases. This trend was particularly reflected in food packaging where a majority of Canadian adults (62%) were willing to pay more for products packaged in sustainable materials, with 40% saying they would be open to paying up to 10% more. Millenials are the most likely to say they would be willing to pay more for sustainably packaged food products and are considerably more inclined that their older counterparts to pay over 10% more.

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Domtar R&D: Making Paper at Lower Cost With Filler Fiber

By Domtar
MarketScreener
November 5, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada East, Canada

Innovation at Domtar is the driving force behind defining success in 21st-century manufacturing… Our recent research on filler fiber is one such innovation. Our fiber research and development scientists, along with the engineering team at the Marlboro Mill, have developed a process to produce paper at a much lower cost using a filler material as a substitute for wood fiber. Called ‘filler-loaded fiber technology’, this patent-pending process isn’t as complicated as it might seem. Wood fibers are actually made of many smaller fibers called fibrils. During the papermaking process, these fibrils are entangled with the manmade filler known as precipitated calcium carbonate (PCC), which is a combination of lime, water and carbon dioxide that is supplied at a fraction of the cost of wood fiber. By combining PCC with Domtar’s patented Stealth Fiber Technology™, we can increase the amount of PCC filler fiber in the paper.

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As Paradise rebuilds, a divide over safety a year after fire

By Don Thompson
The Associated Press in the Washington Post
November 5, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

PARADISE, California. — There was “no way in hell” Victoria Sinclaire was rebuilding in Paradise. …Despite her vow to stay away, Sinclaire’s family was one of the first to rebuild, braving the enduring threat of wildfires, and now, repeated power outages as the nation’s largest utility tries to prevent its equipment from sparking blazes on windy days like it did in Paradise a year ago. …“Rebuilding the Ridge” is a rallying cry on signs around town, evoking the beauty and peril of rebuilding on a wind-swept jut of land poking out of the Sierra Nevada and begging the question: Will the resurgent community be safer this time? …Paradise officials have taken steps to make the town more fire resistant but stopped short of the stringent restrictions adopted by several fire-prone Southern California communities.

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Willamette Falls company creates new, non-wood paper product

By Monica Samayoa
Jefferson Public Radio
November 5, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

An Oregon paper mill company has successfully created a new, non-wood paper product that uses agricultural waste to produce paper. The West Linn-based Willamette Falls Paper Company made its first non-wood paper product using pulp from wheat straw fibers. The new product uses 10% of fibers which are collected from the shaft of the wheat and broken down into microscopic fibers, which are then used to make both coated and uncoated paper. Willamette Falls Paper Company has been working with Trinseo, their key supplier on developing paper grades that will have similar characteristics to the mill’s standard grades. …The mill is expected to start making its new product available to customers by the end of November.

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Housing crisis: Are timber industries the answer?

The Planning, BIM & Construction Today
November 5, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

A report launched by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for the Timber Industries, reveals the importance timber industries could have on the UK’s housebuilding targets, whilst also helping the country achieve its net zero carbon emissions by 2050. The report titled ‘How the timber industries can help solve the housing crisis’, argues that using timber in construction is key to meeting emissions targets, and urges Government to implement the recommendations of the Climate Change Committee (CCC) by increasing the use of timber in construction. A long-term spending pledge, reformation of the right-to-buy scheme and building regulations that encourage innovation in construction are amongst the recommendations to the government. Timber frames are built using offsite construction methods, and are quicker, cheaper, quieter and more environmentally friendly than traditional construction methods.

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Biobasecamp pavilion aims to demonstrate the potential of timber in architecture

By Augusta Pownall
Dezeen Magazine
November 6, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

NETHERLANDS — A timber pavilion called Biobasecamp at Dutch Design Week brought together projects that demonstrate the potential of the “concrete of the future” to fight against climate change. Studio Marco Vermeulen built the wooden pavilion as a covered exhibition-space for a series of displays highlighting how timber can be used in bio-based architecture projects. Called Biobasecamp, the pavilion was erected in Ketelhuisplein in the Strijp-S district of Eindhoven for the duration of Dutch Design Week. The roof of the pavilion was the shape of a five-pronged star with squared corners. It was built by timber construction specialists Derix from 200 metres-cubed of lightweight, modular 16 by 3.5 metre cross-laminated timber boards.

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Forestry

California-like wildfire likelihood low for BC: BC Hydro

By Jeremy Hainsworth
The Delta Optimist
November 5, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

B.C.’s chances of experiencing wildfires and electricity infrastructure damages are lower than California’s due to climatic and geographic differences, BC Hydro says. The state has been devastated with fires that swept through productive farmland, burned expensive Los Angeles residences, closed freeways and threatened the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. …While BC Hydro says the province is under no such threats now, the Preliminary Strategic Climate Risk Assessment for British Columbia released by the provincial government in July, said, “The risks of a severe wildfire season and of a seasonal water shortage are the two highest-ranked risks facing the province overall in the 2050s.” …BC Hydro spokesperson Susie Rieder said the provincial utility recognizes the increasing risk of wildfires in the province and continues planning to mitigate risks.

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Forest Enhancement Society of B.C. to Share Wildfire Risk Project Details at Water Supply Association of B.C. Conference

Forest Enhancement Society of BC
November 5, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

The Forest Enhancement Society of B.C. (FESBC) has been invited to present at the Water Supply Association of B.C.’s (WSABC) annual conference to speak about their partnership project focused on reducing wildfire risk in Peachland. In this collaborative project, local First Nations Penticton Indian Band and Okanagan Nation Alliance, Gorman Bros Ltd., the Provincial government, and FESBC worked together to develop solutions to benefit and protect all citizens, wildlife habitat, ecosystem functioning, and cultural values of the land. Bob Hrasko, administrator for the Black Mountain Irrigation District, and WSABC chairman, heard about the success of this collaborative project and invited the project partners to present at the annual conference on the afternoon of November 8.

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They’ve managed the forest forever. It’s why they’re key to the climate change fight

By Julia Rosen
The Los Angeles Times
November 5, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

…Mandy Gull, a member of the Cree First Nation of Waswanipi in Quebec and the deputy grand chief of the Grand Council of the Crees says Canada’s Broadback Forest holds great significance for the Waswanipi Cree, who are trying to save it from the clear-cutting… More than 600 indigenous communities live in Canada’s boreal forest, one of the last great swaths of intact wilderness on Earth. But every year, a million acres fall to logging to make timber and tissue products, including toilet paper sold in the U.S., according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. …Eli Enns, a political scientist and president of a nonprofit conservation group in British Columbia called the Iisaak Olam Foundation, said indigenous peoples can use these areas to do more than simply save a slice of nature. They can provide a glimpse of how humans can live more lightly on the land.

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Lawsuit planned after giant forest project OK’d in Idaho

By Keith Ridler
The Associated Press in the Independent Record
November 5, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

BOISE, Idaho — A giant forest project in Idaho rejected by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is on again, and an environmental group says it violates the court’s orders and will stop it with another lawsuit. The U.S. Forest Service on Friday approved the 125-square-mile project on the Payette National Forest, with work expected to start this week. The Forest Service and the Alliance for the Wild Rockies agree the project is precisely the same as the one halted by the 9th Circuit Court’s ruling against the Forest Service in August 2018. But the Forest Service said it has added wording to an environmental review to clarify technical inconsistencies and other problems that caused the appeals court to stop the project. The agency said the new approval decision… allows work to begin.

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High-tech chestnuts: US to consider genetically altered tree

By Michael Hill
Associated Press in the Ionia Sentinel-Standard
November 5, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Chestnuts harvested in a college experiment look typical, but many are like no other nuts in nature. In a feat of genetic engineering, about half the chestnuts collected at this college experiment station feature a gene that provides resistance Chestnut blight. Researchers at New York state’s College of Environmental Science and Forestry will soon seek federal clearance to distribute thousands of modified trees as part of a restoration effort — a closely-watched move that could expand the frontier for genetically engineered plants beyond farms and into forests. The precedent-setting case adds urgency to a question scientists have already been grappling with: Should genetic engineering be used in the wild to help save or restore trees? Opponents warn of starting “a massive and irreversible experiment” in a highly complex ecosystem. Proponents see a technology already ubiquitous in the supermarket that could help save forests besieged by invasive pests.

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Pine needle blight pathogen gets weaker in New Zealand

By Bio Protection Research Centre
Scoop Independent News
November 6, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

…But for the first time, a New Zealand study has revealed that one introduced plant pathogen appears to have become weaker since it arrived here 50 years ago – possibly to make sure it doesn’t kill off its host. The Dothistroma septosporum fungus, which infects pine trees, first appeared in New Zealand in the 1960s. It causes Dothistroma needle blight, one of the worst foliar diseases of pine trees worldwide. Infected trees lose their needles, grow more slowly, and can even die. In other parts of the world D. septosporum can reproduce sexually, with two individuals mating to produce genetically different offspring. However, only one mating type exists in New Zealand – like having just males or just females – so the fungus reproduces asexually, effectively cloning itself. …The implications for practical resistance breeding are that, in some situations, even low levels of resistance or tolerance might be sufficient to improve the long-term health of trees.

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Victorian Government set to announce multi-million-dollar plan to end native logging by 2030

By Richard Willingham
ABC News Australia
November 6, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Logging of native trees will be phased out in Victoria over the next decade under a transition plan that could cost hundreds of millions of dollars. The Andrews Government is set to announce, as early as Thursday, a policy that includes reducing the current level of native timber available for logging from 2024-25. With dwindling supply already restricting the industry, all native timber logging will cease by 2030 under the policy. Reduced supply will put a strain on thousands of jobs and put pressure on already struggling mills, and there will money available as part of the transition away from a centuries-old industry. The ABC understands the financial assistance for the industry will be substantial and reach well into the hundreds of millions of dollars. The Victorian Association of Forestry Industries estimates more than 21,000 people work in forestry and the wood products sector and other studies have shown the native timber sector employs around 2,000 people.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Not all carbon offsets are created equal

By Nelon Bennett
Business in Vancouver
November 5, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada

…Do carbon offsets actually do anything to address climate change? Or are they merely greenwashing certificates issued to high-flying climate scolds who burn tonnes of CO2 while flying from city to city to lecture people on the importance of cutting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions? Carbon offsets have been likened to medieval indulgences that allowed the sinful to buy their way into heaven. Some critics call them a licence to pollute. …“Offsets can be effective – especially if targeted at projects that are verifiable and generate high public benefits,” said Hadi Dowlatabadi, a UBC professor. He has some serious reservations with offsets that fund forestry conservation projects, however. So does Mark Jaccard, professor of sustainable energy at Simon Fraser University. A recent ProPublica investigation – provocatively titled “Why Carbon Credits for Forest Preservation May Be Worse than Nothing” – underscores some of Jaccard’s and Dowlatabadi’s skepticism.

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Forestry carbon offsets grapple with image problem

By Nelson Bennett
Business in Vancouver
November 6, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

Carbon offsets and emissions trading evolved out of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol as a mechanism that could be used by industries that either couldn’t reduce their emissions. In anticipation of a large emissions trading market developing, a profusion of carbon offset companies popped up. …But the regulated market did not develop as expected. …The Western Climate Initiative, which originally envisioned several states and Canadian provinces agreeing to develop a regional emissions trading market, withered on the vine. …The failure of the WCI to develop as expected has put a drag on both Offsetters and the Great Bear Rainforest’s offset market. …Forestry offset projects also suffer from an image problem, so there may be some reticence on the part of voluntary buyers to invest in that particular sector. Verifying the carbon sequestration of a forest conservation project is a bit of arcane accounting science.

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University of New Hampshire researchers take to trees to study nitrogen, carbon levels

New Hampshire Union Leader
November 5, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

Researchers with the New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station at the University of New Hampshire have received a National Science Foundation Award to better understand how forests and other vegetation affect nitrogen and carbon in the environment. “This research is important as people add more nitrogen to the land through air pollution, fertilizers, and septic systems. It also will help understand how much carbon the environment can absorb as carbon dioxide increases in the atmosphere,” said experiment station researcher Wilfred Wollheim. According to a UNH news release, nitrogen is a nutrient that is both critical for life but, in excess, causes coastal algal blooms. Carbon storage helps offset greenhouse gases. “New Hampshire and New England are mostly forested. Besides their value for recreation and wildlife, forests also take up and store carbon and nitrogen,” Wollheim said. 

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Health & Safety

Should lumber trucks be allowed highway access? Congressman says yes.

By Robert Dalheim
Woodworking Network
November 5, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: US East, United States

ALGOMA, Wisconsin — A new congressional initiative would lift restrictions for lumber trucks, allowing them access to the interstate highway system. Wisconsin Congressman Mike Gallagher is a sponsor of the Safe Routes Act of 2019, which would give truckers a choice of routes by allowing state legal, short haul, and commodity-specific log trucks access to highways, and therefore lessening the need to travel through back roads and towns. …According to a 2018 Virginia Tech study, 96 percent of logging truck collisions occurred on city, county, or state roads where they encounter school zones, cross walks, intersections, stop signs, oncoming traffic, and railroad crossings, write congressional supporters of the bill. A 2018 University of Georgia study found that 41% of logging truck collisions occurred within five miles of the Interstate. The Safe Routes Act of 2019 would allow logging trucks to travel on the federal interstate for 150 air miles.

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Forest Fires

More countries than ever hit by forest fires in 2018

By CORDIS
Phys.org
November 5, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International

The Joint Research Centre published the 2018 edition of its Annual Report on Forest Fires in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. According to the report, wildfires destroyed nearly 178,000 hectares (ha) of forests and land in the EU last year. While this is less than one sixth of the area burnt in 2017, and less than the long-term average, more countries than ever before suffered from large fires. Tibor Navracsics, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, responsible for the Joint Research Centre, added: “Changing weather conditions associated with climate change increase the risk for forest fires globally. We need to respond and step up our efforts to make our forests more resilient to a warmer and drier climate. Evidence provided by the Joint Research Centre allows us to focus on the most effective ways to prevent wildfires, helping us protect our forests, which is key to preserve biodiversity and citizens’ quality of life.”

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