Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: November 22, 2019

Today’s Takeaway

BC Building Code changes support increased use of wood

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

Building code changes support tall wood structures, 6-storey wood-frame as a means to ease BC’s rental housing shortfall. In related news: mass timber is trending in San Francisco; Scandinavian Airlines switches to fibre-based packaging; and New Zealand’s Zero Carbon Act is worrisome to the steel industry.

In other news: Australia bushfire smoke reaches record levels; BC and Alberta researchers on the health impacts of fighting forest fires; and a CBC video story on the link between herbicides and forest fires. Meanwhile; more on the CN Rail strike, and Tolko mill closure.

Finally, outdoor wood furniture with solar panels to recharge your laptop.

Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

Read More

Business & Politics

CN Rail strike is a threat to small businesses and the economy: CFIB calls for a resolution by early next week

By Canadian Federation of Independent Business
Cision Newswire
November 21, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada

TORONTO — The CN Rail strike, which is now on its fourth day, poses a threat for small businesses that rely on its services to send and receive products and essential materials. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business urges all parties to find a solution to end the strike quickly and make sure goods and products can continue to be shipped. …The agriculture industry is among the most affected. The impact of the strike is also being felt in other industries that rely heavily on rail service, such as… forestry. …”If the parties cannot reach an agreement by early next week, CFIB calls on the government to resume Parliament and pass back-to-work legislation.”

Read More

Heating fuel shortage looms as strike at Canada’s biggest railroad hits third day

By Rod Nickel and Kelsey Johnson
Reuters in the Chronicle Herald
November 21, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada

WINNIPEG/OTTAWA – Shippers scrambled to shift freight onto trucks on Thursday as a strike at Canada’s biggest railroad, Canadian National Railway Co, hit its third day, leaving the critical fuel propane and other goods stranded. Some 3,200 unionized employees, including conductors and yard workers, hit picket lines on Tuesday in the biggest such action in a decade. …A senior source in the ruling Liberal Party said mediation was the best option because Trudeau has yet to reconvene Parliament and once he does do, several procedural steps would be needed before back-to-work legislation could be introduced. “Any solution is weeks away if you go that route,” the source said on condition of anonymity. …Major retailers and pulp and paper companies have started hiring trucks from Montreal-based Fuel Transport, even though they cost more than rail, said President Robert Piccioni.

Read More

Woodtone in Spallumcheen is hiring workers

By Darren Handschuh
Castanet
November 21, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Woodtone in Spallumcheen is a BC forest industry company that is not only keeping its employees working, it is hiring more staff. Some 70 people are employed by the plant that has carved out a successful niche market while taking value added to a whole new level. The company takes small pieces of wood that were destined for the chipper or burner and turns them into large, valuable pieces of wood… “We partner with a lot of the primary mills around the Okanagan particularly, and we buy a lot of the lengths and odds and ends they can’t get rid of,” said Chad Richmond, Woodtone territory and product manager. [They] are then milled and finger jointed to make dimensional lumber. The final product undergoes rigorous testing… Most of the products head to the United States market. …“We’re hiring. We just trained five new recruits yesterday.” And they are looking for more employees.

Read More

Tolko workers look to future

By Kirk Penton
The Okanagan Edge
November 21, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

The push is on to get those affected by the permanent closure of Kelowna’s Tolko saw mill back in the workforce. “They’re starting to look in other places for work, and a lot of them aren’t going back into our industry, which is sad,” United Steelworkers Local 1-423 Kelowna president Pat McGregor said this week. “They see that the industry is changing, and I don’t believe it is. I just think it’s cyclical.” …Nearly 200 workers, including some who are third- and fourth-generation mill employees, are now beginning the tough task of finding new careers. …The union, Tolko and the provincial government are all playing roles in that. …McGregor said Tolko’s involvement in transition money for its former employees remains to be seen.

Read More

Changing times: Tolko closure marks the end of a way of life, says local historian

By Kathy Michaels
InfoTel News
November 21, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Sharron Simpson felt a loss for both her family and the community. …The sawmill where Tolko currently stands was started by her grandfather, Stanley Simpson, in 1931. It was a planing mill and box factory when it began. …Her family sold it in 1965 to Crown Zellerbach. Subsequent sales were to Fletcher Challenge/Crown Forest in 1983 and Riverside Forest Products. Tolko, which took over in 2003, is the only one of those lumber companies still in business. …At its height it employed more than 500 people in Kelowna, working three shifts around the clock. …Whether that loss will be made up by any single employer again remains to be seen but Simpson, authored a book about the local lumber industry called Boards, Boxes and Bins. …While the mill’s loss will be felt around the region, what it did for the community over the last century won’t soon be forgotten.

Read More

Wood, Paper & Green Building

6-storey pre-zoning among Vancouver’s proposed changes to build more rentals

By Kenneth Chan
Daily Hive – Urbanized Vancouver
November 21, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

A newly released report by City of Vancouver staff builds on the conclusion that incentives are critical to the creation of new purpose-built rental housing supply. …But the forthcoming recommendations align with an independent report commissioned by the city that found developer incentives to build rental housing are working. The pace of approvals, at a rate that is well below the city’s 10-year goals for market rentals, is narrowing the vacancy rate to about 1% and pushing rental rates upwards. Changes include:Permitting mass timber rental buildings up to 12 storeys: Aligning with changes to the BC building code and next year’s proposed changes to Canada’s building code, 12-storey mass timber buildings could be more widely considered and encouraged for rental housing. “The provincial government announced today new changes to the BC building code that will allow the construction of taller wood buildings of 12 storeys — up from the current allowance of six,” reads the report.

Read More

Code changes include support for taller wood structures

By
East Kootenay News Weekly e-know
November 21, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

New updates to the B.C. Building and Plumbing Code (B.C. Building Code) support innovative construction methods to help build more affordable homes faster, while enhancing building standards for energy efficiency and safety for British Columbians, says a Nov. 21 Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing media release. “People deserve to have a safe, affordable and secure home, and we are working to make that a reality for all British Columbians,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “These changes to the building code will help create more affordable housing, while ensuring buildings in B.C. meet world-class health, safety and energy efficiency standards.” One of the changes to the building code enables local governments to allow 12-storey tall wood buildings, up from the previous limit of six storeys. Thirteen communities have signed on to be early adopters of tall wood buildings using mass timber technology.

Read More

Timber! San Francisco’s next architectural trend could be eco-friendly buildings made of wood

By John King
The San Francisco Chronicle
November 21, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

SAN FRANCISCO — The large panel of wood that hovered in the air above a De Haro Street construction site last Friday was something never seen before in the city. It’s formed from seven layers of black spruce grown in Quebec, 24 feet long and 8 feet wide. …Touted by boosters as an eco-friendly alternative to concrete and steel… large buildings of structural timber have developed a cult following in other regions. California, however, only added mass timber to the state’s building code in 2016. …The newcomer designed by Peter Pfau of Perkins and Will, will be the first mass timber project in San Francisco, but two more are close behind. …There’s a cost premium involved in using wood rather than steel or concrete. But… having large sections fabricated off-site shortens the construction process by several months, helps bring down costs.

Read More

Climate-friendly buildings without unintended consequences

By Nick Collins, CEO Metals New Zealand
Scoop Independent News
November 22, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

NEW ZEALAND ….The passing of the Zero Carbon Act is a monumental step for us to achieve our commitments under the Paris agreement and show leadership globally by legally committing to net zero carbon by 2050. …A big focus currently is reducing the ‘embodied emissions’ of our built environment. …Let’s be clear, materials like steel contribute a large chunk of a building’s embodied emissions. So, are these materials going to impede our journey to zero-carbon… or are they part of the solution? Firstly, the Climate Change Commission’s first two five-year emissions budgets will focus on reducing operational emissions. …This will also give high-energy, high-carbon emitting industries like steelmaking, the time horizon to significantly improve. …Steelmaking in New Zealand contributes to just 2.2% of our total carbon emissions. …Legislation that focuses only on one part of a product’s life cycle may have the unintended consequence.

Read More

This smart furniture features solar-powered charging ports

By Nicole Jewell
Inhabitat
November 21, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Budapest-based design studio Hello Wood has unveiled a collection of outdoor smart furniture designed for schools and universities. The furniture is outfitted with solar panels to generate clean energy for charging USB ports. The sleek designs include extra-long, undulating lounge chairs and a funky “fluid cube,” all made out of solid wood. …Already installed in four Hungarian educational institutions, the …outdoor furniture collection includes two vastly different designs. One is a long lounge chair/bench that stretches out in a zig-zag shape with large curvatures marking the seating areas. The second design is what the designers call a “fluid cube.” The wooden cube is open on three sides, with a built-in bench on the interior. In addition to their unique shapes, the furniture pieces are also sustainable. The wood used in Hello Wood’s latest installation is all certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), which guarantees that the timber comes from responsibly managed forests. 

Read More

SAS launches sustainable packaging onboard

By Özgür Töre
FTNnews
November 21, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

SAS is now launching a new packaging of the award-winning New Nordic by SAS food concept. The new design of the cube will save up to 51 tons of plastics per year. This is one of many important steps toward reaching SAS goal of having 100 percent sustainable materials in the customer offering no later than 2030. …New Nordic by SAS has had a sustainability focus since it was launched in 2017. The packaging will now be re-launched as of November 21st with a new design and more sustainable materials. …Some form of plastic is often necessary due to food safety requirements. Therefore, the suppliers of SAS have come up with a solution that replaces the inside plastic container of the cube with a paper one. It is made of FSC* approved paper with a plastic coating, made from organic plant-based plastic instead of oil-based plastic.

Read More

Forestry

Sicamous’ $1M wildfire prevention plan to also provide an alternate energy source

By Megan Turcato
Global News
November 21, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Sicamous sees a dual purpose to its $1-million fuel mitigation plan. The Shuswap community is hoping to protect their town from wildfires while at the same time developing an alternative energy source. The town is in the midst of densely forested hills, meaning a lightning strike in the backcountry could quickly become a significant fire, exposing homes to flame. …As part of the project, the district hopes to remove ground fuels that allow fires to get up into the canopy where, fire chief Brett Ogino explains, the flames can become “very fast-moving and very difficult to control. …Meanwhile, the idea is to tie the fuel mitigation project into plans for a biofuel heating system in the community, similar to one that already exists in nearby Enderby.

Read More

Forest herbicide contributing to wildfires

CBC News
November 21, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Many Canadian forests are managed through the use of the herbicide glyphosate — which has now been linked to forest fires. The herbicide shapes the way forests grow, which can maximize profits — but not without unforeseen costs. This 10 minute CBC Video story explains:

Read More

New cut level set for Lakes Timber Supply Area

By Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development
Government of British Columbia
November 21, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

In response to the end of the mountain pine beetle epidemic and salvage of dead pine in the Lakes Timber Supply Area (TSA), the new allowable annual cut (AAC) for the Lakes TSA will be 970,000 cubic metres, effective immediately. The new AAC was announced by Diane Nicholls, chief forester, and includes three partitions:

  • a maximum of 400,000 cubic metres per year is attributable to live coniferous volume;
  • a maximum of 20,000 cubic metres per year is attributable to live deciduous volume; and
  • a maximum of 550,000 cubic metres per year is attributable to dead volume.

Although the new cut level is approximately 41% lower than the previous AAC of 1,648,660 cubic metres, it is only 6% lower than harvest levels in the last two years.

Read More

National Capital Commission aiming to fix ‘patchwork’ approach to protecting trees

By Kate Porter
CBC News
November 21, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

The National Capital Commission is vowing to come up with a uniform strategy to protect the trees that cover nearly three-quarters of its lands. NCC staff told the board of directors Thursday there’s currently only a “patchwork” of policies and practices to manage its forests, many of which are stressed by disease and extreme weather. The emerald ash borer infestation forced the removal of 70,000 ash trees since 2013, while thousands of elms have also been lost to Dutch elm disease since 2000. Trees in the capital region face other foes, too, including road salt and urban sprawl. …The NCC is planning further consultation with Algonquin First Nations, and will conduct online public consultation in the spring. Its five-year forest strategy is expected to come to the board for approval in September 2020.

Read More

Tight supply of Christmas trees could mean higher prices

By Scott Stump
Today
November 19, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

A tight supply of Christmas trees in some parts of the country could mean parting with some extra green to get in the holiday spirit this year. Farmers in major tree-growing states like Oregon, Michigan, North Carolina and Missouri have cited hot weather, the 2008 recession and too much rain as factors in fewer trees being produced this year. The smaller supply could mean higher prices for trees in several areas of the country. However, while the national supply of trees is tight, everyone who wants one should be able to get one, one expert said. …There were 32.8 million trees sold last year, which was 5 million more than in 2017, and the average price nationally only went up about $3 per tree, according to O’Connor. Various factors have contributed to the tight supply nationally as well as dramatic shortages at individual locations.

Read More

Wildfires in Oregon’s blue mountains to become more frequent, severe due to climate change

By Brooke Cassell, Robert Scheller, Melissa Lucash, Matthew Hurteau, and Louise Loudermilk
Portland State University in Science Daily
November 21, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Under a warming climate, wildfires in Oregon’s southern Blue Mountains will become more frequent, more extensive and more severe, according to a new Portland State University-led study. Researchers… looked at how climate-driven changes in forest dynamics and wildfire activity will affect the landscape through the year 2100. …Among the study’s findings: Even if the climate stopped warming now, high-elevation species such as whitebark pine, Engelmann spruce and sub-alpine fir will be largely replaced by more climate- and fire-resilient species like ponderosa pine and Douglas fir by the end of the century. …A growing population of shade-loving grand fir that has been expanding in the understory of the forest was also projected to increase, even under hotter and drier future climate conditions, which provided fuels that helped spread wildfires and made fires even more severe.

Read More

Roadless areas of the Tongass are good for wildlife and people, and they ought to be protected

By Austin Williams, Trout Unlimited – Alaska
The Juneau Empire
November 21, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Clear-cut logging of southeast Alaska’s Tongass National Forest will one day be a thing of the past. It ruins our fish and wildlife, threatens subsistence resources and our way of life, destroys the region’s beautiful scenery, weakens our ability to cope with climate change and would not exist without massive taxpayer subsidy. The only questions remaining are how much of the Tongass we will allow the dying old-growth logging industry to mow down on its way out the door, and what we will be left with once it’s gone? I am not against logging, but any industry must be able to stand on its own and not endanger future uses of the forest. Continued clear-cut logging of Tongass old-growth forest fails both measures.

Read More

Elevating the role of the forest worker

By Marko Bey
The Ashland Tidings
November 22, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

ASHLAND, OREGON — This week, Oregon legislators discussed how to address the increasing frequency and severity of wildfire. Legislators, including Senator Jeff Golden of Ashland, are advocating for an increase in funding for wildfire mitigation through forest restoration. Carefully implemented, ecologically based thinning is known to reduce the risk of severe wildfire… make forests healthier and enhance wildlife habitat. …Working in the woods is not easy. …In addition to endurance and skill with a saw, this highly technical work takes knowledge. I like to call our crew members “botanists with chainsaws.” …That’s why I hope an increase in state funding for this work is accompanied by increased value placed on forest workers, and investments in workforce training programs.

Read More

Marbled murrelet strategy criticized for impact on rural areas

By Jesse Major
Peninsula Daily News
November 21, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

PORT ANGELES — Several West End officials have expressed concerns about what the preferred alternative for the Marbled Murrelet Long-Term Conservation Strategy means financially for the most rural communities in Clallam County. …The Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the plan to protect the threatened seabird was released in September and has been criticized by local officials for lacking adequate financial analysis. The 1,590-page document says the state’s preferred alternative will protect 168,000 acres of current murrelet habitat while decreasing the number of operable acres on Clallam County’s West End. …“The plan calls for setting aside thousands of acres of second and third growth timber stands that are not, nor will they become, habitat suitable for marbled murrelets over the life of the plan,” a letter from the city of Forks, Quillayute Valley Park and Recreation District and Quillayute Valley School District says.

Read More

‘It’s tough to take:’ Root rot kills ‘choose and cut’ Christmas trees at Mequon nursery

By Suzanne Spencer
Fox 6 Now
November 20, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

MEQUON — A Mequon Christmas tree farmer, owner of Trees for Less Nursery, who provides “choose and cuts” where you can chop down your own trees may have shorter lines this year. “It takes five to eight years to grow a tree into Christmas tree size,” said Rick O’Malley, owner. Ahead of opening weekend for Christmas tree sales, the coal came early at Trees for Less Nursery. “You lose trees every year, but you don’t lose 250 of prime Christmas trees,” said O’Malley. “It’s tough to take, but what do you do?” O’Malley said officials with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources delivered some bad news regarding his balsam firs. …The balsam firs that are part of his “choose and cut” section suffered root rot, killing those trees that take years to grow. …Experts at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee said the wet weather, soil, and growing location could’ve all been factors.

Read More

Health & Safety

New research projects look at health impacts of fighting forest fires

Glacier Media in Kamloops Matters
November 21, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

The University of Northern BC and the University of Alberta are conducting studies to learn more about how firefighting activities affect the health of fire crews. “There is really no data that tells us about the long-term effects on the respiratory system of working year after year as a wildland firefighter,” said Dr. Nicola Cherry. …Fighting wildfires is thought to place firefighters at risk of asthma, lung diseases and mental-health issues Cherry’s work will examine the nature and concentration of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the air that firefighters breathe and accumulate on their skin. PAHs are a suite of organic compounds produced when organic material burns, some of which can be carcinogenic. Cherry’s work in B.C. will look at the relationship between skin hygiene and the absorption of PAHs. 

Read More

IOC’s Bach asked to intervene in Tokyo Olympic labour dispute

By Stephen Wade
The Associated Press in CTV News
November 22, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: International

TOKYO — An international trade union wants IOC President Thomas Bach to intervene and investigate alleged labour and safety violations at venues being built for next year’s Tokyo Olympics. The Building and Wood Workers’ International has been critical for several years of workers’ rights at Olympic venues… it has asked local organizers, Tokyo’s municipal government, and the Japan Sport Council, for outside inspections of construction sites. …The BWI alleges health and safety violations and has been critical of the treatment of migrant workers in Tokyo, the use of subcontractors, and wages. It has also complained about grievance procedures. …The letter says three workers have died during the construction process, and it also alleges that “venues have been built using tropical rainforest timber from companies with a documented history of indigenous and worker rights violations.”

Read More

Forest Fires

North Carolina’s famed Cold Mountain is on fire

The Associated Press
November 21, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: US East, United States

ASHEVILLE — North Carolina’s famed Cold Mountain is on fire. The Raleigh News & Observer reported Thursday at a U.S. Forest Service video shows orange flames and white smoke along multiple spots on the mountain’s ridge. The mountain has been featured in a popular novel and an award-winning movie. Charles Frazier’s best-selling book “Cold Mountain” is about a Confederate soldier’s journey through western North Carolina. …The forest service didn’t release details on what might have caused the fire or where it started. The Shining Rock Wilderness area is temporarily closed because of the fire. The mountain is about 35 miles from the city of Asheville.

Read More

Sydney gasps for air as Australia bushfire smoke reaches record levels

By Sonali Paul and Colin Packham
The Globe and Mail
November 21, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International

The Australian state of New South Wales was gasping under the worst levels of air pollution ever recorded on Friday as smoke from widespread bushfires caused a spike in hospital visits and hazards including poor visibility for drivers. Sydney, the country’s most populous city, was blanketed in a thick haze for the fourth consecutive day, pushing it into a rare and repeat appearance in the list of top ten cities with the worst air pollution in the world. Even as a cooler change brought some relief for firefighters battling scores of blazes burning for days across four states, many of the 7.5 million residents of New South Wales switched from contemplating evacuation to avoid rapidly advancing wildfires to hiding indoors from the smoke. 

Read More