Tree Frog Forestry News

Monthly Archives: December 2019

Today’s Takeaway

Conifex sells its US sawmill business to Resolute

The Tree Frog Forestry News
December 24, 2019
Category: Today's Takeaway

Conifex Timber has entered into an agreement with Resolute Forest Products for the sale of its three US sawmills (located in Florida and Arkansas). Meanwhile, Northern Pulp’s closure has sawmills in Nova Scotia seeking new chip markets; BC takes a more active role on WFP strike; announces a log export fee reduction and support for Interior communities.

In other news: Oregon to appeal landmark timber revenue case; Structurlam takes its expertise stateside; the world’s first timber football stadium is coming to the Cotswolds; and how to give your Christmas Tree a second life.

Finally – a very merry Christmas greeting to you—our valued reader. Unless something big breaks, we’ll see you next year. January 2nd, 2020 to be precise.

Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Elation and despair in wake of Northern Pulp decision

The Tree Frog Forestry News
December 23, 2019
Category: Today's Takeaway

 

Kelly, Sandy and Heidi

Nova Scotia’s decision generates despair and elation given Northern Pulp’s coming closure. In related news: Tom Fletcher sits down with Premier Horgan as the BC forest and labour ministers opine on the forestry strike; and Thunder Bay’s hardships are called the canary in the coal mine for the rest of Canada.

On a more positive note: Derek Nighbor on the climate change power of Canada’s forests; Canada’s GHG projections show progress is being made; and the path to sustainable construction with mass timber. Meanwhile: the search for the non-festive mistletoe; and 69 Canadians spend the holidays with their Australian (firefighter) brethren.

Finally, after tomorrow, the frogs will be off until January 2nd. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!

Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Business & Politics

Conifex Announces Agreement for Sale of U.S. Sawmill Business

By Conifex Timber Inc.
Global Newswire
December 24, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

VANCOUVER, BC — Conifex Timber announced that it has entered into a share purchase agreement with an affiliate of Resolute Forest Products for the sale by Conifex of its US sawmill business, consisting of its El Dorado, Cross City and Glenwood sawmills and related operations. The purchase price, payable in cash, is US$163 million plus net working capital at closing. The net proceeds from the sale will be used by Conifex to repay in full its outstanding lumber segment credit facility and for working capital and general corporate purposes. Ken Shields, Conifex’s President and CEO, stated:  “Successful completion of the transaction positions us to retire our entire lumber segment borrowings and strengthens our balance sheet.  With greater financial stability, we will be focused on enhancing the performance of our lumber manufacturing and power generation businesses in Mackenzie, BC.” 

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Home-Builder Rally Fueled by Low Interest Rates, Millennials

By Will Parker
The Wall Street Journal
December 24, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

U.S. home builders benefited from low interest rates this year as housing starts climbed to levels not seen in a decade and new-home sales surged after a disappointing 2018. Builder confidence, as measured by the National Association of Home Builders, is now the highest since 1999. …Home builders cranked up volume partly by focusing on homes more buyers can afford. …Some home builders and analysts question whether growth will continue at the current pace next year. Fitch, for example, predicts new-home sales will only grow 1.5%, compared with 9% in 2019. Interest rates are expected to remain low, meaning mortgage costs will still be cheaper than in 2018, a continued incentive for more buyers to come into the market. And Fannie Mae forecasts that housing-construction starts will increase 10% next year to reach a postrecession high, giving supply a needed boost. (to access the full story a WSJ subscription is required)

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Resolute to Acquire Conifex’s Three U.S. Sawmills

By Resolute Forest Products
Cision Newswire
December 24, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

MONTREAL — Resolute Forest Products announced it has entered into an agreement to acquire Conifex Timber’s three sawmills in the U.S. South for $163 million plus working capital delivered at closing, which is currently estimated at $7 million. The three sawmills, with combined production capacity of 550 million board feet, are located in Cross City (Florida), and Glenwood and El Dorado (Arkansas). “This transaction will provide immediate scale in the attractive U.S. South,” said Yves Laflamme CEO. …”This transaction will also diversify our lumber production: when operating to capacity, almost 25% of our production will be in the U.S. South.” …Resolute expects that most employees currently associated with the three assets, including management, will remain.

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The year that was and a look ahead

Derek Nighbor, President and CEO
Forest Products Association of Canada
December 20, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada

For forestry workers and communities, 2019 was a challenging year.  Market headwinds, cost pressures, combined with the devastating fallout of pest and fire outbreaks has put thousands out of work. Forestry communities across BC have been hit especially hard. …At the same time and as we enter a new decade, Canadians are seized with the need to take real action to address the impacts of our changing climate, in a way that protects family-supporting jobs in communities that need them. Notwithstanding recent setbacks, Canada’s forest products sector is ready, willing, and able to provide innovative solutions to some of our most pressing challenges. ….Let’s make 2020 the year that we collectively embrace our natural advantage and use the power of Canada’s forestry workers to fight climate change, advance smart conservation, better leverage the green power of Canadian wood products, and ensure prosperity for hard working Canadian families.

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Government provides support to Interior mill workers, families

By Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development
Government of British Columbia
December 23, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

The provincial government is providing $875,000 to 11 Interior communities to help with delivery of transition services and supports to B.C. mill workers and their families who have been affected by permanent or indefinite mill closures or shift reductions. …Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests said, “funds from these community support grants are going directly to the local governments, as they have first-hand knowledge of what supports are most needed in their communities.” Through the Community Support Grants Program (CSGP), Interior communities with permanent mill closures are eligible for $100,000; communities with indefinite mill closures are eligible for $75,000; and communities with permanent shift reductions are eligible for $50,000. …The following communities are receiving community support grants:

  • Clinton, Clearwater, Quesnel and Kelowna are each receiving $100,000;
  • Fort St. James, Fort St. John, Mackenzie, 100 Mile House and Regional District of East Kootenay Area B (Jaffray) are each receiving $75,000;
  • Regional District of Fraser Fort George Area C (Isle Pierre) and Merritt are each receiving $50,000.

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Kelowna to get $100,000 from province to help Tolko workers

By Kathy Michaels
InfoTel News
December 23, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Kelowna is getting $100,000 from the province to help deliver supports to Tolko workers and their families who have been affected by the mill closure. “The challenges facing Interior forest communities are unprecedented, and that’s why we are getting these resources where they are most urgently needed,” Doug Donaldson, minister of forests said, in a press release. “Funds from these community support grants are going directly to the local governments, as they have first-hand knowledge of what supports are most needed in their communities.” Support services and programs could include employment workshops and training, counselling services and support for food banks.

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Log export fee reduction aims to revive B.C. coast logging

By Tom Fletcher
BC Local News
December 23, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

After weeks of urgent pleas that the forest-based economy of northern Vancouver Island and the B.C. coast is suffering irreparable damage, the B.C. government has delayed some of the changes that logging companies say have made timber harvesting too expensive. Changes include easing new fees on unrecovered wood waste, and delaying a new fee system for exported logs. …Teal Jones Group… shut down in September, cutting off wood supply to two sawmills and a cedar shake mill in Surrey that employ 500 people. …Mosaic Forest Management laid off about 2,000 employees as well as coastal logging contractors at the end of November…due to what the company termed “very challenging pricing and market conditions.” …Provincial stumpage fees for cutting coastal Crown land timber are being reduced to $8.82 per cubic metre as of Jan. 1, in the latest quarterly adjustment to reflect the falling price of lumber. Stumpage reached a high of $18.73 in January 2019.

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Decision on Canfor’s proposed North Thompson tenure sale to Interfor could come early in 2020

By Victor Kaisar
RADIO NL 610
December 23, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

B.C.’s Forests Minister says a decision on the proposed $60-million sale of timber cutting rights from Canfor to Interfor could come early in the New Year. Under Bill 22, Doug Donaldson has the ability to approve or reject the sale, and he says there’s been a lot of feedback from the affected communities. “We already had an example of how that repositions the government as the land manager in the deal between Conifex and Hampton in Fort St. James…” he said. “So I made that a condition of that sale, that a new mill must be built within 36 months in that community. So that’s the kind of the thing that Bill 22 allows us to do.” Doug Donaldson, says he hasn’t seen the final proposal just yet, but adds if the deal does go ahead, he’s not ruling out issuing conditions. “Every situation is different.”

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Forest woes; letter to Albas and Donaldson

Letter by Dr. Brian L. Horejsi, wildlife scientist from Springbank, Alta.
East Kootenay News Weekly e-know
December 22, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Brian Horejsi

…If central B.C. MP Dan Albas wanted to do something for the forest Industry – not withstanding what he should actually be doing, which is stepping up for the citizens of B.C. and their long standing fears and observations that B.C. forests are badly managed, critically over exploited, and very poorly protected – he would demand that B.C. Ministry of Forests, Land and Resource Operations produce a detailed annual report. That report should set out for B.C. public lands shareholders – citizens – how B.C. ‘manages’ forests, who gets preferential use of our forests, and what these corporations or license/permit holders pay to taxpayers for exploiting public land, forests and ecosystems. Imagine if you put your money in the bank and never… saw a statement or knew what was happening to your investment or savings, except that you saw some big corporations and CEO’s consistently walking out of your bank with a big smile on their face! That’s B.C. forest management!

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Forestry strike mediators to report directly to B.C. labour minister as pressure mounts for resolution

By Clare Hennig
CBC News
December 23, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

The B.C. government is taking a more active role to find a resolution to the ongoing forestry strike on Vancouver Island, with the minister of Labour requesting that mediators report directly back to him. …”I have asked mediators Vince Ready and Amanda Rogers to call you both back to mediation as soon as possible over the holiday season and to stay at the table for as long as it takes to get an agreement,” Minister Harry Bains wrote in the letter. …Don Demens, CEO of Western Forest Products, says he agrees the strike has gone on for too long but has some questions about the extent of the government’s involvement in mediations. …”We are seeking clarity from the minister with respect to the specific mandate and instructions he has provided to the mediators.”

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Vancouver Island communities hurt by forestry strike prepare for hard Christmas

By Bridgette Watson
CBC News
December 21, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

…Negotiations between the company and the union collapsed this week and no future mediation dates are scheduled. As the holidays approach, forest industry workers like logging truck driver Joe Strachan are growing increasingly frustrated with their employer, while wondering how they will keep the lights on at home.  …The strike shack has operated as an ad-hoc food bank for months and Strachan, a 35-year forestry veteran, said he is seeing young families going through divorces as their relationships suffer as the industry does too. “WFP has become an operation that just wants to harvest timber and they don’t want any employees,” said Strachan. CBC invited Western Forest Products to participate in the special broadcast of On The Island, but the company did not have anyone available. …Campbell River residents Tamara Meggitt and Rona Doucette started the Loonies for Loggers campaign, organizing food drives to support people on the picket lines and their families.

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OUTLOOK 2020: John Horgan on B.C. forests, union labour and ICBC

By Tom Fletcher
BC Local News
December 20, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Tom Fletcher and John Horgan

Black Press legislature reporter Tom Fletcher sat down with Premier John Horgan to discuss the B.C. government’s 2019 record and his expectations for the coming year. TF: Let’s start with the forest industry. On Vancouver Island, no one expected the Western Forest Products strike to go six months. It’s a private sector labour dispute and it’s not the government’s job to fix those, correct? JH: That’s my view. But it’s also the government’s responsibility to make sure that the unintended consequences, those innocent victims of the labour dispute, whether they be contractors or small businesses in communities like Port Alberni, Port Hardy, Campbell River are not adversely affected. … TF: Contractors are not getting strike pay, they’re mostly not in unions. They’re the ones who are getting their trucks repossessed, right? JH: That’s right, and it’s the contractors I’m thinking about primarily. They can’t work, but they can’t collect EI, they can’t find other ways to move forward.

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Forests minister says ‘frustration is high’ as strike nears six-month mark

By Troy Landreville
My Powell River Now
December 20, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Doug Donaldson

The province isn’t going to wade into the labour impasse that’s keeping 3,000 workers in the forestry sector off the job. Negotiations stalled between the United Steelworkers union and Western Forest Products earlier in the week, meaning the strike could hit the six-month mark. B.C. forests minister, Doug Donaldson, said the province wants bargaining to take its course: “Our approach is that this is a labour dispute between a private company and a private union, and those disputes are best settled through collective bargaining.” However, he said the province is strongly urging both sides to make a deal. “I made a commitment that I would get in touch with Labour Minister (Harry) Bains. He had met with senior members of the United Steelworkers yesterday afternoon and he had met with the CEO and senior managers of Western Forest Products the day before.” …Meanwhile, he said the forest sector “needs changes.”

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B.C. labour minister now involved in island forestry strike talks, but Liberals say more needed

By Sean Boynton
Global News
December 22, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Harry Bains

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains has asked the mediators tasked with finding an end to the six-month forestry strike on Vancouver Island to report to him, marking the first sign of government intervention in the job dispute. …Bains met with the heads of Western Forest Products and United Steelworkers late last week. …B.C. Liberal MLA and forestry critic John Rustad said Bains is not using everything at his disposal to compel both sides to reach a deal. …Rustad said Bains should strike up an an Industrial Inquiry Commission “with a very short timeframe” that can find solutions to finally break the impasse. …Barring those recommendations being accepted, he said legislation… would be in order.

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Supporting the Forest Industry Means Supporting Northern & Rural Communities

By John Yakabuski, Ontario Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry
The Net News Ledger
December 23, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

John Yakabuski

QUEENS PARK – The forest sector has been a vital segment of Ontario’s economy for generations. Today, it’s a $16-billion industry that provides 155,000 direct and indirect jobs across the province. …Under the leadership of Premier Doug Ford, our government has a plan to build Ontario together with a better quality of life and a higher standard of living in every region of the province. For Northern and rural communities, that means supporting the forest industry. Forestry is a critical source of employment in these communities, providing well-paying jobs in regions with few other industries. …Earlier this month, I introduced Ontario’s draft Forest Sector Strategy, which aims to stimulate job creation and promote economic growth. …Critically, the strategy’s main pillar is Promoting Stewardship and Sustainability. 

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How natural resources form the core of Thunder Bay’s Indigenous-settler power imbalance

By Ernie Epp, professor emeritus of history, Lakehead University,
The Globe and Mail
December 23, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

Millenniums ago, as an Ice Age ended and glaciers melted, Mother Earth came to life again in the lands we now call Northern Ontario. The gifts of the creator – fish in the waters, geese in their annual migrations, animals that offered themselves for nourishment and clothing, trees that provided shelter – drew Indigenous people into these territories. In time, Europeans came, too, seeking the animal pelts they could sell in Europe. This push-and-pull over resources – occasionally fruitful, but often fraught – is the story of Thunder Bay’s economy. It is a narrative of partnerships and rivalries that have shaped the tense relationships between Indigenous people and settlers that exist here to this day. At its best, the fur trade was a partnership in which cast-off furs – “greasy beaver” – were exchanged for manufactured items such as clothing, knives and guns.

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Nova Scotia sawmills seeking new markets in wake of Northern Pulp closure

By Michael Tutton
The Canadian Press in The Globe and Mail
December 23, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

The outlook for Nova Scotia sawmills after the closing of Northern Pulp is one of troubling uncertainty and, so far, few answers from the provincial government on how to replace a key customer, say managers of several companies. Andrew Watters, general manager of the Groupe Savoie mill in Westville, N.S., said in an interview on Monday he has an inventory of hardwood that still has to be milled, but no market yet for wood chip byproducts the mill purchased in the past. The mill manager met with his 45 workers on Friday to tell them the future after the Jan. 31, 2020, closing is unclear, and he wouldn’t criticize them if they sought other work. “I told them we don’t know how this is going to play out. If you’re going to make a plan, I don’t hold that against you. We all have to eat,” Mr. Watters said.

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Northern Pulp decision validates rights, First Nations lawyer says

By Andrew Rankin
The Chronicle Herald
December 23, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

They huddled around a cellphone screen, steeling themselves for the possibility that Premier Stephen McNeil would break his word. …But they watched in disbelief as the premier made good on his commitment, pledging that Northern Pulp would stop pumping effluent into Boat Harbour on Jan. 31. …Brian Hebert, the community’s lawyer who negotiated the act with the province… was also in a state of disbelief over the premier’s announcement. …“When the significance of what had happened started to sink in there was a real sense of validation, that as a people their rights were finally being validated,” said Hebert. The community is finally on track to righting an injustice spanning five decades. An injustice carried out by the federal government and successive provincial governments. Back in 1967, the federal government granted the province the right to… use Boat Harbour as an effluent dumping ground. (a subscription may be required to access the full story)

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Thunder Bay’s economic hardships are a sign of things to come for the rest of Canada

By Livio Di Matteo, Lakehead University
The Globe and Mail
December 22, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

Livio di Matteo

There’s a good argument to be made that Canada would not exist as we understand it today without Thunder Bay. …And the economic infrastructure that was laid in the first third of the 20th century provided opportunities for immigrants in the area’s sawmills, pulp mills, grain elevators and manufacturing plants. …This was the golden age of Thunder Bay’s economic development. …But then the veneer of that golden age began to chip off. …The forest-sector crisis ultimately saw three out of four pulp mills and a major sawmill close. …How Thunder Bay deals with its economic and social challenges should not be viewed as a spectator sport by smug urban elites in central Canada. What is happening here is not comeuppance for bad behaviour. Thunder Bay is the canary in the coal mine for the rest of Canada.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Structurlam, B.C. leader in mass timber, set to take expertise to Arkansas

By Derrick Penner
Vancouver Sun
December 23, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

Penticton-based Structurlam Mass Timber Corp., a B.C. pioneer in turning plain lumber into engineered structural timbers, is taking its expertise stateside with a $120-million expansion into the southern U.S. A decade ago, Structurlam was the cutting-edge producer of structural components for the wave-shaped ceiling in the daring design of the Richmond speed-skating oval for the 2010 Olympics. Now, mass-timber construction is mainstream enough that U.S. retail giant Walmart has picked Structurlam to supply the engineered timber components for a massive new home office complex in Bentonville, Ark. Hence Structurlam’s announcement Dec. 9 that it will purchase, retrofit and equip a 288,000-square-foot former steel plant in Conway, Ark., about 50 kilometres northwest of the state’s capital Little Rock, to produce mass-timber components.

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Architects share lessons from 80 Atlantic project

By Angela Gismondi
The Daily Commercial News
December 23, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada East, Canada

TORONTO — Designing and constructing the first mass timber, wood-framed commercial building to be built in Toronto in over a century came with challenges, say two Quadrangle architects who worked on the 80 Atlantic project. Jan Schotte, senior project lead at Quadrangle and Wayne McMillan, intermediate intern architect at Quadrangle, shared lessons learned during a session at The Buildings Show in Toronto. The five-storey office building, located in Toronto’s Liberty Village neighbourhood, has a total area of about 95,000 square feet and is comprised of cast-in-place concrete up to the second floor. …The architects were able to consider mass timber construction because of changes to the Ontario Building Code which made it possible to build commercial wood buildings up to six storeys high.

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World’s first timber football stadium approved

By Tim Clark
New Civil Engineer
December 23, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Football club Forest Green Rovers has been given the green light to build the world’s first timber football stadium. The club, which is currently based in Nailsworth in the Cotswolds, has been given outline planning consent by Stroud District Council for the new ground after a previous application was rejected in June. …The new ground has been designed by Zaha Hadid Architects and will be capable of housing 5,000 fans in a state-of-the-art wooden stadium close to Junction 12 of the M5 near Stonehouse and Stroud. …The green company said the stadium which would be constructed almost entirely out of timber, would be a world first. By using the material, it said a significant carbon saving could be made. …So the stadium will have the lowest embodied carbon of any sports stadium in the world.”

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Forestry

How to give your Christmas tree a ‘second life’ after the holidays

By Olivia Bowden
Global News
December 23, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada

It’s a tell-tale sign that the holidays are over when discarded Christmas trees line sidewalks, waiting to be picked up from city services. But there are other ways to use your tree after Dec. 25 that will give it a second life and also be good for the environment, says Dan Kraus, senior conservation biologist at the Nature Conservancy of Canada.  …Kraus recommends cutting off the branches of your tree and placing it in your backyard so that it can slowly turn back into soil and provide a habitat for animals while it decomposes.  “It’s thinking about how nature recycles in the forest. You can learn about that, especially if you have kids,” he said. “The tree is such an iconic thing, and to see it have this second life … and provide a habitat for wildlife over the winter.” During the winter, while the tree will still be green and have its needles, it can provide shelter for birds, Kraus said. 

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New forest industry organization formed in the Kootenays

By Bill Metcalfe
The Nelson Star
December 23, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The provincial government has set up a new structure to help solve challenges facing the forest industry in the Kootenays. The Kootenay TSA Coalition held its inaugural meeting in Cranbrook in November. It encompasses the Invermere, Cranbrook and Kootenay Lake timber supply areas. The initiative is being organized by Canfor at the request of Premier John Horgan. The initial 25-person invitee list consisted mostly of representatives of forest companies, First Nations groups and local governments. Nelson Mayor John Dooley and Regional District of Central Kootenay Area A director Garry Jackman attended the meeting. “The goal of the group is to develop a positive and forward-looking vision for a successful industry focused on the mid-term timber supply that will support workers, Indigenous Nations and communities for the long term,” said Canfor’s Michelle Wright.

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Cheakamus Community Forest reveals harvest plans for 2020

By Braden Dupuis
Pique News Magazine
December 22, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

AS THE PROVINCIAL government undertakes a review of its strategy for old-growth trees—with an eye to submitting recommendations to the government in spring 2020—Whistler’s Cheakamus Community Forest (CCF) is gearing up for the new year. Harvesting plans for 2020 … are largely the same as those floated in 2019. Aside from the wildfire fuel thinning project on Cheakamus Lake Road, the CCF didn’t harvest anything in 2019 due to poor market conditions. To find the volume for its harvests, some old growth will have to be cut, CCF forest manager Simon Murray said …Whistler Councillor Arthur De Jong, who serves on the municipal Forests and Wildland Advisory Committee (FWAC), spoke often of protecting Whistler’s old growth forests during the 2018 election campaign. Whistler’s submission to the provincial panel on old growth…highlighted the tourism value of old-growth trees, and the massive financial contributions Whistler makes to provincial and federal coffers, De Jong said.

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The little-known, parasitic mistletoe stunting BC trees

By Rhianna Schmunk
CBC News
December 23, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

David Rusch… rumbles up a gravel forest service road into the endless lodgepole pine forests surrounding Williams Lake, B.C. He’s on the hunt for mistletoe, and not the festive kind. Rusch is tracking local dwarf mistletoe because it’s a destructive, explosive parasite that races through the woods and sucks the life from trees at a blistering pace. …Managed properly, dwarf mistletoe is a normal, even healthy part of B.C.’s forest ecosystem, but improper management and natural disasters can clear the way for infestations that stunt fledgling trees and wreck up to 40 per cent of the volume — and profitability — of a forest. …When seeds mature inside dwarf mistletoe berries in the summer, the fruit explodes. Countless sticky seeds are sent flying in an arc at up to 85 km/h an hour, travelling up to 15 metres away from the host tree.

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Arbor Day Foundation and YouTube Surpass Donation Goal to Plant 20 Million Trees Through Viral #TeamTrees Movement

By The Arbor Day Foundation
Cision Newswire
December 19, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

LINCOLN, Neb. — The Arbor Day Foundation has announced that #TeamTrees — a viral social media campaign driven by YouTube creators Jimmy Donaldson (aka MrBeast) and Mark Rober — reached its goal of raising $20 million to plant 20 million trees around the globe… The #TeamTrees campaign came to life when the online community challenged 21-year-old YouTuber Jimmy Donaldson – aka MrBeast – to plant 20 million trees to commemorate hitting 20 million subscribers on his YouTube channel. MrBeast’s Gen Z fans then suggested he join forces with other online influencers to drive awareness, including Mark Rober – a fellow YouTuber and former NASA scientist. The duo engaged the Arbor Day Foundation to make this lofty goal a reality, knowing that the organization had recently launched the Time for Trees initiative and is a consistent, trusted leader in tree planting of this scale.

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Several timber sales sold near Helena

By Tom Kuglin
Helena Independent Record
December 23, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Timber sales ramping up as part of a major forestry project near Helena are expected to produce nearly 31 million board feet of timber. The Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest’s Ten-Mile South Helena Project got underway last year with logs flowing from one timber sale south of Helena. In the next year the Forest Service sold two additional timber sales and expects a fourth, which will be managed by the state of Montana, to be finalized in the coming months. Late last year, the Forest Service approved the Ten Mile-South Helena Project. Work includes logging, thinning and prescribed burning as well as some trail work and stream restoration on 17,500 acres within a 60,000-acre project area southwest of Helena. The Ten Mile drainage supplies one of two sources of water for the city.

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Oregon Starts Appeals Of $1 Billion Timber Verdict

Oregon Public Broadcasting
December 23, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

The Oregon Department of Justice wants a new trial in the landmark $1 billion Linn County timber case. In November, a jury in Linn County ruled that the state breached its contract with 13 rural counties by failing to generate enough revenue through logging on state-owned forests. Jurors awarded more than $1 billion in damages. But on Friday, state lawyers filed paperwork asking a judge to either reverse the jury’s decision or order a new trial. Attorneys with the Oregon Department of Justice pointed to what they say are dozens of errors made before, during and after the trial. They questioned the court’s decision to allow the case to go to trial in the first place, arguing that the 1941 Forest Acquisition Act did not establish a formal contract between Oregon and its counties. They also contend that Oregon counties cannot sue the state for money.

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Study Finds Not Logging Some Northwest Forests Could Offset Climate Change

By Cassandra Profita
Jefferson Public Radio
December 23, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

A new study finds some Northwest forests have a lot of potential to capture carbon and offset climate change. That is, if they’re preserved and not logged. Researchers at Oregon State University and the University of California-Berkeley looked at which forests in the Western United States should be prioritized for preservation under climate change scenarios. They analyzed which forests have the most potential to sequester carbon, are least vulnerable to drought and fire, and also provide valuable habitat for endangered species. Many of the forests that hit that trifecta are along the Oregon and Washington coast and in the Cascade and Olympic mountains. “The amount of carbon per acre that they take up is as high or higher than tropical forests,” said Beverly Law, a professor of global change biology and terrestrial system sciences at Oregon State University and co-author of the study.

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Weyerhaeuser selling to timber investment group with Wilks Brothers ties

By Laural Lundquist
The Missoula Current
December 23, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

As speculation started to ramp up regarding the sale of Weyerhaeuser’s forest lands in Montana, the buyer stepped forward to keep rumors in check… Attorney James A. Bowditch… The sale is expected to close in the second quarter of 2020. “While we can’t provide specifics before the deal closes, (Southern Pine Plantations) has no plan to change the long-standing practices of the prior owners related to public access, forest management, grazing, existing outfitting agreements and conservation easements, and other programs. …Weyerhaeuser announced the sale on Dec. 17, saying a “private timberland investment company” had agreed to by the land for $145 million in cash. …But a few concerns remain about why the southern company would want Montana timber. Although most of its property is in Georgia, Florida, Mississippi and South Carolina, it is an investment company that touts its ability to “move fast on acquisition opportunities.”

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Questions raised about Weyerhaeuser

By Kianna Gardner
Daily Inter Lake
December 22, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

It has been less than a week since Weyerhaeuser announced the company will be selling its 630,000 acres of Montana timberlands to a private investment company, and Weyerhaeuser officials remain tight-lipped about who or what is purchasing the massive spans of land — a mystery exchange that has prompted speculation from residents, the conservation community, those in the lumber industry and other stakeholders. Notice of the $145 million cash sale ­— to be completed in the second quarter of 2020 — was posted to Weyerhaeuser’s website on Dec. 17 in a four-paragraph announcement offering little detail of the pending exchange. …How will the sale impact the lumber giant’s mills in Montana and their employees? What are the buyer’s intentions for the land that doesn’t fall within the protected easement? Will the acreage, which primarily stretches from Kalispell, west toward Libby and on down toward the Thompson Falls region, remain open for the thousands who use it to hunt, fish and recreate?

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How will California prevent more mega-wildfire disasters?

By David Helvarg
National Geographic
December 20, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

…Over several decades, fires in the West—particularly in California—have been growing in size and intensity, and have been particularly devastating in the last three to five years. Many factors have contributed. First, one hundred years of misguided forest management aimed at total fire suppression has eliminated the role of natural fire on the landscape, allowing two to four times the normal amount of woody fuel to accumulate even as the biggest, healthiest, most fire-resistant trees were being logged out. Wildland fires are a natural part of the California landscape, but the 2017-2018 seasons were among the most destructive in the state’s history. In addition, California’s population has about doubled since 1970, from 20 million to almost 40 million, leading to unprecedented sprawl along what’s called the wildland-urban interface (WUI), putting millions more people in harm’s way. …The top question for state officials and citizens alike is what to do about the mounting crisis. 

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California Tahoe Conservancy Board authorizes $1.03 million for forest health and wildfire risk reduction projects

Sierra Sun
December 20, 2019
Category: Forestry

At its Dec. 12 meeting, the California Tahoe Conservancy Board authorized spending $1,036,750 to implement three high-priority projects to reduce fire risk and improve forest health in South Lake Tahoe and on the west shore. “These forest health projects will help protect our communities while making our forests more resilient to future climate change impacts,” said Brooke Laine, South Lake Tahoe council member and conservancy board member. …Funding for the projects comes from a 2016 Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act Round 16 Hazardous Fuels and Wildfire Prevention grant by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. At the same meeting, the board authorized a $450,000 grant to the Tahoe Resource Conservation District for an aquatic invasive species control project in the Lake Tahoe Basin. 

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Government of Canada releases emissions projections, showing progress towards climate target

By Environment and Climate Change Canada
Cision Newswire
December 20, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada

Jonathan Wilkinson

OTTAWA – From forest fires and floods to heat waves and coastal erosion, Canadians are living the impacts of a warming climate every day. Fighting climate change presents an enormous opportunity – to protect the health and safety of Canadians, and also to position Canada for economic success as demand for clean technology accelerates around the world. Today, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Jonathan Wilkinson, published the conclusions of Canada’s annual greenhouse gas emissions projections. The analysis shows that in 2030, Canada’s emissions are projected to be 227 million tonnes (Mt) below what was projected in 2015. This is a historic level of emissions reductions. Policies and measures now in place, including those introduced in the last year, are projected to achieve a level of emissions 28 million tonnes lower by 2030 than last year’s projections.

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Pass bold climate policy to protect Oregon’s natural resource heritage

By Jeff Barnard, Zena Forest Products
The Oregonian
December 22, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

…To keep our planet’s warming under control, we need strong and bold climate legislation at the local, state, federal and global levels along with widespread private action. My family and I operate Zena Forest Products… in the heart of the Willamette Valley. …We process hardwood logs from our forest in the Eola Hills outside Salem and surrounding areas into high quality flooring and lumber. …We lost more than 10% of our Douglas Fir trees in the last 10 years due to hotter, drier summers, and more sporadic rainfall. …We are working hard to innovate by planting new, climate-resilient tree species. …Regulating carbon and other greenhouse gases is the single best way to reduce such emissions. That is why my family and our business strongly supported the “clean energy jobs” bill during the last legislative session.

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Health & Safety

HeadsUpGuys – A Comprehensive Resource Supporting Men Facing Depression

BC Forest Safety Council
December 20, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada

There are multiple reports of worker suicide within the forest sector.  There are many misconceptions about depression that make it difficult for men to talk to others and take charge of their health. It’s not a sign of weakness, it’s a fact. Men get depressed. Depression affects millions of men every year and is the leading cause of disability worldwide.  HeadsUpGuys is a Canada-wide initiative to develop resources, services and programs to improve the mental health and well-being of men. The HeadsUpGuys website provides information, tips and advice to support men in their fight against depression.

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Mental Health: Coping with the Stress of Forestry’s Economic Downturn

BC Forest Safety Council
December 18, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

The stress of the economic downturn in B.C.’s forest industry is being felt not only by the hundreds of mill workers who have been laid off or had a reduction in shifts, but also by forestry workers and contractors, such as log truck drivers and independent timber harvesters, who rely on the mills to produce product. Managing stress effectively reduces the negative symptoms and allows us to pay attention to the critical safety aspects of our jobs. …Losing your job or not having work is a setback, to be sure, and it’s hard not to take things personally. But in order to keep your self-esteem intact, try to think about the situation as objectively as possible. It’s important to experience whatever emotions arise and you don’t want to ignore them.  You can, however, manage them and make sure they don’t get the best of you during the process. Coping with job loss is difficult, but you never know what’s around the corner.   If you feel you need assistance in dealing with stress and have access to an Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) don’t hesitate to use it.

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