Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: December 3, 2019

Today’s Takeaway

Tenant interest driving mass timber expansion: JLL

The Tree Frog Forestry News
December 3, 2019
Category: Today's Takeaway

US commercial real estate giant JLL says tenant interest in “sustainable, wellness-oriented office space” is driving demand for mass timber, and Canada is leading the charge. In other Business news: BC forest crisis top economic story of 2019; North Island MLA meets with struggling contractors; Enviva secures approval for Alabama pellet plant; and Miller Western has a new CEO.

In Forestry/Climate news: no breakthrough expected on carbon pricing at COP25; high-res mapping to help monitor tropical forest carbon; bark thickness linked to tree death in Amazon wildfires; and Tree Canada says get real—when it comes to choosing a Christmas tree. 

Finally, WorkSafeBC may lose its oversight role on the laying of criminal charges.

Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Business & Politics

B.C.’s biggest economic and business stories of 2019

By Jock Finlayson EVP, Business Council of British Columbia & Ken Peacock, council’s chief economist
The Northern View
December 2, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Jock Finlayson

As the new year beckons, it’s a good time to reflect on the major economic and business stories of the year that’s about to end. To keep the task manageable, the focus here is limited to Canada and B.C.  One surprising development in 2019 was the return to a period of falling interest rates. …For B.C., the crisis gripping the forest industry is clearly top of mind. More than a dozen lumber manufacturing plants in the interior and north have stopped operating – some permanently. Thousands of well-paying jobs have disappeared, and more are at risk. Lumber production and export shipments are down significantly compared to 2018 levels, helping to drive a decline in B.C.’s total exports. The NDP government has responded by providing some assistance to some laid-off forest workers and forestry-dependent communities. But it seems curiously indifferent to the long-term economic health of the province’s most important export industry.

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North Island MLA meeting with contractors about ‘crisis in forest industry’

By Troy Landreville
My Comox Valley Now
December 2, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Claire Trevena

North Island MLA Claire Trevena is meeting with contractors tomorrow afternoon, about what she’s calling ‘the crisis in the forest industry.’ The meeting is happening at the Campbell River Maritime Heritage Centre and is by invitation only. Trevena said it’s an opportunity to hear from contractors who have been “feeling the pinch thanks to the strike.” The labour dispute between Western Forest Products Inc. and the United Steelworkers union has been going on since July 1. Trevena said the labour impasse has had far-reaching effects. “There are obviously people who are struggling,” she said. “The steelworkers have been on strike for a long while, but this doesn’t just affect the steelworkers, it affects people right across the North Island so it’s an opportunity for me to hear from some of the people who are affected.”

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Millar Western Announces CEO Retirement, Appointment Of New CEO

Miller Western Forest Products
December 2, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

EDMONTON — The Board of Directors of Millar Western Forest Products is pleased to announce two appointments within the company’s senior leadership group. Effective January 1, 2020, upon the retirement of his predecessor, Mr. David Anderson will be appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of Millar Western Forest Products. In 14 years with the company, Dave has garnered extensive experience in all aspects of our business, from product marketing and development through finance to the executive management of operations in his current role as Chief Operating Officer. …Effective January 1, 2020, Mr. J. Craig Armstrong will retire from his current position as President and CEO to accept an appointment as Vice-Chair of the Millar Western Forest Products Board of Directors. 

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Logging company buys 550K acres of UP timberland for $300M

Associated Press in UpNorthLive
December 2, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

MARQUETTE, Mich.— A New Hampshire-based logging company has purchased more than a half-million acres (202,342 hectares) of timberland in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Seattle-based Weyerhaeuser Company says it recently sold 555,000 acres (222,577 hectares) of UP timberland to an affiliate of The Lyme Timber Company for $300 million in cash. Company officials said in a news release that those woodlands will be managed for “sustainable timber production” by Lyme Great Lakes Forest Company. Lyme is expected to keep the former Weyerhaeuser employees who have managed the land, which sustains a mix of hardwood and softwood acres.

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Enviva awarded construction permit for Alabama pellet plant

By Erin Voegele
Biomass Magazine
December 2, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

Enviva released a statement on Dec. 2 announcing the Alabama Department of Environmental Management has approved a permit allowing Enviva to construct a wood pellet facility in Sumter County, Alabama. Construction on the facility is expected to begin in early 2020, subject to final investment approval. Construction is expected to take approximately 15-18 months. The plant’s planned permitted capacity is expected to be 1.15 million metric tons. The plant, however, would initially be constructed to produce 700,000 metric tons of wood pellet per year. The facility could be expanded to 1.15 million metric tons of production capacity in the future. The plant would primarily take in a mix of softwood and mill residues sourced from areas within approximately 75 miles of the plant.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Why Canada is incentivizing Mass Timber development

By Les Medd
JLL The Investor
December 3, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada

Timber buildings are grabbing headlines around the world, as developers race to meet tenant demands for sustainable, wellness-oriented office spaces. But it’s Canada that is leading the charge, providing incentives for investors looking to wood. …Wood construction has grown increasingly competitive on a cost basis in recent years, offering potential savings in a number of areas. …Canada’s environmental agency, NRCan, has been funding the development of the mass timber industry through various programs since 2007. …Building on this success, in 2017 the government launched the more ambitious Green Construction through Wood program… to cover the incremental costs of many more demonstration projects. …Federal and state governments have also worked to reduce regulatory barriers to mass timber. …While the use of timber has been shown to reduce development costs in certain areas, developer interest has grown primarily because of tenant interest in the material’s sustainability and wellness benefits.

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Saik’uz First Nation opens micro-homes for members

By Aman Parhar
Vanderhoof Omineca Express
November 29, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

Cory John and Priscilla Mueller

Saik’uz First Nation are opening 10 new homes to fill the void for housing in the community. Eight of the ten homes were opened Thursday, and Priscilla Mueller, chief of the First Nation community said the new homes have alleviated a lot of stress. The remaining two, will be opened for members before Christmas this year. Apart from the 10 individual homes, Saik’uz also built three two-bedroom triplexes this year. “We have a lot of single people here. Additionally, we have a lack of housing for elderly members too. So to have these 10 homes, is just such a huge thing for the community,” said Mueller. The new residences have been built by Alair Homes, and through a partnership with Sinclar Group Forest Products Ltd. “In the future, we are looking for major industry to partner with us and I think they are waking up and realizing that they need to partner with First Nation communities,” Saik’uz chief said.

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Wooden Metsä Pavilion – Designing the Optimal Structure for a Unique Building

By Metsä Wood
PR Newswire
December 2, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

HELSINKI — The structural design of the Metsä Pavilion has been optimised to be as simple as possible so this unique structure could be created with maximal efficiency. The structural design also takes into account the optimal sizing of the building’s construction material, Kerto® LVL (laminated veneer lumber), for production. This example shows that modular design with industrially engineered wood can make construction fast, light and green. A joint effort by Metsä Group and Business Finland, the Metsä Pavilion will be used during the summer Olympics in Tokyo. The pavilion will host Finland’s Olympic and Paralympic teams as well as offering multifunctional facilities for various events. The pavilion will be built using prefabricated wooden elements made of Metsä Wood’s Kerto LVL products. 

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Forestry

This forester says it’s better to cut down a real tree at Christmas than to assemble one from a box

By
CBC News
November 29, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada

Marie-Paule Godin

The message that cutting down trees is bad for the environment has been so ingrained in our collective psyche that it is understandable for people to think an artificial Christmas tree is a better idea. Marie-Paule Godin, a forester with the non-profit group Tree Canada, says that is not true. “The fact that trees are a renewable resource and that more will be planted is actually better for the environment,” she told Michael Enright, host of The Sunday Edition. “Artificial trees are made of plastic. They’re mostly produced in Asia.” She points out that they leave a harmful environmental footprint from production to transport to disposal, where they do not break down in landfill sites. People don’t use them long enough to reduce those negative effects. “Research shows that most people will only keep them from seven to ten years, then they will buy another artificial one,” she said. 

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The First Annual Tree Planting Film Festival Breaks Ground in Vancouver

By Jayne Wright
The Runner
December 2, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Josh Lichti

The first ever tree planting film festival was about tree planters, by tree planters, and attended by — yep, you guessed it — tree planters. People filed into the Imperial for the festival on Nov. 14, which started with a friendly mixer followed by film screenings, live music, and dancing. The point of the night was to celebrate the industry, the community, and all of the unique aspects of tree planting that the outside world often doesn’t get the chance to experience. “Tree planting is an initiation into a new place in our lives. Through tree planting and the incredibly profound community of friends, we are opened up to something new. This is found in the space between trees,” says Tim Tchida, owner of Summit Reforestation and organizer of the festival.

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Province turns attention to Cathedral Grove safety improvements

Alberni Valley News
By Elena Rardon
December 2, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The provincial government has started engineering work for safety improvements to Cathedral Grove. Cathedral Grove, located in MacMillan Provincial Park, is an old-growth forest found along Highway 4. The park has become a local, national and international attraction, with roughly 500,000 visitors per year. But as the park’s popularity has grown, so have the issues surrounding pedestrian safety and parking alongside the highway. …Key safety enhancements include an expanded parking lot, U-Turn facilities and a centre median barrier to stop unsafe turns and to stop pedestrians from crossing the highway. The ministry also has plans to put in a pedestrian overpass …In a previous press release, the ministry stated that engineers will consider the need to balance pedestrian and vehicle safety with the protection of rare, old-growth trees. “No old-growth trees will be removed to accommodate the proposed improvements,” the press release stated.

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Bark thickness linked to tree death in Amazon wildfires

By David Guo
Yale Daily News
December 3, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

Scientists are now one step closer to unveiling the mystery of Amazon forest fires. A recent study led by Carla Staver, a Yale ecology and evolutionary biology associate professor, found that variation in bark thickness correlates with sensitivity of trees to fire in Amazonian forests. Specifically, Staver discovered that thinner bark — which is more often present in wetter forests — leads to higher tree mortality from fire. The finding allows researchers a look into the extent of forest degradation from fire in the Amazon. “Fires, which occur more often during droughts in tropical forests, can kill trees,” Staver said. “This paper helps us to understand which trees are most likely to die in fires.”

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Operational mapping system for high-resolution tropical forest carbon emissions

By Arizona State University
Science Daily
December 2, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, International

For the first time, scientists have developed a method to monitor carbon emissions from tropical forests at an unprecedented level of detail. The approach will provide the basis for developing a rapid and cost-effective operational carbon monitoring system, making it possible to quantify the economic cost of deforestation as forests are converted from carbon sinks to sources. The study was published in Scientific Reports on November 28th, 2019. Researchers at the Arizona State University Center for Global Discovery and Conservation Science worked with satellite imagery from Planet Inc., an earth-imaging company based in San Francisco, to develop maps of carbon stocks and emissions for Peru by combining millions of hectares of airborne laser measurements of canopy height with thousands of high resolution Planet Dove satellite images.

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Pine trees aren’t the answer to carbon mitigation

By Mia Sutherland
Stuff.co.nz
December 3, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

OPINION: Trees “suck” carbon dioxide from the air in a process known as sequestration. The quicker the tree grows, the more efficient it is at sequestering carbon. The planting of trees is frequently praised as a solution to the build-up of atmospheric carbon dioxide, which is the main greenhouse gas contributing to our abnormally changing climate.  To reach carbon neutrality by 2050 – or hopefully earlier – new forests must be planted. “Failing to plant billions of trees over the coming decades would be an expensive mistake,” Stuff national correspondent Charlie Mitchell wrote. But the composition of these forests has been heavily debated. Pinus radiata, a humble pine tree, grows like a weed. Many people, including my father, hate pine trees because of their tendency to thrive over native bush.

 

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COP25 may put climate at greater risk by failing to address forests

By Justin Catanoso
Mongabay
December 2, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

…as delegations representing 196 nations gather today for two weeks in Madrid, Spain, for COP25, the Conference of the Parties, observers expect no breakthrough initiatives or pledges of deep new carbon cuts. Rather, negotiators have set a narrow agenda with modest outcome expectations a year prior to the agreed official 2020 implementation of the Paris Agreement. This year’s COP has among its highest priorities the establishment of the rules for creating carbon markets among nations, as a means of incentivizing aggressive emission-reduction strategies in a variety of sectors, including forests. …Because deforestation is among the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions after energy generation, you might logically think that negotiators working on Article 6 would make it financially attractive — and a high priority — to invest in conserving forests and promoting reforestation, thus protecting valuable carbon sinks. They haven’t, yet.

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Health & Safety

Report into B.C. sawmill explosions recommends removing charge approval oversight from WorkSafeBC

The Canadian Press in CBC News
December 2, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

A report reviewing responses by the British Columbia government and WorkSafeBC after two fatal sawmill explosions is calling for a more streamlined investigative process and new ways for workers to report safety concerns. Two people died and 19 were injured in an explosion at Babine Forest Products in Burns Lake in January 2012. Three months later, two people died and 44 were injured in a similar explosion at Lakeland Mills in Prince George. Vancouver lawyer Lisa Helps was asked to assess how worker safety recommendations were implemented in the aftermath of the explosions. In her 54-page report, Helps says all the recommendations made in three reports stemming from the incidents have been implemented or partially implemented and the changes have been largely effective and positive.

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Forest Fires

Two Manitobans head to Australia to help with wildfire fighting efforts

CBC News
December 2, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International

Two Manitobans who work with the province’s wildfire program are heading to Australia to help battle wildfires that have devastated parts of the country.  For weeks, Australian firefighters have been battling widespread bushfires that have destroyed hundreds of homes and killed hundreds of koalas. The two Manitobans are part of a contingent of 21 highly qualified Canadians who were selected by the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre (CIFFC) to travel to Australia. The agency had received an official request from Australian authorities to send help.  The team will help with planning, aviation and operations in wildfire fighting efforts.

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