Tree Frog Forestry News

Region Archives: United States

Business & Politics

The U.S. May Strike a Fatal Blow to the WTO Sooner Than Expected

By Bryce Baschuk
Bloomberg Economics
September 19, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

A U.S. lawyer… may resign in December, a move that would cripple the global conflict settlement system. The voluntary departure of Thomas Graham… would accelerate the appellate body’s looming demise and force countries to fundamentally rethink their reliance on the WTO to settle the surging number of trade disputes. …President Donald Trump… and other U.S. critics argue that the WTO dispute settlement system threatens America’s sovereign rights. In response, the European Union, Canada and other member countries are discussing ways to reform the appellate body. …The Trump administration… has refused to consider nominees to replace the four vacancies on the panel. …“Tactically, the U.S. is getting what it wanted by disabling the appellate body.” About a dozen appeal cases are pending, including a dispute over EU restrictions on Russian natural-gas imports and a pair of U.S.-Canadian disputes over paper and softwood lumber.

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U.S. plywood coalition claims fraudulent certification of Brazilian panels

By Karen Koenig
The Woodworking Network
September 17, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States

LYONS, Oregon – The U.S. Structural Plywood Integrity Coalition, a group comprised of 10 domestic plywood producers, has filed a Lanham Act claim of false labeling against three U.S. certification agencies: PFS TECO, Timber Products Inspection Inc. and International Accreditation Service. The coalition claims certain structural plywood panels produced in South America are being fraudulently certified and stamped as compliant with U.S. product standards. …Although the southern Brazil plantations were planted in loblolly pine, slash pine, and other North American species typically used in domestic panel manufacturing, “when these species are planted in regions they have never naturally grown, the tree’s fiber no longer behaves like those grown in their natural regions. …”The product standards for American plywood have serious real-world implications for all homes constructed using wood panel products,” said Tyler Freres, with Freres Lumber. 

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Katerra opens $150 million manufacturing facility in Spokane Valley

By Amy Edelen
The Spokesman Review
September 21, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

California-based Katerra has opened its $150 million manufacturing plant in Spokane Valley where 100 workers are producing engineered wood products that could eventually replace concrete and steel in high-rise buildings. The 270,000-square-foot factory opened Friday near Interstate 90 and Barker Road. The owners claim it is the largest cross-laminated timber and glulam facility in the United States. …The timber used in Katerra’s facility is currently sourced from Canada, but that is expected to change as wood becomes available in the state, said Craig Curtis, head of architecture for Katerra. “Now it’s up to the mills in Washington to be able to produce the material that we are looking for at the factory,” he said. …Avista’s Catalyst Building in the University District will be the first office building in the state constructed with cross-laminated timber made in Spokane Valley.

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Face of Minnesota timber industry succumbs to cancer

By John Myers
Grand Forks Herald
September 13, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

Wayne Brandt

Wayne Brandt, the face and voice of Minnesota’s logging and timber industries for three decades, died Thursday morning, Sept. 12,./ at his home in Duluth after battling pancreatic cancer. Brandt, 61, was executive vice president of the Duluth-based Minnesota Timber Producers and Minnesota Forest Industries groups, the trade organizations that represented both the supply and production ends of the state’s timber industry. Brandt became the industry’s front person as it battled for survival in the face of global competition and environmental scrutiny, both at the Capitol in St. Paul looking for legislative changes and in front of the media when issues arose over logging or mills. Brandt also represented the industry’s interests on the Minnesota Forest Resources Council, the state-sanctioned stakeholders group that seeks to more amicably resolve issues facing Minnesota forests and timber harvest.

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Timber industry pressing to be included in Trump trade war assistance for farmers

By Sean Higgins
The Washington Examiner
September 18, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

The timber industry is pressing the Trump administration and Congress to be included in the China trade retaliation relief currently available to the agricultural industry. The administration has thus far excluded loggers from assistance, but 65 members of the industry are trying to change that with a lobbying blitz this week. “It’s very much a concern of ours,” said Dana Cole, executive director of the Hardwood Federation, a trade association representing 28 companies. “We’re not being purposefully written out, but there has not been any real effort to get us in. So we’re here asking for consideration.” The industry argues that it needs the government help because it has been hurt in the trade war as much as any other domestic industry. China was previously the largest purchaser of U.S. timber exports.

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Upstate NY business owners tell Congress: Trump’s trade tariffs threaten jobs

By Mark Weiner
Syracuse.com
September 18, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

WASHINGTON – A group of Upstate New York business owners told members of Congress that President Donald Trump’s trade war with China is taking an economic toll that could wipe out the region’s hardwood lumber industry. The president of Gutchess Lumber, a Cortland lumber mill, spent the day with Upstate hardwood companies explaining why their businesses and jobs are at stake. …With no end in sight to retaliatory tariffs that have hurt the industry, the group asked members of Congress to push the Trump administration to approve trade assistance payments. …In the case of Gutchess Lumber, which exports about 50 percent of its lumber to China, the tariffs have forced the company to cut production at its saw mill. …Among those who traveled to Washington, D.C. was Eric Degenfelder, of U-C Coatings, a Buffalo company that makes specialty coatings to protect lumber.

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Randall Brothers acquires PMC Building Materials

The LBM Journal
September 16, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

ATLANTA — Randall Brothers, now entering its 135th year in business as a supplier and manufacturer of architectural moldings, millwork and related building materials in the Southeastern US, completed its previously announced acquisition of Atlanta-based PMC Building Materials LLC on Aug. 21, 2019. In announcing the acquisition, the company said the combination will create a Southeastern professional dealer “with plans to leverage its unique offerings to better serve its most prominent customer segments, including custom home builders, remodelers and general contractors.” With five locations, the new company will have the ability to increase its focus and growth in the Metro Atlanta and surrounding markets, the company announced.

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Federal grant aims to boost shrinking forest products industry in Maine

By Sarah Downey
The Center Square
September 16, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

A $2.8 million federal grant is set to bring new opportunity to parts of rural Maine affected by economic declines in the forest products industry. The award comes from a federal-state alliance called the Northern Border Regional Commission (NRBC). “It’s designed to help in regions with declining populations due to mills closing in rural areas,” said Andrea Smith, the NRBC program manager. “The grants are meant to revitalize the communities, to help them invest in themselves, leading to improved economy so people can stay in the communities,” Smith said. They include: $1 million to the University of Maine to help expand advanced wood-based manufacturing; $646,000 to the Maine Development Foundation to revitalize projects in communities affected by mill closures; $300,000 to the counties of Franklin and Oxford (part of the Northern Forest Center); and $450,000 to East Millinocket Industrials to help develop its shuttered mill into a vital multi-industrial site.

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Weyerhaeuser to sell Michigan timberlands

Weyerhaeuser Company
Cision Newswire
September 16, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

SEATTLE — Weyerhaeuser Company today announced an agreement to sell its 555,000 acres of Michigan timberlands to Lyme Great Lakes Holding, an affiliate of The Lyme Timber Company, for $300 million in cash. The company expects to recognize a gain on the sale and anticipates no tax liability in conjunction with the transaction. “This transaction in our Northern region encompasses a diverse mix of hardwood and softwood acres and is part of our ongoing effort to strategically optimize our timberlands portfolio,” said Devin W. Stockfish, president and chief executive officer of Weyerhaeuser. …The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2019.

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Finance & Economics

U.S. housing starts race to 12-year high in August

Reuters in The Financial Post
September 18, 2019
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, United States

WASHINGTON — U.S. homebuilding surged to more than a 12-year high in August as both single- and multi-family housing construction increased, suggesting that lower mortgage rates were finally providing a boost to the struggling housing market. Housing starts jumped 12.3% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.364 million units last month, the highest level since June 2007, the Commerce Department said on Wednesday. …The housing market, the most sensitive sector to interest rates, had until now shown few signs of benefiting from the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy easing, which has pushed down mortgage rates from last year’s multi-year highs.

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Mortgage demand from buyers jumps, just as interest rates spike

By Diana Olick
CNBC Markets
September 18, 2019
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, United States

Mortgage application volume was flat last, down a slight 0.1%, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Volume was still 67% higher than a year ago, when rates were much higher. Mortgage applications to purchase a home increased 6% for the week and were a strong 15% higher annually.

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Lumber prices recover slightly as autumn arrives

By Madison’s Lumber Reporter
Wood Business – Canadian Forest Industries
September 17, 2019
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, United States

After terrifying drops this summer, lumber prices are slightly up from last week. This week’s benchmark lumber commodity Western Spruce-Pine-Fir KD 2×4 #2&Btr price was U.S. $376. After a big jump over one-month-ago last week, this week’s price is up another +$6, or +2%, from one month ago. Compared to one year ago, this price is down -$100, or -21%.

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Why the Fed Lowered Interest Rates Again

By Karl Russell and Jeanna Smialek
The New York Times
September 18, 2019
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States

The Federal Reserve on Wednesday lowered interest rates for the second time this year, as it tries to guard the United States economy against trade-related uncertainty and slowing global growth. The central bank cut borrowing rates in late July for the first time since the financial crisis. The moves are part of an effort to keep borrowing cheap, credit widely available and businesses and consumers confident.

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Eight recession signals flash orange, none flash red

By Gregory Daco
The Hill
September 16, 2019
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States

The U.S. economy is now in its longest but also its slowest expansion on record. While it has been growing for 123 months since June 2009, the pace of GDP growth has averaged only 2.3 percent. …Combined, these “longest” and “slowest” factors have brought back misguided fears that expansions “die of old age.” But while slow growth certainly exposes an economy to potential adverse shocks, long expansions are not more strongly correlated with recessions than shorter ones.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Tall buildings out of timber? In the face of climate change, Seattle encourages it

By Katherine Khashimova Long
The Seattle Times
September 22, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

…In the coming years, Ballard will be home to Seattle’s first tall building built almost entirely from wood. Rising eight stories from the current Ballard Blossom florist on Market Street will be a hotel built principally from cross-laminated timber. …Mark Wishnie, the director of global forestry at The Nature Conservancy, said he understands the whiplash that some feel about the environmental movement’s about-face on timber. One of the biggest challenges… the perception that logging equals deforestation. ….That doesn’t have to be the case, Wishnie said, if logging is managed well. But he emphasized that cross-laminated timber only makes sense if the wood comes from a forest that’s managed responsibly. …The huge environmental benefits of cross-laminated timber are its biggest draw. …“If cross-laminated timber is going to make a difference for climate, we’re going to need to rapidly scale it up,” The Nature Conservancy’s Wishnie said.

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Perkins+Will Change the Office Paradigm

By Christele Harrouk
Arch Daily
September 16, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

Perkins+Will propose an innovative and resilient office building in Southeast Washington, D.C, created to survive calamities and withstand natural disasters. The project reinvestigates the relationships between humans and nature. Entitled “Revolution: Changing the Office Paradigm”, the project offers “power solutions in the event of an electric grid failure, clean water if water pressure fails, and construction that keeps the community dry in case of flooding”. …The building includes penthouse event spaces, active public retail and is very close to mass transit. On another hand, the materials used in this sustainable intervention are heavy timber and carbon sequesting concrete, laminated timber beams and columns, and sustainable chemical-free finishes. …Finally, the project is net-zero carbon, net-zero water, net-zero waste, and net-zero energy.

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Oregon Insight: wood products’ decline was steep – but it remains vital in rural counties

By Jamie Francis
Oregon Live
September 15, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

Oregon’s wood products manufacturing sector has shed more than half its workforce since 1990, but an analysis by the Oregon Employment Department finds it still plays an essential economic role in several rural communities. Regional state labor economist Brian Rooney found the number of Oregon forest products jobs plunged from 46,100 in 1990 to just 23,000 in 2017. Three factors were responsible for the drop, according to Rooney: environmental restrictions on timber harvest on federal lands; new technologies that resulted in more productive mills – with fewer employees; and the Great Recession, which brought housing construction nearly to a halt. The recession was especially devastating, with Oregon’s wood manufacturing jobs declining 41% between 2005 and 2011.

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Columbia Pulp closes in on launch date

By Vicki Hillhouse
The Union Bulletin
September 15, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

LYONS FERRY — Columbia Pulp is in the final stages of launching the first straw pulp mill of its kind in North America. …Wheat and seed alfalfa straw from a 75-mile radius will be converted into pulp at the plant for eventual use as consumer and molded-fiber products. The process will also create bio-polymers for an array of industrial uses. The conversion process was designed by scientists William McKean and Mark Lewis, who have worked on it more than 20 years, Begley said. …At full capacity the facility will produce and ship out more than 150,000 tons per year. The bio-polymer produced is expected to be used initially in construction materials, crop and soil health, animal nutrition, soil stabilization and dust control, and de-icing, company representatives said.

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The Rise of Mass Timber Office Buildings in Texas

By Donald R. Powell, principal of Dallas-based architecture firm BOKA Powell
D Magazine
September 18, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

Don Powell

…My lifelong desire has been to design buildings that connect to a higher calling. …About five years ago, I had a conversation with Drew Steffen about Hines’ T3 office building in Minneapolis. …That conversation piqued my interest in the timber part of the equation because it struck an emotional chord in me. Seeing photos of the pristine wood ceilings, columns, and beams inspired me to explore the use of mass timber as a viable structural system for office buildings, hotels, and multi-story housing. I then met with Gerald Epps, the owner of StructureCraft, to determine a pathway for constructing mass timber buildings in Texas. …Mass timber is not an inexpensive way to build an office building. But it is so unique and attractive to employee-minded corporations, that the response from the leasing market has been a resounding success. Attracting and retaining employees is the number one motivating factor in corporate America.

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Stiles aims to support the entire prefabricated home market with new collaboration

By Robert Dalheim
Woodworking Network
September 18, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Woodworking machinery giant Stiles Machinery is teaming up with Hundegger, a German leader in machines and systems for timber log processing, in hopes of becoming a single-source solution for the entire North American mass timber and prefabricated housing industries. …the plan is to offer customers end-to-end solutions with integrated software from a single source, as the company sees huge potential in these industries. “With the continued growth and interest in mass timber and offsite home construction disrupting conventional building methods, Stiles and Hundegger are excited to be an integral part of providing solutions to manufacturers within these industries,” says Russ Suor, Executive Vice President of Stiles.  …One home – a 172-square-foot, $7,250 prefabricated tiny cabin –  went viral, reportedly selling out quickly after manufacturer Allwood placed it on Amazon. Allwood’s home ships free on Amazon, and the company claims it can be built in as little as eight hours.

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Wood effect: Microfluidic devices made from wood

By Jon Evans
separationsNOW.com
September 16, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

Microfluidic chips have been made from several different materials, including glass, plastic and paper, but to this list can now be added a new material: wood. According to Govind Rao and his colleagues at the University of Maryland in the US, their novel wooden microfluidic chips offer several advantages over versions made from other materials. They’re cheaper and more environmentally friendly than chips made from glass or plastic, and they allow fluid flow to be manipulated in more complex ways than possible with those made of paper. “We were inspired to use wood during a hallway conversation, when we noticed one of the co-authors was wearing a watch with a wooden face,” Rao told separationsNOW. “While admiring the fine details in the watch, we wondered if wood could be a viable substrate for microfluidics.” …they fabricated a wooden chip for detecting the presence of microbes in environmental samples

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Mass-timber tower, already to be one of world’s highest, to get a little taller

By Nate Beck
The Daily Reporter
September 16, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

The planned Ascent tower in Milwaukee — which has long been on course to be one of the tallest buildings built with a timber frame — would get a little taller under a proposal before city officials. The project developer, New Land Enterprises, wants to add more units and floors, pushing the height of the structure up from 21 to 23 floors. …The proposal to add to the Ascent tower’s height won of the approval of Milwaukee’s Plan Commission on Sept. 9 and is now scheduled to go before the city’s Zoning Neighborhoods & Development Committee on Tuesday. City officials had initially approved the project last winter. Jason Korb told the city’s Plan Commission last week that the project developer was proposing changes mainly to add insulation to the building’s parking structure.

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Auburn University professor obtains patent to replace petroleum-based adhesives in particleboard with soy flour

By Teri Greene
Alabama News Center
September 14, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

Soy flour could soon replace petroleum — at least in adhesives used in the manufacturing of particleboard. Professor Brian Via of the Auburn University School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences has obtained a patent that will allow soy flour to replace petroleum-based adhesives traditionally used to manufacture wood components in particleboard, an engineered wood product commonly used in indoor furniture. This innovative method will provide a more cost-effective and ecofriendly alternative to commonly used petroleum-based products, thus lowering the amount of formaldehyde released from formaldehyde-based adhesives. Via, who is also director of forest products at the school, worked with William G. Hand, research and development manager at Georgia-Pacific and a former graduate student in chemical engineering at Auburn, and Sujit Banerjee, professor emeritus at the Georgia Tech School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, on the research that led to the issue of the patent.

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Fed funds will go to UMaine wind energy, mass timber programs

Maine Biz
September 13, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee has approved an energy and water funding bill that includes support for several research and development projects at the University of Maine. The bill is expected to provide funding for UMaine’s offshore wind energy demonstration project. …The bill includes $5 million for the Maine Mass Timber Commercialization Center, UMaine’s program to research and produce mass timber, or cross-laminated timber, which can be used for the construction of tall wood buildings. The center’s aim is to be a resource where forest industry partners, construction firms and other stakeholders can collaborate and advance new forest product technologies in Maine. In August, UMaine and Bowdoin College were among 10 institutions that received $100,000 each from the U.S. Forest Service to research and construct mass timber buildings on college campuses.

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Forestry

“Enough smoke to blot out the starts”: Watching the world burn in British Columbia

By Naomi Klein
Vanity Fair
September 17, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, United States

The news from the natural world these days is mostly about water, and understandably so. We heard about the record-setting amounts of water that Hurricane Harvey dumped on Houston. …Yet, for large parts of North America, Europe, and Africa, the summer of 2017 was not about water at all. In fact, it was about its absence; about land so dry and heat so oppressive that forested mountains exploded into smoke like volcanoes. …For millions of people from California to Greenland, Oregon to Portugal, British Columbia to Montana, Siberia to South Africa, the summer of 2017 was the summer of fire. And more than anything else, it was the summer of ubiquitous, inescapable smoke. …Over the next week, British Columbia blazed through the record books. By mid-August, the fires had broken the provincial record for the most land burned in one year: 3,453 square miles. 

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New approach – with the forest on the line

By Peter Aleshire
Payson Roundup
September 20, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

The U.S. Forest Service hopes to jump-start stalled forest restoration efforts with a whole new approach to finding contractors to thin 800,000 acres of dangerously overgrown forests. The Forest Service this week issued its latest “request for proposals” (RFP) for loggers, sawmills, biomass-burning plants and others to sign on for 20-year contracts to clear millions of tons of trees and biomass. The action comes after the Forest Service completely rewrote the rules for contracts to take advantage of the painful lessons of the past decade. …“This time we’re thinking more wide-open in allowing proponents to tell us what they can do. When it comes to adding resilience to the forest to support endangered species and the human communities nestled in the forest, this is the best proposal we have.”
 

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Who should be in charge of America’s ancient forests: industry or environmentalists?

By Jeff Glor
CBS News
September 21, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Twenty-five years ago, the Northwest Forest Plan was put in place. It protected more than 24 million acres of old-growth forest in northern California, Oregon and Washington. On the 25th anniversary of the law, the debate over what to do with America’s ancient forests has come under new scrutiny. Who should be in charge of the future: industry or environmentalists? Perhaps the best way to see what’s happening in Western Oregon is by air. …”You can see where there’s a few trees left here and there – that’s required by Oregon law,” said Chandra LeGue, for the group Oregon Wild.  When asked his appraisal of the Northwest Forest Plan, Todd Payne, CEO of Seneca Jones said… “I think it was a failure.” He believes the plan is choking growth and says the hands-off approach environmentalists advocate is leading to more wildfires because forests have been neglected.

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Court halts timber activity in Southwest over threatened owl

By Felicia Fonseca
Associated Press in Helena Independent Record
September 19, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Kathleen Ramsay

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — A U.S. judge has halted tree-cutting activities across 18,750 square miles of the Southwest until federal agencies can get a better handle on how to monitor the population of a threatened owl. The order issued by the U.S. District Court in Tucson, Arizona, covers all five New Mexico national forests and one in Arizona. It’s unclear exactly what activities will be sidelined. Forests across the Southwest are using a mix of logging, mechanical thinning and prescribed burns to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires that threaten the Mexican spotted owl and its habitat. …The Fish and Wildlife Service said …on a pilot project to evaluate trends in the owl population based on occupancy monitoring, but it doesn’t have a strategy or funding to do the work across the owl’s entire range. WildEarth Guardians had asked for an injunction on all 11 national forests in Arizona and New Mexico…

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Cal Fire and The Nature Conservancy partner to improve forest management and reduce risk of megafires

Lake Country News
September 19, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and The Nature Conservancy announced a historic partnership to improve forest management and reduce the risk of high-severity wildfires through the expanded use of prescribed fire. The memorandum of understanding, or MOU, guiding this partnership includes prescribed fire training with experts and trainees from both organizations, forest management projects including thinning and prescribed fire in cooperation with a diversity of partners, and joint communications to improve the public’s understanding of prescribed fire. This partnership, in recognition of a worsening wildfire crisis and the need to involve new stakeholders, is a first-of-its-kind collaboration between a state firefighting agency and an environmental nonprofit organization in California.

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World’s largest privately owned giant sequoia forest sold for $15 million

By Paul Rogers
The Mercury News
September 18, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

A Bay Area conservation group has signed a deal to purchase the world’s largest privately owned giant sequoia forest, a primeval landscape in California’s Southern Sierra Nevada with massive trees that soar 250 feet tall, span up to 80 feet around at their trunks and live for more than 2,000 years. The 530-acre property, known as the Alder Creek, is roughly the same size as Muir Woods National Monument in Marin County. Located in Tulare County 10 miles south of Sequoia National Park, it is home to 483 massive trees that are larger than six feet in diameter — four more trees than the famed Mariposa Grove at Yosemite National Park. “This is probably the most-coveted sequoia conservation opportunity in a generation,” said Sam Hodder, president of Save the Redwoods League, a non-profit group based in San Francisco that has agreed to pay $15.6 million to purchase the property.

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Forestry commission issues advisory. Drought conditions, high temperatures cause state to see wildfires

The Times-Journal
September 18, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

The Alabama Forestry Commission has issued a Fire Danger Advisory for all 67 Alabama counties effective immediately until rainfall is received. Current drought conditions and persistent high temperatures have combined to create a high probability of fuel ignition and an atmosphere favorable for wildfires. In the last 30 days, AFC wildland firefighters have battled 192 wildfires burning approximately 2,221 acres of land across the state. …Although the state is not under any type of burn restriction, the Commission urges everyone to delay outdoor burning until conditions improve if possible. While under the fire danger advisory, all necessary safety precautions should be exercised when doing any type burning.

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Report says extreme weather making invasive insects worse

By CBS News
WHNT News 19
September 18, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

…invasive insects are killing large swaths of our nation’s forests. According to a new report, extreme weather events linked to climate change – like droughts and flooding – are making the problem even worse. …The hemlock woolly adelgid is hard to see with the naked eye, but the tiny invasive species of insect is having a gigantic impact from Georgia to Maine and is threatening delicate eco-systems that rely on the hemlock tree. According to Forester Jason Denham, the hemlock woolly adelgid is present in about half of New York State. He says trees stressed by climate change are more likely to succumb and die from an infestation… A recent study from Purdue University shows invasive pests kill so many trees each year that it’s equal to 5 million car emissions. The study also estimates that if unchecked, invasive insects could eventually kill off 41% of trees in the continental U.S.

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Clemson program prepares women to manage the family forest land

By Jonathan Veit, College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences
The Newsstand – Clemson University
September 16, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

CLEMSON – Clemson University Cooperative Extension is sponsoring a new statewide educational program designed to prepare family forest matriarchs for the reality that they could someday be left to make management decisions about their forestland. More than half of South Carolina’s 13 million acres of forestland is in private, non-industrial hands and owned and managed by 207,000 family forest owners. More than 80 percent of South Carolina forestland owners are 55 years old or older and the vast majority of them are men. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 80 percent of wives outlive their husbands. “It is all demographics. 

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How Maine plans to study the debated practice of aerial herbicide on forests

By Anthony Brino
The Bangor Daily News
September 14, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

ALLAGASH, Maine — Late summer is the time of year when young spruce and fir tree plantations are treated with herbicides sprayed from helicopters to control competing growth of other trees and shrubs. By August, the needles on spruce and fir trees have hardened off, which gives them a natural resistance to herbicides like glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup. …Jackson’s effort to ban aerial forestry herbicides rekindled a debate over how Maine’s working forests are managed and the practices of clear cutting and replanting spruce and fir plantations. He said he hopes that the bill to study the issue will continue the conversation and bring in people who work in the industry and live around the forest sites that are sprayed.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

During Climate Week, Companies Must Focus on Canada’s Boreal

Natural Resource Defense Council
September 20, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, United States

Next week is New York Climate Week, a major convening of policymakers, Indigenous leaders, NGOs, and the corporate sustainability world. …But as the fires in the Amazon rage on and youth take to the streets worldwide today to demand that adults do more to solve our climate emergency, it’s time for major companies like Procter & Gamble to step up to the plate to reduce their impact on intact forests–one of nature’s best climate solutions. …As part of Climate Week, we must turn our attention to the role American companies play in fueling the destruction of these forests, and we cannot overlook Canada’s intact boreal forest as a key part of the solution to the climate emergency. …It is the largest remaining intact forest in the world, and it is Earth’s largest land-based carbon sink. ..And it’s being clearcut…for toilet paper.

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Sierra Pacific installs 30 acres of solar panels to power Red Bluff sites

By Julie Zeeb
The Red Bluff Daily News
September 18, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

RED BLUFF, CALIFORNIA — Sierra Pacific Industries is installing of 30 acres of solar panels at its Reading Road property just outside of Red Bluff. The installation of the 30,240 solar panels began Friday, said Millwork Division Manager Bill Carroll, who has been working on the project for about 18 months. The installation… should be completed by Dec. 1. The $12 million project is expected to provide about 30 years worth of savings to the company… said North Sierra Community Relations Manager Kristy Lanham. “This solar project will generate power for our windows division plant and office and the Red Bluff millworks plant and office, which is unique,” Lanham said. …The company is also being green through its biomass facilities, of which there are five in California, Lanham said.

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Delta looks to power planes using forest debris

By Steve Creedy
Airline Ratings
September 18, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

Delta Air Lines is looking into establishing a biofuels plant in Washington state that would use debris on forest floors to produce fuel for its US West Coast operations. The US carrier is investing $US2 million to partner with Northwest Advanced Bio-Fuels to look at the production of sustainable aviation fuel for its operations in operations Seattle, Portland, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Sustainable aviation fuels are still seen as a major weapon in global moves by the aviation industry to significantly cut emissions but there have been difficulties attracting government support. Delta expects the feasibility study to be completed by the middle of 2020 at which point the carrier will evaluate its next move. If it proceeds, the first fuel potentially delivered by the end of 2023.

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Federal Ruling On Biomass Subsidies Marks Double Defeat For Timber Sector

By Annie Ropeik
New Hampshire Public Radio
September 19, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

Federal regulators said that a state law passed last year to subsidize biomass power plants is invalid, marking the second big defeat in two days for New Hampshire’s forest products industry.  The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is siding with New Hampshire’s ratepayer advocate and a conservative lobbying group, which filed the petition against the 2018 subsidy law. That law requires utilities to buy electricity from six struggling wood-fired power plants in the state. It hasn’t taken effect yet – Eversource and the biomass plants couldn’t agree on contracts, and the state declined to step in. Now, FERC says the law would mean the state is setting an electric rate – something only federal regulators are empowered to do. It means FERC likely wouldn’t approve any contracts filed under the law, making it effectively void despite an ongoing state Supreme Court challenge. 

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For Some Green Activists, Trees Are the New Black

By Michael Graham
Inside Sources
September 16, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

… “BURNED: Are Trees the New Coal” is a film by the Dogwood Alliance, a self-declared environmental activist group waging war on the forestry and timber industries with the message “The US must cut emissions, not forests.” “The rate and scale of logging in the Southeastern U.S. alone is approximately four times that of South American rainforests,” said Danna Smith, executive director of the Dogwood Alliance. “We don’t have time now for…industry delay tactics or green smoke screens. The large-scale industrial logging of forests in the U.S. poses one of the largest threats to climate progress.” The goal of the Dogwood Alliance… is to paint the forestry and timber industries as the clear-cutting equivalent of Big Oil. They argue harvesting trees endangers the planet and releases the carbon captured by forests… adding to global warming. Their only problem? Virtually all of their claims are factually dubious at best.

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Forest Fires

Spark from machinery caused Museum Fire north of Flagstaff, Forest Service says

By Laurel Morales
Cronkite News
September 13, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

FLAGSTAFF – Fire investigators say the Museum Fire, which burned 1,961 acres near Flagstaff in July, started from a forest-thinning project meant to prevent wildfires. An excavator striking rock sparked the blaze, which forced neighborhoods to evacuate and cost $9 million to control, the U.S. Forest Service reports. In a news release, Laura Jo West, supervisor of the Coconino National Forest, said it was unfortunate the fire was caused by thinning operations, but things could have been worse. The thinning is part of the Flagstaff Watershed Protection Project, which is a partnership between the state, Flagstaff and Coconino National Forest to reduce the risk of severe wildfire and post-fire flooding in the Rio de Flag and Lake Mary watersheds. “Fortunately,” West said, “some of the restoration work that had been completed previously in and around the wildfire area actually helped stop the fire from becoming larger and more destructive.”

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