Tree Frog Forestry News

Region Archives: United States

Froggy Foibles

It’s time to celebrate the elaborate courtship of American woodcock

By John Holyoke
The Bangor Daily News
May 10, 2019
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: United States

Whenever I need proof that there is a divine sense of humor in the universe, I consider the American woodcock. From all appearances, it is a bird that has been assembled from the spare parts of other birds. It’s got the body of a pigeon, the legs of a chicken, the bill of a snipe, and the eyes of a … of a … Actually, nothing else has eyes like that. The woodcock is the color of leaf litter. It walks as if it is doing the Hokey Pokey. It’s a shorebird that wouldn’t be caught dead at the shore. It’s nicknamed the timberdoodle. …Sadly, woodcock populations are declining nationwide at about 1 percent per year. Happily, we’re doing something about it. Maine has a healthy population. We have a lot of the forest edge habitat necessary for woodcock.

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Business & Politics

Softwood Lumber Prices Slowly Recover from Recent Lows: May 2019

Madison’s Lumber Reporter
May 14, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

Some wholesaler standard construction framing dimension softwood lumber prices rebounded slightly last week from recent lows, while most prices remained flat from the end of April. While reasonable amounts of wood are being traded, demand could hardly be regarded as lush. …As a result, sawmill order files remained at barely two weeks. This would be much less if several large manufacturers had not curtailed significant production and announced future curtailments and looming closures for this summer. This very week, more sawmill closures were announced, this time by Tolko Industries. …These sawmill capacity reductions and removals will improve both the log supply and lumber price situation for Pacific Northwest sawmills. …Western Wood Products Association, shows sawmill capacity utilization the US fell slightly while that in Canada tanked by a large amount compared to the same time last week. 

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Trying to Predict Future Earnings Per Share Growth? Monitor Lumber Prices

By Frank Holmes
Seeking Alpha
May 14, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

On Friday the Trump administration made good on its threat to raise tariffs on as much as $200 billion worth of Chinese imports to 25 percent. …Stocks sold off last week on the tariff news and plunged even further Monday after China announced that it would retaliate. …Below are three charts that I think will convince investors that time is running out to prepare for the next major downturn… by Michael Kantrowitz, head of Cornerstone Macro. …One of the most eye-opening charts illustrates the close relationship between lumber prices and future earnings per share (EPS) growth. …In the chart below, lumber prices have been advanced forward six months to illustrate the lag time between changes in price and EPS estimates. When lumber tanked over the 12-month period, EPS followed around six months later. And when lumber soared, EPS estimates shot up. You may have already detected the warning signal that lumber’s flashing right now.

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Global Softwood Log and Lumber Conference Points to Better Days Ahead

By Kelly McCloskey
Tree Frog Forestry News
May 9, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

Vancouver, BC – Despite challenging economic times, the 9th annual Global Softwood Log and Lumber conference—held by FEA / Wood Markets—was a jam-packed affair, as two dozen world experts from a dozen countries updated the delegates on market trends and expectations. Hosted by FEA-Canada Managing Director Russ Taylor and moderated by FEA Partner Francois Robichaud, the North American market review was kicked off by Dr. Clark Binkley, Managing Director, International Forestry Investment Advisors. Speaking on what we’ve learned from 40 years of forecasting, Binkley noted that, “demand factors such as population and GDP are key, but the outcomes vary significantly across products and regions, and market disruptions such as the Internet can effect supply and demand significantly and for a long time”. Looking to the future, Binkley believes that timber will “remain abundant globally, plantation forests will be increasingly important due to lower costs, and real timber prices are likely to continue their downward trend globally”. Next up was FEA VP Rocky Goodnow with an update on North American timber trends. [Full story in Read More link]

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The first round of China tariffs already stifled U.S. exports

By Ted Mellnik , Leslie Shapiro and Kate Rabinowitz
Washington Post
May 16, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States

President Trump’s trade war with China escalated this week, as China announced tariff increases on over $60 billion worth of goods in retaliation for new U.S. tariffs. …Wood exports to China dropped by $700 million, or 42 percent. Industries affected included firms that buy logs of hardwoods like walnut, maple and cherry and turn them into boards for furniture and flooring. Before the tariffs, about 1 in 4 of these boards went to China, said Michael Snow, executive director of the American Hardwood Export Council. Snow said his industry is looking for alternative markets. “But at the end of the day, there really are no other markets out there that can absorb anywhere near the volume that China was taking in,” Snow said. He added, “If this continues for several months, I think there’s no question that we’ll see mill closures and layoffs in the industry.”

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US Hardwood Heads for a Diverse Export Future

Mike Snow – American Hardwood Export Council executive director
Timber Trade Federation
May 15, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States

Mike Snow

China’s tariffs on US hardwood imports have been a wake up call for our industry. Having this sort of brake on trade in a market that until recently has accounted for one in four boards from our sawmills is a major challenge for the industry. Adding to the stress of the situation is the uncertainty. China has said it could increase the tariff from 10% to 25% and who knows if one mis-step in negotiations might trigger that. Making the situation more difficult is that the imposition of tariffs has coincided with a slowdown in the Chinese economy, with predictions that its rapid growth cycle is now over. It’s understandable that the US industry became so heavily dependent on one market. Chinese exports helped keep it going through the recession and until now it has been the simple solution when, as mills say, for every board they produce they can sell two to China.

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US business frustrated as Trump reignites China trade fight

By James Politi and Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson
The Financial Times
May 9, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, International

As the Trump administration ploughed ahead with plans to slap higher tariffs on Chinese goods instead of striking a deal to end the trade war with Beijing, the US Council for International Business reacted with palpable frustration. …Business had been growing increasingly confident that Washington and Beijing would reach an agreement that may not resolve all of their disputes but would lower the temperature and soothe markets. Even for business leaders who saw some benefit to the administration’s aggressive stance towards China… the risk of a collapse in the talks was a disappointment. Some sectors will be particularly hard hit, because they rely heavily on products that will be subject to higher tariffs. These include… chemical companies, clothing manufacturers, and homebuilders that need tools, wood and glass products from China.

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International Trade Commission preliminary investigation finds U.S. cabinetmakers harmed by Chinese imports

By Karen Koenig
The Woodworking Network
April 22, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, International

WASHINGTON – In a 4-0 vote, the U.S. International Trade Commission has determined that “there is a reasonable indication” that American cabinetry manufacturers are being harmed by Chinese imports of wooden cabinets and vanities. …Announced April 19, the preliminary determination by the USITC paves the way for the U.S. Department of Commerce to continue its antidumping and countervailing investigations. …The DOC will make its preliminary countervailing duty determination on or about May 30,  and its preliminary antidumping duty determination on or about Aug.13. …The investigations stem from a March 6 petition by the American Kitchen Cabinet Alliance. …A coalition is currently being formed to represent the cabinetry importers impacted by the petition. …The alleged dumping margins for China range from 177.36 to 262.18 percent. 

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Southern Pine Lumber Included in New Tariffs

The Southern Forest Products Association
May 14, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

Southern Pine lumber exports to China will face a 20% import tariff, rising from the current 10%, effective June 1st. Other species as well as OSB and softwood plywood will face a 25% tariff. The measure comes in retaliation to the U.S. raising tariffs on Chinese imports after trade negotiations between the two countries reached an impasse last week. The talks, centering on unfair trade practices and protection of intellectual property rights, is expected to continue among high-level officials before a meeting between President Trump and China’s President Xi Jinping in June. Below is an unofficial translation of the softwood products facing increased tariffs. Southern Pine shipped as “other pine” or “other coniferous lumber” is subject to a 20% duty. Note that, as in the past, the list may change. Exporters are urged to confer with their freight forwarder.

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Regulators pressed Western Maryland paper mill to cut pollution but preserve jobs. Now, both will vanish.

By Scott Dance
The Baltimore Sun
May 9, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

Maryland environmental regulators were in talks with a Western Maryland paper mill about how to significantly reduce the facility’s output of a harmful pollutant when its owner shocked state officials last week by announcing plans to shutter the 131-year-old factory. With data showing the Luke mill has at times exceeded the latest federal standard for sulfur dioxide emissions over the past two years. …As recently as 2014, the mill was the state’s largest source of the toxic gas and lung irritant, produced by burning coal, oil and black liquor. But Verso officials say the costs of that technology were too much to bear on top of steady declines in demand for the coated paper products. …But environmentalists aren’t celebrating the loss of 675 mill jobs in a part of Maryland that already has limited economic opportunities.

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Maine Wood Products Facility Settles EPA Toxic Chemical Right-to-Know Allegations

The US Environmental Protection Agency
May 9, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

HOULTON, Maine – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) New England regional office has reached a settlement with a Maine wood products facility that will result in regular reporting about the facility’s use of toxic chemicals. Under the settlement, Louisiana-Pacific Corp. of Nashville, Tennessee, which operates a facility in New Limerick, Maine, has agreed to pay $49,724 to settle EPA allegations that the company failed to comply with federal right-to-know laws in 2015, 2016 and 2017 when they did not file necessary reports regarding a zinc compound used at the plant. The reports, Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) forms, are required.

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Scheer signals he won’t reopen overhauled NAFTA deal

By Jos Wingrove
BNN Bloomberg
May 8, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, Canada

Andrew Scheer

The Conservative leading in polls ahead of Canada’s fall election won’t reopen the country’s recent trade deal with the U.S. and Mexico, a spokesman says. Andrew Scheer… has been a regular critic of the trade deal. The U.S., Canada and Mexico signed the pact in November, which will replace the North American Free Trade Agreement. It still needs to be ratified. …His speech was silent on whether Scheer supports either ratifying the deal as is or seeking changes, as some American lawmakers are attempting amid push-back from U.S. business. However, a spokesman said the Canadian opposition leader wouldn’t reopen the deal if elected. Scheer “will not seek to reopen NAFTA negotiations, but rather will work to mitigate the damage caused by Justin Trudeau’s capitulation by working to get a deal on softwood lumber and to remove steel and aluminum tariffs,” Daniel Schow, a spokesman for Scheer.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Athena Sustainable Materials Institute Releases Update to the Impact Estimator for Buildings

Athena Sustainable Materials Institute
Cision Newswire
May 16, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, United States

The Athena Institute announces version 5.4 of its acclaimed whole-building life cycle assessment software tool. …The Athena tool delivers reliable results with its best-in-class methods and the highest quality background data available, with true regionalization for North America and true cradle-to-grave assessments. As always, the software quickly models any building type at any design stage. It makes side-by-side comparisons easy. Thousands of users find it indispensable for helping them reduce the environmental impact of buildings, earn the LCA credit in LEED®, or report embodied carbon. And it’s free. What’s in the latest release: Assembly algorithms for CLT walls, floors, and roofs… Updated Canadian wood product profiles.

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Why the U.S. paper recovery rate rose last year Posted

By Colin Staub
Resource Recycling
May 14, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States

Consumption of U.S. recovered fiber versus overall finished paper products sold into the market hit a record high percentage in 2018. An industry group explained the increase, which came amid market challenges. The American Forest and Paper Association last week released its 2018 U.S. paper recycling report, noting that last year’s recovery rate hit a historic high of 68.1%. …The recovery rate is the highest on record, which dates back to 1990. The next-highest year was 2016, when the U.S. notched 67.2%. The rate has generally trended upwards, with occasional backslides. …The recovery rate in 2018 is notable as a new record high percentage, especially amid a challenging market dynamic for recovered paper and recycling overall. …Meanwhile, the 2018 increase in recovered fiber exports, which Resource Recycling reported on earlier this year, indicates strong global demand amid the trade uncertainties, Hawkinson explained.

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Online shipping boom creates massive ‘cardboard footprint’ from boxes

By Jason Knowles and Ann Pistone
ABC TV Chicago
May 16, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

CHICAGO — Fast deliveries are just a click away, all in a cardboard box. The I-Team and the Chicago Sun-Times discovered an extensive trail of excess waste that exposes your “Cardboard Footprint.” …The U.S. Department of Commerce says e-commerce sales for 2018 were more than $513 billion, an increase of more than 14 percent in a single year. …Amazon revealed that in 2017 it shipped more than 5 billion items worldwide, to Prime customers alone. The I-Team and Chicago Sun-Times wanted to know how all those cardboard boxes are stacking up. “It could add up to some significant impact. And the concern there is, if there is less cardboard available we need to go back to the raw material, which is trees. …”On average a corrugated box contains 49 percent recycled content, so when you recycle it you’re giving that box back to our industry,” said Racheal Kenyan.

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Lumber industry and local college team up for upcoming 10-week mill training program

By Robert Dalheim
Woodworking Network
May 15, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States
SUMMERSVILLE, W. Va. A West Virginia community college is dedicating a day-long event to recruiting studens for its upcoming 10-week lumber and mill training program. New River Community and Technical College in Summersville, West Virginia says the training program will allow students to gain skills through the college to prepare them for a paid internship in the lumber industry, and was developed by working with lumber mills and identifying training needs for current and potential employees. “Our lumber and mill training was developed in response to the need for skilled employees in the local lumber industry,” Dean of Workforce, Technical, and Community Education Dr. Jerry Wallace explained. “Through this training, we can help current employees already working in the field along with those interested in working in the wood industry.”

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Forestry

Just in time for Teacher Appreciation Week: Project Learning Tree announces 2019 Leadership in Education Award Winners

By the Sustainable Forestry Initiative
Treehugger
May 9, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, United States

Ed Lewis

Kirsten Brazier

Teacher Appreciation Week is May 6-10, 2019, with National Teacher Day on May 7. Every year, Project Learning Tree recognizes the educators who have made the most significant contributions to PLT with the Leadership in Education award. …PLT is central to the Sustainable Forestry Initiative’s commitment to education programs that expand the knowledge, skills, and opportunities to sustain forests and the environment.  This year’s PLT Leadership in Education award recipients are… Ed Lewis, Natural Resource Professional in Alabama. Ed Lewis is a procurement forester for Westrock, one of the world’s largest paper and packaging companies. … Kirsten Brazier, Classroom Teacher in Florida. Kirsten Brazier is a first-grade teacher at Crawfordville Elementary School, a Title 1 school where more than 40% of the students are economically disadvantaged.

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How Longleaf Pines Helped Build the U.S.

By Mathew Wills
JSTOR Daily
May 16, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

If you’ve ever been to Brooklyn Bridge Park, you may have seen the sturdy, wooden-beamed benches facing the harbor. …Its timber comes from the longleaf pine, Pinus palustris, some of which was cut in the decades before 1900. …Geographers… track the demise of the longleaf ecosystem. When Europeans arrived in the southeast, the pines covered the coast plain from what is now the Virginia/North Carolina border into Florida and along the Gulf Coast. Estimates of the total size of this pine savannah range from 60 to 147 million acres. There are far fewer of the trees now, and only a tiny proportion of the remnant is old growth. …Europeans first took the trees for ship masts and naval stores like pitch, tar, and turpentine.

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Attorney: Tongass old-growth logging “plain violation” of environmental law

By Grant Robinson
KTUU
May 16, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – The U.S. Forest Service now faces a lawsuit from eight environmental non-profits claiming the agency failed to follow federal regulations in creating its environmental impact statement for a project that includes old-growth logging on Prince of Wales Island. In March, Tongass National Forest Supervisor Earl Stewart signed a record of decision on the Prince of Wales Landscape Level Analysis project. …The suit claims the Forest Service violated the National Environmental Policy Act, Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act and the National Forest Management Act. …Tom Waldo, staff attorney with Earthjustice said, “this is a brazen attempt by the forest service to rewrite the rules for timber sales.”

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Stiff opposition from Maine timber to ban on aerial spray

By Patrick Whittle
Associated Press in the Idaho Statesman
May 16, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Members of the Maine timber industry are pushing back at a proposal to prohibit aerial spraying of herbicides in the state’s forests. Herbicides are substances that destroy unwanted vegetation. They are used widely in agriculture, forestry and other industries. A bill proposed by Democratic Senate President Troy Jackson stated that it would ban the use of “aerial herbicide spraying for the purpose of deforestation.” Jackson’s proposal was scheduled Thursday to come before a legislative committee on agriculture, conservation and forestry. Several members of the timber industry have said the bill’s definition is far too broad, and enacting the proposal would take a valuable tool away from companies that harvest trees from Maine’s vast forests.

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Don’t revive logging in national forests

By Adam Kolton, executive director, Alaska Wilderness League
The Hill
May 15, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Nearly two and a half years ago, the U.S. Forest Service finalized an updated management plan for America’s largest national forest, the Tongass in Southeast Alaska. This plan recognized the importance of conservation in the Tongass by identifying high-value salmon watersheds, inventoried roadless areas and other conservation lands where logging should not occur. …Between then and now, however, Alaska state officials and the Alaska congressional delegation have attempted to force on local communities and the region’s economies something they don’t want or need: a revival of large-scale clear-cutting and an attempt to resurrect an industry that supports less than 1 percent of the region’s economy. …If Congress is willing to look long term, keeping the roadless rule in place will help maintain the health of our forests and the communities and wildlife that depend on them.

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Strong support for responsible resource development in Southeast Alaska

By Jim Clark, formerly chief of staff to former Gov. Frank Murkowski
Juneau Empire
May 15, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Jim Clark

The theme of Southeast Alaska Conservation Council Executive Director Meredith Trainor’s recent My Turn is “there is no clamor for expanded logging and logging roads in Southeast; there are just a few outsized voices with access and influence, chasing after an outdated dream.” There are two recent events by which the accuracy of that claim can be measured. First, in 2014, SEACC and other environmental groups sued to enjoin the Big Thorne timber sale, which was intended to maintain the last remaining medium-sized sawmill on Prince of Wales Island. …Second, over the last few weeks, Alaska’s congressional delegation and Gov. Mike Dunleavy met or spoke with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue to request that the Department of Agriculture reinstate its 2003 total exemption of the Tongass National Forest from the 2001 Roadless Rule. 

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New Mexico Forest Restoration Faces Challenge

By Susan Montoya Bryan
The Associated Press in US News
May 14, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A proposed effort to restore a wide swath of national forest land in southern New Mexico over the next decade or two is drawing fire from environmentalists who say the U.S. government needs to do more to determine the effects on endangered species and the land. The project would cover more than 218 square miles in the Sacramento Mountains. With a combination of prescribed fire, thinning and herbicides, forest officials want to create healthier stands of trees and reduce the threat of wildfire. …Foresters responsible for the Sacramento Mountains in their planning documents pointed to an overall decline in forest health in the area, evidenced by high tree mortality and increased risk for what they call uncharacteristic wildfire. They put most of the blame on insects and disease — the effects of which are exacerbated in times of drought.

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Crucial forest restoration effort hits the reset button – again

By Peter Aleshire
Payson Roundup
May 14, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Jeremy Kruger

Back into the breech, dear friends. The most ambitious, problematic, disappointing, hopeful forest restoration effort in human history has just hit the reset button.Again. It would be almost funny if the long-term survival of the forests of northern Arizona and every community in that forest didn’t hang in the balance. Newly appointed head of the Four Forest Restoration Initiative (4FRI) Jeremy Kruger struck an optimistic note about the future of a forest thinning and restoration project that remains nearly a decade behind schedule at a recent meeting in Phoenix focused on the restoration of native trout in the Southwest. “We’re very optimistic,” he said. “Nobody wants to see 4FRI fail. Everyone wants to see this effort succeed. It’s been going on for a decade and will continue for many more years.”

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America’s roadless rules are not protecting public wildlands from development

By Brett Haverstick, director of education/outreach, Friends of the Clearwater
The Missoulian
May 14, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Brett Haverstick

Four percent of the nation’s forested public wildlands remain undeveloped today. These landscapes are either designated wilderness or lands that qualify for designation. Many lands not protected as wilderness are called roadless areas. There are approximately 60 million acres of unprotected roadless lands on our national forests. They provide crucial fish and wildlife habitat and support some of the richest biodiversity in our country. …Friends of the Clearwater, a forest watch group in Moscow, Idaho, just published a well-researched report titled “The Roadless Report: Analyzing the Impacts of Two Roadless Rules on Forested Wildlands.” According to the agency’s own preliminary data, the U.s. Forest Service has authorized the development of 40,000-50,000 acres of roadless wildlands in Idaho and Montana combined. 

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Why prescribed burns are so important to Southern Arizona

KOLD News 13
May 13, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

TUCSON, AZ – Have you ever wondered why fires are intentionally prescribed to certain areas throughout Southern Arizona year after year? Prescribed fires are intentionally set by trained fire managers under predetermined environmental conditions to meet a wide variety of park management objectives including reducing the risks of unnaturally heavy fuel buildup, the potential for destructive wildfires, and the potential loss of life and property; and to perpetuate species that require the presence of fire for survival. Much like a doctor would provide a planned course of action for a sick patient, the fire managers prescribe a specific treatment to maintain a healthy ecosystem. …A burn prescription helps ensure that the objectives of the burn are met, as well as addressing safety issues. …The burn prescription determines the environmental conditions necessary for meeting resource objectives in a safe, effective manner. T

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Tale of two wildfire bills

By Kaylee Tornay
The Mail Tribune
May 12, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Jeff Merkley, Greg Walden

Oregon’s elected officials in Congress aren’t waiting for fire season to put heat on their colleagues to address recurring smoky summers in the West. U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Hood River, and U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, a Democrat, are both pushing forest management legislation that they say will help mitigate wildfires and the smoke that repeatedly hits Southern Oregon especially hard. Both bills seek to bolster thinning and hazardous fuels reduction, but their focuses differ. While Merkley’s bill addresses federal collaborative programs and would funnel more money to counties based on forest thinning contract receipts, Walden’s bill takes aim at environmental review processes that he says slow down thinning work and looks to expand salvage logging.

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Group disappointed after bill eliminates logging conservation licenses

By Larisa Casillas
NBC Montana
May 12, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

BOZEMAN, Mont. — Some 400 acres of trees on the Gallatin Front near Bozeman were the target of a logging project, but they will be able to stand tall for the next 25 years. It was made possible through a conservation license. A group of neighboring citizens stopped the Limestone West logging project, outbidding the highest bidder. “I would agree that management of forests can create forest health, but I also believe that there are special places that should be protected and kept roadless, and this Limestone West area is the last roadless area in the Gallatin Front,” said Ron Matelich, who sits on the board of Save Our Gallatin Front — the Bozeman group that paid for the license. But they’ll be the last group to do so. That’s because a Montana House bill aimed at stopping conservation licenses like it made its way to the governor’s desk.

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Oregon Becomes 1st State To Sharply Restrict Herbicide Linked To Tree Deaths

By Emily Cureton
Oregon Public Broadcasting
May 10, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Oregon is the first state in the nation to sharply restrict an herbicide known to kill trees, despite federal regulations still allowing the substance as roadside weed control. The product, known as Perspective, was effectively banned this week from wooded areas in Oregon. “This certainly could set a precedent; other states would have to look at their authority to regulate the use beyond the federal requirements,” said Dale Mitchell of the Oregon Department of Agriculture’s pesticide program. States are required to enforce federal pesticide regulations, but making the rules set by the Environmental Protection Agency any stricter is rare. If other places decide to adopt Oregon’s customized approach, they may soon run into federal roadblocks. …The die-off was high profile, with predominately old growth trees lost along a scenic road, and it triggered the state’s rule-making. 

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Gov. Bullock signs repeal of timber conservation license

By Michael Wright
The Bozeman Daily Chronicle
May 10, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

The law a local group used to block a logging project southeast of Bozeman is no more. Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, a Democrat, on Thursday signed into law House Bill 441, which repeals a law that offered groups opposed to a timber sale on state land a chance to outbid timber companies to block logging for a certain time. His signature comes two months after Save Our Gallatin Front outbid a timber company to block logging on 443 acres of state trust land south of town for 25 years. The new law doesn’t affect that deferral. The bill was backed by the timber industry and passed by wide margins in the House and Senate. Bullock signed it despite the fact that Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation director John Tubbs lobbied against it at committee hearings in both the state House and Senate.

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Opinion: Oregon needs to step up and invest in more wildfire prevention tools

The Oregonian
May 9, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

In summer 2017, Portland watched the beloved Columbia River Gorge go up in flames. Last summer, Southern Oregon suffered through six weeks of choking smoke. In November, we all watched from a distance as Paradise, California, a town much like others in Oregon, burned to the ground. It is clear that smoke and fire threaten the health, economy, and future of communities across the state. The gravity of our situation is reflected in the numbers. Oregon wildfires cost a whopping $514 million in 2018 and that half billion is not the end of our troubles. Fire seasons will grow longer each year. Wildfires will become more ferocious and less predictable — made worse by climate change. The impacts of fire and smoke on our lives will be more severe. Costs will increase. The National Interagency Fire Center has already predicted a heavy wildfire season for areas along the west coast.

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Busy as usual forest fire season predicted in Atlantic Canada

By Andrea Gunn
The Chronicle Herald
May 17, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, Canada

OTTAWA – While Western Canadians are facing another potential record-breaking year for forest fires, it’s looking like things will remain status quo for the Atlantic provinces. Federal fire officials provided a forecast for the forest fire season this week, and thankfully for Atlantic Canada, average conditions are predicted to prevail for the duration of the summer. …Simpson said fires need hot and dry conditions to form, and but Atlantic Canada’s wetter climate offers some protection against the destructive blazes that have shown up in other parts of the country and across North America. …“This will would be five years in a row, six years in a row of really significant fire which is really unusual … for B.C. they’ve had two record breaking years in a row which is crazy, and the forecast looks like there might be a third,” Simpson said. [Full story access requires subscription to the Chronicle Herald]

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A global map to understand changing forests

By Brian Wallheimer
Phys.org
May 16, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

An international collaboration of hundreds of scientists—led in part by the Forest Advanced Computing and Artificial Intelligence (FACAI) Laboratory in Purdue’s Department of Forestry and Natural Resources—has developed the world’s first global map of tree symbioses. The map is key to understanding how forests are changing and the role climate plays in these shifts. …Purdue’s FACAI lab employs artificial intelligence and machine learning to study global, regional and local forest resource management and biodiversity conservation. For this research, FACAI compiled species abundance data from 55 million tree records in 1.2 million forest sample plots spanning 110 countries. The organization of the data was integral to developing the global map. “The map and underlying global forest inventory database will serve as the foundation for research on the environmental impacts of forest changes, biological conservation and forest management,” Liang said.

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Native forest plants rebound when invasive shrubs are removed

By Jeff Mulhollem
Penn State News
May 14, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Removing invasive shrubs to restore native forest habitat brings a surprising result, according to Penn State researchers, who say desired native understory plants display an unexpected ability and vigor to recolonize open spots. “The regeneration of native plants that we saw where invasive shrubs had been removed exceeds what we expected from looking at uninvaded parts of the forest,” said researcher Erynn Maynard-Bean, who recently earned her doctoral degree in ecology. “We believe that’s because invasive shrubs take up residence in the best spots in the forest. They are most successful where there are the most resources — sunlight, soil nutrients and water. Then, when invasive shrubs are removed, the growth of native plants in those locations beats expectations.”

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Logging bill can help correct a long history of injustice in Maine woods

By Jason L. Newton, assistant professor of labor, Cornell University
Bangor Daily News
May 13, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

Logger and Maine Senate President Troy Jackson recently introduced LD 1459, a bill that would, for the first time in history, give Maine contract loggers the legal right to collectively bargain for fair compensation. This bill is being introduced as rising demand for shipping supplies might revitalize production. For more than 150 years, the loggers who made Maine forest products have been denied a fair share of the profit they produce. This is because many loggers were categorized as “independent contractors.” “Contracting out” is a tactic that companies use to cut costs and prevent unionization, but in Maine this practice has a long history that voters and legislators should consider. …The independence of contract work has been valued by Maine loggers since the 19th century but as a legal designation contracting has kept workers apart and competing. This benefits mills and landowners, but harms loggers.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

The level of carbon dioxide on Earth is highest it’s ever been since the existence of mankind

By Devika Desai
The National Post
May 14, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

Data from a Hawaii observatory has recorded atmospheric carbon dioxide levels over 415 ppm, marking a historic precedent. There is more carbon dioxide on the planet than ever since the dawn of humanity, according to a Hawaii observatory. Data from the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii has recorded atmospheric carbon dioxide levels at 415.26 parts per million (ppm), marking a historic precedent in the last 800,000 years, since before the evolution of homo sapiens. “Not just in recorded history, not just since the invention of agriculture 10,000 years ago. Since before modern humans existed millions of years ago,” tweeted Eric Holthaus, a meteorologist. “We don’t know a planet like this.”

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Yellowstone’s Grizzlies Wandering Farther from Home and Dying in Higher Numbers

By Johnathon Hettingg
Inside Climate News
May 14, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

…Over the past 200 years, these [Yellowstone National Park] forests provided a last refuge for grizzly bears in the contiguous U.S. from the westward expansion of towns, farms and ranches. In the high-altitude forests, the bears could rely on squirrels’ caches of whitebark pine seeds as an abundant and important food source. Today, the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is one of just two places—along with Glacier National Park—where large populations of grizzly bears can be found in the Lower 48. But those dying forests [pine beetle] signaled trouble for Yellowstone’s grizzly bears and their already diminishing food supply. As warmer winters allowed the beetles to spread and devastate the whitebark pines, the bears have been increasingly wandering out of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem’s high-altitude forests and into more human environments, and they are dying in greater numbers than they have in decades, federal data show.

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The heat is on: Vermont schools show a way to bolster Maine’s timber industry

By David Singer
WGME.com
May 17, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

PORTLAND — The costs to harvest lumber have been increasing, but wages for loggers and truckers have not been rising to keep up, according to a March study from the University of Southern Maine. It says stiff competition from similar-skilled jobs are pulling away labor forces from the forest products industry, but newly successful logging education programs and tax relief in Maine, coupled with demand for new forest products, and lessons from wood consumption culture in Vermont, could help a resurgent rise in pay for the industry. …Duran and supporters have over the past five years planted several efforts in the legislature. …The dire forecast in 2015 pushed Duran to lobby the legislature to help fund a new education program with Maine’s community colleges: The Mechanized Logging Program.

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Atlantic Power Announces Agreement to Acquire Ownership Interests in Two Contracted Biomass Plants

By Atlantic Power
Cision Newswire
May 14, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

DEDHAM, Mass. — Atlantic Power Corporation announced that it has executed an agreement to acquire, for $20 million, the equity ownership interests held by AltaGas Power Holdings in two contracted biomass plants in North Carolina and Michigan. The acquisition is subject to the approval of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Closing is expected by mid-2019. …Craven County Wood Energy is a 48 megawatt biomass plant in North Carolina that has been in service since October 1990. …Grayling Generating Station is a 37 MW biomass plant in Michigan that has been in service since June 1992. …Both plants are operated by an affiliate of CMS Energy. There is no project-level debt at either plant.

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University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture awarded nearly $1 million to study wood biomass logistics

By University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture
Biomass Magazine
May 14, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

A team of researchers at the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture has been awarded a grant for nearly $1 million to determine the key parameters for high-quality, year-round woody biomass feedstock logistics systems for commercialized biorefineries in the Southeastern United States. The long-term goal of the study is to expedite the pace of developing a commercialized cellulosic biofuel sector by improving the efficiency of the logistics systems of woody biomass feedstock required for biofuel production. …However, developing efficient and innovative technologies and strategies to meet the national target while balancing the cost and quality of biomass in a logistics system has been an ongoing challenge. …The key outcome of the three-year study will be a regional biofuel development plan utilizing woody biomass in the Southeast. 

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