Tree Frog Forestry News

Region Archives: US East

Business & Politics

Tariffs taking toll on hardwood industry

By Frank Stewart, West Virginia Forestry Association
The Intermountain
May 18, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

Retaliatory tariffs from China have been a buzz saw through Appalachian hardwood businesses and the families that own and operate them. The hardwood industry provides an estimated $60 billion economic impact in the 12-state region but that will change this year because of trade with China. Exports make up approximately 50% of the high value hardwood lumber sold and the top market for species like Red Oak is China. …The volume of lumber sales to China have been slashed in 2019 with first the threat of tariffs and then the actual retaliation. …Sawmill owners looked for alternative markets… There is no other market to absorb 32,025 shipping containers of American Red Oak that sold to China in 2017. …It will drive mills out of business this year, losing jobs and outlets for landowners to sell their timber.

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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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Domtar Announces an Increase to Its Quarterly Dividend

Domtar
Business Wire in the National Post
May 8, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

FORT MILL, S.C. — Domtar Corporation announced that its Board of Directors approved a 4.6% increase to its quarterly dividend (from $0.435 per share to $0.455 per share) on its common stock. The Board of Directors declared the dividend payable on July 16, 2019 to stockholders of record as of the close of business on July 2, 2019. “The dividend increase reflects our strong balance sheet and the confidence we have in the long-term growth prospects for the company,” said John D. Williams, President and Chief Executive Officer. “We are committed to returning a majority of our free cash flow to shareholders while we continue to invest in organic growth and take advantage of strategic acquisition opportunities.” [END]

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Universal Forest Products: Growth Through Acquisitions

By Kurt Pollet
Seeking Alpha
May 6, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

Universal Forest Products, Inc. has produced strong growth over the last decade with earnings increasing 21% per year and more growth is forecast for 2020. Despite the company’s strong earnings growth, it operates with low profit margins. The company’s profit margins have improved over the last decade but are still quite low at 3.4%. The company’s return on equity has also improved and has reached a reasonable 14.4%. The company has a history of operating with fairly low debt levels. The long-term debt is currently $318 million representing only 17% of its total asset value. The company’s total liabilities represent 38% of its total asset value. The company’s debt levels are well contained and it can easily take on more debt if needed to fund any future acquisitions or expansion plans.

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Boycotts don’t resolve political disputes

By Michael Cianchette
Bangor Daily News
May 3, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

Troy Jackson

…This week saw Maine Democratic Senate President Troy Jackson present a bill which would exempt loggers and haulers from federal antitrust laws under rules presently applied to farmers. There is probably a lot more nuance to the proposal; I’m not sure it’s where we agree. Rather, one of Jackson’s points was well-made. He — and others — suggested to the Legislature’s Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee that the timberland owners were threatening to blackball any harvesters or truck drivers who spoke in favor of the proposal. While it is not clear whether any such threats were made, if they were, they are unacceptable. That was Jackson’s argument, and it’s a good one. …In this scenario, loggers are more akin to those picking apples. But harvesting timber takes substantial financial resources; skidders and trucks are far from free. That is why the Professional Logging Contractors of Maine testified neither for nor against Jackson’s proposal.

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Rayonier Reports First Quarter 2019 Results

Business Wire
May 1, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

WILDLIGHT, Fla.-Rayonier Inc. today reported first quarter net income attributable to Rayonier of $24.8 million, or $0.19 per share, on revenues of $191.5 million. This compares to net income attributable to Rayonier of $40.5 million, or $0.31 per share, on revenues of $203.2 million in the prior year quarter. First quarter operating income was $38.5 million versus $57.1 million in the prior year period. First quarter Adjusted EBITDA1 was $79.0 million versus $93.2 million in the prior year period. …“We are pleased with our strong start to 2019, particularly in our Southern Timber segment,” said David Nunes, President and CEO. 

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Mercer International Inc. Reports Strong 2019 First Quarter Results

By Mercer International Inc.
Global Newswire
May 2, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

NEW YORK — Mercer International today reported first quarter 2019 Operating EBITDA increased to a record $123.8 million from $99.4 million in the first quarter of 2018 and $118.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2018. For the first quarter of 2019, net income increased to $51.6 million… from $25.6 million in the first quarter of 2018 and $45.0 million in the fourth quarter of 2018.  Mr. David M. Gandossi, the Chief Executive Officer, stated: “Pulp pricing was generally softer quarter over quarter, however, there was some modest price improvements late in the current quarter resulting from better paper producer demand.”

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Georgia-Pacific to invest $120 million in Choctaw County mill

By Jerry Underwood
Made in Alabama
May 1, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

NAHEOLA, Alabama — Georgia-Pacific today announced plans to invest more than $120 million to add a new tissue machine and roll storage building at its mill in Choctaw County, the latest substantial investment in the facility. The new projects continue Atlanta-based Georgia-Pacific’s modernization of the Naheola mill, which includes ongoing construction of a new biomass boiler and woodyard. Georgia-Pacific said the modernization projects position the mill and its overall business to be competitive in the market. “This is one of many investments we are making at our operations across the State of Alabama, and it highlights the long history and great relationships we have in the state and in the communities where we operate,” said Christian Fischer, CEO and president of Georgia-Pacific. In the past five years, Georgia-Pacific’s capital investment at the Naheola mill has totaled more than $500 million, and its statewide investments have totaled approximately $1.6 billion.

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Report Says Wisconsin Forestry Industry On The Upswing

By Rob Mentzer
Wisconsin Public Radio
April 30, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

More people are working in Wisconsin’s forestry industry, and Wisconsin timber is fetching millions more on the market than it did even a few years ago. Those are among the findings of a new national study by the National Alliance of Forest Owners. Its report on the economic impact of privately owned forests shows Wisconsin led the Midwest in the number of timberland acres (16.5 million), total employment in the forestry sector (174,848) and value of timber sales ($21.6 billion) in 2016, the most recent year for which complete data were available. The report is based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Forest Service. …The great majority of forest land in Wisconsin is privately owned.

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Dempsey Wood adding equipment and jobs

By Bradley Harris
The Times and Democrat
April 28, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

ROWESVILLE – Dempsey Wood Products announced in December 2018 that it was expanding and creating 25 new jobs. Parker Dempsey, president of the company, said plans for the expansion date back several years. “It’s a project we’ve been planning for probably the last several years, and took a big step two years ago in the expansion we did there. That was kind of the first step of this project. This is finishing that part of it off,” Dempsey said. “There’s a big opportunity for us to improve our efficiency and productivity. So, we wanted to take advantage of that opportunity by installing state-of-the-art equipment and keeping up with today’s industry and sawmill industry,” he said. Orangeburg County Council approved tax incentives for the expansion of the family-owned lumber company.

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Dragon Woodland reopens Helena-West Helena sawmill

KATV
April 25, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

Dragon Woodland Sawmill held a grand opening on Thursday at its 120-acre sawmill in Helena-West Helena that was purchased in April of 2018. “Our company has a reputation for being professional, reliable and efficient,” said Operating Manager Shane Martin, “and when looking to expand, we found that Helena-West Helena was rich with abundant resources, both natural and human, that would continue to build on that legacy.” According to a press release, Dragon Woodland purchased the former “Chicago” mill and has since invested $10 million in rebuilding the facility and purchasing new equipment. At peak production, the former mill employed more than 1,500 workers during World War II to build crates to ship munitions overseas. Dragon Woodland Sawmill Corporation has expanded the facility and updated equipment, creating approximately 75 new jobs in the Arkansas Delta.

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West Fraser Appearing on Season 2 of Emmy-Nominated Tomorrow’s World Today

By West Fraser
WRCBtv.com
April 24, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

PITTSBURGH — If a tree is harvested in the woods and no one is there to replenish it…what happens to our forests? The second episode of season two teaches fans about sustainable lumber manufacturing. The episode explores how West Fraser gets the most valuable wood products out of every log to supply the demand for lumber used in construction across North America. The episode also highlights how trees are replanted to replenish what is harvested, ensuring the continuation of a fully renewable, natural resource business. “We are pleased to have the opportunity to show how our employees use state-of-the-art technology to manufacture the sustainable lumber products featured on Tomorrow’s World Today,” said Chuck Watkins, Vice-President, U.S Lumber Manufacturing for West Fraser.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

New mass timber building in Des Moines is the nation’s first

By Kim Norvell
Associated Press
May 18, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

DES MOINES, Iowa — A new building in Des Moines’ East Village is the first in the United States built using a unique type of mass timber — an eco-friendly material that is becoming more popular as developers look to reduce their carbon footprints. Scheduled for completion soon, the four-story building is also the first speculative office and retail building in downtown Des Moines in more than a decade. Roughly half of the 64,000-square-foot building has been leased, owner Tim Rypma told The Des Moines Register. …“Sustainability is a feature that prospective tenants like,” Rympa said. “It’s not just another office building.” …In this case, the timber was pressed together using dowels, said Gerald Epp Jr., business development engineer at StructureCraft, the Canadian company responsible for the project’s structural engineering.

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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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Dunwoody extends moratorium on apartment, condo construction

By Dyana Bagby
Reporter Newspapers
May 6, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

A 6-month moratorium on wood-framed multi-unit construction in Dunwoody set to expire this month has been extended until August to give city officials time to review proposed changes to the city’s fire safety regulations. The Dunwoody City Council voted to extend the moratorium for another 90 days, setting the expiration date as Aug. 5. The original moratorium approved in November was set to expire May 19. The moratorium continues the city’s hold up on any review of applications or building permits for any wood-framed multi-unit buildings in the city. …The city’s moratorium on multi-unit building construction came after House Bill 876, dubbed the “wood bill,” went into effect on July 1, 2018. The bill prohibits local governments from banning wood-framed buildings that otherwise meet state building and fire codes. The state law erased Dunwoody’s 2014 ordinance that required commercial, office, apartment or condominium buildings more than three stories tall to be framed with noncombustible materials, such as metal or concrete.

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UMaine, U.S. Department of Energy launch $20M wood-fiber research initiative

Maine Biz
May 3, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

The University of Maine and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory announced Thursday a new research collaboration to advance efforts to use wood fiber in 3D printer manufacturing. …Under the partnership, the Oak Ridge and UMaine research team will work with the forest products industry to produce new bio-based materials that will be conducive to 3D printing… U.S. Sens. Susan Collins said, “The development of sustainable, inexpensive wood-based materials for large-scale 3D printing has the potential to invigorate Maine’s forest products industry.” …[The] scientists … will conduct fundamental research in several key technical areas, including cellulose nanofiber production, drying, functionalization, and compounding with thermoplastics, multiscale modeling and sustainability life-cycle analysis. By placing cellulose nanofiber into plastics, those scientists say strong, stiff and recyclable bio-derived material systems can be developed that may be 3D printed at rates of hundreds of pounds per hour and comprising up to 50% cellulose fiber. 

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UMaine will get world’s largest 3D printer and use wood-based plastic to make boat molds

By Eesha Pendharkar
Bangor Daily News
May 2, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

Come October, the largest 3D printer in the world will be installed at the University of Maine in Orono. One of its first uses will be to print a boat mold that boat builders can use. The substance behind the 3D printing operation will be a wood-based plastic developed at UMaine. The boat mold is one of the first objectives of a new, bio-based 3D printing program that’s a collaboration between the University of Maine and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The hope is that the initiative could make 3D printing more useful in manufacturing while reinvigorating Maine’s forest products industry by finding new uses for wood-based products. …“The material is nanocellulose, basically a tree ground up to its nano structure. These materials have properties similar to metals,” Dagher said.

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Another Successful Dubai Wood Show

Southern Forest Products Association
April 24, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

For the 12th year, American Softwoods, a promotional campaign of the Southern Pine Council, APA-The Engineered Wood Association and the Softwood Export Council, exhibited at the Dubai Wood Show held April 12-14.  This show is the premier event for the wood industry in the Middle East and North African region. A 21-member AMSO delegation fielded inquiries… regarding the uses and benefits of US softwood lumber. …“Sales in 2017 amounted to $5 million and by the end of 2018, sales had increased to $11.04 million. January 2019 has seen a dramatic increase in sales from $168,000 in 2018 to $558,000 in 2019 and while it is dangerous to read too much into one month’s figures, the overall trend is encouraging.” stated Dacia Foster, Softwood Export Council.

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Forestry

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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Hip-hop forestry with Thomas Easley

By Marshall Lee Weimer
Great Lakes Echo
May 7, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

Thomas Easley

Worried some of his natural resources students were falling behind, Thomas RaShad Easley searched for an incentive to encourage them to improve their grades. “Why did you sign up for this class here?” he asked. “They said, ‘Well, we heard you rapped.’” Easley found his incentive: Get your grades up, he told students, and he’d get them studio time so they could perform hip-hop like him. With that in mind, the students’ grades quickly recovered. It’s a lesson that has served him well today as the assistant dean of diversity and inclusion at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. …Recently he spoke at Michigan State University about what works and doesn’t work when recruiting youth and how everyone can promote inclusion in natural resources management.

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Proposed timber sale raises concerns from conservationists

Associated Press in The Eagle
May 6, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

MURPHY, N.C. — The U.S. Forest Service is proposing one of the largest timber sales in the nearly 100-year history of the Nantahala National Forest, and it’s drawing concern from conservationists. The Asheville Citizen Times reports the proposed Buck Project, which also includes prescribed burns and stream improvement projects, would involve a 20,638-acre (8.3-hectare) analysis area in Clay County. Conservation groups are concerned about the harmful effects of logging and road building. Supporters say it will improve forest health and wildlife habitat in forest areas long overdue for a trim.

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Groups Seeking to Conserve Indiana Forests Make New Push

The Associated Press in US News
May 6, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

LAGRO, INDIANA — Groups seeking to conserve two of Indiana’s state forests are making a new push in their efforts to curb logging. The groups Friends of Salamonie Forest and the Indiana Forest Alliance are seeking to have Salamonie River State Forest in Wabash and Huntington counties and Frances Slocum State Forest in Miami County designated state parks. They’ve delivered petitions to the state proposing the change. Indiana officials have developed plans to log mature trees at the forests. Residents last year organized to try to stop the planned logging . The issue could come up later this month, when the Indiana Department of Natural Resources meets in Indianapolis. In February, the state announced efforts to expand tree harvesting and attract new wood processing facilities as part of the Indiana Hardwood Strategy. [END]

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Isle Royale moose population surges during wolf decline

By John Flesher
Associated Press in the Longview Daily News
April 30, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — Moose are thriving at Isle Royale National Park, but the trees on which they feast are paying a heavy price, scientists reported Tuesday. An estimated 2,060 of the lumbering beasts roam the island wilderness, according to a report by Michigan Technological University researchers who spend weeks there each winter observing the relationship between moose and the wolves that prey on them. The moose number is believed to be the highest since 1995, when the total exceeded 2,400, only to plummet to about 500 within two years because of harsh winters, a shortage of food and a drop-off of wolves that previously had culled the herd. Conditions are similar now, although it’s uncertain how the moose population will respond, scientists said. Its growth is likely to slow at least somewhat in the coming year, said Sarah Hoy, an assistant research professor. …Officials plan to take as many as 15 more wolves to the island in the next few years.

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Video project aims to make forestry fun

By Bill Cook
Daily Press
April 26, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

ESCANABA — Curiously, until now, there were no “fun” forestry videos on YouTube. While many other good forestry videos can be found, “BeLeaf It or Not!” targets elementary school classrooms, with a “Bill Nye the Science Guy” approach, about a wide range of forest and forestry topics. MSU Extension and the forestry community in Michigan and Wisconsin is currently in the process of making a set of 30-35 YouTube videos. In spring 2019, a YouTube channel was created that features the first five episodes. The main idea is to produce professionally-done video shorts, each 5-7 minutes, to be placed on a YouTube channel, and then supported by an informative website. Episodes would each address a particular topic about forests and forestry, especially topics related to management, logging, and industry. Many of the video themes will complement curriculum elements in school grades four through seven. 

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Sustainable Forestry and African-American Land Retention Program Set To Grow

US Endowment for Forestry and Communities
April 25, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (Endowment) announced that it would soon begin a long-planned transition of its highly-successful Sustainable Forestry and African-American Land Retention program to the American Forest Foundation. Launched in 2012 as a partnership between the Endowment, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and USDA Forest Service, SFLR has yielded significant results in helping to stem land loss, increase forest health, and build financial assets in the African-American landowner community across the southeastern U.S.  The program’s successful work across seven – soon to be eight – states was founded on the great work of African-American-led community-based organizations with strong connections to minority families and institutions. These organizations built relationships of trust, assisted and educated landowners about opportunities, brokered forestry services, and monitored landowner progress toward sustainable forest management. Their work has helped minority forest owners not only retain their land but also become advocates for working forests to their neighbors.

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Tampa’s new tree ordinance marks a compromise between builders, tree preservationists

By Philip Morgan
Tampa Bay Times
April 24, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

…For decades, the two sides have clashed over the removal of grand and other protected trees that make up the city’s lush canopy. But after a year of intense negotiations, the Tampa Builders Association and neighborhood tree advocates came up with a compromise ordinance that Tampa City Council passed last week. …A basic provision of the ordinance, which takes effect June 1, gives developers flexibility in moving structures on small lots a bit beyond the standard zoning setbacks in order to save protected trees, especially grand trees, defined as having a trunk diameter of 32 inches at 4 ½ feet above the ground, and specimen trees, with a diameter of 24 inches. …Before, mitigation trees could only be planted in the right of way of the property in question. The new ordinance allows it to be planted anywhere within its district, including neighbors’ yards, if they want them.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Eastern forests shaped more by Native Americans’ burning than climate change

By Jeff Mulhollem
Penn State News
May 21, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Native Americans’ use of fire to manage vegetation in what is now the Eastern United States was more profound than previously believed, according to a Penn State researcher who determined that forest composition change in the region was caused more by land use than climate change. …Over the last 2,000 years at least, according to Abrams — who for three decades has been studying past and present qualities of eastern U.S. forests — frequent and widespread human-caused fire resulted in the predominance of fire-adapted tree species. And in the time since burning has been curtailed, forests are changing, with species such as oak, hickory and pine losing ground. …But this phenomenon does not apply to other regions, Abrams noted. In the western U.S., for example, climate change has been much more pronounced than in the East. 

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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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New Plan To Add Biomass Power Subsidies To Electric Rates Draws A Crowd

By Annie Robeik
New Hampshire Public Radio
May 8, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

State senators heard three hours of testimony Tuesday from dozens in the New Hampshire forest products industry who support a plan to resurrect biomass energy subsidies. The plan… is a version of a law passed last year that’s since stalled in a legal challenge before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The state’s biomass plants have also appealed to the state Supreme Court for the law to be enforced. Timber and biomass workers say all this uncertainty has already chilled their industry, leading power plants to idle and orders of woodchips and equipment to go undelivered. Without a financial boost – from the subsidy plan that would last three years – they say they could lose hundreds or thousands of jobs. …Others suggested the state’s timber industry could collapse without the market for low-grade wood that the biomass plants provide.

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Former Greenpeace Leader Dr. Patrick Moore to Chair CO2 Coalition

By CO2 Coalition
Cision PRWeb
May 6, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

Patrick Moore and Kelly McCloskey

The CO2 Coalition is proud to announce that ecologist Dr. Patrick Moore will serve as Chairman of their Board of Directors. The new leadership will educate the public about the benefits of carbon dioxide, the main building block of life on Earth. They will explain how the increase in CO2 in the atmosphere from human emissions is spurring increased growth of crops, forests and plants…. They will highlight the U.S. government data showing that the modest warming, even if caused in part by industrial CO2 has resulted in no increase in extreme weather such as hurricanes and droughts or changes in the rate of sea-level rise. …Commenting on his new role Dr. Moore stated, “We aim to position the CO2 Coalition as the go-to source for information on the benefits of CO2 for the environment and civilization. Human CO2 emissions are causing a greening of the Earth, which will increase agricultural and forestry production, as well as increasing the fertility and abundance of global ecosystems.”

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Health & Safety

Composite Panel Association awards composite panel plants for safety

The Woodworking Network
May 20, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: US East, United States

NAPLES, Fla. – The Composite Panel Association recognized more than a dozen companies for safety achievements during the group’s spring meeting held recently in Naples, Florida. …The awards for the best long-term safety record over the past three years were given to Arauco North America, Moncure, North Carolina and Louisiana-Pacific Corp., Roaring River, North Carolina. …The annual safety awards for having zero incidents in 2018 were given to Arauco North America, Moncure, North Carolina and Timber Products, Martell, California for Class I plants, and Panolam, Huntsville, Ontario and Louisiana-Pacific, Roaring River, North Carolina for Class II plants. Two plants recognized for safety improvement were West Fraser Mills, Whitecourt, Alberta and Panolam, Huntsville, Ontario.

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