Tree Frog Forestry News

Region Archives: US East

Business & Politics

Powerful video teases grand opening of Alabama sawmill — ‘American dreams begin with American jobs’

By Sean Ross
Yellow Hammers News
August 16, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

Governor Kay Ivey recently declared, “Alabama’s timber industry is at full throttle.” There is no greater evidence to support this statement than the upcoming August 27 grand opening of Abbeville Fiber Sawmill in Henry County. A “who’s who” of state and local dignitaries will be in attendance, including the governor, to celebrate the creation of over 100 direct jobs in the area, as well as significant new tax revenue for the city and the county. However, this new facility is about much more than the facts and figures involved. For this rural Yellowhammer State community, Abbeville Fiber is indicative of a way of life. With the big event coming up, a chill-inducing video featuring the tagline “American dreams begin with American jobs” was released on Thursday evening.

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Sawmill owner rebuilding after devastating fire

By Alexander Violo
Bangor Daily News
August 8, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

A new sawmill is under construction at N.C. Hunt Lumber in Jefferson, as the business looks to bring the facility back up to full production in the wake of a March fire. Rob Hunt, president and co-owner of N.C. Hunt Inc., said the plan is to start up the new sawmill in September and have it running at full capacity by the end of November. “The plan is to start bringing on machines in five to six weeks, as we finish framing the building,” he said. “In seven months, we will have rebuilt. That’s phenomenal and we’ve built a first-class sawmill.” A new 70-by-170, two-story steel building will house the sawmill. …“Our goal is to get back to 80 full-time employees,” Hunt said.

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After hiring 130 workers, reopening Old Town mill expects to produce pulp by August

By Charles Eichacker
The Bangor Daily News
July 26, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

The new owner of the Old Town pulp mill has hired 130 workers and expects the reopened facility will begin producing pulp by the end of July, a major turnaround for a plant that shed nearly 200 jobs when it closed in 2015. More than 1,000 people applied for the open positions at the Old Town mill, which was bought in October by ND Paper, a subsidiary of the Chinese company Nine Dragons Paper Ltd. Since then, the company has been restarting systems at the plant, which it says will eventually produce 275,000 air-dried metric tons of unbleached pulp. That type of pulp is generally used for making paper. …ND paper plans to hold a grand reopening ceremony for the Old Town mill Aug. 13.

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Madison mill re-opening could boost Maine logging industry

WGME
July 25, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

Joshua Henry

PORTLAND — Maine’s logging and construction industries are expecting a boost once a company re-opens the closed mill in Madison. CEO Joshua Henry and Belfast-based GO Lab are planning to open the first mass production facility to make wood fiber insulation in the United States. Henry says the company plans to close on the mill in August “There’s an insulating wood technology of wood fiber composites that’s been around in Europe for 20 years. It’s an 800 million EU a year product in Europe. It hasn’t reached North America yet,” Henry said. Go Lab expects to employ more than 100 people in Madison and their plan to bring the first American wood fiber insulation factory to Maine has attracted a lot of investment. The research company has brought in federal, state and non-profit funding of nearly $7 million.

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A mixed bag on residential construction costs

By Chris Wille
The Herald Tribune
July 16, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

FLORIDA — Potential homebuyers and others may wonder about the breakdown of the costs that influence the sales price of a typical new single-family home. Those costs keep shifting depending on market forces, labor availability, tariffs, import restrictions, and government fees and regulations, among other variables. “Our costs went way up at the beginning of 2019,” said Pat Neal, the founder and chairman of Neal Communities. The company has built more than 14,000 homes in communities from Tampa to Naples. Per-home costs for windows jumped $2,500, and $1,000 for steel, which Neal blamed on tariffs. Lumber prices soared by $4,000 per home because of import restrictions. …That market softness shows up in the number of single-family home building permits issued in the Sarasota-Manatee metro area from January to mid-April this year, compared to the same time frame in 2018.

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John Deere Construction & Forestry Builds New Illinois Training Facility

By John Deere
For Construction Pros
July 12, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

John Deere recently completed the construction of a 7,500-sq.-ft. facility in Coal Valley, IL, to better meet internal training demands, along with supporting customer visits and events. The building is part of the Construction & Forestry Training Campus and includes three classrooms that can be used separately for training purposes, or combined to hold over 250 people for larger events. In addition, there is nearly 4,000 sq. ft. of covered canopy space for outdoor training and equipment walkarounds. “The primary function of this new facility is to provide much-needed additional classroom space for dealer sales staff and technician training,” said David Reilly, manager, worldwide training, John Deere Construction & Forestry. “Training is a core part of our program, but beyond that, the C&F Coal Valley Training Campus also hosts other important events throughout the year.”

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Finance & Economics

Rayonier Advanced Materials Reports Second Quarter 2019 Results

Rayonier Advanced Materials
August 7, 2019
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: US East, United States

Rayonier Advanced Materials reported second quarter 2019 net loss of $15 million compared to net income of $54 million for the same prior year quarter ended 2018. Year-to-date net loss was $37 million compared to net income of $78 million. The prior year income included a $15 million gain associated with the acquisition of Tembec Inc.

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Universal Forest Products reports record net earnings

By Universal Forest Products
Global Newswire
July 24, 2019
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: US East, United States

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Universal Forest Products announced net sales of $1.24 billion and net earnings attributable to controlling interests of $54.5 million, for the quarter ended June 29, 2019. Net earnings were the highest recorded at any time in the company’s history. …The company’s mix of value-added sales relative to commodity sales improved… and new product sales grew.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Auburn professor obtains patent allowing soy flour to replace petroleum-based adhesives in wood component manufacturing

By Teri Greene, School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences
Auburn University Newsroom
August 5, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

Brian Via

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 utilized 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. …The binder, or glue, used in manufacturing these wood components comprises a large portion of the manufacturing price, so substituting a less expensive component such as soy flour could significantly reduce the product’s cost.

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A super-thin slice of wood can be used to turn saltwater drinkable

By Leah Crane
The New Scientist
August 2, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

Filtering the salt from seawater can take a lot of energy or specialised engineering. A thin membrane made of porous wood may be able to fix that. In membrane distillation, salty water is pumped through a film, usually made of some sort of polymer with very narrow pores that filter out the salt and allow only water molecules through. Jason Ren at Princeton University in New Jersey and his colleagues developed a new kind of membrane made of natural wood instead of plastic. …“This [new membrane] is more energy efficient and it doesn’t use fossil-fuel based materials like many other membranes for water filtration,” said Ren. The membrane is made of a thin piece of American basswood, which undergoes a chemical treatment … to make its surface slippery to water molecules. One side of the membrane is heated so that when water flows over that side it is vapourised.

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Here’s why most of Tampa Bay’s new apartments are wood frame with smaller units (and higher rents)

By Susan Taylor Martin
Tampa Bay Times
July 24, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

As you drive around the Tampa Bay area, you’ve probably noticed the many new apartment buildings going up.  …And if you see them in an unfinished state, you’ll notice that all are made of what — at least to the untrained eye — appears to be flimsy wood. “In Central Florida, almost 100 percent of apartments are frame construction,” said John H. Marling, a developer… “…if you treat it properly and handle it properly it can stand for 100 years.” State fire codes and changing demographics have combined to create a landscape of attractive, if blocky-looking, …apartment communities largely made of wood and capped at four stories. …”Wood in this market is still the most efficient way to develop rental product,” says Steve McConihay… “In the type of product we’re doing, wood represents about 15 percent of total construction costs. If you go with a concrete building, it will be about 25 to 30 percent of costs.”

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Mass timber building under construction at Michigan State University

By Ronnie Das
WLNS
July 23, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

Michigan State University’s future STEM Teaching and Learning Facility will be the first of its kind in Michigan. The $100 million facility is being constructed using wood, rather than concrete and steel, for its structure. The mass timber framing style uses large solid or engineered wood and is being constructed using glue-laminated wooden columns. The building will also use a product called cross-laminated timber for the floors and ceilings. The product has been used in Europe for more than 20 years and more recently in Canada and the West Coast of the U.S. Two new mass timber wings will provide 117,000 square feet of teaching labs. The renovation will include a student science studio space and a commons area with cafe. The new building is being constructed around the former Shaw Lane Power Plant, near Spartan Stadium. [END]

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Southern Forest Products Association Expo Attracts Sawmillers

By Jacqlyn Kirkland
Timber Processing
July 15, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

More than 180 exhibitors attended the Forest Products Machinery and Equipment Exposition produced by Southern Forest Products Assn. at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta from June 24 to 26. The event, which is held every other year, caters to the softwood and hardwood primary lumber manufacturing industry. Hood Industries brought 14 people from its sawmills operations. “The show is always most valuable to me for maintaining and establishing contacts with the vendors,” comments Ben Crim, VP Engineering & Environmental Management at Hood Industries. “In my career I’ve found it very handy to work from the top down when you have vendor problems. Good to know whom to call to make things happen!” Crim pointed to several pieces of equipment that caught his attention, such as the new overhead canter/profiler from RPM, the new Taylor log handler, the Piche lumber handling equipment, the Gilbert planer, Samuel dunnage handling robot and Signode marking system.

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Forestry

Leaders seek to expose community to timber industry, potential jobs

By Ben Meyer
WJFW-TV
August 6, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

RHINELANDER – More than 64,000 people in Wisconsin work in the forest products industry, which accounts for $1.4 billion in exports. But many peoples’ view of the industry remains stuck in the past. “These folks are out there with their flannel and their chainsaw,” said Crystal Rohde with the Wood Industry Collaborative. Rohde sees it as her job to shift that perception. “As a collaborative, a big part of what we’re trying to do is change that, to really get the younger generation aware of the job opportunities,” she said. Rohde helped organize Monday’s timber tour in the Rhinelander area. It included a visit to an active logging site in the Elcho area, where machines cleared downfall from storms. The group then continued to the paper mill in Rhinelander and Ponsse’s North American headquarters.

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Forest Alliance protests Wendell logging project

By Zack DeLuca
Athol Daily News
August 5, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

WENDELL — After continued efforts, and saying they’re willing to risk arrest, members of the Wendell State Forest Alliance stood by the opposed logging site for their first day of protest Monday. Residents involved with the Wendell State Forest Alliance — a group affiliated with the nonprofit conservation group RESTORE: The North Woods — said Monday they’ll be on the site along Brook Road in Wendell State Forest to protest until they stop the logging project or the project is completed. The alliance is protesting the state Department of Conservation and Recreation’s selective logging of a roughly 80-acre old oak stand. …“This is what we would consider industrial-scale logging — this isn’t real logging or forestry,” said Glen Ayers, a Greenfield resident and member of the Wendell State Forest Alliance. Members of the alliance said they want to get to a point where the 13 percent of forested land in the state remains completely protected. 

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Logging: Getting the wood out

By Bill Cook
Escanaba Daily Press
August 3, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

ESCANABA — Loggers and logging are essential to the success of our society and forest environments. Yet, like many occupations, most people are unaware of the scope of the job and the people who do the work. Modern logging requires an amazing mix of skills and involves a high degree of financial risk. …Logging requires a wide range of other skills, too. Already mentioned are working with people, computers, and heavy equipment. Knowing how to repair and maintain equipment is also critical; skills such as diesel mechanics and hydraulics. A logger needs good business acumen, accounting ability, and must keep up with the latest rules and regulations. Training and dedication is life-long. …The average age of a logger runs in the mid-50s and is growing older. Finding younger people who enjoy this kind of independent, but hardworking, profession is difficult. But hey, if it’s your thing, then it’s the best job in the world. Life can be good outside the cubicle.

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Study reveals unexpected fire role in longleaf pine forests

By Beth Gavrilles
The University of Georgia
July 30, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

The longleaf pine forests of the southeastern U.S. depend on frequent fire to maintain their structure and the diversity of plants and animals they support. New research from the University of Georgia has found that fire may be playing another, unexpected role: releasing excessive nitrogen that appears to have accumulated as a legacy of prior land use. The paper, “Nitrogen fixation does not balance fire-induced nitrogen losses in longleaf pine savannas,” was recently published in Ecology. “It was not what we were expecting,” said senior author Nina Wurzburger, an associate professor in the Odum School of Ecology. “We first were wondering whether there was enough nitrogen fixation to balance nitrogen losses from fire, and now our hypothesis is that fire might be necessary to remove excess nitrogen from these ecosystems. We basically turned the question on its head.”

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Whole-tree harvesting could boost biomass production

By Michigan Technological University
Science Daily
July 29, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

In the first study, the researchers examined the effect of residue removal on understory plant communities rather than allowing the residue to decompose and theoretically provide nutrients to the herbaceous and shrubby vegetation underneath the tree canopy. In the second study, Premer, Froese and Vance delved deeper into an effect they noticed while the study was underway: “Cut to length” logging systems used intentionally to reduce soil compaction might not be effective in this regard, creating long-lasting patterns of reduced growth within regenerating stands. The third paper examines the persistence of residues and differences in carbon sequestration and macronutrients between sites where residues were removed and where they were retained. Collectively, the three papers address site impacts in Great Lakes aspen forests and demonstrate that residue removal has few effects on forest ecology in managed stands.

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Wisconsin panel OKs preserving 14,000 acres of forest land

By Scott Bauer
Idaho Statesman
July 23, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

More than 14,000 acres of forest land in northern Wisconsin would be preserved for public access and protected from development under a $4.3 million purchase approved Tuesday by the Legislature’s budget committee. But the committee lowered the amount of money available for the purchase by $500,000 from what the Natural Resources Board approved, a move that one of the chief proponents of the deal said could jeopardize the sale. The purchase of the conservation easement in northern Wisconsin’s Iron County would be one of the largest land transactions of its kind in the 30-year history of the state’s stewardship program. It has won praise from conservation groups, which support protecting the land from development while making it publicly accessible.

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Some longleaf pine trees are shedding needles early this year

By Johnny Stowe
The Times and Democrat
July 22, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

Some longleaf pine trees are shedding their needles early across the Sandhills and Coastal Plain this year. This is an annual, natural occurrence that usually takes place in the fall, but sudden, extreme drought in certain areas combined with high temperatures are causing this to take place early. …Although longleaf pines do retain some needles year-round, in years with normal rainfall individual bundles of needles generally remain on the tree for two growing seasons and are shed in the fall. In several years with low rainfall over the last decade many longleaf pines dropped their needles in late July. But I have never seen healthy longleaf pines drop needles before the summer solstice. …Other species of Southern pines, such as loblolly pine, tend to react similarly to drought, although longleaf tolerates dry weather best of all. 

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Tree-killing pathogen known as ‘Sudden Oak Death’ found in Missouri and Illinois

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
July 19, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

ST. LOUIS — A plant pathogen that causes an invasive tree-killing disease has been found in both Missouri and Illinois. The Missouri Department of Agriculture says it has detected ramorum blight on rhododendron plants shipped to some retail nurseries in Missouri. The disease is more commonly known as Sudden Oak Death when it infects oak trees. The rhododendrons were shipped to Walmart and Rural King stores throughout Missouri, as well as the Springfield Home Depot, Stark Bros. Nursery Garden Center and Fort Leonard Wood PX. The Illinois Department of Agriculture last week confirmed it found the pathogen at 10 Walmart stores and one Hy-Vee. Agriculture officials urge consumers who purchased rhododendrons or lilac plants of the known infected varieties labeled Park Hill Plants from these stores between March and June of this year should dispose of the plants immediately. There is no treatment for the pathogen.  

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Trees can’t escape the extreme heat. But they do have some impressive coping mechanisms.

By Adrian Higgins
The Washington Post
July 20, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

As you dodge sunbeams on a hellaciously hot and humid weekend, it’s worth remembering that you have a constant friend willing to take a photon to save you. We refer of course to the humble tree, so seemingly passive and yet so instrumental in getting us through high summer in Washington. If its beauty were not enough, or its ability to mitigate greenhouse gases, the shade the tree provides is a real measure of relief from excessive summer heat. It can feel 15 degrees cooler beneath an old oak or maple, and a stand of them can create their own breeze as they forge their own microclimate. In an age of universal air conditioning, the sheltering value of a tree has become less obvious, along with the unperceived phenomena that allow it to ride out the heat wave in a way that we could not.

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John Deere Announces New Registered Apprenticeship Program

John Deere
July 17, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

MOLINE, Ill. — John Deere has received approval from the U.S. Department of Labor for its new Registered Apprenticeship Program and is making it available to its Agriculture & Turf and Construction & Forestry dealers. The program will help address a widespread shortage of service technicians, especially in rural areas across the country, by providing dealers with a formalized, on-the-job and technical training plan to help them develop more highly skilled employees. “The new Registered Apprenticeship Program complements our existing John Deere TECH program,” said Grant Suhre, director, region 4 customer and product support for John Deere Ag & Turf. “In addition to the on-the-job training experience, an apprentice will receive technical instruction and be assigned a personal mentor as a part of the highly organized training structure. Upon completion of the apprenticeship, they will receive a nationally-recognized Journeyworker certificate.”

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Pest-killing wasps to come to the aid of Maine forests

Associated Press in the Bangor Daily News
July 17, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

MADAWASKA, Maine — The Maine Forest Service is going to deploy wasps to help beat back an invasive pest species that can do damage to trees in the state. The service says the tiny, non-stinging wasps will be released on Thursday to help control the emerald ash borer infestation in the state. It says the wasps feed in or on the borers by attacking their larvae under the bark of trees and parasitizing eggs on the surface of bark. The wasps will be released in Aroostook County in far northern Maine. The forest service says three species of wasps are being used in the pest control effort. The borer was located in Aroostook and York counties, at opposite ends of the very forested state, in 2018.

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Florida teachers participate in 2019 Forestry Tour

By Julie Kanner
The Florida Times-Union
July 17, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

Last month 40 teachers from across the state traveled to Fernandina Beach to participate in the 2019 Florida Forestry Teacher’s Tour. For four days the teachers had the opportunity to study Florida’s forest industry and its role in everyday life. The tour took the educators to various locations throughout Northeast Florida such as Jennings State Forest where they saw a prescribed fire demonstration. They also visited a small tree farm… went to West Fraser Saw Mill… had the opportunity to visit the Rayonier Forest Resources property and the WestRock papermill. …These annual tours are made possible by members of the forest industry, including Rayonier, WestRock, landowners, private citizens, the Florida Forest Service and others, and through their sponsorships. 

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Eastern Hemlock trees are all but gone. This farmer/professor is doing something about it—with his students

By Tessa Venell
Brandeis Now
July 16, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

Brian Donohue

As the climate warms, New England forest species face increasing threats of changing temperature, precipitation and invasive threats. Associate professor of American environmental studies Brian Donahue and his students are working to keep Massachusetts forests from losing some species that forests farther south have already lost. Donahue and the undergraduates who are participating in his research are mapping hemlocks in the forests in Concord, Lincoln, and Weston to help local conservation commissions decide how to manage these threatened trees. Hemlocks in Massachusetts are under threat because of a sap-sucking insect called the hemlock woolly adelgid, which has already devastated hemlocks from North Carolina to Connecticut.

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Support for our forest products industry

Letter by Mike Leonard, Consulting forester, North Quabbin Forestry
Greenfield Recorder
July 15, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

Mike Leonard

Your editorial against the use of clean renewable biomass represents a minority view across the state. Thousands of homeowners, businesses, schools, and even hospitals utilize wood energy in the form of firewood, wood pellets, and wood chips. I have a BS degree in forestry from UMass and over 30 years’ experience practicing forestry. My son and I help landowners protect and manage thousands of acres across the state. We’re creating jobs, improving forest land, producing many different forest products we all use, and providing a source of clean locally produced real renewable energy. But forests in our state are in serious trouble due to a variety of insect, disease, and other agents. Tree mortality has greatly increased and millions of tons of timber are dying every year. The only way we can help restore the health and productivity of our forests is to support more markets for low grade timber and that means biomass.

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Private investors protect vast forests in U.S. coal country

By Carey Biron
Reuters in the National Post
July 15, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

WASHINGTON – Private investors have backed what supporters say is one of the largest conservation acquisitions ever in the eastern United States, offering a promising new model to protect land. Conservation group the Nature Conservancy announced Monday that it and partners now control almost 400 square miles of land in three states in the central Appalachian Mountains, traditionally heavily dependent on coal mining. The tracts… were purchased from timber management entities through a $130 million investment fund. …The Nature Conservancy will manage the land, known as the Cumberland Forest Project, for a decade, she said and will provide investors financial returns from three sources: revenue from certified sustainable timber sales, carbon offset credits and the eventual sale of the land, at the end of the period, with long-term or permanent management restrictions in place.

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Can a Snail Too Tiny to See Save a Kentucky Forest From a Gas Pipeline?

By Sabrina Imbler
The Atlas Obscura
July 12, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

KENTUCKY — The Hidden Springsnail is one of the most felicitously named freshwater mollusks because it is a snail, it lives in springs, and it is notoriously difficult to find. …It’s a snail that hardly anyone would ever even think to notice or look for, but Lori Schroeder will stop at nothing to find it. After all, the fate of a forest might depend on this snail. …It took Schroeder six years of unflagging effort to find a living hidden springsnail in Bernheim, but she managed to pull it off. Bernheim, which is held in a trust, is the largest privately owned nature reserve in the state. Schroeder’s discovery there could help protect the forest from the looming threat of a gas pipeline and road that could slice up the 16,137 acres of its ecosystem.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Despite legislative blocks, one form of carbon cap-and-trade is alive and well in Virginia

By Sarah Vogelsong
The Virginia Mercury
August 7, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

VIRGINIA — Carbon cap-and-trade ended with a whimper in Richmond this past springwhen Republican budget additions blocked the state from participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and Gov. Ralph Northam declined to issue a veto. But in southwestern Virginia, it’s business as usual. In the Appalachian Mountains that surround the Clinch River Valley, vast forests are quietly capturing carbon that is quantified for sale in California’s cap-and-trade market. Then, depending on the forest’s ownership, profits are plowed back into conservation efforts at home or, until recently, paid out to investors. …In southwestern Virginia… conservationists see the income that can be derived from carbon offsets as another way to diversify the region’s historically mining-dependent economy — although the extensive documentation and technical data required by California’s regulatory market often means that only the largest landowners participate.

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Environmental groups accuse state of ‘deeply flawed’ review of biomass changes; call for more input

By Peter Goonan
MassLive.com
August 6, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

SPRINGFIELD — Six environmental groups say that when it comes to proposed changes to ease subsidies for wood-burning plants — four public hearings in recent months, hundreds of written comments, and a future state study are simply not enough. The organizations, all fighting against any easing of state renewable energy regulations on biomass plants have urged the state to confer with environmental advocates and climate scientists ahead of a future study. …The groups alleged that the process used thus far in evaluating state regulation changes has been “deeply flawed.” The groups said that in light of the flaws, they request “a stakeholder process that includes environmental advocates and climate scientists to inform the scope and finalization of the proposed study.” The state is considering changes to the Renewable Portfolio Standard, (RPS), which requires that a percentage of electricity that utilities sell come from renewable resources. 

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Opponents To Biomass Plant Ask Dartmouth To Consider Other Options

By Daniela Allee
New Hampshire Public Radio
August 1, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

About 60 people attended a public forum Wednesday night about potential sites for Dartmouth College’s proposed biomass plant. While some questions focused on the three possible sites for the plant, more audience members challenged the idea of having a biomass plant at all, asking the college to consider solar or other technologies. The plant is part of Dartmouth’s plan to cut its greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2025. The biomass plant would produce energy for a new hot water heating system at the college. Allan Waters has lived in Hanover for 26 years. He asked if the college had considered using heat pumps instead, because he says, even if it makes economic sense for Dartmouth, there’s an environmental cost to burning wood for fuel. …Three prominent Dartmouth alumni wrote a letter  opposing the biomass plant, arguing that large scale tree harvesting would make biomass a non-renewable resource. 

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The Great Smoky Mountains’ iconic clouds are helping to protect the region from climate change – for now

By Booke Bauman
Yale Climate Connections
July 31, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

…The iconic clouds in the park – on the border of North Carolina and Tennessee – are as important to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park as glaciers are to Glacier National Park. …The haze is more than a sight to see: High rainfall totals and summertime humidity foster plant growth, making the region a biodiversity hotspot. …Moisture from the haze may also be protecting the ecosystem from the changing climate. But as the climate continues to warm, the nature of the Smokies’ cloud cover may change. …Ana Barros, a professor at Duke University, said rising temperatures could, in theory, decrease cloud cover, threatening key habitats. …And Jason Fridley, a biologist at Syracuse University, warned that if the region sees a decline in precipitation on mountain peaks, “that might be catastrophic.”

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‘Godsend’ or threat to forests? NC weighs expansion of wood pellet mill

By Richard Stradling
The News & Observer
July 16, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

A public hearing on an air pollution permit for a wood pellet plant in Sampson County on Monday night became a wide-ranging forum on the environmental effects of the industry and the reputation of the plant’s owner, Enviva, in North Carolina. The company and its supporters say the wood pellets it creates to burn in power plants in Europe are a renewable resource and a way to help combat climate change. They also say the trees Enviva buys for its three mills in North Carolina have helped make it possible for owners to keep their land in forests, rather than convert it to some other use. “For timber growers, Enviva’s been a godsend,” said Ashley Faircloth, a forestry consultant from Jacksonville. But opponents contend that when you factor in the loss of the trees and the energy used in production and shipping, wood pellets are actually worse for the environment than the coal they replace.

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Timber industry pushes more biomass power

Bioenergy Insight Magazine
July 16, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

From several stories up at Exelon’s Albany Green Energy plant, you can see a massive pile of chipped up wood, known as biomass. A long conveyor carries it up into the plant, where it’s fed into a boiler. The biomass burns to make electricity for Georgia Power. Around the corner from the wood pile, a long tube snakes off, carrying leftover steam to power a Proctor and Gamble plant. From the top of the power plant, you can also see trees: miles and miles of forest in every direction. But, “We’re not just going out and grabbing a tree, being able to use that tree,” said plant manager James Luckey. “Most of our fuel is coming from treetops, and mill residuals that come from paper mills or something like that.” They burn the stuff that can’t be made into lumber or paper products.

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Whole-tree harvesting could boost biomass production

by Kelley Christensen, Michigan Technological University
Phys.org
July 15, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

Making the shift to renewable energy sources requires biomass, too. This is a story of carbon choices: As societies around the world continue to move toward increased renewable energy portfolios, which energy sources do we choose? …Whole-tree aspen logging promotes renewable biomass energy from tops and branches, parts of the tree that are often left in the forest during logging in favor of the tree’s trunk, using the residual that remains after a sustainable harvest for logs. It has long been assumed that removing the leaves and branches of trees, rather than allowing them to decompose in the woods, will deplete the soil and lead to a weaker forest ecosystem. New research from Michigan Technological University’s School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science challenges that hypothesis.

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Enviva expansion under fire

By Chris Berendt
The Sampson Independent
July 12, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

Enviva has applied to increase production at its wood pellet plant in northern Sampson County, but it is not without opposition from a contingent of residents and environmental groups urging the state to deny the permit —and the governor to place a moratorium on the industry as a whole. Enviva Pellets Sampson, a 500,000-metric ton wood pellet manufacturing facility, is located on a 200-acre site off Faison Highway. It is one of a handful of plants operated by Enviva, the world’s largest wood pellet manufacturer. Those opposing the plant and its potential expansion maintain it is one of the top culprits in the devastation of the climate, while Enviva proponents cite its economic benefits and the company’s adherence to current air quality regulations and sustainable forestry measures.

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Health & Safety

Hammond Lumber mills take first in safety

By Rod Wiles, Hammond Lumber
Boothbay Register
July 22, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: US East, United States

The Northeast Lumber Manufacturers Association (NeLMA) announced in July that it has given Hammond Lumber Company four awards for outstanding safety performance during 2018 at Hammond’s sawmill and planer mill in Belgrade. The awards are given to mills operating in the New England states, plus New York and Pennsylvania. A Maine family-owned business founded in 1953, Hammond finished first in Division 2 for the combined operations of both mills. Divisions are determined by the number of worker-hours logged during a calendar year. A Division 1 classification represents 1 to 25,000 hours, while Division 2 represents 25,000 to 50,000 hours. The Maine family-owned business also earned first place in Division 1 for planer-mill safety, first place in Division 2 for sawmill safety, and received a certificate for achieving an accident-free year in both mills.

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Logging accident kills man in northeast Iowa

Associated Press in KGAN TV
July 19, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: US East, United States

Authorities say a man was killed by a logging accident in northeast Iowa. First responders were sent around 12:25 p.m. Tuesday to the worksite about 2 mile from the Mississippi River in the southeast corner of Clayton County. The Clayton County Sheriff’s Office says 38-year-old Jason Steger, of Greeley, was struck by a falling tree that had been knocked over by a log that was being moved. Steger was pronounced dead at the scene. He worked for Kendrick Forest Products, which is based in Edgewood. Work safety authorities have been notified. [END]

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Citronelle police investigating fatal crash on Highway 45

By Mark Kent
The Call News
July 16, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: US East, United States

CITRONELLE, ALABAMA — A head-on collision shortly before 11 a.m. Tuesday took the lives of a log truck driver and a man driving a Ford Fusion, Citronelle Mayor Jason Stringer said. …The logs of the log truck came loose, with some going through the cab and others taking down utility poles and power lines, also rupturing a gas line in the area, witnesses said. …The wreck left heavy amounts of debris on the highway, and the two vehicles ended up off the east edge of the highway, coming to rest about 500 feet apart. By noon, there was still some smoke rising from the area around where the log truck came to rest. …“The log truck was on fire, and it blew a gas main,” Burgin said. “Power lines were down, and there were logs all over the place.”

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