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Category Archives: Forestry

Forestry

Researcher exposes money trail behind U.S.-based campaign to kill the oilsands

By Licia Corbella
Vancouver Sun
January 17, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, United States

Vivian Krause

Anyone in Canada who knows anything about the target on the back of Canadian oil and gas knows the name Vivian Krause. …Krause’s name has become synonymous with the fight against the concerted effort by U.S. oil interests working to land-lock Canadian oil and gas by using environmental groups to protest against the industry with the stated aim of grinding development to a halt. …Krause said she was actually optimistic that the Tar Sands Campaign might “turn the page” and end after achieving all of those wins, but no, the pressure continues. Notley’s government then created the world’s largest boreal forest preserve, something the U.S. foundations through groups like Tides pushed for. …“(Notley’s) done everything they’ve asked for… so why is this campaign still being funded?”

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Pembina and Tree Canada continue partnership to green communities

Pipeline News North
January 16, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada

Tree Canada will continue to help green dozens of schoolyards and neighbourhoods thanks to a $225,000 multi-year contribution from Pembina Pipeline Corporation. Now in its second year, this initiative supports Tree Canada’s annual grant program and an estimated 40 new tree planting projects are planned between 2018 and 2020. Tree Canada, Canada’s leading national tree-planting charity, will help schools and communities improve their tree canopy and grow better places to live. Trees are critical to strong communities. They help us to live healthier lives by providing multiple environmental, social and economical benefits to our cities such as absorbing CO2, cooling our homes and reducing our stress. Research shows that living near trees lowers the risk of mortality from common causes and helps to improve our mental health. The effects of climate change in our cities can be mitigated by increasing our urban canopy.

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The Sustainable Forestry Initiative names new Chief Education Officer Melina Bellows to lead environmental education and expand Project Learning Tree

Sustainable Forestry Initiative
January 16, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, United States

Washington, D.C. and Ottawa, ON — The Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc. (SFI) is pleased to name Melina Gerosa Bellows as SFI’s Chief Education Officer. She oversees the overall strategy and implementation of initiatives under SFI’s Education pillar. Prior to joining SFI, Bellows worked at National Geographic for 17 years, where she created and launched the award-winning National Geographic Kids brand and served as Chief Education Officer overseeing all of the children’s businesses. Bellows is also a best-selling author and an award-winning freelance writer and blogger. “Melina is a visionary leader who believes in the power of words and education to transform lives and the world we all share. Her ability to reach and inspire youth, combined with SFI’s rapidly growing presence in the education space is going to have a huge impact on the next generation and how they care for forests,” said Kathy Abusow, President and CEO of SFI Inc.

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Protect the Carmi trails from logging

Letter by Michelle Parry
Pentiction Western News
January 20, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Please remove the Carmi recreation trails near Penticton from the BCTS sales inventory.  Our forests are crown assets and should be managed for the people of B.C. by skilled foresters, biologists and economists, not a sales team who don’t care if they give the trees away for a net financial loss to the communities and our province. …Your policies reflect desperation, short-sightedness and poverty thinking. Are we so poor in B.C. that we have to log small recreation areas valued for so much more than timber? Values that create healthy, intelligent and sustainable communities. Communities that are needed to pay your pension. Is this the legacy you want to leave? Please leave our recreation trails alone, we do not want them logged.

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British Columbians view natural environment and climate as key to quality of life in BC, support strong penalties including jail time for polluters

By the Real Estate Foundation of BC
Cision Newswire
January 22, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

VANCOUVER – Today, the Real Estate Foundation of BC (REFBC) shared the results from a public opinion poll it commissioned on British Columbians’ views on land use, sustainability and regional planning throughout the province. Conducted by McAllister Opinion Research, the poll drew on a cross-section of British Columbian residents. Questions focused on quality of life, sustainable economy, local needs, land protection, penalties for polluters, First Nations as partners, and regionally specific concerns. REFBC, a philanthropic organization that helps advance sustainable land use in B.C., commissioned the poll to better understand B.C. residents’ values, opinions, and knowledge on land use issues. By sharing the findings from Sustainable Land Use: A Public Opinion Survey of British Columbians, REFBC hopes to help policy makers, governments, First Nations, non-profits, and others make decisions that align with public values.

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Logging lift from technology

HarvestTECHX
January 21, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Leading loggers in Canada & USA have been quick to take up new mechanised harvesting machinery for forests on steep slopes. Now a new set of remote operation technologies is set to be unleashed. Labour and safety gains will result and productivity will follow. These new operating systems are already proven in mining operations. The early adopters will make the greatest gains in logging when they take advantage of this new technology. On the horizon are prototypes nearing commercial scale in automated yarder tree felling, remote and fully hydraulic controls to run more equipment more easily and with less people on the ground. Logging crews will be much smaller as a new generation of machine control technologies comes to market.  The ability to control machines remotely (both on and eventually off-site) will bring even more safety to logging. With no men out on the steep slopes where tree stems are being accumulated, they can’t be injured. 

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B.C. forest fires would be less severe if we didn’t kill off the broadleaf trees

By James Steidle, Stop the Spray BC
The Vancouver Sun
January 20, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

…Last summer a huge amount of Central Interior forest that burnt were “managed” forests, those being younger conifer plantations that were established by the conventions of our present forest management regime. …But to get there, it has been deemed necessary to eliminate the natural early “pioneer” vegetation. …The Conifer-dominated forest type we are actively encouraging, is highly flammable, while the Broadleaf Aspen forest type we are actively eliminating, is incredibly fire resistant. That’s why its standard procedure for firefighters to tie their firebreaks into deciduous stands. …Allowing broadleaf to grow in our new forests won’t be the silver bullet stopping fires next year. But…If the best time to let more aspen and broadleaf grow was thirty five years ago, the next best time is now.

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Haida Gwaii home to a distinct but vulnerable pocket of northern goshawks

By Hina Alam
Canadian Press in the Vancouver Sun
January 20, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Haida Gwaii’s population of northern goshawks are the last remnant of a highly distinct genetic cluster of the birds, a new study by University of B.C. researchers has found. Researchers estimate the population of birds may have been evolving separately on Haida Gwaii for 20,000 years — right around the last time the glaciers melted, causing the sea levels to rise and potentially separating the birds from their kin. While the birds can fly long distances … they don’t seem to like travelling over water, which could account for their long-term isolation, said study co-lead Armando Geraldes. “There don’t seem to be strong geographic barriers anywhere on the continent but then you get that body of water — about 70 kilometres of water between Haida Gwaii and the mainland — and that is apparently enough to isolate that population,” he said. Only 50 of the raptors are left on the archipelago.

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Heli-logging expanding to manage Douglas fir beetles

By Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development
Government of British Columbia
January 18, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Helicopter logging operations underway in the Williams Lake area to minimize the spread of Douglas fir beetles on Crown land are being expanded to treat two additional areas over the winter. Douglas fir beetle populations are higher than normal in some parts of the Cariboo, but helicopter logging (used to selectively remove infested trees and protect other trees nearby) and related containment treatments have helped slow the spread of the beetles around Williams Lake. …This is the third straight year that heli-logging has been used in the area to decrease their numbers. …In addition to the direct harvesting of infested trees, the Williams Lake Beetle Management Unit 2018 Treatment Plan includes the following activities: The anti-aggregative pheromone methyl cyclo hexenone…; “Trap trees” will be established by cutting down large, healthy Douglas fir trees…;  some infested trees may be cut down and burned on site…; Funnel traps in mill yards

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Investigation finds harvesting at Wilson Creek appropriate

BC Forest Practices Board
January 17, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

VICTORIA – An investigation of a public complaint on the Sunshine Coast has found that the Sunshine Coast Community Forest took the appropriate steps when planning and harvesting a cutblock near Wilson Creek. “The issue of sediment in water and impacts on fish habitat is a serious one. This investigation highlights the reasonable steps a forestry licensee should take when working in areas with natural terrain hazards that are also important for fish, water and community interests,” said Kevin Kriese, board chair. The complainant was concerned that the community forest had not assessed the risks of logging the cutblock and had caused sediment to enter Wilson Creek, a fish-bearing stream. The investigation found that the community forest had followed all legal requirements and completed several voluntary assessments, which found that forest harvesting would not pose a significant risk to terrain stability, water flows or fish habitat.

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Student Ranger Program accepting applications for 2019 season

By Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy
Government of British Columbia
January 16, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Young adults interested in learning a diverse range of job skills while working outdoors this summer can now apply for the BC Parks Student Ranger Program. Now in its second year, the Student Ranger Program provides 48 young adults training and employment opportunities in B.C.’s parks and protected areas, with a 30% Indigenous hiring target. “The student rangers play a key role in environmental stewardship while preserving the natural, cultural and historical values that British Columbians cherish,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “I hope the program inspires young adults to consider a meaningful and rewarding career looking after B.C.’s beautiful parks and protected areas.” Funded by the federal and provincial governments, the Student Ranger Program offers hands-on work experience related to conservation, recreation, community outreach and Indigenous relations.

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Too much fuel causing catastrophic wildfires, expert says

BC Local News
January 16, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Miles Fuller

Forester and longtime Burns Lake resident Miles Fuller warned a recent village council meeting that the community is lucky no one died in last summer’s wildfires. …Fuel, and fuel mitigation was his other main reason for speaking to the council and he said not enough is being done to reduce the fuel that disastrous fires feed on. Frank Varga, General Manager of the Burns Lake Community Forest also joined the presentation and provided powerpoint images to illustrate Fuller’s points. …In his 40 years of experience in this area, he has seen the ecosystem treated as retention-based and that has heightened its susceptibility to fires and the fires’ severity.

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Getting ahead of wildfires: controlled burns underway in Jasper National Park

By Stephanie Dubois
CBC News
January 15, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

If you’ve been to the Jasper area in the last month, you might have seen smoke in the air. Fear not, say Jasper fire officials, because the smoke is usually from controlled burns to help prevent wildfires. Dead or dying trees are being removed in both the Jasper townsite as well as from some areas within Jasper National Park. The trees being removed are often damaged by pine beetles and the dry bark can present a risk if a wildfire ever happens. “This type of work has to be done in the winter. We need snow cover and we need frozen ground. Otherwise, the impact to the ground is too significant,” said Jasper fire chief Greg Van Tighem. …Van Tighem said eliminating the dead wood makes it easier to battle any future wildfires. When the forest is thinned, he explained, the wildfire stays on the ground rather than the treetops.

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Sechelt council to consider Legacy Fund grants

By Sean Eckford
Sunshine Coast Reporter
January 14, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Councillors in Sechelt are expected to vote Jan. 16 on approving $325,500 in grants from the Sunshine Coast Community Forest’s Legacy Fund. A letter from Peter Moonen, chair of the Legacy Fund Assessment Committee, said the committee received more $900,000 in requests for support, which was more than twice the amount available in the fund. The committee has recommended seven grants for approval… If they’re all approved as recommended, the grants will leave the fund with approximately $57,000, which will be topped up when the next round of dividends from logging operations come in to the district. In his third quarter report, Community Forest chair Geoff Craig predicted that with net income as of Sept. 31 at $1,278,378, last year could be the corporation’s best in terms of financial performance since the Community Forest was established in 2006.

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Thinning forest in Simcoe County promotes growth

By Bryan Myers
Simcoe.com
January 19, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

Simcoe County foresters are thinning a section of the Museum Tract to improve the health of the forest and promote regeneration. While Simcoe County is home to the largest municipal forest in the province, a hundred years ago, it was desolate wasteland. Since 1922, the county has worked to grow and maintain the forest to its current size of — 13,300 hectares and growing. “Much of that (forest) is plantation-based, formerly cleared for agricultural use,” Graeme Davis, a forester for the county, said. Over decades, trees planted have helped restore the soil quality and the quality of the growth. …But thinning also serves another purpose: It helps generate revenue that helps to grow the program.

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Logging limits urged after discovery of old-growth trees in Algonquin Park

By Kristin Rushowy
The Toronto Star
January 18, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

A report from researchers who found large swaths of old-growth trees in Algonquin Park — including a 408-year-old hemlock in a logging zone — will be taken into consideration for the next forestry management plan for the area, the Ontario government says.  The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, responding to a recent Star article about the discovery of the rare four-century-old tree in the popular park, said consultations will be a key part of the updated plan. Justine Lewkowicz, a spokesperson for Minister John Yakabuski, said forest management plans are done every decade for the park located about three hours north of Toronto, and involve “a rigorous process which includes stakeholder, public and Indigenous community input and involvement, as well as consideration of the broader Algonquin Provincial Park Management Plan.”

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As emerald ash borer invasion grows, Europe looks to Fredericton scientist for help

CBC News
January 19, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

Peter Silk

Peter Silk has spent years studying how to mitigate the damage caused by emerald ash borers, and now the Fredericton-based research scientist is headed to Europe to share his expertise about the “green menace.” As one of the world’s leading experts on the destructive beetle, he’s been invited to a meeting in Tallinn, Estonia, where an infestation of the borers is in its infancy. Silk knows all too well what comes next. The tiny but invasive emerald ash borer has devastated ash tree populations throughout the United States and five Canadian provinces, including New Brunswick. As its name suggests, the beetle bores into ash trees and disrupts the tree’s ability to feed, killing it. The insect arrived in North America after voyaging in wooden crates from China about 20 years ago. It’s now spreading through Europe.

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Lakehead University announces new Finnish Studies chair

The Thunder Bay News Watch
January 17, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

Jaana Laine

THUNDER BAY — Lakehead University has named a professor from Finland its new chair in Finnish Studies. Dr. Jaana Laine will teach at the Thunder Bay campus and conduct research on the human-forest relationship, focusing on Finnish-Canadians in northwestern Ontario. Laine’s doctor dissertation at the University of Helsinki was entitled Rules of the Timber Trade. Timber trade between private forest owners and forestry industry in eastern Finland, 1919-1939. …A statement from Lakehead University notes that she is interested in hearing from Finnish-Canadians and their descendants for her research project on the human-forest relationship.

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Roddickton-Bide Arm protest demands local logs be cut home

By Stephens Roberts
The Telegram
January 15, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

RODDICKTON-BIDE ARM, N.L. — “Our logs stay here.” That was the message Roddickton-Bide Arm gave the provincial government and Active Energy Group during a protest staged Monday afternoon, Jan. 14. Some 100-200 residents of Roddickton-Bide Arm marched from the Green Moose Interpretation Centre to the forestry building to protest the lack of movement on re-opening a sawmill in the community. …“The forestry is our foundation, for all of our communities (on the northeast side of the Northern Peninsula) it’s important, it’s jobs, it means businesses staying, it means attracting new businesses, it means a chance for people who are living away to come, and ultimately it means keeping our young,” Fitzgerald said in addressing the protestors in the forestry building parking lot. “Without the forestry we have no foundation.”

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Acting EPA head says wildfires are result of forest management, not drought

By Marianne Dodson
The Week
January 16, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

Andrew Wheeler

Acting Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler told senators Wednesday that “the biggest issue with wildfires is forest management … not drought”. He made the claim during his confirmation hearing to become the agency’s permanent head. A federal climate report released late last year outlined the effects of climate change on wildfires, and found with medium confidence that human-caused climate change has contributed to forest fires in Alaska. The report also predicted a continued increase in the number of forest fires due to climate change. …Experts say forest management is a factor, but not the sole cause of wildfires, especially in non-forested areas of California that burned last year. Rising temperatures also contribute to the lengthening of the wildfire season, in part by worsening droughts.

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Forest Service ignores fire science to justify forest thinning

By George Wuerthner, ecologist
Helena Independent Record
January 21, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

George Wuerthner

The Helena National Forest has released its Ten Mile-South Helena Project, which will include logging, prescribed burning on more than 17,500 acres including in roadless lands proposed for wilderness designation. Throughout its document, the FS ignores the preponderance of fire science to justify logging/thinning of the forest and ignores the many environmental impacts that result from such actions. First, the FS implies that dead trees, particularly beetle-kill lodgepole pine, increases fire risk. Contrary to this message, numerous studies have concluded that dead trees reduce, not increase, fire hazard. For example, a study done on bug killed trees in Colorado found: “Contrary to the expectation that bark beetle infestation alters subsequent fire severity, correlation, and multivariate generalized linear regression analysis revealed no influence of pre-fire beetle severity on nearly all field or remotely sensed measurements of fire severity.”

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Can biotech save trees? Study raises more questions than answers

By Rob Chaney
The Missoulian
January 21, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Diana Six

Opinion polls might matter as much as genetic experiments in protecting America’s trees, according to a new study of biotechnology and forest health. “We struggled with that a lot, and didn’t come up with an answer,” said Diana Six, a University of Montana tree pathology researcher and co-author of the national study. “There are a lot of people who don’t want to see genetically modified natural forests. It will affect their lives and how they interact with the forest. Is wilderness still wilderness if the trees are all human products?” …So the U.S. Forest Service, Environmental Protection Agency and other policy makers asked the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine to produce a “consensus study” showing how trees might be protected through genetic engineering. …“We had a group with a philosopher and an ethics person, social scientists, forest ecologists, entomologists and population geneticists. It’s not a quick fix.”

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Bitterroot Forester to Receive National Award

By Steve Fullerton
KLYQ
January 21, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Byron Bonney

Regional Forester Byron Bonney will be one of seven honorees for work in reducing wildfire danger. He will receive a Wildfire Mitigation Award in March. The National Association of State Foresters made the announcement January 17, citing Bonney’s extensive work as Fuel Mitigation Program manager for the Bitter Root RC&D in Hamilton. Since 2001, according to Bonney, the organization has received over $7 million in grants to help private landowners reduce forest fire risk by fuel reduction thinning, pruning and slash treatment on over 9,000 acres. The work has been done in Ravalli, Missoula and Mineral Counties. Community foresters help in each county. The award is co-sponsored by the National Association of State Foresters, the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the National Fire Protection Association and the USDA Forest Service.

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Wildfire crisis requires cooperation

By Hilary Franz, Washington State Commissioner of Public Lands
Yakima Herald
January 19, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

In 2018, our state faced the most wildfires on record. The agency I lead, the Department of Natural Resources, is Washington’s largest wildfire fighting force. Last year, we responded to more than 1,850 wildfires in Washington, starting in March and ending in November. …But, despite our best efforts, more than 440,000 acres still burned. That’s because the number of wildfires we face are growing. …And as fires increase west of the Cascades, our firefighters and equipment are stretched more thinly throughout the state. …And a changing climate, combined with unhealthy and diseased forests, means we don’t have fire seasons anymore — we have fire years. Despite the scale of this threat…DNR’s base firefighting budget has only increased by $2.5 million total over the past decade. …the regional help we used to receive … is not available. That means we have to set our state up for success and make sure we’re more resilient and self-reliant.

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Forest project will provide benefits

By Ron Boldenow, forester
The Bend Bulletin
January 18, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Ron Boldenow

I feel compelled to respond to the guest column concerning Forest Service harvests on the west side of Bend in the Dec. 12 edition by a representative from Oregon Wild. I agree that the term thinning is often misused and misunderstood. In the strict sense, thinning is done in only even-aged forests to remove weak trees and promote the growth and health of the remaining trees. It is not intended to promote regeneration of trees. On the west side of Bend, the Forest Service’s objectives are more complex than simple thinning and aim to create a forest of varying density with trees of different ages and sizes. This will promote resistance to wildfire, disease and insects. In my opinion, managing carbon sequestration is but one use of public forests and will depend on fostering forest productivity while considering the carbon storage in vegetation, soil and usable forest products. 

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Despite the shutdown, it’s been a dizzying week for a Southeast Alaska timber sale

By Elizabeth Jenkins
KTOO Public Media
January 17, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Despite the partial federal government shutdown, some U.S. Forest Service staffers are still working on a plan for a large timber sale in Southeast Alaska. Those who oppose the logging are worried their concerns aren’t visible enough during the shutdown. Leaving them to wonder how the agency can keep up with the public record when it’s not fully staffed. The Southeast Alaska Conservation Council, or SEACC, opposes a federal timber sale that could take place on Prince of Wales Island. The group wanted to file its objections by the December deadline and managed to submit its complaints the day before the government shutdown. Buck Lindekugel, SEACC’s attorney, assumed the proceedings would be on ice. After all, dozens of Forest Service staff in Alaska aren’t receiving a paycheck, and many of them aren’t even at work.

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US shutdown stalls training, other prep for wildfire season

By Gillian Flaccus
Associated Press in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
January 18, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

PORTLAND, Ore. — …officials are gearing up for this year’s fire season and fear the government shutdown could make it even more difficult… The winter months are critical for wildfire managers who use the break from the flames to prepare for the next onslaught, but much of that effort has ground to a halt on U.S. land because employees are furloughed. Firefighting training courses are being canceled from Tennessee to Oregon, piles of dead trees are untended in federal forests and controlled burns to thin dry vegetation aren’t getting done. Although the furloughs only affect federal employees, the collaborative nature of wildland firefighting means the pain of the four-week-long shutdown is having a ripple effect — from firefighters on the ground to federal contractors and top managers who control the firefighting strategy. …”Even if the shutdown ends and we start hiring people, we will have missed the cream of the crop,” DeGrosky said.

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How the shutdown is affecting wildfire mitigation efforts

By Kevin Torres
Fox News, Denver
January 17, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

COLORADO — The government shutdown is disrupting wildlife mitigation efforts used to protect our forests and mountain communities. The Colorado State Forest Service works closely with federal agencies, like the U.S. Forest Service. With Forest Service employees currently furloughed, certain projects aren’t being done. “On the federal side of things, where they`re doing some of their burns, you just don`t have the troops in the field to get it done,” explained Mike Lester, Director of the Colorado State Forest Service. …This time of year, federal and state forest workers do pile burns. Pile burns include burning brush, trees and other fuels collected throughout the year. Winter is the ideal time to do it because the snow makes burning safe. “I think the last time we looked at them there are roughly 2,000 piles out there,” Lester said.

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Wildland Fire Risk Rising; Lands Commissioner Franz Reveals Wildfire Strategic Plan That Calls for Change

Washington State Department of Natural Resources
January 17, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Washington state has a wildfire crisis. In 2018, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources – the state’s largest wildfire fighting force – responded to more than 1,850 wildfires, a record high. Across Washington, 440,000 acres burned. …To help Washington prepare and manage this escalating risk, Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz today released Washington’s Wildland Fire Protection 10-Year Strategic Plan. …The plan lays out 40 strategies to accomplish four key goals: Washington’s preparedness, response, and recovery systems are fully capable, integrated, and sustainable, Landscapes are resilient – in the face of wildland fire, they resist damage and recover quickly. Communities are prepared and adapted for current and future wildland fire regimes, and Response is safe and effective.

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Wildfire training continues despite shutdown

By Keely Chalmers
By KGW8 News
January 16, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

PORTLAND, Ore. — Will the government shutdown mean increased wildfire risk here in the Pacific Northwest? A firefighting training session has already been canceled while other courses have been postponed. However, a lot of wildfire training is going on as-planned in Oregon. When a wildfire breaks out, federal agencies often hire privately contracted firefighters to do a lot of the work. And because those contract crews are not dependent on federal funding, they are training as usual right now. As for state agencies? The Oregon Department of Forestry said so far three training sessions have been canceled due to the shutdown. But fire managers are still attending state-sponsored classes.

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Bark beetle expands radically in Colorado amid historic drought, heat

By Liz Forster
The Gazette
January 15, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Bark beetle invaded tens of thousands of untouched acres of Colorado forests last year as trees suffered under record-breaking heat and extreme drought, says a new report by the Colorado State Forest Service and the U.S. Forest Service. Spruce beetle attacked 178,000 acres of Engelmann spruce. Although that’s fewer than in 2017 and 2016, about one-third of the acres hit last year were in previously unaffected areas. …Last year’s drought, the second worst in 124 years, and record-breaking heat were largely to blame, said Dan West, an entomologist with the Colorado State Forest Service. “That has wide-reaching impacts as the trees are less defended and their susceptibility to invasion goes up,” West said. …A tree’s two chief defenses against bark beetle both hinge on precipitation, West said.

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Can genetic engineering save disappearing forests?

By Jason Delborne, North Carolina State University
The Conversation US
January 17, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

Compared to gene-edited babies in China and ambitious projects to rescue woolly mammoths from extinction, biotech trees might sound pretty tame. But releasing genetically engineered trees into forests to counter threats to forest health represents a new frontier in biotechnology. Even as the techniques of molecular biology have advanced, humans have not yet released a genetically engineered plant that is intended to spread and persist in an unmanaged environment. Biotech trees – genetically engineered or gene-edited – offer just that possibility. …The committee found that the U.S. Coordinated Framework for the Regulation of Biotechnology, which distributes federal oversight of biotechnology products, is not fully prepared to consider the introduction of a biotech tree to improve forest health.

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Big genome found in tiny forest defoliator

By The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
Phys.org
January 15, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

The European gypsy moth (EGM) is perhaps the country’s most famous invasive insect—a nonnative species accidentally introduced to North America in the 1860s when a few escaped from a breeding experiment in suburban Boston. The caterpillars have been slowly eating their way across the continent ever since, causing widespread defoliation. In research that could lead to better bioinsecticides to protect forests and orchards, Drs. Don Gammon and Nick Grishin of UT Southwestern have sequenced the genomes of the EGM and its even more destructive cousin, the Asian gypsy moth (AGM). Their work, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, finds that the gypsy moth has the largest moth or butterfly genome (number of DNA base pairs) ever sequenced.

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Forest soils need many decades to recover from fires and logging

Australian National University
January 22, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Elle Bowd

A landmark study from The Australian National University (ANU) has found that forest soils need several decades to recover from bushfires and logging – much longer than previously thought. Lead researcher Elle Bowd from the ANU Fenner School of Environment and Society said the team found forest soils recovered very slowly over many years from these events – up to 80 years following a bushfire and at least 30 years after logging. “We discovered that both natural and human disturbances can have incredibly long-lasting effects on forest soils that could impact plant communities and ecosystem function,” said Ms Bowd, who is the lead author of the ANU team’s Nature Geoscience paper. Professor David Lindenmayer, also from the ANU team, said scientists had not known how long soils were impacted by bushfires and logging prior to this study. 

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Public call for forestry promotion proposals announced

By Sylvester Phelan
Agriland
January 21, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

A public call has been launched for proposals in the area of forestry promotion, the Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Andrew Doyle, announced today. The call is encouraging innovative proposals which will highlight “the multi-functional benefits” of forestry in Ireland over the next two years. In announcing the call, Minister Doyle said: “We know forestry delivers many benefits in Ireland, particularly economic, social and environmental benefits.  “While we have a relatively low level of forest cover in Ireland, compared to other European countries, there is huge potential to develop and grow Irish forestry to enable us and future generations to enjoy those benefits.” The minister said the Government continues to “pro-actively assist and support the development” of Irish forestry through the National Forestry Programme. 

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Forestry investors in Galway reap rich rewards

By Stephen Corrigan
Connacht Tribune
January 19, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Galway forestry owners, timber contractors and hauliers will over €500 million per annum by 2035, according to a new timber trade association launched this week. With 950 people working in the timber and forestry industry in Galway, this projection will be music to the ears of some 1,460 forestry owners in County Galway. Forest Industries Ireland (FII), a new branch of IBEC, was launched on Monday last, representing almost all major forestry companies across the country, with representatives drawn from across the industry to include the largest timber processors as well as companies involved in the establishment and management of forests. Inaugural Chairman of the Organisation, Brian Murphy, said the industry had a major role to play in Ireland’s rural economy – even more so in the next 20 years where it is expected to double in size.

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Booming forestry industry struggling to find workers

Newstalk ZB
January 17, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

The New Zealand forestry industry is struggling to find enough workers, even with pay of up to $300 a day on offer. A shortage of people willing to work as planters could put the Billion Trees Project at risk. Forest Management Limited director Dave Janett told Tim Dower the problem is the industry at the moment is doing too well. He says there is so much growth at the moment there are not enough workers to keep up with demand. “If there aren’t enough local people to do the work, we may have to look elsewhere. In the last two years the amount of trees has doubled, so its simply a supply and demand issue as well. We are experiencing really good times, but we need more workers which is proving to be a difficult task.”

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The U.S. Should Get Tough on Timber With Peru

By Richard Conniff
The New York Times
January 16, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

When the trade deal between the United States and Peru went into effect in 2009, proponents touted it as a shining example of environmental good sense. It was the first time the main text of any trade deal included detailed protections for the environment and for labor. …As part of the deal’s Forest Sector’s Annex, the United States provided $90 million in technical assistance … to create an electronic system intended to track every log from stump to export. (That system does not appear to be working so far, because of software issues, according to rumors.) Peru in turn agreed, among other things, to ensure the independent status of its forest watchdog agency, called Osinfor, which sends its agents into the field to check that loggers have actually harvested the trees reported in their export documents. (That system works all too well, repeatedly demonstrating that logging companies lie.) 

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Twentieth century redistribution in climatic drivers of global tree growth [Wonkish]

By Flurin Babst et al
Science Advances
January 16, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Global variations in plant growth have been attributed to interactions between temperature, precipitation, and radiation budgets, rather than to a single driver, as suggested by Liebig’s law of the minimum. Basic physiological processes such as photosynthesis and cell division are tempered where plant-available energy and water are low. …Understanding this interplay is thus essential to anticipate climate change impacts on the combined biogeochemical and energy cycles and to quantify their feedbacks within the climate system. …This large-scale study demonstrates that the relatively mild shift in baseline climate over the 20th century has already triggered observable changes in the climate response of temperate and boreal tree growth. We find that water availability has replaced energy as the dominant limiting factor across large portions of the boreal zone. …This trend is projected to continue.

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Forget Brexit and fear the beetle invasion

By Sam Manning (Forester), Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire
The Guardian
January 15, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

On a chilly morning last week, I was bussed to a confidential location in Kent to witness the first confirmed outbreak of Ips typographus, the European spruce bark beetle, on British soil. I joined a collective of forestry professionals and government officials to discuss a problem that has ravaged forests on the European continent for decades. In Sweden alone, this species has led to the loss of 9 million cubic metres of Norway spruce timber since the 1960s. Once infected, Ips beetles can kill a tree in a single year. The invasion of the UK by non-native pests and diseases has become profoundly worse in recent years. There has been a 400% increase in the rate of new plant pathogens entering the country since the 1960s, with 10 added to the list every month.

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