Tree Frog Daily Forestry News

Daily news for August 21 2017

Today’s Takeaway

Solar eclipse has fire brigades on high alert

Tree Frog Forestry News
August 21, 2017
Category: Today's Takeaway

Fire brigades are on high alert in Oregon, Idaho and Wyoming” due to worries that “tourists flocking to see the solar eclipse” will be in high forest fire risk areas. The good news, for what has been called the biggest movement of people for tourism reasons in [US] history, is that “wildfire smoke is not expected to ruin the view“. Also in the US, Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell—characterized by his climb from a firefighter to a District Ranger to the head of the Forest Service—”announced his retirement”.

North of the 49th, Ontario has “delayed action on its Species at Risk proposal” due to pressure from mayors and Indigenous leaders; BC’s wildfire state of emergency “has been extended to September 1”; and Martyn Brown [of Gordon Campbell fame] has a feature story on “stopping BC’s bloody sport of grizzley killing“.

While Toronto (12-storeys) and Eugene (six-storeys) celebrate plans to build tall wood structures, Massachusetts and Maryland fire marshals—commenting on their recent wood building fires—note that “it’s not that it produces an unsafe building, but it presents different challenges for fire safety during construction”.

And true to their reputation, a Penn State study of wood frog populations shows them to be an ideal species “to develop predictions about how animals will respond to [global] warming”.  

— Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Forestry

New SFI Board Members Come Together to Enhance Community, Brand Owner and Youth Engagement

Sustainable Forestry Initiative
August 21, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, United States

OTTAWA, ON and WASHINGTON, DC — The Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc. (SFI) welcomed two new officers and one new member to its Board of Directors: Mark Rodgers as Board Chair, Guy Gleysteen as Vice Chair, and Laura Downey as a new member in the social chamber.  …Their combined experience and skills will further SFI’s reputation and impact as a sustainability organization,” said Kathy Abusow, President and CEO of SFI Inc.

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Davis Lake an abandoned, abused poster child for B.C. provincial park neglect

By Larry Pynn
Vancouver Sun
August 20, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Welcome to Davis Lake Provincial Park,  abandoned and abused poster child for the underfunding of B.C. Parks. The government website for the 192-hectare, Class-A park, …tells visitors to expect nature appreciation, a “unique ecology,” a scenic waterfall, and a 15-minute walk through “a virtually pure stand of western hemlock” to lakeside camping. …But the reality couldn’t be more different. Expect gunfire and chainsaws, broken glass, empty beer cans, four-wheel-drive vehicles and dirt bikes ripping up the landscape and creating mud bogs, and vehicle parts littering the forest after crashes with trees or rocks. …The RCMP, the province, Fraser Valley Regional District, and local residents are working to make a difference.

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Province responds to Squamish-Lillooet Regional District concerns about forest plan

Steven Chua
The Squamish Chief
August 18, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The authority responsible for managing the province’s annual cut has responded to concerns from the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District about forestry practices concerning visual quality and the preservation of trails, among other things. The dialogue between the two authorities is regarding a proposed new forest stewardship plan. …In a response letter to Crompton’s feedback, Karen Marshall of BC Timber Sales assured her organization would take into account the SLRD’s concerns. Regarding concerns about industry impact on water, she said a hydrologic review would be carried out by a qualified professional within five years before any forestry activity occurs.

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Stopping B.C.’s bloody “sport” of grizzly killing

Martyn Brown
The Georgia Straight
August 20, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

“B.C. government putting an end to the grizzly bear trophy hunt,” the news release proudly proclaimed. …B.C.’s estimated 15,000 magnificent Ursus arctos horriblis will finally get some serious protection. Fantastic. But as the song goes, then he had to go and spoil it all by saying something stupid like “I love you”…to the bear butchers. “While the trophy hunt will end, hunting for meat will be allowed to continue.” Say, what? Seriously? Yup. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone following the issue. …“This is not about being opposed to hunting,” the party said. “This is about being opposed to the grizzly bear trophy hunt and only the grizzly bear trophy hunt.  “B.C. hunters will continue to have the opportunity…to harvest grizzly bear utilizing the entire bear.

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Northern mayors win concession in Species at Risk battle

Northern Ontario Business
August 18, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

Northern mayors are pleased with the Ontario government’s promise to delay posting a Species at Risk guide on the province’s Environmental Registry website. An Aug. 16 release by the Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities announced that Natural Resources and Forestry Ministry Kathryn McGarry’s promised at the recent Association of Municipalities of Ontario conference to delay posting a draft Species at Risk guide for 28 species. The registry is supposed to provide a forum for the public to comment on government proposals and decisions. But mayors and Indigenous leaders viewed this as an attempt by Queen’s Park to circumvent actual face-to-face consultation and push through with policy changes that they believe will be harmful to the forestry industry.

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Ecology Action Centre skeptical of forestry review

By Fram Dinshaw
The Chronicle Herald
August 18, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

The Ecology Action Centre says “no one has any faith” in the Department of Natural Resources to conduct an upcoming review into forestry practices. The group says any new review should have an independent expert examine the use of clear cutting and herbicides on forests already stressed by acid rain and nutrient-poor soil, as well as relations between the department and forestry industry. “It needs to be a fulsome review that takes into account all of these things. It can’t just be an industry consultant or people will smell a rat and know that the fix is in,” said EAC spokesman Raymond Plourde. Premier Stephen McNeil promised an independent review of forest harvesting practices during this year’s provincial election.

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Solar eclipse 2017: Fire brigades on high alert amid fears event could bring down forests

By Andrew Griffin
The Independent
August 18, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

Forest rangers are on high alert amid fears that the eclipse could encourage wildfires to spread across the US. Tourists are flocking to western states like Oregon, Idaho and Wyoming, ready for the sky to go dark as the moon moves in front of the sun. But they will bring unprecedented challenges with them: with blocked roads and strained resources adding to already significant worries. The region is already carpeted by dry wood that experts worry could light anyway. But the extra worries added by unattended campfires, discarded cigarettes, hot tailpipes and all the other danger that new campers bring.

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U.S. Forest Service Chief Tidwell Closes Distinguished Forest Service Career, Announces Retirement

By The US Forest Service
United States Department of Agriculture
August 18, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

US Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell

Washington, D.C., – U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell today announced his retirement after a 40-year career, characterized by his climb from a firefighter to a District Ranger, Forest Supervisor to the head of the U.S. Forest Service, leading more than 30,000 employees working in all 50 states plus Puerto Rico. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue praised Chief Tidwell, saying, “From the start, we have relied on Chief Tidwell’s experience and counsel, drawing on his years of experience both in the field and in Washington. The Forest Service will miss the benefit of his knowledge but we wish him well on his retirement after more than 40 years of service with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.”

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East or west, national parks share wildfire woes

Sam Venable
Knoxville News Sentinel
August 20, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

YOSEMITE VALLEY, Calif. — The distance between Yosemite National Park and Great Smoky Mountains National Park is more than 2,200 miles. Their respective topographies, flora and fauna are light-years apart. Yet some things about them are eerily similar. Wildfire, for instance. As the Smokies continue to heal from last November’s 17,000-acre inferno, smoke just quit wafting from 81,000 acres in and around Yosemite. The Detwiler fire near the park’s western border was fierce. …Insect damage is another joint concern. Adelgids have killed thousands of hemlocks in the Smokies. At Yosemite, the mountain pine beetle is turning vast stands of towering lodgepole pines into vertical fuel.

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Wander amid the world’s greatest, oldest trees at Bristlecone Pine Forest

By Chris Erskine
Los Angeles Times
August 19, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Why: Bristlecone pines are not only the oldest living things in the world, but the most tortured. They grow incredibly slowly, sipping at arid soil that barely fuels them. Their 5,000-year-old rings are textbooks on the history of the planet, with chapters dating to 3000 B.C. What: You can browse the oldest groves in the world at Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, 50 minutes off the 395, just south of Bishop. The excellent visitor center provides a fine and comfortable launch point, for guided or self-guided hikes amid these ancient totems. These are not the giant, majestic sequoias, but twisted and gnarled veterans. They are stunning. The trees look like living driftwood, and in some cases, as if they have been at war. 

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Wildfire smoke not expected to ruin eclipse

By Lynne Terry
Oregon Live
August 20, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

You have your dark glasses. You have your viewing spot. But what about the visibility? Wildfires are raging around Oregon, sending up plumes of smoke. But that’s not expected to dash anyone’s view of the solar eclipse on Monday morning. One area that could have patchy skies is around Madras, Redmond and Prineville, said David Bishop, meteorologist with the National Weather Service. …All of central Oregon should be clearer on Monday than today, said Greg Svelund, spokesman for Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality. Meteorologists also expect patchy skies in the Detroit area in southern Oregon but they are not expected to ruin the eclipse.

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In light of Whitewater Fire, wilderness-area firefighting policies need changes

By Rob Freres, Executive VP, Freres Timber
Statesman Journal
August 20, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Bob Freres, Freres Lumber

The fire near Mt. Jefferson began when a lightning-struck tree fell to the ground, igniting fuel on July 23. As of Aug. 14, over 6,500 acres have burned both inside and outside of the Federally designated Wilderness area. Nearly $12,000,000 has been spent on fire suppression since its inception. Freres Timber, Inc. owns 1,400 acres within a mile of the fire. Strong east winds could cause devastating damage to our timber. The U.S. Forest Service granted permission to remove “hazardous fuels” from our firebreak. …Last week, I contacted Congressman Schrader and Walden, and Senator Wyden to express our view that firefighting policies in statutory wilderness areas need to be changed—all means necessary should be allowed to fight fires in wilderness areas to minimize the size and expense of future wildfires.

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Judge halts timber sale near Wallace Falls State Park

By Noah Haglund
Everett Herald
August 18, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

GOLD BAR — A Snohomish County judge has voided a state timber sale near Wallace Falls State Park and ordered the Department of Natural Resources to perform more environmental studies. That could prevent any logging on the Singletary tract until next year, unless the agency completes its analysis within weeks so that road construction can start before the rainy season. “The question now is if the DNR is going to rush it through, or are they going to take the time to work through a more holistic plan?” said Peter Goldman, an environmental attorney working with the groups that sued the state. “We’re hoping for the latter.” The Singletary sale went to auction in May. Three environmental groups promptly sued to stop the logging of 166 acres.

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Potential tree-killer, spruce bud blight found in Sitka

By Robert Woolsey
Raven Radio KCAW
August 18, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

A potentially harmful pathogen called spruce bud blight has now been identified in Sitka. The fungus first appeared on the Kenai Peninsula in 2013, and has since been found in many locations around the state. Researchers with the Forest Service are trying to determine how widespread spruce bud blight has become, and what kind of threat — if any at all — it represents for Southeast forests. Spruce bud blight is a known killer of trees. But it hasn’t killed any forests in North America yet. The Forest Service found the fungus in 2013 on the Kenai Peninsula. Three years later molecular geneticists sequenced the gene and compared it to known forest pathogens. The results were a wake-up call.

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Gov. Brown traveled to Elliott State Forest to celebrate $100 million bonding plan

By Andrew Theen
The Oregonian
August 18, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Gov. Kate Brown traveled Friday to Douglas County to mark a symbolic end to the contentious debate over the Elliott State Forest, even as a timber company that had hoped to buy the forest vows to fight the state in court. Brown, joined by Treasurer Tobias Read, a fellow Democrat, made the trip to celebrate the state’s decision to keep the forest in public lands. It did so by using $100 million in state debt to buy a portion of the forest that straddles parts of Douglas and Coos counties. “Oregonians overwhelmingly made it clear that the Elliott’s lands should remain in public hands,” Brown said in a statement. “Now more than ever, it’s imperative that we not scale back any of Oregon’s public lands or national monuments.”

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Residents concerned about state’s plan for Mohican Forest

By Tim Busbey
Ashland Source
August 20, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

LOUDONVILLE – A plan to revise the management plan for Mohican Memorial State Forest has raised concerns among some area residents. The Ohio Division of Forestry announced last week they would have a public meeting Monday to unveil the draft of the amended five-year plan for Mohican. The meeting will take place from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Mohican Lodge and Conference Center, 1098 Ashland County Road 3006 in Perrysville. Eric Miller of North Central Ohio Land Conservancy is concerned about some of the wording used in the draft and the short notice the state gave about Monday’s public meeting.

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Korea Forest Service to Create Thousands of Jobs in Forestry Sector

By J A Kang
The Korea Bizwire
August 21, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: International

SEOUL — The Korea Forest Service (KFS) is planning to create 60,000 new jobs in the forestry sector by the year 2022, with the expectation that new occupations relevant to forestry will appear in stages. KFS head Kim Jae hyun said that the 60,000 jobs will consist of 5,000 in the public sector, 10,000 in social services, 4,000 in local business clusters, 32,000 by direct employment, and 9,000 in social enterprises and forestry-specialized businesses. The current number of jobs in the forestry sector is 15,351, with a goal of reaching 19,228 by the end of the year.  

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Forest Fires

Wildfire efforts could lose up to 40% of crews as students return to school

By Michelle Ghoussoub
CBC News
August 20, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

The B.C. Wildfire Service could lose between 30 and 40 per cent of its fire crews in September as students return to school and seasonal contracts come to an end. The loss of personnel also extends to dispatchers and radio operators, many of whom work on seasonal contracts. Kevin Skrepnek, chief information officer for the B.C. Wildfire Service, said that out-of-province and international crews are being brought in to offset the potential deficit. Assistance is also being sought from the Armed Forces, local fire departments and the forest industry. “We face this every year,” said Skrepnek. “But this year given the gravity, it’s a little bit more exacerbated.”

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B.C. wildfire: Residents return to Loon Lake

Canadian Press in Global News
August 20, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

WILLIAMS LAKE, B.C. – Hundreds of people are being allowed to return to Loon Lake, B.C., more than a month after flames forced them from their homes and destroyed dozens of buildings in the community. The Thompson-Nicola Regional District has lifted an evacuation order for 309 properties in the area, but an alert remains in place, warning residents that they may need to leave again on a moment’s notice. The evacuation order was issued in mid-July when a fire threatened the community, located about 130 kilometres northwest of Kamloops in B.C.’s Interior. Megan Gregory with the regional district says about 40 structures were destroyed by the flames, including vacation properties and permanent homes.

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BC wildfire emergency extended to Sept. 1

By Tom Fletcher
Westerly News
August 18, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

A provincial state of emergency has been extended to Sept. 1 as provincial forest officials cope with the largest area affected by fire since B.C. records were kept starting in 1950. The declaration, imposed July 19 and now extended a third time, applies to the entire province. It gives federal and provincial officials extra authority to conduct evacuations and take whatever actions necessary to protect people and property. As of Friday morning there are 138 wildfires in B.C., with 27 evacuation orders affecting approximately 4,400 people and 40 evacuation orders affecting more than 20,000 more.

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Milli Fire now 9,300 acres, 20 percent contained

By Jessie Foster
KTVZ News
August 20, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

SISTERS, Ore. – The Milli Fire burning west of Sisters grew to more than 9,300 acres as of late Sunday, but also was brought to 20 percent containment through the work of some 500 firefighters as thick smoke swirling into the Sisters area brought “hazardous” pollution levels, later dropping to “unhealthy,” officials said. The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office and Deschutes National Forest officials want people to know that it is highly recommended people follow evacuation notices for their safety and the safety of firefighters. Officials also said most people are not trained or equipped for firefighting and are not in direct communication with management which could lead to people being entrapped. 

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Company & Business News

U.S. Houses Are Using More Russian Lumber, Thanks to Canada Spat

By Jen Skerritt
Bloomberg News
August 20, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, United States

Russia has emerged as one of the winners from the trade dispute between Canada and the U.S over lumber. The U.S. is importing more softwood lumber from overseas after it slapped tariffs on Canadian supplies, making them more expensive. Russian shipments are 42 percent higher so far in 2017, according to U.S. government data. To be sure, Russia accounts for a relatively small proportion of the total, while European countries such as Germany and Sweden are among the biggest suppliers to the U.S. But the shift in volumes illustrate how a political spat has quickly altered the flow of international trade. “It seems to be that there’s something illogical that we’re not buying the lumber from our neighbors to the north, that we’re buying it from the Russians,” Jerry Howard, chief executive officer of the National Association of Home Builders, said in a telephone interview from Washington.

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Biomass plant owners may be garnished for failing to pay plant’s builders

By Randy Wyrick
Vail Daily News
August 18, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: United States, US West

DENVER — The company that built the Gypsum biomass plant wants to garnish plant owner Eagle Valley Clean Energy for failing to pay for the work. A federal court jury ruled in June that Wellons Inc., an Oregon company, was owed $10.84 million by Dean Rostrom and Kendric Wait’s Eagle Valley Clean Energy for building the biomass plant in Gypsum. Neither Rostrom nor Wait, nor any of the companies with which they’re involved, have paid Wellons, according to a motion filed Tuesday in Denver Federal District Court. With interests and costs, Eagle Valley Clean Energy’s tab has now run up to $11,491,002.89, according to those documents.

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Q&A with Northern Forest Center President Rob Riley

By Michael McCord
New Hampshire Business Review
August 18, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: US East, United States

Rob Riley, the president of the Concord-based Northern Forest Center, recently attended the Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado, where he was part of a panel that talked about the misunderstood and untapped potential of rural communities. Founded in 1997, the nonprofit center is focused on economic development in the 30 million-acre, northern forest areas of New York, Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire. Riley, a Canterbury resident who has worked as a logger and farmer, said the center’s mission is to rally people around the vision of a sustainable future. The goals are to merge thriving communities, healthy forests and innovative and resilient local economies which all too often are semi-neglected by federal and state lawmakers and policy makers.

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NZ structural log prices hit new record

By Tina Morrison
Scoop.co.nz
August 21, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: International

New Zealand structural log prices hit a new record as local mills compete with the export market to secure supply to meet the demand from the busy domestic construction market. The price for structural S1 logs lifted to $127 a tonne this month, from $124 a tonne last month, and $115 a year earlier, according to AgriHQ’s monthly survey of exporters, forest owners and saw millers. New Zealand’s economy is being buoyed by increased construction activity as record levels of tourism and migration stoke demand. However local wood mills are having to compete for log supply with the export market, with the price for S1 logs creeping above the price of export A-grade logs in AgriHQ’s latest data for the first time since late last year.

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Government seeking special plan consultants for €1 billion pulp mill build

ERR News
August 20, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: International

The Ministry of Finance has announced a public procurement for consultants to advise the drawing up of a special plan for the €1 billion pulp mill of Est-For Invest OÜ, to be tasked with assessing the impact of implementing the plan and conducting research into known impacts. “We have drawn up a bill to carry out the consultant tender in order to find competent enough consultants to draw up the plan,” Tiit Oidjärv, head of the Spatial Planning Department at the Ministry of Finance, said in a press release. “Based on these bills… the parties can discuss essential questions, which should be focused on during the preparation of the planning decision,” the ministry official continued.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

How will global warming affect wood frogs?

Summit County Citizens Voice
August 21, 2017
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

A far-ranging study of wood frogs have found that the bog-breeding amphibians could be vulnerable to global warming at the southern edge of their range, and that the population could shift northward, similar to many other species. But the research, covering more than 740 wood frog populations in 27 different areas, also showed some nuance in the response to climate change. That makes it hard to determine which species and which populations are in danger of declining or disappearing, according to researcher David Miller, assistant professor of wildlife population ecology at Penn State. …Miller said wood frogs are an ideal species to study to develop predictions about how animals will respond to warming. They are cold-weather frogs with a range that extends farther north than other amphibians. As such, they have evolved with some amazing adaptations, not the least of which is the ability to survive freezing solid in winters.

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Biomass study could help forest, economy

By the Editorial Board
White Mountain Independent
August 18, 2017
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

The White Mountains has endured four major wildfires in the last fifteen years, causing the evacuation or pre-evacuation of thousands of residents and burning well over one million acres of precious forest. The large-scale thinning project in which the Apache-Sitgreaves participates, the Four Forest Restoration Initiative, has failed to produce meaningful results, and the private thinning bridge contracts have helped keep our once-thriving forest industry alive. As the forest industry has evolved, two realities exist — much of the supply must come from harvesting small diameter trees, and that ample supply must be produced in a consistent manner. The former makes biomass plants an integral part of the local industry equation.

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Maine’s biomass bailout bill isn’t helping loggers as much as it was supposed to

By Darren Fishell
Bangor Daily News
August 18, 2017
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

The biomass company in line for a state subsidy intended to help maintain a market for loggers purchased only half the wood it proposed buying under the subsidy arrangement. Taxpayers are shielded somewhat from the deficiency, as the company stands to collect fewer state dollars for falling short under the agreement. In newly required reports, Stored Solar LLC disclosed that in the first half of the year, it was only 31 percent of the way toward its year-end wood purchasing goal. It had purchased about 155,300 tons, while promising to purchase at least 500,000 tons by year’s end. The company could still make up ground in the second half of the year.The two-year subsidy arrangement depends on the company’s performance, potentially delivering millions in taxpayer subsidies to Stored Solar during the contract term.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

3 telltale signs you’re shifting the supply chain

By Nicole Rycroft
GreenBiz
August 21, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

…After launching three years ago, CanopyStyle is described by brands such as H&M as the fastest moving environmental initiative in the fashion sector. Viscose production consumes 140 million trees each year and is slated to double within the decade. Given the inflection point of viscose production, motivation has been high to eliminate fiber from ancient and endangered forests from this supply chain before it becomes a more entrenched problem. Regardless of the industry or supply chain that your work involves, Canopy’s experience with the fashion industry illustrates these three key indicators to assess whether your sustainability initiative is making real headway.

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George Brown planning Ontario’s tallest wood building on waterfront

CityNews
August 19, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada East, Canada

George Brown College is planning the province’s first tall wood building as part of its waterfront campus expansion. The structure, called The Arbour, will be 12-storeys tall and stand across from the Daphne Cockwell Centre for Health Sciences at Queens Quay East and Lower Sherbourne Street. “This distinctive new location will help us contribute to the mitigation of climate change and environmental sustainability while supporting our continued intention to create campus environments that are innovative, creative and stimulating for student learning,” said the school’s president Anne Sado. According to UrbanToronto, George Brown is applying for an exemption to the Ontario Building Code’s six-storey limit for timber buildings.

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Eugene developer proposes six-story mixed-use building downtown

By Christian Hill
The Register Guard
August 19, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

A local developer is proposing the first cross-­laminated timber building in Eugene — a six-story structure in the city center. The building would feature ground-floor retail, three stories of market-rate housing, primarily studio apartments, and two floors of office space. The building, called The Warehouse, would be at 11th Avenue and Oak Street, on the site of the one-story building that formerly housed Thompson’s Electronics. The site is immediately north of First Christian Church. Cross-laminated timber is a construction product made of numerous layers of wood meant to replicate the strength of concrete and steel. “I’m trying to create a vibrant community there in the building that would add to the downtown community, as well,” said Craig Weicker, who is developing the project through his limited liability company, Geary Street Ventures.

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Fire Chief: Closed Valves, Limited Access, and Size and Type of Construction Hindered Response to 5-Alarm College Park Fire

By Jodie Fleischer, Rick Yarborough and Steve Jones
NBC Washington
August 18, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

A five-alarm fire at a College Park, Maryland, apartment building burned much longer than it should have, putting firefighters and the public at unnecessary risk, according to College Park Fire Chief Bill Corrigan. …But trade-offs in the code have allowed residential wooden buildings to climb taller and taller. In most places they can be five stories of wood built on top of a cement and steel base. “It’s the least expensive way to get the most number of people living in the smallest amount of acreage,” said Corrigan, who added that fires like the one at Fuse 47 can actually be six or seven stories off the ground. He said lightweight, wooden construction is more flammable than the traditional masonry style and can burn to collapse faster.

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Not Carolina A&T Researchers Develop Composite Material From Coal Ash

Rebecca Marinez
North Carolina Public Radio
August 18, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

Researchers at North Carolina A&T University have developed a composite building material using plastic and coal ash from ponds and landfills. Smooth “fly ash” has long been used in concrete. But until recently, the wet, uneven stuff in coal ash ponds and landfills hasn’t been useful – and it’s leached and spilled harmful substances into waterways. Chemist Wade Brown says A&T’s new coal ash polymer could be used to replace wood in construction, particularly in railroad ties and on utility poles. “The goal is environmental: getting rid of a waste – coal ash – and not cutting down trees so we replace wood,” said Brown, adding the composite looks and feels like real wood. “It has grain like real wood. It’s colored to be the same as wood.”

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Construction site fires heighten scrutiny of wood

By Gerry Tuoti
Taunton Daily Gazette
August 18, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

THE ISSUE: As new multi-story wood-frame apartment complexes have become more common, some have raised safety concerns following recent fires. THE IMPACT: Fires this summer have destroyed apartment complexes under construction in Waltham and damaged another in Dorchester. …“I think, generally speaking, with wood-frame construction, it’s not that it produces an unsafe building, but it presents different challenges for fire safety during construction,” said Massachusetts State Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey. Large apartment complexes spanning four to six stories have become increasingly common, particularly in urban areas across the country. In 2006, four- to six-story buildings made up 18 percent of new multifamily construction, according to FPInnovations, a nonprofit organization that researches issues related to the Canadian lumber industry. 

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Howard Parry-Husbands: Quick, cheap builds failing communities

The Fifth Estate
August 21, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Howard Parry-Husbands

…New building materials may be part of the solution, offering developers sustainable products that are also beautiful and competitively priced. “The more progressive developers are definitely starting to embrace using more wood and technologically driven sustainable solutions such as engineered timber,” Parry-Husbands notes. …Building out of wood and technologically advanced solutions that are more sustainable delivers a greater sense of well-being and a happier community, he says. Importantly, CLT also is starting to gain traction as a competitively priced option. According to one leading user of CLT, Sydney’s Strongbuild, the product competes with precast concrete on cost and construction time. This might just be the tipping point in terms of consumer demand.

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2017 Intergrain Timber Vision Awards shortlist announced

By Nicholas Rider
Architecthure and Design
August 18, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

A total of 31 projects have been shortlisted for the 2017 Intergrain Timber Vision Awards, an annual event which recognises visionary use of timber in the built environment. Projects are awarded across five building categories, including Commercial Exterior, Commercial Interior, Residential Exterior, Residential Interior and Landscape. The shortlist has been selected from a longlist of 158 entries.   Among the shortlisted projects is East Sydney Early Learning Centre (ESELC) by Andrew Burges Architects, a childcare centre in the inner-city suburb of Darlinghurst that was reimagined as a ‘mini-city’.

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