Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily news for September 12 2019

Today’s Takeaway

WoodTALKS Speaks to the Benefits of Wood and Mass Timber

Tree Frog Forestry News
September 12, 2019
Category: Today's Takeaway

This week in Whistler BC, 800 buyers, sellers and specifiers of value-added wood products gathered for the Global Buyers Mission, and on day-one, WoodTALKS focused on the benefits of wood and mass timber. Meanwhile, the Hoo-Hoo International kicked off their 127th annual convention.

In today’s Canadian headlines:

  • Teal-Jones halts logging, deepening crisis in strike-hit forestry sector
  • BC Mayors wants a seat at table in talks between province and First Nations
  • Fort Frances moves to seize paper mill equipment for unpaid taxes
  • Logging not a factor causing water boil advisories in Peachland, BC
  • Extreme Weather May Be Shaping Canadians’ Views on Climate Crisis

And in the USA:

  • Washington wildfire season less intense, lands chief says
  • US megafires not increasing: large, high-severity fires are natural

Finally, for more highlights of BC Wood’s GBM from Whistler, follow @TreeFrogNews on Twitter.

Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Special Feature

WoodTalks Speaks to the Benefits of Wood and Mass Timber

By Kelly McCloskey
The Tree Frog Forestry News
September 12, 2019
Category: Special Feature
Region: Canada, Canada West

WHISTLER, BC — This week, 800 buyers, sellers and specifiers of value-added wood products have gathered in Whistler for the Global Buyers Mission (GBM), Canada’s largest show of its kind. And on day one, WoodTALKS—a wood design and construction education event held in conjunction with the GBM—was front and centre. Ken Hori, BC Wood’s Program Manager opened the event, welcoming a record 130 architects and other building sector professions. 

First to the podium was Robert Cesnik of HDR Architecture Associates, speaking on the Evolution of Mass Timber Design in BC’s Okanagan. …Emily Dawson of Kaiser + Path kicked off her presentation on Quantifying the Appeal of Mass Timber with a warning on the “tyranny of the quantifiable”. Her message put simply: numbers matter but so does incorporating the full range of product reasons and benefits. …Renowned architect Peter Busby spoke of his love of wood and its positive contribution to society’s social and environmental needs. …Bryn Davidson, of Lanefab Design/Build spoke of his company’s journey from laneway homes to… net positive developments. …Wrapping up day-one was Alfred Waugh of Formline Architecture who presented on Indigenuity in Architecture.

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WoodTALKS at the 2019 Global Buyers Mission

By Sandy McKellar
Tree Frog Forestry News
September 12, 2019
Category: Special Feature
Region: Canada, Canada West

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Business & Politics

International Order of Hoo-Hoo kicks off their 127th Convention

By Sandy McKellar
Tree Frog Forestry News
September 11, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

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Boom and gloom in British Columbia’s north

By Nelson Bennett
Business in Vancouver
September 12, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

…Overall, indicators show northern B.C.’s economy growing in 2018. But in small, forestry-dependent communities like Mackenzie and Fort St. James, it’s a very different story. Both have been hit hard recently with sawmill closures and curtailments. Joel McKay, CEO of the Northern Development Initiative Trust, which publishes the State of the North report says, “If you pop up north to Mackenzie, Fort St. James, Vanderhoof, Fraser Lake and then down Highway 97 into the Cariboo, that’s where you start to see the impacts of the downturn in forestry. And that is a different story. …But the recent downturn in forestry has been particularly severe. In Mackenzie, some 600 sawmill workers, loggers and truck drivers are suddenly out of work, thanks to the permanent closure of a Canfor Corp. sawmill and extended curtailment at a Conifex Timber Inc. mill. In Fort St. James, 170 sawmill workers were laid off when Conifex closed its sawmill there.

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Job losses mount as mill closures hit B.C. Interior

By Gordon Hamilton
Business in Vancouver
September 12, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Communities throughout the British Columbia Interior are facing an economic crisis as the combined effects of beetle epidemics, forest fires and external market forces take their toll on what was once North America’s most robust forest industry. “We are in a crisis – we know things are broken,” said Joan Atkinson, mayor of the northern B.C. town of Mackenzie, where 600 sawmill workers, loggers, truck drivers and others have been sent home as a result of sawmill closures. Canfor has closed its mill indefinitely and Conifex has extended a temporary curtailment at its mill. At the end of July, the first downstream impact hit when Parallel 55, a value-added finger joint mill, shut down as it could no longer source trim end materials from the town’s sawmills. …The story unfolding in Mackenzie is not unique. …Most of the closures are in communities in the north and in the central Interior, regions where 32,500 people work in forestry.

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UBCM pushes for local government to have seat at table in talks between province and First Nations

Sunshine Coast Reporter
September 11, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Lori Pratt

The union representing B.C.’s local governments has made consultation a key demand of the province at its upcoming convention after four local governments – including the Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) – raised concerns over being sidelined in talks between First Nations and the province. “Locally, our goal is to increase our collaboration and proactively work with our First Nations partners and it feels as though the province is purposefully excluding local governments,” SCRD chair Lori Pratt told Coast Reporter. …UBCM vice president Brian Frenkel took the lead on the resolution and told Coast Reporter that rather than seeking to overhaul how the B.C. government treats local governments on matters involving First Nations and the province, “we just want to make sure there is some consistency out there.” …One example he cited was the UBCM’s seat at FLNRORD’s forestry advisory committee, where forest policy is presented and potential changes addressed. 

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Teal-Jones halts logging operations, deepening crisis in strike-hit forestry sector

By Lindsay Kines
Victoria Times Colonist
September 11, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

A move by Teal-Jones Group to shut down all its logging operations on Vancouver Island and in the Fraser Valley highlights a deepening crisis in the coastal forest sector, the B.C. Truck Loggers Association said Tuesday. Dave Elstone, executive director, said the latest news comes amid a lengthy strike at Western Forest Products and plans by Interfor Corp. to permanently close a sawmill in Maple Ridge. “This is not a Teal-Jones story,” said Elstone… “We’re actually in a crisis here. I don’t know if everyone’s woken up to the fact yet. It’s one thing when one company maybe takes some down time, but you’ve got almost all the major players taking a break here and that has a huge impact,” he said. “Contractors are bearing the brunt of this and they don’t earn enough return when things are going good to help sustain them through tough times like this.”

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Fort Frances moves to seize paper mill equipment for unpaid taxes

By Gary Rinne
Northern Ontario Business
September 11, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

The Town of Fort Frances is trying to seize some heavy equipment belonging to the new owners of the former Resolute Forest Products sawmill in an effort to recover unpaid taxes. Town officials went to the mill on Tuesday, Sept. 10 to post notices of seizure. Mayor June Caul says Riversedge Developments currently owes the municipality about $437,000 in taxes on the various mill properties around town. “We haven’t seized the mill. We planned on seizing some of the rolling stock mainly, [which includes] Cats, trucks, forklift tractors and so on. There’s quite a few pieces of equipment out in the yard,” Caul told Tbnewswatch on Wednesday. The mayor said Riversedge moved two machines out of the yard last week, and the remaining equipment is lined up, apparently in preparation to be moved. Caul said the town acted on the advice of lawyers.

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Vermont loggers have new insurance option

Morning Ag Clips
September 11, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

MIDDLETOWN SPRINGS, Vt. — Vermont LEAP is pleased to announce the launch of the Vermont Logger Safety and Workers’ Compensation Insurance Program. Loggers that meet and follow the program standards can receive up to a 15%* discount on their workers’ compensation insurance premiums through the new occupation class codes of “safety certified mechanized logger” and “safety certified non-mechanized logger.” The LEAP program, with recently updated training and continuing education standards, endorsed by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), has been recognized as one of the two qualifying certifications for this program.

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Committed to Gurdon: Georgia-Pacific Investing up to $70 million at Arkansas Plywood and Lumber Complex

By Georgia Pacific
Cision Newswire
September 11, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

GURDON, Arkansas — Georgia-Pacific will invest up to $70 million to upgrade its plywood and lumber operations here adding advanced, innovative technology and systems, and helping sustain the more than 700 jobs at the facilities. “We are making state-of-the-art improvements that will transform our Gurdon facilities, greatly improving the utilization of raw materials and overall operating efficiencies,” said Mike White. …The list of capital improvements being undertaken is long but highlighted by the installation of an advanced merchandiser that determines best end-product use; new panel assembly stations with state-of-the-art scanning systems; an upgraded power plant; and software and security enhancements.   Work on the projects began earlier this summer and will be completed in 2020. 

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Finance & Economics

Why Home Depot’s Second Quarter Was Better Than It Looked

By Matthew Cochrane
The Motley Fool
September 11, 2019
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, United States

Despite a rough second-quarter earnings report last month, Home Depot’s stock price has risen about 7.5% since Aug. 21. …In the company’s quarterly conference call, Home Depot’s management credited two factors for the tepid growth: wet weather and lumber prices. What went right? Home Depot continues to invest heavily in removing friction from its omnichannel shopping experience, where the lines between online and in-store shopping are increasingly blurred.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

It’s Time We Treat Some Forests Like Crops

By Marc Peruzzi
The Outside Online
September 11, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States

Here’s something you probably didn’t know: the construction business accounts for an estimated 23 percent of the world’s carbon-dioxide emissions—5.7 billion tons, according to the most recent estimates. Much of this comes from the use of concrete and steel, the two biggest contributors to emissions in the building sector. …In the U.S., an architectural publication predicted that some 1.9 billion square feet of new structures will be built in the next three decades. If only there was a sturdy and renewable building material—one that could actually help curb climate change while giving us more calming and aesthetically pleasing spaces in which to live, work, and play.  Such a miracle substance exists, of course. It’s wood. …Mark Wishnie, the Nature Conservancy’s director of global forestry and wood products. “Mass timber isn’t a silver bullet for growing more forest, but we’re hoping that it’s part of the silver buckshot.”

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Forestry

From wood to weed: more trouble at a B.C. mill

By Rob Keating
CBC News
September 11, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Residents of a remote B.C. valley want to know how licences to grow marijuana were issued at a troubled mill site. The mothballed Meadow Creek Cedar sawmill, located 100 kilometres north of Nelson, was raided by police at the end of August after a serious industrial accident. The mill is owned by Daljit (Dale) Singh Kooner from Surrey, a controversial businessman who bought it off a Japanese company in 2005. The former mill sat idle for years following several investigations including a 2014 fire. Kooner was accused of not paying workers for overtime and statutory holidays in 2011, and ordered to pay out $50,000 dollars in back wages. The Forest Practices Board initiated several investigations, and in 2012, fined Meadow Creek Cedar $42,000 dollars for not adequately replanting replanting trees. Then, last month, on Aug. 26, RCMP were called to the mill.

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Logging not a factor causing water boil advisories in Peachland, report finds

By Ashley Wadhwani
Kelowna Capital News
September 11, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Nature and not logging by forestry companies appears to be the culprit behind the high number of boil water advisories in Peachland in recent years, according to an investigation by the province. The probe by the Forest Practices Board, which was launched after a member of the Peachland Watershed Protection Alliance complained about forestry activities, found that “forest licensees did a good job of minimizing the impacts of logging on water and that natural processes played a much larger role,” according to a news release issued last week. …“There was high snow accumulation and significant rainfall events during the spring snowmelt of 2017 and 2018 that led to increases in the amount of sediment in the water,” said board chair Kevin Kriese. “The investigation also confirmed that a landslide that led to a boil water advisory was the result of natural stream dynamics and saturated soils and was not caused by forestry activity.”

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Outbreak of hemlock looper moth hits North Shore, Metro watersheds

By Tiffany Crawford
Vancouver Sun
September 11, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The North Shore has been hit with an outbreak of western hemlock looper moths, a species known to decimate trees. While there is no health risk to humans, swarms have been gathering around lights at night, and outbreak levels have been detected at Metro Vancouver’s three watersheds — Capilano, Seymour and Coquitlam. “In places where there are those big lights at night, it looks like snow — and they are all hemlock looper moths,” said Judith Wheeler, a spokeswoman for Watershed and Environment Management Water Services at Metro Vancouver, which is monitoring the swarms at the watersheds. “The outbreak, anecdotally, has been noted on the North Shore. We are seeing an uptick in the numbers, both in our parks and watershed areas.” Wheeler said the reason for the outbreak is likely that there have been a few hotter than normal summers in a row, along with drought conditions, which stresses trees. “Stressed out trees are more susceptible to predators,” she said.

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Washington wildfire season less intense, lands chief says

By Matthew Weaver
Capital Press
September 12, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Hilary Franz

Washington was lucky to have a less intense fire season this summer due to cooler, wetter conditions, the state’s commissioner of public lands said. “While we have seen lots of fires start this year, with over a thousand fires, we have done a very good job of preventing any of these fires from becoming large and severe,” Commissioner Hilary Franz said. She spoke during a Sept. 9 telephone town hall meeting in Spokane. Nearly 129,000 acres burned in Eastern Washington and 679 acres burned in Western Washington this year. The department doesn’t distinguish between land types, so the total number of acres that were agricultural or grasslands isn’t known, spokeswoman Bobbi Cussins said. Two of the most significant fires were in Grant County, much on sagebrush and cheatgrass, Franz said. One burned more than 25,000 acres and the other burned more than 40,000 acres.

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New research confirms ‘megafires’ not increasing: Large, high-severity fires are natural in western U.S. forests

By Geos Institute, Wild Nature Institute
Phys.org
September 11, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

A peer-reviewed study by leading experts of forest and fire ecology recently published in the science journal Diversity disputes the widely held belief that “megafires” in U.S national forests are increasing, preventing forests from re-growing, and that logging is necessary to prevent these wildfires. While many policy and management decisions in U.S. national forests are based on these assumptions, the new research shows that large patches of trees killed by wildfires—known as high-severity burn patches—have not been increasing. These findings confirmed that taxpayer-funded logging projects on public lands are not only unnecessary, they are counter-productive, as related research found that such logging often increases fire severity and slows natural regrowth.

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The Great Walk of Peace

By Donna Carman
Voice of the South
September 12, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

AUSTRALIA — Organizers are finalising the route and securing camping areas for the imminent Great Walk of Peace from Albany to Perth, scheduled to set off on September 29. The event celebrates the 30th anniversary of The Great Walk from Denmark to Perth, to deliver a message to the government of the day about saving old-growth native forests. A total of more than 1000 people took part in that event, which culminated in a 500-strong parade up St Georges terrace to Parliament house, where the charter was presented to premier Peter Dowding. …“I wanted to do something for the trees, to protect them,” Sam said. “I decided it was time to do The Great Walk again.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

From Fires to Floods, Extreme Weather May Be Shaping Canadians’ Views on Climate Crisis

By Erick Lachapelle and James Boothroyd
The Tyee
September 12, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

With an election looming and climate change a burning issue, will Canadians’ experience of extreme weather shape the outcome? Andrew Scheer’s Conservatives seem to be betting it won’t. Others are counting on biblical floods and the clouds of smoke from wildfires to push voters into the arms of parties promising radical action. New research by EcoAnalytics, a non-profit initiative of university researchers and Canadian environmental charities, suggests the latter might be nearer the mark; but it’s complicated — and that many are allowing preconceptions to cloud their judgment. Our surveys show that Canadian public opinion is on the move. From 2011 to 2018, the percentage of Canadians who believe there is solid evidence of climate change rose from 80 to 90 per cent, and the belief that human activity causes climate change rose from 40 to 65 per cent. Scholars consider the latter a “gateway” belief, because those who hold it tend to support actions and policies to reduce carbon pollution.

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Find out about Revelstoke climate change future scenarios with online tool

Revelstoke Mountaineer
September 11, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

There’s a new online source for people seeking easy-to-understand information on climate change specific to communities throughout the Columbia Basin and Boundary regions. The Columbia Basin Climate Source website—basinclimatesource.ca— was initiated by Columbia Basin Trust and developed by Selkirk College’s Applied Research and Innovation Centre. “We’ve spoken extensively with residents and communities and heard they want to learn how to reduce their contributions to greenhouse gas emissions and learn how to adapt to climate change,” said Tim Hicks, Trust Senior Manager, Delivery of Benefits. “We also heard people want more detailed information about how climate change may affect their communities in the coming decades. This website shares that information with great depth and detail.” Through data, videos, maps and more, the website provides a one-stop site that helps users learn about how the climate is changing across the region (with detailed projections for over 40 climate variables)

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California can help save the Amazon rainforest. Do we have the guts to try?

By William Boyd
The Los Angeles Times
September 12, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, International

Fires burning in Brazil and the broader Amazon basin are shining a spotlight on the role of forests and land use in the climate change challenge. Next week, the California Air Resources Board will hold a hearing that could have a direct impact on such fires. On Sept. 19, the board will vote on whether to endorse its proposed Tropical Forest Standard. California has been working on this standard for 11 years through a unique partnership with 37 other states and provinces from 10 countries around the world, including all of the states in the Brazilian Amazon. Full disclosure: I have served as the project lead for this effort since its inception. At its core, the Tropical Forest Standard establishes a set of performance benchmarks for what a high-quality state or provincial approach to reducing deforestation should aim for. 

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Forest protection likely to be new priority for EU Parliament

By Florence Schulz
EURACTIV
September 11, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Large areas of forest are being cleared worldwide for the agricultural industry. Although the EU requires its contracting partners to protect the environment, it lacks the means for enforcement. Environmentalists and the European Parliament see an urgent need for action.  The protection of forests should become one of the priorities of the European Parliament in the coming months. Contacted by EURACTIV, conservative MEP Peter Liese (EPP) confirmed that the Environment Committee (ENVI) is planning a hearing on the issue. The European Commission will also launch a legislative proposal. “Our forests, not only in other parts of the world but also in Europe, are an essential contributor to climate protection. And on top of that, they are an economic factor,” Liese said. The German MEP hopes that the plenary will already debate the deforestation issue in September’s session.

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Brazil: can technology help save the Amazon?

By Bryan Harris, Andres Schipani and Anna Gross
Financial Times
September 11, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

…Since the election last year of the far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, who is a keen advocate of opening up the Amazon to commercial interests, [some] groups have been chopping down and setting fire to trees with gusto.  Although far from a record, the trends this year have been alarming: figures released this week showed that the rate of deforestation last month was 222 per cent higher than the same month last year. …But the global furore over Mr Bolsonaro’s approach to the Amazon has also given oxygen to a very different view of how to manage the rainforest. It has focused attention on the disparate community of scientists, businesspeople and activists who believe that technological advances could be the key to promoting sustainable development and tackling deforestation. For them, the key to sidelining the Amazon’s more nefarious actors is to show that the conservation of land can be both economically profitable and environmentally valuable.

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