Tree Frog Forestry News

Monthly Archives: February 2016

Froggy Foibles

16 Fascinating Mushrooms from the Undiscovered Forest World

Where Cool Things Happen
February 27, 2016
Category: Froggy Foibles

[This story is dedicated to our youngest Frog Fan – Spencer! Enjoy!!] Just when you thought you have seen it all in Australia, here comes the second sequence of the secret beauty hidden in the magic woodlands. We do not often opt out to explore the miniature world of tiny living thigs that grow in dark forest corners under trees.
But here comes the surprise of rich textures and diversity of forms you may not have expected. These are indeed magical mushrooms, giving a fairy-like dusty mist look to the trees, taking cover under the branches and the leaves, shaping their own unique world. Look at them for a while, and you may float away in the enchanting world of goblins, fairies and elves.

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Business & Politics

B.C. forestry company to suspend operations for one day after workplace death

Canadian Press in The Vancouver Sun
February 27, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

PORT MCNEILL, B.C. — A man is dead following what a forestry company is calling a “tragic accident” at one of its operations on northern Vancouver Island. TimberWest Forest Corp. spokeswoman Monica Bailey said an equipment operator was killed Friday afternoon at the company’s Bonanza Lake site near Port McNeill. Bailey would not provide the cause of death, saying only the man was moving his equipment at the time. “Forest communities tend to be very small and people who work in forestry tend to know one another quite well,” she said. “It’s a heartbreaking moment for all community members on the Island and for forestry in general.” The man was employed by one of TimberWest’s contractors.

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Fire at Tolko Sawmill in Merritt

CFJC Today
February 28, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

MERRITT, B.C. — Merritt Fire Rescue responded to a fire at the Tolko sawmill around 1:30 Saturday afternoon. Fire Chief Dave Tompkinson says a hydraulic oil tank was on fire. “Prior to firefighters arriving, the sprinkler system had activated. The sawmill employees had actioned the fire with extinguishers and a hose line,” says Tompkinson. The fire was inside the the plant, and spread to some machinery above. Tomkinson says, as the fire department was leaving, the sawmill was already getting back up and running. The cause of the fire is unknown. [END]

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TimberWest forestry contractor dies at Bonanza Lake site near Port McNeill, B.C.

Company says it will suspend operations across province on Monday for one day
CBC News
February 28, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

A man has died at a tree-harvesting operation on northern Vancouver Island. TimberWest has released a statement saying the fatal incident took place Friday afternoon at the company’s Bonanza Lake site near Port McNeill. The man is identified only as an employee of one of TimberWest’s contractors. In the statement, TimberWest CEO Jeff Zweig calls the event a tragic accident. “We express our deepest sympathies to the family, friends and colleagues touched by this,” Zweig said. “Our industry is tightly knit and the pain from this loss is felt throughout.” Spokeswoman Monica Bailey says the company will suspend operations across the province Monday out of respect for those involved in the incident.

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Resolute calls Greenpeace

TBNewswatch
February 28, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

THUNDER BAY — Resolute Forest Products’ latest video steps up the company’s attack on its environmental nemesis, calling Greenpeace and its members “eco-imperialists.” The nearly four-minute video cites news stories condemning Greenpeace across the world, alleging the group is now bringing its effort to the boreal forest. It shows letters condemning Greenpeace from the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association, the Northwestern Ontario Associated Chambers of Commerce and Seine River First Nation, among union and municipal correspondence. A discussion at Lakehead University between Resolute CEO Richard Garneau and NOMA President/Kenora Mayor Dave Canfield is featured as the video closes.

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Columbia Forest Products Builds Executive Team

Panel World
February 28, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

Columbia Forest Products, a leader in decorative hardwood plywood panels, promoted three senior-level employees to the company’s executive team, as announced by Brad Thompson, President and CEO: Gary Gillespie has been promoted to Executive Vice President responsible for all of Columbia’s Canadian plywood operations and the company’s decorative veneer operations. Gillespie is also a member of the Board of Directors for Columbia Forest Products. Greg Pray has been promoted to Executive Vice President responsible for all of Columbia’s plywood operations located in the U.S. In addition, Pray has been named to Columbia’s Board of Directors.

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Challenges ahead for Montana’s forest products industry

Missoulian
February 28, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

Last year was full of challenges and disappointments for wood products markets. New home starts in the U.S. failed to materialize at predicted levels. The Chinese economy’s slowdown reduced exports of logs, lumber and other wood products from U.S. and Canadian producers to Asia. The U.S. dollar gained against most currencies, particularly China’s and Canada’s, making the U.S. a prime destination for wood products and further challenging domestic producers’ abilities to sell into weakening domestic and foreign markets. Finally, the Softwood Lumber Agreement (SLA) between Canada and the U.S. expired in October, causing significant uncertainty for U.S. lumber producers concerned about Canadian mills flooding the already oversupplied U.S. market. 

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Forest owners: we’ll sell logs to local mills

Voxy.co.nz
February 29, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

Forest owners say they are keen to sell their logs to local mills, so long as the terms of sale match those from export markets. Forest Owners Association chief executive David Rhodes says there have been cases where local mills have been unwilling to do this. “It’s not just about price. It’s also about the payment risk, the length of the contract and the quality of the logs on offer. Many modern mills have tight specifications for log supply. Logs that don’t meet those specifications are usually exported. This will always be the case,” he says. Responding to a call from Labour Party MP Stuart Nash that “foreign forest owners” should be forced to sell logs to local mills, Mr Rhodes says owners of forests – foreign, corporate, private companies, iwi, partnerships or individuals — look for terms and conditions that give them the best overall returns.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

VIDEO: Robert Malczyk and Oliver Lang at the 2016 International Wood Symposium

Journal of Commerce
February 26, 2016
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

Robert Malczyk of Equilibrium Consulting and architect Oliver Lang presented a session called “Ready? Set. Reset!” at the recent 2016 International Wood Symposium held in Vancouver. Lang and Malczyk’s talk not only highlighted the successes of wood construction in British Columbia but also challenged the industry to be less complacent and to establish the province as a source of not just raw timber but also complex wood projects. Both Lang and Malczyk encouraged the industry to look into mass customization and to embrace the pursuit of “big ideas.”

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Hardwood trade group launches formaldehyde awareness campaign

Furniture Today
February 26, 2016
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

HIGH POINT — Appalachian Hardwood Manufacturers Inc., an association that promotes the value of solid woods harvested in the Appalachian region, is targeting new and existing homeowners with a new public awareness campaign titled “Appalachian Hardwoods — Know What’s In Your Home.” The campaign, which is being unveiled at AHMI’s annual meeting in Naples, Fla. this week, focuses on the health benefits of solid Appalachian hardwoods such as oak, cherry and maple in products such as furniture, flooring and cabinets. The goal is to let consumers know that solid wood is free of glues containing formaldehyde that are used in medium density fiberboard, plywood and particleboard.

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Forestry

BC’s Newest Forest Professionals Welcomed

Association of BC Forest Professionals
February 29, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The Association of BC Forest Professionals (ABCFP) welcomed 101 new members into the association during a special recognition ceremony today at its conference and AGM. Among the new inductees, three individuals were recognized for having scored at the top of their classes in the required registration exam. Austin Tate Teti, Registered Professional Forester (RPF), of Williams Lake, scored the highest mark for the Registered Professional Forester exam. …Sarah Quickfall, Registered Forest Technologist (RFT), of Fort St. James, tied for the highest mark for the Registered Forest Technologist exam. …Craig Campbell, Registered Forest Technologist (RFT), of Chilliwack, tied for the highest mark for the Registered Forest Technologist exam.

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ABCFP Presents Top Honours

Association of BC Forest Professionals
February 29, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The Association of BC Forest Professionals (ABCFP) presented five awards to six individuals and a group who have made significant contributions to the profession and study of forestry. The awards were presented last night in special ceremony that was part of the ABCFP’s annual conference. “We congratulate all of our award winners,” says Jonathan Lok, RFT, the ABCFP’s president. “They represent the best of our members. Their expertise, dedication to the profession, and passion for forestry is a reflection on us all and will inspire the next generation to do as well or surpass their efforts.

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Northern Rockies move forward with Forest Rejuvenation Project

Energetic City
February 28, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

FORT NELSON, B.C. — The Northern Rockies Regional Municipality is moving forward with a forestry industry revival project, arguing the region offers what amounts to one of best existing green baskets of timber in the province — which has only been minimally impacted by the Mountain Pine Beetle. To that end, in 2013, the Regional District council initiated the Forestry Rejuvenation Project focused on enlisting the interest of potential forest sector investors and the province. It emphasizes the purpose of the initiative is to develop the economy of the region to the benefit of all the stakeholders involved.

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Prince George Resident New ABCFP President

Association of BC Forest Professionals
February 29, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The 69th council of the Association of BC Forest Professionals (ABCFP) officially took office at Branching Out —the ABCFP’s annual forestry conference and AGM in Vancouver, BC. This year’s president is Christopher Stagg, Registered Professional Forester, of Prince George, BC. …Chris has been working in forestry for over 20 years, having started his career in consulting with Nisus Resource Management and eventually transitioning to industry roles, first as a forest planner and zone forester for Crestbrook Forest Industries and eventually as area forester, fibre procurement superintendent and western Canadian chief forester for Tembec. 

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Provinces Announces New Forest Society and $85 Million in Funding

Kelowna Now
February 27, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The province has announced a new forest society which will be supported by $85 million in government funding. The new Forest Enhancement Society of B.C. will focus its efforts on wildfire risk reduction and concentrate its activities on forest rehabilitation, habitat restoration, awareness programs, as well as risk reduction. The work of the Forest Enhancement Society of B.C. will help meet the goal of a sustainable and reliable timber supply under the Forest Sector Competitiveness Strategy and aligns with the ministry’s other programs designed to enhance B.C.’s forests, most notably Forests for Tomorrow, Land Based Investment Strategy and integrated silviculture strategies. …The inaugural Forest Enhancement Society of B.C.’s board of directors consists of: Wayne Clogg, Derek Orr, Jim Snetsinger, Dave Peterson, and Robert Turner.

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Province’s newest chief forester announced

Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations
BC Government
February 26, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

VANCOUVER – Diane Nicholls becomes the province’s newest chief forester, Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson said today. Thomson confirmed her appointment and promotion to assistant deputy minister at the Association of BC Forest Professionals Annual General Meeting. Nicholls, who is the province’s 17th chief forester, has been acting in the position since November 2014. …She graduated from the University of British Columbia with a bachelor’s degree in science in forestry and is a registered professional forester. She has almost 30 years experience working in different capacities in the forest sector. She joined the B.C. government in 2006 as director of the then Forest Practices Branch and has held positions with increasing amounts of responsibility ever since.

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B.C. injects $85 million into forest fire prevention

By Derrick Penner – Initiative comes after years of firefighting costs that exceeded the provincial budget
Vancouver Sun
February 26, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

After a decade of rising forest-fire risks due to climate change and another budget-busting year of wildfire fighting, the province is boosting its fire prevention efforts with a one-time $85 million injection of resources.  The funding will be administered by a newly announced forest enhancement society made up of former industry and civil-service professional foresters, Minister of Forests Steve Thomson said Friday. …Thomson explained how the program will operate Friday in a keynote speech to the annual meeting of the Association of B.C. Forest Professionals. …However, the new initiative comes on the heels of a critical 2015 report from the B.C. Forest Practices Board that concluded Thomson’s ministry had made little progress in reducing the risk to communities of catastrophic wildfires.

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B.C. increases investments in forest stewardship

Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations
BC Government
February 26, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The new Forest Enhancement Society of B.C., supported by $85 million in government funding, will focus its efforts on wildfire risk reduction to complement the ministry’s existing forest stewardship programs and world-class wildfire suppression capabilities. Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson provided details of the society in his keynote speech at the Association of BC Forest Professionals annual general meeting. …The Strategic Wildfire Prevention Initiative, administered by the Union of BC Municipalities, focuses on reducing the wildfire risk in the two-kilometre wildland-urban interface surrounding communities.

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Monarch Butterfly Population Rebounds to 68 Percent of 22-year Average

Center for Biological Diversity
February 28, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

WASHINGTON— At 150 million butterflies, the annual overwintering count of monarch butterflies released today shows an encouraging population rebound from last year’s second lowest-ever count of 42 million butterflies, but is still one of the lowest populations since surveys began in 1993. Monarch butterfly populationsThe population was expected to be up this winter due to favorable summer weather conditions in the monarch’s U.S. breeding areas, since butterfly populations fluctuate widely with changing weather. But the estimated 150 million monarchs currently gathered in Mexico for the winter still represent a population decline of 32 percent from the 22-year average — and a decline of 78 percent from the population highs of the mid-1990s. This year’s population was expected to be two to five times larger than last year’s, due to the favorable weather during the late-summer breeding season.

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Biologists kill bully owls to protect endangered owls

Washington Post
February 28, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

SAN FRANCISCO — A biologist and contractor with a lumber company is at the heart of an experiment sanctioned by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: killing bully owls to protect endangered owls. Biologist Lowell Diller, a contractor for Green Diamond Resource Co., a lumber company managing timberland in Humboldt, Del Norte and Trinity counties, kills barred owls, which are known to bully the smaller northern spotted owl, the San Jose Mercury News reported. The barred owl has invaded California from the eastern United States, muscling out northern spotted owls upstate, and spreading south toward San Francisco. A Pacific Northwest native, the spotted owl is threatened with extinction and has become the symbol of the region’s timber conservation battles.

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Trout Unlimited: Thousands of Southeast Alaskans support protections for high-value salmon waters in Tongass

Juneau Empire
February 26, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

According to a press release from the fishery conservation group Trout Unlimited, more than 3,500 fishermen, sportsmen and salmon advocates throughout Southeast Alaska, and 7,300 supporters from elsewhere in Alaska and beyond, called on the U.S. Forest Service to conserve high-value fish and wildlife habitat within the Tongass National Forest during a 90-day comment period held by the agency, which ended Feb. 22. …“While we have concerns about the proposed plan, we also are excited at the prospect of an amendment that will bring the plan into better alignment with the needs of the region and facilitate a more rapid transition out of large-scale old-growth logging,” said Austin Williams, Alaska Director of Law and Policy at Trout Unlimited.

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Intensive thinning upsets neighbors

Arizona Daily Sun
February 26, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Husband and wife Cathy and Michael Rice and their neighbor Anne Griffin, have watched for months as 4FRI contractor Good Earth Power AZ cut trees, then stacked the timber and slash to be hauled away. The work, in accordance with 4FRI’s goals, aims to remove certain trees in order to create a healthier ecosystem more resilient to the threat of severe wildfire. While Griffin and the Rices recognize the need for cutting the trees, seeing logging happening just outside their door has come with some shock and many questions, the residents said. “I feel like we’re an experiment out here,” Cathy Rice said. This type of logging work isn’t going away, though.

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Hemlock’s Existential Crisis

Bangor Daily News
February 25, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

A couple months ago, I had the opportunity to witness a salvage operation of a particularly beleaguered stand of eastern hemlock in southern New Hampshire. I have seen many harvest operations, and this one, aside from being conducted by chainsaw and cable skidder, was no different. Nonetheless, I felt a tinge of sadness as I watched. Around me were beautiful, centuries-old hemlocks that had succumbed to infestation of both elongate hemlock scale (EHS) and hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA). It was hard to notice anything particularly troubling by glancing through the stand—initially, it seemed relatively healthy—but all doubts were erased with the cracking howl of the first tree felled.

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Mexico documents big rebound in monarch butterflies

Canadian Press in the Chronicle Herald
February 26, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: International

MEXICO CITY — Monarch butterflies have made a big comeback in their wintering grounds in Mexico, after suffering serious declines, experts said Friday. …In Mexico, meanwhile, illegal logging has remained a problem. It more than tripled in the monarch butterflies’ wintering grounds in 2014, reversing several years of steady improvements. Illegal logging had fallen to almost zero in 2012. Authorities said the reserve’s buffer area lost more than 22 acres (9 hectares) in 2015 due to illegal logging in one area, but said the tree cutting was detected and several arrests were made. The forest canopy acts as a blanket against the cold for butterflies forming huge clumps on branches during their winter stay in Mexico.

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Wind fans fire out of control

Otago Daily Times
February 27, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Hot and dry northwest winds whipped a burn-off of “tree slash” into an out-of-control blaze in North Otago yesterday afternoon. Two helicopters with monsoon buckets assisted crews from Weston, Kakanui and Waitaki Rural at the fire at a logging site near Windsor, Weston Volunteer Fire Brigade Chief Fire Officer Bevan Koppert said. About 2ha burned on the side of a steep gully. The helicopters were required “because manpower just can’t handle that kind of terrain – it’s just far too steep”, Mr Koppert said.

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First aid training on offer for farming and forestry workers

Northumberland Gazette
February 26, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: International

St John Ambulance is set to offer a new first aid training course in the North East designed to safeguard workers in the farming and forestry industries. The charity has adapted its current course in emergency first aid at work to reflect the serious risks that agricultural and forestry workers face. A higher proportion of people working in agriculture, some four per cent, sustain work-related injuries than in any other type of job. The charity’s workplace training director, John Cavanagh, said: “The nature of their work means that farming and forestry workers face high and severe risk levels.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Can Canada meet its current 2030 climate target? Four experts chart a path

Canadian Press in The Coast Reporter
February 28, 2016
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada

OTTAWA – If there is one constant in Canada’s two-decade track record of international climate diplomacy, it is a repeated failure to make good on its collective commitments. So as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau prepares to sit down with premiers this week in Vancouver to discuss climate policy, Canadians can be forgiven if they’re a little jaundiced. Environment Canada’s own projections show the country is far from being on track to meet its 2030 carbon reduction target, set last May by the former Conservative government and described as a “floor” by Catherine McKenna, the new Liberal environment minister… In B.C., where the government forced a switch from electricity made from natural gas to a new system using wood waste, Jaccard figures the implicit cost is $110 per tonne of emissions — much higher than the province’s explicit carbon tax of $30 per tonne.

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Canada in 2050: land of climate-change extremes at current emissions levels

Canadian Press in the Ladysmith Chronicle
February 29, 2016
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada

…Milder winters allow mountain pine beetles to survive and infect forests in Alberta and Saskatchewan, killing trees and turning parched and overheated forests into tinder boxes. Wildfire seasons already begin weeks before they used to. In the Northwest Territories, where temperatures are climbing faster than almost anywhere on earth, the 2014 fire season set a record of 3.4 million hectares of scorched forest. Aspens, the most common leafy tree in the boreal forest, are dying at twice their historic norm, “part of a larger-scale pattern of climate-related dieback episodes,” says Natural Resources Canada. By 2050, look for big parts of the boreal forest’s southern fringe to be brand-new prairie.

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Laurie Gourlay: Work with nature on carbon footprint

by Laurie Gourlay, president of the Vancouver Island and Coast Conservation Society
Victoria Times Colonist
February 26, 2016
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

Canada needs to get serious if it’s going to address the unprecedented threat to our way of life that is climate change. The least-expensive, simplest and quickest way would be to restore forested lands and coastal marine ecosystems so they sequester carbon. … And with all the raw log exports sailing away to foreign ports, you can imagine how some concerted replanting and TLC in our backwoods might help rebalance bottom-line climate, economic and ecological accounts. …Designate one-third of our lands, forests and biologically diverse countryside as climate trusts. …Designate working areas and buffers for sustainable harvests so that conservation and climate reduction are guaranteed.

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Kwadacha First Nation seeks to build biomass plant

Alaska Highway News
February 26, 2016
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

Waste wood could soon replace diesel power at the remote Kwadacha First Nation, which is seeking financial help to build a small biomass plant. The off-the-grid community of just over 300 wants to build a small biomass facility that would produce around 145 kilowatts of electricity. “What we’re looking at is co-generation, green energy, to burn wood waste to offset the electricity (from diesel) and heat some buildings and a greenhouse we’re building,” Chief Donny Van Somer said. “We’re trying to get off fossil fuels as much as possible.” The facility would burn wood waste from a small sawmill on the reserve, as well as other forest products gathered locally. It would not be the first co-generation system in the Peace. West Fraser Mills in Chetwynd operates a larger facility, using wood waste from its mill in the town.

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Expand energy program: councillor

Chronicle Journal
February 28, 2016
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada East, Canada

Ontario’s rebate program for high-energy users in the Northwest needs more cash to allow smaller companies to take advantage of it, says a city councillor. Last year, the province said funding for the Northern Industrial Electricity Rate program would be made permanent. It means a commitment of up to $120 million per year for the industrial subsidy. But Thunder Bay At-Large Coun. Iain Angus points out that only seven to eight forestry and mining companies in the North are able to take advantage of the program. He estimates that the province needs to put about $100 million more into the program.

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These experts say Congress is ‘legislating scientific facts’ — and wrong ones, too

The Washington Post
February 26, 2016
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States

A group of forest scientists, ecologists and climate researchers has sent a strongly worded letter to the U.S. Senate, arguing that pending bipartisan energy legislation incorrectly claims that burning trees for energy is carbon neutral. “Legislating scientific facts is never a good idea, but is especially bad when the ‘facts’ are incorrect,” say the researchers, led by Phil Duffy, president of the Woods Hole Research Center. “We urge you and other members of the Senate to reconsider this well-intentioned legislation and eliminate the misrepresentation that forest bioenergy is carbon-neutral.” The letter is endorsed by 65 researchers, including a number of leaders of forest science, and also endorsed by several scientific societies.

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Revised energy bill includes biomass provision

Biomass is politically popular in rural areas of the state and communities with timber mills where wood waste can be used as fuel.
East Oregonian
February 26, 2016
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

SALEM — The latest version of an Oregon bill to double the state’s renewable energy mandate would also expand incentives to build and operate power plants that burn wood. Lawmakers added a provision on biomass to the bill Thursday night, in an effort to gain support of state Sen. Chris Edwards, D-Eugene, who was previously lukewarm on the legislation. Biomass is politically popular in rural areas of the state and communities with timber mills where wood waste can be used as fuel. At the same time, some environmentalists have questioned whether biomass should qualify as renewable energy, and researchers have found burning wood can release more carbon than coal.

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Voter initiative seeks to puts price on carbon

Longview News
February 28, 2016
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

… Started as a grassroots movement, Carbon WA has garnered 360,000 signatures for Initiative 732. It is likely to be on the ballot in the fall. It would trigger major tax reform meant to drastically cut carbon dioxide emissions, which are a key cause of climate change. It would impose a tax on carbon emissions, hitting everything from large manufacturers to utilities… But for energy-intensive businesses, those breaks wouldn’t offset the cost of the carbon tax and would put Washington producers at an competitive disadvantage, opponents say. Refineries, smelters and food processors, for example, would pay a big price. So would forestry products manufacturers, including pulp and paper mills like the ones owned by Weyerhaeuser Co. and KapStone Paper and Packaging Co. in Longview.

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No coal? Lawmakers want to try wood instead

Portland Tribune
February 26, 2016
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

SALEM — The latest version of an Oregon bill to double the state’s renewable energy mandate would also expand incentives to build and operate power plants that burn wood. Lawmakers added a provision on biomass to the bill Thursday night, in an effort to gain support of state Sen. Chris Edwards, D-Eugene, who was previously lukewarm on the legislation. Biomass is politically popular in rural areas of the state and communities with timber mills where wood waste can be used as fuel. At the same time, some environmentalists have questioned whether biomass should qualify as renewable energy, and researchers have found burning wood can release more carbon than coal.

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Maine Voices: It makes sense to use Maine’s forest biomass to produce energy

Sens. Collins and King have shown leadership and understanding of biomass energy’s importance to the state.
Portland Press Herald
February 29, 2016
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

AUGUSTA — Maine’s loggers, landowners, foresters and mills not only want, but need to use every part of a tree. Our state is a national leader in renewable energy, and biomass accounts for 60 percent of Maine’s renewable energy portfolio and 27 percent of its electricity generation, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Without healthy biomass markets, low-grade wood and sawmill residue will clog Maine’s forests or landfills and, as a recent Telegram story reported, the state could lose hundreds of logging and trucking jobs. “Those products make up a large percentage of our overall operations. We need to generate enough volume on a weekly, monthly, annual basis to cut down our overhead and keep everybody employed,” says logger Steve Hanington.

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Our View: State’s forest products industry depends on biomass plants

As demand drops for energy created by burning wood, jobs and the planet’s health are put at risk.
Portland Press Herald
February 28, 2016
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

The worldwide decline in the demand for paper has sent falling a series of dominoes, starting with marked job loss and temporary shutdowns at Maine paper mills, and leading eventually to outright closures and the devastation of the communities and ancillary businesses that were supported by the paper industry. Now, another domino in that line is wobbling. The future of Maine’s biomass plants is being threatened by changing energy policies in the states where they sell their output, and by the low price of oil and natural gas. If they are forced to shut down, the plants could take with them the sawmills and logging companies that depend on biomass to maintain slim profits, and deal yet another hit to the communities that rely on the forest products industry, and that are already struggling to survive.

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Europe expected to plant 600000ha of forestry to combat climate change

Agriland
February 28, 2016
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Investment in forestry over the next five years will have a big impact on the environment, as it will result in the planting of 600,000 ha in Europe, according to Dermot Ryan, Senior Advisor to European Commissioner Phil Hogan. Speaking at the Coillte Climate Change and Irish Forestry Conference in Dublin, he said that forestry is a key sector to allow Europe to move towards a low-carbon and carbon-friendly environment. Ryan said that the European Commission has been working to give forestry policy an unprecedented degree of centrality to climate change policy decisions.

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Sustainable forestry strategies cannot threaten Ireland’s food production

Farmers Journal
February 28, 2016
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Opening the Coillte conference on climate change and forestry, Phil Hogan said it is critical that sustainable forestry strategies are developed hand-in-hand with sustainable food security solutions. The impact of climate change on Irish forestry and the mitigating role Ireland’s forests may have against climate change were examined at the Coillte Climate Change and Irish Forestry Conference held on Friday in Farmleigh House. EU Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan opened the conference, saying that while there was a pressing need for sustainable forestry strategies, it must occur in a manner that does not affect Ireland’s food production.

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Stories from the swamp

Graduate student Alison Hoyt gets knee deep in the exploration of carbon cycling in the peat swamp forests of Borneo.
MIT News
February 28, 2016
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Imagine a two-hour boat ride through the dark waters of the Mendaram River, a humid hike through flooded forest floors, and weeklong camp outs without Internet or phone access.
For Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering graduate student Alison Hoyt, this experience is threaded throughout her last several summers researching the hydrology and carbon cycling of the peat swamp forests of Southeast Asia. Her work in the lab of Professor Charles Harvey is part of a collaboration between MIT and Singaporean researchers — the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology. “It’s certainly an intense experience to work in a forest where the ground surface is completely flooded,” Hoyt says… For the past several years, she has trekked to the inner depths of Southeast Asia to study the implications of draining and deforesting tropical peatlands as they are converted to oil palm and acacia plantations. 

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