Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: January 31, 2017

Today’s Takeaway

Beetles take their toll on forests, sawmills

Tree Frog Forestry News
January 31, 2017
Category: Today's Takeaway

A decade after billions of mountain pine beetles chewed their way through BC’s lodgepole pine forest, the Interior timber supply has begun a dramatic drop“, writes Gordon Hamilton in Business in Vancouver. “The decline in AAC has been expected for years“, says consultant Hakan Ekstrom. “Now it is actually going to happen”. And the Spruce Beetle appears to be following suite, according to a story in the Vail Daily News, they are “witnessing a beetle feast”.

Given these timber supply constraints, Conifex’s announcement that it will “spend $80 million to modernize and restart the former GP sawmill” in Arkansas is no surprise, particularly since it comes with “state incentives”. Speaking of incentives, West Virginia’s “hardwood producers are encouraged by their governor’s timber plans”, which include a long list of items to “encourage the growth of the timber industry“.

And finally, wood enthusiast Lloyd Alter at the Treehugger features a story on the Netherland’s tallest wood building, which “just won a World Architecture News Residential award as best building of 2016”. Alongside Herman Miller’s new store in Singapore, there’s lots of ‘eye candy’ here today. Worth a look!
— Tree Frog Editors

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Business & Politics

Mill closures feared as allowable harvest slashed

By Gordon Hamilton
Business in Vancouver
January 31, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

A decade after billions of mountain pine beetles chewed their way through British Columbia’s lodgepole pine forest, the Interior timber supply has begun a dramatic drop. “These cut reductions are starting to happen, and they are going to be real,” Albert Nussbaum, director of forest analysis and inventory for the B.C. Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, told a January 19 forestry conference in Vancouver, Washington. …The decline has been expected for years, but it was always somewhere in the future, Hakan Ekstrom, of the Seattle forestry consulting firm Wood Resources International, said in an interview. “Now it is actually going to happen,” said Ekstrom, whose firm is one of the event sponsors. “More sawmills will be shut down in British Columbia. The question is, will it be three, four, five or six sawmills? And will it be in the next three, four or five years?”

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Canadian company to reopen El Dorado sawmill, hire 120

By Arkansas News Bureau
Times Record
January 30, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

LITTLE ROCK – Vancouver, Canada-based forestry and sawmill company Conifex Timber said Monday it will spend about $80 million to modernize and restart the former Georgia Pacific sawmill complex in El Dorado and will create about 120 full-time jobs at the facility. “This project provides Conifex with access to lumber and timber markets in the U.S. South,” Conifex CEO Ken Shields said in a statement. “Our commitment of $80 million to this facility will ensure the long-term sustainability of this site and contribute to our overall company growth.”.. Georgia Pacific closed the plant in 2008. Gov. Asa Hutchinson said… “I’m thrilled to welcome Conifex to the state. This will have a significant economic impact on many families throughout south Arkansas.”

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Major export challenges on B.C. forest industry’s horizon

By Albert Van Santvoort
Business in Vancouver
January 31, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

New U.S. duties on lumber imports will leave Canada with excess production that could be difficult to sell. Russ Taylor, president of International Wood Markets Group Inc., said lumber shipments to the U.S. will likely drop by 15% next year. The new duties will come into effect on May 4 following the expiration of the softwood lumber agreement on October 12, 2015, and the termination of a subsequent yearlong grace period. At the same time that the new tariffs create another barrier to U.S. market access, B.C. lumber production is expected to fall by 20% as a result of the years of mountain pine beetle devastation in B.C.’s Interior. Meanwhile, “the U.S. is the only market that is growing and growing steadily,” Taylor said. …“In the B.C. Interior we’ve had 26 mills close since 2007 because of market conditions and available timber supply,” Taylor said. “We still have another four, five to close over the next six years.”

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A fresh look at the role of natural resources in B.C.’s economy

January 31, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

As leaders from government, industry and First Nations gather in Prince George for the 14th annual Natural Resources Forum, it’s worth taking a fresh look at the important role natural resources play in B.C.’s economy, today and in the future..C.’s natural resources are diverse, and effective stewardship means they’ll continue to support sustainable jobs, businesses and communities for decades to come. While the recent downturn in some commodity markets has been challenging for a number of resource-reliant regions in the province, the outlook for 2017-18 is brighter: Prices are forecast to rise for lumber, natural gas, coal, aluminum, copper, zinc and others, in some cases on the heels of sizable price gains last year. The main worry is around the impact of the long-running, Canada-U.S. softwood lumber trade dispute on the B.C. wood-products industry.

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JD Irving pleads not guilty to charges of illegal dumping in St. John River

Canadian Press in iHeartRadio
January 30, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

J-D Irving has pleaded not guilty to 15 counts of illegal dumping in New Brunswick’s St. John River. The dumping is alleged to have occurred at the Irving Pulp and Paper Mill at Reversing Falls in Saint John from June 2014 to last August. The substance said to have been dumped into the river hasn’t been identified, but an Environment Canada spokesman in court today in Saint John says it takes any pollution water discharge into watercourses quite seriously. A trial date is to be set next month and if the company is found guilty on all charges under the Fisheries Act, it would face a minimum fine of three-million dollars. [END OF STORY]

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Klausner temporarily lays off employees, idles saw mill

By Thomas Lynn
Suwannee Democrat
January 29, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

LIVE OAK — On Friday, Klausner Lumber One announced that it would temporarily layoff some of its employees and idle the saw mill. Employees will continue to receive benefits during the temporary layoff, which is expected to last one month or less, according to a release written by Thomas Mende, president of Klausner Trading USA. This week, less than 30 employees have been laid off, according to a Klausner representative. Each following week, Klausner will evaluate and go from there. Due to intensive maintenance, the company lost a week of production in November, as well as a week in December during the holidays.

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Heyfield mill asks for $40m in Victorian Government funding to retool and stay open

ABC News, Australia
January 31, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

The owner of Australia’s largest hardwood processor has asked the Victorian Government to fund a $40 million refit of the mill. Australian Sustainable Hardwoods employs 250 people at Heyfield in Gippsland, but is threatening to close the mill due to a cut in native timber supply. The company said it could access younger regrowth forest before moving entirely to plantation timber by 2043. But Hermal Group chief executive Clinton Tilley said the transition required government help. He said the mill needed to retool to be able to handle smaller logs from lower value conservation forests. “We put forward a plan that involves moving out of 1939 regrowth areas into lower conservation forest areas over the coming few years, and then moving out of that most probably by about year 25 into a state-based plantation system,” Mr Tilley said.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Museum Exhibit Challenges Notion That Wood Is an Antiquated Building Material

By June Soh
VOA News
January 29, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States

WASHINGTON — For centuries, wood was civilization’s primary construction material, but as the use of concrete, glass and steel grew, wood was largely relegated to flooring and interior paneling. An exhibition at the National Building Museum in Washington challenges that narrow use. It suggests that tomorrow’s buildings will or should be constructed of wood. The exhibition, “Timber City,” highlights the wide range of benefits offered by cutting-edge methods of timber construction, showing that wood is a modern, strong and versatile material. …Information panels in the exhibition explain that concrete manufacturing is the world’s third-largest source of greenhouse gases, and that harvesting timber — a renewable resource — has a lower environmental cost than mining the materials needed to make steel and concrete.

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Why Concrete is the Perfect Choice for Sustainable Building

By Texcon Ready Mix
Las Vegas Informer
January 30, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

Concrete has become the sustainable, green choice for builders and contractors… It wasn’t long ago that the idea of using concrete as a primary building material seemed cold and lacked character. But, those days are long gone and the advancements in concrete have changed that entirely… What is sustainability? In the case of building a home, sustainability means the materials you use will have a long lifespan, are inexpensive, easy to maintain and will not alter the environment detrimentally. You would be hard-pressed to find alternative materials that fulfill these kinds of requirements. While concrete may emit CO2 gases in the production process, the ability to substitute various other materials allows for reducing these emissions while also improving concrete’s strength and longevity. 

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PRODUCE’s tailored plywood frame envelops herman miller shop in singapore

Design Bloom
January 31, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Situated at the marina square in singapore, this herman miller shop-in-shop at XTRA’S latest flagship store includes an intriguingly massive structure coined ‘fabricwood’ and completed by design director pan yicheng from PRODUCE. Occupying a twenty meter long by seven meter wide space, a plywood surface stretches across the entire site like a sail of tensile fabric, with symmetrical qualities that take on the proportions of the herman miller logo. The minimal surface, which reminds one of german architect and structural engineer frei otto’s soap film experiments, contains a series of arches that frame the entrances and connections to the rest of XTRA, the street and the adjacent café.

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Tallest wood-framed building in the Netherlands wins a WAN award

By Lloyd Alter
TreeHugger
January 30, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

There is a lot to love about Patch22, the tallest wood building in the Netherlands, which just won a World Architecture News Residential award as best building of 2016. The 100 foot tall, seven storey building in an Amsterdam industrial area is designed by Tom Frantzen and has a wood structure, although the floors “have a concrete-like appearance.” The ceilings are high (4 meters or 13 feet floor to floor). The units are sold unfinished, and completely open. It has raised floor system so that owners can get into the floor for wiring and plumbing where they want it. This allows it to be used for living and working “so that the building will still be cultivated with love over 100 years.”

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Forestry

More than 100 natural world heritage sites degraded by human activity, says report

By Michael Slezak
The Guardian
January 31, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, International

More than 100 of the world’s most precious natural assets are being severely damaged by encroaching human activities, according to a study examining direct human footprints and forest losses. …And, of the natural world heritage sites that contain forests, 91% of those analysed experienced some loss of those forests since 2000. …Forest loss in natural world heritage sites was experienced on every continent, with the worst losses in North America and Australia. Losses of forests in North American world heritage sites was so severe, it accounted for 57% of forest loss in world heritage sites globally. The Waterton glacier international peace park, crossing the Canadian and US border, lost about a quarter of its forested area, while the Wood Buffalo national park in Canada lost 12% and Yellowstone national park in the US lost 6%.

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The land question should be a matter of concern

By Troy Hunter, associate lawyer at Remedios and Company, a Vancouver law firm ad a member of the Ktunaxa First Nation from the Kootenays.,
The Vancouver Sun
January 30, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Most of B.C. is built on unceeded aboriginal land, which means that absent a treaty, the province’s legal foundation is on shaky ground. For this reason, British Columbians ought to be concerned about the slow pace of reconciliation of aboriginal rights and title. As Justice Mary Southin of the B.C. Court of Appeal commented in reference to Skeetchestn Indian Band v. British Columbia: “Sooner or later, the question of whether those who hold certificates of indefeasible title, whether to ranch lands on Kamloops Lake or to a small lot with a house on it on Railway Avenue in the Village of Ashcroft or an office tower on Georgia Street in the City of Vancouver, are subject to claims of aboriginal right must be decided.”

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Wildfire Protection Strategy aims to avert disaster before it strikes

By Braden Dupuis
Pique News Magazine
January 26, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) is taking more steps to protect the community from wildfire. At its Jan. 24 meeting, council received a Wildfire Protection Strategy (WPS) prepared by professional forester and biologist Bruce Blackwell of B.A. Blackwell and Associates. The strategy identifies about 4,000 hectares of high-hazard land in municipal boundaries and about 1,200 hectares of priority-treatment areas (high-hazard areas located within 500 metres of structures in developed areas). Another 1,500 hectares or so — both north and south of Whistler — have been identified as high-priority areas to cut strategic fuel break systems into the forest. …The WPS lays out options for two budgets — one at a 10-year cost of just over $16 million, another at just over $30 million.

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Natural Resources Forum Set to Go

By Elaine Macdonald-Meisner
250 News
January 31, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Prince George, B.C.- Today marks the start of the Premier’s Natural Resource Forum in Prince George. This is the 14th year for the forum which draws delegates from a broad section of natural resource development. The event kicks off this afternoon with a Tradeshow reception, followed by a special dinner. Tomorrow, the real work begins with panel discussions on Natural Gas, forestry, Energy, and mining. The keynote address at Wednesday’s lunch will be delivered by Premier Christy Clark. Thursday, the forum’s panel discussions looks to the future, with finances and resource diversification in the spotlight.

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Fine for fatal lumber accident

Lucknow Sentinel
January 30, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

WALKERTON – A Hanover man pleaded guilty and was fined $10,000 in a Walkerton courtroom after a fatal logging accident in Saugeen Shores in 2015. The Ministry of Labour issued a news release that said William Witter, who ran a small log-cutting business, pleaded guilty Thursday to failing as an employer to ensure required safety measures were followed under the Occupational Health and Safety Act on Sept. 10, 2015. The victim was Mark Fritz, a 51-year-old man of Clifford, Ont. He was identified in a Saugeen Shores Police Service news release the day after the mishap. Fritz was operating a chain saw and Witter was operating a log skidder, used to pull cut logs out of the bush.

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Committee recommends confirmation of Zinke as interior secretary

By Karl Puckett
Great Falls Tribune
January 31, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

The U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee voted to recommend the confirmation of Ryan Zinke of Montana as the next secretary of the interior. The Montana Republican congressman is President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee. The vote was 16-6 along party lines. Zinke fielded questions Jan. 17 regarding transfers of federal land to states, coal mining on federal land, the use of the Antiquities Act to create national monuments, climate change and the problem of sexual harassment in the National Park Service. Zinke will replace Sally Jewell, former president Barack Obama’s interior secretary, if the full Senate now confirms his nomination. “Congratulations Rep. Zinke,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, chairman of the committee. “We look forward to working with you.”

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West coast loggers drawn to New Zealand technology

By Tahlia Hopkins
Steep Slope Logging
January 31, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

The tables are set to be turned on logging contractors in Washington and Oregon. For decades USA loggers have sold their old cable logging equipment to their New Zealand counterparts. Now, technology developed down under is rapidly gaining favor on the west coast. As a result, Kiwi loggers are set to show off their newest steep slope logging innovations on USA’s west coast on April 20, 2017. New Zealand’s loggers faced massive safety challenges in tree falling, especially on steep slopes, in 2014. They simply had to reduce accidents or face massive workplace restrictions. A few innovative loggers led the way to a much safer way to harvest steep sloped forests. The first innovation was a custom-designed traction-assisted harvester, the ClimbMax, built and commissioned by Nigel Kelly of Kelly Logging in steep South Island forests. 

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Trump hiring freeze sparks concerns about hiring seasonal firefighters this year

By Rocky Barker
Idaho Statesman
January 30, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Five fires were burning Friday in Oklahoma and the National Interagency Agency Fire Center in Boise was preparing for a fire season that already has begun. But even though you can go to the website of NIFC (pronounced NIF-see) and apply for one of the thousands of seasonal firefighting jobs the agencies need to fill before spring, nobody is hiring. That because President Trump signed an executive order a week ago that said “no vacant positions existing at noon on January 22, 2017, may be filled and no new positions may be created, except in limited circumstances.” …The Forest Service hires between 10,000 and 15,000 seasonal employees annually, and 70 percent are either firefighters or work fire-related jobs. The National Park Service has about 11,000 seasonal employees, including rangers and naturalists.

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About the spruce beetle

By Pete Wadden – Town of Vail, Watershed Education Coordinator
Vail Daily News
January 30, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

The blue spruce is the official state tree of Colorado and an important streamside species. Their roots stabilize soil, preventing erosion. Their cones provide food for squirrels and nuthatches. Their branches offer shelter and nesting space. However, these towering trees are threatened by a tiny enemy. The spruce bark beetle is native to Colorado and has long made its home in the trunks of spruce trees, but something has changed. The beetle is now enjoying a competitive advantage over the spruce tree thanks to a warming climate and historic logging practices. Warmer winters mean the beetle can breed more successfully because fewer of their larvae succumb to the cold.

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Study: Managed Wildfires a Mixed Success for Ponderosa Pine Forests

By Melissa Sevigny
KNAU Arizona Public Radio
January 31, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

The U.S. Forest Service allowed fire to burn more than 73,500 acres in northern Arizona last year. New research examines how well these “managed wildfires” restore healthy, historic conditions to ponderosa pine forests. Scientists with Northern Arizona University’s Ecological Restoration Institute examined 10 large burned areas on the Coconino and Kaibab national forests. Ecologist David Huffman says managers allowed these areas to burn during the last decade to meet multiple restoration goals. “Wildfire is difficult to control and manage for precise effects—sort of a blunt tool,” he says. “So we need to understand what it’s doing out there in terms of changing forest structure.”

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YMCA wants to log Camp Colman property, but neighbors put up road blocks

By Brynn Grimley
The News Tribune
January 30, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

The YMCA of Greater Seattle’s plan to log its Camp Colman site on the western shore of the Key Peninsula has been halted as a battle heats up with neighbors over access to a private road. The YMCA wants to use Whiteman Cove Road to haul timber from a back entrance of its Longbranch property. Part of the road is owned and maintained by a neighborhood association; the other part is maintained by Pierce County. The neighborhood association agreed last spring to grant access for the harvest, but did so with the understanding that only one truck a day would roll past, said John Lester, president of the Whiteman Cove Utility and Maintenance Association which oversees maintenance of the private road. A permit approved Jan. 24 by the state Department of Natural Resources allows up to 50 truckloads of timber to cross the narrow strip.

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Colorado’s wildfire-stricken forests showing limited recovery

University of Colorado Boulder Today
January 30, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Colorado forests stricken by wildfire are not regenerating as well as expected and may partially transform into grasslands and shrublands in coming decades, according to a new University of Colorado Boulder study. The paper, published in the journal Ecosphere by former doctoral student Monica Rother and geography professor Thomas Veblen, examined the sites of six low-elevation ponderosa pine forest fires which collectively burned 162,000 acres along the Colorado Front Range between 1996 and 2003. Eight to 15 years after the fires, the researchers expected – based on historical patterns – to see young trees cropping up across the landscape. Instead, 59 percent of plots surveyed showed no conifer seedlings at all and 83 percent showed a very low density of seedlings. 

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Help save Jersey’s Atlantic white cedars

By Bob Williams, certified forester at Pine Creek Forestry
Philadelphia Inquirer
January 31, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

Anyone who visits an Atlantic white cedar forest in South Jersey would agree these are special forests and we need to conserve and protect them. They are wetland forests and provide critical environmental services to society. This forest has been categorized as “globally threatened” or “critically imperiled” by several environmental groups. Sounds serious enough, but what are we doing to help or conserve this resource? About 20 years ago, state government brought together interested stake holders to develop the Best Management Practices Manual for Atlantic white cedar. This, along with the years of cedar research done by George Zimmermann of Stockton University, was intended to begin an initiative that would end centuries of decline and begin the restoration of this important forest ecosystem. However, that effort quickly waned as a result of bureaucratic bickering over how to manage public land.

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Justice Releases Details of Timber Industry Plan

By Rusty Marks
The State Journal
January 30, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

Throughout Gov. Jim Justice’s campaign and during his inaugural address, he talked about his idea to create a state timber industry to help make up for the losses in revenue from the Mountain State’s coal, oil and gas industries… But what would Justice do to encourage the growth of the timber industry in the state?:


  • Create a Workers’ Compensation insurance risk pool for loggers to reduce their premiums;
  • Pursue investment in biomass energy plants;
  • Encourage the Environmental Protection Agency to classify biomass as carbon-neutral;
  • Finish Corridor H to reduce transportation costs
  • Link biomass and coal power plants to make both more viable;
  • Help companies market their products for export and to domestic customers;
  • Promote additional forestry training courses at community colleges;
  • Connect logging operations to existing industry to recycle their excess heat production; and
  • Push for a federal subsidy that would support hardwoods manufacturing.

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WV hardwood producers encouraged by governor’s timber plans

By Rusty Marks
The State Journal
January 30, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

Representatives from West Virginia’s nine biggest hardwood-producing counties are encouraged by Gov. Jim Justice’s plans to focus more attention on the state’s timber industry… “I was very pleased to hear Gov. Justice talk about his plans for this potential subsidy and that he specifically mentioned Elkins, which is in the heart of the Hardwood Alliance Zone,” Hardwood Alliance Zone President Robbie Baylor said in a statement. Justice spokesman Grant Herring recently provided some details of the governor’s timber plan. Herring said the governor would create a Workers Compensation insurance risk pool to help loggers with premiums, push for a federal subsidy to help support hardwood manufacturing, push for the use of biomass as a fuel and encourage the Environmental Protection Agency to declare biomass as carbon-neutral, improve highway access to make it easier to get wood products to market and provide more education and marketing opportunities for timber.

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Pervasive charcoal trade getting major rethink in Haiti

By David McFadden
Associated Press in The Times and Democrat
January 30, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: International

…For decades, authorities and development workers have denounced such rural charcoal makers for stripping the nation’s forests, sending topsoil to sea and helping make Haiti the poorest country in the Americas. The stigma is so great that few openly admit their involvement. But this view is starting to change due to a growing body of research suggesting much of the blame for Haiti’s deforestation lies elsewhere — and that a regulated use of wood-based charcoal might be able to provide livelihoods without decimating mangroves and other remaining natural forests. …”We believe that charcoal can actually be part of the solution to Haiti’s deforestation problem,” said Ward, whose nonprofit is co-funding a World Bank-led report to analyze the amount of charcoal brought to the capital of Port-au-Prince and pinpoint where it originates to assist policymakers.

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Logging in certified concessions drove intact forest landscape loss in Congo Basin

By Mike Gaworecki
Mongabay
January 30, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: International

A study published in the journal Science Advances this month found that, between 2000 and 2013, the global area of intact forest landscape declined by 7.2 percent, a reduction of 919,000 square kilometers, or a little over 227 million acres. Intact forest landscapes (IFLs) are areas of natural land cover that are large and undisturbed enough to retain all their native plant and animal communities — defined at 500 square kilometers. …. Among the study’s other findings, one in particular was quite surprising: Certification of logging concessions, which aims to ensure sustainable forest management practices, had a “negligible” impact on slowing the fragmentation of IFLs in the Congo Basin, home to the world’s second-largest rainforest as well as high levels of biodiversity, including more than 600 tree species and 10,000 animal species.

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General

A fresh look at the role of natural resources in B.C.’s economy

January 31, 2017
Category: Uncategorised

As leaders from government, industry and First Nations gather in Prince George for the 14th annual Natural Resources Forum, it’s worth taking a fresh look at the important role natural resources play in B.C.’s economy, today and in the future..C.’s natural resources are diverse, and effective stewardship means they’ll continue to support sustainable jobs, businesses and communities for decades to come. While the recent downturn in some commodity markets has been challenging for a number of resource-reliant regions in the province, the outlook for 2017-18 is brighter: Prices are forecast to rise for lumber, natural gas, coal, aluminum, copper, zinc and others, in some cases on the heels of sizable price gains last year. The main worry is around the impact of the long-running, Canada-U.S. softwood lumber trade dispute on the B.C. wood-products industry.

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