Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: February 6, 2017

Special Feature

“Shaken, not stirred!”

Letter by Michael Giroux, Derek Nighbor, Rick Jeffery, and Susan Yurkovich
Council of Forest Industries
February 3, 2017
Category: Special Feature
Region: Canada, Canada West

Gordon Hoekstra’s article in the February 2nd Vancouver Sun entitled: “U.S. expert warns B.C. of potential earthquake risk to wood-frame homes” is misleading in some aspects and requires a response.  First, extensive on-the-ground research in Japan post-quake revealed a very different picture than presented in this article. Following the magnitude 7.3 Kumamoto Japan quake, the Japan 2X4 Homebuilders’ Association physically surveyed 2,940 modern wood-frame residences in the region. 97.3% exhibited no or very light cosmetic damage.  After the historic 2011 magnitude 9.0 Tohoku quake, survey results of 20,895 modern wood-frame homes indicated that 94% suffered no damage or cosmetic damage only, 5% were damaged but repairable, and 1% destroyed. However, of the 1% destroyed, none were due to seismic force. It was tsunami or fire from adjacent buildings that were the causes. Therefore, none of the wood-frame houses inspected in two seismic events suffered collapse due to earthquake motion.

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Business & Politics

Q&A with Derek Nighbor on the future of the forest industry

By Cole Wagner
Merritt Herald
February 3, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada


The year 2016 proved to be a tumultuous time in the forest industry in Merritt. The Tolko Industries mill was shut down in December, a decision which left more than 200 people scrambling to find employment in a matter of months. The mill’s closure — coupled with a major fire at the Diacarbon wood pellet plant in November and labour disputes that delayed the Merritt Green Energy Project — meant that many industries in Merritt related to the forest sector felt the squeeze. But was the year 2016 an aberration, or a sign of things to come for this sector? …I had a conversation with the Derek Nighbor, the CEO of the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC). …He gave me a sense of how the forestry industry is addressing the softwood deal, the increased threat of automation to good paying jobs in mills across the country, and how the future of the forest industry might rely on manipulating the very genes of a tree.

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PMO’s new Canada-U.S. relations ‘war room’ unit seen as ‘smart,’ considered unprecedented

By Laura Ryckewaert
The Hill Times
February 6, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada

The PMO’s unprecedented new Canada-U.S. relations “war room” led by Brian Clow is being lauded by observers as a smart move, created to help coordinate the Trudeau government’s quick response and strategy to U.S. President Donald Trump’s unpredictable new administration. “There’s not been a unit like this set up within the PMO to the best of my knowledge,” said Greg MacEachern, a senior vice-president at Environics Communications and former Liberal staffer. “Obviously, the prime minister wants to be keeping a very close eye on this. … It’s an unprecedented situation in the U.S. we’re watching.” …Since his election in November, Mr. Trump has thrown question marks around Canada-U.S. relations, most notably calling to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), talks for which he has indicated could include the issue of softwood lumber. On Feb. 2, he said he would like to start talks on NAFTA “very soon.”

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Trade briefing for Trump’s team flagged Canadian softwood, dairy

By Elizabeth Thompson
CBC News
February 5, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

A confidential briefing for President Donald Trump’s transition team flagged Canada’s dairy policies and the “deeply rooted” softwood lumber dispute as trade issues to watch. Briefing notes from the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office (USTR), obtained by CBC News under the United States Freedom of Information Act, outline 17 trade issues or disputes – four of which directly involve Canada. Others involve China, the European Union, Mexico, Ecuador and Colombia. The document includes a warning in red type at the top of each page that the information is “for the use of authorized representatives of the president-elect’s transition team only. Subsequent disclosure of this information to an unauthorized individual, including unauthorized members of the president-elect’s transition team, is strictly prohibited.”

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Norbord Reports 2016 Results; Declares Quarterly Dividend

By Norbord Inc.
Canada Newswire
February 3, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada

TORONTO – Norbord Inc. (TSX and NYSE: OSB) today reported Adjusted EBITDA of $114 million for the fourth quarter of 2016 versus $114 million in the prior quarter and $57 million in the fourth quarter of 2015. For the full year 2016, Norbord recorded Adjusted EBITDA of $383 million compared to $122 million in 2015 on higher North American OSB prices and higher shipment volumes. North American operations generated Adjusted EBITDA of $352 million compared to $95 million in the prior year and European operations delivered Adjusted EBITDA of $41 million versus $38 million in the prior year. “2016 was an excellent year for Norbord and we more than tripled our Adjusted EBITDA over the prior year,” said Peter Wijnbergen, Norbord’s President and CEO.

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B.C. puts lumber trade front-and-centre as U.S. prepares for possible import duties

By Denise Ryan
The Vancouver Sun
February 5, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

B.C. Forest Minister Steve Thomson flew to Ottawa on Sunday to start working toward a new trade agreement on softwood lumber with the U.S. as officials south of the border prepare for trade litigation that could result in punitive duties on one of B.C. major industries. Thomson said he will be working with Chrystia Freeland, federal minister of foreign affairs and Francois-Phillipe Champagne, minister of international trade. “In our view, a managed trade agreement is as important to Americans as it is to us,” said Thomson. “If they want to build their economy, and that is a key objective of the new U.S. administration, they will need our softwood lumber.” Canadian lumber is important to the U.S. housing construction sector, and tariffs could increase construction costs in the U.S. and thus reduce the affordability of new houses.

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No safety complaints about tugboat for years

Kelowna Capital News
February 3, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West


A former Tolko boom-boat driver said he quit his job more than a decade ago because his safety concerns had fallen on deaf ears. “Dec 16. 2006 Was my last shift at Tolko on the boom-boat,” said Gordon James, in a Facebook post that circulated far and wide in the last few days. “The boat was taking on water fast and I would have to get back to shore to pump the water out and then go back out to push a load of timber in.” The practice, he said, was not new. …Although James had a negative experience, WorkSafe BC says they have had no orders or incidents relating to tugboats at the Kelowna Tolko plant since 2013.

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Government wants to give local companies a new Alberta ‘advantage’

By Kim Trynacity
CBC News
February 3, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

The Alberta government is mulling over ways it can tip the balance in favour of local companies to win lucrative government contracts. The government is reviewing its procurement policy after hearing from consulting engineers, road builders, the steel industry and the Alberta Forest Products Association, Infrastructure and Transportation Minister Brian Mason said Friday. “The goal of this review is to establish procurement policy that supports opportunities for employment and training in Alberta, and provides benefits to local economies while remaining compliant with our trade agreements,” Mason said in a speech to the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce. According to Alberta Treasury Board and Finance, between $4 billion and $5 billion a year is up for grabs in goods and services and construction contracts.

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Industry dispute with wood marketing boards needs government action, says ex-minister

By Connell Smith
CBC News
February 6, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

Former New Brunswick natural resources minister Jeannot Volpé says it is time for the province to show leadership in the dispute between industry and woodlot marketing boards. Volpé says the government should consider a requirement that industrial players like J.D. Irving, Limited. buy a portion of their wood from New Brunswick’s forest product marketing boards as a condition for access to trees on Crown land. The so-called “primary source” rule was abandoned in 1992 but should be reintroduced on a trial basis, says Volpe, who was minister of natural resources and energy from 1999 to 2003 in the Bernard Lord government. Volpé says a current lawsuit launched by J.D. Irving will only do more damage to already struggling woodlot groups. “Going to those courts costs a lot of money,” said Volpé. “And for a marketing board to invest $100,000 in a court case, it’s a lot of money. For a big company who will recover it over cheaper wood long-term, it’s an investment.”

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Conifex Timber wants local workers for mill

By Nathan Owens
El Dorado News-Times
February 4, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States


EL DORADO — After Conifex Timber Inc. announced 120 full-time jobs would be created for the new sawmill complex south of El Dorado on Monday, company officials said it would be better to hire workers based in Union County rather than hiring outside talent. “It’s in our best interest to hire from within the community,” said Sandy Ferguson, vice president of Conifex Timber Inc. “We would prefer people coming from Union County or El Dorado because they are connected to the community, and if they’re not [local] we want them to stay there.” Headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, Conifex has committed $80 million to the new El Dorado complex, the company’s first facility in the South. Sawtimber purchases are expected to amount to 700,000 tons per year, or $30 million, from suppliers within a 60-mile radius of the complex.

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‘Irish forestry sector to double in size over the next 10 years’

February 6, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

The Irish forestry sector is expected to double in size over the next 10 years, according to the CEO of Coillte Fergal Leamy. “The Irish forestry industry contributes about €2.1 billion to the Irish economy and it provides approximately 12,000 jobs in rural areas in this country. “Over the next 10 years the industry is expected to double in size. “That will double in size in terms of fibre, it will double in size in terms processing capability in rural economies around the country,” he said at the launch of a €200m fund for the Irish forestry sector. “It also has the potential to significantly increase the amount of jobs in rural areas, but it is important that we get the right type of supports in place to make sure that this is done in a very co-ordinated way,” he said.

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Plywood prices likely to go up, Malaysians firms to gain

By Jack Wong
The Star Online
February 6, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International


KUCHING: The prices of Malaysian plywood products in the Japanese market are expected to increase if the yen remains weak, according to an International Tropical Timber Organisation (ITTO) report. Last December, offer prices of 12mm concrete forming panel by Malaysian plywood suppliers were US$450 per cu m C&F (cost and freight) and US$510 to US$520 on 3×6 JAS coated concrete forming panel. The prices were US$10 higher per cu m compared with those of last November. “The market of imported plywood (in Japan) is changing. Prices are firming on 12mm panel from Malaysia. The importers need to increase the sales prices by higher FOB (free on board) prices by the suppliers and by sudden weakening of the yen.

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‘Irish forestry sector to double in size over the next 10 years’

February 6, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

The Irish forestry sector is expected to double in size over the next 10 years, according to the CEO of Coillte Fergal Leamy. “The Irish forestry industry contributes about €2.1 billion to the Irish economy and it provides approximately 12,000 jobs in rural areas in this country. “Over the next 10 years the industry is expected to double in size. “That will double in size in terms of fibre, it will double in size in terms processing capability in rural economies around the country,” he said at the launch of a €200m fund for the Irish forestry sector. “It also has the potential to significantly increase the amount of jobs in rural areas, but it is important that we get the right type of supports in place to make sure that this is done in a very co-ordinated way,” he said.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Bill Fisch forestry centre first York building to get LEED Platinum

By Simon Martin
YorkRegion.com
February 3, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada East, Canada

The Bill Fisch Forest Stewardship and Education Centre opened last year to chorus of rave reviews, and those accolades keep pouring. Always touted as an environmentally-sustainable structure, the centre recently received the LEED Platinum certification. “This is York Region’s first LEED Platinum certification and demonstrates our dedication to sustainable forest management and public education,” York Region Chairman and CEO Wayne Emmerson said. “This recognition aptly captures the innovation, beauty and spirit of the Forest Stewardship and Education Centre.”

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Education by design

By Ella Myers
Northern Ontario Business
February 4, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada East, Canada


Laurentian’s new school of architecture is a piece of the landscape it sprang out of, both natural and artificial. The off-campus school in Sudbury’s downtown integrates wood, concrete, and steel in the $45-million, 72,000-square-foot space. The wood reflects the surrounding forests, the steel represents the mining and rail industries, and the concrete binds it all together. The second phase of the McEwen Architecture building officially opened on Jan. 19. …It’s the first new school of architecture in Canada in 45 years, and they’re making every piece of the building count. …While wood may be a traditional building material, students will learn more about the innovative ways it’s being put to use thanks to the use of cross-laminated timber (CLT), which are sheets of wood sandwiched together with glue.

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Maplewood fire raises call for change to building codes

By Kathleen Lynn
The North Jersey Record
February 5, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

A roaring blaze tore through an apartment building being constructed in Maplewood by AvalonBay Communities Inc. early Saturday, two years after fire leveled a large AvalonBay complex in Edgewater. Saturday’s blaze spotlighted safety advocates’ efforts to change the state’s building code to prevent such fires – efforts that have gone nowhere since the Edgewater disaster. …After the Edgewater fire, AvalonBay voluntarily beefed up its fire-safety measures in the Maplewood structure and other projects, but Corbett and other advocates say state officials need to do more. Corbett said that the type of lightweight wood construction used by AvalonBay shouldn’t be allowed in buildings taller than three stories. He said several bills to tighten fire safety codes have been introduced in the state Legislature, but have not moved forward.

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Forestry

Proposed adventure park tenure moves forward

By The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations
Government of British Columbia
February 3, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations has approved a 30-year adventure tourism/commercial recreation tenure for Illecillewaet Development Limited Partnership’s proposed adventure park. The tenure consists of a Licence of Occupation for approximately 257 hectares of Crown land in the Greely Creek area 10 kilometres northeast of Revelstoke, adjoining 64 hectares of the proponent’s private land. Issuance of the tenure was subject to rezoning by local government. The proposed adventure park will include summer recreational activities such as: hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, horseback riding, zip-lining, bungee jumping, tree-top adventures, mountain coasters and sky swings.

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How the Douglas-fir tree put Vancouver on the map

By Jon Hernandez
CBC News
February 5, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Long before Vancouver’s Shangri-La and Harbour Centre defined the city’s skyline, giant evergreen trees towered over those who dared step foot inside the rugged wilderness. The Douglas-fir was king. “We grew some of the tallest trees on earth,” said Vancouver’s own “tree guy” David Tracey. In fact, the massive trees are what put Vancouver on the map. Tracey says when the first Europeans arrived in the 18th century, they were astonished by the magnitude of the giant, 1,000-year-old Douglas-fir trees. “They would have seen trees that are so big around they would have needed seven or eight of them linking arms just to surround the trunk,” he said.

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Gaps In Safety Net Threaten Forestry Workers And Rural Communities

Truck Loggers Association
February 3, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

BC Forest Safety Ombudsman, Roger Harris, released a report, Will It Be There? A Report on Helicopter Emergency Medical Services in BC, about emergency medical transportation services found in rural BC and how it affects forestry workers.  According to the findings of the report “there are serious gaps in the provision of emergency medical transportation services to people living and working in rural parts of the province. This gap threatens the safety of forestry workers—as well as residents—who seemingly have little or no guarantee that they will have access to timely medical transportation in the event of an emergency.” 

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University of Colorado Boulder study probes wildfire threat to low-elevation forests

By Amanda Trejos
Daily Camera Boulder County News
February 4, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

From forest to grassland, the future of the highly popular Colorado Front Range is starting to look a bit barren. Increasing temperatures due to climate change have strengthened the severity of wildfires across the nation. A new study out of the University of Colorado indicates that Colorado forests could be partially transformed into grasslands in upcoming decades. Wildfires are a global issue but over the last 30 years, there has been an increase in the extent of fires all across western United States. This has been directly correlated to warming temperatures due to a warming planet. Hundreds of years ago, the impact and consequences of wildfires were not as devastating as they are today, but according to Jay Stalnacker, Boulder County Fire Management Officer, Colorado’s dry and in some respects unhealthy ecosystem is a major cause for sometimes catastrophic results.

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Vegetation resilient to salvage logging after severe wildfire

By USDA Forest Service – Pacific Southwest Research Station
EurekaAlert!
February 3, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Nearly a decade after being logged, vegetation in forested areas severely burned by California’s Cone Fire in 2002 was relatively similar to areas untouched by logging equipment. The findings of a U.S. Forest Service study shed light on how vegetation responds to severe wildfire and whether further disturbances from logging affect regrowth. The study, “Response of understory vegetation to salvage logging following a high-severity wildfire,” reports a modest difference between logged and unlogged areas for some shrubs, but researchers with the agency’s Pacific Southwest Research Station conclude the diversity of plant species and their abundance, as a whole, differed little between logged and unlogged sites.

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Wildfire evolution forces Forest Service into new thinking

By Rob Chaney
The Missoulian
February 4, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

When a forest fire threatens your house and you have minutes to run, do you know what you plan to grab besides your family? …The U.S. Forest Service faces a much bigger version of that question. When wildfire starts, does it deploy its army of yellow-shirted initial attack forces, or let trees burn? Does it chase every smoke on the horizon or concentrate on defending homes? And who gets a say in the decision? Jim Hubbard spent years in the Forest Service pondering those questions. During a visit to Missoula last week, he said we need to start thinking about some new answers – fast. “We have 17 Type I incident commanders (the most experienced, big-fire team leaders), and every year they say ‘I’ve never seen that before,’” Hubbard said during a presentation at the University of Montana. “Each one of these guys has 25 years-plus experience. That gets our attention.”

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What’s next in the Elliott State Forest rigmarole?

By Mickey Bellman, professional consulting forester, Salem
Statesman Journal
February 3, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Aw, shucks. We were just kidding. We weren’t really gonna sell the Elliott State Forest despite all the time and money invested in the proposal by Indian tribes, private timber companies, the Department of Forestry and a small army of timber cruisers. Such might summarize the press release from the Oregon Land Board on Dec. 13, 2016. On the south coast of Oregon near the town of Reedsport, an 82,500-acre tract of timberland is owned by the state of Oregon and legally dedicated to support the Common School Fund. Managed and administered by the Department of Forestry, timber sales were regularly sold and the stumpage revenue used to support school budgets throughout Oregon. It was a system that worked just fine until environmentalists discovered that trees were actually being cut down

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Oklahoma forestry officials warn of increasing wildfire risk

Associated Press in News Channel10
February 6, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma forestry officials are warning of an increasing risk for wildfires in the state this week. Fire Management Chief Mark Goeller said Sunday that there is the potential for “near-critical fire weather conditions” early in the week. The National Weather Service says warm, dry weather and southwesterly winds Monday will create critical fire weather conditions in western Oklahoma with near-critical conditions in much of the remainder of the state. Oklahoma Forestry Services says firefighters and the public should be ready for an increase in the number and severity of wildfires and residents should avoid any activity that may spark a fire.

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Chile President says wildfires now mostly under control

Associated Press in The Missoulian
February 4, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: International

SANTIAGO, Chile — President Michelle Bachelet says the worst wildfires that Chile has suffered in its history are now mostly under control. Bachelet said Saturday that for the moment there are no new blazes reported “and the rest are mostly controlled.” But she says in her daily briefing on the wildfires “that doesn’t mean, however, that we are letting down our guard.” The arrival of rains and dropping of temperatures in recent hours have helped stop the fires from spreading. Aaron Cavieres is director of Chile’s National Forestry Corporation. He says, “we are nearing the end of this mega emergency.”

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Chileans hope to recover from country’s worst wildfires

By Eva Vergara
Associated Press in St. Louis Post-Dispatch
February 5, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: International

SANTIAGO, Chile — The flames consumed everything on Sonia Diaz’s land: the machinery, supplies, even the shed for her sheep. But the 70-year-old artisan weaver still hopes to rise from the ashes. …The fires have consumed forests and entire towns. But many continue to show the same stoicism that has helped Chileans to recover from other natural disasters, including large earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions. …An estimated 80 families that made a living from beekeeping lost their livelihoods in the area near the city of Cauquenes, about 220 miles (350 kilometers) south of Santiago. About 63 million bees died in the area and some 240 million bees are at high risk, said forestry engineer and beekeeper consultant Carlos Correa.

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Jobs and environment both at risk as Victorian government grapples with forestry

By Richard Willingham
The Age
February 6, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: International

The state’s endangered animal emblem and others will be extinct unless the Victorian government protects ash forests in the Central Highlands. But a decrease in logging in the politically and environmentally sensitive forests will see at least 250 jobs in Gippsland go, with fears for thousands more jobs in the supply chain. Both issues are arguments being made to the Andrews government over the future of ash forests and the state’s timber industry. In January, Australian Sustainable Hardwoods, which processes timber from the Central Highlands, warned it would have to close its Heyfield plant, costing 250 direct jobs, because the offers of timber supply from state-owned VicForests was not enough to keep the plant open.

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Those Logging Our Forests Can’t See The Wood For The Trees

By Janet Rice, Victorian Senator and the Australian Greens spokesperson for forests
Huffington Post Australia
February 6, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Last Friday was a chance to restore balance to the way our native forests are managed — a chance that was wasted. Over the past 20 years, areas designated for logging have been exempted from Australia’s national environment laws. Even open cut mines don’t get that sort of special treatment. These logging laws, known as ‘Regional Forest Agreements’, were meant to protect jobs and protect the environment. They have failed on both counts. The first of these agreements — the East Gippsland Regional Forest Agreement — expired on Friday. But despite all the evidence that the industry needs to be brought into the 21st Century, the Victorian and Federal Governments quietly extended the failed laws.

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General

“Shaken, not stirred!”

Tree Frog Forestry News
February 6, 2017
Category: Uncategorised

Softwood lumber is in the forefront again with reports that BC Forest Minister Thomson is in Ottawa. According to a Vancouver Sun report, “the trip comes ahead of the anticipated release Monday of the latest U.S. International Trade Commission report”. Adding to the intrigue: CBC reports on a confidential briefing for President Trump that flagged the “deeply rooted softwood lumber dispute as a trade issue to watch”.

Given the weather, forestry news is surprisingly about wildfire and its all over the map – literally. From Montana, a story on “how the US Forest Service’s thinking on wildfire management is changing”; Oklahoma’s forestry officials are “warning of an increasing wildfire risk”; a California report finds that after a severe wildfire “vegetation is resilient” and Chile’s president says the worst of their wildfires ”are now mostly under control”.

In wood product news, another wood frame apartment fire in New Jersey has critics, yet again, advocating height limits to the building code, and industry leaders in Canada have respond to Gordon Hoekstra’s “misleading” story on earthquakes and wood-frame construction. Referencing the extensive post-quake research in Japan, the authors note a “a very different picture”. Shaken yes, but not stirred.  

— Tree Frog Editors

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