Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: March 1, 2017

Today’s Takeaway

Wood reduces the ecological impact of construction

March 1, 2017
Category: Today's Takeaway

The BC Government’s forest watchdog—The Forest Practices Board—deemed the BC Timber Sales’ Okanagan office “non-compliant” due to its “error-riddled reporting”, according to a report in the Vancouver Sun. “While the errors were administrative in nature”, Board chair Tim Ryan noted “they were numerous and so the auditors considered this non-compliance significant.

Alberta loggers are “finding few salvageable trees in wake of the ferocious Fort McMurray wildfire”, according to a CTV report. The blaze burned so hot that “harvesters are finding only a third of the salvageable wood they expected to see”.

Trade jitters and seasonal trends made lumber “February’s best-performing commodity”, according to MarketWatch, a publication of Dow Jones & Co. Year to date, prices have “climbed nearly 16% after jumping almost 23% in 2016”. Case in point, although Montana’s Bureau of Business and Economic Development predicts slow growth for Montana in 2017, they are quick to note that “lumber prices are doing very well, there’s been some rebound in demand nationally, with better building rates”.

If you didn’t make it to the Wood Design and Solutions conference in Vancouver, the Journal of Commerce has you covered. Yesterday, experts shared their success stories (e.g., Nicola Valley Institute of Technology), their challenges (e.g., seismic upgrading of low-rise wood frame structures), their codes (e.g., wood-frame up to eight stories in Australia) and the future of construction in the 21st century. The latter, a keynote by Hubert Rhomberg of Austria, emphasized that “construction is one of the biggest users of natural resources, and by using wood the ecological impact of construction can be lessened”. 

–Tree Frog Editors

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Special Feature

Announcing 2017 COFI Annual Convention, April 5-7 in Vancouver, B.C.

Council of Forest Industries
March 1, 2017
Category: Special Feature
Region: Canada, Canada West

Vancouver, B.C. – The Council of Forest Industries (COFI) is pleased to announce its 2017 Annual Convention to be held April 5th to 7th. For the first time, the event will be held in Vancouver at the beautiful wood-panelled Convention Centre West and will host industry leaders, service providers, customers, community leaders, First Nations and government officials. “This year’s convention comes at a critical time for our industry,” said Susan Yurkovich, COFI President and CEO. “Bringing together key decision makers from industry and governments provides an important forum to share ideas and engage in frank discussions about how we can address both the challenges and opportunities that our sector is facing right now.” The 2017 convention will include presentations and conversations on the economic context, operating environment, shifting profile of international markets, new product opportunities, First Nations partnerships and community relationships, innovation, and the policy environment going forward.

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Business & Politics

How trade jitters made lumber February’s best-performing commodity

By Myra Saefong
Market Watch
March 1, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

Lumber futures scored the biggest gain among major commodities for the month of February, as Donald Trump’s first full month as U.S. president fed uncertainty surrounding the nation’s lumber trade dispute with Canada… Year to date, prices have climbed nearly 16%, based on the most-active contracts, after jumping almost 23% in 2016, according to FactSet data.For comparison with other major commodities, iron-ore futures have tacked on around 5.8% and wheat futures have climbed more than 5%, for the month. “When you have this kind of uncertainty, the normal supply and demand equation gets disrupted by emotion and worry,” Koos said, adding that lumber prices have “reached exhaustive overbought levels” in February…Demand for lumber is also set to get a seasonal boost. “Spring is the time when U.S. housing starts get into high gear,” said Phil Flynn, senior market analyst at Price Futures Group.

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Safety in Forestry Industry Focus of Upcoming Conference

By Greg Fry
250 News
February 28, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West


Prince George, B.C. – The third annual Interior Safety Conference is coming back to Prince George in May. Hosted by the BC Forest Safety Council, the theme this year is “Leading Safety – Building Strong Supervisors” and will include sessions on building stronger teams, communicating with different generations of workers, and managing fatigue at work. Gerard Messier, manager of program development with the BC Forest Safety Council, says it will also focus on steep slope logging. “We will look at everything from how to make chip haul trucks more fuel efficient to equipment on steep slopes.” He says the main conference will take place Saturday, May 27, and says they’re also looking at running a shorter event a day earlier.

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Curbing Raw Log Exports, Boosting Manufacturing Jobs Require More Than Just Rhetoric

By The United Steelworkers
Canada Newswire
February 28, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

BURNABY, BC – Following the release of two Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives B.C. Office (CCPA-BC) research papers that show surging exports of raw, unprocessed logs in British Columbia, the United Steelworkers (USW) says that all stakeholders – the provincial government, industry and our workers – need to consider the best way to reduce the export of raw logs, increase domestic sawmilling and value-added manufacturing, while ensuring loggers continue to work in our local communities. “The issue isn’t old growth or second growth or moratoriums,” said USW District 3 Director Stephen Hunt. “The real issue is a decade of neglect by our provincial government of our forest industry to the point that we aren’t getting the maximum value added, and jobs, from our working forest.”

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Fire department responds to small fire at Tolko Sunday

By Monica Lamb-Yorski
Williams Lake Tribune
February 27, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

The Williams Lake fire department crews responded to a fire in the welding shop at the Tolko Lakeview mill Sunday. “We worked for a couple of hours on the outside and inside of a wall where the fire started, ripping part of it out to make sure the fire was extinguished,” said Deputy Fire Chief Rob Warnock, noting they were called to the fire, which was located across the highway from the fire hall, at 7:50 a.m. Mill manager Randy Chadney told the Tribune Monday it was a “pretty small fire” and had nothing to do with dust. “It was contained to the welding shop and there were no injuries,” Chadney said. “There was minimal damage and no impact to production.”

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Eacom expects new U.S. tariffs are inevitable

By Alan Hale
Timmins Daily Press
February 28, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

TIMMINS – Eacom Timber Corporation is hopeful that a new task force announced by the federal government last week will be able to dissuade the United States government from imposing stiff duties on Canadian softwood lumber exports. The forestry company, which operates a large sawmill in Timmins, is worried that the U.S. Lumber Coalition will succeed in its push for punitive fees on Canadian lumber… “We will know by the end of April. And it seems very likely that by May, Canadian companies will be paying duties,” said Leduc. 

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Economists predict slow growth for state, Great Falls

By Peter Johnson
Great Falls Tribune
February 28, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West


Slow is the forecast when it comes to Montana’s economy for 2017, continuing the trend seen in 2016.. …“The lumber prices are doing very well, there’s been some rebound in demand nationally, with better building rates,” he said. …Forest industry employment in Montana dropped in 2016, personal income for those employed in the industry fell and primary wood product sales dropped, reports BBER staff. Weyerhaeuser, which bought Plum Creek in 2016, closed two Montana mills and laid off 170 employees last year. Forces impacting Montana’s forest industry are: slow growing new home construction nationwide; the expired softwood lumber agreement between the U.S. and Canada; and longer term supply issues in Montana, reports the BBER staff.

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Resolute Forest to open doors in Plattsburgh

by Elizabeth Izzo
Sun Community News
February 28, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

PLATTSBURGH — Resolute Forest Products, a Montreal-based paper company, will soon open its principal United States office in Plattsburgh. The office opening will bring nearly 30 finance and customer service jobs to the area, according to North Country Chamber of Commerce President Garry Douglas. “This is a principal office of a global Canadian corporation, with 26 initial white collar jobs brought to New York,” Douglas said. Douglas said in a news release the chamber has been in talks with the corporation for over two years in hopes that Resolute Forest would open a satellite office in the area. “A friend put Resolute in touch with the Chamber two years ago,” Douglas said. “They were exploring the possibility of establishing a satellite of their Montreal corporate headquarters on the U.S. side of the border, and were focusing on Burlington, Vermont.”

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Maine logging firm claims bankruptcy looms as IRS investigates

By Darren Fishell
Bangor Daily News
February 28, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

PORTLAND, Maine — A federal court has ordered the Lyman-based T&D Timber Products to reunite an Oregon company with $2.2 million worth of timber mats after T&D’s owner claimed his company is under IRS investigation and on the verge of bankruptcy. The Portland, Oregon-based Totem Forest Products won a preliminary injunction against T&D earlier this week, ordering Totem be allowed to inspect the equipment it claims T&D has hidden. Totem filed the motion for an injunction after a text message exchange on Feb. 13 in which T&D owner Travis Stratton indicated that the company had filed for bankruptcy. Totem said T&D had not filed for bankruptcy as of Feb. 23 and a search of court records shows no corporate or personal filings.

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Invasive beetle from Asia threatens New York lumber exports to Asia

By Maury Thompson
The Post Star
February 28, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States


New York exports of ash wood, used in hard wood flooring, are unusually strong, said John Bartow, executive director of Empire State Forest Products Association. “The Asians can’t get enough ash. As fast as we can cut it, they’ll take it,” he said, in a recent telephone interview. The longevity of the market is threatened, however, by the Emerald ash borer, an invasive species. “In a few years we may not have any ash trees because of this bug which happened to come from Asia,” he said, referring to the shiny green beetle native to eastern Asia that feeds on ash trees. Bartow said Asian flooring and furniture makers like the color and quality of ash. “It’s a nice hard wood. It’s light colored so it’s bright. The desire for it is insatiable,” he said. Bartow said about 60 percent of hardwood in general cut in New York, not just ash, is exported overseas, primarily to Asia and some to western Europe.

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Labour shortages limiting forest contracting industry

By Forest Industry Contractors Association
Scoop.co.nz
March 1, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

The leading professional group for loggers in New Zealand says their members are being challenged by the lack of young skilled people available to work in rural areas, but the solution is not likely to be importing the people with skills. Forest Industry Contractors Association (FICA) president Ross Davis says a lack of good people with the right skills is now having a real impact in forest workplaces. Together, industry and government must re-look at how school leavers are being prepared for real employment and work together to improve funding and access to technology skills training. Davis says, “Our members have been working closely with some of the really practical technology institutes but we need more people with different skills from the past. Many more of our logging crews are using mechanised harvesters – providing a great workplace while at the same time making steep slope forest harvesting safer.”

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

BLOG: Alfred Waugh on Indigenuity in Architecture

Journal of Commerce
February 28, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

Alfred Waugh, the principal of Formline Architecture in Vancouver, presented the “Indigenuity in Architecture” session at the Wood Design and Solutions Conference held on Feb. 28 in downtown Vancouver. Waugh detailed the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology, based in Merrit, B.C., as the basis for his firm’s further work on wood projects. It was decided at first to have two separate entrances, but a First Nations elder pointed out “we’ve been going through separate entrances for 200 years” so the design changed to one large entrance, along with a circular space in the middle of the structure. Teepees were used in the Nicola Valley for hunting and fishing which are natural air funnels, and the climate elements of the building used that methodology as a design inspiration. Yellow cedar was also used in the building envelope.

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BLOG: Construction in the 21st century

Journal of Commerce
February 28, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

Hubert Rhomberg of Rhomberg Holding GmBH in Austria was the keynote speaker at the Wood Design and Construction Solutions Conference held on Feb 28. In Vancouver. His topic, “Construction in the 21st Century,” examined the big changes heading towards the industry. Rhomberg quoted a WWF report which said that if humanity keeps its current lifestyle, by 2030 two planets will be required. Construction, he said, is one of the biggest users of natural resources, and by using wood the ecological impact of construction can be lessened. “Every building is a prototype. No two are alike,” he said. But for over a millennium, we have been building in the same way, he added, and this is no longer a sustainable practice.

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BLOG: Seismically upgrading low-rise wood frame structures

Journal of Commerce
February 28, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

Lee Rowley, the principal for Nanaimo, B.C. based Herold Engineering Limited, headed up the “challenges and opportunities of seismically upgrading low-rise wood frame structures” session at the Wood Design and Construction Solutions Conference on Feb. 28 in Vancouver. Rowley is involved in the province of British Columbia’s school seismic upgrade program, and said low rise wood frame structures are considered to perform well in an earthquake, and upgrading them is typically cost effective. They are usually in good condition, but they have common deficiencies. But if they are not maintained properly, “they can go downhill pretty quickly,” Rowley said, and mechanical and electrical systems upgrades can vary tremendously.

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BLOG: Mid-rise timber building code changes in Australia

Journal of Commerce
February 28, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

Boris Iskra, the national manager for codes and standards for Forest and Wood Products Australia Ltd., was the presenter for the “Mid-rise timber buildings – Australia’s step-change” session at the Wood Design and Construction Solutions conference on Feb. 28 in Vancouver. Iskra focused on changes to the Australian construction code, which now allows wood-frame buildings up to eight stories high. Forest and Wood Products Australia (FWPA) is a service provider for the Australian timber industry, and while previously a government body are now a private company. Canada, Iskra said, has increased the height for timber construction to six storeys, and other nations have made similar moves. Australia was previously restrictd to three storeys, he said, and it was time to update the code.

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USDA Seeks Nominees for National Softwood Lumber Promotion Board

U.S. Department of Agriculture
February 28, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is seeking nominations to fill seven seats on the Softwood Lumber Board coming open in January 2018. The 19-member board will hold elections to fill the seats of directors whose terms expire on Dec. 31, 2017. The deadline for submitting nominations is March 13, 2017. Domestic manufacturers are being sought to fill four seats — two large companies representing the U.S. South region and two large companies representing the U.S. West region. Softwood lumber importers will fill three seats: one small company and one large company representing the Canada West region, and one small company representing the Canada East region. Each director will serve a three-year term, which may be renewed once.

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Martinsons commissions new CLT production line in Bygdsiljum, Sweden

Lesprom
February 28, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Martinsons is commissioning its new production line for cross-laminated timber (CLT) in Bygdsiljum, Sweden. This will increase the company’s production capacity for these construction components to a total of 22,000 m3 per year. “Demand is strong. There is a lot of construction going on throughout Sweden and CLT meets the need for efficient industrial construction with the lowest possible climate impact,” says CEO Lars Martinson. CLT consists of solid panels of planed spruce that are glued together, with every other layer being cross laid. It is often used in walls, floors and ceilings. Martinsons has so far manufactured panels with a width of 1.2 metres, but with the new line in Bygdsiljum will also be able to offer storey-high panels, with a width of 3 metres.

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Forestry

Audit of BC Timber Sales finds issues

BC Forest Practices Board
February 28, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

VICTORIA – An audit of the Okanagan Shuswap District portion of the BC Timber Sales (BCTS) Okanagan–Columbia Business Area has found compliance with most requirements of the Forest and Range Practices Act and the Wildfire Act, according to a report released today. “BCTS and timber sale licence holders complied with most requirements of the legislation,” said Tim Ryan, board chair. “Auditors did find that BCTS had errors in its reporting of silviculture activities in the government database. …“The audit also found that timber sale licence holders did not conduct required fire hazard assessments after logging,” said Ryan. “However, they removed all slash that could pose a fire hazard as a standard operating practice and so this issue is considered an area of improvement for the future.”

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B.C. Timber Sales’ error-riddled reporting deemed ‘non-compliant’ in audit

By Derrick Penner
The Vancouver Sun
February 28, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

B.C. Timber Sales’ Okanagan office made so many errors in required reporting on reforestation work that an audit by B.C.’s forestry watchdog deemed them non-compliant, according to a report released Tuesday. The B.C. Forest Practices Board audit found that on the ground, reforestation and silviculture work was meeting required objectives for its operations within the Okanagan Shuswap Natural Resource District, a 2.25-million-hectare region that stretches from the U.S. border to Salmon Arm. However, auditors found that almost 20 per cent of required entries into an information-tracking system contained minor errors, such as data-entry mistakes or were late submissions. “While the errors were administrative in nature, they were numerous and so the auditors considered this non-compliance significant,” Tim Ryan, chairman of the Forest Practices Board, said in releasing the audit results, which covered B.C. Timber Sales activities between June 1, 2015, and June 10, 2016.

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Petition to legislature critical of reduced backcountry access

By Lindsay Kines
Victoria Times Colonist
February 28, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

A battle over access to backcountry hiking, fishing and camping on Vancouver Island spilled into the B.C. legislature Monday with the Opposition accusing government of ignoring the public interest. Alberni-Pacific Rim NDP MLA Scott Fraser, who presented a petition with more than 6,000 signatures, said people trying to get into parks and recreation areas through private lands too often encounter locked gates. “People of Vancouver Island are being systematically prevented from accessing their backcountry, the areas that they’ve used as recreation — for hunting, fishing, birdwatching, mountain climbing,” he said. … Forests Minister Steve Thomson said the government recognizes the importance of public access to Crown land, but he said companies can temporarily close roads to private-managed forest land due to safety, operational or fire risks.

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Loggers finding few salvageable trees in wake of ferocious Fort McMurray wildfire

By Dan Healing
Canadian Press in CTV News
February 28, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

CALGARY — Wildfires that swept through the northern Alberta forest near Fort McMurray last May continue to frustrate loggers trying to harvest wood from trees killed by the fire before insects and rot make it unusable. The blaze, which destroyed 1,800 single family homes in the city, burned so hot as high winds pushed it through the dry forest that harvesters are finding only a third of the salvageable wood they expected to see. “This was a very intense burn, more intense that we’ve seen in previous fires,” said Cal Dakin, woodlands manager for Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries. The big pulp operator had expected to salvage more than two million cubic metres of wood from fire-ravaged areas this season and next, but Dakin said he now thinks it will recover less than 700,000 cubic metres.

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Act would expand Bob Marshall, open timber harvest

Daily Inter Lake
February 28, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., announced last week that he is introducing the Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act, a proposal that includes expanding the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex by 79,000 acres while opening up timber harvest and recreational use elsewhere in the region. Tester’s legislation is the result of a decade of collaboration between the timber industry, sportsmen organizations, ranchers and business owners. “The Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act is the perfect example of what happens when Montanans work together,” Tester stated in a press release. “This legislation will create jobs, strengthen the local economy and preserve our outdoor way of life for future generations.”

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Government commits to preserving 40-plus acres of former Weyerhaeuser land

By Raechel Dawson
Federal Way Mirror
February 28, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Government officials have partnered with North Lake residents to protect 45 acres of Industrial Realty Group’s land. The former-Weyerhaeuser campus, spanning 425 acres, has been a topic of controversy since summer 2016 when news broke of potential development on 19 acres of forested land. Richard Pierson, the chair of the Save Weyerhaeuser Campus’s conservancy committee, said, however, efforts to transfe land on the west side of North Lake into public ownership started about two years ago, when residents near the lake first learned Weyerhaeuser would be leaving Federal Way….Pierson said the property is second-growth forest with remnants of old growth. Trees were cut down in the early 1900s but grew back naturally.

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Enviros seeks to defend Cascade-Siskiyou expansion

By Mark Freeman
The Mail Tribune
February 27, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Environmental groups have filed petitions to allow them to defend last month’s expansion of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in federal court, saying they can’t rely on the federal agencies nor the Trump administration to defend their interests in keeping the expansion intact. The motions request to allow the Soda Mountain Wilderness Council and other groups to intervene and legally argue against two lawsuits seeking to scuttle the 47,624-acre expansion of the monument signed by President Barack Obama in his last week in office. …The environmental groups’ motions say their long history of advocating for monument lands may not be adequately protected in court because of the federal government’s “frequent reluctance” to protect O&C lands, “particularly following changes in political administration.”

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Logging, fire OK’d in insect infested forest

By Karl Puckett
Great Falls Tribune
February 28, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Bill Avey, supervisor of Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest, has OK’d a logging and prescribed fire plan on more than 2,000 acres in an area hard hit by mountain pine beetle north of White Sulphur Springs that he says will cut the risk of fire, make surviving trees less susceptible to bugs and allow dead timber to be harvested before it loses its value. “It’s not big from a landscape perspective, but it’s 2,100 acres of treatment to help manage forest resiliency,” Avey said. “We worked very closely with collaborative groups to listen to what their concerns were about the state of the forest and things we could be doing to ensure our forests are resilient, and we took all those things into account.” It’s called the Moose Creek Vegetation project, and it is located 20 miles north of White Sulphur Springs within the Moose Creek-Adams Creek area

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High School Students develop innovative wildfire prediction and prevention device using machine learning technique

By Aditya Shah
PRWeb
February 28, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

…Deeply concerned by the huge loss of our most precious forests, two California sophomores from Monta Vista High School, Cupertino Aditya Shah and Sanjana Shah designed and built a Smart Wildfire Sensor device that can sense, reason, and act to prevent wildfires. This device can be used in a synchronized network of sensors to predict and prevent wildfire in a forest. The device uses the machine-learning algorithm to identify volume and nature of biomass accumulated in a forest area. The device eliminates the need to physically visit forest areas to collect samples of dead fuels and classify them manually. The Smart Wild Fire sensors provide 92% accuracy in predicting fires.

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Forestry discussion groups launched in the southwest

By Claire McCormack
Irish Independent
March 1, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: International

A forestry pilot project in the southwest which is establishing discussion groups for woodland owners is being launched this week. The initiative is the brainchild of the Limerick and Tipperary Woodland Owners (LTWO) and aims, with the assistance of the Department of Agriculture, to develop the knowledge transfer group concept within the forestry sector. The pilot project involves 30 growers in Limerick and 30 in Tipperary. A qualified forester will be hired on contract to host the farm walks, advise the growers and act as a facilitator for the discussion group meetings. The project is being launched tomorrow in Hollyford, Co Tipperary by the Minister of State for Forestry, Andrew Doyle.

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