Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: May 2, 2017

Today’s Takeaway

Softwood respite, biomass and wildfire flare-up

Tree Frog Forestry News
May 2, 2017
Category: Today's Takeaway

A year after Fort McMurray, experts warn that more is needed to deal with the wildfire threat, “it’s only a matter of time before another community in Canada is ravaged“. And the insurance industry says “governments aren’t doing enough to prevent destructive blazes before they happen”. The US National Fire Center’s outlook has “above average wildfire risk for the southwest and southeast, but normal or below normal risk for the northwest states”.

A contentious biomass provision in a US federal government spending bill includes language requiring the government to “treat emissions from forest biomass as carbon neutral“. Not surprisingly, environmentalists say the rider “could lead to destructive practices”, while industry says “it’s a step in the right direction”.

Putting its money where its mouth is, StructureCraft is building North America’s first dowel laminated timber plant with “a variety of mass timber and engineered wood products including DLT, NLT, LSL and Glulam”.

Finally, a tongue-in-cheek story on how softwood lumber, fanny packs and crop tops are back. “It’s the ‘90s all over again. I had hoped I could tell the next generations about it with sighing nostalgia. How odd then to find myself sympathizing with President Trump. Both of us know nothing about softwood lumber, have likely been briefed on it and are fudging the answer.”


— Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Business & Politics

Sawmills in Quebec and Ontario generating oversupply of wood chips

By Wood Resources International
Canadian Biomass Magazine
May 1, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada

Sawmills in Eastern Canada have been running at record high levels in 2016, with production reaching levels almost 10 per cent higher than in 2015 and almost 40 per cent higher than five years ago. This has been very good news to the forest industry, with sawmills running at 97 per cent operating rates in late 2016, according to the WWPA. However, there are also worrisome developments regarding the large volumes of residual chips that are being generated and where the chips can be sold. The pulp sector has been the key consumer of residuals in the past, but with a shrinking pulp industry in both Ontario and Quebec, there are concerns that sawmills in the region might be forced to limit production levels because it may be difficult to sell off the large volumes of chips that are being produced.

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Norbord Reports First Quarter 2017 Results; Increases Variable Dividend Level

By Norbord Inc.
Canada Newswire
May 2, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada

TORONTO – Norbord Inc. (TSX and NYSE: OSB) today reported Adjusted EBITDA of $103 million for the first quarter of 2017 versus $61 million in the first quarter of 2016 and $115 million in the fourth quarter of 2016. The year-over-year improvement is primarily due to higher North American OSB prices and shipment volumes, while the quarter-over-quarter decrease is due to higher resin prices and the timing of annual maintenance shuts and related costs. North American operations generated Adjusted EBITDA of $102 million compared to $53 million in the same quarter last year and $108 million in the prior quarter. European operations delivered Adjusted EBITDA of $6 million versus $10 million in both comparative quarters.

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Catalyst Paper announces senior executive appointments

Catalyst Paper
May 1, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Richmond, (BC) – Catalyst Paper today announced two senior executive appointments. Edward (Ned) Dwyer is appointed Chief Operating Officer and will oversee the company’s five manufacturing operations in Canada and the United States. Mr. Dwyer, who brings more than 30 years of experience in the pulp and paper sector to his new role, has a strong track record for successfully leading operational and performance improvements. … Om Bhatia is appointed Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer. Mr. Bhatia has more than 15 years of experience in the financial services sector and previously held a progression of senior positions in the pulp and paper industry.

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‘Business as usual’ for Sundre Forest Products

By Simon Ducatel
Sundre Roundup
May 2, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West


Despite the protectionist policy pursued by the new U.S. administration, which recently announced its intention to impose tariffs on Canada’s softwood lumber trade, Sundre Forest Products plans to proceed “business as usual,” said its general manager. “Leading up to this unfortunate announcement, West Fraser has been preparing itself accordingly for this potential,” said Bruce Alexander. “As such, at a local level we are business as usual going forward.” …”It is very unfortunate that this trade dispute between Canada and the U.S. continues. The U.S. Lumber Coalition believes that Canadian lumber is subsidized. This belief is false and wholly without merit,” said Alexander. “The countervailing duty imposed on the Canadian industry is unwarranted and West Fraser stands ready to assist the Government of Canada in pursuing a fair trade agreement.” 

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‘This is just one more blow’: Softwood lumber dispute could hurt Northern Sask forestry firms Saskatoon

By Alex MacPherson
Saskatoon StarPhoenix
May 1, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

After almost 40 years, Canada and the U.S. have failed to find a long-term solution for a dispute over softwood lumber. Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School director and forestry policy expert Jeremy Rayner spoke with The StarPhoenix about the newly-reignited dispute and what it means for Saskatchewan. …Question: What could that mean for Saskatchewan’s logging industry? Answer: It puts pressure on Canadian producers to become more competitive. There’s usually a round of investment in the best-positioned mills and marginal mills tend to close. This of course is one of the very paradoxical parts of the softwood lumber dispute: It constantly fine-tunes the Canadian industry to become one of the most efficient, if not the most efficient, in the world. Once the agreement is made and the duties are off, we’re in an even better position to compete. 

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BC Lumber Trade Council president gets tough on softwood duties

Business in Vancouver
May 1, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

On the latest show, BC Lumber Trade Council president Susan Yurkovich discusses the industry response to American softwood lumber duties. [Audio]

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Softwood lumber is back to confuse us once more

By Vicky Mochama
Metro News
May 1, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Like fanny packs, crop tops and Jeff Goldblum’s career, trade conflagrations over softwood lumber with our American neighbours are back. It’s the ‘90s all over again… Growing up… it seemed to me that Peter Mansbridge was positively obsessed with softwood lumber. Back then, I did not understand what it was about but I, along with the rest of the nation, breathed a sigh of relief when Canada and the United States announced a resolution to the long-standing dispute in 2006. The softwood lumber squabble was, I had hoped, something I could tell the next generations about with sighing nostalgia… I would sigh, “Yes, and once upon a time, we made things with trees and we got into a fight with the United States about trees. We called it the softwood lumber dispute.” With the deadpan boredom of children, they’d ask, “What’s softwood lumber?” I don’t think I can answer that question… How odd then to find myself sympathizing with President Trump. Both of us know nothing about softwood lumber, have likely been briefed on it and are fudging the answer.

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Liberal stance on softwood subsidy ignores U.S. ruling’s words

By Jacques Poitras
CBC News
May 2, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

A 17th-century British politician once said an ambassador is “an honest gentleman sent abroad to lie for his country.” In the diplomatic war of words over U.S. softwood lumber tariffs, the Gallant Liberals haven’t accurately described what the Trump administration’s preliminary decision said last week. “To me, what it demonstrates is that the New Brunswick businesses are not being subsidized,” Premier Brian Gallant said last Tuesday. …There’s just one problem with their logic: that’s not what the Trump administration is “demonstrating” or “recognizing” at all. “What the Department of Commerce found in the preliminary determination is that there are subsidies in Canada,” said Washington-based international trade lawyer Yohai Baisburd. That includes New Brunswick.

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How Financially Strong Is Tembec Inc?

By Bryson Sharp
Simply Wall St
May 1, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

While small-cap stocks, such as Tembec Inc (TSX:TMB) with its market cap of USD $216 Million, are popular for their explosive growth, investors should also pay heed to their balance sheet to judge whether the company can survive a downturn. Why is it important? A major downturn in the energy industry has resulted in over 150 companies going bankrupt and has put more than 100 on the verge of a collapse, primarily due to excessive debt. …For Tembec the ratio of operating cash flow to overall debt stands at 23.1%. That means Tembec’s core operations. …While Tembec falls short on the interest coverage, it does well in terms of generating a healthy amount of cash. But given its debt load, there are questions surrounding it’s overall financial strength, and at the present time it does not pass all basic checks in my list.

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Port Hawkesbury Paper eyeing diversification opportunities

By Anne Farries
The Chronicle Herald
May 1, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

Bottled water didn’t work. Maybe sea bass will. With the price of its glossy printing paper falling and an ongoing battle against American countervailing duties, the Port Hawkesbury mill continues to try to diversify. “The price of paper is going in the wrong direction (but) no one wants to shut the mill down,” Mark Dube, development manager for Port Hawkesbury Paper, said Friday. “(Meanwhile) we’ve got a legal team in the States that costs us more than $2 million a year.” “We need to diversify and we need to do it quickly.” New products are not going to replace the paper the mill produces, but they will help keep the mill sustainable, Dube said. The mill has hired experts to test new products, including wood-based alternatives to petrochemicals, and another that is hot off the cylinders: paper bags and heat-resistant sandwich wrappers, the kind that McDonald’s and Subway burn through by the hundreds of thousands daily.

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Tembec reports financial results for its second fiscal quarter

By Tembec Inc.
Canada Newswire
May 2, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

MONTREAL – Consolidated sales for the three-month period ended March 25, 2017, were $387 million, as compared to $380 million in the same quarter a year ago. The Company generated net earnings of $24 million or $0.24 per share in the March 2017 quarter compared to net earnings of $27 million or $0.27 per share in the March 2016 quarter. The prior year quarter included a non-cash gain of $27 million related to the translation of US dollar denominated debt. The March 2017 quarter includes a non-cash debt translation gain of $7 million. Operating earnings before depreciation, amortization and other items (adjusted EBITDA) was $54 million for the three-month period ended March 25, 2017, as compared to adjusted EBITDA of $36 million a year ago and adjusted EBITDA of $34 million in the prior quarter.

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The downside of a timber tariff

By the Editorial Board
The Bend Bulletin
May 2, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

Unless something changes, this fall the United States will begin charging Canadian lumber producers a roughly 20 percent tariff on average on their lumber sold in this country. It’s the latest move in a dispute that goes back decades, and while it may mean new jobs for some, it’s likely to have a serious downside in Oregon. …Assuming the tariff actually is put in place, it might just mean more money for private U.S. timber suppliers. It is also likely to mean higher home prices. CNBC estimates that, on average, the tariff could add more than $1,200 to each new U.S. home. That’s bad news for the West, which already has the highest average home prices in the country.

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Area businessmen think the region will handle timber tariff

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
May 1, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

Last week, President Donald Trump said he planned on issuing a tariff on lumber imported from Canada… On Monday the Department of Commerce issued a preliminary decision to collect duties on softwood imported from a number of Canadian companies. Despite the volume of timber in the Monadnock Region, and the number of people employed locally in that industry, business leaders are not predicting a big shift in costs or supply. “The softwood lumber market has been depressed for a long time, so in my estimation it’s more hype than it is consequence,” Jack Belletete, president of Belletetes Building Product Specialists, based in Jaffrey, and its subsidiaries Ashland Lumber and A&B Lumber and Barns, said.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

North America’s first dowel laminated timber plant underway

By Karen M. Koenig
Woodworking Network
May 1, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

ABBOTSFORD, B.C. – Construction is underway at StructureCraft for the building of North America’s first dowel laminated timber plant. The 50,000-square-foot facility in Abbotsford, British Columbia, is expected to be completed in August. Dowel laminated timber (DLT) can be used for floor, wall, and roof structures. Unlike other structural timber products, such as CLT (cross laminated timber), LVL (laminated veneer lumber), GLT (glue laminated timber) and NLT (nail laminated timber), DLT does not use glue, nails or other metal fasteners, the company says. Instead, the wood panels use hardwood dowels to friction fit pre-milled boards together on edge. A variety of profiles can be integrated into the bottom surface of the DLT panel, StructureCraft Builders noted.

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Kumamoto touts its own timber for quake reconstruction

The Japan Times
May 1, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

KUMAMOTO – Local companies and municipal governments in Kumamoto Prefecture are accelerating moves to use locally produced wood to rebuild the houses and other facilities destroyed in last year’s massive earthquakes. Forests cover some 60 percent of Kumamoto, making the prefecture the fourth-largest wood producer among the 47 prefectures. But the quakes, including the magnitude-6.5 quake on April 14, 2016, and the magnitude-7.3 main temblor two days later, dealt a heavy blow to Kumamoto’s forestry industry, partly because numerous mountain slopes collapsed… Some 4,300 temporary houses were built in the prefecture, including 683 made of wood. Cedar and cypress produced in Kumamoto were used for the floors and beams.

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University building a timber-technology first for New Zealand

University of Canterbury
May 2, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

The University of Canterbury has signed a contract with Dominion Constructors for a state-of-the-art building in the University’s new Science precinct that will push the boundaries of multi-storey timber-framed construction in New Zealand. Vice-Chancellor Dr Rod Carr says he is proud the latest Science precinct building will be built using innovative timber technology that the University’s academic researchers developed and are teaching UC Engineering students to use. “The University of Canterbury has always been at the forefront of using timber as a building material, and this building presents the opportunity to showcase the innovation developed at the centre of our own campus,” Dr Carr says. ..“This is leading edge construction. Buildings already exist that use some of this technology, but this will be the very first multi-storey, all timber ‘moment’-framed building in New Zealand, and potentially in the world.”

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Forestry

A year after Fort McMurray experts warn more needed deal with wildfire threat

By John Cotter
Canadian Press in Edmonton Journal
May 1, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Experts warn it is only a matter of time before another community in Canada is ravaged by a sudden intense wildfire similar to the one that hit Fort McMurray. And the insurance industry says governments aren’t doing enough to prevent destructive blazes before they happen. In recent years, other big wildfires have caused extensive damage in Kelowna, B.C., and Slave Lake, Alta., or seriously threatened communities, including La Ronge, Sask., and Timmins, Ont. “These were not one-offs. It is not a fluke,” says Mike Flannigan, a professor of wildland fire at the University of Alberta. “It is going to happen again.” Natural Resources Canada says climate change is expected to result in more frequent forest fires that have severe consequences. The area burned could double by the end of the century compared with recent decades.

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US wildfire risk is above average for southwest, Florida

By Kimberlee Kruesi
Associated Press in Washington Post
May 1, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

BOISE, Idaho — Wildfires this summer are expected to be most severe in southwestern U.S. states, Florida, Georgia and in some parts of California and Nevada, forecasters said Monday. The summer 2017 fire outlook issued by the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise also said heavy winter snow and spring rains that flooded many Western states will probably delay the onset of this season’s worst wildfires. “In the broadest sense, some parts of the country with higher elevation could see a lighter fire year,” said Ed Delgado, the office’s head of predictive services. “In other parts, there may not be a huge risk right now but things could dry out really quickly.” The threat of wildfires is expected to be normal or below normal for northwestern states, Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Wyoming and most of Utah.

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The future of the forest: the spruce beetle Part 1

By Kasey Kershner
KRDO
May 2, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West


A deadly epidemic is threatening millions of trees throughout the state of Colorado, and the culprit, is smaller than a grain of rice. We all remember the mountain pine beetle that devastated forests all over the nation over the last few decades. Experts say the outbreak of that bug is slowing down, but here in Colorado, there’s a threat taking over. This tiny bug, just a quarter inch in size, is commonly known as the spruce beetle, and it’s ravaging millions of trees right now. In our region, the spruce trees in the Waugh mountain area west of Cañon City. Colorado State Forester Aaron Rector showed us around the forest and gave us the cold hard facts about millions of trees in the state. “When it’s been pretty much a monoculture of spruce were seeing 80 upwards of 90 percent infestation rates on everything above 5 inches diameter class. That is pretty unprecedented,” said Rector.

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Wildfire Collaborative Works on Central Idaho Forest Plan

Associated Press in U.S. News & World Report
May 1, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

STANLEY, Idaho — A group of city, county and federal stakeholders has unveiled a plan to thin thousands of acres of forest in central Idaho to cut down on wildfires in the region. The Sawtooth Valley Wildland Fire Collaborative released details for several thinning projects last week aimed at getting rid of dead lodgepole pine trees. Bark beetles have caused significant damage to forests in the region in recent years, leaving dead and dying trees that elevate the risk of wildfires.

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Oregon School Boards Threaten Lawsuit Over Elliott State Forest Revenue

By Rob Manning
Oregon Public Broadcasting
May 1, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

The Oregon School Boards Association is threatening to sue the State Land Board over plans for the Elliott State Forest. That message came through clearly in a three-page letter sent to the State Land Board’s three members: Democrats Gov. Kate Brown and State Treasurer Tobias Read and Republican Secretary of State Dennis Richardson. The Elliott State Forest is required by law to generate money for public schools, but it’s been losing money for years….“The State Land Board’s duty is to maximize the financial return from [Common School Fund forest] lands for the benefit of the Common School Fund,” the letter quotes from Attorney General guidance. Ultimately, the letter informs the State Land Board that schools may sue if plans fall short of the fiscal responsibility to fund education.

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Pressure mounting on federal government to review leadbeater’s possum protection

By Rob Harris
Herald Sun
May 1, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: International

PRESSURE is mounting on the federal government to review the protection of Victoria’s leadbeater’s possum amid a campaign to save thousands of jobs in the timber industry. The Herald Sun can reveal a fresh independent study is likely to be commissioned into the possum’s population numbers and habitat, which could force the Department of Environment to revisit the status of the state’s fauna emblem. The Australian Forest Products Association has also formally nominated the creature’s listing to be reviewed, amid its claims the possum is more numerous and occupies a wider habitat range than previously understood. But new studies — from both volunteers and forestry sponsored groups — are claiming the possum is more resilient, adaptable and populous than previously thought.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

2 contentious air provisions hitch ride on omnibus

By Hannah Hess and Sean Reilly
E&E News
May 1, 2017
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States

The broad fiscal 2017 spending bill released overnight includes contentious language to require the federal government to treat emissions from forest biomass as carbon neutral. It calls on U.S. EPA to work with the departments of Energy and Agriculture to align biomass policies that reflect “the carbon-neutrality of forest bioenergy.”… Environmentalists say the rider ignores carbon dioxide emissions released by power plants that burn wood, and that boosting bioenergy would mean cutting down more trees in the United States and set an example for rainforest nations that could lead to destructive practices… Advocates for paper and wood product manufacturers say most of their power comes from burning sawdust and other residual manufacturing materials, thereby avoiding CO2 emissions… “Our member facilities use every part of the raw materials in the manufacture of wood products and to generate the energy needed to do so,” said American Wood Council President and CEO Robert Glowinski. 

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Researchers find more efficient way to make oil from dead trees

By Michelle Ma
Phys.org
May 2, 2017
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

The mountain pine beetle has destroyed more than 40 million acres of forest in the western United States. That amounts to an area the size of Washington state that is strewn with conifers left for dead. …A University of Washington team has made new headway on a solution to remove beetle-killed trees from the forest and use them to make renewable transportation fuels or high-value chemicals. The researchers have refined this technique to process larger pieces of wood than ever before ? saving time and money in future commercial applications. They published their methods last month in the journal Fuel. “We came up with a different way of converting wood into oil—that’s really the main accomplishment of this project,” said senior author Fernando Resende, a UW assistant professor of bioresource science and engineering in the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences.

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