Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: May 5, 2017

Today’s Takeaway

Enter lignocellulosic biomass—formerly known as wood

Tree Frog Forestry News
May 5, 2017
Category: Today's Takeaway

“The Forever Debate” on whether burning wood for electricity is a good idea or not is in the news again but with a twist—a story on how Canadian governments and industry are “reviving the oldest fuel—wood—for a natural gas substitute” and billing it as a “new-age environmental language that drops the old four-letter word”

Logger woes” are front and centre at the Interior Logging Association’s Conference this week in Vernon. According to ILA GM Wayne Lintott, “for the first time in years there are sold stickers on some of the highest priced equipment before the trade show has even opened”.

The Endangered Canada lynx may be thriving in New Brunswick as a “result of forestry practices that are creating young forests here and there”, which is ideal habitat for its prey, “the snowshoe hare“, according a manager of risk and conservation. And Avatar Grove may have some anthropomorphic competition with the Ancient Forest Alliance’s nicknaming of an old-growth forest on Vancouver Island – “Jurassic Grove”. No surprise, their end-goal is to have it officially named “Jurassic Park“.

And here’s who is speaking out on Softwood Lumber today:

  • New Tariff on Canadian Lumber Could Make Buying a Home Even More Expensive (Clair Trapasso, Realtor.com)
  • Trump’s tough stance on softwood complicates future for northern BC reserve (George Baker, CBC News)
  • Small Canadian lumber companies brace for retroactive fees (Chelsea Novak, Castlegar News)
  • U.S. bed frame and cedar companies plead for exemptions to softwood duties (Ross Marowits, Canadian Press)
  • Shedding Light on the Canadian-Softwood Tariff (Dave Mance, Northern Woodlands)
— Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Business & Politics

Canadian National Railway Reports Record Volumes, but 2 Important Things Bear Watching

By Jason Hall
Motley Fool
May 5, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada

When Canadian National Railway reported its first-quarter results on April 24, they were more of the same excellent results investors have gotten used to… CN, as it is commonly known, saw carloadings increase 9% with growth coming from all but two of its customer segments, and rail ton-miles increase 14%. However, higher fuel costs — up 46% from last year — and tariffs on a major Canadian export — wood products — are set to impact the company’s results for the rest of the year. Over the past couple of years, shipments of Canadian lumber and other forest products have been a source of solid revenue and growth for CN. And with U.S. new home construction set to continue growing in a solid economy with strong demand, this is an industry CN has been counting on to be a source of stable growth in the near future… However, recent trade actions by the Trump administration could put the brakes on that, at least for the short term… Even with challenges, management sees a big year ahead

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New Tariff on Canadian Lumber Could Make Buying a Home Even More Expensive

By Clair Trapasso
Realtor.com
May 4, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

What do a new tariff on Canadian softwood lumber and rising U.S. home prices have in common? More than many American home buyers might realize… The National Association of Home Builders estimates builders are going to spend about $3,600 more on lumber to construct a new home. That will price more than 525,000 households out of the new-home market, the group estimates. It’s also likely to drive those buyers into the existing-home market, which is experiencing its own shortage. And that could spur rising prices to new heights. “It’s a big deal,” NAHB’s chief economist, Robert Dietz, says of the tariff… “Ultimately, you’re looking at a trade policy that will be paid for by U.S. home buyers and remodeling U.S. homeowners,” Dietz says… It’s not just cash-strapped first-time buyers who likely will be hurt the most by the increased costs. Buyers planning to custom-build the homes of their dreams and homeowners hoping to tackle large remodeling jobs will also take a hit. 

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Trump comments fire up Kootenay lumber industry

By Will Johnson
Nelson Star
May 4, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

They’re getting used to his rhetoric. When Ken Kalesnikoff first heard news that President Donald Trump had called the softwood lumber agreement between Canada and the U.S. a “disgrace,” promising to come down hard on the lumber industry with a 20 per cent tariff, he just shook his head. “I think people are starting to get immune to Trump’s comments, because he keeps making them and they don’t always hold water. He always seems to be antagonistic,” the president of Kalesnikoff Lumber told the Star. …Former Mayor John Dooley, who is also the community liaison for ILMA, feels the important thing to focus on during this controversy is lobbying the provincial government “to make sure the federal government is taking the best interests of the lumber industry into consideration.” “They have to create fairness and stability,” Dooley said.

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Trump’s tough stance on softwood complicates future for northern B.C. reserve

By George Baker
CBC News
May 4, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Canada’s trade stand-off with the United States over softwood lumber has already cost jobs on a small First Nations reserve in northwest British Columbia. Moricetown’s Kyahwood Forest Products sells finger joint spruce and pine wood lumber to buyers in Texas. But stiff tariffs leveled by U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration last week could shut down the mill and send 61 employees onto the unemployment line. So far, seven employees have lost their full-time jobs. More cuts could be on the way. “It’s a no-win situation for the community members that we had to tell that they were going to be put on call,” said the mill’s general manager, Gary MacKinnon. Kyahwood has sold its lumber products to Texas buyers for 20 years.

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Interfor Reports Q1’17 Results

By Interfor Corporation
MarketWired
May 4, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Vancouver, BC – Interfor Corporation (TSX:IFP) recorded net earnings in Q1’17 of $19.7 million, or $0.28 per share, compared to $26.6 million, or $0.38 per share in Q4’16 and $0.8 million, or $0.01 per share in Q1’16. Adjusted net earnings1 (which takes into account the effects of share-based compensation expense and non-recurring items) in Q1’17 were $22.7 million or $0.32 per share, compared to $17.7 million, or $0.25 per share in Q4’16 and $2.7 million, or $0.04 per share in Q1’16. Adjusted EBITDA was $60.3 million on sales of $456.8 million in Q1’17 versus $51.3 million on sales of $442.3 million in Q4’16.

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Tolko tax concession debated

By Richard Froese
The South Peace News
May 4, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West


Plans to re-open the Tolko OSB plant in High Prairie are moving forward with support from the town and county. Possible steps to create tax incentives were discussed at the April 21 Inter-municipal committee meeting with the Town of High Prairie and Big Lakes County. “We are pleased with the Alberta government’s decision to extend the existing Tolko High Prairie forest management agreement for five years,” states a letter dated April 6 to the town and county signed by Brad Thorlakson, president and CEO of Tolko Industries Ltd. “This is great news and I would like to thank you for your ongoing support. “As you know, this was a major step necessary to enable a restart of the High Prairie OSB plant.” Tax incentives are being considered by county council under regulations in the Municipal Government Act.

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New $85-million wood-pellet plant announced west of Edmonton

By Gordon Kent
Edmonton Journal
May 4, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

A B.C. company plans to start construction this summer on an $85-million plant in Parkland County that will produce wood pellets as a greener form of fuel. Pinnacle Renewable Energy Inc. intends to build the facility near the CN Rail line outside Entwistle, 100 kilometres west of Edmonton, according to a news release. It will be the first plant the Richmond, B.C.-based company has put up in Alberta and is expected to employ about 70 people when it starts operating next spring. The high-heat, low-ash pellets are typically burned for home, institutional or industrial heating, used for animal bedding or turned into fuel for electricity generation. One of Pinnacle’s biggest clients is Britain’s largest single-site coal power plant, which brings them in to cut its greenhouse gas emissions.

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Christy Clark at odds with Ottawa on approach to lumber dispute

By Shawn McCarthy, Ian Bailey and Wendy Stueck
The Globe and Mail
May 4, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Canada is looking to settle the softwood-lumber dispute with the United States “peacefully, through negotiations,” a federal minister says, taking a measured tone in contrast to the combative position of campaigning Liberal Leader Christy Clark, who has promised to retaliate by banning or taxing thermal coal moving through B.C. ports. A negotiated settlement “is the only way that we can in the long term come to terms with this repeating irritant, that is as a result of the United States repeatedly imposing punitive, and we believe unfair, tariffs against the Canadian industry,” Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr told a Commons committee on Thursday… Most of the thermal coal that passes through B.C. ports is from the United States, though some does come from Alberta. Ms. Clark has said she believes stopping thermal-coal exports is the right thing to do, but she’s made it clear the timing of her request is in direct response to the softwood dispute.

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Small Canadian lumber companies brace for retroactive fees

By Chelsea Novak
Castlegar News
May 4, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Smaller Canadian lumber companies will soon be required to cough up duties on lumber exported to the U.S. over the past 90 days. …The rates will be imposed on West Fraser Mills, Ltd., Resolute F.P. Canada, Inc., Tolko Marketing and Sales Ltd. and Tolko Industries Ltd., Canfor Corporation, J.D. Irving, Limited and “all others”, but only J.D. Irving and all other Canadian lumber companies are being charged retroactively. Ken Kalesnikoff, owner of Kalesnikoff Lumber in Thrums and board chair of the Interior Lumber Manufacturers’ Association (ILMA), isn’t sure why. “We don’t understand how a situation where four of the big companies that were being investigated are now exempted of that and everybody else in Canada has to pay,” he said. …“High-value products are taking a real hit right now, and that’s what a lot of companies in the ILMA rely on to be able to survive,” says Kalesnikoff.

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Stella-Jones hurt by decline in demand for railway ties

Canadian Press in the Montreal Gazette
May 4, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

Montreal-based Stella-Jones posted Thursday a decline in profit and revenue for the first quarter. The company generated a quarterly profit of $25.9 million or 37 cents per share, compared to $35 million or 51 cents per share at the same time last year. Its revenues declined from $421 million a year ago to $396.9 million this year. Stella-Jones explained in a news release that results for the first quarter of fiscal 2017 reflect “as expected” a decrease in volume and a decline in selling prices in the category of railway ties. Railway tie sales were $158.5 million, compared to $ 200.3 million in the first quarter last year. Utility pole sales were $151 million, up 14.5 per cent from $131.8 million last year. Sales in the residential lumber category totalled $38.6 million compared to $41.9 million a year earlier.

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Resolute Forest CEO says job cuts ‘unavoidable’ as it faces two U.S. trade disputes

By Ross Marowits
Canadian Press in the Globe and Mail
May 4, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

Quebec paper and lumber producer Resolute Forest Products expects it will have to cut jobs soon as it faces U.S. trade actions on two fronts. “It is unavoidable in my opinion because of the disruption in the market,” CEO Richard Garneau said Thursday in an interview after disclosing weaker first-quarter results. The Montreal-based company has deposited $43-million with the U.S. Department of Commerce for 17.87 per cent duties imposed in November 2015 on imports of supercalendered paper which is mainly used in magazines, catalogues, corporate brochures and advertising inserts. The annual cost of duties is about $25-million (U.S.). It also expects to pay $17-million (U.S.) this year and $50-million annually for countervailing lumber duties. Garneau said fighting both trade actions is very disruptive.

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U.S. bed frame and cedar companies plead for exemptions to softwood duties

By Ross Marowits
Canadian Press in the Victoria Times Colonist
May 4, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States

MONTREAL — Several American companies that rely on Canadian softwood say thousands of American jobs are at risk unless the U.S. Department of Commerce exempts them from hefty duties imposed on imported softwood lumber. The U.S. owners of three bed-frame makers and a company that transforms yellow cedar into high-end products have appealed to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to be exempted from 20 per cent average countervailing duties and impending anti-dumping charges on Canadian imports. Without a dispensation, the companies said they would be forced to substantially raise prices, risking lower sales and job losses. “Disruptions, even if temporary, will eliminate jobs in the U.S. and damage the financial stability of the U.S. mattress manufacturing base,” wrote Stephen McLaughlin, vice-president global sourcing for Kentucky-based Tempur-Pedic.

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How The 20 Percent Tariff On Canadian Softwood Lumber Could Impact Idaho

By Frankie Barnhill
Boise State Public Radio
May 4, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

The Trump Administration recently announced a 20 percent tariff on Canadian softwood lumber exports….“American companies are arguing that the Canadian government isn’t charging enough for the wood,” says Latta, “and that gives Canadian lumber companies kind of an unfair competitive advantage over American companies.” But Latta says it’s more complicated than that. One reason is that British Columbia flooded the lumber market over the last few years after dealing with a huge die-off of trees infested by bark beetles… “The demand for lumber isn’t going to change. But the supply of lumber is going to be reduced because of this Canadian tariff. So when the supply is reduced, the price increases. So people are willing to pay more for lumber because there’s less of it around.”

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There’s nothing old-fashion about manufacturing

By Todd Payne, president and chief executive officer, The Seneca Family of Companies
The Register-Guard
May 2, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

The term manufacturing often brings to mind manual labor, loud-hot-dirty working environments, and a career with very little to no growth opportunity. Today, nothing could be furthest from the truth. Locally, manufacturing makes up a large part of our employment base. Let’s take the wood products industry, for example. A cornerstone of our community for more than a century, the evolution from manual and mechanical to high-tech and futuristic has been nothing short of amazing. New wood products such as cross laminated timber (CLT) or other mass timber products are helping to resurrect a large movement in green building, especially in tall buildings where concrete and steel have dominated. …Looking to the future, nanotechnology will become an everyday household term. Wood fibers smaller than a human hair will be used to make a vast array of products from paper and packaging, food, health, the automotive sector, construction, sensors and electronics.

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Tacoma Lumber company’s hard lesson: If you pollute, you pay

By the Editorial Board
The News Tribune
May 4, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

Don’t look for Tacoma’s Manke Lumber Company to win any good neighbor awards this year. The company’s numerous violations have grabbed the attention of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. A complaint filed in federal court alleges the 50-year-old company has been sending polluted water into the Hylebos Waterway since at least 2012 without a proper permit. Calling Manke to the mat for violating the Clean Water Act is the right move. It’s also reassuring to see EPA regulators flexing a little muscle, especially after President Donald Trump’s repeated hints about deregulation and his blaming environmental laws for blocking manufacturing and killing jobs. It’s too bad a family-owned local business has shown such disregard for managing polluted runoff. We want to root for a company that employs 400 Pierce County workers at a time of cuts and consolidation in the forest-products industry.

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Challenges to hardwoods industry discussed at hearing

By Fran Delancey
Bradford Era
May 4, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

The State House Committee on Agriculture and Rural Affairs, chaired by Rep. Martin Causer, met Wednesday at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford with leaders of the Pennsylvania hardwoods industry to discuss challenges facing that sector of the economy. “Today’s meeting offered a great opportunity for lawmakers from other parts of the state to gain a better understanding about the impact of the forest products industry, not only here in the northern tier, but across the Commonwealth,” Causer said. “That understanding is vital as we move forward and look at policy changes necessary to help the industry reach its full potential.” …Wayne Bender, executive director of the Pennsylvania Hardwoods Development Council, pointed to statewide economic impact, saying, “While most of the state’s hardwoods are harvested in north central and northwestern Pennsylvania, it is the southeastern counties of Lancaster, York, Montgomery and Philadelphia with the highest number of jobs in this industry.”

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Shedding Light on the Canadian-Softwood Tariff

By Dave Mance
Northern Woodlands
May 5, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

Lumber was in the news this week as the Trump administration announced that we’re going to levy a tariff on Canadian softwood… So we took a scattershot approach and tried to cover all the bases…. But U.S. mills are happy, right? Jeff Easterling, President of the Northeastern Lumber Manufacturers Association, says this is “a good thing for the industry in the Northeast.” He added that the mills in Maine definitely have the capacity to capture more market share… Wall Street also thinks it’s good: a stock analysis by a major bank that was circulated weeks before the announcement suggested that the lumber market was already pricing-in potential duties of around 20-30 percent and their sense was that there was “more room for prices to run.” Their guess was that a tariff between 20-30 percent would make Canada significantly less competitive in the U.S. market, and that imports would pull back sharply. According to the briefing, every two percentage points of market share that Canada cedes would be worth 1 billion board feet of market potential for U.S. producers.

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Tasmanian forest industry growth plan released, as Labor asks ‘why no fanfare’?

By Emilie Gramenz
ABC News, Australia
May 5, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

The influential Ministerial Advisory Council (MAC) on Forestry has delivered its growth strategy for the industry to the Tasmanian Government — highlighting the growth in private plantation resources, and reinforcing the industry’s future as one led by the private sector. The plan, delivered to the Government in March, predicts the most significant growth in private plantation forests — which already provide more than half of Tasmania’s annual wood harvest. …The Advisory Council plan said growth would be contingent on ensuring the Forestry Tasmania was “financially stable, commercially-focused and fully compensated for all community flow-on benefit”. It also recommends an “understanding of the environmental, social and economic implications, prior to any decision of Parliament on changes to the production forest estate (increases or decreases)”.

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Forestry

BC logging truck drivers challenge political parties on promise to curb log exports

By Derrick Penner
Vancouver Sun
May 4, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The B.C. NDP and B.C. Green parties have put log exports into the spotlight of their respective election campaigns with promises to curb shipments abroad, which have soared over recent years, in favour of pressuring timber firms to process those logs at home. Sawmills have closed and jobs have been lost on the B.C. coast, but B.C. Truck Loggers Association executive director David Elstone argues that has more to do with reduced timber harvests than log exports and that curbing exports would cost even more jobs in his sector.

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An Orwellian path to fraud in BC’s forests

By Briony Penn
Focus on Victoria
May 4, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Former government forest scientist Andy MacKinnon … believes the threat to BC’s greatest public asset—tens of millions of hectares of forests—should be one of the election’s foremost issues. …This apparent loss of ability to properly manage BC’s forests isn’t just Green Party rhetoric. “We were hearing this from scientist after scientist,” says Katie Gibbs, one of the co-authors of an April 2017 report, Oversight at Risk: The State of Government Science in British Columbia. …Chief Forester Diane Nicholls told Focus: “The people of BC can have complete confidence in Allowable Annual Cut (AAC) determinations as they are based on robust complex analysis of many factors that pertain to timber supply and other forest values. The process that supports my AAC determinations is open to public and First Nations for review and comment. All documents generated, including a detailed description of how I arrived at my decision, are available online.”

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Newly discovered old-growth forest on Vancouver Island

By Isabelle Raghem
CHEK News
May 4, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The group that discovered the Avatar Grove nearly a decade ago, has located a grove of unprotected old-growth trees between Jordan River and Port Renfrew. “For now we’ve nicknamed the old-growth forest between Lines to Loss Creek as the ‘Jurassic Grove’, which will hopefully become ‘Jurassic Park’ one day if it is protected,” says the Ancient Forest Alliance Executive Director, Ken Wu. It is located along a 3 kilometer stretch alongside the 48 kilometre long Juan de Fuca Marine Trail Provincial Park, about a 20 minute drive south of Port Renfrew along highway 14. While most of the grove’s 130 hectares of old-growth is protected within a Marbled Murelet Wildlife Habitat Area, about 40 hectares is on unprotected Crown lands without any type of regulatory or legislated protection. “The worst fear is it gets logged. Right now there are no plans, but there could be in the future,”says Wu.

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Fight against Dutch elm disease reaching critical point in Winnipeg

By Matt Carty
Global News
May 3, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Winnipeg’s Urban Forestry Branch is having a tough time keeping up in their fight against dutch elm disease that has infected thousands of trees across the city. Dutch elm disease is a fungal disease that is spread by bark beetles, according to Tree Canada and crews are now being forced to cut down a significant portion of them in Winnipeg. But that task is proving to be a bit daunting. “We are not keeping up and that’s one of the big problems,” said Martha Barwinsky, the city’s forester. “We have about 1,400 trees remaining from last year and we have about 100 remaining trees from the 2015 season as well.” Barwinsky said another concern is the amount of trees infected each year, which continues to be steady.

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Logger woes could topple B.C.’s softwood lumber industry

By Lauren Pullen
Global News
May 4, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

It’s one of B.C.’s deep-rooted money makers, but there’re some big concerns about the future of the softwood lumber industry. … B.C.’s logging associations are meeting in Vernon to talk about the outlook of the industry and they’re specifically focusing on the struggles facing front-line contract workers. …Both the TLA and the Interior Logging Association (ILA) say contractors have quit the business. “It’s very hard for contractors,” Wayne Lintott, ILA general manager said. “Some of the guys logging now are making the same rate as they were 10 to 15 years ago.” Lintott is spearheading the Interior Logging Association’s 59th Annual Conference and Trade Show, which will take place in Vernon this weekend. It displays the latest technology and equipment for the industry. For the first time in years, Lintott said there are “sold” stickers on some of the highest priced equipment before the trade show has even opened, as contractors are trying to turn around as much lumber as they can in the the most cost-effective way.

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Sustainability concerns

By Darren Handschuh
Castanet
May 4, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Sustainability is a big concern for those in the logging industry. Hundreds of people in the forestry industry are in Vernon for the 59th annual Interior Logging Association convention and one of the topics of discussion will be contractor sustainability. “Timber harvesting contractors across this province are unable to be sustainable and that puts the entire forest industry at risk. They are the first link in the supply chain – without them, the rest of the industry grinds to a halt,” said David Elstone, Truck Loggers Association executive director. “This situation becomes even more serious within the context of the recently announced countervailing duties on Canadian softwood lumber exported to the US. The pressure on our industry to remain viable will increase.” Wayne Lintott, ILA general manager said “many of my members are not seeing a return on their investment. Timber harvesting requires high capital investment and my members take on a lot of risk. We need to level the playing field between licensees and contractors.”

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Endangered Canada lynx appears to be thriving in New Brunswick

By Shane Fowler
CBC News
May 5, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

What was once an incredibly rare species to glimpse in New Brunswick now appears to be thriving in the province. The Canada lynx was classified as an endangered species in New Brunswick in the early 1970s due to very low population numbers. Glimpsing one of the province’s biggest wild cats in the wilderness was considered a rarity, reserved only seasoned outdoorsmen. …Scientists can’t say with certainty why the Canada lynx appears to be doing so well in New Brunswick. …”The hare population appears to be on a bit of an upswing in the last few years,” said Gordon. “Our forestry practices are creating young forests here and there, and scattered around, so that’s probably affecting the dynamics of hare and creating good habitat for them as well. And the lynx should follow that.

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Meet the bark beetles

By Justin Criado
The Telluride News
May 4, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

The beetles are among us again, priming for their annual binge on tree bark. Unlike the plot of the horror movie “The Mummy,” in which insects protect mummy crypts by terrorizing people, humans in real life don’t have to worry about scarabs burrowing under their skin in search of sustenance. But several species of trees in the area do. That’s why the Ouray and Norwood ranger districts of the U.S. Forest Service have been treating bark beetle infestations in the Amphitheater Campground and Nagache day-use areas, near Ouray, and along the Jud Wiebe Trail in Telluride. Work has included harvesting dead and dying beetle-infested trees and placing bark-beetle-repelling “bubble caps” on trees. …Bubble caps contain MCH, which mimics the anti-aggregate pheromones of the Douglas-fir bark beetle, U.S. Forest Service silviculturist Todd Gardiner explained.

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Association of O&C Counties Presents Testimony on Cascade Siskiyou National Monument

The Association of O&C Counties
May 3, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West


BROOKINGS, ORE– The Association of O&C Counties (AOCC) presented testimony to a congressional panel on the expansion of the Cascade Siskiyou National Monument (CSNM). The House Natural Resources Committee’s Federal Lands Subcommittee held a hearing on May 2 to discuss national monuments designated without significant local input or support, or that included excessively large or restricted areas of land. AOCC informed the subcommittee that President Obama’s expansion of the monument offered no opportunity for the public to speak on the proposed expansion of the Cascade Siskiyou National Monument until October 2016. By then, the association says it was clear the administration was already committed to granting the request of environmental groups to expand the national monument. In addition to AOCC, both Jackson and Klamath Counties opposed the national monument’s expansion within their boundaries as did hundreds of private individuals and groups.

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US Senate approves budget, which includes land exchange

By Leila Kheiry
KRBD Ketchikan Radio
May 4, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

By a wide margin, the U.S. Senate on Thursday approved a spending plan to carry the government through the fall. The measure includes a provision to trade U.S. Forest Service land for land currently owned by the Alaska Mental Health Trust. The bill now heads to President Donald Trump for his signature. The land exchange will trade about 20,000 acres of federal land on Prince of Wales Island and in the Shelter Cove area for about 18,000 acres of Trust land, including Deer Mountain near Ketchikan and land above homes in Petersburg.

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Oregon Governor Releases Plan To Avoid Selling A State Forest

By Cassandra Profita
Oregon Public Broadcasting
May 4, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown released her proposal Thursday for keeping the Elliott State Forest in public ownership – rather than selling it to the highest bidder. The State Land Board tried to sell the forest near Oregon’s south coast at an appraised value of $220.8 million dollars. But last year’s sale process drew just one bidder — a partnership led by Lone Rock Timber and the Cow Creek Band of the Umpqua Indians. With just one bidder and environmental groups protesting the sale, Brown reconsidered and offered an alternative plan involving a $100 million state-backed bond. Thursday’s proposal is the latest variation of an idea she first presented in February.

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Oregon’s monuments need protection from logging

By Michael C. Blumm – Professor of Law at Lewis and Clark Law School
High Country News
May 4, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Late in his second term, former President Barack Obama expanded the 53,000-acre Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in southwest Oregon by about 48,000 acres, getting it closer in size to what scientists had recommended for years. …But all along, the original monument was clearly too small to protect its resources, especially in light of the rising temperatures associated with climate change. …But recently, Oregon’s timber lobby attacked this well-vetted and well-reasoned monument expansion, filing three lawsuits in federal court to overturn it. …This argument is critically flawed. …The timber lobby may want these lands managed solely for logging, but the law, the facts and the opinions of a vast majority of Pacific Northwesterners do not agree.

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What Trump will do with forestry reform

By Rex Storm, Associated Oregon Loggers, Inc.
Natural Resource Report
May 5, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

The Jan. 20th inauguration of President Trump has many expectations from the forest community. Will the new Administration address needed changes for the US Forest Service, BLM, and broken federal environmental regulating agencies? Will the Environmental Protection Agency reform its wrong-headed attacks on Oregon’s Forest Practices Act, private industry, and energy production? …However, the new administration can make ready improvements in a few ways that can help Oregon. Begin by fixing a few small policies that would increase national forest and BLM harvest to simply meet current plans. And then, expedite the task of rewriting the obstructive forest plans, which would provide the needed legal sufficiency and certainty for greater future federal forest harvest.

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Scraggly? Yes. Unimposing? Yes. But black spruce symbolizes Alaska

By John Schandelmeier
Alaska Dispatch News
May 4, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West


Alaska’s state tree is the Sitka spruce (picea sitchensis), found along Alaska’s southern coastal areas. I suspect the timber industry may have had a hand in the designation of the Sitka spruce in the early 1960s. Economically viable and thriving near the state capital, Sitka spruce is the tallest conifer in the world, reaching heights of more than 300 feet. The white spruce and black spruce that dominate the landscape of mainland Alaska are much smaller. …Black spruce, with its wide distribution, is the most common conifer on the mainland. And it’s a tree with a personality. Short, scraggly and growing in dense stands, it’s subject to raging wildfires that spread rapidly through sap-filled branches. Fire is actually beneficial to these bog dwellers because the heat speeds release of their seeds….Actually, that’s not such a long time for this small conifer that boasts an average lifespan of almost 200 years. One documented specimen in Labrador was 350 years old.

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Logging education day touts technology, vocational training

By Tim Hearden
Capital Press
May 4, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

VIOLA, Calif. — High school junior Jose Soto was amazed to see how advanced technology has revolutionized the logging industry. His father and uncle were loggers, and they “used to do it the old-fashioned way with chainsaws,” the student from Corning, Calif., said as he watched a tree delimber and a track skidder work together during a field trip to a logging site. …The intersection of science, technology and vocational training was a key focus of the annual education day in the woods May 2-3, hosted by the Sierra Cascade Logging Conference. Some 600 Northern California elementary through high school students were given a tour of an active logging site near Viola, about 40 miles east of Redding, to engage them about the industry.

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Peter Ehrlich, 69, head forester at Presidio, dies

By Clark Mason
The Press Democrat
May 4, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Peter Ehrlich loved trees and birds and had just returned from two weeks in Costa Rica, one of his favorite places to relax and take in exotic flora and fauna. For Ehrlich, it was more than a hobby. He also was head forester at the Presidio of San Francisco and was the former urban forester for the city’s parks department. But on Monday afternoon, the Petaluma resident was riding his mountain bike when he crashed and suffered head injuries that proved fatal. The 69-year-old died the next morning in the hospital. …Born in the Bronx, Ehrlich attended Hobart College in upstate New York. He studied English literature before graduating with a degree in forestry from UC Berkeley….Presidio officials said Ehrlich had the right mix of expertise and
enthusiasm, as well as negotiating skills to deal with activists lobbying to protect the animals and plants. He also was a former board member at Audubon Canyon Ranch, a conservation group with wildlife preserves in Marin and Sonoma counties.

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3 Oregon officials consider public ownership of state forest

By Andrew Selsky
Associated Press in the Idaho Statesman
May 4, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

SALEM, Ore.- The three officials responsible for Oregon’s oldest state forest staked out positions on Thursday on its future, with two advocating continued public ownership and the third supporting public ownership of its old-growth areas. The fate of the Elliott State Forest, in the Coast Range, is a hot-button issue, with many demanding it remain public even though logging operations that fund the state’s schools have been in the red in recent years. Two members of the Oregon State Land Board voted in February to sell the 82,500-acre (33,400-hectare) forest, with third member Gov. Kate Brown opposing. The board will reconsider the issue when it meets again in Salem next Tuesday. On Thursday, State Treasurer Tobias Read, who also is a board member, agreed with fellow Democrat Brown, and suggested that Oregon State University be given the option of buying the forest for research while still allowing public access and timber harvesting.

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Fire crews return to Tayside forest to tackle more fires

Evening Telegraph
May 5, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Fire crews have been called back to Faskally Forest in Perthshire this morning. Scottish Fire and Rescue Service personnel were called out to deal with small pockets of fires at around 6.25am. A huge blaze engulfed the forest, north of Pitlochry, at around 3pm yesterday after dry pine needles and undergrowth burst into flames. Four appliances have been sent to bring the fires under control this morning. A spokeswoman for the Scottish Fire and Rescue service said: “Crews are back out this morning dealing with small pockets of flames. “A report came into us at around 6.25am this morning and four appliances were called out to make the area safe.” Helicopters helped to douse the flames yesterday by drawing water from surrounding lochs.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Edmonton Plans US$1.6M Wood Waste NatGas Alternative Test Site

By Gordon Jaremko
Natural Gas Intelligence
May 4, 2017
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

Canadian governments and industry are reviving the oldest fuel — wood — for a natural gas substitute billed as contributing to commitments to make the country a moral leader in arresting global climate change. New-age environmental language drops the old four-letter word. Enter “lignocellulosic biomass,” formerly known as wood waste, as the raw material for a pilot project meant to drive a national wave of conversion to RNG, short for renewable natural gas. Natural Resources Canada, Enbridge Gas Distribution, FortisBC, Gaz Metro, Union Gas, ATCO, Natural Gas Innovation Fund, Alberta Innovates and FPInnovations are giving G4 Insights Inc. C$2.15 million ($1.6 million) to build the test site in Edmonton. Alberta Innovates is a provincial government research agency and FPInnovations is a national forest products industry-supported nonprofit society.

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The Forever Debate: Is Burning Wood for Electricity a Good Idea?

By Robert McClure
Undark.org
May 3, 2017
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States

The idea that to generate electricity should be considered climate-friendly has been debated by scientists and politicians for years. Advocates, including many scientists, ask what could be more sustainable than burning trees? Critics, on the other hand — including other researchers — say the science is much more complicated than all that, and that when managed poorly, woody biomass power could be worse for the climate than coal. …So what are the real prospects for woody biomass power going forward? The outlook is mixed. …The scientific, economic and political barriers remain steep for woody biomass. And while opponents of the technology say they are ready to keep fighting, even industry representatives say the path forward over the next four years is far from clear.

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Protect the biomass market

Letter by Michael Powers, licensed forester
Concord Monitor
May 5, 2017
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

I have been a licensed forester in New Hampshire for about 12 years. I am writing regarding my deep concern over the future of the independent biomass power plants here in New Hampshire. Our company hires logging contractors to harvest timber and low-grade wood from properties owned by our clients throughout the central and southern part of the state. Many of these timber harvests provide fuel chips to these power plants. Without this outlet for low-grade wood, these contractors may have to downsize significantly and possibly go out of business permanently. This in turn would severely affect our business and how we practice long-term sustainable forestry here in New Hampshire. These power plants provide low-grade wood markets that enable land managers (foresters, wildlife biologists) to weed and thin our forest to promote the growth of healthier trees and create or enhance habitat for wildlife.

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