Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: May 8, 2017

Today’s Takeaway

Canada retaliates against lumber tariffs

Tree Frog Forestry News
May 8, 2017
Category: Today's Takeaway

In a clear escalation of the softwood lumber dispute, BC Premier Clark has called for a “ban on US thermal coal exports shipped through its ports,” which the Canadian government is “considering along with trade action targeting the state of Oregon”. “The BC leader goes too far”, according to the editorial board at the Calgary Herald—given that the ban could also affect Alberta coal. Meanwhile, Quebec’s Finance Minister is focused on getting the NAFTA negotiations underway, “which should include the softwood dispute”.

Adding credence to those who claim the US proposals are designed to seed division, Globe and Mail columnist, Barrie McKenna, says we should “blame BC’s log export restrictions”, since the US used them to calculate the interim rate of duty. Further, a story on “how the duties can vastly complicate life for shippers”

Notwithstanding the potential impact of duties and log export policies on jobs, many BC forest companies are concerned about a shortage of skilled workers “brought on by a confluence of retiring workers and disinterested millennials”.

Finally, the US government’s decision to recognize the “carbon neutrality of biomass” begets more biomass news. This includes how biomass “helps the rural New Hampshire economy” and how “renewable energy credits help pulp mills in Washington State”, but also a report by the Dogwood Alliance rebutting the notion that “burning wood is a carbon neutral”.


— Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Business & Politics

US-Canada lumber tiff previews costs of trade disputes

By John Bennett, Livingston International
Journal of Commerce
May 7, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

The US International Trade Commission’s imposition of countervailing duties on Canadian softwood lumber entering the US provides a glimpse of how a trade dispute can vastly complicate life for shippers. For all the coverage the matter has received in the press, little has been said about just how those who actually engage in transactions involving Canadian softwood lumber — producers, buyers, transporters, etc. — should be adapting their processes and operations this new reality. While carriers may not be affected to the same degree as importers and exporters, the reality is that each player in the supply chain must do his or her part, or risk creating a domino effect that will adversely impact their own business and those of their supply chain partners. What importers do affects border agents and customs processes, which affects carriers either in the form of lengthy delays at the border that generate additional costs to shippers, or loads being sent back, which results in business disruption.

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Canada Retaliates Against Lumber Tariffs By Threatening U.S. With Trade Penalties

By Alexander Panetta
Canadian Press in the Huffington Post
May 5, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

WASHINGTON — The Canadian government is threatening multiple trade actions against the United States in retaliation for duties on softwood lumber, warning that several American industries could be targeted in the event of a protracted trade dispute… The course of action being reviewed by the Canadian government is similar to the process used in the U.S. that slapped a 20-per-cent duty on northern lumber. It involves a request to the Canada Border Services Agency to study illegal subsidies in Oregon, a process that would take several months. The government says it has identified nine programs in Oregon that assist businesses, primarily in lumber. They include: the Oregon Underproductive Forestland Tax Credit, the Oregon Forest Resource Trust, the Oregon Tree Farm Program, the Pacific Forest Trust, property tax exemptions for standing timber, a small winery tax exemption program and other tax credits.

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A Body Check to U.S./Canada Relations

By Carl Tannenbaum, Chief Economist
FX Street
May 7, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

… I was hopeful that the timing and tone would be ideal for my trip to Western Canada last month. The White House rhetoric on trade was cooling, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had held an encouraging meeting with President Trump early in the year… But two days before my departure, the White House announced punitive tariffs on Canadian lumber and promised to upend the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)… sudden contretemps between Washington and Ottawa was more than a personal annoyance. It suggests that U.S. trade policy remains unpredictable and unproductive. And it creates an unnecessary risk for the Canadian economy, which shares a significant economic partnership with the United States… Last week’s salvo on softwood lumber imports from Canada (which was quickly dubbed the “timber tantrum,” or “lumbergate”) was a surprise on several fronts. 

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Trump administration: softwood threat from Trudeau government ‘inappropriate’

By Alexander Panetta
Canadian Press in the Chronicle Herald
May 6, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration says it won’t be pressured by trade threats from the Canadian government, responding Saturday to a warning that the northern neighbour could start targeting American industries in the event of a protracted dispute over softwood lumber. The administration’s commerce secretary issued a statement calling the threats inappropriate, and insisting they would have no effect on the U.S.’s course of action in the lumber dispute. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the decision to slap duties on Canadian lumber was based on the facts presented — not on political calculations. …The Canadian government now says… it’s preparing to target specific industries in the U.S., to put pressure on those Americans backing a hard line on lumber. …The first was revealed Friday by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. He sent a letter to the premier of B.C., announcing he was seriously considering banning U.S. coal exports from that province and that trade experts were studying it. …Following that, the Canada Border Services Agency could examine duties on Oregon’s plywood, wine, flooring, wood chips and packaging materials.

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Angry about U.S. duties on Canadian lumber? Blame B.C.

By Barrie McKenna
The Globe and Mail
May 7, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Buried in the 124 pages of the U.S. trade case against Canadian lumber is a surprising revelation about how the Trump administration tallied its duties. The prevailing narrative is that the U.S. hit Canada with duties of up to 24 per cent because the provinces are selling their timber too cheaply to lumber companies – thus, a subsidy, so the Americans say. That’s only part of the story. A significant chunk of the penalty is due to log export restrictions that exist only in British Columbia. …Those restrictions, in place since the 1880s, are an aberration in Canada’s generally open economy. Indeed, logging is a rare example where governments dictate to private interests what they can export, for reasons other than national security. …The Commerce department agreed. …Log-export restrictions aren’t unique to Canada. The United States, for example, has an export-licensing regime for trees cut on federal and state lands. 

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North Vancouver terminal’s wood chip piles may go

By Jane Seyd
The North Shore News
May 5, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West


A North Vancouver port terminal that was the backdrop for the Liberal leader’s message about forestry jobs last week is in the process of scaling back the wood chips and wood pellets it handles in favour of agricultural products. Fibreco Export Inc., a B.C.-owned port terminal on the North Vancouver waterfront, was front and centre April 27 when Liberal leader Christy Clark made a campaign stop to talk about the importance of the forest industry to the provincial economy. …But Fibreco is actually in the process of working to switch a large portion of the products it handles from forestry to agricultural products. …The volume of both wood chips and wood pellets handled by the 40-year-old facility has fallen in the past decade.

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Editorial: B.C. Liberal leader goes too far

By the Editorial Board
Calgary Herald
May 5, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

With a provincial election looming Tuesday, B.C. Liberal Leader Christy Clark has promised to slap a tariff on the export of thermal coal through West Coast ports. The announcement has implications for Alberta, but even more worrying, the plan would set a dangerous precedent on the extent of provincial powers. The Coal Valley mine west of Edmonton produced 2.2 million tonnes of the fossil fuel last year. …It’s understood that Clark’s levy of $70 per tonne, if carried out, would make the mine unprofitable, putting the jobs of 300 workers at risk, as well as the income of contractors and suppliers. Clark’s action is meant as retaliation for the tariff the United States has imposed on Canadian softwood lumber. And indeed, the great majority of the thermal coal exported from B.C. originates in America — so Clark’s focus is not entirely misplaced. Still, the B.C. premier’s proposal is against the spirit of Confederation, which provides for the free transport of goods between provinces.

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Clark stands by trade threats to U.S. on eve of B.C. election

By Ian Bailey and Justine Hunter
The Globe and Mail
May 7, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

BC Liberal Christy Clark, on the eve of a provincial election that will determine whether she remains Premier, is seizing on U.S. criticism of her retaliatory trade threats to pressure for a softwood deal as a validation of her tactics. “With our ban on moving thermal coal, we have got the Americans’ attention,” Ms. Clark said Sunday as she began a day of campaigning ahead of Tuesday’s provincial election. “We aren’t going to be weaklings.”…Mr. Ross said the Trump administration won’t yield to pressure from the Canadian government – including British Columbia’s proposal to ban thermal-coal shipments through the province. He called such tactics “inappropriate.” Ms. Clark lobbed the term back: “Everything [the Americans] have done with regard to softwood has been utterly inappropriate.”

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‘Eventually, cooler heads will prevail’: EACOM CEO remains optimistic on softwood lumber outcome

By Tamar Atik
Wood Business
May 5, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

Despite not being surprised by the preliminary softwood lumber tariffs imposed by the U.S. last week, EACOM Timber Corporation’s president and chief executive officer Kevin Edgson is not any less concerned. Edgson sat down with me outside the main room at the Ontario Natural Resources Forum in downtown Toronto; two days after President Trump made the preliminary tax announcement from Washington on April 24. “We knew it was coming for a long time… It’s in the neighbourhood of what we expected,” Edgson said. “We were disappointed in terms of the retroactivity, especially because it seems that was manufactured as opposed to anything that was reasonable or expected.” … “It’s clear that [U.S./Canada relations are] in a rougher, rockier patch than in the past,” Edgson told me. “I think, eventually, cooler heads will prevail. It is the largest trading relationship in the world. It is in the best interest of people on both sides of that to find solutions.”

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Don’t Dawdle on Nafta Overhaul, Quebec’s Finance Minister Says

By Frederic Tomesco
Bloomberg
May 8, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

Quebec Finance Minister Carlos Leitao has a message for government officials considering a renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement: Time is of the essence. “If we are going to renegotiate Nafta, then let’s do it,” Leitao said in an interview Friday at Bloomberg headquarters in New York. …On the softwood dispute, a decades-old irritant in Quebec and elsewhere in Canada, Leitao said any negotiation should be included in broader Nafta discussions. “Lumber was never settled,” he said. “For us it’s a big issue.” About 60,000 people work in Quebec’s forest-products industry. After the U.S. slapped tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber imports last month, Quebec announced a program of loans and loan guarantees for companies that the province estimates could be worth as much as C$300 million ($219 million) in the short term.

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Sawmill in Power County will continue operating

By Misty Inglet
KIDK LOCAL 8
May 3, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

POWER COUNTY, Idaho – The only operating sawmill in Power County will keep running. After a public hearing Tuesday night, it was determined the sawmill will stay. The sawmill is located on Syphon Road. It has been in operation since 2015. It was originally operated outside by a diesel engine. But the noise of the motor and the excessive sawdust caused some issues with the owner’s neighbors. Now the owner, Tyler Jenkins, has moved the sawmill inside the shop on his property. It will also now be operated by electricity instead of the diesel engine. …. Robert Steinlicht, Power County building official, said at the public hearing Tuesday night people were very supportive of the mill.

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Biomass company operating in the North Bay ordered to pay $4.22 million settlement

Times-Herald
May 5, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

A Yolo County biomass company was ordered Friday to pay a multi-million dollar penalty as result of civil settlement reached in an environmental protection action. Woodland Biomass Power was sentenced by Yolo County Superior Court Judge Samuel McAdam to pay $4.22 million for penalties, costs and remediation. The action was filed by district attorneys from Yolo, Solano and San Joaquin counties. Woodland Biomass Power runs a facility that burns wood fuel to produce electricity. During this process, ash is generated. Woodland Biomass Power claimed its ash was non-hazardous and supported its findings with faulty methods and occasional falsified test result summaries, since the company’s own test results showed that much of its ash had elevated levels of dioxins and constituted hazardous waste. 

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NAFTA ‘saber rattling’ impacts regional economy

By Maury Thompson
The Post Star
May 6, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

Early “saber rattling” as the Trump administration prepares to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is resulting in continued local spikes in construction prices and uncertainty in the region’s dairy farming and logging industries. “When you get down to the regional level, you really start to see the unintended consequences,” said John Bartow, executive director of Empire State Forest Products Association… Lumber and dairy trade between the two countries is relatively minimal, in comparison to other industries, said former U.S. Rep. Bill Owens, D-Plattsburgh, a lawyer who specializes on U.S.-Canada trade and border issues. “Throw that all into the NAFTA picture and those things are relatively small by comparison. They are almost immaterial,” Owens said. Yet the two issues, which affect New York and Wisconsin in particular, are at the forefront of debate.

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Subsidized Jonesboro biomass plant didn’t run at all in April

By Darren Fishell
Bangor Daily News
May 5, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

PORTLAND, Maine — Stored Solar, a biomass plant that qualified for taxpayer subsidies has been offline for more than a month as the company says it tries to retool its plans at the facility. Company spokesman Dan Cashman last week said that a boiler leak and wood supply problems during the muddy late spring led the company to close the wood-to-energy plant and analyze their operations. Data published Friday by state regulators show the facility has been offline for more than a month, with no generation reported since March 23. Cashman said in late April that the company has retained its employees during the shutdown. In order to qualify for a subsidy of $13.40 per megawatt-hour, it’s required to maintain employment of at least 42 people at its West Enfield and Jonesboro facilities, combined.

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Louisiana-Pacific Corp. Names Brad Southern New CEO

Street Insider
May 5, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

Louisiana-Pacific Corporation today announced that its board of directors has appointed Brad Southern to succeed Curt Stevens as the CEO of LP effective July 1, 2017. Stevens, who has served as CEO since 2012, will retire from LP June 30, 2017. “The board of directors is pleased to announce the appointment of Brad Southern as our new CEO,” LP Chairman of the Board Gary Cook said. “Brad is a leader with exceptional integrity and ability. His deep experience and familiarity with LP, along with his expansive knowledge of all aspects of the building products business, make him well suited to lead LP into a promising future.” Cook continued, “Curt Stevens has served LP with distinction for almost 20 years and we have been fortunate to have benefited from his vision and leadership as the company has grown during his tenure as CEO. Curt has been an integral part of the Boards’ succession planning, and we appreciate his efforts to make this transition seamless.”

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Tariffs on paper from Indonesia ‘potentially lethal’ for free trade deal

By Jewel Topsfield
Sydney Morning Herald
May 8, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

Jakarta: The Australia Indonesia Business Council has launched an extraordinary attack on Australia’s decision to impose tariffs on cheap paper imported from Indonesia, warning its impact would be “potentially lethal” for free trade negotiations. The Australian government announced on April 19 it would impose “dumping duties” on A4 paper from Indonesia, Brazil, China and Thailand after the Anti-Dumping Commission found the four countries had dumped paper into Australia at below market cost. …Anti-dumping specialist Roger Simpson, who represents Indonesian pulp and paper company Sinar Mas, told Fairfax Media he would appeal the decision to the anti-dumping review panel, after which it could go to the Federal Court. Indonesia has also flagged it could appeal to the World Trade Organisation.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

SmartLam Is First U.S. CLT Manufacturer to Earn SFI Chain-of-Custody Certification

By Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc. 
PR Newswire
May 8, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States

WASHINGTON, DC — The Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc. (SFI) announced today that SmartLam, LLC, is the first U.S. manufacturer of cross-laminated timber (CLT) to be certified to the SFI 2015-2019 Chain-of-Custody Standard. SmartLam manufactures CLT for a variety of applications, including floor, roof and wall systems. SFI’s Chain-of-Custody Standard helps companies address the growing demand from governments, customers, and consumers for responsibly sourced forest products. CLT is the next-generation of engineered wood products. Extensively tested and already widely used in Europe, CLT has vast applications for construction, industrial matting and bridging. Architects and builders choose wood because it looks great, has numerous environmental characteristics – including renewability – and it’s easy to work with. In addition, trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as they grow, sequestering and storing the carbon while producing oxygen which reduces greenhouse gases and improves air quality.

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How CLT could change the US building landscape

By Mary Tyler March
Construction Drive
May 8, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States

Project teams looking for building materials and systems with a lower environmental impact are increasingly eyeing wood — specifically cross-laminated timber (CLT), a type of mass timber that, research has shown, rivals concrete and steel in performance but has a smaller environmental footprint. Still, supply-side challenges have made it hard for mass-timber products to gain a foothold in the U.S. market. …At the Urban Land Institute’s Washington Real Estate Trends Conference, held in Washington, DC, on April 25, distributors, developers and architects shared their views on the future of mass timber for construction. …While CLT has been used in buildings across the globe, U.S. markets have been slower to adopt it for structural applications, especially in high-rise buildings.

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Recommended by Timber treatment a public debate, says mill owner

By Catherine Harris
Stuff.co.nz
May 8, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Partially treated framing timber could be allowed into the building industry with the Government’s blessing, an industry boss says. Untreated timber has been banned for framing since 2003 after the rules were relaxed in 1995, prior to the leaky building crisis. Marty Verry, chief executive of leading mill Red Stag, said that the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) was considering allowing “envelope treated” timber in a review of timber treatment standards. Verry said that the wood would be at greater risk of decay and called it a “dangerous development”. But Brian Stanley, chairman of the Wood Processors and Manufacturers Association, said the leaky home crisis was caused by poor workmanship and design, not untreated timber. …But others in the timber industry suggested that the matter may really be a battle over market share and the emergence of new timber products.

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Living with wood: Developers go big on wood architecture

By Natasha Ann Zachariah
Straight Times
May 6, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

After successfully exporting game changers such as Ikea and Scandinavian minimalism around the world, the Swedish are back with a new design pitch: wood architecture. While small projects such as private houses and holiday cottages constructed solely of wood have been the Swedish norm, developers and architects are now going big with the material. Think apartment buildings that rise to 10 storeys and bigger structures such as pavilions and public spaces, built entirely of wood. In the last decade, timber highrises and structures have been popping up across Sweden and around the world too. One of the most-talked-about projects in Sweden is Strandparken, a series of chic apartment complexes in Sundbyberg, a suburb north of Stockholm.

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Forestry

Forest sector losing jobs — but desperately needs more skilled workers

By Jon Hernandez
CBC News
May 8, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

As steady streams of raw logs flow overseas, and hefty softwood lumber bills blockade the south, B.C.’s forest sector can look gloomy on the horizon. …But some businesses are facing the opposite problem: technical jobs are going unfilled due to a shortage of skilled workers. “We have more work than we can shake a stick at,” said Jonathan Lok, managing partner at Strategic Natural Resource Consultants, a forest management firm. And the shortage — brought on by a confluence of retiring workers and disinterested millennials — can mean less timber on the market. Lok says there’s a hot demand for forest technologists — skilled workers who help develop environmental assessments, map out proposed cut blocks, and plan for harvesting and replanting.? …According to Steve Finn, head of BCIT’s Forest and Natural Areas Management program, forestry has gotten a bit of a ‘bad rap’ in recent years as not being a viable career option for millennials, which he says is partly attributable to the demand for jobs.

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Avatar Grove, the sequel: Introducing Jurassic Grove

By Amy Smart
Victoria Times Colonist
May 5, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Towering more than 30 metres high, an ancient red cedar’s heavy branches fork skyward above massive burls dusted in moss. The 500- to 1,000-year-old tree is at the centre of what the Ancient Forest Alliance says is an exciting find — an old-growth stand between Jordan River and Port Renfrew that could become the region’s next attraction. “The whole area is a lowlands, spectacular ancient forest,” said Ken Wu, executive director of the Ancient Forest Alliance. Jurassic Grove, as the group is calling it, covers an area of about 130 hectares near the mid-section of the Juan de Fuca Trail, between Lines Creek and Loss Creek. It’s about a 90-minute drive from Victoria and 20 minutes from Port Renfrew.

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Jeepers, creepers, do you hear the spring peepers? P.E.I. tree frogs singing spring’s arrival

By Nancy Russell
CBC News
May 7, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

The raucous noise from a pond full of spring peepers is a sound that many Prince Edward Islanders anticipate with longing as the snow begins to melt. “It’s always exciting to hear them in the spring,” said Dan McNeill, wildlife habitat coordinator with the Bedeque Bay Environmental Management Association. “It’s a sign that winter’s finally over.” The spring peepers are one of 13 species of frogs and toads on Prince Edward Island. They signal the arrival of spring, in a very, very noisy way.

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Playing dangerous games with the future of caribou

Letter by Brian McLaren – Faculty of Natural Resources Management, Lakehead University
The Chronicle Journal
May 6, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

We learn as children with board games, some of us practise the concept in business: sometimes we win; other times we lose. We can pick up another game, start on a new venture, and still come out ahead. Losing a species isn’t the same gamble. As Aldo Leopold, esteemed conservationist, penned in 1947, long after the last passenger pigeon was lost, we are left with just “effigies and images, dead to all hardships and to all delights.” As the United States Congress learned in 1978 during the case of the northern spotted owl, backlash against flexibility in an endangered species act renders the decision to knowingly accept losers the same as calling on a “god squad.” In Canada, we’ve had a Species at Risk Act since 2003, 10 years late, after the world agreed in Rio de Janeiro not to play for losses.

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Towering, remote Sonoma County forest preserved with $4.5 million from local taxpayers

By J.D. Morris
The Press Democrat
May 7, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Deep in northwestern Sonoma County’s thickly forested mountains, about 10 miles from the coast and a world away from the bustle of any population center, Mike Young walked beneath a towering canopy of redwood and Douglas fir trees he’s come to know well over the past several decades. …The tree is in good company here on a string of properties acquired by members of the Howlett family beginning in 1949. The owners allowed only selective logging over the years, Young said.  …The result is this 1,380-acre property still encompasses a dense collection of massive trees, including old-growth redwoods, that are hard to find anywhere else in Sonoma County. So rare, in fact, that in late February, county supervisors — in their role as directors of the Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District — approved paying $4.5 million to eliminate development rights on the private property. The $6.1 million easement deal, including private and public grant money secured by the Sonoma Land Trust, was completed in April.

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Wet year dampens fire threat in Southern Oregon

By Mark Freeman
Mail Tribune
May 5, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Wildfire managers believe a wet spring following a heavy snowpack will lead to a late and short wildfire season in Southern Oregon, but that won’t give the region a free pass from the potential of a big fire. “We’ll have a late fire season, and we likely won’t have a bad fire season,” BLM spokesman Jim Whittington said. “But that doesn’t mean we won’t have a bad fire.” Fire season in Southern Oregon typically begins in June when grass, brush and other wildfire fuels dry out, but protracted rain and a snowpack still at 143 percent of average is forecast to create a slower drying-out period, particularly at higher elevations. The National Weather Service, which gives presentations to wildfire bosses each spring, says the conditions are the best heading into the fire season in more than a decade.

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Tight window: Bitterroot Forest firefighters challenged by wet weather, spring vegetation to complete prescribed burns

By Perry Backus
Ravalli Republic
May 7, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Bitterroot National Forest officials had hoped to burn nearly 2,000 acres in an effort reduce fuels this spring. There’s not much chance that will happen. A combination of late high country snow, a steady string of rainstorms and just enough warmth to get vegetation to start growing is quickly shutting the window for spring burning this season. Last week, Jay Wood’s crew of Bitterroot Hotshots was joined by firefighters from as far away as Wisdom to try to get something done in the woods above the East Fork of the Bitterroot River. Standing on the edge of the road, Wood considered the spotty patch of blackened areas scattered through forest just below him. “It’s still a little bit too wet to burn very well,” said the fire boss. “And there’s some green coming up as well. It’s not really what you would call ideal.”

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A Disease That’s Felled Forests in California and Oregon Shows up in Washington

By Eilis O’Neill
Oregon Public Radio
May 5, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

…Darren Strenge, the reserve’s plant health manager, is showing me the rhododendron glen. That’s where a gardener first spotted a problem back in 2015: a plant that wasn’t healthy… Strenge took a sample and sent it into a lab. The answer came back: the plant had the pathogen that causes sudden oak death. The disease has decimated forests in California and infected forests in southwestern Oregon. And now it’s made a return to Western Washington, where rhododendrons, Douglas firs, and western larches are most susceptible. It has the potential for such disastrous effects that agencies, scientists, and citizens are working together to try to keep it under control. Sudden oak death is a water-borne mold called phytophthora ramorum — taken from the ancient Greek expression, plant destroyer.

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How To Restore Washington Forests: Increase Timber Demand

By TJ Martinell
The Lens
May 5, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

One way to improve the wildfire resiliency of public forestland managed by the Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and United States Forest Service (USFS) is to increase the long-term demand for timber in the state. That’s a conclusion reached by forest ecologists, conservationists and timber industry members united behind efforts to restore millions of acres of forests that require active restoration. Greater demand could revitalize the state’s declining mill infrastructure and increase the commercial value of densely-grown, small diameter trees whose removal is vital for forest health.

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After Pioneer Fire, Forest Service seeks to salvage logs, maintain safe access

By Rocky Barker
Idaho Statesman
May 7, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

The landscape that collects and holds the rain and snow that is perched above a flooding Boise River has seen its share of extremes over the past year. For 64 days in 2016, there was no rain in the Boise National Forest as the Pioneer Fire burned nearly 190,000 acres in three directions from its start southwest of Idaho City, sometimes cooking so intensively that it left little but ash. When stoked by high winds, it raced through 30,000-acre swaths of forest a day, staying in the canopies of tall ponderosa pines and leaving the ground only lightly singed. “So now we’re going in right after the fire, into a record-setting snowpack, with what appears to be a really wet spring,” said Brant Peterson, Idaho City District ranger for the U.S. Forest Service. “All of that has to come down out of that fire. We’re just hoping that the mud floods won’t be severe.”

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Wilderness protection reduces wildfires

By George Wuerthner, ecologist and author
The Missoulian
May 7, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Some of the folks opposed to protecting lands as wilderness, national parks, national monuments and other designations often cite their fear of wildfire, suggesting that without “active management” (code for logging), these lands will create high-severity blazes. But like a lot of mythology surrounding wildfires, the opposite is true. Active management actually increases the likelihood of wildfire. A recent study published in Ecosphere gets at this issue. In their paper, “Does increased forest protection correspond to higher fire severity in frequent-fire forests of the western United States?” the researchers looked at 1,500 wildfires in ponderosa pine and mixed conifer forests across the West.

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Veterans Affairs, Crown Hill reach agreement to save old-growth forest

By Amy Bartner
Indianapolis Star
May 5, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

After a year-and-a-half battle involving tree-climbing protesters and lawsuits, the Department of Veterans Affairs agreed Friday not to build on a 15-acre plot of land in Crown Hill Cemetery that contains old-growth trees, some older than the state of Indiana. The veterans affairs department said Friday that it would swap its plot of land for a similarly sized, adjacent plot on the Crown Hill grounds at West 42nd Street and Clarendon Road. “It was important to us that we came up with an amicable resolution, and there were so many factors in each aspect of it that had to be considered,” said Keith Norwalk, Crown Hill Cemetery president. “It was a win-win for the (Indiana) Forest Alliance, our community and our veterans.”

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Fire Continues to Spread in Georgia Wildlife Refuge

Associated Press in U.S. News & World Report
May 7, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

FOLKSTON, Ga. — Firefighters were battling Sunday to prevent a fire in a southern Georgia wildlife refuge from spreading, authorities said. The Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge said in a statement that “extremely dangerous burning conditions persist” and that 11,000 acres (4,450 hectares) have been consumed by fire in the past two days. The unincorporated community of St. George is under a mandatory evacuation order and Charlton County schools have been closed for Monday. Wind gusts and dry conditions were raising the risk of the fire spreading. The fire in total has burned 129,856 acres (52,550 hectares), and wind gusts and dry conditions were raising the risk of the fire spreading, the statement said.

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Trees or Shrubs? Study Disputes Success of China’s $100 Billion Forest Effort

By Mike Ives
The New York Times
May 3, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: International

HONG KONG — China has invested more than $100 billion over the last decade alone in a nationwide campaign to plant new forests, and its top leaders speak of the effort with pride. “Planting trees now will benefit our future generations, and we should roll up our sleeves to plant more trees year after year, generation after generation,” President Xi Jinping said in March at a tree-planting ceremony in Beijing. But a study published on Wednesday suggests that some official estimates of China’s greening campaign overstated its successes, and mistook shrubs for forests. …But the newly released study, based partly on an analysis of high-resolution photographs, found that China had gained only about 12,741 square miles of forest over the same period, an area roughly the size of Maryland. And it found that much of the government’s reported new forests were actually just collections of shrubs.

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Logging industry is more than just ‘cutting down trees’ for Tasmanian family

By Fred Hooper
ABC News, Australia
May 8, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Even though the industry has been though a series of highs and lows, Ken Hall and his wife Karen are more than happy that their children are now involved in logging. “We’ve always encouraged them [their children] to do something else first, just because they need to experience other things,” Karen Hall said. “It’s been their desire to come and work in the business that’s brought them to the industry really.” …Ken’s son Denham, is now a machine operator and currently works about 13 hours per day. He said compared to the old way of working, he can see why some people might think it is not as difficult as it used to be. …As processing machines continue to fall tall pine trees, Ken is optimistic about the future of logging in Tasmania. “The industry is just improving all the time; the technology, particularly our harvesters and our other machinery,” Ken Hall said.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Logging Plays Bigger Climate Change Role Than U.S. Acknowledges, Report Says

By Georgina Gustin
Inside Climate News
May 5, 2017
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States

The U.S. has consistently underestimated the impact that logging has on accelerating climate change and the role that preserving its forests can play in sucking carbon out of the atmosphere. That’s the conclusion of a new report that also seeks to rebut the notion that burning wood is a “carbon neutral” alternative to burning coal and oil for electricity. Published by the Dogwood Alliance, a North Carolina-based forest conservation group, the report argues that the U.S. has placed too much emphasis on protecting the world’s tropical forests, while ignoring the logging industry’s impact on greenhouse gases released from cutting its own natural woodlands, especially older forests.

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KapStone has big bucks riding on ‘biomass’ decision

By Marissa Luck
The Daily News
May 6, 2017
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West


KapStone wants its wood waste boilers to earn cash. And the Longview mill’s “biomass” facility could be a moneymaker if Gov. Jay Inslee approves a bill that has cleared the Legislature. State Sen. Dean Takko, a Longview Democrat, said Inslee will sign the measure at 11 a.m. Monday. The bill would allow older biomass facilities like the one owned by KapStone to sell renewable energy credits. KapStone stands to earn hundreds of thousands of dollars annually under the legislation. Inslee vetoed a similar bill last year out of a concern that biomass energy could undercut the competitiveness of other renewable energies, such as wind and solar. This year’s bill is narrower in scope. Sponsored by Takko, the bill passed the Senate unanimously and glided through the House, 91-7.

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My Turn: Biomass helps form foundation of rural New Hampshire economy

By Hunter Carbee
Concord Monitor
May 6, 2017
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

In the past year, there has been a lot of talk about the high cost of electricity in New Hampshire. Compared to other regions of the U.S., New England continues to be burdened with some of the most expensive electricity costs to both New Hampshire residents and manufacturing facilities. …Biomass is a unique renewable energy source that serves as a “baseload energy supply.” …Biomass plants now serve as the major market for the state’s low-grade wood. Today’s biomass plants have invested in expensive, new emission reduction technologies to meet strict New Hampshire air quality standards. It is one area where energy policy intersects with natural resource policy. 

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General

Canada Threatens Reactions Against Trump’s Softwood Anti-Subsidy Duties

By Tim Worstall
Forbew
May 6, 2017
Category: Uncategorised
Region: Canada, United States

There are a number of problems in trying to talk about trade these days of course. One being that rather large numbers of Americans–including all too much of the current administration–seem not to understand the basics of the subject. It is the imports which make us rich, exports are only the grunt work we do to pay for them… What actually happens is the Trump Administration places anti-subsidy duties of up to 20% on such softwood and then the Canadian government responds… And so we enter a trade war where each country reacts and responds and raises those tariffs ever higher. This really is what happened in the 1930s. And yes, the US ran a trade surplus then too but no one really recalls it as the economic good times.

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