Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: May 11, 2017

Today’s Takeaway

Signs of spring are everywhere

Tree Frog Forestry News
May 11, 2017
Category: Today's Takeaway

The signs of spring are undeniable on the West Coast. While we have been collectively moaning about the cool weather it has done more than impact our weekends. Tree planters are arriving across BC, ready to start planting, but their start has been delayed due to the late slow melt and cooler weather. John Betts, executive director of the Western Forestry Contractors’ Association, says it is “an unusually dangerous season” with flooding and mud slides to contend with.

Spring brings with it the start of the wildfire season and forecasts for the coming season (and comparisons to previous years). On the one year anniversary of the Fort McMurray fire, Natural Resources Canada is predicting an average wildfire season for most of Canada. But as scientist Kerry Anderson points out – the Fort McMurray fire occurred after a forecast for a below-average season. Wildfires in Ireland (a third of its largest forest is now destroyed) and the State of Georgia (over 100K acres) continue to grow with poor outlooks for containment.

The Annual Global Softwood Log & Lumber Conference (hosted by the International Wood Markets Group) is on today in Vancouver with a focus on the impact of the US export duties on Canadian softwood production. Sandy and Kelly are attending this conference, so make sure you say hello to them!

— Heidi Walsh, Tree Frog Editor

Read More

Business & Politics

Forestry, Paper, and Packaging M&A deal activity off to a strong start in 2017 – driven by strong US housing starts

By PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers)
Canada Newswire
May 10, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada

VANCOUVER – The PwC Q1 2017 FPP Deals Insights saw an increase in deal volume and total deal value relative to the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2016. A total of 23 M&A deals were announced during Q1 2017 with a total value of US$4.2 billion. This activity is being driven by a relatively healthy and optimistic building product sector, characterized by steadily improving US housing starts, which were up 9.9% in the fourth quarter of 2016 compared to same period in 2015. “At the end of 2016, we saw a resurgence of US housing despite lower average commodity prices for building materials than the previous quarter,” said Kevin Bromley, Partner and PwC Canadian Forest, Paper and Packaging Leader. M&A activity finished on a strong note, with the fourth quarter bringing in 39 deals with a value of US$3.4 billion. Overall, M&A deal activity was down in 2016 with 122 deals compared to 143 deals announced in 2015.

Read More

Round 1: What the latest Canadian lumber tariffs mean for US housing

By Katy Tomasulo
Construction Dive
May 10, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

For the past several months, the industry has been reeling over speculation about impending tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber and what they might mean for the housing industry.  With the announcement of the first round of duties a few weeks ago, official answers have started coming — but there’s still plenty of uncertainty and potential for volatility left in the immediate wake. …“The fact that Canada is seeking alternative sources to the U.S. for its lumber exports should serve as a wake-up call to Washington policymakers,” NAHB Chairman Granger MacDonald said in a statement prior to the first tariff announcement, noting that the U.S. does not currently produce enough lumber to meet local demand.

Read More

Softwood lumber dispute could have been avoided

May 11, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Like many of you, I was shocked and dismayed by the Trump government’s attacks on our softwood lumber industry. …When the Trump administration came in, they decided that softwood lumber was a vulnerable sector they could use to strike better terms in the next NAFTA negotiations. In my opinion, the Americans are acting like bullies on this matter and we must stand up to them. Some of the ideas that have been suggested include shutting down our pipelines and cutting the U.S. off Canadian oil; banning American beef imports; stopping the export of raw logs. I think this last idea has a lot of merit. As we know, the Canadian economy has little to gain when we export raw logs instead of finished lumber. Better yet, we should increase our capacity to use that lumber in finished products and keep the jobs here in Canada and Kootenay-Columbia.

Read More

Softwood duties a warning shot in NAFTA dispute

By Mark Ryan
Prince George Citizen
May 10, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

…While softwood lumber accounts for only a small share of Canadian economic activity and exports to the U.S., the shift in tone from our largest trading partner could be a sign of how aggressive the new administration will be in any NAFTA renegotiation. A deterioration in the long-standing bilateral trade relationship could hurt. …Softwood lumber accounted for about five per cent of total Canadian exports to the U.S. in the early 1990s when NAFTA came into force, but dropped to one per cent when the bottom fell out of the U.S. housing market during the 2008-09 recession. Exports gradually recovered to two per cent of total exports to the U.S. in 2016. Thus, the impact of these recent tariffs to the broader Canadian economy is likely to be minor nationally. Overall, forestry, logging and wood manufacturing production represents one per cent of Canada’s GDP. Of course, the share is larger in British Columbia – where more than half of Canadian softwood exports to the U.S. originate – and the effect is even more pronounced here in the central interior.

Read More

Softwood lumber dispute could have been avoided

May 11, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Like many of you, I was shocked and dismayed by the Trump government’s attacks on our softwood lumber industry. …When the Trump administration came in, they decided that softwood lumber was a vulnerable sector they could use to strike better terms in the next NAFTA negotiations. In my opinion, the Americans are acting like bullies on this matter and we must stand up to them. Some of the ideas that have been suggested include shutting down our pipelines and cutting the U.S. off Canadian oil; banning American beef imports; stopping the export of raw logs. I think this last idea has a lot of merit. As we know, the Canadian economy has little to gain when we export raw logs instead of finished lumber. Better yet, we should increase our capacity to use that lumber in finished products and keep the jobs here in Canada and Kootenay-Columbia.

Read More

Georgia jobs, lumber and the Canada-Trump confrontation

By Michael E. Kanell
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
May 10, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

Lost in a frenzy of political news, a presidential feud with Canada might be easily overlooked, but it’s no small deal for Hal Storey in Floyd County – or for Georgia’s other lumber companies. Storey is vice president of S.I. Storey Lumber Company in Armuchee. The 97-year-old, family-owned business, which is about 10 miles north of Rome, has a wholesale business that bumps up often against the Canadians. And the market confrontation is not fair, Storey said, since Canadian lumber is unfairly subsidized by the government. “Canadian subsidies have a negative impact,” he said. “It comes down to jobs.” …. … But if the imbroglio raises prices of lumber, it will not be good for Atlanta’s housing market, since wood is an important component in home-building and renovations….But at least in the short-term, Georgia’s lumber industry would benefit from any action that raises prices for Canadian competition.

Read More

VicForests to face timber supply inquiry

By Christopher Talbot
Australian Associated Press in 9news
May 11, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

A parliamentary inquiry into Victoria’s forestry body won’t be a “witch hunt” because it is simply designed to get some answers for the state’s ailing timber mills, Victorian MP Jeff Bourman says. Mr Bourman, an MP for the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party, has established a parliamentary inquiry into VicForests, who manage the state’s timber supplies. The soon-to be closed Heyfield Mill sits in Mr Bourman’s electorate and he says its dire situation is a direct consequence of not being able to secure log supply from VicForests. “”The inquiry will look into how the management of our forest timber supplies has been permitted to get into such a dire state that it has put the sustainable Victorian timber industry at risk,” he said in a statement on Thursday. “We are seeing timber mills across the state either closed, or in the process of closure, due to lack of wood supply instead of seeing a booming and diverse rural industry.”

Read More

Wood, Paper & Green Building

Can timber buildings become mainstream?

By Natalie Holmes
Real Views
May 10, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Timber is not a common sight in the modern urban environment, which leans towards the sharp lines of glass, the strength of steel and the durability of concrete. But what started off as a few niche projects in a small number of cities across Europe and North America, is rapidly taking off with a growing number of ‘plyscrapers’ in the construction phase. These use engineered wood such as spruce, larch or pine which is industrially dried and treated to give it increased strength and fire-resistant properties. …“If you want to build cost-effective building today, you can’t ignore wood as a building material,” says Martin Hofmann, Head of Project & Development Services, JLL Germany. “It’s a renewable product that’s easy to process and efficient to use.” Yet such projects are not made from engineered wood alone; more accurately described as hybrids, the incorporate elements of steel and concrete.

Read More

New federal act could give mass timber a big boost

By Alex Ulam
Architects Newspaper
May 10, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building

Climate-change denial appears to be on the verge of becoming official U.S. policy. But all hope for reducing our carbon footprint is not lost. Case in point is the pending Timber Innovation Act, one of the rare eco-friendly pieces of legislation that enjoys bipartisan support. The bill (H.R. 1380, S. 538) seeks to establish a market for so-called mass timber buildings more than 85 feet tall that are built from panelized wood construction products such as cross-laminated timber (CLT) and glued-laminated timber (glulam). “Building with wood benefits both rural economies and the environment,” U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan) said when she announced the legislation in early March. “This bill will help expand markets for wood products coming out of forests in Michigan and all across the country.

Read More

Forestry

Average wildfire forecast for much of Canada

Canadian Press in Global News
May 9, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada

Natural Resources Canada is forecasting an average wildfire season for much of the country this year. Researchers say dry conditions and low precipitation in areas of Alberta, British Columbia, southern Yukon and the Northwest Territories may cause a gradual increase in fire threat in the coming weeks. The danger for these areas — which include forests, shrubs and grasslands — is expected to peak in June and taper off later in the summer. The 10-year average for a season is about 6,000 fires and a burn area of about 25,000 square kilometres. The Canadian Forest Service warns there have been significant fires in the past under average conditions. Scientist Kerry Anderson notes the Fort McMurray fire last year happened in what was forecasted to be a below-average season.

Read More

Welcome the tree planter invasion

By Kathi Travers
Prince George Citizen
May 10, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

….British Columbia alone has over 3,500 planters this season; 55 per cent men and 45 per cent women. They plant anywhere from 1,000 to 3,000 seedlings per day. To meet the demand, 100 trees must be planted every second throughout this province. John Betts, executive director of the Western Forestry Contractors’ Association (WFCA) states: “This year’s spring planting season has seen the planting start particularly slowly and problematicaly in the interior of British Columbia. Although Prince George has seen an unusually low amount of snow on the ground, the weather has not warmed up as normal, leaving snow in some interior areas.” …The workforce is relatively young, consisting of a high number of university and college students. Because of that, there is a large turnover of the workforce. A major component of the first week or two is procedural as well as safety training. Companies have high demands of their planters.

Read More

Bug nerd alert: Ottawa looking for citizen scientists to count moths, save trees

By Liam Casey
Canadian Press in National Post
May 10, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

If you’re a bug nerd, the federal government needs your help. Natural Resources Canada is looking for so-called citizen scientists to help in its battle against spruce budworm, a moth that has devastated forests in parts of Eastern Canada. The program, spearheaded by the Canadian Forest Services, is entering its third summer and now has more than 400 members of the public counting bugs in six provinces and Maine, U.S. The endeavour is part of a collaboration with various ministries, businesses and universities. “The idea is to use people to help us form an early warning system to know where the moths are,” said Chris MacQuarrie, a research scientist with Natural Resources Canada. After an outbreak, the moths’ larvae devour spruce and fir trees.

Read More

Timber Company, Tribe Left With Little After Vote To Cancel Elliott State Forest Sale

By Jes Burns
Oregon Public Broadcasting
May 10, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

For the timber company and Native American tribe that had bid to buy the a public forest from Oregon, Tuesday was the day they learned their months spent planning, negotiating and waiting were for nothing. Roseburg’s Lone Rock Timber and Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians were the only parties that stepped forward when the state decided to sell the Elliot State Forest. The state said the offer was good. It met all its criteria for conservation, job creation and public access. But now that bid is dead. That is the result of the State Land Board’s unanimous vote Tuesday to cancel the sale….But Lone Rock and Cow Creek are expressing disappointment and frustration. “Lots of people have spent lots of their last year and a half working on this, both for us and with our partners,” says Jake Gibbs, Director of External Affairs for Lone Rock Timber. Gibbs estimates more than a half million dollars has been invested in the project.

Read More

Gianforte visits Superior group to discuss local issues

Clark Fork Valley Press
May 10, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

The Republican Central Committee hosted a meet-and-greet for Greg Gianforte last Friday, May 5 at the Mineral County Fair Grounds. He is running for the vacant seat in congress against oppenent Rob Quist and addressed many issues facing voters today including management of the national forests, healthcare, vets and the economy. “Clearly we have not been managing our forests well and as I’ve met with people in the timber industry, it’s the same thing over and over again, they can’t get logs. All of the timber sales get challenged in court by these environmental extremists and they’ve been empowered in part because of Equal Access to Justice Act. I believe there are modifications we can make to the act to make it harder to issue frivolous lawsuits.”

Read More

Ecologists Find That Sierra Nevada Forest Has Higher Tree Density Than Previously Studied

By Menahem Zen
Science Times
May 10, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

The ecologists have found significant differences from their latest study from the earlier study of Sierra Nevada reforestation. The latest study uses a new approach to the historical analysis of the forest, and it shows that Sierra Nevara forest was more dense trees than previously studied. Ecologists at the UC Berkeley finds a substantial flaw in the previous study of Sierra Nevada reforestation. In its official release, UC Berkeley stated the previous study, which was used to challenge the plan of the U.S. Forest Service to restore the Sierra Nevara forest to its dense tree population.

Read More

Satellite time-lapse of West Mims Fire smoke

Wildfire Today
May 10, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

…According to the latest updates, the West Mims Fire has burned more than 140,000 acres. Another 7,000 acres has burned by Monday afternoon, and flame lengths up to 150 feet were reported. Tuesday’s outlook was anything but promising. “The fire will be fuel-driven and plume-dominated, meaning that when tall columns develop, they could abruptly collapse, sending downburst winds in all directions. Two columns could also develop at the same time,” officials said. “All this extreme fire behavior will create very dangerous conditions for firefighters.”

Read More

Over a third of Ireland’s largest forest destroyed by fire

NewsTalk
May 10, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Members of the public have been warned to stay away from a huge forest fire that is burning in Galway. Coillte and Air Corps helicopters have been dumping water to help fire crews, and farmers fight the blaze. It is believed that over a third of the forestry in the Cloosh Valley – Ireland’s largest forest – has now been destroyed by the fire. The destruction has claimed thousands of hectares of forest and bogland in the area. The blaze has threatened the welfare of many homes and local communities – and caused devastation to vast areas of wildlife habitat. …Firefighters have been working through the night to try and protect homes in the area – after high winds and warm temperatures combined to spread the fire outside of Coillte owned land yesterday evening.

Read More

New bill to ‘modernise forestry’ in Scotland

Stornoway Gazette
May 11, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: International

The Scottish Parliament will consider forestry legislation for the first time in its history after the introduction of a Forestry and Land Management (Scotland) Bill. Scotland’s £1 billion forestry sector, which supports 25,000 jobs, will benefit from the bill’s modern approach to forestry development, support and regulation. New organisational structures for forestry in Scotland are also being announced. Together these changes will enable the Scottish Government to better support the industry to create growth in the rural economy, mitigate climate change and develop the role forestry plays in health, education and recreation.

Read More

Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Biorefining fuels future

By Brent Linton
Chronicle Journal
May 11, 2017
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada East, Canada

Biorefining has the potential to be the next-generation fuel, with Thunder Bay and the region in the heart of the fuel source. More than 120 scientists, experts in the biorefining, have converged on Thunder Bay for an extensive three-day conference. Lew Christopher, chair of the conference and director for Lakehead University’s Biorefining Research Institute, said the conference is on the “topic of forest biorefining, which is one of the top priorities for research and development at Lakehead University and beyond.” With several large biomass pulp and paper mills in the heart of the boreal forest, organizers felt it was time to start a International Biorefining Conference in North America. “We work closely with all these pulp and paper mills and other forest products operations in the region, including aboriginal communities. For example bio-diesel . . . they deal with making bio-diesel from renewable resources, replacing the petroleum diesel,” said Christopher.

Read More

Full-scale commercial biofuel plant being considered at closed Maine paper mill

By Robert Dalheim
Woodworking Network
May 10, 2017
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

Old Town, Maine – A shuttered paper mill in Maine is being considered to become the site of a $60 million production facility to turn wood fiber into jet fuel. “The Old Town mill is one of the sites we’re looking at, but I think we can build several plants,” said Stephen Fitzpatrick, president of Biofine Technology LLC in Framingham, Massachusetts. With technology developed by the Forest Bioproducts Research Institute, Biofine’s plant could convert 200 tons of biomass a day into 12,000 tons of crude oil. That oil would then be converted into diesel and jet fuel. The company hopes to break ground in a year, Fitzpatrick said, if he can make arrangements with the mill’s owner and get financing from investors.

Read More

No need for delay in forest planting

NZ Forest Owners Association
Scoop Independent News
May 10, 2017
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

New Zealand — Forest owners are saying the government needs to get extra forest planting under way and not wait until next year for a report to be presented on climate change. The Minister for Climate Change, Paula Bennett, has announced the Productivity Commission will report back in June 2018 with recommendations for achieving a lower carbon economy, to enable New Zealand to achieve its Paris Agreement commitment of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from 2005 levels, by 30 per cent, by 2030. The Forest Owners Association President, Peter Clark, says the time to start acting on sequesting carbon out of the atmosphere, by using trees, should begin now. “The government is already supporting the up-take of electric vehicles without waiting for the Productivity Commission. There’s every reason to get the same impetus for tree planting, especially on farm and M?ori owned land.”

Read More