Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: July 25, 2017

Today’s Takeaway

The most vexing challenge to NAFTA talks dates back to 1842

July 25, 2017
Category: Today's Takeaway

Softwood lumber is “the most vexing challenge to the pending NAFTA talks” according to a story in The Hill. The dispute dates back to “the Aroostook War which ended in 1842 and established the border between Maine and New Brunswick.”

Although the forest fire frenzy in North America has receded in recent days and producers such as Norbord are “resuming production”, forest fires have “broken out in Portugal again” and “hundreds of firefighters are battling blazes across southern France”.

Finland is fighting to protect several biomass and pulp project expansions from “looming EU restrictions on forest industry that would restrict the use of forest at the level of 2000-2012”.

Authorities said the flames that destroyed a Waltham apartment complex over the weekend were able to “tear through the building so quickly because of its wood-frame construction”. Despite the massive timber blazes, “there’s no immediate move to change state building code regulations governing wood-framed structures”, according to Massachusetts’ Chris Goetcheus.

Finally, filming has begun on a new movie detailing the lumber industry in western Wisconsin. “The Lumber Baron,” a fictional account of a family lumber business set in 1910. 

— Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Business & Politics

NAFTA 2.0: How Canada, US can make a long-term lumber deal last

By Eric Miller
The Hill
July 24, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

With the NAFTA talks set to begin in August, the United States and Canada are seeking to clear away obstacles to a successful re-negotiation. The most vexing challenge outstanding is the U.S.-Canada softwood lumber dispute. The two countries have an ancient history in the timber realm. The “challenge” of Canadian lumber imports was first mentioned in the Continental Congress. The Aroostook War, which ended in 1842 and established the border between Maine and New Brunswick, turned on access to softwood lumber. In modern times, there have been five rounds of softwood litigation dating back to 1982. Each time, the U.S. trade remedy system has found Canada guilty of subsidizing its timber industry and imposed penalties on Canadian lumber imports. While Canada has protested bitterly and sought recourse through international dispute settlement channels, it ultimately pays millions in duties before reaching a temporary political agreement.

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Norbord’s 100 Mile House, British Columbia OSB Mill Resumes Production

By Norbord Inc.
Canada Newswire
July 25, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

TORONTO – Norbord Inc. today announced that its OSB mill in 100 Mile House, British Columbia resumed production over the weekend after the evacuation order for 100 Mile House and nearby communities was lifted. On July 10th, Norbord reported that its OSB mill in 100 Mile House had temporarily suspended production in order to comply with evacuation orders due to wild fires burning in the region. All mill employees were safely evacuated at the time and the mill was not damaged. The curtailment is not expected to materially impact Norbord’s third quarter results.

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U.S. lumber futures prices soar as British Columbia wildfires clip supply

By Bill Esler
Woodworking Network
July 24, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

NORTH VANCOUVER, B.C. – With the Softwood Lumber Agreement in tatters and inventories shrunk, U.S. lumber futures prices are spiking, threatening the U.S. homebuilders’ business momentum.  Fires spread across the province this month, and lumber wholesalers had to rely on inventory, say analysts – a supply already being tapped as a result of the trade spat over softwood lumber trade between the U.S. and Canada. The Softwood Lumber Agreement between the countries expired in 2015, and a one year grace period ended in October 2016. The U.S. Commerce Department made a formal determination in June that Canada subsidizes softwood exports to the U.S., and announced tariffs of 17% or more on softwood wood imports. Lumber dealers began running down inventories to use the less expensive stock on hand. The B.C. fires then crimped additional supplies. 

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B.C. unions, protesters move up

By Tom Fletcher
BC Local News in Terrace Standard
July 24, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Who’s the biggest winner in the new NDP government, unions or environmentalists? Both! Professional protesters are thrilled. Joe Foy of the Wilderness Committee allowed that he’s “over the moon” about NDP MLA George Heyman taking over the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, as it has been rebranded. …Horgan has turned green, and I don’t mean in a Hulk sort of way. He cries now. He drives a Prius. He loves small hydro projects, once derided by the NDP as “pirate power.” Not long ago, lefty economists, the Wilderness Committee and COPE 378, as MoveUp used to be called, ran a bitter campaign against private hydro. Now let 100 power flowers bloom, all in the unionized monopoly model of BC Hydro. …Like San Francisco-based ForestEthics, Vancouver-based Wilderness Committee is trying to edge away from the played-out “war in the woods” routine. It has a “climate change campaigner” now, whose job is to join all the other groups arrayed against the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

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Safety in Numbers

By Anna Simet
Biomass Magazine
July 24, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

In April 2012, within just a few months of each other, two massive combustible dust explosions at British Columbia sawmills claimed the lives of four workers, and injured 32. Budd Phillips, prevention field services manager at WorkSafeBC, recalls the aftermath, describing the accidents as “pretty major…traumatic, catastrophic events.” …In a swift attempt to ensure events similar to what occurred at the B.C. sawmills weren’t looming, WorkSafeBC … immediately began visiting other sawmills to observe and assist them in their combustible dust management and mitigation programs. …Then was born WPAC’s Safety Committee, which initially had a main focus on combustible dust control and mitigation. “The challenge that the pellet sector has is that dust is their medium—it’s what they make their product out of,” Phillips says. “So handling it in a safe manner presented some unique challenges.”  But the Safety Committee has been up for that challenge. Fast-forward three years later, and it has proven itself tremendously successful.

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Sweetened bid for Tembec wins support from shareholders who opposed deal

Canadian Press in CBC News
July 24, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

Rayonier Advanced Materials Inc. has raised its takeover offer for Tembec Inc. to win the support of two of the forestry company’s largest shareholders who had threatened to block the friendly deal. Rayonier and Tembec said Oaktree Capital Management LP and Restructuring Capital Associates LP have now agreed to support the takeover. The deal requires support from a two-third majority vote at a shareholder meeting Thursday. …Tembec shares had been trading for more than Rayonier’s earlier bid of $4.05 in cash or 0.2302 of a Rayonier share, subject to a limit of 63 per cent on the cash portion of the offer.

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Point Tupper mill restarts production

By Nancy King
Cape Breton Post
July 24, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

POINT TUPPER, N.S. — Familiar plumes of steam could be seen rising from the Port Hawkesbury Paper mill in Point Tupper, Monday, as production resumed following a one-week market-related shutdown. Workers at the mill, which is the largest single employer in the Strait of Canso area, started back on the job Sunday. Archie MacLachlan, first vice-president of Unifor Local 972, said Monday he doesn’t know of any plans by the company to take any additional downtime. “When the company notified the union … they had no plans of any further shutdowns or anything of that nature, actually they seemed quite positive about everything,” he said. Summer is typically a slow time of year for paper sales.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

This Wooden Mountain Bike Can Shred

By Ty Brookhart and Wes Siler
Outside
July 24, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

Wood has remarkable engineering qualities. It’s light, strong, withstands lots of stress, and, perhaps most notably, has vibration-damping abilities several times that of steel or carbon fiber. It’s also highly damage-resistant, incredibly simple to repair, and renewable as a resource. That it’s also beautiful doesn’t hurt. Plus, the idea of a wooden bicycle is as old as the bicycle itself. The first bicycles back in the early 1800s were all made from wood, as were the first planes, boats, and cars. Today, modern manufacturing techniques are giving the material new purpose. …Renovo, founded ten years ago by Ken Wheeler, a former airplane engineer, makes road, commuter, and mountain bikes. All are made almost entirely from wood, with the exception of aluminum inserts in the head tube, bottom bracket, seat tube, and custom rear dropouts.

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University of California San Diego tests aimed at making earthquake-safe buildings made of wood

By Ioana Patringenaru
San Diego Metro
July 24, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

[scroll to second story]  Engineering researchers put a two-story wooden structure through a series of powerful earthquake simulations at the University of California San Diego shake table last week. The goal was to gather the data required to design wood buildings as tall as 20 stories that do not suffer significant damage during large earthquakes. “Designing buildings that are safe even during large earthquakes is hugely important. We are doing that – and we are going further. We are working to minimize the amount of time buildings are out of service after large earthquakes. …Based on the insights gleaned from this current set of tests and related research, the team will return to San Diego in 2020 to build, shake, and ultimately burn an earthquake-resilient 10 story timber building on the UC San Diego shake table.

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Despite massive blazes, wood-frame rules stick

By Donna Goodison
Boston Herald
July 24, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

There’s no immediate move to change state building code regulations governing wood-framed structures in the wake of two multi-alarm blazes that ravaged under-construction apartment complexes in Waltham and Dorchester in as many months, even as a concrete trade group criticized the regulations. The structures are permissible under the International Building Code that’s mirrored by Massachusetts’ building rules and includes fire safeguards during construction, said Chris Goetcheus, spokesman for the state Office of Public Safety and Inspections. “I know of no intentions to review this at this time,” Goetcheus said. 

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Chief Says Wood Frame Construction Made Waltham Fire Difficult To Fight

CBS Boston
July 24, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

WALTHAM (CBS) — Authorities said the flames that destroyed a Waltham apartment complex over the weekend were able to tear through the building so quickly because of its wood-frame construction. Five buildings were reduced to charred debris in the fire, which began around 4 a.m. Sunday. The complex off Elm Street was still under construction, so nobody was inside at the time. …Waltham Fire Chief Paul Ciccone said the complex was in line with all building codes–but said this was a case where the wood-frame construction didn’t do firefighters any favors. “There’s not a lot we can do about it, but wood is always very disconcerting to us because wood burns,” he said. “When you have a complex of this size, which is primarily wood frame, wood stick construction, it’s a big concern. And when it’s in a spot like this, it’s very congested, it’s very hard to access. We see these go up, we keep an eye on them.”

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Labour constraints eased with wood for commercial building

By Forest Industry Engineering Association
Scoop Independent News
July 24, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building

Labour shortages are limiting growth in both commercial building, with the recent profit downgrades at Fletcher Challenge highlighting the depth of the problems. However, commercial wood solutions already being implemented by industry leaders in Australia, Canada and New Zealand and hold the key to removing labour constraints. Engineered wood building components using automated manufacture to reduce labour content and speed project completions. The engineering of wood components for commercial building is growing fast in Australia. Local builders and developers, led by smart operators like Lendlease and Strongbuild, in Australia’s major cities, have worked out how to automate many of the large building jobs using factory prefabrication.

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Forestry

Dutch elm disease battle in Winnipeg gets boost from U of W students

By Bryce Hoye
CBC News
July 18, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Winnipeg researchers are digging beneath the bark of trees in Wolseley and River Heights in search of answers that might help the city contain the spread of Dutch elm disease. City crews can’t seem to keep pace with the spread on their own this summer, University of Winnipeg entomologist Richard Westwood said. “The city’s program has been really successful at keeping the rate low but we seem to have a bit of resurgence,” he said. “The city forestry branch budget has been cut back quite a bit by city council over the last few years, so they’re kind of resource-tight right now. There are quite a few trees out there.”

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Forestry watchdog officials visit Terrace

By Darlene Oman and Sam Coggins from the BC Forest Practices Board
Terrace Standard
July 24, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

This past month, the Forest Practices Board visited Terrace and Prince Rupert to talk forestry. Tim Ryan, board chair, and Sam Coggins, director of investigations and former Terrace resident, met with the City of Terrace, the City of Prince Rupert, the Planning and Implementation Committee, the Terrace FLNRO office and Ellis Ross, Skeena Sawmills, Skeena Wild. They also connected with the Kitselas, Kitsumkalum, Tahltan, Haisla, Gitga’at, and Metlakatla First Nations, and the North Coast Skeena First Nations Stewardship Society. It was very apparent that people up here care about forests and what’s happening to them. We heard about a number of issues, including harvesting of young stands of trees, forest stewardship plans, consultation with First Nations, access management on forestry roads, and more.

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Timber industry can meet demands

Letter by Chuck Roady, F.H. Stoltze Land & Lumber Company, Columbia Falls 
Missoulian
July 24, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

F.H. Stoltze Land & Lumber Company has operated in Montana for over 100 years. Currently, our 125-plus employees operate a sawmill, a co-generation power plant, and manage timber lands producing lumber that builds homes around the country. For many years, we have faced the challenge as Canada subsidizes their lumber industry through a diversely different method of sourcing timber. This difference allows Canadian companies to sell products in the U.S. below market value. These subsidies are an abuse of U.S. trade law, crushing our ability to sell our product competitively, to operate our sawmills at full capacity, and risking thousands of jobs that depend on a strong domestic lumber industry.

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Lumber Baron movie begins production

By Karen Koenig
Woodworking Network
July 24, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

EAU CLAIRE, WIS. – Filming has begun on a new movie detailing the lumber industry in western Wisconsin. “The Lumber Baron,” a fictional account of a family lumber business set in 1910 Chippewa Valley, is currently being filmed in various locations around Eau Claire and Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. According to the Leader-Telegram, “The Lumber Baron” marks the first feature-length film written and produced by Karen Hurd. It follows medical student Daniel Rimsdale who returns to the area following his father’s death and faces the dilemma over whether to pursue his career or save the family’s lumber business. 

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Dry Swedish summer creates forest fire risk and low water levels

The Local Sweden
July 25, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: International

An unusually dry summer in Sweden has left meteorologists fretting about low water levels and the prospect of forest fires. In two out of Sweden’s three historic “lands” there has been 50 percent less rain than usual in July, with Götaland and Svealand abnormally dry for this time of the year. Even northernmost land Norrland had less rain than usual in June. “It’s getting drier than usual as a result of there being less rain. And if you look at the forecast for the next 10 days there isn’t much more rain in sight,” Lisa Frost, a meteorologist from national forecaster SMHI told news agency TT.

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Forestry investors ‘threat to fabric of rural life’ claim hill farmers

By Louise Hogan
Farm Ireland
July 24, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Payments for forestry plantations should be restricted to residents or businesses who live within a 50km radius of the land, according to a radical proposal from the hill farmers. With interest in woodland investments on the rise amongst farmers and businesses, hill farmers have claimed forestry expansion is threatening the “fabric of rural life”. However, the proposal for a major overhaul in Afforestation Premiums that the Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association (INHFA) plans to raise with the Department of Agriculture has come under fire from forestry companies.

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Finland to protect forest industry against EU norms

By Xu Xuequan
Xinhua
July 24, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: International

HELSINKI — While real forest fires have not been a problem this summer in Finland, Finnish Economic Development Minister Mika Lintila has been trying hard over the weekend to extinguish a fire caused by looming EU restrictions on forest industry. The European Parliament Environmental Committee decided recently that the use of forest should remain at the level of 2000-2012. The proposal discourages Finnish plans that envisage a much higher level of usage. Currently, there are several major biomass and pulp plant projects in Finland that still await final go-ahead by the investors, who are pinning their hope on the expansion of the forest sector.

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Forest Fires

Yunesti’in First Nation proud of its own firefighting crews

By Monica Lamb-Yorski 
BC Local News
July 24, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

Right from the onset of the Hanceville wildfire on June 7 Yunesit’in Chief Russell Myers Ross knew his community needed its own First Nations firefighting crews. Myers Ross said he was convinced fire crews from the community, which is located 90 kilometres west of Williams Lake near Hanceville, would stick around as long as possible to protect the homes of the 250 people that live in his community and would care more than anyone else. “We really pushed hard to have our own fire crews,” he told the Tribune from Victoria Monday where he was visiting his wife and young daughters who evacuated there. …Three days into the wildfire, the chief received a telephone call from Canada’s Minister of Indigenous and Aboriginal Affairs Carolyn Bennett, followed up by a call from Catherine Lappe, the ministry’s main executive for the western region. “Both of them gave me assurance that they respected the leadership’s ability to handle the situation. 

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Whistler tattoo artist inks tiny trees to raise money for wildfire relief

By Haley Ritchie
Whistler Question
July 24, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

Wildfires move fast, but so does Whistler Village tattoo artist Kelsey Bareham. Wanting to help friends in the interior affected by the recent destructive wildfires, the artist is tattooing tiny trees to raise money for the Red Cross. …Bareham came up with 12 small tree designs, and announced an emergency fundraiser taking place at her shop, Whistler Tattoo Company. She said the trees would be available for donation, with money going towards wildfire relief. …she was inspired … because so many of her friends have been affected by the fire and forced to evacuate. …Bareham said 75 per cent of the proceeds go towards the Red Cross to help with fire relief. The other 25 per cent goes towards paying for supplies. The tattoos are by donation, but the shop has set a minimum of $60 and a suggested donation of $100. So far, Bareham estimates she’s raised well over $4,000.  The tiny trees have found homes on wrists and ankles, and tucked behind ears and on hips.

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Forest fire index very high for most of P.E.I.

By Kevin Yarr
CBC News
July 25, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada East, Canada

Despite a wave of thunderstorms that dropped more than 40 mm of rain in many parts of P.E.I. Friday, the forest fire index was set at very high for most of the Island on Monday. The index was very high for central and southeastern P.E.I., which covers an area from Summerside and through to the eastern shore as far north as Cardigan. The rating for the rest of the Island was high. Burning permits are invalid across the Island.

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Bitterroot National Forest Wildfire Update

Bitterroot Star
July 24, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

Dominic Butte Fire did not grow in size over the weekend and remains at 55 acres today. The lightning caused fire located on the Stevensville Ranger District in the Sapphire Mountains east of Corvallis is now 40 percent contained. Crews made good progress yesterday on continuing mop up activities (extinguishing remaining hot spots and burning materials) further into the black – interior of the fire. This will help prevent any spotting outside of containment lines. Fire managers will continue utilizing helicopters today with buckets for water drops to contain any active torching that occurs on the upper, north end of the fire. This area, which previously burned in the 2010 Dominic Point Fire, contains heavy dead and down fuels and numerous snags which presents a serious safety threat to firefighters, especially in high wind situations.

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Indonesia’s disaster agency says forest fire threat to escalate

Reuters
July 24, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International

JAKARTA – Indonesia’s disaster mitigation agency (BNPB) has warned of an escalating threat of forest fires with the dry season expected to peak in coming months, while hot spots detected in the province of Aceh have already been causing choking smoke. Fires had spread to around 64 hectares (158 acres) of fields and forests in Aceh, a northern province on the island of Sumatra, producing haze and some residents had been taken to hospital due to breathing problem, the agency said on Tuesday. “The peak of the dry season is predicted to be in August and September, so the threat of forest and field fires, and drought will escalate,” Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesman for BNPB said in a statement.

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Forest fires hit Portugal again

euronews
July 24, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International

After several days of calm, a new wave of forest fires has broken out in central Portugal. More than 2,300 firefighters are battling to stop the flames spreading but strong winds are hampering their efforts. …The biggest fire is raging around the municipality of Serta in the Castelo Branco region. …Fire crews are also battling another blaze that started on Sunday afternoon near Coimbra. In June, amid the deadliest forest fires in Portugal’s recent history, 64 people were killed as they tried to flee in cars or were engulfed in flames in a hilly region some 200 km northeast of Lisbon. …There are also eucalyptus plantations in the region and the presence of the highly flammable trees was widely seen as a factor in the rapid spread of the fire.

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Wildfire destroy 1,400 hectares of forest in southern France

Malta Today
July 25, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International

Hundreds of firefighters were battling blazes across southern France on Monday, with one inferno spreading across 900 hectares of forest and threatening homes on the island of Corsica, emergency services said. The biggest fire was in the village of Bastidonne, in the Vaucluse region, where fires, intensified by strong winds, consumed some 600 hectares of forest. About 100 residences were evacuated in the village of Mirabeau and a dozen of horses in a stable were also moved to safer ground.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Fungi that evolved to eat wood offer new biomass conversion tool

By Janet Lathrop
Phys.Org
July 24, 2017
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

Twenty years ago, microbiologist Barry Goodell, now a professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and colleagues discovered a unique system that some microorganisms use to digest and recycle wood. Three orders of “brown rot fungi” have now been identified that can break down biomass, but details of the mechanism were not known. Now, using several complementary research tools, Goodell and colleagues report new details of this unexpected mechanism at work, one that surprisingly does not involve enzymes, the usual accelerators of chemical reactions. Instead, Basidiomycota brown rot fungi, use a non-enzymatic, chelator-mediated biocatalysis method that is “very different than that used by any other microorganism studied,” he says. 

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Using forests to manage carbon: a heated debate

The Conversation
July 24, 2017
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

The best way of managing trees and forests for climate change and accounting for contributions of forests and forestry activities in carbon budgets remains hotly contested. Forests can either take up carbon dioxide (CO?) or release more CO? into the atmosphere. Wood can substitute fossil fuels or energy-intensive materials, but forests are also large carbon reservoirs that add emission peaks if disturbed. …Global deforestation is mainly determined by large-scale clearing of tropical forests, still progressing at some 3m hectares a year. In contrast, European forests have been cleared over many centuries and are now expanding, having grown by about 11m hectares since 1990. Regrowing forests on deforested land creates carbon sinks which remove CO? from the atmosphere. Wood can reduce carbon emissions by being substituted for materials such as cement or metal, and replacing fossil fuels in energy generation.

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