Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: July 31, 2017

Today’s Takeaway

Pointing the finger at log exports, spinning straw into gold

Tree Frog Forestry News
July 31, 2017
Category: Today's Takeaway

Although forest fire evacuation orders have been issued for Clinton BC, northern New Brunswick and southeastern Spain and firefighters are battling six fires scattered around Oregon, thousands in the Cariboo region of BC are heading home. 

Meanwhile, fire pundits abound:

  • How many more homes must burn? (CBC)
  • Wildfires will only get more devastating if we don’t make big changes (Huffington Post)
  • Opinion: Gov’t must act to reduce wildfire threat (Vancouver Sun)
  • First Nations want more control, equal funding to fight wildfires (Canadian Press)
  • Montana’s wildfires are part of growing national emergency, should be treated like other natural disasters (The Missoulian)
  • Ecology and tourism in France hit by forest fires (Tourism Review)

On the business front, plywood prices in BC are skyrocketing. John Iacoviello of Probyn Export points to wildfires, explaining that decreased harvest and supply route shut downs are to blame. The closure of Western Forest Product’s Somass mill is generating discussion; The United Steelworkers are pointing the finger at log exports for the reduced log supply, echoed by NDP MP Gord Johns who says it should be “a wakeup call for the federal government” to “take action and support British Columbians“, vowing to keep logs in BC. 


Childhood memories of Rumplestiltskin in Washington today where Columbia Pulp says it’s building a facility in Dayton that will turn straw into gold (well, into paper actually!). A waste material typically burned, the endeavour will reduce green house gases and demand for trees.  

–Sandy McKellar, Tree Frog Editor

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Froggy Foibles

Tree tents get campers off the ground and into the air

By Brady McCombs
Associated Press in Washington Post
July 28, 2017
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: United States, US West

SALT LAKE CITY — Campers and outdoor enthusiasts are embracing a unique way to sleep under the stars while in the mountains or at the beach — dangling between trees on hybrid hammock-tents that get them off the ground and into portable treehouses that soothe their inner child. Some of the gravity-defying devices were on display this week in Salt Lake City at the Outdoor Retailer show… The hammock-tents, which can be broken down stored in bags like normal tents, are designed to be used anywhere a person can find trees, boulders or rock crevices sturdy enough to anchor them. Tentsile’s colorful polyester hammocks and tents that stretch between three trees are the creation of an English treehouse architect who started the company four years ago… The company’s flagship model is the “Stingray” tent that holds at least three adults up to 880 pounds, selling for $650. 

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Business & Politics

Stop Log Exports; Invest in B.C.

By The United Steelworkers
Canada Newswire
July 28, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

BURNABY, BC – In the wake of yet another closure of a B.C. sawmill due to lack of logs, the United Steelworkers (USW) is seeking a fresh approach from the new B.C. government. “Yesterday, British Columbians learned that the inability of sawmills to secure log supply has resulted in a modern-day B.C. ritual: the closure of a sawmill in a forest-dependent community,” said Bob Matters, Chair of the USW Wood Council in a letter to B.C. Premier John Horgan and Forests Minister Doug Donaldson. B.C. sawmills are closing because of a lack of logs, yet the level of log exports out of B.C. to the U.S. is near historic highs.

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NDP should check what’s down in the cellar

By Dermod Travis
Victoria Times Colonist
July 29, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

As the new B.C. government settles in and email accounts are transferred over, it’ll soon be time for them to pluck up the courage to check the cellar. …Think of it as the former government outsourcing operations, getting them off the books, so to speak, and as far away as possible from pesky things such as legislative oversight or B.C.’s access-to-information legislation. …In May, Vancouver journalist Bob Mackin reported on the Forest Enhancement Society of B.C., another independent, non-profit society arranged by government that can also thumb its nose at the province’s access-to-information laws. The society is charged with overseeing tree-planting in the province. In 2016, then-minister of forests, land and natural resource operations Steve Thomson gave the brand-spanking-new group $85 million in public funding. Former premier Christy Clark topped that up by another $150 million this year. All start-ups should be so fortunate.

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Wildfires help push plywood costs higher in Metro Vancouver

By Justin McElroy
CBC News
July 28, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

The size of the B.C. wildfires and the length of the evacuation orders are having a big impact on plywood prices throughout the province, say those in the lumber industry. In some cases, the price of plywood has doubled because mill and supply routes have shut down for extended periods of time and there was a slower start to the season because of the longer-than-usual winter. “We have operations having to shut down due to fire risk out in the bush, and log production being curtailed and helicopters who could be helicopter logging off fighting fires,” said John Iacoviello, a manager with wholesale lumber supplier Probyn Export. The size of the B.C. wildfires and the length of the evacuation orders are having a big impact on plywood prices throughout the province, say those in the lumber industry. In some cases, the price of plywood has doubled because mill and supply routes have shut down for extended periods of time and there was a slower start to the season because of the longer-than-usual winter.

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Conference Board scales back outlook for city’s economic growth

By Mark Nielsen
Prince George Citizen
July 28, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

The bloom on Prince George’s economic rose has withered, according to the Conference Board of Canada. In a report released this week, the Board predicted the city’s real gross domestic product will grow by 1.5 per cent this year and edge up to 1.8 per cent in 2018. That’s down from the 2.8 per cent predicted for 2017 in last year’s edition, when the Board said the Prince George will enjoy the strongest economic growth among the seven mid-sized cities covered. …In making the prediction for Prince George, the Board concentrated on uncertainty in the forestry sector. “On the one hand, a healthy U.S. economy and recovering housing market will increase demand for B.C. wood products,” the Board said. “On the other hand, the ongoing negative impact of the mountain pine beetle on wood supply, the imposition of tariffs on softwood lumber entering the U.S.

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Local reaction after Western Forest Products closes Somass mill in Port Alberni

By Dan Stoltz
CHEK News
July 28, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada West

The gates are now closing for good at the Western Forest Product’s Somass sawmill in Port Alberni. “It’s very disappointing” said Glen Cheetham who worked at the mill from 1989 to 2005 before taking a position with the United Steelworkers Union local 1-85 which represents the mill’s workers. ..the union doesn’t buy the log supply argument saying the mill made $5million last year with just one shift working. “I believe it’s because they’re taking all the fibre to the east coast mills and that’s where they want it to go and it’s by design” said Steelworkers local 1-85 president Norm Macleod. …The Mayor of Port Alberni says the effects range even further. “Every job has a multiplier of one to three so it’s really over 200 jobs somewhere that are impacted by the closure of this mill” said Mike Ruttan. 

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Somass Mill closure ‘a wakeup call’ says MP Gord Johns

By Susie Quinn
Alberini Valley News
July 28, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

The closure of Western Forest Products’ Somass Mill in Port Alberni should be a wakeup call for the federal government, says Courtenay-Alberni NDP MP Gord Johns. Western Forest Products announced on July 27 it was closing the mill ‘indefinitely’ due to a lack of log supply. …“Following Western Forest Products’ announcement that operations at the Somass sawmill will be indefinitely closed, I am renewing my call on the federal government to wake up to the crisis, understand our needs and take action to support British Columbians,” said Johns, the NDP critic for small business and tourism. …Johns vowed to work with provincial counterparts to keep logs in B.C. for processing “and grow investments in reforestation.”

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Raising Taxes Could Stunt Hardwood Growth

By Roberta Baylor, President Hardwood Alliance Zone
The State Journal
July 30, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

When lawmakers in Charleston were debating the ways to reach an agreement on the state’s most recent budget impasse, there was a lot of time spent exploring how taxes play in financing our state’s services. Severance taxes, in particular, and how much or how little industries should pay dominated much of the budget conversation. …Businesses in the hardwood industry pay a timber severance tax any time timber is severed or extracted for the production of sales, profit or commercial use. The timber industry has been paying a severance tax in West Virginia since 1989 at a rate of 2.78 to 4 percent. This tax, paid by timber and logging companies, helps fund the Division of Forestry’s budget and pays into the state’s workers’ compensation debt.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Supervisors to hold public hearing on biomass boiler

By Debra Moore
Plumas County Newspapers
July 28, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

…The Plumas County Board of Supervisors is holding a public hearing, scheduled for 11 a.m. to receive input on whether or not to pursue construction of the facility advanced by Sierra Institute. …The building to house the biomass system was originally conceived as a metal building, but that has changed. Now it is proposed to be constructed using cross-laminated timber — a building material that is fire safe, structurally sound and renewable. The cross-laminated timber, also known as mass timber, originated in Europe, and is growing in popularity in the United States. Kusel said that last year it was a $100 million industry, is expected to be $500 million this year, and forecast to be $1 billion next. …“It’s taken off across the country,” Kusel said, and is just now being introduced in California. In fact Microsoft announced that it would be building a new 700,000-square foot headquarters with 400,000 square feet of cross-laminated timber panels.

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Pulp mill would use wheat straw, not trees, to make paper

Yakama Herald
July 29, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

DAYTON, Wash. — A proposed $184 million pulp mill in southeast Washington plans to take straw, a waste product from wheat and alfalfa farms, and convert it into pulp for paper and packaging products. Columbia Pulp says construction is expected to begin in August after the company secured financing for the manufacturing facility in Dayton. The mill is unusual in that it will convert straw from wheat and alfalfa — rather than trees — to make paper and other products. The straw will come from wheat and alfalfa farmers in the surrounding area. Company officials say converting straw that is typically burned as waste will reduce greenhouse gas emissions as well as the demand for trees in pulp production.

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Letter: Do more testing

Caroline Sutton, Executive VP, Carolinas Ready Mixed Concrete Association
The Post and Courier
July 30, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

Developers are now looking to make Mount Pleasant home to a cross-laminated timber (CLT) hotel, South Carolina’s first commercial building to make use of the new lumber product, as reported in The Post and Courier on July 7. …But CLT has not been tested to the extent necessary to make these arguments. …According to “Fire Safety Challenges of Tall Wood Buildings”… CLT “has the potential to increase the fire temperature and burning rate … and could impact the structure fire resistance at later stages in the fire duration.” …Until adequate testing takes place, developers and local officials should avoid placing our states’ residents, visitors and fire service professionals at risk.

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Forestry

Canada’s ‘walking dead’ are on thin ice. Can they be saved?

By Elizabeth McSheffrey
National Observer
July 28, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada

The fate of Canada’s iconic boreal caribou — a species whose numbers have dwindled so low they’re known as “the walking dead” — may hinge on a federal plan conservationists argue is a little too late. Environment and Climate Change Canada on Thursday released a proposal to save the elusive, endangered creatures. But it places too much emphasis on collecting additional research, argue advocates, instead of creating concrete measures to rope off critical caribou habitat from industrial development. If habitat disruption — including logging, mining and natural gas development — continues at its current rate, government scientists estimate Canada could lose 30 per cent of its remaining caribou within 15 years. …Derek Nighbor, CEO of the Forest Products Association of Canada, disagreed with the premise that industry interests — in this case logging — can’t be balanced with the conservation needs of caribou. He pointed to several populations in northern Quebec and national parks in Alberta where no industry activity takes place at all, but numbers continue to dwindle.

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Responsible forest management is vital to ensure effectiveness of new federal woodland caribou protection plan

By Forest Stewardship Canada
Canada Newswire
July 31, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada

MONTREAL – The Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) Canada, the leading independent certifier of forest management practices, is pleased the federal government has issued a draft action plan to support Canada’s boreal caribou population, but believes the plan must do more to encourage better responsible forest management practices as a vital element to protecting caribou and other species at risk. FSC Canada will consider submitting formal comments on the plan as part of the government’s public consultation process, issued on July 27, 2017. “Plans to help species at risk, such as the woodland caribou, cannot be made in isolation to the overall needs for responsible management of our forests,” said François Dufresne, President of FSC Canada. 

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How many more homes must burn?

By Alex Paterson
CBC News
July 29, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada

…The Union of Concerned Scientists says we can expect climate change to exacerbate wildfires and lengthen the wildfire season. “The economic costs of wildfires can be crippling. Between 2000 and 2009, the property damages from wildfires averaged $665 million per year” in the U.S., an article on the scientific organization’s website says. …I think it’s time as Manitobans and as Canadians that we ask some really hard questions about our future. How many more of our homes need to go up in flames before we recognize climate change is already here in the raging forest fires? …What is Trudeau’s calculus on how many homes can be left charred before he lets go of the dream of making Canada a fossil-fuel superpower? 

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Wildfires Will Only Get More Devastating If We Don’t Make Big Changes

Mike Flannigan
Huffington Post
July 28, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada

Here we go again. Last year it was more than 2,000 homes lost and 80,000 evacuated from the Fort McMurray fire. This year it’s the same story: homes lost, thousands evacuated from literally hundreds of B.C. fires. …This is not just a Western Canadian problem; there have been evacuations and structures lost from sea-to-sea-to-sea. Nor is this just a Canadian problem. It is a global issue, with deadly and devastating fires in Chile, Portugal, South Africa and the United States in 2017. …Our new approaches must be multifaceted and adaptable to different forest regions. We need to ensure that resources are available and positioned to attack fires in community zones early and effectively. The new reality is that we cannot afford to fight fires in the wildlands at the cost of not having resources available to respond to fires that become imminent threats to societal values.

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Vandals, thieves and outdoor enthusiasts disrupt B.C. firefighting efforts

By Nick Eagland
Victoria Times Colonist
July 29, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

VANCOUVER — Frontline workers risking their lives battling wildfires across B.C. are now adding thieves, vandals and careless outdoor enthusiasts to their list of problems. …But public interference with these operations has become an increasing concern, particularly in areas where there have been evacuation alerts, said Kevin Skrepnek, B.C. Wildfire Service’s chief fire information officer. Skrepnek said there have been multiple incidents in the Cariboo Region of people accessing areas where crews are fighting fires, including people driving through these areas on off-road vehicles. As well, people are accessing areas where there are helicopters operating and they’re using boats in bodies of water and hampering water-skimming aircraft operations. Water hoses, pumps and other firefighting equipment have been vandalized or stolen, Skrepnek added.

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First Nations want more control, equal funding to fight wildfires

By Linda Givetash
Canadian Press in the Vancouver Sun
July 30, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

VANCOUVER – First Nations in the path of British Columbia’s forests fires say to protect their communities they need equal funding and recognition of their expertise that is granted to other emergency response organizations. The Assembly of First Nations adopted a resolution at its annual meeting last week in Regina calling for an end to jurisdictional disputes between different levels of government that disrupt Indigenous communities’ ability to respond to the recent fires in their own backyards. Chief Judy Wilson of the Neskonlith Indian Band said First Nations must be more actively involved in negotiating agreements to ensure Indigenous firefighters and other service providers get the same recognition as regional and provincial authorities. …Chief Joe Alphonse of the Tl’etinqox First Nation said he was among those who experienced problems when his community, about 100 kilometres west of Williams Lake, decided not to issue an evacuation order unlike neighbouring areas.

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Opinion: Gov’t must act to reduce wildfire threat

By Robert Gray, fire ecologist 
Vancouver Sun
July 30, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

It’s summer in B.C. and once again wildfires are destroying homes and threatening communities. In the aftermath of the record-breaking 2003 fire season, there was much hype and promise associated with the Filmon Review, the Liberal government’s response to the wildfires. The province invested millions in planning and fuel treatments and in return several tens of thousands of hectares of hazardous fuels have been treated. However, if we step back and look at the situation from a provincewide perspective we see that not a single community has all the identified hazard mitigated — all are still vulnerable. All still have too many avenues for wildfire to spread from Crown land to private and municipal land.

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Fires compound losses of harvestable timber in B.C.’s Interior

By Ask Kelly
CBC News
July 29, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Williams Lake residents are trickling back into town, but, until the smoke clears, the extent of the damage this season’s fires have wrought on British Columbia’s forestry sector won’t be clear. Major forestry-based employers in the Interior have been forced to halt operations in Chasm, 100 Mile House, Williams Lake and Quesnel due to evacuation orders and a shortage of raw materials. ” …While it’s not known how much valuable timber has actually gone up in smoke, industry analysts have concerns the fires will compound B.C.’s dwindling timber supply. “Part of the tragedy we are dealing with is that fires are also burning through trees spared by the pine beetle outbreak, including young planted stands that were being counted on as timber supply over the next several decades,” said Burton.

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Timber harvesting threatens forest in Laurentians, coalition says

Montreal Gazette
July 29, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

STE-LUCIE-DES-LAURENTIDES — A group of individuals are fighting to protect a 100-year-old mountain in the Laurentians from timber harvesting. Coalition Mont-Kaaikop has launched a petition to gain a protected area status for Mont Kaaikop, located 100 kilometres northwest of Montreal, to ensure permanent protection from forest cuts. For centuries, Mont Kaaikop has been untouched and unaffected by human activity and coalition spokesperson Claude Alexandre Carpentier said he hopes it stays that way. This is not the first time the coalition has filed a petition against Mont Kaaikop timber cutting. In 2013, it launched a petition and received 8,000 signatures. The forest is home to many exceptional ecosystems, according to an independent firm hired by the coalition. The Quebec government has struggled to meet its goal of granting protected area status to 17 per cent of its land by 2020. 

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Residents raise concern over aerial spraying

By Richard Lane
Thunderbay News Watch
July 28, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

THUNDER BAY — An information picket was set up in front of the Service Ontario building on James Street Thursday morning. Two area residents are trying to stop the MNR from aerial spraying the forests around this region. Concerned citizen Richard Lane said they want people to sign their petition against the use of pesticides and herbicides in Ontario. According to their pamphlet, the spraying of allegedly “poisonous toxins” is to take place around Thunder Bay on August 1. Around 40 people from the township of Gillies have already signed the petition, and Nipigon residents are also concerned because the spraying is being done during blueberry picking season.

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Managing bears: Long winter, fast warm-up creates challenges for Mission Valley bears

By Perry Backus
The Missoulian
July 29, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

…Grizzly bears are showing in places that they hadn’t before in the Mission Valley. “Just like grizzlies out past the Rocky Mountain Front, we now have grizzlies going as far as the Flathead River,” Courville said. “We have had them on the Bison Range. The entire Mission Valley is now generally considered grizzly bear habitat.” The decision to kill a grizzly bear is never an easy one, Courville said. If more people living in grizzly habitat made an effort to protect with electricity anything that might attract a bear to their property, that difficult decision would be less frequent. …While Courville said Mission Valley grizzlies typically don’t have beef on their menu, they are drawn to smaller domesticated animals like goats, sheep, llamas and especially chickens. “Once they get started on chickens, it’s something they are always looking for, especially family groups or sows with cubs of the year”… 

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Montana’s wildfires are part of growing national emergency, should be treated like other natural disasters

The Missoulian
July 30, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

The nation’s worst wildfires are burning in Montana. Thousands of acres have been scorched, and thousands more will be lost before the last flame is doused this season. Already more than a dozen homes have been destroyed, and the running total of property damage is climbing. The smoke is harming air quality in many communities, including Missoula. Worst of all, a firefighter’s life has been lost. …Given the growing urgency of the situation, Montanans were outraged to learn this week that the Federal Emergency Management Agency initially rejected the state’s request for firefighting aid on the Lodgepole Complex. The FEMA grant is expected to cover 75 percent of fire suppression costs. On Monday, U.S. Sen. Jon Tester called out the agency and his fellow members of Congress on the floor of the Senate, arguing, “Fires are a devastating natural disaster and should be treated that way.”

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Elliott State Forest deal a bad one for Oregon taxpayers

Letter by Michael Bellman
Statesman Journal
July 28, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

To paraphrase Everett Dirksen: “a million here, a million there, and pretty soon we are talking about real money.” Based on that statement, Oregon just squandered $3.5 million with the potential for another $103.2 million. In 2015, the State Land Board (with Gov. Kate Brown at the helm) voted to sell the Elliott State Forest near Coos Bay. …Three separate appraisals set the fair-market value at $220.8 million. In May 2016, the same land board voted to offer the tract for sale to private companies. …Oh well. A million here, a million there.

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Indiana Could Learn Logging Practices from Neighboring States

Public News Service
July 31, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

INDIANAPOLIS – States that neighbor Indiana are protecting their old forests, and conservation advocates want to know why the Hoosier State isn’t doing the same. Michigan has designated more than 116,000 acres of state forests off limits to logging. In 1972, Ohio set aside nearly 8,000 acres of Shawnee State Forest, and in Wisconsin 14 percent of the state’s forests are excluded from commercial timber harvests. Rae Schnapp, conservation director for he Indiana Forest Alliance, says there aren’t many protections in place for Indiana’s 158,000 acres of forest land, and legislation to protect some of it has failed despite widespread public support.

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Forestry Remains a Largely Untapped Industry in West Virginia

By Cathy Bonnstetter
The State Journal
July 31, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

West Virginia’s forestry industry makes a significant contribution to the state’s economy, and that contribution is poised to grow, according to a recent study from the Appalachian Hardwood Center and West Virginia University’s Division of Forestry and Natural Resources in the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design. The study showed that the forest industry accounts for 1.4 percent of the state’s gross regional product. “That seems like a drop in the bucket, but it is pretty significant,” said Clinton Gabbert, co-author of the study. “One of the main conclusions of the study was how big a driver forestry can be for the state and how we haven’t seen that.” …“The governor is looking for an economic driver, and forestry products would be a great place to start,” Gabbert said.

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Timber industry faces challenges in the voluntary partnership agreement process in forest governance

By Su Phyo Win 
Myanmar Times
July 31, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: International

The lack of transparency and accountability together with the issues of corruption, an overwhelming wood demand and land rights are still posing challenges for the timber industry’s Voluntary Partnership Agreement in forest governance, said U Kyaw Zwar, director of the Forest Department. He made the remarks during a workshop on July 25. “The government has concerns and the fact that is does not have the trust of multiple stakeholders is a challenge for the process. “Every change implies sacrificing the interests of certain people, or things, for a certain time but it will be a benefit in the long run, resulting in a sustainable enterprise,” he said.

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Ecology and tourism in France hit by forest fires

Tourism Review
July 31, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: International

A number of forest fires are ravaging hundreds of hectares of French regions – including some protected sites – which is having a negative impact on the environment, ecology, and tourism of these areas. France’s southeastern regions are suffocating from repeated forest fires. A new fire broke out in the department of “Var”, leading to the evacuation of 12 000 people during the night of 26th July. Other departments are still at risk as well, such as “Bouches-du-Rhône” and “Haute-Corse”, both of which have been given a yellow vigilance rating by “Météo France”.In addition to the risks faced by rescue workers and the inhabitants of these areas, as well as the total devastation of hundreds of hectares of land, these disasters also have other, more or less direct consequences for ecology and tourism.

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Government’s claim that new-look Forestry Tasmania is subsidy-free challenged

By Georgie Burgess
ABC Australia
July 28, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: International

The State Government is confident it has stemmed the bleeding of the new-look Forestry Tasmania but environmentalists say it is clever financial juggling at the taxpayers’ expense. Forestry Tasmania became Sustainable Timber Tasmania this month in an effort to make the state-owned company leaner and profitable. As part of the restructure, it will focus on native forest management and is in the final stages of selling off its hardwood plantations. Resources Minister Guy Barnett said the company would no longer receive public subsidies and was on track to save $30 million over four years.

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Three species of tiny frogs discovered in Peruvian Andes

University of Michigan News
July 27, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: International

ANN ARBOR—A University of Michigan ecologist and his colleagues have discovered three more frog species in the Peruvian Andes, raising to five the total number of new frog species the group has found in a remote protected forest since 2012. The three newly found species live in the mountain forests and Andean grasslands of the Pui Pui Protected Forest in central Peru. They are described in a study to be published online July 27 in the journal Zootaxa. All three species measure an inch or less in length, from snout to vent. “Our team has now described five new species of frogs from this region, with several more to come in the near future,” said Rudolf von May, a postdoctoral researcher in the Rabosky Lab at the U-M Museum of Zoology and the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Other team members are in Illinois, the Czech Republic and Peru.

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Forest Fires

Wildfires: Evacuation order issued for Clinton area

By Gemma Karstens-Smith in Vancouver, with files from Dirk Meissner in Revelstoke
Victoria Times Colonist
July 30, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

REVELSTOKE, B.C. — Crews fighting wildfires across British Columbia are once again preparing for challenges brought on by sweltering, windy weather as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau prepares to see fire damage for himself. Trudeau, Premier John Horgan and several federal cabinet ministers are set to visit Williams Lake on Monday. About 10,000 people from the Interior community were forced from their homes more than two weeks ago as flames threatened to cut access to highways. The group is to meet with military and RCMP members from a command centre in Williams Lake before visiting the fire centre and having a look at the fire zone from the air. …Skrepnek said it will be good for Trudeau to come and see what impact the fires are having. “Just given the scale of what’s happened out there, you know, the fact that we’re having, by all accounts, a historic crisis that’s been ongoing over the past few weeks, I think it’s good that the prime minister that’s coming out to see that first-hand,” Skrepnek said.

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Wildfire threat looms as thousands in the Cariboo return home

By Dean Recksiedler and Hana Mae Nassar
News 1130
July 28, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

WILLIAMS LAKE (NEWS 1130) – Even with the good news that people in Williams Lake can head home, crews dealing with wildfires are preparing for a busy weekend. Chief Fire Information Officer Kevin Skrepnek with the BC Wildfire Service says crews are pulling out all the stops to deal with fires burning around the province. …the Wildfire Service is using all the resources it can to battle the flames, wherever they are. “We’re also relying quite a bit on the forest industry right now,” says Skrepnek. “So we’ve brought in well over a thousand contract firefighters through the forest industry and specialists as well. Equipment operators, tree fallers, things like that.” 

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B.C. Wildfires: Clinton under evacuation order, alert rescinded for 100 Mile House

By Dirk Meissner
Canadian Press in Vancouver Sun
July 29, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

REVELSTOKE, B.C. — As Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asking Canadians to donate to the Red Cross to help fire ravaged communities and families in British Columbia, the residents of a tiny Caribou community of Clinton received orders to leave their homes. Clinton, located about 120 kilometres northwest of Kamloops, received the order Saturday evening, forcing people from their homes due to fire threats. The Clinton evacuation order came following an official announcement that an evacuation alert for 100 Mile House, located about 75 kilometres north of Clinton, was rescinded, but Cariboo Regional District officials warned another alert or order remains a possibility. Trudeau, who was in Revelstoke in B.C.’s southeast, said he was preparing to travel to several B.C. communities hit by the fires this summer.

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New Brunswick forest fire forces dozens to evacuate

Canadian Press in CTV News
July 30, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada East, Canada

MISCOU ISLAND, N.B. – About 25 people in northern New Brunswick have been forced to leave their homes because of a forest fire. New Brunswick’s fire prevention officer says the fire on Miscou Island is out of control and appears to have grown to 90 hectares as of late Sunday afternoon. Roger Collet says water bombers and dozens of fire crew are fighting the blaze on the island. Collet says the fire has been burning since 4 p.m. Saturday and the rate of growth appears to have slowed. He says approximately 20 homes have been evacuated and there has been one report of minor property damage. The entire province is under a fire ban. [END OF STORY]

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Lolo Peak fire expected to move toward Highway 12

By Lucy Tompkins
Missoulian
July 30, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

The Sunrise fire near Superior continued to grow Saturday, churning through another 1,200 acres to stand at 5,500 acres, according to a news release posted on Inciweb. Quartz Creek remains under a Stage 3 evacuation order, meaning residents are required to leave the area. Sunrise Creek and Quartz Flats also remain evacuated under Stage 3 status. About 60 structures are threatened by the fire, according to fire officials. Verde Creek to the northwest remains on Stage 2 ready status, while Rivulet several miles east on the Clark Fork River is on Stage 1 evacuation status. Fire growth was expected to continue east and to increase Saturday afternoon due to hot and dry conditions, low humidity and increasing winds.

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Wildfires scattered around Oregon

Oregon Live
July 30, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

Firefighters are battling six fires, mainly in rugged, wilderness areas. They range from the Whitewater Fire in the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness area to the Indian Creek fire in the Mt. Hood National Forest. The Whitewater fire in the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness Area has scorched nearly 170 acres, with active torching of trees and spotting. On Monday, Jefferson Park will be closed to visitors. …The Indian Creek fire east of Multnomah Falls in the Mt. Hood National Forest has burned more than 70 acres. Firefighters predict that with the warmer weather coming, it could grow to hundreds of acres. The Blanket Creek fire has scorched more than 625 acres in the Rogue River National Forest. Ignited by lightning, it was first reported July 25.

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Firefighters move toward containment on Bruner Mountain fire

By Susan Olp
Billings Gazette
July 29, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

The 470-acre Bruner Mountain fire south of Roundup was expected to be 50 percent contained by Saturday night if the weather cooperated, a spokesman said late Saturday afternoon. The fire could be fully contained by Tuesday or Wednesday, said Adam Carlson, disaster and emergency services coordinator for Musselshell County. Evacuation orders have been lifted, Carlson said, with no structures threatened or destroyed. But he cautioned homeowners to be careful when driving in the area because fire crews and equipment are still in the area.

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Spain: 300 evacuated as forest fire burns 1,000 hectares

Associated Press in UK Daily Mail
July 30, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International

MADRID – Regional government authorities in southeastern Spain say a wildfire has forced the evacuation of 300 people and burned 1,000 hectares (2,471 acres) of pine forest. Francisco Martinez, the regional head of agriculture, environment and rural development for Castilla-La Mancha, says residents from 10 small towns and visitors at a campsite have been relocated. Over 150 firefighters supported by air units were fighting the fire on Saturday. The blaze started on Friday and spread into the National Park of Los Calares del Rio Mundo. Spain and neighboring Portugal are prone to forest fires during the typically dry and hot summer months. [END OF STORY]

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

New study: Mountain forests store carbon better than flatland forests

By Mikayla Mace 
Arizona Daily Star
July 29, 2017
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

Research suggests that mountain forests with their complex terrain are better at storing carbon dioxide and providing water to humans than flatland forests, both of which have implications for land-use policy makers. Tyson Swetnam, a scientific analyst at CyVerse, led the study. CyVerse, which is a project funded by the National Science Foundation and led by the University of Arizona, designs computer infrastructure for life-sciences research and trains scientists how to use it to compute large amounts of complex data. Swetnam collected data from reflected light pulses off the surface of the earth to map the height of the trees and elevation. While looking through cross sections of this 3-D map, he noticed an interesting pattern.

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