Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: August 15, 2017

Today’s Takeaway

Media hype aside, this is not the worst fire season ever

Tree Frog Forestry News
August 15, 2017
Category: Today's Takeaway

BC Forests Minister Donaldson has launched an investigation into the “Clinton backburn that went awry” due to a shift in the winds, but Tom Fletcher–fresh from a trip to the fire zone–chides the media coverage. “The tone of the coverage suggests a reckless, inept effort by the BC Wildfire Service” and “the unfairness to exhausted firefighting crews seemed lost on them”, says Fletcher. 

The BC government “cancelled the grizzly bear trophy hunt effective November 30″, while still allowing people to kill the bears for meat.

Federal Minister Freeland has been pushed on softwood lumber due to NAFTA, but “caving in to another blackmail lumber agreement would be like snatching defeat from the jaws of victory”, says Doug Smyth in the Globe and Mail. Meanwhile, BMO Capital Markets downgraded much of the sector on concerns a resolution of the dispute was unlikely any time soon, and lumber prices continue to rise due to massive forest fires in western Canada and the US. 

Finally, another story on “high-rises made of wood”, this time in the Scientific American; and Japan looks to wood pulp to make lighter auto parts as “wood pulp weighs just one fifth of steel and can be five times stronger”. 

— Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Business & Politics

Canadian lumber producers hit by BMO downgrade as NAFTA talks loom

By Solarina Ho
Reuters
August 14, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada

TORONTO  – Shares of Canadian lumber producers slumped on Monday after BMO Capital Markets downgraded much of the sector on concerns that punitive U.S. duties, a stronger Canadian dollar and ongoing litigation would hurt the sector. BMO said a resolution over the lumber dispute was unlikely any time soon. The long-running dispute intensified when the United States imposed anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties averaging 20 percent on Canadian softwood lumber exports in June. BMO’s downgrade comes ahead of the start of talks on Wednesday to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement. Canada’s foreign minister, who said lumber discussions would continue in parallel with NAFTA negotiations, laid down a tough line on overall trade talks on Monday.

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The U.S. argument in lumber talks is, yet again, based on faulty calculations

By Doug Smyth,vforest industry consultant & former research director with IWA-Canada
The Globe and Mail
August 14, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

In the runup to NAFTA negotiations starting on Aug. 16, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland has been pushing to close a softwood lumber deal in order to clear the decks. But with heavy U.S. penalties on Canadian lumber imports already in place, the B.C. and Canadian lumber industries are clearly sitting in a very weak bargaining position. For now, the U.S. side holds all the aces. But they are blackmail cards, based on extremely flawed subsidy calculations by the U.S. Department of Commerce. …However, caving in early to another blackmail lumber agreement in 2017 would be like snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Here is why. …For more than three decades, the U.S. Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports has alleged that the Canadian lumber industry enjoys an unfair cost advantage, mainly because provincial governments are said to provide subsidized timber from public lands.

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Teal-Jones Group keeps fibre flowing to coastal mills

By Maria Church
Wood Business
August 15, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Rob Ravai

As with any of Canada’s forest products companies, family-owned Teal-Jones Group is accustomed to facing challenges with steely resilience. In spite of the media storm around the U.S. duties, Teal’s pressing concern these days is about shrinking fibre supply in British Columbia. Reductions in allowable annual cut are occurring or are expected this year in Quesnel, Prince George, and Lakes timber supply areas. …Adding to their roster, Teal hired Rob Ravai as manager of log supply initiatives and Fraser Valley operations last fall and promoted him to vice-president of log supply and Fraser Valley operations in early 2017. Ravai oversees about 400,000 cubic metres from Teal-Jones’ licenses as well as other incremental volume opportunities in the province. “This is very important to our business, we have to have timber supply in order to efficiently run our mills,” Ravai says.

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Massive fires increasing wood prices

By Don Brunell
The Courier-Herald
August 14, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

Don Brunell

Massive forest fires in western parts of Canada and the U.S. are not only choking us with layers of smoke, but are cutting off lumber supplies around our country. The result is the cost of a new home is rising because of the growing shortage of framing lumber and laminated decking. The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported combination of the wildfires and the 30% tariff President Trump slapped on Canadian lumber producers are causing lumber shortages and drove up the average prices on new single-family homes nationwide to $406,400 in May. ..The Yacolt fires actually forced Weyerhaeuser into lumber milling, particularly in the Longview area where it built a massive forest products processing complex. The company needed to find a way to recover as much value from its charred trees as possible.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

SFI Brings Together “Women in Wood” for Habitat for Humanity Build Day

PR Newswire
August 14, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada East, Canada

Kathy Abusow

OTTAWA, Ontario — The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) and Habitat for Humanity Greater Ottawa are joining forces for a “Women in Wood” Build Day on Tuesday, August 15 to help build homes alongside Ottawa families in need of affordable housing. The second-ever “Women in Wood” Build Day will take place at Habitat GO’s largest build to date, Leacross Landing, which consists of 16 townhomes being built in Orléans.  …The build will have a transformational effect in the lives of four Ottawafamilies this year, including Annie Aningmuiq, a single mom of a four-year-old boy, who is originally from Pangnirtung, Nunavut. …The “Women in Wood” Build Day, which first took place in Ottawa in 2013, will be led by Kathy Abusow, SFI’s President and CEO, to celebrate Habitat GO’s third Indigenous Build.

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High Rises Made of Wood?

By Annie Sneed
Scientific American
August 15, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States

A wood skyscraper might sound like a bad idea—and potentially a giant tinderbox. But architects around the world are steadily building more timber high-rises, partly with the aim of curbing carbon pollution. Lofty wood buildings are popping up in major cities from London to Melbourne. Many more are in the works—soon Portland, Ore., will be getting its own—and they continue to break height records for modern lumber construction. The world’s tallest such building completed, a 53-meter Vancouver high-rise called Brock Commons, officially opens in September.  Wood is strong, lightweight and resilient to earthquakes, says Russell Acton, a principal architect at Acton Ostry Architects, which designed Brock Commons.

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Tall timber stacks up in commercial terms

By The Forest Industry Engineering Association
Scoop.co.nz
August 15, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Tall timber stacks up in commercial terms. Last week, well-known property investor Sir Bob Jones announced his company’s plan to build a tall timber building in Wellington. Jones has done his homework on the advantages of wood for large commercial buildings. Australian and Canadian developers and building companies are well ahead of their New Zealand counterparts in using engineered wood to commercial advantage. In a recent announcement for another large building – a multi-family residential building, in at the University of BC, in Vancouver Canada, the development company set out to clarify why they chose wood for this large project. They said new engineered wood components like cross-laminated timber (CLT) meet or exceed the structural properties of concrete. Wood components are seismically superior as they don’t crack or shatter like concrete.

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Tougher than steel: Japan looks to wood pulp to make lighter auto parts

By Naomi Tajitsu and Maki Shiraki
Reuters
August 14, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

KYOTO, Japan – The global push among carmakers to make ever lighter vehicles is leading some auto suppliers in Japan to turn to what seems like an unlikely substitute for steel – wood. Japanese researchers and auto component makers say a material made from wood pulp weighs just one fifth of steel and can be five times stronger. The material – cellulose nanofibres – could become a viable alternative to steel in the decades ahead, they say, although it faces competition from carbon-based materials, and remains a long way from being commercially viable. Reducing the weight of a vehicle will be critical as manufacturers move to bring electric cars into the mainstream. Batteries are an expensive but vital component, so a reduction in car weight will mean fewer batteries will be needed to power the vehicle, saving on costs.

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Forestry

BC to end grizzly bear trophy hunting

By Lindsay Kines
Victoria Times Colonist
August 14, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The B.C. NDP government acted on another campaign promise Monday by cancelling the grizzly bear trophy hunt across the province while still allowing people to kill the bears for meat. The change, which takes effect at the close of this year’s hunting season on Nov. 30, also bans all hunting of grizzlies within the Great Bear Rainforest. Natural Resources Minister Doug Donaldson said the move honours the wishes of most British Columbians, while recognizing the economic opportunities associated with eco-tourism and bear viewing. “People in the province have come to their understanding, their point of view, that trophy hunting of grizzly bears is not a socially acceptable practice in B.C. in 2017,” he said.

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Forestry industry going behind our backs

Letter by Ryan Peters (Qa’wam)
Whistler Question
August 14, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

I am responding to the notice in the Whistler Question on July 18 about N’Quatqua Logging Co. Ltd. trying to form a Stewardship Plan for the Forest Licence A81779. I have to say that the forestry (industry) is trying to sneak behind the peoples’ backs to make this plan happen, as D’Arcy doesn’t receive the Question up our way. So why doesn’t the forestry (industry) do their job properly and have the plan delivered to all N’Quatqua residents door-to-door, so the people know what is going on? There has been poor communication. I will not accept this because the timber and values (it brings) belong to the people more than it does to the chief, council and forestry.

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Finnish forestry tour reveals Nova Scotia’s untapped potential

The Chronicle Herald
August 14, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

A tour of Finland’s small private forest industry has a Digby woodlot manager convinced Nova Scotia can’t see the forest for the trees. Harold Alexander has worked the Digby County woods for decades. Part of the Small Private Forestry in Finland learning tour in 2016, he joined staff and directors from three provincial woodlot owner organizations — the Woodlot Owners and Operators Association, the Federation of Nova Scotia Woodland Owners & Operators and Landowners and Forest Fibre Producers Association — along with two new regional woodlot service organizations being piloted in Cape Breton and western Nova Scotia. Alexander believes Nova Scotia has been barking up the wrong tree and that forestry can be a safe economic driver — if woodlot owners and government together follow Finland’s footsteps — toward sustainable, paid employment for more Nova Scotians. “There’s a huge untapped potential to create wealth for woodlot owners and the economy,” he said.

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Timber sale nets Idaho Department of Fish and Game $900,000

Associated Press in Idaho Statesman
August 14, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho The Idaho Department of Fish and Game will receive about $907,000 in a northern Idaho timber sale. Fish and Game Regional Manager Chip Corsi told The Spokesman-Review  that the timber stand is landlocked with no public access, and the department wanted to take advantage of high prices for western red cedar. Some area residents opposed the timber sale, urging the agency to save the cedar trees. Some of the trees are 80 to 120 years old, and residents wanted the Fish and Game Department to seek an easement across private land so that people could walk to the cedar grove. But the rebounding U.S. housing market has increased demand for cedar siding and decking, pushing prices to near-record levels.

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We need logging

Letter by Dee Gibney
Ravalli Republic
August 13, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Here we are once again in the middle of a fire season, costing us millions of tax dollars, millions of prime forest acres burned, homes destroyed and human lives lost because liberals keep filing lawsuits to stop logging. They say they want to save the forest, well your forest is now burned up because no one can get in to manage the forest properly so we don’t have fires. They say they want to save animals that live there, well where are these animals going to live, when there is no forest! …Think before you want to file another lawsuit to stop logging. All you are causing is more forest to be destroyed, more human lives lost, more animal suffering, more tax dollars wasted and no more beauty to look at because you cannot think beyond your own selfishness. You are doing more harm than good.

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Wash. forest owners show excellent compliance with state law

By Washington Forest Protection Association
PR Newswire
August 11, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

OLYMPIA, Wash.,  — A newly released report from the state Department of Natural Resources shows that Washington’s forest landowners are approaching 100 percent compliance with the state’s forest practices rules.  The Compliance Monitoring Report shows that in the most recent time period studied by DNR (2014-15), the state’s forest landowners were within 90 percent to 98 percent in compliance with state law in their timber harvests and forest road construction. In several cases, state forest landowners’ compliance rate went up from the last report (2012-13) and in no cases were there any statistically significant declines in compliance rates.

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Maine-Based Forest Groups to Guide Master Logger Certification Process

By Jennifer Mitchell
Maine Public Radio
August 13, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

AUGUSTA, Maine – Two Maine-based forest industry groups will spearhead a national effort to promote highly skilled and sustainable logging. According to the American Loggers Council, the Maine-based Trust to Conserve Northeast Forestlands and the Professional Logging Contractors of Maine will take charge of a program to revitalize and promote a Master Logger Certification program. The certification sets standards for professional loggers, who must meet seven areas of performance and sustainability. “Practices that go above and beyond should be recognized and loggers will benefit from the recognition.” says TCNF executive director, Ted Wright.  Wright says Master Loggers are held accountable for their practices through an independent third-party audit, and that those holding the classification will have a leg up within the industry.

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Virginia, feds ink forest care pact

Kingsport Tennessee News Times
August 14, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

ROANOKE — The U.S. Forest Service’s George Washington and Jefferson national forests and the Virginia Department of Forestry have signed a Good Neighbor Authority master agreement that provides a framework for cooperative efforts that enhance national forest lands and their watersheds. Authorized under 2014 legislation, the pact allows the federal and state agencies to work together to treat insect- and disease-infected trees, reduce hazardous fuels to lessen the risk of wildfires, and conduct other activities to restore or improve national forestl and and watersheds, to include fish and wildlife habitat. “This is an exciting opportunity,” said State Forester of Virginia Bettina Ring. “By combining forces and being intentional about the work that needs to be done, we can make truly substantive improvements to the national forests for the benefit of all Virginians.”

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Forest Industry Contractors Association Leadership & Management Change

Forest Industry Contractors Association
August 14, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: International

John Stulen

After 15 years of service to the Association, John Stulen will retire from his role as CEO of the Forest Industry Contractors Association (FICA).  He has served the contractors group since 2002 when it was first established. …On behalf of FICA, president Ross Davis thanked John Stulen for his long service, which has resulted in forest contractors becoming an important voice in forestry nationally and well-respected internationally in logging contracting circles. Recognising the importance of transforming to safer workplaces, FICA contractor members and engineering suppliers have transformed forest harvesting. Stulen’s company, Innovatek, is now managing technology transfer services focused on new engineered wood technologies for commercial building, including cross-laminated timber  and laminated veneer lumber.

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Forest Fires

Financial support offered to fire-affected businesses

By Tom Fletcher
BC Local News in Abbotsford News
August 14, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

The B.C. government is offering emergency grants of $1,500 for eligible small businesses affected by wildfires in the B.C. Interior. Forests Minister Doug Donaldson announced Monday the grants will be administered through the Red Cross, which has also distributed $600 payments to individuals and families forced from their homes by fires in the Cariboo. The grants will also be available to aboriginal communities and non-profits affected by fires and highway closures. …”We know that hundreds of small businesses in rural B.C. have been adversely impacted by wildfire activity and this initial support is designed to give these businesses some assistance as they resume operations again,” said Jobs Minister Bruce Ralston.

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BC VIEWS: Notes from the forest fire zone

By Tom Fletcher
BC Local News
August 14, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

I’m just back from vacation and a drive from Victoria to Prince George last week to visit relatives. Here are a few observations. …Vancouver media went from bad to worse as they grew bored with the struggles of far-off towns and farms. Among many errors by drama-seeking urban outlets, the CBC announced the rescinding of an evacuation order for Princeton, which was never evacuated. Then for days the people’s network flogged the story of a back-burn gone wrong on Hart Ridge Mountain south of Clinton, after the wind shifted suddenly. The tone of the coverage suggested a reckless, inept effort by the B.C. Wildfire Service, with sound-bites from an angry rancher who went to media instead of filing his damage claim with the province. The unfairness to exhausted firefighting crews seemed lost on them, or unimportant next to the media craving for conflict.

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Clinton-area ranchers want answers on backburn issues

By Doug Collins
CFJC Today Kamloops
August 14, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

CLINTON — Ranchers in the south Cariboo upset with damage they say is from controlled burns set off to combat the Elephant Hill wildfire are releasing new video they claim justifies their concerns. Spokesman John McNamer says the videos are being released along with a letter to Forests Minister Doug Donaldson asking for assurances that all documents relating to the controlled burns in the area are preserved and made available to property owners. The Clinton-area ranchers say they believe the B.C. Wildfire Service mismanaged the ignition.

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Wildfire southeast of Telegraph Cove now 50 per cent contained

By Tyson Whitney
Campbell River Mirror
August 14, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

As of Monday, Aug. 14, The wildfire 25 kilometres southeast of Telegraph Cove is 81 hectares in size and is at 50 per cent containment since being discovered last week. “We have a 10 person crew assigned to the fire today, and one officer,” said Fire Information Officer Nicole Gagnon. “There is no equipment and no helicopters currently assigned to the fire.” The wildfire, which is burning in a logging cut block in the Kaikash Creek area, was 25 hectares in size when it was first discovered Tuesday, Aug. 9. It then exploded to 80 hectares by the next morning, being classified as “not under control.” Gagnon noted the terrain at the scene of the wildfire is rugged and steep, making it difficult for BC Wildfire Service to access the area.

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Lightning sparks 14 new fires in B.C.

BC Local News
August 14, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

Lightning sparked 14 new wildfires throughout the Southeast Fire Centre on Saturday. A 70-hectare fire burning about 15 kilometres northeast of Nelson prompted the Regional District of Central Kootenay to issue an evacuation alert between Sitkum Creek and Crescent Bay, as a precautionary measure. BC Wildfire Service personnel are on site and being supported by air tankers due to the fire burning on steep and difficult terrain. Most of the new weekend fires are in high alpine areas and not immediately threatening any communities or structures. Another fire of note, the 100-hectare McCormick Creek wildfire burning approximately 20 km southwest of Salmo, prompted an evacuation alert for 21 residents (near Nelway) and an evacuation order for two properties on Saturday.

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Northwestern Ontario forest fire situation escalates

TB Newswatch
August 15, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada East, Canada

THUNDER BAY — Quebec and Minnesota providing assistance as nearly 50 new fires were discovered over the weekend, with 155 active fires blazing in the region. Neighbouring jurisdictions are pitching in to support provincial crews as the forest fire situation in Northwestern Ontario worsens with many northern communities being affected by smoke in surrounding areas. Residents of Nibinamik First Nation, 500 kilometres north of Thunder Bay, were evacuated to Kapuskasing via commercial aircraft due to smoke issues and a power outage. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has established an Incident Management Team in Nibinamik to manage a complex of four fires to the north and northeast of the community.

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Residents transported out of Nibinamik First Nation due to nearby forest fires

CBC News
August 14, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada East, Canada

Ontario has brought firefighting resources in from out-of-province in an effort to keep up with a volatile forest fire situation in the northwest, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) said. Forty-seven new fires were reported in the region over the weekend, bringing the total to 155. The ministry said the majority of new fires were the result of lightning strikes, however a few were human-caused. The fires caused officials in Nibinamik First Nation, which is located about 500 kilometres north of Thunder Bay, to request transport for residents to Kapuskasing, fire information officials said, adding that issues with smoke and a power outage were the main concerns. Four fires were burning in close proximity to Nibinamik as of Sunday evening and fire crews remained in the community Monday.

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Wildfire near Yosemite National Park burning through forest thick with trees killed by a beetle infestation

Associated Press in KRON4
August 14, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

WAWONA, Calif.  — Rangers at Yosemite National Park have alerted a small community about a wildfire that crews are struggling to contain as they fight it from the air and ground, officials said Monday. Flames have come within 2 miles (3 kilometers) of Wawona, a tiny community near the park’s south entrance that swells this time of year with up to 2,000 visitors attending a church camp and renting cabins around a market and small library. A lightning strike in recent weeks may be to blame for the blaze that erupted into a wildfire on Sunday afternoon, Yosemite spokesman Scott Gediman said. It has burned 1.4 square miles (2.6 square kilometers) of wilderness and pine forests 65 miles (105 kilometers) north of Fresno. Firefighters do not have the flames’ boundary contained, the National Park Service reported.

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Wildfire near Greek capital burns for 3rd day

Associated Press in Washington Post
August 15, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International

About 350 Greek firefighters and soldiers, assisted by water-dropping planes and dozens of fire trucks are struggling to contain a large wildfire raging for three days through pine forests north of Athens. Nobody has been injured by the blaze between Varnavas and Kalamos, 45 kilometers (28 miles) from Athens, but at least 20 homes have been damaged. Officials said inhabited areas weren’t in direct danger Tuesday. Nine water-dropping planes and helicopters were leading efforts to stop the fire, which ate deep into some of the few remaining pristine forests near Athens. A smoky haze from the blaze that started Sunday hung over much of Athens, while ash drifted throughout the capital.

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