Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: October 13, 2017

Today’s Takeaway

Climate and wildfire – the headlines speak for themselves

Tree Frog Forestry News
October 13, 2017
Category: Today's Takeaway

Climate and wildfire – the headlines speak for themselves:

On the First Nations front: the Driftpile Cree Nation will operate part of Tolko’s High Prairie OSB plant; the Lac Seul First Nation is looking to expand into value-added wood manufacturing in Ontario, The BC Assembly of First Nations elected professional forester Terry Teegee as Regional Chief; and Coast Forest spokesman Rick Jeffery speaks about on the “path to reconciliation” and how the coastal forest industry is increasing participation of Indigenous peoples.

Finally, the future of mass timber is nearly unlimited and sexy, unless you’re from the concrete industry and then it’s “unsafe”. 

Are you superstitious – it’s Friday the 13th.

— Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Business & Politics

Driftpile, Tolko sign agreement

By Richard Froese
South Peace News
October 12, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Chief Dwayne Laboucan, Tolko’s David Bickerton

Tolko Industries and Driftpile Cree Nation have signed an agreement to operate a part of the High Prairie OSB plant. Documents were signed Oct. 5 at the mill that will re-open to its full capacity in January. “This is a milestone for Driftpile and Tolko,” says Driftpile Chief Dwayne Laboucan. “Working with Drift- pile shows that Tolko supports First Nations.” Driftpile signed a contract to operate the logyard service, which involces unloading all logging trucks, decking the logs and feeding them into the mill, says David Bickerton, general manager of prairie woodlands with Tolko. …When fully operational, the mill will employ up to 175 people directly and 225 indirectly. …The proposed harvesting plan has been drafted in consultation with Aboriginal, Metis and general communities. …The plan must be approved by Alberta Agriculture and Forestry.

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SmartLam Expanding Headquarters, Operations to Weyerhaeuser Site

By Dillon Tabish
Flathead Beacon
October 13, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

SmartLam Technologies Group, a rapidly growing wood products manufacturer, is expanding its operations and headquarters to the former Weyerhaeuser lumber mill property in Columbia Falls, according to company officials. The company plans to move into the shuttered site by Jan. 1, 2018, and significantly expand its manufacturing operations for cross-laminated timber, or CLT, with a “state-of-the-art equipment line,” company officials said. As part of the sizable local development, SmartLam will hire more than 75 new employees by the end of 2019, according to the company. The deal will breathe life into the former heart of the Plum Creek timber empire and help fuel the meteoric rise of an engineered wood product that is increasingly gaining traction as an innovative building material.

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Weyerhaeuser redeems ownership interest in Twin Creeks joint venture

Weyerhaeuser
October 12, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

Weyerhaeuser Company logo. (PRNewsFoto/Weyerhaeuser Company)Weyerhaeuser Company today announced the redemption of its 21 percent ownership interest in the Twin Creeks Timber, LLC joint venture for $107.5 million in cash.  The Company also announced an agreement to sell 100,000 acres of Southern Timberlands to Twin Creeks for $202.5 million. The sale includes 80,000 acres of timberlands in Mississippi and 20,000 acres in Georgia and is expected to close by year end. Effective December 31, 2017, the Company will also terminate the agreements under which it has managed the Twin Creeks timberlands.

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Rep. Kulik’s woodlands bill called ‘classic Trojan horse’

By MJ Tidwell
The Recorder
October 12, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

Stephen Kulik

BOSTON — Opponents of a bill to establish the Mohawk Trail Woodlands Partnership Fund say it is a “classic Trojan horse” to expand biomass energy production in western Massachusetts under the guise of sustainable forestry. But Rep. Stephen Kulik, D-Worthington, who proposed the legislation, says wood energy is not a focus of the bill and economic development comes second to forest conservation. “I can say flatly and honestly that this is a very straightforward utilization of forest resources,” Kulik said. “These charges are completely false and misleading, and are, unfortunately, being spread by a small group who are deliberately mischaracterizing this bill.”

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

These cheap, fire-resistant homes could save lives and property in future disasters

By Leanna Garfield
Business Insider
October 12, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

More than a dozen wildfires killed at least 23 people and engulfed more than 3,500 homes, buildings, and other structures across Northern California in one of the worst firestorms in state history. …In the US, homes are typically made of two basic materials: wood and concrete. The former is very flammable, which could be why only certain parts of houses — like brick fireplaces and concrete floors — survived the [Santa Rosa] fires. The surface of concrete can burn as well if it’s covered in flammable materials, like varnish or plastic. GigaCrete, a homebuilding firm based in Las Vegas, aims to make homes more fireproof. …GigaCrete also makes a non-flammable, proprietary varnish that is painted on the walls. When the material is layered on, the home becomes fireproof, bulletproof, waterproof, and super insulated, according to the company. The coating, called PlasterMax, is fire-rated, meaning it passed combustion and room fire tests.

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Wood construction becomes sexy again

Capital Press
October 12, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

…Beyond timber management, however, are innovations that promise new uses for timber in construction. Among them is “mass timber” that is used in “tallwood design.” As an example, a credit union in Hillsboro, Ore., is using glulam beams to construct its new five-story, 150,000-square-foot headquarters building. Another building planned for Portland will be 12 stories tall and constructed of cross-laminated timber, called CLT. It will dwarf the seven-story building in Minneapolis, Minn., that is currently the tallest mass timber structure in the nation. To explore the uses and design possibilities of mass timber, the University of Oregon architecture program is combining efforts with Oregon State University’s forestry and engineering programs to create the Tallwood Design Institute.

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Build with Strength Welcomes the New England Concrete Manufacturers Association to the Coalition

By National Ready Mixed Concrete Association
For Construction Pros
October 12, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

Build with Strength, a coalition of the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association …is pleased to welcome the New England Concrete Manufacturers Association as the newest member of the coalition. The organization is just one of many advocates calling on cities and municipalities to enact stronger building codes. …Over the last few months, New England has been the site of a number of large, wood-framed building fires …In response, a number of communities have raised concerns with the use of vulnerable construction methods, namely the Waltham City Council, which voted unanimously to call on the Commonwealth to tighten restrictions on wood-framed buildings. …“We are willing to do whatever it takes to work with local fire officials and community organizations in order to create a more resilient country.”

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Forestry

Why the North American west is on fire

The Economist
October 13, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, United States

THE fires are blazing. The west of the United States has endured some 50,000 wildfires this year, and over 8.5m acres (3.4m hectares) have burned. …In Canada, as of August 30th (the latest available figure), 7.4m acres had burned. …Why have so many fires burned in North America this year? In terms of scale, 2017 is not actually an outlier. In the past decade, wildfires have burned an average of 6.6m acres each year in the United States and 6.2m acres in Canada. The particular problem this year is the dispersed nature of the blazes. In other years, the fires have clustered in a single state or province. This year, not only have the wildfires burned on more fronts, but they have done so closer to heavily populated areas. …The current state of the north-western forests, combined with the effects of climate change, increase the likelihood that wildfires will be worse in future.

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Victoria urged to act now to prevent firestorm in 2018

By Sean Brady
Victoria Times Colonist
October 12, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

A professor and researcher from the University of British Columbia says the next six to 18 months are going to be critical in preventing the next wildfire disaster in the province. Lori Daniels… is one of three signatories on a letter sent to Premier John Horgan and Forests Minister Doug Donaldson pressuring government to act to prevent another fire season like this year’s. …The letter says the 2017 wildfire season cannot be “just another wake-up call.” …“In many ways, it was a tremendously remarkable summer and I’m hoping one that I won’t be saying a decade from now that ‘we should have acted after 2017’ — because I’m telling you right now, we should have acted after 2003,” Daniels said. Following the 2003 “wake-up call” fire season, Daniels said between 2004 and 2015, only 10 per cent of the hazardous fuels identified were actually treated — at a cost of $78 million.

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The Path To Reconciliation Is Mutual Understanding

By Rick Jeffrey
Coast Forest Products Association
October 12, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Earlier in the year I had the opportunity to listen to a panel of First Nations lawyers share their thoughts about reconciliation.  One of the panelists… went on to say that recognition is achieved by identifying the real issues – and then developing an understanding of these issues. …The coastal forest industry in BC is focused on increasing participation of Indigenous peoples in the forest sector. …And, so, as I thought more about the idea that the duty to consult was the duty to learn, I wondered how we could put that into practice.  How can we collectively move past barriers, adopt more collaborative approaches and solutions that are interest-based and create even more win-win-win outcomes? It strikes me that the next logical step on the path to reconciliation is one that includes tripartite discussions between Indigenous peoples, the Government of BC and the forest industry.

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Teegee elected regional chief

Prince George Citizen
October 12, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Terry Teegee

He’s the first from the north to win the elected position as Regional Chief of the British Columbia Assembly of First Nations (BCAFN). And Terry Teegee was more than ready to address the Chiefs-in-Assembly after the election, held Thursday. As Tribal Chief of the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council (CTSC) since 2012, Teegee is now ready for a new challenge. …Teegee, a registered professional forester, grew up in Fort St. James and attended Fort St. James secondary school. He graduated from the University of Northern B.C. with a bachelor of science degree in forestry in 2006. Teegee also completed his diploma in forestry technology from the College of New Caledonia. …The role of regional chief is to ensure regional concerns of BCAFN members are included in national political discussions and decision-making processes.

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Cody Caves Park protected (temporarily?)

Letter by Bill Bryce President, Friends of West Kootenay Parks Society
Nelson Star
October 12, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Earlier this year, is was brought to the attention of the Friends of West Kootenay Parks that a local logging company, Cooper Creek Cedar, was in the process of applying for a cutting permit in a sensitive area just outside the boundaries of Cody Caves Provincial Park. Logging in one section of the proposed cut block could have been a disaster for the caves. After prolonged discussions between BC Parks, the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (FLNRO), and Cooper Creek Cedar, an agreement was reached which saw an alteration of the Goal 2 Boundaries for the Cody Caves Provincial Park which will protect the headwaters of the caves. The Friends of West Kootenay Parks would like to acknowledge Keith Baric of BC Parks, Bill Kestell of Cooper Creek Cedar and the staff at the Lands Branch of the local office of FLNRO for their work in bringing about this conclusion.

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Alberni Valley resident concerned about access to recreation grounds

By Calvin To
Chek News
October 11, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Alberni Valley resident Brittany Belanger is concerned about access to recreation grounds after she says she and her family almost got locked behind Island Timberlands’ gates on Cameron Main during Thanksgiving weekend… The company’s blog lists times when the gates are open. But Belanger says Island Timberlands can sometimes lock the gates outside those times without notice. …In an email to CHEK News, a company spokesperson said “Access may be restricted, temporarily or permanently, to ensure the safety of the public and our employees and contractors, protection of the environment, and the security of assets.” Back in February, Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver introduced a private member’s bill to spark discussion about the issue. He intends to introduce it again this session.

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Caribou comeback: Can the species ever return to NB?

By Shane Fowler
CBC News
October 13, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

…But the nearly century old absence of a fourth big game animal, the woodland caribou, has had some hunting groups question if the native animal could ever be reintroduced in the province. “They were here, as far as we know, since the glaciers left,” said Gerry Parker, a former officer with the Canadian Wildlife Service who studied caribou in the Canadian Arctic. “They were here thousands of years.” “But the caribou were overhunted, mainly for their antlers,” said Parker …”There is pretty strong evidence that [increase in whitetail deer populations] is one of the factors that led to the precipitous decline of the caribou,” said Stephen Clayden, a botanist at the New Brunswick museum. “A meningeal worm, it’s a parasitic nematode, or commonly called a brain worm.” “It is carried by whitetail deer,” said Clayden. “But is not lethal to them like it is to caribou.”  

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Solifor Invests $36 Million to Acquire Forest Land in Maine in Order to Secure Supply for the Québec Industry Français

By Fonds de solidarité FTQ
Canada Newswire
October 12, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

QUÉBEC CITY – To further secure the supply of quality fibre for Québec sawmills and processors, Solifor continues its expansion outside Québec with the acquisition of Ste-Aurelie Timberlands, a 24,910-hectare forest property in Maine. The $36 million deal is Solifor’s second outside Québec, bringing its out-of-province investments to $65 million. Located at the border of Maine and Québec, this property, subject to forest management, is characterized by a mixed forest cover (coniferous and hardwood) and is in full development. …An initiative of the Fonds de solidarité FTQ, Solifor has invested $200 million to date to acquire 153,000 hectares of forest land in Québec, more specifically, in the Bas-Saint-Laurent, Lotbinière, Charlevoix, Saguenay, Portneuf, Mauricie and Abitibi regions, as well as 46,000 hectares in Maine, near the Québec border.

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The California wildfire is a disaster that’s anything but natural

By Rocky Barker
Idaho Statesman
October 12, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

The familiar words come in staccato fashion from the frantic voices of the television reporters trying to describe the fire that raced through Santa Rosa, Calif. this week, destroying thousands of homes and killing scores of people – a death toll that’s likely to grow. “Inferno,” they call it. “Conflagration.” I understand their challenge trying to describe a firestorm spawned by nearly hurricane-force winds that creates its own weather and unleashes energy similar to a nuclear explosion. I’ve been trying to find a way to describe the indescribable for 30 years. For these reporters in wine country it’s an unprecedented event. Local firefighters say they’ve never seen a fire move so fast. You won’t hear that from the Hotshots, the smokejumpers and the fire bosses who have been battling blazes across the West over the past 29 years. They’ve seen it all before — repeatedly.

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Commentary: There’s a way to reduce the wildfire toll. We won’t like it.

By Gregory Scruggs
Reuters
October 12, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Deadly wildfires are raging in the wine country region of northern California – the third straight month of infernos across the western United States and Canada. …The toll of these fires is the product of bad land use, especially over-development at the perimeter of forests, and subsequent fire suppression efforts that protect those developments at the expense of a vital natural cycle. If U.S. and Canadian authorities don’t adopt the right policies, wildfires will only become more deadly. …Just like the need for stricter land-use regulations in the wake of coastal flooding… it’s time for state and local governments to stop allowing people to live cheek-by-jowl with wildfire-prone vegetation and hold accountable those who take the risk. 

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Arctic on Fire

By Edward Struzik
World Policy Institute
October 12, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Although we cannot assume that climate change is a significant factor in every wildfire scenario, these Arctic fire seasons showed clear indications of such influence. Along with 12 other scientists, Scott Rupp, a wildfire ecologist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and university director of the Interior Department’s Alaska Climate Science Center, spent months poring over data that may theoretically link the wildfires of 2015 to anthropogenic climate change. Remove regional warming from the picture, they concluded, and the forests of Alaska would very likely not have burned as severely as they did. …As climate continues to play a role in the way fires burn bigger, faster, hotter, and with greater frequency in the north, it is becoming increasingly clear that the conifers of the boreal forest in the sub-Arctic, the sedge meadows, and lichens of the tundra are not responding well to the changes.

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Sen. Risch’s wildfire solution is to burn more taxpayer money

By Mike Garrity – Alliance for the Wild Rockies & Chad Hanson – John Muir Project
Idaho State Journal
October 12, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Mike Garrity

Republicans routinely condemn Congress and Washington, D.C., for “throwing money” at whatever problems arise in our society and then demand an end to what they derisively call the “nanny state.” Yet, that’s exactly what Sen. Jim Risch called for in his Oct. 8 column in the Idaho State Journal by voicing his support for his Wildfire Disaster Funding Act, which gives the Forest Service a new multi-billion dollar account to fight wildfires. The fatal flaw in Risch’s big spending plan is that the overwhelming conclusion among fire science professionals is that forest fires cannot be stopped during extreme weather conditions any more than we can stop hurricanes. Fires slow and stop when the weather changes, just like they did this year when the rain and snow ended the long, hot, dry summer in the Northern Rockies. 

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The awful math that makes fighting wildfires more expensive every year

By Quincey Tickner
Quartz Media
October 12, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Around 1am last Sunday night, the smell of smoke woke Preston Raisin. He got out of bed, walked around to check on his kids, and made sure his house wasn’t on fire. Turns out his house was on fire, just not the one he was in. Raisin’s vacation home, 55 miles to the north of San Francisco, was burning to the ground. …This year alone, the US Forest Service has spent a record-breaking $2.4 billion to suppress more than 50,000 fires. …Over the last twenty years, the amount the Forest Service has allocated to fight wildfires has tripled from 16% of the overall budget to 52%. The agency estimates that by 2025, that number will increase to 67%. To make matters worse, the more money the Forest Service spends suppressing fires, the less money it has to spend on forest restoration projects to prevent wildfires.

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Slow trees and climate change: Why bristlecone pine will still outlive you

By Jared Farmer – Stony Brook University
Los Angeles Times
October 12, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

In a time of relentless change, it’s soothing to contemplate deeply rooted, long-lived trees. But now our climate of uncertainty affects even Great Basin bristlecone pine, Pinus longaeva, the species with the world’s oldest known individuals. How should we respond? With alarm, indifference or something else? Recently, a team of botanists published an article on “divergent responses of tree species and life stages to climatic warming in Great Basin subalpine forests.” In the White Mountains of eastern California, tree lines are ascending. Bristlecone pines have been less successful at colonizing the new growth zone than neighboring limber pines. The scientists described limbers “leapfrogging” bristlecones “in slow motion.” Over time, P. longaeva could face “overall range contraction and possibly local extirpations.”

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Oregon celebrates forest products Oct. 15-21

By Oregon Forest Resources Institute
PR Newswire
October 12, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Gov. Kate Brown

PORTLAND, Ore. — Gov. Kate Brown has declared Oct. 15-21 as “Oregon Forest Products Week” in recognition of Oregon’s leadership in manufacturing wood products, developing innovative wood products, and designing and constructing tall wood buildings. In a signed proclamation, Brown calls on all Oregonians to join in observance of the weeklong celebration of forest products grown and manufactured in Oregon. The declaration coincides with National Forest Products Week, celebrated the third week of October every year. The national event recognizes the many products that come from forests, the people who work in or manage forests, and the businesses that make the forest products we use in our everyday lives.

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Omaha Children’s Museum’s ‘Forever Forest’ exhibit won’t put down roots

By Chris Peters
Omaha World-Herald
October 13, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

The Omaha Children’s Museum is hitting the road. For the first time, the museum has created a traveling exhibit that will appear in select cities throughout the nation. “Forever Forest” opens a six-month run on Saturday in Omaha, and then it will spend the next decade visiting children’s museums and other venues across the country. The exhibit is all about trees, from the forest to your home. It’s designed to help kids learn about where wood comes from, how it’s processed and transported and all the ways it can be used. About three years ago, Chief Museum Officer Jeff Barnhart was approached by the National Hardwood Lumber Association with the idea. …If the museum finds enough venues to rent it, he estimated that “Forever Forest” could reach millions of children across the country during a 10-year run.

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Hunters should support forestry practices at Mohican

By Andy McClure, member, Ashland County Wildlife Conservation League
Columbus CEO
October 12, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

As a conservation leader, hunter, trapper and fisherman for 60 years, I have observed many environmental changes, and their impact on wildlife. …In a day of questions about environmental conditions and global warming, number of trees are a treasure. Creating light to the forest floor will spark new growth and habitat. When the pioneers cleared homesteads and Native Americans cut and burned large areas to create openings they knew the value of this new growth, helping provide food for birds and animals they needed to survive.  I have in my over half a century observing wildlife seen habitat that sustained birds and animals. I have seen the benefit of logging practices that create wildlife conservation meccas. …We have a chance to restore wildlife diversity to this local treasure if we are vocal about our support for the “ODNR, Division of Forestry’s, Draft 5 Year Management Plan.” 

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Probe blames poor evacuation plans in deadly Portugal fire

Associated Press in The National Post
October 12, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: International

LISBON, Portugal — News reports say an independent investigation into a Portuguese forest fire that killed 64 people has found that authorities failed to evacuate villages on time. The Diario de Noticias newspaper said investigation commission president Joao Guerreiro told reporters in Lisbon on Thursday that on June 17, officials on the ground co-ordinating firefighting efforts in the Pedrogao Grande municipality should have evacuated villages or ordered residents to stay indoors before 4 p.m. He said the fire became impossible to control by 5 p.m. He was speaking after the commission presented a 300-page report to the Portuguese parliament on Thursday. In the blaze, 47 people died on one road while trying to flee in cars.

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