Tree Frog Forestry News

Monthly Archives: May 2018

Today’s Takeaway

Potential CP Rail walkout adds to industry’s freight backlog woes

The Tree Frog Forestry News
May 29, 2018
Category: Today's Takeaway

A potential strike at CP Rail adds to industry’s rail capacity woes; while the closure of the Huron Central Railway would be particularly traumatic for EACOM. In other Business news: industry leaders in Ontario want a better natural resources strategy; and the Lesprom Network reveals who’s up (Russia) and who’s down (Canada) when it comes to softwood lumber shipments to China.

In Forestry news; the Ancient Forest Alliance is working hard to generate news coverage about old growth logging on Vancouver Island; the Montreal Economic Institute raises cost concerns of protecting the caribou; the U of New Hampshire says reduced harvesting in Maine can increase carbon uptake; a Vancouver lumberjack wins a world title in France and new research finds tall Amazon forests are three-times less sensitive to drought than short forests. 

Finally, Chinese researchers make supercapacitors—touted as the future of batteries—from wood.

–Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Business & Politics

Michael Green Architecture Becomes a Katerra Company

Michael Green Architecture
May 30, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

Michael Green

Vancouver – Katerra, a technology company redefining the construction industry, and Michael Green Architecture Inc. (MGA), a globally recognized leader in mass timber architecture, announced a partnership today that underscores a profound evolution in the design and construction industries. … This new partnership will bring together technology, manufacturing, and design excellence to offer more sustainable, cost effective, and elegant architecture options to North American and global markets. In becoming a Katerra Company, MGA’s leadership and team will remain fundamentally unchanged and continue to provide their clients with thoughtful and sustainable solutions of all scales and typologies. …“MGA is excited to become a part of the Katerra ecosystem,” said Michael Green, CEO and President of MGA. 

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Canadian Pacific and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers reach a tentative three-year agreement

By Canadian Pacific
Cision Newswire
May 29, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada

CALGARY – Canadian Pacific Railway Limited and System Council No. 11 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) are pleased to announce that we have reached a tentative three-year deal. CP President and CEO Keith Creel thanked the IBEW bargaining committee for their hard work and their creativity. “We have come through a number of challenging years to become an operational leader,” Creel said. “I look forward to working with this union to become the employer of choice.” Senior General Chairman Steve Martin expressed that while negotiations were difficult “in the end we have reached a good deal for our membership and we’re looking forward to building on the momentum of the last few days.”

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Potential CP rail walkout is latest blow to freight backlog

By Jen Skerritt and Frederic Tomesco
Bloomberg in the Prince George Citizen
May 28, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Thousands of workers at Canada’s second-largest railway could walk off the job as early as Tuesday night, adding to the transport woes that have stranded commodities across the nation’s Prairies. More than 3,000 Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. train conductors, engineers and electrical workers represented by Teamsters Canada and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers could walk off the job as early as 10 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time if a negotiated settlement isn’t reached, according to a Teamsters Canada statement Saturday. Teamsters members voted 98 percent to reject the company’s final offer on Friday. …The uncertainty over a possible labor disruption comes after a lack of adequate rail capacity led to piles of commodities being stuck on Canada’s Prairies this winter, including grain, oil and lumber.

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Weyerhaeuser clearcuts violate community values

By Arlene Burns and Peter Cornelison
The Hood River News
May 29, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

We recently became aware of Weyerhaeuser’s plans to clearcut approximately 250 acres south of the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail located east of Hood River. Many residents and visitors recreate on this trail to enjoy the scenic beauty and natural splendor the experience provides. We are very concerned by the size and visibility of the proposed clearcuts and their effect on the quality of life that we enjoy in our communities. …Taken cumulatively, these clearcuts are the largest proposed in one area at one time since the passage of the National Scenic Area Act in 1986. …We urge Weyerhaeuser to develop a forest management plan that is more consistent with the protection of our national scenic treasure. …And community input on should always come before the cutting starts.

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Federal timber bill could help rural Oregon

By Stephen Hamway
The Bend Bulletin
May 29, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

Oregon’s senators have thrown their weight behind a bill that could change the industry in Oregon and beyond for years to come. U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, both Democrats, attached their names to a letter urging the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry to include the Timber Innovation Act, which streamlines and incentivizes the development of mass timber products, in the upcoming farm bill. Merkley said Thursday the timber bill has bipartisan support, including from Republicans in Idaho, Montana and Mississippi, and said he’s optimistic it will be included in the farm bill….Central Oregon communities like Bend and Prineville owe a lot of their early growth to the wood-product industry, but the industry has waned in recent years. 

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Here’s everyone the Alabama Forestry Association has endorsed in the 2018 election cycle

By Elizabeth Lauten
Alabama Today
May 29, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

ForestPAC the official political action committee of the Alabama Forestry Association, whose mission is to promote good stewardship of our renewable forest resources for the benefit of society and the forestry community, has announced its endorsement of candidates for the upcoming June 5 primary elections. ForestPAC is strictly non-partisan and supports candidates based on their pro-forestry and pro-business philosophy and record. Their mission is to elect candidates for legislative, local and statewide offices who demonstrate a commitment to conservative principles and support of forestry issues. The Board of Directors uses the following criteria to determine which candidates to support… Here’s everyone the Alabama Forestry Association has endorsed…

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Bill Schuette hears concerns of professionals in the logging industry

By Tyler Markle
Upper Michigan’s Source
May 29, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

ESCANABA, Mich. – Employers in the trades fields have found it more and more difficult to find workers over the years and the logging industry is no exception. A lack of skilled workers is one of the biggest issues logging companies deal with. …38th District State Senator Tom Casperson, who has a background in logging believes this is an issue that can be solved by expanding trades education in middle and high school, something that governor Snyder has worked to achieve. …The lack of skilled workers wasn’t the only complaint from those in attendance. Many spoke about the dangers of over regulation and how that can hinder their business. …Another struggle for the industry has been a lack of resources. …Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette heard these concerns, and even offered up his own solutions.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

UBC’s Wesbrook Village home to first mass timber condominiums in North America

By Peter Meiszner
Urban YVR
May 29, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

A new building at UBC’s Wesbrook Village is the first market condominium project in North America to use something called mass timber, also known as cross-laminated timber (CLT) in its construction. The six-storey Virtuoso development by Adera Development Corp. was honoured May 24 with a REAP Gold award by UBC Properties Trust. All new residential buildings at UBC must meet REAP building standards, which stands for Residential Environmental Assessment Program. The system was developed on-campus at the University of British Columbia and recognizes sustainable building practices. “When Adera told us they were planning to use CLTs we got quite excited to see that next step of innovation,” said Paul Young, director of planning and design at UBC Properties Trust.

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A New Take on Timber

By Molly Priddy
Flathead Beacon
May 29, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

…While using cross-laminated timber (CLT) is a common building practice in Europe, [it] is still catching on in the United States. In Columbia Falls, SmartLam is running one of the first CLT production facilities in North America, whereas builders in Austria have been studying and using CLT for residential and commercial building for decades. The benefits include high efficiency, longevity, minimal upkeep, and using a renewable resource – wood – instead of steel. The building style also removes the need for drywall in many cases, because the CLT is not only structural, but also the inner finish of the home. The Patrick and Ron Clark (Wooden Haus Supply) … recently received a Wood Innovation Grant from the U.S. Forest Service to continue developing and studying a new method of using smaller diameter trees and lumber for CLT projects.

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Skyscrapers of the Future Will Be Made of Wood and Cover ed in Plants

Seeker
May 30, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Skyscrapers are symbols of modern ambition. But the race to be the tallest is fueled by steel and concrete, two materials that account for an estimated 8% of global C02 emissions. So, what if the skyscrapers of the future were inspired by nature instead? Two countries in particular – Singapore and Canada – are attempting to transform the urban skyline. In Singapore, engineering firms like WOHA are coating their buildings with lush, native plants. …In Canada, architects and engineers are piloting new designs out of a familiar material: wood. To construct a wooden skyscraper, engineers use mass timber, which is engineered to handle loads similar to concrete and steel. 

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Mainz scientists fight fungal disease on vines with nanotechnology

By Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research
EurekAlert
May 29, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

The fungal disease “Esca” infects grapevines and causes great financial damage to winegrowers every year. The fungus infects the vine trunks and decomposes the wood from inside – so spraying cannot reach the fungus. Dr. Frederik R. Wurm and colleagues have developed a nanotechnology-based carrier to protect and heal the vine from the infestation. …The shell of these balls is made of lignin – a substance that is the main component of wood besides cellulose. Therefore, this shell can also be decomposed by the fungus, thus releasing the agent inside the nanoparticle. “It is almost like a Trojan Horse: the fungus decomposes the shell of our nanocarriers and releases the fungicide that fights it”, says Wurm.

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Chinese Researchers Make Sustainable Supercapacitors From Wood

By Steve Hanley
CleanTechnica
May 28, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Supercapacitors are touted by many as the wave of the future when it comes to battery storage for everything from cell phones to electric cars. Unlike batteries, supercapacitors can charge and discharge much more rapidly… The key to supercap performance is electrodes with a large surface area and high conductivity that are inexpensive to manufacture, according to Science Daily. Carbon aerogels satisfy the first two requirements but have significant drawbacks. …Researchers at the University of Science and Technology of China have discovered a new process that is low cost and sustainable using nanocellulose, the primary component of wood pulp that gives strength to the cell walls of trees. Once extracted in the lab, it forms a stable, highly porous network which when oxidized forms a micro-porous hydrogel of highly oriented cellulose nano-fibrils of uniform width and length.

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Forestry

Blame for felled Nahmint giant placed on NDP

By Mike Yours
The Alberni Valley News
May 29, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Logging underway in the Nahmint Valley threatens one of the last prime spots of B.C. old-growth habitat and points to the NDP government’s failure to honour its election promise, says an Island-based conservation group. Ancient Forest Alliance led a media tour on Wednesday, May 23 to examine a freshly felled Douglas fir estimated to be 800 years old. “This is a monumental screwup,” said Ken Wu, alliance executive director. “They’ve just cut down the ninth largest Douglas fir.”…He holds the NDP government directly responsible because the logging is administered by its own agency, B.C. Timber Sales (BCTS). BCTS has auctioned cut blocks that overlap areas of ancient old growth, the group contends. Extensive logging in the area began this spring.

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Government managing public lands poorly

By Bob Peart
Victoria Times Colonist
May 27, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Bob Peart

…However, if you go out to the woods today, you will be surprised to discover how poorly our lands, waters and natural resources are being managed. The BC government has abandoned the notion of stewarding the land for the future and is treating the province as “government land” to do with as they wish — with seemingly little respect for conservation, economic sustainability and the obligation to honour the rights of indigenous people. …The “professional reliance” approach lacks credibility, and leads to conflict and uncertainty on the land base. It harms the health of British Columbians, degrades our environment and has resulted in the loss of public trust and confidence in the decision-making process. …if you witness mismanagement of our forests or waters, contact your MLA. Let them know you want an improved resource management regime…

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Board to audit BC Timber Sales operations in Dawson Creek Timber Supply Area

BC Forest Practices Board
May 28, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

VICTORIA – The Forest Practices Board will examine the activities of the BC Timber Sales (BCTS) program and timber sale licence holders in the Dawson Creek Timber Supply Area (TSA) portion of the Peace-Liard Business Area, during the week of June 4, 2018. Auditors will examine whether harvesting, roads, bridges, silviculture, fire protection activities and associated planning, carried out from June 1, 2016, to June 8, 2018, met the requirements of the Forest and Range Practices Act and the Wildfire Act. …This BCTS program was chosen randomly for audit from among all the BCTS programs in the province. The board normally audits two BCTS programs each year.

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‘I can do what any guy can do’: Faces on the front lines of Saskatchewan’s wildfire fight

By Olivia Stefanovich
CBC News
May 29, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Denay Billette is one of four female Indigenous recruits out of a class of 40 selected by their First Nations to receive training last week from the Prince Albert Grand Council on the shores of Lac la Plonge, near Beauval, Sask., to battle the province’s wildfires this season. …Under the program, First Nations and northern communities choose people from their regions to send to the front lines of Saskatchewan’s wildfire fight. It’s run in partnership with the provincial government, and participants are given seasonal contracts that will see them working to suppress and prevent fires across the province all summer long. …Billette is a second-generation firefighter from Buffalo River Dene Nation in northern Saskatchewan, about 500 kilometres north of Saskatoon. She grew up watching and smelling smoke from wildfires close by, and has stayed behind with her parents during several evacuations to protect her community. 

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Forestry hearing tone-deaf

Letter by Dale Smith
The Chronicle Herald
May 30, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

Dale Smith

Recently, I sat in on the provincial legislature’s standing committee on resources, as an observer. The experience was surreal. …The underlying presumption conveyed is that Nova Scotia’s forests, and particularly forests on Crown lands, are de facto resources ripe for forestry industry exploitation — that is, at least where there’s a buck to be made. The not-so-subtle messaging is “Don’t worry, be happy,” supported by the spin that harvesting methods are guided by carefully considered science-based criteria. …Committee members probed tentatively, but did not manage to penetrate the façade that obscures the reality of decline so indisputably and distressingly evident to increasing numbers of concerned Nova Scotians. The session amounted to an industrial version of the dance of the seven veils deftly performed, not by the biblical Salome, but by the forestry industry proponents and apologists.

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Province, Port Hawkesbury Paper promise no more harvesting of old growth forests

By Jake Boudrot
The Port Hawkesbury Reporter
May 29, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

HALIFAX: The provincial government and Port Hawkesbury Paper are promising no more reoccurrences of an incident in which old growth forest was cut in Guysborough County. …The Department of Natural Resources recently assessed 27 forest stands in the Lawlor Lake area of Guysborough County. …Natural resources minister Margaret Miller said… “Now that we know that so much of this is old growth forest, it will not be cut, it will be maintained and preserved,” Miller stated. “It will be under protected lands, and certainly under the old growth forest policy, it will be kept. Also, old trees and old forest in that category, it also will be kept because eventually it will be old growth.” …Port Hawkesbury Paper said it will continue to comply with all provincial policies and procedures.

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Protecting the caribou: Substantial costs, questionable results

By The Montreal Economic Institute
Cision Newswire
May 28, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

MONTREAL – Environment and Climate Change Canada recently published a report criticizing the measures taken by the provinces to protect the boreal caribou. If Ottawa decides to intervene, it must take into account the economic costs of protection measures and the realities of each province. “A strict application of federal requirements could be very harmful for the Ontario economy,” points out Alexandre Moreau, Public Policy Analyst at the MEI. “Around half of forestry activity in Ontario takes place in boreal caribou habitat, and could therefore be affected. This represents $2.6 billion of economic activity and some 18,300 direct jobs.” To comply with federal standards, the provinces and territories have to limit the level of disturbance of boreal caribou habitat caused by human activity or forest fires to less than 35%.

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We nearly killed off these trees. But biotech can bring them back.

By Andrew Newhouse
Washington Post
May 29, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

SYRACUSE — American chestnuts used to be unique and beautiful trees, providing sustenance and shelter for wildlife and a healthy and profitable nut crop for humans. …But tragically, American chestnuts were almost entirely wiped out when an invasive blight fungus was accidentally introduced to the United States in the late 1800s. …relatives of the American chestnut evolved with the blight fungus in Asia; they usually tolerate blight infections without much damage. …efforts to breed American with Chinese chestnuts to get desirable characteristics from both species… is a slow and unpredictable process… At the College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) here in Syracuse, our research team is trying a different approach. We’re using the tools of biotechnology to produce fully American chestnut trees that successfully tolerate blight infections, protecting the tree without even harming the blight fungus itself.

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Discovering new life in forests after fire

By Douglas Bevington, LDF Forest Program Director
The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation
May 30, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Chad Hanson

…Conifer forests in the western U.S. are home to a special type of habitat known as “snag forests” that contain some of the highest levels of animal and plant diversity and abundance of any forest type. These important places are created when patches of intense, high-severity fire occur within larger wildfires. …The reality is that forest fires naturally burn with a mixture of severities. Most fires consist mainly of low- and moderate-severity effects where the majority of the trees survive the fire, while they also include patches of high-severity. There is a growing body of scientific research showing that the high-severity portions of these fires are creating great habitat. …Snag forests abound with life. Yet all these ecological benefits from fire are lost when snag forests are cut down. Forest ecologist Dr. Chad Hanson of the John Muir Project has spent a lot of time in snag patches for his field research…

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History on tap at Forks Logging Museum

By Zorina Barker
The Peninsula Daily News
May 29, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

OLYMPIC PENINSULA — The Forks Timber Museum, 1421 Forks Ave., began pouring wine for the ladies of the Foxy Fedoras of Forks, one of two Red Hat groups on the West End. …Beginning this season, groups can pay for after-hours gatherings at the museum. …“Everything we have now is more cohesive for the visitor to get a more complete picture of life on the West End,” Offutt explained, adding “But we are still very steeped in logging history.” Reading names associated with items and displays at this museum is like reading a roster of West End homesteading and pioneer families.

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Invasive emerald ash borer discovered in Maine for first time

B Aislinn Sarnacki
The Bangor Daily News
May 29, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

The emerald ash borer, an invasive insect that has killed hundreds of millions of ash trees throughout the country, has been found in Maine for the first time, in the northern town of Madawaska. Maine entomologists have been searching and preparing for this destructive insect from Asia for over a decade, and now that it has been discovered, state and federal officials are meeting to implement a statewide emergency-response plan. “We’ve been planning for it, and now we’re in the process of implementing a response,” John Bott, spokesman for the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, said. “We need to gather more information from the field and then there will be a discussion as to what happens next.”

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Forests watchdog sends ultimatum to Indonesian paper giant

By Stephen Wright
The Associated Press in the Idaho Statesman
May 30, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: International

The main global group for certifying sustainable wood has sent a “come clean” ultimatum to one of the world’s largest paper companies and its billionaire Indonesian family owners following evidence it continues to cut down tropical forests and operate through corporate proxies. A May 28 letter from the Forest Stewardship Council seen Wednesday by The Associated Press makes four demands of Sinarmas and the Widjaja family that it insists must be met within days. The conglomerate’s years long effort to be readmitted to the council, whose stylized tree mark is an influential endorsement in the global marketplace, could be completely undone if it doesn’t comply. It was expelled in 2007 for extensive destruction of Indonesia’s rainforests.

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Forestry and fungi – a neglected relationship

Nordic Forest Research
May 30, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: International

The consequences of forestry on fungal communities are seldom up to discussion in the debate, but new results indicate that logging have long-term impacts on important fungal groups. Disturbing the fungal balance may even lead tonutrient deficiency and reducedtree growth. …When trees are cut, mycorrhizal fungi lose their symbiotic partners. Recent studies have shown that mycorrhizal species decrease after a clear-cut, and instead give room to free-living fungiwith more efficient decomposition.This accelerates decomposition during the decade following clear-cutsresulting in a nutrient flush. Some mycorrhizal species recolonize the new forest stand, but others seem to be suppressed for longer times. …What can be done to prevent the long decline of certain mycorrhizal fungi? …It is probably more efficient toleave retention trees as forest patches. Uneven-aged forestry, avoiding clear- cuts, could also be effective.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

The next big thing is forestry – company eyes McBride for $90 million biofuel plant

By Andru McCracken
The Rocky Mountain Goat
May 30, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

An Edmonton-based biomass energy company say they plan to build a torrefied pellet plant in McBride. 4Leaf Corp said they are currently in negotiations to buy 197 acres of industrial land for their Robson Valley Energy Centre and expect to close the deal by end of May. Jason Janus, chief executive officer of 4Leaf Corp said his company is responding to a growing market for torrefied pellets, specifically the Japanese market. Janus said torrefied pellets are required by Japan’s coal-fired power plants. He said the pellets are mixed with coal to lower greenhouse gas emissions. Torrefaction is a process that removes moisture and volatile gases from biomass, typically wood, and it leaves something like coal.

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Climate change? I thought it was just a hoax

By Bill McQuarrie
CFJC Today Kamloops
May 29, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

Last summer was a devastating year for the Cariboo, with nearly 20 wildfires merging into one and creating a firestorm on the Cariboo Plateau that had never been experienced in anyone’s lifetime. …BC’s Minister of Forests, Doug Donaldson, confirms that the region may not be able to support the allowable cut obligations to forest companies. From a decade of relatively inexpensive wood fibre, courtesy of the pine beetle, to losing one-quarter of the wood supply in one summer of wildfires, Minister Donaldson recognizes we have a major problem. …Leadership needs to replace our current practice of inaction and political platitudes. Those impacted need to stop complaining, blaming tree huggers or denying that anything is wrong. …Do nothing and the tombstone of our local economy and your job will likely read…”Climate change? I thought it was just a hoax.”

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Wood energy works with good forestry

Letter by Joe Zorzin, forester
Berkshire Eagle
May 29, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

Joe Zorzin

In the May 24 Eagle is a letter, “Our local forests help protect environment” that has some faulty conclusions regarding forest policies. Yes indeed, the forests are a carbon sink and yes indeed “development and poor forestry practices are major threats.” And it’s also true that, “A balance must be struck between preserving our carbon-dense forests while carefully utilizing them so owners will not sell or develop them.” But the conclusion that use of the forests for energy represents bad forestry and that it’s bad for the climate is simply not true. Wood for energy is only a byproduct of good forest management and allows the wood industry to weed the forests of poor quality and low value trees that otherwise will degrade the health and future value of the forests.

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How the ‘Model-T Ford of the bio-refining industry’ is offering new rewards from waste streams.

Bio-Based World News
May 28, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

Virtually every person, organization, and human activity in the world creates some type of waste. And its generation in most cases represents a hugely inefficient use of materials. …But now, a company based just north of Atlanta, Georgia – Attis Innovations – is changing perceptions of what waste means, and has some major milestones approaching in 2018. Jeff [Cosman] goes on to say, “Our primary focus is in creating new revenue streams from biomass, where its various constituents can be elegantly extracted and converted into a multitude of bio-based products for use in plastics, fuels, adhesives and many more. We believe that by capitalizing on these new markets, existing pulp and paper and cellulosic ethanol facilities can generate between 35% to 100% more revenue per ton of biomass processed.”

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New research finds tall and older Amazonian forests more resistant to droughts

By Columbia University School of Engineering & Applied Science
EurekAlert
May 28, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

…A new study led by Pierre Gentine, associate professor of earth and environmental engineering at Columbia Engineering, shows that photosynthesis in tall Amazonian forests–forests above 30m–is three times less sensitive to precipitation variability than in shorter forests of less than 20m. Taller Amazonian forests were also found to be older, have more biomass and deeper rooting systems that enable them to access deeper soil moisture, which makes them more resilient to drought. The paper was published online May 28 on Nature Geoscience. “Our findings suggest that forest height and age are an important regulator of photosynthesis in response to droughts,” says Gentine …Climate change is altering the dynamics, structure, and function of the Amazon. While climate factors that control the spatial and temporal variations in forests’ photosynthesis have been well studied, the influence of forest height and age… has rarely been considered.

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Land-clearing wipes out $1bn taxpayer-funded emissions gains

By Adam Morton
The Guardian
May 28, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

More than $1bn of public money being spent on cutting greenhouse gas emissions by planting trees and restoring habitat under the Coalition’s Direct Action climate policy will have effectively been wiped out by little more than two years of forest-clearing elsewhere in the country, official government data suggests. The $2.55bn emissions reduction fund pays landowners and companies to avoid emissions or store carbon dioxide using a reverse auction – the cheapest credible bids win. The government says it has signed contracts to prevent 124m tonnes of emissions … An analysis by the Wilderness Society suggests the official figures underestimate the rate of land-clearing, and in reality the projects paid for from the Direct Action emissions reductions fund would have had their work nullified in even less time.

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Health & Safety

Supreme Court of Canada upholds claim of workers’ compensation against non-employer

By Elizabeth Raymer
Canadian Occupational Safety Magazine
May 29, 2018
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

The Supreme Court of Canada has upheld the decision of the Court of Appeal for British Columbia, which found a forestry company liable for the death of a contract worker employed on its premises. In West Fraser Mills Ltd. v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal et al., the Supreme Court upheld a claim of workers’ compensation against a non-employer, West Fraser Mills, which as the license holder of the area of the forest where the accident occurred was the “owner” of the workplace as defined in Part 3 of B.C.’s Workers Compensation Act. A tree faller died after being struck by a rotting tree while working within the area of a forest licence held by the appellant.

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Forest Fires

Warm weather increases fire danger in Houston

BC Local News
May 29, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

As Houston recovers from the recent flooding, another concern is lurking on the horizon – wildfires. The Northwest Fire Centre had 15 wildfires between April 1 and May 22, compared to 11 during the same period last year. “We are certainly seeing warmer and dryer than normal conditions for this time of year, which has bumped the fire danger rating up to higher than usual levels as well,” said Kevin Skrepnek, B.C. Wildfire Service’s chief fire information officer. For most of last week Houston had a “moderate” fire danger rating, which means that forest fuels are drying and there is an increased risk of surface fires starting. Across the province, there were a total of 182 wildfires between April 1 and May 22. Of the 182 fires, 118 were human-caused.

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Huge wildfire burning north of Fort St. John forces evacuation order

By Amy Judd
Global News
May 28, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

A huge wildfire burning north of Fort St. John has forced an evacuation order for some residents and a closure of crown land in the area. The Tommy Lakes wildfire is now an estimated 16,954 hectares in size after merging with the Beatton Lake wildfire on Friday. It is zero per cent contained. The Peace River Regional District issued an evacuation order for Electoral Area B on Saturday. …There are currently 90 firefighters, seven helicopters and seven pieces of heavy equipment fighting this blaze. The primary objective at this time is to establish guards around the fire and conduct controlled burning operations in order to protect oil and gas infrastructure in the region. …B.C.’s tinder-dry weather is not helping… “What has been somewhat unusual has been the fire behaviour …more of a pattern we’d be seeing later in the summer,” Kevin Skrepnek with the BC Wildfire Service said.

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Here it comes: Fire season starts Friday

By Mark Freeman
The Mail Tribune
May 29, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

State wildland firefighters plan aggressive initial attacks on Southern Oregon wildfires this season, hoping to repeat last year’s success at curbing burned acreage on non-Forest Service lands to less than one-fifth of normal. The 2018 wildfire season officially begins Friday, June 1, on lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry, which is taking its aggressive-but-safe approach to initial attacks on grass, brush and forest fires. Jumping early on wildfire starts proved effective in 2017, when the season opened June 4 and saw 350 fires char just over 1,000 acres during the 138-day season, according to ODF. …The quick-attack approach also helped contain 97 percent of ODF’s fires here to less than 10 acres, records show.

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Wildfire in northwest Arizona grows to 230 acres, 25 percent containment

By Kimberly Rapanut
AZ Central
May 29, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

A wildfire burning near Sedona has continued to spread, engulfing up to 230 acres of land as of Tuesday afternoon. The so-called Sycamore Fire had tripled in size since Monday evening, and was said to be 25 percent contained. The fire was first reported Monday morning. More than 100 personnel, five helicopters, one air attack, four crews and one engine were battling the flames. The fire’s source appeared to be on the west side of Sycamore Canyon Wilderness, on the Prescott National Forest and 14 miles northwest of Sedona. The fire has stayed near the canyon’s western side, burning through rough terrain, as winds push smoke west and northwest. The fire’s cause is still under investigation; however, officials said there’s reason to believe humans caused it. The fire isn’t threatening any structures so far.

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You Thought The Eagle Creek Fire Was Out? Think Again.

By Cassandra Profita
Oregon Public Broadcasting
May 29, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

You probably thought the Eagle Creek Fire in the Columbia River Gorge had died out — but no. A small hot spot flared up early Tuesday morning about a half-mile east of the Herman Creek Trailhead. …Firefighters are using nearby creek water to extinguish it. Rachel Pawlitz with the U.S. Forest Service said this is why the fire was never declared out even though it was fully contained in November. “Fires can be burning underground in organic matter we call duff, in the roots of large trees, deep within this large timber and actually can still have heat in them through the fall rains, winter snow and spring rains,” she said. “And then here we are again.

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Fire bans lifted across Northwestern Ontario

By Matt Vis
The Thunder Bay News Watch
May 29, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: US East, United States

THUNDER BAY — The region-wide fire ban has been lifted, though the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry warns there are still some areas of Northwestern Ontario with a high forest fire hazard. The ministry on Tuesday announced the restricted zone, which had been declared two weeks ago, is no longer in effect after recent rain. People are urged to ensure campfires are completely extinguished and regulations under the Forest Fires Prevention Act, including no daytime burning of brush and wood debris, is adhered. …A municipal fire ban in Neebing remains in effect.

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Design/Build Giant Acquires Michael Green Architecture, Plans to Open CLT Factory

By Randy Gragg
Architectural Record
May 30, 2018
Category: General
Region: Canada, United States

In three short years, the design/build firm Katerra has grown from a Silicon Valley entrepreneur’s bright idea into what soon could be one of the largest commercial residential construction firms in the country. The strategy: vertically integrate every layer of construction, from design to the fixtures and subcontracting in order to lower costs, build faster, and raise quality. The means: venture capital (over $1 billion so far) plus acquisitions of existing companies in the building and products industry. Now Katerra is moving to buy architecture firms, and today is announcing the acquisition of the mass timber innovator Michael Green Architecture of Vancouver, with a staff of 25. … “It was love at first sight,” said Michael Marks, chairman and co-founder of Katerra, by phone. …To date, Katerra has focused on market-rate multi-family housing… But the company is plotting a major mass timber push with a state-of-the-art 250,000-square-foot CLT factory in Spokane, Washington, opening in early 2019.

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