Tree Frog Forestry News

Monthly Archives: November 2018

Today’s Takeaway

USMCA signed in Buenos Aires; US Farm Bill to pass without forestry provisions

The Tree Frog Forestry News
November 30, 2018
Category: Today's Takeaway

The USMCA (or NAFTA-update) was signed today at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires. Key takeaways: the agreement lifts the risk of economic uncertainty; the Canada-US rift remains; and final ratification remains a big hurdle. Meanwhile: the US Farm Bill is likely to pass as Republicans sidelined their forestry provisions; Alberta’s plan to ship oil by rail will hurt lumber shippers; and pressure mounts as Canadian Senators weigh in on Northern Pulp’s future.

In Forestry news: A&A Trading and Terminal Forest Products pass their forestry audit; Manitoba is privatizing their forest firefighting services; and the US is encouraged to prevent fires by letting the forest burn.

Finally, the UK cladding ban may outlaw CLT; and plans are unveiled for the world’s greatest concentration of mass timber buildings in Toronto—with suitable fanfare!

Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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No end in sight to debate over the role of forest management in climate change

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

There appears to be no end in sight to the debate over the role of forests and forest management in climate change. Here are the headlines that make the point:

  • Forestry provisions are the latest snag in US farm bill negotiations
  • House Caucus says Democrats obstructing active management of forests
  • Fast-tracking logging on federal lands may not lessen wildfire risk
  • Three years after Paris talks, the world braces for Poland
  • Brazil withdraws offer to host UN climate change conference
  • In Lebanon, climate change devours ancient cedar trees

In Business news: US home sales dropped 9% in October; BC looks to Asia as US market cools; China loses tariff appeal on wood flooring; and how those same tariffs are hurting US companies. Companies in the news include: Mercer’s investment offering; Westervelt’s new mill; Timberwest’s scholarships for indigenous students; and Weyerhaeuser’s triumph over the Dusky Gopher Frog.

Finally, why South Park’s zero-sum view of the world doesn’t work with climate change.

Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Froggy Foibles

Why ‘South Park’ doesn’t understand climate change

By Ilana Strauss
Treehugger
November 28, 2018
Category: Froggy Foibles

“South Park” just ran a couple episodes about climate change. The show gets a lot right about the history of the problem, but it screws up a key factor of human nature in the process, one that could completely flip the future. …”South Park” sees the world as zero-sum: my win is your loss. In a zero-sum world, no one would ever sacrifice soy sauce to save the planet, or money to build roads. But climate change isn’t a zero-sum problem. Instead, it might be what economists call a “collaboration problem.” …This isn’t to say that government, or other groups, actually will take the steps necessary to end climate change. Just that we could.

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Business & Politics

Trade Pact Is Signed, but U.S.-Canada Rift Remains

By Dan Bilefsky
The New York Times
November 30, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

He has called Justin Trudeau “very dishonest and weak.” …But on Friday, as President Trump, Mr. Trudeau and Mexico’s president, Enrique Peña Nieto, signed a North American trade pact after 14 months of acrimonious negotiations, the leaders of the United States and Canada appeared cordial… even as their words and body language in recent months have suggested that their once-warm rapport had become as icy as a Canadian winter. In negotiating the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, Canada won concessions including a dispute resolution system for companies that feel unfairly targeted with taxes. …In return, Canada agreed to, among other things, Mr. Trump’s repeated demands that it crack open its long-protected dairy market. But the brinkmanship leading up to the agreement was bruising and Mr. Trump’s tariffs on Canadian metals remain in place, severely testing the relationship between Canada and its biggest and most important trading partner.

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USMCA: Canada, U.S., Mexico officially sign new trade agreement

Canadian Press in The Toronto Sun
November 30, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — After much anticipation, Canada signed the revamped NAFTA in Buenos Aires on the sidelines of the high-profile G20 summit Friday. …“The new agreement lifts the risk of serious economic uncertainty that lingers throughout the trade renegotiation process — uncertainty that would have only gotten worse and more damaging had we not reached a new NAFTA,” Trudeau said. …U.S. lawmakers have already indicated they don’t expect to tackle the USMCA until after the new Congress is sworn in early next year. The deal — 32 chapters, 11 annexes and 12 side letters — sets new rules for the auto sector. …It preserves a contentious dispute-resolution system the U.S. dearly wanted gone, extends patent protections for biologic drugs and allows U.S. farmers a 3.6-per-cent share of Canada’s famously guarded market for poultry, eggs and dairy products — a concession that dismayed Canadian dairy producers.

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New federal investment will help boost number of women in Canada’s forestry sector

By Status of Women Canada
Cision Newswire
November 29, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada

OTTAWA – The Government is committed to advancing gender equality and understands the important role that creating more opportunities for women in all aspects of Canadian life can play in promoting women’s empowerment. By investing in projects that improve women’s economic security, we are helping to ensure that women, their families and communities can prosper. Terry Duguid, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Status of Women, today announced on behalf of the Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister of Status of Women, Government of Canada funding for a project that will increase women’s economic security in Ontario and across Canada.  The Canadian Institute of Forestry will receive $467,000 for a 36-month project entitled “Gender Equality in Forestry National Action Plan” that will work to remove the barriers that prevent or discourage women from pursuing rewarding middle class jobs and careers in the forestry industry. 

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U.S., Mexico and Canada ink new trade agreement, but final ratification remains big hurdle

By Michael Collins
USA Today
November 30, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

BUENOS AIRES – President Donald Trump and the leaders of Mexico and Canada signed a revised trade pact Friday that changes many of the rules governing the free flow of commercial goods across North America. …But many other steps will be needed before the new agreement takes effect. …Mexico is expected to go first. …In Canada… Parliament is unlikely to take up the pact until after it is ratified by the U.S. Congress. A vote in Congress probably won’t happen before next March or April and could possibly be delayed as late as next fall, said Ujczo. …The U.S. International Trade Commission will release its report on the trade deal’s impact on the economy early next year, probably in March. Congress will almost certainly wait for that report before scheduling a vote on the deal, analysts said.

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Commodity producers warn of shipment delays if Alberta adds more oil railcars

By Eric Atkins, Shawn McCarthy and Tim Shufelt
The Globe and Mail
November 29, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Industry groups representing miners, grain traders and forestry companies that rely on railways are warning Alberta’s plan to buy and add oil trains to Canada’s busy track network risks causing congestion and delaying their shipments. “It’s a huge problem for our members,” Derek Nighbor, president of the Forest Products Association of Canada, said Thursday. The industry lost $500-million in 2018, he said, because of poor rail service and the inability to get its commodities to market. “I’m tired of this game of commodity whack-a-mole, where the grain is not moving so let’s help the grain people, or the oil industry needs help,” Mr. Nighbor said. “We need to deal with the whole commodity supply chain here. … We need to make sure all of our goods moving on rail get to their markets at the right time.” …But the push comes as rail capacity is stretched by the fall grain harvest, in addition to rising volumes of other rail freight, especially oil. [This story is only available to Globe and Mail subscribers]

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B.C.’s forest sector turns to Asia as U.S. market cools

By Chuck Chiang
Business in Vancouver
November 29, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

One year after leading the province’s largest-ever forestry-sector delegation to Asia, B.C. Forests Minister Doug Donaldson is taking an even larger group to three key Asian countries this winter in a push to expand exports beyond the suddenly slowing U.S. market. Donaldson… will visit South Korea, Japan and China December 5-15 with officials from more than 40 companies, research institutions, unions and trade associations. …China, Japan and South Korea are B.C.’s second-, third- and fifth-largest wood-product export markets, respectively. The three markets combine to make up about 29% of B.C.’s current wood-product exports, although each presents a distinct opportunity for local companies, officials said.

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Pressure mounts on Ottawa to review Nova Scotia mill’s controversial effluent pipeline

By Michael Tutton
The Toronto Star
November 29, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

HALIFAX—A proposal to pump millions of litres of treated pulp mill waste into the Northumberland Strait is a clear case for Ottawa’s toughest environmental review process, say veteran fisheries scientists — who contend many questions remain on how a swirl of sea life will mix with warm effluent and a changing climate. The Strait touches three provinces, and the wider Gulf of St. Lawrence fisheries region is home to lobster and crab fisheries that brought in over $1.2 billion worth of catch in 2016. Bruce Hatcher, a Cape Breton University biologist, says Ottawa should appoint a panel to study the potential damage if Northern Pulp was allowed to pump 62 million litres of effluent daily from its Abercrombie, N.S., mill into the Strait. “I believe this is a good example of a place that justifies a full environmental review,” said Hatcher, who has studied marine environments for over three decades and is the university’s chair in marine ecosystem research.

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More senators join call for federal Northern Pulp review

By Paul Withers
CBC News
November 29, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

Nineteen Canadian senators have signed a letter calling on the Trudeau government to order a full federal environmental assessment of the Northern Pulp plan to discharge treated effluent into the Northumberland Strait. It comes as the Pictou County mill and its union launch their own campaign to drum up support for the company’s effluent treatment project. The senators’ Nov. 28 letter to federal Fisheries Minister Jonathan Wilkinson and Environment Minister Catherine McKenna says a Nova Scotia provincial government assessment is insufficient, given the potential risks to fisheries and tourism in neighbouring Maritime provinces. “But we submit the Nova Scotia government is in a conflict of interest. They are simultaneously promoting the project while at the same time claiming they are committed to protecting the environment,” the letter states.

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Wood pellet operation expected to create dozens of jobs on Northern Peninsula

The Telegram Newfoundland and Labrador
November 29, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

ST. JOHN’S, N.L.—Active Energy Group (AEG) is planning to construct a $19.7-million wood pellet plant in Hawke’s Bay. The proposed plant will produce 55,000-65,000 metric tonnes of CoalSwitch wood pellets annually for export to Poland through the local port, according to a news release from the Department of Fisheries and Land Resources on Thursday, Nov. 29. Two five-year commercial permits have already been issued to Timberlands International Inc., a subsidiary of AEG, to cut a total of 100,000 cubic metres of timber annually in forest management districts 17 and 18 on the Great Northern Peninsula, which will support the operation of the plant. “This agreement is a significant achievement for the company and for the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, and will reap rewards for all parties in the years to come,” Timberland International Ltd. managing director Richard Spinks said in the release.

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House GOP loses farm bill fight for tougher work requirements for food aid recipients

By Bryan Lowry and Kate Irby
McClatchy Washington Bureau
November 29, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States

Federal food aid recipients won’t be faced with major new work requirements. And changes in forestry policy that made environmentalists furious are gone. House Republicans gave up Thursday on trying to include those provisions in a massive farm policy bill, clearing the way for a vote in Congress next week. The concessions will likely help draw Democratic votes to the bill in the House. …Thune said Republicans would also make concessions in the debate over forest fires, an issue that had been elevated to the Senate and House leadership teams after negotiators reached an impasse on the issue in the wake of deadly wildfires in California. President Donald Trump’s administration and House Republicans advocated for new rules that would expedite forest-thinning projects, but Democrats and environmental groups successfully protested the measure, warning it would be an ineffective tool against fires.

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Closing in on a farm bill deal

By Ryan McCrimmon
Politico
November 29, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States

Farm bill negotiators pretty much have a deal … sort of. Senate Ag leaders say they’re on the verge of an agreement, contingent on receipt of final cost estimates. Here’s what we know… Congressional leadership helped break the logjam by resolving a standoff over forestry and wildfires. Senate Ag leaders hinted that the forestry title could be passed in a separate bill — a tactic used in 2002-03 when lawmakers couldn’t agree on forestry provisions. …Senate Ag Chairman Pat Roberts and ranking member Debbie Stabenow weren’t ready to call it a deal, but the outlines of an agreement to resolve outstanding issues were taking shape Wednesday. The tentative resolution on forestry and other matters leaves Congress in decent position to pass the final measure before the holidays — if they can tie up loose ends in short order.

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The American Casualties of Trump’s Trade War

By Guy Lawson
New York Times
November 28, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States

Tariffs on Chinese imports have endangered small business around the United States — a growing nightmare that critics say the president could have avoided. Sam Cobb was surprised to see so many people lined up for a hearing at the International Trade Commission in Washington on Aug. 20. The chief executive of Real Wood Floors, Cobb was a veteran of such proceedings… In the preceding weeks, the Trump administration had floated a proposal to place punitive import tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods, and the politics of global trade had suddenly burst into the headlines. …For Cobb and the 247 employees of Real Wood’s affiliated companies, the stakes were high. Their business is exporting hardwood … Missouri to their partners in China, who mill it into… designer flooring. …Real Wood [then] sells it to high-end builders from coast to coast — an ocean-spanning supply chain that nevertheless keeps costs down.

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New Home Sales Drop 8.9 Percent in October as Affordability Challenges Persist

National Association of Home Builders
November 28, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States

Sales of newly built, single-family homes fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 544,000 units in October after an upwardly revised September report, according to newly released data by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau. This is the lowest sales pace since December 2016. However, on a year-to-date basis, sales are up 2.8 percent from this time in 2017. “The November reading is consistent with reports from our builders, who say that the job market and demographic tailwinds bode well for housing demand but rising interest rates and home prices are forcing customers to take a pause,” said Randy Noel, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a custom home builder from LaPlace, La. “Policymakers should see this drop in sales as an indicator that housing affordability will continue to slow down the market.”

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Chinese Exporters of Flooring Lose Challenge Against Tariffs

Floor Daily
November 28, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States

Washington, DC – A group of Chinese producers and exporters of multilayered wood flooring lost their legal challenge November 26 to U.S. antidumping duties on their products, reports Bloomberg Law. “The ruling by the Court of International Trade maintains a duty rate of 17.37% on most Chinese flooring that entered the U.S. between December 2013 and November 2014. The plaintiffs took issue with several aspects of how the Commerce Department calculated the duties, including the department’s use of surrogate data.

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Westervelt’s new lumber mill to create over 100 jobs in Alabama

By Angel Kipfer
Woodworking Network
November 28, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Westervelt Company, a lumber producer of primarily Southern Yellow Pine, has announced that the location for its new lumber mill will be in Thomasville, Alabama. With construction set to begin mid-2019, the new mill will complement Westervelt’s existing lumber mill in Moundville, Alabama, which the company says is the second-largest production facility of Southern Yellow Pine in the U.S. … The facility is expected to create 125 new jobs and produce around 250 million board feet of lumber annually. The expansion will take advantage of the proximity of the company’s timberland and other facilities, as well as workforce and existing customer bases.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Lauzon Flooring Earns the NWFA/NOFMA Mill Certification

Floor Daily
November 29, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, United States

St. Louis — The National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) has announced that Lauzon Distinctive Hardwood Flooring in Papineauville, Quebec, has earned the NWFA/NOFMA Mill Certification. “We are pleased to welcome Lauzon Flooring as the newest Canadian member of the NWFA/NOFMA Program,” says John Forbes, NWFA Manufacturer Services Director. “The NWFA/NOFMA Program was founded over 100 years ago, and the fact that certification continues to be a sought after differentiator, clearly demonstrates the vibrancy and relevancy of the designation.” The NWFA/NOFMA certification shows that a manufacturer’s wood flooring meets or exceeds the industry standards for grade, configuration, moisture content, and average board length. Certified mills are inspected a minimum of two times per year to ensure consistent grade standards are met.

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Forest Products Sector Applauds Mass Timber Component of Toronto Waterfront Development

Forest Products Association of Canada
November 29, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada

Derek Nighbor

Forest Products Association of Canada CEO Derek Nighbor issued the following statement today in response to the Quayside Community Project announcement, a commitment to utilize mass timber in its construction, and as a result showcase Canada’s world-leading forest products: “Today’s announcement is further proof of the renaissance we are seeing in wood construction in Canada and around the world,” said Forest Products Association of Canada CEO Derek Nighbor. “This project will not only support efforts to address affordable housing needs in Toronto, but it will also realize important environmental benefits – wood is a renewable resource, it stores carbon, and building with it leaves a lower carbon footprint. It is also great news for the economy with jobs for engineers, architects, tradespeople, and advanced manufacturers. We could not be more excited to see such a forward-thinking project taking root in the heart of Toronto,” Nighbor added.

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Sidewalk Labs Reveals Site Plan for Quayside Neighhbourhood

By Jack Landau
Urban Toronto
November 29, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada East, Canada

Just over a year after Google parent company Alphabet confirmed the speculation and announced their planned development in Waterfront Toronto’s Quayside community, a fleshed out draft plan has been revealed for the proposed ‘digital neighbourhood’. The project from Sidewalk Labs aims to weave smart technologies into a mixed-use, mixed-income community to be built from scratch. The plan incorporates several innovative approaches to city-building, including the use of sustainable mass-timber construction for all buildings within the community, including several towers, three as high as 30 storeys. This move would bolster the Canadian timber industry while minimizing carbon emissions, with a projected 75-85% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to standard developments. Quayside would be home to the single greatest concentration of mass timber buildings anywhere in the world. 

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Cladding ban details suggests CLT will be outlawed

By Jordan Marshall
Building
November 29, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Government has ruled out the use of any material that does not have one of the top combustibility ratings in buildings over 18m. The use of cross-laminated timber in buildings over 18m tall appears to have been outlawed as the government reveals details of its combustible materials ban. The amendment to Approved Document B, has ruled out the use of any material within an external wall that does not have one of the top combustibility ratings, A2-s1, d0 or Class A1, with the exception of membranes, seals and gaskets. The document defines an external wall as ’anything located within any space forming part of the wall.’ The changes …not only cover residential towers that rise more than 18m above ground, but will also need to be adhered to by those building student accommodation, care homes, sheltered housing, hospitals and dormitories in boarding schools.

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Tokyo Olympics venues ‘built with wood from threatened rainforests’

By Arthur Neslen
The Guardian
November 29, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Wood from threatened south-east Asian rainforests has been used to build venues for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, according to complaints filed with organisers. At least 134,000 large sheets of tropical plywood from Malaysia and Indonesia have been used as concrete moulds to build stadiums, causing what campaigners say is irreversible harm to precious biodiversity reserves. Charge sheets seen by the Guardian accuse the authorities of purchasing policies “resulting in the permanent loss of tropical rainforests in Indonesia as well as the destruction of critically endangered orangutan habitat in Borneo”. The allegations focus on the use of 8,700 tropical plywood sheets mostly supplied by the Korean-Indonesian firm Korindo. A report by a group of environmental NGOs this month alleged that the wood was being used to construct the Ariake arena, a planned volleyball venue, despite the lack of credible sustainability certification.

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Forestry

Scott Hinch receives Mitacs Award for Exceptional Leadership

The University of British Columbia
November 29, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Scott Hinch

Scott Hinch received a Mitacs Award for Exceptional Leadership at the 2018 Mitacs Awards held on November 27. Scott earned the award of Exceptional Leadership-Professor for devising state-of-the-art tracking and monitoring research of small fish in support of conservation efforts for wild Pacific salmon in collaboration with the Pacific Salmon Foundation, St’át’imc Eco Resources, and BC Hydro. Dr Hinch is a professor in the Forest and Conservation Sciences Department at University of British Columbia.

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Western Forest Product’s Englewood operation to reopen in March following four-month winter closure

By Thomas Kervin
The North Island Gazette
November 29, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Western Forest Product (WFP) plans to re-open forest operations in Woss this coming spring. The company, which stopped day-to-day business early this November, has decided that Englewood operations near Woss will now be up and running as soon as March 2019, according to the Nov. 20 presentation given to the Regional District of Mount Waddington. …Shannon Janzen, chief forester at WFP… stated that the time frame “is essentially the end of the November and a likely startup at the beginning of March.” Licensing for the operation was one of many reasons as to why operations stopped. “The four-month window I don’t think is unusual,” she said. …North Island Forest Operation senior manager Clint Cadwallader stated that “the difference between this shutdown and previous ones, we actually announced (the shutdown) ahead of time.”

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Manitoba officially privatizes wildfire-fighting service

CBC News
November 29, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Manitoba has formally handed over its forest firefighting services to the private sector, including the use of its water bomber fleet. The government announced Thursday that it has made a deal with Babcock Canada Inc., an engineering support company with a history in providing aerial emergency services, to perform the suppression of wildfires from now on. “Our government is committed to protecting Manitobans from wildfires and that’s what this agreement delivers,” said Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler. “It will ensure faster response times, enhanced safety and a superior aircraft maintenance program. It will make Manitoba’s wildfire suppression system even better.” The government will retain ownership of its seven active water bombers and lease them to Babcock Canada, which will operate the bombers.

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Admitted to taking down endangered trees: Lake Louise ski resort to be sentenced

The Canadian Press in the Telegram
November 30, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

CALGARY — A judge is to sentence a world-renowned Alberta ski resort today for cutting down endangered trees five years ago. The Lake Louise resort in Banff National Park pleaded guilty last December to taking down a stand of trees, including some whitebark pine, along a ski run in 2013. The resort is to be sentenced in a Calgary courtroom on two charges — one under the Species At Risk Act and the other under the Canada National Parks Act. A total of 132 trees were removed. …The maximum fine under the Species At Risk Act for each tree destroyed is $300,000, while the maximum per tree is $250,000 under the National Parks Act.

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A&A Trading Ltd. and Terminal Forest Products Ltd. receive good audit

BC Forest Practices Board
November 29, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

VICTORIA – An audit of A&A Trading Ltd. and Terminal Forest Products Ltd. on forest licence A19229 has found both companies met the requirements of the Forest and Range Practices Act and the Wildfire Act, according to a Forest Practices Board report. “The board is pleased to see that A&A is fully meeting all of its legal obligations in an operating area that is largely rugged and remote, creating challenging conditions for forest practices,” said Kevin Kriese, board chair. “The area is subject to several land-use and legal orders, which establish old-growth management areas and objectives for recreation sites and trails, as well as visual quality. It also contains habitat for the marbled murrelet, northern goshawk and coastal tailed frog, all of which must be addressed in forest operations.”

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Fraser islands deforestation Canada’s most urgent rivers issue

By Randy Shore
Vancouver Sun
November 27, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Deforestation of three islands in the heart of the Fraser River is the most pressing rivers issue in the country for the coming year, according to the Outdoor Recreation Council. Herrling, Carey and Strawberry Islands — nestled mid-river between Hope and Mission — are all being cleared of trees to varying degrees, activity that could damage the most biologically productive part of the Fraser, said ORC rivers chair Mark Angelo. This stretch of river is a spawning site for threatened white sturgeon, a rearing area for chinook salmon… The largest of the three islands, Herrling is being clear-cut as it transitions from a cottonwood tree farm to field crops by Klaassen Farms, the new owner. Fisheries and Oceans Canada confirmed it has an open investigation into the work being done on Herrling Island. …Klaassen Farms intends to grow blueberries, corn and forage crops …and requires a bridge for year-round vehicle access…

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Forest fires add snag to getting farm bill passed

The Watertown Daily Times
November 28, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

WASHINGTON — Forestry provisions have emerged as the latest snag in farm bill negotiations, sending the issue to congressional leaders for talks to break the impasse. The forestry provisions in the House-passed version of the farm bill say the proposed changes to federal forest management policies would prevent forest fires — an issue that is now at the forefront after the deadly California fires. Opponents say the proposed changes would ease federal oversight and safeguards needed to limit logging on public lands that could destroy forests habitats and reduce protections for endangered wildlife. “The big, big question right now is this debate on forestry,” Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan told reporters Monday night. “Last-minute provisions can be the death of any complicated bill.

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Battle Over Forestry – Western House Caucus Angry at Senate Democrats Over Forestry Conflict in Farm Bill

By Jerry Hagstrom
The Progressive Farmer
November 28, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The farm bill continues to be bogged down with conflicts over forestry programs that the Trump Administration is insisting on to deal with forest fires. As congressional leaders were expected to consider how to handle forestry policy in the farm bill conference report this week, members of the Congressional Western Caucus on Tuesday urged farm bill conferees to include the forestry provisions of the House farm bill and condemned Senate Democrats for obstructing active management of the nation’s forests. But the press release was a sign that the campaign to allow changes to forest management policy is not faring well. …Schumer told reporters Tuesday that forestry is the only major farm-bill issue left and that Democrats “hope we can get a farm bill this year.”

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Federal judge: U.S. law doesn’t protect ancient trees from logging

By Nicholas Iovino
The Missoula Current
November 29, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

A judge’s stark warning that natural wonders have no right to exist under federal law unsettled a group of conservationists fighting a proposed highway project through a majestic grove of ancient redwood trees in Northern California. “It might be hard to swallow, but they could actually cut down an old growth tree that’s been here for 2,000 years for a highway as long as they consider the consequences of that action,” U.S. District Judge William Alsup told a dismayed group of environmentalists. Alsup was addressing more than a dozen opponents of a proposal to widen a 1.1-mile stretch of Highway 101. Assuming the role of law professor, Alsup lectured the crowd on how U.S. environmental laws grant no rights to ecosystems; they merely require government agencies fully consider the impact of proposed projects on the environment.

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To Help Prevent the Next Big Wildfire, Let the Forest Burn

By Ash Ngu and Sahil Chinoy
The New York Times
November 29, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

…Much of California’s forestland is overgrown, partly because of federal regulations implemented in 1910, which mandated stamping out wildfires as soon as possible. These policies were revised around the 1970s to allow some fires to naturally burn their course, but much of the West has struggled to do so. …Ecologists and forest experts attribute California’s destructive wildfires to decades of aggressive fire suppression, in addition to the increased population of fire-prone areas and hotter, drier conditions due to climate change. The solution needs to address all these things, but one critical step is shifting our understanding of fire’s role in forest ecology. Policymakers and citizens alike must abandon the idea that trees are always worth saving and that fire is always a threat. Instead, they should permit modest, ecologically necessary wildfires to burn.

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California fires highlight need for proper forest management

By Jason Hayes
The Hill
November 29, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

That the wildfire in northern California is 98 percent contained is welcome news, as is the fact that some of the more than 1,600 firefighters are being allowed to return home. …Whatever the cause of the fire — utility error, a changing climate, or some other factor — reducing the amount of fuels that cause fires such as this one to burn out of control must be a central focus of future management plans. Recently, the Mackinac Center worked… to publish “Conflict to Collaboration,” which considers many forest management issues. …Faced with this complex, expensive and difficult situation, even the outgoing California governor, Jerry Brown, backed August legislation that would allow private landowners to… thin out the state’s overgrown forests. …Not surprisingly, many environmental groups oppose the measure, claiming it was an attempt to open up these lands to logging interests.

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Drones replant forests burned by wildfire

By Michael D’estries
Mother Nature Network
November 29, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

The manual work of reviving U.S. forests after a wildfire is arduous and increasingly overwhelming, but a new ally in the sky is here to help. DroneSeed, a 2-year-old startup presently operating across the Western U.S., is making headway in its mission to turn the skies above scorched wilderness into delivery highways for seeds, herbicides and fertilizers. …According to the company, whereas an experienced tree planter can plant about 800 trees a day, one person with 15 DroneSeed drones could do the equivalent of 360 manual-labor hours in a single day. …Once a drone has been given a location to plant a new tree, it uses compressed air to shoot a proprietary seed pod into the soil. According to TechCrunch… the seeds are packed into nutrient-rich, biodegradable pucks that are coated in spicy capsaicin to deter animals.

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Fast-Tracking Logging On Federal Lands May Not Lessen Wildfire Risk

By Kirk Siegler
National Public Radio
November 28, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

It’s looking like the House and Senate could be finally coming to agreement on the sweeping Farm Bill. One of the latest big sticking points has been a provision that would limit public review and environmental analysis of forest projects on federal public land. …Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said on Monday that some of the disaster could have been mitigated if there had been more active forest management. “When we looked at areas up there that had been treated for fire, thinned, those were the lines of defense that the firefighters were using,” Zinke said… Wildfire scientists will study that question for years: Would more thinning of dense stands of trees on federal forest land have made a difference…? But in an op-ed for CNN, Zinke said more active forest management — from thinning to prescribed burns — needs to happen now.

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Forestry industry eyes bid to boost its economic growth to £2bn a year by 2030

By Kenny Kemp
Insider UK
November 29, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: International

A new strategy for Scotland’s forestry industries is seeking to harness the opportunities of natural wood fibre to double the  sector’s economic growth to £2 billion a year by 2030. Launched by the Scottish Forest and Timber Technologies Industry Leadership Group, the Roots for Further Growth strategy sets out a vision for economic growth up to 2030. The strategy has five strategic priorities: Maximise the economic outputs of Scotland’s forest and fibre resource; Improve the safety and efficiency of the wood fibre supply chain; Expand markets and add value; Develop a workforce with skills for the future which supports inclusive growth; Understand and communicate the forest and wood-based industries’ contributions to Scotland’s economy.

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One Billion Trees Fund offers new opportunities

By New Zealand Government
Scoop Independent News
November 30, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Forestry Minister Shane Jones and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor have today launched the One Billion Trees Fund – a crucial step toward achieving the goal of planting at least one billion trees by 2028. Led by Te Uru Rākau – Forestry New Zealand, the Fund provides $118 million for simple and accessible grants to landowners and organisations looking to plant trees. It also provides $120 million for partnership projects that aim to reduce the barriers to tree planting through innovation, research and sector development initiatives. “The One Billion Trees Programme sets an ambitious target, but brings with it the huge opportunity to revitalise our regions and create real economic, social and environmental benefits across the country. It will also support Māori to realise the potential of their land,” Shane Jones said.

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Brazil loses ‘one million football pitches’ worth of forest

Associated Free Press in The Straits Times
November 28, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: International

SAO PAULO – Deforestation in Brazil has reached such epic proportions that an area equivalent to one million football pitches was lost in just one year, Greenpeace said. Between August 2017 and July 2018, deforestation increased by almost 14 per cent, with an area of 7,900 square kilometres of forest cleared, according to the governmental institution of special investigations. “It’s more or less one million football fields of deforestation in just one year,” Mr Marcio Astrini, the public policies coordinator for Greenpeace Brazil, told AFP.  “Every year we have this news that forest is being criminally deforested.” Mr Astrini said things could get even worse if president-elect Jair Bolsonaro carries out his threats to loosen environmental protection rules. His appointment of Ms Tereza Cristina as Agriculture Minister also caused concerns as she … is a supporter of clearing more forested area to make way for pasture land and agriculture.

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In Lebanon, climate change devours ancient cedar trees

By Tony Gamal-Gabriel
Phys.Org
November 28, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: International

High up in Lebanon’s mountains, the lifeless grey trunks of dead cedar trees stand stark in the deep green forest, witnesses of the climate change that has ravaged them. Often dubbed “Cedars of God”, the tall evergreens hark back millenia and are a source of great pride and a national icon in the small Mediterranean country. The cedar tree, with its majestic horizontal branches, graces the nation’s flag and its bank notes. But as temperatures rise, and rain and snowfall decrease, Lebanon’s graceful cedars are increasingly under attack by a tiny green grub that feed off the youngest trees. …As the ground becomes less cold and humid in winter, sawflies are now springing out of the earth every year, and in larger numbers. Their preferred victims are young cedar trees, aged 20 to 100 years old.

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