Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily news for July 08 2020

Today’s Takeaway

If there’s a crisis, it won’t be a housing crisis

The Tree Frog Forestry News
July 8, 2020
Category: Today's Takeaway

Hoya Capital says a decade of underbuilding and mortgage debt service ratios at historic lows points to strong housing markets. In related news: the construction sector is hiring; dealers are underbought; softwood lumber prices are rising; and SYP is at a two-year high. In other Business news: a new pellet mill is planned for the Slave Lake, NTW; and Port Alberni’s Community Forest pays large dividend.

In other news: US predicts growth in biomass energy generation; Bayer’s Roundup settlement hasn’t ended its troubles; Kimberly-Clark vows to halve its environmental footprint; Walmart ups its requirement for certified paper sourcing; and Georgia considers early adoption of mass timber code changes.

Finally, Alberta’s grizzlies need more space while BC’s spirit bear needs more protection.

Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Business & Politics

Northwest Territories pellet mill, now much bigger project, promises ‘huge impact’

By Ollie Williams
Cabin Radio
July 7, 2020
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Brad Mapes

In an ocean of economic strife, Brad Mapes believes his 320-hectare parcel of South Slave land is about to become the NWT’s beacon of hope. Initially, Mapes expected to build a wood pellet mill on his land in Enterprise. Now, he has plans for nine different corporations on the site. He thinks he will eventually create 250 full-time jobs or more. What was first known as Aurora Wood Pellets is now the AWP Industrial Park. …So far he’s planning a sawmill, a biomass power plant that’ll generate enough energy to power the whole site (with excess potentially sold to the NWT Power Corporation), an agricultural zone, an industrial park, and a gravel company, alongside the pellet mill and the rail yard. “Ultimately, if you combine everything we’re looking at in the next five years, you’re going to see at least 250 full-time jobs.”

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City of Port Alberni receives $2M from community forest

By Susie Quinn
The Alberni Valley News
July 7, 2020
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Sharie Minions & Jim Sears

The Alberni Valley Community Forest is in a good financial position after 2019, chairperson Jim Sears said during the AVCF’s annual general meeting in June. So good, in fact, the board donated a $2 million dividend to its owner, the City of Port Alberni. The community forest’s net revenue in 2019 was $1.6 million, Sears noted. Harvesting in the forest was done entirely in the Sproat Operating Area. Having a slow fire season—no fires within the community forest in 2019—helped, he added. The big dividend was possible because the board had set aside monies to purchase more land, but decided to set that idea aside for now. …This is the largest dividend cheque the community forest has provided to the city since the AVCF was formed in 2009.

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Kimberly-Clark vows to halve environmental footprint within a decade

By Sarah George
The Edie Network
July 8, 2020
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States

Personal care giant Kimberly-Clark has pledged to halve its global environmental footprint by 2030, under a new sustainability strategy covering issues such as emissions, forestry, water and plastics. The new sustainability strategy replaces Kimberly-Clark’s previous ‘Sustainability 2022’ framework, after the majority of its targets were surpassed. …As for forestry, Kimberly-Clark is already sourcing 100% of its fibre from certified sources. It will now work to boost its sourcing of recycled fibre from the 2019 proportion of 31% and provide suppliers with further resources and funding to combat biodiversity loss and climate change and to empower indigenous communities that depend on forests for their livelihoods. …Its forest footprint was 31% lower in 2019 than in 2011.

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Finance & Economics

Softwood lumber prices rise during usual seasonal slow-down

By Madison’s Lumber Reporter
Wood Business – Canadian Forest Industries
July 7, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, United States

Demand for Western S-P-F in the United States remained steady last week even as players on both sides of the border celebrated their respective national holidays. Suppliers were confident that business will improve even further this week after everyone gets back to their desks. Asking prices continued to rise. …For the week ending July 3, 2020, prices of standard construction framing dimension softwood lumber items rose yet again. For its part, benchmark lumber item Western S-P-F 2×4 #2&Btr KD rose another +32, or +7 per cent, to US$468 mfbm, from US$436 the week before. The price for this lumber commodity was up +$90, or +24 per cent, from one month ago.

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Depleting lumber supply and big demand is affecting construction

By Robert Dalheim
The Woodworking Network
July 7, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, United States

A shortage of lumber is affecting the construction industry in what’s usually its busiest time of the year. …”Prices were nudged up every day as sawmills sold out of stock with ease, and at higher levels,” writes Madison’s Lumber Reporter. “Customers throughout the market were very underbought, and field inventories remained low even as many buyers abandoned their caution and tried to secure volume. Sawmill order files were into the weeks of June 15th and 22nd. Bread-and-butter sizes continued to garner consistently strong demand, while sales of 2×8 and 2×10 were also really hot.” Supply cuts and curtailments have certainly played a role. 

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Construction Hiring Surged in May

By Robert Dietz
NAHB – Eye on Housing
July 7, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, United States

After an accelerated pace of layoffs in March and April, construction sector hiring roared back in May, per data from the BLS Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey. In May, the hiring rate increased to 9.6%, after a subdued 3.7% rate in April. This was the strongest rate of hiring in the history of the data. The increase in hiring also lifted the open jobs rate to 4.9% in May, with a 365,000 total of open construction sector jobs. The open job count was just 247,000 in April. While growing, the current total represents a year-over-year decline compared to 373,000 in May 2019.

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No clear end to pandemic related uncertainty in B.C. housing market

The Canadian Press in CBC News
July 7, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, Canada West

A new forecast says the housing market in BC remains uncertain during the COVID-19 pandemic. Central 1 says it expects home sales to recover marginally in 2020 and 2021 after tumbling by 55 per cent between mid-March and April. Deputy chief economist Brian Yu says despite values plunging to levels not seen since the early 1980s, home prices have stayed firm because fewer properties were available for sale. He predicts median prices could rebound to about $710,000 before slipping to around $540,000 late this year or early in 2021. Yu says unemployment, business and health concerns will further weaken the market.

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If There’s A Crisis, It Won’t Be A Housing Crisis

By Brad Thomas
Seeking Alpha
July 8, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States

It appears the U.S. hasn’t been building enough houses. As of May, new home sales were up 16% year-over-year. And pending home sales were up more than 44%. New building permits have rebounded, signaling a return of builder confidence. Although housing starts pulled back during COVID-19, new building permits have rebounded, signaling builder confidence is coming back. …In 2006-2008, higher short-term rates prompted a push toward variable rate mortgages, eventually triggering waves of defaults. But the housing market has deleveraged significantly since, and mortgage debt service ratios were at historic lows in early 2020. They could go lower still.

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SYP Lumber Prices Surge to Two-Year High

By John Greene
Forests2Market Blog
July 8, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: US East, United States

In 1Q2020, the lumber market was showing signs of strength. However, as the pandemic really gripped the economy, prices jumped in mid-April as supply began to run tight due to curtailments. Prices then trended higher for nine consecutive weeks and only briefly corrected course once in June. Now, 12 weeks after bottoming during the peak of the pandemic, SYP lumber prices have soared a whopping 62% and are near the record levels achieved during 2018. For the week ending July 3, prices were $547/MBF, which represents a 53% increase from the same week in 2019 and a 4% increase from the same week in 2018. …2020 will surely go down as the most unpredictable year in recent history, and we still have a long way to go.

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Wood Fiber Costs Declined for Both Softwood and Harwood Pulp Producers in 2019 and Early 2020

By Wood Resources International LLC
Yahoo Finance
July 6, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: International

STOCKHOLM — Wood fiber costs fell for many hardwood pulp-producing countries worldwide in the 1Q/20. The biggest declines were seen in the US South, Russia, and Latin America, where hardwood pulplog prices were down between 5 and 10 percent from the 4Q/19. In the US South, hardwood prices fell for the second consecutive quarter in the 1Q/20 after having reached an all-time high in the 2Q/19. The relatively steep decline took prices in the US South down to their lowest levels in almost three years. The major driver of declining pulplog prices was the reduction in log demand from regional papermills. 

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Fighting for Forests, Walmart Moves to Source Sustainable Paper

Walmart Inc.
July 8, 2020
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States

…At Walmart, we believe a healthy natural world is key to healthy communities. That belief drives our zero net deforestation goal, using pulp and paper sourcing practices that seek to reduce our forest “footprint” and promote sustainable management and conservation efforts. This goal is important because deforestation is occurring at a staggering pace. Globally, we are losing the equivalent of a soccer field’s worth of primary rain forest every six seconds due to production of agricultural and forest products and other human-caused impacts. …Walmart is strengthening our sustainable sourcing requirements for products that contain paper and pulp (excluding wood pencils) sold in our U.S. stores. Walmart requires these products be made from either recycled material, virgin fiber certified to standards of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) or Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), or a mix of recycled and certified virgin fiber.

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A Maine-based cross laminated timber factory could mean more affordable housing

By Troy R. Bennett
Bangor Daily News
July 7, 2020
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

PORTLAND, Maine — Avesta Housing’s new, affordable, 40-apartment project going up on Brighton Avenue is the first building in Maine to feature stairwells and an elevator tower made from cross laminated timber. The high tech, eco-friendly structural material is cheaper and easier to install than the traditional concrete and steel it replaces. However, the material had to be hauled all the way from the closest manufacturing plant, in Montana, at a cost of $40,000. If Maine had its own cross laminated timber factory, the nonprofit housing developer could cut most of the shipping costs and the savings would help Avesta create more affordable housing at a time when its waiting list is already over 3,000 names long. …Until Maine gets its own cross laminated timber manufacturing facility up and running, Avesta and other developers will have to pay shipping costs from Montana if they want to use it in construction.

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American Wood Council Applauds Georgia Passage of Tall Mass Timber Bill

American Wood Council
July 1, 2020
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

LEESBURG, Virginia – The American Wood Council (AWC) President and CEO Robert Glowinski issued a statement following Governor Brian Kemp signing HB 777, which directs the state Department of Community Affairs  and its State Codes Advisory Committee to look at and evaluate the International Code Council’s 2021 tall mass timber building code changes for early adoption. The agency will begin its review this summer and complete its work by July 1, 2021. “The entire construction industry is changing and AWC applauds Georgia for helping revolutionize the places we live and work.”

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Forestry

VIDEO: Climbing Amongst the Clearcuts in British Columbia

By Zack Skovron
Teton Gravity Research
July 7, 2020
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The area surrounding Powell River, BC is home to some of the finest granite big wall climbing in North America, and also home to some of the last stands of old-growth forest in the region. Local climbers have long benefited from easy access to remote zones thanks to logging roads and generous land use policies, but have struggled with the choice to look away as pristine valleys are stripped for timber. Arc’teryx’s new documentary On The Verge covers the complex interplay between those who rely on the region’s trees for their livelihood and those who live to climb on nearby mountains.

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Granisle on track to grow deciduous trees around the village

By Priyanka Ketkar
Burns Lake Lakes District News
July 8, 2020
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The residents of the Village of Granisle will benefit from the efforts of the village, the Babine Lake Community Forest, Lake Babine Nation and the Forest Enhancement Society of British Columbia (FESBC), in providing a safer haven from wildfires, in the future. The village undertook a Wildfire Fuel Mitigation Project in partnership with the BLCF and through funding from the FESBC, in order to make Granisle a safer place from the wildfires. The project was a result of an idea that the former Granisle Mayor Frederick Clarke had, according to Gord Pratt, who is the operations manager with the FESBC. …A few of the objectives that are important to the FESBC that the Granisle project is also focusing on are, to reduce the wildfire risk in and around the community of Granisle, to increase the fibre utilization of the residual fibre around the site …and therefore reduce the carbon footprint and green house gas emissions.

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Work continues to reduce wildfire risk

By Rod Link
Houston Today
July 8, 2020
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Work continues on the $1 million project to log mainly conifer stands and remove material along the Buck Flats Road that pose as a wildfire risk to properties within the District of Houston. As identified in a 2018 study prepared for the District, the prospect of prevailing winds from the southwest driving a wildfire toward the District was identified as a significant risk. When cleared of conifers and material, the plan is to replant the area with deciduous species such as birch or poplar which are not as conducive to burning. …Money for the project comes from the Forest Enhancement Society of B.C., a provincial agency, to the District and management has been contracted to Pro-Tech Forest Resources of Telkwa. …Forest Enhancement Society of B.C. manager Gord Pratt described its financial participation in the project as complementary to reducing wildfire risk combined with the commercial potential of what’s being logged.

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First Nations-led study indicates spirit bear needs more protected habitat

By Denise Ryan
The Vancouver Sun
July 8, 2020
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

…the [Kermode] spirit bear is far rarer and far more ecologically vulnerable than previously believed, according to Christina Service’s research. A peer-reviewed study — published in Ecological Solutions and Evidence by Service, a group of scientists and First Nations stewards from the Kitasoo/Xai’xais and Gitga’at First Nations, the University of Victoria, the Spirit Bear Research Foundation and the Raincoast Conservation Foundation — shows that the genetic change that produces the spirit bear is up to 50 per cent rarer than previous estimates. Service is the wildlife biologist for the Kitasoo/Xai’xais Stewardship Authority and led the research along B.C.’s Central Coast. She said the study provides valuable data for land use planning and shows that further conservation efforts are needed. …Only about half of the areas with high concentrations of spirit bears are protected by parks and other protected areas. …The gene variant, discovered by UBC scientist  Kermit Ritland, controls red hair in humans and light hair in other mammals

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Bears trying to live with people, but it still isn’t enough: study

Canadian Press in Victoria Times Colonist
July 7, 2020
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

EDMONTON — Grizzly bears are doing their best to get along with people, but it still isn’t enough. Newly published research concludes that without large wilderness areas to replenish their numbers, grizzlies would disappear from landscapes they share with humans. “The persistence of bears near people, when we see them along highways or near towns, they’re really propped up by the fact they exist near some sort of secure wilderness,” said Clayton Lamb, a University of Alberta biologist… Researchers found bears in populated areas in Alberta and British Columbia have even changed how they hunt in an attempt to share living space with humans. “The bears are doing what they can,” Lamb said. “The difference might have to be made up by us.” The study… digested 41 years worth of mortality, movement and demography among 2,669 grizzlies over nearly 400,000 square kilometres of British Columbia.

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A call to action — the survey

Letter by Icel Dobell
Cowichan Valley Citizen
July 6, 2020
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Icel Dobell

A call to action — the survey. First, the good news: the University of British Columbia team reported at the Forestry Advisory Committee meeting that in addition to the inestimable recreational, health, and ecological benefits of the municipal forest reserve, North Cowichan taxpayers could potentially make as much or more money through carbon offsets than by logging our Six Mountains. …we paid for [the report] and we, citizens and council, deserve to see it directly online  — but this may not happen. …we are told that the public gets just three to four weeks for consultation on an interim management plan for the forests. That includes a survey from which the consultants, Lees and Associates, will then extrapolate what the public wants before delivering their verdict to council in September. …What I heard is that our community forests are worth so much more standing than shipped offshore to be sold back to us as two-by-fours. 

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B.C. First Nation secures funding for multi-million-dollar project in ancient rainforest park

CBC News
July 7, 2020
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

A new injection of government money is helping a B.C. First Nation start an ambitious project in the world’s only inland temperate rainforest. The Lheidli T’enneh Nation… announced Monday that both the provincial and federal government are contributing funds toward an $8.7 million development project the nation is planning in the Ancient Forest Provincial Park, or Chun T’oh Whudujut in the local Lheidli language. Chun T’oh Whudujut is located 120 kilometres east of Prince George, and according to B.C. Parks, covers an area of over 11,000 hectares, including 685 hectares of protected land. The Lheidli T’enneh Nation plans to use the new funds to build new hiking trails, a sweat lodge, a pit house and a gazebo in the park. 

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New allowable annual cut set for Mission Tree Farm Licence area

By Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development
Government of British Columbia
July 7, 2020
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Effective immediately, Diane Nicholls, British Columbia’s chief forester, has set the new allowable annual cut for Tree Farm Licence (TFL) 26 near Mission to 60,000 cubic metres. The licence, held by the Corporation of the District of Mission, is located north of the community of Mission, approximately 60 kilometres east of Vancouver. The new cut level set by the chief forester is 33% higher than the previous level of 45,000 cubic metres that was set in 2010. The increase reflects updated data, which indicate tree stands have higher volumes and are growing faster than previously estimated. There are 6,563 hectares available for timber harvesting in TFL 26, which is 10,935 hectares in size. The major tree species is western hemlock, followed by Douglas fir. The licence area was awarded to the District of Mission in July 1958 and is recognized as the first community-managed forestry operation in B.C.

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Watershed Assessment in the Glade Community Watershed

BC Forest Practices Board
July 7, 2020
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Many communities in BC are concerned about the quality of their drinking water. In October 2018, the Board received a complaint about planned logging in the Glade community watershed, near Castlegar, BC. The Glade Watershed Protection Society was concerned that a watershed assessment was incomplete, outdated, and inconsistent with forest stewardship plan strategies to meet community watershed objectives. The Board considered whether the watershed assessment is consistent with the expected professional standards, and whether the licensees complied with legal requirements in the Forest and Range Practices Act (FRPA). While this investigation examined activities regulated under Forest and Range Practices Act (FRPA), the Board also observed many factors that could contribute to long-term risk to water quality in this watershed that are not addressed in FRPA. 

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Forestry doesn’t pay the bills, folks

By David Broadland, publisher of Focus Magazine
Focus on Victoria
July 3, 2020
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

David Broadland

One of the great enduring myths told about BC’s forest industry is that “forestry pays the bills, folks.” Those are the exact words a Vancouver Sun reader used recently to dismiss a report by three BC forest scientists that urged the provincial government to put an immediate moratorium on further logging of large, old-growth trees. That reader’s view? No can do. Forestry pays the bills. The Sun reader didn’t say whose bills; perhaps forestry pays his bills. But this rationale—that the forest industry is of such great economic importance to BC that nothing should be done to disturb its operations—has been used for decades as proof that any change in direction on public forest policy would be foolhardy. That may have been true 40 years ago, but those days are long gone.

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Asian Longhorned Beetle No Longer Threatens Mississauga’s Trees

By Catherine Nguyen-Pham
City of Mississauga
July 7, 2020
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

The Government of Canada’s Canadian Food and Inspection Agency (CFIA) announced that the invasive species, the Asian longhorned beetle, has been eliminated in Mississauga. After five years of CFIA surveys with no detection of this tree pest, the Asian longhorned beetle quarantine area has been removed in Mississauga. “Today marks a major victory in a long fought battle,” said Mayor Crombie. “This invasive beetle devastated our tree canopy in Mississauga, but we took action to stop its spread. I’m pleased that this insect is no longer a threat to our trees or our budget. It’s a good reminder that we must remain vigilant against invasive species by protecting existing trees and planting new ones.” The Asian longhorned beetle was brought to Canada unintentionally in infested wood crates, pallets and packing material. 

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Threatened frog species released into California forest after successful breeding program

By Emiliano Tahui Gomez
The Sacramento Bee
July 7, 2020
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

A group of wildlife biologists in Northern California took another step in the conservation effort of the threatened Foothill yellow-legged frogs on June 30, releasing 115 of the frogs into the Feather River in Plumas National Forest. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the release marks the first release of captive-reared, Foothill yellow-legged frogs into the wild. As part of the conservation effort, biologists bred the species at the Oakland Zoo after collecting tadpoles from the Feather River. In the wild, species egg masses, found in the watersheds they inhabit, have decreased dramatically over recent years as species numbers have fallen throughout the state. …Wildlife biologists celebrated the release as an indication that the Foothill yellow-legged frog can successfully make the transition from a captive breeding environment into the wild.

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Stop road-building, logging, burning in critical roadless areas

By Mike Garrity, Alliance for the Wild Rockies
The Missoulian
July 7, 2020
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

There was never any scientifically sound reason to clearcut and bulldoze new logging roads into the roadless lands tucked along the Continental Divide in Helena’s backyard. But Donald Trump’s U.S. Forest Service is on a cut and run tear and decided to do it anyway using the excuse that it would save the city’s water supply. The Alliance for the Wild Rockies and Native Ecosystems Council challenged that decision in federal court. We are thrilled to announce that the court ordered the Forest Service to halt logging and burning in the Lazy Man Gulch Inventoried Roadless Area and any construction of mountain bike trails in the huge Tenmile-South Helena Project in the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest. The court’s order clearly identified… new logging roads and non-motorized mountain bike trails in grizzly bear secure areas as the determining factor in its decision…

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Fight wildfires with collaboration and investment

By Phil Chang
The Bend Bulletin
July 7, 2020
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Phil Chang

OREGON — Wildfire season is upon us. With Deschutes County in severe drought and hot temperatures forecasted, large and severe fires like the Milli (2017), Two Bulls (2014), Pole Creek (2012) and Rooster Rock (2010) are very possible this year. …But the beginning of wildfire season is also a good time to ask what we did this past fall, winter, and spring to try to reduce the severity of this summer’s fires. …Fuels reduction and active forest restoration is needed across millions of acres of Eastern and Central Oregon. Since roughly 75% of Deschutes County is managed by the Forest Service or BLM, we need to address fuels on the federal land to meaningfully reduce risk to our communities. Unfortunately, fuels reduction in national forests has been slowed by political polarization for decades.

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Brazil corporations urge action on illegal logging in Amazon

By Marcelo De Sousa
Associated Press in The Times and Democrat
July 7, 2020
Category: Forestry
Region: International

RIO DE JANEIRO  — Dozens of Brazilian corporations are calling for a crackdown on illegal logging in the Amazon rainforest, expressing their concerns in a letter Tuesday to the vice president, who heads the government’s council on that region. The letter to Gen. Hamilton Mourão said the country’s business interests are being hurt by the “negative perception of Brazil’s image abroad in relation to socio-environmental issues in the Amazon.” It urged that immediate actions be taken to allay the negative reactions of foreign investors and consumers. The letter was signed by the Brazilian mining giant Vale, the Ambev brewing company, Itaú bank and dozens of other companies. It was also sent to Brazil’s prosecutor general and the heads of the Supreme Court and both houses of Congress. The plea was the first collective action by Brazilian business leaders in urging the government do more to protect the environment.

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Bayer’s Roundup Settlement Hasn’t Ended Its Troubles

By Chris Hughes
BNN Bloomberg
July 8, 2020
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Bayer AG’s attempts at shutting down the litigation around its Roundup weed-killer are faltering. …Last month Bayer hatched a settlement covering 75% of existing claims arguing that Roundup is carcinogenic. The agreements contained no admission of liability or wrongdoing, and the company has repeatedly asserted the product is safe when used as directed. Bayer also set aside cash to reach deals with the remaining current claimants. The figure for the total was between $8.8 billion and $9.6 billion. …Now there’s also a significant question mark over another piece of Bayer’s plan: a mechanism for tackling claims that might be made in the future. Bayer is trying to prevent any future suits from being decided in jury trials. After all, juries that have heard cases so far have rejected the firm’s arguments. 

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

US predicts growth in renewable electricity generation

By Erin Voegele
Biomass Magazine
July 7, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States

The U.S. Energy Information Administration currently predicts electricity U.S. generation from renewable energy sources will reach 20 percent in 2020 and 22 percent in 2021, according to agency’s latest Short-Term Energy Outlook, which was released July 7. Renewables accounted for 17 percent of electricity generation in 2019. In the electric power sector, EIA forecasts that biomass will account for 27.5 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity generation this year, increasing to 29.9 billion kWh in 2021. Biomass accounted for 28.8 billion kWh of electricity generation last year. Generation from waste biomass is expected to be 15.4 billion kWh this year, down from 15.7 billion kWh in 2019, an increasing to 16 billion kWh in 2021. Generation from wood biomass is expected to be at 12.1 billion kWh, this year, down from 13 billion kWh in 2019, but increasing to 13.9 billion kWh in 2021.

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Forest Fires

Fire hazard leaps back to high

By PJ Wilson
The North Bay Nugget
July 7, 2020
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada East, Canada

ONTARIO — The fire rating in the North Bay area went from low to high in just one day, while in the French River-Dokis area it jumped to extreme. The Municipality of Burk’s Falls has imposed a fire ban in that community, while the North Bay Fire Department is keeping a close eye on conditions to determine if it will follow suit, according to Fire Chief Jason Whiteley. “We have some thunderstorms coming through the area” in the forecast, Whiteley said Tuesday, but whether there will be sufficient rain to lower the fire rating is the question. Six new fires were reported in northeastern Ontario Saturday by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, and another eight were detected Monday.

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Forest fire crews see ‘active few days’ in northwestern Ontario due to heat, thunderstorms

CBC News
July 7, 2020
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada East, Canada

Heat and thunderstorms in northwestern Ontario have led to a busy few days for forest fire crews in the area. As of Monday afternoon, there were 31 active fires in the northwest region, said Chris Marchand, fire information officer with Ontario’s Aviation, Forest Fires and Emergency Services. Nine of those fires are not under control, while the remainder are either under control or under observation. The majority of new fires were caused by lightning strikes, Marchand said, and none are threatening any communities. …Marchand said the fire hazard remains moderate to low in the southern areas of the region due to recent precipitation. However, the hazard is high to extreme in other places, including the Dryden, Sioux Lookout, Kenora, and Red Lake areas.

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Pilot dies after helicopter crashes in forest while battling Polles Fire

By Rachel Cole
12news.com
July 7, 2020
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

PAYSON, Ariz — Sad developments in the helicopter crash that took the life of a Valley firefighter during operations over the Polles Fire burning in the Tonto National Forest that was sparked by lightning. It’s a tragic loss, as crews not only continue to battle the flames but are now dealing with the loss of one of their own. Brian Boatman, 37, died after conducting standard supply missions to the “boots on the ground” crews fighting the flames in remote areas. …Officials confirmed to 12 News, the aviation firefighter was aiding ground crews with countless supplies and commend his efforts. …”This is one of the tragic days that we all do not want to have on our watch,” Incident Commander John Pierson said.

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Siberian temperatures hit June record, wildfires spread

CBC News
July 7, 2020
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International

RUSSIA — Temperatures in Arctic Siberia soared to a record average for June amid a heat wave that is stoking some of the worst wildfires the region has ever known, European Union data showed on Tuesday. Global temperatures last month were on par with a 2019 record, and “exceptional warmth” was recorded over Arctic Siberia, the EU’s earth observation program Copernicus said, part of a trend scientists are calling a “warning cry.” Average temperatures in the region were more than 5 C above normal. …The Russian forestry agency said that as of July 6, there were 246 forest fires covering 140,073 hectares and an emergency situation has been declared in seven regions. Russian state TV footage this week showed planes dumping water near huge columns of white smoke.

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