Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily news for August 06 2020

Business & Politics

New heat exchangers and better measurement make West Fraser more competitive

Energy Efficiency Alberta
July 21, 2020
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

In the highly competitive global pulp industry, energy efficiency is providing an edge. Pulp production is energy intensive and Canada has tougher environmental standards than many other major pulp-producing countries. Staying globally competitive requires industry to anticipate environmental standards and find operational efficiencies. West Fraser’s Alberta facilities are facing this challenge head on and seeing results. The team at West Fraser’s Slave Lake Pulp mill has worked to reduce the energy intensity of their operations for many years. In 2016, they launched into the clean energy space by commissioning an anaerobic digester to break down organic waste material created by the mill. The resulting biogas can generate electricity to power the plant’s operations. But by 2018, only 60 per cent of biogas produced was used in electricity generation, with the rest unused. With support through Strategic Energy Management, the Slave Lake Pulp team created a new system to measure all forms of energy use.

Read More

The National Forest Foundation Celebrates the Presidential Signing of the Great American Outdoors Act

National Forest Foundation
Globe Newswire press release
August 5, 2020
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States

The National Forest Foundation (NFF) is celebrating the bi-partisan support and official signing of the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA).  The NFF partners with the U.S. Forest Service to engage Americans in the health and public enjoyment of our National Forests and Grasslands. Managed by the U.S. Forest Service, our National Forests host 170 million visits every year. These lands are the foundation of America’s outdoor recreation heritage and sustain our way of life. They provide water to millions of Americans in thousands of communities, clean our air, store carbon, and provide timber, minerals, oil and gas, and other resources for industry and communities.  The National Forest infrastructure requires maintenance every year, which has been woefully underfunded to keep up with it for some time now. … The GAOA will provide federal land management agencies with critical resources to address the $22 billion deferred maintenance backlog on our public lands.

Read More

Freres Lumber got a $5 million PPP loan; now it can’t find enough employees

By Bill Poehler
Statesman Journal
August 5, 2020
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

At a time when many companies are struggling to keep employees on the payroll, one of the state’s largest wood products manufacturers can’t find enough employees to operate at full capacity. While Oregon’s unemployment rate is at near-record levels, Freres Lumber of Lyons is seeking to hire 100 workers to get back to full capacity after a number of workers resigned over the past months. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic in March, Freres Lumber had about 475 employees; now it is below 400. “We’re down one shift in our veneer plant and one shift in our plywood plant,” Freres Lumber President Rob Freres said. “People aren’t showing up, probably out of some anxiety due to the COVID thing. We’ve been really, really shorthanded. We’re running 60%.” Freres Lumber was approved for a $5 million Paycheck Protection Program loan on April 27, and Freres said the company will spend all of that on payroll.

Read More

Long Live Lumber

By Gary Band
The Warren Record
August 5, 2020
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

WARRENTON, North Carolina — Despite declining prices over the past 20 years, along with tariffs and the COVID-19 virus, the logging and lumber industry in Warren County remains strong. …Statewide, the North Carolina logging industry contributed about $800 million to the state economy, supporting more than 8,200 jobs. …Another report by NC State Extension in June examined the effects of COVID-19 on the industry. While the number of logging firms has declined over time, the weekly wage of loggers has continued to move upward since the early 2000s. The timber prices portion related to logging and hauling also continued to move upward in North Carolina. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the logging industry has sustained a 30-35 percent loss in the last three months, which translates to around a $60-70 million loss to the North Carolina economy. That loss is predicted to climb even higher.

Read More

Finance & Economics

Cascades reports strong results for Q2 2020

Cascades Inc.
Cision Newswire
August 6, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada East, Canada

KINGSEY FALLS, Quebec — Cascades Inc. reports its unaudited financial results for the three-month period ended June 30, 2020. The company reports sales of $1,285 million compared to $1,313 million in Q1 2020 (-2%) and $1,275 million in Q2 2019 (+1%). As reported (including specific items), operating income of $94 million compares with of $90 million in Q1 2020 (+4%) and an operating income of $82 million in Q2 2019 (+15%). …Cascades employs 12,000 women and men across a network of over 90 facilities in North America and Europe. 

Read More

Housing Affordability Hits 18-Month Low on Lack of Supply, Higher Prices

By Rose Quint
NAHB – Eye on Housing
August 6, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States

Despite low interest rates, a supply shortage coupled with rising home prices contributed to a decline in housing affordability in the second quarter of 2020, according to the NAHB)/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI). In all, 59.6 percent of new and existing homes sold between the beginning of April and end of June were affordable to families earning an adjusted U.S. median income of $72,900. This is the lowest reading since the fourth quarter of 2018. …The HOI shows that the national median home price jumped to a record $300,000 in the second quarter from $280,000 in the previous quarter. Meanwhile, average mortgage rates fell by 27 basis points in the second quarter to 3.34 percent from 3.61 percent in the first quarter.

Read More

UK housing starts this year could be down 40% due to COVID

Reuters
August 6, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: International

LONDON – The number of new housing starts in the United Kingdom could be down as much as 40% this year because of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, British Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said on Thursday. “As a result of the pandemic, the number of starts this year will be well down on 240,000, it’s difficult to know at the moment, but it could be as much as 30 or 40% less than that,” Jenrick told Sky News. “We’ll have to see how quickly the economy can bounce back. This year and next year will be very challenging for the industry,” said Jenrick, who was speaking as the government outlined plans to reform Britain’s planning regime to speed up homebuilding. [END]

Read More

Forestry

Program offers young people work experience with BC Parks, Conservation Officer Service

By Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy
Government of British Columbia
August 5, 2020
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Young people interested in environmental management and conservation will have opportunities to gain experience, skills and training through a new government program that offers employment with BC Parks and the B.C. Conservation Officer Service (COS). “These new positions give young people an opportunity to gain valuable skills and experience in the natural environment protection sector and reflect our commitment to an inclusive and diverse workforce,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “Creating job opportunities… for young British Columbians, whose jobs have been hardest hit by COVID-19. We all benefit from enhancements to BC Parks and stewardship of our natural environment.” The $1.8-million Youth Employment Program (YEP) offers employment opportunities for young people through the fall and winter months. …The duties will range from public outreach and education, facility and trail maintenance, to invasive species removal and supporting conservation and recreation projects.

Read More

Thompson Rivers University funded for wildfire research chair position

The North Thompson Star/Journal
August 6, 2020
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Doug Donaldson

Thompson Rivers University has been granted a new research chair position to examine the impact of wildfires in British Columbia. Through a $5 million provincially funded endowment, the new B.C. research chair in predictive services, emergency management and fire science is expected to help the province forecast, prevent and respond to wildfires. The chair will head a team, lead research, direct and supervise graduate students and work with researchers at TRU and other universities. The chair’s research will support wildfire data modelling and help explore the relationship between climate change and its effect on wildfire risk. TRU president Brett Fairbairn said… “This research chair is going to help chart a new course for wildfire protection and response in British Columbia”. …Minister of Forests Doug Donaldson said the research will help provide more information about the changing nature of wildfires.

Read More

Save the last of B.C.’s endangered forests

Letter by Paula Foot
Cowichan Valley Citizen
August 4, 2020
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

According to the respected Sierra Club, very few old-growth forests are still standing across the province — and most of them are slated to be logged. …the daily area of 500 soccer fields of old growth forest is being clearcut in B.C. These forests support our health and wellbeing, are critical for endangered species and salmon habitat, provide essential carbon storage, support jobs in tourism, and help defend our communities from flooding and other worsening impacts of climate change. The last of these highly endangered, globally rare ecosystems are being logged to the brink and unless concerned citizens write to our government about it, the last giant trees will vanish. …please write and request the support of legislature, starting with John Horgan and Sonia Furstenau… I am calling on all who care about the future of our planet and our families to act now before it is too late to save the last of B.C.’s endangered forests.

Read More

Environment minister says he shares concerns of B.C. hunger strikers

By Carl Meyer
National Observer
August 5, 2020
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Two people are on a hunger strike on Vancouver Island, demanding an end to logging of old-growth forests in B.C., and Canada’s federal environment minister says he shares their concerns over biodiversity loss. During a media teleconference Tuesday, National Observer asked federal Environment and Climate Change Minister Jonathan Wilkinson about James Darling and Robert Fuller, who are on their ninth day of no food, protesting in front of the office of Nanaimo-North Cowichan MLA Doug Routley. Darling and Fuller, who are representing Extinction Rebellion, have written a letter to B.C. Premier John Horgan saying they won’t eat until he implements a ban on old-growth logging. …“In general, I feel that politicians are really good at saying the right things and expressing their concerns for the environment, and saying they want to protect species. But we’re living, globally, in a mass extinction event that’s driven by human activity,” Darling said.

Read More

Foresters Could Lead on Carbon Drawdown

By Margaret Morales
The Sightline Institute
August 5, 2020
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Sarah Deumling

The temperate forests of the Pacific Northwest are the Olympic athletes of the carbon world. They can store more carbon, acre for acre, than nearly any ecosystem on earth. A single acre of old growth in the Oregon or Washington Cascades holds the equivalent of a year’s worth of emissions from 250 cars. But most standard, plantation-style commercial forests in the region perform like once-premier athletes sidelined by injury: they hold less than a third the carbon of old-growth stands. In the face of mounting pressure to reduce emissions, this shortfall offers an opportunity. Sarah Deumling is one of a handful of foresters in the region harnessing more of the carbon drawdown potential of their land, modeling forestry for a rapidly warming world. … Deumling’s unconventional training may be the reason [her land] looks nothing like a typical logging operation, with a mix of tree species and ages, and an absence of clear cuts. 

Read More

Daines, Feinstein introduce wildfire protection bill

By Tom Kuglin
Helena Independent Record
August 5, 2020
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Montana Republican Sen. Steve Daines and California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein introduced a bipartisan bill Tuesday aimed at protecting communities by increasing forest management and reducing environmental litigation. The Emergency Wildfire and Public Safety Act of 2020 would grant broad authority to federal agencies to push fuels reduction projects, create a new center providing training on prescribed fire and allow projects to proceed while agencies consult over species listed under the Endangered Species Act. The senators first announced their intention to introduce the bill last year following a record 2017 wildfire season in Montana and fires near Paradise, California, that killed 85 people and destroyed 15,000 homes. Daines said the two spent the last year going back and forth on provisions of the bill, speaking to interested parties and securing sponsors of companion legislation in the House.

Read More

New EPA guidelines on cost-benefits analyses are path to better forestry and much more

By Brad Perkins, Ohio Forestry Association
Crain’s Cleveland Business
August 6, 2020
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

Brad Perkins

OHIO — A new proposal to overhaul how to weigh the costs and benefits of federal environmental regulations is especially timely and valuable to the forestry industry here in Ohio. There is probably no sector of the American economy where conservation is more intertwined with long-term economic success, or which better illustrates the need for regulatory improvement. After a multi-year review of regulatory procedures, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler on June 4 laid out specific steps to impose more discipline on cost-benefit analyses. The guidelines represent a common-sense approach to incorporate more consistency and transparency on how metrics are developed, communicated and applied when imposing EPA regulations. If we can finally get this right it will be an important step for ensuring environmental laws work as intended, instead of merely perpetuating legal battles.

Read More

Illegal deforestation in Brazil soars amid climate of impunity

By Herton Escobar
Science Magazine
August 5, 2020
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon has risen sharply in the past year—again. Estimates set to be released this week by Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research will show clearings have increased by at least 28% during the current monitoring year, which runs from August through July, compared with the previous year. It is the second steep hike under Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who has made good on his campaign promise to loosen environmental law enforcement and step up development in the Amazon. The numbers come from Brazil’s Real-time Deforestation Detection System, which uses low-resolution satellite images to quickly identify new forest clearings and alert authorities to possible illegal deforestation. More than 8700 square kilometers of primary forest cover has already disappeared from the images since August 2019… compared with 6800 km2 in the previous 12 months. 

Read More

Trade and climate change increase pest threat to Europe’s forests

By Alex Whiting
Phys.org
August 6, 2020
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Europe’s forests face a growing threat from pests due to global trade and climate change, but scientists are developing techniques that can give an early warning of infestations to help combat damaging insects and diseases. …In the Mediterranean region alone, five million hectares is affected by pests annually, according to the UN FAO. And the threat posed by insects and pathogens appears to be growing. Climate change is allowing some native pests to breed more frequently, while international trade is spreading exotic insects and pathogens more widely. …On average, six new species of tree pests are being introduced to Europe every year, up from two a year in the 1950s, says Dr. Jactel. They arrive in potted plants and wooden products or packaging.

Read More

Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Last chance to enter Timber Trade Federation’s Conversations about Climate Change competition

Dezeen Magazine
August 5, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

There are just three weeks left to enter the Timber Trade Federation’s Conversations about Climate Change design competition. The competition challenges designers and craftspeople to create innovative, playful and thought-provoking designs using sustainably sourced tropical timber, in a bid to show the importance of the natural resource. Creations can be anything from a piece of furniture or a sculpture to an installation or a functional design object. The competition closes for entries on 24 August 2020. Entrants must develop designs that spark discussion about material provenance and the role of forests and wood in lessening climate change, as well as being both aesthetically and technically impressive. Creations must also address the role of the Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade – the UK and EU’s Action Plan to combat illegal logging, subsequent trade and deforestation – in ensuring legal and sustainable forestry and timber supply.

Read More

Forest Fires

The wildfire near Shuswap Lake is still burning, and fire crews are still on scene

By Brendan Kergin
Castanet Kelowna
August 4, 2020
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

The wildfire near Shuswap Lake is still burning, and fire crews are still on scene. BC Wildfire Service is listing the fire at 1.8 hectares, and stating the fire is still out of control. “The fire is in a terrain that has cliffs and is quite steep, which has been a challenge to the crews on site,” says fire information officer Gagan Lidhran. “It is still considered out of control because they haven’t been able to pull a full guard around the perimeter.” Lidhran says the advisory urging the public to avoid the area will be in place until the fire is completely out. BC Wildfire Service is still investigating the cause of the blaze, as it is unknown at this time.

Read More