Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily news for January 20 2021

Today’s Takeaway

Shareholders approve West Fraser’s acquisition of Norbord

The Tree Frog Forestry News
January 20, 2021
Category: Today's Takeaway

The shareholders of West Fraser and Norbord voted to approve their proposed merger/acquisition; a positive outcome per Seeking Alpha. In other Business news: Northern Pulp may drop its Boat Harbour court case; West Fraser wins top employer award; and Fibre Excellence’s Tarascon mill prospects improve as world pulp prices rise. Meanwhile: the US foreclosure moratorium is extended; US construction starts end year on sour note; and US builder confidence is down.

In other notable headlines–with the US inauguration ceremony moments away—Biden looks to boost homebuyers and builders; while others opine on the challenges facing his unnamed ambassador to Canada.

Finally, Kalesnikoff Mass Timber is hiring; FPInnovations seeks a new lead scientist and Interfor hosts virtual info session.

Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Business & Politics

The road ahead for Biden’s unnamed ambassador to Canada

By Charlie Pinkerton
iPolitics
January 19, 2021
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

Joe Biden and Justin Trudeau

…while Joe Biden’s inauguration represents a symbolic moment of reset for the traditional allies – the start to “a new chapter,” as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called it today – a decision still looms for the president-elect of whom will occupy a role critical to the countries’ cooperation, that of selecting a nominee to be the next U.S. ambassador to Canada. …iPolitics spoke to several experts on relations between the two countries about what to look for in a potential candidate, and the challenges the new ambassador will face. All pointed to the same quality that it’s most important for an American ambassador to possess: The ability to have the president’s ear. …Another trait that’s important… is being able to present the perspective of the American administration to the Canadian government, and vice-versa, said Frank McKenna. McKenna spoke of his involvement in the softwood lumber dispute as serving to his point.

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West Fraser Timber: All Eyes On Proposed Acquisition

Seeking Alpha
January 19, 2021
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

I’m positive on West Fraser Timber’s proposed acquisition of Norbord Inc. because there are a number of factors which could contribute to higher valuations for the combined company. These factors include annual deal synergies of $61 million for the next two years, a positive impact on the company’s go-to-market strategy with a more diverse product offering to serve clients’ needs, and the planned listing of shares on the NYSE. Also, there’s potential for West Fraser Timber to further improve its capital return to shareholders after the completion of the acquisition of Norbord. Separately, West Fraser Timber’s 3Q 2020 financial performance was good, with revenue and adjusted EBITDA up +32% YoY and +229% YoY, respectively. The company’s core lumber business has been a beneficiary of favorable demand-supply dynamics resulting from the pandemic.

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Shareholders Approve West Fraser’s Acquisition of Norbord

West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd.
January 19, 2021
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

VANCOUVER and TORONTO — West Fraser Timber and Norbord jointly announced that the shareholders of each of West Fraser and Norbord have approved all resolutions relating to West Fraser’s acquisition of all of the issued and outstanding common shares of Norbord. …At the special meeting… the West Fraser Shareholders approved: (i) the resolution to issue such number of West Fraser Shares as is necessary; and (ii) the resolution to approve an amendment to West Fraser’s stock option plan. …At the Norbord meeting, the Norbord Shareholders approved their special resolution to approve the plan of arrangement under Section 192 of the Canada Business Corporations Act. …Completion of the Transaction is subject to the satisfaction or waiver of other closing conditions, including the receipt of the Final Order. …Assuming that the remaining conditions to closing are satisfied, it is expected that the closing of the Transaction will be completed on February 1, 2021. 

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Kalesnikoff Mass Timber is hiring a Mass Timber Project Manager

Kalesnikoff Mass Timber
January 20, 2021
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Kalesnikoff Mass Timber has recently launched a state of the art, $36 million Mass Timber production facility located between Castlegar and Nelson, B.C. Our plant is the most advanced, fully integrated mass timber facility in North America, producing exceptionally high-quality cross-laminated timber and glulam beams. Leading architects, engineers, designers and builders around the world are increasingly seeking high-quality, customized mass timber products to create stunning, sustainable, and energy-efficient buildings. We are confident that Mass Timber will positively transform building design and wood innovation here in North American as it has in Europe and we’re thrilled to play a role in this evolution. If this excites you as much as us, we want to hear from you. We are now hiring experienced, skilled and passionate team members to support our growing operations.

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West Fraser one of Canada’s Top Employers for Young People for 2021

West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd.
January 19, 2021
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

West Fraser is one of Canada’s Top Employers for Young People for 2021. It’s the fifth time we’ve received the award. The Company was recognized for its commitment to young people and for helping them build their career. West Fraser is dedicated to empowering young people to challenge themselves, supported by our “promote from within” culture. We received this award, in part, due to: our partnership with the College of New Caledonia to offer apprenticeships for millwrights, electricians, heavy duty mechanics and saw filers… And our “New and Young Worker Program” to provide extensive training to employees under the age of 25 — the program includes orientation, job-shadowing and dedicated training with a supervisor and the mill’s safety resource. …The Young People award is in its 19th year, and it’s a special designation from MediaCorp’s Canada’s Top 100 Employers national competition. …West Fraser also received the Canada’s Top 100 award for the eighth time in 2021. 

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BID delivering second state-of-art turnkey facility for Biewer Lumber

BC Local News
January 19, 2021
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

BID Group has recently received an order to deliver a second greenfield sawmill complex project, south of the border.  The order has come from Biewer Lumber in the southern United States. BID will manage, design, build, equip and provide full start-up services for the project. “We have developed a great trust in BID team’s ability to go above and beyond to deliver what they commit to. Their dedication to our success is clear in all aspects of their performance.” …said Tim Biewer, president and CEO of Biewer Lumber….The new operation will be fitted with BID’s leading product technologies, optimization software and artifical intelligence, as stated in a Jan. 14 news release.  The sawmill will also feature the new Compact Variable Tool Opening Debarker complete with in-line variable Flare Reducer, Cant Optimization system and TrimExpert, the release stated.  Work on-site will begin in the first quarter of 2021, and start-up of the sawmill is scheduled for Dec. 2021.

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Pandemic’s silver lining

By Jon Manchester
Castanet Kelowna
January 20, 2021
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

While 2020 was a challenging year for one of the Okanagan’s largest corporate employers, Vernon-based Tolko Industries says it is well positioned as the new year unfolds. In an exclusive interview with Castanet News, CEO Brad Thorlakson says “there was no playbook” for the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the lumber industry. “It was a really difficult year for industry … there was significant contraction in the first quarter. With COVID hanging over us, there was no playbook, just a lot of uncertainty.” But, Thorlakson said Tolko has “never had better safety performance in the history of the company” than during COVID. “Our No. 1 priority is to make sure we protect the health and safety of our people,” he added. …Thanks to Tolko’s international connections, Thorlakson says his contacts in China “told us what to expect” and the company formed a pandemic response team in March. 

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Nova Scotia, Northern Pulp in talks over dropping court cases

By Aaron Beswick
The Chronicle Herald
January 19, 2021
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

The province and Northern Pulp are near a deal that could see the company drop its court challenges on how the Boat Harbour file has been handled. The revelation occurred after Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice Heather Robertson read a decision that will allow three fishermen’s associations to act as intervenors in Northern Pulp’s application to have a ministerial order quashed. The May order from Environment Minister Gordon Wilson outlined requirements for collection and disposal of landfill and waste water leachate from the mill site at Abercrombie Point. Northern Pulp appealed the order, arguing that the order is impractical and showed a lack of understanding of how pulp and paper facilities work. [We respect the copyrights of the source publication – full access to this story may require a subscription

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FPInnovations is looking for a Lead Scientist, Packaging in Pointe-Claire

FPInnovations
January 20, 2021
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

FPInnovations is currently working on a major packaging project to develop sustainable packaging materials/products (mainly flexible packaging) from the pulp & paper and forest bio-based material industries. Working with a manager and/or project leader, the incumbent will develop a strategic plan for product development including product performance targets, competitors, major trends and a description of the value chain, creating pathways for light-weighting, sustainability, and high-performance attributes.

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Biden looks to give a big boost to homebuyers and builders

By Diana Olick
CNBC News
January 19, 2021
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States

Anyone looking to buy a home today is likely frustrated by sky-high prices and slim pickings. But President-elect Joe Biden, who takes office Wednesday, will aim to ease those issues as he gears up to implement his plans for the housing market. From home financing to home construction, Biden’s plans are focused on affordability. Biden is proposing a $15,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit, which could be accessed immediately by the buyer, thereby serving as down payment assistance. High home prices, along with strict lending standards, have made it difficult for young buyers to come up with the cash needed to secure a mortgage. Here are some policies he could push for:

  • $15,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit
  • Urging big banks to get back into FHA lending
  • Encouraging new construction of both single- and multifamily housing
  • Strengthening the Community Reinvestment Act, which is intended to help low- and moderate-income areas

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New chance for pulp maker Fibre Excellence Tarascon

EUWID Pulp and Paper
January 20, 2021
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

Fibre Excellence Tarascon is trying to find a way to survive. The company thinks that prospects are looking good now, as conditions on the pulp market are improving and it will get more financial help. A ray of hope is still left for French pulp producer Fibre Excellence Tarascon which has been in receivership since 8 October 2020 and is facing the threat of liquidation. Responding to a query, the company said that the commercial court of Toulouse had decided in a session of 12 January to postpone any decision about the future of the mill until 26 January. It would then be in a better position to assess if Fibre Excellence must be liquidated or if activities can be continued. …A spokeswoman for Fibre Excellence explained that a fresh financing plan had to be drawn up as new factors had emerged. 

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Finance & Economics

Builder Confidence Down on Rising Material Prices, Upsurge in COVID-19 Cases

By Robert Dietz
NAHB – Eye on Housing
January 20, 2021
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States

Rising material costs led by a huge upsurge in lumber prices, along with a resurgence of the coronavirus across much of the nation pushed builder confidence in the market for newly built single-family homes down three points to 83 in January, according to the latest NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI). Despite the drop, builder sentiment remains at a strong level. …The HMI index gauging current sales conditions dropped two points to 90, the component measuring sales expectations in the next six months fell two points to 83 and the gauge charting traffic of prospective buyers decreased five points to 68. The HMI tables can be found at nahb.org/hmi.

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US construction starts end 2020 on sour note

By Kevin Yanik
The Pit & Quarry
January 19, 2021
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States

Dodge Data & Analytics reports that total construction starts lost 5 percent in December, falling to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $784.3 billion. Nonresidential building starts fell 11 percent during the month, while nonbuilding starts were 5 percent lower. Residential starts were essentially flat over the month. Starts were lower in three of Dodge Data’s four regions in December. The South Central was the only region to post an increase. …For the full year, residential starts were 4 percent higher than in 2019 at $344.8 billion. Single-family starts were up 11 percent, while multifamily starts were 11 percent lower.

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US Federal Housing Finance Agency extends foreclosure, eviction moratorium to February

By Kelsey Ramirez
Housing Wire
January 19, 2021
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States

The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will once again extend moratoriums on single-family foreclosures and real estate owned evictions, this time until Feb. 28, 2021. “To keep our communities safe, and families in their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, FHFA is extending Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s foreclosure and eviction moratorium,” FHFA Director Mark Calabria said. This marks the fifth time the FHFA has extended the eviction and foreclosure moratorium on a program originally set to expire in June 2020. The foreclosure moratorium applies to GSE-backed, single-family mortgages only.

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World’s Biggest Pulp Maker Sees Price Recovery Driving Earnings

By Fabiana Batista
BNN Bloomberg
January 19, 2021
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: International

Suzano SA, the world’s biggest wood pulp maker, expects a sharp recovery in prices to benefit earnings and speed up de-leveraging this quarter. Global supplies of the material used to make paper cups, tissue and cardboard are tightening as Chinese demand recovers and after high-cost producers cut output in reaction to a pandemic-fueled price slump. That’s good news for low-cost companies like Sao Paulo-based Suzano, which has started to ratchet up prices. …The company has raised its prices in consecutive months. …Prices have also risen in Europe, which was the region most affected by last year’s demand drop. …Producers in North America, where production costs are higher than in Brazil, have operated with tight or negative margins due to prolonged low prices, an up-tick in logistics costs and dollar weakness, he said.

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EU construction activity expected to increase in 2021-2023

Lesprom Network
January 20, 2021
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: International

In November 2020 the index of completed buildings construction (residential, schools, shops, etc.) in the EU increased by 0.7% compared to previous month, according to Eurostat. The index remains at a high level. “The high construction activity combined with a very active ‘do it yourself’ sector in several European countries have resulted in an increased demand for softwood lumber”, says Jenny Wessung CEO at Woodstat. She continues: “We can expect a further increase in construction activity 2021-2023. Even in the UK we have seen a higher activity in the housing sector and latest figures are close to previous year. In China housing starts in November 2020 were more than double compared to 2007.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Sidewalk Labs is a lost opportunity

By Richard Lyall
Toronto Sun
January 19, 2021
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada East, Canada

There were many good ideas that came out of the Sidewalk Labs proposal that should not be dismissed.  The decision by Google affiliate Sidewalk Labs last May to shelve the Quayside project in Toronto was a blow to the city as it was an impressive venture that would have transformed the waterfront. …Proposals included impressive and iconic mass timber structures and architecture as well as affordable housing, which is badly needed.  …. …The plan also called for a clean thermal grid for heating and cooling, and all of the buildings in Quayside to be built with sustainable mass timber, which would result in a low-carbon neighbourhood. It was to be a truly inclusive and sustainable community. …In planning for the future of Quayside, we should not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

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StructureCraft completes series of timber greenhouses

StructureCraft
January 18, 2021
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Three freeform timber gridshells clear spanning almost 300ft at Taiyuan Botanical Gardens are complete! As the structural engineer and builder for these world-class structures, we were thrilled to collaborate with Delugan Meissl Associated Architects on this beautiful series of greenhouses, each with a different biome (desert, aquatic, tropical). Three timber gridshell dome structures form the centerpiece of this garden, with each of the three domes creating different climates and environments. Two of the three domes accommodate the pavilions for tropical and desert plants, while the third dome is designed to house an aquatic environment sitting directly on a lake. All three domes have a unique topology, opening towards the south for maximum solar gain during summer and winter. The geometric generation of these domes presented a particular challenge, as they are not spheres, and initially each of the Glulam elements would have been doubly curved to create the geometry.

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Forestry

Auditor general’s report states B.C. Forest Service roads lack maintenance

By Kevin Rothwell
Vernon Matters
January 19, 2021
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

A new report from the province’s auditor general indicates B.C. is doing a poor job of maintaining forest service roads (FSRs). The audit assessed whether the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development managed safety and environmental risks on FSRs in accordance with its policies. While FSRs are built primarily to access timber for forestry operations, they are often used for other industrial and commercial purposes, and provide important access to communities, private residences, recreation and wilderness areas. FSRs are not built or maintained to the same standards as public roadways, but proper upkeep is critical to help ensure the safety of road users and protect the environment. The audit concluded the ministry did not manage safety and environmental risks on FSRs in accordance with its policies.

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Forest roads neglected

By Amandalina Letterio
Castanet
January 19, 2021
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The Auditor General of British Columbia has released a new report that shows the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development did not manage the safety and environmental risks of forest service roads last year. Although forest service roads are primarily built to access timber, maintenance is still critical for public safety and for the environment.   The shortcomings in maintenance work and lack of reliable information and records around road maintenance increase the danger to road users and the environment, the report concluded. The Auditor General says the lack of maintenance could be a result of not enough funding by the government.  “It is important to note, that in 2019-2020 natural resource districts received only about 25 per cent of their budget requests for maintenance on priority roads. Almost $9 million worth of high priority maintenance and repair work went unfunded,” said Michael Pickup.

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Interfor to host Virtual Campus Info Session

Interfor Corporation
January 20, 2021
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Start here and go far with Interfor! Looking for meaningful work experience and the chance to be mentored by some of best and brightest in the industry? We strive to be a place where talented and diverse people want to join and build a rewarding career. Interfor has a plan to unleash your potential and launch your career. We provide practical, meaningful experiences working alongside the best in the industry – dedicated people who care about your success. Plus, you’ll be working with the industry’s latest technologies and innovations. Interfor is one of the largest, more diverse lumber companies in the world and we’re growing in exciting directions. Meet us at our Virtual Campus Info Session Jan. 29 to learn how you can build your career at Interfor.

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Save Rose Swanson Mtn.

By Darren Handschuh
Castanet
January 20, 2021
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Armstrong residents are rallying to save a North Okanagan green space from being logged.   A petition has been launched to save the Rose Swanson Mountain from falling to the chainsaw.  ….A website has also been launched to raise awareness of the situation.  “We are regular citizens of the North Okanagan who cherish the forest and trails of the 712 acres of Rose Swanson Sensitive Area, officially designated as such in spring 1997,” said the website.  “Without any public consultation, Rose Swanson Sensitive Area has been reclassified by the Ministry of Forests as the Rose Swanson Operating Area. “Our immediate aim is to stop the proposed logging of Mounts Rose & Swanson before timber harvest plans and bids move too far along the process, and before a license has been given to harvest the ancient trees of this vibrant, diverse and magnificent forest.”

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After the fire: the long road to recovery

By Stephanie Wood
The Narwhal
January 19, 2021
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

A B.C. Indigenous group has been working to bring its territory back to life and create a replicable model for restoration following the devastating 2017 Elephant Hill fire. But it can take a century for forests to recover and climate change adds to the timeline. …the fire burned almost 192,000 hectares over 76 days — an area 15 times the size of Vancouver — and destroyed 100 homes. It was one of the biggest wildfires in a record-breaking season. But megafires — fires that burn more than 40,500 hectares — are becoming more common in B.C. and around the world due to climate change. …When the Elephant Hill fire was finally out in the fall of 2017, eight Secwépemc bands, nearby communities and the province formed the Elephant Hill Joint Leadership Council to restore damaged areas in Secwepemcul’ecw, which means Secwépemc territory. The council created and executed a three-year restoration plan in the area that is near completion. 

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The tree planting life on Vancouver Island features in new documentary

BC Local News
January 19, 2021
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Everett Bumstead (centre) & his crew

Vancouver based filmmaker Everett Bumstead and his three-member crew produced a documentary detailing the experiences of people who are part of the tree planing industry on Vancouver Island.  Filmed on north Vancouver Island – around Campbell River, Woss and Sayward – where tree planting takes place almost throughout the year of the movie, ‘One Million Trees’ aired last month on CBC Gem.  The 27-year-old filmmaker was also a tree planter in his early 20’s – a job that he says was not only “hugely impactful” in shaping his life thereafter, but also one that developed a “high tolerance for pain” and paid off his student loans back in the day.  Environmentally, the experience provided him a realistic understanding of forestry and conservation and “how these things really play out in the real world.” …The film crew took an Indie style approach to make this documentary, visiting several planting sites managed by different companies.

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Kaslo biologist questions logging at unique West Kootenay bat site

BC Local News
January 19, 2021
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

A local bat biologist says there has not been enough planning for logging in a sensitive habitat near Nelson.  “They are killing bats as we speak,” says Dr. Cori Lausen.  She thinks the company, BC Timber Sales (BCTS), has gone halfway toward protecting the large population of bats that live in three cutblocks in the Smallwood Creek drainage above Beasley.  It has decided not to log in the summer to protect nursery trees used by bats in the summer.  The company plans to log in the winter instead, and are in fact doing so now.  But winter logging is also dangerous to bats at this site, Lausen says, because they use trees in the area for hibernation. She says no one knows if those hibernation trees are the same trees as the summer roost trees, and more research is needed. 

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Applications open for BC Parks Student Ranger Program

By Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy
Government of British Columbia
January 19, 2021
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Young adults interested in working outdoors this summer and playing a key role in environmental stewardship can now apply for the BC Parks Student Ranger Program. The Student Ranger Program offers 48 young adults training and employment opportunities in B.C.’s parks and protected areas, providing hands-on work experience through a variety of projects related to conservation, recreation, community outreach and Indigenous relations. …Funded by the federal and provincial governments, the program consists of 12 crews of four student rangers located throughout B.C. The teams focus on initiatives such as ecosystem restoration, invasive species control, outdoor education, trail building and infrastructure maintenance.

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Breeding tomorrow’s trees

Genome British Columbia
Cision Newswire
January 19, 2021
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

VANCOUVER, BC – Ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa), known as western yellow pine (Py), is a dominant tree species in hot, dry environments like the southern interior of British Columbia (BC) and south of the border into Washington state. It is also highly desirable and commercially important as a building material for homes, furniture and more. …the BC Ministry for Forests… is enhancing efforts for Py seedling plantation by establishing a new breeding program at Kalamalka Forestry Centre near Vernon to meet the projected increases in Py seed demand. …Genome British Columbia is investing in a proactive research project to support the breeding program – to maintain and improve physiological adaptation of Py. …Using novel genomic methods, they will identify genes and gene variants that increase survival and enhance growth in a drier and warmer climate. These genomic tools will help jumpstart the breeding program for Py, which is an important part of BC’s climate change adaptation strategy.

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Nova Scotia seeks input from woodland owners

By Ministry of Lands and Forestry
The Government of Nova Scotia
January 20, 2021
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

Government, in partnership with the Forestry Transition Team, is inviting private woodland owners to complete an online survey, launched today, Jan. 20. This research will help government and its partners better understand the needs, values, interests and motivations for private land use, as well as management practices. …Derek Mombourquette, Minister of Lands and Forestry… “As landowners make decisions about how they use and manage their woodlands, we want to hear from them and ensure they have access to information, programs and other resources that can help them meet their goals.” Online focus groups with private woodland owners will also be held this winter. The results will inform the development and delivery of government programs and services, improve information sharing and education, and support woodland-owner-led solutions in advancing environmental, social and economic goals.

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Cape Breton wood suppliers face uncertain future

By Jessica Smith
The Chronicle Herald
January 19, 2021
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

Brian Martinello

SYDNEY, N.S. — Nearly a year after Northern Pulp mill’s closure, some wood suppliers are feeling nervous about the future.  “The pulp industry, from what I can gather, anyway … I guess the best way we can explain it is it’s sort of steady,” said Brent MacInnis, president of lumber supplier Hugh MacInnis Lumber Ltd., adding there haven’t been any cutbacks in wood supply going to the pulp mill, however, there also isn’t an abundance of demand.  Hugh MacInnis Lumber supplies product to Port Hawkesbury Paper in Point Tupper and was also a part-time supplier to Northern Pulp in Pictou County before it closed on Jan. 31, 2020. They’ve been able to hang on to their market through PHP, though the lack of competition now is concerning for the future.  “Competition is good for everybody. … The demand could be a little bit higher,” MacInnis said. [We respect the copyrights of the source publication – full access to this story may require a subscription

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Logs rolling in Fort Nelson

Alaska Highway News
January 19, 2021
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

A truck of logs rolled across the weigh scale in Fort Nelson for the first time in 12 years last week.  Peak Renewables announced the news and posted a picture of the milestone Jan. 14, calling it “one step towards biomass energy production.”  Last year, Canfor Corp. announced the planned sale of its Fort Nelson Crown tenure to Peak Renewables, a startup backed by Brian Fehr, Order of BC recipient and founder and former owner of the BID Group, for $30 million.  Peak Renewables plans to build a wood-pellet manufacturing plant on the old Canfor site, which still has buildings, a log pond and a biomass energy plant.  t would produce 600,000 metric tonnes of pellets annually, to be exported to Asia, where pellets are burned, as an alternative to fossil fuels, to produce heat and power.

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Forest Fires

Fierce California winds fan fires, topple trees and trucks

Associated Press in Victoria Times Colonist
January 19, 2021
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. — Months-old embers from a deadly California fire were blown back to life Tuesday by powerful winds that raked the state and prompted safety blackouts to tens of thousands of people.  Firefighters chased wind-driven blazes up and down the state, trees and trucks were toppled, Yosemite National Park was forced to close and two coronavirus vaccination centres were shut down.  … Two were within the area burned by last year’s CZU Lightning Complex inferno.  “Fires within the CZU Lightning Complex burn area were regenerated by high winds,” the local unit of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection tweeted.  …The Santa Cruz Mountains have a thick layer of “duff,” dead vegetation under heavy timber in which deep smouldering embers can be revived by the wind, said Cecile Juliette, a Cal Fire spokeswoman

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