Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily news for January 17 2020

Today’s Takeaway

US housing starts surge to 13-year high but permits fall

The Tree Frog Forestry News
January 17, 2020
Category: Today's Takeaway

US housing starts surged to a 13-year high in December, as residential construction costs slowed, but permits [signalling future growth] fell. In other Business news: the BC Premier’s contractors-at-risk fund is welcomed by the Truck Loggers Association, but strike and mill-closure inaction riles Mayor Wickstrom and MLA Barnett. Meanwhile: more on the closures of Northern Pulp and Townsend RY and Louisiana Pacific’s North Carolina job cuts.

In Wood Product news: the New York Times and New York City on mass timber trends; CWC’s design awards; and APA’s new construction guide. Elsewhere: the BC Forest Practices Board celebrates 25 years; SFI engages Dovetail to update its standards; and applications are open for BC’s Student Ranger Program.

Finally, Microsoft, Forests Ontario and Frogs make climate change news.

Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Special Feature

Western Red Cedar Lumber Association Earns 2019 Brand Builder Award

PRWeb Hanley Wood Press Release
January 16, 2020
Category: Special Feature
Region: Canada, United States

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Hanley Wood, the housing industry’s data leader and the industry’s top residential real estate development and new home construction advisors is pleased to announce that Western Red Cedar Lumber Association (WRCLA) has received a 2019 Brand Builder Award in the Best Ad Campaign category. “We are thrilled to honor Western Red Cedar Lumber Association as a Platinum winner in the for Best Ad Campaign [Nice Deck, Dick] of our Brand Builder Awards,” said Paul Tourbaf, President, Residential Construction Group, Hanley Wood. “Their creative marketing approach combined with the effectiveness of their work, distinguished them as a leader in their category. I congratulate WRCLA for their success.” …The Brand Builder Awards recognize the most innovative and effective marketing campaigns throughout the residential and commercial design and construction industries.

For more on on WRCLA’s promotional efforts go to Realcedar.com. For more on WRCLA’s award winning PR firm Bare Advertising and Communication go to Bare.ca.

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Innovative forest inventories – how is the landscape shifting? Q&A with Forsite Consultants

Tree Frog News and Forsite Consultants
January 15, 2020
Category: Special Feature
Region: Canada, Canada West

Sandy McKellar at Tree Frog News recently interviewed the team at Forsite Consultants to learn more about innovative inventories and how they are used in forest management. Forsite Consultants Ltd is a leading-edge forest management company with offices in BC and across Canada. Together their team brings unique approaches to forest inventory to provide added-value to their natural resource clients. The Forsite interview panel included Cam Brown, strategic planning forester and manager of the Resource Management and Technology group; Mike Parlow, Inventories Team Lead; and Carleigh Drew, marketing specialist. McKellar’s interview explores how Forsite uses LiDAR to create innovative operational forest inventories and how digital twinning of timber on the strategic land base can bring data to life.

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Business & Politics

How the Trade War Impacts Regional Economies and Housing Markets Builder

By Robert Dietz
Builder Online
January 16, 2020
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

Among the improving prospects for 2020 is the probability for the resolution of trade disputes that held back economic growth in 2018 and 2019. …The NAFTA agreement, the U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement, was said to be close to tripartite agreement. This is good news for U.S. and global economic growth. For housing markets, more international trade will expand rental and for-sale housing demand in markets highly connected to sectors dependent on exports or imports. It was time for some major trade agreements to be revised. …The concern among many economists was that antitrade advocates would seek to use tariffs (taxes) on trade as permanent policy rather than temporary tools for negotiation purposes. …The direct impacts of trade wars include higher costs for good and services, such as imported building materials. In 2018, tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber had a significant effect on lumber prices in the U.S. 

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Horgan takes a pass on the Cariboo

By Donna Barnett, MLA Cariboo-Chilcotin
BC Local News
January 16, 2020
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

…Premier John Horgan is set to take his very first official tour of northern British Columbia starting this Thursday. …Williams Lake and 100 Mile House are not on the list of designated stops. This is too bad because this week would have been Horgan’s real first opportunity to see how bad the forest industry really is in this province. …Horgan stood by and did nothing for the better part of the year while our forest industry collapsed. When the NDP finally got around to putting together some kind of package to assist displaced forestry workers, it was later discovered that Horgan cancelled the $25 million Rural Dividend Fund in order to come up with the money. …I would love to show the Premier just how important the forest industry is to British Columbia, not just in rural B.C. but the whole province. Unfortunately, Horgan and his political handlers do not consider this a priority.

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B.C. inaction on forestry dispute riles Island mayor

By Cindy Harnett
The Times Colonist
January 16, 2020
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Gaby Wickstrom

Port McNeill’s mayor says the B.C. government’s refusal to resolve a protracted forestry sector labour dispute is “intensely frustrating.” “The government has the power to assist them in reaching an agreement but refuses to offer anything more than ‘talking to both sides,’ ” said Mayor Gaby Wickstrom. …Premier John Horgan addressed the Truck Loggers Association convention in Vancouver on Thursday, and touched on “the elephant in the room.” …Horgan said he has strongly encouraged both sides in the dispute to “get on with it.” …Wickstrom said if the strike lasts much longer, some families won’t be able to recover from maxed-out credit cards that are helping them make ends meet. “Repeating ‘the best agreement is reached at the bargaining table,’ is not enough,” said Wickstrom. “Yes, if the process is working, but after seven months the USW/WFP bargaining process is broken.

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Premier Horgan Announces $5M in Funding for Forestry Contractors

By Jennifer Kramer, TLA Director of Communications
BC Truck Loggers Association
January 16, 2020
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Vancouver – Today, Premier Horgan announced at the TLA’s 77th Annual Convention + Trade Show, a $5 million commitment in funding to support timber harvesting contractors on the Coast who are affected by the United Steel Workers (USW)/Western Forest Products (WFP) strike. The announcement followed a December meeting between forest industry/TLA representatives and Ministers Donaldson and Bains who appealed to government for action regarding the challenges they are facing …due to the longest coastal forestry strike in history. In response, government announced the creation of the Coastal Logging Equipment Support Trust, which will help bridge loans until contractors return to work. …David Elstone, Executive Director, Truck Loggers Association said, “After seven months of striking and not earning any revenues, contractors will welcome the temporary relief from possibly losing their livelihoods, although it’s hard to say how much of an impact it’ll make or how much it will actually help.”

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Premier Horgan offers $5 million to help truck loggers suffering seven-month strike

By Derrick Penner
The Vancouver Sun
January 16, 2020
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Premier John Horgan promised to help B.C.’s coastal-logging sector suffering through a now-unprecedented seven month strike and on Thursday offered a $5-million gesture to assist contractors at-risk of losing equipment to the banks… which should start being available to contractors before month’s end. …United Steelworkers Local 1-1937 went on strike July 1 against major forestry firm Western Forest Products. …Nelson said, and the money will help contractors struggling with equipment payments and the costs of restarting operations once the dispute ends. …Horgan told the crowd that parties to the dispute have “the best mediator in Canada” working with them. …Labour Minister Harry Bains… said he’s confident they’re “moving in the right direction.” …David Elstone, the association’s executive director, said the premier’s speech alone, acknowledging the crisis that the industry is in, was a positive step. However, the next big thing government also needs to deal with is protecting a working forest to sustain the industry. 

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We need to stand united with our forest industry

The Editorial Board
The Amherst News
January 16, 2020
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

NOVA SCOTIA — It has not been a good month to work in Cumberland County’s forests. It was at about this time last month when Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil stepped up to the mike at Province House and announced his government would not support extending the 2015 Boat Harbour Act. …It seems with one announcement the premier has thrown the province’s forest industry into disarray and told those who have invested millions of dollars into growing their companies that it was all for naught. …It would be easy for foresters and those employed by the industry in any way to simply throw their hands up in surrender, but there is an effort gathering steam across the county to look for ways to take a stand as an industry. Led by the Athol Forestry Co-operative and the region’s two MLAs.

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Mills Are Being Closed by National Economic Trends, Not Environmental Regulations

By George Wuerthner
Counter Punch
January 17, 2020
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

The recent announcement of the Townsend RY Lumber Mill closure in Townsend, Montana continues a trend seen throughout the country. Although RY Lumber suggests this is due to environmental regulations or lawsuits, a broader context demonstrates this is a flawed argument. The timber industry has been going through a transition for decades. The bulk of all wood production has been moving to the Southeastern states for a variety of economic reasons. Consider that in some parts of Montana, it might take up to 60-100 years to grow a tree to 12 inches diameter, but you can produce a similar-sized tree in Georgia or Mississippi in ten years. All the time you are waiting for trees to grow to merchantable size in Montana, they are exposed to insects, drought, fires, and other sources of mortality.

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Oregon secretary of state rejects another ballot measure, this one a timber industry favorite

By Ted Sickinger
The Oregonian
January 16, 2020
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

Bev Clarno

Secretary of State Bev Clarno hinted this week that she is an equal opportunity rejector of ballot measures, not the partisan hack that critics have suggested. Clarno, the Republican selected by the governor to serve out the term of late Secretary of State Dennis Richardson, said one of three pro-forestry initiatives filed for the November ballot violated a constitutional clause that says ballot measures can only deal with a single subject. Initiative Petition 54 would have allowed the Board of Forestry to block new forestry regulations enacted by lawmakers or voters before they took effect. It would have required the board to ensure that all forest practice regulations were supported by science. And it would have permitted only land or timber owners to challenge board determinations. Clarno apparently felt that was an overreach, violating the single subject requirement in the Oregon constitution.

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Louisiana Pacific losing first of 2 press lines in late March

The Wilkes Journal-Patriot
January 16, 2020
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

ROARING RIVER, North Carolina — Louisiana Pacific announced plans to cut jobs at the company’s plant in Roaring River Thursday in connection with a shift in production there. Breeanna Straessle, LP senior manager said the company won’t publicly announce the number of jobs being cut until all impacted employees are notified. …The reduction in employment is resulting from the plant being transitioned from a fiber siding plant to a strand prefinishing facility, said Straessle. “The conversion will unfortunately result in adjustments to our workforce. …“To support LP’s focus on prefinished strand-based solutions, we plan to invest approximately $10 to $15 million in LP Roaring River over the next few years to transition it,” she said.

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Kathryn Fernholz of Dovetail Partners to Chair SFI Forest Management Task Group

Dovetail Partners Inc.
January 16, 2020
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

Kathryn Fernholz

(Washington, D.C.) – The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) has announced that Kathryn Fernholz, President and CEO of Dovetail Partners, will serve as Chair of the Forest Management Task Group during the SFI Standards Revision Process. “Having external expertise to facilitate the SFI Forest Management Task Group helps strengthen the revision process. The SFI Standards are developed through an open and inclusive process involving the many different people and groups who know and care about our forests, and help SFI advance sustainability through forest-focused collaborations,” said Kathy Abusow, President and CEO of SFI Inc. Kathryn Fernholz has a long association with the SFI Standards and two decades of experience working in the area of forest and chain-of-custody certification.   

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BC Forest Practices Newsletter – 25 Years of Independence

January 17, 2020
Category: Business & Politics

Kevin Kriese

In 2020, the Forest Practices Board will be 25 years old. When it was first established in 1995, one of the most important attributes of the Board was that it would act independently and work on behalf of the public interest. From its inception, the concept of independence was built into the legal structure and composition of the Board. And over the next 25 years, the Board established the operating procedures and policies that ensure it operates at arm’s length from politics and from the usual constraints of ministerial responsibility. …The current Board recently reviewed the status of our independence; we identified several areas where we will improve our internal processes. One of the areas for improvement is to ensure our Board recruitment process, which must be merit based, is clearly documented, including transparent competencies to recruit potential board members to the role. An independent Board increases public trust in our work.

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Finance & Economics

Building materials price growth slowest since 2015

By David Logan
National Association of Home Builders
January 16, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, United States

Prices paid for goods used in residential construction advanced 0.2% in December according to the latest Producer Price Index. Building materials prices increased 0.1% per month, on average, in 2019. …The PPI report shows that softwood lumber prices increased 0.1% in December and 6.7% over the course of 2019. Although this is directionally consistent with Random Lengths data, that data shows softwood lumber prices rising 14.5% in 2019. …The softwood lumber PPI data does not include any of the direct price effects driven by the 20% tariff on Canadian lumber currently being levied by the United States. American buyers of Canadian lumber were also been hurt by depreciation of the US dollar… 4.6% against the Canadian dollar over the period.

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U.S. housing starts surge to 13-year high, gov’t figures show

By Don Jacobson
UPI.com
January 17, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics

Housing starts in the United States surged to a 13-year high last month. The Commerce Department said December saw about a 17 percent increase in new home construction, to a 1.6 million annualized rate. The figure was a substantial improvement over the revised November rate of 1.4 million, and 41 percent higher than it was in December 2018. The U.S. housing market hasn’t seen such a level for new construction since 2006. December’s rate was also the greatest month-to-month improvement in three years. The department said building permits, however, declined in December. 

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Wood Design & Building Award Winners Announced

The Canadian Wood Council
January 16, 2020
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, United States

Ottawa, ON – The Wood Design & Building Magazine has announced the winning projects from the coveted Wood Design & Building Awards program. Launched in 1984, the awards program recognizes and celebrates the outstanding work of visionaries around the world who inspire excellence in wood architecture.  Submissions were thoughtful in design and execution; weaving wood architecture into the surrounding landscape in a complimentary and often symbiotic way. The awards program is a unique opportunity to pay homage to design and construction teams that are embracing wood architecture… “The awards program provides a platform to acknowledge the strides that have been made for wood architecture over the years, as well as an opportunity to celebrate the omnipresence of wood in architecture around the world.” explained Etienne Lalonde, Vice-President of Market Development for the Canadian Wood Council.

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Nail, meet wood

By James Wimberley
Samefacts.com
January 16, 2020
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States

Remember the satisfying thunk when you strike a nail squarely with a strong hammer blow and the nail sinks an inch into wood? Few metaphors are as sound and accurate as “hitting the nail on the head”. Forgive the boast, dear readers, for a post Mike O’Hare and I made herefive years ago proposing more building in wood as a way of cutting carbon emissions. There is a nifty new technology (engineered wood beams and panels) that makes it much easier; trees fix carbon, and using the wood in structures extends the sequestration for decades. Dave Roberts at Vox has a long new post up  making essentially the same points. …I thought the trendsetter would be New Zealand. …No, it’s Canada; specifically British Columbia, the centre of the large Canadian forestry industry.

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APA Publishes Updated Engineered Wood Construction Guide

About APA – The Engineered Wood Association
January 17, 2020
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States

The updated APA Engineered Wood Construction Guide, Form E30, is now available on APA’s website. First published in 1962, it has become the authoritative guide to building engineered wood floors, walls and roofs. The 100-page guide features information on engineered wood products and recommendations for their use in a wide range of applications in residential and commercial construction. It includes illustrations and information on typical specifications for engineered wood products and design recommendations for floor, wall and roof systems, diaphragms, shear walls, fire-rated systems and finishing methods. A free electronic copy of the guide may be downloaded, or a printed format may be purchased for $12 from http://www.apawood.org/resource-library.  

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Five Stories Tall and Made of Wood

By C.J. Hughes
The New York Times
January 17, 2020
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

Exposed wood may be a familiar sight in some 19th-century buildings in New York City. …the only timber that is visible in a near-natural state is on the floor. But Frame Home, a new Manhattan-based development firm, is trying to change that. …First, Frame Home had to address the city’s fears about using a form of engineered wood for its residential buildings that is typically banned by the building code over concerns about its strength in relation to fires. But the company was granted an exception to the code. …While wood can be pricier than concrete, labor costs can be much less, developers say. In fact, because Frame 283’s cross-laminated timber arrived in prefabricated sections, it took only about two weeks to put up its main structure.

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Trex Heats Up Outdoor Living With New Fire & Water Collection

By Trex Company
Yahoo Finance
January 16, 2020
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

WINCHESTER, Va.,  — The already ‘hot’ outdoor living category is about to get even hotter! Trex Company, the world’s largest manufacturer of wood-alternative decking and railing, and leader in high-performance, low-maintenance outdoor living products, announces the launch of Trex® Outdoor Fire & Water, a collection of stylish and durable outdoor fire features, water elements and decorative planters. The new products will be officially unveiled later this month at the 2020 International Builders’ Show (IBS). “Trex Outdoor Fire & Water is a natural extension of our ever-expanding product portfolio,” said Adam Zambanini, president of Trex Residential Products. “The pieces in this new collection are ideal complements to our high-performance decking and lend ambiance and style to create an ultimate outdoor oasis.”

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In this new neighborhood, every building will be made entirely out of wood

By Kristin Toussaint
Fast Company
January 17, 2020
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

In an effort to build a more sustainable future, architects and policy makers are nodding to the past with structures entirely made of timber. …Next up in this timber trend: a Copenhagen neighborhood built fully with wood, with housing for 7,000 people, a school, and a focus on integrating nature with city life. Danish architecture company Henning Larsen is designing the development, called Fælledby …For this neighborhood’s construction, Henning Larsen plan to use prefabricated timber panels sourced from partners throughout Europe. “They must of course be sustainably sourced, nontoxic . . . that’s just a minimum,” Kongebro says. Henning Larsen will become Copenhagen’s first new neighborhood built entirely in timber. The Scandanavian city has a rich history in wood construction, with Denmark as a whole most well-known for its “half-timber” architecture that dates back to the Middle Ages. Kongebro sees this new twist on the old ways as a “paradigm shift.”

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Loyn & Co reveals proposal for carbon neutral neighbourhood in Wales

By Lizzie Crook
Dezeen Magazine
January 17, 2020
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Loyn & Co has unveiled its design for Parc Hadau, a net-zero-carbon housing scheme in Wales that will be built from cross-laminated timber and powered by renewable energy. Developed by Loyn & Co … the Parc Hadau neighbourhood will comprise 35 eco-friendly dwellings. …the homes will have a net-zero-embodied-carbon primary structure, use passive design, use renewable energy technologies to generate enough electricity to power the scheme. …Each house will be built using cross-laminated timber. Timber absorbs atmospheric carbon as it grows, and subsequently retains it during its life in a building. This is hoped to offset the carbon emissions of foundations of the building, which will be made from a low carbon concrete. This will be “evidenced and calculated” throughout construction to look to further improve future schemes. Externally, the homes will be clad in a mix of locally sourced and low-embodied-energy materials that include timber, local stone and reclaimed brick.

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Developer unveils £33m sustainable office development in Shoreditch

Planning, BIM & Construction Today
January 16, 2020
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Developer Southern Grove has announced plans to build a new £33m sustainable office development in Shoreditch, London. The sustainable office development 16 Orsman Road is also set to break new ground in green building. The developer exchanged contracts on the land yesterday (15 January) and plans to use Cross Laminated Timber (CLT). This will mean the building, spanning six floors, is approximately four to five times lighter than a traditional building, resulting in much smaller foundations and minimal disruption to the neighbouring canal. Architects Waugh Thistleton was selected for its flare in CLT design.

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Forestry

Applications open for BC Parks Student Ranger Program

By Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy
Government of British Columbia
January 16, 2020
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Young adults keen to work outdoors this summer and to acquire a diverse range of job skills can now apply for the BC Parks Student Ranger Program. Now in its third season, the Student Ranger Program provides 48 young adults with training and employment opportunities in B.C.’s parks and protected areas. Indigenous students are encouraged to apply as the program has a 30% Indigenous hiring target. Funded by the federal and provincial governments, the Student Ranger Program offers hands-on work experience through a variety of projects related to conservation, recreation, community outreach and Indigenous relations. Twelve crews made up of four student rangers will be located throughout the province, focusing on initiatives such as ecosystem restoration, invasive species control and outdoor education, as well as trail building and maintenance.

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Conservation of Black Bear Dens on Vancouver Island

BC Forest Practices Board
January 16, 2020
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

A professional biologist with black bear expertise submitted a complaint on April 8, 2019, asserting that black bear dens in large diameter, old trees are being lost to harvesting of old-growth forests on Vancouver Island. The complainant’s concern is based on research that found black bears on Vancouver Island den almost exclusively in large old trees and structures derived from them, including stumps, logs, or root wads, unlike interior mainland black bears.i These old growth features that provide denning habitat are important to the Vancouver Island black bear population because cubs are born in them during winter hibernation. Since most second growth forests are harvested before trees can attain the necessary size for denning, the complainant is concerned that the declining availability of large trees will eventually affect population numbers.

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The Tongass National Forest is a Wilderness on the Chopping Block

By Alex Robinson
Outdoor Life
January 16, 2020
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

It doesn’t take much to get Mark Hieronymus worked up. We’re walking down an old logging road next to a creek outside of Juneau, and the guide is going back and forth on the two hottest topics in Alaska: fishing and logging. …Like most people who spend their lives on a river, his personality shifts from laid-back to intense, depending on the topic of discussion. The Trump Administration and governor Mike Dunleavy have reignited interests in old-growth logging in this region. So eventually I ask Hieronymus about the perspective that it’s mostly outside environmentalists who are hell-bent on fighting logging—not real Alaskans. That’s when I see his fiery side. …He shoots back with some facts about the timber industry supporting less than 1 percent of the jobs in the region.

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Spotted lanternfly costing Pennsylvania $50M annually

By Michael Rubinkam
The Associated Press in the Billings Gazette
January 16, 2020
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

The spotted lanternfly, an invasive pest from Asia that is wreaking havoc on valuable trees and vines, is costing the Pennsylvania economy about $50 million and eliminating nearly 500 jobs each year, according to a Penn State study. The study represents researchers’ first attempt to quantify the destruction caused by the large, colorful planthopper. First detected in the U.S. in 2014, in Pennsylvania’s Berks County, it has since overrun the state’s southeastern corner and spread into nearby states including New Jersey, Delaware and Virginia. Economists in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences estimated the financial impact on nurseries, vineyards, Christmas tree growers and hardwood producers. …The state’s $19 billion forest products industry would be especially vulnerable. Pennsylvania, with its vast unbroken stretches of forest, is the nation’s No. 1 producer of hardwoods.

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French forest industry not taking advantage of ever-growing forests

By Daniel Eck
Euractiv.com
January 17, 2020
Category: Forestry
Region: International

The forest continues to expand in France, according to industry figures, but the industry is not making the most of it. The metropolitan forest has gained a lot of ground, with 16.8 million hectares (i.e. 31% of the entire territory), compared to 19% of the country’s land area in 1908. But France’s timber industry wants to get moving. The sector, which represents one of the leading wood resources in Europe, currently presents a fragmented landscape. For example, Germany, which has a smaller forest area, generates three times more jobs. Optimising the wood-energy sector is key for France to attain its objective of becoming carbon neutral in 2050. However, 60% of forests in the country are left unmanaged nowadays. 

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Microsoft pledges to remove more carbon than it produces by 2030

By Jay Greene
The Washington Post
January 16, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, United States

REDMOND, Wash. — Microsoft announced plans to remove more carbon than it emits by the end of the decade, a pledge that addresses the climate-change crisis more aggressively than many of its tech rivals. …Microsoft’s initiative goes a few steps beyond what crosstown rival Amazon announced…to be at net zero emissions — removing as much carbon as it produces — throughout its business by 2040. …To achieve its goal, Microsoft plans for its entire fleet of vehicles to run on electric power by 2030. It will adopt negative-emission technologies including soil carbon sequestration and bioenergy with carbon capture and storage to remove emissions it has created. The company also committed to investing $1 billion over the next four years in new technologies to help address the climate change crisis.

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Developing Forest Biomass Removal Guidelines to Ensure Environmental Sustainability

Natural Resources Canada
January 14, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

Canadian Forest Service (CFS) researchers are undertaking research to determine how much biomass, by species of tree and by ecosystem type, can safely be removed from forests while still maintaining healthy ecological functions. The information gained from studies now underway will help forest managers better understand the limits to biomass harvesting. It will also help managers determine the best approaches to harvesting biomass in a sustainable way. In Canada, logging residue (or slash) is typically piled and burned to increase plantable area or reduce insect, disease and wildfire risk, or left on-site to decompose. Slash has been used for generating bioenergy in some European countries for decades, and some of these countries have been assessing how much to take, how much to leave and the best way to convert slash to energy. In Sweden, 25% of energy production in 2016 was from biomass, of which slash (harvest residues) was the largest single component. [Access the French version here]

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Kingston climate change symposium fosters local action

By Elliot Ferguson
The Kingston Whig-Standard
January 16, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada East, Canada

KINGSTON, Ontario — Trees, whether growing in forests and urban green spaces or harvested and used in construction, offer an effective tool in the fight against climate change, said… Rob Keen, executive director of Forests Ontario. …It’s not just living trees, which sequester carbon as they grow, that can help with climate change, Keen said. Lumber sustainably harvested from forests can continue to hold carbon in place, and, if used in construction, can do so long beyond the expected lifespan of the tree from which the wood comes. …The Ontario building code was recently changed to permit the construction of wood-framed buildings up to six storeys high, and Keen said there are examples of buildings even taller — up to 18 storeys — that have been built.

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Germany agrees timeline, compensation for coal phase-out

By Geir Moulson and Frank Jordans
The Associated Press in the Washington Post
January 15, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

BERLIN — Germany will pay utility companies billions of euros to speed up the shutdown of their coal-fired power plants as part of the country’s efforts to fight climate change. The agreement… removes a key hurdle in Germany’s plan to curb greenhouse gas emissions over the coming decades. …Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said that operators of heavily polluting coal-fired power plants in western Germany will receive 2.6 billion euros ($2.9 billion) in compensation for switching them off early. …Environment Minister Svenja Schulze acknowledged that Germany will need a “massive expansion of wind and solar energy” as the country is also in the process of exiting atomic power, with the last nuclear reactor set to go offline at the end of 2022.

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Climate change adds to frog woes

By Farah Hancock
The News Room NZ
January 17, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

…Last week, almost a thousand attendees from around the globe descended on Dunedin for the 9th World Congress of Herpetology. Held every four years, the event is like the Olympics for those who study reptiles and amphibians. The 600 plus presentations included debate on the fragile state of the world’s amphibians and reptiles.  Around 40 percent of amphibians are threatened with extinction. Reptile species are under similar pressure. University of Otago Zoology Professor Phil Bishop, the congress director, said a recurring thread in presentations was the threat of climate change. New Zealand used to have seven frog species. Three are now extinct and the remaining four are threatened with, or at risk of, extinction. “Climate change is one of those topics where people generally throw their arms up and say ‘there’s nothing we can do’ but we’ve had enough of not doing anything. We really need to be pushing the people who can do something about it.”

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