The Tree Frog News
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BC NDP vows to curb log exports and create jobs
Blaming the BC Liberals for 100 mill closures and 30,000 job losses, NDP leader John Horgan unveiled a forestry jobs plan that “focuses on reducing the export of raw logs and using them to increase value-added wood products here” (like the 18-story Brock Commons tower at UBC). The Liberal's response: “sounds like an endorsement of what we’re already doing”.
Long time forestry critic Herb Hammond says the NDP plan “falls short of what’s needed”, while Rod Bealing, of the Private Forest Landowners Association, defends log exports. In a response to a recent union/ENGO op-ed he states that "these voices are focused on the symptom of the ailing manufacturing sector rather than the cause”. His bottom line: “Trees are our crops. Logs are our final products and just like any other farmer, we need fair trade for our products in order to survive”.
With vocal support from John Horgan, the Mayor of Merritt (Neil Menard) is expressing dismay at the fact that Tolko “still has its license to harvest logs” after closing its local sawmill four months ago. Menard notes "our loggers... will be logging it. But it'll be shipped out to their other mills outside the City of Merritt".
Finally, and it's no laughing matter, two new species of clown tree frogs have been discovered in the Amazonian rainforest. According to Wikipedia, that makes about four thousand, eight hundred, and (now) two.
--Tree Frog Editors
‘It is just too risky’: Swansea Point residents oppose logging proposal
By Megan Turcato
A Shuswap family is shuddering at the prospect of more logging on the hill above their home. They fear proposed work will lead to devastating landslides. They’re well aware of both the risk and the devastation after living through natural disasters in the area before. However, the logging company said they won’t go ahead unless it’s safe. Some of the proposed logging is slated for a hillside above the Swansea Point neighbourhood, south of Sicamous. ...Now news that forestry company Tolko is considering logging uphill from the couple’s home has the Swansea Point residents worried the proposed logging could trigger a third disaster.
The next chapter for Whistler's Parkhurst lands
By Megan Lalonde
In the ‘20s, the Barr Brothers’ Logging Company purchased a piece of land that would accommodate their successful sawmill. Over the course of the next four decades, the property became the largest settlement in Alta Lake (as Whistler was called at the time), housing 60 to 70 families. The site was then used by the Soo Valley Lumber company in the ‘50s, before becoming home to many of Whistler’s original ski bums — as well as the second incarnation of the infamous Toad Hall cabin — in the ‘70s. Eventually, the area was abandoned; its now-dilapidated buildings and their remnants serving as a popular hiking destination commonly known as ‘Ghost Town’.
Victoria asked to halt logging in area that is part of bid for UNESCO designation
By Cam Fortems
A geoscientist heading an effort to obtain a UNESCO designation for the North Thompson region said logging proposed by Canfor threatens natural values, including rare volcanic features. Catherine Hickson, who did research for her PhD thesis in Wells Gray Park, has asked the province to place a moratorium on logging in Upper Clearwater Valley. The area alongside Clearwater Valley Road, known as Three Gorges, twice washed out spectacularly in the 1990s, stranding residents and visitors for days. The washouts were attributed to logging done more than a decade earlier. Canfor now has filed plans to log in a 180-hectare area in Upper Clearwater Valley... “We have undertaken comprehensive terrain stability assessments, hydrology studies, visual impact analysis and wildlife biology assessments using independent, third-party experts,” wrote Peter Baird, general manager for Canfor’s forest planning.
Finger pointed at logging
By Kate Bouey
A well-known Falkland politician is pointing the finger at continued logging in the mountain above Pinaus Lake for the recent evacuation and closure of the Pinaus Lake Resort. "The mountain's moving," said Rene Talbot, a Columbia Shuswap Regional District director who represents the Falkland area. "I'm pretty sure it's caused by logging over the years." Talbot said both provincial and district officials were aware two years ago that there was sliding on Tuktakamin Mountain. He said provincial officials tried to get the CSRD to do some testing but it is Crown land so the matter was thrown back into the province's lap. "It is Crown land and they're the ones who give out the leases and approved the logging."
New allowable annual cut level set for TFL 55
By the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations
Effective March 24, 2017, the allowable annual cut for Louisiana-Pacific Canada Ltd.’s Tree Farm Licence (TFL) 55 near Revelstoke, is 83,000 cubic metres, chief forester Diane Nicholls announced today. The new cut level is a decrease from the 90,000 cubic metres per year set in 2001, and again in 2007. The reduction reflects the creation of wildlife habitat areas and a land-use order in 2009 protecting older forests and almost 19,000 hectares of mountain caribou habitat. These areas are no longer available for timber harvesting. Located in the Selkirk Mountains north of Revelstoke,
Is Wilderness the Best Choice?
By Bill Avey, Forest Supervisor, Senator Steve Daines and Senator Jon Tester
Every few years, another campaign starts to designate more wilderness. It seems there is never enough. A multitude of new designations include agonizingly crafted compromises often conveniently forgotten as soon as the law’s ink is dry. ...Wilderness designation does not assure things will stay as they are. ...People promoting more designated wilderness usually tell us we only have two alternatives, wilderness or unfettered development. Not true! We have an infinite number of alternatives between these extremes. ...Carefully crafted plans that we help develop assure these lands and the ecosystems they support will be sustained for present and future generations.
Judge halts timber sale near Crater Lake for second time
By Zach Urness
A lawsuit brought by two environmental groups successfully halted a logging project in Southern Oregon for a second time. District Court judge Jolie A. Russo ruled last week that Umpqua National Forest must conduct a more comprehensive study of environmental impacts caused by the Loafer timber sale. The project would authorize 1,400 acres of commercial thinning and 5.6 miles of temporary roads near popular recreation sites such as Umpqua Hot Springs and the North Umpqua Trail, northwest of Crater Lake National Park. Russo ruled that the project, which was also delayed in 2014 following a lawsuit, could not go forward until an environmental impact statement had been prepared. Cascadia Wildlands and Oregon Wild, the two groups that brought the lawsuit, celebrated the judge’s decision. ...Lawson Fite, general counsel for the American Forest Resource Council, which intervened in the lawsuit, disagreed with the decision.
Umpqua Forestry Coalition hosts April 6 forum on forestry management
ROSEBURG, Ore. -- The Umpqua Forestry Coalition is inviting members of the public to attend a forum at Umpqua Community College on April 6... The forum will feature agency scientists and persons of interest speaking about the need for management action on public lands and the highlight of the evening will be a presentation of the upcoming Umpqua National Forest management proposal for the Calf/Copeland watersheds near Toketee... The group’s current focus is fire use and the management of fuels on the Umpqua National Forest.
Bark beetle problematic for some Wiregrass timber owners
By Michele W. Forehand
The Alabama Forestry Commission is working with Wiregrass timber owners to try to save the timber industry from the outbreak of Ips Bark Beetles. “Ips Bark Beetles are hitting our pines very hard,” said Alabama Forestry Commission Forestry Specialist Brady Dunn. “The Ips Bark Beetles are affecting our loblolly pines, long-leaf pines, short-leaf pines and slash pines. Pines of all ages can be affected by the Ips Bark Beetle.” According to Dunn, the main reason the pines are stressed this year is due to the drought conditions suffered last October and November. Other reasons for the stress include wild fires, prescribed burning, timber harvesting and flooding. He also said the southeast is still suffering from some drought conditions which will continue to make the beetles presence known in the pines.
Log protected forests to keep timber mill open, Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce says
By Tom McIlroy
The Victorian government has rejected a proposal by Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce that would see the federal government open up protected forests for logging, to save the Gippsland-based Heyfield timber mill. Mr Joyce had also suggested the endangered status of the Leadbeater's possum, which is currently listed as critically endangered and is native to the logging-affected area, could be reviewed to save the mill. ...On Monday, Victorian Environment Minister Lily D'Ambrosio accused Mr Joyce of being "reckless", and raised questions about the timing of the move, with an ongoing review into the possum's critically endangered status expected within weeks. "VicForests, who manage our timber resources in Victoria, have made it absolutely clear. Offering timber volumes beyond that which they have said is available right now is reckless and would lead to job losses," she said. The Leadbeater's possum is Victoria's state emblem.
Two new clown tree frogs discovered in the Amazon
By Mike Gaworecki
Two new species of clown tree frogs have been discovered in the Amazonian rainforests of Bolivia and Peru. Clown frogs are widespread throughout the Amazon region and get their name from their unique, bright coloration. The two newly discovered frogs were previously considered to belong to other species, but researchers were able to show that they are their own distinct species after analyzing their DNA and the calls they make. The new species were described in a paper published in the journal PLoS ONE earlier this month. The researchers argue that the results of their study suggest that the number of Neotropical frog species is still greatly underestimated, especially in the vast Amazon Basin, which has not been subjected to a comprehensive, region-wide scientific survey.
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10 of Europe's most remarkable trees
By Melissa Breyer
Each year, the Environmental Partnership Association in concert with the European Landowners’ Organization awards a special honor to a single tree: The European Tree of the Year. Quite frankly, I’d say there are no losers when it comes to trees – but the lovely and popular contest is a great way to shine the spotlight on our arboreal cohabitants. In singling out specific trees, we learn their stories and become a bit more emotionally invested in them. And the more we respect and revere these glorious and essential organisms that we share the planet with, the better. 1. Oak Józef, Poland - This 650-year old English oak (Quercus robur) resides in Wiśniowa, Podkarpackie province, Poland – and is special not only for its grandeur but for its unique history and especially its hospitality.
Company & Business News
Letter: Proposed action on US Softwood a serious mistake
By Jim Abbott, Wasa, past MP for Kootenay-Columbia
B.C. is the largest Canadian exporter of softwood lumber to the U.S. It provides about 145,000 direct and indirect jobs – B.C. Lumber Trade Council. The U.S. Lumber Coalition is alleging Canadian lumber is being sold below market prices in the United States. It has been reported that in the latest round of the long-running softwood lumber dispute, the U.S. coalition asked the government to protect American mills by imposing new duties on Canadian lumber. This never-ending quarrel is based on an unfounded, fabricated claim that B.C. and Canadian governments subsidize Canadian companies. For decades the U.S. has falsely challenged and for decades Canada has successfully rebuffed the challenges in international courts. The foundation for success in protecting Canadians is that there are no subsidies.
City of Prince Albert poised to pay $5.1 million tax settlement
The City of Prince Albert is poised to pay Domtar Inc., which operated the city’s now-shuttered pulp and paper mill, around $5.1 million to settle a tax assessment dispute dating back to the 2009 and 2010 tax years. In a report to council, city administrators said lawyers recommended accepting an offer to settle received from Domtar in the fall of 2016, and the decision to accept was made late last year, subject to approval from council... The dispute hinges on the assessed value of Domtar’s pulp and paper mill, which the company argued was too high. It subsequently requested a $3.1 million tax refund — about 88 per cent of the taxes it paid in 2009.
Fair trade for B.C.'s private logs ensures mill supply
By Rod Bealing, Executive Director, B.C. Private Forest Landowners Association.
The UNIFOR/Wilderness Committee op-ed piece printed March 22 focuses on a symptom of the ailing manufacturing sector (log exports) rather than the causes. Most notably, it ignores the fact that B.C. coastal mills are among the least competitive in the world and accordingly, mill investment here is sorely lacking. Fair trade (with export customers) for a portion of our logs enables B.C.’s private forest operations to generate 5,000 jobs, over $1 billion in economic activity and $150 million in tax revenue from less than two per cent of the province. We are farmers. Trees are our crops. Logs are our final products. Like any other farmer, we own land, we manage soil and we grow and harvest crops. Just like any other farmer we also need fair trade for our products in order to survive. ...Forcing private forest operations to sell logs locally at discounted prices (as low as 50 per cent in some cases) is a direct transfer of value from the tree-grower to the mill.
NDP Forest Plan Positive, But Doesn’t Go Far Enough, Says Forester
By Andrew MacLeod
The forestry plan the BC NDP released Monday would be an improvement on the BC Liberal government’s forest management, but falls short of what is needed, says a long-time independent forester. “We need to get the control of public forests back in public hands,” said Herb Hammond, a forest ecologist and registered professional forester based in the Slocan Valley who specializes in ecosystem-based conservation planning. Moving from an industrial model of forest management to one that’s more locally based in forest communities would increase the number of jobs, expand the types of products made from the province’s wood and provide more money back to the government, he said. “It’s kind of a win-win for everyone but the one per cent,” he said.
Merritt mayor upset Tolko keeping forest license despite leaving
By Chad Klassen
MERRITT, B.C. — The mayor of Merritt is pushing back against the B.C. government and Tolko Industries, which, despite leaving Merritt last year, still has its license to harvest logs in the community. In the four months since Tolko's closure, the company has been still logging there, but the logs aren't staying in Merritt, instead following Tolko, which is supplying its other mills in the province. "They have so many cubic meters of timber in their license here in this area. They were able to hang on to that, so the logging is going to continue in that area that's Tolko's licensed area," says mayor of Merritt Neil Menard. "Our loggers, which is one good thing, will be logging it. But it'll be shipped out to their other mills outside the City of Merritt." But Merritt mayor Neil Menard says it's unacceptable and is strongly against what Tolko is doing.
NDP vows to curb log exports and create jobs in forestry-plan election promises
By Derrick Penner
B.C.’s main political parties sparred over forestry policies Monday, with the B.C. NDP leader attempting to hang mill closures and job losses in the sector on the government and the B.C. Liberals declaring that the opposition’s platform offers nothing new to the industry. NDP leader John Horgan unveiled a four-page plan that hints at a promise to curb log exports and included initiatives to boost value-added wood manufacturing, to work more with First Nations, and to increase reforestation efforts that he argued have languished under the last decade-and-a-half of the B.C. Liberals’ tenure. “The objective today was to highlight (that) in the last 16 years of B.C. Liberal rule, we’ve seen 30,000 fewer people working in a once proud forest industry,” Horgan said. “And 100-plus mills have closed in every corner of the province.”
Skyrocketing Lumber Prices Put Builders In A Bind
By the National Association of Home Builders
Relations between the U.S. and Canada haven't exactly been neighborly thus far in 2017. The disputes over potential changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement are causing some serious international rifts. Home builders are particularly concerned with the now-expired Softwood Lumber Agreement. The uncertainty surrounding a new trade agreement is impacting businesses on both sides of the border, as it was the primary culprit behind the surging lumber prices between mid-January and mid-February. Tim Jackson, president and owner of Tim Jackson Custom Homes in Allen, Texas, says his market is already challenged with increased labor costs due to the labor shortage, and any increase in the price of materials only compounds the problem.
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Rörvik to sell last sawmill
Rörvik Timber has effectively exited the Swedish sawmilling sector following news of the SKr48m agreement to sell its Linghem sawmill to Holmen. Holmen’s agreement to acquire the Linghem mill follows recent news of Rörvik’s decision to close two loss-making sawmills in Boxholm and Myresjöfönster. The sawmill, which uses smaller logs than Holmen’s Braviken mill 40km away from Linghem, has a new saw line with capacity to produce 75,000m3 per year. “The acquisition of Linghem sawmill forms part of our strategy to make use of a greater proportion of the raw material in the area around our sawmills,” said Johan Padel, head of Holmen’s wood products business area.
Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
How First Nations got ahead of the curve on clean energy
By Jon Hernandez
Haida Gwaii's John Disney couldn't help but notice how much wood waste was left behind by local loggers. "We've got waste coming out of our ears up here," said Disney, the economic developer of Old Massett Village. "They do a lot of logging, and none of waste goes anywhere because it's too expensive to ship!" Generally, the bulk of wood waste is either burned or left to decompose in the bush. But Disney and his partners recently came up with a plan to make use of it — by feeding it into a gigantic boiler that will heat all of the town's community buildings, and drastically reduce their greenhouse gas emissions in the process. Renewable energy projects like Disney's are on the rise in Indigenous communities across the country. And when it comes to moving away from fossil fuels, some industry experts say First Nations are ahead of the curve.
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Addressing Biomass Energy 'Alternative Facts'
By William Strauss, President, FutureMetrics
Providing misleading, inaccurate, and sometimes outright fiction as facts could be called propaganda. With overtones of Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, the term “alternative facts” has recently been coined. Either way, it is biased and misleading information that is used to promote a point of view. The recently released paper by the Chatham House is a study that contains many inaccurate statements about the use of wood for energy. Those statements are presented as facts, or as uncontested conclusions. This article will focus on the study’s discussions that pertain to the sourcing of raw materials for industrial wood pellets. Throughout the study, there is frequent reference to what it claims is an important distinction regarding how trees are used after harvest.
Wood & Paper Products & Green Building
New dowel laminated timber product to be used for structural applications
By Peter Caulfield
StructureCraft Builders Corporation is building a 50,000-square-foot, all-wood facility in Abbotsford, B.C. to manufacture dowel laminated timber (DLT). DLT is made entirely from softwood and hardwood with no metal, glue or plastic. New dowel laminated timber product to be used for structural applications. "We expect the plant to be completed by the end of summer 2017 and the first DLT to be available for sale in January 2018," said Lucas Epp, StructureCraft's head of engineering. He said his company will be the first manufacturer of DLT in North America. DLT panels have all the wood fibre going in a single direction and use dowelling patterns instead of nails or layers of glue. The panels can be used for floor, wall and roof structures.
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Scanner may boost lumber industry
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Since 1898, the hardwood lumber industry has relied on the human eye to detect knots and other imperfections as a way of determining the quality of lumber. Despite some inefficiencies, this form of grading persisted because experts were unable to replicate the process with automation. Today, however, a Purdue University professor is reporting a major development in the industry through a new high-speed scanning system that successfully identifies external and internal wood defects. The new automation not only shaves the amount of time it takes to grade lumber, it significantly boosts the accuracy, said Rado Gazo, a professor for the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources in Purdue’s College of Agriculture.