The Tree Frog News
SFI Invests in Forest Conservation Research
Washington, D.C. and Ottawa, ON – The Sustainable Forestry Initiative® Inc. (SFI®) has awarded more than $400,000 to 10 conservation projects as part of its 2014 Conservation and Community Partnerships Grant Program. These projects support efforts towards continuous improvement in sustainable forest management and forest conservation throughout North America. “The 2014 conservation grant recipients represent a wide and invaluable cross section of research supporting future forests across the United States and Canada,” said Kathy Abusow, President and CEO of SFI Inc.
BC Hydro cited for poor site management, lack of monitoring
by Larry Pynn - Inspection reports obtained by The Vancouver Sun reveal non-compliance problems
BC Hydro has been cited for a slew of non-compliance problems related to ongoing construction of two major transmission lines, according to freedom of information documents obtained by The Vancouver Sun. The documents identify a lack of sediment controls, potential for the spread of invasive plant species, smouldering burn piles during a fire prohibition, a stop-work order to prevent stream damage, lack of environmental monitoring and oversight, and both heavy equipment and felled trees found in creeks.
Tree bylaw must be approached with caution
Langley Township Councillor Kim Richter is proposing a referendum question on the subject of a tree bylaw. Richter, who backs some interim measures to prevent wholesale logging in Fernridge, wants to hear from voters about their thoughts on the preservation of trees. There are two very distinct viewpoints on this subject. While most people who live in Langley appreciate trees, a significant number do not want any level of government telling them what they can and cannot do on their own property. At the same time, there are others who believe it should be the local government’s business to decide if you can cut a tree down on your property.
Permitted tree cuts plateau in Surrey
The number of trees cut annually in Surrey has stabilized, however, the number of them cut down illegally is on the rise. Surrey is issuing permits to cut down half the number of trees it did before the recession hit six years ago, but the number of renegade developers cutting down trees without proper permission is on the rise. Mayor Dianne Watts said that because Surrey has become strict in what it requires for tree retention, some builders are operating outside the law. According to figures provided by the city, there were 5,796 trees cut down last year.
Taking a stand against Surrey's tree bylaw
A South Surrey man who wants to cut trees on his own acreage – for safety and value reasons – is frustrated by city rules that he says “bully” private citizens. And David Secord says he’s prepared to take a stand on the matter – all the way to court if he has to. “If it comes down to it… I’m going to cut a tree down (myself),” Secord said. “Give me the fine and I’ll see you in court.” ....Confident that removing the trees won’t negatively impact his neighbours, Secord said it makes no sense for the city to restrict his and other residents’ freedoms.
Earth Day 2014: 22 arborists climb giant paradox walnut tree to advocate for its protection (photos, video)
Twenty-two Portland area arborists climbed a giant paradox walnut tree in the Mt. Tabor neighborhood Tuesday evening to celebrate Earth Day and show solidarity with neighbors who are fighting to prevent the tree’s removal. “This is possibly a wake for this tree,” Damon Schrosk, 43, said as he prepared to climb. “Trees like this are the cornerstones of the environment.” The tree stands on property planned for row houses, and though the developer has said he will change his plans to accommodate saving the tree, arborist Kevin Hillery is skeptical. The developer hasn't pulled his permits to remove the tree yet.
Rim fire salvage logging wins support
Several environmental groups pledged Tuesday to support the salvage logging proposed for parts of the Rim fire area. They joined timber industry and other leaders in Tuolumne County in a letter urging the U.S. Forest Service to approve the logging, which is proposed for about a tenth of the 257,314-acre fire zone. The letter was from a coalition called Yosemite Stanislaus Solutions, which was working on forest issues even before last year’s fire charred parts of the Stanislaus National Forest, Yosemite National Park and private land.
Wildfire season: Sparks could fly as early as May this year
Temperate winter, dry conditions increase fire risk levels for state forests
Fire season is fast approaching, and given the lack of precipitation so far this year it could officially arrive in early to mid May. Several factors, including an abundance of brush fuels, have Klamath County fire officials worried. The problems have both natural and human causes. According to Chief Dewaine Holster, Chiloquin-Agency Lake Rural Fire Protection District, many vacant lot owners do not do enough to keep down weeds growing on their property, which gives more fuel to any potential fire.
Both O&C bills are a bad deal for Western Oregon counties
Legislation proposed in Congress does not guarantee any specific amount of funding for O&C counties, which have requested $110 million annually. Both House and Senate bills only direct federal agencies to increase timber harvest on O&C lands by a certain number of million board feet (mmbf) annually. Adequate funding for O&C counties would materialize only in the unlikely convergence of high timber prices, increased construction activity, a generous finance industry, stable log exports from private lands, significant increases for federal agency funding and other unpredictable factors.
Pine Beetle Outbreaks Increase Groundwater Supply in Rockies
The mountain pine beetle overall devastates ecosystems, affecting about 3.4 million acres of forest in Colorado since the outbreak started in 1996
Do more pine beetles mean more groundwater? Perhaps—but that's not necessarily a good thing, say the authors of a new study. The bark beetle outbreak that has plagued North America's Rocky Mountains is having significant ripple effects on the region's hydrology, researchers from Colorado's School of Mines in Golden, Colo., report in a study published this week in the journal Nature Climate Change. Compared with a watershed where a beetle infestation's impacts were less intense and occurred less recently, a watershed with more beetle-killed trees absorbs about 30 percent more groundwater, the researchers found.
'Little progress' on forest protection plan
Lack of progress on a global programme to reward developing countries for avoiding deforestation has made little headway, officials and conservationists say. The delays are proving particularly frustrating for communities concerned with conserving forests in those nations. Campaigners say that nearly eight years have passed since the programme, Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (Redd), was announced, but the international projects supposed to implement it are not happening anywhere.
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After widespread deforestation, China bans commercial logging in northern forests
Forestry authorities in China have stopped commercial logging in the nation's largest forest area, marking an end to more than a half-century of intensive deforestation that removed an estimated 600 million cubic meters (21 billion cubic feet) of timber. The logging shutdown was enacted in large part to protect soil and water quality of greater China, which are significantly affected by forest loss in the mountainous region. The area is in the extreme northeast portion of China, and comprises a huge swath of dense, temperate forest that stretches into Russia.
Company & Business News
The future of Canadian forestry: Using more brain, and less brawn
Canada has a strong competitive advantage in forestry due to our natural endowments, but that is not enough for continued success. Many of Canada’s current forestry products and services are generic and can be easily matched or replicated by other firms in other nations, often with the advantage of lower labour and growing costs. The best way to keep building on our natural advantage is to find ways to raise the IQ of our forests – in essence to create value from the forests by using more brain, and less brawn.
Lakeland and Babine families hold Walk for Justice Wednesday
To mark the second anniversary of the Lakeland mill explosion, families and workers of Babine Forest Products and Lakeland Mills are joining forces, organizing a Walk for Justice to demand an independent public inquiry into both sawmill explosions. ...The families and workers will be joined by First Nations leadership, political and community leaders, including Terry Teegee, Tribal Chief, Carrier Sekani Tribal Council; Grand Chief Edward John, Task Group Member, BC First Nations Summit. Adrian Dix, Leader of the NDP Official Opposition Area MLAs Shirley Bond and Mike Morris have also been invited to walk with the families.
More families call for public inquiry into two, fatal mill explosions in BC from The Canadian Press
Families and Workers March to Mark 2nd Anniversary of Lakeland Blast from 250 News
Mill explosion victims to hold walk for justice from The Prince George Citizen
WorkSafeBC head says changes will come quickly
Gord Macatee, the new administrator of WorkSafeBC, will tour sawmills and other high-risk workplaces early next month to get a grip on the changes needed to restore confidence in the beleaguered worker-protection agency. ...In an interview, Mr. Macatee said he hopes to keep the organization operating even through the uncertainty of the coming months. “This organization does really important work and it’s important that we stabilize things, that people stay focused on their important work,” he said. “Much of the work done here is very well done.”
In Hard Luck Houston, a Glimpse of Good News
Last-minute gov't funding means aboriginal youth program will return in tough times. Last in a series.
Houston, a small mill town in B.C.'s northern interior that's been rocked by the coming closure of one of two major lumber mills, got some good news last week. One of the community's two youth programs faced with closure has been thrown a financial life raft by the provincial government. ...But one week after TEAM closed its doors, the Ministry of Children and Family Development agreed to supply the centre with the $100,000 funding necessary to run TEAM for one year, with potential for amalgamation with other ministry contracts the centre has for early childhood education that are funded in perpetuity.
Industrial users to pay more for natural gas
FREDERICTON – New Brunswick’s biggest industrial users of natural gas, including the Irving Oil refinery and pulp and paper mills, would pay more to access natural gas under changes introduced Tuesday to the province’s Gas Distribution Act. Energy Minister Craig Leonard said under the 1999 law, the province’s six largest users of natural gas have paid an annual fee to New Brunswick’s Energy and Utilities Board to bypass the province’s natural gas distributor, Enbridge Gas New Brunswick. That fee, which isn’t based on natural gas consumption, was $50,000 in 1999 but has risen to $65,000 because of indexing.
Premier McNeil vows to take on Boat Harbour cleanup
Premier Stephen McNeil says his government will be the one to finally clean up Boat Harbour. McNeil’s comments come a few days after a news release from Pictou Landing First Nation Chief Andrea Paul that said people from her community could take measures into their own hands if the government doesn’t act to clean up the site. The premier said Tuesday he hopes no one resorts to breaking the law, and he believes a solution will be reached through dialogue. A meeting is scheduled soon between the band council and Environment Minister Randy Delorey.
Mills to senators: Give us more timber
EAGAR – On the edge of what promises to be another hot, drought-fueled wildfire season, timber companies working under the U.S. Forest Service's expiring 10-year White Mountain Stewardship Project are running short of wood. Eastern Arizona loggers and mill operators told two Southwest senators touring the woodlands on Tuesday that they need faster access to timber to be profitable, and they fear losing more of the forest to a devastating fire this summer.
Stora Enso CEO to retire
After heading the company for seven years Stora Enso Oy today announced that its Chief Executive Officer Jouko Karvinen has expressed a desire to leave his position after heading the company for seven years. As quoted by RTT News, Stora Enso Chairman Gunnar Brock said, "Jouko Karvinen initiated discussions with the Board of Directors late last year about his wish to retire from the Company during 2014. The Board regrets his decision and Jouko Karvinen will continue as CEO until a successor is found."
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China’s hardwood log imports fell 1.7% in 2013
According to statistics from China’s Customs, 2013 hardwood log imports fell 1.7% to 2.723 million cubic metres compared to 2012. Imports were valued at RMB 1.172 billion ($188 million), up 20 % from 2012. The average unit price for hardwood logs in 2013 rose 23% compared to 2012. Hardwood sawnwood imports expanded sharply to 6.18 million cubic metres in 2013 and were valued at RMB 17.8 billion ($2.9 billion), up 126 % from 2012. The average unit price for hardwood sawnwood fell 4% year on year, ITTO reported.
Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Global warming: What will our local trees look like in 2100?
When you think of global warming, you might envision icebergs melting. Polar bears floundering. But what about here in Central New York? Scientists expect the local climate to also shift, so that by the end of the century, Central New York feels more like the South. What does that mean for our local natural habitats? That's what Syracuse University is exploring with its Syracuse Climate Change Garden. "The summer heat index, which is a measure of how hot it feels, will by 2100 be equivalent to current conditions in South Carolina if we don't do anything to curb greenhouse gas emissions," said SU biology professor Doug Frank.
Wood In Construction Can Reduce Carbon Emissions, Say Reports
... One of the many “mitigating scenarios” the IPCC report proposes for consideration is carbon capture and sequestration. This is not a new concept, nor does it need to be costly, according to some. In fact, we need look no further than the trees. Trees are nature’s own highly efficient carbon capture and sequestration mechanism. A group of researchers at Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, and the University of Washington’s College of the Environment, said in a report that using more carbon-sequestering wood in construction, and less carbon-releasing steel and concrete, could reduce carbon emissions by 14–31 per cent.
Are Climate Claims for Burning Renewable Trees a Smokescreen?
by Robert McClure - The answer surprised us too. First in a series.
Nestled into a seaside forest on the University of British Columbia's lands, amid a carpet of sword ferns and salal, sits a gleaming industrial facility that’s been hailed as a significant step toward a carbon-neutral future for B.C., Canada and even the world. The wood-gas fired plant just off Marine Drive in Vancouver, the university boasts, “will reduce UBC’s natural gas consumption by 12 per cent and campus greenhouse gas emissions by nine per cent (5,000 tonnes), the equivalent of taking 1,000 cars off the road.” “It’s very exciting,” said Brent Sauder, UBC’s director of strategic partnerships, who helped shape plans for the plant.
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Forest Service opens wood-to-energy funding opportunities
The U.S. Forest has announced it is seeking proposals for two separate wood-to-energy funding opportunities, including the Hazardous Fuels Wood-to-Energy (W2E) Grant program and the Statewide Wood Energy Team cooperative agreement program. According to the Forest Service, both funding programs promote use of wood biomass from National Forest System lands and place more emphasis this year on encouraging clustering of projects that improve efficiencies and economies of scale.
Wood & Paper Products & Green Building
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Winners of the Governor-General's Medals in architecture unveiled
Where are the best new buildings in Canada? The list of Governor-General’s Medals in Architecture, announced today, gives a strong set of answers to that question. The 12 awards honour very simply “excellence in the art of architecture.” These days, that is a difficult thing to assess. Through digital media, the design world faces a daily fashion show of new buildings, seen quickly and out of context. The subtle attributes that make a good building don’t show up easily in this environment.