The Tree Frog News
Wood Bison Find New Sanctuary in Canada’s Boreal Forest
Manitoba writes promising chapter for North America’s largest land mammal
... The province of Manitoba, meanwhile, is seeing promising results from its wood bison recovery program. The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada estimates that 5,100 to 7,100 mature free-ranging wood bison live in the country, spread across nine wild subpopulations. The committee recently upgraded the animal’s status from threatened to “special concern” but also tempered expectations of future growth. According to the committee’s latest examination of the species, “Further increases to the population size or the addition of new wild subpopulations is not likely, as recovery is constrained by fragmented or unsuitable habitat [and] road mortality.”
Climate change ruled out as most dominant factor for watersheds
A UBC-Chinese Academy of Sciences joint study shows that land cover plays as significant a role as climate change on the hydrology of watersheds. Scientists Adam Wei and David F. Scott of UBC Okanagan's Earth and Environmental Sciences Dept. in the Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences are co-authors of a ground-breaking global study comparing climate change – often considered the main indicator of river flow – to the influence of land cover change, or a watershed's ability to retain water. Earlier research varies greatly, and the topic remains controversial in the scientific community. The two factors affecting water yield have often been investigated separately, but not in combination, particularly on a global scale.
Scientists uncover cause of tree-killing fungus
Forest scientists at the University of British Columbia believe they've discovered the root cause of a deadly tree fungus: extra genes.
The fungus, Mycosphaerella populorum, uses extra genes to produce a toxin that can cause fatal lesions on the leaves, stems and branches of poplar trees. The extra genes were found through genome sequencing, the mapping of an organism's DNA. The discovery of their existence, outlined this week in a study in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, brings researchers one-step closer to fully understanding how the fungus attacks and kills trees. "Our findings will help us develop better methods to detect the fungus and prevent its spread," says senior author Richard Hamelin, a UBC forestry professor and research scientist at Natural Resources Canada.
Input invited on Fraser timber supply review
VICTORIA – Comments are being accepted until May 3, 2015, on a new discussion paper released today as part of a comprehensive timber supply review for the Fraser Timber Supply Area. Feedback on the discussion paper will be considered by the chief forester before setting the new allowable annual cut. The discussion paper describes the geography, natural resources, forest management and land use plans of the Fraser Timber Supply Area. It also provides the results of the timber supply analysis, including a base-case harvest forecast.
Vancouver tech scene among the rockets propelling the B.C. economy
By Christopher Donville and Gerrit De Vynck, Bloomberg
From technology to timber and tourism, Canada’s third-most populous province is poised to lead its peers in economic growth this year, propelled by low oil prices, a weak Canadian dollar, a diverse mix of trading partners and a recovering U.S. economy. ...Vancouver tech scene among the rockets propelling the B.C. economy. ...By sector, British Columbia Finance Minister Michael de Jong said he expects forestry, technology, tourism and film-and-television production to lead the province’s economic expansion this year. “Each one is confronted by a slightly different set of circumstances that are in their favour,” de Jong said last week in an interview in Vancouver.
Pic Mobert takes charge in forestry
Taking an ownership stake in a shuttered White River sawmill proved to be the perfect entry point for the Pic Mobert First Nation to finally participate in the forestry industry. The northeastern Ontario community of 900 members has mobilized a logging company this winter, Magwayyawk Forestry Services, which not only supplies fibre to the nearby White River Forest Products, but serves as a training vehicle to encourage locals to become entrepreneurs. “It’s a novel thing that we’ve done where we’ve formed a company with our customer to cut wood and leverage off some of their capabilities,” said Norm Jaehrling, Pic Mobert’s CEO.
Genetic Data Can Help Predict How Pine Forests Will Cope with Climate Change
Gene variants influence maritime pine survival under climate stress
Data from only a small number of gene variants can predict which maritime pine trees are most vulnerable to climate change, scientists report in the March issue of GENETICS. The results will improve computer models designed to forecast where forests will grow as the climate changes, and promises to help forestry managers decide where to focus reforestation efforts. The results will also guide the choice of tree stocks... To predict which regions will sustain pine forests in the future, researchers and managers rely on computer models. But these forecasts don't take into account two major factors that influence a forest's fate: genetics and evolution.
Google Forest Canopy View
When Street View started it was named ‘Street View’ because it was captured using cameras mounted on the roof of a car driving along streets. Since then Google has been shrinking the equipment, initially fitting it on a trike and later making it small enough to carry on your back known as the Street View trekker. Since then the Street View cameras have taken a variety of different rides, such as Gondolas in Venice, Camels in Egypt, a quad bike in Greenland and even on diving expeditions. Now the Street View cameras have taken a ride on a zipline through the Amazon rainforest canopy. This is thanks to the trekker loan program and the Amazonas Sustainable Foundation.
MSU team will study Montana forest to help forests across West
BOZEMAN – A Montana State University ecologist who has studied the movement of water through redwood trees has now received a federal grant to investigate the movement of nitrogen through a western Montana forest. Concerned about the productivity of mountainous forests across the American West, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) awarded Jia Hu a four-year grant totaling $466,000. The grant will allow Hu and her team to sample streams, snow, soil and plants in the Lubrecht Experimental Forest near Missoula over the next three years.
Forester: Smokey Bear’s lesson perhaps too effective
COLUMBIA -- Smokey Bear, you may be too good at your job. Prescribed burns, a traditional tool aimed at preserving habitat, is getting harder to do in South Carolina. “Sadly, one of the main threats to prescribed burning is the legacy of Smokey Bear,” reads a press release from the S.C. Department of Natural Resources. Controlled burns are necessary for public safety and wildlife habitat, but the influence of the national symbol and shifting demographics have eroded the tradition of controlled burns in South Carolina.
Actions Globally Call on Brazil to Reject GMO Trees
New York – Organizations on four continents took action today at Brazilian consulates and embassies as part of the Emergency Global Day of Action to STOP Genetically Engineered Trees. The groups are demanding the government of Brazil reject an industry request to legalize genetically engineered eucalyptus trees there. On 5 March 2015, The Brazilian Technical Commission on Biosafety, which regulates GMOs in Brazil, will meet to decide on a request by FuturaGene to legalize the commercial development of their genetically engineered eucalyptus trees.
Starving koalas secretly culled at Cape Otway, 'overpopulation issues' blamed for ill health
Almost 700 koalas have been culled in the Cape Otway area of western Victoria because of "overpopulation issues", according to the state's Environment Minister. ...The koalas were captured and sedated before being put down by wildlife officials. ..."It is clear it's an overpopulation issue and it is clear that we have had koalas suffer in that Cape Otway area because of ill health and starvation," she said. ...Frank Fotinas runs the Bimbi Park Caravan Park at Cape Otway, which promotes camping under koalas. While they are good for business, Mr Fotinas said the koalas were stripping the trees, leaving acres and acres of dead wood. "Koalas are great for business but if there's no trees, there's no koalas," he said.
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Environmentalist may have to pay compensation after disrupting logging in Mowen Forest
A protester who locked herself onto logging machinery in a Western Australian forest for seven hours may be forced to pay thousands of dollars in compensation, police say. Margaret River woman Mira Clohessy locked herself onto the equipment at Mowen Forest in the South West early Tuesday morning using a custom-made thumb lock contraption. The woman was protesting against the logging of a 1,600 hectare swathe of native jarrah and karri trees.
Company & Business News
Q4 results reflect key decisions to position Catalyst for the future
RICHMOND, BC - Catalyst Paper today announced earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of $6.8 million in Q4 compared to $8.0 million in Q3. Catalyst reported a net loss, excluding specific items, of $10.4 million in Q4 compared to $10.8 million in Q3. Operating results were impacted by increased manufacturing expenses, including higher rates for electricity, as well as costs related to the indefinite curtailment of Paper Machine No. 9 at the Powell River mill, and the acquisition of the Biron paper mill in Wisconsin and the Rumford pulp and paper mill in Maine.
Fire breaks out at APD Sawmill in Port Alberni
A fire that apparently began in the headrig at Alberni Pacific Division (APD) Sawmill along Port Alberni's waterfront sent smoke billowing into the sky that was visible for miles, Tuesday afternoon. Crews from Port Alberni, Beaver Creek and Sproat Lake fire departments responded with up to nine trucks at one point, as well as an ambulance. Reports from the scene had the building safely evacuated but no official word yet from the Port Alberni Fire Department. Brenda Widdess, who can see the mill below her home, said on social media it was the "worst one we have seen in 34 years."
Dust removal lagged at mill, inquest told
One of the men killed in the Lakeland Mills sawmill explosion would "literally pound on the table in the lunchroom" when expressing his concerns about the level of wood dust in the facility, a coroners inquest into the incident heard Tuesday. Glenn Roche, who died from injuries suffered in the April 23, 2012 explosion, was worried about the mill's condition even before a similar explosion had occurred at Babine Forest Products near Burns Lake three months before the one at Lakeland took his life, said long-time Lakeland employee Lorne Hartford. "Talking about how he's not getting any response from the company, how he's talked to this guy and that guy and how 'we got to pick up now because they're not doing their job' and 'we've got to clean it up now or we're not going to have a place to work,'" Hartford said.
Domtar Windsor manager Eric Ashby named TAPPI Mill Manager of the Year
TAPPI has announced that Eric Ashby of Domtar Windsor in Quebec has been selected as PIMA’s Mill Manager of the Year. Ashby was selected for this honor due to his outstanding leadership, management, and organizational skills leading to improved results at the Domtar Windsor Mill... PIMA is the management division of TAPPI, the American pulp and paper industry association.
Quebec premier defends $500,000 contract for Lucien Bouchard and entourage
Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard is defending his government’s decision to award a $500,000 contract that will see former premier Lucien Bouchard act as mediator in a dispute between aboriginals and a forestry company. The Cree and Inuit communities of Lac-St-Jean are in conflict with the province and the firm Resolute Forest Products over logging rights in the area. Couillard said during a trip in France on Tuesday that thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars are at stake and that resolving the issues is absolutely fundamental.
Northern Pulp subcontracts rest of refit
Northern Pulp Nova Scotia Corp. will complete a $22-million refit of its Abercrombie Point pulp mill with subcontractors after the Atlanta-based lead engineer withdrew from the installation phase. “We have the required qualified subcontractors here, and we’ve maintained the key people involved with the project,” Bruce Chapman, plant operations manager, said Tuesday. Clyde Bergemann Power Group pulled out of the project unexpectedly last week just as preparations were underway for a May installation of a new electrostatic precipitator for the recovery boiler.
Bear of the Day: Lumber Liquidators
Lumber Liquidators was already facing sales weakness before the 60 Minutes expose rocked the shares. This Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell) has been struggling over the last year. ...On Feb 25, it announced fourth quarter results which again missed the Zacks Consensus. It was the third earnings miss out of the last four quarters. Earnings were $0.64 versus the Zacks Consensus of $0.76. Even before the 60 Minutes expose about the company's Chinese manufacturing facilities aired, Lumber Liquidators was seeing sales weakness.
Martco plans to build new OSB mill in Corrigan, Texas
Martco L.L.C. announced the selection of Corrigan, Texas, as the location for a new, state-of-the-art oriented strand board (OSB) facility. The facility is expected to employ 165 people. Construction is scheduled to begin in the summer of 2015, with start-up anticipated by the fall of 2017, as the company said in the press release received by Lesprom Network. Corrigan OSB, L.L.C. will complement Martco L.L.C.’s existing wood-product manufacturing plants in Oakdale, Louisiana (OSB); Chopin, Louisiana (plywood); and Mexia, Alabama (lumber and timbers).
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Slowdown in exports drag domestic log prices in Western US
SPOKANE: The US log export volumes to Asia plunged sharply by nearly 25% during 3Q/2014 when compared with the previous quarter. The total log exports to Asian countries fell sharply to touch their lowest level in two years. The shipments to China witnessed drastic decline of 32% during the quarter, posting its lowest level since Q1/2013. The log exports to Asia had been constantly on the rise during past several quarters. The shipment volumes had reached an all-time high of 2.5 million cubic metre during the second quarter of 2014. Log exports volumes to major Asian destinations such as China, Japan and South Korea doubled over the past four years.
Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
NASA has a plan to take the most detailed scans of the world’s forests ever
The story of climate change is closely tied to that of the carbon cycle. The increasing amounts of carbon dioxide hanging in our atmosphere — as opposed to being locked up in the world's oceans, soils, and forests — are leading to broken heat records and scary predictions of what our world might look like without ice sheets. To better understand how big a role trees play in this carbon cycle, NASA has recently granted a spot aboard the International Space Station to an instrument to measure the carbon in Earth's forests.
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Opportunity Still Knocks
In an industry largely focused on adding capacity in half million ton chunks, two producers acted on an opportunity they saw for far smaller pellet operations.
... In the past year, at least four projects with annual production volumes of less than 40,000 metric tons of pellets were announced in very different regions, with very different feedstock situations, to say nothing of markets. Two of these relative newcomers—Snow Timber Pellets LLC and Queston Wood Pellets—are up and running with explicit aims to serve a largely local market. By examining the stories of these two facilities, a common set of development characteristics shared by the two plants begins to emerge. Queston Wood Pellets and Snow Timber Pellets each were able to leverage existing capital, guaranteed feedstock supply, a familiarity with the requisite equipment, access to available markets and important transportation logistics to make their interest in pellet production become a reality.
Wood & Paper Products & Green Building
Wood Design Award winners announced
Innovative architectural and structural design was recently honoured at the 11th Annual Wood Design Awards in BC. The event at the Vancouver Convention Centre on Mar. 2 recognized excellence in wood building and design. ...The winner of the Wood Champion Award was Marie-Odile Marceau the principal at McFarland Marceau Architects Ltd, and the Engineer Award went to Eric Karsh the principal at Equilibrium Consulting Inc. The Architect Award went to Michael Green Architecture. Michael Green Architecture also won the Wood Innovation Award for the Wood Innovation and Design Centre in Prince George, B.C., as well as the Institutional Wood Design - Large for the Ronald McDonald House BC project in Vancouver, B.C.
Manufacturers make the most of veneers
This week, Furniture/Today begins the first of a two-part look at the types of woods used in furniture. The first installment looks at the most common veneers, domestic and imported. Next week’s issue will look at the most commonly used solid wood species. ...According to U.S. government data, hardwood log exports to China have grown in recent years, rising from $168.9 million in 2009 to about $269.4 million in 2013. In order of importance, commonly exported species include red oak, white oak, walnut, cherry and ash, Howlett said. Herzog Veneers is a High Point-based supplier of 150 types of domestic, exotic, rare, recomposed and dyed veneers.
Local Atlanta Contractor Wins Nationwide Wood, Naturally Build and Design Sweepstakes
Joel Harper of Leisure Time Decks Presented with Lease on a 2015 Ford F-150
CHICAGO -- Atlanta-based contractor Joel Harper was named the winner today of the Wood, Naturally Build and Design Sweepstakes, a nationwide call for submissions of outdoor living and interior design projects using softwood lumber. Wood, Naturally, a campaign funded by the Softwood Lumber Board, presented Harper with a lease on a new 2015 Ford F-150... The Wood, Naturally campaign was created in 2013 to educate and inspire homeowners and contractors to design and build with wood. The campaign showcases wood's outdoor living applications, such as decks, siding and fences, along with interior applications like walls and ceilings.
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Why Doesn't the World Have More Wooden Skyscrapers?
This week, an ambitious proposal for the world's tallest wooden skyscraper was unveiled in Vienna, Austria. The 275-foot, €60M timber building will be built next year, and follows in the low-carbon footsteps of recent timber structures in Canada, Australia, and England. The idea of fashioning tall towers from the earth's natural materials, and not concrete or steel, first began gaining traction in 2013, when the Canadian architect Michael Green introduced the concept to the wider world via a TED talk that has now been viewed more than a million times. "I believe that wood is the most technologically advanced material I can build with," Green said in his talk. "It just happens to be that Mother Nature holds the patent."