The Tree Frog News
Fears grow over pine beetles
It could be a beetles’ comeback with few fans applauding, say those overseeing Alberta’s forests. Another warm winter could boost the number and spread of Mountain Pine Beetles that have ravaged the province’s pine woodlands and are creeping towards Saskatchewan, said Alberta Agriculture and Forestry official Erica Samis. “There could be — a low winter mortality means more beetles coming out of the trees in summer and taking more trees,” said Samis, the ministry’s director of forest health and adaptation. While that potential is definitely there, forestry officials won’t know for certain until a count on pine beetle populations is conducted in May, she said.
Great Bear Rainforest deal shouldn’t have taken so long
After 10 years of conflict and another 10 years of intense negotiations, 85 per cent of the 6.4 million hectares of the Great Bear Rainforest have been protected in perpetuity. But this should have been much easier than it was. The Great Bear Rainforest, as it was named to give it more personality than the mid-coast timber supply area, is the largest remaining intact temperate rainforest in the world. It is habitat to wolves, bears, salmon and uncounted other species, including the rare “Spirit Bear.” The rest of our planet’s equivalent forests have been logged, cleared, fragmented, subdivided and variously populated by people.
Sechelt student awarded scholarship
Heavy Equipment Operator Program
Linden Feniak of Sechelt was one of two recipients of $5,000 scholarships funded by the Truck Loggers Association (TLA) and Chevron for students in the Heavy Equipment Operator Program at Vancouver Island University (VIU). B.C. Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Steve Thomson presented the awards to Feniak and fellow VIU student Shane Wiersma of Duncan at the Minister of Forests breakfast during the TLA’s 73rd Annual Convention and Trade Show on Jan. 15. “I commend Shane and Linden for continuing family traditions and pursuing careers in the forest industry. Over the next few years, more jobs will continue to open up, and I encourage all young people to consider working in the woods,” Thomson said.
Harvest bidding held off in hopes timber market will improve
BUCKFIELD — Selectmen and the public were given an update regarding the Bessey Field pine grove harvest last week, as Town Manager Cindy Dunn is waiting to go out to bid in hopes that the stumpage market will improve. ...“Yes, you're right. The trees that are marked are the ones we're proposing to remove,” Dunn answered. She added Darrel Brown, a Maine licensed forester recommended by District Forester Merle Ring, marked the trees. “They have not been removed yet because I will assume we all are aware the market for logging is really bad plus with the winter we've had, the ground isn't frozen enough. … I want to cause as little damage as I can do to the ground when they drop those trees.”
From Biologists to Bridges, Farm Bill Helps Fund Forest Management
On the second anniversary of the 2014 Farm Bill, the state is reviewing how that legislation helps Montana restore forests across state lands. The bill kick-started a program called Forest in Focus which helped Governor Steve Bullock pull together various components that promote management of forest lands. Forest in Focus also promotes citizen engagement in managing forests as well as retaining wood products in Montana. A project that came out of this initiative was the Chessman Reservoir and Flume project. “Department of Natural Resources and Conservation was partnering with the Helena National Forest to implement a project to help reduce fire risk,” said DNRC Forestry Division Administrator Bob Harrington. The Farm Bill reinforced the expectation that states would work with federal agencies to identify priority needs.
‘Accelerated restoration’ proposed on 1.27 million acres
The Blue Mountains Restoration Strategy Team has crafted a 1.27 million acre project on the Umatilla, Wallowa-Whitman and Ochoco national forests. An interdisciplinary team of scientists has crafted an ambitious proposal to do “accelerated restoration” on 1.27 million acres of federal forests in the Blue Mountains. The Forest Resiliency Project calls for a whopping 610,000 acres of tree thinning and prescribed burns to lower the risk of wildfires within the Umatilla, Wallowa-Whitman and Ochoco national forests. The Forest Service estimates more than 2.3 million acres of dry forests across the Blues are overgrown and vulnerable to insects, disease and fire.
Mapleton farmer harvesting firs before budworm returns
With spruce budworm populations expected to grow in northern Maine forests, Matt Gregg of Maple Meadow Farms is among several woodlot owners who are getting ahead of the problem. A farmer and auctioneer, Gregg is harvesting balsam fir trees this winter from the farm’s 180-acre mixed woodlot north of Route 163 in Mapleton. He drives into the area in a small truck. along with the family dog, Wilson, and enlists the help of a Belgian draft horse to pull the trees up to the trail. Gregg hasn’t seen any signs of the spruce budworm, which killed more than 20 percent of Maine’s fir trees in the 1970s and 1980s, but he believes the predictions of researchers who say the bugs are going to start growing in number. “Right now we’re concentrating on the fir because we’d like to get it out as quickly as we can,” he said.
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Nominations sought for wood awards
Eastland Wood Council Forestry Awards return for a seventh year
NOMINATIONS are now open to acknowledge the district’s forestry “heroes”, as the Eastland Wood Council Forestry Awards return for a seventh year bigger than ever. The awards are intended to recognise the region’s top performers in the industry and event manager Prue Younger said this year three new categories had been added to the awards, which would mean there would be 16 awards in total, including the EWC Skilled Professional of the Year major award. “This year we have wanted to increase the focus on harvesting, so have introduced three new awards which recognise the individuals involved in the harvesting workforce.” Ms Younger said there would be new categories this year for the best Breaker Out, Faller, as well as for Extraction and Skidwork.
Company & Business News
Interfor Posts Improved Results in Q4'15
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA-- - INTERFOR CORPORATION ("Interfor" or the "Company") (TSX:IFP) recorded Adjusted EBITDA of $35.8 million in Q4'15 versus $11.5 million in Q3'15 and $37.4 million in Q4'14. The Company's results in Q4'15 reflect the benefits of higher prices and progress on a number of key business initiatives. ...In Q4'15, Interfor recorded sales of $411.4 million and a net loss of $3.5 million, or $0.05 per share, compared with net losses of $6.1 million and $5.2 million in Q3'15 and Q4'14, respectively. Adjusted net earnings in the fourth quarter were $5.5 million, or $0.08 per share, compared with an adjusted net loss of $15.4 million and adjusted net earnings of $10.2 million in Q3'15 and Q4'14, respectively.
Mercer International Inc. Reports Strong 2015 Fourth Quarter and Year End Results and Announces Quarterly Cash Dividend of $0.115
NEW YORK, -- Mercer International Inc. (Nasdaq:MERC) (TSX:MRI.U) today reported strong results for the fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2015. Operating EBITDA* in the fourth quarter of 2015 was $61.5 million, compared to $71.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2014 and $61.1 million in the prior quarter of 2015. For 2015, Operating EBITDA was $234.0 million, compared to $239.8 million for 2014. For the fourth quarter of 2015, our net income was $21.7 million, or $0.34 per basic and $0.33 per diluted share, compared to $3.2 million, or $0.05 per basic and diluted share, in the fourth quarter of 2014 and $23.8 million, or $0.37 per basic and diluted share, in the prior quarter of 2015.
Weyerhaeuser to move some jobs out of state
HELENA – Gov. Steve Bullock said Thursday he had learned that Weyerhaeuser said it will relocate certain administrative jobs out of state, but keep hundreds of timber workers and manufacturers employed in Montana. Company officials also reportedly told the governor that it would keep its land in Montana open to public use. “I am disappointed in Weyerhaeuser’s decision to relocate some accounting, human resources, and IT jobs to the company’s corporate headquarters as a result of its merger with Plum Creek, but I am tremendously pleased that hundreds of jobs in Montana’s timber industry will remain in the state,” Bullock said in an email.
Cuts Imminent Within Plum Creek Front Office; Mills and Public Access Spared
New details shed light on local impacts from merger between Plum Creek, Weyerhaeuser
Plum Creek’s manufacturing operations and public access policy will be preserved in Northwest Montana but some top-level administrative positions will be eliminated in Columbia Falls following a merger between two timber giants, a company official confirmed. A day before shareholders are scheduled to vote on a major merger between Plum Creek Timber Company and Weyerhaeuser, company officials held a meeting Thursday in Columbia Falls updating salaried employees on looming changes. Tom Ray, vice president for Northwest resources and manufacturing at Plum Creek, confirmed with the Beacon that the company’s Montana mills are expected to remain open indefinitely and avoid any cutbacks.
Baldwin understands company community connections
As the Winston Plywood and Veneer Plant in Louisville nears completion, a man with plenty of plywood experience and who has multiple talents beyond that scope leads the project while tackling others such as completing the book, “Plywood and Veneer-Based Products”. Dr. Richard F. Baldwin is the President and CEO of the Winston Plywood and Veneer, as well as an accomplished author of seven books and has published dozens of journal articles concerning manufacturing practices, operating management, maintenance, and forestry issues. While a resident of Dallas, Texas; he can frequently be found in Winston County overseeing the Winston mill project and will also be in Winston County for the first book signing of his latest edition.
Report: Paper Company Owes Millions to Other Wisconsin Firms
WISCONSIN RAPIDS, WI - A paper company that filed for bankruptcy protection owes more than $13 million to nine of its largest business creditors in Wisconsin. Gannett's USA Today Network says the Verso paper firm lists business relationships with 1,600 firms throughout Wisconsin. Its larger creditors include trucking, timber, and packaging outfits in the central part of the state where Verso has paper mills in Wisconsin Rapids and Stevens Point. Verso filed for bankruptcy in late January, so it could reorganize its finances and deal with $2.4 billion in debt.
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Sales slump force pellet mills to cut back
CORINTH, Maine -- Maine's pellet market is struggling this year. The companies that make pellets are a number of factors including warm weather. For one pellet maker in Corinth, a slump in sales could mean it has to shut its doors. As recently as last year, pellets were considered a bright spot for Maine's forest products industry. But this year, the situation is entirely different. We spoke with a few pellet mills about how their sales and production compare year-to-year. Northeast Pellets in Ashland says the market is very soft in 2016. Company owner Matt Bell attributes that to the mild winter, low fuel prices, and the low Canadian exchange rate.
Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Senate approves Collins forest bioenergy amendment
The Senate recently approved a bipartisan measure authored by U.S. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) that would require federal agencies to draft policies supporting the use of forest bioenergy. The amendment to the Energy Policy Modernization Act, S. 2102, would direct federal agencies to adopt policies that support converting forest biomass into renewable energy. Forest biomass refers to tree trunks, leaves, roots, branches and needles, and other organic materials found in forests. “Biomass energy is sustainable, responsible, renewable and economically significant as an energy source, and many states, including Maine, are already relying on biomass to meet their renewable energy goals,” Collins said.
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Wood chips increasingly used as power source
In November last year, Hitachi Zosen Corp. began commercial operation in Hitachiota of a wood biomass power plant, which uses otherwise unusable lumber resulting from tree thinning as a fuel. The plant, which was capitalized at about ¥3 billion, can generate enough power every year to supply about 12,000 ordinary households. The company sells all of the power except for that consumed in-house, and plans to operate the facility for 20 years. It established a council to realize a stable supply of wood biomass fuel in the city’s Miyanosato area, together with entities including local forestry businesses and associations. It is set up to utilize unused lumber sourced from trees such as Japanese cedar and Japanese cypress in the prefecture, as well as from Tochigi and Fukushima prefectures.
Wood & Paper Products & Green Building
Observatory up for award
Royal Astronomical Society of Canada
The new observatory at Sechelt’s airport has been nominated for a Wood WORKS! BC award for its innovative design that allows the roof to literally slide off to expose a high-powered telescope aimed at the stars. The observatory has been nominated in the small institutional wood design category, which recognizes “the benefits of wood in institutional applications while showcasing the special qualities of wood such as strength, durability, beauty, versatility, benefits to occupants and cost-effectiveness.” The observatory belongs to the Sunshine Coast Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. Society president Charles Ennis said his group is “pretty pleased with the nomination, since we’re up against some impressive entries entered by accomplished engineers and architects.”
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How codes have limited Oregon timber construction products
In this week's Business Journal cover story, I focus on cross-laminated timber, a construction material that's new to the U.S. and carries the potential to boost Oregon's mill towns. Known as CLT, the product is a large panel constructed of hundreds of pieces of dimensional lumber laid and glued in perpendicular layers — two-by-fours and similar sizes do the job. Oregon's D.R. Johnson Lumber Co. in Riddle was the first in the nation to be certified to manufacture structural-grade CLT panels. The technology has been used in several tall buildings, above six stories, in Europe and Australia, and Asia is getting onboard too.