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Jim Martin, Inside Education Founder, In Memorium
By Steve McIssac
It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of our friend, mentor and founder Jim Martin. Jim passed away Friday, July 22 after a painfully sudden, but mercifully brief battle with cancer. He is survived by his wife, and our friend and colleague Karin Hedetniemi. He is additionally survived by all of us who were touched by his vision, dedication and commitment to education about our environment and how humans interact in and with the natural world. Words cannot express how much Jim Martin meant to not only a generation of students and teachers across Alberta, Canada and around the world, but also to a generation of environmental educators – those of us who learned so much just from being around him. Words also cannot express how much we will miss him.
Engineering professor using NASA satellite data to forecast forest fires
By Sean Myers
Quazi Hassan's research is pinpointing danger zones in remote areas. Imagine being able to accurately predict where forest fires might strike — even in the most remote locations in the province — using freely accessible data from a NASA satellite. This is the work of Quazi Hassan, a geomatics engineering associate professor in the University of Calgary's Schulich School of Engineering, whose NSERC funding has just been renewed. “There are only so many weather stations in the province, so there are remote areas where we don’t get very much data,” says Hassan. “My idea is to use remote sensing to forecast where forest fires are likely to occur so we can mobilize resources and get to the areas earlier.”
New Book by Dr. Jim Bowyer Ready for Pre-Sale Orders
Dr. Jim Bowyer has published a new book - The Irresponsible Pursuit of Paradise. Focused on natural resource issues, the volume delves into such controversial matters as population dynamics and what that might mean for consumption-oriented economic systems, environmental impacts of consumption and of outsourcing of raw materials procurement, shortcomings of environmental education, considerations of global equity, and strategies for addressing consumption. "This is an important work from a life-long committed environmentalist, and Dr. Bowyer turns the lens around to our own often hypocritical or counter-productive behaviors towards sustainability," says Jennifer O'Connor, President, Athena Sustainable Materials Institute in Ottawa, Canada.
Oregon Timber Harvest Slips For 2nd Consecutive Year
By Kristian Foden-Vencil
Oregon’s timber harvest dropped 8 percent last year. Before the great recession, Oregon was producing about 4 billion board feet of lumber a year. That dropped after the recession as people stopped building houses. But it’s been climbing and for the last few years it’s been above 4 billion board feet again, thanks in part to a strong Chinese economy. But Brandon Kaetzel with the Oregon Department of Forestry, said China’s economy stumbled in 2015 and the Softwood Lumber Agreement, between the U.S. and Canada, expired.
Experts: Fight fire with fire
Governor's office considering various strategies to combat wildfires amid drought and tree mortality
California’s forests could benefit from more fires, according to scientists and state officials tasked with protecting people and property from high-intensity blazes. Gov. Jerry Brown’s office recently held the first in what’s expected to be a series of private meetings with scientists, conservationists and fire professionals to discuss how to prevent massive blazes in the face of climate change and prolonged drought. The state’s ongoing epidemic of dead or dying trees — the latest count is more than 66 million — has stoked fears about increased wildfires, but scientists and state officials agreed the dead wood may not be the threat many believe. Rather, they expressed the need for longer-term strategies to protect backcountry homes and businesses.
Editorial: Timber numbers reflect global trends
The Oregon Department of Forestry on Monday announced that timber harvests in the state declined about 8 percent in 2015 when compared to the year before. ...We often have argued that Oregon's economy would be healthier, especially in the state's rural areas, if we were able to put more people back to work in our forests. This week's report from the Department of Forestry starts to suggest some of the reasons why that isn't happening, and while some of those are our making, other factors are out of our control. First, consider this: According to the state, about half of Oregon (49 percent) is forested. (It works out to be about 30.2 million acres of forested land.)
Oregon timber harvest slips below 4 billion board feet
by STEVEN DUBOIS
PORTLAND, Ore. — Oregon's timber harvest dropped below 4 billion board feet in 2015, snapping a two-year run above that benchmark, according to statistics released Monday by the state Department of Forestry. The 3.79 billion board feet harvested last year represents an 8 percent decline from 2014, and that harvest was slightly lower than 2013. Brandon Kaetzel, a top economist at the department, said the decrease was largely driven by a slowdown in exports to Asia. Moreover, an increase in Canadian lumber hurt demand for Oregon logs and an active fire season caused problems. ... The statistics show the harvest slumped across all ownership types, except state-owned.
Land deal in Skamania County frustrates couple
Almost as soon as they purchased about 350 acres of timberland in Skamania County in 2012, Ted and Mary Salka made moves to sell most of it off. The couple found a buyer in the U.S. Forest Service, but the sale became symbolic of the fiscally struggling Skamania County’s frustrations with the federal agency’s overwhelming presence in the county. Soon, county officials and Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler worked hard to stop it. Now, after nearly three years of wrangling, the sale is close to completion, and it’s paved the way for new future dialogues between the Forest Service and Skamania County around future land sales. But it’s left the landowners feeling forgotten.
Nedsbar Timber Sale From The Industry Side (audio)
There's just a bit more than a week (August 1) to comment on the Environmental Assessment for the Nedsbar Forest Management Project on BLM land in the Applegate Valley. The alternatives for the project include one provided by the community. We heard from BLM and the community alternative assemblers in a previous edition. Here we get the timber industry perspective from the American Forest Resource Council. AFRC's Andy Geissler gives us his organization's view of the proposal and the alternatives.
Public safety and forest mitigation
by Jim McCormick, candidate for Lewis and Clark County Commission
The recently announced timber management agreement between the U.S. Forest Service and state of Montana is laudable, yet just a small piece of a solution and a long overdue recognition of what must be done to mitigate the dangerously high buildup of fuels in our federal forests. We need only remember the recent wildland fire in Fort McMurray, Alberta, that resulted in the destruction of 2,400 homes, commercial structures and millions of acres of trees and forest habitat. That fire is reported to be the most expensive natural disaster in Canada’s history. But more to the point, it profoundly changed the lives of tens of thousands of our northern neighbors.
Locals write white paper on forest health
Three men from Siskiyou County have come together to express their professional views regarding management practices of Pacific Northwest National Forests that they believe will help to not only sustain a healthy forest but also resist catastrophic fires. Ray Haupt is a professional forester. Larry Alexander is a former biologist. Bruce Courtright is a retired forester whose last job involved working as a part-time assistant to the chief of the United States Forest Service and part-time as an assistant to the Secretary of Agriculture. Each man has sported several titles over the course of his life, and most of those titles pertain to creating sustainability in commerce and nature. Their experience, know-how, and fear of the current predicament facing forests of the Pacific Northwest is why they came together to write “Our Dying National Forests; A Disaster or Perfect Opportunity For Bold Action By A New President.”
Forest Service forms plan to improve elk habitat, logging
Forest Service representatives from the Appalachian Ranger District met July 14 with interested stakeholders to begin the process of planning for future management of the Twelve Mile area of Haywood County. The area, so named because it stretches along about 12 miles of Interstate 40 in the northwestern corner of Haywood County, remains a rugged forested area without many access points. The U.S. Forest Service is gathering ideas and feedback for its four-part plan to better use resources in the region. “The goal was to lay out ideas, identify data gaps and areas of concern as we move forward defining the scope of this project said,” Appalachian District Ranger Matthew McCombs. County Manager Ira Dove and Emergency Services Manager Greg Shuping attended the meeting, representing Haywood County government.
County expected to act to resume forest management
By Rick Miller
LITTLE VALLEY — For the past several years, Cattaraugus County has largely ignored an estimated 2,000 acres of reforestation areas it owns. The county hasn’t invested in the forests or received any revenue from timber harvests in over a decade. It ended a longtime contract with a private forestry firm that managed the county forests. A presentation Wednesday to members of the County Legislature’s Public Works Committee by Jeffrey Brokelback, a state Department of Conservation forestry official, signaled a change is about to happen. Legislator Joseph Snyder, R-Ischua, who is involved in the forestry industry, suggested near the end of the meeting that the committee take two parcels and turn them over to a forestry consultant to manage for a small percentage of the timber harvest.
Sen. Baldwin Talks Forestry, Storm Damage (audio)
US Senator Tammy Baldwin addressed storm damage and the forestry industry as she continued her visit in northern Wisconsin. After touring the storm damaged areas of Northern Wisconsin last week, Baldwin requested that federal disaster aid be distributed. Yesterday it was announced that $4 million dollars will be released to help fix damaged infrastructure. The estimated bill on that damage continues to grow, now totaling more than $34 million dollars. As for Baldwin’s tour, yesterday she stopped in Antigo at Kretz Lumber. She says, “Our timber economy in northern and central Wisconsin is facing a number of challenges that need to be addressed. By working together, we can help create a more stable supply of timber from our federal lands, while sustainably managing our resources.”
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Taking remote control of NZ's forestry future
by TIM O'CONNELL
New Zealand's forestry industry took one step closer to a safer and fully-mechanised future with a demonstration of gamer-style remote technology at Trass Valley, south of Nelson. The new tele-operation technology, demonstrated on Monday, allows remote use of a purpose-built tracked forest harvester from the safety of a separate cabin and seated console located at the work site. Four cameras attached to the John Deere 909 felling machine transmit live images to monitors inside the cabin console where the seated operator can replicate their tasks. The third stage of development in a quest to make our forestry work sites safer was unveiled near Nelson on Monday with a specially designed cabin console providing remote control operation of a John Deere 909 felling machine.
New fire located in the Nipigon District
There were two new fire confirmed in the Northwest Region by the afternoon of July 23. One is located in the Sioux Lookout District and one is located in the Nipigon District. The forest fire hazard is high in the western portions of the region and moderate in the eastern portions of the region. Rain is in the forecast for tomorrow. The following fires have been declared out: Thunder Bay District Fire 027; Sioux Lookout District Fire 014; Sioux Lookout District Fire 024; and Sioux Lookout District Fire 32. There are currently 16 active fires in the region: • Nipigon District Fire 023 is a lightning-caused fire listed at 960 hectares in size. It is being observed and is located about 30 kilometres west of Neskantaga First Nation in the far north.
Two new forest fires burning in the northeast
Two new forest fires are burning the northeast region as of Sunday, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry reports. Both fires are relatively small, but fire rangers with the MNRF have not yet brought them under control. The two fires are Bancroft 15 at 0.1 of a hectare and Parry Sound 29 at 0.4 of a hectare. The forest fire hazard ranges from low to high in the northeast.The nine other fires burning in the region include: Parry Sound 27 is being held at 2 hectares, Parry Sound 28 is being held at 3.6 hectares. Sudbury 30 is under control at 0.3 of a hectare.
Wildfires Are Getting Bigger, Lasting Longer and Costing More, Experts Say
By Nick Strayer
The size of wildfires has grown sharply for more than 15 years, when the average fire was less than 50 acres. Today, the average wildfire is about 100 acres. Scott L. Stephens, a professor of fire science at the University of California, Berkeley, said the widespread practice of suppressing smaller fires had caused some forests to become “predisposed to larger events.” “When you take fire out of a system for 100 years,” he said, “you change things drastically.” This year’s fire season started strong: The number of acres burned by May 20 was 46 percent above average, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.
The Latest: Most evacuations canceled in California wildfire
The large majority of the roughly 20,000 evacuees from a huge wildfire north of Los Angeles will be allowed to return home. The U.S. Forest Service said in a statement that residents from all but two evacuated neighborhoods can return at 7 p.m. Monday. Some evacuees have been away from their homes since the beginning of the weekend. About 10,000 homes had been under evacuation orders. It wasn't clear exactly how many would remain on Monday night. The fire has burned more than 51 square miles (132.09 sq. kilometers) of ridges and canyons between Los Angeles and suburban Santa Clarita since Friday. ...Erratic winds are fanning a huge wildfire in the San Gabriel Mountains just north of Los Angeles.
FAA investigating drone operator who flew device over Fritz fire
By Jordan Niedermeier
Criminal charges are being considered and federal officials are continuing their investigation Monday of a drone operator whose actions interfered with firefighting aircraft Friday during a wildfire that threatened homes near Billings. Yellowstone County Sheriff’s deputies on Friday evening located the man controlling the unmanned hobby aircraft in the airspace above the fast-moving Fritz fire. The drone caused officials to ground firefighting aircraft for the day, which cost firefighters several hours of air support, said Yellowstone County Sheriff Mike Linder. The sheriff said the drone operator seemed aware he was doing something illegal and a deputy seized the camera-equipped drone as evidence.
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Out-of-control wildfire grows to more than 33,000 acres in Santa Clarita Valley
The brush fire raging in the rugged mountains of the Santa Clarita Valley grew by more than 10,000 acres on Sunday, scorching an estimated 33,172 acres by the late evening as the blaze continued to threaten hundreds of homes while firefighters battled to keep flames from spreading, authorities said. Fueled by 20-mph winds and hillsides carpeted with tinder-like chaparral, the wildfire was burning in hills toward Acton by late Sunday afternoon. Hundreds of residents were ordered to evacuate. Mandatory evacuations were still in place Sunday for about 1,500 residents in parts of Sand and Placerita canyons, as well as for others along Little Tujunga Canyon Road.
Company & Business News
Norbord Reports Second Quarter 2016 Results; Declares Quarterly Dividend
TORONTO, - Norbord Inc. (TSX and NYSE: OSB) today reported Adjusted EBITDA of $94 million for the second quarter of 2016 versus $19 million in the second quarter of 2015 and $61 million in the first quarter of 2016. The improvement versus both comparative periods is primarily due to higher North American oriented strand board (OSB) prices and shipment volumes. North American operations generated Adjusted EBITDA of $85 million in the quarter compared to $11 million in the same quarter last year and $53 million in the prior quarter. European operations delivered Adjusted EBITDA of $11 million compared to $10 million in both comparative quarters.
Donald? Hillary? Either one will be bad for BC's softwood industry
By David F. Rooney
Premier Christy Clark “is not optimistic” about BC’s prospects for avoiding another Softwood Lumber War with the United States. “I’m not optimistic but I am hopeful — I’m always hopeful! — and we’re working our tails off to get an agreement but the Americans do not seem motivated to get one,” she said in an interview after touring Revelstoke’s Downie Timber Mill on July 13. “We are not interested in just any deal. We are not interested in a deal that involves a quota, for example,” Christy said. “If the Americans say we have to have a quota system in Canada we’re not taking it. It will be bad for this mill (and others like it across the province) and we won’t take it.”
Hit with a 2x4: Senators push for action on Canadian softwood deal
by Rob Chaney
...So this time, U.S. trade representatives have pushed for a volume restriction, limiting the number of wood shipments regardless of price. That doesn’t sit well with the Canadians, who disagree with the premise of the U.S. position. They maintain the the cost of the previous trade agreement was a $4 billion loss. “It is for this reason that I am disappointed with some of the inaccurate language that is contained in your letter" to U.S. Trade Ambassador Michael Froman, MacNaughton wrote. “A successful negotiation is not guaranteed.” Part of that may stem from Canada’s lack of a national bargaining position. While much of British Columbia’s timber is owned by the provincial or federal government, eastern Canada's forests are much more in private hands. A contentious negotiating point has been whether individual regions or companies can stay out of the deal and cut separate trade arrangements.
Business in Vancouver's Top-paid 100 executive list
By Glen Korstrom
Down on the shop floor, salaries for executives on Business in Vancouver’s 2016 Top 100 highest-paid executives list might appear excessive. After all, the highest paid executive, Telus Corp. CEO Darren Entwistle’s $12,532,296 in 2015 compensation is 163 times that of the $76,770 median household income in B.C. in 2014 ...Not all of the largest companies have executives on the list, and some sectors, including forestry and wood products, are under-represented, compared with sectors such as mining or technology. B.C.’s sixth-largest company, lumber producer Canfor Corp., is the largest without executive representation on BIV’s Top 100 highest-paid list. Its CEO, Don Kayne, was paid $1,111,293 in 2015. ...Other forestry and wood products companies with scant representation on BIV’s list of top paid executives include West Fraser, which is B.C.’s fifth-largest company by revenue yet had only one executive on the list: CEO Ted Seraphim, whose $2,469,030 in compensation was enough to rank No. 60.
Premiers urge Canadian, U.S. governments to expedite softwood lumber negotiations
By Brad Perry
Canada's premiers are urging the Canadian and U.S. governments to expedite negotiations of a new softwood lumber agreement. New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant says the value of the lumber industry is significant in terms of employment and economic opportunity. Gallant says the two countries need to work collectively to protect and enhance the forestry sector in Canada and in New Brunswick in particular. The provincial government says the forestry sector contributes over $1.45 billion annually to the provincial economy and employs 22,000 New Brunswickers.
No Injuries In Resolute FP Fire
No injuries to report following a fire at Resolute Forest Products last night. City fire crews were called just after 10:30 pm to deal with a fire in a paper machine, but they weren't needed. It turns out that a team of firefighters at the mill were able to get the situation under control. (END)
EPA fines lumber mill for clean-air violations
SEATTLE — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has fined a tribal-owned lumber mill $89,000 for repeated clean-air violations. The EPA says PNW Wind Down LLC lumber mill is on the Colville Reservation in Omak. It produced plywood veneer from raw timber. The EPA says the company exceeded emissions limits and failed to abide by the terms of a compliance order. The facility is owned by the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation. It’s operated by Omak Wood Products. The EPA received complaints of heavy smoke and pollution from local residents in 2013 and issued violation notices. The EPA and the company entered into a compliance order in 2014.
Southport Forest Products carves out a niche
NORTH BEND — In the 1980s, environmental lawsuits and a changing global marketplace led to the shutdown of many local mills that depended on a supply of old-growth timber. But on the North Spit of Coos Bay, just across from North Bend, Southport Lumber's high-tech mill is not only surviving but thriving in an era of smaller trees. In 1998, Jason Smith was cruising timber for a consulting forester and watching small logs being harvested for chipping. He saw an opportunity for a sawmill that could extract lumber out of those small logs. A mutual acquaintance introduced him to Jim Lyons, who was, at the time, running his family's shipping facility, Ocean Terminals, in North Bend. Neither Smith nor Lyons had any experience in sawmills, but their enthusiasm for making lumber out of pulp logs was contagious.
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Milan-Based Pike Lumber Co. Announces Expansion, Job Openings
(Milan, Ind.) – Pike Lumber Company, a manufacturer and distributor of kiln dried lumber, announced plans today to expand its operations here, doubling production and creating up to 15 new jobs by 2020. ...Pike Lumber Company will invest $3.4 million to construct and equip a 27,200-square-foot addition to its Milan-based manufacturing facility at 785 Carr St. The facility, which will expand the company’s operations in Milan to cover 34,880 square feet, will allow Pike Lumber to double its lumber production to eight million board feet annually, increasing its supply to manufacturing customers. The addition will house a maintenance shop and new lumber handling and sawmilling equipment. Construction on the company’s expansion began earlier this month, with plans to be operational by this December.
Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
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WBA issues report on the importance of bioenergy in Europe
A recent study published by the World Bioenergy Association addresses the challenges European cities are facing within global climate mitigation policy and explains the contributions biomass can offer to reduce the use of fossil fuels. The study mentions seven European cities, including Stockholm, Sweden; Göteborg, Sweden; Copenhagen, Denmark; Ulm, Germany; Pecs, Hungary; Paris, France; and Graz, Austria, that demonstrate how bioenergy is integrated into the urban energy system, whether for heating, transport, cooling or electricity purposes. WBA stresses that the deployment of renewable energies is becoming a major political issue on the global, national and community level. In its report, WBA provides examples and concepts for the role of bioenergy in cities with more than 10,000 inhabitants in Central and Northern Europe.
Wood & Paper Products & Green Building
Big. Tall. Wood.
By Kevin Ma
Grandin residents might have noticed something odd about the new condo complex rising out of the ruins of Grandin mall. The two towers are the first all-wood structures in northern Alberta that are more than four storeys tall. About 70 workers are now on site at the old mall location hammering together the first phase of Grandin Parc Village. When finished, the two, five-storey buildings will contain some 139 condo units. Unlike most buildings of this height in Alberta, these two will be made almost completely out of wood, said Stefan Ilic, project manager with Amacon. (The ground floor on one of the buildings is steel.) Alberta only recently changed its regulations to allow wood-frame buildings to exceed four storeys. “This is the first one north of Calgary that's higher than four storeys,” he said – Calgary has a six-storey one.
Sequim's Greywolf Elementary to see two buildings from state funds; cross-laminated timber to be used in construction
SEQUIM — Two buildings housing four classrooms and using cross-laminated timber are planned at Greywolf Elementary as part of a pilot project. Earlier this year, state legislators appropriated $5.5 million for design and construction of 10 buildings in the Sequim, Seattle, Mount Vernon, Wapato and Toppenish public school districts as part of an effort to reduce class sizes in kindergarten through third grade. ...A major component of the construction is that the legislature directed the state Department of Enterprise Services, which coordinates modular projects, to use cross-laminated timber (CLT) in the buildings. ...State Rep. Steve Tharinger, a Sequim Democrat who represents the 24th Legislative District, said that as capital budgets chair in the House, he urged keeping the project in the budget because of the advantages of cross-laminated timber and the opportunity to create more jobs.
Michigan company builds Olympic basketball floors for Rio 2016
Connor Sports mill in Amasa provided the hardwood courts for the Summer Games
AMASA, Mich. - When basketball is played during the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, take a close look at the floors it's being played on because it should give you a little Michigan pride. The six basketball courts for both the men and women's' Olympic teams were made by employees at the Connor Sports mill in Amasa, Mich. "The line workers and in the offices, the quality control guys everyone looks at that and says 'Hey I built that, that's from up here in Michigan,'" Andrew Gettig, vice president of international business for Connor Sports, said. ..."We were competing against companies from Europe, to U.S., Canada and Asia, and in the end, they chose us," Gettig said. "I think everyone is kind of smiling and beaming a little bit, thinking that, in our industry, we won a gold medal."
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Using palm tree to make high-quality wood
By Sami Zaatari
Abu Dhabi: Using an innovative way of recycling palm tree waste, a UAE-based company that is participating in the Liwa Date Festival has developed a sustainable and environmentally clean way of meeting the UAE’s high demand for wooden board products. “The UAE imported roughly 1.25 million cubic metres of wooden board products in 2015 at a total cost of Dh1.6 billion — conversely, the country annually generates 500,000 tonnes of palm waste — waste that can be used to make wooden products, specifically from the fibre of the palm tree,” said Rami Farah, chief executive officer at Talah Board.