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Today's Takeaway

Today's Foible - A reason to pick paper over rock or scissors?

Categories: Today's Takeaway
May 16, 2017
Tree Frog Forestry News

According to the Japan Times, radiation levels near the Fukushima nuclear plant "have declined enough to resume logging near the triple meltdowns in 2011". Harvested trees will be shipped after radiation checks and destroyed if contaminated above the national standard of 0.5 microsievert per hour.

Anti-forestry campaigners in Ireland are believed to have "deliberately started wildfires to prevent the planting of trees". According to the local farmers association, the concern is that “when you start to put in trees, you start to move out people."

On softwood lumber, the Canadian government's aid package to help the sector cope with US tariffs is expected to go before cabinet today for final approval. CBC News reports the package will support "EI benefits for workers in affected regions and funds to help companies innovate, including transitioning into other value-added products". In Business in Vancouver, industry analyst Peter Woodbridge identifies a new problem: "if pain is inflicted through sustained high lumber prices, Canada’s US customers will quickly forget who caused it. The blame game will start and, under the current US administration, the tweeting finger inevitably will point at Canada".

 
Finally, the US Census Bureau’s residential construction statistics for April are coming in below consensus, according to RBC’s Paul Quinn, although only slightly as “single family starts were stable and still up relatively strongly.

-- Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor


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Froggy Foibles

Watch paper cut straight through wood and plastic with ease

Categories: Froggy Foibles
May 16, 2017
Business Insider

A YouTuber has shown how you can cut through wood or plastic using just two sheets of normal A4 paper. He stuck two sheets of paper together and cut out a small circle from it and then attached it to a device that could rotate it. As the paper rotates centrifugal force (inertial force directed away from the axis of rotation) makes its particles move outwards. This is what makes it rigid enough to cut through wood or plastic. As soon as the paper stops spinning, it loses its cutting ability and becomes bendable again.


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Forestry

Mayor’s Report: Shuswap’s economy tied in with forest industry

By Salmon Arm Mayor Nancy Cooper

Categories: Forestry
Region: Canada; Canada West
May 12, 2017
The Eagle Valley News

I recently had the pleasure of speaking at the Council of Forest Industries (COFI) conference in Vancouver. It was such an honour to be able to share what is happening here in Salmon Arm with the 625 attendees. Not everyone was aware of our proud history or the amazing things that are going on right now. I realized that sometimes it’s ok to brag because this is a story I need to share! Looking back, the story of Salmon Arm is intertwined with the development of British Columbia’s forest sector. We have some innovative and long standing businesses who have continued to be leaders in the forest industry. These include, Canoe Forest Products plywood manufacturing, our largest local employer, recently celebrating their 50th anniversary!

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Logging of Clearwater Valley goes federal

By Jeana Mustain

Categories: Forestry
Region: Canada; Canada West
May 15, 2017
Sun Peaks Independent News

Community action groups fighting the logging of the Upper Clearwater Valley at the entrance to Wells Gray Provincial Park have banded together and are going above the province to take their issue to the federal level. The company carrying out the logging, Canfor, as well as the B.C. government, have refused to stop the logging based on the community’s complaints that it will wipe out the Southern Mountain Caribou. On April 7 the groups’ lawyer submitted a legal application to the federal environment minister to stop the clearcutting at the entrance to the park. They will enlist the Species at Risk Act (SARA) to try to protect the caribou, which are listed as endangered by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada.

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Civil Suit Alleges B.C. Blacklisting Forestry Consultant Who Warned of Timber Overcutting, Faulty Data

By Judith Lavoie

Categories: Forestry
Region: Canada; Canada West
May 12, 2017
DeSmog Canada

Forestry has been a passion and a career for Martin Watts for 25 years, but, since attempting to point out problems with B.C.’s process for setting logging rates, his forestry consulting business has nosedived and Watts is claiming in a civil suit that he was blacklisted by the provincial government. ...Watts’ company, FORCOMP Forestry Consulting Ltd., specialized in analyzing forest data and carbon offset projects for public and private sector clients... But, after Watts complained about systemic shortcomings he found that government contracts were written in ways that excluded him from bidding on them. ...It is not a statement that holds any credence for Anthony Britneff, who has teamed up with Watts to bring attention to questions surrounding the Timber Supply Review process and who compared the alleged blacklisting of Watts to the scandal over the wrongly fired researchers in the Ministry of Health in 2012.

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Fighting for their watershed

By Jon Manchester

Categories: Forestry
Region: Canada; Canada West
May 15, 2017
Castanet

Peachland residents are gathering forces to prevent logging in the community's watershed. The Peachland Watershed Protection Alliance aims to enlist the support of council in denying three logging companies renewals on timber cutting in the Peachland and Trepanier watersheds. This during what the group calls "the worst runoff and boil-water notices the town has ever experienced." How long should Peachlanders be expected to tolerate the dirty water advisory? the group asks in a press release. While licenses to log are issued by the province, local councils have authority over watersheds, the group contends. Peachland Council is currently reviewing Forestry Stewardship Plan Referrals from Tolko, Gorman Brothers and Westbank First Nation.

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Did fear over forestry lead activists to start wildfires?

By Claire McCormack

Categories: Forestry
Region: International
May 16, 2017
Farm Ireland

Anti-forestry campaigners deliberately started wildfires that devastated thousands of acres of land in the west in recent weeks, a farmers' organisation has claimed. The Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association (INHFA) says "anti- forestry sentiment" is building in some parts of the country. "There is a fear developing in the west that some areas are going to be planted over, especially areas where the land wouldn't be as good," INHFA spokesman Vincent Roddy told the Farming Independent. "There is a malicious element there, possibly a rebellious element. "Whoever is lighting [wildfires] shouldn't be doing it, but the worry is that it shows a siege mentality is building against forestry. There is genuine concern here that when you start to put in trees, you start to move out people."

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Forestry Agency to log and ship Fukushima trees in trial starting this fall

By Jiji Kyodo

Categories: Forestry
Region: International
May 15, 2017
Japan Times

The Forestry Agency said Monday that it will resume felling and shipping trees in Fukushima Prefecture this fall on a trial basis. Following the triple meltdowns at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in March 2011, logging was suspended in 12 municipalities in the prefecture. But radiation levels appear to have declined enough to resume logging in some areas, the agency said. ...Logged trees will be shipped after radiation checks. ...In order to prevent wood with contamination levels higher than national standards from going on sale, the agency intends to ship only trees logged in forests with radiation levels below 0.5 microsievert per hour. Tepco plans to build a new incinerator to dispose of radioactive logs that have piled up in the premises, company officials said.

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The digital tree-hugger: new tech can save threatened urban trees

By Catherine Slessor

Categories: Forestry
Region: International
May 16, 2017
The Architects' Journal

Some years ago, a mature plane tree in London’s Berkeley Square was ‘valued’ at £750,000, making it the most expensive specimen in the city. Factors in the calculation of its worth included its size, location, condition and age; it formed part of a stand of trees originally planted in 1789. Commodifying a tree may seem absurd, but it makes the point that the presence of nature in cities is precious. And if putting a price tag on it is the only way to bring this home to landowners, developers and councils, all shiftily eyeing their chainsaws, then perhaps it does not seem so unhinged. l. ...In the current struggle to green the city, initiatives that focus on mapping and data-gathering are proving to be valuable new weapons in the ecologists’ armoury. For instance, London now has a digital database of street trees produced by the GLA, recording the location and species of trees on public roads and paths.

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Coillte to carry out Cloosh Valley survey after fire

Categories: Forestry
Region: International
May 15, 2017
Raidió Teilifís Éireann, Ireland

Coillte plans to carry out a detailed aerial survey of the Cloosh Valley forestry site, to determine how to proceed with rejuvenation efforts after last week's fire. A third of the country's biggest forest was destroyed by what has been described as the largest ever fire on State forestry lands. Heavy and persistent rain in the area today put out the last smouldering pockets on the vast 4,000 hectare site. Staff from the forestry agency spent the day surveying the damage. They will use drones and radar on fixed wing aircraft in the coming weeks to assess the extent of the damage in different areas. Many hundreds of acres of woodland have been totally destroyed. In other areas Coillte says trees may rejuvenate.

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Company & Business News

US Housing Starts: Below expectations

By Paul Quinn

Categories: Company & Business News
Region: Canada; United States
May 16, 2017
RBC Capital Markets

The US Census Bureau released new residential construction statistics for April, with housing starts and permits coming in below consensus expectations, although looking at the key single family segment, starts were stable m/m and still up relatively strongly y/y (+8.9 y/y and +0.4% m/m vs. March). ...US housing permits of 1.229MM (SAAR) were below expectations of 1.270MM – Total permits were +5.7% y/y but -2.5% m/m against the March rate of 1.260MM. Multi-family permits were +4.8% y/y and permits issued for single-family homes saw a +6.2% y/y jump. Canadian housing starts in March averaged 214K – This is +13.5% from 2016 and 9.5% above the 10- year average. Multi-family starts represented 66% of total starts 2017 YTD (62% in 2016), which is up from the 20-year average of 55%.

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Lumber producers face increasingly dangerous walk in the woods

By Peter Woodbridge, president, Woodbridge Associates Inc.

Categories: Company & Business News
Region: Canada; United States
May 16, 2017
Business in Vancouver

The response of Canadian lumber stocks to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s April 24 announcement of preliminary countervailing duties on imports of Canadian lumber was a relief rally. Overnight, prices rose sharply. Two weeks later, some of those gains have reversed – reflecting a combination of volatile lumber prices and growing political worries. On the duty issue, investors can be forgiven for thinking they escaped a bullet; they did. But a shrugged-shoulders conclusion from the Canadian side that “we’ve been here before, and it wasn’t all that bad” would be highly inappropriate. ...It’s important to remember too that final determinations do not signal an end to the softwood lumber issue; they’re just another step along the road of managed trade. The U.S. and Canada have been without an agreement on lumber for a year and a half. Interests are divided: Canada badly wants a long-term deal; the Americans see their hand strengthening – and are in no hurry to settle.

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Softwood lumber aid package likely to go to cabinet Tuesday

By Susan Lunn

Categories: Company & Business News
Region: Canada
May 15, 2017
CBC News

The federal government's aid package for the softwood lumber industry is expected to go before cabinet Tuesday for final approval. Sources tell CBC News the package will contain a "substantial" envelope of money — just under a billion dollars — to help the sector struggling to cope with new tariffs recently imposed by the U.S. Department of Commerce. Sources, speaking on a not for attribution basis because they were not authorized to speak publicly, said the aid package will likely include money for employment insurance (EI) benefits for workers in affected regions. It will also contain funds to help companies innovate, including transitioning into other value-added products, rather than simply exporting raw lumber. The final package could yet change based on input from members of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's cabinet.

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Fire crews respond to fire at West Fraser Sawmill in Williams Lake Saturday

Monica Lamb-Yorski

Categories: Company & Business News
Region: Canada; Canada West
May 15, 2017
Williams Lake Tribune

The Williams Lake Fire Department responded to a fire at the West Fraser Sawmill in Williams Lake Saturday. Crews were called in just before 11 a.m. On Monday morning Fire Chief Des Webster said he had not heard back from the mill manager yet, but it is believed the fire may have started in one of the hydraulic motors in the basement. “It was not a big fire in magnitude, but because it was inside the mill it was difficult to get to,” Fire Chief Des Webster said Monday. “Our crews left just after 2 p.m.” Webster also said workers inside the mill, which was shut down for maintenance, suffered smoke inhalation and had to be treated by the B.C. Ambulance service.

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Conifex Announces First Quarter 2017 Results

By Conifex Timber Inc.

Categories: Company & Business News
Region: Canada; Canada West
May 15, 2017
MarketWired

Vancouver, BC — Conifex Timber Inc. (TSX:CFF) today reported results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2017. Adjusted EBITDA* in the first quarter of 2017 was $6.1 million, compared to $9.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2016 and $6.8 million in the first quarter of 2016. Compared to the previous quarter, lumber segment adjusted EBITDA declined by $1.0 million and bioenergy segment adjusted EBITDA by $1.6 million. Compared to the first quarter of 2016, lumber segment adjusted EBITDA improved by $0.6 million and bioenergy segment adjusted EBITDA declined by $1.4 million.

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NB Power sends $2.5M annual contract out of province without usual tendering process

By Shane Fowler

Categories: Company & Business News
Region: Canada; Canada East
May 15, 2017
CBC News

NB Power's decision to end a 40-year, multi-million dollar partnership with a New Brunswick company to purchase its power poles was exempt from the usual tendering process and did not necessarily choose the lowest bidder. NB Power also does not know how much money, if any, it will save by sending the contract out of New Brunswick. "The amount of the new contract – how much we will spend on poles, will only be known when we begin buying new poles from Stella Jones," wrote Marc Belliveau, spokesperson for NB Power. ...Earlier this month NB Power stated it would now be getting its pressure-treated power poles from the large North American company Stella Jones, instead of from locally owned Marwood in Tracyville. According to its website, Stella Jones operates 34 wood treating facilities in five Canadian provinces and 16 American states, but none in New Brunswick.

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Facing Trump's tariffs, Quebec launches campaign to promote softwood lumber

Categories: Company & Business News
Region: Canada; Canada East
May 15, 2017
Canadian Press in the Montreal Gazette

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard doesn’t expect the federal government to loan the province any money to subsidize the softwood lumber industry. This comes after the announcement that tariffs will be imposed on Canada’s softwood lumber exports to the United States. On Monday, Couillard confirmed that it was important for the Trudeau government to place measures that are “complimentary” to those set out by Quebec.. ...Following the announcement that tariffs will be imposed on Canada’s softwood lumber exports to the United States, a new campaign is being launched to promote the industry in Quebec. With a $4.2-million budget the three-year campaign, titled “Une forêt de possibilités,” will outline a number of ways the potential of Quebec’s forests can be harnessed. This announcement came right as 1300 Résolu employees were forced to take leave due to a conflict about commercial lumber.

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Pine Bluff Native to Manage Reopened Sawmill at Glenwood

 By Gwen Moritz

Categories: Company & Business News
Region: United States; US East
May 15, 2017
Arkansas Business

Brett Bray has been hired as the general manager who will reopen next month the sawmill at Glenwood formerly operated by Bean Lumber Co. The sawmill is now known as Caddo River Forest Products, a joint venture between Castle Hill Partners, McCaslin Barrow Henderson and Suwannee Lumber Co. It is expected to reopen on June 1, creating 130 direct and 300 indirect jobs producing Southern yellow pine lumber and by-products and market pulpwood for local pulp and paper mills.

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Bushfires blamed as Morwell sawmill teeters on brink with 160 workers facing axe

By Darren Gray

Categories: Company & Business News
Region: International
May 16, 2017
The Age

The Latrobe Valley has been left devastated by news that a Morwell sawmill which employs 160 people is "very likely" to close because of a timber shortage. Sawmill owner Carter Holt Harvey announced on Tuesday that it was consulting with staff about the possible closure of its mill. It blames the loss of significant areas of plantation timber to bushfires in 2014 and in the Black Saturday fires of 2009. Geoff Harris, chief executive of Carter Holt Harvey Woodproducts Australia, said the mill faced a significantly reduced supply and quality of sawlogs. ..."Without the sufficient volume of sawlogs and because the Morwell sawmill is dedicated to producing structural grade timber for housing, the sawmill is not viable into the future," the company said. Unions said the mill could be closed in August or September.

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Morwell timber mill jobs to go just weeks after Hazelwood power station closes

Categories: Company & Business News
Region: International
May 16, 2017
ABC News, Australia

About 160 timber workers are set to lose their jobs because a supply shortage caused by the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires have left the mill unviable, its owners say. The workers were summoned to a meeting at the mill, where they were given offers of redundancy and told it could close as soon as August. Mill owner Carter Holt Harvey (CHH) said the mill "was not viable into the future". It is another blow to the Latrobe Valley, which is already dealing with the loss of about 700 local jobs after the Hazelwood power station shut down last month. Geoff Harris, the CEO of wood products Australia at Carter Holt Harvey, said the site had been a key employer in the region for the past 35 years. But a shortage of pine following severe bushfires, including Black Saturday, meant the mill's future was bleak.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

New biofuel facility eliminating Surrey’s carbon footprint

By Kathleen Renne

Categories: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada; Canada West
May 15, 2017
Journal of Commerce

Pioneers.That's the word Rob Costanzo, the manager of engineering operations at the City of Surrey, uses to describe those behind the city's new organic biofuel facility, which is to start processing organic waste this summer, turning it into renewable natural gas. "We're certainly pioneers with respect to bringing this technology to North America. ... European countries have been using this technology for many years," says Costanzo, adding that ... it's also the only "closed-loop" version on the continent.... Costanzo says there will be no odour impact on those people beyond the facility's property line because the air "is channeled through a very sophisticated system" that involves ammonia scrubbers, cooling and wood-chip-based biofilters. "It's cleaned, cooled, pushed through wood chips and then sent up a 70-metre stack. When it comes off the top of the stack, the air won't have more than one part per million (of odour-causing matter) at the site property line," Costanzo explains.

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Burning wood: Can the EU see the forest for the trees?

By Rachel Fritts

Categories: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International
May 16, 2017
Mongabay

Somewhere in the swampy forests of the southeastern United States, a cypress tree is felled. Its lifelong work of absorbing and storing carbon is over. It will no longer hold the ground firm against erosion, or shelter endangered wading birds, reptiles, and amphibians. Instead, the tree is driven to a factory to be processed into wood pellets, before being shipped thousands of miles across the ocean to Europe. There, a factory burns it as fuel, emitting more carbon dioxide than coal per megawatt of electricity produced, according to a report by Chatham House. Before 2009, almost no trees made this journey across the Atlantic. But in that year the EU set a renewable energy goal: reduce carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2050. To do this, they turned, in part, to burning forests from the southeast US.

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Wood & Paper Products & Green Building

Answering the call: Dollhouse simulation helps recruits learn to be model firefighters

By Jeremy Arias

Categories: Wood & Paper Products & Green Building
Region: United States
May 15, 2017
Frederick News Post

...Contrary to the logic that a predominantly wood-based build would be more susceptible to fire, older structures that were built on heavy-timber frames are actually far more fire-resistant that some of the lighter buildings that are typically constructed today, Webb explained. One reason is that the exposed layer of timber can quickly char over when exposed to fire, preventing the wood beneath from catching rapidly. In contrast, the recruits also learned about the much lighter wood-frame structures that most modern houses are built on. Often consisting of relatively flimsy walls supporting a roof made of lightweight trusses and oriented strand board (OSB) wood panels, wood-frame homes catch fire and burn much more rapidly. ...Part of Class 21’s lesson included a “live burn” of a small dollhouse made primarily of OSB, a type of engineered lumber.

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Mount Vernon school made of ‘high-tech' wood opens

By LiLi Tan

Categories: Wood & Paper Products & Green Building
Region: United States; US West
May 15, 2017
King5

A Mount Vernon elementary school built with a high-tech wood product opened Monday. Fifth grader Valeria Alvarez is sad she’ll be missing out. She’s graduating from Jefferson Elementary and won’t be able to hit the books in one of the new classrooms on campus. “It doesn’t feel like a forest, but it feels very different from a normal classroom. You just feel more comfortable. It’s like a home or something,” Alvarez said. The new school is made of cross-laminated timber. The high-tech wood product is made of layered and pressed two-by-six planks, and though European builders have used it in construction for the last 20 years, the product is new to Washington. ...“It’s beautiful. This is going to make studying algebra so much easier,” Governor Jay Inslee said when he toured the school on Monday.

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