Region Archives: US East

Business & Politics

Michigan’s Expanding Forest Products Industry

Morning AgClips
July 15, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US East

LANSING, Michigan — Michigan’s forest products industry has hit a new peak, adding $26.5 billion to Michigan’s economy, according to new data released by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. That figure represents the impact of the industry in 2022, the most recent figures available, and is up $4 billion from 2019. “Although the number of people directly employed in the industry decreased by 3.6%, all other economic indicators show significant growth,” said Jagdish Poudel, DNR forest economist. Those indicators include the average wage, labor income, output and industry productivity. The increase in total output can be attributed to a strong forest products industry and its links to other industries. Additionally, Arauco, the largest particleboard manufacturer in the world, opened its $450 million Grayling production facility in 2019. Arauco directly generates around 220 jobs, which in turn create additional indirect and induced effects in the economy.

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Domtar presents short, long-term solutions for odor issues

By Allison Winters
The Times News
July 9, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US East

KINGSPORT, Tennessee — Domtar officials provided an update on the Kingsport mill at the Kingsport Economic Development Board’s regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday. Troy Wilson, Kingsport mill manager, and Brian Kozlowski, Domtar’s environmental and sustainability director, shared a presentation on short, middle and long-term solutions to the odor issues. Wilson said that Domtar has sped up the three-stage capital project process, with approval from company leadership. He said Domtar is looking at an 18-month timeline to provide a long-term solution, which requires getting air and water permits and purchasing the necessary equipment. …The project, coined as Project Bandit, includes purchasing an anaerobic digester. Kozlowski explained that the digester would create an enclosed system. Domtar is going to commit around $1 million to kickstart the project, Wilson said. The company is working with Isomer, based out of South Carolina, as engineers.

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The Society of American Foresters honors Purdue professor with Award in Forest Science

Perdue University
July 11, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US East

WEST LAFAYETTE, Indiana. — The Society of American Foresters (SAF) annually recognizes individuals for their outstanding achievements. This year, Songlin Fei, director of Purdue University’s Institute for Digital Forestry and the Dean’s Chair in Remote Sensing in the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, was selected as the recipient for the SAF Award in Forest Science. …“Songlin Fei has a truly outstanding record of accomplishment in forest research that exemplifies the best that we seek in the forestry and natural resources field,” said Bernie Engel, the Glenn W. Sample Dean of Agriculture. …Fei is renowned for his expertise in macrosystem invasion ecology, forest ecology, and geospatial tool development and application. His research has significantly advanced the ecology and management of invasive species, deepened the understanding of forest responses to climate change, and propelled forestry into the digital age.

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Michigan state board rescinds tax breaks for canceled upgrade of Upper Peninsula paper mill

By Candice Williams
The Detroit News
July 9, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US East

The Michigan Strategic Fund board on Tuesday voted to rescind $29.4 million in tax incentives for a $1.06 billion transformation of an Upper Peninsula paper mill after the facility’s Swedish owner canceled the project earlier this year. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and legislature had approved a $200 million grant for the project at Escanaba Mill earlier last year. The funding, originally earmarked for Billerud U.S. Production, will go back to the general fund, said Otie McKinley, spokesperson for the Michigan Economic Development Corp. State incentives to revitalize the Escanaba Mill have been canceled after the facility’s owner, Billerud, dropped plans to convert the plant to production of cartonboard. “Also of note, none of that funding was distributed to the company,” McKinley said in an email. …The project would have helped retain nearly 1,240 jobs at the mill’s 2,000-acre site in Escanaba Township and Wells Township in Delta County.

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Annual election results for Cabinet Makers Association

By Dakota Smith
The Woodworking Network
June 27, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US East

Hans Parker

GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan The Cabinet Makers Association (CMA) announced the results of the annual election for the organization’s board of directors and the installment of its officers. The general members of the CMA elected Amy Thrasher Price of D&H Cabinets (Lindale, Texas) and Kolin Veldman of K&S Woodworks (Lynden, Washington) as new board members. …Earlier this year, Hans Parker of Board Foot Co. (Kalamazoo, Michigan) took over the board position from Brian Clancy of Clancy Woodworking (Sherman, Connecticut), who resigned due to other commitments. The following officers will remain in their appointed roles until June 30, 2025: 

•    President: Randy Niewind, Randy’s Cabinets & Woodworks (Grand Rapids, Minnesota) 
•    Vice President: Lois Snyder of Periwinklers (Tarpon Springs, Florida)  
•    Treasurer: Terry Steffey of Dibbleville Woodworks (Fenton, Mchigan) 
•    Secretary: Gregory Paolini of Gregory Paolini Design (Canton, North Carolina)  

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Bar Pole and Piling Revives Mississippi Mill, Creates 20 New Full-Time Jobs

By United Bancorporation
PR Newswire
June 25, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US East

QUITMAN, Mississippi — UB Community Development (UBCD), a community development partner of United Bank, provided a combined $10 million in Federal and Mississippi New Markets Tax Credit funding to aid in construction of a utility pole mill in Quitman, Mississippi. Bar Pole and Piling purchased the site of the former Bazor Lumber sawmill in Spring of 2023. …Once construction is complete, the new BP&P facility will include new technology and equipment that detects defects in logs prior to being processed into poles. The poles will then be sold to pressure treatment plants. Upon reaching full capacity, the mill is expected to create twenty full-time jobs. ..Bar Pole and Piling will partner with local loggers who harvest and deliver the bark poles to the facility. This project will help expand their presence into the southeast portion of the country.

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Three-generation family-owned New Hampshire sawmill destroyed in fire

By Ray Brewer
WMUR Manchester
June 24, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US East

BOSCAWEN, New Hampshire — A Boscawen sawmill that has been run by the same family for three generations is gone after an early morning fire leveled the business days before the owners were set to retire. The official cause of the fire is undetermined, but the owners said they have no doubt it was started by lightning. “This is history right here that has been burnt to the ground,” said owner Lynn Colby, of Colby Lumber. For nearly a century, the Colby family ran the sawmill. Now, all that’s left is rubble. …Video from a witness showed the sawmill building fully engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived at the Colby Sawmill. A passerby called in the fire at around 4 a.m. The fire would eventually go to two alarms, fed by more than just the wood in the sawmill.

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T&D Wood Energy fined for repeated environmental violations, excess emissions

By Emmett Gartner
The Maine Monitor in the Press Herald
June 23, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US East

SANFORD, Maine — State officials voted Thursday to fine the operators of a Sanford wood pellet manufacturing facility $151,550 for a string of violations dating back to 2020. The violations – which include failing to meet testing deadlines, exceeding emissions requirements and failing to keep sufficient records — were ongoing even as the facility was awarded $600,000 in state funds in 2022. The money has not yet been distributed. The plant, operated by T&D Wood Energy and formerly included Player Design, has been the subject of several complaints made to the state Department of Environmental Protection over the years, DEP staff said. …Despite warnings from the department, issues abounded over the next few years. DEP staff conducted several full inspections and issued four license amendments to address noncompliance issues, said Kennedy.

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Kimberly-Clark reports progress on ambition to be 100% Natural Forest Free, appoints Lisa Morden as Chief Sustainability Officer

Kimberly-Clark Corporation
June 5, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US East

DALLAS — Kimberly-Clark today published its annual sustainability report, including an update on the company’s progress toward its 2030 sustainability goals and a new ambition to be 100% Natural Forest Free across its portfolio beyond 2030. …”Sustainability is woven into the fabric of our 152-year-old company’s innovation strategy and purpose, serving as a guiding principle across every facet of our operations,” said Mike Hsu, Chairman and CEO at Kimberly-Clark. …Building on Kimberly-Clark’s long-standing support of sustainable forest management, the company’s 100% Natural Forest Free commitment will greatly reduce its nature footprint since forests play a critical role in protecting biodiversity and helping mitigate climate change. Kimberly-Clark expects to be more than halfway to this goal by 2030. …The company also appointed Lisa Morden, formerly Vice President of Safety, Sustainability, and Occupational Health to the role of Chief Sustainability Officer.

In related coverage by NRDC’s Shelley Vineyard: Kimberly-Clark is on a roll with new goals

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Finance & Economics

The future of Southern Yellow Pine–Fastmarkets Webinar

By Joe Pruski, Managing Editor, Fastmarkets
YouTube
June 20, 2024
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States, US East

SYP market share in North America has seen incredible growth in the past 10 years and with lumber demand set to grow at a healthy pace over the remainder of this decade, there could be new price risks for players in the market. Meanwhile, supply constraints loom large in the North American lumber market. Themes discussed: The recent growth of SYP; Fastmarkets’ short-term forecast of both SYP North American demand and supply; A review of the price correlation between SYP and SPF; How the new CME truck contract fits into the changing supply landscape; and Key implications for pricing volatility, hedging opportunities and broader market dynamics. [1 hour video]

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Minneapolis breaking into biochar business

By Larry Adams
Woodworking Network
July 8, 2024
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US East

The city of Minneapolis plans to build a $1.5 million biochar production facility, which reportedly is the first city-owned plants of its kind to turn wood debris into biochar. Minneapolis is one of seven cities in the world to receive grant funding for biochar projects, and it is using the funding to build a biochar facility. Partnering with BluSky Carbon, a startup specializing in pyrolizers, devices that convert wood into biochar through pyrolysis, which is the heating of an organic material in the absence of oxygen. Because no oxygen is present combustion does not occur, rather the biomass thermally decomposes into combustible gases and bio-char.  Minneapolis invested $575,000 in BluSky’s technology, which heats the raw material to 700 degrees F. Located near Huntington Bank Stadium, the 4,242-square-foot facility at 670 25th Ave. SE will commence operations this fall.

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Eco-friendly trends highlight International Contemporary Furniture Fair

By Dakota Smith
July 2, 2024
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US East

Reclaimed wood was a design choice for many of the exhibitors this year at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair in New York City May 19-21. The event hosted more than 400 exhibitors and 12,000 attendees from 88 countries, featuring curated collections tailored for residential, contract, and hospitality environments. Fallen Industry, a reclaimed wood design shop based in Brooklyn, exhibited at the show. Their specialty is live-edge tables, desks, and specific furniture pieces for clients. The use of traditional methods and eco-friendly practices make Fallen Industry a favorite among corporate offices like Netflix, Amazon, and Apple in New York. …Chair designer Jomo Tariku debuted fresh iterations of his classic chair designs and stools from the Fair showroom. Fabricated by Justin Nelson of Fernweh Woodworking, the hand-made designs are crafted from American walnut and ash… From LED lighting to kitchen tables, this year’s designers brought life into discarded wood, chose eco-friendly options, and above all, sustainability was key. 

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Mass timber facility in Greenville reaches full capacity

By Ross Norton
GSA Business Report
June 24, 2024
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US East

Greenville, South Carolina — It’s not often that proximity to New York City is cited as a reason for being in Greenville, but that was the case when Timberlab began operations in April 2023. Timberlab’s product — large glulam members for mass timber structures — is pretty specialized. Timberlab, a nationwide provider of what the company calls “holistic mass timber systems,” has reached full capacity at its facilities on Old Grove Road in Piedmont. The company, based in Portland, Ore., made the announcement recently with a plant tour in partnership with its affiliate, Swinerton, a commercial general contractor with offices nationwide. Since spring 2023, the 75,000-square foot engineering and fabrication plant has supported nearly a half-million square feet of sustainable development east of the Mississippi River, Timberlab said in a news release. Timberlab at full capacity, with two state-of-the-art CNC machines, can produce annually 1 million square feet of mass timber fabrications.

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2024 Timber-Strong Design Build Competition: Small Buildings, Big Educational Opportunities

By APA – The Engineered Wood Association
Building Design + Construction
June 20, 2024
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US East

Some designed playhouses. One team created a “barndominium.” And at least one erected a tiny pub. Those are just three entry examples from the 2024 Timber-Strong Design Build competition, which took place nationwide at college campuses this spring. Since 2019, the contest has given engineering students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience with wood design and construction. It also teaches teamwork, planning and demonstrates the value of prefabrication. What began as a giant Jenga contest more than seven years ago today attracts hundreds of participating students and over a thousand spectators. This year’s competition included 464 students from 46 schools. APA – The Engineered Wood Association, the American Wood Council and Simpson Strong-Tie partner with the American Society of Civil Engineers to carry out the competition.  

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Clemson’s WU+D Institute hosts workshop highlighting the benefits of building with wood

By Jonathan Veit
Clemson University News
June 19, 2024
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US East

CLEMSON, South Carolina — Architecture faculty from across the U.S. gained a deeper understanding of the critical role timber building systems can play in decarbonizing the environment during a two-and-a-half-day immersive Timber Design Faculty Development Workshop hosted May 20- 22 by the Clemson University Wood Utilization + Design Institute and Clemson’s School of Architecture. The workshop — which was sponsored by the Softwood Lumber Board and the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities — brought participants and speakers from 22 different colleges and universities to Clemson to learn about mass timber design and building, and strategies for incorporating the subject matter into their teaching, research, outreach and practice. …The workshop was highlighted by tours of the Clemson Experimental Forest, two campus buildings built with mass timber and a hands-on look at ongoing research being conducted at Clemson’s Built Environment Lab (BEL).

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Forestry

A history of fire in the Bighorn National Forest

By Alex Hargrave
Buffalo Bulletin
July 11, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US East

Early in its tenure, the U.S. Forest Service took a hardline stance on wildfires: prevention. And thus Smokey Bear was born. …While this public relations campaign is still popular today —  the attitude toward suppressing all fires has changed. Scientists have learned that fire is good for forests, to a certain extent. But, in May 2022, the U.S. Forest Service paused and began to review its prescribed fire program in response to several prescribed burns escaping and causing damaging wildfires in other parts of the U.S. Before then, Bighorn National Forest fire management officer Jon Warder said, crews purposefully burned up to 2,000 acres per year in the forest. …The practice is borrowed from Native American tribes who first inhabited the lands that are now national forests or parks. According to the National Park Service, “cultural burning” refers to the Indigenous practice of “the intentional lighting of smaller, controlled fires…

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US Department of Agriculture Approves Emergency Forest Restoration Program Assistance

Morning AgClips
July 10, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US East

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced that Illinois counties Marshall and Putnam are accepting applications for the Emergency Forest Restoration Program (EFRP) to address tornado and severe storm damages. Signup for EFRP will end August 5, 2024. “These programs help private forest landowners clean up and restore their private forests damaged by tornadoes and severe storms,” said Scott Halpin, State Executive Director for FSA in Illinois. “If you haven’t participated in FSA programs, contact your local FSA office as soon as possible to complete the process of establishing customer and farm records and to determine program eligibility.” EFRP provides payments to eligible owners of nonindustrial private forest (NIPF) land to carry out emergency measures to restore land damaged by a natural disaster.

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Louisiana state officials considering emergency declaration as bark beetle concerns grow

By John Kesler
KPLC News
July 5, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US East

LAKE CHARLES, Louisiana — Concerns are growing statewide over a bark beetle infestation. Trees, especially pines, are vital to Louisiana’s economy. Here in Southwest Louisiana, Vernon, Beauregard and Allen parishes contain miles and miles of pine tree forests and farms important to their economy. …Experts and local arborists like Mike Nevils with Nevils Tree Service said last year’s drought is a big reason why Louisiana’s pines are being infected at an alarming rate. …The Emergency Beetle Committee is planning to have an emergency at the State Capitol Tuesday to discuss plans on how to control the infestation. The committee will meet with experts in the legal, forestry and agricultural fields to work on a solution, and a potential emergency declaration. The committee also plans to discuss emergency funding for those who cannot afford tree work. Nevins said there’s not much that can be done once a tree is infected.

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The ancient tree from India that could fuel America’s future

By Freida Frisaro
The Independent
July 8, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US East

An ancient tree from India is thriving where citrus trees once flourished in Florida, and could help provide the nation with renewable energy. As large parts of the citrus industry have been hit by two fatal diseases, greening and citrus canker, some farmers are turning to the pongamia tree, a climate-resilient tree with the potential to produce plant-based proteins and a sustainable biofuel. Pongamia produces legumes that are so bitter wild hogs won’t even eat them. …Pongamia trees don’t need fertilizer or pesticides. They flourish in drought or rainy conditions. … A machine simply shakes the tiny beans from the branches when they’re ready to harvest. …The legume is now being used to produce Panova table oil, Kona protein bars, protein flour. …The legumes also produce oil that can be used as a biofuel, largely for aviation, which leaves a very low carbon footprint.

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Certification Recognizes Maryland State Forests as Sustainable

By Joe Zimmermann
Maryland Department of Natural Resources
July 3, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US East

MARYLAND — Independent auditors recently reviewed the Pocomoke State Forest and Chesapeake Forest Lands, two state forests on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, and recertified them as sustainable, meeting international standards for forest management. Twenty-one years ago, the Chesapeake Forest Lands became the state’s first certified forests, a recognition now shared by 214,000 acres of state forest land in Maryland. …“We like to think that we’re managing our forests well, but this is a third party of industry professionals confirming that we are,” said Rob Feldt, the Maryland Forest Service forest resources planning supervisor. “That’s part of the value we get out of certification.” Maryland’s certified forests are recognized by the Forest Stewardship Council and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, two organizations that promote standards for forest management based on the Montreal Process international agreement.

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Three Kansas Counties Receive $340K for Community Wildfire Defense

Morning Ag Clips
July 3, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US East

MANHATTAN, Kansas – Officials with the Kansas Forest Service are calling three grants totaling $340,200 from the U.S. Forest Service “a significant milestone in wildfire prevention efforts across the state.” The funds, available through the USFS Community Wildfire Defense Grants program, were awarded to Chase, Butler and Leavenworth counties. According to information from KFS, the funds “will be a big boost to helping build the state’s defense against wildfires, particularly in urban areas of the state.” CWDG grants are available to forest service units across the country and part of the government’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. According to KFS, the allocation of these grants follows extensive educational work aimed at raising awareness of the wildfire risk within Kansas communities over the past two years. Through collaboration with national partners, the Kansas Forest Service has successfully highlighted the urgent need for proactive measures to address the wildfire urban interface risk.

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Forest-based economy, jobs focus of new university-nonprofit partnership

The University of Maine News
June 27, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US East

MAINE — A $7 million grant from the National Science Foundation will fund a four-year statewide collaborative project led by the University of Maine to foster resilient forest communities in Maine. Maine-FOREST, or Forest-based Opportunities for Resilient Economy, Sustainability and Technology, will expand the state’s research and educational capacity to connect human and ecosystem focused innovations and services. The project takes an integrated thematic approach to fuel the state’s forest-based economy and the rural communities it supports. Key foci of the project include artificial intelligence and informatics; wood-derived alternatives to plastic, concrete and more called cellulosic nanofiber bioproducts (CNF); rural and Wabanaki resilience; and economically diverse rural development. Maine-FOREST will ultimately nurture adaptive community resilience and strengthen the capacity of rural communities and the Wabanaki Nations to respond to current and future socio-ecological threats and opportunities.

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$16 million in grants awarded to strengthen Minnesota’s community forests

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
June 27, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US East

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has announced that 81 communities will be receiving a collective $16 million through the ReLeaf Community Forestry Grants and the Shade Tree Bonding Grants, marking a significant investment in community forestry. These grants underscore Minnesota’s commitment to addressing emerald ash borer and other invasive pests while fostering climate-resilient communities. …These projects will have a positive impact on community forest health, environmental equity, and overall well-being. They will help replace, diversify, and strengthen Minnesota’s urban tree canopy, increase the urban canopy’s resiliency, and help with climate mitigation through carbon storage and the cooling benefits of shade trees. The $16 million awarded is a significant increase over the past grant cycles, and illustrates the Minnesota Legislature’s and Walz-Flanagan Administration’s commitment to preserving and improving community forests now and into the future.

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Burning the forest for the trees

By Janisse Ray
The Bitter Southerner
June 27, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US East

NORTH CAROLINA — Longleaf pine can survive natural disasters, but it has barely survived us humans. Writer and naturalist Janisse Ray visits a longleaf champion who wants to bring back this forest of heart-stopping beauty – one match at a time. The night a massive winter storm hit the pine barrens of the Carolinas, Jesse Wimberly lay awake listening to limbs popping in the forest surrounding his cabin. He had planted every one of the longleaf pines by hand. Nobody wants to lose longleaf. Too much has been lost already. When Reed Noss surveyed endangered U.S. ecosystems in 1995, only 3 percent of the historic, iconic forest remained. Noss called the landscape “critically endangered.” Longleaf pine once covered 92 million acres of the upland South. Although it survives disturbances like hurricanes and fires, it could not survive the greatest disturbance of all, us humans.

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Forest Service changes Nantahala timber harvest plans in face of lawsuit

By Jack Igelman
Carolina Public Press
June 26, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US East

North Carolina — The U.S. Forest Service has announced it will not harvest timber from a 15-acre patch of North Carolina mountain forest that is the subject of a federal lawsuit. The Forest Service said in a June 21 statement that it would remove the acreage from its Southside Project within the Nantahala National Forest in Jackson County. District Ranger M. Troy Waskey decided not to build a temporary road and harvest timber from stand 41-53, according to the statement. Rangers are responsible for project decisions in their districts. … “Rather than continue a lengthy legal process, the Forest Service will now focus on the successful implementation of the remainder of this important project. This change only impacts a small 15-acre stand within the Southside Project, and proposed activities outside of the stand will continue,” said Forest Supervisor for the National Forests in North Carolina, James Melonas in the statement.

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Forestry researcher will work with scientists in Mexico, Italy to advance ‘climate-smart forestry’

By Lauren Noel
Michigan State University
June 24, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US East

Michigan State University Department of Forestry Professor David MacFarlane has been selected for the Fulbright Global Scholar Award for 2024-2025. The prestigious Fulbright Global Scholar Award encourages international connections and fosters understanding and cooperation across nations. MacFarlane will spend a portion of his sabbatical leave in the 2024-2025 academic year collaborating with scholars at institutions in Mexico and Italy. MacFarlane intends to advance an emerging concept called “Climate-Smart Forestry,” which emphasizes connections between forests, society and climate. Climate-smart forestry focuses on enhancing human health and community resilience through adaptive forest management, increasing carbon storage in forests to mitigate climate change, and using forest resources sustainably to substitute for non-renewable energy and materials.

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Forest Products Expo 2025 Booth Sales Now Open

Southern Forest Products Association
June 25, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US East

Exhibit space sales for the 38th Forest Products Machinery & Equipment Exposition (Forest Products EXPO 2025), presented by the Southern Forest Products Association, are now open! The three-day biannual tradeshow, to be held August 6-8, 2025, will return to the Music City Center in Nashville and provide attendees with solutions for nearly every stage of manufacturing. From raw material handling to crane operations; metal detection and scanning technologies; log optimization, drying, grading, sorting, packaging, and distribution, customers new and old will be waiting to explore these solutions with you face to face.

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Massachusetts releases forest plan, highlighting role in carbon sequestration

By Jim Levulis
WAMC Northeast Public Radio
June 24, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US East

The state of Massachusetts has released a plan to protect and manage forest lands, prioritizing the natural resource for its carbon sequestration capabilities. More than 55 percent of the Bay State is forested, covering roughly 3 million acres. The Forests as Climate Solutions Initiative includes recommendations from a state-formed committee and public input, covering topics such as forest management, siting of renewable energy infrastructure and timber harvesting. To understand the plan, WAMC’s Jim Levulis spoke with two members of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs: Kurt Gaertner, the Assistant Secretary for Environmental Policy, and Stephanie Cooper, the Undersecretary for the Environment.

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New Vermont Economic Development Authority program supports those in the woods

By Vermont Economic Development Authority
VTDigger
June 19, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US East

New opportunities to participate in creative financing programs with the Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA) are now available to those working in the state’s forest economy. The Forestry Loan Program was unveiled June 4. Through this new program, $3 million in financing can be provided in loans, each up to $500,000, with subsidized interest rates. Loggers, foresters, log haulers, biomass producers, sawmills, firewood producers and wood product manufacturers may be eligible for funding to support working capital, equipment and refinancing. The Vermont Forest Futures Strategic Roadmap, the forest based economy in the Green Mountain State accounts for about $2.1 billion annually and over 13,800 jobs. And VEDA, now in its 50th year, is tasked with furthering the state’s workforce, business development and public policy goals — something it continues to do through financing programs that help small business owners grow and create even more jobs. 

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Maine is preparing for a future without its iconic pines

By Elizabeth Walztoni
The Bangor Daily News
June 17, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US East

MAINE — The health of the iconic evergreen trees that define the Pine Tree State is at risk from climate change. Researchers across the state have begun planting tree species from mid-Atlantic states to replace these trees as temperatures rise, extreme weather intensifies and pests spread. They believe this practice, called assisted migration, will keep Maine’s forests functioning amid climate change. The migration would happen over time without human planting, but moving trees now will prevent ecosystems from collapsing if weather conditions get more extreme, researchers said. Pine, spruce, cedar, ash and beech are some of the softwood tree species expected to decline here in coming decades. Hardwoods such as poplar, maple and oak are poised to take their places. How Maine people adopt these new species on their land — if they do — will make a big difference for the country’s most forested state, researchers said.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Pilot program will pay Maine’s big forest owners to increase carbon storage

By Penelope Overton
The Press Herald
July 11, 2024
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US East

The New England Forestry Foundation is about to conduct a carbon experiment in the Maine woods. The Massachusetts-based nonprofit is dipping into a $30 million U.S. Department of Agriculture climate grant to develop an incentive program to pay commercial forest owners to adopt planting and harvesting methods that increase carbon storage and climate resiliency. The six first-round enrollees, all from Maine, will test out so-called “climate-smart” forestry practices on about 12,000 of their combined 2.4 million acres. If they earn less because of it, the foundation will cover 75% of that lost profit if it is the result of a change in management practice. If managed properly, NEFF estimates that 12,000 acres could store 250,000 metric tons of extra carbon. …Skeptics question the value of using public money to pay some private landowners and companies for something they were already doing, Whitman said. [to access the full story a Press Herald subscription is required]

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Premier Course in Forest Carbon Credits: Now Available on Coursera

By the Department of Forestry
Michigan State University
July 3, 2024
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US East

A recently launched Coursera course focuses on Forest Carbon Credits and Initiatives contributing to capacity building toward high-integrity natural climate solutions. The course, “Forest Carbon Credits and Initiatives,” was originally launched in 2019 as part of the course “Understanding Forest Carbon Management.” It is now offered as a stand-alone learning experience, filling a knowledge gap for understanding forest carbon markets and designing carbon projects. The course emphasizes the importance of monitoring, reporting, and verification, and highlights the need for ‘integrity’ in carbon projects to ensure successful and legitimate carbon storage. It is designed to empower learners with the knowledge and skills to navigate, participate in, or finance carbon initiatives. The course is free to take, with an optional certificate of completion available for $49. …The Forest Carbon and Climate Program plans to expand course offerings on Coursera in the future. 

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Health & Safety

EPA Recommends that People in the Great Lakes Region Prepare Now to Avoid Potential Exposure this Summer to Wildfire Smoke

The US Environmental Protection Agency
June 24, 2024
Category: Health & Safety
Region: United States, US East

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is encouraging residents in the Great Lakes region to be prepared for wildfire smoke this summer. EPA advises everyone to stay informed about local air quality and put plans in place to reduce their exposure to wildfire smoke and protect their health. …Fine particulate matter from wildfire smoke is the greatest health concern because it can irritate the eyes and the respiratory system worsening worsen symptoms of chronic cardiovascular disease and respiratory diseases such as COPD and asthma. Since poor air quality affects everyone, EPA encourages the public to modify outdoor activities and protect their air quality indoors too. Individuals and businesses can help by driving less, cutting energy usage and avoiding vehicle idling and outdoor fires this summer. …More  tools and information are available on EPA’s website, Air Quality Alerts from EnviroFlash, AirNow and AirNow Fire and Smoke Map.

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Climate change is bringing more ticks and tick-borne disease to Vermont. But it’s not the full story

By Abagael Giles
Vermont Public
June 28, 2024
Category: Health & Safety
Region: United States, US East

Patti Casey and Eliza Doncaster are part of the Vermont Agency of Agriculture’s tick surveillance team. …Over the last 20 years, ticks and the diseases they carry, like Lyme disease, have spread rapidly in Northeastern states, including in Vermont. Scientists say human-caused climate change is one piece of the puzzle, but it’s not the only thing driving their growth here. Blacklegged ticks, also called deer ticks, carry the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. But they also carry a suite of other bacteria, viruses and parasites that cause other illnesses. Natalie Kwit, the state public health veterinarian for the Vermont Department of Health, said people are now contracting these infections in Vermont year-round. …Climate change is one major driving factor of the upward trend in tick-borne diseases, said Rick Ostfeld, with the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies. Decrease in the winter freeze period increases egg laying. Suburban sprawl is also to blame. 

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Southern Forest Products Association Announces 2023 Sawmill Award Recipients

The Southern Forest Products Association
June 24, 2024
Category: Health & Safety
Region: United States, US East

The Southern Forest Products Association has announced the recipients of the John Edgar Rhodes 2023 Sawmill Safety Excellence Awards. …The eight award recipients represent a record of 2,282,255 total hours worked among 987 employees – achieving safety excellence with zero reported incidents. …“In an industry where worker safety is of utmost importance, operating without any reportable incidents is a significant achievement,” said Eric Gee, SFPA’s executive director. 

  • Mills that produce 50 million board feet or less annually: Almond Brothers Lumber – Coushatta, Louisiana; McShan Lumber Co. – McShan, Alabama; and Swift Lumber – Atmore, Alabama
  • Mills that produce 51 to 150 million board feet annually: West Fraser – Fitzgerald, Georgia; West Fraser – Lake Butler, Florida; West Fraser – Blackshear, Georgia; and West Fraser – Mansfield, Arkansas.
  • Mills that produce more than 150 million board feet annually: LaSalle Lumber Co. – Urania, Louisiana

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State: Two Companies In Wilmington Must Add Dust Control Measures

The WilmingtonBiz
June 24, 2024
Category: Health & Safety
Region: United States, US East

Wilmington, North Carolina — The state is requiring Enviva Pellets and Basaga International with facilities near the Port of Wilmington to adopt additional control measures after investigating resident complaints about the impact of dust in their neighborhoods. The N.C. Department of Environmental Quality’s Division of Air Quality (DAQ) said the companies must do a better job of controlling fugitive dust.  …Enviva Pellets LLC was notified of the requirements after DAQ identified that facility as the source of two substantiated fugitive dust complaints. The plan must identify the sources of the dust and methods to control it. The agency has to review and approve the plan before it’s implemented. “We are investigating the concerns raised and monitoring the situation daily,” Enviva officials stated in an email Monday afternoon. “We will continue to work in partnership with local officials. Enviva remains committed to the health and safety of our people and local communities.”

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Forest Fires

Wharton State Forest wildfire was started by fireworks, New Jersey fire service says

By Alexandra Simon
CBS News
July 7, 2024
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US East

TABERNACLE, N.J. — A wildfire that has burned 4,000 acres of South Jersey’s Wharton State Forest was started by fireworks, the New Jersey State Forest Service said Sunday. The department said the fire, named the Tea Time Hill Wildfire, started late on Thursday, July 4 after fireworks were lit inside the forest. The Apple Pie Hill Fire Tower detected the fire around 9 a.m. the following day. As of Sunday afternoon, the fire was 75% contained. Though NJFFS previously said a residential structure and a hunting club were threatened by the blaze, both threats were cleared as of Saturday morning. The fire service said no structures are currently threatened by the fire, and another update is expected to be released at 3 p.m.

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July 4 fireworks set New Jersey forest fire that burned thousands of acres

Associated Press in WHYY
July 8, 2024
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US East

WHARTON STATE FOREST, New Jersey — Authorities say fireworks sparked a fast-moving forest fire that has consumed thousands of acres in southern New Jersey. …The blaze was spotted from a fire tower shortly after 9 a.m. Friday burning near Apple Pie Hill and the Batona Campground, which was evacuated as a precaution. …The forest fire service led the investigation in collaboration with state park police, the state division of fire safety and the Burlington County fire marshal’s office, officials said. Authorities said Sunday that the blaze had burned an estimated 4,000 acres but that it was believed to be 75% contained. Officials said earlier that crews were using a backfire operation to fight the fire, burning areas ahead of the main fire in a bid to stop the flames from spreading. Several roads and trails had been closed.

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Georgia Forestry Commission: Wildfire Risk High As July Fourth Holiday Approaches

All On Georgia
July 2, 2024
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US East

High temperatures and lack of widespread significant rainfall are prompting new safety warnings for the Independence Day holiday. The Georgia Forestry Commission is reminding residents that the use of fireworks may lead to an increased the risk of wildfire. “Although parts of the state have received some rainfall in the last few days, we still need everybody’s help in keeping our communities and our forestlands safe,” said Georgia Forestry Commission Chief of Protection Thomas Barrett. “As you plan outdoor activities, remember that any kind of spark or ember can be a hazard, especially fireworks that land near dry grasses and vegetation.” It’s important to know the local regulations that apply to the legal use of fireworks before you light a fuse. …“July Fourth is such a special holiday for all of us,” said Barrett. “Have fun with carefully planned celebrations that include deliberate fire safety awareness.”

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Oklahoma Forestry Services warns of high wildfire risk during Fourth of July weekend

By Sierra Joslin
Fox 25 Oklahoma
July 2, 2024
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US East

The Oklahoma Forestry Services urges caution with fireworks and campfires going into the Independence Day holiday weekend. As the summer La Niña weather pattern builds, cool waters in the Pacific Ocean pushes the jet stream north. This causes warmer and drier air to accumulate in Oklahoma. According to the Oklahoma Forestry Services, this dry air combined with extreme heat is the perfect recipe for the risk of wildfire. “When it is this hot and dry, wildland fuels can be easily ignited by stray fireworks and that has us hoping that people will be extremely cautious,” said State Forester Mark Goeller. “This is the week that we celebrate our nation’s independence, and nobody should have to spend it either fighting or evacuating from wildfire caused by careless behavior.”

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