Daily News for November 30, 2021

Today’s Takeaway

Wall Street Journal says timing of US duty hike tragicomical

The Tree Frog Forestry News
November 30, 2021
Category: Today's Takeaway

The Wall Street Journal says the timing of Biden’s lumber duty hike is tragicomical, as home builders and lumber groups condemn its impact. In related news: Ontario lawmakers express disappointment; while Resolute says JD Irving used contacts to influence their rate. In other Business news: West Fraser announces some flood-related curtailments; Skeena Sawmills reopens; One Sky’s new OSB mill will co-locate with Paper Excellence; and Mexico approves CP’s railroad merger deal.

In other news: Kandola Forest Products seeks to bring mass timber to Quesnel, as wooden real estate expands in the US and Europe. Meanwhile: BC forestry workers hold rallies against old-growth deferrals, as activists say BC is too timber-centric, and blockades expand in Revelstoke

Finally, what’s behind the chainsaw billboards, and fungi’s carbon-storing role.

Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Business & Politics

Quebec company says J.D. Irving used access to influence softwood duties

By Jacques Poitras
CBC News
November 30, 2021
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

Forestry giant JD. Irving has been accused of using personal access to one of former U.S. president Donald Trump’s cabinet secretaries to secure favourable treatment from the US in the ongoing softwood lumber dispute. Montreal-based Resolute said in filings with the U.S. Commerce Department that co-CEO Jim Irving spoke by phone with former secretary Wilbur Ross in  August 2020. “Following the meeting, J.D. Irving was accepted immediately as the fourth company to be individually reviewed” in the trade investigation”. As a result of the latest review, Irving wood will be subject to a 3.41 per cent countervailing duty, compared to 6.31 for most Canadian firms. …The Commerce Department rejected the claim that the phone call with Ross played a role in Irving getting to plead its case separately. …The department wrote that it wanted to investigate one company from Eastern Canada to ensure “wide geographic coverage” in its review.

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Mexican regulators approve $31 billion railroad merger deal

The Associated Press
November 28, 2021
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

KANSAS CITY, Missouri — Mexican regulators have approved Canadian Pacific’s $31 billion plan to acquire Kansas City Southern and create a railroad linking Mexico, Canada and the United States. The deal could close as soon as mid-December if shareholders of both companies approve it. Then Kansas City Southern would be held by a voting trust while the U.S. Surface Transportation Board conducts its lengthy review of the transaction but its shareholders would be paid right away. …The railroads said Friday that the STB’s review of the deal is expected to continue into the fourth quarter of next year. U.S. regulators haven’t approved any major railroad mergers since the 1990s, so it’s not clear yet whether this deal will ultimately be approved. But executives at Canadian Pacific and Kansas City Southern have said they expect the deal will be completed.

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Builder and lumber groups address tariff increase

LBM Journal
November 29, 2021
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

As the U.S. Dept. of Commerce announced a near doubling tariffs on Canadian lumber shipments, advocacy groups have spoken out about the measure. The move is “a gut punch to American home buyers,” said NAHB via Chairman Chuck Fowke. …Home builders are grappling with lumber and other building material supply chain bottlenecks that are raising construction costs. And consumers are dealing with rising inflation that is pushing mortgage interest rates higher. …“This decision undermines the historic funding commitment made to housing in the Build Back Better legislation and erodes efforts to tackle the lumber and building materials supply issues plaguing the industry.” …The NLBMDA also condemned the decision. Jonathan Paine, NLBMDA President & CEO, said “NLBMDA strongly condemns the decision”.  …The American Building Materials Alliance agreed. …The U.S. Lumber Coalition, however, applauded U.S. Dept, of Commerce’s “continued strong trade law enforcement.”

Additional coverage in Builder Online: NAHB and NLBMDA condemn action to double tariffs.

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Biden Joins the Lumber Trade Wars – How not to fight inflation: raise home building costs by doubling tariffs

By the Editorial Board
The Wall Street Journal
November 29, 2021
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

President Biden says he feels your pain regarding inflation, and he’s made public-relations moves to show it. …Too bad his Administration’s policies reveal different priorities. Witness the Commerce Department’s decision to raise tariffs on lumber, which will raise building costs in an already strained housing market. …For decades U.S. sawmills haven’t been able to meet domestic demand, but they’ve leaned on government to protect their market share. Now the Biden Administration is taking up their cause, squeezing imported wood. …“This is exactly what must happen for further expansion of U.S. softwood lumber manufacturing and jobs,” said U.S. Lumber Coalition co-chair Jason Brochu. That’s what tariff beneficiaries always say as they charge customers more amid limited supply. There’s rarely a good time for trade restrictions, but the timing of this one is tragicomical. The same month Commerce revealed its tariff plan, lumber hit a record price. [to access the full story a WSJ subscription is required]

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West Fraser provides operational update in response to flooding in BC

West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd.
November 30, 2021
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

VANCOUVER, B.C. – West Fraser… provided an update on operating conditions in response to the severe weather and flooding in British Columbia that has caused transportation disruptions to rail and truck routes, including limiting access to ports for overseas shipments. In the second half of November… the Company’s western Canadian lumber weekly shipments declined by approximately 25%-30%. In addition, our pulp shipments to the port of Vancouver, from where the majority of our export pulp ships, have averaged less than 20% of normal volumes. While West Fraser is utilizing alternative transportation routes and methods to the extent they are available to continue servicing customers, the magnitude and duration of the impact from current weather events remains uncertain. Therefore, West Fraser has reduced operating schedules at multiple western Canadian locations and will continue to make such adjustments as necessary. At the current time, it is not possible to estimate when full transportation services will resume.

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Paper Excellence and One Sky Forest Products announce Prince Albert co-location agreement

Paper Excellence Canada
November 30, 2021
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Richmond, BC – Paper Excellence and One Sky Forest Products today announced they have signed a non-binding co-location agreement. According to the agreement, One Sky will co-locate its new oriented strand board (OSB) operations at the existing Prince Albert mill site. Co-location means that One Sky will occupy approximately 10 percent of the existing property, and the two companies will share log storage areas and existing infrastructure, including electrical, natural gas, and rail lines. Both companies recently received softwood and hardwood fibre allocations from the Government of Saskatchewan. “On behalf of Paper Excellence, I am pleased to announce this agreement with One Sky and begin moving forward with them on a co-location partnership,” said Carlo Dal Monte, Vice President, Energy and Business Development. “As we continue to work towards restarting Prince Albert Pulp Inc., this agreement shows how important co-operation and collaboration are to the forest industry and Saskatchewan’s economic growth.”

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Quesnel pulp mill to shut down due to flooding and transportation issues

By Cassidy Dankochik
BC Local News in Victoria News
November 29, 2021
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Approximately 220 employees at West Fraser pulp facilities in Quesnel have been laid off due to flooding in southern B.C., says Joyce Wagenaar, a corporate spokesperson for West Fraser Mills. …“As a result of the significant flooding in southern B.C., the province is now facing serious transportation and logistics issues impacting highways, rail and our ports,” she said. “These issues are now impacting West Fraser’s pulp operations as we are unable to ship product and have run out of accessible storage.” Cariboo Pulp and Paper will be shut down for 16 days, affecting around 160 employees and Quesnel River Pulp will be running at one-third of its normal capacity, affecting 60 employees. Some functions at Cariboo Pulp and Paper will continue.

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Unifor serves 72-hour strike notice to two container trucking companies

By Unifor
Cision Newswire
November 29, 2021
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

VANCOUVER, BC — Container truck drivers at Aheer and Prudential could be on strike as soon as December 3, 2021 after 72-hours notice was served today by Unifor. “Unifor will not let Aheer and Prudential escape their responsibilities to workers,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias. “The pattern collective agreement negotiated this summer is fair and reasonable. There will be no exemptions for greedy employers.” On November 21 truckers at the two companies voted overwhelmingly to strike if their employers refused the industry pattern agreement set earlier this year with Harbour Link Transportation. Key achievements include health, dental, and insurance benefits for all drivers along with increased payments for waiting time. The two employers account for approximately 170 trucks, or 10% of the Port of Vancouver’s container trucks.

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Skeena Sawmills in Terrace open again after week-long closure

By Rod Link
The Northern View
November 29, 2021
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Skeena Sawmills re-opened this week after being closed last week when it didn’t have enough logs to keep operating. “We have had problems getting logs due to fire restrictions during the summer, rain, road washouts, and now snow,” said Skeena Sawmills official Roger Keery in outlining the mill’s challenges. “Going back to the second quarter of 2021, we have never been able to build an adequate log inventory to maintain production through these interruptions.” Compounding the problem is a limited number of contractors who themselves have troubles hiring and keeping employees in the COVID era, Keery continued. “This is particularly true of truck drivers and this has limited their capacity to deliver wood. Keeping ahead of mill consumption has been a challenge all year,” he said. …One positive note is the company’s wood supply agreements with First Nations who have grown to become major players in the region’s logging industry.

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Rickford, Melillo disappointed with recent softwood lumber tariff increase

By Jay Haughton
DrydenNow
November 30, 2021
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada East

Greg Rickford and Eric Melillo

Ontario’s federal and provincial members of parliament have expressed their disappointment after the United States increased the tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber. …Kenora MP, Eric Melillo was fighting for the Northwestern Ontario forestry sector on Friday at Question Period at the House of Commons in Ottawa. “It’s either the Prime Minister doesn’t care to stand up for Canadian workers or he’s incapable of delivering results. The government has said that they have raised this issue with the US administration so why isn’t the president taking them seriously,” said Melillo. …Greg Rickford, Kenora-Rainy River MPP shared his disbelief on the tariff hike by the U.S. President. “This guy, he is proving to be a wolf in sheep’s clothing, there’s nothing he won’t do to protect the United States.”

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The Fort Frances kraft mill comes tumbling down

Thunder Bay News Watch
November 29, 2021
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada East

FORT FRANCES, Ont. — The tallest structure in Fort Frances came crashing down on the weekend. Canadian National Demolition conducted an implosion of the former Resolute Forest Products kraft mill. The kraft mill was 50 years old. Construction of the mill by the Ontario-Minnesota Pulp & Paper Co. was completed in 1971. Resolute closed its Fort Frances operations in 2014 and sold the assets to Riversedge Developments in 2019. Demolition began in November 2020.

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Paper Excellence Welcomes Domtar Into Its Group of Companies

By Paper Excellence
Business Wire
November 30, 2021
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

LOS ANGELES–The Paper Excellence Group, a global diversified manufacturer of pulp and specialty, printing, writing, and packaging papers, today announced the successful closing of its previously-announced acquisition of Domtar, a leading provider of fiber-based products. The acquisition further establishes Paper Excellence Group as an industry leader, significantly broadening its global reach and expanding its product range to include airlaid nonwovens and containerboard, in addition to significantly increased pulp and paper production. Domtar will operate as a stand-alone business entity within the Paper Excellence Group, with Domtar’s current CEO and management team remaining in place. There are no further changes to operating locations, business plans, or Domtar’s employee base at this time.

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Struggling to save the Park Falls paper mill

By Erik Gunn
The Wisconsin Examiner
November 30, 2021
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US East

WISCONSIN — What happened with the legislation that was supposed to help rescue the plant? …“Time is of the essence,” said Rep. Scott Krug (R-Nekoosa) just before the Nov. 11 Assembly roll call vote that passed Assembly Bill 682 on a vote of 96-2. “Hopefully this gets over to the state Senate and it’s given the urgency that it requires over there as well.” From the Senate, the bill would go to the desk of Gov. Tony Evers, who was widely assumed to be ready to sign it into law. But the Senate had already held its final floor session for the year. And by the time the Assembly held its vote on Veterans Day, the countdown had already begun for the auction and dismantling of the Park Falls mill. …The loan legislation got caught up in a side conflict between Assembly and Senate Republicans.

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Finance & Economics

US Pending and Existing Home Sales Jump in October

By Fan-yu Kuo
NAHB – Eye on Housing
November 29, 2021
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States

Despite low inventory and increasing affordability concerns, both pending home sales and existing home sales jumped in October, according to the National Association of Realtors. Though the market remains strong and sales is on pace for its strongest sales in 15 years, higher home prices continue to price out first-time and young buyers. The Pending Home Sales Index increased 7.5% from 116.5 to 125.2 in October. On a year-over-year basis, sales were 1.4% lower than a year ago. Meanwhile, total existing home sales, including single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, rose 0.8% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.34 million in October, the highest level since January. However, on a year-over-year basis, sales were 5.8% lower than a year ago, the third annual decline since August 2020.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Quesnel value-added mill presents to council

By Cassidy Dankochik
Quesnel Cariboo Observer
November 29, 2021
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

Quesnel’s city council appeared impressed by Kandola Forest Products (KFP) after a delegation of higher-ups reported on their progress. The company began operating in April of 2021. Neal Kandola, the CEO of the value-added mill reported KFP has captured a bigger market share than the previous company operating out of their mill ever did. …Kandola is planning to bring in more labour, new machinery and new products for 2022. …One of Kandola’s goals is to construct what the company called a (Non)Structural Beam facility in their mill. The product would fall under the “mass timber” designation. Mass timber products are made of thick, compressed layers of wood Mass timber and has a lower carbon footprint than traditional building materials. The province will be releasing a mass timber plan soon, and Mayor Bob Simpson said he discussed including Kandola in it with the minister of jobs, economic recovery and innovation, Ravi Kahlon.

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Developers Get Smarter in Their Embrace of Timber

By Paul Bergeron
GlobeSt.com
November 30, 2021
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States

Buildings made from timber have long been billed as a route to addressing the real estate industry’s net-zero carbon emission goals. Recent developments suggest the pace is picking up, with projects becoming more ambitious, according to a recent post by JLL. …“The rise in the use of engineered timber products such as cross-laminated timber (CLT) is driven by two factors—the desire to decrease the cost of construction and the necessity of making the projects we build more ecologically sustainable,” Adrian Washington, CEO & Founder Neighborhood Development Company, tells GlobeSt. …“On top of managing their operational efficiencies, developers have been finding ways to design and construct in a more sustainable manner, such as avoiding carbon-intensive materials like steel or concrete,” said JLL’s Sam McCrea, Solutions Lead, Energy & Sustainability Services, Asia Pacific during the Future of Sustainable Spaces panel discussion.

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Timber or steel? Study helps builders reduce carbon footprint of truss structures

By Massachusetts Institute of Technology
EurekAlert!
November 29, 2021
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US East

Buildings are a big contributor to global warming, not just in their ongoing operations but in the materials used in their construction. Truss structures — those crisscross arrays of diagonal struts used throughout modern construction, in everything from antenna towers to support beams for large buildings — are typically made of steel or wood or a combination of both. But little quantitative research has been done on how to pick the right materials to minimize these structures’ contribution global warming. …Now, researchers at MIT have done a detailed analysis and created a set of computational tools to enable architects and engineers to design truss structures in a way that can minimize their embodied carbon while maintaining all needed properties for a given building application. While in general wood produces a much lower carbon footprint, using steel in places where its properties can provide maximum benefit can provide an optimized result, they say.

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Michigan State University rises in the Princeton Review of top green colleges

Michigan State University
November 29, 2021
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US East

Michigan State University has been recognized for the third consecutive year as one of the nation’s top green colleges in the 2022 Princeton Review’s Guide to Green Colleges. MSU, positioned at No. 21 in the nation, is the only Michigan school appearing on Princeton Review’s list of Top 50 Green Colleges. The Top 50 Green Colleges represent those schools that are making strong commitments and progress in sustainability and the environment, ranging from academics and career prep to operations and initiatives. …As part of embedding sustainability throughout the university, MSU continues to invest in infrastructure [such as] the Minskoff Pavilion at the Broad College of Business which achieved a gold rating through LEED. Additionally, the new STEM Teaching and Learning Facility received a Forest Stewardship Council Leadership Award in recognition of its mass timber construction.

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Students challenged to design exemplary net zero community centre using timber

Scottish Construction Now
November 30, 2021
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Trade membership body Timber Development UK is partnering with New Model Institute of Technology and Engineering in Hereford, Edinburgh Napier University and the Passivhaus Trust, to challenge built environment students and recent graduates, to design a community centre that is truly sustainable. Teams have been tasked to create a community building which produces more energy than it consumes while working across four distinct careers in the built environment; architects, engineers, cost consultants, and landscape architects. …a programme of webinars will be provided [for the students] in early 2022 giving teams tips, tools and insight. Tabitha Binding, Timber Development UK, university engagement programme manager, said: “Built environment professionals must prepare for a net zero future, and this must start in the classroom if we are to reach our climate goals. Our curriculum must be strengthened to meet the climate challenge by raising climate literacy.

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Wooden real estate construction evolving fast

By Beata Rantaeskola and Olli Haltia of Dasos Capital, and Miikka Pesonen of Stora Enso
IPE Real Assets
November 30, 2021
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

The European market for mass timber-based multi-storey buildings is growing at some 8% per year and is projected to grow from €5bn today to at least €10bn per year by 2030. Importantly, the development in wooden real estate is backed up by dynamic expansion of mass timber-construction material, especially engineered wood products such as cross-laminated timber (CLT), for which production capacity has been growing at 18% per year since 2013. …If other building types are added to multi-storey buildings, the resulting market volume would be even larger… The amount of wooden construction projects and their size is growing. …Globally, the development in the wooden real-estate is backed up by dynamic expansion of mass timber-construction materials such as CLT, for which production capacity has increased at an average 18% per year since 2013. The use of CLT is expected to continue growing rapidly and will almost triple by 2026. …Besides …reducing carbon emissions, wood-based real estate is ecologically sustainable. 

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Forestry

Forest Management Certifications: Understanding the Role of Audits and Certification Bodies

By Kyle Meister
Yahoo Finance
November 29, 2021
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, United States

As the financial industry, government and corporate leaders continue to put the spotlight on Environmental Social and Governance reporting and ratings, organizations that appear to score high are rewarded while those that don’t comply are shunned. …Sometimes, independent certification bodies and auditors are caught up in such stories. ….This tactic may be “sticky” from a news perspective, but is clearly off the mark. Third-party certifiers, which must undergo stringent accreditation to ensure impartiality and professional competence, are actively part of the solution to prevent deforestation. It makes little sense to attack the very organizations that are working to confirm responsible forest management practices. …Forest owners can choose to be certified to globally recognized standards such as Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®), the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), and PEFC-recognized standards such as Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI®) for North America and Responsible Wood for Australia and New Zealand.

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First Nations Forestry Council Calls for a Reset of ‘Flawed Consultation’ Process on Modernizing Forest Policies

BC First Nations Forestry Council
November 30, 2021
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Snuneymuxw Territory– The B.C. First Nations Forestry Council is calling on the Ministry of Forests (FLNRORD) to properly engage with First Nations on changes to modernize forest policy in BC. FLNRORD began engaging with First Nations on policy and legislative changes in July, when many Nations were under states of local emergencies due to major wildfires. Now… the Province is making sweeping changes to forest legislation without any substantial First Nations input. These expedited timelines do not allow for the meaningful and informed consultation required by provincial law under the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, rendering this process disrespectful, flawed and disingenuous. “We just receive letter after letter. The Province has not met with us or responded to our letters, and we don’t have the resources or expertise needed to understand the implications of these changes on our rights,” explained Chief Greg Blain of the Ashcroft Indian Band.

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Taking Action on Climate Change

Forest Enhancement Society of BC
November 30, 2021
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

BEAVER COVE, B.C. The economics of salvaging fibre on Northern Vancouver Island is difficult. Most wood waste is not close to chipping facilities, therefore access and transportation can be challenging and often uneconomic. In 2019, the Forest Enhancement Society of BC provided close to $375,000 in funding to Kurt Leroy Trucking to develop fibre salvage and recovery projects in partnership with Western Forest Products Ltd. and Atli Chip Limited Partnership. Leroy said the funding “enabled us to salvage waste wood volumes that would normally be outside the economic range from the chip plant and to recover wood that would normally have to be burned.” [It also allowed the company to] maintain employment … throughout northern Vancouver Island. …The Atli Chip facility at Beaver Cove is a limited partnership between Atli Resources LP, Paper Excellence Canada and Wahkash Contracting Ltd. Atli Resources LP is the forestry arm of the ‘Namgis First Nation.

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Forestry workers rally in Campbell River over planned changes to old-growth logging, demand consultation

By Dean Stoltz
Chek News
November 30, 2021
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Hundreds of forestry workers and supporters rallied over proposed changes that could affect their livelihood at an event in Campbell River on Monday. The event, which took place out front of MLA Michele Babchuk’s riding office and saw nearly 200 attend, was held in response to changes the province is proposing around old-growth logging. …“It’s important that we get the message to the government that these processes that they’re going through are unfair, they’re unjust and they’re going to cause catastrophic damage to our forestry communities,” said Carl Sweet of the forestry alliance. …“We sell used forestry equipment and we would be affected by these deferrals in that our clientele would go from being able to work a lot to working just a little and that would cause the market to flood with equipment,” said Tim Lloyd, who owns Forest Tech Equipment in Campbell River.

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Port Alberni forestry workers rally against old-growth deferral

By Elena Rardon
Alberni Valley News
November 30, 2021
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Forestry workers rallied in Port Alberni last weekend against potential logging deferrals that could have a “devastating” impact on the community. A group of forestry workers and their family members braved the rain on Saturday, Nov. 27, gathering outside of Mid Island-Pacific Rim MLA Josie Osborne’s office on Johnston Road. They waved at passing motorists and carried signs that read “Save the working forest” and “Support responsible forestry.” …Mary Ann Cheetham, who helped to organize the rally on Saturday, said she attended the legislature as a guest and was “appalled” by the province’s decision to defer without consulting forestry workers. “That’s going to destroy whole communities, whole businesses,” said Cheetham. “If they want to do this right, at least have a panel with forestry involved, First Nations involved.” …Although the rally in Port Alberni was short notice, a crowd of approximately two dozen received honks of support from passing cars.

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Environmental activists blockade Akolkolex FSR south of Revelstoke

By Aaron Orlando
The Revelstoke Mountaineer
November 29, 2021
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Environment group Old Growth Revylution blockaded the Akolkolex Forest Service Road south of Revelstoke on Nov. 29, 2021, saying its goal is to stop ongoing logging in the area, including on the Holyk and Pulley Forest Service Roads (FSR). …The group criticized Downie Timber specifically, saying that cutblocks being actively logged in the area “overlap” with areas identified as highest value old growth forests. …Nick Arkle, CEO of the Gorman Group, that owns Downie Timber said he didn’t believe that Downie or its subcontractors is harvesting in the high value old growth areas identified in the OGR media release, and that the company had tried to get members of the protest group to meet to better understand its concerns, but hasn’t been successful. He said he was told the group doesn’t have a set leader. He said he wanted to meet with protesters to review the maps and find out more about their specific concerns.

Additional coverage in the Vernon Morning Star by Jocelyn Doll: Contractors pulled after Old Growth Revylution blocks Akolkolex Forest Service Road

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Time for a new Forest Act?

Letter by David Buckna
Castanet
November 29, 2021
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Taryn Skalbania begins her Nov. 15 letter with three excellent questions. …I have three additional questions: About what percentage of the recent B.C. flooding was due to clearcut logging? Why isn’t B.C. Forests Minister Katrine Conroy joining Premier John Horgan, Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth and Transportation Minister Rob Fleming at press briefings? Is it time for a new Forest Act? Back in March, in response to the catastrophic flood of 2018, the citizens group Boundary Forest Watershed Stewardship Society said that they have undertaken a project to reform forestry practices in their watershed and turn forest management over to local citizens. …“The new Forest Act must enshrine in law a new concept of sustainability that puts ecosystem integrity and resilience above all else,” said board member Jennifer Houghton.

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BC’s old-growth forests. Why they’re important and what’s important at Fairy Creek

By Marco Ovies
The Peak, SFU’s Independent Student Newspaper
November 29, 2021
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The term “old-growth forests” has been popping up all over the news, especially in light of the protests happening at Fairy Creek over the last year. Over 1,100 people have been arrested and mas of September 14. Most recently photojournalist Amber Bracken and documentary filmmaker Michael Toledano were also arrested — among 29 others. There is no sign of protests stopping despite logging crews winding down operations for the winter. This leaves multiple people wondering why these trees are so important. Here is a breakdown of old-growth forests, their importance, and what’s happening at Fairy Creek. 

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In B.C., it’s time to move beyond our timber-centric thinking

By Eddie Petryshen, conservation specialist for Wildsight
iPolitics
November 29, 2021
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

In an all-too-familiar charade, the forest industry continues to accuse environmentalists, and the protection of irreplaceable forests, of causing current and future job losses. Forestry workers and communities have every right to be upset; we’ve lost nearly 50,000 jobs since 2000. But the problem isn’t environmental protection; it’s corporate investment, automation, poor management decisions, and B.C.’s largest forest companies no longer being as invested in our communities as they once were. …What we know is that B.C. can’t compete with the likes of Georgia, Mississippi, and South Carolina, where trees in fast-growing plantation forests on private lands are logged every 20 to 40 years. Nor should we try to manage our forests like that. …B.C.’s forest management must prioritize the health of water, wildlife, culture, and local communities, while ensuring that local employment is sustained. It’s time to move beyond our timber-centric thinking.

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New old-growth policy won’t change much: forest ecologist

By Will McLernon
The Signal – University of King’s College School of Journalism
November 30, 2021
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada East

Forest ecologist Donna Crossland said many Nova Scotians want to let nature be. But she doesn’t believe Nova Scotia’s new old-growth forests draft policy will do much to change “the dire situation with a near complete lack of [old growth].” The previous policy on old-growth forests was released in 2012, with a goal of identifying eight per cent of old-growth forests or old-growth opportunities on Crown land across the province. The 2021 draft policy states that this goal was met in early 2020. Crossland believes this statement is misleading. “What they’ve done is put a lot of forests in the eight per cent allocation that are not old growth at all.” Crossland, with the Medway Community Forest co-operative, was not involved in drafting the policy. She would like to see an interim measure whereby all the remaining forest at 80 to 100 years of age on Crown land would be inventoried.

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Forestry industry innovations benefit the environment and our rural regions

By Montreal Economic Institute
Cision Newwire
November 30, 2021
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada East

MONTREAL – Contrary to perceptions disseminated by certain of its opponents, the forestry industry continues to innovate, and increasingly contributes to the fight against climate change. A new publication launched by the Montreal Economic Institute…provides a survey of some of the innovations implemented by this industry. “In recent years, the forestry industry has become a player in the circular economy. For instance, a greenhouse complex in Saint-Félicien uses the residual heat from an adjacent pulp mill to reduce its energy costs… To take another example, some companies now transform over 90% of certain kinds of sawmill residues into organic agricultural fertilizers,” points out Olivier Rancourt, economist at the MEI and co-author… “We must not ignore the fact that a healthy forestry industry can also maximize the capture of carbon by our forests. This is an important and often overlooked aspect…” says Miguel Ouellette, Director of Operations and Economist at the MEI.

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Senators reintroduce bill that would grant land to Alaska Native communities in Southeast

By Joe Viechnicki
Alaska Public Media
November 29, 2021
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

A bill that would create new Alaska Native corporations in Southeast Alaska and grant them thousands of acres of federal lands from the Tongass National Forest has been reintroduced in the U.S. Senate. Similar legislation has been introduced in the past and it was already introduced earlier this year in the House. The bill, co-sponsored by Alaska’s Congressional delegation, would amend the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act allowing the formation of five new urban corporations in Ketchikan, Haines, Wrangell, Petersburg and Tenakee. It would grant 23,040 acres of land that’s now national forest to each of the five new corporations. Natives from the five communities say they were left out of the landmark 1971 law that granted public lands to the for-profit regional, urban and village corporations.

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AstraZeneca partners with Forestry England on tree-planting drive

By Matt Mace
The Edie Network
November 30, 2021
Category: Forestry
Region: International

AstraZeneca UK is partnering with the government agency Forestry England and the Borders Forest Trust non-profit on a multi-year tree-planting programme. The company is aiming to plant more than one million trees across the UK by 2025 through a £1.9m investment and builds towards AstraZeneca’s goal to plant and maintain 50 million trees globally by 2025. “As a company that puts the health of people and our communities at the forefront of everything we do, we are committed to ensuring we do right by the planet. We are proud to work in partnership to accelerate action against climate change, promote biodiversity, and raise awareness of the value reforestation brings to society and human health,” AstraZeneca’s head of environmental protection Professor Jason Snape said. “This reforestation initiative in the UK is an important part of our commitment to plant 50 million trees worldwide by 2025, with planting already underway in Australia, Indonesia and France.”

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

What’s behind those chainsaw billboards

By Chris Larabee
The Greenfield Recorder
November 29, 2021
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US East

You’re probably not alone if you’ve driven on I-91 and were perplexed by a billboard depicting a chainsaw with a promise to conserve forests. The billboards, adorned with phrases like “true conservation requires a blade,” populating I-91 and other areas around Franklin County were put up by Forest Carbon Works, a Minnesota-based company that works with small landowners to break into the carbon market. …The carbon market offers credits for companies reducing or offsetting the use of fossil fuels. …“One of the misnomers is that forest carbon and carbon markets and carbon sequestering is really something that tree huggers do,” Toby Schneider, Forest Carbon Works COO said. “Healthy management of a forest … is important for landowners and our environment.” Schneider said actions like cutting down diseased trees or gathering fire wood can help benefit a forest, and that’s the idea behind a chainsaw that saves trees.

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Fungi may be crucial to storing carbon in soil as the Earth warms

By Freda Kreier
Science News
November 30, 2021
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

When it comes to storing carbon in the ground, fungi may be key. Soils are a massive reservoir of carbon, holding about three times as much carbon as Earth’s atmosphere. …microbes, such as bacteria and some fungi transform dead and decaying matter into carbon-rich soil. But not all carbon compounds made by soil microbes are equal. Some can last for decades or even centuries in the soil, while others are quickly consumed by microbes and converted into carbon dioxide that’s lost to the atmosphere. Now, a study shows that fungi-rich soils grown in laboratory experiments released less carbon dioxide when heated than other soils. The result suggests that fungi are essential for making soil that sequesters carbon in the earth… Bacteria were the main drivers behind making soil, but fungi-rich soils produced less carbon dioxide when heated than soils made solely by bacteria, the researchers found. 

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