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Biomass has multiple benefits in California
FierceEnergy
A new biomass gasification plant is being erected near Lake Tahoe, Calif., that will utilize forest biomass from Placer County's fire threat reduction activities to make electricity, heat and biochar. The 2 megawatt Phoenix Energy plant will be the first to use forest-based fuel in California. The Lake Tahoe project is Phoenix Energy's third biomass gasification plant in state and, when fully operational, it will be the company's largest plant.
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Etsy begins wholesaling wood products to Nordstrom
Woodworking Network
Richwood Creations, Summersville, W.Va., makes rustic wood kitchen accessories. Worley's Lighting, Charlotte, N.C., produces wooden lamps. Both have joined a beta test for wood products and other small volume producers who are sold through online retailer Etsy, to Nordstrom, West Elm and other national retailers.
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Gecko-inspired adhesive material now usable on wood, other surfaces
Red Orbit
The University of Massachusetts Amherst scientists behind a super-adhesive material inspired by gecko feet have described a new, more versatile version of their invention that can be used on real-world surfaces. The improved version of the reusable material known as Geckskin is capable of strongly adhering to a greater variety of surfaces. However, just like a gecko’s feet, it is able to detach from those surfaces easily, the researchers explain in the most recent issue of the journal Advanced Materials.
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Bark beetle infestations affect water quality, stream flows
Red Orbit
An infestation of bark beetles is killing trees in the mountains across the western U.S. The beetles all reproduce in the inner bark of the trees, though they kill the trees in different ways. For example, the mountain pine beetle attacks and kills live trees, while other species live in dead, weakened or dying trees. In fact, more than 3.4 million acres of pine trees in Colorado alone have fallen to the mountain pine beetle.
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Lumber ETFs could shake off chills during spring thaw
ETF Trends
Cold winter conditions put a freeze on the lumber industry, with prices at near seven-month lows, but timber exchange traded funds could make the cut during the spring thaw. “Last year everyone was irrationally exuberant about the spring and about how fast the housing recovery would take hold,” Steven Chercover, an analyst with D.A. Davidson, said in a Wall Street Journal article. “This year, we were optimistic, but had the worst winter in decades,” in some areas of the Midwest and East Coast.
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'All of the above' energy strategy
USDA.gov via WWLP-TV
As part of the national observance of Earth Day, the U.S. Forest Service announced that it is seeking proposals that expand wood energy use and support responsible forest management. Also, the Forest Service released a Wood Energy Financial App for use by community and business leaders seeking to replace fossil fuel with wood energy.
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Study: Cellulose fuel bad for climate
The Associated Press viaThe Japan Times
Biofuels made from the leftovers of harvested corn plants are worse than gasoline for global warming in the short term, a study shows, challenging the Obama administration’s conclusions that they are a much cleaner oil alternative and will help fight climate change. A $500,000 study paid for by the federal government and released in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Climate Change concludes that biofuels made with corn residue release 7 percent more greenhouse gases in the early years compared with conventional gasoline.
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What's on the mind of the woodworker? Job satisfaction
Woodworking Network
Woodworkers are famously good at arithmetic, rooted in the constant use of measure and calculation of yield. But they are not always so good at making a profit. Obviously this is a generalization. But why do those woodworkers for whom it is true persist in working hard for what seems like so little? Because they find other satisfactions in the job.
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Old lumber is a new trend
Charlotte Observer via Times Union
Reclaimed lumber is among the most environmentally friendly building materials because, as any 12-year-old can explain, recycling is good for us and the planet. The wood is beautiful. A floor of salvaged antique heart pine glows with the patina of decades, even centuries. Every piece of barn siding is uniquely weathered, which gives a one-of-a-kind appeal to walls and furniture. And, says Paul Atkinson of Southend Reclaimed and Jonathan Kauffman of Kauffman and Co., both in Charlotte, N.C., buyers appreciate the tales behind reclaimed and salvaged lumber, too.
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Forest thinning in Arizona could benefit environment, economy
Biomass Magazine
A recent report finds that forest thinning could improve the health of Arizona’s forests while strengthening rural economies. Small diameter wood harvested as part of thinning activities could be used for many purposes, including bioenergy production. The report, titled “Modeling the Economic Viability of Restorative Thinning,” was produced by Arizona State University’s Sustainable Solutions Services and The Nature Conservancy.
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Wildfires are out of control
Pacific Standard Magazine
Smokey Bear’s well-worn catchphrase — that “only you can prevent” forest fires — is sounding all the more naive as a new reality settles into the oft-tinder dry American West. The numbers of big fires that strike annually are on the rise throughout most of the region, from the Rocky Mountains’ pine forests to the wind-whipped deserts that border Mexico. Worsening droughts are taking searing tolls, helping to nudge vast biomes into combustion.
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