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Not all fires are worth fighting
The Vancouver Sun
As British Columbia's resource managers reach a middle ground in allowing wildfires to naturally shape the province's forests, it is becoming an uneasy truce for communities already dealing with the dislocations of a shrinking timber supply due to mountain pine beetle infestations. "We've realized not all fires are bad," said Lyle Gawalko, head of fire management for the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Resource Operations.
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Erecting 40-story high-rises out of wood?
It's rare to see Oregon environmentalists and the timber industry on the same page. But both camps are high on cross-laminated timber, an engineered wood product that visionaries say can be used to erect high-rises up to 40 stories. If this "plywood on steroids" supplants concrete and steel in larger buildings, it could lower carbon emissions and construction costs while creating new jobs in rural Oregon.
Turning up the heat to make kelp a viable source of biofuel
Biofuels may indeed offer a greener alternative to fossil fuels, but they do raise at least one concern — crops grown as biofuel feedstock could take up farmland and use water that would otherwise be used to grow crops for much-needed food. That's why some scientists have looked to seaweed as a feedstock.
American Wood Council celebrates National Forest Products Week
American Wood Council
In recognition of National Forest Products Week (Oct. 19–25), the American Wood Council released a statement about the sustainable benefits of wood materials and its important role in the U.S. economy. Currently, forest products support more than 1 million direct jobs and contributes $100 billion to the U.S. gross domestic product. And with the global marketplace for green building materials expected to reach $529 billion by 2020, support is growing for the use of wood in construction.
Cable logging concerns dominate Arizona watershed protection comments
Arizona Daily Sun
Since Flagstaff, Arizona, voters approved the $10 million Flagstaff Watershed Protection Project in 2012, the project has become a closely watched and carefully scrutinized example of what a community-funded forest treatment plan should look like. After the U.S. Forest Service released a more than 500-page draft Environmental Impact Statement for the project this summer, waves of comments rolled in — 530 in all —from 107 people, ranging from environmental scientists to government officials to casual recreators. It’s a flood of feedback compared to the handful of comments that Forest Service restoration projects typically receive, said Erin Phelps, the Forest Service's manager for the Flagstaff Watershed Project.
Protection for long-eared bat would impact timber industry
Green Bay Press-Gazette
Government officials and timber industry representatives are trying to figure out how to save the northern long-eared bat, which has seen its numbers fall dramatically in recent years because of disease, and keep down the economic impact of that preservation effort. The federal government has been petitioned by the Center for Biological Diversity, a national conservation organization, to list the bat as either an endangered or threatened species after millions died in recent years from a fungal disease known as white-nose syndrome. As part of the protection plan, the timber industry could be restricted from logging trees where the bats roost during a 30- to 45-day period in the summer.
Biofuel companies look beyond the gas tank
The New York Times
When it comes to the future of advanced biofuel production, Abengoa Bioenergy, the Spanish company whose $500 million plant in Hugoton, Kansas, opened recently, has just one word: plastics. At many of the companies opening big new biofuel plants in the Midwest, executives are already shifting their focus to replacing petroleum not only in the gas tank but elsewhere as well. In Abengoa's case, a big target is plastic bottles.
Symposium, competition support tall wooden buildings
A symposium touting the construction and environmental sustainability of tall wooden buildings through the use of products such as Cross Laminated Timber, will be held in Chicago in November. The symposium "Toward Taller Wood Buildings," hosted by WoodWorks – Wood Products, will provide "a practical perspective on North America’s evolution toward taller wood buildings."
The new frontier in ethanol is nonfood biofuel
The first large ethanol plants to produce biofuel from nonfood sources like corn cobs are starting operations in the Midwest amid industry worries that they might also be the last — at least in the United States. After a decade of research and development, ethanol maker Poet Inc. and its Dutch partner Royal DSM recently produced the first cellulosic ethanol at a $275 million plant next to a cornfield in Emmetsburg, Iowa.
Tracking iIllegal logging trucks in the Amazon
The Epoch Times
Every night empty trucks disappear into the Brazilian Amazon, they return laden with timber. This timber — illegally cut — makes its way to sawmills that sell it abroad to places like the U.S., Europe, China, and Japan using fraudulent paperwork to export the ill-gotten gains as legit.
Conservation groups submit San Vicente Redwoods timber harvest plan
Santa Cruz Sentinel
The forested hills above Davenport, California, endured more than a century of logging and mining. To reverse the environmental damage and open the land to the public with trails, the conservation groups bought the largest unprotected swath of redwood forest in the Santa Cruz Mountains. How the conservation groups plan to fund the operation may raise eyebrows: returning to the land's history of logging.
Better logging could slow global warming
In theory, trees can lock climate-harmful carbon dioxide into centuries-long storage. But the reality has often been that the prevailing economics simply level forests to make way for mining, farming and other developments. The net result is a level of forest destruction that is causing higher emission levels than all the planes, cars, trucks, ships and trains on Earth combined.
Will national forests be sacrificed to the biomass industry?
Earth Island Journal
If we're to believe the biomass energy industry, the U.S. Forest Service, and a chorus of politicians from both sides of the aisle, we can solve the energy crisis, cure climate change, and eradicate wildfire by logging and chipping our national forests and burning them up in biomass power facilities.
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