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Experts fear for long-term health of U.S. forests
The Washington Post
The age of forest landowners across the country is increasing while the size of the parcels they own is shrinking — and that has state, federal and private experts fearing for the long-term health of millions of acres of American woodlands.
The concerns of forestry professionals are more subtle than the typical worries over large-scale development: as the parcels of land get smaller, the people who own them might not have the same commitment to the forests as the previous landowners.
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Growth in renovation industry spurs employment
By Archita Datta Majumdar
The U.S. construction industry is on an upward swing, which has led to record employment figures. Construction and renovation firms have added 20,000 jobs this year, reaching a five-year high in August, according to the Associated General Contractors of America. This accelerated employment growth was the largest since 2006, with residential building and specialty trade contractors adding a maximum number of employees at 5.7 percent. Continued recovery in the construction sector also means that the number of workers looking for work is steadily falling.
Cheap oil could kill off cellulosic ethanol
MIT Technology Review
The plunge in oil prices, accelerated by a recent OPEC decision to maintain production targets, will deal a new blow to efforts to commercialize advanced biofuels such as ethanol made from woody plant waste, or diesel made from plant oils. Lower oil prices may also help strengthen the case for scaling back the federal regulations requiring the use of biofuels.
Georgia biomass plant to be built
The approval of a nearly quarter billion dollar biomass energy is closer to fruition. This article from the Albany Herald says the Albany-Dougherty Payroll Development Authority approved a $250 million bond issuance for the project to be built next to the local Procter & Gamble campus.
Chemists create clever rewritable paper
The paperless office — one of the promises of the new digital age — has not really eventuated. Instead, most organizations still print out large amounts of documents on paper that, according to the WWF, is being produced at around 400 million tons a year and rising. So, wouldn’t it be great if we could just simply wipe off the print on paper and use it over and over again?
USDA backs advanced biofuel producers
The USDA is making $5.6 million in grants to 220 producers across the U.S. to support the production of advanced biofuels.
The Department of Agriculture will also award over $4 million in additional grants in a bid to advance the bioeconomy and reduce the nation's reliance on foreign oil.
US construction spending rises 1.1 percent in October
The Associated Press via U.S. News & World Report
Newly built homes and schools boosted U.S. construction spending in October to the highest level since May.
The Commerce Department said recently that construction spending rose 1.1 percent in October, after having slipped 0.1 percent in September.
Tomorrow's buildings may be built by robots
By Michael J. Berens
Imagine building an entire 30-story hotel from the ground up in just 15 days. Sounds like futuristic pie-in-the-sky? A private Chinese construction company, the Broad Group, did just that in 2012 using robotics to prefabricate entire floors, according to a new report from Robotic Business Review. Other innovative uses of robotics are just around the corner. And the day may not be far off when humans and robots will be working side-by-side at construction sites.
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Christmas trees: Environmental friend or foe?
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Real or fake Christmas tree?
Apparently, it’s a debate for the ages.
Not merely which choice is more convenient or beautiful — but which is better for the Earth.
About 28 million real trees are sold in the U.S. each year, but an artificial one can be reused year after year, saving several real trees, which generally take 10 to 15 years to mature.
Wood panel maker Norbord to buy Ainsworth Lumber
Norbord Inc will buy Ainsworth Lumber Co Ltd in a deal valued at $667 million to become the world's biggest producer of oriented strand boards, the most popular roofing material in the U.S.
The deal will help Norbord take advantage of any recovery in the U.S. housing market and cater to rising demand from Europe and Asia.
US lumber production up 4.9 percent through September
U.S. lumber production totaled 23.718 billion board feet through September, up 4.9 percent from the January-September 2013 total, according to the Western Wood Products Association's "Lumber Track" publication.
Production through September in the West was up 4.6 percent vs. the same period last year; southern lumber output rose 5.2 percent in the same time frame.
The energy boom you haven't heard about: Wood pellets
Europe is importing the pellets in ever higher volumes, burning them for electricity to meet renewable energy targets. The demand has transformed the U.S. industry, prompting a doubling of biomass exports last year. More than half of the exports go to the U.K., where the utility Drax is converting three of its six power plants to burn wood pellets instead of coal.
CO2 recycling from biofuels and allied chemicals and energy projects
Perhaps the new-found-trend with respect to carbon dioxide (CO2) will be various forms of recycling of this greenhouse gas and gas commodity. There has been a great deal of press associated with new start up companies which propose using CO2 from virtually all source types for the production of everything from plastics, to basic chemicals, to renewable fuels.
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