THE EDGEBoomsticks

User guide and quick reference on treated boomsticks now available

In British Columbia, damage from marine borers reduces the service life of boomsticks used to keep log bundles together for storage and transport, and is estimated to cost the forest industry $12 million a year.

FPInnovations and its collaborative partners have developed a promising solution that involves treating the boomsticks with a preservative. Based on the results of a recent trial, researchers estimate that the treatment will extend the service life of boomsticks by more than 10 times that of untreated boomsticks.

FPInnovations developed a guide to assist users with the successful implementation and usage of treated boomsticks. The guide contains key information for effectively managing a treated boomstick from the start to the end of its service life, including guidelines on deployment, tracking, handling, inspection and disposal. Also available is a brief summary of “do’s and don’ts” on log handling and disposal of treated boomsticks, which field users will find convenient for use as a quick reference.

To request a copy of the Treated Boomsticks User Guide, or the Quick Guidelines on Treated Boomstick Handling and Disposal for Field Users, contact the FPInnovations library. For more information on treating boomsticks to extend service life, contact Mithun Shetty ([email protected], 604-222-5732).

BoomsticksA hybrid poplar transplanter sits in the foreground of an afforested field planted with hybrid poplar in the background.

Alberta landowner establishes short rotation high yield plantation next to fossil fuel power complex to highlight reclamation/biofuel options

By Tony Kryzanowski

An Alberta landowner has launched an orchard-style, tree farming business venture next to a massive fossil fuel power production complex west of Edmonton, leveraging the short rotation, high yield afforestation technology developed by the Canadian Wood Fibre Centre (CWFC).

Furthermore, the Swan River First Nation has also launched a tree farming business venture based on deployment of CWFC’s afforestation technology.

Both adopters are being mentored by CWFC as they deploy the proven high yield afforestation technology that CWFC has developed over two decades of trials and demonstrations. It features short rotation and purpose-grown poplar clones, novel plantation patterns, and precise vegetation management methods.

These investors approached CWFC independently because of their knowledge of the natural resource sector and their belief in the potential of deploying this technology to players, particularly within the mining, oil and gas, and forestry sectors.

CWFC is confident that these two ventures are only the beginning of even greater uptake of its proven afforestation technology, especially as Canada works toward its stated goal of planting two billion trees over the next 10 years. Hybrid poplar clones grown on high yield afforestation plantations patterned after CWFC’s models grow on average eight to ten times faster than trees grown in a natural forest.

There is also the potential to develop two crops from one land base by deploying CWFC’s mixed wood model. This features a hybrid poplar crop with white spruce or white pine planted in the understorey that CWFC has demonstrated can achieve a 50 per cent increase in production and growth response in the first 10 years.

The goal of the Fenton family venture west of Edmonton is to create interest in this technology as a possible reclamation strategy across hundreds of hectares of reclaimed land located adjacent to several fossil fuel power plants in the Wabamun Lake area, as well as on many other disturbed sites requiring reclamation around Alberta.

“We were wondering what to do with our property and decided to do something different,” says Keith Fenton. “My daughter is an environmental field practitioner with a great interest in CWFC’s afforestation technology and my son, Kevin, the primary operations co-ordinator for our site, also has a great interest in pursuing this opportunity. Our goal is to explore new bioeconomy business opportunities as we have a large land base right across the road that has been mined. In addition to potential use in reclamation, there are a lot of BTUs in poplar for potential use as an alternative fuel source.”

The Fentons are developing what might be described as a four-hectare, roadside showroom. Passersby will be able to observe and evaluate the amount of growth that various hybrid poplar clones deemed suitable for central Alberta achieve over time. They are also producing stool beds to develop hybrid poplar cutting material as well as nursery beds for softwood seedlings that they can market to a variety of potential end users for the possible establishment of larger-scale, short rotation hardwood or mixed wood plantations.

Both the Fentons and First Nations representatives have taken advantage of knowledge transfer products and events delivered by CWFC over the years.

In addition to opportunities with the mining and oil and gas sectors, they can also market this technology to forest companies to help them enhance their fibre baskets. And down the road, adopters of this technology can work toward claiming carbon credits since trees are a natural carbon sequestration solution. About half-a-tree is carbon.

“We have reached the pilot and application stage with our technology,” says Derek Sidders, Project Manager, Technology Development and Transfer at CWFC, “and these investments are a large step toward adoption. The technology is sound, their partnership with us is well-respected and we are quite pleased to be able to co-operate and assist.”

He adds that CWFC is holding discussions with a variety of investors who recognize the value of CWFC’s afforestation technology for developing short rotation, purpose-grown crops as feedstock for biofuel or bioproducts, for reclamation and remediation, to enhance wood fibre resources, to deploy as a natural climate change solution, and to enhance the environment to attract both birds and wildlife.

For more information about these ventures and how to establish a successful purpose-grown, short rotation woody crop plantation based on CWFC’s proven technology, contact Derek Sidders at [email protected].

Developing the bioeconomy with FPInnovations

Our forests are a key element in fighting climate change. In addition to sequestering carbon, their biomass can be used as a source of energy or raw material and a substitute for fossil fuel-based products. It is therefore not surprising that several projects involving bioenergy, biomaterials or biofuels are now emerging, placing forest biomass at the centre of the bioeconomy.

Significant investments are required to establish a forest biomass supply chain. Any medium or large project needs a feasibility study to address fundamental issues such as long-term supply guarantees, competitive costs and financing considerations. FPInnovations has developed the tools and expertise to conduct this type of study and ensure that projects are viable in the long term.


A forest biomass supply system must ensure not only volumes and quality in the long term, but also efficient production using effective technologies. The feasibility study would help answer the following questions: What volumes are available? Are they accessible? What are their associated costs? What are the market conditions like? What quality criteria are necessary for the raw material? What are the future prospects and vision? Scientific rigour is essential considering the importance of their answers.


Available volumes must be evaluated by species and type (logging residues or low value logs) within a given radius of the processing plant. It is important to keep in mind that biomass transport distance is a key factor since biomass value decreases rapidly when distances increase. The FPInterface software and the BiOS module are perfect tools to evaluate these volumes at a given site. The BiOS application (iOS/Android) calculates biomass volumes at roadside and the potential benefits when it comes to greenhouse gas. They consider the forest inventory, but also the technical availability, which means what is technically recoverable according to the harvesting system used (short wood, tree-length or full-tree).


The cost of getting the raw material to the mill will be calculated based on the forest supply source. The cost of recovering it in the forest will be calculated according to various scenarios that consider the type of cut (clearcut or partial), the harvesting systems and the cutblock layout.

Will the recovery be integrated into current harvesting operations (preferable) or will it be done separately? How and where will the biomass be conditioned (shredded wood, wood chips, densification, pyrolysis)? Will it be in the forest or at the mill? What are the costs and benefits of each option? Added to these recovery costs are fees, diesel costs, road maintenance, transport logistics, indirect costs, etc.


When recovering biomass, it is important to consider environmental aspects such as soil fertility and biodiversity. Environmental impact assessments must therefore be conducted to determine what percentage can be taken and what mitigation measures are necessary. Furthermore, in a bioeconomy, the carbon footprint must be evaluated. The carbon module, developed by FPInnovations, makes it possible to measure CO2 emissions resulting from forest operations (harvesting, conditioning, transport) and also the carbon delivered to the mill.


Lastly, a market study analyzes potential users, the competition, the prices offered and prospects for the product.


The table below gives a summary of the main challenges and elements that will make a forest biomass project successful for both users and suppliers. Various guides developed by FPInnovations can help meet some of these challenges: 1) Best practices guide for harvesting, conditioning and storing, 2) Pile management guide, 3) Quality control guide.

Call on our experts:

The researchers at FPInnovations are experienced and have been involved with major projects such as the BELT project in the Mauricie region and the iHUB project in Nova Scotia.

For more information, contact Sylvain Volpé at [email protected] or 514-782-4521.


Reducing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions across the forest-sector

Building on the foundation of previous research on achieving greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions-free mills, FPInnovations scientists have gone a step further and completed a full evaluation of energy efficiency across the forest sector value chain. The results will guide its member companies in identifying and correcting energy and GHG bottlenecks.

BoomsticksIn two wide-reaching case studies, the energy used by two forest operations companies, one on the East Coast and the other on the West Coast, were analyzed across their full value chains. The case studies looked at biomass supply, sawmills and wood products facilities, as well as pulp and paper mills, and final products.

The year-long project was a collaborative effort by scientists in FPInnovations’ Pointe-Claire, Edmonton and Vancouver offices who have a wide range of expertise in all facets of forest supply chain operations.

“FPInnovations is perhaps the only Canadian research organization with the capability to complete such an in-depth and far-reaching study with in-house talent,” says Tatiana Rafione, a researcher specializing in energy efficiency analysis. “We have scientific experts in biomass, transportation, mill operations, bioproducts and life-cycle analysis. Collaboratively, we were able to analyze the full spectrum of forest operations.”

The case studies revealed several ways to potentially make each component of the supply chain more efficient, helping the forest industry stay on the path towards its GHG emissions reduction targets while optimizing the use of existing biomass.


Improving operating practices include the electrification and replacement of older equipment and installing new technologies at a low capital cost. For example, card locks for fuel dispensers, cab heaters and idle engine shutdown timers.

Biodiesel generated from biomass could help decrease GHG emissions, but there are supply constraints in several regions. However, there is potential to recover biomass residues within the existing average hauling distances, which could then be used within the supply chain. In both case studies, 35 per cent of excess biomass was derived from biomass residues.


Optimizing operations and reducing energy consumption can make more hog fuel available, which will reduce dependence on external sources, all the while decreasing GHG emissions. These optimization measures can also result in natural gas or biomass savings that could be used to produce bioenergy and other value-added chemicals. Indirect GHG reduction methods include reducing the use of chemicals by replacing phenolic resins with lignin extracted from kraft mills.


The biggest potential for energy reduction options lies in this link in the value chain. Not all measures would reduce GHG emissions, but they would focus on maximizing power generation. An example would be biomass savings, which could amount to more than the biomass required to maximize power generation. Alternatively, the use of excess biomass in a gasification unit to generate syngas could replace natural gas in pulp and paper operations.

Operating mechanical pulp mills represents the largest requirement of external electricity in the value chain. Existing cogeneration units have the potential to generate the electricity needed by sawmills, pulp and paper, and panel facilities.


Carbon capture technologies would help eliminate GHG emissions from lime kilns and could account for over 30 per cent of potential GHG reduction. Carbon capture can be expensive, however. One third of the measures identified in the case-studies are considered low capital expenditures.

The results were presented to FPInnovations’ member companies participating in the case studies and an overview was presented at the Pacwest meeting in June 2019.

For more information on the case studies on energy efficiency and GHG reduction across the forest sector value chain, please contact Enrique Mateos-Espejel at [email protected].

Logging and Sawmilling Journal

On the Cover:
The forest industry, from equipment dealers to loggers to sawmills, have new protocols to deal with related to COVID-19. With the forest industry having been declared an essential industry, loggers continue to provide mills with much-needed timber at a time when lumber is in high demand, hitting record prices. In this issue of Logging and Sawmilling Journal, we take a look at how equipment dealers are making sure their customers, the loggers, get the service they need safely, and efficiently. (Cover photo courtesy of Lusted Logging, Cawston, B.C.)

Traction for Yukon’s forest industry
The Yukon Territory’s forest industry is getting some traction these days thanks to a government plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, giving a push to the move to wood-based biomass heat and energy production.

Big-time B.C. added value—with Mass Timber
A new $35 million production facility is nearing completion in B.C.’s West Kootenay region, a project that will take family-owned Kalesnikoff Lumber into a brand new—and exciting—market: Mass Timber.

Quebec’s Fortin Family: a forestry legacy
Although there are now multiple generations of the Fortin Family involved in the family business—Y.P.C. Contracting—company founder Paul-Henri Fortin is still engaged in the operation, at the age of 78.

Cutting for canoes…
Gerard Ostroskie’s small sawmill operation in Ontario has a strong focus on increasing grade and value, and has developed an interesting niche market: producing cedar cuts specifically for canoe builders.

Satellite Communications
A critical link in today's logging chain.

Team logging approach pays off
The harvesting/forwarding team approach of Eric Boissonneault and Marcel Coutoure works very well, resulting in a very productive flow of wood in Quebec’s Abitibi-Témiscaminque region—and backed up by solid equipment support.

Equipment dealers dealing with COVID-19
It’s shaping up to be a challenging year for the forest industry, with the COVID-19 situation affecting all sectors, from the sawmills through to the forest, and logging operations. We asked several major equipment dealers how they are working with the current COVID-19 situation—and what they have in the works for new logging equipment for loggers.

The Edge
Included in this edition of The Edge, Canada’s leading publication on research in the forest industry, are stories the from Canadian Wood Fibre Centre (CWFC) and FPInnovations.

The Last Word
The forest industry has addressed systemic racism for decades with some success, but more work is needed, says Tony Kryzanowski.


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