AFRC reported that on November 27, in a unanimous 8-0 opinion authored by Chief Justice Roberts, the Supreme Court reversed a decision upholding the designation of timberland in Louisiana as unoccupied “critical habitat” for the dusky gopher frog. The economic impact of the designation was substantial, limiting the development options in a rapidly growing area of Louisiana and lowering the land value by over $30 million.
This landmark decision will likely allow further challenges of critical habitat designations, particularly where the designation is in unoccupied area or would cause significant economic harm.
On a sobering note, analysis from the U.S. Geological Survey states that forest fires in California this year released carbon emissions equivalent to the amount produced by powering the state’s electricity for one year.
“We know that wildfires can be deadly and cost billions of dollars, but this analysis from the U.S. Geological Survey also shows just how bad catastrophic fires are for the environment and for the public’s health,” said Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.
On November 29, Farm Bill negotiators announced that they had reached agreement, but the bill will not be released until it is scored by the Congressional Budget Office. The bill is not expected to include significant new forest management provisions.
The Curry Coastal Pilot reported that both Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden and Idaho Sen. Mike Crappo have called for their colleagues to extend the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act for at least one year in its year-end funding measures.
“Congress has an obligation to ensure that counties can adequately provide essential services for their residents,” the senators’ letter reads. “Without the certainty of these critical safety-net payments, schools, libraries, and jails are closing. Schools that remain open will see a reduction of teachers. Roads go unpaved and become unsafe. Mental and physical health services are scaled back or even ended. Fewer and fewer law enforcement officers are forced to patrol larger and larger areas.”
SRS funding, they said, has been critical for more than 775 counties in 40 states.
The letter is also signed by senators from Idaho, Oregon, Wisconsin, Colorado, New Jersey, Arkansas, Washington, West Virginia, Montana, California, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Minnesota, Michigan, South Dakota, New Hampshire, Alaska, and Mississippi.
After a years-long, $5.88 million biomass study entitled Waste to Wisdom, researchers at Humboldt State University (HSU) show that biochar production for use as a soil amendment provides more near-term promise than conversion of forest waste into biomass energy products.
The team worked on developing three different products from forest residues: briquettes, torrefaction, and biochar. Schatz Energy Research Center Director and project co-lead Arne Jacobson said biochar seemed the most promising to become a marketable product.
Jacobson said there is already interest in the results from Waste to Wisdom, including from Northern California timber companies, and the state of California is interested in biochar from the perspective of forest fire management.
For more information on the project, visit www.wastetowisdom.com.
Freres Lumber Company announced the final shipment of its new, patented Mass Plywood Panel (MPP) to Oregon State University (OSU) for use in the construction of the new A.A. “Red” Emmerson Advanced Wood Products Laboratory (AWP). MPP is being used for both interior and exterior walls of the AWP as well as roofing in the George W. Peavy Forest Science Center. The two buildings, which form the Oregon Forest Science Center, are incorporating innovative uses of advanced wood products made in Oregon.
Freres Lumber’s MPP is a new entrant in the mass timber market. It is the first and only mass timber panel constructed entirely out of Structural Composite Lumber (SCL), which means it uses 20 to 30 percent less wood, costs less, and is as strong or stronger and lighter weight than lumber-based Cross-Laminated Timbers (CLTs). MPP also supports ecofriendly building practices without compromising stability, produces fewer CO2 emissions than other building materials, and is renewable, unlike concrete and steel.
On the Cover
This photo of a Tigercat LS855E Leveling Shovel Logger was taken this
September during the Pacific Logging Congress 2018 Live In-Woods Show.
Idaho Mill Gets High-tech Makeover
The Idaho sawmill of Woodgrain Millwork is on the upswing
Managing the Unmanageable
Lane Parry consults with federal and private landowners
A Look at a Lumberjack Champion
Behind the scenes with Northwest champion Erin LaVoie
Redwood Region Resource Rally
Rally recruits and engages the next generation of natural resource professionals
Firebreak Column — Paradise Lost
The mega California fires and the fallout
Cutting edge technology defining tomorrow