North Americans stuck at home are undertaking repairs. At a time when the coronavirus pandemic was expected to curb demand, lumber futures are actually heading for their second-straight monthly gain. Prices soared 15 percent in April, and have gained another 15 percent this month, placing them among the best performing commodities tracked by Bloomberg.
“Aggressive supply cuts from big producers such as West Fraser Timber Company Ltd. and Canfor Corp. have tightened supplies at a time when people are staying in and deciding to fix up their homes,” said Kevin Mason, managing director of Vancouver-based ERA Forest Products Research. “You had a lot of people saying, ‘gee I’m stuck at home let’s build that deck, let’s fix up whatever we need to fix,” said Mason, noting that the Repair and Remodel Segment accounts for about 40 percent of the lumber market.
There is also optimism that the housing market is bouncing back with mortgage rates being at record lows.
Richard Waring, professor emeritus in the Oregon State University College of Forestry, is one of three researchers sharing this year’s international Marcus Wallenberg Prize for developing a revolutionary computer model to predict forest growth in a changing climate.
The annual prize, one of the highest honors in the field of forestry, was announced in Falun, Sweden, and is named for the late Marcus Wallenberg Jr., a banker, industrialist, and member of Sweden’s long-influential Wallenberg family.
Waring and co-honorees Joe Landsberg and Nicholas Coops, both of Australia, will each receive 2 million kronor, about $200,000, when they are presented with the prize in October by Swedish King Carl Gustav XVI.
“Dick Waring’s impact on forest science is clear,” said Anthony S. Davis, interim dean of the OSU College of Forestry. “He and his colleagues are well-deserved recipients of this incredible honor. Perhaps the only thing to eclipse his scientific contribution has been his commitment to the students, researchers, and colleagues who have worked with him throughout his career. His dedication to their advancement has a cascading, positive impact that continues to grow in scientific accomplishment.”
The National Association of State Foresters reported that biochar — a charcoal-like substance that’s made through burning biomass in a controlled process called pyrolysis — may be the next great thing for cows.
A new study suggests that adding biochar to cattle feed can improve animal health and feed efficiency, reduce nutrient losses and greenhouse gas emissions, and increase soil fertility when applied as fertilizer.
The Nebraska Forest Service has already been testing the effects of animal health and found that the inclusion of less than 1 percent biochar into the diet of cattle can lead to a 10 percent reduction in their methane emissions.
On May 6, the Colville National Forest awarded the Chewelah A-Z Project (Chewelah) to Vaagen Brothers Lumber. The project area is approximately 80,000 acres, and is the second project of its kind where the Colville would require the completion of an Environmental Analysis and presale activities at industry expense (not as service items.) The timber from the project area would be sold at advertised rates (without further competition.)
The first A-Z Project (Mill Creek) was awarded in 2013 to Vaagen Brothers and covered a 54,000-acre landscape. Vaagen Brothers contracted the NEPA review to a third-party private company. The Forest’s belief was that by contracting NEPA and sale preparation activities to a perspective purchaser, it would provide the Forest with increased capacity to implement restoration at a faster pace than with its current resources. Vaagen Brothers are currently operating on Mill Creek with timber task orders remaining for this year and FY 2021. The Mill Creek contract has a 10-year termination date.
The AFRC reported that only 10 days after hearing oral argument (via Zoom,) a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit rejected several environmental groups’ challenge to the 2016 RMP for the O&C Lands. The groups challenged the RMP’s alleged “secession” from the Northwest Forest Plan, in that the RMP changed riparian buffers from two tree heights to one. The Eugene District Court (Judges McShane and Russo) rejected those claims in 2019 (March 2019 Newsletter) and the Ninth Circuit affirmed. The case was heard by Judges Hurwitz, Schroeder, and Owens, appointed respectively by Presidents Clinton, Carter, and Obama. The Roseburg Area Chamber of Commerce, Zuber & Sons Logging, and Turner Logging intervened in the case and were represented by Julie Weis of Haglund Kelley LLP.
A team of leading experts has released the second annual North American Mass Timber Report.
Due to the Corona Virus and postponement of the 2020 International Mass Timber Conference, an electronic PDF copy of the 2020 Mass Timber Report is being made available free of charge at https://www.masstimberreport.com.
The North American Mass Timber Report is compiled by a team of forestry, forest product, and building design and construction experts. At almost 150 pages, 50 percent larger than the 2019 version, the 2020 report is a complete primer on the mass timber supply chain, from seedling to building. The book is a collaborative effort of The Beck Group, Forest Business Network, Kaiser+Path, Treesource, and Doug Fir Consulting; all key researchers in the emerging field of mass timber. A hardcopy is also available for $99.99 at https://www.masstimberreport.com/print/purchase
There is good news for local communities and those interested in seeing action to restore forests in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest (OWNF.) Strong partnerships prove to be key for improving conditions across shared landscapes, providing benefits to people, communities, and the economies they depend on to thrive.
The US Forest Service is working closely with the North Central Washington Forest Health Collaborative (NCWFHC), the Tapash Sustainable Forest Collaborative (Tapash,) and the Little Naches Working Group (LNWG,) which includes private, state, federal and Tribal partners to keep forest restoration projects moving forward.
Four major landscape restoration projects in central Washington are in planning and environmental analysis, and will be ready for implementation in 2021 or sooner. These projects span from the north to the south of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, and encompass approximately 400,000 acres of high-priority restoration areas under the 20-Year Forest Health Strategic Plan, which is led by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR.)
ON THE COVER
A look inside the Trinchera Blanca Sawmill in Colorado
Prepare for a Fire Season Amid Pandemic Guidelines
This year firefighting agencies, federal, state, local and private, will have to change the way they’ve been doing business.
A Strong Maintenance Program Begins with Machine Choice
Harvesting equipment is subjected to extreme stresses every day — stresses not seen in most workplace scenarios involving heavy equipment — making maintenance key.
Trinchera Blanca Sawmill — Designed to Help Fix the Forest
The Trinchera Blanca Sawmill is part of an ambitious forest management plan that is a blueprint to aid forest restoration and wildlife habitat and improve fuels reduction.
Award Winning Operation
Pacific Forest Contractors Inc. of Eagle Creek, Oregon, named 2019 Operator of the Year for the Southwest Oregon Region
Investing in the Future
The family business got its start in a woodlot.
Making it Work
When Wes Trivelpiece takes on a job, he likes to put a personal touch to the work. He credits getting repeat customers to his practice of treating the land like it’s his own.
A review of the forestry mulchers and attachments on the market.
A more nimble forest products industry could be the key to the future.