In the News

Lumber Prices Down and Housing Market Slow

Barron’s reported that lumber prices have dropped by more than 60 percent this year, and higher interest rates and inflation will continue to slow demand for single-family homes.

“Home builders have faced an enormous uptick in cancellations over the past several months due to the sharp rise in mortgage rates and the related softening demand for home buying,” says Alexander Snyder, portfolio manager, real estate securities, at CenterSquare Investment Management. “The trickle down of higher rates is cascading into lower demand for new houses, which leads to lower demand for lumber, which leads to lower prices for lumber.”

The most-active November futures contract for random length lumber settled at $410.80 per thousand board feet on September 26. That is the lowest settlement since June 2020, and prices are down 64 percent year to date, according to Dow Jones Market Data. Prices have lost around 75 percent from the peak price during the Covid-19 pandemic of $1,670.50 on May 7, 2021.

First Mass Timber Carbon Removal Methodology

The Timber Finance Initiative, Green Canopy NODE, South Pole, and Gordian Knot Strategies announced they have joined efforts to create the first mass timber carbon credit methodology. They are developing a globally applicable carbon credit methodology for mass timber construction in Verra’s Verified Carbon Credit Standard (VCS) GHG crediting Program.

The Working Group will bring together a team of field and technical experts who will develop a concept note to be submitted later this year to Verra’s VCS Program, the world’s leading greenhouse gas program. The final methodology will be developed by the Timber Finance Initiative and South Pole. A rigorous carbon methodology will help realize the climate value of stored carbon in mass timber construction and help scale mass timber as a negative-emissions technology and low-emissions building material.

Current estimates show that up to 40 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions originate from the built environment. Furthermore, up to 60 percent of the world’s existing building stocks will be built and rebuilt within the next two decades, laying a tremendous challenge and opportunity to set more sustainable trends in the construction sector. Mass timber has been identified as a renewable and low-emission alternative to concrete and steel.

U.S. Forest Service Launches Criminal Investigation of Mosquito Fire

United States Forest Service officials have opened a criminal investigation into the cause of the Mosquito Fire, according to a new filing by Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), reported CapRadio.

In a report to the Security and Exchange Commissions, PG&E officials said that federal investigators seized utility-owned infrastructure — a transmission line and its attached equipment — located near the OxBow Reservoir in Placer County, where the fire started.

The report mentions the initial assessment that the fire started in the area of the utility’s power line on National Forest System lands and that the forest service is performing a criminal investigation..

The Mosquito Fire started September 6, 2022, and has burned through more than 76,781 acres across both Placer and El Dorado Counties, forcing law enforcement officials to issue evacuation orders, temporarily displacing more than 19,000 people. Damage assessment reports say at least 78 buildings have been destroyed in both counties.

Forest Service Signs on for Better Forest Management Plan

The United States Forest Service has signed a memorandum of understanding with four entities documenting their focus on forest management in the Middle Truckee River Watershed, reported KOLO 8.

The watershed includes 315,000 acres of land, more than 200,000 of which is managed by the U.S. Forest Service. They hope to develop a 10-year vegetation management plan, improve and restore forest health and resilience, reduce the risk of high severity wildfires, protect communities from the impacts of wildfires, protect and secure water supplies and infrastructure, and identify and augment resource gaps to achieve implementation at an increased pace and scale.

The Middle Truckee River Watershed Forest Partnership includes the National Forest Foundation, the Nature Conservancy, Truckee Meadows Water Authority, Truckee River Watershed Council, and the United States Forest Service – Tahoe National Forest.

TimberWest November/December 2013
September/October 2022

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