Canadian take on forestry safety

Canadian Forestry News - Wed, 2018-02-14 20:15
On 18 October, 2017, a logger was killed in a tragic incident near Mackenzie in northern British Columbia, Canada. The operator was using a feller buncher to cut timber on a slope when the machine tipped over backwards, cutting off his escape route when the machine caught fire. Source: OHS Canada The logger’s death was devastating for his family, his community and his co-workers. While the cause of the incident is still under investigation by WorkSafeBC, the question arises: What can we do now to try to prevent this from happening again? That was one of the key issues discussed when WorkSafeBC’s Forest Industry Advisory Group met in November 2017 to talk about concrete steps that employers can take to make remote mechanized logging safer. Here are some of the considerations discussed: First, it is critical that employers have an effective plan in place for those who work alone and designate a contact person to whom the lone worker can check in with on a regular, agreed-upon schedule. The worker must always carry a functioning communication device — a satellite phone, cell phone, two-way radio or satellite transceiver — as well as the check-in contact information. The designated contact must have a copy of the working alone procedure and any applicable emergency-response plan, contact information, locations and/or maps that may be necessary for a rescue. Every check-in call must be recorded, and if the worker fails to check in, the contact must initiate search procedures as outlined in the plan — be that rendering assistance personally or contacting someone close by who is trained, equipped and able to assist. Second, employers should consider situations in which their machines have the potential to roll over and particular hazards that may result. In recent years, the changing landscape of logging operations has meant an increase in the use of steep-slope harvesting equipment. Employers, suppliers and manufacturers must ensure that their mobile equipment meets the requirements outlined in the Workers Compensation Act and Parts 16 and 26 of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation. That includes ensuring that mobile equipment weighing 700 kg or more has a rollover protective structure, as well as structures that guard against falling, flying or intruding objects or materials. Similarly, any tools carried inside the cab need to be secured so as not to create additional hazards. Should a rollover happen, some of the questions that an employer needs to consider include whether they have the equipment necessary to respond in such an emergency and can they be easily accessed and transported to the work site, as minutes can make a difference between life and death in a rescue operation. Third, every piece of mobile equipment must have an alternate means of escape that is clearly marked both inside and outside the cab. Other requirements that an exit should meet include the following: exits must not be located on the same surface as the cab door; they must be usable at all times; they should not pose additional hazards; they can be opened from the inside or out without tools when the equipment is in use; and exits should provide a clear opening with dimensions that comply with the relevant ISO Standard. The employer should test the alternate exit regularly and provide training to familiarize workers with its location and operation, as well as ensure that they can fit comfortably through it in an emergency, as physical fitness or size may be obstacles to a quick escape. If the backup exit is blocked and/or the worker is unable to move, employers must consider what tools can be used to extricate a trapped worker. The fact that machines are designed to keep hazards out poses a particular challenge, as specialized cutters might be needed to pierce cab windows. A supplementary fire extinguisher for use by the rescue crew should always be within reach. Finally, consider where this rescue equipment might be stored; ideally, it will be attached to the machine itself for ease of access.
Categories: Canadian, Forestry, News

Softwood Lumber & The US Forest Service

Canadian Forestry News - Wed, 2018-01-24 03:19

What do the Softwood Lumber dispute and the US Forest Service have to do with one another?  At first glance, very little.  However, there could be an unlikely connection.  One of the main complaints from the US Forest Industry (Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports) has been that the Canadian Forest Industry had been subsidised with … Continue reading "Softwood Lumber & The US Forest Service"

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Categories: Canadian, Forestry, News

Forests, bioenergy and climate change mitigation: are the worries justified?

Canadian Forestry News - Tue, 2018-01-16 10:00

A group of scientists has published a Letter exploring the use of forest biomass to produce energy, ahead of the European Parliament vote on the EU Renewable Energy Directive on 17 January.

Download the letter as a pdf

There is heated debate about the best way to realize the potential of our forests in the fight against climate change. In the EU, the debate is currently very much focused on questioning the use of forest biomass to produce bioenergy. Our view[1] is that bioenergy from sustainably managed forests can contribute positively to climate change mitigation. 

One of the criticisms against forest bioenergy refers to the observation that a tree stops growing and accumulating carbon when it is cut, and the carbon stock in a single stand decreases at harvest. But this narrow perspective overlooks fundamental principles behind forest management, which is coordinated across the whole landscape to maintain forest growth and obtain a continuous flow of wood for the forest industry. 

In the absence of management, forest growth rates decline and disturbance risks increase as trees become mature. Therefore, while old and unharvested forests can hold large amounts of carbon per hectare, they have a lower sink strength and may become carbon sources instead of sinks. Sustainable harvesting of trees and managing stem densities and species composition helps to maintain net forest growth (i.e., carbon sink) at a high level, allowing sustained harvesting. The forest growth rates can be enhanced through silviculture, such as species selection, planting and other management options. This has been the case for example in the Nordic countries. 

The carbon stock at a regional or national level can in fact increase simultaneously with increases in harvesting. Indeed, the EU forest carbon sink and forest harvesting have increased simultaneously since the 1960s. This situation is to a large extent the result of improved and more extensive forest management. The increased demand for forest products – including bioenergy products – stimulates and provides income for active forest management that promotes regeneration, enhances growth and helps protect forests against disturbances, such as fires. 

EU forests and the forest sector currently achieve an overall climate change mitigation impact that corresponds to about 13% of the total EU emissions[2]. This includes the carbon sink of forests and harvested wood products, as well as the reduction of emissions achieved when wood products are used instead of emission-intensive materials such as concrete, steel and plastics, or when bioenergy is used instead of fossil fuels. It is important to understand that forest bioenergy is not an independent enterprise but an integral part of forestry-industry-energy systems. Bioenergy systems are often components in value chains or production processes that also produce products such as sawnwood, paper and chemicals.

In most European countries, sawlogs and pulpwood are the main income-generating wood assortments from managed forests. Processing these to produce forest products generates side-streams of residues that are used for bioenergy. Small trees from thinnings, logging residues, and low-quality wood that is not suitable to produce sawnwood and paper products are also used for bioenergy. This situation is reflected in the fact that despite forest bioenergy having increased significantly in the EU in this century, the roundwood production is at the same level today as it was in the beginning of the century. The increased forest bioenergy production is neither the result of EU having increased energy wood imports. Currently, about 96% of the forest bioenergy use in the EU is based on domestic raw materials. Also, EU wood fuel imports - 4% of EU forest bioenergy use - are roughly equal to its wood fuel exports (Data: FAOSTAT).

There can be synergies and trade-offs between forest carbon sequestration and biomass production. Which approach is more beneficial depends on priorities concerning short-term vs. long-term climate objectives, expectations concerning society’s future dependence on carbon based energy and materials, and whether these needs can be met in a climate friendly way without using biomass. Related to this, there is increasing concern that the Paris Agreement target – to limit global warming to well below 2ºC – will not be achieved unless large amounts of CO2 are withdrawn from the atmosphere. Bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) is one of the major options for atmospheric CO2 withdrawal.

A holistic perspective that recognizes the multiple roles of forests and forest sector in the GHG balance in needed: the system assimilates CO2 from the atmosphere, stores carbon in soils, standing biomass, and in wood-based products, and it helps to avoid GHG emissions by displacing fossil fuels and other emissions-intensive products. Very detailed regulation, such as imposing strict cascading principles or restricting eligibility for bioenergy to specific feedstocks (e.g., excluding all roundwood, irrespective of size or quality) may prevent the effective management of forest resources to economically meet multiple objectives, including climate change mitigation and adaptation.

A concern expressed in the debate is that the wood demand for bioenergy may rise enormously, threatening the existence of forests. As bioenergy is typically a side-product of forest harvesting and wood processing, and sustainable forest management (SFM) principles provide safeguards against overharvesting, the forest sector’s contribution to providing biomass for bioenergy will be limited. To address sustainability concerns, the EU has set criteria to which bioenergy must comply. Several countries have set additional more strict criteria, in some cases allowing only biomass from certified sources.

In the past, the European forest sector has responded to increased demand for sawnwood and paper by expanding forests and intensifying management to increase wood production. Similarly, the likely response to increased bioenergy demand will be to devise management approaches that enable biomass production for energy in conjunction with supply of sawlogs and pulpwood. Considering market realities, SFM requirements and existing regulations around bioenergy, we do not expect to see a paradigm shift towards large scale cutting of forests solely for bioenergy.

[1] The views expressed in this Letter are those of the authors and not those of their institutions.

[2] Gert-Jan Nabuurs, Philippe Delacote, David Ellison, Marc Hanewinkel, Marcus Lindner, Martin Nesbit, Markku Ollikainen and Annalisa Savaresi. 2015. A new role for forests and the forest sector in the EU post-2020 climate targets. From Science to Policy 2. European Forest Institute.


Göran Berndes
Professor in Biomass and Land Use. Dept of Space, Earth and Environment, Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden
IPCC Lead Author (Special Report on on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation); Contributing Author (5th Assessment Report); Expert Reviewer (4th Assessment Report)

Johan Bergh
Professor in Silviculture with Focus on Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation. Dept of Forestry and Wood Technology, Linnaeus University, Sweden.

Annette Cowie
Professor. School of Environmental and Rural Science, University of New England, Australia
Member of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP) of The Global Environment Facility (GEF), Washington DC, USA.
IPCC Lead Author (Special Report Climate Change and Land)

Gustaf Egnell
Associate professor in Forest Based Bioenergy. Dept of Forest Ecology and Management, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden.

Lauri Hetemäki
Adjunct Professor in Forest Economics and Marketing. Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, University of Helsinki.
Assistant Director, European Forest Institute, Finland

Pekka Kauppi
Professor in Environmental Science and Policy. Faculty of Biological end Environmental Sciences, University of Helsinki, Finland
 IPCC Lead Author (2nd Assessment Report) and Co-ordinating Lead Author (3rd Assessment Report)

Madhu Khanna
ACES Distinguished Professor in Environmental Economics. Dept of Agricultural and Consumer Economics, University of Illinois

Werner Kurz
Senior Research Scientist, Canadian Forest Service, Natural Resources Canada.
Coordinating Lead Author or Lead Author of seven IPCC reports.

Marcus Lindner
Principal Scientist, Resilience Programme. European Forest Institute, Germany

Tomas Lundmark
Professor in Silviculture. Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Sweden
Director, Unit of Field Based Forest Research, SLU, Sweden
Member of the Advisory Panel of The Swedish National Forest Program.

Gert-Jan Nabuurs
Professor European Forest Resources, Wageningen Environmental Research, Wageningen University and Research
IPCC Co-ordinating Lead Author (4th Assessment Report; Good Practice Guidance LULUCF) and Lead author (3rd Assessment Report; Special Report LULUCF)  

Ralph E. H. Sims
Professor in Sustainable Energy. Massey University, New Zealand
Director, Centre for Energy Research
Member of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP) of The Global Environment Facility (GEF), Washington DC, USA.
IPCC Co-ordinating Lead Author (4th Assessment Report; Special Report on Renewables; and 5th Assessment Report).

Birger Solberg
Professor in Forest Economics. Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Norway.
IPCC Review editor (3rd Assessment Report) and Lead author (Special Report on Land Use Changes and Forestry)

Categories: Canadian, Forestry, News

CPAWS welcomes support for a historic conservation investment in Budget 2018

Canadian Forestry News - Tue, 2018-01-09 16:58
CPAWS welcomes support from 116 federal MPs and Senators who have signed a letter to the Minister of Finance asking for a historic investment in protecting Canada’s land, freshwater and ocean in the upcoming federal budget.
Categories: Canadian, Forestry, News

CPAWS welcomes support for a large conservation investment in Budget 2018

Canadian Forestry News - Tue, 2018-01-09 16:58
CPAWS welcomes support from more than 100 federal MPs and Senators that have signed a letter to the Minister of Finance asking for a historic investment in conservation in the upcoming federal budget.
Categories: Canadian, Forestry, News

Escape To Freedom: A Forestry Revolution – Thoughts by Kianna Gnap

Canadian Forestry News - Wed, 2017-12-20 20:01
UBC graduate Kianna Gnap recently wrote an article for History Magazine on Hungarian Forestry student refugees and their impact on the Canadian forestry industry.
Categories: Canadian, Forestry, News

BC’s Glass Sponge Reefs added to Canada’s Tentative List for World Heritage Sites

Canadian Forestry News - Wed, 2017-12-20 11:24
Ottawa, Ont. - The holidays are looking brighter this year with the announcement that British Columbia's Hecate Strait and Queen Charlotte Sound glass sponge reefs are being added to Canada’s tentative list for World Heritage Sites.
Categories: Canadian, Forestry, News

Year in Review on Protecting Canada’s Land and Freshwater Shows Slow Progress

Canadian Forestry News - Wed, 2017-12-20 08:55
Ottawa – The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) is calling on governments to speed up progress towards protecting at least 17% of Canada’s land and freshwater by 2020.
Categories: Canadian, Forestry, News

CPAWS Welcomes Nááts’įhch’oh National Park Reserve Management Plan

Canadian Forestry News - Fri, 2017-12-15 11:07
YELLOWKNIFE – The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) NWT chapter welcomes the release of the Nááts’įhch’oh National Park Reserve Management Plan, the first for Nááts’įhch’oh, and is pleased that the plan considers both cultural and economic benefits for the Sahtu Dene and Metis of the Tulita District.
Categories: Canadian, Forestry, News

Landmark Supreme Court decision is a victory for First Nations and environmental groups.

Canadian Forestry News - Fri, 2017-12-01 13:59
Yukon First Nations and environmental groups have won a landmark Supreme Court case. The judgment released today upholds a land use plan that protects the majority of the Peel Watershed in northeastern Yukon. It’s a massive victory for Yukon First Nations and cause for environmental celebration on a global scale.
Categories: Canadian, Forestry, News

Sawmills of Finland – a different philosophy

Canadian Forestry News - Wed, 2017-11-29 18:08
The faint smell of burnt wood permeates Finland. The likely culprit: with a population of about 5.5 million, it is estimated there are four million saunas. Many of those saunas are heated with wood – a valued commodity, and part of Finland’s culture. Source: Woodbusiness About 65% of the country’s land mass is covered by the boreal forest. Much of that forest is owned privately and managed intensively for sawlog production, which makes the quality and price of saw logs significantly higher than in Canada. “The philosophy here is to use every part of the log. There is zero tolerance for processing mistakes,” explains Martin Arula, managing director for the newly opened Toftan 2 sawmill in Estonia. “We try to maintain the surface quality so we can optimize thickness and width,” Arula says. “We want a smooth, nice surface. It’s not that relevant in North America where you machine the majority of the products after the sawing. There seem to be bigger marked downgrades. Probably the raw material price allows you to do that.” European sawmills are also challenged to cut for a diverse market of countries that have specific product requests. “In our case it’s so expensive that you really have to take care of every single log, every single board as well otherwise you are out of the business,” Arula says. To some extent, Canadian sawmillers can learn from the Scandinavian/Baltic sawmilling philosophy. That is the idea behind HewSaw’s annual sawmill safari, which this year took North American sawmillers, consultants and engineers to two top-producing mills in Estonia and four in Finland. CFI was on that trip in September and gathered some insights into what makes these mills so efficient. HewSaw has been running its sawmill safari for more than 20 years. Bill Tice, marketing manager for HewSaw in North America who organizes the tour, says on more than one occasion participants have changed their minds about the advantages of adopting the European sawmill philosophy. “One of the main reasons we do this trip is so that our sawmills can pick up some new ideas,” Mr Tice says. The most significant difference between mills in Europe and North America is in the log yard. While in Canada logs are at most sorted in five to 10 bins, in Europe mills typically sort between 40 and 80 bins. Logs there are first sent through a metal detector (Estonian mills often find shrapnel in their logs from battles fought in the Second World War). Logs are then scanned and emptied into bins according to saw patterns. Pre-sorting allows the mills to batch run. Minimal change means they can reduce the gap between logs and run at higher speeds, some mills as fast as 200 metres per minute. While 40 or more sort bins make sense in the Finnish and Estonian mills, safari participant Sylvain Messier, notes that space is often a limiting factor for Canadian mills. “We have that type of log sorting at some of our mills but we don’t have that same variety. We sort sometimes eight or 10 bins, but never as many as here. It’s more about room. It takes a lot of room to have that type of log sorting system, and to get the full recovery as they are doing. We’re limited with the room we have,” Mr Messier says. Mr Tice says he’s starting to see more sort bins in North American mills, and expects to see more in the future. “Typically they would be what we call ‘hybrid’, where it’s maybe six sort bins and they are also reducing the gap so it can be quite the advantage to do that” Toftan 2 sawmill in Estonia was built brand-new in 2016. Owned by a Swedish sawmilling group, Mr Arula had the luxury of building the mill from scratch. It took him and his team more than a year and half to research what equipment they would like to use in the mill. Toftan 2 runs three-metre spruce and pine with top diameters between three and 13.5 inches at speeds of up to 650 feet per min. Inside Tit runs a HewSaw R200 1.1 with LogIn 2R, and with Prologic+ scanning software they can change saw patterns in a matter of seconds. Once a batch is complete (about 2.5 hours), full changeover can happen in about seven minutes. With its unique configuration, Toftan 2 has the ability to be the highest producing mill in Europe. “We are very close to that,” Mr Arula says. “We have the will to do it, the whole team. But that is not a target by itself; the target is to earn money. Profit is the most important thing and productively is just one part of the equation. Also unique to Toftan: their drying process includes a two-tonne load on the stack in the kiln to minimize twisting. The kiln is supplied by Finland’s Heinola Sawmill Machinery. JPJ Wood sawmill in Finland recently installed an x-ray whole log scanner supplied by Finnos. Our visit fell on the same day the mill began full operations with the scanner. Mill manager Markus Luodelahti says they chose Finnos because the system scans four sides of the log. “The biggest reason to install x-ray is to better measure bark and in winter time also ice and snow. We don’t have to guess the bark percentage,” Luodelahti says. “The other thing is that seeing inside the log during log sorting means we can sort the same kind of quality logs in the same pocket. That makes for more stable timber quality after sawing and it makes timber sorting easier.” A highlight of the tour was the Metsä Wood Vilppula Sawmill in Finland where an impressive HewSaw SL250 3.4 line was commissioned in 2013. The line handles spruce and pine with top diameters between four and 21.5 inches, at speeds of 200-600 feet per minute. The four-phase breakdown line includes four-sided cant chipping, a cant saw, a ripsaw and an optional cross saw. A rotation correction system improves the log positioning. Canadian company Prologic+ log and cant measuring instruments and programs optimize the line. The system works off campaigns of patterns built by Prologic+, that are based on customer orders. The patterns prioritize by price, but can […]
Categories: Canadian, Forestry, News

Canada requests WTO consultations on U.S. duties on Canadian softwood lumber

Canadian Forestry News - Tue, 2017-11-28 20:14

Published November 28th, 2017 by Global Affairs Canada – Source Canada today formally requested World Trade Organization (WTO) consultations with the United States concerning the U.S. Department of Commerce’s recent final anti-dumping and countervailing duty determinations on imports of certain softwood lumber products from Canada. The U.S. Department of Commerce’s decision to impose punitive anti-dumping and countervailing duties on Canadian softwood lumber producers is unfair, …

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Quebec Shows Leadership on Caribou Recovery and Protected Areas

Canadian Forestry News - Tue, 2017-11-28 10:53
The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) Quebec Chapter welcomes the announcement of the Quebec government’s commitment to create the large Manouane-Manicouagan Woodland Caribou protected area, in the Montagnes Blanches region. This long-awaited action follows 10 years of hard work at CPAWS Quebec and will have a positive impact on the recovery of boreal woodland caribou without impacting forestry interests in the region.
Categories: Canadian, Forestry, News