Intermountain Forest Association to shut its doors

Once powerful Idaho timber lobby calls it quits after 75 years-

I remember when this interest group held enormous power, rivaling the livestock associations, although they were not rivals, of course.

Timber association will disband after 75 years. By Becky Kramer. Spokesman-Review.

Sustainable forestry pact set for 175 million acres!! of Canada forest

Conservation deal for Canadian forest the size of Texas-

Although the first article below has a somewhat pessimistic tone, this certainly seems better than the current trend in boreal Canada. There is more value to the vast boreal forest than caribou.

Caribou still at risk under historic forestry deal. Industry, environmentalists band together for sustainability. By Hanneke Brooymans, edmontonjournal.com

-Ducks Unlimited is plenty happy. DU celebrates boreal wetlands protection announcement. Vital wetland systems in Canada’s Boreal Forest conserved.

-The deal might also retard global warming because this generally wet (boggy) forest contains huge amounts of the much more potent methane* gas that could be released into the atmosphere.  Timber companies agree on conservation plan for Canadian forests. Christian Science Monitor. By Pete Spotts, Staff writer

This pact will not stop the biggest threat in the area, the open pit mining of “tar sands,” conversion of which into synthetic oil is tremendously polluting and has relatively poor net energy efficiency.

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*Methane, CH4, is a much more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, CO2

Posted in Climate change, Logging, mining, oil and gas, Trees Forests, Wildlife Habitat. Tags: , , , . Comments Off on Sustainable forestry pact set for 175 million acres!! of Canada forest

Opinion: Tester logging bill proposes a calamitous precedent

Key player in passage of the ’64 Wilderness Act blast Tester’s Wilderness/logging bill-

This is an opinion in the Billings Gazette by Stewart Brandborg who was executive director of the Wilderness Society when the Wilderness Act became law.

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My take on Tester’s bill is that is very much the stuff ex-Idaho senator Larry Craig was always pushing — mandated levels of logging completely unrelated to the conditions of the market. One big difference in favor of Tester is he does designate some Wilderness.

Craig simply pushed artificial levels of logging. I used to call them Craig’s Soviet forestry because of their similarity to the way production goals were set in the former Communist Soviet Union.

Brandborg fills out the whole rooster of violations of past law and public oversight embodied in the Tester Bill.

Guest opinion: Tester logging bill proposes a calamitous precedent.  By Stewart M. Brandborg. Billings Gazette.|

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More recent opinion on Tester bill.

USFS Retiree [Bill Worf] on Tester Bill: Gutting the USFS is not the Solution. Unfiltered in New West. By Matthew Koehler,

Wood fired (biomass) generation is not a clean and green technology

A new use for the bankrupt Missoula paper mill might save jobs, but beware of “greenwashing”-

“Biomass” fuel, as it is often called, is said to be environmentally friendly and carbon neutral. It may be that way sometimes, but cutting down dead forests, hauling them off and burning them to make steam for electricity is not.

Dr. Thomas Power discusses why this is so.

Guest Column (in New West). Biomass Potential for Old Montana Mill Raises Many Questions. By Thomas Power.

One additional problem Dr. Power doesn’t mention is what happens when the beetle killed forest fuel is exhausted or too much decayed and a green stand of trees is on the horizon?
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More recent wildlife relevant news on biofuels.
Both of these article say monocultures of biofuels are environmentally harmful projects.

Diverse Landscapes Are Better: Policymakers Urged To Think Broadly About Biofuel Crops. Science Daily
Jan.26, 2010. Biofuel Crop Diversity Adds Value, Researchers Say. Science Daily.

Montana Wood products industry losing a big player

Smurfit-Stone to close and leave over 400 jobless-

Two stories:

Montana Wood products industry losing a big player. By Rob Cheney of the Missoulian.
Western Montana forest fuel reduction projects will take a big hit. By Perry Backus. Ravalli Republic

Events like this may make the mandatory logging goals in Senator Tester’s “wilderness bill” completely irrelevant. In fact, the anticipation of this effect of the recession may be one reason some conservation organizations are supporting his bill.

Basic economics. When the supply is huge (all the dead wood) and the demand low (due to recession), price will drop and the industry will shrink.

Timber law becomes vast entitlement for some states

Law to help logging communities after the spotted owl-induced logging reductions now pours money into areas where there have never been spotted owls-

Timber law becomes vast entitlement. By Matthew Daly and Shannon Dinninny. Associated Press Writers

The need to manage national forests as carbon sinks

Forest fire prevention? Thinning? Maximize size of individual tress? Leave it alone? It’s hard to say

The article below is related to the one posted about “Sen. Udall sponsors bill to attack pine beetles.”

It’s good to finally see some attention to the role of forests as carbon sinks, but it is not clear how to maximize their role as sinks, or even how to prevent them from becoming carbon sources.

On thing the article doesn’t discuss the the amount of carbon stored in forest soils. In the dry interior forests with shallow soils, it probably isn’t much. In the wet, big tree  forests west of the Cascades up into British Columbia and coastal Alaska , the kind of logging done in the past, clearcuts followed by burning slash, has a horrible effect on the carbon storage.

Every kind of forest probably needs to have a different carbon management plan.

Story in the New York Times by William Yardley. Note that the Times headline is misleading as a description of the article’s content.