A few comments and suggestions that may be of interest to industry…
The first few months of the calendar year proved to be extremely busy for the US program with our participation in the IBS show in Las Vegas which was immediately followed by the BIA Hawaii. While I admit there could be worse places to be in January than Vegas and Hawaii, having both events back to back provided a number of logistical and time challenges. The good news is that if you use these events as a barometer of market conditions in the US construction sector, then one could conclude that the market south of the border is finally getting better.
As discussed in the last edition of the Wood Connections, the IBS show has an impressive attendance, topping the 60,000 mark for the first time in five years. The same could be said for the Building Industry Hawaii (BIA Hawaii) trade event. While this regional event is small, interest and participation from the building community from across the Hawaiian Islands was strong. In fact, attendance at this years’ show was 20% higher than last year and up 45% over the past three years. Builders and other buyers who came by the booths were optimistic that market conditions were on the upswing and many were starting projects in the residential and light commercial construction sectors.
The Hawaiian market continues to be a prime location for BC grown softwood species including Douglas Fir, Western Red Cedar (WRC), and Yellow Cedar. This was evidenced by a site visit to a new development on the Big Island of Hawaii. This project is a high-end residential development of 40 plus homes anchored by a private beach club and golf course. More impressive than the view was the use of WRC and Douglas Fir in the construction of the residences and commercial buildings. WRC is featured extensively in the project including WRC shingles in the roof, 12’’clear board and baton exterior siding, and VG WRC interior panelling; the project was a showcase for the species. The architect specified WRC in part due to the unique colour and weather resistance properties of the wood. Where structural timbers were needed, Douglas Fir was specified and is prominently featured in the golf club house and beach club buildings. See images below.
This project is expected to last for the next four to six years. There is an opportunity for BC Wood members to supply materials and finished products for this project. In fact, with improving market conditions being experienced across the US construction sector, there remains excellent potential for the BC Industry to develop and grow market share through participation in trade events such as IBS and BIA Hawaii.
For more information on these events or other opportunities in the US market, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
In January, BC Wood participated with one of its member companies in the BAU fair in Munich, January 14th -19, 2013. While the turnout from BC Wood members was disappointing, the fair itself was probably the best show I have attended in two or three years. The BAU fair, held every two years, is the largest building materials trade event in Europe. Other shows, especially those in Asia, claim larger numbers; however, their numbers are pumped up based on the practice of allowing the general public access to the show. The BAU fair is a strictly trade-only event and this past event attracted over 240,000 visitors to the six day show.
The BAU fair has a strong international draw with over 60,000 of the attendees coming from countries outside Germany and the bordering Western European countries. This year saw strong contingents from Russia, Ukraine, Latvia, Estonia, Scandinavia, Turkey, Dubai, and other countries within the Middle East. The BAU fair lived up to its reputation as the “architects fair” with close to 50,000 attendees coming from architectural, planning and, design offices.
The size of the BAU fair is staggering with the 180,000 square meters of occupied exhibition space spread over 14 different exhibition halls that showcased the products and services of 2060 exhibitors. In total, 41 different countries where represented in the BAU exhibition halls. The halls were arranged by product categories. BC Wood was located in the “wood building systems” hall along with another 75-80 exhibitors. This arrangement works well as it tends to concentrate the buyers with a wood interest into two halls, ours and the one next door showcasing wood doors, windows, and flooring systems.
The traffic at the BC Wood booth was busy, many times a crowd two or three deep were in front or our booth waiting to talk to someone. This fact was a little astonishing considering that we did not have a display that was anywhere near as elaborate or as large as some of our neighbors. I think the fact that the Canadian flag was prominent and that we had a cross section from a cedar log home on display helped to pull the buyers in. People felt drawn to come into the booth to touch and smell the cedar. Many people did not even know the name of the species, but they did know that they liked it and the conversations started from there. I also think flying the “maple leaf” was important as our booth attracted a far higher proportion of attendees from outside of Germany. Almost 50% on the visitors to the BC Wood booth were from outside Germany. The vast majority of inquiries we responded to were related directly to Western Red Cedar and log home and timber frame projects. The market for these two product categories remains strong within Western Europe, but, particularly, in the new emerging markets of Central and Eastern Europe.
So, to say that I was impressed with the BAU fair and the level of interest that BC Wood received at the fair would be an understatement. I would urge BC Wood members manufacturing log, timber frame, pre-built homes, and any Western Red Cedar products to seriously consider participating in the BAU fair when it comes around again in January of 2015. For more background and some additional observation on the BAU fair, please do not hesitate to contact me at email@example.com.
For the past several years BC Wood has been promoting design related products in Japan such as furniture and millwork. We have been successful in having such products specified into several high-profile projects. Recently even one of Japan’s top department stores came to us as they were interested in using some pieces in a display.
Isetan’s flagship Shinjuku store attracts wealthy, fashion conscious shoppers from across Kanto. The Canadian Embassy in Tokyo has worked with them to promote Canadian apparel and recommended BC Wood when Isetan was looking to create a stylish, woody atmosphere to launch a new line of clothing.
We introduced them to a variety of furniture pieces as well as millwork options, but the store’s designers knew they had found exactly what they were looking for once they saw Brent Comber’s work and the WRCLA published Cedar Book. Using selected pieces from Brent as well as a selection of WRC products, Isetan was able to create a sophisticated yet woody display. The store felt that their customers really enjoyed the warmth of the Canadian wood products. Hopefully this will encourage some of their clients to consider using Canadian materials for their own homes in the near future.
As always, BC Wood greatly appreciates all of the support given to us by the Canadian Embassy. We look forward to more such collaborative efforts in the future.read more
Last week, BC Wood Specialties Group hosted the 9th annual Global Buyers Mission in Whistler, BC. Among the 19 international delegations that attended were timber importers from India looking to replace current wood sources with Canadian wood products. After attending the successful Global Buyers Mission, the India delegation visited BC value-added wood manufacturers as part of their extended mission. One of the companies they visited was International Forest Products (Interfor) Acorn Division in Delta, BC. The Acorn mill is an export sawmill dedicated to manufacturing high value squares and timbers that are used in housing and industrial applications across global markets.
Dave Hayer, MLA Surrey-Tynehead, opened the event on Tuesday at Interfor by welcoming the India delegation to BC. He stated that one of the goals of BC’s Job Plan is opening up markets abroad for BC goods. “Helping companies like Interfor make connections with new companies overseas is one of BC Jobs Plan initiatives that we have been focused on.” Mike De Jong, Minister of Finance, took the podium on behalf of Premier Christy Clark and Minister Pat Bell to further explain the BC Job Plan strategy and outcome.
Following the opening speeches, the India delegation attended two seminars, went on a tour of the mill, and learned about grading standards at Interfor. The seminars, delivered by John Leahy from Canadian Mill Services, dealt with the phyto-sanitary rules for sending forest products from Canada to India and BC’s tree species and wood products. The mill tour lead the delegation through the mill, letting them observe how a log is remanufactured into a timber product. Lastly, the delegation was shown the different types of wood species Interfor remanufactures at their plant and how they are graded.read more
Last November, BC Wood, with a small group of member companies, completed a very successful trade mission to Moscow to explore opportunities for value-added wood products in the Russian market, and to participate in the Fall Holzhaus trade show.
BC Woods’ members showcased log home and timber frame structures, factory built homes, high quality millwork, and specialty Western Red Cedar building materials. Members were able to engage with industry professionals from all over Russia and surrounding countries. Developers, architects, builders, distributors, importers, and designers were all in attendance at the show, many of whom came specifically to the show to speak to the Canadian manufacturers.
Based on the success of last year’s program, BC Wood is planning to return to Moscow and the Holzhaus show this coming fall, November 1st- 4th. Space will be available for BC Wood members wanting to participate in the Holzhaus trade shows and I would encourage any companies interested in more information to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or in BC Wood’s offices at 604-882-7100.
On Friday June 8th I was invited to take part in the Japan Log Home Association’s AGM and Design Award ceremony. Every year the AGM brings in log home builders from around Japan making it a great opportunity to catch-up with clients. Everyone seemed to be in good spirits this year as the strengthening Japanese economy has been driving housing starts higher.
The main topic of discussion at the AGM was the toughening of building codes for log homes to be used as public facilities. The Japan Log Association is working with the Japanese government to draft the updates, but a lot of the members were concerned that new rules would limit log structures. One particularly worrying development was that machine cut logs might require JAS certification (handcrafted logs would remain exempt) when only a very few companies are able to provide such material. However, this is only for public structures and these new demands are a signal of Japan’s own “wood first” initiatives starting to take hold leading to more opportunities for large-scale log structures. As a result, the government wants to make sure that such large structures will be built properly.
The interest in using log structures as public buildings was also clear amongst this year’s Design Award winners. Notable projects included an elementary school library building, a senior’s daycare facility, a medical clinic, and even temporary houses built in Fukushima after last year’s triple disaster. However, the most impressive award recipient to me was a beautiful WRC post & beam home supplied by our very own Peter Sperlich. Congratulations to Peter and his Japanese partner!
It has been many years since BC Wood organized a log home program in Japan so last week’s event made me think that this might be the right time to offer members such an opportunity. The Japan Home & Building Show from November 14th – 16th would be the ideal show to anchor such a BC Wood program around. Any log builders interested in such a program should contact me at email@example.com more
Westminster Industries Ltd. was founded in 1975 by Dave Wasmuth in New Westminster. It is now one of the most respected and oldest, originally owned lumber wholesalers in the Lower Mainland. They are currently located in White Rock and have a distribution yard in Delta.
Westminster Industries works with the majority of the major and medium sized mills in BC and Alberta, distributing Hemlock, Douglas Fir, Western Red Cedar, and SPF to both domestic and international markets including Asia, Middle East, Europe, and Australia. Providing service to purchasers over this broad range of clients is a knowledgeable staff and experienced traders, including two traders fully conversant in all Chinese dialects. Westminster Industries is seen as a valued supplier to its long and growing customer base. They also have strong ties to the community through their various donations and charitable work, with the most recent being donations for the new White Rock Bike Park.
Since their start in 1975, Westminster Industries has been following the trends and adapting to the market. This, coupled with their experienced staff, has been the key to their growth and success. They recently updated their website to reflect current conditions and company adaptions. The website is now easier to function and educates the customer on what Westminster’s products and services are. To view their new website, go to www.westmin.ca
IDSWest 2011 was held in the New Vancouver Convention Centre, September 29 to October 2, 2011. The Interior Design Show West (IDSwest) is Western Canada’s annual premiere residential design show featuring 200 exhibitors showcasing quality, cutting edge, and original design products and services to an audience of industry professionals, architects, designers, consumers, and media.
An amazing array of both internationally renowned and local designers, critics, and popular magazine editors spoke throughout the 3 ½ day event, drawing standing room only crowds over the weekend.
We had an excellent representation of BC Wood members participating this year, including:
Barker Manufacturing Inc.
Brent Comber Originals
Live Edge Design
Mario Sabljak Design
Martha Sturdy Incorporated
Sabina Hill Design
Stick & Stones
Straight Line Designs Inc.
Wide Plank Hardwood Ltd.
The displays and new products launched were stunning, offering the 30,000+ audience lots of ideas and opportunities to see what exceptional talent we have here in BC. Many of our members have already seen orders and requests from the event, making it one of the most successful Canadian activities that BC Wood participates in. Congratulations to all our members!
To see the program and speaker highlights, as well as listings of all the exhibitors, visit their website at www.idswest.com.
By Daryl Holmes
BC Wood recently led a group of members on a market development mission to Turkey which included participation at TurkeyBuild in the capital city of Ankara. Product sectors represented included Log Home and Timber frame, Prebuilt Housing, and Remanufactured Lumber Products.
In the Turkish construction materials sector, wood products have approximately 20% market share with consumption mainly in private up-scale villas and some high end commercial resort style development. The consumption of wood in major residential housing projects and light commercial projects is low when compared to concrete and steel (for structure) or PVC (for windows/doors), however, as with most markets in the Eastern European area, the demand for wood is on the rise. Both private and public sectors in Turkey are engaged in a shift (albeit a slow shift) towards a growth in the use of wood products. Industry professionals and consumers alike have a keen interest in wood as a construction material, as was evident during the show in Ankara. The earthquake in 1999 has drawn attention to the importance of timber in construction, however; with the economic impact of the global meltdown, progress has been slow in the area of conveying the attributes of wood and educating key decision makers as to the benefits of using wood in construction. There is without a doubt, an increase in construction taking place right now in Turkey as residents look to build homes on the outskirts of some of the major cities. Accordingly, a select group of builders, developers, and importers are currently involved in projects outside of the main city centres which are being built with wood. During our stay in Turkey, we were able to make contact with many of these industry professionals and discuss opportunities for BC products.
The show itself was very busy, which in the current global market place was encouraging for the members. Although the Ankara show is a more of a regional show (with the main construction show being held in Istanbul in May), it drew attendees from all over Turkey and some surrounding countries. Numerous Architects, Engineers, Builders and Designers engaged in discussions with the BC exhibitors. The outcome of those interactions predominantly showcased the demand and desire for wood, while also highlighting the lack of distribution of products within the Turkish marketplace. In a jointly hosted event with the Turkish Timber Association, members were also able to showcase their products to key importers and building materials distributors located in and around the construction hub of Istanbul. Response from these professionals was again encouraging, as products including Western Red Cedar, Prebuilt Housing, and Log Homes proved to be of high interest for regions all across Turkey, including the coastal regions of the Black Sea.
Where do the sales prospects lie?
A clear demand for wood products exists within the Turkish marketplace. Much of the wood imported into Turkey is from surrounding markets of Russia, Ukraine, and Scandinavia. The key to accessing this demand for BC companies is securing partnership with local wood importers and distributors of other building materials. This process will take some time and investment by BC Wood members and this show in Ankara was a positive step in the right direction. Turkish building professionals are starved of opportunity to partner with Canadian companies and they are motivated to establish relationships with producers of high quality wood products. As with all new and emerging markets, finding the right partner is crucial in gaining market penetration. Turkey’s current growth is expected to continue well into the next ten years and those members who continue to put time and effort into the Turkey market will be rewarded with sales and long term partnerships.
What is the market looking for?
WRC Lumber, WRC Shake and Shingles, Hand Crafted Log Homes, MDF, Plywood, Yellow Cedar, Hemlock, Douglas Fir, and Prebuilt Homes.
How do I access these opportunities?
BC Wood will distribute the show leads via the online Wood Supply Network. For more detailed market information contact firstname.lastname@example.org more
This week I got a chance to visit The Grape Box in Burnaby and chat with Ruth Hoffman. The Grape Box is a social enterprise supported by The Burnaby Association for Community Inclusion.
They have a triple bottom-line business model. First and foremost, they offer high quality products at competitive prices with excellent customer service. Secondly, on an environmental note, all of their products are made from reclaimed western red cedar and pine beetle wood. Lastly, their social mandate is to create training and employment for adults with intellectual disabilities.
They currently employ 6 adults with intellectual disabilities at their Burnaby woodshop. “We are fortunate to have found ideal employees to perform the tasks of cutting, sanding, planning, and engraving and who do not mind the repetitive nature of our work. Our employees are highly motivated and appreciative of the opportunities to learn wood-working skills and even more thrilled to be paid minimum wage and be able to be contributing citizens to our community. Successfully matching skills to tasks is a key factor to managing our personnel costs and ultimately a sustainable operation,” says Ruth.
The Grape Box started off as a program in the 1980′s run by The Burnaby Association for Community Inclusion (BACI). www.gobaci.com. With years of experience and a growing reputation for quality and service, The Grape Box was spun off into a separate social enterprise in 2007. Today they operate in Burnaby with over 4,500 sq ft. and an integrated workforce of 10.
Their name represents their flagship product – the wine box; however, they also produce outdoor furniture (Adirondack chairs, high and low-back chairs, planters and picnic tables); and a wide assortment of gift boxes for the corporate promotional market. Because they are a small shop, they are also able to accept requests for custom designs and have made table centerpieces, arbors, small bridges, coasters, and trays. They have a laser engraver on-site which allows them to produce high quality engraved products.
“Above and beyond our commitment to being fiscally and environmentally responsible, we chose this business because it offered employment opportunities to individuals with all types of abilities,” says Hoffman. Their philosophy is to build a society where everyone has the opportunity to be included, challenged and successful. “We want to be able to offer more jobs with barriers to employment and become one of BC’s prized business models,” says Ruth.
For more information on the Grape Box, please visit www.thegrapebox.com
Ash Trees – Black, White, Green
Black Ash is also called swamp ash, hoop ash and basket ash. The ash tree grows to the height of 30′-70′ and between 1′ to 1 1/2″ in diameter. It is a small to medium sized tree with a slender trunk and a rounded crown.
Black Ash is the only eastern ash with stalkless leaflets. The winter leaf buds are blue black. The dark green foliage emerges late in the spring and drops early in the fall. The Black Ash likes to grow in cold swamps and bogs.
The leaf is between 10″-16″ long with 7-11 leaflets with 4″ to 5″. The flower is purplish and emerges in the early spring. The fruit on the Black Ash is 1″-1 1/2″ long and comes in the late summer.
The bark of the Black Ash is gray and soft, it fissures into scaly plates that when rubbed can reduce into a powdery substance. Black ash easily separates into thin layers and the strips of wood are used in making baskets, hoops for barrels and chair bottoms. Sometimes ash is used for interior finishing by carpenters.
White Ash can grow between 70′ to 100′ in height and 2′-3′ in diameter. This is a medium to large size tree with a straight trunk and dense symmetrical crown. The bark fissures make diamond pattern. Older trees have buttressed trunk base and massive branches. When growing in the forests the lower branches may start high on the tree.
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By Dave McRae and Don Friesen
As a lumber drying specialist and lumber remanufacturer, we are constantly asked for the best method to set pitch in Douglas-fir and Pine. While we always give the same answer (because it works), we would like to explore a few of the questions and scenarios we run into.
Door and window manufacturers seem to lead the charge for seeking ways to deal with the annoying and costly problem of pitch running in their product. For example, one door manufacturer had many call backs from his customers in California because of pitch bleeding through his product, while another had pitch running on his office door when he was visited at his manufacturing plant. He told us he also had call backs throughout Canada and the United States.
Millwork producers are not the only ones concerned about this problem. Companies that dry lumber and supply their product to remanufacturers are also looking for advice on the best way to set the pitch.
Topics covered in this report:
*What is the right temperature?
*What does drying research tell us?
*How to ensure that pitch setting happens
On Friday, I met with Bird Construction who is constructing a large acute care facility in the Lower Mainland. Currently it is constructed out of steel and concrete; however, due to the pending Wood First Act, the contractor advised that there needs to be a relatively significant wood component added to the project. More than anything, the contractor is looking to industry for assistance in nature of product and designs that might be acceptable. Here are some of the issues:
1. First of all, as the architect did not incorporate any wood into this project, the contractor said that they are essentially starting with a blank sheet of paper and are looking for industry to provide some interesting concepts using wood. While the main structure has been competed, there is still opportunity for entrance ways which can incorporate structural wood including glulams, beams, posts, etc. as well as non-structural wood including cladding, paneling, cabinets, furniture, millwork and the like.
2. Ideally, but not totally necessary, the wood and or design should have a story to tell; ie: wood from our MPB forests, recycled wood, etc. Local species would get preference over imported species.
3. Now comes the challenge, as an acute care facility, the contractor advised that all integral wood components need to pass the following standard - CAN/ULC-S134, and vertical fire spread test. As such, if you have supplied wood products to similar type projects, the contractor would like more information about it. While this standard would apply to certain products, such as, the exposed structural components,cladding, paneling, etc., it wouldn’t apply to all millwork (aside from required fire rated door), cabinetry, and furnishing.
4. Last but not least, there are budgetary issues.
I wish I could be more specific but the above is all the information that was provided.
If anyone has any suggestions or questions, please contact Roy Manion at email@example.com contact Roy at BC Wood’s office at 604 882-7100read more
Interior sawmills will start running out of good timber within three to five years because of the mountain pine beetle epidemic according to a comprehensive report on the beetle’s economic impact.
A new report on the mountain pine beetle epidemic describes it as one of North America’s largest natural environmental disasters that will put an estimated 16 major sawmills out of business in B.C. and lead to long-term lumber shortages in the United States.
Canadian lumber production is not expected to recover for the remainder of the century, one of the report authors said Thursday. “We sort of think lumber production has peaked forever, at least relative to our lifetimes and our children’s lifetimes.” said Russell Taylor, president of the International Wood Markets Group. The Vancouver-based consulting company is one of three consultants who prepared the report for lumber industry clients.
Interior sawmills are expected to start running out of good timber within three to five years according to the report. Coupled with reductions in the Ontario and Quebec timber supplies, the pine beetle epidemic is expected to reduce Canada’s share of the U.S. lumber market by 50 per cent. Lumber prices are expected to soar.
However, lumber volumes in B.C. will never recover to the 2005 levels, when a booming U.S. housing industry fuelled expansion in this province, Taylor said. The report forecasts a long-term sawlog supply from the B.C. Interior that’s roughly equivalent to the volume harvested in 2009, a year full of market-driven sawmill closures that’s widely considered to be the worst year in memory for the forest industry. Lumber production will pick up this year and continue to rise until 2013. But by 2015, it will have peaked, and begin falling again as sawlog-quality pine becomes scarce.
Taylor said the U.S. will face a lumber shortage that will send prices higher, benefiting those mills that survive as well as leading to previously marginal timber supplies, such as B.C.’s northwest, becoming economic to log.
The pine beetle is expected to kill a billion cubic metres of B.C. timber. An intense salvage program has been underway for 10 years but the approaching end of sawlog-quality wood means the industry will be hit by supply curtailments at a time when the demand for lumber is climbing.
“After some expected gains in the lumber markets between 2010 and 2013, the B.C. Interior lumber industry will need to begin reducing production,” Taylor said. “This impact on the U.S. market will soon be profound.”
Jim Girvan, one of the study authors, said in a news release that sawlog shortages caused by the mountain pine beetle could trigger the permanent closure of about 16 large primary mills in the B.C. Interior by 2018.
While the salvage program has been underway, the economic impact has been forestalled until now but eroding log quality, poorer conversion economics and shorter shelf-life of the dead timber will all result in a much smaller B.C. industry.
Sawmill and plywood plant closures will have “significant and direct consequences expected for rural B.C. communities,” states the report.
Quesnel Mayor Mary Sjostrom said Interior communities have been preparing for reduced timber supplies for several years. “We are in the heart of pine beetle country,” she said in an interview. “I think the shelf life of pine beetle wood is going to be significantly less than we expected.”
The region has formed a pine beetle action coalition of local governments and stakeholders to develop alternative economic strategies. “When you are challenged like this, you look for opportunities,” Sjostrom said, noting that investments in bioenergy and agriculture are already coming into the region.Read More
B.C. Forest Minister Pat Bell is optimistic about the future of forestry in Interior B.C., despite a recent report by the International Wood Markets Group.
According to the group’s study, up to 16 major sawmils in the region could be shut down as a result of a major decline in harvestable timber starting in 2013. The report predicts Canadian lumber exports could drop by 50 per cent – causing a shortage of lumber in North America until the next century.
“Although the (International) Wood Markets Group report accurately reflects the risks if we don’t do anything… as a government we’re committed to doing everything we can to mitigate the mid-term downfall in timber supply,” Bell said.
The report is also based on older data on the usable life of pine beetle-killed wood, he added.
“I’ve seen logs as old as 20 years going through sawmills,” Bell said. “Last year we harvested about 41 million cubic metres (of timber). It’s important to know that, at a minimum, we’d hold that size.”
B.C. is investigating many options to increase the mid-term timber supply, with an objective of reaching zero net loss in timber supply, he said.
As the demand for lumber, pulp, paper, wood pellets and bioenergy increases, areas previously thought uneconomical to harvest will become viable.
Currently in the Prince George Forest Service Area, a large and economically significant area affected by the mountain pine beetle, stands with less than 180 cubic metres of lumber per hectare aren’t harvested.
“If we reduced that (threshold) to 165 cubic metres per hectare, we can mitigate half of the mid-term’s supply downfall,” Bell said. “The cost of harvesting that stand goes up a little bit – $1-2 per cubic metre.”
In addition, there is a potential to capitalize on the growing carbon economy to invest in silviculture, improving seed stocks and fertilization, he said.
By accelerating and increasing forest growth, the trees are capturing more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than they would in a standard regrowth. The difference between the natural and accelerated growth carbon consumption could be sold as carbon credits, he said.
Rapidly growing demand from China for B.C. lumber will drive up prices, allowing loggers to travel further from mills and harvest marginal stands economically, he added.
In 2009, China purchased 1.63 billion board feet of lumber – doubling the previous record of 784 million board feet set in 2008. Last year China bought 18 per cent of B.C.’s wood exports, making it the second-largest market for B.C. wood after the U.S.
China bought $327 million of wood products from B.C. last year, nearly triple the $113 bought in 2007.
“(And) the January numbers for this year are four-fold what we did in the same period last year,” Bell said.
On Friday Bell will arrive in Beijing to sign a memorandum of understanding with the Chinese ministry of housing to build a six-storye, wood-frame apartment building.
“They build a significant number of six-storey apartment buildings per year,” Bell said. “Several years ago it was estimated that if half the six-storey buildings had the top four storeys made of wood, it would consume 25 billion board feed per year.”
If the project is a success, it could open up the world’s largest construction industry to wood products.
“Half of the wold’s construction in the next decade is going to be in China. A lot of that is going to be densification of their cities.”
B.C. lumber will be competitive in China up into the mid-$300 range per 1,000 board feet, he added. The cost of transporting Russian logs to China by train and processing them puts the cost over $400 per 1,000 board feet.
Source: Omineca Express.com – March 25, 2010read more
With Earth Day right around the corner, the Southern Forest Products Association has developed a new publication that explains why wood remains one of the greenest building materials available. SFPA’s new “Wood Facts” sheet illustrates the life cycle of wood building products; explains the role of Life Cycle Assessment in comparing environmental impacts of various materials; shows how wood products help reduce carbon emissions; and looks at the significance of certification programs.
You can download the 2-page PDF for free HERE
Source: Building Online – March 16, 2010read more
Across western North America, huge tracts of forest are dying off at an extraordinary rate, mostly because of outbreaks of insects. Scientists are now seeing such forest die-offs around the world and are linking them to changes in climate.
For many years, Diana Six, an entomologist at the University of Montana, planned her field season for the same two to three weeks in July. That’s when her quarry — tiny, black, mountain pine beetles — hatched from the tree they had just killed and swarmed to a new one to start their life cycle again.
Now, says Six, the field rules have changed. Instead of just two weeks, the beetles fly continually from May until October, attacking trees, burrowing in, and laying their eggs for half the year. And that’s not all. The beetles rarely attacked immature trees; now they do so all the time. What’s more, colder temperatures once kept the beetles away from high altitudes, yet now they swarm and kill trees on mountaintops. And in some high places where the beetles had a two-year life cycle because of cold temperatures, it’s decreased to one year.
Such shifts make it an exciting — and unsettling — time to be an entomologist. The growing swath of dead lodgepole and ponderosa pine forest is a grim omen, leaving Six — and many other scientists and residents in the West — concerned that as the climate continues to warm, these destructive changes will intensify.
“A couple of degrees warmer could create multiple generations a year,” she said, as she chopped off a piece of bark on a dead lodgepole pine to show the galleries of burrowing larvae. “If that happens, I expect it would be a disaster for all of our pine populations.”
Across western North America, from Mexico to Alaska, forest die-off is occurring on an extraordinary scale, unprecedented in at least the last century-and-a-half — and perhaps much longer. All told, the Rocky Mountains in Canada and the United States have seen nearly 70,000 square miles of forest — an area the size of Washington state — die since 2000. For the most part, this massive die-off is being caused by outbreaks of tree-killing insects, from the ips beetle in the Southwest that has killed pinyon pine, to the spruce beetle, fir beetle, and the major pest — the mountain pine beetle — that has hammered forests in the north.
These large-scale forest deaths from beetle infestations are likely a symptom of a bigger problem, according to scientists: warming temperatures and increased stress, due to a changing climate. Although western North America has been hardest hit by insect infestations, sizeable areas of forest in Australia, Russia, France, and other countries have experienced die-offs, most of which appears to have been caused by drought, high temperatures, or both.
One recent study collected reports of large-scale forest mortality from around the world. Often, forest death is patchy, and research is difficult because of the large areas involved. But the paper, recently published in Forest Ecology and Management, reported that in a 20,000-square-mile savanna in Australia, nearly a third of the trees were dead. In Russia, there was significant die-off within 9,400 square miles of forest. Much of Siberia has warmed by several degrees Fahrenheit in the past half-century, and hot, dry conditions have led to extreme wildfire seasons in eight of the last 10 years. Russian researchers also are concerned that warmer, dryer conditions will lead to increased outbreaks of the Siberian moth, which can destroy large swaths of Russia’s boreal forest.
While people in some places have the luxury to doubt whether climate change is real, it’s harder to be a doubter in the Rocky Mountains. Glaciers in Glacier National Park and elsewhere are shrinking, winters are warmer and shorter, and the intensity of forest fires is increasing. But the most obvious sign is the red and dead forests that carpet the hills and mountains. They have transformed life in many parts of the Rockies.
University of Montana ecologist Steve Running says warmer temperatures in the Rockies bring spring earlier and fall later, each by about a week, yet precipitation has remained about the same. That translates into a drought, and stressed trees are highly susceptible to beetle infestations. Wintertime minimum temperatures in the 1950s, meanwhile, ranged from 40 F to 50 F below zero. That’s risen to the 30-below range, and there are fewer days when minimums are reached. It’s not getting cold enough anymore to kill the beetles, which over-winter in their larval stage and survive the milder temperatures because they are filled with glycol, a natural anti-freeze.
In addition, the past suppression of fire and the fact that many Western trees are reaching the age at which beetles target them — 80 to 100 years — are also factors in the widespread loss of forests.Read Moreread more
While there have been many positive moves made against deforestation and illegal logging, tropical forests globally are being destroyed at a rate of about 13 million ha per year (an area about four times the size of Belgium) with this destruction responsible for around 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Although commercial and non-sustainable wood extraction is estimated to be a very small percentage of this, concerns remain – particularly as only 1% of tropical forests are certified by third parties as being sustainably managed.
However, in the face of this apparent adversity, the tropical plywood business provides a good example of how our industry has embraced change and has adapted to environmental and economic pressures. Whereas first West Africa and later the Far East were the ‘bread basket’ for tropical plywood throughout most of the 20th century, the declining availability of logs and, in some cases, environmental pressures have brought China and South America to the fore as sources of ‘tropical’ plywood alternatives over the past decade.
To date, it is fair to say that these new sources provided part of the longer-term solution in terms of an alternative supply base. However, they fall short on widespread technical and environment credibility and, more critically from a commercial perspective, ongoing supply availability. This is now changing in South America, where companies like Weyerhaeuser are leading by example and driving change that will provide products to meet 21st century requirements, with the establishment of effective timberlands strategies and some powerful product innovation…
…With strong operations already established, South America will be a major player in the coming decades, equipped to provide an array of credible and sustainable alternatives to traditional products in to the global market place.
What may come as a surprise to some is that South America’s tropical alternatives are also set to be widely consumed in local markets, driven by very strong emerging economies. For example, in addition to a population fast approaching 200 million people, by 2016 Brazil will have played host to both the Olympic Games and the World Cup – requiring enormous infrastructure development. Coupled with South America’s growing middle class and large housing deficit, all signs point to there being a sustained construction boom across the region, thus allowing South America to become a major consumer of its own products.read more
Dan Mclean and Tanya Foster are second year Recreation, Fish and Wildlife students at Castlegar’s Selkirk College.
In the Kootenays, we live in a very lush, forested valley. Most don’t think too much about what makes up that forest, the many different types of trees. Some are quite common like the trembling aspen and Douglas fir and others quite rare like the yellow cedar. Although rare locally, it’s actually quite common on the West Coast and is an ecologically, economically, and culturally important tree. The yellow cedar has great significance for NW native peoples, dating back at least 3,000 years. They made canoes, paddles, masks out of the wood, clothing, hats, blankets, from the inner bark, and roofing material from the outer bark. Even roots were used to make baskets and cradles. It seems like nothing went to waste. They identified this tree as ‘the tree of life.’
Yellow cedar has experience a dramatic decline in Alaska and British Columbia but not due to insect or disease. The yellow cedar decline has coincided with the beginning of the current climatic warming after the 1850’s. It would appear that this tree is particularly vulnerable to climate change. This is a species that evolved when snow cover was more consistent and early snow provided an insulating blanket for their roots before winter temperatures plummeted. Global warming seems to have produced winters in some areas with less snow and therefore little to no blanket for the roots.
To learn more about Yellow Cedar, click hereread more
Architects seek wood that lightens a project’s environmental footprint.
Over the past decade there has been a dramatic upswing in the number of companies that want to build reputations as good corporate citizens. Natural, organic, and sustainable are all highly desirable characteristics in the wide world of products. According to a 2009 study by accounting and consulting firm Deloitte Touche, 95 percent of shoppers would buy green provided they had the right information on an otherwise satisfactory item. But with the plethora of environmental claims by companies seeking to advance their products, “green,” “eco friendly,” “sustainable,” and the like are terms that have become confusing at best, meaningless at worst. In order to keep from drowning in greenwash, the market has demanded greater transparency and verifiable evidence of sustainable performance all along the supply chain.
This article will discuss how architects can be reasonably assured that products, particularly wood products, are maximally sustainable. Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) and forest certification will be discussed in terms of their place on an architect’s sustainability agenda, and an LCA of western redcedar will be presented to demonstrate the level of research involved, along with results that can be expected from the life cycle approach. Read More.read more
When Alexandre Bilodeau stepped on the podium to receive his medal in Freestyle Skiing Men’s Moguls on Feb. 14, it marked the first time a Canadian has won gold on home soil in the Winter Olympic Games.
Also of cultural significance, Bilodeau received his gold medal standing on a podium made from wood indigenous to British Columbia.
The 23 podiums used in the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games were constructed from 18 wood types… “The podiums provide insight to British Columbia’s culture and geography, including the 10,000-year history of First Nations, forests managed by local communities and the importance of forestry to the Province’s economy.”
The wood podiums, along with 84 medal trays, were built by team at the University of British Columbia’s Centre for Advanced Wood Processing (CAWP). Led by wood manufacturing specialist Vincent Leung, the team included technical staff and current and past students of the UBC’s B.Sc. Wood Products Processing program. In constructing the unique podiums, the raw lumber was first sent to a Vancouver millwork company, where it was dried and fabricated into edge-glued panels. The panels were then sent to the manufacturing area at CAWP where, utilizing Mastercam CAD software and SCM CNC machining centers, the team cut more than 250 unique parts required for each of the podiums. The jigsaw puzzle-like parts were then provided to the RONA 2010 Fabrication Shop in East Vancouver for assembly. Read Moreread more