2008-05-30

Raven Biofuels, Spectrum Energy to convert beetle-infested pines into ethanol

California-based Raven Biofuels International Corp. announced May 21 it is partnering with British Columbia-based Spectrum Energy to develop cellulosic biorefineries in British Columbia that will convert softwood infested with mountain pine beetle and other biomass into ethanol and high value furfural chemicals.

Spectrum Energy and Raven Biofuels have submitted a proposal to the provinces’ Clean Energy Fund for financial support to proceed with building the province’s first cellulosic ethanol refinery. Spectrum Energy was involved in building four lumber facilities in British Columbia and will contribute its forest industry experience to the project. The pine beetle infestation is quickly killing pine forests that cover an area the size of Texas, containing enough biomass to produce over a billion gallons of biofuels.

2008-05-29

Rebuilding Canfor's plant requires wood supply and robust housing market, analysts say

The mountain pine beetle and market forces are conspiring against hopes of rebuilding Canfor Corp.'s Prince George plywood plant destroyed Monday by fire, say industry sources familiar with the business.

The fire took the jobs of 260 union workers employed at the company's North Central Plywoods plant.

Fort St. James Receives Federal Funding for Economic Studies

The Government of Canada, through Western Economic Diversification Canada, is helping the community of Fort St. James overcome the economic impacts of the Mountain Pine Beetle Infestation by supporting two studies examining opportunities to expand the local economic base.

Funding of $130,000 was announced by Dick Harris, Member of Parliament for Cariboo-Prince George, on behalf of the Honourable Rona Ambrose, President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister of Western Economic Diversification and the Honourable Gary Lunn, Minister of Natural Resources. Funding is provided through the Community Economic Diversification Initiative (CEDI), a component of the federal Mountain Pine Beetle Program.

Presentation to Examine Mountain Pine Beetle Opportunities

An upcoming Conference and Public Presentation will explore the environmental, economic, and social challenges posed by the current mountain pine beetle (MPB) infestation as well as its spin-off effects.

On June 10th, from 7:00–10:00pm at the UNBC Atrium, FORREX Forest Research Extension Partnership will host a Public Presentation.

2008-05-25

Beetle Funds To Vanderhoof

The Federal Government has provided funding to Vanderhoof for two projects. One will help revitalize Vanderhoof's downtown core the other will help draw more tourists to the area.

A federal investment of $340,000 will help the District of Vanderhoof improve infrastructure and beautify the community's downtown core. Work will include new and improved sidewalks, street lights, landscaping, catch basins and telephone lines.

B.C. may get power from wood

West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd. (TSX:WFT) and Epcor Utilities said Friday they are contemplating building a power plant that could be fuelled by pine-beetle killed wood.

The companies said the project in the Houston area was at the pre-feasibility stage with a decision not expected until later this year.

Beetle studies get funding

Dick Harris announced Friday more than $822,000 in pine beetle funding for three research projects at UNBC.

The university received the funding from the Cariboo-Prince George MP through the federal government's Mountain Pine Beetle Program Community Economic Diversification Initiative, managed by Western Economic Diversification Canada.

2008-05-23

Renewal of Quesnel Historic Site to Bring Jobs and Training

An investment from the Government of Canada will initiate restoration work on the Quesnel Forks Historic Townsite that will lead to new seasonal jobs and training opportunities.

Funding of $172,800 was announced by Dick Harris, Member of Parliament for Cariboo-Prince George, on behalf of the Honourable Rona Ambrose, President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister of Western Economic Diversification and the Honourable Gary Lunn, Minister of Natural Resources. Funding is provided through the Community Economic Diversification Initiative (CEDI), a component of the federal Mountain Pine Beetle Program.

Hopes high in pine beetle battle

Two winter cold snaps have halted the spread of the hated mountain pine beetle in northern Alberta.

But the pesky bug may not be out for the count.

"We have seen the conditions we need to see an impact in their populations in northern Alberta," said Duncan MacDonnell, public affairs officer for Alberta Sustainable Resource Development. "It looks like we are better off than we were in 2007."

Government of Canada Helps Combat Spread of Mountain Pine Beetle

The Government of Canada is boosting spread-control funding for the Mountain Pine beetle in British Columbia and investing in three local projects at the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) which will help ensure the continued prosperity of the local economy.

Federal funding, totalling more than $2.3 million, was announced today by Dick Harris, Member of Parliament for Cariboo-Prince George, on behalf of the Honourable Rona Ambrose, President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister of Western Economic Diversification, the Honourable Gary Lunn, Minister of Natural Resources.

Fraser Lake Picks Up Funding For Recreation Site

The Village of Fraser Lake will study the development of a new waterfront recreation site for residents and tourists, thanks to an investment by the Federal Government through Western Economic Diversification Canada.

Federal funding of $80,000 has been announced under the Community Economic Diversification Initiative (CEDI), a component of the federal Mountain Pine Beetle Program.

Federal Funding Supports Business Opportunities Study in Horsefly

An investment from the Government of Canada will enable the Horsefly District Board of Trade to develop an action plan to examine economic trends and identify business opportunities within the community.

Federal funding of $45,000 was announced today by Dick Harris, Member of Parliament for Cariboo-Prince George, on behalf of the Honourable Rona Ambrose, President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister of Western Economic Diversification, and the Honourable Gary Lunn, Minister of Natural Resources. Funding is provided through the Community Economic Diversification Initiative (CEDI), a component of the federal Mountain Pine Beetle Program.

Cold brings fresh hope in pine beetle battle

Two years after a windstorm rained mountain pine beetles on northern Alberta, fighters of the pest are pinning their hopes on another whim of weather -- a couple of particularly long and frigid cold snaps last winter.

"We're cautiously optimistic that the winter did give us a helping hand," said Erica Lee, a provincial mountain pine beetle prevention specialist.

BC Gets Tough on Mountain Pine Beetle

The Federal Government is boosting spread-control funding for the Mountain Pine beetle in British Columbia and investing in three local projects at the University of Northern British Columbia.

The funds total roughly $2.3 million, $822,000 of which will be directed toward three projects at UNBC as part of the Community Economic Diversification Initiative (CEDI). Additionally, the Province of British Columbia will receive $1.5 million, under the federal Mountain Pine Beetle Program, to bolster spread-control efforts on the western slopes of the southern Rockies and in the North Peace River area.

2008-05-22

Crews check forests for pine beetles

Two years after a fierce windstorm rained mountain pine beetles on northern Alberta, fighters of the pest are pinning their hopes on another weather whim - a couple of particularly long and frigid cold snaps last winter.

"We're cautiously optimistic that the winter did give us a helping hand," said Erica Lee, a provincial mountain pine beetle prevention specialist.

2008-05-21

Raven Partners With Spectrum Energy to Develop Biofuels in British Columbia, Canada

Raven Biofuels International (OTCBB: RVBF) has formed a partnership with Spectrum Energy, a British Columbia based company to develop cellulosic biorefineries in British Columbia that will convert Mountain Pine Beetle (MPB) softwood and other biomass to ethanol and high value furfural chemicals.

While the Pine Beetle has created a major problem for B.C. Raven and Spectrum will use the infested wood as feedstock to make renewable fuels. In a March 2008 press release, the BC Government stated that "The Ministry of Forests and Range and the Council of Forest Industries estimate that the mountain pine beetle has now affected about 710 million cubic metres of timber". Further, "There are about 1.35 billion cubic metres of merchantable pine on B.C.'s timber harvesting land base. If the infestation continues to behave as it has over the past nine years, it's projected that 76 per cent of this pine volume will be killed by 2015". The Pine Beetle killed forests cover an area the size of Texas and could represent enough biomass to produce over a billion gallons of biofuels.

2008-05-16

Hot weather may swell creeks with snowmelt, officials warn

The looming hot weather may be something of a mixed blessing for anyone venturing out onto the banks of local streams and creeks this long weekend.

With highs of 24 C forecast for Friday and Saturday, it's expected the smaller waterways will be swollen with still-abundant snowmelt. And the problem may be amplified in the areas where there has been extensive logging of beetle-killed pine because there are fewer trees to absorb runoff.

2008-05-11

Trees not for the taking

The battle against pine beetles is a tough one. British Columbia has been losing the war against the tiny creatures for years and Alberta, while hoping to learn from B.C.’s experiences, is now trying its best to keep its green forests from turning red.

Uncontrollable things such as strong winds or a warm winter can make the already difficult job of the South Peace Municipalities Mountain Pine Beetle Program’s workers exponentially harder.

Recently, however, the pine beetle program has encountered a new enemy.

2008-05-10

British Columbia premier proposes aid to forest workers

Funding to help interior British Columbia communities survive an unprecedented forest industry crash has been announced by Premier Gordon Campbell.

"I can't think of another industry that has gone through such a constant turmoil of change," the province's top official told about 150 people Friday at the Interior Logging Association's 50th anniversary convention at Thompson Rivers University. "I know, as we confront the changes in front of us now, you ask how much longer we can face this war."

Campbell offered three new programs to support workers laid off because of the U.S. market slowdown, high Canadian dollar and mountain pine beetle infestation.

2008-05-07

How the mountain pine beetle devastated B.C.'s forests

Human beings are obsessed with size. We want bigger cars and bigger houses, and, of course, men want bigger you-know-whats. But big isn’t everything. A tiny insect about the size of a grain of rice, the mountain pine beetle, has devastated British Columbia’s interior pine forests, threatening enormous social, economic, and ecological upheaval. The infestation, which is expected to kill close to 80 per cent of B.C.’s mature pine forests, was caused in large part by global warming and is now seen as a contributor to the problem that caused its outbreak in the first place.

2008-05-06

Time to update forestry policies

It has been a confusing spring for tree huggers and others worried about the environment.

Last month, Greenpeace issued a report that found logging in Canada's boreal forests contributed to global warming -- no surprise. But then Canadian Forest Service scientists reported the unprecedented mountain pine beetle epidemic of the past decade in British Columbia will lead to so many rotting, carbon-emitting trees that the forests will belch huge amounts of greenhouse gas.

Aside from a warmer climate, the big factor in the beetle outbreak was that B.C.'s forests were full of overprotected mature 80-to 140-year-old lodgepole pine trees, perfect for pine beetles in which to flourish.

Alberta puts $55M into pine beetle fight

Alberta will spend $55-million this year to stem the spread of pine beetles, which have ravaged forests in neighboring British Columbia, the Alberta government said Monday.

The money will help remove trees already attacked by the tiny beetles or are considered at high risk, with the goal of having the infested trees removed before July when insects take flight.

The insects lay their eggs in ponderosa and lodgepole pines and the larvae kill the trees by destroying their ability to take in water and nutrients. The beetles also carry a fungus that stains some of the wood blue.

2008-05-05

Province earmarks $55M to fight mountain pine beetle

Alberta will spend just over $55 million this year to fight the spread of the mountain pine beetle.

The money, including $50 million in emergency funding, will be used to remove trees already killed by the beetle, cull those that are at-risk and to find new infestations.

Officials from Sustainable Resources Development say crews will focus on two areas just east of the Rocky Mountains.

2008-05-03

Beetle-eaten forests belch carbon gas emissions

British Columbia's pine beetle-devastated forest is belching out enough carbon to equal Canada's average annual forest fire emissions, says a new report from scientists at the Ministry of Natural Resources Canada.

Instead of manufacturing oxygen as it should, the damaged forest is becoming a source for global warming, putting more pressure on the need to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations in the atmosphere.

The study, released last week, calculates it will be much harder for Canada to meet global efforts to reduce GHGs when a huge section of B.C. forests is producing carbon dioxide.

2008-05-02

We can still mitigate the worst effects of the pine beetle disaster

The devastation wrought by the tiny mountain pine beetle was hard to comprehend even before the report last week about its potential affect on climate change.

During the unprecedented outbreak that started about eight years ago, the insect has destroyed pine forests in British Columbia covering an area twice the size of New Brunswick.

In a report published in Nature, federal scientists with the Pacific Forestry Centre in Victoria argue that the voracious pests are also leaving a huge carbon footprint.