February, 2002

 

 

 

 

In The News

Gypsy Moth Spotted In Washington
The Washington state Department of Agriculture
(WSDA) is working to prevent the spread of the European
gypsy moth in two Western Washington locations - the
Vader area of Lewis County, and the Crown Hill area of
Seattle. In Vader, 10 moths were caught; and in Crown
Hill eight moths, four egg masses and five pupal cases
were found.
"If we don't eradicate the gypsy moth infestations at
these two locations, they will spread," said Dr. Clinton
Campbell, pest program manager at the WSDA.
Three treatment options are under consideration. They
will choose one or a combination of all three based on the
potential effects each could have on human health and the
environment. The past effectiveness of each option will
also be considered. A decision is expected to be made in
the next four months.
Although the moth has permanently found a home in
18 northeast states, it has yet to settle in Washington. The
moth was first detected in Washington in 1974 and has
been detected nearly every year since then. But the state
Department of Agriculture has eradicated them each time.

911 Could Effect Fire Funds
The war against terrorism will be felt in the woods -
to what extent it's hard to say. Office of Management and
Budget Director Mitch Daniels, said that homeland and
defense spending will top the priority list for 2003 programs
when the budget is unveiled in February 2002. That
would leave environment and energy spending "secondary
priorities."
Daniels says he can see how defense spending could
effect programs such as wildfire prevention efforts like the
National Fire Plan. Senator Smith from Oregon sent a letter
to Daniels urging him to maintain and strengthen
those programs.

Beetle Goes After Washington Hardwood
The Citrus Long-horned beetle was spotted this winter
at a local nursery in Tukwilla, Wash. It's closely related to
the Asian Long-horned beetle that has been called the
"Amityville Horror" after it forced residents to fell thousands
of trees in New York and Chicago.
An employee of the nursery spotted the beetle and
allowed the state Agriculture Department to identify it.
The department took immediate steps to quarantine a
half-mile section around the area. It was the first time this
particular bug has been spotted outside in the United
States, and the Department of Agriculture immediately
imposed a quarantine.
The beetle does not respond to pesticides until the tree is
killed. John Lundberg, a spokesman with the Agriculture
Department says the beetle preys on trees that include
apples, elms, maples, chestnuts, peaches, apricots, locusts,
hollies and birch. "It is a tremendous threat," says Lundberg.
"It's got local, state and federal officials concerned."

WTO Sets Up Panel
On December 5, the World Trade Organization (WTO)
established a dispute settlement panel to investigate a formal
complaint by Canada that the U.S. Department of
Commerce's decision to impose countervailing duties of
19.3 percent on softwood lumber imports is illegal.
Representatives of three neutral countries make up the
panel. They will be expected to return a binding decision
in approximately six months. Canada is expected to also
see a panel established to examine the U.S. 12.6 percent
antidumping duties soon.

Lynx Hair Hoax
It recently came to light that several state and federal
biologists planted fur samples in a survey to determine
the distribution of Canadian lynx in national forests. The
fur samples were actually taken from lynxes held in captivity.
The biologists, who later came forward, said the samples
were added to make sure that the lab analyzing the
fur was able to successfully detect lynx with its DNA
analysis.
"It's a way of testing if a lab knows what it's doing,"
said Doug Zimmer, spokesman for the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service (FWS) in Lacy, Wash. "It was not an
attempt to put lynx where they're not."
The Forest Service and the FWS say that the samples
were not included in the Canadian lynx survey report.
However, the biologists who planted the fur have been
counseled and will not be allowed to take part in any
future lynx studies.

Fastest Planer In World
There are no rough edges at the Bauman Sawmill,
located near Lebanon, Ore. The sawmill (a division of
Willamette Industries) began operation of the world's
fastest planer this past December. The planer will be used
to smooth logs at both Bauman and the Coburg sawmills.
Jackie Lang, spokeswoman for Willamette, said that the
"construction of the mill at Bauman solidifies our operation
in Lebanon for the future. We expect his facility to
play a key role in our Willamette Valley operation for
years to come."
The sawmill, designed originally to handle older, larger
timber now has a variety of log sizes and focuses on specialty
cuttings - higher-end products such as open beam.
The company hopes that the planer will help them succeed
in an ultra-competitive market by lowering production
costs. Lang says that particularly in open beams, the
beauty and grain of the wood is important in marketing
the product.

Loosening Up Roadless Rules
The Bush administration in December made changes to
former President Clinton's controversial roadless area
plan.
Some areas will no longer be governed by the plan, primarily
the small, contiguous areas that are poorly defined.
The Forest Service also dropped the requirement for an
environmental impact statement for road management in
all roadless areas. The changes allow regional officials to
decide the extent of environmental and public review on 
projects in their areas.
"We're really happy to see the Forest Service try to simplify
and clarify the road management policy," said
Stefany Bales, spokeswoman for the Intermountain Forest
Association. "We thought the previous policy was entangled
with regulations and made implementation very difficult
for people on the ground."The Forest Service says that the new interim directives streamline redundant guidelines, and make it easier for forest supervisors to complete their work.

Weyerhaeuser Final Bid
It appears that Weyerhaeuser's 14-month battle for
Willamette is over. Tuesday, January 22, Willamette
Industries said it had reached a tentative deal to be
acquired by Weyerhaeuser for $6.1 billion in cash and
that their negotiations with Georgia-Pacific have ended.
Weyerhaeuser, which indicated that $55.00 per share
would be its final bid, eventually bought the company at
$55.50 per share. This merger to the two companies now
makes Weyerhaeuser the No. 3 U.S. forest products company
based on annual sales. With the added Willamette
land, the company will manage more than 7.5 million
acres of timberland in the United States alone.
J.P. Morgan analyst Lise Shonfield predicts the deal
will be neutral to Weyerhaeuser's earnings in 2002 and
add to profits by 25 percent in 2003. Other analists
believe that the higher price of the Willamette will give
Weyerhaeuser no financial wiggle room in the near
future.

WWPA Looks at 2002
The Western Wood Products Association's U.S. lumber
forecast doesn't look good for the first half of 2002.
They expect lumber demand to be down 2.8 percent to
51.7 billion board feet. Most of the anticipated decrease
is expected in the first half of the year. However, they are
predicting a rebound in the third and fourth quarters.
The uncertainty in the U.S. economy, compounded by
911, are likely to slow down housing construction and
repair/remodeling activity. New home starts are predicted
to drop to 1.52 million in 2002.
According to recent statistics released by the WWPA,
Western lumber production was down 2.5 percent
through the first nine months of 2001. While production
at Coast mills was up 2.4 percent, output in inland mills,
still struggling with timber availability, was down 6.9
percent for the year.

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