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Minnesota firewood shortage 'unprecedented', timber exec says

Minnesota firewood shortage 'unprecedented', timber exec says | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

If the first wave of crisp autumn air has you thinking about buying your firewood load to burn this winter, think again. Crimped by a wet spring and summer that kept loggers out of the woods, and on the heels of last year's long, hard winter that saw woodpiles dwindle to nothing, loggers and firewood suppliers say they just don't have any seasoned wood to sell this fall.

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The shortage of wood has hit paper mills, too, with loggers unable to bring in their usual summer supply. Wayne Brandt, executive vice president of the Minnesota Timber Producers Association industry group, called the wood shortage "unprecedented." Wood supplies that dwindle annually in the spring, when conditions are too wet for loggers' equipment, never improved during the summer. "I can't recall any time where it's gone this long, over a pretty broad area, where they couldn't get into the woods. It just kept raining,'' Brandt said.


The industry called on state, federal and county land managers to check future timber sales for land that might be more accessible to log now. "They've helped a lot ... and things have improved a little in the last few weeks," Brandt said.


Mike Schultz, managing director of the Sappi Fine Paper mill in Cloquet, called it "one of the most challenging years that I can recall for wood procurement'' but said the mill has had enough to keep operating. "Our supplies are lower than we're comfortable with,'' he said. "But we haven't run out."
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If you can find firewood for sale, you'll probably have to buy large quantities. And expect to pay more than in recent years -- probably about $200 per logger cord for delivered maple or oak, often with a three-cord minimum.
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And the shortage of wood at mills has pushed up the price companies are willing to pay, luring loggers away from selling to firewood customers and instead taking it to the mills. "The mills have been paying us more, and it's a lot easier to deliver to their wood yards, so any wood the guys can get is going to the mills,'' Flannery said. "It's not leaving much for people to burn."

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COLUMBIA SC: Storm damage will top $15 million, insurance officials estimate

COLUMBIA SC: Storm damage will top $15 million, insurance officials estimate | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

With claims still rolling in, the S.C. Insurance News Service estimated the insured damage from the storm will top $15 million in the state.

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The biggest economic damage could be to timber, the state’s top cash crop bringing in $679 million annually. A 2004 ice storm that hit a similar swath of the state did $95 million in damage to timber farms. Typically, the worst damage is in pine plantations that have been thinned, leaving gaps for where pines can bend and snap.


Timber farmer John Spearman in the Williamsburg County community of Lane said he was having trouble assessing parts of his farm because so many trees were across roads. While damage didn’t appear to be devastating in the sections of his farm he could see, he did drive by one stand of pines that had been thinned recently by a neighbor. About 50 percent of the remaining trees appeared to have snapped in the ice. 

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Still, he didn’t agree with some on social media who are comparing the damage this week to the forest devastation from Hurricane Hugo. “I was here during Hugo,” he said. “This is not Hugo damage, but it’s bad.”

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Forest products logistics resilient, lucky after Hurricane Sandy

Forest products logistics resilient, lucky after Hurricane Sandy | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

Forest products logistics was largely spared from the effects of Hurricane Sandy that hit the New Jersey coast one week ago. Within two to three days of the storm passing, most of the ports, trucking and railways with dedicated forest products breakbulk services were resuming services. This was largely due to the resiliency of the logistics infrastructure, but also to the luck that Sandy made landfall farther north.


Most of the East Coast ports dedicated forest products transport and distribution lie in the South and Mid-Atlantic region. The Port of Wilmington, North Carolina, the Port of Baltimore and the Port of Philadelphia, experienced some closures as precautions for the storm, but no significant damage was reported. These ports all resumed full operations within days after the storm.


The Port of New York and New Jersey, the largest container port on the East Coast, took the brunt of Sandy's 90+ miles per hour winds and flooding. However, by the Sunday, two terminals in Port Elizabeth, N.J. received calls from container ships. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey also said two more terminals, Port Newark Container Terminal and Global Terminal, would reopen today, leaving only two container terminals still closed.


Road closures due to flooding and power outages continue to cause the most disruptions to logistics in the Northeast after Sandy. Many trucking companies held their drivers off the road until the storm passed, in part due to transportation restrictions. CSX and Norfolk Southern railroads told customers to expect shipments delayed up to 72 hours after the storm as railways came back online. Gasoline shortages are causing delays in areas closest to the New York area.

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Ice storm costs South Carolina $360 million in timber

Ice storm costs South Carolina $360 million in timber | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

Snow, sleet and frozen rain damaged a year's worth of South Carolina's timber harvest last month, making it the most damaging storm in the region since 1989, officials reported.


About 11% of the forestland was significantly affected by the pre-Valentine’s Day storm, which left an inch of ice across half of the state. Though most of the $360 million in damage was considered “light” by the South Carolina Forestry Commission because some of it could be salvaged, the agency declared a disaster and called on timber companies Wednesday to save as much as they could.


The rest of the South also felt the wrath of the storm, which shut down schools and businesses and snarled traffic from Feb. 10-13.


The storm claimed about $65 million worth of timber in Georgia, the state's Forestry Commission said last week. Among casualties there was the famous Eisenhower Tree, a pine on the Augusta National golf course that was said to have repeatedly caught the former president's tee shots.
Other states have yet to report forestry damage figures.


In South Carolina, the storm was the worst since 1989's Hurricane Hugo, which wrecked 2.5 years worth of timber in a night. Foresters ended up salvaging 15% of the timber and recovering about 10% of its value, South Carolina State Forester Gene Kodama said.

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New Zealand: Storm-felled timber estimate tops 1 million tonnes

New Zealand: Storm-felled timber estimate tops 1 million tonnes | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

Foresters still assessing the damage to Canterbury plantations from the violent windstorm earlier this month estimate it has left more than 1 million tonnes of timber lying on the ground.


The storm knocked down entire shelter belts and left commercial plantations and woodlots in tatters throughout Canterbury and into north Otago.

Canterbury-based forestry consultant and manager Allan Laurie says the industry is still toting up the damage and cost, but it is going to disrupt wood supply for years to come.


He says concerns include getting the wood off the ground and into the market before it decays.


The impact on wood supplies in the future is also a worry.

"A lot of 15 - 25-year-old stands have been blown down and they of course would have been stands that would have been producing volume in 5 - 10 years time," he says.


Mr Laurie says when 2.5 million tonnes of trees were blown down in 1975, the impact on wood flows in Canterbury is said to have lasted 20 years.

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Did “Superstorm” Sandy Supercharge Short-Term Timber REIT Returns?

Did “Superstorm” Sandy Supercharge Short-Term Timber REIT Returns? | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

On October 29th, 2012, Hurricane Sandy – crowned “Superstorm Sandy” by the media – landed on the East Coast of the United States, disrupting businesses from North Carolina to Maine and west to Michigan and Wisconsin, with concentrated damage in the Northeast. According to The Wall Street Journal, initial estimates of the insurable losses exceeded $15 billion with total damages falling between $30 and $50 billion (“Sandy’s insured-loss tab: up to $20 billion”, 11/2/2012). In response to multiple questions from investors and reporters about the potential effects on timber stocks, I conducted a simple “event study” to see if, in the short-term, we observed statistically “abnormal” moves in timber REIT stocks immediately before or after Sandy.

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The estimated “Cumulative Abnormal Return” for the event window totaled -1.3%. For the five days following the event, the CAR totaled -0.8%. In sum, for this particular question and this particular timeframe, Sandy proved much ado about nothing.

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Timber ETFs: Rebuilding After Hurricane Sandy

Timber ETFs: Rebuilding After Hurricane Sandy | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

Lumber prices reached a 19-month high Wednesday as traders anticipated a spike in demand to repair the damaged homes situated in Hurricane Sandy’s path.

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Most Chicago Mercantile Exchange lumber futures hit the daily trading limit of $10 per thousand board feet and halted trading at those levels on Wednesday, with the benchmark January futures adding a little over 3.0% to end at $331.2. Lumber futures are trading relatively unchanged Thursday at $331.1.

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While ETF investors can’t directly gain exposure to lumber futures, investors can follow timber equities through the Guggenheim Timber ETF (NYSEArca:CUT) and the iShares S&P Global Timber & Forestry Index Fund (NYSEArca: WOOD).

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