Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Still Just 'Hewers of Wood'?

Another Load Headed To Asia

While at the Harbour Fair last Saturday I took the bus tour which went past the assembly wharf where this huge freighter was busy loading wood from British Columbia in the form of raw logs.

The whole raw logs issue is not as simple as it first appears as many logs are coming from private lands where basically the owner is operating a form of agriculture, growing and harvesting their crop and selling to the best available market. Over these logs, I doubt the citizens or the province itself should have much control.

Logs that are being cut on Crown land for which the province (you and I) receive a royalty in the form of stumpage is another matter. These are logs that could arguably be left alone until market conditions improve to the point we receive a much higher value for this timber. Trees, just left to grow could arguably be increasing in value which will yield a much higher return than cutting them now and selling at current market prices.

On a recent trip to the north end of Vancouver Island we saw several logging operations and log sorts that are clearly moving a lot of product these days. How much of that timber is providing the best possible yeild is a matter open for some serious debate.

Your comments are invited ...... click the comments link to add your say.


1 comment:

  1. Over the past five years, log exports have enabled the BC coastal logging industry to survive. Without log exports, thousands of jobs would have disappeared. So if you did what is suggested and waited and left those trees to grow, there would be no one left to log those trees because those people would have needed to find other work. A recent report by UBC showed that, on average, 35 per cent (or over 7,400) of forestry jobs on the coast of BC are in the forest. That ratio goes up significantly when you leave out the larger urban centers like Nanaimo. In Campbell River, for example, over 80 per cent of forestry jobs are in the forest.

    Another point to consider is that the allowable annual cut (AAC), which is determined by BC’s Chief Forester, can be harvested each and every year, year after year after year. So why not log them each and every year and maintain a vibrant logging community and keep communities like Gold River, Port Alberni and Port Hardy alive? Even with the current harvest levels over the past few years, we are still 5 million cubic metres under cut. So there is still sustainable wood out there that is available to harvest and mill if the economics improve and make it viable to do so.

    As you said the issue is not as simple as it appears. At the Truck Loggers Association we are working with government and industry to determine ways to maximize BC’s coastal AAC so the public can realize their maximum revenue from BC’s most sustainable resource industry and so the coast can maximize jobs. What we can’t afford to do, nor can any industry or individual, is produce something at a loss. The cost of harvesting must at least be covered and if that means exporting market logs then we should do that in order to maintain employment and community stability.


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