A scarce future ahead for Timber Supply

Northern BC has been impacted by the pine beetle a great deal, which in turn has compromised timber sales and production at local mills

Christina Millington

Omineca Express

The future of BC forests is a scarce reality.

Discussions have been made; meetings have been attended; yet there has been no evident solution to the restocking of BC’s forests for future timber supply.

Northern BC has been impacted by the pine beetle infestation a great deal, which in turn has compromised timber sales and production at local mills, to the deterioration of forests.

Issues revolve around whether or not to replant areas where mountain pine beetle and fire have killed most of the trees which are huge factors regarding the future of timber supply.

Reforestation programs are put in place by the government that places the onus on government figures to monitor issues such as this and to be sure matters are being monitored and/or dealt with in a timely manner.

Debates weigh heavy on whether or not compromised areas are worth being restored and if money should be invested now rather than later to ensure we could look to a prosperous timber supply in the future.

According to online reports, BC is 95 million hectares in size and about 55 million of that is forested that the government is responsible for managing.

The forest industry is legally obliged to restock NSR (Not Satisfactorily Restocked) areas created by harvesting only if the areas have been surveyed with intent to restock.

Al Gorley, Forest Practices board chair feels that if any actions are going to be taken then they should be taken quickly.

“There is a lot of debate about exactly how much forest has been damaged by fire and beetles,” he said. “But the important question is, should we invest money now to ensure a healthy timber supply into the future, and if so, how will we raise and invest it?”

Community concerns have been addressed and acknowledged during the June 20th Timber Supply public meeting with a strong voice from Vanderhoof residents to zone in on the reforestation process and to secure the future of local mills and tourism in Northern BC.

Online reports have indicated that forest industries have been encouraged to harvest mature forest affected by beetles and therefore take on legal obligation to reforest those areas. Approximately a million hectares of beetle-affected forest has been harvested since the year 2000.

The government has funded a reforestation program that has treated an estimated area of 50,000 hectares; mostly fire damaged forest and young beetle damaged forests since 2005.

 

“We want to protect our jobs here in the future,” said Mayor Gerry Thiessen. “It takes innovation.”