Timber Supply has finally seen the light of day during the timber supply committee conference call at the Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Regional office in Prince George on Aug. 15.
The special committee conducted public hearings from June 18 to July 12, and accepted 650 written submissions from First Nations, local governments; industry stakeholders and the general public to mitigate the affected timber supply areas (TSA).
Nechako Lakes MLA and special committee chair, John Rustad was the voice behind the timber supply committee as he addressed underlying issues from community members that feel the reduction of timber supply will weigh heavy on the economy.
According to Rustad, the committee has no intention to take away from existing harvesting rights; rather they will be addressing the areas that can’t afford the removal of diminishing pine.
“I am optimistic for the future of the forestry industry,” said Rustad. “Changes in the industry are to be a positive change going forward.”
The committee, consisting of seven members, was allotted a 3-month time frame to work through inconsistencies with the areas that would be impacted, indirectly and directly, by the timber supply reduction.
According to reports, in the years to follow the timber supply in the interior will continue to decrease – when beetle-killed pine is no longer salvageable, the province’s overall supply of mature timber will be reduced, and 10 to 15 years from now it is forecast to be 20 per cent below the pre-infestation levels, a reduction that may last up to 50 years.
Rustad and the special committee have taken a “walk before you run” approach in regards to the future of the mid-term timber supply.
“The estimate of the timber supply going forward is a drop of close to 10 million cubic metres,” said Rustad. That is a very significant amount of fibre. It is enough to support approximately eight reasonably sized sawmills.”
Alternative measures are being taken to insure the continual growth of the quality fibre inventory in the province.
“It is estimated today that the impact pine beetle has killed 53 per cent of the pine in the affected areas,” Rustad said.
Analysts suspect a total of 57 per cent loss as a result of the infestation.”
18.1 million hectares of forests have been affected in the province.
“I think that the changes we will see over the next decade will be of a positive nature,” said Rustad.
“I am confident that we will see these recommendations go through.”
The committee is focused on sustaining the current growth of quality fibre in hopes to reflect their standards and reputation toward forest stewardship.
Allan Fitzpatrick was unavailable for comment on behalf of L&M Lumber in regards to the mid-term timber supply.