Old growth wood remains a mainstay for logging in Vancouver Island. (Dave Mann)

B.C.’s logging industry pleads for certainty as push away from old-growth continues

Truck Loggers Association wants to run their business without worrying about changing goalposts

A key player in B.C.’s logging industry sees a change coming where loggers will transition away from old-growth harvesting.

But for the province to make that transition effectively, Bob Brash says government, industry and the public need a shared vision for the future. B.C. needs to pick a plan and stick with it so logging firms can run their business without constantly worrying about changing goalposts.

“To make the investments necessary to move to all the mom-and-apple-pie things people want us to do, the industry needs certainty,” he said.

“It’s recognized that over time there will be a transition more and more to second-growth and engineered products. But those things aren’t going to happen overnight. The investment that’s needed to make those transitions, it’s going to take time. Especially with current economic circumstances.”

RELATED: Vancouver Island’s big old trees almost gone forever, scientists warn

Brash is the executive director of the Truck Loggers Association (TLA), which represents people and companies throughout B.C.

During the past century, logging has developed in tandem with government agreements and strategy. As a result, old-growth stands remain, albeit a sliver of what they were a century ago, and old-growth wood is still an important part of the logging industry. On Vancouver Island, roughly half of what’s harvested is from old-growth stands.

Old-growth wood can fetch three-to-four times more value than second-growth wood. Brash estimated second-growth cut timber averages $400 per 1,000 board feet, where old-growth can fetch $1,000 to $1,500 per 1,000 board feet. The old wood tends to be higher quality, and can be turned into high-value products by sawmills and custom processing plants in B.C. Difficulty extracting the old wood and the higher stumpage fees behoove the industry to extract as much value as possible.

According to a report recently released by three B.C. scientists, only three per cent of B.C.’s old growth forest is comprised of these highly productive mammoth trees.

Recent years have seen a growing push to limit harvesting in old growth. Citing the power of old growth trees as a tourism resource, Vancouver Island communities voted in 2016 to ask the province for a total ban on old growth harvesting on the Island’s Crown land.

RELATED: Vancouver Island growing away from old growth logging?

Brash sees calls for a moratorium on old-growth logging as “a fairly simplistic view of the world.”

Instead, he says government should work with the public and industry to define the working land base, whether more old-growth will be protected, and the time frames needed to re-tool the industry to subside on second-growth.

Getting emotional over the forests doesn’t help, Brash said. What’s needed is to look objectively at all the resources — logging, tourism, other natural resources, for example — and make long-term plans to manage them all.

“The sooner we can get to a collective visions and a more objective look at how we manage that resource, it’s probably better for all concerned,” he said.

Do you have something to add to this story or something else we should report on? Email:
zoe.ducklow@blackpress.ca.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Environmentforestry

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 20 to 26

Rabbit Day, Hobbit Day and One-Hit Wonder Day are all coming up this week

Interior Health reports three additional COVID-19 cases in region

The number of cases in the region since the beginning of the pandemic are now at 492

UPDATE: Fire above Sparwood no threat to community

Mayor David Wilks reported it may be due to an exposed coal seam

Conservative opposition critic tours through Kootenay riding on listening tour

Pierre Poilievre, the Tory finance critic, gathering local feedback on pandemic supports, recovery issues

EKC makes $5,000 donation to Elk Valley ultrasound campaign

The EKC challenged other businesses to help the campaign hit its $300,000 target

B.C. or Ontario? Residential school survivors fight move of court battle

It’s now up to Ontario’s Court of Appeal to sort out the venue question

Young B.C. cancer survivor rides 105-km with Terry Fox’s brother

Jacob Bredenhof and Darrell Fox’s cycling trek raises almost $90,000 for cancer research

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Most Read