The Victoria Times editorial https://tinyurl.com/y7oetxne suggests more money is needed to treat forest-community interface areas from wildfire. Although this is correct, the cost is high but could be reduced if Government was to change some policies regarding harvesting of merchantable trees within these areas. These changes would generate revenue and off-set treatment costs while at the same time protect the interface area and contribute to long-term forest stewardship. These would also generate jobs and economic benefits for the community. The barriers to these benefits are well know within the industry and wildfire experts. Government just needs to listen!
The use of wood waste from forest harvesting or wood processing can have a greater value than its use for bio-energy as outlined in Logging residue-opportunities lost. Washington State University has developed a new technology for the use of lignin (a by product of wood processing and bio-chemical digestion technologies) for use in car manufacturing https://tinyurl.com/ya49amdb. Other research is on-going in Alberta in this regard to replace metals and plastics in car bodies. This is the type of technology we need in BC to utilize wood residue and increase community economics and diversification. Government and industry must work to remove the barriers to the encouragement of investors in use of these technologies and move communities forward in achieving resiliency.
The Corewood Sawmill in Houston (Tahtsa Group) https://tinyurl.com/y78klznu champions a cluster partnership with forest companies to fully utilize available wood fibre and boost the local economy. This is consistent with the recommendations in Logging residue-opportunities lost Well Done!
Using the progress in implementing the recommendations from the Healthy Forests-Healthy Communities Initiative dialogue, Moving toward community resiliency-specific actions identifies steps by Government, industry and communities that can be taken immediately to move along paths to long-term forest stewardship and community resiliency.
Spearhead http://www.spearhead.ca/company has created an amazing wood structure in the Kootenays http://archinect.com/features/article/150015839/after-being-destroyed-in-a-fire-canadian-firm-patkau-architects-rebuilds-the-temple-of-light We need more of this! The creation of clusters and encouraging innovative value-added manufacturing requires Government leadership, especially in the form of reducing barriers Building through clusters (1).
The lost opportunities in the current practice of creating and burning large roadside logging residue piles raises the question as to the appropriateness of this practice.
Logging residue-opportunities lost discusses the issue and provides an opinion regarding the argument of maintaining the status quo.
BC is facing a declining timber supply, closure of more primary wood product mills, economic impacts to rural communities and forest sector job losses. Growing the Secondary Wood Manufacturing Sector provides an opportunity to more fully utilize the available fibre and reduce or eliminate these impacts.
Building through clusters describes an opportunity to increase community diversification, move toward full utilization of wood fibre, create jobs, decrease greenhouse gas emissions and increase provincial and local government revenues. We know how to do this and don’t need studies, just action. Is the Government and the Forest Sector up to the challenge of working for an integrated, viable and sustainable BC primary and secondary wood sector?
The NDP forestry plan was just announced. It includes an emphasis on increasing value-added manufacturing which is consistent with the recommendation in the HFHC Update report. However, the Plan is short on details and has the potential to be superficial just like the BC Liberals actions since 2013 on this topic. The NDP needs to be pushed for details related to implementing the Plan. BC Liberal response has been “we are already doing this” but as per the HFHC analysis there has not been any substantial actions to address the issue. Political parties need to provide details to get support comfort in expecting significant advancement on community diversification and economic development.
Bill Bourgeois Banning log exports opinion
The topic of banning log exports is increasing in popularity again. Even if more logs were available to the secondary wood manufactures (value-added producers) it would not necessarily result in an increase in their products. Not all remanufacturers are limited by timber/fibre supply. However, those who are need a long-term fibre supply at a competitive cost. There are barriers are certainty of timber/fibre supply and a desirable investment climate.
The Kitimat Mayor is encouraging Canada through an open letter to Governments and Canadians (kitimat-mayor-an-open-letter-to-canada) to increase value added manuracturing. The forest sector in identified as one of the natural resource industries being challenged to take action. Increasing value-added or secondary wood manufacturing then BC is not new. Actions have been taken for over several decades on this issue with limited success. The most recent is the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations’ mflnro-competiveness-agenda and companion value-added-sector-action-plan. Both of these documents address issues related to markets and other support services but they do not mention the major factor of certainty of wood supply which has been identified as a major barrier for many manufacturers. The MFLNRO Fibre Working Group is supposed to be working on this through creating regulations to encourage “business to business” opportunities. However, it is yet to be shown this approach will work when there is a disparity of interest and control between the parties. Hopefully, this will be resolved but until then, the identified priority issue of communities to diversify their local forest sector will be limited at best.