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

VIDEO: Internet famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer explores Vancouver Island

Gurdeep Pandher spreads joy through dance, forms cross-cultural connections amid pandemic

Indigenous regalia stolen from car in Port Alberni

RCMP are asking for information on three ceremonial items

Scammers use Port Alberni RCMP number for fraud call

Caller demanded person buy bitcoin to avoid arrest

Coulson makes teddy bear donation to Port Alberni Toy Run

Toy Run selling teddy bears to make up for lost revenue during COVID-19

Visitors and non-residents entering closed Hesquiaht territories

With limited resources, they say they don’t have any authority or power to enforce the closures

53 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths cap off week of high infection rates in B.C.

Roughly 1,500 people are self-isolating because they either have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it

Unofficial holidays: the weird and wonderful things people celebrate around the world

On any given day of the year, there are several strange, silly or serious holidays to observe

Missing teen visiting Courtenay found safe

She had last been seen going for a walk on Aug. 6

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

Fitness non-profit challenges citizens to invent a game to be physically active

The campaign was launched after a study showed only 4.8 per cent of children and youths in Canada met required standards of the 24-hour movement guidelines

Gene editing debate takes root with organic broccoli, new UBC research shows

Broccoli is one of the best-known vegetables with origins in this scientific haze

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

Vancouver Island team takes on wacky challenges of world’s largest scavenger hunt

Greatest International Scavenger Hunt taking place Aug. 1-8

Most Read