Thousands of forestry jobs on the line in central British Columbia
A confidential report was leaked this week indicating the British Columbia government is expecting north-central B.C. to lose 32% – 67% of its timber supply due to the mountain pine beetle epidemic without a mitigation plan.
What are British Columbia’s mitigation options?
- Forest Management – intensive silviculture and stand fertilization
- Harvesting – in areas currently considered uneconomical – due to tree size, volume, or species composition
- Harvesting – in areas managed for non-timber values such as biodiversity, wildlife habitat and scenic areas
Currently, in timber supply areas of Lakes, Prince George, Quesnel, and Williams Lake, there is estimated to be sufficient timber, harvested at pre-beetle levels, until 2020. However, most of that timber is pine that has already been dead for 5-10 years. It is not currently economical to harvest dead pine with a long haul distance from a mill. With the haul distance factored in, there is an estimate of 1.5 years of economically feasible harvest supply in Quesnel, ranger to about 5 years in the Prince George timber supply area.
Whatever mitigation options are used by the provincial government, they indicate in their report that they wish to make their decisions before December 31, 2012 to avoid conflict with the May 2013 election.
Listen to Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources chat with CBC’s Chris Walker.