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

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

Just Posted

Parksville Coun. Doug O’Brien. (PQB News file photo)
Parksville Coun. Doug O’Brien explains opposition to 4-way stop at high-traffic intersection

‘None of us on council have the education or training to recommend traffic control systems’

The Parksville Civic and Technology Centre at 100 Jensen Ave. Chesapeake Shores film crew will be on location from May 17 until May 19, 2021. (PQB News file photo)
‘Chesapeake Shores’ to film at Parksville Civic and Technology Centre starting May 17

Public parking limited on Jensen Avenue and Craig Street during filming

Arrowsmith Search and Rescue manager Ken Neden, as he goes over the events of the Qualicum Falls river rescue on Dec. 12, 2020, for a United Kingdom television program “Unbelievable Moments Caught on Camera’. (Mandy Moraes photo)
UK TV show spreading news of daring Qualicum Falls river rescue across the world

Arrowsmith SAR trio share their accounts for ‘Unbelievable Moments Caught on Camera’

(PQB News file photo)
Nearly 1,500 ballots cast during advance voting to fill vacant slot on Qualicum Beach council

Officials expect ‘historic high voter turnout’ to continue

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

Sinikka Gay Elliott was reported missing on Salt Spring Island on Wednesday, May 12. (Courtesty Salt Spring RCMP)
MISSING: Salt Spring RCMP find woman’s car, still seek Island resident

Sinikka Gay Elliott is 5’3” with a slim build and dark brown short hair

A Saanich man received almost 10 years in Supreme Court in Courtenay for a shooting incident from 2018. Record file photo
Shooting incident on Island nets almost 10-year sentence

Saanich man was arrested without incident north of Courtenay in 2018

Bradley Priestap in an undated photo provided to the media some time in 2012 by the London Police Service.
Serial sex-offender acquitted of duct tape possession in B.C. provincial court

Ontario sex offender on long-term supervision order was found with one of many ‘rape kit’ items

Rich Coleman, who was responsible for the gaming file off and on from 2001 to 2013, was recalled after his initial testimony to the Cullen Commission last month. (Screenshot)
Coleman questioned over $460K transaction at River Rock during B.C. casinos inquiry

The longtime former Langley MLA was asked about 2011 interview on BC Almanac program

Steven Shearer, <em>Untitled. </em>(Dennis Ha/Courtesy of Steven Shearer)
Vancouver photographer’s billboards taken down after complaints about being ‘disturbing’

‘Context is everything’ when it comes to understanding these images, says visual art professor Catherine Heard

Trina Hunt's remains were found in the Hope area on March 29. Her family is asking the public to think back to the weekend prior to when she went missing. (Photo courtesy of IHIT.)
Cousin of missing woman found in Hope says she won’t have closure until death is solved

Trina Hunt’s family urges Hope residents to check dashcam, photos to help find her killer

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Restrictions will lift once 75% of Canadians get 1 shot and 20% are fully immunized, feds say

Federal health officials are laying out their vision of what life could look like after most Canadians are vaccinated against COVID-19

Most Read