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

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

Just Posted

(Photo: Now-Leader).
Surrey Schools seeking community input for 2021-22 budget

Majority of it is pre-allocated, but room to address priorities in the community

An example of a Surrey Police cruiser, showcased at Mayor Doug McCallum’s State of the City Address at Civic Hotel in May of 2019. (File photo: Amy Reid)
Surrey Police Service hires first three inspectors as ‘next layer of leadership’

Three men have more than 80 years of combined experience

Whalley Chiefs general manager Paul Hargreaves in the stands at the club's diamond at Whalley Athletic Park. (Photo: Tom Zillich)
Surrey baseball clubs prep for spring games as COVID threatens another season

‘I’m really excited about this year, because we have the troops in place,’ Whalley Chiefs GM says

Scales of Justice
Court awards woman $167K after vehicle was struck by White Rock taxi in 2016

Plaintiff’s knee injuries and resulting chronic pain disability are genuine, judge rules

TEASER - SAGAís Gift Shop Manager Barbie Warwick wearing The Summons while sketching in Facing Time exhibit. Photo by Pardeep Singh.jpg
‘The Summons’ face masks created as fundraiser for Surrey Art Gallery Association

Image of magnolia flower and poetry printed on specially designed mask

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the B.C. legislature press theatre to give a daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic, April 6, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. nears 300,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, essential workers next

564 new cases, four deaths, no new outbreaks Thursday

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Canada’s hockey dad had battled Parkinson’s disease and other health issues

Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne speaks in the B.C. legislature, March 4, 2021. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals, NDP sing in harmony on local election reforms

Bill regulates paid canvassers, allows people in condo buildings

(National Emergency Management Agency)
No tsunami risk to B.C. from powerful New Zealand earthquake: officials

An 8.1 magnitude earthquake shook the north of New Zealand Thursday morning

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)
Pandemic stress, isolation key factors as to why Canadians turned to cannabis, alcohol

Study found that isolation played key role in Canadians’ substance use

Burnaby Mounties responded to 56 complaints and issued 10 tickets to people flouting COVID-19 restrictions in February. (Patrick Davies/100 Mile Free Press)
COVID denier fined $2,300 for hosting gathering in her home: Burnaby RCMP

The woman told Mounties she does not believe the pandemic is real

Grand Forks’ Gary Smith stands in front of his Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster float. Photo: Submitted
Grand Forks’ Flying Spaghetti Monster leader still boiling over driver’s licence photo

Gary Smith, head of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster of B.C., said he has since spoken to lawyers

RCMP members responded to calls of a man-down at Landsdowne mall in Richmond Wednesday afternoon. The 40-year-old was suffering from stab wounds. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Man in critical condition following afternoon attack outside Richmond mall: RCMP

The Vancouver resident was found lying injured outside Richmond’s Lansdowne Centre

Most Read