The supply of logs in the forests of British Columbia is slowly declining, warns the think tank

The Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives says in a new report that logging companies in British Columbia are rapidly cutting down available trees in the province and that supply is declining.

In a report from the BC think tank’s office, resource policy analyst Ben Parfitt said the amount of wood expected to be harvested in the coming years was half the amount felled 15 years ago.

At the time, the province was dealing with the catastrophic spread of the pine beetle infestation, devastating vast tracts of forest. The goal was to collect as many of the dead trees as possible as quickly as possible before they simply rotted.

According to Parfitt, during the height of the beetle-killing harvest, the amount of extra wood cut above normal at the time would fill a number of logging trucks parked from armor to armor from Vancouver to Halifax five times.

“A huge amount of extra wood has been harvested from our forests in a very short period of time and this has deepened the crisis we are in,” he said on Wednesday.

Parfitt reports that while the number of harvested pine trees has now dropped dramatically, harvests of other species, including spruce, fir, hemlock and cedar, have increased to replace them.

“We are running out of trees in British Columbia,” he said. “The reason for this is very simple. The industry has registered too much, too fast, with the blessing of the government.”

Concerns about the production of wood pellets

Parfitt focuses on one part of the industry in particular: wood pellet producers.

He argues that the growing sector uses good quality logs to create small pellets that are used to burn, increase carbon emissions and worsen climate change.

Parfitt says he is trying to get the provincial government to reveal how many logs go to produce wood pellets, but has received no response.

“How many of these logs are there and what other applications could they be used for?” He said. “If we can add value to these diaries, then we can get more people to work.”

A spokesman for the Ministry of Forestry sent a written statement to CBC News, which did not address the question of how many logs were used to make pellets.

Last year, a ministry spokesman said that approximately 1.2% of the province’s timber production went directly to a pellet plant in 2020 and that the province monitors the quality of logs consumed by all timber processing facilities.

“Most wood pellet producers focus on the recovery of wood waste and logs that are unsuitable for mills, including those damaged by pine beetles and forest fires. In fact, almost half of the fiber used by pellet plants last year came from wood damaged by pine beetles, the ministry said on Wednesday.

Subsequent questions from CBC News, which included Parfitt’s concerns that the supply of trees in the province was declining, were not answered.