Max Winkelman photo.

Downward trend and uncertain economic forecast for forestry, says NDIT report

Reduced timber supply could mean ‘further job loss and community impacts in the coming years’

Forestry, accounting for almost half of employment in the goods-producing sector, is a challenging story with a downward trend and an uncertain forecast in northern B.C., according to the Northern Development Initiative’s Trust (NDIT) second annual State of the North Report. It also notes that employment in forestry in the Cariboo-Chilcotin-Lillooet region declined between 2016 and 2017.

“Our major forest companies enjoyed record lumber prices through most of 2018, which has helped keep them in the black, however, they’re also impacted by export tariffs in the U.S. market due to the as-yet unresolved Softwood Lumber Agreement. On top of that, wildfire activity over the past two summers has eaten into a good chunk of the available timber in the region and exacerbated an already challenging timber supply picture due to the aftermath of the Mountain Pine Beetle epidemic and the current challenges with spruce and fir beetles. Looking forward, reduced timber supply will place continued downward pressure on this sector and force some forestry companies to rationalize their operations, which could mean shutdowns, further job loss and community impacts in the coming years,” NDIT CEO Joel McKay writes in the opening.

Furthermore, while there has been increasing demand from China and improvements in the U.S. housing market, the dollar value of wood product exports to China is down close to 20 per cent, including a 17 per cent drop in softwood exports, though, there was some positive news.

“Overall, the value of manufactured wood products is up 10.5 per cent through the first half of 2018, reflecting continued strong demand in the U.S., and sales of manufactured paper products increased 25 per cent through July 2018.”

However, although sales of manufactured wood and paper products remain strong, both production and employment are declining, according to the report. Softwood lumber production in Northern B.C. fell by approximately three per cent in 2017 and continued to decline in the first six months of 2018. Production declines were accompanied by declines in employment in both harvesting and wood product manufacturing.

“Declining production in the face of strong demand is primarily a reflection of declining timber supply. Since 2015, Allowable Annual Cuts (AAC) have been reduced in a number of areas. Those reductions were intended to bring harvest levels in line with historical levels after past increases aimed at salvaging value from trees killed by the mountain pine beetle. “

According to the NDIT report, for example, in October 2017, the AAC for the Prince George Timber Supply Area (TSA), the largest TSA in Northern B.C., was reduced by 33 per cent, bringing it below 1996 levels.”

The report notes that timber supply could be further impacted by habitat protection for caribou.

See the full report here.


newsroom@100milefreepress.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Prince George police arrest third suspect in targeted shooting

RCMP still searching for 38-year-old Eric Vern West, who is considered dangerous

Nisga’a leader named UNBC chancellor

Dr. Joseph Arthur Gosnell is the first Indigenous leader to assume the role

Quesnel Junior School Girl’s volleyball team competes in Kelowna

Despite a losing record the squad was never an easy out

MOTI will hold West Fraser Road open house May 1 in Quesnel

Ministry of Transportation staff will provide an update on the year-long road closure

Quesnel River Archers float away from provincials with huge medal haul

Local squad nabbed 11 medals at indoor championships in Victoria

VIDEO: ‘Alarm bells’ raised by footage allegedly from B.C. pig farm, SPCA says

PETA released video Wednesday showing dead and injured piglets next to nursing piglets

Female real estate agents warned of suspicious man in Metro Vancouver

The man requests to see homes alone with the female agent, police say

Can you put your phone down for Mother’s Day?

#DiningMode campaign encourages people to leave the phone alone while eating

Horgan heckled as gas prices sit at record high, could go up more

Premier John Horgan blames refiners, not taxes

SPCA investigating after newborn kittens found in Vancouver dumpster

The kittens were found suffering from hypothermia and dehydration

Judge rejects hunter’s bid to get back a sheep shot in northern B.C.

Despite expert testimony, judgement says ram probably underage

Tumble Ridge grandma wins millions in Lotto 6/49 draw

“I always say that if I win, I win, and if I don’t, I don’t.”

Ministry announces highway road work planned for this spring

Drivers should expect delays to last into the summer

‘B.C. cannot wait for action’: Top doctor urges province to decriminalize illicit drugs

Dr. Bonnie Henry says current approach in ‘war on drugs’ has criminalized and stigmatized drug users

Most Read