Wow, thanks Ben. I knew BC forestry was completely and carelessly mismanaging the last of our old growth forests, but this story is really disturbing. I received the following response in a letter from Chief Forester Diane Nichols when I enquired about the use of whole logs in the creation of bioenergy pellets:
"While the social and economic benefits continue, many of the sustainability and carbon benefits attributed to the production and use of wood pellets for bioenergy are limited when whole logs are used as feedstock for pellet facilities. As mentioned in the previous response, pellet manufacturers typically cannot afford the cost of developing timber cutting operations as part of their business model. Only in unique circumstances where waste and residuals cannot be sourced are alternatives explored. This situation is the exception rather than the norm.
The issuance of timber tenures to pellet manufacturers to supplement available waste and residue allows them to trade higher quality timber for lower quality logs better suited to their needs. As pellet mills start to participate in timber tenure opportunities and partnerships, the associated log and harvest economics make it essential that the right log gets to the right facility. High value logs are typically utilized by sawmills, while low quality, lower-value logs and residuals would be best used in pellet mills. These partnerships result in trees being harvested and utilized to their maximum potential, using parts of the tree that would otherwise be burned as waste."
Your article exposes a policy that trades pellet grade materials for the right to log old growth forests. Funny that Ms. Nichols didn't mention this when addressing my concerns.