Jump to content
  • Heres whats happening to BC forests

  • 1 / 27
    Take a quick tour of BC forests as seen from space.
    2 / 27
    1700 square kilometres of new clearcuts are created each year.
    3 / 27
    As you view these images, keep in mind what's on the ground that you can't see...
    4 / 27
    40 to 60 percent of the forest was left in the clearcut.
    5 / 27
    This is near Kelowna. Watch for the remaining patches of primary forest (circled).
    6 / 27
    This is near Peachland...
    7 / 27
    ...Haida Gwaii...
    8 / 27
    ...Courtenay...
    9 / 27
    ...Kamloops...
    10 / 27
    ...Prince George...
    11 / 27
    ...100-Mile House...
    12 / 27
    ...Castlegar...
    13 / 27
    ...Cranbrook...
    14 / 27
    ...Burns Lake...
    15 / 27
    ...Merritt...
    16 / 27
    ...Prince George (again)...
    17 / 27
    ...Shuswap Lake...
    18 / 27
    ...Alexis Creek...
    19 / 27
    ...Douglas Lake...
    20 / 27
    ...Cowichan Lake...
    21 / 27
    ...Williams Lake...
    22 / 27
    ...Quesnel...
    23 / 27
    ...Mckenzie...
    24 / 27
    ...Port McNeill...
    25 / 27
    ...Campbell River...
    26 / 27
    ...Francois Lake...
    27 / 27
    and west of Victoria. That's the tour, folks.
  • Forestry isn't sustainable, folks


    David Broadland

    Buried in 71 ministry timber supply reviews is a huge gap in harvest sustainability that makes Forest Stewardship Council certification of BC wood products an international scam.

     

    The hidden, but official, harvest sustainability gap

    Is BC’s forest industry sustainable? The BC Council of Forest Industries claims that “BC leads the world in sustainable forestry.” What would be required for COFI’s claim to be true?

    There’s a lot that could be said here. COFI’s claim could be true if its current members and their predecessors, for example, hadn’t logged 97 percent of biologically-productive old forest in BC. It could be true if there weren’t 1800-plus species of plants and animals facing extinction in BC. It could be true if clearcut logging didn’t have a detrimental impact on the temperature, flow and sediment load of salmon bearing streams and rivers. It could be true if clearcut logging didn’t cause an increase in the frequency, duration and magnitude of peak flows of rivers causing major flooding. It could be true if clearcutting an average of nearly 170,000 hectares per year for the last 20 years hadn’t created the conditions that have led to annual carbon emissions from forest management in BC that are nearly three times higher than all the Canadian oil sands projects combined. And so on. But let’s put that record of undeniable environmental harm to one side. Let’s focus on the one measure of sustainability that both the industry and government point to as evidence that logging BC forests at the current rate is “sustainable”: The Forest Stewardship Council’s stamp of approval. FSC certification is dependent on the condition that, to quote its standards for BC, “the rate of harvest of forest products shall not exceed levels which can be permanently sustained.”

    An analysis of BC government data—information that COFI and its members are aware of—reveals this is not the case.

    Consider the logging conducted on 28 Timber Supply Areas (TSAs) in BC’s Interior. The combined allowable annual cut (AAC) in those TSAs is currently 44 million cubic metres. That represents nearly 70 percent of BC’s total allowable annual cut of 63.9 million cubic metres.  If the cut on the Interior TSAs cannot be “permanently sustained,” then BC forest products should not have FSC certification.

    The Forest Act requires that, every 10 years, BC’s Chief Forester conducts a “Timber Supply Review” for each TSA. That review determines what level of harvest could be sustained in the mid-term for that TSA. The “mid-term” is the period between 10 and 50 years out from the date a timber supply review is finalized.

    If the current allowable annual cut is significantly higher than the projected mid-term harvest level determined in  a timber supply review, then the current AAC in that TSA is unsustainable. This also applies to the aggregate of all 28 BC Interior TSAs. If the total AAC for the TSAs is higher than the sum of their mid-term harvest levels, then the current provincial AAC is unsustainable.

    That’s exactly what we find when we add together the individual gaps for all of the 28 timber supply reviews for BC’s Interior. The current allowable annual cut in these TSAs is 44 million cubic metres per year. The timber supply reviews say the mid-term level that’s sustainable is 32 million cubic metres per year. Therefore the current allowable cut in Interior TSAs is 12 million cubic metres on the wrong side of being sustainable.

     

    207141763_TSAcurrentAACvsmid-termAAC.thumb.jpg.00852d5cd0138228e8cff4fd6d5bc3a8.jpg

    In those TSAs where the current AAC is higher than the mid-term harvest level, the timber supply review generally plots a 10-year pathway to the mid-term level. Reductions in the harvest appear to be underway in a number of Interior TSAs, although only time will tell for sure. The downturn in lumber prices in 2019 may account for the drop in actual harvest that we now see. Results for 2020 are incomplete.

    How much forest is being logged to produce that 12-million-cubic-metre overcut? Between 2014 and 2018, one hectare of forest yielded an average of 348 cubic metres of logs in BC. At that rate, the 12 million cubic metre overcut would require that 34,482 hectares—345 square kilometres—of forest be logged.

    As mentioned above, timber supply areas account for about 70 percent of BC’s AAC. The other 30 percent is cut in areas under tree farm licences (TFLs). Province wide, the current allowable annual cut on 34 TFLs is 1.75 million cubic metres higher than the mid-term supply projected by the forests ministry.

    The ministry’s own records, then, show that nearly 14 million cubic metres per year more than can be “permanently sustained” are being cut across the province. That overcut alone results in the loss of 40,000 hectares (400 square kilometres) of forest each year.

    The current total provincial AAC of 63.9 million cubic metres would need to be reduced to about 50 million cubic metres just to meet the Forest Stewardship Council’s rudimentary measure of sustainability.

    For many years BC’s rate of harvest has exceeded the level that the ministry of forests believed could be permanently sustained. The FSC certification has been, to put it as politely as possible, an international scam.

    BC’s forest managers have been quiet about the magnitude of this sustainability gap. That could be out of a concern that if it were known BC wood products don’t meet FSC’s fundamental test, some buyers of BC wood products—like Home Depot—would stop buying. About 80 percent of BC’s manufactured wood products are exported, with 50 percent of that going to the USA. Home Depot’s wood purchasing policy is to give preference to FSC-certified sources. But BC wood doesn’t actually meet FSC’s most basic requirement for certification.

     

    Origins of the harvest sustainability gap

    How did the sustainability gap develop? If we were to confine our exploration of this question to recent history, the official gap is the result of the loss of Lodgepole Pine stands during the Mountain Pine Beetle infestation. That began in 1999 and peaked in 2005—15 years ago. Since the AAC reductions will play out over the next 10 or so years, we can see that it will have taken 25 years for BC’s government to fully implement cut controls it knew in 2005 it would have to implement.

    Why wasn’t a cut in AAC imposed in 2005?

    Directions to BC’s chief forester by consecutive forests ministers, Rich Coleman and Pat Bell, guided AAC determinations throughout the pine beetle infestation and subsequent salvage logging. Coleman, a close ally of the forest industry, directed the chief forester to maintain or enhance (increase) AAC. Pat Bell, who represented the Prince George district as an MLA, an area hard hit by the beetle, directed the chief forester to show “leniency” in AAC determinations for areas affected by the beetle. These written directions have been guiding AAC determinations even into the era of the current NDP government. In other words, the decision not to lower the AAC was a strictly political decision, not based on science, in spite of warnings from forest and climate scientists at the time.

    By 2006, BC government forest scientists were predicting a loss of up to 80 percent of the “merchantable pine volume” in the province as a result of the beetle infestation. That would have amounted to 1.1 billion cubic metres, equivalent to 22 years of logging in the Interior at the region’s pre-beetle AAC of 50 million cubic metres per year. This estimate has lately been reduced to a 55 percent loss of merchantable pine; at the time, though, decision-makers were told it could be up to 80 percent. Faced with that momentous loss, did forest managers in 2006 question the assumptions under which they had been operating?

    Recall that, by 2006, forest scientists had attributed the immense impact of the Mountain Pine Beetle infestation to higher temperatures in winter and summer, a consequence of global heating and climate change. Warmer winters meant that fewer beetles were killed by cold weather, while hotter summers allowed higher rates of beetle reproduction. Hotter, drier summers also meant greater water stress for pine trees, weakening their natural defences against insect attack.

    Also known to forest scientists at the time was that logging forests initiates an immense premature release of carbon to the atmosphere, and that carbon emissions are the main cause of global heating and climate change. Government scientists were aware, then, that logging forests played a significant role in amplifying natural disturbances like the Mountain Pine Beetle infestation.

    Faced with evidence that logging had helped to create the conditions that led to the beetle infestation, and aware of the tremendous long-term loss to the allowable annual cut, what questions did government decision-makers ask?

    Coleman and Bell, it would appear, ignored the science and made short-term political calculations completely detached from the question of whether industrial forestry was sustainable.

    Their government—and industry—responded with short-term economic thinking. They focussed on cutting as many of the dead and dying trees as quickly as possible—including non-pine trees that just happened to live in the same forests. In taking that approach, they also ensured that forestry-dependent communities would become even more dependent on forestry, even though the forests they depended on were rapidly declining in health and extent.

    The main element of this economic plan was increasing the allowable annual cut in the Interior from 50 million to 68 million cubic metres to facilitate salvage of dead and dying pine trees. Indeed, the harvest of pine—mainly dead—doubled compared to before the outbreak. But forests ministry records show that at the peak of the beetle outbreak in 2005, forest companies had only reduced their cut of non-pine species in the Interior by about 15 percent over the level they were cutting before the outbreak started. Let that sink in. Government and industry were told that BC was about to lose up to 40 percent of the total merchantable volume available in the Interior. Industry and government could have responded by backing off completely from cutting non-pine species. Instead they backed off 15 percent.

    Vancouver Sun journalist Larry Pynn wrote about what happened next in a 2012 investigative report,“In the Wake of a Plague.” He documented the environmental damage resulting from salvage logging southwest of Prince George. Clearcuts had previously been limited to 60 hectares in the Interior, but the forests ministry removed any limit on cutblock size to facilitate salvage logging. Pynn noted that a lack of planning and coordination for the “frenzy of logging” that was occurring led to large clearcuts merging into vast clearcuts. He described a 2009 report by the Forest Practices Board that found “more than half of the harvest since 1978 is now in patches larger than 250 hectares and more than one-third in patches larger than 1,000 hectares... Incredibly, at least seven harvested patches, amalgams exceeding 10,000 hectares—25 times the size of Stanley Park—have emerged...”

    Pynn noted that then BC Chief Forester Jim Snetsinger had expressed “‘significant uncertainty’ about the environmental effects of the 80-percent increase in harvesting in the Lakes, Prince George and Quesnel timber supply areas, particularly in regard to biological diversity and hydrologic function.”

    The result of that “frenzy” is now evident in age class distribution data included in timber supply reviews for the TSAs most heavily impacted by the beetle and subsequent salvage logging. For example, in the Lakes TSA, centred on the forestry-dependent community of Burns Lake, 40 percent of the net Timber Harvesting Land Base (THLB) now has trees between zero and 20 years old, with over half of that between zero and ten years. In the 100-Mile House TSA, 33 percent of the net THLB has forest cover between zero and 20 years of age. By “zero” we mean a bare, unplanted clearcut or burned over plantation. The Quesnel, Kamloops and Prince George TSAs each have 26 percent of their net working forest lying as bare clearcuts or young, fire-vulnerable plantations up to 20 years of age.

     

    857470754_Lakesstandageclassdistribution2019.thumb.jpg.8015429a4f93811f4bc23f2097b8c0d6.jpg

    Above: Age class distribution for Crown land in the Lakes TSA. THLB is the Timber Harvesting Land Base. Note that 40 percent of the forest cover in the THLB is 20 years of age or younger. Source: FLNRORD.

     

    A common perception that the “frenzy” of logging was largely a result of the response to the pine beetle is, according to the forests ministry’s record of harvesting in the beetle-affected areas, not accurate. Although the AAC in the affected areas was increased, the harvest records show that there were only two years—2005 and 2006—in which the actual harvest was more than 10 percent higher than the pre-beetle AAC. What the beetle did change was the mid-term supply of harvestable forest and the size of the clearcuts that were allowed, seven of which, as Larry Pynn observed, had grown into 10,000-hectare monsters.

     

    The cumulative impacts of unsustainable logging

    Starting in 2000, following close behind the increasing area of deforestation, a new phenomenon began to emerge in the Interior: forest fires began to get larger. Much larger. Carbon emissions released by forest fires are estimated by the BC government as part of its emissions reporting obligations. Those estimates show emissions from forest fires have doubled every nine years since 2000. Is the inexorable growth in the size of forest fires related to the growing extent of clearcuts in the Interior?

     

    This 1-minute panoramic video shows a 240-square-kilometre (6 kilometres by 40 kilometres) section of the 2017 241,160-hectare Hanceville-Riske Creek Fire. Note the logging roads and burned over plantations and clearcuts. The lake at the bottom left corner is Tzazati Lake; movement is from south to north.

     

    A group of Australian forest scientists believe that country’s historically large fires in late 2019 were made worse by logging. In a comment piece in the science journal Nature Ecology and Evolution, they wrote, “…there is compelling evidence that Australia’s historical and contemporary logging regimes have made many Australian forests more fire prone and contributed to increased fire severity and flammability. This occurs because logging leaves debris at ground level that increases the fuel load in logged forests. It also changes forest composition and leaves these areas of forest both hotter and drier…”

    In BC, the vast majority of forest fires are started by lightning. In 2009, forest research scientists Meg Krawchuk and Steve Cumming published the results of an 8-year study of lightning ignition in 60,000 square kilometers of boreal forest in Alberta. They found that wildfires started by lightning ignition “increased in landscapes with more area harvested.” Because of the physical nature of the fuel in a “harvested area”—its dryness, smaller size, etc—it is more readily ignited by lightning than the fuel in an undisturbed stand of trees.

    Krawchuk and Cumming also noted: “In addition to the fine fuels and slash remaining after forest harvest, post-disturbance regeneration might also contribute to flammability.”

    Several science-based studies have shown—in other jurisdictions—that land that has been clearcut burns more severely than intact forest. The relative abundance of fine-grained fuel at ground level in clearcuts, along with higher temperatures, lower humidity and open exposure to winds, all factor into their higher flammability compared with intact forest. As well, clearcuts adjacent to intact forest stands cause those stands to be drier and more flammable, too.

    Clearcut logging changes the hydrologic and thermal functioning of adjacent forests, and on the scale at which clearcut logging has taken place in BC, the practice has changed fire behaviour. Remarkably, no BC forest scientist has undertaken to study the connection between clearcut logging and changes in fire behaviour and size. Or, if they have, their work hasn’t been made public.

    By the way, those Australian scientists came forward because, they said, “much of the conversation in the aftermath of the spring and summer bushfires had rightly focused on climate change, but the impact of land management and forestry on fire risk was often neglected in these discussions.”

    The scientists highlighted this as a concern because land management policy was “well within the control of Australians” and the fires had been used by some sectors of the forest industry in Australia “to call for increased logging in some areas.”

    The “call for increased logging” is already occurring in BC and is coming from the same  line of economically-motivated reasoning employed by industry and government that gave BC the “uplift” in AAC in response to the Mountain Pine Beetle outbreak. Like claims of “sustainable forestry,” expression of such views appears to be part of the human-powered feedback loop that has amplified the catastrophic impact of forest removal on global heating and climate change in BC and elsewhere.

     

    Coastal clearcuts are growing in size, too

    In the description of the sustainability gap above, I focussed on forests ministry data from 28 TSAs in the Interior. The Mountain Pine Beetle did not directly impact coastal BC, but 150 years of relentless logging has left just as big an impact on coastal forests. However, it’s harder to quantify the impact using ministry records. Data for the nine TSAs in coastal BC is in a state of flux as the ministry completes timber supply reviews following the physical rearrangement of TSA boundaries that arose from the Great Bear Rainforest Agreement.

    The sustainability gap on the coast is most clearly indicated by ministry data on forest cover age class distribution. For example, the 2014 Timber Supply Review for the now-defunct Strathcona Timber Supply Area is revealing. This TSA included a large area of Vancouver Island in the vicinity of Courtenay, Campbell River, Gold River, Tahsis and Zeballos, as well as the adjacent mainland coast and the Discovery Islands.

    The ministry’s 2014 data shows an astounding 64 percent of the area on which logging could occur had trees younger than 60 years old. Thirty-six percent of Strathcona TSA’s area had trees 20 years of age or younger—similar to the Interior TSAs devastated by the beetle. Only 24 percent of the TSA was covered with stands between 70 and 230 years of age—old enough to be logged, and not so old as to cause great controversy. Remaining old-growth forest—240 years and older—occupied only 12 percent of the TSA’s area available for logging, according to the ministry’s data. This was in 2014, and extensive logging since then could only have pushed the average age of trees lower.

     

    2001961260_Strathcona2014.thumb.jpg.c03ad1411be704eb8eaf066bc10de74e.jpg

    Above: Age class distribution for Crown land in the Strathcona TSA (2014). THLB is the Timber Harvesting Land Base. Note that 64 percent of the forest cover in the THLB is 60 years of age or younger. Source: FLNRORD.

     

    In the Strathcona TSA, most of those trees younger than 60 years are plantation Douglas fir, which has a culmination age of about 80 years. Logging before that age would be an extraordinary waste of a publicly-owned asset, even by the standards of BC’s forest industry. Logging the remaining old growth is increasingly controversial in the midst of a climate emergency and a collapse in biodiversity. That leaves just 23 percent of the area that’s available for logging with trees old enough to log but not so old as to invite blockades of logging roads.

    A review of recent satellite imagery of land that was in the Strathcona TSA in 2014 shows that clearcuts are becoming larger as younger trees become a higher percentage of what’s cut. This trend is in play all across the province.

    Ministry data that covers all of BC show that in the five years between 2002 and 2006, inclusive, an average of 448.6 cubic metres per hectare were harvested. For the five years between 2014 and 2018, inclusive, the harvest per hectare had dropped to an average of 348 cubic metres. The implications of this direction are clear. As time goes on and all old-growth forests in the Timber Harvesting Land Base are liquidated—which has been the implicit policy of the ministry—the area needed to be logged each year in order to achieve the mid-term harvest level will grow even larger. The actual extent of clearcut logging in the province can best be understood by viewing the most recent satellite imagery. Please take a moment to click through the slides at the top of this page that show the vast transformation from primary forests to plantations that’s almost complete.

    The regularly expanding area that gets logged each year means the area of fuel-laden clearcuts and fire-vulnerable plantations younger than 20 years of age will cover an increasingly higher percentage of BC’s land base. As average global temperature increases and the frequency, duration and severity of drought and periods of extreme summer heat increases, it’s difficult to imagine that having a higher percentage of highly-flammable land in BC is going to work out well. Forest fire management in 2017 and 2018 cost BC taxpayers $1.28 billion.

    Other cumulative effects on non-timber values such as the integrity of watersheds and the level of biodiversity will also become increasingly serious as the average age of forests falls and the area of logging grows. The forest-industrial complex is leading BC into an inherently unsustainable future.

     

    An uncertain future

    The numbers I used above to quantify the gap between the current AAC and the mid-term harvest level all come from timber supply reviews. Those reviews are conducted by BC’s chief forester or deputy chief forester. The estimates developed by the reviews rely heavily on computer modelling of future tree growth and stand yield. Processes that depend on such modelling are only as good as the data that goes into the models—we all know the expression “garbage in, garbage out”—and in BC, that data is known to be, well, uncertain.

    In 2018, Anthony Britneff and Martin Watts, both registered professional foresters, made a 134-page joint submission to a panel of forest scientists and professionals assembled to investigate concerns Britneff had expressed in writing to forests minister Doug Donaldson (there’s a link to the report at the end of this story).

    Britneff and Watts recently summarized their concerns in a 20-page report prepared for Focus, outlining numerous problems associated with the data used to inform the timber supply reviews we analysed for this story (link to report at end of story).

    Watts and Britneff challenge a claim made by various chief foresters in many of the timber supply reviews, that the “best available information” is used in coming to a determination of allowable annual cut. Britneff and Watts provided us with evidence in the case of the Bulkley Valley TSA review, for example, that shows the “best available information” included data that an independent consultant had determined did not meet “Ministry Standards” on several counts.

    They also note that a major source of uncertainty in computer modelling is “ineffective data management,” and recount how, throughout the 1990s and 2000s, the Forest Analysis and Inventory Branch (FAIB) struggled to effectively manage forest growth-and-yield data, which, as a consequence, had become “corrupted.” The result, say Watts and Britneff, is that “any studies or models using FAIB sample plot data prior to 2017 are suspect.” That would impact most existing Timber Supply Reviews and the corresponding AAC determination.

    Watts and Britneff believe the growth and yield models themselves are problematic and cite numerous ways in which the models provide inaccurate and unreliable estimates. For example, consecutive versions of the models produce different results from the same data, and the difference is significantly greater than the timber supply review process reflects in its consideration of uncertainty. As well, an FOI request showed FAIB had no record of the actual data used to calibrate one of the computer models central to estimating timber volume in natural stands. Watts and Britneff also point out that the growth and yield models lack the sophistication needed to reflect actual forest complexity.

    They point out similar modelling problems in determining managed (plantation) stand yields, managed stand site productivity and expected gains from using select seed to produce planting stock.

    All of those factors create a level of uncertainty about the growth and yield estimates used in ACC determinations that, Watts and Britneff say, create serious doubts about projected mid-term harvest levels.

    Astonishingly, the models cannot account for climate change. On this point, Britneff says, “scientists within the forests ministry have reported and published that our Interior managed forests will most likely experience increased tree mortality, reduced growth and reduced utilization as a result of an increase in forest health issues due to climate change.”

    Yet, because the models cannot accommodate climate change, none of the climate-related effects that are expected to reduce growth and yield are included in the timber supply reviews that determine AAC.

    Watts and Britneff note that while current Chief Forester Diane Nicholls has been directed by Minister Donaldson to include “the best information on climate change and cumulative effects of multiple activities on the land base” in the timber supply review process, Nicholls has effectively demurred.

    In a 2019 timber supply review for the Lakes TSA, she deferred consideration of cumulative effects to the land use planning process and stated “the potential rate and specific characteristics of climate change in different parts of the province are uncertain. This uncertainty means that it is not possible to confidently predict the specific, quantitative impacts on timber supply.”

    The chief forester went on to state that “no responsible AAC determination can be made solely on the basis of a precautionary response to uncertainty with respect to a single value,” but provided no justification for this statement.

    Britneff and Watts observe that Nicholls’ response “is in stark contrast to the federal government’s guidelines on taking a precautionary approach in the absence of full scientific certainty.”

    They point out that the chief forester “uses the concept of uncertainty to exclude factors that would lower the AAC, such as climate change, while at the same time ignoring the uncertainty associated with factors that enable an increase—or simply increase the AAC—such as natural and managed stand growth estimates, genetic gain estimates for select seed, and the increased productivity assigned to managed stands.”

    The end result, they say, is an “AAC determination process that clearly favours timber harvesting over integrated decision making, leading to an AAC that is too high and unsustainable, particularly in the mid-term.”

    Above, we noted that the mid-term harvest level determined by Chief Forester Nicholls and her predecessors is some 14 million cubic metres lower than the current AAC. Yet Britneff and Watts make a strong argument that the process and technology used to come to that determination are actually overestimating that mid-term harvest level.

    It should be clear to everyone that whats happening to BCs forests is not sustainable. Coupled with the widespread acceptance by governments and people around the globe that planet Earth faces a climate emergency and a collapse in biodiversity, BC’s government needs to act. The only meaningful action that can be taken is to conserve what remains of natural habitat in biologically productive forests and to reduce emissions, particularly large-scale sources of carbon like BCs forest industry. For BCs government to continue to hide the extent of the damage being done by what is now a minor contributor to the provincial economy is unconscionable.

    In my next story, I will examine in detail the impact BC’s forest industry has had on biodiversity and ecological integrity.

    David Broadland’s grandfather, a Russian immigrant who came to Canada in 1911, was the chief cook in a 200-man logging camp near Campbell River on Vancouver Island. The logging show was operated by Bloedel Stewart & Welch. At that time, the forest industry was a major factor in BC’s economic health. Times have changed.

     

    Submission by Anthony Britneff and Martin Watts to the Forest Inventory Review Panel (2018)Britneff and Watts 2018 submission to the Forest Inventory Review Panel.pdf

    Summary of above submission provided to Focus: Summary of Britneff and Watts 2018 submission to the Forest Inventory Review Panel.pdf

     

    646768123_NEWFORESTCHARTERINFOGRAPHICPDF.thumb.jpg.8fa8f6326072e8918da20733bd9e2005.jpg



    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments



    Guest Taryn Skalbania

    Posted

    Normally forestry barely makes the news in summer, NOT this year!.....In a summer where BC has seen hunger strikers and 3 blockades to protect old growth, a massive ENGO letter writing campaign to MFLNRORD Minister Donaldson, a coalition lobbying the Feds to clamp down on raw log exports, more mill slow downs, community and grass roots rallies and marches, mills desperate for timber, injunctions, FPB complaints, letter writing campaigns,  long term boil water advisories and late season floods, this recent article IS the icing on the cake

    Time for a real change to BC’s forestry industry, Horgan had better release his new plans for Old Growth forest , primary forests and ancient forests protections NOW before we have full scale chaos…because as Dave Broadland has shown us, this is far from sustainable.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    As a professional forester I share many of the concerns articulated by Britneff and Martin surrounding the use and misuse of growth and yield data to make AAC decisions. I used to think it was a conspiracy of optimism based on a pathology of optimizing nature to meet human needs. One wise forester once told me that forest management is a reflection of human’s impatience with nature. With experience I have come to realize it is merely short term economics dominating our policy discussions and clouding our judgement. In this province we need to have honest and open discussion of how we define progress/sustainability in forest management before our current approach becomes a progress trap that all biota will inherit. 

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    Guest TalkingTrees

    Posted

    I'm also a Professional Forester who cares deeply about the public interest. Thank you for this article! It outlines many of my principle concerns about the way in which the AAC process gets politicized. To go one step further, the policies of the '00 liberals are a direct correlate to the rise in the green part's share of the provincial vote. It will take time to disentangle industry and Government.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    Guest Anthony Britneff

    Posted

    In his last analysis, David Broadland disproved the myth that "forestry pays the bills" -- it doesn't.  In reaction, some rural mayors were in denial and disbelief, if not outraged at this exposure. One hopes that these same mayors will study this analysis in which David Broadland roundly squelches another prevailing myth; that is, "forestry is sustainable" -- it isn't.  They will discover that government documents foretell a greatly reduced supply of timber 10+ years out.  More mills will shutter; more corporate profits will leave the province for investment elsewhere.  Those executives and senior managers that run the oligopoly of forest corporations understand the full implications of a declining timber supply and are already implementing their exit strategy.  What is your survival strategy? 

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    Guest TalkingTrees

    Posted

    4 hours ago, Guest Anthony Britneff said:

    In his last analysis, David Broadland disproved the myth that "forestry pays the bills" -- it doesn't.  In reaction, some rural mayors were in denial and disbelief, if not outraged at this exposure. One hopes that these same mayors will study this analysis in which David Broadland roundly squelches another prevailing myth; that is, "forestry is sustainable" -- it isn't.  They will discover that government documents foretell a greatly reduced supply of timber 10+ years out.  More mills will shutter; more corporate profits will leave the province for investment elsewhere.  Those executives and senior managers that run the oligopoly of forest corporations understand the full implications of a declining timber supply and are already implementing their exit strategy.  What is your survival strategy? 

    Sounds good. Maybe those of us who care can actually implement the things we were taught in school.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    I am quite sure that any British Columbian that is paying attention, is aware of the ongoing decimation, from previous and current governments, of British Columbia's Old Growth Forests in favor of cancer causing Glyphosate soaked tree farms. The forestry industry is logging themselves towards their own demise, in which the government(s) of BC are assisting them through policies that promote unsustainable forestry practices.

    This has been going on for decades. Protests and push-back from private citizens, organizations and experts in the field of sustainable forestry practices have all been calling for an end to clear cut logging of old growth, to no avail. Minister Donaldson proudly stood before the media to announce what the government of BC was going to do...“We are protecting 54 exceptionally large and old trees, each surrounded by a one-hectare grove to act as a buffer zone,” said Donaldson. “These trees represent an important part of B.C.’s natural heritage, and British Columbians have said they want them preserved. What we are announcing today is the start of a broader conversation about the future of old-growth management in this province.”     (https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2019FLNR0189-001452)

    Clear cut logging continues unabated and it is clear that the current government of British Columbia clearly doesn't understand that the important part of "B.C.'s natural heritage" he refers to and has seen the residents of British Columbia screaming for decades to protect, is not a "grove" buffering one tree but a standing intact old growth forest in which represents the true future value of this precious and irreplaceable part of our heritage. 

    There are numerous reasons why old growth forests should remain standing but only one reason to destroy them prevails, money.

    With only 3% of old growth forests remaining, the only management that the government(s) of British Columbia have managed to provide is they have managed to mismanage, to near extinction, our heritage along with our forestry industry. To bad it is not as easy to rid the province of backward thinking avaricious politicos as it was for them to turn our province into a poisoned tree farm.

     

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    I'm a bit confused by this article. First it says that the increase in the AAC has caused an additional 40,000 ha a year to be logged and that pine (mostly dead from pine beetle) was logged at double the rate of pre-outbreak while logging of unaffected spruce was only cut back by 15%. But then it says (last paragraph of the section 'Origins of the harvest sustainability gap', paragraph starting with 'a common perception') that although the AAC was increased in beetle affected areas, actual logging only increased for two years and that the main impact wasn't increased logging but rather the amalgamation of logging into larger clearcuts. Can anyone please explain to me what was meant in that paragraph?

    Thanks!

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    1 hour ago, Guest Yudel said:

    I'm a bit confused by this article. First it says that the increase in the AAC has caused an additional 40,000 ha a year to be logged and that pine (mostly dead from pine beetle) was logged at double the rate of pre-outbreak while logging of unaffected spruce was only cut back by 15%. But then it says (last paragraph of the section 'Origins of the harvest sustainability gap', paragraph starting with 'a common perception') that although the AAC was increased in beetle affected areas, actual logging only increased for two years and that the main impact wasn't increased logging but rather the amalgamation of logging into larger clearcuts. Can anyone please explain to me what was meant in that paragraph?

    Thanks!

    Hi Yudel, thanks for your question. I didn't actually say that the "increase in the AAC has caused an additional 40,000 ha a year to be logged". This may be the cause of your confusion.

    The 40,000 ha per year estimate derives from, first, ministry timber supply reviews which have established a mid-term harvest level 14 million cubic metres lower than the current AAC, and second, ministry silviculture reports on how much forest has been logged that provide average volume/hectare. It is not derived from the uplifted AAC in the Interior that occurred during the peak of the beetle infestation.

    As I point out, most of the 40,000 ha per year overcut is a consequence of losses in merchantable volume resulting from the Mountain Pine Beetle infestation. But only a fraction of that volume loss was actually salvaged. The "frenzy" of logging that took place in the Interior around the time Larry Pynn wrote his story was only slightly more frenzied than would have taken place had the beetle infestation not occurred.

    You are mixing apples with oranges, or pine with spruce if you like.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    Guest Atmo Prasad

    Posted

    There is some twisted interpretation of the information presented in this article.  The author is not an expert in timber supply analysis and neither are the two foresters he quoted extensively.  Of the more than 3000 foresters in this province, only about 25 of us can claim to be timber supply analysts.  I am now retired, but during the past 25 years I worked as a timber supply analyst, a senior analyst and as the manager for the analysis section of the Forest Analysis & Inventory Branch of the Ministry of Forests etc. I am very familiar with the 28 Interior TSAs mentioned in this article and I am  confident that the AAC set for each is sustainable. In timber supply analysis, our harvest flow policy is to find the highest sustainable harvest level and then increase the short-term harvest only if that does not lower the highest flat line found.  The higher short-term harvest level found in most Interior TSAs is usually composed of wood killed by the mountain pine beetle or by the recent fires.  The timber supply in these TSAs is expected to decline to the sustainable level after the salvage of dead timber is over.  Construing the current AAC which includes dead wood as unsustainable is just pain wrong.

    As land use decisions change, such as management for caribou habitat, or insects, disease and fires affect the amount of growing stock, the sustainable level of harvest will change.  This is why AACs are re-set periodically. 

     

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    4 hours ago, Guest Atmo Prasad said:

    There is some twisted interpretation of the information presented in this article.  The author is not an expert in timber supply analysis and neither are the two foresters he quoted extensively.  Of the more than 3000 foresters in this province, only about 25 of us can claim to be timber supply analysts.  I am now retired, but during the past 25 years I worked as a timber supply analyst, a senior analyst and as the manager for the analysis section of the Forest Analysis & Inventory Branch of the Ministry of Forests etc. I am very familiar with the 28 Interior TSAs mentioned in this article and I am  confident that the AAC set for each is sustainable. In timber supply analysis, our harvest flow policy is to find the highest sustainable harvest level and then increase the short-term harvest only if that does not lower the highest flat line found.  The higher short-term harvest level found in most Interior TSAs is usually composed of wood killed by the mountain pine beetle or by the recent fires.  The timber supply in these TSAs is expected to decline to the sustainable level after the salvage of dead timber is over.  Construing the current AAC which includes dead wood as unsustainable is just pain wrong.

    As land use decisions change, such as management for caribou habitat, or insects, disease and fires affect the amount of growing stock, the sustainable level of harvest will change.  This is why AACs are re-set periodically. 

     

    Thanks for joining the conversation Atmo. I appreciate your years of experience and service to the province's forests.

    You say "The higher short-term harvest level found in most Interior TSAs is usually composed of wood killed by the mountain pine beetle or by the recent fires." This is not supported by the ministry's own data.

    I looked at several years of data from the ministry's Harvest Billing System to determine what percentage of the harvest was lodgepole pine in the TSAs with the greatest difference between their current AAC and the mid-term harvest level projected by each TSA's respective timber supply review. As I am sure you can appreciate, that's a lot of data. Let me give you the breakdown for 2018, since that was a fairly high harvest year in BC. The cut that year reached 62.23 million cubic metres, very close to the province's AAC. So what is the breakdown?

    In the Prince George Natural Resource District (Prince George TSA) harvest of lodgepole pine was 19 percent of the total harvest. There's a 32 percent difference between AAC and mid-term harvest level.

    In Okanagan Shuswap Natural Resource District (Okanagan TSA) harvest of lodgepole pine was 14 percent of total harvest. There's a 31 percent difference between AAC and mid-term harvest level.

    In Thompson Rivers Natural Resource District (Kamloops TSA) harvest of lodgepole pine was also 14 percent of total harvest. There's a 29 percent difference between AAC and mid-term harvest level.

    Even in the Quesnel TSA, where 52 percent of the harvest was live and dead pine, there's a 61 percent difference between AAC and mid-term harvest level.

    To the extent that some of the HBS data was for live lodgepole pine, that would reduce the contribution of MPB salvage even lower.

    We both know it's not possible that fire salvage would somehow make up the difference.

    The story reflects your point that the MPB is the reason mid-term harvest level would decline in many Interior TSAs. But that's missing the main point. The need for that decline was known in 2005 and 15 years have gone by without addressing it. The mid-term harvest level will not come fully into effect for some years to come.

    As for your dismissal of the concerns of Martin Watts and Anthony Britneff, they have provided highly detailed analyses and if you disagree with some detail of their work, why not be specific about that so we can address it here?

    Thanks again for coming forward.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    Guest M. Watts and A. Britneff

    Posted

    7 hours ago, Guest Atmo Prasad said:

    There is some twisted interpretation of the information presented in this article.  The author is not an expert in timber supply analysis and neither are the two foresters he quoted extensively.  Of the more than 3000 foresters in this province, only about 25 of us can claim to be timber supply analysts.  I am now retired, but during the past 25 years I worked as a timber supply analyst, a senior analyst and as the manager for the analysis section of the Forest Analysis & Inventory Branch of the Ministry of Forests etc. I am very familiar with the 28 Interior TSAs mentioned in this article and I am  confident that the AAC set for each is sustainable. In timber supply analysis, our harvest flow policy is to find the highest sustainable harvest level and then increase the short-term harvest only if that does not lower the highest flat line found.  The higher short-term harvest level found in most Interior TSAs is usually composed of wood killed by the mountain pine beetle or by the recent fires.  The timber supply in these TSAs is expected to decline to the sustainable level after the salvage of dead timber is over.  Construing the current AAC which includes dead wood as unsustainable is just pain wrong.

    As land use decisions change, such as management for caribou habitat, or insects, disease and fires affect the amount of growing stock, the sustainable level of harvest will change.  This is why AACs are re-set periodically. 

     

    Thanks for your comments Atmo.  If readers care to read the very short bios of Watts and Britneff at the beginning of their submission to the Forest Inventory Program Review Panel, they can judge for themselves whether or not they are qualified to raise the issues about uncertainty made in David Broadland's story and in the two attached submissions. 

    We have identified uncertainties in:

    • the estimates of managed and natural stand yields, of future site productivity and of increased growth (genetic gain) due to select seed;
    • inadequate data being referred to as the "best available information"; and,
    • the exclusion of cumulative effects and climate change in the timber supply review (TSR) process.

    Additionally, we have suggested an appropriate statistical methodology to determine uncertainty thresholds for use in the TSR sensitivity analyses and have recommended the use of the precautionary approach to account for uncertainties that cannot be quantified. 

    Given that the uncertainties identified and inadequate data are not properly accounted for in the TSR and AAC determination processes, we do not understand your confidence in AACs being sustainable.  Based on your 25 years of experience, we invite you to share your thoughts on the uncertainties and data inadequacies we have identified and how timber supply analysts should adequately handle them in the TSR process. 

    We do not share your confidence in periodic AAC determinations accounting for land-use changes given that very few goals and objectives in land-use plans created in the early 1900s and mid-2000s were made legal and have yet to be considered in the TSR process. Also, the  "modernized land-use planning" that is to include climate change and cumulative effects and to implement UNDRIP is moving at a glacial pace. 

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    Guest Ray Travers

    Posted

     

    i welcome all remarks on the state of BC's public forests, a very important asset, located on 94 % of BC. 

    Before I comment on what I believe is needed to restore public confidence in  BC forestry, this is not the first time the effectiveness of  public forest policy and operations on timber has been audited. 

    On February 16, 2012 the BC  Auditor General  published “ An Audit of the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations' Management of Timber” 

    https://www.bcauditor.com/pubs/2012/report11/timber-management

    “ The objective of this audit was to determine whether the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations is achieving its forest objectives for timber.”

     This report recommended : 

    “WE RECOMMEND THAT THE MINISTRY OF FORESTS, LANDS AND NATURAL RESOURCE OPERATiONS:  

    1. develop a plan for directing forest stewardship that establishes clearly defined timber objectives and stewardship principles to guide decision-making, actions, time frames and assessment of results. 

    2. ensure that its investments in silviculture are sufficient to achieve long-term timber objectives, and that they align with stewardship principles and are cost-effective. 

    3 ensure that restocking activities result in the establishment of forests that are consistent with its long-term timber objectives.

    4.  ensure that its information systems reflect actual forest conditions in priority management areas. 

    5. ensure that the collective and individual components of its oversight framework are sufficient to ensure the achievement of long-term timber objectives. 

    6.  develop and implement appropriate performance measures to demonstrate progress towards achieving long-term timber objectives and report publicly on the results. 

    The report was discussed by the Legislative Assembly’s Select Standing Committee on Public Accounts on June 11, 2012.

    The first follow-up on the report’s recommendations is expected in April 2013.” 

    Please bring me up to date on the significance of the 2012 report by the BC Auditor General. From recent statements in Focus Magazine it would appear the problems identified by the BC Auditor General in 2012 continue. Comments?

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    Guest Herb Hammond

    Posted

    One of the most obvious flaws in the TSR and AAC processes is the failure to put ecology ahead of short-term political agendas and corporate economics.  The corporate short-term approaches work their way into assumptions used throughout the TSR and AAC processes. 

    It seems obvious that a sustainable AAC requires a sustainable forest.  Thus, in the absence of maintaining ecological integrity and biological diversity in forestry practices, in part through setting precautionary AACs, "sustainable" AACs are illusionary.  In reviewing TSR and AAC processes for nearly 40 years, I cannot remember a single one that was solidly rooted in maintaining ecological integrity and biological diversity.

    I am also troubled by Atmo Prasad’s emphasis on the need to log dead trees.  A forest with dead trees is still a forest.  This is another example of not incorporating ecology in TSR and AAC processes.  Forests are built on dead trees.  All one needs to do to see what happens with continued rotations of cropping trees without maintaining dead tree structures is to go to the forests of Europe.  I have had the privilege to work with German foresters who are working to rebuild ecological integrity in their forests, in part by providing for dead tree structures.

    Our society uses the word "sustainable" to the point that it has become sustaina-babble.  If AACs are alleged to be sustainable, then we need to be honest about their assumptions, their uncertainties, and their risks to natural ecological character and processes.  This starts with an honest, peer reviewed explanation of what a particular AAC and set of forestry practices will sustain and what it will not.  Water?  Biodiversity?  Soil nutrition?  Climate moderation? and the list goes on. 

    Given the points raised by Atmo Prasad, I think that Anthony Britneff and Martin Watts should feel honoured that Atmo does not count them among his cadre of 25 timber supply analysts.
     

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    Guest Michelle Connolly

    Posted

    This article deserves maximum distribution and publicity.

    It appears that the word “sustainable” means one thing to timber supply analysts and something else to people who live where industrial logging is happening. I would ask the retired timber supply analyst to please engage with the contents of the argument presented by the authors of the report and specifically address their concerns. As someone who lives in the central-interior, I would like to know how the uncertainties they identify were addressed in government analyses.

    The bar chart showing the Prince George TSA annual allowable cut towering above the rest of BC creates a knot in my stomach. It shows what this level of cut means in empirical terms. In the on-the-ground terms, it has meant the obliteration of old growth and wildlife habitat across the central-interior. The local ministry of forests office must be a joke within government for it’s level of capture by industrial logging interests.

    Britneff and Watt’s point that the chief forester picks and chooses when she applies the concept of uncertainty is sobering and sickening.

    I would like to confirm the author’s observation that industry is using natural disturbances like fire to demand more logging. I attended the Northern Conference for Wildfire Resilience last year in Burns Lake and heard much self-serving nonsense from forestry interests blaming Old Growth Management Areas for fire, and insisting that they must be logged in order to deal with the potential of fire. As long as those with limited respect natural ecosystems, no desire to read, and an obsession with using industrial logging as a solution to everything are in charge of “managing” public forests, we are going to see the problem of fires get worse. These people do not care about our communities or nature. It’s fascinating that the exact same thing is happening in Australia.

    I would like to suggest that industrial forestry interests view Old Growth Management Areas, Ungulate Winter Ranges and Wildlife Habitat Areas and other “constraints” on the land base as places they plan on accessing at some point. I think this might explain their general arrogance and confidence about how much wood is out there.

    Pat Bell is mentioned in this article, so I would like to point out that he is currently on the board of directors for Pinnacle Renewable Energy, a company that is currently grinding live, whole trees into pellets in the Bulkley Valley. Not “slash”, not “waste”. Not “sustainable”.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Seems to be a certain accuracy to the hoary old saying "Haste Makes Waste". So what exactly IS this haste to a wasteland? Why has Horgan dismissed so many promises regarding the "green" aspect of his campaign, essentially carrying on the BC Liberal's "rip 'n' strip agenda? Are the province's books in such dire shape that we must sell the very dirt beneath our feet? And what is the point if (as Mr. Broadland mentioned) the province cannot make a profit? And why are so many old growth trees being used for something as mundane as toilet paper?

    https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/gya893/americans-are-literally-flushing-canadas-forests-down-the-toilet

     

    Edited by Rick Weatherill
    a little better clarity

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    Guest (On behalf) Linda Williams

    Posted

    The AAC is always going to be sustainable as long as the only thing to be sustained is timber supply and our 25 experts in timber supply review keep adjusting the operable and contributing THLB; keep increasing utilization standards and redefining maturity; keep borrowing (sensitively) from future forest inventories and then postpone TSR altogether to avoid reset when it is technically inescapable. Support is provided by nearly 3000 RPFs dedicated to ensuring that land use decisions rarely change anything substantively and never impact timber supply calculations.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    Guest Eyes-in-Space

    Posted

    The chief forester's lack of monitoring of young managed forests is the Achilles heel of the timber supply review (TSR) and allowable annual cut (AAC) processes.    

    Forest health researchers working on the ground know a different reality for the health of many of these managed forests in the Interior than that assumed in TSRs and AAC determinations. 

    To you, the reader, I say, scroll through the satellite images of what is happening in BC's forests at the top of David Broadland's story because that is the indisputable reality and legacy of timber supply analyses -- a devastation of natural forests that makes the aftermath of Bomber Harris' wartime missions look mild. 

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    I cannot understand why so much relies on the assumption that we are all "honorable people" - and thus we put in exceptions to this and that which become noting more than loopholes.

    Shut the commercial forest biz down completely! It can resume after 100 years are so......

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    Guest Jennifer Houghton

    Posted

    On 2020-09-03 at 1:24 PM, Guest Atmo Prasad said:

    "... only about 25 of us can claim to be timber supply analysts...and I am  confident that the AAC set for each is sustainable." 

    What Mr. Atmo, et al (people who are part of the forest industrial complex), forget is that industry math, terminology, calculations, and jargon, such as "AAC", are a made up language created for the sole purpose of supporting corporate profits aka harvesting volumes.
     
    Whenever anybody starts arguing that its a good thing that only 25 people in the Province have the capability of intelligently critiquing AAC, it just strengthens the assertion that there is something very wrong with this system.  If citizens, most foresters, mathematicians, economists, accountants, brain surgeons, or scientists cannot make heads or tails of the reasoning behind forestry decisions, and if none of the decision-making is transparent or comprehensible, this is not a system that was put in place for the good of citizens.
     
    Mr. Atmo just made his own comment moot by his I'm-A-Senior-Analyst snobbery.
     
    He also made it very clear that Analysts have a twisted definition of the word sustainable that is only applicable to harvest volumes/corporate profiteering and not to any other definition of the word.
     

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    5 hours ago, Guest Jennifer Houghton said:

    Whenever anybody starts arguing that its a good thing that only 25 people in the Province have the capability of intelligently critiquing AAC, it just strengthens the assertion that there is something very wrong with this system.

    It's called  "The Big Con", short and bittersweet! Goes with the "hocus pocus" of courts and lawyers (shysters) and corporate shenanigans. It can all ne lumped under Duckspeak (than you Mr. Orwell!) And Mr. Almo - please rebut by all means! Tell me why any commercial logging should not outlawed (for want of a better word)

    Edited by Rick Weatherill

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    As a professional forester I am dismayed by how poorly we’ve managed our forests.  There are too many big aggregated cutblocks out there.  In Prince George Timber Supply Area where I’m from there are approx. 14 clearcut aggregations over 10,000ha and 2 over 50,000 ha.  They average much less than the minimum recommended internal retention.  How can big clearcuts protect biodiversity; protect water quality or ecological integrity?

    Using Forests Ministry data, we overlaid the Aerial Overview Forest Health surveys for spruce beetle with the cutblocks and found that 70% of the harvest was in less than 10% spruce beetle.  This was for the outbreak period of 2014-2019.

    Ministry of Forests FREP evaluations continue to show that we are not leaving enough on our small streams.  But we have not strengthened the legal protection to our smaller  streams.   

    The 2020 Old Growth report by Karen Price et al clearly shows the lack of old growth provincially in every ecological subzone and the ecological risk this over harvest presents.   

    Its really worrisome.  70% moose declines.  Fisher at the brink.  This is for a reason.

    My 40 year forestry career reminds me of the Lenard Cohen song: Halleluiah.  “I did my best, it wasn’t much.”  Makes me cry inside. 

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    Guest Waste smoke and mirrors

    Posted

    Each year across B.C. companies race to light up enormous piles of wasted fibre.

    In theory all AAC accounting has been checked and balanced prior to this annual fireworks display.
     

    In practice however this accounting has often been grossly underestimated. IE. way more merchantable fibre burned than reported for cut control.
     

    I make these above statement with a fair amount of anecdotal certainty based on 35.5 years of pensionable BC Forest Inventory, Valuation and Forest Revenue Service with the B.C. Ministry of Forests.

    Can’t quote much past formal research to back my claims but I do believe much work has been done but little (outside brief mention in TSA review docs) ever formally published.

    Below I’ll list the related potential sources that may back up these claims of underreporting waste AAC accounting leaks: (in order of magnitude)

    Large discrepancies between    Inventory/Cruise Vs cut comparisons.

    Lack of field checking and enforcement of waste surveys. Especially after the implementation of waste billing benchmarks and ocular survey methods in the 1980s ( that still exists today)

    Endemic Vs Catastrophic interpretations employed by companies and decision makers.

    Other operational merchantability standards used to decide what waste to measure and what to ignore- especially dead grade 3 and breakage.
     

    Recent studies that confirm these observations have resulted in comprehensive updated waste measurement standards. During the last 5 years of retirement I have been active as a contract waste mensuration expert. I’m confident that the new methodology could reduce or eliminate the historic AAC leakage providing the recent changes are fully implemented as planned and resources maintained to ensure the new theory is implemented as planned. Time will tell.

    These additional historic gaps in accurate waste reporting certainly do add to the uncertainty around available mature fibre for our province.
     

    No thanks to past management though I do hold out hope for economic stability in technological advances so immature fibre may become available for marketing.

    My hope in writing this response is that we can learn from our past mistakes and sustainably manage a healthy working forest for future generations! Hope these posts all get taken very seriously so BC stops ( once and for all) sending our kids future up into smoke each fall!

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    5 hours ago, Guest Waste smoke and mirrors said:

    I do hold out hope for economic stability in technological advances so immature fibre may become available for marketing.

    But why? "Fibre" is available from other sources, especially such products as hemp.  What is the reluctance to use this fast-growing plant for everything from toilet paper to biomass conversion?

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    13 hours ago, Guest Waste smoke and mirrors said:

    I make these above statement with a fair amount of anecdotal certainty based on 35.5 years of pensionable BC Forest Inventory, Valuation and Forest Revenue Service with the B.C. Ministry of Forests.

    Can’t quote much past formal research to back my claims but I do believe much work has been done but little (outside brief mention in TSA review docs) ever formally published.

    Thank you for your insight on this "Waste smoke and mirrors".

    The Province's inventory of annual GHG emissions estimates the carbon released by slash burning each year (3.3 megatonnes in 2018), but these estimates miss most of the wood that's left in clearcuts. I have seen estimates that 40 to 60 percent of a cutblock's biomass is left in the clearcut or wasted along the way to end use. That would suggest roughly an equal volume of wood as is harvested, a volume that we know accurately thanks to log scaling. When one does the arithmetic, that 40 to 60 percent waste will release about 40 megatonnes of carbon over time (either quickly in a pile or slash burn, a forest fire, or more slowly as it decomposes. So your insight that this waste is "grossly underestimated" rings true.

    I would like to pursue this with you, confidentially, if you are able. At the least, perhaps we could bring what research the ministry has done out into the light. Please email me at focuspublish@shaw.ca. Thanks again for coming forward.  

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites



    Guest
    Add a comment...

    ×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

      Only 75 emoji are allowed.

    ×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

    ×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

    ×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...