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David Broadland

David Broadland
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Focus Magazine Nov/Dec 2016

Sept/Oct 2016.2

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Navigating through pandemonium

Informed Comment








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Story Comments posted by David Broadland

  1. 1 hour ago, Guest Paul D said:

    I've been posting this report around and received a response that included a link to a September 2017 report titled British Columbia’s Forest Industry and the B.C. Economy in 2016. I'm wondering if you have any comments about it? My first take is that it is industry propaganda.

    Thanks for your comment Paul. There's a 2019 summary of the industry point of view. Google "British Columbia's Forest Industry and the Regional Economies."

    COFI is a small company of people employed by BC's logging industry to shape the public's understanding of the industry. What it reports conveys what the logging companies want the public to think about the industry. Accuracy has never played an important role in the industry's portrayal of itself.

    The industry is in decline but COFI has managed to obscure that through reports such as the one you link to. And its propagandizing works, with help from the forests ministry. A prominent Vancouver Sun political columnist recently asked a question at a press briefing attended by forests ministry communications officers. This columnist noted that giving back 10 percent of the volume of BC tenures to First Nation would mean "7.5 million cubic metres...." What the columnist apparently didn't realize is that 10 percent of the cut in 2020 would have amounted to 4.9 million cubic metres. That is, thanks to the industry's blather about itself, this columnist had no idea of the current harvest. None of the ministry staff at the briefing spoke up to correct the columnist's misinformation.



  2. 41 minutes ago, Guest Jennie Lee said:
    Your article is missing much data and info. Here I found more for you. Maybe just maybe we can find some real journalists who will actually look at all sides of an issue and not just spew thier own biases everywhere. The Ministry’s operating budget for 2019/20 was $822.796M. Through the course of the year, the Ministry obtained access to additional authorizations totalling $135.42M.
    The breakdown of contingencies and other authorizations are as follows:
    Ministry Operations:
    • $20.159M for the Big Bar Landslide Incident Response and Barrier Removal Project
    • $13.161M for Community Grants
    • $7.737M for compensation relating to Great Bear Rainforest
    • $5.534M for operating and amortization costs of the Natural Resource Permitting Project
    • $3.739M in costs associated with softwood lumber trade dispute
    • $2.500M for Coastal Logging Equipment Support Trust
    • $1.127M to support Sechelt First Nation Foundation Agreement
    • $0.850M for Blueberry First Nation Litigation Mitigation
    • $0.837M of Grizzly Bear Hunt Transitional Funding
    • ($6.357M) of the Ministry’s appropriation related to the Information, Innovation and Technology division was transferred to the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy
    ($1.051M) of the Ministry’s appropriation related to functions associated with recovery from wildfire and other provincial disasters was transferred to the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General.
    Fire Management:
    • $81.381M for fire suppression activities
    BC Timber Sales:
    • $5.840M increase to the Special Account authorization

    Hi Jennie,

    Thanks for your comment. You are unusual in that you are one of the few commenters on this story over the last year who actually tried to bring some hard numbers to the table. I appreciate that.

    You are commenting on a story that is 11.5 months old. I have written a follow-up article which will revisit some of the numbers published in this piece. We will publish it soon.

    For the follow-up, I filed a couple of FOIs with the ministry to establish its forest-related revenues and expenses over the 10-year period covered above. Those cover operational budgets, but they do not include all of the forest-related expenses incurred by the ministry. There is nothing in the above story that says the numbers reflect operational budgets. But thanks for your numbers anyway.

    The largest difference between the numbers I show above and those obtained by FOI are for 2019. However, if all ministry expenditures are included, there was still a $155,733,000 gap between forest-related revenue and forest-related expenditures.

    For other years, some years had a larger gap than is shown in the graph above, and some were slightly smaller. Instead of losing, on average, $1 million a day, the ministry only lost $954,000 a day. Every day. For 10 years.

    There are other very large costs to British Columbians that weren't covered in the story above. My update will include those. You won't like those numbers, either.

  3. 4 hours ago, Guest Greg said:

    I wish the article included more detailed information on the government expenses . I would like to quote from the article but would need to back up my claims with descriptions of the actual expenses. 

    We looked at 10 years of expenses from the ministry's Annual Service Plan Report for each fiscal reporting period: 2009-2010 through to 2018-2019. You can find 8 of those here. If you want the other two, email me at focuspublish@shaw.ca.

  4. 58 minutes ago, Guest Point to Clarify said:

    Hi David,
    I just read your article and while I have not checked all of the information, there is one point that stands out to me that should be clarified.

    The average value difference between BCTS auctions (37.33 $/m3) and area based tenures (13.32 $/m3) that you have posted is an apples and oranges comparison.  When BCTS puts up an auction they cover the cost of field and office work, road development up to the cutblocks, and reforestation.  In other words the successful bidder does not pay for these things.  However, under area based tenures the licensee has these obligations as the tenure holder and must incur the cost for these activities (unlike a bidder for a BCTS sale who does not).  Therefore, a cost allowance is deducted from stumpage for area based tenures, which is why there is the difference.

    Hope that helps.

    Yes, this is helpful. I am trying to determine how much of the difference can be accounted for by the additional costs that area-based tenures have. If you have professional experience on this question and can provide relevant information, please contact me at focuspublish@shaw.ca.

  5. 1 hour ago, Guest TalkingTrees said:

    You are almost arguing for a cost-recovery model. Would we make the same argument regarding education or health care? If what you are saying is that the management of BC's public land base (much of which is forested,) should be profitable, it is a thin line to privitization. I believe that the ministry also deals with wildlife conservation, a variety of natural disaster preparedness measures, research, etc. It's true....this isn't 1974, and we are not a one industry Province anymore.

    Moreover, on the benefits side, what about income tax generation, economic multipliers, revreation sites, the importance of exports to a regional economy, and public access to the backcountry?

    Thank you for your reply.

    No, I am not arguing that government management of BC forests should be profitable. I am suggesting that claims that forestry "pays the bills" in this province are no longer valid. I am arguing, along with a lot of other voices in BC, that it is time to consider managing the forest in the Timber Harvesting Land Base for a broader spectrum of values than, in effect, just timber. In this era of governments declaring a climate emergency and acknowledging an ongoing collapse in biodiversity, it's long past time to acknowledge that the forest industry is doing harm, harm that can no longer be justified in terms of the dollars the industry generates in our economy.

    As for including other benefits in a cost-benefit analysis of the ministry's operations, I think we need to start with the assumption that employment in small communities is one of the values that government would protect as it adjusted the allowable cut downwards. The logging industry wouldn't disappear, it would be downsized, and employment shifted to other needs that would likely be forest-dependent, just not forest-destruction dependent.

    No matter what people are working at, they pay income and sales taxes, and claims can be made that any economic sector, including education and healthcare, have "economic multipliers." There's already a vast surplus of access to the backcountry; a reduction in the cut would not change that. 


  6. 1 hour ago, Guest TalkingTrees said:

    Beyond fire control costs, the Ministry cost can't be equated solely to logging. That Ministry deals with a whole host of issues related to public land. In fact, you didn't even get the current name of the ministry correct. Interesting point, but go back to the drawing board as your economics are weak. 

    Thank you for your comments.

    Regarding my use of "Ministry of Forests," see the logo in the upper right corner of the Ministry of Forests Harvest Billing System front page: https://a100.gov.bc.ca/pub/hbs/opq/ftas/invoiceSummary.do?actionType=P400&radSelectedReport=billing

    The full name of the ministry changed at least two times in the time period of my analysis. Rather than twist readers' brains with the acronym for whatever the Ministry of Forests is named today, I, like the Ministry of Forests, used "Ministry of Forests."

    It is true that a small part of the super ministry's costs are unrelated to forest management. Most of those operations also have revenues, and those revenues, from the "whole host of issues related to public land," such as non-forestry Crown land leases and rentals, and water licences, are not included in my account of the Ministry of Forests' revenues. It would greatly assist public accountability of the Ministry of Forests' (or FLNRORD if you like) operations if non-forestry-related costs were broken out in its Annual Service Report.

    Keep in mind, too, that some serious costs directly related to forest management are not included in the Ministry of Forests annual service reports. One example are the costs associated with damage from flooding and degradation of water quality resulting from clearcut logging in community watersheds. Another example is the future cost associated with restocking Not Satisfactorily Restocked lands. Another cost is the loss of carbon sequestration. And so on. None of these costs are included in the Ministry of Forests annual service reports.

  7. 7 hours ago, Guest Taryn Skalbania said:

    That is a $1 million loss per day. Staggering, no one in BC should be in support of that? And this number doesn’t even take into account many of the forestry related costs of flood repairs, wildfire fighting, water treatment plants wildlife restoration, tourism loss,misign salmon, all attributed to poor or unmonitored  forestry land management practices.

    Ministry of Forests Annual Service Reports include the category of cost "Fire Management" and those costs have been included in my analysis. Keep in mind that a high priority in fire management is protection of commercial timber. The other sources of cost that you mention are attributable to logging operations, and any serious effort by the Province to revamp our relationship with forests should include an accounting of those costs. We might also want a better understanding of how much of the cost of the Ministry of Environment's operations is a consequence of forest industry operations.

  8. 17 hours ago, Guest thomascheney said:

    "Below is a satellite image of a slice of BC northwest of Prince George. This could be anywhere in BC that isn't at the top of mountains or in the far north. Is this what you mean by "state of the art non damage logging"?

    Since 2000, according to BC's Ministry of Environment, BC forests have lost the ability to sequester carbon by just over 100 megatonnes per year. Year after year into the future, that loss will result in untold damage to Earth ecosystems."

    The image from the Prince George area is mainly indicative of the Mountain Pine Beetle, which also caused a huge carbon release as well. This report from the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions gives a good overview of the options. https://pics.uvic.ca/sites/default/files/Primer_Workshop%20on%20forest%20carbon%20management%20in%20BC.pdf

    The area shown in that satellite image is west of Summit Lake and East of  Great Beaver Lake. The Ministry of Forests' map of Mountain Pine Beetle infestation (https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/farming-natural-resources-and-industry/forestry/forest-health/mountain-pine-beetle/bcmpbv132015kill.pdf) shows this area to be relatively free of beetle-killed forest.

    It doesn't matter where you look in BC. From space the truth is hard to hide. Below is a typical image of Vancouver Island north of Campbell River. There is no Mountain Pine Beetle infestation here. Just clearcut logging. Any part of BC that is in the Timber Harvesting Area has a more-or-less over-exploited appearance like the image between Summit Lake and Great Beaver Lake. 


  9. 10 hours ago, Guest thomascheney said:

    I am a bit puzzled by the analysis as it only looks at the logging of 1 forest but not the landscape. It is true that converting old growth to plantations or managed stands causes a loss in carbon storage and that in a Douglas Fir forests 160 years is needed.. However, the use of wood prevents the use of more carbon intensive materials (plus a small amount of carbon storage). Chen 2018 notes that over 8.5 tonnes of carbon are prevented per tonne of carbon stored in the wood. Other analysis have found that managed forests overall lead to lower long-term emissions than conservation (based on Swedish conditions).  I think extended rotations and encouraging production of mass timber products would be a good option to store carbon.

    The Ministry of Forests' own research shows the limitations of carbon storage in finished wood products (see its graph below).

    Very little of the wood from any BC clearcut is going to end up in mass-timber construction, which has little record of use. The promise of mass-timber is now being used in BC, primarily, to greenwash the forest industry. 

    Most of the finished wood products manufactured in BC are exported out of the province. There's no evidence that if BC significantly reduced its export of wood product that this would result in an increase in the use of building products with greater carbon intensity in the countries currently receiving those exports. It's more likely that the required wood products would be sourced from some other country. There are many places on the planet that can grow a cubic metre of wood faster than BC's forests can.

    Nearly 10 percent of the volume of logs cut from BC forests each year are exported as raw logs. The Ministry of Forests is aware that raw logs exported to China are expected to have very short lifespans.


  10. 2 hours ago, Guest Mike said:

    We also have lots of uneven aged stand variable retention in bc that does no harm to the habitat characteristics. We do not need to go anywhere to see state of the art non damage logging been done in bc for 20 years. With no clearcutting.  

    We have the world's leading experts in delivering a undamaged ecosystem  when logging why would we go somewhere else?

    Ministry of Forests statistics on the extent of use of different silvicultural system can be found here: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/forestry/managing-our-forest-resources/silviculture/silviculture-statistics

    According to the ministry's stats, in the last two years (2016-17, 2017-18) the combined extent of retention logging and selection logging accounted for about 4 percent of total area cut in BC in those years. "Lots" might apply if that were, say, 80 to 90 percent of the area cut.

    Below is a satellite image of a slice of BC northwest of Prince George. This could be anywhere in BC that isn't at the top of mountains or in the far north. Is this what you mean by "state of the art non damage logging"?

    Since 2000, according to BC's Ministry of Environment, BC forests have lost the ability to sequester carbon by just over 100 megatonnes per year. Year after year into the future, that loss will result in untold damage to Earth ecosystems.




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