Burning merchantable timber in B.C. still a problem

Using a conservative estimate, there were 3,500 jobs lost in a 12-month period when the logs left after logging were burned.

Using a conservative estimate, there were 3,500 jobs lost in a 12-month period when the logs left after logging were burned.

In the true spirit of recycling, I took this information from an article by Ben Pratt, Nov 29, 2006, in The Tyee.

Some highlights of the article are as follows: “B.C.’s Ministry of Forests has long maintained a database known as the harvest billing system.

“The database allows anyone to access information on the amount of trees being logged. By doing six simple searches of the database covering the most recent 12 months, The Tyee arrived at a province-wide figure for the amount of wood listed as ‘waste/residue.’

“According to Coleman’s ministry, such wood is ‘merchantable,’ meaning it could be used to make lumber or pulp.

“And according to the database, 3.5 million cubic meters of it, enough to fill the beds of 100,000 logging trucks, was left on the ground between Oct. 1, 2005, and Nov. 1, 2006.

“Using a conservative calculation of one job per 1,000 cubic meters of wood, that so-called ‘waste’ could conceivably have kept two of the largest sawmills in B.C. busy for a year and put 3,500 additional people to work in our forest industry.

“Instead, the wood was torched and forestry dependent communities lost untold opportunities to create jobs by making lumber and other products.”

Additional information was provided that indicated that the waste billing could be well below what is there.  It appears that the government and industry has reached a compromise in that the payments made to the government for the logs wasted was just under $7 million in one year.

If you take the time to read the article you will see a very disturbing photo of a huge cull pile (apparently one of the small ones.)

It happens to have been taken by our local photographer and artisan, Fred Knezevich.

The good news is (if there is any with this topic) this work supports the research I reported on previously in Forest Ink.

The bad news is, it has been eight years since this article was published and I fear little has been done to address the issue.

While my next article will give some actual examples of industries’ innovative use of wood waste, we will have to judge if the pressure for change must be continued.

Before finishing this column, I have a confession to make. In a previous article, it was stated the government had only achieved an apportionment of .98 per cent of the provinces Annual Allowable Cut (AAC) for community forests after 14 years of supporting the program and only .31per cent for woodlots over a longer period.

A reader suggested an alternate source of information with more up to date data on issued community forest agreements and woodlot licences.

The new data provided a more accurate estimate of 1.7 per cent for community forests and 2.1 per cent for woodlot licences.

Using the same information it is possible to arrive at an apportionment of 2.4 per cent for community forests if one includes an amount the government has set aside but not yet approved, and an alternate long-term provincial AAC and not the current uplifted AAC.

For the purposes of the point I was trying to make, and in my opinion, this may be a bit too generous on the government’s behalf, but I respect another viewpoint that suggested the higher percentage.

It is always humbling to admit a mistake or oversight but the most important thing is that the best information is used.

It is therefore important to acknowledge the quick response of the reader and the alternate information source that was provided.

I am still a little confused as to why the government maintains two sources of information that gives different answers.

The lesson learned, double check your sources.

Jim Hilton is a professional agrologist and forester who has lived and worked in the Cariboo Chilcotin for the past 40 years. Now retired, Hilton still volunteers his skills with local community forests organizations.

 

Just Posted

RCMP officers on scene Friday, May 14 off Bond Lake Road on the outskirts of Williams Lake. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Williams Lake RCMP investigating firearms incident near Bond Lake Road

Police officers were on scene Friday morning, May 14

An official naming ceremony for the Nekw7usem Bridge connecting the RC Cotton Trail to Scout Island will take place Monday, May 17 at noon. (Patrick Davies file photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
City, WLFN hosting naming ceremony for Nekw7usem Bridge in Williams Lake

The pedestrian bridge connects the RC Cotton Trail to Scout Island

Patricia Froberg (from left), Pat Mitchell and Dorothy Ouellette enjoy lunch prepared by members of the Old Age Pensioners Organization for St. Patrick’s Day Wednesday afternoon. Today, May 14, the Old Age Pensioners Organization Branch 93 and the Seniors Activity Centre are hosting an Old Fashioned Drive In lunch with car hop service at the SAC parking lot from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. (Greg Sabatino photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Old Fashioned Drive In Lunch on menu at seniors centre today, May 14

From 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., swing on by the SAC parking lot for an Old Fashioned Drive In lunch

Doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine are seen being prepared on Wednesday, May 12, 2021, in Decatur, Ga. Hundreds of children, ages 12 to 15, received the Pfizer vaccine at the DeKalb Pediatric Center, just days after it was approved for use within their age group. (AP Photo/Ron Harris)
One death, 60 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

The death is connected to the outbreak at Spring Valley long-term care in Kelowna

(File photo)
Firearms investigation on Winger Road the result of increased gang activity: RCMP

When police attempted to stop a vehicle, it sped away

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Bradley Priestap in an undated photo provided to the media some time in 2012 by the London Police Service.
Serial prowler acquitted of duct tape possession in B.C. provincial court

Ontario sex offender on long-term supervision order was found with one of many ‘rape kit’ items

Steven Shearer, <em>Untitled. </em>(Dennis Ha/Courtesy of Steven Shearer)
Vancouver photographer’s billboards taken down after complaints about being ‘disturbing’

‘Context is everything’ when it comes to understanding these images, says visual art professor Catherine Heard

Trina Hunt's remains were found in the Hope area on March 29. Her family is asking the public to think back to the weekend prior to when she went missing. (Photo courtesy of IHIT.)
Cousin of missing woman found in Hope says she won’t have closure until death is solved

Trina Hunt’s family urges Hope residents to check dashcam, photos to help find her killer

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Restrictions will lift once 75% of Canadians get 1 shot and 20% are fully immunized, feds say

Federal health officials are laying out their vision of what life could look like after most Canadians are vaccinated against COVID-19

Police are at Ecole Mount Prevost Elementary but the students have been evacuated. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Gardener finds buried explosives, sparking evacuation of Cowichan school

Students removed from school in an ‘abundance of caution’

A COVID-19 patient receives oxygen outside a hospital in Jammu, India, Wednesday, May 12, 2021. (AP/Channi Anand)
B.C. donates $500K to Red Cross COVID-19 relief efforts in India

The money will provide oxygen cylinders and ambulances for patients in communities grappling with the virus

Superintendent Aaron Paradis, community services officer with the Surrey RCMP, during a media availability about a recent drug bust in Port Coquitlam. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Police seize 13 million ‘potentially fatal doses’ of pure fentanyl at B.C. drug lab

The evidence was seized at large, illicit drug manufacturing site in Port Coquitlam

Most Read