The time is right for a new model for managing BC’s forests

By Jim Stirling
The Logging & Sawmilling Journal
February 21, 2023
Category: Opinion / EdiTOADial
Region: Canada

Cast a look across the horizon of the recently minted year 2023 and it looks too much like 2022 to inspire much confidence. …The list of familiar issues for the forest industry includes sawlog availability, rising operating costs, continuing skilled labour shortages and the faltering lumber markets in Asia along with a characteristically belligerent market in the United States. …But this year can be different. The timing is right for B.C.’s NDP government to start talking frankly about its intentions to the provincial forest sector. …The present B.C. government has the same troubling tendencies of many of its predecessors. It tends to listen to whichever self interest group is attracting the public’s attention and—in the case of the forest industry—frame its land use decision-making accordingly.

The time is right for a new model for managing B.C.’s forests; one that reflects new thinking to complement the world’s new realities. For example, the provincial government, First Nations and the forest industry could work co-operatively to identify, designate and protect areas of provincial land as part of a working forest. …A working forest designation would provide a solid platform for industry re-organization to occur. It could also usher in a different approach to forest management… [it] could well prove a literal lifeline for many forest industry-reliant communities… [it] could also help sweep away some uncertainties surrounding investment in the B.C. …A working forest model could encourage more intensive management techniques to better suit the needs of a specific area. The B.C. government would benefit from the establishment of a working forest in ways beyond a better managed forest land base.

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