Pine beetle logging takes mostly pine, study says
VICTORIA – All additional harvesting allowed by the Ministry of Forests and Range to deal with the current mountain pine beetle infestation has been directed at pine, according to a Forest Practices Board report released today.
“The increase in the allowable annual cut to deal with the mountain pine beetle epidemic has raised concerns about whether non-pine species of trees were also being harvested,” said board chair Bruce Fraser. “We found that all of the new allowable harvest consists of pine, and that industry has not increased its harvest of other species.”
A board investigation into species composition of MPB harvest in B.C.’s Interior was prompted by a 36 per cent increase in the allowable annual cut. The increased harvest is helping to try to control the outbreak and salvage beetle-killed wood before it loses its value. Other species continue to be logged to make wood products for which pine is not suitable, or when clear-cutting mixed species stands.
The board found that industry is balancing the need to salvage value from dead pine with the need to maintain the commercial viability of existing mills. The board remains concerned, however, that the trend toward harvesting in mixed stands while avoiding pure (80 to 100 percent) pine stands could reduce the mid-term timber supply and limit reforestation, which could affect the long-term timber supply.
If uses for the dead pine – such as for bio-energy or for non-lumber wood products – turn out to be viable, more pure pine may well be harvested and those sites replanted for the future, reducing the long-term concern.
The Forest Practices Board is B.C.’s independent watchdog for sound forest and range practices, reporting its findings and recommendations directly to the public and government. The board:
- audits forest and range practices on public lands;
- audits appropriateness of government enforcement;
- investigates public complaints;
- undertakes special investigations of current forestry issues;
- participates in administrative appeals; and
- makes recommendations for improvement to practices and legislation.
Forest Practices Board
Phone: 250-356-1586 or 1-800-994-5899
November 30, 2007