British Columbia announces initiatives to improve coast forest economy
To increase harvesting activity on the coast, the government of British Columbia is exploring the use of new scanner technology for scaling logs, accelerating the auction of an additional 500,000 cubic metres by BC Timber Sales, improving the log-export system and exploring ways to better harvest the timber profile.
Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson announced the initiatives today in his speech to the 70th annual general meeting of the Truck Loggers Association.
BC Timber Sales is accelerating the auction of 500,000 cubic metres of wood between now and June in order to address a shortage in short-term log supply. The new scanner technology uses lasers to determine the volume of a log and could be a more efficient way of scaling. The ministry is also exploring ways to ensure the entire timber profile available on the coast is harvested more consistently.
Log export policy revisions include a change to the fee structure for exporting some logs. Actual export fees charged will be based on the difference between the domestic and export price of logs. With a current average price difference between the domestic and export price, this represents a 20 per cent increase in fees charged for exporting logs from the coast. However, the revised fee does not apply to logs exported under existing Orders in Council. The new fee schedule comes into effect March 1, 2013.
A change in the fee schedule for logs exported under Order in Council from the Mid Coast timber supply area is also coming into effect immediately. The fee on low- and mid-grade logs will be reduced to a minimum of $1.00 per cubic metre for a two-year trial period. The high cost of logging and low value of timber in this remote area has resulted in lessened economic activity. The lower fee should increase harvesting activity in this remote area.
The higher price from exported logs allows forest companies to harvest stands that would otherwise be uneconomic and provide for increased harvesting and economic activity.
The log export review also improves transparency and predictability by clarifying that freight will be considered on any domestic offers for logs proposed for export. The cost of transporting logs from one of four commonly used locations to Vancouver will be a factor considered when addressing bids by domestic buyers.
Other administrative changes include improvements to the log export data system and clarifying policies for timber marking and scaling.
Read more: Steps taken to improve coastal forest economy (includes coastal log export fee schedule)
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