Saturday, September 29, 2007

Forestry Aid urged in Quebec

We could be seeing a lot more of this in other provinces if lumber markets don't improve.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper's coming Throne Speech should include concrete measures to help Quebec's manufacturing industry, specifically the forestry sector, the leaders of the Bloc Québécois and the Quebec Federation of Labour said yesterday.

Emphasis should be placed on upgrading technology used by forestry companies and forming companies that create added-value products, Massé said.

Value added production would help, the problem is finding those who are willing to put in the great investment to start up facilities, and the guarantee of a steady wood supply to such facilities.

Global call for community Forestry

Participants attending an international
community forestry workshop organized by the Canadian Environmental Network
(RCEN) will be calling on global forest leaders to take action on community
forestry-a novel form of forest management and tenure which grants local
peoples rights over the management of local forest resources.

BC has been warming to the idea of community forests in the past few years, with ones established in places like Kaslo, Revelstoke and possibly Nakusp. There's definitely a place for community forests in the forest tenure system, although sometimes people within communities have a difference of opinion on how forests should be managed.

Full story:

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Low food sources for Bears

Drought impacts on berry crops, fires affecting habitat, human development, all are playing a role this year in a lack of food for bears prior to hibernation. The same situation in the US west applies to many areas in BC.

Pushed from their homelands by a drought and pulled by the scent of human food, black bears across western US states are breaking into homes and tearing up garbage cans in a desperate search for nourishment ahead of hibernation.

Salmon spawn baby trout

Just when you think you've seen it all. Japanese researchers have found a way to spawn baby trout from salmon. This could have applications for declining stocks of various fish species. Expect a lot of debate on the ethics of this science though.

Japanese researchers put a new spin on surrogate parenting as they engineered one fish species to produce another, in a quest to preserve endangered fish.

Link to story:

Monday, September 10, 2007

New city trees suffer from drought

It was a tough summer for the City of Toronto. The city's newly planted trees along roads and sidewalks were seen to suffer from lack of rain and watering. I imagine it was the same for trees planted in cutblocks in parts of Canada that had a long, hot summer, like the Southern Interior of BC.

See full story here:

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Will the forest workers return?

Campbell River news reports that some skilled forest workers may not be returning to their jobs after the strike.

This makes sense in a hot economy. If you set your workers free into the job marketplace these days, can you really expect all of them to return? Mills and the forests are full of skilled management, trades people, truck drivers, and strong workers. Most have skills that are transferable elsewhere, into jobs that may be more stable and pay a similar wage. Construction is booming for the Olympics. Mining and Oil will be strong into the forseeable future. Families have to eat and bills need to be paid. So when the strike is settled and the workers are called back, will there be enough of them to keep things runnings?

But while the union and forestry companies are willing to wait to see who blinks first, skilled forestry workers are not. They’re leaving the coast to find jobs in the Interior logging industry or in the oil and gas industry in northern B.C. and Alberta.

Changing role of Forest Industry in Port Alberni

Interesting article on Port Alberni describing changing times for forestry. The influence of the forest industry seems to be moving down while other areas are picking up. Is this reflective of other areas on the coast? Forestry will always play a part in the economy, but other influences are moving ahead in BC like never before, such as technology, tourism, retirement, and people's desire for a less hectic lifestyle.

Two years ago, Mayor Ken McRae believed that if only a company with deep pockets would invest in a new small-log sawmill, the town's forestry future could continue.

Today, he sees the rising economic clout of first nations, tourism and the provincewide construction boom as playing a larger role. The valley's relatively low housing prices have made it an attractive alternative to higher-priced real estate on the Island's East Coast. New construction is booming.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Fire season over in the Kootenays?

It looks like fire season may be over in the Kootenays, given a change to cooler weather. September is supposed to be clear and cooler, but dry, so we may have another few weeks before we are really in the clear. Lightning strikes over the weekend set off some hotspots in places, but nothing close to what the Sitkum, Argenta, and Pend D'Oreille fires were. Fire fighters can still be seen coming back to Nelson in the evenings, though most have now left the region.

I think we were lucky that things didn't get worse in summer 2007. The weather stayed so hot and dry, and we all see the increasing dead pine on the hillsides. Many pine you see now that are green may have beetle inside them, and will turn red next summer. On top of that, we were the worst area of the province for fires this year, and there are other parts of the interior with much larger expanses of dead pine than in the Kootenays. We might have gotten off lightly this year, but it may just be prolonging some real catastrophic fires waiting to happen.