Thursday, December 31, 2009

2010 Forest Capital of BC - Mount Waddington

This was a news release from the BC government about a month ago, naming Mount Waddington the Forest Capital of BC for 2010.

Congratulations to Mount Waddington!


VICTORIA – Forests and Range Minister Pat Bell congratulated the Regional District of Mount Waddington for being designated the 2010 Forest Capital of B.C.

“Our forests play an important role in B.C.’s economy, culture, and history,” said Bell. “This designation provides an exciting opportunity for residents to celebrate the significant contributions forests make to the Mount Waddington community and the province as a whole.”

The Association of BC Forest Professionals administers the Forest Capital program, established in 1988, and selects one community to be the Forest Capital of B.C. for an entire year. This is the first time in 14 years a Vancouver Island community was chosen as B.C.’s forest capital.

The 2010 Forest Capital of B.C. Organizing Committee is made up of representatives of Mount Waddington’s forest industry, forestry consultants, Ministry of Forests and Range staff and municipal government leaders.

“It’s amazing how much community support and pride was demonstrated in the Organizing Committee’s proposal to the Forest Capital program,” said Bell. “Congratulations to you all.”

The Regional District of Mount Waddington (RDMW) will host a variety of forest-themed events such as parades, art shows, interpretive trail walks and a film festival. Also watch for a weekly forestry article in the North Island Gazette.

The RDMW encompasses the northern third of Vancouver Island – from Woss to Port Hardy – and a large area of the adjacent mainland with a population of approximately 12,000 people. The RDMW is one of the most important timber producing areas in Canada, as well as home to one of the few specialty cellulose mills in North America.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Shanghai Surprise - Code Approval Favors Canadian Lumber


SHANGHAI – Shanghai’s approval of a new wood-frame building code is a major step forward in the growing demand for Canadian wood products in China, the Honourable Lisa Raitt, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, and British Columbia’s Forests and Range Minister Pat Bell announced today.

“The Shanghai Local Code is the first comprehensive set of guidelines for wood-frame construction ever published in China,” said Minister Raitt. “This is a big step forward in achieving our goal of opening new markets for Canadian forest products. We are confident that the Shanghai Local Code provides a framework that will be easily adaptable to other cities and provinces across China.”

“Shanghai – a city with about four times British Columbia’s population – is now a wider, more open market for Canadian and B.C. lumber,” said Bell. “Modern wood-frame construction can now be used to meet Chinese building needs, something that previously wasn’t easily done due to complex and dated building and fire codes.”

The Shanghai Local Code is the most comprehensive and detailed code for wood-frame structures in China, addressing all technical issues related to wood-frame construction, including structural, fire, durability, energy conservation, noise transmission and construction inspection.

Canada Wood Group (an industry marketing agency supported by the federal and B.C. governments), FPInnovations (a Canadian forest products research organization) and their Shanghai counterparts began work on updating the code in 2006.

Bell made his comments while attending the official launch of the code, which took effect Sept. 1, 2009. The event was attended by more than 300 guests, including engineers, architects and building officials who worked on the code changes.

Shanghai is one of the most important markets in China for Canadian wood products. It is home to the Dream Home Canada demonstration site that showcases wood-frame design and offices for Canada Wood Group and Forestry Innovation Investment staff promoting the province’s wood products and building solutions.

Canada is the second-largest supplier to China of softwood lumber after Russia, with about 98 percent of this lumber sourced from British Columbia.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

BC funds marketing wood products in China

Highlights from an early October BC government news release:



VICTORIA – Building on another record year for lumber sales into China, Forestry Innovation Investment (FII) has increased funding for China marketing by 17 per cent and sharpened the focus of its joint market development strategy with industry and the federal government, Forests and Range Minister Pat Bell announced today.

“We want to take advantage of the excellent reputation we’ve established in China as a world leader in wood products and building technology,” said Bell. “This increased funding allows us to pursue some tremendous near-term commercial opportunities – like roof trusses, infill walls and partition walls – as we continue to develop longer-term prospects like multi-storey wood frame construction. This more comprehensive marketing strategy will help us stay out in front of the competition.”

B.C. softwood lumber exports to China in 2009 have already hit an all-time annual high, 860 million board feet to the end of July, with five more months still to go in the sales year. Lumber exports to China have surpassed those to Japan for the first time ever, making China the number one off-shore market for B.C. in terms of volume.

To add to the momentum of the record-breaking sales, total funding through FII has been increased to $5.06 million in 2009-10, up 17 per cent or $726,000 over the previous year (2008-09). Combined with funding from industry and the Government of Canada, more than $13 million is being directed to China marketing activities in 2009-10, up from $8.6 million in 2008-09.

“The work in China is a great example of federal, provincial and industry collaboration,” said Bell. “By working together – Canadian forest companies, the Government of Canada, and the Province of British Columbia – we’re moving faster and making more inroads than we’d ever be able to accomplish separately. Funding from all parties has increased more than 50 per cent over the previous year.”

Natural Resources Canada, FII and industry recently updated their market development strategy for China. The revised strategy enhances the promotion of wood-truss roof systems and seeks to increase the demonstration of wood use for interior partition walls and exterior in-fill walls in concrete structures. British Columbia aims to take recent commercial roofing breakthroughs in Shanghai and transfer that success to other parts of the country such as the Beijing-Tianjin Corridor in northern China and the Sichuan Province in west-central China.

The strategy also calls for training and technology transfer programs with a wider scope, more interaction with mid-size and larger developers and designers, and an expanded government relations presence.

Working collaboratively with Canada Wood Group, FII expects to complete construction on a number of wood frame community infrastructure demonstration projects. FII also anticipates substantial support for the demonstration of wood frame housing in farming villages.

For more information about Forestry Innovation Investment marketing activities in China, visit


Sunday, May 31, 2009

100 Mile House wildfire

It's not even June, and BC is already experiencing the effects of wildfire, some natural but most seem to be human caused so far this year.

The latest wildfire in the news is in 100 Mile House and started Friday (two days ago). Today's article suggests the fire may have been caused by arson or carelessness.

Over the weekend the 100 Mile House wildfire destroyed two homes, evacuated dozens of people and damaged more than 150 hectares in the Buffalo Creek area.

About 80 firefighters were on hand to contain the fire.

As of today, the wildfire is reported to be under control.

If the warm weather continues I'd expect to see more wildfire in the province, especially in areas with dead pine stands from mountain pine beetle.

Link to full article:


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Wildfire season has started in BC and Ontario

Forest fire season has started in BC despite the wet weather this week.

Ontario also has around 20 wildfires going, down from the numbers at this time last year but still a concern.

60 homes are still at risk from the 70 Mile House wildfire in BC.

Five homes and one business were destroyed last Saturday in the Cariboo community, about 70 kilometres north of Cache Creek.

Thirty firefighters attacking the fire were reinforced by another 10 yesterday. The crew also have four helicopters and three bulldozers at their disposal.

There have been no injuries.

The fire was likely started by human activity, but the exact cause is still being investigated.

Summer 2009 could be a bad period for wildfires due to all the dry, beetle killed pine covering vast areas.

Full story here:


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Terror of the Forest found in Alberta

I'm glad we don't have to contend with this creature in the woods today!

Alberta paleontologists are hailing a newly found pint-sized predator that is considered to be the smallest meat-eating dinosaur ever discovered in North America.

But don't let the diminutive stature of Hesperonychus fool you. This miniature version of the two-legged velociraptor was a tiny terror in the forests and swamps of southern Alberta around 75 million years ago.

Full story here:


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Beaver is back in Detroit

I enjoy reading news about wildlife making inroads into areas where they haven't been seen in years, or decades. Here is a story I heard on the CBC radio today about a beaver returning to the Detroit area.

Wildlife officials are celebrating the sighting of a beaver in the Detroit River for the first time in decades, signaling that efforts to clean up the waterway are paying off.

The Detroit Free Press reports that a beaver lodge has been discovered in an intake canal at a Detroit Edison riverfront plant. Officials believe the beaver spotted by the utility's motion-sensitive camera marks the animal's return to the river for the first time in at least 75 years.

Beaver trapping in the late 1700s was instrumental in the founding of Detroit, but the animals were soon wiped out.

Full story here:


Friday, February 13, 2009

BC wood products to China and Mongolia

BC continues efforts to develop markets for wood products in China.


The Shanghai government has formally approved a B.C. designed roofing system as part of a plan to renovate 10,000 city apartment buildings in the lead-up to the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai, Forests and Range Minister Pat Bell, and Ida Chong, Minister of Small Business, Technology and Economic Development, announced today.

“Shanghai officials have recognized that building with wood is cost-effective, energy-efficient, and good for the environment,” Bell said. “With this approval, B.C. wood producers now have access to a market for as many as 10,000 new roofs over the next two years.”

The approval applies to a wood truss roofing system designed by Chinese officials in collaboration with B.C. Forestry Innovation Investment, the Province’s international marketing agency for B.C. forest products, provided engineering assistance, access to B.C. lumber, and demonstration sites donated by B.C.

China represents the greatest growth opportunity for B.C. forest products of any market around the world,” said Chong, who is Minister responsible for the Province’s Asia-Pacific Initiative. “And with government and industry working together, we’re quickly establishing B.C. as the leading supplier of high-quality lumber and wood products.”

In the first nine months of 2008, exports of B.C. wood products to China were more than for all of 2007 and were valued at more than $166 million.

For the past five years, the Province and forest sector, along with the federal Canada Wood Export Program, have targeted China as a major growth market for forest products. The renovation market, in particular, has been identified as having high growth potential due to a deteriorating infrastructure of apartment buildings and medium-rise housing.


A major contract for a Cowichan Valley business to supply homes to Mongolia shows that B.C.’s efforts to sell more wood products around the world are working, Forests and Range Minister Pat Bell announced today.

In the $4-million project, the Pacific Homes division of Pacific Building Systems is supplying 48 townhomes for a new development in the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar. All major structural components – including floors, walls and ceilings – of the homes will be built in Cobble Hill, and then shipped via containers to Mongolia where they will be assembled.

“We’re building everything from the foundation up using B.C. wood, finishings and other building products,” said Ray Greene of Pacific Homes.

Through Forestry Innovation Investment (FII), the Province has been working with the Mongolian government for the past 18 months to adapt its building code to Canadian standards and build capacity for a wood-frame housing sector. This included building two demonstration homes in Ulaanbaatar, and funding the British Columbia Institute of Technology to provide training and technical support to Mongolian officials and developers.

Pacific Building Systems sells prefabricated buildings to clients locally and around the world, including the United States, Korea, Iceland and Israel.

Several major mining projects by Canadian companies are underway in Mongolia and expected to create more demand for new housing as well as public infrastructure, including hospitals, schools and other facilities.

Several wood-frame public buildings are being built as part of the Wenchuan earthquake reconstruction program funded with $8 million contributed by Canada and British Columbia.

Through the earthquake project, Chinese officials in the central part of the country are learning more about the benefits of wood-frame construction and Canadian advanced wood technology.


Tembec cost cutting continues

Downsizing of the forest industry continues in early 2009 with more cutbacks and mill shutdowns.

Tembec cuts 100 more jobs, slashes spending in cost-reduction plan

Forestry firm Tembec is cutting 100 more jobs and clamping down on spending under a sweeping cost-reduction plan.

Tembec says it has frozen all salaries for 2009, will reduce travel expenses and is reviewing its participation in associations and research institutes.

The company has already announced plans to lay off nearly half of its workforce as it shuts mills in British Columbia, Manitoba and Ontario.

Tembec says it is dealing with "extraordinary" times in the pulp and paper industry, which has been bogged down by depressed markets for lumber, pulp and newsprint amid the widespread economic slowdown.

About 3,400 of the company's 7,000 workers have been idled in earlier plant closures and workforce cuts.