faller cutting a tree in the forestThe article Rally against log exports is planned for Nanaimo appeared in the September 22, 2011 online edition of the Nanaimo Daily News. The rally is scheduled for September 28, 2011.

According to the Nanaimo Daily News, hundreds of loggers, and other concerned citizens, opposed to log exports will gather at the Pulp, Paper and Woodworkers of Canada (PPWC), Local 8, union hall before marching through the streets of downtown Nanaimo, B.C.

While the PFLA commends the spirit of Mr. Bercov, and his associates, we’re quite frankly a bit baffled by their opposition to log exports.

Here’s why:

1. B.C. has a surplus of timber.

That’s right, a surplus of timber. Each year, millions of cubic metres of trees go unharvested. These are trees planted, grown and approved for harvest as part of the annual allowable cut (AAC). We’ve said it before, but we’ll say it again: there is no shortage of timber in B.C.

2. B.C.’s domestic market for logs has collapsed.

Sawmills on the B.C. coast don’t have the capacity to process the available timber. Present processing capacity is 15.5 million cubic metres; available timber is 24 million cubic metres (that’s a difference of 8.5 million cubic metres per year, or approximately double the log export volume).

3. B.C. mills buy logs at prices lower than log production costs. 

What it costs to plant, tend and harvest trees exceeds the log prices offered by struggling B.C. sawmills. Uncompetitive mills use the government’s surplus test policy to obtain logs at reduced domestic prices, often significantly less than their international competitors.

4. The log export business is keeping the coastal forest industry alive.

Isn’t this ironic? Without access to a better price for a portion of the harvested timber (the portion exported in the round to international markets) nobody could afford to harvest trees. If nobody goes to work in the woods there are no logs for domestic mills.

5. B.C.’s forest workers, families and communities count on getting the best price for timber. 

Relying on the domestic log market is not a viable option. The woods support thousands of rural jobs, but only when log prices are high enough to cover the costs associated with planting, tending, managing, and harvesting timber.

In light of what we consider to be pretty compelling information, we encourage Mr. Bercov, and his associates, to re-evaluate rallying against log exports. Forestry in B.C. is in a state of flux, now more than ever, it’s important to consider the facts, as they are.

What do you think? We look forward to your comments and suggestions.