Log exports still rising

The latest release from BC Stats demonstrates that log exports continue to rise. The volume (in cubic metres) shipped in January 2015, is 40% above the monthly average during Liberal years and is almost 600% higher than average monthly levels under NDP governments. The January 2015 quantity exported is 50% higher than January 2012 when first year Premier Clark promised to review the subject.

Using data from BC Stats and dollar value calculations of the Bank of Canada, I calculated unit values in current dollars of annual volumes exported. The average unit value in the last three years of NDP governments was $198. In the most recent three years, it was $118.

Raw logs might actually be worth far less today because of long term market conditions or because lower quality timber is being exported. A third possibility involves undetected cheating in the quantities, qualities and values reported. Government has insufficient boots on the ground to assemble accurate production information and exported logs may be sold and resold numerous times between forests and foreign sawmills. Maximizing public revenues from public resources is not high on the very short list of BC Liberal values.

I remember when log booms were not towed to ship loading docks; they were floated to mills and used for lumber, chips, pulpwood and hog fuel.

Click on the “LOG EXPORTS” label shown below for more discussion of the subject.

Categories: Forestry, Log Exports

6 replies »

  1. How many sawmills have closed in B.C. since this Lieberal government took over. Ship all the logs to other countrys so they can have manufacturing jobs. I would like to know what is going to happen to to this province when there are no jobs paying higher than minimum wage. Who is going to buy anything other than food. Wake up you liberal supporters before its to late. The banks can see this coming they reported it last week. Who will be able to build a new house Phil Hockstien when all they can afford is food and maybe a tent. Then because they are making minimum wage there will be less tax payed buy the few that are working. Then the 1% that are wealthy will have to start finally paying a fare share. I can see this coming and I only have a grade 9 education. Greed is the bottom line with these people, as long as there pokets are full who gives a rats ass what happens to the little people..


  2. I work in forestry. I know prime saw logs are loaded on ships because overseas buyers won't take lower quality wood. It is a shame but it keeps logging operations busy. My father and uncles made their living in sawmills but those jobs mostly gone now. Within long the remaining jobs will be gone too.


  3. The Forest Act mandates the “liquidation” of old-growth, and the regeneration of fast-growing “second-growth”; the evolution includes a “fall-down effect”— the sustained yield of subsequent harvests is substantially less than the initial OG volume from the same area. Jobs, public revenues, product mix are affected by this transition, but biometric and market givens shouldn't be confused with the BC Liberal's dys-management of forestry which is equal parts imposed ideological agenda and dubious accounting method, both interacting to obscure, rationalize and conceal the fact that these policies diminish the public interest in its own resource.

    Political authority potently obscures diminishment of public benefit from its own resource. Biometric inventory is complex, yet BC Liberal obscurantism is rather blunt: simply ignore keeping a proper forest inventory; the public isn't much inclined nor able to discern its veracity.

    Longterm Crown forest licence-holders cooperate with the government to shed capital-heavy processing by unionized workers, and to focus increasingly on logging and trucking by independent, non-union contractors for the raw-log-export market. Forest licensees have contributed generously to the BC Liberal party in return for the favourable policies permitting increases in raw-log export.

    The BC Liberals also take advantage of the mountain pine beetle outbreak which, obviously, did a real number on inventory, and gifted the neo-right agenda with a valuable opportunity to obscure and confuse losses due to the beetle with those due to BC Liberal policy. Most absurdly, neo-right shills have availed the chance to blame the NDP for the outbreak—absurd because management policies contributing to it predate any NDP government. Nevertheless, the beetle-kill conveniently absolves forest companies from harvesting what they didn't much want anyway. The government has tried to use the supposed “loss” of this low-valued species to rationalize “compensating” loggers with higher-valued species in parks and other protected areas. It's blamed the beetle for everything from mill closers, to mill fires, to toxic but unconfessed aspects of neo-right public policy. This fact remains: the beetles ate themselves out business, the outbreak is over and the killed timber has degraded to useless. Yet the species nobody wanted forms a substantial part of BC Liberal bullshit when it comes to forest policy.

    The BC Liberals have taken advantage of notions fostered originally environmentalists that coastal rainforests need urgent protection from immanent eradication by clearcut harvesting which obscures both the facts that vast tracts of coastal bush remain for both sustainable harvest and preservation, and that the high value of the OG makes it a prime candidate for value-adding processing here in BC, compared to second-growth which offers less in this regard, and has little competitive advantage over second-growth from other jurisdictions. OG forest are far from being liquidated yet, but BC Liberal forest policies of raw-log export, which includes both OG and second-growth, do nothing to compel local value-adding of our most competitively advantaged timber type, and, further, erode stock in protected areas, aided and abetted by neglected inventory and pine-beetle mythologizing.

    The BC Liberals can make forestry matters as inaccessibly complicated as they want—and it serves their neo-right agenda well. The better policy, however, is simple: raw-log export needs to be reduced, ideally to zero. The only real way to do this is to get rid of the BC Liberal government. Until then, Norm does a sterling job in regularly reminding us of some of the fundamental facts about raw-log export that, properly analyzed, demand Crown forest resources be returned to benefit to its owners and not skewed unfairly and imprudently toward profiteering.

    Thank you once again, Norm. We'll get there yet.


  4. BC Liberals are NOT exporting “raw logs”.

    Log exports, which are legally referred to as Unmanufactured Timber|, play a key role in B.C.'s coastal forest economy.

    Log exports support jobs in logging and transportation sectors. Exporting residuals enables balancing sawmill outputs of chips and sawdust with the intake of domestic pulp mills.

    The Forest Act, Part 10 requires that Crown and private timber harvested in the province, and residuals from the timber, are used or manufactured in the province into products, as defined in the Manufactured Forest Products Regulation.

    Getting permission to export timber/logs is a two-or-three step process. The third step is necessary when you are transporting the timber/logs internationally.

    Obtaining an exemption from the requirement to use or manufacture timber harvested in B.C. is the first step in the process. Once an exemption is granted, the next step is to apply for a provincial permit allowing removal of the timber/logs out of the province. Finally, if the logs are also to leave the country, the owner/agent must apply for a federal export permit.


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