Federal aid to profile beetle-hit communities at Olympics

The Canadian Conservative government announced Wednesday it is contributing $250,000 to raise the profile of communities hit by the mountain pine beetle epidemic at the next two Olympic games.

The money will be provided to the Union of B.C. Municipalities to ensure the communities will be showcased in the B.C. Stories and Explorer programs at the 2008 summer games in Beijing, and the 2010 winter games in Vancouver.


Quarter Million To Be Spent to Promote Beetle Hit Communities

Prince George -Peace River M.P. Jay Hill has announced the federal government will contribute $250,000 dollars towards the production of a film promoting 29 communities hit by the Mountain Pine Beetle.

The program is designed to raise the profile of these communities at the next two Olympic Games.

Keep harvest levels high, report says

The province needs to ensure harvest levels of beetle-killed timber stay high as long as possible, which would help generate more wealth and ensure forests are replanted sooner, says a report commissioned by B.C. business and forest sector interests.

A key to doing that is stretching out the shelf life of beetle-killed timber, says the report, a discussion paper of the B.C. Business Council and B.C.'s Council of Forest Industries. The council represents major forest companies like Canfor and West Fraser, as well as smaller players like Dunkley Lumber, Carrier Lumber, Lakeland Mills and Brink Forest Products.


Natural Resources Canada: Government of Canada Announces Further Investments to Control the Mountain Pine Beetle in Alberta

Members of Parliament Mr. Chris Warkentin (Peace River) and Mr. Rob Merrifield (Yellowhead) today announced $4 million in funding for the monitoring and spread control of the mountain pine beetle in Alberta. The announcement was made on behalf of the Honourable Gary Lunn, Minister of Natural Resources.

"Today's investment further demonstrates our Government's commitment to fighting the spread of the mountain pine beetle eastward into the boreal forest and across Canada," said Mr. Warkentin. "This funding will give the province of Alberta greater capacity to initiate targeted control actions in priority infestation areas."

Pine beetle theatens B.C. growth

The trillions of mountain pine beetles eating their way through British Columbia's forests could also gnaw away a significant chunk of the province's economy, according to a new report commissioned by the Business Council of B.C.

The current beetle epidemic is expected to kill 80% of the province's pine, leaving in its wake enormous tracts of wood that can't profitably be turned into lumber and a dramatically shrunken forest industry. Ultimately, the report found, that could lead to a 20%-to-40% reduction in the province's interior forest industry.

As a result, B.C.'s economic base could contract between 3.8% and 7.6%, enough that the report's author, Don Wright, former B.C. deputy minister of forests, said one of the country's rosiest economies could be at risk of a future recession.


B.C. looks to tree debris for electricity

Aiming to unlock the energy-generating potential of its iconic forests, British Columbia is weighing new policies that would encourage companies to buy debris left over from logging operations to use as fuel in power plants.

The policies, which have been discussed at meetings between government, industry and provincially owned B.C. Hydro in recent months, are part of an emerging bio-energy strategy that should be in place by mid-January, says provincial Forests Minister Rich Coleman.

A key part of that plan is tapping the power potential of wood left behind by logging operations – a pile that's only going to get bigger as the province's record pine beetle infestation runs its course. Over time, beetle-killed trees warp, dry and split, making them less valuable or useless as lumber.

Beetle's impact immense

The mountain pine beetle will shrink B.C.'s Interior forest industry by up to 40 per cent, a new study says.

The beetle infestation will cut traditional forest-sector activity by 20 to 40 per cent over the next five to 25 years, according to the paper by former deputy forests minister Don Wright.


Wood-waste power plant proposal signed

Cheslatta Forest Products and Pristine Power announced today they signed an agreement to build a proposed $40-million energy plant in northern B.C. that uses wood waste, and possibly beetle-killed timber.

Under the proposal, the power plant would use Vancouver-based Nexterra Energy's gasification technology, already in use at a Tolko plywood plant near Kamloops.


Line Up Being Set for Natural Resource Forum

The 6th annual BC Natural Resource Forum is set for the Jan 17 and 18, 2008 at the Prince George Civic Centre.

Speakers are being lined up for the two day session and include:

Chief Forester for the Province, Jim Snetzinger, who will talk about what can be done to mitigate the shortfall in medium timber supply because of the Mountain pine beetle epidemic.


Beetle epidemic threatens B.C. forest: native leader

One of Canada’s lone aboriginal voices at the Bali summit on climate change will carry a dire message: milder winters are threatening huge swaths of Canadian forest due to a pine beetle epidemic.

At risk are 103 First Nations in British Columbia who depend on forests and affected lakes or rivers, Dave Porter said in an interview as he prepared to deliver a speech at the gathering of more than 180 countries.


Five Communities Offered Joint Forest Agreement

The Province has offered the communities of Barriere, Chu Chua, Little Fort, Louis Creek and McLure a five-year probationary community forest agreement aimed, in part, at harvesting beetle wood in the area, Kamloops-North Thompson MLA Kevin Krueger announced today.

"This agreement speaks to the teamwork of the five communities that are working together with the Province to stimulate the area's economy and contribute to the management of beetle wood in the Lower North Thompson area," Krueger said.


Forest watchdog report raises concerns

Logging boosted by the province to tackle the mountain pine beetle epidemic has largely been directed at the infested pine trees, a B.C. Forests Practices Board report has found.

However, the report also drew some "disturbing" conclusions about the potential state of B.C.'s forests in 10 years.


Your next big thing: Growth market — Coping with climate change

Global warming is not only leaving a trail of destruction. It’s also clearing a path for quick-moving entrepreneurs, with diverse possibilities across the country.

Temperatures are rising fastest and furthest in the north, shortening the season during which mining companies can use ice roads to bring in supplies, says James Ford, a post-doctoral fellow in geography at McGill University in Montreal. These firms are hungry for technologies and services to keep the ice roads open longer, alternative ways to bring in supplies affordably and methods to reduce what they need to transport.

In B.C., the pine beetles that warmer winters have spared from killer cold snaps have put $43-billion worth of lumber at risk, and by 2013 are forecast to wipe out 80% of the province’s lodgepole pines. Ford says that lumber companies are building new sawmills to process beetle-infested wood before it becomes unsaleable. That creates an opening, for example, to provide on-site food and lodging services for a huge influx of loggers over the next few years. As well, new roads built to get the trees out have also opened up new districts to mining. This, in turn, could mean booming demand from miners as well as loggers for ancillary services such as parts delivery, heavy-equipment servicing and environmental-impact consultations.


Increased Allowable Cuts Not Hurting Other Species

All additional harvesting allowed by the Ministry of Forests and Range to deal with the current mountain pine beetle infestation has been directed at pine, according to a new Forest Practices Board report.

"The increase in the allowable annual cut to deal with the mountain pine beetle epidemic has raised concerns about whether non-pine species of trees were also being harvested," said board chair Bruce Fraser. "We found that all of the new allowable harvest consists of pine, and that industry has not increased its harvest of other species."

Help! Beetlemania rages in Yukon forests

It was raining lightly, as it had been for most of this cool, unsettled Yukon spring, as we flew down the Alsek Valley in Kluane National Park toward the Lowell Glacier, a magnificent river of ice that winds out of the St. Elias Mountain Range.

But no amount of moisture was going to green up the forest below. From one end of the valley to the other, virtually every tree was a ghostly grey.