2010-04-26

We Need More (not less) Wood Manufacturing in BC

Wood is our oil. Alberta and the northwest corner of British Columbia have vast reserves of petrochemicals that are currently being tapped. But in the Northern, Central and Southern Interior of BC, as well as Vancouver Island, we have our own version of these oil and gas reserves, and that is our vast forests of wood.

Like oil, wood is an organic substance with a complex molecular makeup, from which human beings, through their labour and ingenuity, have developed into a bewildering variety of products and uses. One of the greatest qualities of wood, and the reason why it has been used by all cultures going back hundreds of thousands, if not millions of years, is its tremendous versatility. Used extensively for shelter and tools, as well as transportation (canoes, boats, bridges, aircraft, etc.), wood has played a crucial role in the development of virtually all societies.

Another great quality of wood is its renewability, something which oil and gas lacks. Trees and forests are stubborn things. Not long after the ice age ended and the glaciers receded over British Columbia, pine, spruce, fir and other species re-colonized the devastated, barren landscape and established the forests of today. Even now, in the wake of the pine beetle, these forests have begun their regeneration. If environmentally sound policies are followed now in terms of silviculture and harvesting, there is no reason that the vast pine forests of the Interior will not return.