Beetle to ignite market shift

A beetle infestation in British Columbia's forests is expected to plunge timber harvests in that province by 30 per cent in the next decade, igniting a market shift that will send lumber prices soaring, analysts say.

Lumber production in the most western province is expected to begin slowing down in 2015, according to the Vancouver-based consulting and publishing firm International Wood Products Group Inc.

Supply shortages could ultimately bring 16 major sawmill operations to a grinding halt by 2018 - with more to follow, the group predicts.