2010-08-26

Beetle Fires , The Story Of Dropped Balls

Back more than a decade ago, loggers, foresters, and to a larger extent the general public, were calling on the government of the day to harvest the beetle killed wood. The argument was that the beetles could be controlled by a massive cut to prevent their spread.

The Tweedsmuir Park, government said, is sacred, we cannot go in and log the area to stop the spread of the beetles, and nature will have to take its course. The rest is history.

The beetles do and did not recognize a man made line which distinguished the park boundary from the rest of the province and they set about chewing up the majority of the pine in that region.

2010-08-23

B.C. wood pellets a green hit in Europe – but not Alberta

Every day, 500 tonnes of tiny wood pellets are churned out of Pacific BioEnergy’s Prince George plant, destined for thermal power plants in Europe. Loaded into boxcars and transported by rail, cargo ship and, finally, canal barges, they’ll travel more than 20,000 kilometres before they end up heating some kid’s waffle in Belgium.

Using B.C.’s pine-beetle-killed wood to reduce the carbon output of coal-fired power plants on the other side of the planet sounds cool but economically implausible. Yet biomass is Prince George’s fastest-growing commodity.

By the end of 2010, Pacific BioEnergy will double the capacity of its Prince George plant on the strength of a deal signed earlier this year with a leading energy company, GDF SUEZ. Throughout the 10-year pact, the European company expects to reduce its net CO2 emissions by more than 4 million tonnes by supplementing coal with B.C. wood pellets.

Pine beetles' march across B.C. is a catastrophe in slow motion

It's funny. You can read that pine beetles have denuded and killed an area of B.C. forest land equivalent to the area of California and New York combined, but it doesn't sink in.

It seems impossible. Sheer hyperbole.

But drive the circular route through Hope, Princeton, Merritt, Cache Creek, Lillooet, Pemberton, Whistler as I did this past weekend, and you can see it.

2010-08-06

Lumber supply, employment in B.C. will feel mountain pine beetle’s bite

One of the major clouds hanging over British Columbia’s economy and forest products industry is uncertainty about the mountain pine beetle epidemic.

To date, the pine beetle has killed an estimated 50% of the province’s mature lodgepole pine.

In a recent economic analysis that focused on the pine beetle epidemic, Central 1 economist Bryan Yu noted that over the past 90 years there have been four or five major mountain pine beetle infestations.

2010-08-04

Spread of beetles slowed

Mother Nature gave crews battling the mountain pine beetle infestation a hand with this spring’s cool weather which resulted in a low survival rate for the insects in the Kananaskis and southern Rockies.

Duncan MacDonnell, Alberta Sustainable Resources Development spokesperson, said they won’t ease up on the fight to prevent the spread of the beetle further east towards Bragg Creek and the rest of the foothills.

“One of the lessons we’ve learned from British Columbia is don’t treat this lightly and don’t think you’ve ever won,” he said. “If you underestimate the beetle you’re going to pay for it.”

2010-08-03

Beetle impact overstated

Forests Minister Pat Bell begs to differ with the report from Central 1 Credit Union that projects more than 11,000 jobs will be lost by the time the pine-beetle infestation runs its course in British Columbia.

Bell says the credit union economists used data from 2005-06 for their calculations, which led to the conclusion that B.C. will have lost 68 per cent of its mature pine forests by the time the beetle kill subsides in 2024.

The minister says there have been a couple of updates that have changed estimates of how much timber supply is going to drop off due to the worst infestation ever recorded in B.C.