Lumber News Archives: Sep 2012

Lumber News Archives: Sep 2012

India Wood Products ; US Government to Buy Mortgages ; Healthy Forests, Healthy Communities Report ; Housing Starts, Canada and Japan
Wooden Skyscrapers ; Cedar Mill Fire: Electrical ; Millar Western to Build Biogas Power Generator ; Industrial Index Canada, Purchasing Managers’ Index US ; FPAC Announces Timber Supply Review Committee ; US Housing Starts, Mortgage Delinquencies ; Forest Fires: US, Canada ; US, Canada lumber production, utilization ; Stella Jones, Conifex Report

September 26, 2012

India Wood Products

Arbitrary phytosanitary restrictions on Canadian Spruce-Pine-Fir lumber coming into India were removed in the beginning of 2011. The latest figures available on Canadian lumber exports to India show a jump in 2011 compared to 2010, and further growth this year but not to the same degree. Please refer to the January 14, 2011 issue of your Madison’s Lumber Reporter for background.

While most involved parties agree that the potential market for wood products in India rivals that of China, there continue to be some issues and barriers. Expectations are that once transportation difficulties are resolved and the currently negotiated free trade agreement between Canada and India is signed, the movement of Canadian lumber into India will increase.

To that end, BC Forest Innovation Investment (BCFII) and the BC Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation, along with federal partners, are in the process of setting up offices in cities to facilitate both the arrival and transport of Canadian wood to India and to educate local players on the product.

Supply

Madison’s spoke to BCFII CEO Ken Baker Thursday to get an update.

“We are in the organizing process,” explained Baker in a phone interview. “We have gone through the legal process, received our business license to practice in India, and have opened a bank account in that country. BCFII hired three people who will be moving into our temporary office space in Mumbai shortly, we are hoping to have our permanent location ready in January. This year BCFII’s investment in India has been $1.1 million.”

When asked what it was last year, Baker said, “Almost nothing.”

“This week we had the second round of interviews in BC for a technical expert to work for about two years in Mumbai to explain the grades and applications of BC wood to the industry there,” detailed Baker. “It is our hope that COFI, the Canadian Wood Group, and others, will install people in the new office.”

It is important to note that the vast majority of wood used in India is not for wood building, but rather goes to finishing — mouldings, flooring, saunas, windows, etc — or furniture. Wood products from North America had to overcome a perceptual disadvantage because the term ‘softwood’ was viewed as meaning the product was deficient. India has access to, and the people are accustomed to, exotic hardwoods. Part of the hurdle for North American exporters was the perception that softwoods are poor quality.

“For the first year our staff will work on market research, there will be a lot of door knocking,” continued Baker. “There needs to be education in India about the competitive advantages of Canadian wood compared to tropical hardwoods and radiata pine. Despite higher freight costs, BC lumber is cost effective. The question right now is how to get through the distribution chain and how to get to the users. The supply chain in India is tightly controlled by a handful of people.

“Our office will eventually provide an Export Guide, similar to the one we did in China. We hope the private sector will step up next year and put people in that office. So far both coastal and SPF producers have expressed interest.”

Madison’s asked the BC Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training for details about the two offices it is opening, in Bangalor and Chandigarh, to facilitate the sale of wood products in India. BC will double its international presence by March 2013 to accelerate its foreign direct investment attraction by marketing the province’s competitive advantages and world-class business environment, said a Ministry statement to Madison’s Thursday. The province will be adding new offices in Mumbai and Chandigarh in India, as well as Hong Kong, China, by mid-November. The International Trade and Investment Representatives and their support teams bring immediate local market knowledge, access to large networks of key influencers within government and industry, and language and business cultural skills to attract investment and connect BC businesses with new markets and opportunities. The first Jobs and Trade Mission to China and India in November last year was successful at establishing relationships and generating new business: 14 corporate signings occurred, nine partnership agreements were reached, four new offices were opened and the value of delegation deals exceeded $60 million.

According to Statistics Canada, Canadian lumber exports to India jumped from $3.2 million in 2010 to $11.4 million in 2011, once prohibitive phytosanitary restrictions were removed. For January to June 2011, exports were $6.0 million, and increased to $6.6 million for the same time period this year, a 9.9 per cent improvement. For BC alone, those figures are $5.8 million for January to June 2011, and $6.1 million for 2012.

On the domestic front, investment by India’s government and private firms into infrastructure and transportation is moving forward. The government of India is working on a mechanism under which nine major public sector undertakings (PSUs) having large cash reserves would start investing in infrastructure projects to boost growth. Arvind Mayaram, Secretary of Department of Economic Affairs, announced that Finance Minister P. Chidambaram met with the PSUs on Wednesday to fix deadlines for the companies’ investments, says the Oman Tribune. After the meeting, NTPC Chairman and Managing Director Arup Choudhury said the company plans to invest Rs 20,000 crore in the current fiscal year and was confident of the capex plan, according to the Press Trust of India. Other similarly-sized companies will also be investing significant amounts.

According to Goldman Sachs, India’s infrastructure sector will require US$1.7 trillion investment in the next ten years. Further, India needs to spend US$1.2 trillion by 2030 to meet the projected demand of its cities, said a McKinsey Global Institute Report.

The Indian government has no option but to hope that the private sector steps up to the plate, said Akash Prakash in an article to the Business Standard Thursday. The private sector accounted for 30 per cent of all investment in infrastructure in the last Five Year Plan period (2002–2007) and is supposed to mobilise 50 per cent, or US$500 billion, of the planned infrastructure spending for 2012-17, said Prakash. There is no question that public-private partnerships (PPP) is the only way for India to go, he explained.

India is hungry for infrastructure development, said Datuk Vellu, Malaysian Special Envoy to India and South Asia, to Bernama Thursday. To date, Malaysian investment in India has amounted to US$15 billion, 65 per cent of the total, said Vellu.

Madison’s spoke once again to Tom Sundher at Coast Clear Wood for an update on how that company’s lumber exports to India were going.
“There has been a shift to the SPF mix, from Douglas fir, hemlock and cedar,” explained Sunhev Thursday. “SPF prices have been lower than the other species so are attracting many Indian customers. Our annual sales to February 2012 were $1.2 million for the 12 month period, and I expect that to double for year-end February 2013. Our volumes have already increased by 10 per cent so far this year.

“At the moment the import duty on all lumber, from all countries, to India is 14.5 per cent. The Canadian government is working on a free trade agreement with India, which will include lumber products. If that duty is reduced to five or six per cent, because I really don’t expect to go to zero, that will give Canadian companies a huge advantage over the rest of the world.”

In Sundher’s experience, the infrastructure in India is “complex”.

“Our respective government officials, in Canada and India, are slowly working that out,” Sundhev said. “It is a bit tricky to send product inland, let’s say to Delhi. From the port is is transshipped, by rail or by truck. The paperwork must be correct. It is a difficult system to navigate, if new shippers are not aware of the regulations their products might be hung up. New players must understand the paperwork necessary and the logistics or they will incur extra costs while their lumber is stuck somewhere. Customers in India will refuse to pay these costs, which could be as high as the entire profit margin.

“This is a huge opportunity, with BCFII and the federal government working to ease the flow of Canadian wood to India. At last week’s Global Buyers Mission in Whistler, BC, there were ten buyers from India. In the previous year there were only two or three.”

Baker echoed this sentiment, “Quite a few BC firms have expressed interest at attending the annual Delhi Wood Show in January.”

US Government to Buy Mortgages

The Federal Reserve announced bold, open-ended steps Thursday to stimulate the US economy and reduce high unemployment, saying it will spend US$40 billion a month to buy mortgage-backed securities for long as necessary.

Mortgages, US
Government

Thursday’s actions pointed to how sluggish the US economy remains more than three years after the Great Recession ended. The Fed’s policy committee announced the aggressive actions after a two-day meeting.

The bond purchases announced Thursday are intended to lower long-term interest rates to spur borrowing and spending. But some economists said they thought the benefit to the economy would be slight.

The Fed’s new bond purchases, which will start Friday, amount to less per month than either of its first two bond purchasing programs. But by committing to buying bonds indefinitely, the Fed is seeking to assure investors and consumers that borrowing will remain cheap far into the future.

Skeptics warned that further bond buying might provide little benefit. Rates are already near record lows. Critics also warn that more bond purchases raise the risk of higher inflation later.

Healthy Forests, Healthy Communities Report

The Healthy Forests-Healthy Communities: A conversation on BC forests initiative Thursday released its draft Strategic Action Plan to inform political parties of the actions needed to ensure the future of BC’s forests and the products and services they provide are available to BC residents. HFHC thought it would be useful to provide the current information at this time as an opportunity to extend the dialogue among interested citizens and inform the political parties of the recommendations to date. The Plan includes the recommended actions arising from the information collected to date during the community and expert dialogues.

The Plan is presented as a series of nested recommendations to be delivered over 10 years using strategic actions in each of two phases (0-5 years; 5-10 years). The focus is on long-term stewardship and not short-term economics in order to protect forest sector jobs and deliver the expected goods and services.

A Plan for BC’s Forest Health

“The HFHC Strategic Action Plan was created using input from the workshops and dialogue sessions we have been holding across the province, as well as expert papers,” explained project lead Bill Bourgeois to Madison’s in a phone interview Thursday. “There is too much that needs to be done. Even if there was unlimited money and people, it still couldn’t all get done. So we broke the issues down to what is the most important, and what has to be done first.

“There are three main goals to start with: sustainable forest management; community involvement and diversification; and, improving the resource inventory. We are still collecting input and holding sessions so the final report will come out in January or February. The key messages of my draft released today, are that BC needs to move back to long term stewardship, and away from short term economic decisions. Since around 2000 the focus has been on making decisions based on short term economics. Communities have asked for, and have to have, more say in what is going on. And the forest inventory is terrible, we have to know what is out there.”

Madison’s asked about the recent Mid Term Timber Supply Committee report, and whether there is a cross-over or a clash of suggestions between that report and the HFHC one.
“The Timber Committee report is focussed on timber supply only, and in the beetle-affected areas specifically, while our report is concerned with forest management across the entire province, including the coast,” explained Bourgeois. “There are some consistencies between the two, in terms of increased community involvement and the call to recreate land use implementation. But our report goes further in making suggestions for the future health of all of BC’s forests.”

The report states, “The expectation is BC will enter into BC-Canada joint funding agreements for community diversification, amounting to $40 million/year, and wildfire risk treatments and research, totalling $32 million/year, associated with MPB areas.”

When asked about this funding, Bourgeois explained, “These are the incremental costs to government [of our plan] in addition to what they are already spending.”

While there are some sections of the costing that still need to be filled in, it looks like the total for the most significant costs: community economic diversification; wildfire hazard management; forest inventory; and, forest lands research, would add up to about $175 million per year for the next five years.

The full report can be found here http://tinyurl.com/9mtpc9f

Housing Starts, Canada and Japan

Canadian housing starts surged unexpectedly in August as a few large multi-unit projects in Toronto broke ground, data from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp showed Tuesday. The seasonally adjusted annualized rate of housing starts was 224,900 units in August, up from 208,000 units in July.

Housing starts in Japan rose 3.8 per cent in July, to 75,421 units, from 72,566 new units in June, according to the Japan Lumber Reports.

Canada, Japan Housing Starts

The CMHC report showed urban starts increased by 10.2 per cent to 205,900 units in August. Urban single-family starts remained relatively unchanged at 64,300 units, while multiple urban starts increased by 15.5 per cent to 141,600 units, the agency said.

Starts rose 47.5 per cent in Atlantic Canada, 20.4 percent in Ontario, 18.2 per cent in British Columbia and 1.3 per cent in the Prairies. They dropped 9.8 per cent in Québec.

July 2012 actual housing starts in Japan were 9.6 per cent less than the same month last year, says the Japan Lumber Reports. However, on a seasonally adjusted annualized basis, starts were 870,000 units, compared to 840,000 in July of last year.

New units built for owners increased by 5 per cent in July from June and new rental units were the second highest for 2012, providing a continued positive outlook for Japan housing starts this fiscal year.

Condominium starts recovered in July from dips in May and June, particularly in Tokyo where starts rose 23.6 per cent, or by 2,000 units, to 6,576 new condominiums, says the Reports.

September 16, 2012

Wooden Skyscrapers

Tall wood-framed buildings are fast becoming the most fashionable thing in the construction industry. Sexy even, if you will. This reality is only further confirmed by an August 30 piece in The Economist.

Last spring, Vancouver, BC, architect Michael Green unveiled a scheme for a 30-storey tower held aloft by a timber frame. Green is convinced that putting up a safe, sturdy large building of this kind in Vancouver is now possible, given recent advances in the fabrication of very strong wooden structural members.

Over the next several months, the three principals in the Toronto-based office of Williamson Chong Architects will be travelling in Europe and Asia to scout out what leading-edge researchers, manufacturers and designers abroad are doing with wood.

Taking advantage of six storey height allowance for wood buildings in British Columbia, Surrey’s largest-ever residential and commercial development completed its third mid-rise building on August 15, 2012. It has the distinction of setting a new construction standard in the Lower Mainland of BC for being the first six-storey wood frame structure.

Canada, Europe, Australia

The multi-phase development is located on 12 acres of property. The project made news headlines in 2007 when its first phase of 140 modestly-priced homes sold out in four hours. A month later, its second building, with 116 homes sold out in 67 minutes.

Modern high-rise materials are incredibly energy-intensive; the manufacture and transport of concrete alone emits more carbon dioxide than the entire airline industry.There are a number of benefits to building with wood including lower costs and increased environmental sustainability.

Please refer to the June 8, 2011 issue of your Madison’s Lumber Reporter and the September 1, 2011 issue of Madison’s Timber Preview for details on cross-laminated timber (CLT) and tall wood building construction.

An engineered wood product, CLT is made by gluing and pressing together successive layers of spruce, pine or fir 2x4s or 2x6s to form large solid blocks or sheets that can be precision-trimmed for specific purposes. CLT manufactured products can be used as walls, floors and roof panels in building construction. CLT construction is now being widely used in Europe, and is increasingly seen in taller wooden structures in the United States and in British Columbia.

For its part, laminated veneer lumber (LVL) is built up from thin peeled veneers giving a more powerful averaging effect, and therefore higher strengths, than the thicker boards used for glulam.

Very large timber performs fairly well in fires with this insulation, and the beams actually might be safer than steel. Whereas wood will char on the outside, steel melts much more quickly.

An eight-storey CLT office building is almost completed in Austria, and a 10-storey CLT apartment building in Australia is set to be finished this October. In England there is the three-year-old Graphite Apartments building, originally called Stadthaus, a nine-storey structure made of prefabricated CLT members bolted together on site.

Waugh Thistleton, the architectural firm that designed the Graphite, has a four-storey mixed-use building under construction nearby, and an eight-storey apartment building underway within walking distance of the first two. They, and other architects, are talking about CLT buildings of 10, 15, even 30 storeys — although those very tall buildings would likely by hybrids, with a concrete core.

An Ontario government investment of $350,000 through the Centre for Research and Innovation in the Bio-Economy (CRIBE) will help to fund the incorporation of CLT in the construction of Laurentian University’s School of Architecture. The CRIBE grant will allow Laurentian Architecture to showcase the first significant use of cross-laminated timber in a public building in Ontario.

Current schematic designs by Levitt Goodman Architects show the West Wing of the new structure, comprising the Classroom, Lecture Hall and Library, built with CLT. Much of the 12,000-square-foot structure would be exposed to view, with clear curtain glazing. The result will be “a beautiful use of wood, creating a warm and acoustically tempered environment,” according to the architects.

Wood is currently undergoing a renaissance in the building industry and it is worth exploring the reasons why to understand whether it has potential in other fields of engineering, according to Andrew Lawrence, leading timber specialist at the UK’s Arup Advanced Technology and Research, in a September 5 article for The Engineer. First is the ease of forming and machining, enabling increasingly complex forms, epitomised by structures such as the Timber Wave at last year’s London Design Festival made from American red oak. In no other material would it have been possible to form 1000 pieces, each with a different geometry, within the tight budget. Second is the lightweight nature of the material which lends itself to prefabrication and rapid construction. The eight storey Stadthaus in London, in which all the floors and walls are built from solid CLT panels of European spruce, is currently the tallest timber building in the world and demonstrates wood’s ability to compete in a market previously dominated by steel and concrete. Wood’s final benefit is its sustainability credentials, not just as the only renewable construction material, but also as a material which grows using solar energy and which ultimately at the end of life can be turned into biomass. As the energy price increases so wood is becoming increasingly competitive compared with its more industrially produced competitors. Furthermore, despite the increasing use of softwood in construction, the forests in Northern Europe and America where it is sourced are still increasing in area, said Lawrence.

Saudi Arabia will have a 1,000 meter high wood-based tower in the next few years.

Cedar Mill Fire: Electrical

The August 26 fire which destroyed the production shop of the Waldun Forest Products shake and shingle mill in Maple Ridge, BC, was not the result of human error. A main electrical box, which was not due for inspection until October, has been deemed the cause of the fire, according to the mill’s vice-president Kirk Nagy.

“This piece of electrical equipment gets X-rayed annually, and wasn’t due again until October. Everyone tries to do everything right, so it was a relief to hear that it wasn’t human error,” he said.

Some of the 60 displaced employees will return to work at a nearby mill that the company has leased.
“The plan is to lease a small mill and hopefully that will start up in the second or third week of September,” Nagy said.

Cleanup will begin next week and the company is currently pursuing cleanup and rebuilding quotes.

US House Price Index Rises

CoreLogic announced Tuesday that US home prices nationwide, including distressed sales, increased on a year-over-year basis by 3.8 per cent in July 2012 compared to July 2011. This was the biggest year-over-year increase since August 2006.

Home Prices, US

On a month-overmonth
basis, including distressed sales,
home prices increased by 1.3 per cent
in July 2012 compared to June 2012.
The July 2012 figures mark the fifth
consecutive increase in home prices
nationally on both a year-over-year and
month-over-month basis.

Excluding distressed sales, home
prices nationwide increased on a yearover-
year basis by 4.3 per cent in July
2012 compared to July 2011. On a
month-over-month basis excluding distressed
sales, home prices increased 1.7
per cent in July 2012 compared to June
2012, also the fifth consecutive monthover-
month increase.

The CoreLogic Pending HPI indicates
that August home prices, including
distressed sales, will rise by 4.6 per
cent on a year-over-year basis from August
2011 and at least 0.6 per cent on
a month-over-month basis from July
2012. Excluding distressed sales, August
house prices are also poised to rise
6.0 per cent year-over-year from August
2011 and by 1.3 per cent monthover-
month from July 2012.

Millar Western to Build Biogas Power Generator

The biggest private forestry company in Alberta will spend $42 million to build a biogas power generation facility onto the effluent processing stream of its pulp mill in Whitecourt.
The one-year provincial permitting process complete, construction of the anaerobic effluent processing plant at Millar Western’s pulp mill will begin in September. When it is finished in late 2013, it will provide 5.2 megawatts of power to the combined pulp and saw mill, reducing the compound’s power consumption by almost seven per cent.

Millar Western Bioenergy

Installation of the
generator will not disrupt business at
the mill, which makes 315,000 tonnes
of dried pulp a year and exports most
of it to Asia and Europe. T he generator
will add about 5,000 tonnes of additional
output to the mill.

The existing effluent processing
process will also go undisturbed during
construction, which will be done by
Florida-based environmental services
firm UEM Group. Currently, the mill’s
effluent gets separated into solid waste
and water. The latter gets treated and shunted into the Athabasca River, while
Millar Western distributes the former
to farmers around Whitecourt to use in
conditioning their soil.
The new generator will eliminate
about 65 per cent of that organic matter,
and cut the amount of conditioner
sent to farmers in half.

Industrial Index Canada,Purchasing Managers’ Index US

Canada’s Industrial Product Price Index was down 0.5 per cent in July compared with June, said Statistics Canada Wednesday. The decline was mainly attributable to chemical products and motor vehicles. The Raw Materials Price Index rose 0.9 per cent, largely due to higher prices for mineral fuels and vegetable products.

Canada, US Manufacturing and Production

Canada’s Industrial
Product Price Index (IPPI) posted
a third consecutive decrease in July, following
declines of 0.3 per cent in June
and 0.2 per cent in May. Of the 21 major
commodity groups, 3 were up while 14
were down.

Chemical products made the largest
contribution to the decline in the IPPI,
mostly as a result of lower prices for
industrial chemical products, down 2.5
per cent, and fertilizers, down 13.5 per
cent.

The motor vehicles and other transportation
equipment group was pushed
down by motor vehicles, which fell by
1.3 per cent. The increase in the value
of the Canadian dollar against the US
dollar in July was partly responsible for
the decline.

The Raw Materials Price Index
(RMPI) rose 0.9 per cent in July, which
marks a change in the trend observed
over the last five months. Of the seven
major commodity groups, three were
down.

The increase in the RMPI was mainly
a result of mineral fuels. up 1.1 per
cent. The RMPI excluding mineral fuels
was up 0.8 per cent in July.

Also Wednesday, The Institute for
Supply Management (ISM) said that the
US manufacturing sector contracted in August for the third consecutive month.
The purchasing managers’ index (PMI)
was 49.6 in August, mostly unchanged
from the previous two months. It had
been 49.7 and 49.8 in June and July,
respectively.

A PMI in excess of 42.6 per cent, over
a period of time, generally indicates an
expansion of the overall economy. This
means economic activity in the manufacturing
sector contracted in August
for the third time since July 2009; however,
the overall economy grew for the
39th consecutive month.

However the data also indicates
contraction in the manufacturing sector
for the third time since July 2009,
when the PMI registered 49.2 per cent.
ISM’s New Orders Index registered
47.1 per cent in August, which is a decrease
of 0.9 percentage point when
compared to the July reading of 48 per
cent. This represents a contraction in
new orders for the third time since
April 2009, when the New Orders Index
registered 46.8 percent.

FPAC Announces

The Forest Products Association of
Canada (FPAC) Tuesday welcomed new
leadership as David Lindsay assumed
the role of President and CEO at a time
of great transformation in the Canadian
forestry sector.

“We are delighted to welcome someone
of David’s caliber and experience,”
said the Chair of the FPAC Board of Directors,
Jim Lopez, the President and
CEO of Tembec.
Lindsay was most recently a senior
Deputy Minister in the Government
of Ontario serving in the portfolios of
Energy and Infrastructure, Northern
Development, Mines and Forestry, Natural
Resources, Tourism and Culture.

 

September 12, 2012

Timber Supply Review Committee

British Columbia’s Special Committee on Timber Supply this week tabled its report to Cabinet, based on suggestions collected during the Committee’s hearings held throughout the province this summer. Titled “Growing Fibre, Growing Value”, the report offers a list of messages heard from stakeholders, governments, First Nations, industry, and private citizens and provides six recommendations including details.

Please refer to the July 1, 2012 issue of your Madison’s Lumber Reporter for background on this Committee.

KEY MESSAGES RECEIVED BY THE COMMITTEE

With regard to forest stewardship: recognize First Nations as rights-holders; respect non-timber values; recognize ongoing efforts of local communities and regional coalitions; and protect the BC brand.

On land-base issues, many submissions urged government to: make better use of the existing forest resource; protect forest reserves; leave existing timber supply area boundaries alone; and consider investing in infrastructure to improve access to timber.

Concerning forest practices, to meet basic restocking requirements and to base decisions on an updated forest inventory.

On timber tenures, there was support for a shift to more area-based tenures, for efforts to diversify the economies of forest-dependent communities, and for reducing exports of unprocessed logs.

SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS

The Committee’s recommendations to increase mid-term timber supply focus on: engaging local communities and First Nations in future plans; finding ways to grow more fibre and maximize its value by utilizing marginally economic stands and/or investing in fertilization; and on increasing the type and form of area-based tenures to support enhanced levels of forest stewardship and private sector forest investment.

Madison’s read through the entire report, as well as a broad selection of the submissions. It is a fact that many of the submissions “urged the government” to protect forest reserves, to not change existing timber supply area boundaries, and to make various forms of infrastructure investment.

Madison’s focussed immediately on certain phrases in the Report:

1) “The Committee recommends to the Legislative Assembly that the Ministry: a) Design a science-based review process for local use by monitoring committees, as referenced in Recommendation 1.2”

Each of the forest reserves will have to be visited and assessed to accomplish this. If this effort is given a low priority, it will be probably a year to get done. Current wisdom says the amount of wood that could come from the reserves would only make a few months difference in supply to a specific mill.

2) “Based on the analysis and information available on this topic, the Committee recommends to the Legislative Assembly that the Province not consider the amalgamation of timber supply areas.”

3) “The Committee recommends to the Legislative Assembly that the Province review the feasibility of developing road and power-line infrastructure into currently under-developed management units.”

This is a great idea but sounds very expensive. There are many current roads decommissioned to avoid maintenance, which may or may not come back into use as lumber demand continues recovering. However, the government could get some of the costs back when the harvesting levels resume.

4) “Place priority on completion of type 4 silvicultural strategies to guide investments in intensive silviculture in accordance with established criteria.”

Madison’s asked Bill Bourgeois, retired forester, current consultant, and coordinator of Healthy Forests-Healthy Communities, for an explanation of this term:

“Type 4 silviculture strategies are analyses on what silviculture practices that can be justified economically to do in a specific area or Timber Supply Area (TSA). They are strategies to focus effort rather than doing the same thing everywhere,” explained Bourgeois.

Here is a sampling of the many, many suggestions provided to the Committee over the course of the Hearings, including written submissions to the website:

First Nations

Lheidli T’enneh First Nation, Chief Dominic Frederick

We suggest that to the extent that any increase in the AAC that is a result of mitigation efforts in the traditional territory should flow to the Lheidli T’enneh, through area based tenures where the Lheidli T’enneh may management the resources directly.

Governments

City of Williams Lake, Mayor Kerry Cook

If there are issues around the economics of logging steep slopes and low volume stands, then we need to do whatever is necessary to make these areas accessible and economical to log such as looking at different
trucking options, eliminating the carbon tax, and reducing administration and obligations on timber harvesters.

City of Quesnel, Mayor Mary Sjostrom

1) Assess current forest inventories, whether they are suitable for making decisions. If it is determined that they are not, an expedient program to gather those inventories must be undertaken to ensure that government can make suitable decisions regarding the land base.

2) An immediate and significant investment in Silviculture is required now to ensure the forest’s long-term viability and sustainability.

Stephanie Killam, Mayor District of Mackenzie

Do not increase Mackenzie harvesting levels to unsustainable levels. Ensure that the stands that have been dead the longest be utilized thus leaving the stands further north for future use, and that enhanced tree planting is also planned and followed through with.

Bob Simpson, Independent MLA For Cariboo North

Recommendation 6: That the Committee advises government it must immediately act on the recommendations of the Bioeconomy Committee and embark on a strategy to fully utilize BC’s hardwood resources.

Government Agencies

Federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO)

We can not support impacts to the fisheries resource in order to mitigate this “fall-down” of available merchantable fiber. We also object to “reopening” the regional and sub-regional plans.

Industry Agencies

BC Industry Working Group

A viable lumber, pulp, and paper industry is needed to support investment in the bio-economy and will be the heart of future bio-economic growth.Be aware of the opportunity to develop the BC economy by enhancing the timber supply for non-traditional uses

Forest Fibre Alliance of BC

1) Changes to Administrative Management Unit Boundaries and Tenure Types: from a mid term timber supply perspective it is just a shuffling exercise.
Chief forester sets allowable harvest levels (AAC) for management units based upon gross merchantable volumes that include identified contributions from both sawlog and non sawlog
timber;

2) Timber Harvesting Land Base (THLB): To increase timber supply one must either get more from the existing THLB and/or expand it. The sole practical opportunity to increase THLB is to include stands of timber currently considered uneconomic from a sawlog perspective. The reverse is actually what is happening.

3) Increased allowable harvest from an expanded THLB is of no value if it cannot be accessed. Users of the non sawlog timber resource need long term secure access fibre to make the investments in facilities and contribute to the forest based economic activity needed to support forest based communities and the provincial economy.

Addendum by Jim Burbee: Also, it seems like there is a lot of focus on area based tenure which will create no near term timber supply. It could be an olive branch to get majors to cooperate but that is about all.

Healthy Forests Healthy Communities

1) BC is only committing $1 million per year for three years for each Beetle Action Committee (BAC) to implement the adaptation strategies. This is small in consideration of the several hundreds of millions of dollars over a 20 year period estimated by the BACs to implement the strategies.

2) If the Committee was to recommend and get Legislature acceptance of retaining the values in forest reserves and taking action on enabling communities and innovative businesses to generate more economic diversification from the forest, this public consultation process will be a success. If it is just maintaining the existing mills for a short period, it will be a failure.

Central Interior Logging Association

1) The CILA has embarked on a small scale logging project with Vagabond Logging and West Fraser Mills Quesnel, at the request of Minister Bell. The project involves using “mini” harvesting equipment to re-harvest blocks and will be pilot tested in September 2012. There is a potential for hundreds of thousands of meters in the most affected areas.

2) Look at alternate species; for example, aspen.We are so locked in to the SPF model we don’t even count or measure other wood to see what we could do with it.

Unions

United Steelworkers

Review the entire range of forest constraints with an eye to ensuring that all of them have delivered the environmental and forest-management benefits they were intended to deliver, as well as determining whether they might be relaxed in the interests of increasing timber supply.

Industry

Dunkley Lumber

1) Not every town will have a mill, but every town can benefit from having forest resources if forest companies can source fibre there.

2) We would recommend that 200,000 cubic metres from each volume-based licence should be protected from reductions to allowable annual cut in the mid-term.

Ainsworth Engineered

1) Our company requires a secure and stable fibre supply to operate, and its continued investment in 100 Mile House is contingent upon establishing a new tenure to replace PA 16. The loss to the community operation in the event of a closure would be immeasurable.

2) Include smaller stem diameters, lower merchantable volume per hectare and lower decay, waste and breakage factors than a traditional “sawlog” TSR.

3) Stop burning useable and economically viable fibre in waste piles

4) Create new tenure forms: Supplemental Forest Licences, True Receiving Licences, Gross Volume Forest Licences (apply concept to all existingand new tenures)

Conifex Timber

We request that the Province design and implement a new form of long term tenure that allows existing replaceable tenure holders secure access to low quality fibre, subject to appropriate reforestation obligations, cut control provisions and crown charges.

1. To capture incremental revenues from the 50 per cent-plus of the volume in each log that is suitable for products other than lumber, and
2. To develop new and profitable uses for in-forest woody biomass that is not currently being accessed in BC.

Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, responded to the Report by saying the province is going to act quickly on some of the recommendations outlined by the The Special Committee on Timber Supply. Thomson says they will create an action plan for the rest of the recommendations by the end of September.

US Housing Starts, Mortgage Delinquencies

US home building slipped in July after a strong gain in June while new permits rose to their highest level in four years, a possible sign of confidence for construction going forward.

Housing starts decreased 1.1 per cent last month from June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 746,000, the Commerce Department said Thursday. Compared with a year ago, new construction was up 21.5 per cent.

June starts were revised down slightly to a rate of 754,000, reflecting a 6.8 per cent increase from the prior month. Construction of single-family homes, which made up more than two-thirds of housing starts last month, fell 6.5 per cent in July to a rate of 502,000 units. Single-family construction was up 17 per cent from last year.

US Home Building,
Mortgages

The Commerce Department’s report showed the fall in starts was concentrated in the single-family home sector, which dropped 6.5 per cent. Starts for multi-family homes rose 12.4 per cent.

New permits for building homes rose 6.8 per cent in July to a 812,000 unit pace, the highest rate since August 2008.

Delinquencies on US commercial real estate collateralized debt obligations fell for the third straight month in July, as the amount of assets removed from the index outpaced newly delinquent loans, according to Fitch Ratings Friday.

The credit ratings company said delinquencies edged down to 12.1 per cent in July from 12.3 per cent in June. Six new delinquent loans were offset by the removal of 13 assets.

Fitch said asset managers reported about US$60 million in realized losses from the disposal of defaulted and credit risk assets last month.

Forest Fires: US, Canada

A wildfire roaring through mountainous terrain in Idaho’s Boise National Forest crept closer to the resort town of Featherville on Thursday. The so-called Trinity Ridge blaze, which has charred nearly 70,000 acres of sagebrush and woodland east of Boise over the past six days, is one of dozens of large fires burning out of control across several drought-parched western states.

Wildfires

More than 400 homes have been evacuated in Washington state, but firefighters managed to carve containment lines around 25 per cent of the blaze’s perimeter by Wednesday night, with full containment expected within a week, authorities said. Nearly 1,000 firefighters were amassed for a last-ditch effort to keep flames at bay.

The Washington state blaze, dubbed the Taylor Bridge Fire, has scorched nearly 23,000 acres of rolling hills, 40 square miles of grassland, timber and sagebrush, along the eastern edge of the Cascade Mountains. Two firefighters suffered minor injuries on Wednesday.

The fire in central Washington has burned about 70 homes, authorities said.

More than 400 people have been evacuated, said Department of Natural Resources Fire Incident Commander Rex Reed.

A new forest fire has broken out about eight miles north of Oregon’s Highway 58 in the Willamette Pass area, US Forest Service officials said Thursday. Smoke from the Buckhead fires continues to make its way into the Eugene- Springfield area.

In Canada, lightning storms caused only one fire of significance near Lillooet, BC, north of Whistler, last week.

The blaze grew to 30 hectares by the end of the day and was fought by 60 firefighters, three helicopters and heavy equipment, including tankers and bulldozers. By Monday morning, Kamloops Fire Centre fire information officer Kevin Skrepnek told the News the fire was 100 per cent contained. Skrepnek called that fire a “non-incident, a small spot fire” and said crews had it completely extinguished within an hour and a half.

A small forest fire ignited on a cliff face about 15 kilometres northeast of Squamish, BC, south of Whistler, on Wednesday afternoon, engulfing a five-hectare stretch of trees but posing no threat to people or buildings.

The Wildfire Management Branch sent in a repel crew – a three-person initial attack team – to climb down to the blaze from helicopter ropes.
BC’s Wildfire Management Branch says concerns will heat up this weekend.

“An increase in the fire-danger rating is likely, as well as an increase in fire starts,” said fire information officer Erin Catherall on Thursday.
The conditions have been created by several weeks of dry weather — and more is on the way for the rest of August and September.

US, Canada Lumber Production, Utilization

US sawmills produced 11.9 billion board feet (bbf) in the first five months of 2012, an increase of 8 per cent compared with the same period last year, when sawmills produced 11 bbf, according to the Western Wood Products Association’s (WWPA) Lumber Track report released August 10.

Softwood lumber production by Canadian sawmills in the year to May 30 was 9.7 bbf, an increase of 4.3 per cent compared with the same period last year, of 9.3 bbf.

Western US sawmills accounted for 5.3 bbf, up 9.1 per cent from 4.8 bbf a year earlier; while output from Southern US sawmills increased 7.1 per cent from 5.6 bbf to 6 bbf. Sawmills in British Columbia accounted for 5.3 bbf, up 4.5 per cent from 5.1 bbf in the same period last year. Canadian sawmills east of the Rockies produced 4.5 bbf, 4.2 per cent higher than production in the same period last year of 4.3 bbf.

In May alone, US lumber production was 2.5 bbf, a 13.2 per cent gain over last year’s 2.2 bbf, and 2.3 per cent higher than output in April of 2.4 bbf. Canadian production in May was 2 bbf, up 61 per cent from l.9 bbf in May last year, and 1.6 per cent higher than April’s output of 2 bbf.

US, Canada Lumber Demand

US softwood lumber consumption was 15.1 bbf in the first five months – up 7.5 per cent from 14 bbf in the same period last year, says the WWPA. Consumption in May was 3.2 bbf, an increase of 12.6 per cent from 2.9 bbf in May 2011, and 4.7 per cent higher than consumption in April of 3.1 bbf.

Canadian softwood lumber consumption climbed 0.7 per cent to 3.4 bbf in the first five months of 2012, from 3.4 bbf last year. In May alone, consumption was 662 mmbf, down 5.6 per cent from last year, 702 mmbf, and 2.6 per cent lower than April’s consumption of 680 mmbf.

US production of practical capacity averaged 77 per cent in the first five months, up from 72 per cent in the same period last year. In Canada, the figure was 84 per cent, compared with 81 per cent a year earlier.

US inventories increased by 5.2 per cent to 3 bbf in May from 2.8 bbf a year earlier. In Canada, inventories dropped 10.9 per cent, to 2.7 bbf from 3 bbf.

Stella Jones, Conifex Report

Stella-Jones is reporting a net income of $20.8 million in its latest quarter, up 20.6 per cent from last year. Sales for the quarter were $203.9 million.

Conifex Timber is reporting a net loss of $2.4 million for 2Q 2012. That is an improvement over 1Q when the company reported a net loss of $6.5 million and better than the same period last year, when the company reported a net loss of $3.6 million.

The lumber segment generated $55.8 million in revenue, an 18 per cent increase over 1Q. Shipment of Conifex-produced lumber totalled 112 million board feet, a 3 per cent decline from the previous quarter.

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