Pulp and Paper Canada

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Beetle-killed timber losing value fast


February 20, 2007
By Pulp & Paper Canada

The window of opportunity to harvest beetle-killed wood is much narrower than previously thought, the Vancouver Sun…

The window of opportunity to harvest beetle-killed wood is much narrower than previously thought, the Vancouver Sun has reported.

The wood quality is coming down a lot quicker than people thought it would, the Sun reported Paul Quinn, industry analyst with Salman Partners as saying. There is definitely going to be a day of reckoning as some people are referring to it. And that is worrisome.

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Recent studies have indicated a significantly shorter shelf life for timber killed by the beetle. The report confirmed that one to two years after the trees die, a large amount of the wood dries out and cracks, making it difficult to process. Its like trying to cut through frozen butter versus cutting through normal butter with a hot knife, the Sun quoted Quinn as describing. When wood is wet, it is really bendy; it doesnt break. You see it in the sawmill, they whip it around and it is not a problem. It is really soft. With the drier stuff, they are finding that breakage goes way up, recovery is down and the maintenance aspect is a lot heavier.

The far-reaching ramifications of the epidemic, and the stress placed on equipment in sawmills from dry, cracked wood, are cited as reasons for the rapidly declining value of beetle-killed timber.


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