Future of forestry uncertain as wildfires, infestations impact supply

Ellen Cools
January 03, 2019
By Ellen Cools
January 3, 2019 – With falling demand in the U.S., increasingly intense and frequent forest fires, and spreading insect infestations, the future of Canadian forestry is uncertain, reports The Canadian Press.

According to the article, this means production at sawmills, particularly in B.C., will have to be permanently reduced. Many mills in B.C. have already announced reductions, including West Fraser, Interfor, Conifex and Canfor.

However, the supply issue is not surprising, given the recent record-setting forest fire seasons, caused by pine beetle decay in large areas of forest and warmer, drier weather. In 2017, wildfires burned 1.2 million hectares of forest; in 2018, the number is estimated to be 1.4 million, compared to an average of 151,000 hectares in the previous 10 years.

With this diminishing supply, companies have had to expand further into the U.S. or abroad, Ed Sustar, a forestry products analyst at Moody's Investor Service, told The Canadian Press.

Looking ahead, fibre availability will remain an issue, along with the potential effects of climate change, which has already reduced timber supply.

Read the full article here.

Originally published on WoodBusiness.ca.

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