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Pine beetle takes ten year toll


June 6, 2005
By Pulp & Paper Canada

The CBC recently reported the effects of the mountain pine beetle epidemic in BC will start showing up ten years fr…

The CBC recently reported the effects of the mountain pine beetle epidemic in BC will start showing up ten years from now, when trees killed off by the pest will no longer be able to be used by the industry, and will create a drop in production. A presentation by Craig Campbell, leader of PricewaterhouseCoopers performance improvement practice for the global forest and paper industry, confirmed that the area afflicted with the epidemic is double the size of the annual allowable cut in the province. However, where the real trouble lies is in the urgency to harvest the attacked wood as quickly as possible so it doesn’t go to waste. However, in a decade, when all the afflicted wood has been harvested, Campbell confirmed there will be a tremendous decline in the amount of wood harvested in BC. Campbell further acknowledged that while mills are increasing business in their haste to cut down the trees, once they begin to be processed, that business will just as quickly decline, culminating in sawmill closures and job losses.

In response to a recent announcement by Ainsworth Lumber in which it communicated its intent to drop more than $400 million to build two OSB mills in BC, Campbell remains skeptical and declared his presumption that the life span of these mills will likely only be ten years as a result of the pine beetle epidemic.

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