Forest Products and Fibre


Executive Summary

The prosperity of the OBAC region has long been reliant on its timber resources. However, the mountain pine beetle epidemic has had a major impact on the region’s forests. While this epidemic has killed a substantial portion of the region’s forests this, however, presents both challenges and opportunities for the forest sector. The region is also currently facing a major downturn in its traditional

The forest sector is a complex and vitally important component of the economy of the OBAC region. Forest companies in the region are among the most efficient, capital intensive manufacturers of dimensional lumber and panel products in the world. These manufacturers rely on a stable, reliable supply of raw material, and reliable transportation of goods to market. Recently, in response to the MPB epidemic, many larger companies invested in upgrades to focus on milling dead pine. Actions are required, to strengthen this sector and allow it to take full advantage of the considerable volume of dead pine which is currently available. There is also a need to ensure that the future timber supply is available to support the production of the traditional forest products in the mid- and long-term.

There is a need to diversify the forest sector and produce a much wider range of timber and nontimber forest products from the region’s considerable forest assets. This will generate new wealth for the region and should lessen the impact of future downturns in the traditional lumber markets. These opportunities include the production of energy from wood, value added manufacturing, agro-forestry, and increased tourism.

The future resilience of the OBAC communities is largely dependent on the region’s rich forests. By addressing key areas such as: access to resources and certainty of supply; access to capital; transportation infrastructure to access markets; and information about markets and market opportunities the province can facilitate diversification and the development of a new forest economy for the region. Major forest management decisions can benefit or harm community interests, therefore the OBAC communities need to have a more direct role in the management of their forests. This will foster self-sufficiency and innovation, strengthen working relationships between aboriginal and non-aboriginal communities in the region, and allow local solutions to be developed.

OBAC communities envision a diverse forest sector that: builds upon the sustainable use and regeneration of forests; produces a diverse range of timber and non-timber forest products; encourages a diverse range of business models and partnerships; balances the need for quick response to changing forestry and market circumstances with the need for business certainty; operates under regulations that cultivate innovation; and continues to manage the forest resource for all forest values including ecological and cultural wellbeing.

Six objectives must be attained for OBAC communities to realize their vision. These are:

Objective 1.

Increase community benefits from forest resources.

Objective 2.

Diversify and strengthen the forest sector.

Objective 3.

Form stronger working partnerships and communication among First Nations, local communities, government, and the forest sector.

Objective 4.

Increase the ability to train and retain the required work force.

Objective 5.

Create a climate of ownership and pride in the region’s forest resources.

Objective 6.

Ensure the forest is managed to meet future needs and opportunities.

There are four recommendations that OBAC believes will promote evolution and sustainable development of the forest sector and forest resources in the OBAC region. The recommendations are built on principles of a resilient and diversified economy and good quality of life. An overarching consideration is the need to ensure that the region’s considerable forest and other environmental assets are not degraded and will continue to support the region’s communities for generations to Page vi come. The recommendations are further developed with more than 20 actions that guide future planning and implementation of the strategy. The recommendations are:

 

Recommendation 1.

Increase the benefits that communities can rely upon from forest resources and forestry.

Recommendation 2.

Ensure that the forest sector remains a strong economic contributor to the region.

Recommendation 3.

Recognize the pine beetle killed stands as a valuable asset which should be used to full potential before their commercial value is depleted.

Recommendation 4.

Increase awareness and understanding of the long-term viability of the forest sector.

These recommendations and associated actions will promote needed change in the management of the region’s forests, and the beneficial use of forest resources. They will also contribute directly to OBAC’s overarching goal of community resiliency. Priority actions include:

  • Provide all communities in the region with a more direct role in forest management and in the benefits derived from the region’s forests;
  • Incorporate community resilience considerations into major forest management decisionmaking;
  • Improve and enhance transportation infrastructure and services;
  • Provide more equitable and diverse access for existing and new users of fibre;
  • Increase the range of products generated from the region’s forest resources. Start by determining which high value and locally wealth-generating products are best suited for production from this region’s assets;
  • Ensure that dead pine stands are managed in a manner which addresses both their economic and environmental utility;
  • Create a positive and competitive business climate for bio-energy development through an integrated policy, regulatory, tenure, and pricing environment;
  • Provide information to the public on the strength and importance of the forest sector and the collective efforts to grow future opportunities; and
  • Grow the forests that we will need in the future with focused, large scale investments in a targeted reforestation program.