[Ministry of Forests Annual Report 1993/94 Table of Contents]
Economics and Trade
Economics and Trade is one of seven sub-programs funded under Integrated Resource Management. In this sub-program, staff direct and analyze the preparation of policy assessments for the ministry in the areas of resource economics, industry economics, forest resource revenue, forest products trade, and log exports.
Staff goals are to:
Economics and Trade staff serve primarily the ministry’s executive and senior managers, but they also supply information to other ministries and governments, forest companies and other sector stakeholders.
- develop policies that foster the development and economic health of the province’s forest resource and the forest industry
- prepare economic analyses of forest resource matters, such as timber supply-and-demand economics, alternative forest management practices, and project benefit/cost analyses
- provide funding for forest products research
- manage forest-related trade matters such as log exports, trade issues and the softwood lumber dispute with the United States.
During this fiscal year, program staff:
- reviewed trade issues affecting the forest products industry
- coordinated forest-related environment and trade issues and managed incoming missions
- prepared socio-economic assessments of possible changes in harvest levels resulting from the Timber Supply Review
- published and distributed a directory of wood-processing plants in the province
- funded wood-products research
- reviewed proposals for new forest tenures
- coordinated economics research projects, including the Economic and Social Analysis program of the Canada - B.C. Partnership
Agreement on Forest Resource Development (FRDA II).
The Forest Industry in 1993
In 1993 the British Columbia forest industry made an aggregate profit for the first time since 1989. Underlying the aggregate, however, were two very different stories. The solid-wood sector enjoyed high prices and record profits, while the pulp-and-paper sector experienced large losses. The best news for the pulp-and-paper sector in 1993 was evidence toward the end of the year that the bottom had finally been reached, and better things were in store for 1994. Some further details:
- total forest industry shipments were $13.8 billion, up 24 per cent from 1992
- net earnings, according to Price Waterhouse estimates, were $520 million in 1993, compared to a loss of $262 million in 1992
- estimated capital expenditures were $1.1 billion in 1993, the same as actual capital expenditures in 1992
- direct employment averaged 101,000 in 1993, up 9.8 per cent from 92,000 in 1992.
British Columbia’s lumber production in 1993 was 14.4 billion board feet, up 2 per cent from 14.2 billion board feet recorded in 1992.
The average price of the bell-wether indicator for the Interior industry – western spruce-pine-fir 2x4s (kiln-dried, random length, standard-and-better grade) – rose from US$231 per thousand board feet in 1992 to US$332 in 1993, amid tremendous volatility.
The North American lumber market improved in 1993, with U.S. housing starts rising to 1.3 million units, up from 1.2 million in 1992. Lumber shipments to the U.S. were up 8 per cent, to 8.9 billion board feet.
Offshore lumber shipments were down 2 per cent, to 3.0 billion board feet.
British Columbia’s shipments of market chemical paper-grade pulp increased by approximately 8 per cent in 1993, to 3.5 million tonnes. The increase was realized despite poor markets in 1993, partly because a strike curtailed production in 1992.
The average price of northern bleached softwood kraft pulp (NBSKP) was approximately US$425 per tonne in 1993, down considerably from the 1992 average level of US$550 per tonne.
British Columbia’s newsprint production totalled 1.9 million tonnes in 1993, up 24 per cent from 1992. The healthy increase was due, in part, to the 1992 strike, and to slightly improved markets in 1993.
The average U.S. West Coast price of standard newsprint was US$440 per tonne in 1993, up slightly more than 2 per cent from US$430 per tonne in 1992.
Plywood production was 1.7 billion square feet (3/8-inch basis) in 1993, down slightly from 1.8 billion square feet the year before. More than 80 per cent of the plywood produced in British Columbia is consumed within Canada. Canadian housing starts totalled 157,000 in 1993, down 7 per cent from 168,000 units in 1992. Exports of shakes and shingles, more than 98 per cent of which go to the United States, were down 14 per cent in 1993.
Value-added wood products
With encouragement from government, the industry has expanded programs in recent years to promote value-added processing in the wood products industry.
Jointly funded programs have wide support throughout the industry. They are designed to:
- develop market and technical information
- promote value-added wood products made in B.C.
- participate in regional and international trade shows and missions
- encourage improved use of the wood resource.
Corporate Policy and Planning
Corporate Policy and Planning is one of seven sub-programs funded under Integrated Resource Management. It coordinates and develops:
- ministry corporate planning and policy
- initiatives to help the government resolve aboriginal land claims
- activities to promote aboriginal involvement in the forest sector
- policy analysis and consultation processes to respond to current and emerging issues
- the ministry legislation program
- contributions to inter-ministry policy, planning ad inter-governmental initiatives
During 1993/94, Corporate Policy and Planning staff:
- provided support to the government’s treaty negotiations with the Nisga’a First Nation, and with the McLeod Lake Indian Band, specifically:
- helping develop provincial treaty mandates to guide negotiations
- assessing the value of the land and resources being negotiated
- consulting with staff and affected third parties to provide local perspectives to treaty negotiations
- coordinated the hiring of 20 aboriginal forestry advisors in forest district offices around the province
- negotiated memoranda of understanding with First Nations
- provided technical and administrative support to the First Nations Forestry Council
- supported field staff in addressing First Nations’ concerns
- developed policy to implement First Nations’ consultation strategies in forest districts
- organized and facilitated an information session with First Nations on the Forest Practices Code Discussion Paper and Rules documents
- provided policy support for major legislative initiatives, including:
- the Forest Practices Code of British Columbia
- the Forest Land Reserve Act
- the Forest Amendment Act
- provided support to other ministries in developing:
- the Heritage Resources Conservation Act
- the Environmental Assessment Act
- developed an annual ministry-wide business planning process, and began a phased implementation of business plans in collaboration with the Prince Rupert and Kamloops forest regions
- prepared the Five-Year Forest and Range Resource Program, 1993-1998.
Forest Sector Strategy
The Forest Sector Strategy Sub-program is funded under Integrated Resource Management. It was established late in the 1993/94 fiscal year to coordinate two new key initiatives undertaken by the ministry and by government as a whole:
Forest Sector Strategy Committee (FSSC)
The government announced the formation of the FSSC in April 1993. Its mandate is to develop a long-term, environmentally sustainable industrial strategy that will enhance the economic and social benefits derived from British Columbia’s forest sector. The committee includes representatives from industry, labor, communities, First Nations, the environmental movement, academia, and federal and provincial governments.
Forest Renewal Plan
The Forest Renewal Plan provides a framework for a long-term investment strategy for B.C.’s forests and forest sector. The plan will be implemented by Forest Renewal BC, a new Crown agency established by the B.C. Forest Renewal Act, and run by a multi-stakeholder board of directors.
During 1993/94, Forest Sector Strategy staff:
- secretariat and support services to the FSSC
- support and advice to the ministry’s executive in its work with the FSSC
- policy and administrative support to the ministry’s executive and senior managers in developing the Forest Renewal Plan
- coordinated Forest Renewal Plan input from ministry branches and other ministries (e.g., the Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks, the Ministry of Employment and Investment, the Ministry of Small Business, Tourism and Culture, and the Ministry of Skills, Training and Labour)
- took a leadership role in drafting the B.C. Forest Renewal Act.
Forest Sector Strategy staff will continue to support the discussions of the FSSC.
Staff will manage the early implementation of the Forest Renewal Plan until Forest Renewal BC is established. They will continue to play a lead role in initiating policy changes that are also part of the Forest Renewal Plan. Staff will also coordinate the ministry’s work with Forest Renewal BC in implementing investment programs in areas that fall under the ministry’s jurisdiction.
Integrated Resources Section
Funded under Integrated Resource Management, the Integrated Resources Section was created in 1993/94 to:
- provide direction and project management to the development of the Forest Practices Code
- provide secretariat support to the Forest Practices Steering Committee
- develop guidelines, policies and procedures for forest practices such as coastal biodiversity guidelines, community watershed guidelines, and Interior fisheries forestry wildlife guidelines
- develop strategies for emerging forest management issues (e.g., botanical forest products, threatened and endangered species, and model forests).
To fulfill their mandate during the 1993/94 fiscal year, Integrated Resources Section staff:
- participated in the release of the Forest Practices Code Discussion Paper and draft Rules, and in consultations with the public, stakeholders and First Nations
- continued to help develop the Forest Practices Code legislation (the Forest Practices Code of B.C. Act), regulations, standards and field guides
- providing ongoing secretariat support to the Forest Practices Steering Committee
- contracted for and released the expanded audit of the Coastal Fisheries Forestry Guidelines (CFFG), and completed follow-up action plans resulting from the release of the original audit (Vancouver Island) and the expanded audit (the rest of the Coast)
- released the third edition of the Coastal Fisheries Forestry Guidelines
- completed policy on wildlife trees
- released the draft Botanical Forest Products Report
- established the Pine Mushroom Task Force, and completed a report on the task force’s recommendations
- provided forestry guidance to the Model Forest program
- participated in the development of:
- the Coastal biodiversity guidelines
- the Interior fisheries forestry wildlife guidelines
- Coastal and Interior watershed assessment procedures
- strategies for threatened and endangered species.
As the Integrated Resources Policy Branch, staff will continue their work in 1994/95 to help develop, direct, support and guide major forest management practices initiatives undertaken by the ministry.
Under this program, ministry staff provide inventory data to forestry planners in the private and public sectors, and to regional and district planners and managers within the ministry.
In 1993/94, data provided to these clients included:
- current forest inventory statistics through periodic re-inventory and regular depletion updates
- digital graphic files with geo-referenced inventory data
- an updated area-volume digital database for use in timber supply analysis to assist in determination of the allowable annual cut
- the development and calibration of growth, yield, volume and decay models for estimating and projecting forest stands for inventory reporting and resource analysis.
Provincial and local planners need up-to-date, detailed forest-cover information in a geo-referenced format. In providing this information to clients, Forest Inventory staff contribute directly to improved forestry practices, resource management, and planning.
To meet their objectives during 1993/94, program staff:
Some of the highlights of the year included:
- provided approximately 2,831 days of quality training to 180 Inventory Program staff, other ministry personnel, and members of the private sector
- updated approximately 45 million hectares (3,004 map sheets), or one-half of the provincial forest land base, for depletions such as harvesting or disease, and silvicultural treatments such as thinning or planting. Staff also created a new digital graphic and attribute file for each updated map sheet.
- re-inventoried approximately 3.7 million hectares (253 map sheets) of the provincial forest land base to better describe and quantify the timber resource
- completed validation and testing of a variable density yield-prediction system for Coastal/Interior species
- established, remeasured and/or purchased 1,118 permanent sample plots, which generate tree-growth trends over time and are used in the variable density yield-prediction system
- collected stem analysis (site) data on 100 cottonwood trees
- ecologically assessed 742 permanent sample plots
- collected stem-analysis data on 600 mature volume and decay trees from the Queen Charlotte Islands timber supply area (TSA)
- produced 200 area-volume and other statistical reports
- produced 15 TSA, area-volume data files for timber supply analysis
- expanded the in-house digital map update in an additional 10 forest districts, bringing the total to 13 districts
- continued to develop procedures and field-testing components of the new vegetation inventory.
This program, piloted in 1992, went into operation in 1993 with audits in three TSAs and one tree farm licence (TFL). Audits conducted within the Invermere, Mackenzie and northern portion of the Kalum TSAs verified the overall volume accuracy in these management units. The data collected on the Kalum study also provided additional information to verify the audit sampling design.
The studies indicated that for broad planning, the overall volumes used in the determination of the allowable annual cut (AAC) are accurate. However, additional analysis is being done to further identify other non-timber inventory volume concerns. Audit data collected for TFL 14 indicated that the volume component of the inventory was marginally underestimated. The licensee, under the guidance of the Ministry of Forests, is undertaking action to identify and correct the problem within the inventory, with the differences in volume reflected in the upcoming management plan.
The 1994 inventory audit program will perform audits within 18 management units, with the goal of completing the audits for the entire province by 1997. To date, public reports have been produced for the following audits: 1992 – Invermere TSA, Mackenzie TSA, TFL 14, northern portion of Kalum TSA; 1993 – TFL 39, Block 6, Queen Charlotte Islands TSA, Toquart River Drainage.
The Forest Resources Commission identified the importance of and need for an updated and integrated approach to all forest resources inventories. In response to this recommendation, under the guidance of the Resources Inventory Committee, working with the Terrestrial Ecosystems Task Force, the Vegetation Inventory Working Group developed procedures for a new vegetation inventory. During the summer of 1993, components of the new inventory design, which includes information about timber, soils, ecology, range and wildlife habitat, were tested in areas near Jordan River and Williams Lake. The results of these tests will be used in the design and implementation of a larger operational test project during the summer of 1994.
A process is being developed to generalize the existing 1:20,000 scale forest cover maps to a scale of 1:250,000. The software will automatically blend small forest cover types as the scale is reduced, and 30 layers of generalized forest cover will become a standard product. Maps can be produced from these layers of information.
District in-house update
The digital capture (updating) of forest cover maps for disturbances is currently completed through the contracting community. Three forest districts served as pilots for in-house updating during 1992/93, and the program was expanded to 10 districts during the 1993/94 fiscal year. This program will be expanded to an additional nine districts in 1994/95, bringing the total to 22 districts.
Queen Charlotte Islands forest map
The Queen Charlotte Islands (QCI) forest and image map will be released in May 1994. The QCI forest map was derived from Landsat 5 satellite imagery, and was used to classify the forest in broad classes. It is designed for broad, overview planning. The image map was processed to give a true color representation of the QCI.
With a budget of $25.1 million in 1994/95, Inventory staff will:
The Forest Inventory Planning program (FIPLOAD) will convert the provincial database to reflect revised volume calculations and parameters, while incorporating improved district-based error detection and data capture.
- provide more than 3,100 training days to ministry staff and the private sector in procedures relating to data collection, processing and reporting for the provincial vegetation inventory system scheduled for implementation in 1995
- update more than 2,300 map sheets for depletions
- re-inventory more than 300 map sheets
- establish remeasurement or purchase of 1,100 permanent sample plots
- ecologically assess 1,000 permanent sample plots
- produce 250 area-volume and other statistical reports
- produce area-volume data files for nine timber supply areas in support of timber supply analysis
- expand the in-house digital map update program into an additional 12 district offices
- test new vegetation inventory classification and sampling components at two test sites
- operationally test new vegetation inventory on nine maps
- produce new taper equations for all commercial species by biogeoclimatic zone
- establish 80 temporary cruise plots for volume and decay analysis and validation
- finalize timber inventory information for 32 of the 35 TFLs
- complete 15 inventory audits
- begin data sales, based on map generalization being in full production
- start developing a new corporate inventory database.