[Ministry of Forests Annual Report 1993/94 Table of Contents]
[Reporting function]

Economics and Trade

Sub-program

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.

1993/94 Progress

During this fiscal year, program staff:

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:

Lumber

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.

Market pulp

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.

Newsprint

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.

Other products

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:


[Reporting function]

Corporate Policy and Planning

Sub-program

Corporate Policy and Planning is one of seven sub-programs funded under Integrated Resource Management. It coordinates and develops:

1993/94 Progress

During 1993/94, Corporate Policy and Planning staff:
[Reporting function]

Forest Sector Strategy

Sub-program

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.

1993/94 Progress

During 1993/94, Forest Sector Strategy staff:

Forecasts

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.


[Reporting function]

Integrated Resources Section

Sub-program

Funded under Integrated Resource Management, the Integrated Resources Section was created in 1993/94 to:

1993/94 Progress

To fulfill their mandate during the 1993/94 fiscal year, Integrated Resources Section staff:

Forecasts

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.


[Reporting function]

Forest Inventory

Program

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:

1993/94 Progress

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:

Inventory audits

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.

Vegetation inventory

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.

Map generalization

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.

Forecasts

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.
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