An innovative ten-year analysis of silvicultural firms registered with WorkSafeBC shows that among tree planting employers only 76 of the 244 registered at the beginning of the century were still registered in 2012. This declining trend was offset in part by new entrants to the industry bringing the total number of registered firms planting trees in 2012 to 203. Far more turnover was tracked among brushing, weeding and spacing firms with only 53 remaining of the original 364 registered in 2000. In 2012 the brushing and weeding community of employers numbered 203. Seeming to move in the opposite direction, employers registered for firefighting have actually increased over the past ten years, although there appears to have been little steady work to account for this. A conspicuous spike in fire fighting registration occurred in the big fire year of 2003 which may say as much about the level of qualification to get into the industry as it does about the level of work. The study’s observations suggest that barriers to entry may be low across the board. New entrants appear to generally get equal access to the silviculture services market with the established firms and new firms as a whole securing work proportional to their share of the employer base.
These reports may actually overestimate the number of employers registered being defunct firms need to deregister. Some firms may be inactive. This data is intended for information to be used in conjunction with other ongoing studies undertaken by the WSCA and its partners. Readers should be circumspect in drawing any firm conclusions from these data sets.
Figures comparing number of employers registered from 2000 through 2010 as a percentage of the 2010 assessable payroll:
703002 Brushing or Weeding or Tree Thinning or Spacing: 24%
703005 Forest Fire Fighting: 24%
703016 Tree Planting or Cone Picking: 65%
These percentages are fairly close (except maybe for 703016) to the percentages of employers that have remained registered for this period relative to the total employers registered at the end of 2010:
703002 Brushing or Weeding or Tree Thinning or Spacing: 29% (56/192)
703005 Forest Fire Fighting: 25% (11/44)
703016 Tree Planting or Cone Picking: 50% (79/159)