Western Silvicultural Contractors’ Association
Rumour Mill RoundUpDate
Sept 26, 2014
Vol. 14, Issue 16
Warning: There are no warnings or fact alerts for this edition.
Dogs save silviculture workers in close calls with bears:
Two reports so far this year of workers’ dogs saving them from predatory bear attacks. Both incidents involved supervisors working alone or at a distance from partners. One incident involved a grizzly stalking the worker who likely would not have seen the ursus horribilis threat if her young dog had not alerted her. She had just enough time to summon help and get to her truck. In another situation a supervisor looked up from the task at hand to see a black bear charging him. As the bear closed in the workers’ dog intercepted him in full flight deflecting the attack. There was no evidence in either case suggesting the dogs attracted the bears. Related to these close calls all workers should engage in the morning crew chorus of cacophony when they reach the block, testing their truck horns, whistles, lungs etc. to warn off the local fauna.
Planter wage rate index flattens:
Since 2000 the so called planting average piece rate index has followed a depressing trajectory. At the start of the last decade it sat at 30 cents. Lately it sits at around 22 cents with only 2007 showing a short-lived up tick. Figures just in for 2013 show the trend has flattened remaining the same as 2012 at 22.3 cents. Hardly a rigorous or a reliable indicator the figure is the quotient of dividing the number of annual trees sown with the WorkSafeBC assessable earnings yearly payroll for the sector. Nevertheless comparing this simple arithmetic trend with the annual inflation rate certainly mimics, if not actually indicates, a stark example of potential earning stagnation or worse in the planting sector. A better way to track real earnings in the sector is for employers to provide their employee contacts to the ongoing BC Silviculture Workforce Initiative annual silviculture sector survey in which workers estimate their actual earnings. In its fourth year now this poll is providing increasingly reliable indicators regarding recruiting, retaining and remunerating workers.
Fall planting on West Coast goes Old Testament:
The term West Coast drought should be a contradiction. But this year fall planting crew startups were delayed in some parts of Vancouver Island as foresters waited for rain after an unusually dry summer. Once started many crews were pulled off parched blocks in the continuing absence of rain and told to go camping until things got more seasonable. Things are reportedly back to normal now as many crews have had to remain in camp waiting out dangerously high winds and Biblical monsoonal downpours.
And now the long range view:
As we reported in the last RoundUpDate the MFLNRO’s Forest Practices Branch is forecasting the numbers of trees planted will shrink in the future. Here’s the graph of their forecast.
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