September 29, 2017
Volume 17, Issue 19
Warning: Some of the facts expressed in this edition may be accurate.
A Summary And Synopsis Of Forecasts For Forestry Services From the WFCA Summit
One of the main functions of any brain is to figure out what is going to happen next. The same applies to intelligent businesses. The general irony, of course, is that the future is unknowable. Notwithstanding the latter, the WFCA held its 2017 Annual Business and Market Summit this week to gather evidence and help forecast the demand for forestry services in B.C. going forward. Here is a brief synopsis of some of the principal findings based on data and estimates from the Forest Enhancement Society of BC, MRLNRORD Forests for Tomorrow, and BC Timber Sales:
- Sowing requests for planting in 2018 are not complete as we wait for all licensees to submit their summer planting figures. So far next year’s spring planting is at 197.4 million. This year’s spring planting was 202.5 million. The bellwether now is the summer planting of next year, which so far, is at 28.2 million and counting. This year’s total sowing requests were 266.6 million with a summer plant of 57.9 million province-wide.
- The longer term view for seedlings is interesting as the estimates in the above graph show. The Forest Carbon Initiative with Forest Enhancement of BC funding is now on track to plant 10 million seedlings in 2019 and 30 million in 2020 dedicated mostly to restoring this year’s fires. Depending on the possibility of federal and provincial funding the program has the potential to support an ongoing large reforestation program in the future.
- Enhanced basic i.e. planting certain species at increased densities, is expected to buoy sowing requests.
- These forecasts will place an increased demand on our current seed supply, which will have to be replenished. Both conifer and deciduous seeds will be in demand.
- The devastation of this year’s wildfire season is only beginning to be measured in terms of standing inventory and lost plantations. But it is severe from all accounts just looking in from the perimeters of these fires, which are still too dangerous to survey on the ground. The drought as well may have been extremely destructive to this year’s planting in the Cariboo, Chilcotin and Southern Interior. Initial reports of widespread mortality suggest more discouraging news around seedling survival.
- Future forestry work, especially planting and surveying, on burned stands and old decaying MPB forests will require developing best practices around danger tree assessing. The WFCA and the BC Forest Safety Council plan to work with government to produce practical protocols.
- Multi-year contracts going forward have advantages in allowing employers to better recruit and retain competent employees over the long term. Contracts of various sizes are helpful. The timing of tendering prior to the field season is critical to getting the best bids and the best service providers.
- BCTS offered 14 million cubic meters of wood this year and plans to plant 46 million seedlings and brush 5700 hectares most of that manually in 2018. Volume offerings will decline over the next three years to 11.6 million cubic meters due largely to the decreasing cut. At the same time BCTS’s planting numbers are expected to remain stable in part due to increased planting density.
- As discussed at the Summit the forestry services community of contractors, consultants and seedling producers is quite capable of matching the demand that the future may hold for reforestation and restoration work. For that to work best the entrepreneurial sector needs reliable forecasts and well articulated plans from government planners. At the tactical level the WFCA working closely with government, BCTS and FESBC on how to best tender contracts, prequalify bidders and evaluate performance will benefit all parties. The 2017 Summit was a good example of that kind of collaboration.
- Complete presentations from the Summit will be posted soon on wfca.ca