Wood Business

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Reader response to fibre allocation

Sept. 15, 2014 - A reader wrote a response to the editorial from the July/Aug issue of CFI about wasted forestry residuals in Canada (also see the online version with video). A former logger with 12 years' experience, Jon Rempel is now an Operations Supervisor for Doug Wylie Trucking as well as a contractor with dump/sand plow trucks and a grader. His letter to the editor reads as follows:

Hi Amie,

Read your great article in CFI, I do not fully understand why we do not utilize our wood waste like Sweden but suspect it may be because our forest policies make it very difficult.

Here is a theoretical scenario, I am driving down a logging road and I see a recent clear-cut with huge debris piles of wood fibre, I decide I want to chip this wood and haul it to the nearest pellet plant.

Problems are going to be that the Forest Service is going to expect a stumpage fee on this fibre, even though they are going to torch it otherwise.

Then the company that harvested the saw logs off the block has a liability to manage this clear-cut until it reaches a free growing forest and they are going to be unwilling to allow an unassociated contractor or company to remove this fibre because of fears of this activity affecting their liability. They would rather burn it. Out of sight, out of mind.

And then to use the road that this logging company maintains you will have to pay road user fees, and that is based on a per cubic metre standard that may be economically viable for valuable saw logs but it is not for salvage operations.

And that is why every year as the first good snowfall of the season approaches the debris piles on all the recent cut blocks in the central interior of BC are torched, burning hundreds of thousands of cubic metres of wood fibre.

I believe utilizing most of the wood fiber off of cut blocks in British Columbia, including the stump, is a really good idea but it has to be really cheap or it just simply is not going to work.

If these piles of wood fibre were more open for the taking, the ones within a reasonable distance of populated areas would likely be utilized as a cheap fuel source. But as it stands, nuclear, coal, oil, natural gas and hydroelectric, are all just so much cheaper of a fuel source.

Please correct me if I am wrong but that's my opinion.

Have a great day!
Jon Rempel
Fort Fraser, B.C.

If you have an opinion to share, please email the editor at asilverwood@annexweb.com.