The Forest Economy

HOW DO WE MAINTAIN A VIABLE FOREST ECONOMY in Nova Scotia in a mostly global, highly competitive market place, while addressing key sustainability/environmental issues?.

In discussions of the economics of forestry, sustainability of supply is generally taken for granted (or the estimates of sustainable yields not questioned) and environmental issues, wildlife etc. are often overlooked or downplayed. On the flip side, discussions of environmental and conservation issues (as featured in many links on other pages on this website) often ignore or gloss over the economic challenges. We need to address all of the issues collectively and honestly. The links below are to websites and online documents that I have found helpful in my ongoing effort to understand The Forest Economy.

Panta Rei blog explores the economics of forestry in Nova Scotia & changes in forests and employment
Three posts made in March/April 2017 address the forest economy in N.S.: NS Budget, Economics and Employment With comparison to Tourism, Analysis of the economics of forestry in Nova Scotia, From ships to chips, Nova Scotia Forestry analysis.

aww1bandsawAtlantic Canada’s Forest Industry PART ONE Current Status, Future Opportunities
Donald W. Floyd and Rajendra Chaini, The Canadian Institute for Forest Policy and Communication at the University of New Brunswick. Oct 2007 report, 40 pages. Out of date but covers a lot of the basics that still apply. Fig 1: A simplified Forest System Schematic gives a broad pic of how the forest industry is structured, what goes where. “It is useful to think of our forests and our many forest products industries as a system of interconnected parts”.

We can “cut less and do more” to foster a healthy forest economy in Nova Scotia
Post, Apr 20, 2017 Robert Taylor of Taylor Lumber Co. in Musquodoboit offers some advice from practical experience. To paraphraseL We aren’t that big and it isn’t that complicated; we need to do things we have always done on a local level, only better, and take advantage of new technologies.

Transformation of the Nova Scotia Forest Sector
NS Department of Natural Resources Page 4 Background Paper to Public Accounts, May 14th, 2014. NSDNR perspective – a clear focus on Industrial Forestry. “ISSUE: Nova Scotia’s forest sector has undergone drastic restructuring over the last 10 years. Recent reports by external economists (Woodbridge, Poyry, Roberts) reflect long-term declines and cyclical markets for newsprint and softwood lumber, signaling the need for change if this very interdependent sector is to be viable in the future. A healthy primary forest industry and the by-products it provides is a precondition for the new forest industry. Innovation and advanced wood products in the value-add forest sector means that after a tree has been cut, additional processing by people, tools or machines increases the market value of the raw log, creating more jobs and economic spin-offs. Balancing the need for industry to flourish in rural Nova Scotia with the obvious need for sustainable resource management is key to the success of the forest sector.” Amongst the Next Steps: “Support development of forest sector innovation to achieve higher value from wood fibre. DNR needs to be appropriately equipped with resources and a dedicated structure to proactively address challenges during the transition period toward a transformed forest sector.” Of note: “The demand for spruce and fir wood from Crown land exceeds available supply both now and in the coming years. Lower quality hardwood species and other softwoods are available for allocation and harvest.”

Nova Scotia Forest Industry Economic Impact (Dec. 2017)
Forest Nova Scotia commissioned report by Gardner Pinfold Consultants. It highlights: $2.1 Billion in total economic impact ($1.5 Billion in 2012);
11,500 Nova Scotians are employed directly and indirectly by the forest industry (10,200 in 2012); and $800 million contribution to provincial GDP ($575 million in 2012) but lacks some critical details and figures on government support (re: Post on this website jan 27, 2017)

Generating More Value from Our Forests A Vision and Action Plan for Further Manufacturing
UBC document. On page 4 a graph shows GDP per Cubic Metre of Fibre (1990 – 2000) for 15 countries. Canada ranks 14th ($123/m3); USA is 5th ($290), Japan top ($664). Document describes new end uses, value added products etc.

Nova Scotia’s Pulp & Paper Sector….. Back from the Brink of Disaster
By Peter Woodbridge
Recent history, possibly overly optimistic; informative (Jan 2015)

Nova Scotia forestry sector hangs by a thread
Op-ed 4 Feb 2015 by Kingsley Brown, president of the Nova Scotia Landowners and Forest Fibre Producers Association.

Adding value to forest products
Peter Milley, FCMC, Halifax Global Inc, for Nova Scotia Commission on Building Our New Economy. Emphasizes the role of biomass in the new economy.

The wood from the trees: The use of timber in construction
By Michael H. Ramagea et al. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews Volume 68, Part 1, February 2017, Pages 333–359. Comprehensive.

Forest Sector Innovation in Canada 2015
A Compendium by the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers. Pages 27-31 list for NS: Name of Initiative, Type of Initiative, Description Administering. Organization(s) Website

Efforts to integrate direct and indirect costs
and benefits of forestry

“WoodsCamp brings logging into the 21st Century”
The WoodsCamp approach is modelled on the “Sharing Economy“, and seeks to simplify landowners’ participation in the forest economy through use of web/cellphone-based networking tools which in turn can provide new options for woodlot owners to manage their woodlots, sell their wood and provide more steady work for forestry workers. It is decidedly NOT a clearcut intensive approach.

Forestry Lab: Forestry Summit #2
Summary from Summit #2 held on 12 April 2016. It identifies a number of economic challenges to forestry in NS.

The Nova Scotia GPI Forest Accounts Volume 1: Indicators of Ecological, Economic & Social Values of Forests in Nova Scotia (2001)
“The Genuine Progress Index (GPI) assigns explicit value to natural capital assets, including the full range of forest functions and vital ecosystem services that provide multiple benefits to human society.” View also Volume 2: A Way Forward: Case Studies in Sustainable Forestry and the 2008 Update

A Buyers’ Guide to Canada’s Sustainable Forest Products
Forest Products Association of Canada. No Date

About forest value and supply chains

Journal of Science and Technology for Forest Products and Processes V1(2). 2011.
Several articles, e.g. Eldon Gunn on Integrated mill/resource capacity planning in the Canadian forest industry.

Introduction to Forest Products Supply Chain Management
by Taraneh Sowlati . 50 item slide show.

Supply Chain Network Optimization of the Canadian Forest Products Industry: A Critical Review
Shashi Shahi & Reino Pulkki in American Journal of Industrial and Business Management, 2013, 3, 631-643. “The Canadian forest products industry has failed to retain its competitiveness in the global markets because of the underutilization of its resources. Supply chain optimization models can identify the best possible fibre utilization strategies from multiple options of value creation based on fluctuating market conditions in the forest industries.” It’s clear that “sustainablity” has quite different meanings in different disciplines.

About particular operations

Lobster Trap Sawmill
By George Fullerton Nova Scotia’s AFT Sawmill was born out of necessity to provide lumber for the A. F. Theriault & Son Ltd. boatyard, but it now produces a broad range of products—with a significant “value add” lumber product being lobster trap components.

Seeing the forest for the trees
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, February 19, 2014. Describes some successful forest businesses in Atlantic Canada.

Northern Pulp committed to sustaining Nova Scotia’s valued forestlands
Sponsored content in the Chronicle Herald. No Date

Sawmills and pulp mills in Nova Scotia are intrinsically intertwined. On average, 70 per cent of each softwood tree is delivered to a sawmill in the form of a saw log. Approximately 50 per cent of each saw log is manufactured into lumber; with the remaining 50 per cent being by-products, chips and bark, sold to pulp mills like Northern Pulp.

The sale of these by-products is essential for sawmill economic survival. Northern Pulp is the largest supplier to the province’s sawmills. Northern Pulp also purchases 95 per cent of all sawmill chips and 40 per cent of all sawmill bark produced in Nova Scotia. “Without these sawmills, there could be no pulp mills and without pulp mills, sawmills could not survive,” states Bruce Chapman, Northern Pulp General Manager. “The connection and interdependence is just that simple.”

See also links under Forest Friendly Forestry.

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