Saturday, January 09, 2010

Climate Disruption Blamed for Costing Logging Jobs in B.C.

The massive tree-killing bark beetle outbreaks in British Columbia -- attributed to warming temperatures allowing greater numbers of the insects to survive through winters -- is said to be costing logging jobs:

More than 800 B.C. forestry workers are slated to lose their jobs by the end of January, and some say the mountain pine beetle is to blame.

In the northern Cariboo community of Quesnel, about 180 Canfor employees will be laid off Jan. 15 when the company curtails production at its sawmill. Another 120 truckers and loggers who serve the mill will be out of work as a result.

In Kitimat, on the North Coast, about 500 mill workers will lose their jobs Jan. 31 when the Eurocan paper mill shuts its doors.

While both companies blame the recession and the rising Canadian dollar for the decline in forestry, some say the mountain pine beetle is also taking a toll.

Mary Anne Arcand, who speaks for the Central Interior Logging Association, said lumber towns surrounded by green trees are faring better than those surrounded by beetle-killed forest.

"It's devastating," she said. "A significant part of it is that [Quesnel is] in the mountain pine beetle [range] and, slowly but surely, that fibre is becoming less useful."

Could this impact of warming end up pitting the timber industry against the fossil fuel industry, and lead to another instance of unlikely bedfellows supporting bold climate disruption solutions?

We'll see...

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