Is the forest of Abitibi-Témiscamingue and Northern Quebec still sustainable?
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In the article by Louis Pelletier, ing.f. Forestier en Chef (LeSoleil June 22, 2023 in French), he essentially addressed 4 questions:
Is the current forestry potential (2023-2028) still viable, given the extent of forest fires? We need to carry out a new forest assessment to determine what the forest will be able to offer in terms of timber production after the passage of these fires. A number of factors will determine this capacity, such as precise mapping of the areas affected by the fires, which stands are affected, their maturity, detailed plans for salvaging burnt wood, etc.
Did we anticipate fires of this magnitude? We were expecting an upsurge in forest fires.
Do our allowable harvest estimates take into account the risks associated with forest fires? The allowable harvest estimate incorporates past fires in the form of forest updates. The current approach is to establish these precautions where fires have been most active in the past.
Are our management strategies adequate in the light of fire recurrence? A number of current factors need to be reviewed in order to adapt them to the challenges of climate change.
We won’t solve all the challenges raised by the modeling results, but our intention is to implement and offer decision-support tools to reduce the risks associated with climate change on our forests.
The vitality and resilience of our forests and biodiversity must be at the heart of our concerns.
In an article on the “Opérations forestières” website dated April 13, 2023, we present some statistics from a study carried out by Mr. Louis Dupuis.
See the original article (in French) HERE
The study reveals that the average founding age of these companies is 22 years, with the median founding year in 1994.
Furthermore, according to our non-scientific estimate, there must have been between 1,000 and 1,200 forestry contractors in Quebec in the mid-1990s. Today, only around 500 remain, which is extremely worrying for the future of the forest industry.
In a February 11, 2021 post (in French) by L’Étoile du Lac, the same author pointed out that lumber prices may be reaching record highs, but forest logging contractors aren’t benefiting. Worse, prices have stagnated for over twenty years. For him, the situation is untenable.
“In the mid-90s, the price offered to forestry contractors was around $18 per cubic metre. Today, although there have been some rather timid adjustments, we’re still at around $18 per cubic metre. Contractors’ operating costs, on the other hand, have skyrocketed,” he explains
Also from L’étoile du lac, May 22, 2022 by Serge Tremblay: The weighted index of variations in the costs of forestry contractors in Quebec (IPVCEFQ) developed by Louis Dupuis is clear: it costs 147.5% more to operate a logging business than it did in 2011. With prices per cubic metre barely budging since then, it’s no wonder some contractors are jumping ship.
LeQuotidien July 10, 2023 (in French) by Guillaume Roy quotes a testimonial in his article:
“It is far from meeting my needs as a general contractor or the needs of the companies that work for the cooperative,” says Stéphane Gagnon, general manager of the Coopérative forestière de Girardville, which works with some forty forestry companies.
No one can guarantee the future of forestry. In the near future, we’re likely to see the emergence of some very different business models.
Unfortunately, the economic conclusion of this natural cycle will have to wait a few more years. When it does, we’ll be able to point to the resilience of the forestry sector as it rises from the ashes.