.... Everything must change. And the
forest around us changes. Well, maybe I should say the manner in which
we look at the forest changes. The tree has taken on a new importance
in the past 10 years all over the world.
....The soothsayers of our industry are
telling us the world consumption of wood fibre will double in 20 years.
The talk of 10 and 12 year rotations are as common today as the startling
fact of 25 year rotation of southern pine was just a few years back.
....There is a new sophistication to the
entire industry that has changed a good many old prejudices and feelings
about our forests and her people. It’s funny what demand can do.
And that has been the byword. There was a time a very few years ago
when we were told that there was a glut of pulp mills. Now they’re
announcing them in many places – and I’ll be damned if they
haven’t built one in Japan and towed it to the Amazon River in
....Brazil is undoubtedly the new “in
place” for forestry these days. One has to wonder with so vast
an undertaking as is going on down there if the land can stand such
disturbance. Its eco-system is so tender.
....In the southern forests of the United
States the new forest genetic talk is of the 10 year rotation of eucalyptus.
This area will produce nearly 50 per cent of the U.S.A.’s wood
fibre in 20 years.
The advance of aerial logging is really quite startling. Where we dabbled
in experiments with balloons 10 years ago – right here on coastal
B.C., 100,000 cunits of wood were logged by large helicopters in 1978.
And it is estimated that figure will triple in 1979. The figures for
the American west coast will be even higher. The future can only be
up for this mode of logging.
advance and sophistication of logging machinery in this past 10 years
has allowed the industry to keep pace with the demand for wood products.
The whole tree gobblers and har-vesters, the new road building tech-niques
with backhoes and the dryland sorting of logs on this west coast have
all contributed to the efficiency and betterment of costs. This is not
to say that our costs have held the line. This industry has been a victim
of world wide inflation and there is no real sign of the spiral being
....Our industry has certainly felt the
effects of the Arab oil escalation these past six years. In logging,
everything we do depends on oil products. We would be hard pressed to
turn a wheel if all the Middle East erupted as Iran did this winter.
Certainly now we can not hold back on research monies for other means
than oil. The very waste on our forest floor after logging contains
untold energy if utilized. To say it’s econom-ically unsound to
research and develop that waste is to possibly deny our future. Is anyone
that sure about the stability of Middle East oil?
....The old order has changed in people
and policy, too, these past 10 years. With the demand for wood products
high, the large integrated companies have had to turn to contractors
for added production. Government policies have assisted this turn to
contracting and will no doubt play a larger role in years to come.
....I find it very interesting, all the
comment of late, about various take-overs of forest industry firms
by other firms. And there was a time when such take-overs were simply
a matter of course and nobody’s business but the parties concerned.
....But what is different now are the vocal
objections that people have to “too large” a take-over.
So big is fair game – but there seems to be a limit now at which
the public or govern-ments will react where they never reacted before.
....The old order has changed a great deal
for the better in forest industry labor-management negotiations and
relations. This will be a big year for the two parties, coming off a
two year contract in the B.C. woods. I seem to remember a few years
ago at this time of year – if negotiations were imminent –
that the threats and counter-threats were flying everywhere. Why, even
our senior media people are having difficulty getting headlines out
of our upcoming negotiations this year. A pleasant change that must
....I notice quite a change in the number
of forest related periodicals available now. Particularly from the United
States. They now cover in –depth every aspect of logging, milling,
manufacturing, etc. And I note a far greater emphasis being placed on
the logger, his work and his machines. It’s really as if there
was a new awareness of the logging factor.
....And so the old order does change –
yet it seems there are certain times when it is more noticeable. The
forest around us and her people have come a long way, baby. Let’s
not stop – we’re a “swellegant” industry full
of nice folks.
Keep out of the bight,