Connect with us

Real Estate

The changing nature of Canada’s forest supply as fires, bugs, and climate bite

Editor

Published

on

[ad_1]

Mills in the heart of Canada’s timber industry have fallen quieter this winter as wildfires and infestations made worse by climate change have made vast tracts of once valuable forest into barren stands of dead trees.

After seeing record high softwood lumber prices earlier this year, Canada’s forestry industry is facing an uncertain future due to falling demand from a cooling U.S. housing market, increasingly frequent and intense forest fires and the continuing damage from pests such as the mountain pine beetle.

“We’re kind of at that point in the cycle where, unfortunately, permanent reductions have to happen,” said Ed Sustar, a forestry products analyst at Moody’s Investor Service.

“It’s going to be a relatively sizable part of the B.C. lumber industry, but it’s not a surprise.”

British Columbia, home to close to a third of Canada’s wood manufacturing jobs, is showing the most visible effects of reduced supplies as numerous companies have cut back mill production in recent months.

Pine beetles

West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd. cited timber supply shortages brought on by the mountain pine beetle for permanently cutting 300 million board feet of production, at a cost of upwards of 75 jobs in the new year, at its Fraser Lake and Quesnel sawmills. That was on top of production cuts in the last stretch of the year at a string of interior mills from log supply constraints.

Interfor Corp. cut about 20 per cent of production for this last quarter, citing escalating log costs, while Canfor Corp. curtailed B.C. production by 10 per cent due to log supply constraints. Conifex Timber Inc. cut production by 15 per cent at its Fort St. James, and then by another 10 per cent for the next half year.

A dead pine beetle is shown on the inside of a piece of bark peeled from a beetle-killed tree near Albany, Wyo., on July 12, 2017. (Dan Elliott/Associated Press)

The supply issue has, however, been looming for some time, as the large swaths of B.C. forest killed by a pine beetle epidemic decay into worthless dead stands. The tinderbox created by the outbreak, combined with warmer, drier weather, have in turn helped create back-to-back record forest fire seasons in the province.

Wildfires

In 2017 wildfires destroyed about 1.2 million hectares of forest. This fiscal year it’s estimated at 1.4 million, compared with an average of 151,000 hectares for the 10 prior years.

The decrease in the amount of healthy B.C. forest has pushed companies to expand further into the U.S. or abroad, said Sustar.

“All these companies where B.C. was their base, they’re all expanding and diversifying outside of B.C., and B.C.’s become a smaller portion.”

The provincially-set amount of timber that industry can harvest has already dropped by about 25 per cent in the past decade to around 52 million cubic metres, noted Sustar. B.C. government projections on the impacts of the 2017 fires alone are expected to reduce the mid-term supply by more than half in Williams Lake and 100 Mile House and by about 44 per cent in Quesnel.

“We do and we will have a mid-term challenge with respect to availability,” said Susan Yurkovich, president of the B.C. Council of Forest Industries.

“Fibre availability is a key issue for the industry, it’s our main product input, so of course it’s very significant.”

Climate change

The wild card in all of this continues to be the effects of climate change, and how much it will change the supply picture.

“It’s already really created huge problems in terms of timber supply,” said Sally Aitken, a professor at the University of British Columbia.

“Climate change will touch pretty much everything we do in forestry, and everything that lives in forests.”

She’s studying how to create forests that will be more resilient to climate change, by selecting genetic varieties of trees that could better withstand the changes coming.

The impact of climate change on the health of forests is hard to predict, however, as changing weather patterns lead to both wetter and drier conditions, while a variety of threats including insects like the pine beetle, fir beetle, spruce budworm as well as diseases and fungi get worse.

Barry Cooke, a forestry researcher at Natural Resources Canada, describes the trend as climate weirding, since so many factors are at play.

“You have climate changes percolating through this cascade of physical and biotic consequences,” said Cooke.

His research has focused in part on Canada’s far north forests, where melting permafrost has let to what he describes as drunken trees falling over in the waterlogged soil.

Verne Tom photographs a wildfire burns southwest of Fort St. James, B.C., on Wednesday August 15. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

But he notes that government research is showing climate change impacts are coming to all areas of the Canadian woods, including the fires of the west coming east. He also sees a deterioration in the quality of the forests, as growth-rings thin and faster-growing but lower quality plants and trees mask the decline of core species.

“Yeah there are a lot of trees here, but they’re not as healthy as they used to be…the forest is in a process of transforming,” said Cooke.

Everything looks fine until it’s not.– Barry Cooke, forestry researcher, Natural Resources Canada

“We are seeing growth declines in Eastern Canada, and this wasn’t predicted to happen this soon. We thought maybe in 20, 30 years we might see this, but it’s happening already.”

The changing trends means lots of uncertainty for Canada’s forests going forward, said Cooke. Trees can endure wide fluctuations of weather, he noted, but their health can change suddenly once critical thresholds like moisture balance are tipped.

“Everything looks fine until it’s not.”

[ad_2]

Source link

قالب وردپرس

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Real Estate

7 Tips For First-Time Home Buyers In Calgary

Editor

Published

on

By

Buying a house for the first time can be overwhelming to say the least. If you’re wondering what neighbourhood to go with, what you can afford, or even how to just get started on the process, let us take some stress off your hands! We’ve teamed up with Hopewell Residential to give you 7 tips to ensure the home you end up with is everything you dreamed of.

Hopewell Residential is a five-time Developer of the Year award winner, so their expertise is second-to-none in Calgary and beyond. Who better to learn home-buying tips from than the homebuilders themselves?

Create a checklist of needs & wants

This is a biggie. When you’re buying your very first home, you’ll want to weigh your needs vs. your wants. Ensuring you have what you love in your first home is a big, big deal.

What should you do? Easy. Set up a list of needs and a list of wants, but be pretty strict with yourself, and make sure you take your lifestyle into consideration. With the increase in remote work over the past year, it’s important to keep in mind that a home office or flex room might just be the key to maximizing at home happiness. Especially if you’re thinking you might be expanding your family later on, spare rooms and extra space is key (but more on that later!).

Or for instance, you might need a home in an area with a high walkability score, but you want to be close to certain amenities. Set yourself up with the right level of compromise and the number of homes that actually fit your ‘perfect’ idea will skyrocket.

Continue Reading

Real Estate

‘Don’t give up’: Ottawa Valley realtors share statistics, tips for homebuyers in ‘extreme’ sellers market

Editor

Published

on

By

The real estate market in the Ottawa Valley can be summed up this way: people from far and wide are in a buying frenzy, but there’s hardly anything to buy at the “store,” and the limited inventory is overpriced.

This “stampede” — as one realtor described it — will affect rural towns as residents grapple with finding affordable housing and agonize over their inability to purchase homes in their price range.

“We are seeing a lack of inventory in all price ranges,” said Laura Keller, a real estate agent from Carleton Place.

Helen Vincent, a Renfrew realtor, said she’s never seen a market like this in her 36 years of practice. “We postpone offers for four to five days in order to get all the buyers,” she said.

Multiple offers — between seven and 10 — became the norm, with cash offers and no conditions, as buyers faced bidding wars. “In Ottawa, they have up to 50 (offers),” she added.

“It’s very stressful. You’re going to get nine (people) ticked off, and one happy. So many people are disappointed,” Vincent said.

Terry Stavenow, an Arnprior realtor for 40 years, said that “the pent-up need took over with inventory going low. It made a stampede on everything that was available.“

“Brand new housing — it’s very much gone. Several building developers are rushing to get inventory. They usually don’t do construction in the winter months,” said Stavenow.

Continue Reading

Real Estate

10 Tips For First-Time Home Buyers

Editor

Published

on

By

Buying a home for the first time is exciting and a commitment to the future. It’s often challenging, too, and the process requires a lot of steps, many of which can be tricky to navigate as a first-time home buyer.

What are some things you should keep in mind as a first-time home buyer?

First-Time Home Buyer Tips

Here are 10 tips to keep in mind as you begin your journey toward homeownership.

1. Have Your Finances in Order

It’s wise to begin saving as early as possible once you’ve made the decision to purchase a house. You’ll need to consider the down payment, closing costs (which often range from 2% to 5% of the down payment), as well as move-in expenses.

You also need to understand the other costs of homeownership, such as mortgage insurance. property taxes, utilities, homeowner’s insurance, and more.

2. How Much Can You Afford?

Knowing how much you can realistically afford in a home is another important financial consideration. Look for the home of your dreams that fits your budget.

One way to avoid future financial stress is to set a price range for your home that fits your budget, and then staying within that range. Going through the preapproval process will help you understand what price range is realistic for your budget.

3. Make Sure Your Credit is Good

Another thing to keep in mind as a first-time home buyer is your credit score because it determines whether you qualify for a mortgage and affects the interest rate that lenders offer. 

You can check your credit score from the three credit bureaus – Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.

This is another good reason for getting preapproved before you start your search. Learn more about the preapproval process and your credit score.

4. Choose The Right Real Estate Agent

A good real estate agent guides you through the process every step of the way. He or she will help you find a home that fits your needs, help you through the financial processes, and help ease any first-time buyer anxiety you may have.

Interview several agents and request references.

5. Research Mortgage Options

A variety of mortgages are available, including conventional mortgages – which are guaranteed by the government – FHA loans, USDA loans, and VA loans (for veterans).

You’ll also have options regarding the mortgage term. A 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is popular among many homebuyers and has an interest rate that doesn’t change over the course of the loan. A 15-year loan usually has a lower interest rate but monthly payments are larger.

6. Talk to Multiple Lenders

It’s worth your time to talk to several lenders and banks before you accept a mortgage offer. The more you shop around, the better deal you’re liable to get – and it may save you thousands of dollars.

7. Get Preapproved First

Getting a mortgage preapproval (in the form of a letter) before you begin hunting for homes is something else to put on your checklist. A lender’s preapproval letter states exactly how much loan money you can get.

Learn more about the preapproval process and how preapproval provides you with a significant competitive advantage in our article How Preapproval Gives You Home Buying Power.

8. Pick the Right House and Neighborhood

Make sure to weigh the pros and cons of the different types of homes based on your budget, lifestyle, etc. Would a condominium or townhome fit your needs better than a house? What type of neighborhood appeals to you?

9. List Your Needs and Must-Haves

The home you purchase should have as many of the features you prefer as possible. List your needs in order of priority; some things may be non-negotiable to you personally.

10. Hire an Inspector

Hiring an inspector is another crucial step in the home buying process. An inspector will tell you about existing or potential problems with the home, and also what’s in good order. You can learn more about home inspections and how to find a home inspector through the American Society of Home Inspectors website.

Buying a home for the first time is a challenge, but it’s one you can handle with the right planning and preparation.

Continue Reading

Chat

Trending