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

Real Estate

Do you know what kind of condo you’re buying?

Editor

Published

on

By

(NC) Condominiums can come in all shapes and sizes. But it’s important to know that not all condos are created equal when it comes to warranty coverage.

Whether you’re buying a condominium townhouse, loft-style two-bedroom or a high-rise studio, they are all classified as condominiums if you own your unit while at the same time share access (and the associated fees) for facilities ranging from pools and parking garages to elevators and driveways, otherwise known as common elements.

The most common types of condos are standard condominiums and common elements condominiums. The determination of how a condominium project is designated happens during the planning stage when the builder proposes the project and the municipality approves it.

When you’re in the market to buy, you need to know how your chosen condo is classified because it affects the warranty coverage under the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act. Standard condominiums have warranty coverage for units and common elements, but common elements condominiums only have unit coverage.

How could this affect you as the owner? If your condo complex has underground parking and, for example, there are problems with leaks or a faulty door, the condo designation will determine whether there’s warranty coverage.

If your unit is a standard condominium development, then the common elements warranty may cover the repairs. If it’s a common element condominium development, then repairs might have to be covered by the condo corporation’s insurance, which could impact your condo fees or require a special assessment on all the owners.

To avoid surprises, you should have a real estate lawyer review the Declaration and Description attached to your purchase agreement to be sure that you know the designation and boundaries of the unit you’re looking to purchase. Find more information on the types of condos and their coverage at tarion.com.

Continue Reading

Real Estate

5 savvy renovations to make your kitchen look like new

Editor

Published

on

By

(NC) The kitchen is the heart and focal point of any home. But if yours is looking a little tired, a few simple renovations can change the feel of the entire space.

Whether you’ve just moved in, have been meaning to update for years or are experiencing life changes, remember that a kitchen uplift doesn’t have to come with a huge price tag. These small-scale projects could be the change your kitchen needs:

  1. Brighten it up.Adding LED lights below your cabinets will brighten your backsplash and counter and provide a warm glow. Place your favourite containers below to act as focal points – those copper canisters that are hiding under the island and the marble coasters you couldn’t resist can now all be on display.
  2. Swap the old with the new.The backsplash is the first thing you see, so replacing it can be enough to give the space a whole new look. Try a unique shape or colour to change things up, like turquoise or patterned tiles, hexagon-shaped tiles or even a full slab of stainless steel.
  3. Rework what you have.People often think new cabinets are necessary for a kitchen reno, but a lot can be done with what you’ve got. Repainting the cabinets and switching out the knobs to chic new handles will do wonders for a makeover.
  4. Don’t hide away.Try adding some open shelving in an unused spot, such as above the sink or window, or next to the cabinets. Display your most beautiful dishes and add some decorative pieces to give the space a modern, airy feel.
  5. Add new materials into the mix.Changing the island to a butcher-block counter adds warmth and practicality.

Taking on a renovation can often feel overwhelming. But if you talk to your contractor about budgeting and spreading out payments through services like The Home Depot Project Loan, it can be easier than you think. The service allows you to finance any home projects, big or small and is available at locations across Canada.

Continue Reading

Real Estate

How to afford a home renovation that fits your life

Editor

Published

on

By

(NC) Changing seasons always bring about the desire to update our living spaces. But your life stage and budget can influence what kind of upgrades you can make. Here are some tips to get you started.

Assess the investment. The first step is to gauge how much value your investment will bring, whether you’re looking to sell or grow into a family home. A common misconception among home owners is that all renovations will increase a home’s value; unfortunately, this is not always the case. It’s always a good idea to strategically renovate the space to fit your life plan and goals.

Plan for both long- and short-term value. As a homeowner, it is important to assess what kind of value items can contribute to your life plan. Searching for products that are energy efficient, like an eco-friendly washing machine or water filtration system, can help you save on your monthly bills. A long-term investment, such as hardwood floors or bathroom tiles, can spruce up a living space for years to come. While sometimes this require a larger budget, the project can be both appealing to future buyers and stand the test of time in a family home.

Create a renovation budget. Once you have a clear plan, you’ll need to create a budget to align with your financial goals. Always ensure your budget includes any interest you’ll be paying. Ask multiple sources for competitive quotes.

Use a payment plan. For those high-ticket investment items, consider using a payment plan. Payment solutions such as The Home Depot Project Loan can help with bigger renovations. This allows you to stick to your budgeting goals while using a flexible payment plan to make larger purchases more accessible.

Use DIY to offset costs. In addition to using a payment plan, taking on a few safe and simple renovation projects yourself is an easy way to offset renovation costs. Your local hardware store can help source materials and provide helpful tips to make those do-it-yourself projects, such as refinishing cabinets or sanding old hardwood floors, a breeze.

Continue Reading

Chat

Trending